Short v Anand

There is a very big chess tournament in progress at the moment – the London Chess Classic 2011 which features four players rated in the 2800s (plus 5 others), namely Carlsen 2826, Anand 2811, Aronian 2802 and Kramnik 2800.   Anand is the World Chess Champion and Kramnik is a former World Champion.   You can follow the games live on the internet but unfortunately they don’t start until about midnight Melbourne time.   One commentator called it the strongest chess tournament ever held in Britain.   I’m not so sure.

In rating terms it may well be the highest rated ever but everyone knows that ratings have inflated over time and there have been a few strong tournaments in Britain before.   Hastings 1895 apparently wasn’t too bad, but it was a bit before my time.   My choice would be Nottingham 1936 which featured Botvinnik, Capablanca, Lasker, Alekhine and Euwe (plus others) who between them held the world title between 1894 and 1957 inclusive!   I think that I’d pick them in a match against the current mob.

There has however been some very interesting chess being played in the current tournament.   Nakamura v Howell in round 5 was a nice tactical skirmish which I may well publish in “On the Move.”   Meanwhile for today’s puzzle place yourself in the shoes of the current World Champion, Anand, as Black to play in the diagram against Short.   He can play 1…Qf4+ to swap off queens but that gives him isolated and doubled pawns.  Would his extra pawn then be enough to win?  You decide.

[fen caption=”Should Black play 1…Qf4+?”]8/5p2/5qk1/6p1/1Q5p/7P/6PK/8 b – – 0 1[/fen]

ANSWER:

Yes!   The extra pawn can be used to gain the opposition and win as follows: 1. … Qf4+ 2.Qxf4 gxf4 3.Kg1 Kf5 4.Kf2 Ke4 5.Ke2 f3+ 6.gxf3+ Kf4 7.Kf2 f6 0-1. White’s King must more to the side and let Black’s King in.

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