Monday, July 13, 2009; 10:09 AM
Henri Rinck (1870-1952) was a prolific French chess composer. He was buried with the ultimate collection of his studies, "1414 Fins de Partie," under his arm. In one of his early compositions from 1905 (White: Kd3,Bb3,P:c2,d4,e6; Black: Kc6,Ba8,P: d6,d7,e7,g3), white wins. Watch for a beautiful underpromotion! (Solution next week.)
Vladimir Kramnik has won one of the major events of the year -- the Sparkassen six-grandmaster double round-robin tournament in Dortmund, Germany. The former world champion from Russia finished with 6½ points in 10 games, a full point ahead of Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia and Peter Leko of Hungary. Etienne Bacrot of France ended with 4 points, and Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany was last with 3 points.
Kramnik likes to play in Dortmund, where he has won nine times, including Sunday's victory. He made his move to the top just three rounds before the end, defeating Carlsen in the Queen's gambit declined. The Norwegian grandmaster, who was in the lead most of the time during the event, decided to work his way out of a slightly worse position by simplifying, and he almost succeeded. But Kramnik had enough pieces on the board to pose some problems and Carlsen blundered. Kramnik sealed his tournament victory with a last-round win over Naiditsch.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 (A very solid line against the Queen's gambit declined, fitting Kramnik's style. White hopes for a long-lasting edge.) 5...0-0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.a3 Nc6 9.Qc2 Qa5 10.Rd1 (Two decades ago, 10.0-0-0 was all the rage.) 10...Be7 11.Be2 (An inconspicuous line that has plenty of venom.) 11...dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nh5 13.0-0!? (Kramnik, who usually swears by having a bishop pair, gives up a bishop for a knight. Two former world champions, Alexander Alekhine and Mikhail Botvinnik, allowed the same bishop exchange in similar positions with excellent results.) 13...Nxf4 14.exf4 (White gets a grip on the center and the square e5 becomes a stronghold. Black has to figure out how to develop the queenside.) 14...g6 (Black can't free himself with 14...e5 since after 15.b4! Qxa3 [15...Qc7 16.Nd5!] 16.Nd5, threatening to win the queen with 17.Ra1, black is in dire straights. Carlsen tries to prevent white from playing f4-f5. For example, the game Gupta-Kjartansson, Reykjavik 2009, went 14...Rd8 15.Rxd8+ Qxd8 16.Rd1 Bd7 17.f5! Qc8 18.Qd3 Be8 19.fxe6 fxe6 20.Nd5! and white had a powerful attack and won in 37 moves.) 15.g3 Rd8 (By simplifying, Carlsen tries to fight his way out of an unpleasant position. In the game Epishin-Atalik, Bratto 2005, black played 15...Bf6, and after 16.Rd3 Qf5?! 17.Re1 Na5 18.Ba2 Bd7 19.Nh4! Bxh4 20.Re5 Qg4 21.Rxd7 was in trouble.) 16.Rxd8+ Qxd8 17.Rd1 Bd7 (Carslen develops a queenside piece and is very close to getting out of the opening unharmed. But the self-imposed pin allows white pretty dangerous tactics.)
18.f5! (Kramnik's pawn sacrifice opens up some attacking possibilities, but it is not the only way to swirl pieces around the black king. The Russian grandmaster Sergei Shipov discovered an astonishing idea that begins with 18.Ng5!, a leap that wreaks havoc after either the logical 18...Rc8 19.Nxf7!! Kxf7 20.f5! gxf5 21.Qxf5+ Kg7 22.Qg4+ Kf7 23.Qe4 Kg7 24.Rxd7 Qxd7 25.Bxe6 winning; or after 18...a6 19.Nxf7!! Kxf7 20.f5! gxf5 21.Qxf5+ Kg7 22.Qg4+ Kh8 23.Bxe6 Bxe6 24.Rxd8+ Nxd8 25.Qd4+ Kg8 26.Nd5 and white wins. The black queen needs to get out of the pin, but 18...Qe8?! allows 19.Nb5 Rd8 20.Nc7! Qf8 21.Rxd7! Rxd7 22.Ncxe6! with a terrific attack. It leaves 18...Qc8!?, the only move that may help black to survive.) 18...gxf5 (After 18...exf5 19.Qb3 Qe8 20.Bxf7+ Qxf7 21.Qxb7! Rd8 22.Rxd7 white should win.) 19.Qd2 Qb6!? (Carlsen unpins himself elegantly since 20.Qxd7? is met by 20...Rd8! and black wins. Another defense 19...Be8, for example 20.Qh6 Qa5 21.Ng5 Qe5!, was also possible.)20.Qh6 (20.Na4 allows the equalizer 20...Ne5!) 20...Be8 (After 20...Qxb2? 21.Ng5 Bxg5 22.Qxg5+ Kf8 23.Qf6 Rd8 24.Qh8+ Ke7 25.Nd5+ white wins, but 20...Rd8!? 21.Ng5 Bxg5 22.Qxg5+ Kf8 23.Qf6 Bc8 gives black good chances to equalize.) 21.Ng5 Bxg5 22.Qxg5+ (Dominating the dark squares guarantees white a draw by perpetual check.) 22...Kf8 (After 22...Kh8? 23.Rd6! Qc7 24.Qf6+ Kg8 25.Rxe6! fxe6 26.Bxe6+ Bf7 27.Nd5 white wins.) 23.Qh6+ Kg8 24.Qg5+ Kf8 (It seems that black has escaped, but Kramnik's next move confuses Carlsen.)
