Anton Smirnov

I had a interesting conversation about the Australian Masters the other day. “Why’s young Anton playing?” queried my friend. “He’s not strong enough.” “Anton!” I replied, “He’s great – and he certainly won’t finish last.”

Anton must be around 12 years of age now and boasts a FIDE rating of 2160. Should such a young, low rated player be allowed to compete in strong adult events like the Australian Masters? Of course! Such players may well be our future grandmasters. The trouble with juniors is that they can improve so rapidly in a short space of time. Unfortunately they can also plateau and stagnate at the same level for a time.

I still carry the scars from when I was a young man trying to make my mark in adult chess and I optimistically applied for the 1972 Australian Olympiad team. One crusty old selector was incensed and said that “I should not even be considered” as I had not yet come first of second in an Australian Championship. Strangely two years later he had changed his mind and insisted that I should be board 1 in the Olympiad team!

Since then my philosophy has been to promote promising juniors and err in favour of giving them a chance when the opportunity arrises. As for Anton, we are half way through the Masters and he is in 4th place with 3.5 points out of 6 games. He’s crushed IM James Morris, one of the favourites, and last round took perpetual check against IM Guy West when an alternative queen check would have picked up a free rook! The real big tests however are yet to come. Tonight he faces Bobby Cheng and even worse, at some stage he will have to face off against his dad, IM Vladimir Smirnov! I know who I will be barracking for.

Anyway, for today’s puzzle, let’s see if you can do as well as young Anton and finish off IM James Morris. In the position below James should play 1…Rxd6 but instead took with the Queen. How does Anton now win the game?

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3 Responses to “RJ’s Chess Puzzle #158”

  1. December 06, 2013 at 12:34 pm, Susan said:

    Sorry, I am not a very good chess player. Why, after the queen takes the rook, does black resign? I assume the black queen could take the white, then the white knight goes to h6 to put the king in check. Then ….I am lost. Help me out chess brainiacs!!!

  2. December 16, 2013 at 11:53 pm, CGB said:

    Yes, I have the same question as Susan; I don’t see it!



  3. December 17, 2013 at 12:45 am, CGB said:

    I take it back… I get it, potentially:

    Black QxD5
    W NF6

    Then it’s bleak for black…