25 Dec 2008

Merry Xmas

to anybody happening by.

In the frozen North, Elista to be precise, they are hard at it: one of the Grand Prix tournaments is taking place with 14 players taking part.

Carlsen has opted out of the circuit, and I can't blame him. Fide is mucking top players about yet again.

Not too charmed to have to follow another player, but chess is chess and I am having a look at the famous Wang today.

In Round 9 he is playing Black against Bacrot.

They have reached a crucial stage, and unless White plays 14.Na4 or in a pinch 14.Nb1, it is curtains for Bacrot.
At the time of posting this, 13.30 GMT, Bacrot is still thinking.

He jumped that hurdle well, and did play 14.Na4, but then slipped at move 16, by playing 16.Nd3 rather than the cautious move 16.Kb1.

After 20.Qxf2 Black's pawn formation is faultless and White's chances are evaporating fast.

However, on move 21 Black started the QS pawn tussle a touch too early with 21...b3, where it might have been wiser to prepare the ground with Bf6, which he played a move later.

after 24.h3 with 24....Raa8 to follow.

Attention now shifts to the KS and the Rooks are getting ready for action.
I would have preferred Black's Queen on =a6=. but what do I know...

Almost any other move would have been better for White than the one he actully pulled out of the hat: 28.Be1 ?? (What was wrong with 28.Kb1 or Bb4 or g4 or Rd1 or Re1 or...I could go on.)

A DSB each, but look at Black's Pawns: all of them on light squares, whereas White has a useless Bishop with almost every pawn on a dark square.
It seems gridlock however and a chance to draw will present itself soon I reckon.

Spoke too soon: Black obviously has other ideas and plays the reckless 32...Rg6, throwing caution to the wind.

Nothing much else to play but 33.g4 and then, when the smoke lifts, and the ground is cleared, Black will have such a slight edge, depending on which Rook move he plays on move 35, that a draw must be the result. No?

After the unavoidable 33.g4, Wang has been thinking for more than 20 minutes and still no move. 30 mins each and finally the expected exchanges on =g4=.

I know it is not OCB's (Opposite Coloured Bishops), but it certainly cannot be anything but a draw, surely.

Anyways, I'm out of here.

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