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Endgame Lab


The 2011MelodyAmber Tournament The 20th and possibly last edition of a venerable tournament.


By GMPal Benko It has now been 20 years that this


extraordinary chess battle has been tak- ing place in Monaco. The idea for the event and the generous sponsorship has come fromJoop van Osterom, but it now looks like this was the final time that 12 top players will play one blind and one rapid game against each other. The actual standings finished topsy turvy consider- ing their pre-tournament ratings: 1. Levonian Aronian 151 141


⁄2 ⁄2


Worthy of note is that Carlsen swept in rapid chess (91 in blind (81


) while Aronian was best ⁄2 ). Exchange sac?!


Benko Gambit (A59) GM Boris Gelfand (FIDE 2733) GM Magnus Carlsen (FIDE 2815) 20th Amber Rapid


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 g6 6. Nc3 Bxa6 7. e4 Bxf1 8. Kxf1 d6 9. g3 Bg7 10. Kg2 Nbd7 11. f4


An aggressive continuation that aims to


carry out e4-e5, which Black can imped by keeping pressure on the d5-pawn.


11. ... 0-0 12. Nf3 Ne8 13. Re1 Nc7 14. Bd2 Nb6 15. Qe2 Qd7 16. b3 f5!


This counter thrust blows up the cen-


ter and is based on the lack of a c4-pawn. 17. a4 fxe4 18. Qxe4 Qf5 19. Qxf5 gxf5


r+ + rk+ + n p lp n


+ pP+p+ P+ + P + +PN +NP + L +KP R + R +


After 19. ... gxf5 54 Chess Life — August 2011 p + +


20. Rxe7? Costing the Exchange, but Black already


had a superior position. For example, 20. Rad1 Bf6 followed by ... Nxd5 and ... Rb8.


20. ... Nbxd5 21. Rd7 Nxc3 22. Rxg7+ In the case of 22. Bxc3 Bxc3 23. Rc1


; 2.Magnus Carlsen


; 3. Viswanathan Anand 13 points. ⁄2


Ba5 would come and win for Black. 22. ... Kxg7 23. Bxc3+ Kf7 24. Rd1 Ke7 25. b4? Merely accelerates the end by helpfully


creating a passed pawn for his opponent, but all alternatives were also inferior.


25. ... Rxa4 26. bxc5 dxc5 27. Be5 Nb5 28. Rb1 Rb4 29. Ra1 c4 30. Ra6 Rc8 31. Rb6 c3 32. Rb7+ Ke6 33. Bxc3 Rxc3 34. Rxb5 Rxb5 35. Nd4+ Kd5 36. Nxb5


Having the knight roaming the kingside


would allowWhite chances, but it is shut out and can even be captured.


36. ... Rc5 37. Na3 Ra5 38. Nb1 Ra2+ 39. Kh3 Kd4 40. Kh4 Rxh2+ 41. Kg5 Rb2 42. Na3 Rb3 43. Nc2+ Ke4 44. Kh4 h6 45. Kh3 Rb2 46. Ne1 Rb1 47. Nc2 Kd3,White resigned.


Again proving that winning back the


gambited pawn not only equalizes but (usually) provides a better endgame in the Benko Gambit.


Exchange return GM Levon Aronian (FIDE 2808) GM Hikaru Nakamura (FIDE 2774) 20th Amber Rapid


+ + rk+ +p+ + +p p


+ +Pr + + RL+ L


+ + + P PP + P + + + + K


Black to play p + l Ourman started with bad luck that let


Aronian fly. Black has won an Exchange but White’s position here is not at all hopeless since he has a strong bishop pair. Black’s pawns are scattered and there is no passed pawn.


27. ... Bc1 28. Rc4?! Instead, 28. Rb4 Bxb2 29. f4 Ba3 (29.


... Ree8 30. Bxh7+) 30. fxe5 Bxb4 31. e6 could have been tried.


28. ... Bxb2 The alternative of 28. ... b5 29. Bxh7+


Kxh7 30. Rxc1 Re2 31. g4 Rf4 looks like an improvement over the game continuation.


29. f3 Ba3 Stronger is 29. ... Ree8 so that 30. Rc7


can be answered by 30. ... Rf7. 30. Rc7 Rf7 31. Rc8+ Kg7 32. g4 Rxe4! Black gives back the Exchange since


other alternatives did not offer much promise because ofWhite’s activated rook and Black’s passive ones.


33. fxe4 Rf4 34. Rc7+ Kg6 35. Kg2 Rxg4+ 36. Bg3 Rxe4 37. Rxb7 Rb4


Unfortunately, 37. ... Bc5 can be


answered by 38. Bxd6! 38. Kf3 Rb5 39. Bf2 Rxd5 40. Rxb6 Kf5 Bad luck continues for Black since 40.


... Rf5+ 41. Kg3! Rxf2 42. Rxd6+! Bxd6 43. Kxf2 saves White because of the h-pawn and wrong-color bishop which is a theo- retical draw.


41. Rb3 Ra5 42. Be1 Ra4 43. Bf2 Bc5 44. Bxc5 dxc5 45. Rb5 Rc4


The line 45. ... Ra3+ 46. Ke2 Rxa2+ 47.


Kd3 h5 48. Rxc5+ Kg4 49. Ke3 leads only to a draw as it falls one tempo short.


46. a4 Rc3+ 47. Ke2 Ke4 48. a5 c4 49. Rh5 Rc2+ 50. Kd1 Ra2 51. Rxh7 Rxa5 52. Kc2 c3 53. Rh4+ Kf3, Draw agreed.


(see next game top of next page) uschess.org


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