Friday, 10 May 2013

Test Yourself! Fresh Off the Live Games!

Watching Round 5 of the 2013 US Chess Championships live coverage, there was this very interesting position which arose in the game between GM Larry Christiansen vs Gm Conrad Holt, senior vs youth. White just played 44. Ra8-Ra7. What would you play as Black now? It is actually a good exercise to play Black and calculate all the lines to ensure you are winning.

BTW, I recommend watching the live commentary with the lovely Jennifer Shahade (well, you have to get used to her "strine") but the bonus ++ is GM Yasser Seirawan. His mellifluous dulcet tones is very nice on the ear and believe it or not, he has "toned" down Jennifer's strine. If you cannot watch live, I suggest re-watching the broadcast: Yasser's commentary is a class above, even better than the commentary at the just concluded Men's Grand Prix and the now-happening Norway Masters (too much conversation and not enough chessic analyses!).

In the women section, defending Champion IM Irina Krush was running away with the tournament but is now pegged back to a point ahead by IM Anna Zatonskih. Both has a history in recent years of an intense rivalry for the title. Anna lost to Irina in crucial game in Rd 3 but is playing catch-up now. In today's game, she played veteran WGM Camilla Baginskaite and won. In the live commentary, Yasser said Anna was winning around move 46 due to extra a pawn.

He said that in positions when you are ahead a pawn, he was taught to trade off pieces and convert the extra pawn advantage. Black moved 46...Rd7-b7 and he thought the plan was to go 48...Rb8 and trade off the rooks. However he spotted a tactical trick by White. White plays 47 h3 and if Black goes 47...Rb8, there is a tactical try. Can you spot it?

Another tournament happening now is the Fide Fondation Neva Women's Grand Prix in Geneva. Former World Women Champion, 2013 Challenger and top seed (happening end of this year) GM Hou YiFan suffered two shock defeats.

The game making the rounds of the twitterverse and blogoverse is the game between incumbent Women Champion, Anna Ushenina vs WGM Olga Girya. Can you win from this position within the 50 moves rule? White has just captured the last pawn on c3 (72. Nd5xc3). Now there are no more pawns, so the 50-moves rule comes into play. Can you win?

With no disrespect (tournament conditions, OTB play are factors), the World Champion did not win.

The game is below and see if you can spot where she made her mistake.


John Burgess said...

Do we get any solutions? I thought probably Rg4+ in the first and maybe Bxe5+ in the second.

siow, weng nian said...

Thanks John. In the first game, GM Seirawan suggested Bc5 first before playing Rg4. This was what GM Holt actually played in the game. The commentators thought this was a very "computer engine-like" move, not easy to spot. I suggest watching the video.
For the second game, yes, GM Seirawan suggested Bxe5+. But as an exercise, you shoudl work out the rest of the moves.