19 July 2017

The Canterville Ghost’s Mischievous Tricks

Dmitry Kryakvin narrating about The Tulip Inn’s ghost and rounds 6-7 of the Higher League 

Following the rest day, the men's tournament resumed as usual, while the women’s section saw something close to incredible. Polina Shuvalova, round one hero, blundered a piece to Alina Kashlinskaya right in the opening.

Shuvalova – Kashlinskaya

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nc4 Nxe4 5.Qe2 Qe7 6.Ne3 c6 7.b3 Qe5 8.c3 Be7 9.g3 d5 10.Bg2 h5 

Both sides knew their opening moves. It is fresh theory from the recent Rapport - Landa encounter. However, as opposed to Alina, Konstantin had committed his bishop to d6 and went on to make a confident draw with a Magister of irrationality of the 64-square game.   

Alina’s last move demonstrates her aggressive intentions, which the tournament leader, according to the classical school’s canons, meets with a central blow. This was a bad blunder, however.


11.Nxd5?? cxd5 12.d3 Nc5! 

White fails to take back the sacrificed piece, much to her horror.   

13.Be3 Qd6 14.0–0 Bg4 15.f3 Bf5 16.Bxc5 Qxc5+ White resigns..  

Shortly after I met Polina’s coach, grandmaster Sergey Zagrebelny. Were it another person but the "Moscow Youth" coach, he would have started complaining or repeating the hackneyed phrase "women's chess is worse than a nuclear war". It goes without saying that the phrase does not go well with all fair sex representatives. Therefore, I vote for its rephrasing to "women's chess is BETTER than a nuclear war".  

As opposed to that, Sergey was calm, concentrated and clear-thinking. “We did help the journalists cover this round’s events, didn’t we?. Now you do not have to struggle to choose among positions for your website’s “Position of the day” section. Already the following day Shuvalova had her pieces very well deployed against Girya and made Olga go through lengthy torments in a sustained endgame. What is the story's essence, after all? There's no need to knuckle under to this ever-changing world!  

Again, the critical moments of round six have been brilliantly explained on ChessPro by an international master Nikolai Vlasov; therefore, we would rather switch to round seven. Let me draw your attention to a minor masterpiece, which has somehow remained overlooked.

Oganian – Sarana

Black has sacrificed a piece for a menacing attack and 34... g5 suggests itself. White’s decision to trade queens with 35.Qd3 seems to be fully justified. After 35...gxf4 36.Nxf4 the game transposes into an endgame in which Miran could have put up a tough resistance yet. However, Sarana’s shot had literally a shotgun effect on his opponent.  


There is no taking the queen due to the checkmate, and after  

36.Nh4 gxf4 37.Nf5 Rh5 38.Rxc6 Qxf5 Oganian had to resign. The youngest Russian grandmaster has been on the roll lately, and his coach Vladimir Belov has noted his student’s success on his Facebook page with very kind words.  

Prior to the start of round seven the fire alarm misbehaved yet another time. On Sunday, breakfast time is until 11.00, and many participants (as well as cameramen) attempted to enjoy this circumstance as much as possible, but it did not work out this way. Around nine o’clock, the familiar female voice started howling throughout the Tyulip once again: “Please leave the hotel immediately!” Moreover, the artificial alarm’s brain development is obviously on the rise - this time it was not only in Russian, but also in the English, French and German languages. I fear that it might generate some sort of a T-virus next time  around. Having screwed out the chess players’ brains a little bit and having given a boost towards finishing meals as quickly as possible, the "Canterville ghost" finally calmed down.  

An encounter with the "chain-rattling ghost" influenced the participants differently. Certain individuals were scampering around, same as the twins from the animated Brumberg couple cartoon; others yet were on a positive note to score their next victories. Some were as sad as a young Virginia, feeling sorry for themselves and for their opponents. Still others were deep in thought about the upcoming round, much like the old owners of the Canterville Castle, who were dreaming of moving to a new residence.

Najer – Moiseenko

The national team coach was on the pressing side throughout most of the game, but here he hurried to take on b5.  

48.Bxb5? Rb7 49.Rh1 Rxb5 50.Qg4 Rxd5 

Black has had a bite of a bishop and a pawn. What about White? With nowhere to retreat, Evgeny creates a checkmate threat.   

51.Qh5 Qg7 52.Rh6 Kf8 53.Re1 Re5 54.Rh7 Qf6   

After 54...Qxh7! 55.Qxh7 Rxe1 56.Qh6+ Ke7 57.Qxg5+ f6 the white queen is yet to prove its worth against a cluster of black pieces. Having sidestepped the repetition, Vadim found himself on the verge of defeat. 

55.Rh6 Qf5?   

Black could yet go back with 55...Qg7, while the text runs into an unexpected blow.


56.Rxd6! Ke7

Black is lucky to have a move like this at his disposal, captures on e1 or d6 losing immediately.

