Cappelle la Grande – Sort of Live

All positions taken from the 9th round of Cappelle la Grande, 8th March 2014.

Ganguly – Azarov

Black to play

Ding Liren – Jovanic

Black to play

Rusev – Negi (analysis)

White to play

Rusev – Negi

Black to play

I know that by the time you read this; the games will be older than yesterday’s news and already have slipped out of the memory of most of the zombies that follow live chess with their engines rather than their brains turned on. At one moment I noticed a few critical moments from some of the top boards, and thought that they were really good small exercises. So, in following recent traditions, where a Monday post is mainly ignored, because it has high chess content, and we have more debatable posts later in the week, I thought I would throw in a few exercises.

About six weeks ago I felt quite burned out relating to blog posts and so on. But having recently received a Slav game to look at (coming up soon) and no less than 15 questions from a GM friend, I think I will be sorted for quite some time to come!
But let’s go for the solutions to the positions above:

Surya Ganguly – Sergei Azarov

Azarov seized the moment.

20…Bxf3! 21.gxf3

A sad necessity. 21.exf6 Qg5! 22.Bxh7+ Kh8 23.fxg7+ Kxg7 24.g3 Rb8! and White will lose a piece.

21…dxe5 22.dxe5 Rb8! 23.exf6 Bxf6 24.Bxh7+ Kh8

Black is completely winning. We will see how it turns out (update: Black eventually won a long ending)


Ding Liren – Jovanic



This is what happens when you have no training in calculation. You try to feel your way through the position. Well, try to feel your way through a complex maths problem and you will know how useless this strategy is.


22.Rxe4!? was also winning. A key line is 22…dxe4 23.Qxg5 fxg5 24.e7 Rfe8 25.Bb3+ Kh8 26.Nf5 g6 27.Nd6 Rxe7 28.Nxc8 Bxc8 29.Rd8+ and White has won a piece.

22…fxg5 23.e7! Rfe8 24.Ba4 Rxe7 25.f3

White won.


21…Rfe8? looks logical, but is utterly useless. 22.Ba4! Re7 23.Nf5 Rxe6 24.Bd7 and White wins. Tactics is not about appearances, but like science, about deeper forces that need to be correctly evaluated to be understood.


21…Rxc2! was the only move. One possible way to find it was by elimination. 22.Nxc2 Ng5! A nice double threat. White is lucky to keep the balance. 23.Qg4! (23.Qc7? Nh3+ is very unpleasant.) 23…Qxc2 24.Rc1 Qg6! (24…Qd2 25.e7 Re8 26.Qd7 is probably also okay, but does give Black practical problems.) 25.e7 Re8 26.h4 Nf7! (26…Ne4 27.Qd7 Nc5 28.Rxc5 bxc5 29.Qxb7 is dangerous for Black.) 27.Qd7 Ne5 28.Qxb7 Nf3+ Black should draw without any real problems.


Rusev – Negi

The final game had two interesting moments.


1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.b3 0–0 8.Be2 b6 9.0–0 Bb7 10.Bb2 Rc8 11.Rad1 Qe7 12.e4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Qxe4 f5 15.Qe3 Nf6 16.Rfe1 Rfe8

Mysteriously the live connection I was watching at some point claimed that Negi had played 16…c5?, leaving White with the chance to get a big plus: 17.d5! exd5 18.Qxe7 Bxe7 19.cxd5. The passed pawn is very strong and Black is struggling with a weak square on b5 and a weak pawn on f5. A tactical point is that 19…Bxd5 loses to 20.Rxd5 Nxd5 21.Bc4 and a piece is lost.

Luckily for Parimarjan he did not rush with …c5.

17.Bd3 Rcd8 18.Ne5 c5 19.Bc2 Qc7 20.h3 cxd4 21.Bxd4 Bb4 22.Rf1 Be4 23.Bxe4 Nxe4 24.Nd3

Our final position. Not too difficult, but if you get here, seeing it will win against a 2541 GM.


Candidates. Black wins the exchange.

25.Be5 Qd7 26.Rxd2 Nxd2 27.Qxd2 Qxd3 28.Qg5 Qd7 29.Bf6 Rc8 30.Re1 Qf7 31.Be5 Rcd8 32.Re3 h6 33.Qf4 Rd1+ 34.Kh2 g5 35.Qf3 Red8 36.Qc6 Qe8 37.Qf3 Rf1 38.Bc3 Rdd1


6 thoughts on “Cappelle la Grande – Sort of Live”

  1. grinding_tolya

    Here it would be nice to have flipped boards 🙂

    1)Ganguly-Azarov , the Rb8 pin I saw, while I missed Qg5. This exercise prooves shows again that lines/files/diagonals can be freed up when calculating ! (a weakness of mine)

    2)On the Ding Liren – Jovanic game, I found the solution by looking at forcing moves first.
    Altough the elimination method is mandatory in certain positions, I try to avoid this in my games as argue that in this caseit’s not so economical and energy consuming.

  2. @grinding_tolya
    We do not know how to do these diagrams flipped.

    I was actually thinking that a puzzle book is where it makes sense; but then using it a way of showing who is to move.

    We will most likely not change anything, but we like to know what people are thinking and the poll numbers are surprising to me.

  3. Amazingly, I chose Bxf3, and Rxc2 in the first two, though in case one for superficial reasons, and in the latter with disastrous follow ups intended. This is why I have set the “Calculation” book aside for a few years—I am not ready—accidentally stumbling upon a correct answer in one out of 10 problems, for shoddy reasons, is luck not skill. It is like a beginner at golf focusing on hitting 1 irons off the deck instead of developing killer skills from 100 yards in. Thank god I have very limited goals—I would be pleased to stay above 1600 , happy with 1700, and thrilled at 1800 (that I think is my realistic upper limit). I do not have natural chess ability—and 1800 will require a lot of work. “Natural chess ability??” Well, I am a literary/ verbal mind not a picture thinking one—so blindfold chess would sink me at move 3. I have always been poor at math and calculation. I have a very good memory, and I spent my youth studying military history, strategy, etc.. Unfortunately, in chess it is not enough to see strategic themes, or have a great strategic plan—the details matter in a life or death way—the order of moves can be outcome determinative; so, strategic insight is of little value when not allied to calculation, visualization, tactical adeptness. Hence, I do not aim too high.

  4. grinding_tolya

    @mark moorman

    I’m also quite bad when it comes to calculation, but that’s due to laziness and a lack of structural thinking.

    When studying chess I’m always torn between my mantra of “you improve most by going the hard way” and the stumbling block of “you can’t run before you have learned to walk”.
    That said I believe that calculation is a particular skill which doesn’t require prior knowledge.

    In your particular case I would first of all read ” Chess for Zebra’s ” which is in your intellectual line. And then start with the Yusupov books (of Quality chess). It covers gradually all fundamental areas in chess. (also calculation and tactics)

    And don’t focus to much on E(g)O rating, instead focus on your level of understanding in chess.

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