No guts no glory

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

43rd Chess Olympiad (Open Division)
Batumi, Georgia
Sept. 23 -Oct. 6, 2018

Final Standings (Open)

Country Points TB1 TB2

1. China 18/22 372.5 28.5

2. USA 18/22 360.5 29.0


3. Russia 18/22 354.5 29.0

4. Poland 17/22 390.0 28.0

5. England 17/22 340.0 27.5

Total of 185 teams from 183 countries. Georgia as the host country was allowed to field three teams.

Time control is 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.

During the 2018 Batumi Chess Olympiad there was a Brilliancy Prize awarded every round chosen by a special judging committee led by GM Susan Polgar. After all 11 rounds have been played the committee will then choose the “Overall Brilliant Game”. The winner was GM Tiger Hillarp Persson for his marvelous “the King is an attacking piece” demonstration.

First, let me give you a bit of background. Last year, around April, I wrote a column with the same title as the one you see above, “no guts no glory.” It is about this game, one of the most brilliant I have ever seen:

Short, Nigel D (2660) — Timman, Jan H (2630) [B04]
Tilburg (4), 1991

1.e4 Nf6

In 1985 there was a match between GM Lev Alburt (Champion of the USA) and Nigel Short (British Champion) called the Championship of the English-Speaking World. This experiment was never repeated because Short absolutely humiliated the American Champion by scoring six wins, two draws, no losses for a final score of 7.0-1.0. Not only that — Lev Alburt was the world’s greatest authority on the Alekhine’s Defense and even has a variation named after him, the so-called Alburt Variation 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6. In all four of his White games Short allowed the Alekhine’s Defence and won all of them. In other words he defeated not only Alburt but his opening as well.

Now, as to Jan Timman, around this time he was rated around no. 3 in the world. He used the Alekhine with good effect against Robert Hubner in their 1991 Candidates match and decides to trot it out the Alburt Variation again vs Short. Same result.

2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Bg7 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.0–0 0–0

[8…Bg4? 9.Bxf7+!]


Now that Black is really threatening to play …Bg4 White prevents it so as to maintain his bulkhead on e5.

9…a5 10.a4 dxe5 11.dxe5 Nd4! 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Re1 e6 14.Nd2! Nd5 15.Nf3 Qc5 16.Qe4 Qb4 17.Bc4!

An excellent move preventing the queen exchange. 17.Bxd5 exd5 18.Qxd5 Be6 frees up Black’s position.

17…Nb6 18.b3! Nxc4 19.bxc4 Re8 20.Rd1 Qc5 21.Qh4 b6 22.Be3 Qc6 23.Bh6 Bh8 24.Rd8! Bb7 25.Rad1 Bg7 26.R8d7! Rf8


Timman intended to play 26…Qe4 here but suddenly noticed 27.Rxf7!;

26…Bxe5 (hoping for 27.Nxe5?? Qxg2 mate) is refuted by 27.Rxf7! Kxf7 28.Nxe5+ with a family fork.

27.Bxg7 Kxg7 28.R1d4 Rae8 29.Qf6+ Kg8 30.h4 h5

And now we see a beautiful finish.

31.Kh2!! Rc8 32.Kg3! Rce8 33.Kf4! Bc8 34.Kg5!! 1–0

An amazing finish.

And now another of my columns, this time entitled “Too much guts you become gory.”

Salem, AR (2652) — Vignesh, N R (2405) [E12]
1st Sharjah Masters 2017

Sharjah UAE (1.18), 23.03.2017

As many of our readers know, GM Salem AR Saleh is an attacking master and the strongest player ever to come out of the UAE. He invariably does well in these giant opens but in this game he got a little too inspired.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.Qc2 Be7 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.e4 Nxc3 9.bxc3 0–0 10.Bd3 c5 11.0–0 cxd4 12.cxd4 Qc8 13.Qe2 Ba6 14.Rd1 Bxd3 15.Rxd3 Nd7 16.e5 b5 17.Bg5 Qd8 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.d5 exd5 20.Rxd5 a6 21.Qe3 Rfc8 22.Rad1 Nc5 23.Nd4 g6 24.Rd6 Nb7 25.Rf6 Re8 26.Nc6 Qc5 27.Qb3 Qc4 28.Qf3 Rac8 29.h3 Nd8 30.Nxd8 Rcxd8 31.Rxd8 Rxd8 32.Rxa6 b4 33.Qf6 Re8 34.axb4 Qxb4 35.f4 Qc4

White is a pawn up and has good winning chances, but now a diabolical idea gets into his head — how about Short’s maneuver? What if he can get his king to h6?

36.Kh2 Qc7 37.Kg3 Qc3+ 38.Kh4? h6!

