Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

British grandmaster Nigel Short is a true globetrotter. This week’s game is from a tournament in Sweden in late May. In early June he played in the first Spicenet Tanzanian Chess Championship in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He then traveled to Canada to defend his title at the Edmonton International Chess Festival, where he was runnerup to Lazaro Bruzon of Cuba. Not sure how Short can maintain this schedule and keep playing quality chess, but he does, as illustrated by this fine game against 20-year-old Swedish grandmaster Nils Grandelius.


21st Sigeman & Co, Malmo, Sweden

Nigel Short (2681)–Nils Grandelius (2556)



1.c4 e5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nge2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3 6.Nxc3 d5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qc2 After transposition, we have reached a pretty common English type position. 8… c5 Also played are 8…Nc6 or 8…Be6. With 8…c5 Black tries to use a Maroczy bind type of approach to limit White’s two bishops. 9.Be2 Be6 10.0-0 Nxc3 Another and perhaps better approach is 10…Nd7 A game Negulescu v. Cramling, 1989, went  11.d3 Rc8 12.Bd2 Qe7 13.Rac1 Nc3 14.Bxc3, draw. White has a small but solid plus but I guess he was not in the mood to play that day. 11.Qxc3 Qd6 12.b4 Nd7 I really don’t like this knight here but where else? So, another approach was 12…cxb 13.Qxb Qd7 14.Rb1 b6 15.Bb2 Nc6 with a small plus for White but Black’s knight is not on d7! 13.Bb2 Rac8 14.Rac1 f6 14…cxb then 15.Qxb4 15.Bf3 b6 16.d4?! Seems a little bit premature as Black can now play cxd! 17.QxR RxQ 18.RxR+ Nf8 where the computer gives Black a slight advantage. Better was 16.Rfd1 with the same idea but with the rook better placed. 16…exd4 17.exd4 c4 Beginning to slide. Better with almost equality was17…cxd.Maybe Grandelius was worried about the resulting endgame after 18.Qxd QxQ 19.BxQ where White with his two bishops and pawns on both sides could really torture Black for a long while. 18.b5 To prevent Black’s b5, securing his passed pawn. 18…Bd5 Blockading White’s passed pawn. 19.Rfe1 Rooks love open files but this may not be the right time for this rook and this file. More to the point seems to be 19.Qb4 forcing 19…Qe6 (19…QxQ?? 20.BxB+)20.Rfe1 (Now with tempo.) 20…Qf5 (Forced as  20…Qf7 allows 21.Re7) 21.BxB+ QxB 22.f3 With the idea of doubling on the e-file that Black has hard time contesting due to weakness of his c4 pawn.  19…Rfd8? Trading off White’s pesky bishop seems a must: 19…BxB 20.QxB Rfd8 21.Re3 Nf8 and Black has a much easier time of it. 20.Bg4! (Diagram) This is a very annoying pin. Now, the two bishops start to cause Black real problems. 20… Rc7 21.a4 Nf8 22.Ba3 Black’s queen starts running out of squares. 22…Qf4 23.h3 Bf7? Missing a neat tactic in a couple of moves but things are not so good. The “Silicon Terror” suggests 23…Rf7 to keep White’s plus to a minimum. 24.Rcd1 Ng6 25.d5! Virtually winning as the trick that Black missed comes after 25…Rxd5 26.RxR BxR 27.g3! and Black loses: 27…Qg5 28.Bc1 (trapping the Queen) or even 28.Qd4 threatening 29.f4, which can’t be answered. Now it’s hard to find moves for Black; i.e., 25…Ne5? 26.Bc1 and again the queen is trapped. 25…h5 What else? 26.d6 With the blockade on d5 broken, the pawn is free to dash towards promotion. 26…hxg4 27.g3 Qe5 28.Qxe5 Also, 28.RxQ must win. 29…Nxe5 29.dxc7 Re8 30.Rxe5! The pawn is queening after 30…fxR 31.Rd8: 1-0