Chess - The Scotsman 27/02/13

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Question: How does Black win?

ICELAND is an anomaly in chess. Despite having a smaller population base than Edinburgh, it has 12 grandmasters and has twice qualified Icelanders as FIDE candidates for world title challenges. Scotland has six grandmasters with no candidates.

Chess has also become part of the Icelandic pop culture: Icelandic former No 1 Johann Hjartarson once regularly appeared in TV commercials, and Nigel Short came ahead of pop icon Madonna in a nationwide opinion poll of top celebrities. Their (now) annual late-winter international series in Reykjavik began in 1964, with the great Mikhail Tal winning the inaugural title. The latest in the series, the 28th Reykjavik Open, is heading towards what could well be a dramatic final round with a six-way tie going into the penultimate round.

Sharing the lead at the top, on 6.5/8, is Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine), Wesley So (Philippines), Marcin Dziuba (Poland), Grezegorz Gajewski (Poland), Ye Li and Ding Liren (both China). And after his exciting start of beating two GMs, Scotland’s sole representative, IM Andrew Muir has fallen back in the standings, to 4.5 points.

Today’s game, from one of the co-leaders, shows a typical King’s Indian assault that spooks White into a panic.

The critical line - thanks to the cool nerves of a silicon beast - should have been: 25 Bxf3! Rxc3 26 Qxc3 exf3 27 Qb2 g5 28 Nd5 Bxh3 29 Qb8+ Kh7 30 Qb1+ Kh6 31 Nxf6 Bxf6 32 Rg1 Bg2 33 Rxg2 fxg2 34 Kxg2 Qc6+ 35 d5! Qxc4 36 Qf5! with an equal position.

A Ipatov - Ding Liren

Reykjavik Open, (8)

King’s Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 g3 Bg7 4 Bg2 0–0 5 Nc3 d6 6 e3 e5 7 Nge2 Re8 8 h3 h5 9 0–0 e4 10 b4 Nbd7 11 Nf4 Nf8 12 a4 N8h7 13 a5 a6 14 b5 Bf5 15 bxa6 bxa6 16 Rb1 Ng5 17 Rb4 Qd7 18 Kh2 Rab8 19 Rxb8 Rxb8 20 Bd2 Rb2 21 Qc1 Rb8 22 Qd1 Rb2 23 Qc1 Rb3 24 Qc2 Nf3+ 25 Kh1 Rb8 26 h4 c6 27 Bxf3 exf3 28 e4 Bh3 29 Re1 Bh6! 30 Kg1 Bxf4 31 Bxf4 Bg2 0–1