Gibraltar 2016 – Authors in Action

GM Gawain Jones had a great result at the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters, which finished yesterday. Gawain scored 7.5/10, in a tie for 3rd, half a point behind Nakamura and Vachier-Lagrave. Gawain’s final-round game was with Black against Yu Yangyi, a 2747-rated 1.e4 player. Fortunately, Gawain has a Dragon repertoire he can trust.

I will give that game below, but another QC author at Gib was IM Marc Esserman, who played his favourite 1.e4 against both Nigel Short and Vishy Anand. Short played the French and lost, while Anand’s 1…c5 was of course met by 2.d4, but after 2…cxd4 3.c3 Anand avoided any Mayhem in the Morra with 3…Nf6, and drew. Great results for Marc, but I was looking forward to a Nd5 piece sac (they’re everywhere in the Morra).

On the topic of QC repertoires, Victor’s Mikhalevski’s recommended line in The Open Spanish remains popular at the highest level, with the likes of Mamedyarov, Giri, So, and Wei Yi playing it with solid results. Ding Liren even used it to draw against Magnus Carlsen at the recent Wijk aan Zee event, though he did need to hold rook versus rook-and-bishop. It may lack the glamour of the Dragon or Morra, but the Open Spanish is a great choice if you want to keep out elite opposition.


White: Yu Yangyi (2747) Black: Gawain Jones (2625)
Gibraltar Masters (10.5) 04.02.2016

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6
Showing his faith in the Dragon.

6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0–0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.Bb3 Rc8 11.0–0–0 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.e5
Gawain was not worried about this one: “The immediate central break does not put much pressure on Black.”

13…dxe5 14.Bxe5 Bc6 15.Qxd8
Chapter 9, variation B2 of Volume 1, if you want to check it out yourself.


Finally varying from the book, but with a rather harmless move. But the alternatives were not threatening either: 16.Rxd8+ and 16.a4 were the moves mentioned by Gawain.

16…Bh6+ 17.Kb1 Nd7
Black is comfortably equal. I will not analyse the rest in any depth.

18.Bd4 a5 19.a3 b4 20.axb4 axb4 21.Rhe1 e5 22.Bf2 Nf6 23.Bg3?
Missing a trick. 23.Bh4=

Now Black is a little better.

24.Rg1 e4 25.Be5 exf3 26.gxf3 Bxf3 27.Bxf6 Bxe2 28.Bxd8 Rxd8 29.c3 Bxd1 30.Rxd1 Rb8 31.Kc2 Bf4 32.Rd7 Rf8 33.h3 bxc3 34.bxc3 Kg7 35.Bd5 g5 36.c4 Kg6 37.c5 h5 38.c6 f5 39.c7 Rc8 40.Kd3 g4 41.hxg4 hxg4 42.Bb7 Rxc7 43.Rxc7 Bxc7
Whatever the merits of White’s moves just before the time control, this is still a draw.

44.Ke3 Kg5

Yu Yangyi missed something, or perhaps he thought his position was losing anyway.
The tablebase knows 45.Kf2! was the only drawing move. After, say, 45…f4 46.Kg2 Black needs to support the …f3-advance with his king, as otherwise White sacrifices his bishop for the last two pawns. (Endgame tip: this position is much simpler to draw if the bishop is on e2 or d1, but Yu Yangyi did not have that option.) But when Black moves his king around, White is just in time by attacking the g4-pawn. For example: 46…Kf6 47.Bc6 Ke5 48.Bb7 Kd4 49.Bc8 f3+ 50.Kf2=

45…Bb6+ was also winning.

46.Ke4 Kh4 47.Kf5 g3

The Dragon equalized convincingly against a 2747 player, and then Gawain did the rest.

2 thoughts on “Gibraltar 2016 – Authors in Action”

  1. The Topalov line played, and advocated in the book, by GM Jones is just completely equal – even lines in the excellent GM Negi book leads to 0.00 equality.
    Another example from Jones recent game is the one played in the critical main line against other strong opposition (they follow the book until move 31 where the line ends in the book and Jones assessed it as equal – p. 165 of Vol. 1):

    Ma Qun 2606–Jones, G. 2625
    123rd ch-NZL Open 09.01.2016
    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Bc4 0-0 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.exd5 a5 16.a3 Kg8 17.Rhe1 Rc5 18.Re3 b4 19.axb4 axb4 20.Qxb4 Qa8 21.Bc4 Bf5 22.Ra3 Qc8 23.b3 Qc7 24.Qd2 Rc8 25.Qd4 e5 26.dxe6 d5 27.exf7+ Qxf7 28.g4 Bxc2 29.Kxc2 Rxc4+ 30.bxc4 Rxc4+ 31.Qxc4 dxc4 32.h3 Kg7 33.Rd4 Qe7 34.Rc3 Qe2+ 35.Rd2 Qe6 36.Ra3 Qh6 37.h4 Qe7 38.Rc3 Qxh4 39.Rxc4 Qg3 40.Rd3 Qf2+ 41.Kc3 Qe1+ 42.Kd4 Kg5 43.Re3 Qa1+ 44.Ke4 Qb1+ 45.Rd3 Qe1+ 46.Re3 Qb1+ 47.Rd3

    Good luck to White players to prove anything against the Topalov variation!

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