Attack at all costs

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

FIDE World Cup 2019
Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia
Sept. 9 — Oct. 2, 2019

Results of Round 3 (winners)

Alireza Firouzja IRI 2702 vs. Ding Liren CHN 2811 1-3

Kirill Alekseenko RUS 2671 vs. Penteala Harikrishna IND 2746 2-0

Leinier Dominguez Perez USA 2763 vs. Wang Hao CHN 2726 4.5-3.5

Xu Xiangyu CHN 2576 vs. Alexander Grischuk RUS 2759 0-2

Wesley So USA 2767 vs. Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2718 1.5-0.5

Nikita Vitiugov RUS 2732 vs. Sergey Karjakin RUS 2760 1.5-0.5

Evgeny Tomashevsky RUS 2718 vs. Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2776 3-5

Yu Yangyi CHN 2763 vs. Wei Yi CHN 2721 2.5-1.5

Anish Giri NED 2780 vs. Jeffery Xiong USA 2707 2.5-3.5

Jan-Krzysztof Duda POL 2730 vs. Dmitry Andreikin RUS 2741 1.5-0.5

Eltaj Safarli AZE 2593 vs. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE 2767 0.5-1.5

Teimour Radjabov AZE 2758 vs. Daniil Yuffa RUS 2577 1.5-0.5

Dmitry Jakovenko RUS 2681 vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2774 3.5-4.5

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu GER 2656 vs. Peter Svidler RUS 2729 1.5-2.5

Levon Aronian ARM 2758 vs. Maxim Matlakov RUS 2716 1.5-0.5

Le Quang Liem VIE 2708 vs. Vladislav Artemiev RUS 2746 3.5-2.5

7-round 128 player Knockout event

Time Control: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 30 minutes play-to-finish with 30 seconds added to your clock after every move, starting move 1

There are 16 players left standing in the 2019 FIDE World Cup. What is interesting about this Final 16 is that three of the players (Peter Svidler, Nikita Vitiugov and Kirill Alekseenko) are from St. Petersburg, and are members of the same chess club “Mednyi Vsadnik” from the former Leningrad. This, combined with the fact that another one of the Final 16 Leinier Dominguez, formerly Cuba but now representing the USA, is also a member of that club, means that 25% of all the qualifiers are “Mednyi Vsadnik” players. No wonder they are the current European and Russian club champions!

The top seed Ding Liren eliminated Iran’s Alireza Firouzja by winning the two rapid tie-breakers after a 1-1 stand-off in the classical games. Firouzja lost the first tie-break from an equal rook and pawn endgame and couldn’t recover.

Xu Xiangyu, fresh from two huge upsets in as many rounds, once again tried his aggressive tactics in this round but was overpowered by Alexander Grischuk 0-2. The first game of their match was very entertaining.

Xu, Xiangyu (2576) — Grischuk, Alexander (2759) [D38]
FIDE World Cup 2019 Khanty-Mansiysk (3.1), 16.09.2019

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 d5 5.Qa4+ Nc6 6.e3 0 — 0 7.Qc2 b6 8.Bd2 Bb7 9.a3 Bd6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Bd3 a6 12.Ne2 Ne7 13.Bc3 Ne4! 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Ng5 Nd5 16.Nxe4 Qh4 17.N4g3

[17.N2g3? Nxe3! 18.fxe3 Bxe4 Material is equal but White’s position is busted.]

17…Nxc3 18.Nxc3 Bxg2 19.Rg1 Bf3

[19…Qxh2? 20.0 — 0 — 0 Bf3 21.Rh1! the threat of mate on h7 forces Black to give up his queen]

20.Nf5 Qxh2 21.Rxg7+ Kh8 22.Ne4 Bh5

[22…Qh1+? 23.Kd2 Qxa1 (23…Bxe4 24.Rxh1 Bxc2 25.Rhxh7#) 24.Nf6 Qh1 25.Rxh7+ Qxh7 26.Nxh7 Kxh7 27.Nxd6+ White is winning]

23.Nf6 Bg6 <D>


24.0 — 0 — 0

Xu misses the win with 24.Qe4! (preparing Rh1) 24…Qh3 25.Rxh7+!! Bxh7 26.Nxh7 Qxh7 (26…Kxh7? 27.Nxd6+ Kg8 28.Kd2 cxd6 29.Rg1+) 27.Kd2 with the deadly threat of Rh1.

