Where Negi meets Schandorff

August 22nd, 2014 6 comments

Part of my job as the editor of Negi’s 1.e4 book was to check how his analysis matched up against other prominent repertoire books. In the case of Lars Schandorff’s “Grandmaster Repertoire 7″, I checked it but neglected to mention the point of divergence in the text. Here I will correct the oversight.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bd2 Ngf6 12.0–0–0 Be7 13.Kb1 0–0 14.Ne4

This position is reached on page 39 of Grandmaster Repertoire 7.

14…Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Nf6 16.Qe2 Qd5 17.Be3

Schandorff focuses on 17.Ne5 as his main line. In the notes he mentions that the bishop move is “a bit more sophisticated, but it doesn’t threaten anything in particular.” Negi explains that the bishop move is intended as prophylaxis against Black’s intended …Qe4. Thus, if Black responds with a neutral move, White will follow up with Ne5 followed by pushing the g-pawn.


This was a novelty when Lars suggested it. Black prevents Ne5.


A novelty from Parimarjan.

18.c4 Qf5+ 19.Ka1 a5 was mentioned by Lars.

Parimarjan also mentions that 18.g4! Nxg4 19.Rdg1 f5 20.Bc1 is a promising pawn sacrifice.


18…Nxh5 19.c4 Qe4+ 20.Ka1 Nf6 21.f3 Qh7 22.g4 gives White a promising attack.

19.g4! Qd5 20.Rdg1

Negi offers some further analysis to show that White has a promising initiative for the sacrificed pawn.    To summarise, Negi analysed more deeply, but this is hardly surprising given the level of detail of his book. He also benefitted from being able to build upon Schandorff’s analysis as well as any games that had occurred since GM 7 was published. Followers of GM 7 may want to look for another solution, but the line is far from being refuted and there are plenty of other options on move 17.


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Back to Basics

August 18th, 2014 25 comments

How would you defend this position with White?

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Scotland in Tromso – The End

August 14th, 2014 5 comments

The Tromso Olympiad ended earlier today. I will start with a photo from earlier this week of the television in the house the Scottish men stayed in.

Chess on Norwegian TV

What’s the point? That is a snapshot of the five hours of live coverage the main Norwegian TV channel had of the Olympiad each day. Magnus Carlsen is watching his teammate Agdestein. Norway has gone chess mad, or maybe it’s Carlsenmania. If the BBC in the UK had five hours of live chess every day for over a week, there would be rioting in the streets.

For me, the chess in Tromso went surprisingly well,

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Diary from a fried brain – End of Tromso Olympiad

August 14th, 2014 2 comments

Round 10 was another disappointment. Davor held a draw against a good player on board one, while Mads and I had winning chances on boards 3 and 4. At some point Mads entirely lost control and went from winning to entirely lost. A draw was a lucky result.

I had the advantage when I mixed something up in my head and repeated the position for the third time! I was perplexed when my opponent explained it to me, but there was nothing that could be done. The PC says I have some advantage, but I am not really sure the result would have been different had we played on. Still a weird experience.

Allan had a very bad day at the office, losing his third game with White in the tournament. Bummer.

On the rest day I went home. It took 14 hours (three planes), so sorry I did not update the blog before now. To be honest, I am still very very tired.

In the last round we won 3-0. Not a great tournament for us. Jakob won rating and Davor did well until the end. Allan, Mads and I have nothing to be happy about. I lost 3 rating points, but really showed no great chess. I have already decided that I will not annotate a game for the Danish magazine. I just did not play a single good game!

China won the men’s event. It is only the second big title to go to China (outside Women’s chess). The first being Yu Yangyi’s win in the World Junior last year. Again he was the hero with the highest performance of the whole tournament.

On a positive note a good friend of mine made a medal, though he could not care less, as the team did badly…

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Day 9

August 11th, 2014 4 comments

Round 9

What a horrible day. Jakob has just resigned in what looks like a drawn ending. How easy it is to hold, I don’t know, but this is not what we deserved. I will see what FinalGen says.

The game plan was three draws and then Jakob win on board 3 against David Howell. A big ask, but you cannot go into a match without a winning strategy.

Nikos prepped me really well and I could throw it out at move 2! Luckily Gawain Jones could not remember where he should damage me and ended up allowing me to liquidate to an opposite coloured bishop ending. There were a few details and at some point he over-pressed, but I missed it. Draw.

Davor just neutralised Adams as planned. He was a bit worse at some point, but held it together.

Mads got his prep in and was solid as anything. Sadler went too far in his efforts to get something going and at some point Mads was even better. It required a bit of calculation. Three moves later he resigned.

Jakob’s game was very complicated and it looks like he just beat the guy at some point. But at the end he made some horrific decisions in the ending, allowing his opponent first to hold, then to even take the initiative. It was still a draw when Jakob resigned. Maybe even not so difficult to hold, though it looked hard optically.

So, 3-1 for England. A big disappointment.

On good news – Andrew won against Lubomir Ftacnik. He has played really well here.

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Round 8

August 11th, 2014 3 comments

4-0 against Norway 3.

Everything was going well for me, when I blundered badly in move 22, completely missing …f5. After this it was sort of even, maybe with a slight plus for me. Eventually I got a better ending, which he defended badly (…f3 helps me immensely).

