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Chess: Magnus Carlsen snaps slump in China

Position No. 6131: Black to play and win. From the game Vladimir Akopian-Laurent Fressinet, 39th Olympiad, Khanty-Mansiysk 2010.

Solution to Position No. 6130: White wins with 1 Ne5! Bxe5 2 f6 exd3 3 Qxe5+ and 2…Nb1+ 3 Ke1 Qc6 4 d7+ Kf7 5 dxc8Q Rxc8 6 Rd7+ Ke8 7 Re7+ Kd8 8 Rxe5.

Magnus Carlsen defeated three elite grandmasters to take the lead in the Pearl Spring double round robin in Nanjing, China. The Norwegian star scored 5-2 in the first seven rounds of the 10-game tournament. Carlsen had fallen to second in the world rankings because of poor performances in two recent events, but he has regained an estimated eight of the 24 rating points he lost.

World champion Viswanathan Anand of India and French grandmaster Etienne Bacrot were Carlsen’s closest rivals, with scores of 4-3. Bacrot upset Anand in the first cycle but lost the rematch.

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Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, who has not completely recovered from losing the 2010 world championship match against Anand, started slowly with 3-4.

For the latest results, see chess-pearlspring.com.

World record

Grandmaster Alik Gershon of Israel set a record by playing 523 players simultaneously in an exhibition in Tel Aviv. He won 454 games, lost 11 and drew 58. The feat took 18 hours, 30 minutes.

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The previous record of 500 games was set in 2009 by Iranian grandmaster Morteza Mahjoob.

Local news

A new club in Newbury Park plans to provide tournament play and instruction for children and adults. For more information, visit conejovalleychessclub.com.

The Hanley Chess Academy, 7390 Center Ave. in Huntington Beach, will host the West Coast Championship, a set of rated and non-rated scholastic events on Nov. 13 and 14. In addition, master Joe Hanley will give a simultaneous exhibition at 7 p.m. Nov. 12. For full information, see hanleychessacademy.org.

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The AAA Chess Club’s Fall Scholastic attracted 60 entrants Oct. 23 in Glendale. Arthur Hovhanissyan and Armen Sarkissian tied for first place with scores of 4-1 in the Open (grades K-12) section. Alexander Chakmakian (K-7) and Kendrick Calaguas (K-4) led their sections with 5-0 scores. Harut Keshishian directed.

Metropolitan Chess, 110 E. 9th St.in Los Angeles, will conduct an international tournament, beginning Nov. 12. Spectators are welcome. The club also plans side events for those who want to play. Contact Michael Belcher at td@chess.com for information.

Expert Mehrdad Miralaie took first prize and the best game prize in the 32-player championship of the La Palma Chess Club. Chris Roberts finished second, and Craig Hilby, Rahul Nair and Gary Hynds won class prizes. For more information about the Friday evening club, see lapalmachess.741.com.

The best game prize in the Southern California Open was awarded to Craig Clawitter for his victory over Robert Xue.

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Games of the week

Michael W. Brown-Mehrdad Miralaie, Club Championship, La Palma 2010: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e5 The Budapest Gambit. 3 dxe5 Ng4 4 Nf3 Only 4 Bf4 keeps the pawn. Bc5 5 e3 Nc6 6 Be2 Ngxe5 7 Nxe5 Nxe5 8 0-0 0-0 9 Nc3 White has a safe position and possibly a tiny advantage, but Black has little to fear. d6 10 b3 Be6 More common are 10…Re8 and 10…Bf5. 11 Bb2 Re8 12 Ne4 Bf5! 13 Ng3 White can reach a slightly favorable, but drawish, endgame by 13 Nxc5 dxc5 14 Qxd8 Raxd8 15 Rfd1. Bd7 14 Qd2 a5 15 a3 Ba7 16 Rad1 Bc6 Black’s pieces are more actively placed. White should seek simplification by 17 Bd4. 17 Qc3 Qh4! Not fearing 18 f4?? because 18…Bxe3+! 19 Qxe3 Ng4 wins White’s Queen. 18 Qc2?! Re6 Threatening 19…Rh6 20 h3 Bxg2. 19 Nf5?? Disastrous. White can still defend by 19 h3. Be4! As 20 Nxh4 Bxc2 costs White a pawn. 20 Bd3 Giving Black a chance to go wrong by 20…Bxd3? 21 Rxd3 Qe4 22 Rd2, but Black’s reply should win quickly. Nf3+! 21 gxf3 Rg6+ 22 Ng3 Rh6 23 Rfe1 Qxh2+ 24 Kf1 Bxf3 25 Bxh7+ Rxh7 Good enough, of course, but 25…Kh8 26 Bxg7+ Kxg7 27 Qc3+ f6 would end White’s resistance. 26 Qxh7+ Kxh7 27 Re2 Re8 28 Bd4 Qg2+ 29 Ke1 Bxd4 30 Rxd4 Qg1+ 31 Kd2 Bxe2 32 Kxe2 Qa1, White Resigns.

