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Understand The Position 13: “How to defeat a legend?”

GM Ján Markoš | July 13, 2011 – 14:52One Comment | 776 views
Understand The Position 13: “How to defeat a legend?”

In late June I had the opportunity to play a very small tournament in one tiny village in the south of Sardinia. It was fine: warm and salty sea, blue sky, smiling local people. The event itself with its dimensions was, however, adjudged to remain outside of the chess world’s scope. Finally, who is interested in 7 rounds Open with 28 players, including five grandmasters?

Translated by: Dusan Turcer

The organizers, however, wisely insured themselves against a media indifference; they had invited a chess celebrity. And so the small tournament in the West corner of the Sardinia was also attended by Jan Timman, the challenger of Anatoly Karpov in a battle on the chess throne.

This resulted in relatively large local media response: local paparazzis prepared their cameras and beautifully dressed journalists were asking the most trivial questions about chess ever. A Timman was replying: “It is difficult to choose one best game…” “I do not know if I remember any funny story from behind the board…”

Of course, for us – opponents, a participation of the legendary chess player inspired totally different and less human desires.  Who would not like to defeat such a player? Thus, I tried the same:

Markos – Timman, Sardinia 2011, after Black’s 16th move:

White has the sympathetic offensive position: his pieces are directed at the opponent’s king, which is also surrounded by vacuum. But he must act forcefully: if Black succeeds in transferring his Bc8 somewhere to c6 and eventually in placing the knight on c4, then the statical characteristics of the position will take place – backward pawn on c3 and the weakness of the light squares in the White’s camp.

I suspected that my position is very good, however, I could not find the right move. I first examined the most obvious 17.c4. But Black will simply take the pawn: 17…Nxc4, because after 18.Rc3 (18.d5 b5 19.dxe6 Bb7 and Black has the edge) there is a nice trick available 18…b5 19.Qxa8 Bb7 20.Qxa7 Ra8 and the white queen is leaving the board.

Then I tried to find the best way to organize an attack on the kingside. However, my pieces are mixed-up and it is very difficult to harmonize them. Finally, the advice of the great chess author, Dan Jacob Aagard, helped me to get out of this misery. In one of his books he wrote: “When you don’t know what to do next, ask your pieces.” And so I started asking questions. Where do you want to go, bishop on c1? ”To g5 or h6″ I got a quiet reply. And you, queen? “To h4.” And you, knight? “To g5 or e4.”

Suddenly everything was clear. The strongest move in the position is a paradoxical 17.Nh3! All pieces are suddenly put on their desired places. White is not worried about the h2-pawn, finally, opening the h-file could be useful for the rook on a1.

17…f5? Timman is fussing and incurably weakening the e6-pawn. But from the psychological point of view, it is very difficult to believe in black king’s defensive possibilities. Interesting 17…e5 leads after 18.Ng5 Bf5 19.Qh4 h5 20.Rf3 exd4 21.Bb2 into a dangerous attack, with the threat of Rf3xf5 and a mate across a long diagonal. So Black should have tried 17…Nd5 or 17…Bd7, however, in both cases, White will play something like Bh6, Ng5 and Qh4 – and the black king will be in a very tight corner.

18.Qf3 Bxh2+ (If to suffer, let’s have at least a pawn for that.) 19.Kh1 Bd6 20.Bh6! Important move… 20.c4?? doesn’t work because of a well known trick 20…Nxc4 21.Rc3 b5, but if black rook retreats to the uncovered e8, White will be already able to pass his pawn with impunity. Timman is already fed up with retreats; he is trying to organize a counterplay: 20…Bd7 21.Bxf8 Rxf8. Now, if Black will manage to install his knight on c4 and Bd7 on the long diagonal, he could have a very good compensation with a pawn up and a bishop pair for the lost exchange. This plan, however, will fail because of the weakness of the e6-pawn. 22.Ng5 Nc4 23.Qe2! b5 (Nc4 was also “hanging”, indirectly.) 24.Rh3 Qd8 25.Nxe6 Qe7 26.Re1 White won the pawn back. Moreover, Ne6 is so strong, that Black will have to exchange the bishop for it; thus the bishops pair will disappear – leaving only clear exchange for White on the board . Timman was defending for another 10 moves and then he resigned.


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Comments (1)

  • Sai says:

    I did not feel the same way about the Kamsky ieritvnew!! I enjoyed it! Sure the ieritvnewer as a non chess media person had terrible questions. But Kamsky gave those questions great value.

Leave a comment to Sai

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