There is a lot of action going on now. In Tagaytay we have the Asian Seniors Championship where IM Angelo Young (remember him?) won the Active (15 minutes + 10 seconds increment) and IM Chito Garma is closing in on the Standard (90 minutes + 30 second increment) Championship. In Khanty-Mansiysk the 2018 Women’s World Championship KO event is in full swing while in Kolkata there is the super-strong Tata Steel Rapid event where Wesley So, Vishy Anand, Lev Aronian, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin and Hikaru Nakamura are testing the mettle of the local Indian players, and the Indians are doing quite well!
The main event, of course, is the World Championship match which started last Friday with Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana squaring off. For the first time in a long while it is the world’s no. 1 facing no. 2 (only 3 ELO points separate them!) for the title and so far the games are worthy of the event.
But please allow me to finish our coverage of the Asian Para Games. As you may recall the Philippine chess team had a historical performance and accounted for half of the entire gold medal haul of the country:
Standard, Individual P1 (physical disability), FM Sander Severino
Standard, Team P1, Sander Severino, Henry Lopez, Jasper Rom
Standard, Team B2/B3 (partially blind), Menandro Redor, Arman Subaste, Israel Peligro
Rapid, Individual P1, FM Sander Severino
Rapid, Team P1, Sander Severino, Henry Lopez, Jasper Rom
Standard, Individual B2/B3, Menandro Redor
Rapid, Individual P1, Henry Lopez
Standard, Individual P1, Jasper Rom
Standard, Individual B2/B3, Arman Subaste
Rapid, Individual P1, Jasper Rom
Rapid, Individual B2/B3, Arman Subaste
Rapid, Team B2/B3, Arman Subaste, Menandro Redor, Israel Peligro
Rapid, Team B1 (totally blind), Francis Ching, Rodolfo Sarmiento, Cecilio Bilog
In silent salute of our heroes I will showcase to you some of their best games.
Rom, Jasper Belarmino (2230) — Kutwal, Shashikant Appaso (2301) [B23]
P1 MEN RAPID (7.3), 12.10.2018 [Jasper Rom]
In both the Standard and the Rapid Sections the Philippine Team had secured the gold medals with a round to spare. Henry Lopez got hot in the Rapid Section and was all set to take the silver — this is in addition to Sander Severino’s gold.
I wanted very much to complete the sweep of the section by garnering the bronze medal, however, standing in my way is IM Kutwal who is the 2017 World Chess Champion for the Disabled (not to say anything about him being the silver medalist in the previous year you can read all about his life story in <https://chessbase.in/news/im-shashikant-kutwal/> Nonetheless, I was determined to go for the historical sweep by Team Philippines.
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.f4 Nc6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb5 Nge7 6.exd5 exd5 7.Qe2 Qd6 8.Ne5
Here I usually play Bxc6 but for some reason I felt like another move on this day. 8.Ne5 has a hidden threat, by the way. If Black allows it I will play 9.Nxd5! Black cannot recapture with the knight because of discovered check along the e-file: 9…Nxd5 10.Nxc6+, so he has to take back with the queen. After 9…Qxd5 though there follow 10.Bc4 Qd6 11.Nxf7 Qf6 12.Nxh8 and Black’s position is a mess.
The most logical move. Some Black players have played 8…Bd7 here hoping for 9.Nxd5 Nxd5 10.Nxc6+ Qe6 11.Ne5 Nxf4 where the game with now peter out into a drawish position: 12.Bxd7+ Qxd7 13.Nxd7+ Nxe2 14.Nxf8 Nd4 15.Kd1 Rxf8; However White does not need to go into that. After 8…Bd7 9.Bxc6 Bxc6 10.Nb5 Qb8 (10…Bxb5? is a mistake because of 11.Qxb5+ Nc6 12.Qxb7 White wins material; 10…Qd8 11.f5! f6? 12.Qh5+) 11.0–0 Black still has to find a way to untangle his pieces.
9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Ba4 Kf7 11.d3 Qe6 12.Bd2 Qxe2+ 13.Nxe2 Bd7 14.0–0–0 h5 15.c4 Bg4
Black could have tried to lock-out my a4–bishop from the game with 15…d4, but then my knight will have full scope. I intended 16.Ng3 to go to e4, if Black counters with 16…f5 then simply 17.Ne2! followed by Ng1–f3 with the target squares e5 or g5, and my a4–bishop is not locked out either, after Rdf1 and Bd1 it will go to f3 with a nice diagonal for it to watch over.
16.Rde1 Rc8 17.Nc3 Be6 18.Bb3 d4?!
I don’t agree with the text, which gives White’s knight access to e4. By hook or by crook Black should strive to maintain his pawn on d5 with 18…Rd8.
19.Ne4 Nf5 20.Bd1 Bd6?
[20…g6 is correct]
I was so concentrated on cutting down Black’s chances for counterplay that I missed Bxh5+ and a subsequent g4.
