Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

Chess games are won because one side makes a mistake, and these mistakes, however subtle, are usually dubbed blunders. They can occur at any stage of the game, though they are most likely to occur in time pressure or in very difficult positions. This game, Indian GM Abhijeet Gupta vs. young Ukrainian GM Anton Korobov, was played in the super-strong AICF-AAI Cup in India.  Black’s mistake occurs with a casual move: 10… Qe8, completely overlooking a discovered attack which won a pawn. Black managed to get it back, but possibly in time trouble, went awry in a late stage of the game. 


GM Abhijeet Gupta (2662) –

GM Anton Korobov (2702)

AICF-AAI Cup 2012, New Delhi

Dec. 27



1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.Nc3 Bb7 The so-called English Defense. (Not to be confused with the English Opening — 1.c4) An offbeat system popularized by a group of young English players — Tony Miles and Jon Speelman among others — during the 1970s. I must say that this is a strange choice for Korobov, who was leading the tournament at this point; you would expect a little safer choice 4. a3 Safe and sound. Usually, white plays e4 and then Black tries to attack the white center. This keeps the c3 knight safe and makes e4 safer.  4...f5 5.d5 Taking c6 away from the black knight and blocking the long diagonal to allow white to fianchetto his king's bishop. 5...Nf6 6.g3 a5 7.Bg2 Bc5 8.Nh3 0–0 9.0–0 Na6 Knights on the rim are dim but there is certainly more hope for white’s (f4 or g5 to f3) than black’s. 10.Qc2 Qe8? 11.dxe6 (diagram) And just like that, black drops a pawn due to the zwischenzug (German for in-between move) 12. exd. 10... Qe8 was really a careless move. 11...Bxg2

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12.exd7 Qxd7 13.Kxg2 Black will now have to scrabble by using his better development and White's slightly exposed king to get his pawn back. 13... Rae8 14.Rd1 Qc6+ 15.Nd5 Bd6 16.Be3 Nxd5 17.Rxd5 Re4 18.Rad1 Rxc4 If instead Black tries 18...Qxc4 (to avoid much of the problems he encounters with his rook and the active white queen) then 19. QxQ RxQ 20. Bxb6! Allows White to keep his pawn and advantage. Black has gotten his pawn back but his rook and knight are misplaced (19 b3 is threatened, winning material) and the weakness of his kingside still gives White an advantage. 19.Qd3 b5 20.Ng5 20. b3 was answered by 20... Nc5 and black avoids losing material. 20...g6 21.Nf3 The knight is back from the rim and doing very well. 21...a4 22.b3 axb3 Better chances may be offered by 22... Rc3.  23.Qxb3 Now if 23... Rc3 then 24. Rd6+ is embarrassing for Black. Also, the a2-g8 diagonal is a problem for the Black. 23...Rb824.Bh6?! Not the best as Black seems to be able to defend with 24... Nc5. as if 25. Qb2 Ne6 seems to hold. Better was just 24. Kg1 getting out of the pin and maintaining his advantage. I understand that both sides were in time trouble here.  24... Qe8? 25.Qb2 Qe7 26.Rxb5 Re8 If 26. RxR 27. QxR forks black’s rook and knight. 27.Qb3; 1–0 As there is no adequate defense for the rook, i.e.: 27... Qf7 or Qe6 loses to 28.Ng5 and 27... Qxe7 28. Nd4 Qe4+ 29. f3 wins.  Korobov still went on to win the strongest tournament ever held in India with 6.5/10 and Gupta avoided finishing last with 4.5/10.