Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

The 2013 World Junior Championship is currently being held in Turkey, sadly, without any Americans. The original site for the event was far too close to the Syrian border for many players. This forced the Turkish Chess Federation to move it to the other side of the country but too late for many to make their plans. The defending champion is the 20-year-old Ukrainian, Alexander Ipatov. Though Ukrainian, Ipatov plays for the Turkish Chess Federation. Here is his seventh-round victory as White against Das Debashis of India, Black. Ipatov boldly adopted the Saemisch variation, submitting to early doubled pawns. The opening went poorly for Black and then, to add insult to injury, he allowed a probably winning sacrifice.

2013 World Junior Chess Championship,

Kocaeli, Turkey

Alexander Ipatov (2601)

vs. Das Debashis (2489)


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 The Saemisch variation of the Nimzo-Indian. So named after Friedrich Saemisch (1896-1975), a German theoretician. His most famous game was his loss in 1923 to Aaron Nimsowitsch in what is called the “Immortal Zugswang Game.” He also has his name attached to a popular line in the King’s Indian. 4…Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 c5 6.f3 d5 7.cxd5 exd5 Probably already a big mistake. This line, though playable, seems much the worse choice versus 7…Nxd5 where Black has a chance. By taking with the pawn, Black has a real hard time stopping White's center. A sample line with 7…Nxd5 goes as follows: 7...Nxd5 8.dxc5 Qa5 9.e4 Ne7 10.Be3 0–0 11.Qb3 Qc7 12.a4 Nec6 13.f4 Na5 14.Qa3 Nd7 15.Nf3 b6 with a complex position. 8.e3 c4 Another poor choice as White has scored very well against this line. Black hopes to take advantage of White's weak queenside pawns but he never really gets a chance before White's center pawn rolls him up. Better would seem to be 8…O-O 9.Ne2 or 9.g4 Nc6 10.Ne2 Na5 11.Bg2 Nb3 12.Ra2 Qa5 13.0–0 Bd7= (Aghasaryan-Meklumyan, 2013, 0-1, 37 moves) 9...Nc6 10.g4 0–0 11.Ng3 Na5 12.Bg2 Nb3 13.Ra2 Qa5 14.Bd2 Bd7 15.0–0 Bc6 Rather pointless as he can't stop e4 in any case. Maybe better is just 15…Rac8 or 15…h6 and keeping the bishop on d7 looking at the g4 pawn. 16.e4 dxe4 17.fxe4 Nxd2 18.Qxd2 Rae8? This is just asking for trouble. For better or for worse, Black had to take the g-pawn and hope for the best. Though as unattractive as this seems, the computer thinks that Black can survive: 18...Nxg4 19.Nf5 Bd7 20.h3 Nf6 21.Nd6 Be6 22.Nxb7 regaining the pawn and with a small advantage to White. 19.RxN! (Diagram) gxR 20.h4! Stopping the defense of Qg5 for Black which is what he would have played if White had played 20.Qh6 first. This kind of quiet move takes good nerves and great calculating ability as now Black has a free move to find a defense to White’s attack. White’s basic threats involve the obvious ideas of Nf5 (or Nh5) and Qh6. 20...Re6?! A rather superficial defense. Better is 20...Kh8 21.Qh6 Qd8 22.Nh5 Rg8 23.Nxf6 Rg7 24.Rf2 b6 25. Rf5 (With the idea of the 26.Rh5. So, Black has to give back the exchange.) 26…Re6 27.d5 RxN 28.QxR QxQ 29.RxQ Be8 but White has enduring pressure and a material advantage. 21.d5 Rd6 This pin is not too reliable. 22.Qh6 Qc5+ 23.Rf2 f5 24.Qf4 Bd7 25.exf5 Re8 26.f6 Rxd5 27.Bxd5 Qxd5 28.Qh6 Qd1+ 29.Nf1 As after 29…Qxg4+ 30.Rg2 not only wins Black's queen but also makes it very hard to stop mate. So, Black gave up; 1–0