The rest of the team had to work hard for their wins as well. A good day, but very tiring.

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Round 7

August 9th, 2014 1 comment

Finally I got a rest day! Which also means (thinking of the playing hall) that I did not go there. But I did follow the games a bit on the Internet.

Davor Palo got a slightly worse position and was ground down. Chess is hard sometimes.

Allan Stig Rasmussen got what he had prepared and a big advantage. He also played really well and won a good game.

Jakob Vang Glud’s position early on looked risky as far as we could tell, but apparently it was preparation and Jakob got out of the opening with a nice position with lots of options. His opponent could not contain all the tactical threats and was torn to pieces.

Mads Andersen got an advantage – I think he was following Negi actually. But at an important moment he realised that a draw was a good outcome and forced it.

A great match for us. Tomorrow we will play Norway3, which has not performed greatly (unlike Norway2!).

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Round 6

August 8th, 2014 1 comment

Round 6

After suffering from bad luck and knights galloping in from hell to shock-change the evaluations, we were now relegated to board 48! Actually, with 4 points we had one point less than Palestine, whom we beat in round 1 with a 4-0 non-contest score; and which failed to show up on time in round two, thus defaulting the match 4-0 as well!

Our opponents Puerto Rico is most here to learn. They were extremely pleasant people, but it is not a country with great chess traditions. So we decided to rest our top man, Davor, to keep him in shape for (hopefully) tougher matches to come. It was a clear match where we just had to play reasonably in order to win. Most resistance was offered to Allan on board one, I think, though I did feel I had to play a few good moves after my opponent made a positional blunder in the opening:

Jacob Aagaard – Edgardo Almedina Ortiz

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 0–0 5.Bg5 d6 6.e3

The harmless Smyslov System.

6…Nc6 7.Be2 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Nh5 10.d5 Nxg3

10…Nb4 is the most natural move. White is probably a bit better.

10…Na5? amusingly loses material at once due to 11.Qc2! (threatening b4) 11…c5 12.Nxg5! , which is the favourite trap in this opening.

11.hxg3 Ne5?

This is just bad positional judgement.

12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.g4

White secures the light squares. Other moves were good too.


Trying to create some counterplay and to get the bishop out. But also an admission that the opening has failed.

14.Nxe4 e6

14…Bxb2 15.Rxh6! is just a pawn up and a weak kingside. 15…Bxa1 16.Qxa1 f6 and I had not finally decided what I would play. 17.Qb1!? came to mind, but 17.Nxg5 fxg5 18.Qb1 was my main intention, as White wins without problems after 18…Bf5 and against 18…Rf7 comes 19.Qg6+ Rg7 20.Qh5 Kf8 21.Rh8+ Rg8 22.Qh7 as I had seen.

15.Nc3 exd5 16.cxd5 c6

16…f5 17.gxf5 Bxf5 18.Qb3 Kh8 looked like the way to keep the game going.


I was happy to exchange pieces and get a great structure.

17…bxc6 18.Qxd8 Rxd8 19.Rc1 Be6 20.b3 Bf8 21.f3!?

I did not like weakening e3, but I need the king on e2 and the bishop is not correctply placed on f3. 21.Bf3 Bb4 22.Ke2 Kg7 and Black can try …c6-c5-c4 with good drawing chances.


After the game we looked at 21…a5 22.Rc2 Bb4 23.Kf2 Kg7 24.Na4 Rd6 25.Rd1 Rad8 26.Rxd6 Rxd6 as being Black’s best chances. White does not win automatically; at least I did not do so when we shuffled the pieces around. Black’s best chance does seem to be to exchange all rooks.


My best move of the game, preventing the a-pawn from moving forwards.

22…Rd7 23.Ke2 Rad8 24.Rhd1 Rxd1 25.Nxd1!

Black has more weaknesses; let’s keep a set of rooks on. Two sets would give counterplay against the king, so I would not like that.

25…Bb4 26.Rc2 h5?

A bit desperate. 26…f5 and the game goes on with a big white advantage.

27.gxh5 g4 28.Nf2 gxf3+ 29.gxf3 Ba5 30.Nd3 Bd7

30…Rh8 31.Nf4 Bd7 32.Rc1 and the rook comes to h1.

31.Ne5 Be8 32.Nd3!?

Keeping calm. I had planned 32.Nxc6 Bxc6 33.Rxc6 Rd2+ 34.Kf1 but now realised Black has 34…Rh2! I think White is winning after 35.h6+ Rxh6 36.Rxh6 Kxh6 37.Bd3 but I did not want to take any risks. It would have been stupid.

32…Rd5 33.Nf4 Re5?!

33…Rg5 34.Bc8 Bc7 35.Bg4 was my plan. It seems that nothing has been spoiled.


This time the exchanges are pleasant for me.

34…Bb6 35.e4 f5 36.Bxc6 fxe4 37.Bxe8 Rxe8 38.Rc6 exf3+ 39.Kxf3 Kh7 40.Nd5 Rf8+ 41.Rf6 Rb8 42.Nxb6 axb6 43.Ke4 1–0


4-0. Tomorrow someone good might await. There are a lot of strong teams here!




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