Chess - The Scotsman 16/06/12
TODAY the first Scottish Blitz Chess Championship will be held in the Quincentenary Building in Nicolson Street, Edinburgh.
The championship is held in association with Skyscanner.net and, with the added help of various other sponsors, a strong field has been assembled. I will be one of seven grandmasters competing in a field of almost 100, with the strong favourite being Germany’s best player, Arkadij Naiditsch. Naiditsch was the top player in the German team that, against the odds, last year won the European Championship.
Blitz chess is, of course, played at a very fast time control. In this tournament, which lasts 11 rounds, each player will have just three minutes for the whole game, with two seconds added whenever one makes a move. So if one is swift enough, the time need never run out. On the other hand, making an illegal move loses the game at once. I predict a grandmaster will lose to a 10-year-old. I just hope it’s not me.
In the following rapid game, played recently against a world-class opponent, Naiditsch shows he can see a remarkable amount in very little time.
White: V Bologan; Black: A Naiditsch. Opening: Sicilian Defence.
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 Bxc6 dxc6 5 d3 Qc7 6 e5 Nd5 7 h3 Bf5 8 Nbd2 g5 9 Ne4 h6 10 Qe2 0–0–0 11 Bd2 Qb6 12 0–0–0 Bg7 13 g4 Be6 14 Kb1 Rd7 15 Ng3 Rhd8 16 Nf5 Objectively this is an error but spotting the problem at this stage would be superhuman. 16...Bxf5 17 gxf5 In this harmless-looking position Naiditsch finds a stunning idea. 17...c4! 18 dxc4? A mistake but a forgivable one as the refutation is well hidden. 18...Nc3+! Clearly the b2-pawn is pinned, but taking with the bishop at first seems fine. 19 Bxc3 Qxf2! Now it all makes sense – White’s weak back rank forces him to surrender his queen. 20 Rxd7 Of course, 20 Qxf2 Rxd1+ is mating. 20...Qxe2 21 Rxd8+ Kxd8 The material advantage is decisive. 22 Nd4 Qh5 23 f6 exf6 24 e6 Bf8 25 Re1 c5 26 e7+ Bxe7 27 Nf5 Bf8 Black is forced backwards but it is only temporary. 28 Bxf6+ Kd7 29 Ne3 Qxh3 30 Nd5 g4 31 a3 g3 32 Rd1 Bd6 33 Be5 g2 34 Nf4 Qh1 It is fitting that another back-rank trick ends all resistance. White resigned.
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