sabato 11 agosto 2018

Small in a Big World

Nana Dzagnidze – 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí)
4th “心桥杯” (“Xīnqiáo Cup”); match game 1; 温州 (Wēnzhōu), August 11, 2018
Spanish Game C67

This year the 4th “心桥杯” (“Xīnqiáo Cup”) in 温州 (Wēnzhōu), China features two four-game matches with semi-classic time control (90 minutes for 40 moves, then 30 minutes to end, with a 30-second increment from move 1). On the one hand, former FIDE World Chess Champion Veselin Aleksandrov Topalov puts 丁立人 (Dīng Lìrén) on the test, Chinese Grandmaster being still convalescent from his injury in Norway. On the other hand, Georgian Grandmaster and current Women’s World Blitz Chess Champion Nana Dzagnidze gives 16th Women’s World Chess Champion 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) a chance to make Chinese coaches regret having excluded her from the national women’s team which will take part in the upcoming 43rd Chess Olympiad.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. 0-0 Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Nxe5 7. Rxe5+ Be7 8. Bf1. The copyright is by 1st World Chess Champion Wilhelm Steinitz. 8. ... 0-0 9. d4 Bf6 10. Re1 Nf5. The alternative is 10. ... Re8 11. c3 Rxe1 12. Qxe1 Nf5 (or else 12. ... Ne8 13. Bf4 d5 14. Bd3 g6 15. Nd2 Ng7 16. Qe2 c6 17. Re1 Bf5 18. Bxf5 Nxf5 19. Nf3 Ng7 20. Be5 still with an edge for White, Carlsen – Anand, Chennai 2013, World Chess Championship match game 8) 13. Bf4 d6 14. Nd2 Be6 15. Bd3 Nh4 16. Ne4 Ng6 17. Bd2 d5 18. Nc5 Bc8 19. Qe3 with a slight advantage to White, Steinitz – Zukertort, New York 1886, World Chess Championship match game 4. 11. d5 d6 12. Nd2 Bg5 13. Ne4 Bxc1 14. Rxc1 Bd7 15. c4 Re8 16. Qd2 Re5!? Apparently a novelty, just not to drift into the oblivion: 16. ... Qh4 17. g3 Qg4 ½ : ½ Brkić – Yemelin, 4th Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina Team Chess Championship, Neum 2005. 17. Bd3 Qh4 18. f4 Re7 19. c5 Rae8 20. b4 a5? 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) plays overenergetically, a little too fast for the beat. Here, among others, 20. ... a6 eventually followed by ... Bd7-b5 deserved consideration. 21. c6! bxc6 22. dxc6 Bc8 23. bxa5 d5? A very committal move which may even lose the game, but Black has no safer way to secure her own position, unless she plays 23. ... Kf8 (that doesn’t seem so rousing either). 24. Ng3 Ne3. Threatening ... Ne3-g4.


25. Nf1? Stockfish is not that impressed though. After 25. a6! Ng4 26. h3 Qxg3 27. Rxe7 Qh2+ 28. Kf1 Rxe7 29. hxg4 Black doesn’t seem to have anything better than 29. ... Bxa6 30. Bxa6 h5 (30. ... Re4? 31. Rc4!!+−) 31. Rc3! Re4 32. Kf2! Rxf4+ 33. Rf3 Rxg4 34. Bf1 which leaves White ahead, a Bishop against two Pawns. 25. ... Nc4! 26. Rxe7 Qxe7 27. Bxc4 dxc4 28. Rxc4 h6!? 29. Rc3. If 29. Rd4 then 29. ... Ba6 30. Ng3 Qa3 31. Ne4 Re6 and Black should easily regain at least a Pawn with very fine play. 29. ... Ba6! 30. Ne3. 30. h3 Qe1! also seems to give Black enough counterplay for her temporary material deficit. 30. ... Rd8 31. Qf2 Qb4 32. Rb3 Qxa5 33. h3 Qc5. 33. ... Bd3 followed by ... Bd3-e4 also seemed good enough. 34. Qf3 Bb5 35. Kh2 Bxc6 36. Qg3 Be4. Better seems 36. ... Ba4! 37. Rb2 Rd3 and it is White who should strive to save the day. 37. Ng4 Kh7 38. Re3 f5 39. Ne5 Qb6 40. Rb3 Qa6 41. Rb2 Rd6. Simpler seems to be 41. ... Rd1 42. h4 Qa7 43. Qg6+ Kg8 44. Qe8+ with a draw by perpetual check. 42. h4 Qa7 43. h5 Rd1? Lots of strange things may happen during the last few minutes! 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) believes to “force” Dzagnidze to draw by perpetual, but no. Instead, she ought to have played 43. ... Qa8(!) with roughly equal chances. 44. Qg6+ Kg8 45. Qe6+ Kh7 46. Qg6+ Kg8 47. Qe8+ Kh7 48. Qg6+? ½ : ½. After spending eight of her last nine minutes, deep in her thoughts, Dzagnidze contented herself with a draw by perpetual check. Of course, extravagances such as 48. Kh3?? Bxg2+!! could lead to a very unhappy end for her, but she could have well missed the “dual” 48. Kg3! Rg1 (idem to say 48. ... Rf1) 49. Qg6+ Kg8 50. Ng4! (the move that she might have overlooked!?) which appears to lock Black into an inexorable zugzwang (50. ... Kf8 51. a4!).

Nana Dzagnidze (left) vs. 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) (right). Photo: qipai.org.cn.

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