The Solskogen chess tournament returns!
Welcome to Solskogen’s chess column! Today we are analyzing a little gem of a game; it’s the second game of the 2016 Solskogen Organizers versus The World (aka all the participants). After a spectacular eight-move defeat as black, the world team would now seek revenge as white. And what a great game it was! FLASHBACK TIME!
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bg5
The Torre attack isn’t normally played at top level, but the World team opts for a calm opening without too much complicated theory. The organizers opt for a similarly natural line:
3. … Nc6 4. e3 e6 5. Nc3
At this point, the World has transposed over into a closely related line, the Richter–Veresov. Curiously enough, a third related line, the Trompowsky attack, was played by Magnus Carlsen in the first game of the world championship match against Sergey Karjakin only four months later.
5. … Bb4 6. Qd3
Black opts for pinning the knight. White could have opted for returning the pin, but chooses a novelty. Qd3 had not been played before on the top level. It might look like a strange move because it blocks off the bishop and doesn’t do anything about the pin, but it set up for an action-filled game with long castling.
6. … h6 7. O-O-O!!
Without hesitation, a certain American named after a Bulgarian 1980 movie steps in and makes his first move, a real zinger. Boldly sacrificing White’s bishop for a tempo! What genius. Black has no real choice but to accept the sacrifice.
7. … hxg5 8. Nxg5 Bd7 9. a3 Ba5 10. Qb5 Bxc3?
The organizers are trying to weaken White’s king position by opening up the b-file and creating doubled pawns in the c-file. But the world team does not feel constrained by the ordinary guidelines of chess, such as taking back material.
11. g3! Ba5
(In all earnestness, Nxd4 would have been a stronger move, with a very elegant discovered double-attack on the queen and then moving to f3 to threaten the knight at g5. I can forgive myself for not seeing that in the game, though. :-) )
12. Qxb7 Ng4
White for a change does the boring thing and snatches the poisoned pawn. (It was getting very close to the street basket competition anyway, and the most creative chess players on the World team were already very busy warming up.) Of course, Black is now threatening to take the pawn on f2, forking the two rooks, but the World team just…
Moves the pawn! Genius again.
13. … Nf2 14. Nxf7 Kxf7 15. Rg1 0–1
And at this point, Brave, Brave Sir Duckers from the World team thought the organizers had had enough suffering, so he humbly resigned on their behalf, allowing the organizer to win the combined match 2–0. :-)
(If you don’t know anything about chess, but wonder if you’re good enough to participate in the 2017 game on the world team; given this game, you definitely are. Come to the party and show us your moves!)