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Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

A gaggle of fine tournaments is upon us. The most advanced is the Renova Grand Prix tournament in Zug, Switzerland. The tournament is a 12-player round robin, with a field of players so closely matched that the results seemed similar to a lottery. It includes America’s No. 1 and No. 2 players, Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky, respectively, seeded fifth and ninth in the tournament. Nakamura had four straight draws to start the event and then suffered a tough defeat to the Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria. He earned redemption with victories over Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan, Alexander Morozevich of Russia, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the second half.In his game against Topalov, a former world champion, Nakamura exchanged queens as Black in a Ruy Lopez and found himself drifting into an inferior end game. His position worsened, to a deficit of two pawns. He managed to get one back and the ending featured both sides getting queens. But Topalov had the first move after queening, kept the initiative with checks, and managed to force a mate. The final standings found Topalov first with 8 points and Nakamura second with 6.5. Kamsky came in fifth on tie-break with 5.5.

Shortly after the Renova began, the Alekhine Memorial started. It was to run from April 20 to May 1 with the first half in Paris and the second half in Saint Petersburg. The remembrance of Alexander Alekhine in French and Russian metropolises is a bit of a surprise, in view of Alekhine’s checkered political affiliations. After World War I, he was an anti-Bolshevist exile and toward the end of World War II a pro-Nazi propagandist. There is, however, an indication that his Nazi actions were taken to protect his wife. Our friend Arnold Denker insisted Alekhine had no racial prejudices. Sadly, on the eve of a great match against Soviet champion Mikhail Botvinnik, Alekhine was found dead in his hotel room in Estoril, Portugal. Officially, his death was attributed to his choking on a piece of meat.

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In any event, The Alekhine Memorial seemed to include all the world class Grandmasters that were not at Renova. These includes the current world champion, Viswanathan Anand of India, but, unfortunately not his official challenger, Magnus Carlsen of Norway. In the first round, Michael Adams of England, notwithstanding the black pieces, defeated Anand in a closed Ruy Lopez. In a complex middle game, Adams gradually got the better position. In a fascinating finish, Adams got a pawn to the seventh rank and Anand had to sacrifice a rook to stop it from queening. That left him with three pawns on the opposite wing from Adams’s king and rook. The pawns were indefensible and Anand soon resigned.The winners were Levon Aronian of Armenia and Boris Gelfand of Israel with 5.5 points. Anand made a comeback after his loss to Adams, finishing third with points.

Brevity: A. Gabrelian vs. A. Gorbatov (2006) 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Ne7 5.Bc4 c6 6.Nc3 Ng6 7.d4 Bb4 8.dxe5 Nxe4 9.Qd4 Qa5 10.Qxe4 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qxc3+ 12.Ke2 Qxa1 13.Rd1 Qc3 14.Bd2 Qb2 15.Bb3 0–0 16.Qb4 d5 17.Bc1 a5 18.Qd2 Qxc1 19.Qxc1 a4 20.Bxd5 cxd5; 1-0

Winners: Evert Siiskonen Memorial (Wachusett) — 1 st-2d, Ray Paulson and Mike Lally, 4.5-0.5, 3d, Trevor Bierig, 4-1; Boylston Test of Endurance — 1st-2d, Marc Esserman and Jesse Nicholas, 7-2, 3d, Evan Rabin, 6.5-2.5.

Coming Events: 76th Chelmsford Burger King (Scholastic), May 12, 77 Drum Hill Road, Chelmsford, matthewgosselin24@yahoo.com; 2013 Beantown Open, May 11, Hyatt Place Boston/Braintree, 50 Forbes Road, Braintree, www.southshorechess.com

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