Chess: Vishy Anand ambushes Russia’s world No 4 to win in five minutes – The Guardian

Posted: May 10, 2020 at 12:43 am


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Humpy Koneru v Mariya Muzychuk, India v Rest of the World, Nations Cup 2020. Indias world No2 Koneru could have reached the puzzle diagram, but missed Whites winning move. Can you do better?

Indias former world champion Vishy Anand stole the show at this weeks online Nations Cup as the 50-year-old veteran caught the world No 4, Ian Nepomniachtchi, with home prep and won in 17 moves as checkmate was imminent. The unsuspecting Russian blitzed out his replies until it was too late, and the entire fifth-round game was over in just five minutes.

Meanwhile, China remain the squad to beat in international team chess. Beijings elite players won both the open and womens gold medals at the 190-nation Olympiad in 2018 and they have taken a clear lead in the online Nations Cup with grandmaster and computer move-by-move commentaries.

The competition format, four-player teams including a womens board plus two alternates, strongly favours China, whose male players are the world title candidates Ding Liren and Wang Hao, the rising star Wei Yi, and the World Cup semi-finalist Yu Yangyi. Their womens board is shared by the world No 1, Hou Yifan, back in action after her academic year at Oxford, and the reigning world champion, Ju Wenjun.

After eight of the 10 rounds, which qualify two teams for Sundays final, China led with 15/16 ahead of United States 11/16, Europe 10/16, India and Russia 5/16, Rest of the World 2/16.

Europes team is led by Frances world No 5, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, with Magnus Carlsen conspicuously absent. The tournament is being played on chess.com, the major rival to chess24.com which hosted last weeks Carlsen Invitational. Now chess24 is carrying the Nations Cup games, and providing an entertaining commentary by the world champion himself.

Why did he decline to play? I think for me it would have felt more important to play if I had been, lets say, American or Chinese or even Russian. Representing your country in such a tournament is huge, but representing Europe. I dont feel so strongly about Europe.

Chess.com has a different explanation, that Carlsen wanted a higher fee than other participants, but was turned down by Fides organisers.

Anands miniature, one of the fastest wins ever between elite players in major competition, will make the Nations Cup remembered. His trainer had found the idea recently, and a previous trainer had also done so many years earlier. It caught out the Stockfish computer on the chess24 website, which flashed an equal position right up to 15 f5!! when it suddenly changed to +6.

Blacks moves are natural, but after 13...Be6? (d4 or Nc6) Nepomniachtchi thought he was already lost. Near the end Black cannot escape by 16...Qb6 17 f6 Nd7 18 Qh6 Nxf6 19 Ng5 or by 16...Qd5 17 f6 Qe4 18 Rae1.

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 Bd2 Bg7 6 e4 Nxc3 7 Bxc3 c5 8 d5 Bxc3+ 9 bxc3 Qd6 10 Qd2 0-0 11 f4 e6 12 Nf3 exd5 13 Bc4 Be6? 14 0-0 d4? 15 f5!! Bxc4 16 e5! Qd7 17 f6 1-0

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Players at all levels from club matches upwards now spend serious time preparing for the favourite lines of their opponents and hoping that one day they will hit the jackpot and bring off a homeworked victory, but few ever get the chance to do so in such spectacular style as Anand.

There was a bizarre sequel. For most of the match it seemed that Anands win would secure the match against Russia, until right at the end Indias No 2, Pentala Harikrishna, made a mouse slip in a drawn position and lost a piece and the game to Vladislav Artemiev.

The closing rounds of the Nations Cup can be viewed online on Friday and Saturday (2pm start) with the final at 3pm on Sunday.

3670: 1 d6! Qxd6 2 Qh8+ Ke7 3 Re1+ Kd7 (if Kf6 3 Rxe8 with a bishop up) 4 Bb5+ and wins.

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Chess: Vishy Anand ambushes Russia's world No 4 to win in five minutes - The Guardian

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May 10th, 2020 at 12:43 am

Posted in Chess