“This line is not for everyone”
Wesley So comments on his game with Hrant Melkumyan at the Chess Olympiad 2022
This game was played in the 7th round and right after the rest day. Our team was in high spirits at this point. We were firmly in second place with 5.5 out of 6 matches. If we could overcome Armenia’s on fire team we would be in a good place to fight for the gold medal.
1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 I didn’t really expect to see the Caro-Kann that day, since I felt he would go 1…e5, but nevertheless I prepared the Two Knights variation.
2…d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6
The problem with this line is Black surrenders the bishop pair on move 4. So although Black gets a very solid position, this line is not for everyone.
6.Be2 Bc5 7.0–0 Nd7
Hrant had been blitzing his moves so far, although I’ve never played the Two Knights before. The main line is 7…Nf6, but what he played is quite solid as well.
8.exd5 8.Na4 dxe4 9.Qxe4 Bd6 does not lead anywhere for White, since the knight on a4 is misplaced.
8…cxd5 After 8…exd5 9.Re1 Ne7 10.Na4 Bd6 11.d4 0–0 12.Bd3 White is a little better thanks to the bishop pair.
9.Rd1 Ngf6 10.d4 Be7 He also blitzed this, which is the best move here.
11.Bd3 0–0 12.Bf4
I got a playable position with White, slightly better, with the bishop pair, and my opponent started thinking as well. It’s hard to ask for more out of the opening these days.
12…Nb8 13.Ne2 Nc6 14.c3 Re8 15.Re1 I should have gone first with 15.Ng3 improving the position of the knight.
15…g6 16.Ng3 Nd7
17.Re3? This move looks very natural, just making a rook lift on the third rank and preparing ae1, but it allows Black an easy tactic.
White has many other good moves, such as 17.Qe3, preventing …e5, or 17.Re2 followed by ae1.
17…e5! Now Black solves his problems and White has to be careful not to get worse.
18.Bh6? I was already limiting the damage and trying to find a way out after my mistake on the last move. – The computer showed a fine line to avoid trouble: 18.dxe5 Bc5 19.e6 fxe6 20.Re2 Qf6 21.Rae1 Rf8 22.Nf5!
18…e4?? Hrant had an hour left on the clock, but only used two minutes to make this blunder! Obviously he thought that I was ready to sacrifice a piece in return for two pawns and the bishop pair.
Much stronger is 18…Bf8! which I assume we both missed.
19.Rxe4! I saw this mating line already when I played 18.Bh6, but of course I couldn’t believe it when my opponent pushed the e-pawn forward on e4.
19…Nf8 He thought for over 25 minutes, but as often the case, when you blunder terribly there is no way anymore to repair the damage.
19…dxe4 is met unexpectedly by 20.Qxf7+ Kxf7 21.Bc4+ Kf6 22.Nxe4+ Kf5 23.g4+ Kxe4 24.Re1+ Kf3 25.Bd5#
Retreating the rook is clearly winning as well, but I spent some time making sure the piece sacrifice is easy to play too.
20…f5 21.Nxf5 gxf5 22.Rxf5 Qd6 23.Qg4+ White has more than one way to win, and I was just playing carefully in order not to mess things up anymore.
Qf6 24…Qxd5 loses to 25.Bxg6, followed by Bxe8.
25.g3 White has four pawns for the piece, and all my pieces are active.
25…Bf8 26.Rf5 Qe7 27.Bc4+ Kh8 28.Bg5
Here my opponent resigned as after 28.Bg5 Qd6 29.Rf6 the attack is just way too much. A nice victory for me and an important one, in terms of both the team and myself.
You can find Wesley So’s complete analysis in the current ChessBase Magazine #210!
Order now in the ChessBase Shop !
Highlights of ChessBase Magazine #210
A rich training programme awaits you in ChessBase Magazine #210! The editors have put together a selection for you as a special recommendation on the Start page:
Chess Olympiad 2022: Review with analyses of more than 20 participants and Ivan Sokolov’s contribution “Steps to Gold” – “Special” on the new World Championship candidate Ding Liren: exclusive collection of 18 annotated games + contributions on strategy and endgame – “The Indian Gambit”: Daniel King presents a fresh and exciting idea in the English Opening: 1.c4 e5 2.Sc3 Sf6 3.Sf3 e4 4.Sg5 c6!? (Video) – “Practical Tips for the Tournament Player” Episode 3: How to play against a stronger opponent (Video by Jan Markos + small collection of exercises) – “Full Throttle in the Open Spanish”: Robert Ris examines the highly topical Dilworth Variation and much more.
Special: Ding Liren
CBM authors analyse their favourite games of the top player from China. Look forward to an exclusive collection of 18 annotated games!