That is a big difference between this and the Short game — Black’s pawn is on h7 instead of h5 and can take away the g5 square from White’s king.

39.Ra7 Qe1+ 40.g3

[40.Kg4 Qe2+ (40…w+?? 41.Kg5 and White’s dream comes true) 41.Kg3 Qe3+ snags White’s rook on a7]

40…Rf8 41.Re7?

[41.e6 draws but White is playing for a win]

41…Qe2! 0–1

And now, to white’s horror, he is mated. Yup, too much guts …

Time to show you the “Overall Brilliant Game” of the 2018 Batumi Olympiad.

Hillarp Persson, Tiger (2544) — Laurusas, Tomas (2484) [A11]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (7.2), 01.10.2018

Tiger Christopher Robin Hillarp Persson (parents were big Winnie the Pooh fans), or Tiger Hillarp Persson for short was born Oct. 28, 1970 in Malmo, Sweden. He is both a chess grandmaster (GM) and a 1–Dan in Go. This 2–time Swedish Champion is known as an attacking player and usually does well in team competitions. He scored individual bronze medals in the olympiads of Elista (1998) and Dresden (2008).

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.c4 c6 5.b3 Bg7 6.Bb2 0–0 7.0–0 a5 8.Nc3 Ne4 9.Na4 Bxb2 10.Nxb2 Nd7 11.d3 Nef6 12.d4 b6 13.Rc1 Bb7 14.Nd3 Rc8 15.Nfe5 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Nd7 17.Qd2

White’s idea is to play 18.e6! fxe6 19.Bh3 Rf6 because now he can follow-up with 20.Qe3 Nf8 21.c5 with pressure on the Black position.]

17…dxc4 18.Rxc4 Nxe5

Black has won a pawn because of the pin on the d3–knight, but it turns out that White’s attacking chances offer more than enough compensation. And attacking chances are dangerous in the hands of the Tiger.

19.Rh4 h5 20.Rd1 Nxd3 21.Qh6 Qd6 22.Rxd3 Qf6 23.Be4

Amongst others, there is a threat of 24.Rxh5 gxh5 25.Qh7 mate.

23…Ba6 24.Re3

[24.Rxh5 Qg7 25.Qxg7+ Kxg7 both of white’s rooks are under attack.]

24…Qg7 25.Qg5 Rcd8 26.Qxe7 Rd1+ 27.Kg2 Qa1 28.Bxc6 Rg1+ 29.Kf3 Qf1 <D> Position after 29…Qf1

The idea is 30…Qg2+ followed by 31.Qxc6.


Suddenly everything becomes clear — the white king is not running away, it is running towards.

30…Qxf2+ 31.Kg5! Kg7 32.Rf4 Qxh2 33.Qf6+ Kh7 34.Qxg6+! Kh8

[34…fxg6 35.Re7+ Kg8 36.Bd5+ forces mate]

35.Kh6! 1–0

What an amazing journey!

Before we close our report on the 2018 Batumi Olympiad here is the brilliancy prize winner from round 1 by IM (International Master) Davit Maghalashvili, playing for the 2nd team from Georgia. He is 31 yrs. old and not considered a world title contender, but he is a strong attacker, as you will see.

In the previous game Tiger’s king went up to board to checkmate his opponent this time the White player Renato Frick’s king was forced up the board to be checkmated.

Frick, Renato (2058) — Maghalashvili, Davit (2508) [B59]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (1.1), 24.09.2018

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be3 Be6 9.f3 0–0 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.exd5 Nb4 12.c4 a5 13.Nd2 Nd7 14.0–0 f5! 15.Kh1 Bg5 16.Bg1 Qf6 17.Nb1

Repositioning his knight to c3 as it has nothing to do on d2.

17…Qh6 18.Nc3 Bf4 19.Rb1

White is playing as if nothing can happen to him. He should start pushing back with 19.a3 Na6 20.Bd3 when Black has the easier play but White is still ok.

19…Nf6 20.a3 Nh5!

Threatening 21…Ng3 checkmate.

21.Bf2 Bxh2! 0–1

White resigns because after 21…Bxh2 22.Kxh2 Ng3+! 23.Kxg3 (23.Kg1 Qh1#) 23…f4+ 24.Kg4 Rf5 25.Bh4 (25.Kxf5 Qg6#) 25…Rh5 26.Qe1 (26.Rh1 Qg6+ 27.Kh3 Qg3#) 26…Nc2! The ignored knight on b4 gets its revenge. 27.Qf2 Ne3+ 28.Kh3 Nf5 there is no defense.

And what of the Philippine women’s team? Team Captain GM Jayson Gonzales will be reporting on their performance and each of the members have chosen some games to share with our readers. Don’t miss our Thursday column!


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