CHESS - 17/10/10 Daily Express
Chess Diagram 1
Sunday October 17,2010
LAST week I wrote about the chess Olympiad held in Khanty-Mansiysk.
Another highlight from the event was Michael Adams' well-deserved win over world no. 1 Magnus Carlsen in our match against Norway, which took us to a 2.5–1.5 victory in the match as the three other games were drawn.
Since rocketing to the world number 1 spot, Carlsen seems to have hit a rocky patch.
He lost three games at the Olympiad, and as I write this has started off with a double zero at the elite Grand Slam final in Bilbao, losing to both Anand and Kramnik.
Shirov completes the quartet.
He qualified with Kramnik by winning another elite tournament in Shanghai shortly before the Olympiad.
Alexei finished ahead of Levon Aronian, Kramnik and the talented young Chinese player Wang Hao.
Kramnik went through against Aronian in their playoff to win the second spot in Bilbao, and currently leads the event.
Michael Adams - Magnus Carlsen
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6!? Sitting just two boards away, I was amused to see such a provocative opening choice appear on the top board. This obscure opening is known as the 'North Sea Defence' and has been tried by opening mavericks like Alexander Morozevich and the late Tony Miles. Suffice to say, it's not as stupid as it looks. 3.e5 3.Nc3 might transpose to a Pirc defence after 3...d6, or Black can try 3...d5!? 4.e5 Nh5. In that position, the knight can aim to re-emerge via g7 and f5, and Black has a passive but very solid setup. 3...Nh5 4.Be2 d6! (see diagram) 4...Ng7 is playable, followed by d7-d5 with a similar position to that mentioned above, but it's certainly not a position to everyone's taste.
5.Nf3! Faced with an offbeat line, it's often tempting to try to punish your opponent. But if you do that, you can be sure your opponent has some ideas up his sleeve too. Mickey's reaction is much more prudent. 5.Bxh5 is the most critical line. But after 5...gxh5 6.Qxh5 dxe5 7.dxe5 (7.Qxe5 Rg8 is also interesting, with both Rxg2 and Nc6 in the air) 7...Nc6!? 8.Nf3 Rg8 Black has good compensation for the sacrificed pawn. I'm sure Magnus was hoping for something like this. 5...Nc6 6.exd6 exd6 7.d5 Ne7 8.c4 Bg7 9.Nc3 0–0 10.0–0 This sober choice has yielded White a modest but pleasant edge. More importantly though, Mickey has refused to be provoked, and Black is still under some psychological pressure to justify his opening choice. 10...Bg4 11.Re1 Re8 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Nf6 14.Bf4 Nd7 15.Rc1 Ne5 16.b3 a6 17.g3 Nf5 18.Bg2 (see diagram)
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