Chess (#993)

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 09, 2012 19:22 hrs

The Candidates will be held in London between October 24-Nov 12. The eight-person line-up includes Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Svidler, Alexander Grischuk, Vasily Ivanchuk. The seventh spot goes to the loser of the world title match in May between Anand and Boris Gelfand. The remaining spot is a wild card and likely to be Teimour Radjabov.

There are problems with the schedule. The Super at Bilbao ends just 10 days before the Candidates. London itself was to host the 4th edition of the LCC classic. The field at the Candidates includes several of the same folks as Bilbao and London. As Kramnik and Carlsen have pointed out, this places extreme strain on these players. The Bilbao organisers have appealed for a postponement of the candidates. It’s possible that the London Classic itself will also be postponed — organiser, Malcolm Pein has hinted at this.

The candidates isn’t a normal super-event. The stakes are much higher. The winner is guaranteed a million dollar pay off along with a crack at the title. Will players already committed to Bilbao pull out of there if rescheduling is tough?

Meanwhile, Aronyan has moved closer to world no:1 on the rating charts while Anand’s poor form in his last three tournaments is reflected in his slipping from no:2 to no:4. The March ratings shows Carlsen at 2835, Aronyan at 2820, and Kramnik at 2801. Anand is down to 2799. Sasikiran has moved to no: 38 with a rating of 2703 while Harikrishna, 2678 is at no:71. Among women, the fast improving world champion, Hou Yifan, has jumped to 2639 and we could soon see her join Judit Polgar in the upper echelons. In July the list becomes a monthly feature, rather than bi-monthly.

The Diagram (Carlstedt Vs Landa, Petrov Memorial 2012), WHITE TO PLAY leads to an instructive endgame. White can exchange pieces and the action comes to one side of the board after 32.Ra1 Qxb4 33.Qxb4 Bxb4 34.Nc2 Rxc2 35.Rxa6 g5 36.Ra1 Bc5 37.Rf1 g4 38.h3 h5 39.hxg4 hxg4 40.Bh1 Kg7. Opposite-coloured bishops are notoriously draw-ish in the endgame. However, in this specific instance, with material equal, and play on only one side of the board, they give black winning chances since he can hit f2, g3, with an extra piece.

41.Bg2 Kf6 42.Bh1 Ke5 43.Bg2 Rd2 44.Bh1 Bd4 45.Bg2 Kd6 46.Bh1 Kc5 47.Bg2 Kc4 48.Rc1+ Kb3 49.Rb1+ Kc2 50.Rf1 Kd3 51.Bh1? The engines and endgame experts recommend 51.e5! Ke2 52. Bc6 or 51...Bxe5 52.f3 f5 53.fxg4 fxg4 54.Re1.

51...Ke2! 52.Bg2. Now 52.e5 Rd3 53.Bc6 Rxg3+ 54.Kh1 Rc3 55.Bb5+ Kf3 56.Kg1 g3 wins. 52...Rc2! 53.Bh1 Rc3 54.Kg2 Rf3 55.Kg1. Or 55.Rb1 Rxf2+ 56.Kg1 Rf1+-+ 55...Bxf2+ 56.Kg2 Rxg3+ (0-1).

Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player

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