24…Be7 25.Qc6

With only seconds left on his clock Xu misses another win: 25.Rxh7+!! Bxh7 26.Nxh7 Qxh7 27.Qe4 once again setting the stage for Rh1.

25…Bxf5 26.Rdg1 Bg6!

Grischuk does not fall for 26…Bd6? 27.R7g2! (27.Qxa8 right away fails to 27…Qxg1+) 27…Qh3 28.Qxa8! Rxa8 29.Rg8+ Rxg8 30.Rxg8#

27.R1xg6 hxg6 28.Rh7+ Qxh7 29.Nxh7 Kxh7

Black has more than enough for the queen.

30.Kd2 Bd6 31.e4 Rad8 32.Ke3 Rfe8 33.f4 Re6 34.e5 Kg7 35.Qb7 c5 36.d5 Re7 37.Qxb6 Bxe5! 38.fxe5

[38.Qxd8 Bf6+! and Black will win the queen via discovered check]

38…Rxe5+ 39.Kf3 Rexd5 0 — 1

The complicate-and-attack-as-much-as-you-can approach worked better for USA’s Jeffery Xiong, who scored the biggest upset in the 3rd round by upending the second seed Anish Giri. Funny thing is despite all the excitement which went on over the board they just kept drawing each other, twice in the standard games and twice in the rapid (25+10). It was only in the fast rapid (10+10) that Jeffery finally scored the decisive win.

Giri, Anish (2780) — Xiong, Jeffery (2707) [A04]
FIDE World Cup 2019 Khanty-Mansiysk (3.6), 18.09.2019

1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.d4 d6 4.Be3 Nf6 5.Nc3 0 — 0 6.Qd2 Nc6 7.d5 Nb8 8.Bh6 c6 9.Bxg7 Kxg7 10.0 — 0 — 0 cxd5 11.exd5 Bg4 12.Be2 Nbd7 13.Rhe1 Rc8 14.Nd4 Bxe2 15.Rxe2 Ne5 16.f4 Nc4 17.Qd3 Qb6 18.b3 Na3 19.Rxe7 Qb4 20.Nde2 Rc5 21.Qd4 a5 22.Kb2 Rc4 23.Qd3 Rfc8 24.Rc1 b5!

The threat is 25…Rxc3 26.Nxc3 Rxc3 27.Qcx3 Nc4+ winning the white queen.


Missing the threat. It appears that the only defense is 25.Qh3! with the idea that 25…Rxc3 26.Nxc3 Rxc3 is met by 27.Qe6! with at least a draw.

25…Rxc3! 26.Nxc3 Rxc3 27.Qe2

As I said earlier, 27.Qxc3 Nc4+ wins the queen

27…Nc4+ 28.Ka1 Ne5 29.fxg6 hxg6 30.Rf1 Qd4 31.Kb1 Nxd5 32.Rd1 Rd3! 33.Rxd3 Nxd3 34.Qxd3 Qxd3 35.Rxf7+ Kxf7 36.cxd3 Nf4 0 — 1

The American later explained that he had intentionally gone for chaotic positions to counter Giri’s theoretical preparation. Well, it worked.

Nepomniachtchi versus Tomashevsky was another kill-or-be-killed game with a very impressive finish:

Tomashevsky, Evgeny (2718) — Nepomniachtchi, Ian (2776) [A48]
FIDE World Cup 2019 Khanty-Mansiysk (3.8), 18.09.2019

We are already in the blitz portion (5 minutes+3 seconds increment per move).

