Youth Rulez

Youth Rulez‎

WIM energia
15 | Strategy

                Last article featured two positions from the Aeroflot Open, which was hosted in Moscow. Grandmaster Le Quang Liem won the event, scoring an impressive 7/9 with 5 wins and 4 draws, and 0 losses. Going into the last round Liem shared the lead with Nguyen, but Nguyen suffered his only loss of the tournament against the Ukrainian Grandmaster Korobov. Thus Nguyen was 3rd place with 6 points.  Both Le Quang Liem and Nguyen are from Vietnam and were born in 1991 and 1990 respectively. I was born in the 80s, and still consider myself young but when I see chess players win major tournament that are born in the 90s I wonder how young one must be to be considered young.

Let's look at the years that the top 10 finishers of the Aeroflot open were born: 3 players in the 90s, 6 in the 80s and only one- Motylev(1979!)- in the 70s. Not a single finisher that was born in the 60s (or early 70s). I guess statistically this sample size cannot prove anything. My point is that in the future seeing grandmasters that were born after 1990 win major events shouldn’t be a surprise. Chess in recent years became increasingly a sport for young people. Access to chess software and playing online enabled a young player to develop more rapidly than in the pre-computer era. At the Aeroflot Open, the highest ranked player who was born in the 60s was Bareev, ending up at 16th place. His rating did not lag behind much from those people who ended up above him in the cross table. In fact, he had a good performance and gained rating points. It was a great fighting tournament – in my opinion younger players do not like making fixed draws, they are ambitious and want to prove that their chess is the best one. That is why this tournament had many interesting games, two of which I would like to present here.

The first one was played between two American grandmasters in the first round-- Ehlvest and Kamsky. In his twenties Ehlvest was ranked 3rd in the world behind Kasparov and Karpov. Not many players can show off such an achievement. Kamsky is not less accomplished, playing candidate matches for the World Championship when he was in his twenties. This match attracted my attention because both players have grand positional understanding and one can learn a lot from seeing them move their pieces. The given position was presented more as a calculation exercise rather than a planning exercise. The players followed a more or less forced sharp line for seven moves. Then, I think Bh4 was a surprise, after which Black ended up without sufficient material. If not for this move, Black could have saved his knight on e1 and had two pieces and a rook for a queen. It is not easy to calculate such a long line without holes in it. It happened that White calculated it one move longer and ended up in a much better position. This position is a good example and exercise for calculation technique. Try your hand at it before looking at the solution. The end stage of the game has learning elements in it too. Ehlvest proceeded to realize his advantage in a masterly way, not allowing such a tenacious defender as Kamsky even a slight chance.

In the next position one had to come up with a plan, supported by calculations. This is by no means an easier exercise than the one presented in the first position. The kings are castled on opposite sides. White dominates the position with two open files for his rooks and two open diagonals for his two bishops. It seems that the White king is under attack due to the black knight and a bishop in his proximity. The queen also is pinning the rook and the g2 pawn is under attack. There is only one solution to this exercise, the one plan or move that gives White the advantage, all the others leave him with a worse position. This is because the White king is in danger and indeed Black’s attack can be dangerous. White's bishop on c4 is overloaded it has to control the a2 and d3 squares.

And finally two positions to solve for next week.







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