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Vietnamese surprise in Moscow

CHESS

February 28, 2010|By Jack Peters

Position No. 6096: Black to play and win. From the game Elena Sedina-Michael Hoffman, Gibraltar 2010.

Solution to Position No. 6095: Black wins neatly with 1 . . . Nf2+ 2 Kh2 Ng4+! 3 hxg4 Qh6+ 4 Kg3 Re3 mate. Or, if 3 Kh1, then 3 . . . Qxg1+ 4 Kxg1 Re1 mate.

The Aeroflot Open, arguably the strongest open tournament ever, ended Feb. 19 in Moscow. The field of 80 included 75 grandmasters.

The surprising winner of 21,000 Euros (about $28,000) for first place was 18-year-old Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, who scored an undefeated 7-2. His success followed his tie for first place in the Moscow Open, another GM-heavy tournament, a day before the start of the Aeroflot Open.

Entering the last round of the Aeroflot Open, Le shared the lead with his countryman Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, 19. Le defeated 2009 winner Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia), while Nguyen lost to GM Anton Korobov (Ukraine), who took second prize with 6 1/2 -2 1/2 . What a shock to Russian chess fans to see dozens of their heroes surpassed by two Vietnamese teenagers!

Gata Kamsky of New York had the best performance of the three Americans, a modest 5-4 and a tie for 20th place. Kamsky was ranked fourth at the start.

The "A2" tournament, for players rated less than 2550, attracted 24 more GMs. Melikset Khachiyan of Glendale, the 2009 winner, could not duplicate his success but managed a respectable 5 1/2 -3 1/2 , a point behind the five winners.

International news

Alexander Grischuk of Russia defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria on Tuesday in Linares, Spain, to share the lead at 5.5-3.5 with one game left in the prestigious double round robin. Topalov will challenge Viswanathan Anand of India in the world championship in April.

Local news

The Santa Monica Bay Chess Club, which meets in St. Andrew's Church, 11555 National Blvd. in Los Angeles, will host GM Varuzhan Akobian, California's best player. Akobian will lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, followed immediately by a simultaneous exhibition. Anyone may play the grandmaster for $25. Call Pete Savino at (310) 827-2789 for details.

The AAA Chess club will conduct the five-round Spring Scholastic tournament Saturday in First Lutheran Church, 1300 E. Colorado Blvd. in Glendale. There will be separate sections for students in grades K-3, K-7 and K-12. For full information, call Nshan Keshishian at (323) 578-8424.

The Exposition Park Chess Club's free monthly tournament will be held March 7 at 1 p.m. in the public library, 3900 S. Western Ave. in Los Angeles. See chess.expoparkla.com for more about the club.

Today's games

IM Enrico Sevillano - Tianyi He, U.S. Amateur Team West, Woodland Hills 2010: 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 The Pirc Defense. 4 h3 Bg7 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be2 c6 Another plan begins 6 . . . c5 7 dxc5 Qa5 8 0-0 Qxc5, with a Sicilian structure. 7 0-0 b6 A slight improvement on the loosening 7 . . . b5?! 8 e5 dxe5 9 Nxe5. But the normal choices, 7 . . . Nbd7 and 7 . . . Qc7, come closer to equality. 8 Bg5 Bb7 9 e5 Ne8?! Too passive. Black should centralize by 9 . . . dxe5 10 dxe5 Nd5. 10 Re1 d5 Unfortunately, Black cannot step up the pressure against e5. 11 Qd2 Nc7 12 Rad1 Nd7 13 Bf1 To maneuver his Knight from c3 to g3. White could attack at once with 13 Bh6 Ne6 14 h4. Re8 14 Ne2 c5 15 c3 Ne6 16 Bh6 White has won the strategic battle. Thanks to his secure center, he can attack wholeheartedly on the Kingside. Ndf8 17 Ng3 Rc8 18 Bd3 Qc7 19 h4 f6 Ineffective. So are the alternatives. 20 h5 fxe5 The problem with 20 . . . g5 21 Bxg7 Kxg7 is 22 h6+! Kh8 (as 22 . . . Kxh6 23 Nf5+ Kh5 24 N3h4! leads to mate) 23 Nh5 Qd8 24 Bf5. Nor will 20 . . . f5 21 Bxg7 Kxg7 keep White out, as 22 hxg6 hxg6 23 Bxf5! gxf5 24 Nxf5+ Kf7 25 Qh6 Red8 26 Qh5+ Kg8 27 Ng5 attacks relentlessly. Finally, White can refute 20 . . . f5 21 Bxg7 Nxg7 22 Qh6 e6 by 23 hxg6 hxg6 24 Kh2, intending 25 Rh1 and 26 Kg1. 21 Bxg7 Kxg7 22 Nxe5 cxd4 After 22 . . . g5, White targets the g-pawn by 23 Nf5+ Kg8 24 g3, followed by 25 Nf3 or 25 Nh6+ Kg7 26 Nef7. 23 hxg6 hxg6 24 Nxg6! dxc3 Against 24 . . . Nxg6, most efficient is 25 Nh5+ Kf7 26 Bxg6+ Kxg6 27 Qd3+! Kxh5 28 Rxe6, mating. 25 Nh5+ Kf7 26 Qh6 Red8 27 Nxf8, Black Resigns. The finish would be 27 . . . Nxf8 28 Qg7+ Ke8 29 Nf6 mate.

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