Malcolm Pein turns his attention to a hybrid chess tournament in today’s Daily Telegraph column. Is this the future for chess events, or a temporary measure?

Malcolm Pein on…Hybrid Chess

The difficulties of holding over-the-board events and organising foreign travel in Europe led to the European Chess Union staging a Hybrid Qualification tournament to enable 36 players to progress to the FIDE World Cup which will be staged in Sochi in July. Games were played online from approved venues.

As expected, Russian players largely dominated and took 14 places. There were plenty of interesting games, like this one where White used one of Alexei Shirov’s ideas – 5.g4!? and created ‘Fire on Board’.

L. Paichadze – V. Plat
Philidor Defense

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.g4!? Nxg4 6.Rg1 exd4 7.Nxd4 Ngf6 8.Qe2! c6 (If 8…g6 9.Bf4 Bg7 10.Nf5) 9.Bf4 Ne5 10.0–0–0 Qc7 11.Bg5 Ng6 12.f4 h6 (Better 12…Bd7) 13.Bxf6 gxf6

Hybrid Chess: L. Paichadze – V. Plat

14.Qh5!? (14.Qe3 Bd7 15.Bc4 looks good) 14…Nxf4 15.Qh4 Ng6 16.Qxf6 Rg8? (Better to offer a repetition with 16…Be7! 17.Qg7 Bf8 18.Qf6 Be7, now a move of which Shirov would have been proud)

L. Paichadze – V. Plat

17.Bb5!! Qd8 (17…cxb5 18.Nd5 Qd7 19.Rdf1 Bg7 20.Rxg6 fxg6 21.Qxg6+ Kd8 22.Rf7 is crushing and 17…cxb5 18.Nd5 Qd8 19.Rdf1 Rg7 20.Rxg6 Qxf6 21.Rgxf6 Rb8 22.Nxb5 is very good for White. If 17…Bd7 18.Rdf1 Rg7 19.Rxg6!) 18.Nd5 Be6? 1–0

In view of 19.Nxe6 Qxf6 20.Nxf6+ Ke7 21.Nxg8+.

It took me a while to realise that 18…Be7! 19.Nxc6! bxc6 20.Bxc6+ Bd7 21.Rxg6! fxg6 22.Qe6! Kf8 23.Rf1+ Kg7 24.Rf7+ Kh8 25.Bxd7 Bg5+ 26.Kb1 Rg7 is actually fine for Black. Black is also still in the game after 23.Bxd7.

Laznicka – Artemiev from the ‘business end’ of the event, when the 36 qualifiers played a nine- round Swiss to fight over the prize money.

Test Your Strength

Laznicka – Artemiev How did Black draw?Laznicka – Artemiev
How did Black draw?

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

52…Nd7+ 53.Ka6 Nb8+

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