Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

The town of Baden-Baden in Germany is called a spa town. It is famous for its baths as well as the Baden-Baden Casino. It is also famous for its chess club, OSG Baden-Baden, which is a constant winner of the very strong German national chess league, the Schach Bundesliga. It counts among its members such world-class players as current world champion Magnus Carlsen, former world champion Viswanathan Anand, and Levon Aronian. To get these types of players to play for Baden-Baden’s team takes a lot of money. This money comes from its main corporate sponsor, Grenke Leasing. Grenke also puts up the money for the annual Grenke Chess Classic from which the following game comes.

 In this year’s Grenke Classic, the top-rated and highly favored player in the eight-player round robin was Arkadij Naiditsch, Germany’s No. 1 player and the No. 34 player in the world. However he suffered a stunning loss in the second round to 17-year-old Matthias Bluebaum. Most players would take it easy in their next game, trying just to draw to get their equilibrium back, but not Naiditsch, who with reckless abandon, uncorked a novelty on move 7, pawn stormed poor Georg Meier’s king, sacrificed a bishop, and won a very entertaining game.


Grenke Chess Classic 2014,

Baden-Baden, Germany

Arkadij Naiditsch (2715)

vs. Georg Meier (2652)



Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 The Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights variation, it is thought to be very, solid for Black. 4...Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 d6 6.g4!? A novelty at move 7! Now Black is on his own, which is never a comfortable feeling. 6...0–0 Maybe he should wait before committing his king. 6...h6 or even 6...Nc6 are thoughts. 7.g5 Nfd7 7...Nh5 is an idea, but Black was probably worried that it would be offsides there but it would slow White’s pawn storm down somewhat. 8.h4 Nc6 9.Bg2 Qe8 Beginning to lose the thread as the queen is poorly placed here. Better to complete his development with 9…Nb6 10.h5 The pawns just keep marching forward. When pawns are storming like this, pawns mean nothing — all that matters is opening lines against your opponent’s king. 10...e5 11.g6! h6 Or 11...fxg6 12.h6 gxh6 13.Bxh6 Rf5 14.Qd3 Nf6 (14...e4 15.Qe3) 15.Ng5 Qe7 16.Rh4 exd4 17.cxd4 with a plus for White. 12.Nh4 Now, Bd5 becomes an issue for Black. 12...Ne7 13.c5 Opening the diagonal for Qb3+, but it’s a bit impulsive as it gives Black defensive chances. The Silicon “God” prefers the calmer 13.Rg1 with a big plus for White, for example: 13.Rg1 Nf6 14.c5 dxc5 15.Bxh6 gxh6 16.g7 winning the rook. 13...dxc5 14.Rg1 fxg6 15.hxg6 Rf6? The losing move. In his eagerness to get rid of White’s thorn in his side, he misses White’s next move. Too bad as Black could nearly equalize with 15...Nb6. 16.Qb3+ Kf8 After 16...Kh8 Black will have trouble on the soon to be opened h-file. 17.Bxh6! c4 18.Qxc4 Nb6 19.Qd3 gxh6 Bad nerves or time pressure but it is best not to take this piece. Black was probably worried about a forthcoming Bg5 but now the passed g-pawn and his roaming king ends the game very quickly 20.g7+ Kf7 21.Bf3  Aiming for h5. Now Black’s king goes for an undesired walk 21...Qg8 or 21...Bf5 22.Nxf5 Rxf5 23.g8Q+ Qxg8 24.Rxg8 Rxg8 25.0–0–0; or 21...Kg8 22.Be4 22.Bh5+ Ke6 23.dxe5 Rf4 23...Kxe5 24.Qd4+ Ke6 25.Rd1 with the idea of Qe4 should win. 24.Ng6 Nxg6 A cute line is 24...Rf7 25.Bg4+ Nf5 26.Rd1 Bd7 27.Qd6+! cxd6 28.Rxd6# 25.Bxg6; 1–0  As there is no good defense to 26.Bh7.