GM Magnus Carlsen (Norway)-GM Etienne Bacrot (France), Nanjing 2010: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 The Scotch Game. Bc5 5 Nb3 Allegedly harmless. More fashionable is 5 Nxc6 Qf6 6 Qf3. Bb6 6 Nc3 Nf6 7 Qe2 Nor does 7 Bg5 h6 8 Bh4 d6 9 Bd3 Be6 promise White an edge. 0-0 8 Bg5 h6 9 Bh4 a5 10 a4 Nd4 11 Qd3!? New. After 11 Nxd4 Bxd4 12 0-0-0, Black takes the initiative with 12…Bxc3 13 bxc3 Qe7, meeting 14 e5 strongly by 14…Qa3+ 15 Kd2 Qxa4. Nxb3 12 cxb3 Slightly compromising his pawn structure. However, Black may incur his own weaknesses in trying to free his pinned Knight. Re8 13 0-0-0 d6 14 Qc2 The direct 14 f4?! Be6 15 Kc2 fails, to the energetic 15…g5! 16 fxg5 Ng4 17 Re1 hxg5 18 Bg3 Qf6. Bd7? Wasting a move. Most challenging is 14…c6 15 Bc4 Qe7 16 Rhe1 Be6, when 17 Nd5!? cxd5 18 exd5 g5 19 Bg3 can be parried by 19…Nxd5! 20 Rxd5 Bc5. Nevertheless, White could venture 19 dxe6!? d5 20 Bg3, when 20…Red8 21 Qf5 dxc4 22 Bd6 and 20…fxe6 21 Qg6+ Qg7 22 Qxg7+ Kxg7 23 Bb5 keep a small advantage. 15 Bc4 Be6 Also uncomfortable is 15…Bc6 16 Rhe1. 16 Rhe1 Qe7 Planning 17…Bxc4 18 bxc4 Qe6 to unpin his Knight. The other method, 16…Bxc4 17 bxc4 g5 18 Bg3 Qc8, appears shaky after 19 e5 dxe5 20 Bxe5. White may follow with h2-h4. 17 e5! dxe5 18 Rxe5 Black is still suffering because of the pin. Qf8 It’s doubtful if 18…g5 19 Bxe6 fxe6 20 Bg3 Qf7 21 h4 improves. Carlsen’s novelty has succeeded. 19 Bxf6 gxf6 20 Re2 Qg7 21 Bxe6 Rxe6 22 Rxe6 fxe6 23 Rd3 Transformation of advantages. White undoubled Black’s pawns so he can more easily attack Black’s King. Kh8?! Tougher is 23…Kf8 24 Rg3 Qf7, although both 25 Ne4 and 25 Qd2 continue to attack. 24 Rg3 Qh7 25 Qd2 Bc5 26 Ne4! Be7 27 Rh3 Spotting that 27…Qxe4 28 Qxh6+ Kg8 29 Rg3+ Kf7 30 Qh5+ leads to mate. Kg7 28 Qd7! Kf7 29 Ng5+! Smoothly heading for an easily won endgame. fxg5 30 Rf3+ Kg8 31 Qxe6+ Kh8 32 Rf7 Bd6 33 Rxh7+ Kxh7 34 Qf7+ Kh8 35 g3 Black cannot establish a fortress. He would drop material by 35…Rf8 36 Qg6 or 35…Rg8 36 Qf6+ Kh7 37 Qf5+ Kg7 38 Qxa5. Ra6 36 Kb1 Now, if Black takes control of f6 by 36…Rc6 37 f4 gxf4 38 gxf4 Bc5 39 f5 Bd4, White makes progress anyway by 40 b4! axb4 41 Qf8+ Kh7 42 Qxb4 Bg7 43 a5 Ra6 44 Qxb7, foreseeing 44…Rxa5 45 f6! Bxf6 46 Qxc7+. Bb4 Hoping for 37 Qxc7?! Rf6. 37 f4! gxf4 38 gxf4, Black Resigns. The pawn will reach f6 unless Black loses the Bishop by 38…Bd6 39 f5 Be5 40 Qe8+ or 38…Bc5 39 Qe8+ Kh7 40 Qd7+ Kg6 41 Qd3+! Kg7 42 Qc3+.


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