Two queen sacrifices

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece Isle of Man International
October 20-28, 2018
Douglas, Isle of Man

Final Top Standings

1-2. Grandmaster (GM) Radoslaw Wojtaszek POL 2727, GM Arkadiy Naiditsch AZE 2721, 7.0/9

3-9. GM Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2779, GM Alexander Grischuk RUS 2769, GM Hikaru Nakamura USA 2763, GM Wang Hao CHN 2722, GM Gawain Jones ENG 2677, GM Baskaran Adhiban IND 2668, GM Jeffery Xiong USA 2656, 6.5/9

10-28. GM Anish Giri NED 2780, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2780, GM Viswanathan Anand IND 2771, GM Sergey Karjakin RUS 2760, GM Richard Rapport HUN 2725, GM Le Quang Liem VIE 2715, GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2711, GM Vladislav Artemiev RUS 2706, GM Zoltan Almasi HUN 2702, GM Peter Leko HUN 2690, GM David Howell ENG 2689, GM SP Sethuraman IND 2673, GM Vladislav Kovalev BLR 2664, GM Hrant Melkumyan ARM 2660, GM Emil Sutovsky ISR 2633, GM Mircea Parligras ROU 2623, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly IND 2622, GM Daniel Fridman GER 2600, IM Alina Kashlinskaya RUS 2447, 6.0/9

Total Participants: 165 players

Time Control: 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves followed by 15 minutes play-to-finish with 30 seconds added to your clock after every move starting move 1

The past few months have been chess-packed, what with the Batumi Olympiad (Sept. 23-Oct. 6), European Club Cup (October 13-18), the women’s world championship (Nov. 3-23) and the Magnus Carlsen vs Fabiano Caruana world championship (Nov. 9-26) following in quick succession.

One of the strongest opens in the world is held annually in the Isle of Man. This is an island between Great Britain and Ireland which is a self-governing British Crown dependency: the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II and defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom). This year the giant open took place from Oct. 20-28. A total of 65 International Grandmasters, 20 of whom are rated 2700+) and 45 International Grandmasters went to the Isle to participate.

The husband-and-wife team of GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek and IM Alina Kashlinskaya were the big winners. GM Wojtaszek tied for 1st place with the Latvian-turned-German-turned Azerbaijani GM Arkadiy Naiditsch and then won the tiebreak to claim the trophy. The two of them received 37,500 British pounds for the first place tie and Wojtaszek received an additional 500 pounds for winning the tiebreak.

The wife, IM Alina Kashlinskaya had a very good day on Oct. 28, 2018, which was the last round of the tournament. She defeated Samuel Sevian, a 2634-rated GM which brought her total score to 6.0/9. This earned her first GM norm and won the top woman’s prize of 7,000 pounds. To top it all it was her birthday! The Polish-Russian couple won a combined 45,000 pounds, the equivalent of around P3 million. Not bad at all!

A lot of very good chess was played in the tournament – I will show you two brutal queen sacrifices.

First a brilliancy by the 23-year old Indian GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi. With a rating of 2701 he is currently the third highest-rated Indian after Anand and Harikrishna. After the game he went over the moves with IM Danny Resnch and I have incorporated several of his comments in the notes below.

Eggleston, David J (2406) — Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi (2711) [C54]
Isle of Man Masters Douglas, Isle of Man (1), 20.10.2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 d6

I went through Wesley’s DVD on playing the Black side of the Italian Game. He points out here that Black wants to play 5…d5 however, it does not work because of 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Qb3 winning a pawn. So, instead of 5…d5 Black can either castle kingside or play 5…d6. The latter is safer because 5…0–0 6.Bg5 is a hard pin to break. On the other hand 5…d6 gives up the idea of pushing the d-pawn to d5 in one go.

6.0–0 0–0 7.a4 a5 8.Bg5

The significant factor here is that White has already castled, because now …

8…h6 9.Bh4 g5

Taking the pawn on g5 with the knight is not as strong with the white king on g1.


GM Vidit remarks that he has studied this position and concluded that 10.Nxg5 is not good here because White needs many moves to get his pieces into position, for example the b1 knight still has to travel over several squares to get to its optimum position on the e3 square. It appears that best move here is 10.Bg3.

10…hxg5 11.Bxg5 Kg7 12.Qf3 Rh8!

Better than 12…Kg6 13.Bh4 Rh8 14.Qg3+ Kh7 15.Bxf7 White is doing very well.

13.Nd2 Qe7 14.h4 Bd7 15.Bd5

White’s intention is to follow this up by Nd2–c4–e3.

15…Rag8 16.Nc4 <D>


Now comes the surprise.


Vidit wasn’t sure if the queen sacrifice is absolutely correct, but he saw that his moves now are easy to make and so the decision to go for it was easy to make.

