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Vladimir Kramnik regains top form

Position No. 6082: White to play and win. From the game Yun Fan-Rusudan Goletiani, U.S. Women’s Championship, St. Louis 2009.

Solution to Position No. 6081: Black wins a piece with 1 . . . d5 2 Ne3 d4 3 Nc4 (or 3 Rxc7 dxe3+) b5.

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia won the Tal Memorial in Moscow by scoring an undefeated 6-3. The round robin featured 10 of the world’s top 13 stars.

Kramnik, in his prime at age 34, seems fully recovered from losing the 2008 world championship match to Viswanathan Anand of India. He also won his previous elite tournament in Dortmund, Germany, in July.

In Moscow, Kramnik reached "+3" after six rounds, and only Anand, who was "+2,” remained close. However, Anand lost in the last round to Levon Aronian of Armenia and fell to a tie for fourth place with Aronian at 5-4.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine shared second place at 5 1/2 -3 1/2 . Both went undefeated.

Carlsen, who was ill, won his last two games after drawing his first seven. Ivanchuk gave Kramnik a scare in the final round, but Kramnik withstood a fierce attack and drew.

Others: Boris Gelfand (Israel), 4 1/2 -4 1/2 ; Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine), 4-5; Peter Svidler (Russia), 3 1/2 -5 1/2 ; and Peter Leko (Hungary) and Alexander Morozevich (Russia), each 3-6.

According to the unofficial ratings posted at chess.liverating.org, Carlsen is now first in the world at 2805.7, just ahead of Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria at 2805.1. Next are Anand (2789.7), Kramnik (2785.7) and Aronian (2781.3).

Local news

The 45th American Open will be held Thursday through next Sunday at the Renaissance Hotel, 9620 Airport Blvd. in Los Angeles. The eight-round, six-section main event will award a minimum of $19,500 in prize money. Those who do not want to play on Thanksgiving may choose the three-day schedule, starting with three fast games on Friday.

The American Open provides the most attractions for spectators, including free lectures and free nonstop chess videos. Three side events will complete the chess weekend. The American Open Scholastic starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, a 10-minute event begins at 8 p.m. Saturday and a five-round tournament of 30-minute games starts at noon Sunday. Details and an online entry form are posted at americanopen.org.

The 16th SPA Fall Classic, held Nov. 14 at St. Paul the Apostle School in Westwood, attracted 23 players. Section winners were Aiden Angles, Brendan Barber-Choi, Daniel Nathanson, Nathan Aloisi and Reid Whitney. David De la Torre directed his first tournament.

Today’s games

GM Magnus Carlsen (Norway)-GM Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine), Tal Memorial, Moscow 2009: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 Alternatives are 6 . . . e5 and 6 . . . Ng4. 7 f3 b5 8 Qd2 The English Attack against the Sicilian Defense. Nbd7 9 g4 h6 Not bad is 9 . . . Nb6 10 0-0-0 Nfd7. 10 O-O-O Ne5 11 Qe1 A harmless innovation. Qc7 12 h4 b4 13 Nce2 Nc4 Also 13 . . . d5 creates a wild position. 14 Nf4!? As 14 Bf2 e5 15 Nf5 Be6 16 Neg3 Rc8 17 Bd3 Qa5 favors Black. Nxe3 Probably best. Too dangerous is 14 . . . e5 15 Nd5 Nxd5 16 exd5 exd4? 17 Bxd4+ Kd7 18 Qxb4 or 17 . . . Be7 18 Bxg7. 15 Qxe3 Qb6? Overestimating his threat of . . . e6-e5. Simply 15 . . . Be7 16 Nd3 Rb8 is fine. 16 Bc4! To meet 16 . . . e5 with 17 Bxf7+! Kxf7 18 Qb3+ Ke8 19 Ng6, although 19 . . . exd4 20 Nxh8 Ra7 isn’t as horrible for Black as the game. Qc5?! 17 Qb3 d5?! Even the superior 17 . . . Qe5 18 Nfxe6 fxe6 19 Bxe6 Bxe6 20 Nxe6 Kd7 21 Nd4 gives Black little chance to survive. 18 exd5 Bd6 Useless is 18 . . . e5 19 Rhe1 Bd6 20 Nc6. 19 Nfxe6 fxe6 20 dxe6 Overwhelming. Be7 21 Qd3 O-O 22 Bb3? Sloppy, as 22 . . . Bb7 23 Qg6 Ne8 hangs on. Instead, 22 g5! hxg5 23 hxg5 Qxg5+ 24 Kb1 leaves Black helpless against 25 Rdg1 or 25 Nf5. Rd8? 23 g5! Back on track. If 23 . . . hxg5, quickest is 24 Qg6! g4 25 Nf5. Nh7 24 gxh6 Qh5 25 Qe4 Qxh6+ 26 Kb1 Ra7 27 Nf5 Rxd1+ 28 Rxd1 Qf6 29 Rd7! Bxd7 30 exd7+ Kf8 31 Qd5, Black Resigns.

