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Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

We continue to find excellent games from the German Chess League, the Bundesliga. This illustration is a victory by British champion Gawain Jones against a former Croatian champion, Mladen Palac. In this English opening, Jones spotted his opponent a pawn but exacted a blockade of Palac’s queen’s bishop as the price of the concession.  Jones got in a critical f5, but his advantage became real when he found a crippling combination, a climacteric, to use the Churchillian word, and then coasted to inevitable checkmate. 

German Bundesliga, 2012-13

Gawain Jones (2641) vs. Mladen Palac (2600)

 

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1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. g3 Bb4 4. Bg2 O-O 5. e4 Bxc3 6. bxc3 Re8 (Better is 6. … c6 with the idea of hitting White in the center before he can overrun Black on the king-side with f4, f5 g4 and g5, etc. A blitz game between Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen (2009) went:  7. Ne2 d5 8. cxd5 cxd5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. O-O Nc6 11. Rb1 Nb612. d4 Bf5 13. Rb3 Be6 14. d5 Bxd5 15. Bxd5 Nxd5 16. Ba3 Re8 17. Rxb7 Qc8 18. Rb5 Nb6 with the advantage to Black; 0-1, 46   7. d3 h6 8. Ne2 c6 9. O-O d6 Far too passive. 9. …  d5 is still possible. Now White gets his way all over the board.  10. Rb1 Nbd7 11. h3 Qa5 12. Qc2 a6 13. Be3 b5 14. f4 bxc4 15. d4! The last time we saw Jones in action he was sacrificing his queen in Gibraltar. Here, he is only sacrificing a pawn. Actually, the sacrifice is necessary as after 15. dxc, White’s pawn structure is a mess. Now Black has to worry about all his weak pawns, pressure in the center, and White’s activity on the king-side. 15. … Qc7 16. dxe5 dxe5 17. f5 With pawn storming ideas of g4-g5. 17. … a5 18. Rfd1 Ba6 19. g4 Rab8 20. Ng3 Rxb1 21. Qxb1 Rb8 22. Qc1 Qb7 23. Qa3 Interesting is the immediate 23. Bxh3 gxB 24. Qxh with the idea of g5 and Nh5 but Black seems to hold with 24. … Qa7+ 25. Kh2 Rb2. White decides to continue his play against Black’s weak queen-side pawns while also creeping ever so closer on the king-side. 23. … Qc7 24. Bf3 Rd8 25. Be2 Bb5 26. Kg2 Nf8 27. Rb1 Ne8 28. Nh5 f6? This loses as it weakens the a2-g8 diagonal and his second rank. Necessary was 28. … Nd6 pressurizing the e-pawn and with the idea of answering 29 f6 with g5. White can keep up the attack with 30 Qc1 with the ideas of Bxh6 or a4 & Bb6. 29. Qc5! A clever move. Tempting at first is 29. Bb6 but after QXB 30. Bxc4+ Ne6 BxN+ Kh7. Black is holding his own due to the threat of Rd2+) 29. … Nd6 30. Rxb5! Nd7 I am pretty sure that Black was counting on this move to defend himself but it fails to another clever move. 31. Rb7! (diagram) Qxb7 After 31. … Nxb7 32. Qe7 leads to mate and after 31. … NxQ 32. RxQ he is still down a piece. 32. Qxd6 White is now up a piece and with lots of threats. Qe7 being the main one 32. … Qb2 33. Qe7 Threatening an unstoppable mate for which Black has only a few checks to delay. 33. … Qxe2+ 34. Bf2 Qxe4+ 35. Kg1 As there are no more good checks after 35. … Qg1+ 36. Kh2, Black gave up; 1-0

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