TCh-CHN 2016.7.26 Fang, Yan–Xu, Yinglun. Yesterday! Let’s start today’s work with a Rook and Pawn ending. Both sides have passed pawns, but White’s are more advanced, and therefore has the better chances of winning the game. But he must exercise caution, as the hasty 40.b5?! (threatening 41.Rb6+ and 42.Rc6) would allow the clever 40…Kg7! when White must fight for a draw (!), as the reader can easily verify.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
17th Karpov Poikovsky 2016.7.26 Gm Motylev, Alexander–Gm Jakovenko, Dmitry. Position after White’s move, 22.Rd8, which came with a draw offer which was accepted(!). Fascinating! White is threatening Rxf8+ and Qd8 mate; Black, for his part, is threatening to capture one of White’s Bishops….
While a draw is actually a fair result in this game, it took me quite a while to understand why! And even so, I think that both players should have played on! If only because it is a very tricky position. For instance if now 22…g6 (luft!), then White wins with 23.RxR+ KxR 24.Qd8+ Kg7 25.Qf6+ and 26.e6!
So my challenge to you, dear Reader, is
FIND THE DRAW!
Dutch Open Dieren 2016.7.26 Gm Debashis, Das–Vos, Tjark. Position after 22 moves of play. The grandmaster has played the opening recklessly against his less experienced rival, and now finds himself a pawn less with a shattered pawn structure.
It is clear that White would be satisfied with a draw, if he could somehow get a perpetual against the enemy King. Tempting, therefore, is 23.Rxe6!?, when 23…PxR?! 24.RxP+ PxR 25.Qxg6+ gives a draw. But the clever 23…Bf6! would refute White’s idea, and after 24.Rxf6 Qxf6 25.Rh4 Qg7 26.Qxg7+ Kxg7 27.Bh6+Kg8 28.Ne4 Nd5! Black is simply better.
Another unsuccessful idea is 23.Ne4!?, trying to get in Ng5 or Bg5, but Black successfully defends with 23… Qxd4! 24.Ng5 ( or 24.Bg5 Bxg5 25.Nxg5 Qg7! ) 23…Qg7!
But there exists a very clever resource in the above position that would allow White to save his game. Do you see it?
WHAT IS WHITE’S BEST MOVE?
Quebec Open U2000 Montreal 2016.7.23 Morin, Louis–El-Adraoui, Mourad. Position after 18 moves of play. White had earlier sacrificed a Knight to open the Black King position, hoping that he could take advantage of it. It is not easy, however. If White now tries to bring in the Rook with the immediate 19.Qh3 (planning 20.Re3 and 21.Rg3) then Black can successfully defend with 19…Ndf6! 20.Re3 Bc8! followed by BxN.
However, Louis Morin, a resourceful tactician, had forseen a very clever idea….
WHITE TO PLAY AND CRUSH!
Quebec Open Montreal 2016.7.25 Gm Lesiege, Alexandre–Fm Barbeau, Sylvain. Position after 31 moves. Both players had aimed for this position and Black–having an extra pawn–must have felt satisfied. If White tries to win it back with 32.Ng5(?!) Bd5 33.Re1 then the simple 33…Bg7! would be very strong. However, Lesiege had forseen a clever resource in the position above that gives him the advantage…
WHAT IS WHITE’S BEST MOVE?