30 December 2018

Inevitable Errors

Maxim Notkin describes the most exciting moments of the King Salman World Blitz Championship

When you start annotating blitz games, make sure you have enough question marks stored. It may even look like the author enjoys showing these mistakes, but it is something we have to live with – blitz is a competition that is decided not by the spark of a genius, but by an impulsive hand motion without involving brain cells (disclaimer: I am not a neurobiologist). Even the world's greatest players are prone to silly mistakes in this form of chess. Some of these players may still go through the entire distance undefeated, but only of sheer luck.


Lapsus Manus


DAndreikin – MCarlsen


Many interesting events happened on the way to this position, but finally there is no room for error left. After 73.f8Q Rxf8 74.Kxf8 Ke5 75.Kg7 the pawn promotes. Right?

Well, for some reason White decided to begin with 73.h5??, and after73...Ke6 74.f8Q (on74.h6 both74...Rc7 and74...Ke7 give Black a draw) 74...Rxf8 75.Kxf8 Kf6 76.h6 Kg6 he had to peace out.

How unlucky and how unfair, right? Now let me remind Dmitry and his fans of his previous game.


AZubov – DAndreikin



Black would be effectively dead in modern correspondence chess after59.Qd4. However, the game continued 59.Kc6?? Qb6+ 60.Kd7 Qb8! Threatening 61...Qe8+ 62.Kc7 Qc8#.

61.Kxe7 Qc7+ 62.Kf6 (62.Kf8 Qd8#) 62...Ne8#. A checkmate beats three extra pawns.

Magnus got himself in trouble in the following game, but did not rely on others and saved himself.




SGrogoriants – MCarlsen


No wonders would happen had White calculate the following line: 59.Qxe3+ Kxe3 60.b5 d4 61.b6 d3 62.b7 d2 63.b8Q d1Q 64.Qf4+. These new queens are getting traded as well, and the a-pawn decides.

The endgame after 59.Qxd5 Qxa3 is drawn, according to the Nalimov. However, the evaluation will not stand for long in this game.

60.b5 Kf2 61.Qd4+ Kg2 62.b6 Qb3 63.Qe4+ Kg1 64.b7 Qf7+ 65.Kg4 Qg7+ 66.Kh3 Qh6+.



67.Qh4? White is still favored to win after 67.Kg3, which is justified by67...Qg7+ 68.Qg4!Now the World Champion sort of falls into the trap of trading the queens.

67...Qe3+ 68.Qg3+ Kh1! Sergey quickly sets up a stalemate by 69.Qxe3, but the win is no longer there anyway: 69.b8Q Qe6+! 70.Qg4 (70.Kh4 Qg4+!)70...Qe3+.


71.Qbg3 leads to a well-known checking sequence: 71...Qh6+ 72.Q4h4 Qe6+ 73.Qgg4 Qe3+ 74.Qhg3 Qh6+. And after 71.Kh4 Qf2+ 72.Kh5 Qf7+ 73.Qg6 Qf3+ 74.Kh6 Qf4+ or74.Kg5 Qg3+ the stalemate cannot be avoided.

An interesting counter to a stalemate happened in the next game.


SGolubov – RMamedov


One could just go 73.Nc7 in order to take the e8-rook with the knight. However, Savely shows some sense of humor.

73.Rf8 Rxf8+ 74.exf8B! Rf3+ 75.Kxf3. Black resigns.

Curiously, White is winning even after74.exf8Q Rf3+ 75.Ke5 Rxf8, because his material advantage is somewhat overwhelming.


Intermediate Move


INepomniachtchi – NVitiugov



White has the initiative, but Nikita plays a strange sideline move – and traps his opponent.

24...Nh7. Now White's advantage increases after25.Ne5 Nf6 26.Qc6, while after 25.Nxc5? Nf6! he loses a piece.

26.Qf3 Bxc5 27.Rxd7 Rxd7 28.Rxd7 Nxd7. No other adventures happened in this game.

Ilya Smirin outplayed Vishy Anand in a similar fashion – with under the radar threats.


Double Attack


ISmirin – VAnand



In a strict sense, there is no double attack here. However, as soon as White's 24.Qb1 was met by24...Rfa8?, it turned out that the queen was actually eying the kingside.

25.Rxf7! Black resigns.


Opening the File


Once again, I am applying the term is a relatively unorthodox way.


AFirouzja – BJobava


The d-file is loaded with the pieces. The Iranian begins the disarmament first.

15.Nf3!? Rac8. This looks like a decent move on general grounds. The computer suggests to place the bishop somewhere on the а4-е8 diagonal, orjust go 15...Nf4 without an invitation.

16.c4 Nf4? Black needed to apply tactics: 16...Ba4 with the idea17.cxd5? Nxd3.

17.Ba5! The rook is attacked, but cannot retreat, as the white bishop is ready to leave for h7.

After 17...Ncxd3 18.Bxd8 Rxd8 19.cxd3 White converted an extra exchange.


Mate in One


I could fill this section with numerous examples. This one stands out because it took Black three moves to deliver the mate in one.


DJakovenko – SSjugirov

After 42.Bg2 White is still lost, but the struggle goes on.

On 42.Kg3 Sanan replied by 42...Qg1+, allowing 43.Bg2, and only after 43.Kf4 Qd4+ 44.Kg3 he noticed the move both grandmasters had missed: 44...Qe5#.


A cute build, one should remember it.

Finally, let us come back to a topic from the previous lesson.


Arabian Passed Pawns


BAmin – GSargissian


Earlier the Egyptian grandmaster sacrificed a knight in order to distract the enemy king from White's passed pawn.

After 58.c5 Gabriel loses almost the way Bronstein lost to Botvinnik: 58...Kf6 59.c6 Ke7 60.Ka6! 

Black could survive by the immediate 58...Bxc5 59.Kxc5 followed by taking a distant opposition: 59...Kg5 60.Kd6 Kh6! 61.Kd5 Kh5!