chess notes

Weekly chess column

The World Youth Championships are ongoing with Carissa Yip a major challenger in the Girls under-12 section. In her early games, she effortlessly dispatched one opponent after another. All was fine until she met the section’s highest-rated player, Bulgarian Nurgyul Salimova, in the seventh round. Nurgyul’s calm positional approach overcame Carissa’s energy, and she fell back into the pack.

Today’s game comes from the fifth round, when Carissa was still undefeated. It’s against Armenian Mane Hovhannisyan. In the game, Carissa’s somewhat dubious aggressive approach is met by a near-fatal passivity. This allowed her to get a winning advantage but in the tactical haze Carissa allows White a nearly winning move. Luckily her opponent didn’t see it and resigned a few moves later.

2015 World Youth and Cadet Championships, Girls U12, Porto Carras, Greece

Mane Hovhannisyan (1590) — Carissa Yip, (2007)

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 The London System, a quick and easy way for White to play against virtually any Black setup. This has an obvious appeal to young players as they do not have to remember many variations, just a few concepts. 3...Bg7 4.e3 0–0 5.h3 d6 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0–0 Nd7 8.c4 e5 9.Bh2 f5 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Nc3 g5!? This is interesting, slightly dubious but still interesting and there can be no doubt about young Carissa’s intentions here. 12.Rb1?! A wasted move. 12.Qd5+ is much better and perhaps puts the question to 11...g5: 12.Qd5+ Kh8 13.Rad1 Qe7 14.Qd2 Nb6 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.cxd5 Nd8 17.Rc1 with a large advantage, 1-0, 35, Yurtseven – Zor, 2013, is a good example of how White should respond to such a cheeky flank attack. 12...h5 Now, we may have crossed into the “just bad” zone but it probably did scare White. 13.Nd5 Again 13.Qd5+ is better when after 13…Kh8 14.Rbd1 White’s central pressure slows Black’s attack down. 13...g4 14.hxg4 hxg4 15.Nd2 Nf6 16.Nxf6+? This is a poor decision. White exchanges off her good knight and lifts Black’s rook to boot. 16.Qb3 is better when White maintains a small advantage after something like 16…a5 17.Rbd1 a4 18.Qa3 f4 19.Nb3 16...Rxf6 17.Qc2 Too passive. White needs to confuse and distract Black. Either 7.Nb3 or 17.c5 is necessary to keep Black’s advantage to a minimum. 17...Rh6 Now things are getting dicey for White’s king. 18…Qh4 is a threat that can't be ignored. 18.Bg3 Qg5 Now 19…Qh5 is a concern. 19.f4 exf4 Not best. Black can achieve a winning position with19...gxf3 20.Rxf3 f4 21.Bf2 Bf5 22.e4 Bg4 23.c5 Kh7 24.Qb3 Rd8 25.Nc4 Nd4 26.Bxd4 Rxd4 20.Bxf4 Qh4 21.Bxg4 The obvious 21.Bxh6 loses to the amazing 21…Nd4, for example: 22.Qd3 (22 exd4 leads to mate after 22…Bxd4+) g3 23.Nf3 Nxf3+ 24.Rxf3 Qh2+ 25.Kf1 Qh1# 21...fxg4 22.Bxh6 Nd4? This exciting looking move, which threatens not only 23…Ne2 mate, 23…Nxc2 and attacks f3 (to prevent a Nf3 defense), is in fact a big mistake. Just the simple 22...Qxh6 gives Black a winning material advantage. 23.Qd3?? This is a good example of never giving up. The shocking 23.Rf8+!! turns the tables: 23….Bxf8 (if 23...Kxf8 24.Bxg7+ Kxg7 25.Qc3 Bf5 26.Rf1 Qf6 27.exd4 with a large advantage) 24.Qg6+ Kh8 25.Bxf8 Ne2+ 26.Kf1 Ng3+ 27.Ke1 Ne4+ 28.Kd1 White’s king is now safe and she has a significant advantage. 23...g3 It’s all over now for White. 24.Nf3 Nxf3+ 25.Rxf3 Qh2+ 26.Kf1 Qh1+ 27.Ke2 Qxg2+ 28.Ke1 Qxf3 29.Qd8+ Kh7 30.Bxg7 Qf2+ 31.Kd1 Bg4+ As she is losing her queen, White gave up; 0–1