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Friday Column - take your chances

Dec 5, 2014
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Hello everyone! This is IM Srinath Narayanan here, with another interesting Friday column!

The previous week, we examined examples when the lower rated players got opportunities, but failed to utilise that. This week, we’ll look at some examples where grandmasters make some really simple mistakes.

In the first game, GM Panchanathan gets a very big advantage, and seemingly begins going on ‘auto pilot’. He would’ve won 99 times out of 100 attempts from a position like that, but this game was an anomaly.

In the second game, Black is up to the challenge against his grand master opponent and takes his chances fully. Scroll below to find the first game!

Panchanathan, Magesh Chandran - Amerkeshev, Madiyar 0-1

Los Angeles Metropolitan 26th 2013.05.11


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6

The Steinitz defence, named after the first official World Champion in Chess, Wilhelm Steinitz.

5.O-O Bd7 6.d4 exd4 ( b5 7.Bb3 Nxd4 8.Nxd4 exd4 9.c3 is a typical motif in such lines, sacrificing a pawn for rapid development and initiative. ( 9.Qxd4?

BD_27015_276_0.pngDiagram #1

9... c5))

7.Nxd4 b5 8.Nxc6 Bxc6 9.Bb3 Nf6 10.c4 Be7 ( Nxe4 requires enormous bravery. Most nations would award such a knight the 'medal of honour' for such a bold expedition, but in this case, it's not likely to be a sacrifice on the winning side. 11.cxb5 axb5 12.Bd5 Bxd5 13.Qxd5 Nf6 14.Qc6+)


White is already eyeing towards the 'weak' c7 pawn.

11... O-O 12.Re1 Nd7 13.Be3 b4?

BD_27015_276_1.pngDiagram #2

( Re8 14.Nd5 Nc5 would have been a better alternative.)

14.Nd5 Bxd5?

BD_27015_276_2.pngDiagram #3

( Re8 15.Ba4 Bxa4 16.Qxa4 a5 was better, although White's position is preferable.)


BD_27015_276_3.pngDiagram #4


The pawn structure in this position is quite similar to Benoni, except that it's a much better version of Benoni for White. Black won't have the c7 weakness in the Benoni as the pawn will be on c5.

15... Bf6 16.Qc2 Qe7 17.Re2 Rfc8 18.Rc1 a5 19.Ba4 Rab8 20.f4

Quite typical in Benoni structures - breaking through in the center. After White prepares this fully, Black will be helpless to prevent this.

20... g6 21.Qd3

Also giving the option of something like Rec2 or Bb5-a6. The 'principle of two weaknesses'

21... Bg7 22.Bf2 Nb6 23.Bc6 Bh6 24.Rf1 Bg7 25.Rfe1 Rd8 26.g3 Qf6 27.e5?

BD_27015_276_4.pngDiagram #5


'Black holes' are easier to explain than such 'Blackouts'.

27... dxe5 28.fxe5??

BD_27015_276_5.pngDiagram #6

( 28.Rxe5 Qxc6 29.dxc6 Rxd3 30.Re8+ Rxe8 31.Rxe8+ Bf8 32.Bxb6)

28... Qxc6

BD_27015_276_6.pngDiagram #7

Lessons learned :-

1.Pay attention till the last minute regardless of whatever the position.  "It ain't over until it's over"

In the next game, Black reaches a good position when White capitulated.

Petrov, Marijan - Kalinins, Valentine 0-1

Dublin Easter e2e4 op 2013.04.01

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 a6 6.a3 Nc6 7.d5 Ne5 8.Be2 Nxf3+ 9.Bxf3 g6 10.g3 Bg7 11.O-O Bh3 12.Re1 O-O 13.Bf4 Qd7 14.a4 Rfe8 15.a5 Rad8 16.Qe2 e6 17.dxe6 Rxe6 18.Qc4 c6

Unlike the previous game, White isn't clearly better before the inexpcliable blunder.


BD_27015_276_7.pngDiagram #8

19... Qxd1+ (19... Qxd1+ 20.Rxd1 ( 20.Qf1 Qxf3 -+ )20... Rxd1+ 21.Nxd1 Re1+ 22.Qf1 Rxf1#)

So what did we learn?

It's fun playing higher rated players and grandmasters.  It's always an opportunity, because they're not too big to hit, but they're too big to miss.  Always stay alert for opportunities, and you'll usually always get them.

It's also very important for grandmasters to take everyone seriously and give respect to their opponents.  Especially more so if their opponent is 9 years old!

That's it for this week's David vs Goliath.  Do you've any such interesting games to contribute? Feel free to share in the comments below!


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combinatie 22:37 - 20 Jan 2015

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