Monday, July 6, 2009

Chess Notes

The Ruy Lopez tournament is held annually at Zafra, Spain. This year it was held June 13-19. The tournament honors the Spanish cleric Rodrigo Lopez de Segura (1540-1580). Lopez was born in Zafra and was bishop of Segura. He was generally thought to be the strongest player of his time.
In this tournament Michael Adams is upset in the first round by the young (20) IM David Larino, the current Spanish champion. In the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez, Adams suffers an early inferior position and has to surrender a pawn.
Nevertheless, Adams sets up a defensive position with his minor pieces that appears to be impenetrable. In such situations, there are always weak spots, and Larino, in no hurry to make a premature attack, was able to find them.
The tourney was won by Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria, a half a point ahead of Adams.
a) This has become a fashionable way for White to fight for advantage here.
b) Also 6. . .Be6 is sometimes played.
c) Surprisingly, this move is quite infrequent, with 8.Nc2 and 8.d4 more common. I see no obvious reason why this move is not also reasonable, however.
d) 8. . .Bb7 9.Rd1 O-O-O has been tried a few times, with a sharp fight.
e) There is a nasty little trap after 9. . .Bg4 10.h3 Bh5? (10Bxf3 is necessary with an edge to White) 11.d4! cxd4 12.cxd4 exd4 13.Nxb5! axb5 14.Qxb5+ and the bishop on h5 hangs!
f) This looks too ambitious. Better is 14. . .Be7 with a tough fight.
g) Now Black is in big trouble as 19. . .Nxe5 20.Bxe5 Bxe5 21.Re1 wins the bishop.
h) Very nice! Black has no way to escape loss of material since 24. . .O-O 25.Ne7+ hangs the queen and 24Qa8 25.Bxg7 Nxg7 26.Rd8+ is catastrophic.
i) Not 28. . .Qxb2 29.Rd1 and 30.Rd8+ cannot be stopped.
j) Here and for several moves 31. . .Qxc6 loses to 32.Qxf7+ Kd8 33.Rf6.
k) A very nice victory against one of the world’s strongest players!
Annotations by grandmaster Patrick Wolff, a two-time US champion who offers chess exercises and more at