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Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

Sports is full of upsets. The underdog New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI and Buster Douglas defeated champion Mike Tyson for boxing’s heavyweight title in 1990. Chess also has its upsets.

Today’s game is a very good example. Here we find Hungary’s No.1 player and the world’s No. 21 player, Peter Leko, facing the aging veteran, Manuel Bosboom, a player with a much more modest resume. He is Netherland’s No. 37 player and the 1,658 ranked player in the world. This is a clear mismatch, at least on paper. Games, however, are not played on paper. Bosboom dispatched Leko in only 26 moves. Paying no mind to his opponent’s lofty standing in the chess world, Bosboom played a thoroughly entertaining game, in which he took advantage of a series of weak moves by Leko to eventually win a piece.

30th European Chess Club Open

Bilbao, Spain

Manuel Bosboom (2424)

vs. Peter Leko (2734)

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1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0–0 This opening has the romantic name of “English, Neo-Catalan Declined” 5...0–0 6.Qc2 b6 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.a3 A new move? At least I can’t find it anywhere. Normal here is either 8.Nc3 or 8.d4. Not sure if this deep preparation by White or just an attempt over the board to get the always well-prepared Leko out of theory. In any case, it works out very well for White. 8...Bb7 9.d4 Nf6 10.Nc3 c5 11.dxc5 bxc5?! I just don't like the resulting weak pawns. To my thinking, 11…Bxc5 is better. 12.Rd1 Qb6 With the idea of applying pressure on b2 as a counter vailing force to his weak c-pawn but the queen gets really harassed on this square, which leads me to think that either 12...Qe8 or 12…Qc8 are better places for her. 13.Bg5 An annoying pin with Black's queen so far away. 13...Rc8 13... Nbd7 fails to the simple 14.RxN. Black wants to support c4, but he neglects his development. Better is the simple 13...Nc6 14.Rac1 Now 14…Nc6 fails to 15.Na4. 14...Na6 This knight causes Black no end of trouble in trying not lose it. So, the eternal still stays eternal that knights on the rim are very grim! 15.e4 Now 16.e5 is a real threat. 15...Bf8? This is virtually the losing move as the damage to his kingside and his slow development gives White a very strong initiative. Necessary was 15...h6 when after 16.Bf4 Rd8 17.Nd2 Qc6 18.Nc4 Rac8 the game goes on. 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.e5! A very strong move that Black either missed or misjudged. 17…Bg7 Other choices were: 17… f5 when after 18.g4 White gets an attack or17...fxe5 which leads White to winning after: 18.Ng5 f5 18.Na5 Qb5 19.BxB QxN 20. Nxe6 Qf7 21.Rd6 (again that knight helps White double on the d-file) 21…Nb8 22.Nxc5. 18.Rd6 Another plus for 17…e5, White can now use the weak d6 square. 18…Qc7 Or18...Bc6 19.exf6 Bxf6 20.Nd5 exd5 21.Rxf6 Kg7 22.Qf5 with a big plus. 19.Rcd1 Rd8 20.Nb5 Andonce again Black’s queen has to run away. 20…Qa5 21.Ng5! Rxd6 21...fxg5 loses to 22.Bxb7 Rxd6 23.Rxd6 Qxb5 24.Bxa8 22.Qxh7+ Kf8 23.Nxd6 Now, it is really, really hard to find a defense for Black. 23...fxg5 24.Bxb7 Rd8 or 24...Rb8 25.Qh5 Rxb7 26.Nxb7 Qc7 27.Rd8+ Ke7 28.Qxg5+ when its mate in one. 25.Qh5 Rd7 26.Nc4 Now, sadly for Black, 26…RxR+ 27.QxR Qb5 fails to 28.BxN QxB 29.Qd8 mate; 1–0

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