A challenge match between the USA and China is under way in Ningbo, China, but neither country is fielding its big guns. In this game, Sam Shankland maintains strong piece activity in the face of an imposing centre and he secures half a point with a clever combination:
18.e5(18.exf5 Rxe2! 19.Qxe2 Ng3+, or 18.Nf2 d5)18...Re6(18...f6!? seems consistent)19.Qf2 Qxf2 20.Nxf2 dxe5 21.fxe5 f6 22.Bf3 Bg6 23.Bxh5 Bxh5 24.Nf4 Bf3+ 25.Kh2 Re7 26.exf6 Re3! 27.f7+ Kxf7 28.Ng4(See board above)28...Bc7!(28...Bxg4 29.Nd5+ Kg8 30.Nxe3 is better for White)29.Nxe3(29.Kg3 Bxg4+ 30.Kxg4 Kg8 is rather better for Black)29...Bxf4+ 30.Kg1 Bxe3+ 31.Kh2 Bf4+draw The pin on the ‘f’ file obliges Black to keep checking.
Position after 28.Ng4
The position below is a technical win and the plan of Ra6 and Ke5 will be decisive. Today’s puzzle is: does it matter in which order White plays these two moves?
White to play
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Answer: Yes it certainly does. In Pisu-Dicu FISCA Open, 2013 disaster struck after50.Ke5?? Rf8! 0-1, as Rf5will be mate. 50.Ra6 Kd7 51.Ke5 wins, but of course not 50.Ra6 Rf8+ 51.Ke5?? but 51.Ke3 and bringing the king to the queenside wins.