Top games and master analyses
Chess Olympiad 2022: The major event of the year with 186 teams in the Open Tournament is the focus of this issue. Over 20 participants comment on their best games from Chennai in this issue, including Praggnanandhaa, Anish Giri, Wesley So, Arjun Erigaisi, Jules Moussard, Luke McShane, Pentala Harikrishna, Matthias Blübaum, Maxime Lagarde, Rasmus Svane, Viktor Erdos, the silver medal team from Armenia and the gold medallists in the women’s tournament, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk. Moreover, the coach of the winning Uzbek team, Ivan Sokolov, presents highlights of his young team in his article “Steps to Gold”.
Practical tips for the Tournament Player
How would you behave if you encountered a bear in the forest? Correct: You try not to panic. What you need is a plan. And it’s the same in chess when you have to play against a much stronger opponent! In the third part of his series, GM Jan Markos presents three strategies for this kind of situation in the video and rounds off his contribution with a small collection of exercises.
Move by Move
The game Gukesh-Abdusattorov played a key role in the fight for medals in Chennai. Replay it in the interactive training format with IM Robert Ris!
All in one
New opening ideas explained on the basis of one game with detailed commentary. In this issue: King’s Indian (Imre Hera) and English (Tanmay Srinath).
Daniel King presents a fresh and exciting gambit in the English Opening. Jan Werle explains positional ideas in the Rubinstein Variation of the Nimzo Indian. And Mihail Marin has come across the novelty 14…a5! in a game of the Benoni expert Aleksandar Indjic at the Olympiad.
Daniel King: English – “The Indian Gambit”
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 e4 4.Ng5 c6!?
Jan Werle: Nimzo Indian
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 c6 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 Be7 8.Bd3 0-0 9.Nge2 Re8 10.Qc2 Nbd7 11.f3 b5
Mihail Marin: Benoni
7.h3 Bg7 8.e4 0-0 9.Be3 Re8 10.Nd2 a6 11.a4 Nxe4 12.Ncxe4 f5 13.Be2 fxe4 14.Nc4 a5!
New ideas for your repertoire
ChessBase Magazine #210 covers the usual broad spectrum with 10 fresh opening articles:
Roven Vogel: English 1.c4 e5 2.g3 f5 3.Bg2 Be7
Martin Lorenzini: Scandinavian 3…Qa5 and 6.Ne5 (II)
Patrick Zelbel: Modern Defence 4…a6 5.g4
Petra Papp: Grivas Sicilian 4…Qb6 5.Nb3 Nf6 6.Nc3 e6
Krisztian Szabo: Sicilian O’Kelly Variation (Part I) 3.d4/3.c3
Sergey Grigoriants: Philidor Defence 6.Bf4
Robert Ris: Open Ruy Lopez Dilworth
Evgeny Postny: Botvinnik Variation 12.h4
Alexey Kuzmin: Nimzoindian 4.e3 0–0 5.Bd3 d5 6.a3
Andrey Sumets: Catalan 5.Bg2 a6 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Qd2
“From the London System to the Ruy Lopez”. The expert Rainer Knaak presents eight traps with detailed analyses and three videos.
“Ding Liren‘s positional play”
Mihail Marin sheds light on aspects of Ding’s play – his “typical rook lifts” and also his play with the pawns. Incl. video introduction and many training exercises.
New series: Modern Classics
Dorian Rogozenco starts his new series in a befitting manner – Bobby Fischer himself described the 7th game against Petrosian as the best of their 1971 Candidates Match.
Tactics: “Attacking Knights”
Oliver Reeh’s yield from the Chess Olympiad is abundant: 41 games, peppered with many tactical exercises, await you. Don’t miss the chance to solve his favourite combinations, move by move in interactive video format!
“Endgame highlights by Ding Liren” and much more!
This issue offers no less than four articles by Karsten Mueller. In addition to the article on Ding Liren, the expert also presents the most beautiful endgames from the 2022 Chess Olympiad. Moreover, Mueller provides a collection of training tasks and answers the letters to the editor in detail as usual.
Order now in the ChessBase Shop !
ChessBase Magazine trial subscription with 33% savings advantage and thank you bonus!*
Try out ChessBase Magazine now! Order the ChessBase Magazine taster package!
Read ChessBase Magazine for 6 months (= 3 issues) for the special price of only 39.90 € (instead of 59,85 € for buying them individually). As a thank you, you will also receive 3 months ChessBase Premium Membership free of charge.
*Bonus for new subscribers only, i.e. there was no CBM subscription for 12 months!
ChessBase Magazine one year subscription – plus original ChessBase USB stick with 128 GB *
Save twice with ChessBase Magazine: For the annual subscription to ChessBase Magazine you’ll pay only €99.70 per year (compared to €119.70 for the 6 individual issues).
* Bonus only for new subscribers, i.e. there was no CBM subscription for 12 months! As a new subscriber you will receive the original ChessBase USB stick with 128 GB