57.Rxe5+ Qxe5 58.Rxd8 Qe4+   

An alternative version of the queen ending, arising after 58...Kxd8 59.Qxf7, was a plain sailing for White. Therefore, an intermezzo is a must for Black.  

59.Kh2 Kxd8 60.Qxg5+!   

After 60.Qxf7 g4 the white king will never break free.  

60...Kd7 61.Qf6 Qh7+ 62.Kg2 Qe4+ 63.f3 Qc2+ 64.Kh3 Ke8 65.Kh4 Qh7+ 66.Kg5 Qd3 67.Kh6 Kf8

Evgeniy Najer’s endgame display was very technical indeed, and 68.f4! Qd1 (68...Qxg3 69.Qd8#) 69.Qh8+ Ke7 70.Qe5+ Kf8 71.Qc5+ Ke8 72.Kg7 Qg4+ 73.Qg5 would have crowned an otherwise very instructive queen ending. However,  it would be met in the morning with "ahtung, ahtung" from a new German friend of ours.   

68.g4? Qd2+ 69.Kh7 Qc2+ 70.Kh6 Qc1+ 71.Kh5 Qh1+ 72.Kg5 Qc1+ 73.f4 Qd2 

There is no longer breaking through the h-file.   

74.Qh8+ Ke7 75.Qe5+ Kf8 76.Qh8+ Ke7 77.Qe5+ Kf8 78.Qe4 Kg7 79.Qe7 Qd5+ 80.Kh4 Qh1+ 81.Kg3 Draw.  

Not only did a young master Vadim Moiseenko win the Nezhmetdinov Memorial and create an uproar in the Higher League, he also found his way into an article by Genna Sosonko, the best chess writer of the modern era. Becoming a grandmaster is now much easier than becoming worthy of a classical writer’s pen. By the way, Vadim updates his website contents in a very enthusiastic manner, and we are going to find out soon whether Gennady Borisovich finds his way there.  

You might have seen a study-looking move from the Motylev - Duzhakov game in the above-mentioned "Position of the Day", whereas the lineup at the top was crucially influenced by a petite combination carried out by Daniil Dubov.

Dubov – Alekseev


28.e6! Bxe6   

An exchange down is also hopeless: 28...Rbxe6 29.Nxe6 Rxe6 30.Rxe6 Bxe6 31.Rc1.  

29.f5, winning a piece.   

Meanwhile, a senior generation will not cede ground. Sergey Volkov has put up a very worthy fight against yet another most dangerous opponent of his.

Sjugirov– Volkov

Both opponents have performed rather ingeniously, and Black would have bailed out by counter sacrificing the piece: 36...Qg8! 37.Rh2 Rxh2 38.Kxh2 Bxe4! 39.fxe4 Qh7+ 40.Kg3 Qxe4 – and the white king will not find shelter from the perpetual, especially if taking into account the Nс7-d5 resource available to him. However, these beauties are of a computer-generated nature...   

36... Qd8? 37.Qxc4?   

A winning path ran via a super-prophylactic 37.Nd7!!, keeping the black queen in check.  

37...Qf6 38.Rh2   

I wish the game saw the following continuation: 38.Qc3 Qf4 39.d5 f6 40.d6 fxe5 41.dxc7 Bxe4 42.fxe4 Qxg4+ 43.Rg2 Qxe4. The engine says 0.00, but look at the pawn icicles hanging on the board. Even the Rosa Khutor of winter can boast as many as that!


I wish this position appeared on the board.

38...Rb8 39.Qc1 Rb4 40.Qe3 Rxa4 41.Rb2 Qd8 

Seeing the black pieces springing to life, Sanan opted for a perpetual.   

42.Nd7 Ra1+ 43.Kg2 Qh8 44.Qxg5 Qh1+ 45.Kg3 Qg1+ 46.Rg2 Qe1+ Draw.   

Round seven of the women’s chess generated way too many draws. Olga Girya held her position together against Polina Shuvalova, while Dina Belenkaya salvaged a difficult ending down a pawn against Bibisara Assaubayeva. Finally, the only win at the top boards was scored in the game Savina - Ubiennykh. However, if I show it , they might accuse me of oppressing the fair sex. The game was won by Ekaterina. Therefore, let us wrap up by a nice-looking breakthrough from Maria Fominykh.

Fominykh – Ustich

In lieu of a simple 13...0–0, Ekaterina came up with a bishop trading idea - 13... Nb4? 14.Ba4+ Bc6, which ran into а crusher 15.d5!

15...b5 would have allowed to stay in the game yet, whereas 15…Bd7 16.dxe6 fxe6 17.Ne5 resulted in an immediate triumph by White.  

With the finish line being so close, the leaders form a tight pack. Nevertheless, let us forget about the last round dramas and take a walk around a gorgeous-looking Krasnaya Polyana. Let us find out what “trolley” stands for and how “Eagle’s flight” and “My Russia” workshop complex look like. Somewhere nearby, a dry almond tree will blossom, perhaps...  

I do hope it does. Otherwise, this devil of an alarm is likely to keep us from enjoying our sleep yet another time!