25.Rd6! (An unpleasant guest arrives. The rook could be sacrificed on e6 at some point.) 25...Qc7? (Finding himself at a crossroads, Carlsen picks the wrong path. Black has to defend actively with 25...Rd8 26.Qh6+ Kg8 27.Rxe6! and now instead of 27...fxe6? 28.Qxe6+ Kg7 29.Qg8+ Kf6 30.Qf8+ Ke5 31.Nb5, threatening to finish the king's hunt with 32.Qg7+ Ke4 33.Nc3+ Kf3 34.Be2 mate, black stays in the game with 27...Qd4! 28.Qg5+ Kf8 29.Rf6 Qxc4 30.Rxc6 Qd4 31.Rc4 Qd2 32.Qxf5 Bc6. Black had another way to fight: 25...Qc5, for example 26.Ne4 Qxc4 27.Nf6 Ke7! 28.Rd1 Nd4 29.Nxe8+ Kxe8 30.Qg8+ Ke7 31.Qxa8 Qd5 with equal chances. But 25...Qxb2 is a blunder, since after 26.Qf6! Qc1+ 27.Kg2 Nd8 28.Rxd8 Rxd8 29.Qxd8 Qxc3 30.Bb5 white should win.) 26.Qh6+ Ke7 (After 26...Kg8? 27.Rxe6! fxe6 28.Bxe6+ Bf7 29.Nd5! white wins.) 27.Qh4+ Kf8 28.Qh6+ Ke7 (After 28...Kg8 comes 29.Rxe6!, for example 29...Ne7 30.Qg5+ Kf8 31.Re4! fxe4? 32.Qh6+ Kg8 33.Nxe4 Qxc4 34.Nf6+ Kh8 35.Qxh7 mate.)
29.Nb5! (White has a decisive advantage.) 29...Qa5 (Giving up the queen with 29...Qxd6 30.Nxd6 Kxd6 was the best chance, but it only prolonged the suffering.) 30.b4! Nxb4 (After 30...Qb6 31.Rxe6+! fxe6 32.Qxe6+ Kd8 33.Qd6+ Bd7 34.Be6 Ne5 35.Qf8+ Be8 36.Qf6 mates.) 31.Rxe6+! (The rook sacrifice allows Kramnik to hunt down the black king.) 31...fxe6 32.Qxe6+ Kd8 (On 32...Kf8 33.Qf6+ Bf7 34.Qxf7 mates.) 33.Qf6+ Kc8 34.Qxf5+ Kd8 (After 34...Bd7 35.Nd6+ wins the queen.) 35.Qf6+ Kc8 36.axb4 (White wins by force after 36...Qb6 37.Be6+ Bd7 38.Qf8+ Qd8 39.Qc5+ Kb8 40.Bxd7 Qxd7 41.Qf8+ Qc8 42.Qf4+.) Black resigned.
An Impressive Book
Readers unfamiliar with the works of Zenon Franco have plenty of catching up to do. The grandmaster from Paraguay, who now lives in Spain, wrote three excellent books for Gambit Publications. After "Chess Self-Improvement" and "The Art of Attacking Chess," Franco recently came up with "Grandmaster Secrets: Counterattack!" His discussion of the delicate subject on how to bounce back from difficult positions is both enjoyable and instructive. One can still learn a lot from Emanuel Lasker's tenacity in defense and Jose Raul Capablanca's art of simplification, but examples of modern players, such as Kramnik and Carlsen, are also presented. Overall, it is a great book for tournament players.
Solution to Last Week's Puzzle
July 6: White mates in three moves, by Oldrich Duras (White: Kc5,Qa7,Bd2,Bd5,Ng8,Nh4,P: a2; Black: Ke5,Rg3,Na8,Nh1,P: a6,b3,b5, c7,d3,e7,f5): 1.Kc6! bxa2 2.Qg1!! Rxg1 (or 2...Rxg8 3.Qa1 mate) 3.Nf3 mate; or 1...b2 2.Be3 b1Q 3.Qd4 mate; or 1...Nb6 2.Qxc7+ Kd4 3.Qf4 mate.