Malcolm Pein on…Hero Harry
Harry the h-pawn made an appearance at the Grand Chess Tour’s second leg in Paris which was a 10-player Rapid and Blitz. The Hungarian GM Richard Rapport, known as one of the most uncompromising attacking players in world chess, launched his assault as early as move three. Just a dozen moves later, Peter Svidler could only survey the ruins of his position
R. Rapport – P. Svidler
Harry vs Benko Gambit 25+10
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.h4 c5 4.d5 b5 5.cxb5 a6 6.e3 Bg7 7.Nc3 0–0 8.a4 (Black won after 8.Nf3 d6 9.a4 Bg4 10.Ra3 axb5 11.Bxb5 Na6 12.e4 Nb4 in Grischuk– Vachier-Lagrave, Riga 2019) 8…Bb7 9.Nf3 e6 (This is a standard position with the difference that h2–h4 has replaced Ra1–a3. The secret to countering an early h-pawn thrust is to try and reach a position where h2–h4 is pretty pointless. Unfortunately for Black, he manages the precise opposite) 10.dxe6 fxe6 11.Qd6! (Always a good move here to stop d7–d5 with an imposing centre)
11…axb5 (If 11…Ne8 12.Qxc5) 12.Bxb5 Ne4 (12…Na6 makes sense as 13.Bxa6 Rxa6 14.Qxc5 Ng4 looks way too risky) 13.Nxe4 Bxe4 14.h5! Qf6? (After 14…Nc6! 15.hxg6 hxg6 16.Bxc6 Bxc6 17.Qg3 Qf6 Black is in the game, although the computer quite likes 18.Ng5, but it is murky to say the least) 15.h6! (Unexpected and for a variety of elegant tactical reasons, a complete winner)
15…Bh8 16.Rh4! Bxf3 17.Rf4! Qd8 (A lovely winning blow followed)
Test Your Strength
White to play and win
The tour moves to Zagreb, Croatia for more Rapid and Blitz. Play begins on July 6.
Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.
18.Bxd7!! 1–0 In view of 18…Rxf4 19.Bxe6+ Rf7 20.Qxd8#; 18…Qxd7 19.Qxf8#; 18…Nxd7 19.Qxe6+ Rf7 20.Qxf7#.