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A fine swindle

IM Malcolm Pein IM Malcolm Pein
September 15, 2023


MAXIME Vachier-Lagrave was the winner of the 5th Tata Steel India Rapid at Kolkata, remaining undefeated to score 7/9 against a 2700+ rated field.
The Indian top five, Vishy Anand excepted, were involved, as well as former Candidates Alexander Grischuk of Russia and Azeri number one Teimour Radjabov.
The Frenchman finished a full 1.5 points clear of Rajdabov.
Even if he had not pulled off this fine swindle, MVL would still have won the tournament.

S Vidit – M Vachier Lagrave
Najdorf to Dragondorf


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.a3 g6 8.Bc4 Bg7 9.f3 0–0 10.Qd2 Ne5
11.Bb3 Bd7 12.0–0–0 Rc8 13.h4 Nc4 14.Qd3 b5 15.g4 h6 16.Be3 Nxe3 17.Qxe3 Qa5 18.Nde2 b4
19.axb4! Qa1+ 20.Kd2 Qxb2 21.Ra1!
(Trapping the queen and winning material)

34...Rd3! 35.Qe1 Rxc3 (35...Rd2! 36.Rc1 is today’s puzzle)
36.Qxc3 Bxc3+ 37.Kxc3 Qxh4 38.Rg1? (Simplifying with 38.Rd1 Qxg5 39.Kxc4 should win eventually)
38...Bd5 39.Bb3 Qh8+! 40.Kc2 Qh2+ 41.Kc3 Qe5+ 42.Kd3 (42.Kc2 Qe2+ 43.Kc3 Qe3+ 44.Kc2 Bxb3+)
42...Bxb3 (White’s king is too exposed and he cannot anchor the knight)
43.Ra5 Qb2 44.Nh3 Kf7 45.Ke3 Bc4 46.Rc5 Qxb4 47.Rc6 Bd5 48.Ng5+ Kg7 49.Rcc1 f4+ 50.Kd3 a5
51.Rge1 a4 52.Re5 Qd6 53.Rce1 e6 54.Kc3 Qa3+ 55.Kc2 Qb3+ 56.Kd2 Kf6 57.Ne4+ Bxe4 58.R5xe4 g5 59.Rh1 Qxf3 60.Rh6+ Kf5 61.Rexe6 Qd5+ 0–1

Black to play and win:

See the Answer

36…Qd6!! threat Qxb4+ and mates 37.Ra4 Bxc3+! 38.Kxc3 (38.Kb1 Rxc2) 38...Qd4#.

©Telegraph Media Group Limited 2023

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