Malcolm Pein on…Hotshot Haria


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Ravi Haria was a deserving winner of his first-round match with Russian Grandmaster Vadim Zvjaginsev at the FIDE World Cup. Haria takes on French number three Etienne Bacrot for a place in the last 64.

We saw Haria’s opening victory over 44-year-old Zvjaginsev yesterday. The 22-year-old IM from Elstree also impressed in the return. Zvjaginsev was completely outplayed and forced into a desperate exchange sacrifice, before getting lucky and turning things round in the run-up to the time control.

Despite that setback, Haria dominated the resulting Rapid play-off, winning the opening game and displaying model technique to defend a rook endgame a pawn down in the return.

R. Haria – V. Zvjaginsev
Sicilian Moscow 25 + 10

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 e5!? 6.Nc3 Be7 7.a3 a5 8.d3 Bd8 9.Rb1 Nc6 10.0-0 Nge7 11.Nd5 0-0 12.Bd2 Nxd5 13.cxd5 Ne7 14.b4!? cxb4 15.axb4 a4 16.d4? (White needed to go 16.b5, then Rb4) 16…Ng6 (White’s position crumbles after 16…f5! 17.dxe5 fxe4 18.e6 Qb5) 17.dxe5 dxe518.Be3 f5? (18…Be7 followed by Rfc8 was still pleasant for Black) 19.Nd2 f4 20.Bc5 Rf6 21.f3!

(In this King’s Indian type position, White is better on the queenside) 21…b6 22.Bf2 b5 23.Rc1 Bb6 24.Nb1 Bxf2+? (24…Be3! secures counterplay with 25.Bxe3 fxe3 26.Qe2 Nf4 27.Qxe3 Rg6) 25.Rxf2 Ne7 26.Na3! Nc8 27.Rfc2 Nd6 28.Qd3 Ra7 29.Rc6 Rb7 30.Qc3 Qe7 31.Kf1 h6 32.Rc7! Rxc7 33.Qxc7 Rf7? (33…Qe8! 34.Rc6 is today’s puzzle) 34.Qxe7 Rxe7 35.Rc6 Rd7 36.Ke2 Kf8 37.Kd3 Ke7 38.Rb6 g5 39.Nxb5 Nxb5 40.Rxb5 Rc7 41.Rc5! (Fine technique, denying Black any activity. If 41…Ra7 42.Ra5) 41…Rb7 42.Kc3 h5 43.Rc6 g4 44.Re6+ Kd7 45.Rxe5 Rc7+ 46.Kb2 Rc4 47.Ka3 Rc2 48.Rxh5 Rxg2 49.fxg4 Re2 50.Rf5 Rxe4 51.Kxa4 Kd6 52.g5 Re5 53.Rxf4 Rxg5 54.Rd4 Rg2 55.h4 Rh2 56.Kb5 Ke5 57.Rd1 Kd6 58.Kb6 Rxh4 59.b5 Ra4 60.Kb7 Rb4 61.b6 Kc5 62.Rc1+ Kxd5 63.Kc7 1-0

Test Your Strength

How do you assess 34…Nxe4?

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

After 34…Nxe4! 35.fxe4 Qh5 forces perpetual after 36.Rxf6 Qd1+ 37.Kf2 Qd2+ 38.Kf3 Qd1+. Not 36.Rc1? f3. After 34…Nxe4! 35.Qc8! Nd6 36.Qxe8+ Nxe8 37.Nxb5 Rxc6 38.dxc6 Nc7!! Black holds.

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