Today’s Daily Telegraph chess column sees the continuation of Malcolm Pein’s coverage of the Airthings Masters, with the focus falling firmly on The Battle of the Caucasus.
Can anyone keep the dynamic Daniil Dubov quiet? Teimour Radjabov can…
Malcolm Pein on…The Battle of the Caucasus
A final with a geopolitical edge was set up, as Azeri Teimour Radjabov overcame Daniil Dubov and Levon Aronian of Armenia defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in their respective semifinals of the Airthings Masters on Chess24. Armenia and Azerbaijan have recently fought a vicious war over the contested territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Radjabov kept things solid against Magnus Carlsen’s conqueror Daniil Dubov and described his strategy: “I was trying to cool him down as much as I can, I was playing all the boring positions, so that he would sacrifice something, maybe in the endgame.” It worked to perfection in game three of the first leg when Dubov erred in a dull endgame position and saw a sacrifice refuted in game four. In leg two, Radjabov saw off another wild attack and scored an impressive victory. Levon Aronian defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 3:1 in leg one and took the second leg 2-1.
Radjabov does very little, but does it pretty well.
English vs Double Fianchetto 15+10
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.d4 Bb7 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.0–0 0–0 7.Nc3 Ne4 8.Nxe4 Bxe4 9.Be3 c5 10.Qd2 d6 11.Bh6 Nd7 12.Rfd1 Nf6 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.Rac1 Qc7 15.Nh4 Rab8 16.Bxe4 Nxe4 17.Qe3 Nf6 18.Qg5 Kh8 19.Qh6 Rfc8 20.Nf3 Kg8 21.b3 a6 22.Ng5 Qd8 23.Nf3 Qd7 24.Kg2 Qe6 25.Rd2 Qe4 26.Kf1 Rc7 27.Rd3 Qf5 28.Kg2 Qe4 29.Kf1 Rbc8 30.d5 b5?
One Queen in Trouble
(Suddenly the Black queen is in trouble. Better 30…Ng4 31.Qxh7+ Kxh7 32.Ng5+ Kg7 33.Nxe4 Nxh2+ =) 31.h3! Rb8 (If 31…Qf5 32.Ng5 Qd7 33.Rf3 Qe8 34.Rxf6 exf6 35.Qxh7+ Kf8 36.Rc3!; 31…Qf5 32.Ng5 Qd7 33.Rf3 Qd8 is today’s puzzle) 32.g4 (Threat Re3. Black is forced to make positional concessions) 32…e5 (32…Kh8 33.Re3 Ng8 34.Qg5 h6 35.Qxh6+ Nxh6 36.Rxe4) 33.dxe6 Qxe6 34.Qf4 Ne8 35.Re3 Qd7 36.Ng5 d5 37.cxd5 Qxd5 38.Kg1 c4 39.bxc4 bxc4 40.Ne4 Rcb7 41.Rxc4! Rb1+ (If 41…Qxc4 42.Nf6+ wins the queen) 42.Kh2 Qd1 43.Kg3 h5 44.Rf3 f5 45.gxf5 Qh1 46.Kh4 Rg1 47.Rg3 Rb5 48.Rc8 1–0
Test Your Strength
White to play and win
Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.
34.Nxf7! Kxf7 35.Qxh7+ Ke8 36.Qxg6+ Kd7 37.Qf5+ Ke8 38.Qe6 Qd7 39.Rxf6. 34.Rxf6 exf6 35.Qxh7+ Kf8 36.f4 followed by e2-e4 and f4-f5 also wins.