Who is afraid of Kirsan?

Who is afraid of Kirsan? Most people, I would think. EXCEPT, ofcourse, the US Treasury. (For natural reasons)  Having been put on the US Sanctions list, Kirsan now finds himself unable to travel to the US. Last week he tried to do so, but was asked to leave the Delta flight before it took off from Moscow.  Here are some comments related to Kirsan’s on going efforts to deal with this issue.



Sants Open: Chinese emerge on top

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Position after 30 moves. An unusual piece configuration.  Usually one finds this kind of ending with only 1 Rook on the board. (In which case, if the defender has no pawn weaknesses, as the case here, then then game should end in a draw. Normally the side with the Queen has winning chances only when there is just one pawn difference.)

One would think that the presence of an extra Rook on the board would be to Black’s favour (increasing his chances), but in the game here the result was a solid, almost effortless draw.  Do any of my readers have some information on this curious ending? I would like to hear from you! Endgame Theory would like to hear from you…



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Board number 5.  A must win situation for both players. Position before Black’s 20th move.

Earlier, Black made an interesting (and typical) pawn sacrifice on the Kingside (trying to get some initiative), but it was not quite convincing, but then it appears that White convinced himself that by simplifying things (ie. changing some pieces) would leave White simply better. Here the Armenian IM must have felt that after Ng3, Re3 and Qe2 he would be a pawn up for nothing…UNFORTUNATELY, his thinking was not dynamic enough….


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Surprise!  All of a sudden White is DEAD LOST.  This move allows the Black Queen to come into play with check, and then the Rook comes into play along the f-file. White finds himself unable to prevent disaster. (For the record, the final moves were 21.Kxf2 Qh4+ 22.Ng3 Qd4+ 23.Re3 Rf8+ 24.Ke1 Qxe3+ 25.Qe2 Qg1+ 26.Kd2 Qd4 27.Ke1 Bg4 28.Qg2 Qe3+ 29.Ne2 Bh3 0-1)



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Sasikiran’s last round game saw the Indian superstar play with great energy and creativity, not backing off from risky play.

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Position after 14 moves. Something seems to have gone wrong with Black’s opening. His King is still in the centre, and the pawn structure clearly favours White’s pieces.

I am not sure what the best way for White to proceed is, but there is no doubt that at some point White will want to play f5.  The only question is how much preparation should be involved in this task.  I am certain that positionally inclined players like Karpov and Korchnoi would slowly prepare f5, confident that Black’s lack of counterplay on the Queenside must eventually lead to his downfall…

HOWEVER, Sasikiran has a very tactical style of play , much more inclined to the Tal-school of chess tastes, and for this reason he would not even consider preparation:


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One can not get much more direct than this!  White forces open the f-file even at the cost of a piece. In essence, the move is quite sound and poses pesky practical problems for the defender.

15…exf5 16.Nxf5!

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Black has no good alternative than to take the piece.

Here I believe that the most precise way of executing Sasikiran’s idea is the immediate 17.Qh5!. Then if 17…Qe7 (as in the game, and probably the only good move here too) 18.Bh3!? preventing the manoeuvre that occured in the game (Qe6-g6), as 18…Qe6(?) is met by the crushing 19.Bxf5.

So that leaves Black to decide what move to make on his 18th, and it is not clear to me what is best. Very unpleasant after 18…000 is 19.Bg5!, and no different would be 18…Bg7 19.Bg5!. That appears to indicate 18…Rg8!?, but this move is not very constructive as after 19.Rxf5 Qe6!? (what else?) 20.Bg5! Qg6 21.Qf3 with 22.Rf1 coming in with great force.  Black is in serious trouble…

HOWEVER, in the game Sasikiran played the obvious move…and the game quickly proceeded:

17.Rxf5 Qe7 18.Qh5


White intends to mobilize his remaining pieces and double on the f-file. Clearly White has compensation, especially as Black has practical difficulty in developing. The theoretical question, however, is whether this compensation is enough for advantage…



An excellent manoeuvre, difficult to find over the board. Black intends to play Qg6 and try to push back White’s Queen.  Had White played what I recommended at move 17, then Black’s Queen manoeuvre would have not been possible.  (However, this is easy to say AFTER the game!)

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19.Bh3!?  Qg6 20.Qf3


Black should not now castle as 21.Rxf7 or 21.Bg5 is very unpleasant.

20…Be7! 21.Bd2


It is a tricky position, not easy to play in practice, but Black seems to be surviving (but no more).  Here the computer finds the subtle 21…h5! (ruling out any Bg4-h5 manoeuvre) and after 22.Rf1 Rf8! and the game is unclear (if 23.Rxh5 Qe4 does not change the evaluation)  It is also not clear how White should proceed….