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.e3 0 — 0 5.c3 d6 6.h3 Nbd7 7.Be2

Nepomniachtchi’s battle plan in the World Cup is to play fast and put pressure on his opponent from the opening up to the end. Apparently Tomashevsky decided to meet this style with an unpretentious opening which he can blitz out and postpone the battle to the middlegame.

7…Qe8 8.a4 a5 9.0 — 0 b6 10.Na3 Bb7 11.Bh2 Ne4 12.Nd2 Nxd2 13.Qxd2 e5 14.Nb5 Rc8 15.Rfd1 Qe7 16.Qc2 f5 17.dxe5 Bxe5 18.Bxe5 Nxe5

Black now intends …f5 — f4.

19.Rd4 Qg5 20.g3 Qh6 21.Kh2?

Completely underestimating the coming attack. Much better was to play 21.Rh4 Qg7 22.Nd4.


Now Rh4 is no longer possible.

22.Qd1 Rf6 23.f4 Nf7 24.fxg5 Qxg5

[24…Nxg5 25.Rh4]

25.Rf4 Kh8 26.Qg1 Ne5 27.Raf1 Rh6 28.Rxf5!? Qg4!!

Completely unexpected and deadly.


[29.Bxg4 Nxg4#; 29.h4 Rxh4+ 30.gxh4 Qxh4#]

29…Rxf8 30.Rxf8+ Kg7 31.Rf7+ Kxf7 32.Qf1+ 0 — 1

Tomashevsky resigned without waiting for 32…Nf3+

The two remaining Indians in the field were both eliminated in this round. Penteala Harikrishna was upset by Kirill Alekseenko 0-2 while Wesley So defeated Vidit Santosh Gujrathi in masterful style in the first game of their match and Vidit could not come back in the second.

Alekseenko, Kirill (2671) — Harikrishna, Pentala (2746) [C54]
FIDE World Cup 2019 Khanty-Mansiysk (3.1), 16.09.2019

Alekseenko surprisingly outplayed Harikrishna quite easily. He just picked up one pawn after another.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0 — 0 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 a6 7.a4 h6 8.Re1 0 — 0 9.h3 Re8 10.a5 Ba7 11.Qb3 Qe7 12.Be3 Bxe3 13.Rxe3 Rb8 14.d4

The threat is to play d4 — d5 followed by Bxa6.

14…b5 15.axb6 cxb6 16.Nbd2 b5 17.Bf1 Qc7 18.d5! Ne7 19.c4 b4

[19…bxc4 20.Qa3! will get back the pawn on c4 and then White can double rooks on the c-file]

20.Qa4 Nd7 21.Qa5 Qxa5 22.Rxa5 f5 23.Nb3! fxe4 24.Nfd2 Nf6 25.Nxe4 Nxe4 26.Rxe4

Black’s pawns on the queenside are too weak and 1 or 2 of them will fall.

26…Bf5 27.Re1 Bc2 28.Nd2 Nf5 29.Rxa6 Red8 30.Rea1 Nd4 31.Ra7 Rf8 32.R1a6 Rbd8 33.Rb6 b3 34.Rbb7

Now that white’s rooks have doubled on the 7th rank the end is near.

34…g5 35.c5! dxc5 36.Bc4 Rf6 37.Re7 Kf8 38.Rxe5 Rf7 39.Ra6 Kg7 40.f3 Rdd7 41.d6 Rf8 42.Rxc5 Rfd8 43.Rd5 Nf5 44.Bxb3 Ne3 45.Re5 Rxd6 46.Rxd6 Rxd6 47.Rxe3 Rxd2 48.Bxc2 Rxc2 49.Rb3 h5 50.h4 gxh4 51.Kh2 Rc1 52.Rb4 1 — 0

I will show you Wesley’s masterpiece against Vidit on Thursday.


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant, he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.