Malcolm Pein collates the information on the 2021 Grand Chess Tour in today’s Daily Telegraph column and takes a look at Carlsen’s dramatic ‘win on demand’ game at the FTX Crypto Cup.

Malcolm Pein on…The 2021 Grand Chess Tour

The Grand Chess Tour is on the move again after a one-year hiatus. The first in a circuit of international tournaments is the Superbet Chess Classic Romania, already under way at the Sheraton Hotel in Bucharest. The tournament is a Classical 10-player all-play-all, headed by world number two Fabiano Caruana.

The 2021 Grand Chess Tour has a prize fund of $1.275 million (£902,000) and comprises the following five tournaments: Superbet Chess Classic Romania, June 5 – 14, Bucharest. Paris Rapid & Blitz, June 18 – 22. Croatia Rapid & Blitz, July 7 – 11, Zagreb. St Louis Rapid & Blitz, August 11 – 15, Sinquefield Cup (Classical) August 17 – 26, St Louis.

Magnus Carlsen’s win on demand in the tie-break of the final of the FTX Crypto Cup KO Final on chess24. So’s 9.Nxe5? was a strategic error; a capture is often a mistake. Black gets pressure down the d file and can access d4, whereas White cannot put a knight on d5. 9.d4! Nxf3+ 10.gxf3 cxd4 11.Qxd4 g6 12.Be3 wins the b6 pawn, so perhaps 11…Nd7 12.Be3 e6 when White keeps an edge, but I hate those doubled f-pawns.

Winning on Demand

W. So – M. Carlsen
FTX Crypto Cup
Sicilian Bb5+ 5+3

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.0–0 Ngf6 5.Re1 a6 6.Bf1 b6 7.c4 Bb7 8.Nc3 Ne5 9.Nxe5? dxe5 10.d3 e6 11.a3 Be7 12.b4 0–0 13.Rb1 Nd7 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Rb2 cxb4 16.axb4 a5! (Securing the c5 square for a minor piece and creating a passed pawn. The loss of the b5 square proves to be of little consequence) 17.bxa5 bxa5 18.Nb5 Qd8 19.Qc2 Bc6 20.Ra1 h6 21.Na7 Qc7 22.Nb5 (Offering a repetition, 22.Nxc6 Qxc6 23.Rb5 was more stubborn) 22…Qc8 23.h3 Nc5 24.Rba2 a4!

W. So – M. Carlsen

25.Qc3 (After 25.Bxc5 Bxc5 26.Rxa4 Rxa4 27.Qxa4 f5! White struggles to defend f2) 25…Nb3 26.Na7 Qd7 27.Nxc6 Qxc6 28.Rb1 Nd4! 29.f4 (29.Bxd4 exd4 30.Qxd4 Bc5 31.Qc3 Rfd8 with a4–a3 next) 29…f6 30.Bxd4 exd4 31.Qc2 a3 (White’s bishop is a spectator and the passed a-pawn is well supported, Rab8 comes next) 32.c5!? Qxc5 33.Qxc5 Bxc5 34.Be2 Rfb8 35.Rc1 Rb2 36.Bg4 Hoping for 36…Rxa2? 37.Bxe6+.

Test Your Strength

W. So – M. Carlsen FTX Crypto Cup

Black to play and win

Highlight the space beneath this line to reveal the answer.

36…f5 0–1 Black wins material after 37.exf5 Rxa2 or 37.Rxb2 axb2.

Play Through the Game

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