Malcolm Pein on…Distance Learning
Sam Shankland won the Prague Chess Festival Masters and took himself back over the 2700 barrier. Two of Shankland’s opponents put in a bit of overtime and gave the spectators a lesson on the distant opposition. The standard opposition involves placing one square between your king and the enemy king. With distant opposition, it is three or even five squares and providing this is maintained, the enemy king cannot advance.
D. Navara – Nguyen
Thai Dai Van. Position after 53…Kg6
53…Kg6 54.Kh3! (54.Kg3?? gives away the opposition 54…Kg5 55. Kh3 h5! 56.gxh5 Kxh5 57.Kg3 Kg5 58.Kf3 Kh4 and penetrates) 54…Kg5 55.Kg3 h5 (There is no other way to progress) 56.gxh5 Kxh5 57.Kh3 Kg6 58.Kg2 (Putting three squares between the kings. Of course, 58.Kg4 Kg7 59.Kg3 is also a draw) 58…Kf7 59.Kf3 Ke6 60.Ke2 Kd6 61.Kd2 (Maintaining distant opposition) 61…Kc5 62.Kc3 Kc6 63.Kc2 (63.Kc4=) 63…Kb7 64.Kb3 (64.Kb1= but not 64.Kb2?? Kb6 65.Kc3 Kc5 wins or 65.Kc2 Kc6) 64…Kc7 65.Kc3 Kd8 66.Kd2 (Five squares between the kings) 66…Ke7 67.Ke3 Ke6 68.Ke2 f5 69.exf5+ Kxf5 70.Kf3 e4+ 71.Ke3 Ke6 72.Kxe4 draw
A line of the Ragozin, which I looked at last week when Shak Mamedyarov outplayed Levon Aronian at Superbet Bucharest. That game went 13…Re8 14.Bd4 c5 15.Bxc5 Ng4 16.0–0 Nxe3 17.Bxe3 Rxe3 18.Rfe1 when Black should have been OK. I think 16…b6 17.Bd4 Nxe3 18.Bxe3 Rxe3 19.Rad1 Qe7 20.f5 Bd7 is also fine. In Blitz, a position with a shattered kingside is hard to handle in practice.
W. So – L. Aronian
GCT Blitz Paris
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd2 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Bd6 9.Qc2 e5 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.f4 Bxc3 13.Bxc3 Qe7 14.0–0–0 Qxe3+ 15.Kb1 Qxf4 (15…Bg4 16.Rde1 Qxf4 was possibly better) 16.Bd3 Be6 17.Rhf1 Qh6 18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Qxc7 Bd5 (19…Rfd8 20.Qxb7 Qxh2 is proposed by a computer and would be shunned by human players) 20.Bf5 Bc6 (Denuding the king, better to admit the mistake with 20…Be6 21.Bxe6 fxe6) 21.Rd3 Rfe8? (21…Rae8)
Test Your Strength
White to play and win
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22.Rg3+ Kf8 (22…Kh8 23.Rh3 Qg5 24.Rxh7+ Kg8 25.Qxf7#) 23.Qd6+ Re7 24.Re1 Rae8 25.Rge3 1–0