Number one ranked American player scores big wins and a surprise at Qatar
By Michael Ciamarra
on December 09, 2014 at 5:30 AM, updated December 09, 2014 at 5:33 AM
Calendar – Alabama chess tournaments
Dec. 20, Birmingham – 7th Annual Magic City Classic chess tournament, Asbury UMC, 6690 Cahaba Valley Road, Birmingham. Classic section (open to adults and scholastic players) and K-12 sections: Knight, Pawn, Novice. Prizes awarded. Chess sets provided. Beginners welcomed. For more information on registration fees and round times: AlabamaChess.com and CaesarChess.com
Former Alabama state chess champion Brent Inman, Mobile, took first place at the Panhandle Classic Open with a perfect 4-0 score. The tournament was played on Dec. 6 and attracted players from Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.
Yu Yangyi wins Qatar Masters Open
One of the largest and strongest open tournaments concluded last week with a mighty surprise. The Chinese Grandmaster, 20-year-old Yu Yangyi won the Qatar Masters Open beating former world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik, Russia, in the final round. Yangyi won first prize and $25,000 for his rock-solid tournament performance.
Dutch Grandmaster Anish Giri, who was the early tournament lead having won six out of his first six games, was thought to have a lock on the top prize! He stumbled with loses to Vladimir Kramnik and also to eventual tournament winner Yangyi. In the end, Giri, a great talent, shared second place with Kramnik.
Giri, who is one of the top twelve players in the world, notched a quick win over another player from that top elite echelon, the Azerbaijani Grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyrarov.
Giri’s reliable system versus the English Opening 3…Bb4, 6…Re8, 7…c6 and 12…Bg4 (threatens Nxc3) plays for rapid expansion in the center, active piece play and persistent pressure on White’s d and c pawns.
Mamedyrarov played 13.f3 breaking the pin, as 13.Bd2 (protecting c3) allows Black to continue 13…Qd7 followed by Rad8 easily bearing down on White’s somewhat shaky position.
Mamedyrarov had miscalculated the timing of his hazardous 16.Qb3? By now, White should be looking for a way to salvage the position with exchanges 16.dxe4 Bxe4 17. Qb3 (17.Qxd8 Nxd8!) Qf6 18. Bxe4 Rxe4 still gives Black an easier game, but at least White, despite several weak and vulnerable points, is in the game.
Mamedyrarov’s position after 17.Qb5?! exd3! quickly becomes untenable. Nothing works, for example: 18.Bxc6 Bc4! 19.Qh5 Rxe2 and Black increases his advantage.
After Giri’s shot 19…Bc4!, White’s fragmented position crumbled, now if 20. Qxc4 Qxb6+ 21. Kh1 Qf2 22. Bd2 Re6! (strong also was Rad8) and to further illustrate the hopelessness of White’s position: 23. Bxc6 Rd8 24. Bd5 Rh6 25. Bg2 Qxg3 26. Kg1 Qxh2+ 27. Kf2 Qh4+ 28. Kxe2 Re6+ 29. Be3 Rxe3+! 30. Kxe3 Qg3+ 31. Ke2 Qxg2+ 32. Ke3 Qg3+ 33. Ke2 Re8+ winning effortlessly.
Giri’s 21…Rad8 forced White to resign as 22. Rxd1 exd1=Q 23. Qxc4 Qxc1 24. Rb7 Qe3+ 25. Kf1 Qe1 mates. Miniature games at this top level of chess are rare.
Shakhriyar Mamedyrarov v Anish Giri, Qatar Masters Open, Nov.2014
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. g3 Bb4 4. Bg2 O-O 5. e4 Bxc3 6. bxc3 Re8 7. d3 c6 8. Ne2 d5 9.cxd5 cxd5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Rb1 Nc6 12. O-O Bg4! 13. f3 Bf5 14. Rxb7?! Nb6 15. f4 e416. Qb3? Be6 17. Qb5? exd3! 18. Rxb6 dxe2 19. Re1 Bc4! 20. Qxc6 Qd1! 21. Kf2 Rad80-1