GM Alexander Morozevich (Russia)-GM Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Tal Memorial, Moscow 2009: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 Capablanca’s system against the Nimzo-Indian Defense. 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 d5 7 Nf3 In the first round, Carlsen tried 7 cxd5, but Kramnik reached a promising position by 7 . . . Ne4 8 Qc2 exd5 9 Bf4 Nc6 10 e3 Re8 11 Nf3 g5! 12 Bg3 g4. dxc4 8 Qxc4 b6 9 Bf4 Welcoming 9 . . . Nd5 10 Bg5 f6 11 Bd2, as e2-e4 will follow. Ba6!? 10 Qc2 Black has scored well after 10 Qxc7 Qd5 11 Qd6 Qe4. Nbd7 11 e4 Bxf1 12 Kxf1 c5 13 Bd6 Re8 14 e5 Nd5 15 h4 Suspect strategy. However, 15 dxc5 Nxc5 16 Bxc5 Rc8 17 b4 bxc5 18 bxc5 Qa5 19 Ng5 f5 gets White no advantage. cxd4 16 Ng5 f5! 17 Qc4 Black’s pieces work very well after 17 exf6 N5xf6 18 Qb3 Nc5 19 Bxc5 bxc5 20 Nxe6 Rb8 21 Qa2 Qd5. Qc8 18 Qxd4 Nc5 19 Rd1? Faulty, as is 19 Rc1?! Qa6+ 20 Qc4 Qxc4+ 21 Rxc4 Nb3! 22 Kg1 (not 22 Ke2?? b5) h6 23 Nf3 Rac8. White’s best chance is 19 Bxc5 bxc5 20 Qc4. Nb3! 20 Qd3 Nc1! 21 Qb5 Black should win after 21 Qf3 Qc4+ 22 Kg1 Ne2+ 23 Kh2 Qxh4+ 24 Nh3 Qg4! 25 Qxg4 fxg4. Qc2 22 Rxd5 If 22 Rd4 Nb3 23 Rxd5 Qb1+ 24 Ke2, both 24 . . . Qxh1 and 24 . . . Qxb2+ are very strong. a6! 23 Qxb6 Not 23 Qd7?, as 23 . . . Qc4+ 24 Kg1 Ne2+ 25 Kh2 Qf4+! 26 Kh3 Qxf2 forces mate. Qc4+ 24 Kg1 exd5 25 g3 h6 26 Nf3 The clever 26 Qb7!? hxg5 27 e6 fails if Black finds 27 . . . Ne2+ 28 Kh2 Rxe6! 29 Qxa8+ Kh7 30 hxg5 Qe4. For example, 31 Bc5 Qf3 32 Rd1 f4 33 Qxd5 fxg3+ 34 Kh3 Nf4+ and 31 Qb8 Qf3 32 Rf1 Rxd6! 33 Qxd6 f4 win for Black. f4 27 g4 Qe4 A little easier is 27 . . . Nd3 or 27 . . . Qc8 28 Nh2 f3! 29 Qe3 Ne2+ 30 Kf1 Qc4. 28 Kg2 Nd3 29 Qb3 Threatening 30 Rd1. Qc4! 30 Qb7?! Black refutes 30 Qd1 Rac8 31 Qd2 by 31 . . . Qe4! 32 Rd1 Nxf2! 33 Qxf2 Rc2 34 Rd2 Rxd2 35 Qxd2 Rc8. Nxf2! 31 Kxf2 Neither 31 Re1 Nxg4 nor 31 e6 Nxh1 32 Be5 Qe2+ 33 Kg1 Qf2+ saves White. Qc2+ 32 Kg1 Or 32 Kf1 Qd3+, picking off the Knight. Qd1+ 33 Kf2 Qxh1 34 e6 Rac8 35 Qf7+ Kh8 36 Bc5 Qc1 37 b4 Qc2+ Other winning variations begin with 37 . . . Rf8! and 37 . . . d4 38 Nxd4 Qe3+. 38 Kg1 Qe2 39 Nd4 There are no swindles after 39 Qxf4 Rxe6. Qxg4+ 40 Kf2 Qxh4+ 41 Ke2 f3+ 42 Kxf3 Allowing a flashy finish. The alternatives 42 Nxf3 Qe4+ 43 Kf2 Rxe6 and 42 Qxf3 Rxc5 43 bxc5 Qxd4 lose routinely. Rf8! 43 Bxf8 Rc3+ 44 Kg2 Also 44 Ke2 Qe4+ 45 Kf1 Rc1+ 46 Kf2 Qxd4+ leads to mate.Qg3+ 45 Kf1 Rc1+, White Resigns.


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