sabato 20 gennaio 2018

1. g4 h5

Magnus Carlsen – 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán)
80th Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 20, 2018
Semi-Tarrasch Defence D35

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e3. Carlsen avoids confrontation on 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 c5 7. Rb1 Be7 8. Nf3 [not 8. Bb5+ Bd7 9. Bxd7+ Nxd7 10. Rxb7? on account of 10. ... cxd4 11. cxd4 Nb6 12. Qd2 Qc8 13. Rxe7+ Kxe7 14. Nf3 f6 15. 0-0 Kf7! 16. e5 f5 and White has no sufficient compensation, Nepomniachtchi – 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán), Grand Prix 2017, second stage, Moscow 2017] 8. ... 0-0 9. Bc4 Nc6 10. 0-0 b6 11. d5 Na5 12. Bd3 c4 13. Bc2 exd5 14. exd5 Bb7 15. Re1 Bf6 16. d6 Re8 17. Rxe8+ Qxe8 18. Bf4 Rd8 19. Bf5 g6? (19. ... Qc6! 20. d7 g6 was called for, though after 21. Bh3 Bxc3 22. Qe2 White stands better) 20. d7 Qf8 21. Bh3 Be4 22. Rc1 Qc5 23. Qe2 Bf5 24. Rd1 Bxh3 25. gxh3 Kg7 26. Rd6! Bxc3 27. Ng5 Qf5 28. Qe7 h6 29. Ne6+ Kh7 30. Nxd8 Qxf4 31. Nxf7 1 : 0 Svidler – 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán), Grand Prix 2017, 3rd stage, Genève 2017. 5. ... c5 6. Bd3 cxd4 7. exd4 Nxc3 8. bxc3 Qc7 9. Bd2 Nd7 10. Qg4!? If 10. Nf3 then 10. ... b6 11. 0-0 Bb7 12. Re1 Bd6 with rough equality, Rantanen – Barbosa, 15th Bangkok Chess Club Open, Pattaya 2015. 10. ... Nf6 11. Qg3. A qualified member of Carlsen’s entourage tellingly explained that such an early exchange of Queens was aimed to produce a remake of the game Carlsen – 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán), 78th Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Wijk aan Zee 2016, when the four-time Women’s World Chess Champion, in a kind of cupio dissolvi, deliberately blundered a perfectly drawn King-and-Pawn endgame (by 45. ... h6-h5??). 11. ... Qxg3 12. hxg3 Bd6 13. Nf3 b6 14. a4 Bb7 15. a5 Ke7 16. Ke2 Ne4 17. Be1 h6 18. c4 Nf6. Hi, Magnus! Be careful at not falling into a Knight fork! 19. Bc3 Rhc8 20. Rhb1 Bxd3+ 21. Kxd3 Nd7 22. Nd2 Rhd8 23. Ne4 Bc7! 24. Bb4+ Ke8 25. f4 Rac8 26. axb6 axb6 27. Ra7 Nb8!


28. Rxc7! Carlsen sacrifices the Exchange in order to create a climax of sharp feelings. 28. ... Rxc7 29. Nd6+ Kd7 30. Nxf7 Rdc8 31. Ne5+ Ke8 32. Bd6 Rb7 33. c5 Nc6 34. Rxb6 Rxb6 35. cxb6 Nd8! 36. Bc7 Ra8 37. Kc4 Nb7 38. Kb5 Ra2 39. g4! Ke7! 40. g3 Nd6+ 41. Bxd6+ Kxd6 42. Nc4+ Kd7 43. Kc5 Rc2. The game is inexorably drifting towards a draw, but since we know already “The End”, we also know that it won’t end in a draw... 44. f5 exf5 45. gxf5 Rf2 46. Nd6 Rg2 47. Ne4 Rb2 48. g4 Rb1 49. Nd2 Rh1 50. d5


49. ... h5?? Virtually all the Rook moves along the first rank (except for ... Rh1-f1 and Rh1-b1) would have yielded a draw; for instance: 50. ... Rg1 51. Nc4 Rb1 52. d6 Rb3 and White cannot make progress. Apparently it was also important that the metaphoric gift were the same as that of two years ago (... h6-h5). 51. d6! Kc8 52. gxh5 Rxh5 53. Kc6 Kb8 54. Ne4 Rxf5 55. Nc5 1 : 0. “What a relief! It was a hard game. I got an early edge, but perhaps I didn’t play perfectly afterwards. I assumed that the game would have ended in a draw, but still I wanted to challenge her”, Carlsen finally told TV 2.

Artwork © Willum Morsch

Magnus Carlsen vs. 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán). Photo © Jiri Buller/de Volkskrant.

侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán). Photo © Jiri Buller/de Volkskrant.

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