21…Ke7 22.Bf3 Kd7 23.b3 Rcf8 24.Re2 Kc7? 25.Nxc5
This time White does not miss the opportunity.
The point. Now Black’s king is forced to go to c8 and his c6–pawn will fall.
26…Kc8 27.dxc4 Bxc5 28.Bxc6
And the worst thing about it is that the white’s bishops control d8 and e8 so Black’s rooks cannot centralize.
28…d3 29.Ree1 Nd4 30.Be4 Nc2 31.Rd1 Nb4 32.Bxb4
Making it more difficult. Simpler was a3.
32…Bxb4 33.Bxd3 Rd8 34.Kb2 a5 35.a3 Bc5 36.Bg6 h4 37.g4 h3 38.Bf7 Kc7 39.Rhe1 Bd6 40.f5 Bxh2 41.b4 Be5+ 42.Kb3 axb4 43.axb4 h2 44.Bd5 Rh3+
We were both low on time at this stage, which explains the inaccuracies by both sides. Black manages to fight back and almost equalize.
[45…Rg3! 46.Rh1 Rxg4 47.Kb5 Black will have recovered from his bad position]
Admittedly the saving move here is hard to find. It is 46…Rd8!, threatening to take the bishop followed by queening his pawn. After 47.Rh1 Rc3 48.Rd2 I do not see a forced win for White anymore.
47.b5! Rxg4+ 48.Re4 Rg1 <D>
POSITION AFTER 48…RG1
A nerve-wracking position! However despite the fact that both of us had used up all our time and were playing purely on the incremental 10 seconds per move, I had already seen how to proceed.
49.b6+ Kd7 50.Ree1 Bd4
There is no more salvation. After 50…Rxe1 51.Rxe1 Bg3 52.Re2 Rh8 53.Bh1 Black’s pawn is blocked while White’s two queenside passed pawns are very mobile.
51.Kb5 Rg5 52.Bc6+ 1–0
It’s mate next move. With this win, I not only conquered the world champion but also got the bronze medal and made the historical sweep a reality. It was a very rare moment during the awarding ceremony, with all three Philippine flags hoisted. A victory to remember!
Lopez, Henry Roger (2101) — Kutwal, Shashikant Appaso (2301) [E94]
P1 MEN RAPID (1.2), 10.10.2018
Henry Lopez finished 4th in the Standard time control tournament, but his experience as an Arena Grandmaster in the FIDE online chess server served him in good stead in the faster time control and he quite deservedly took the silver medal in Rapids with only one loss — to Sander Severino. Here he takes his turn at beating the 2017 world champion for the disabled.
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 0–0 6.Be2 Na6 7.0–0 e5 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.h3 f6
GM Boris Avrukh has written a theoretical about this position in Chessbase Magazine. He notes that previously 11…h6 12.Bd2 Nf6 13.Be3 Qe7 was once the main line of this variation but today 11…f6 is Black’s last word of this line. He adds that the main priority for White is to develop his play on the queenside, while Black will try to seize the initiative on the kingside. This variation gained priority only since the year 2002 even though this line was first introduced as early as 1998 by the Spanish grandmaster Comas Fabrego.
12.Bc1 Nh6 13.Rb1 c6
Comas Fabrego, who GM Avrukh says he regards as the biggest expert in this line, prefers to bring his a6–knight back into the game with 13…Nc5 14.b4 Ne6 15.c5 Nf7 16.Re1 f5 17.Bc4 f4 Black is doing fine. Cheparinov,I (2444)-Comas Fabrego,L (2510) Andorra 2001 1/2 29.
14.b4 Kh8 15.b5 Nc7 16.Qd6 Ne6 17.Rd1 Nf7 18.Qa3 f5 19.bxc6 bxc6 20.Be3 f4 21.Bc5 Nxc5 22.Qxc5 Bf6 23.Nh2 h5 24.Qa5 Qe7 25.c5 Be6 26.Rb2 Rfd8 27.Rdb1 Rd7 28.Ba6 Qd8 29.Qa4 Rc7 30.Nf3 Bc8 31.Rb8 Rxb8 32.Rxb8 Ng5 33.Nxg5 Bxg5 34.Qa5
Threatening Qxc7, Qxc7, Rxc8+
34…Kg7 35.Bxc8 Kh6 36.Rb7 Rxc8 37.Qxa7 Bh4?
[37…Qg8 and there is no immediate win for White]
38.Rh7+ Kg5 39.Qg7
Threatening Qxe5 checkmate.
[39…Qe8 40.Ne2 followed by g2–g3]
40.Kxf2 Qd4+ 41.Kf1 Re8
42.h4+ Kxh4 43.Qxg6 Qd3+ 44.Ne2 1–0
Black cannot stop …Rxh5 mate.
Than you guys, for reminding Asia that the Filipinos can still play chess.
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 (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.