Biel R3: So on a roll

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BielWesley So won his second game in the third round of the Young Grandmasters Tournament in Biel, grabbing the sole lead in an extremely strong field.

Report and analyses by IM Robert Ris

After a long hard working day yesterday, fellow countrymen Dmitry Andreikin and Evgeny Tomashevsky didn't really want to hurt each other. The impact of their marathon games was still visible when soon out of the opening, a funny kind of English hybrid, an endgame with opposite coloured bishops was reached. Not much later hands were shaken.

Three rounds into the tournament, at least one thing can be concluded so far: it's not yet Parimarjan Negi's week. After two unfortunate losses with Black, the Indian totally lost track against Fabiano Caruana in mishandled Closed Sicilian, which is normally not Negi's style at all. And indeed, almost everything went wrong for White right from the beginning. Caruana could easily could penetrate on the queenside, whereas White's forces couldn't even dream of finding reasonable squares.

Here Negi made a strategical error with 17.Nd5? Better would have been e.g. 17.Nb2 when at least Black can't immediately force a breakthrough on the queenside.

17...Nxd5 18.exd5 Bxa4 19.bxa4 Rb4 and Black was better already.

"Fortunately" for the Indian, the game ended abruptly after a bad blunder, which may actually make it easier for him to forget the game than if he had been tortured for fifty more moves.

The most dramatic game of the day was the encounter between Maxim Rodshtein and Wesley So. Evidently, both players have studied the recent developments of the topical Grünfeld Indian with 7.Bc4, and it was So's turn to be the first to deviate from the recently played game Giri-Bok, Dutch Championship 2010, in which after 19 moves the following position was reached:

Bok had played the cautious 19...a6 and indeed, So's 19...gxf5!? looks very suspicious at first glance -really, who would want to open the residence of his majesty? - but soon Black's intentions became clear when all his pieces were directed to g2! White's kingside seemed to be under severe pressure, but the Israeli had everything well protected until move 38.

One move ago, White could have easily transformed the game into an dead equal ending. 38.Qf4 is still possible now, but instead Rodshtein blunders horribly:

38.Qh4?? Bxg2+! 39.Bxg2 Qc1+ and White resigned in view of 40.Kh2 Nf3+ 41.Bxf3 Qg1 mate.

Maxime Vachier Lagrave hasn't yet reached the level we may expect from a player of his calibre. Against Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, he didn't get anything with White again, despite Black's somewhat "modern" opening setup (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 h6!?) and actually White had to be a little careful.

However, Black's pawn centre was soon stopped by the white rooks. Further on in the endgame, when Black threatened to get his other rook on the second rank (always a sign for extreme caution), the Frenchman correctly gave a pawn away. His activity assured him a liquidation into a rook ending with f against g+h which was once more proven to be an easy affair: draw.

Finally, David Howell decided to test Anish Giri's memory in a tricky Petroff with 8.Nc3 and 9.Qe1!?, a line many GMs have fallen victim to. Giri passed the test with honour and accepted his opponent's proposal for a draw on move 27.

Standings after Round 3:

1. So 2,5 2. Tomashevski, Caruana 2 4. Rodshtein, Vachier-Lagrave, Giri, Andreikin, Truong Son 1,5 9. Howell 1 10. Negi 0

Games start daily at 14.00 CET, except July 25, which is a rest day.

Biel Young Grandmasters Games round 3, analysed by Robert Ris

Game viewer by ChessTempo


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