INSTEAD,  possibly short of time and under great psychological pressure, Black blundered by castling long: 21…000(?) which loses immediately: 22.Rxf7! Rhe8 (did Black intend 22…Rhf8? (23.Qc3+!)) 23.Bf5! Qg8 24.e6! and it is all over. Black resigned a few moves later.

An interesting fight.  Typical of last round money games, where nerves, courage and the clock determine everything.

Sunday surfing…

Following up on last Thursday’s surfing (which got over 50,000 views), today I move in a completely different direction on the ‘net and find a lot of inspiration. Potpourri, nonsense, trying to be serious (at times!), and so on. It is the ‘net.  It takes us places and is an adventure. All that is required is to have an open mind…Enjoy!

Friday’s chess tactics quiz

(Solutions at end. Good luck!)

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1.) Abu Dhabi   2016.8.23 Sadzikowski, Daniel-Banusz, Tamas :  The Black Queen is about to be trapped. 18.Nde7+!  Cutting off the escape route. 18… Nxe7 19.h4!  And no matter how Black plays it, he loses material. 19… Nxf5 20.hxg5 Ne3 21.Qe2 Nxf1 22.Bxe6 fxe6 23.Rxf1 Nc7 24.Rxf8+Rxf8 25.e5 d5 26.c3 d4 27.c4 bxc4 28.dxc4 Rd8 29.Qd3 a5 30.Kf1 a4 31.Qe4 d3 32.Ke1 1-0

2.) Barcelona Sants  2016.8.23 Grigoryan, Karen H.-Jakubowski, Krzysztof: 17.Bxf7+  1-0, After 17…Qxf7  18.Rd8+ etc is gory.

3.) Linares 2016.8.21 Garcia Trobat, Francisco–Martin Capitan, Feliciano: 28.Rxg7!  Ofcourse! Black can not recapture because of a check on f8, but now the Black King soon has to  capitulates. 28…Rgd8 29.f6! Qf3 30.Qc2 Mate is inevitable 30… Qh5 31.Qe4 etc. Black resigned a move or two later.

4.) Abu Dhabi  2016.8.24 Lei, Tingjie–Dragun, Kamil:  Ofcourse, Black can just trade everything a win my material force, but he has an elegant tactic that wins a whole Rook. 29…Rd1! 0-1 Ouch

5.) Abu Dhabi  2016.8.23 Vignesh, N R–Derakhshani, Borna: 29.Rd8+!  1-0 Why? Because after 29…RxR 30.e8(Q)! and White comes out a full Rook ahead.

6.) Abu Dhabi   2016.8.22 Melkumyan, Hrant Ravi, Teja S.:  22.Nxh6!  The roof collapses. Taking the Knight would allow 23.Rg3 with immediately fatale consequences. 22… Nf6 23.Nxf7+ Kg8 24.Qg6 Qxd4 25.Be5 Qxh4 26.Rh3 Qc4 27.h6 1-0  I think Black should have resigned a bit before…

7.) Abu Dhabi   2016.8.25 Aradhya, Garg–Tissir, Mohamed: 27.Qb7! Curiously Black is helpless to White’s many threats such as Rc7/c8. 27… b4 28.Be2! b3 29.Bb5 Qe4+ 30.f3 Qb1 31.Rc8+ Kf7 32.Qxd7 1-0

8.) Abu Dhabi   2016.8.25  Wang, Hao-Antipov, Mikhail Al: Black’s last move (33…Rb1) sought to exchange a dangerous attacking piece, but overlooks a cute combination 34.Rxg7+!  It will soon be mate 34… Kxg7 35.Qf7+ Kh6 36.Qf4+ Kh5 37.Qg4+ Kh6 38.Qh4+ 1-0

9.) Abu Dhabi   2016.8.23 Harikrishnan, A. Ra-Illingworth, Max: 31.Be6!! 1-0 Interference theme. Insufficient is 31.Rg5 Rxc4! 32.Rh5 ( 32.Qxh7+ Kxh7 33.Rh5+ Kg6 34.Rg5+ Kh6 35.g8=Q Qxg8 is equal ) Qh3+ =) 1-0

10.) Abu Dhabi   2016.8.23 Savchenko, Boris-Mohammad, Nubairshah Shaikh: 30.Nf6+!  Leads to a forced win 30… gxf6 31.gxf6 Kf8 32.Qg4 Rh1+ 33.Kxh1 Rd1+ 34.Kh2 Qd4 35.Qg7+ Ke8 36.Qg8+ 1-0  Mate is not far off


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