17.Bxe7 Ndxe7 18.Ne3

After the game Vidit said that White should not have given up the h4–pawn so easily and perhaps try to take the initiative with 18.g3 Kf8 19.Qf6 but that doesn’t work because of 19…Rxg3+! 20.Kh2 Rh3+ 21.Kg2 Rg8+

18…Rxh4 19.g3 Rh6 20.Rfc1 Rf8!

Opening up the f-file.

21.Kf1 f5 22.Ke1 fxe4 23.Qxe4 d5!

The final difficult move. The point is that 24.Nxd5 is refuted by 24…Bf5 25.Qc4 Bxf2!

24.Qg2 Bh3 25.Qg1 Bxe3 26.fxe3 Rhf6

It is already a clear win for Black.

27.Ke2 Bg4+ 28.Ke1 e4 29.d4 Rf3 30.c4 Nb4 31.Kd2 Rf2+ 32.Kc3 R8f3 33.Kb3 Rxe3+ 34.Rc3 dxc4+ 35.Kxc4 Be6+ 36.d5 Bxd5+ 37.Kd4 Nc2+ 38.Kc5

[38.Rxc2 Rd3+ 39.Kc5 (39.Ke5 Rf5#) 39…Rxc2+ 40.Kb5 Rb3+ 41.Kxa5 Nc6#]

38…Rxc3+ 39.bxc3 Rf6 40.Kb5 Nxa1 41.Qxa1 e3 42.c4 Bc6+ 43.Kxa5 Kf7 44.g4 Bf3 45.c5 Nc6+ 0–1

After 45…Nc6+ 46.Kb5 Be2# it is mate.

Do you remember IM Vincent Keymer? He was only 13 years old when he won the 2018 Grenke Chess Open in April of this year ahead of 49 grandmasters (four of whom were 2700+), scoring 8/9 for a performance rating of 2798. This was a sensational result and qualified him to play in next year’s Grenke Classic, a category 20 event where he will be competing against the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian and, well, you get the picture.

Vincent did not do as well here in the Isle of Man, but he did come up with a brilliant victory over a tough opponent – former candidate GM Boris Gelfand.

Keymer,Vincent (2491) — Gelfand,Boris (2701) [D46]
Isle of Man Masters Douglas ENG (8), 27.10.2018

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bd3 0–0 8.0–0 Re8

The main line goes 8…dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Be2 Bb7.

9.e4 dxc4 10.Bxc4 e5 11.Rd1 exd4

The text move has never been seen before, and 11…Qe7 is the most common move. However, Gelfand is a great expert in the Semi-Slav and if he plays it then it must be good.

12.Nxd4 Qc7 13.g3 Ne5 14.Be2 Bh3 15.Bg5 Neg4 16.Bf1 Bxf1 17.Rxf1 Be5 18.Nf5 g6 19.Nh6+ Nxh6 20.Bxh6 Ng4 21.Bd2 Rad8 22.Kg2

White must not get overoptimistic with 22.f4 which only looks good but actually loses to 22…Qb6+ 23.Kh1 (23.Kg2 Bxc3 24.Qxc3 Rxe4 White’s position will be collapsing soon) 23…Bxc3 24.bxc3 Rxe4! 25.Qxe4 Rxd2 mate will soon follow.

22…Qe7 23.h3 Nf6 24.Rfe1 Qc5

Black cannot win the e4–pawn: 24…Bxc3 25.Bxc3 Nxe4 26.f3.

25.Rad1 Qc4 26.Bg5 Rxd1 27.Rxd1 b5 28.f3 b4 29.Qe2 Qe6 30.Na4 Qxa2 31.Qc2 c5 32.Nxc5 Rc8 33.Rd2 Qa5 34.Be3 Qc7 35.Qd3 Qc6

[35…Bxg3? 36.Na6 Qe5 37.Bd4 followed by 38.Bxf6 will win a piece for White]

36.Kf2 Bc7 37.Na6 Rd8?

The correct move is 37…Ba5.


It looks like Gelfand missed this and only looked at 38.Qe2 Rxd2 39.Bxd2 Nh5 40.Nxc7 Qxc7 41.f4 a5 where he is at least equal.


[38…Rxd3 39.Nxc6 Bxg3+ 40.Ke2 Rxd2+ 41.Kxd2 a6 Material is equal but White’s centralized king gives him the advantage in the ending.

39.Qxd8+! Bxd8 40.Rxd8+ Kg7 41.Bd4 Kh6

Maybe a better chance is 41…Qxh3 42.Rd6 Qh2+ hoping for perpetual check.

42.g4 Nd7 43.Nd5 f5 44.Rh8!

Threat is 45.g5+ which forces mate.

44…fxe4 45.f4! Nf8

[45…Qxd5 46.g5+ Kh5 47.Rxh7#]


Not 46.Rxf8?? Qxd5 and the tables have turned.

46…Kh5 47.Nf6+ Kh4 48.Nxh7 e3+ 49.Bxe3 1–0


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.