Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

The Swedish chess championship commenced in 1917 during World War I and is not far from its 100th anniversary. Today’s game, Nils Grandelius v. Michael Wiedenkeller (the 1990 Swedish champ!), was played in this year’s event. Grandelius, 20, is the great hope for Swedish chess. Though he won this game in a creative and exciting fashion and was leading the event up until the end, he lost the championship in a playoff game to the defending champion, Hans Tikkanen. 


2013 Swedish championship

Nils Grandelius (2573)
Michael Wiedenkeller



1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 The Burn variation of the Classical French, a solid but somewhat passive choice. The “Burn’’ is Amos Burn (1848-1925), a strong British player who played this variation with considerable success around the turn of the 20th century. 5.Nxe4Nbd7 6.Nf3 Be7 7.Nxf6+ Bxf6 7...gxf6 and 7...Nxf6 are also played here. 8.h4 a6 A rare variation. I can only find a handful of games with it. It seems just not to be thematic for Black as it does not help his development or attack White’s center. More usual is either 8...h6 or 8...0-0 9.Bd3 c5 10.Qe2! Very aggressive. White sacs a pawn for the sake of quick development to take advantage of Black’s lack of development and of his king still being in the center.  This also seems to be a new move in this position as the other games went 10.Qd2. 10...cxd4 11.0-0-0 Nc5 12.Be4 Bd7 An example of the problems facing Black is illustrated by the following line: 12...Nxe4 13.Qxe4 0-0 14.Rxd4 Qe7 15.Ne5 Where White has gotten back his pawn and Black has yet to develop his queen side.  And it is very dangerous to take the pawn as after15...Bxg5+ 16.hxg5 Qxg5+ 17.f4 Qf5 18.Qe3 Qf6 19.g4 Black will be very lucky to survive. 13.Rxd4 Rc8?! Just asking for trouble. Best is to get the queen out of the pin right away with Qa5; i.e., 13...Qa5 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Kb1 e5 16.Bd5 0-0-0 with a manageable advantage for White. 14.Rhd1 Qa5 15.Bxf6 Qxa2 Trying to solve his positional problems tactically but as usual this is doomed to fail.  But after 15...gxf6 16.Kb1 Qc7 17.Bf5 (Probably better is 17.h5 e5 18.Rd6 f5 19.Bxf5 Bxf5 20.Qxe5+ Be6 21.Qxh8+ Ke7) 17...0-0? (Better is 17...Bc6 18.Qe3 Bxf3 19.gxf3 Ke7 20.c3 h5 White is better but Black is still playing) 18.Rg4+ Kh8 19.Bxh7 Kxh7 20.Ng5+ fxg5 21. Rxg5 and Black will be mated with Qh5. 16.Bd5! (Diagram) Preventing 16…Nb3 mate with tempo. 16...Qa1+ 17.Kd2 Qxb2 18.Bxg7 Not only is Black still down a piece but his king is really stuck in the center and his attack is illusory. 18...Rg8 19.Bf6 Nb3+ 20.Ke1! Not 20.BxN as 20…Qc3+ leads to a draw via perpetual check. 20...Rxc2 21.Qxc2! Very clever. The queen sac is essentially based on the fact that any White Rd8+ will be mate.  21...Qxc2 22.Bxb3 Qxb3 23.Rc1 Still more cleverness. 23. RxB is also winning: 23.Rxd7 Qb4+ 24.Kf1 Qb5+ 25.R7d3 Rg6 26.Bc3 f6 27.Nd4 Qc4 28.Nxe6 with more material and many threats against Black’s king. Now, the threat is 24.Rc8+ BxR 25.Rd8 mate 23...Qb6 24.Rxd7! A cute trick. 24…Kxd7 25.Ne5+ Kd6 Sadly, the only legal move that does not allow mate. 26.Nc4+ Kc6 27.Nxb6+ Kxb6 The smoke has cleared and White is a piece up for just two pawns with an easy technical win. 28.g3 a5 29.Kd2 h5 30.Kd3 Rg4 31.Bd4+ Ka6 32.Rc5 a4 33.Rxh5 f5 34.Rh6 Re4 35.f3 Re1 36.Kd2;1-0 A very energetic game by Grandelius.