How to win seven games in a row and a Championship title
Have you ever wondered how it feels like doing a Fabiano, that is winning seven games in a row against tough opposition?
There have been cases with six wins in a row: Bobby Fischer’s whitewash of Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen come to mind. More recently Anish Giri, Vladimir Kramnik, Magnus Carlsen and the Polish Grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda have achieved a six pack.
At the last Icelandic Championship I managed to do a Fabiano and win the last seven games. This together with an ELO 2763 performance was enough to win the Championship by one and a half point margin and thus become the Icelandic Champion in classical chess. Since I previously had won the rapid and blitz title, I am now the reeigning Champion in all three time controls.
I live in Manhattan, New York, am a FIDE Senior Trainer and look forward to contributing to the growth of United States chess.
First a little appetizer with tactical exercises from two games that did not belong to the seven win series.
In the second round I was up against Bragi's brother Bjorn:
The start of the game with Bjorn
A couple of rounds later, the "Fabiano" started. The first game in the series was against Sigfusson. He played some nice games and won with black against GM Hjartarson.
I like my game against GM Jon L Arnason, specially the move I played in this position. I needed considerable time to find the right 41st move here, which is a part of a deep plan. What should black play (see the analysis of the game for the solution)?
GM Arnason had a good tournament, played well and made very few mistakes. Apart from this game he only lost with black against GM Stefansson after getting into trouble with black in the opening. He finished in a respectable shared 3rd place.
GM Steingrimsson and GM Arnason discussing their game at the closing ceremony
Next I was up aginst IM Kjartansson. Kjartansson is a chess professional. He has travelled around the world and achieved notable successes. Here I missed an amazing tactic starting with 19.Bxe4! Qf6. How should white proceed (see the game analysis for a solution)?
An exciting game against Kjartansson
Then it was time to play Jensson. Jensson scored his final IM norm in the tournament and ended in a respectable 5th place. I got a better ending. Here Jensson had just played 18...Ndc6. How should white proceed (see the analysis for the solution)?
The start of the game against Jensson
A big match was up in the 5th game of the series, with black against the Icelandic World Champion Semi Finalist GM Hjartarson. GM Hjartarson had a topsy turvy tournament. He won a good game where he was white against GM Stefansson, but also lost some games unexpectedly.
In a sharp game, I had more active pieces. Instead of trying to defend, GM Hjartarson went for a counter attack, which proved to be too optimistic.
Here GM Hjartarson played the commiting move 35.b4 which some commentators did not like.
On the 40th move I had two different ways to win the game. Can you spot them?
In the next to the last round game and the sixth game in the series, I played the woman Grandmaster Lenka Ptacknikova. Lenka had a good tournament and managed to beat three Grandmasters.
I sacrificed a pawn for an attack against Lenka's king. After a further exchange sacrifice black was completely paralized. Lenka played here 31...a5. What is the right plan for white?
Before the last round, I had a half point lead. Then this game was played against GM Gretarsson who had an excellent tournament.
What should black play?
This was the last game of the tournament and the "Fabiano" series.
While as can be seen from the photo from the beginning of the game against GM Arnason, I take chess quite seriously, it was fun to play these games. I am sure that Fabiano felt the same way. Hopefully we can both repeat our series soon.
„Fabiano“ is ofcourse GM Fabiano Caruana, who after winning seven games in a row at Sinquefield's Cup 2014 was rated nr. 2 in the world. Fabiano will play next year for the US at the Olympics. We have played once, in Sardinia 2007 in a tournament which I won and Fabiano came in second. Our game went like this:
Making the first move at the Icelandic Chess School Championship for one of my students