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World Championship Candidates Tourney (23.03.2013.)

The brightest of Devon’s ten wins against Gloucestershire in their recent match was this one from Board 3.

White: S. J. Homer (183). Black: S. J. Waterfield (178).

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Variation [B72]

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Nb3 Nf6 7.Be2 0–0 8.Be3 d6 Black has transposed into a classic Sicilian Dragon formation… 9.g4 … and White responds accordingly with a quick kingside attack. 9…Be6 10.g5 Nd7 11.h4 Nce5 12.h5 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Bxc4 14.Bd4 Ne5 15.f4 Bxb3 16.axb3 Nf3+ 17.Qxf3 Bxd4 18.0–0–0 Gaining a vital tempo, which allows White’s attack to continue. 18…Bg7 19.hxg6 fxg6 20.Qh3 Kf7 21.f5 Not 21.Qxh7?? which loses the queen to 21…Rh8. 21…Rh8 22.Rdf1 Ke8 23.fxg6 hxg6 24.Qxh8+! 1–0 Black resigned, as he would lose a piece after 24…Bxh8 25.Rxh8+ Kd7 26.Rxd8+ Rxd8.  Another attacking possibility would have been 24.Qe6 Rxh1 25.Rxh1 Bf8 26.Nd5 Qc8 27.Qxg6+ Kd7 28.Rh3 and White would again win material.

Today marks the half-way stage (the 7th of 14 rounds) of the World Championship Candidates tournament currently being held at 2, Savoy Place, London, the strongest tournament of its kind in history. Eight of the world’s chess elite will play each of their opponents twice, the winner earning the right to challenge the World Champion, Vishi Anand of India.

The favourite is the former child prodigy, 22 year old Magnus Carlsen of Norway. Not only is he the highest rated of the contestants, he is the only one not from a former Soviet bloc country. It’s strange that neither China, India nor the Americas, with all their many millions of players, could produce just one person between them good enough to claim a place at this “high table”.

Today Carlsen is due to play Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan. The final round is on 1st April, with the next day reserved for a possible play-off. Anand, for one, will be watching developments closely.

Last week’s 2-mover was solved by 1.Bf6! after which Black has 4 “tries”, each of which is answered with a different mate, viz 1…Ne3 2.Qxd6#. 1…Ne4 2.fxe4#. 1…Ne1 Rh4# and 1…Nc4 2.Qd4#.

This position is from an earlier game by Carlsen. How did he break through Black’s defences to record a win in 6 more moves?

White to play and win

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