Queen User's Manual

Everyone who follows the championship knows the gem of the second day already, so let us spare it for the conclusion of the article. Chronologically it would be quite correct, too.
One does not need diagrams to describe the World Champion's performance on this day. His only loss against Alexander Zubov is noticeable because Magnus was defeated with his own weapon – he handled an equal and safe ending poorly and without a plan, and gradually created critical problems for himself. Of his four wins, the game with Hrant Melkumyan stands out – winning it required tons of luck. However, there is hardly any need of showing how the Armenian managed to lose the position with a healthy extra exchange – the players are getting tired, and their nerves are getting strained, and it often leads to the most improbable outcomes.

The Pin

M. Antipov – E. Tomashevsky
31.e5! Kf8. With his previous move Black placed the queen from а4 to а2, so one can conclude that White's pawn punch became an unpleasant surprise for his opponent. Evgeny discovered the threats of 32.Bxh7+ Kxh7 33.Qxa2 and 32.exf6, and dealt with them. However, this gave White a more refined tactical idea. 31...Qa1, 31...Qa7 or 31...Qa8 would be more tenacious.

32.f4. Mikhail overlooks 32.exf6! Rxe2 33.Rb8+ Re8 34.Rxe8+ Kxe8 35.fxg7. The new queen emerges by force, and after 35...Qxc2 36.g8Q+ Ke7 37.Bg5+ f6 38.Qg7+ White has two extra pawns and a winning position.

32...dxe5. This sacrifice is little bit short of being totally sound, but under these circumstances it is probably the best practical chance.

33.Rxc5 exf4.
In the case of 34.Qb5! White would still be playing for a win, while 34.Qd1? Qa7! led him to an unpleasant and sad finale.

Delayed Penalty


D. Bocharov – V. Artemiev
Vladislav Artemiev became one of the main heroes of the tournament middlegame. The key part of the following fragment is a backward queen move, too.

32...Qa8! Stronger and trickier than the immediate 32...Qxa3 33.Rxb5. Black shows that he is capable of playing all over the board. White cannot grab a pawn: 33.Rxb5 Rh8! 34.f3 Re8 with a failure on the e-file, or 33.Bxb5 Rh8! 34.f3 Qxa3 35.Re4 Qa5, and the queen transfers to the h-file. White's best chance is 33.Rb3, hoping for the best. Dmitry decided to block the insecure diagonal with the bishop, forgetting that the threat of taking on a3 is still there.

33.Bd3? Qxa3. White resigns.

Delayed Fianchetto

D. Bocharov – M. Bosiosic
On the move 9 White developed his bishop to е2, on the move 15 brought it back to f1, and played g2-g3 only on the move 20. In the diagrammed position Black has no compensation for a pawn. An attempt to restore the material balance is strongly met by fianchettoing the bishop.

30...Nxf5? 31.g4! Nh4. Hoping for 32.gxh5 Nf3+, regaining the queen with a discovered check.

32.Bg2! Two pieces are attacked again, and the idea with the fork no longer works: 32...Bxg2 33.gxh5 Nf3+ 34.Kxg2 Nxd2 35.Rxd2. Black continued 32...Qf7 33.Bxb7 and resigned in a few moves.

Exchange First

K. Piorun – B. Jobava
30...Qc4? It was necessary to prepare this move with 30...Nxh3+ (note it is a check) 31.Qxh3. Now the bishop revenges for the disregard.

31.Be6+! Capturing with the knight is not possible: 31...Nxe6 32.Qxc4. The material balance after 31...Qxe6 32.R7xe6 Nxe6 33.Rxe6 is also not exactly favorable for Black, who did not last much longer.

Checking Back

We will continue studying queen endings using Daniil Dubov's games as a model. Well, okay, don't take it too seriously.

K. Piorun – D. Dubov
59.Qe6+?? Qg6+. The queens are getting exchanged. The Black's king is in the passed pawn's square, and the White's king is not. 59.Qd2+ is much better: 59...Kg6 60.Qd6+ Kh5, and now 61.Qd1+ is possible, as after 61...Qg4+ 62.Qxg4+ Kxg4 63.e6 White queens his pawn first. 59.Qd6+ Qg6+ 60.Kf2 is also possible, offering the trade on his terms.

Mating Net

G. Oparin – D. Dubov
Daniil was in a big trouble in this game, but somehow saved half a point. In the diagrammed position the computer suddenly begins calculating moves to mate:

74.Bf7!, and the rook inevitably lands on h5: 74...Bg5 75.d8Q Bxd8 76.Rh5+ or 74...Qb6+ 75.Kc2 Qxa6 76.Rh5+.

Theoretical Discussion

E. Inarkiev – I. Cheparinov
One can only guess the depth of the players' preparation. According to the database, the following move is a novelty. Apparently, learning the first 20 moves cold is not good enough.

21.Bd3?! Piorun-Wojtaszek (Doha 2015) saw 21.Bc4 cxd4 22.cxd4 with compensation for an exchange, and was eventually drawn.

21...cxd4 22.c4. Perhaps Ernesto just noticed that 22.Bxf5? dxc3 loses material.

22...Ne7. Black is better. Ivan eventually won without much trouble.

Queen Sacrifice

After losing to Wang Hao in the 9th round, Dmitry Andreikin managed to return to the leading group brilliantly.

P. Svidler – D. Andreikin
White's position is quite hopeless due to the errors committed earlier. The 8-time Russian champion allows the 2-time Russian champion a spectacular finale.

25...Qxh2+!! 26.Kxh2 Rxh4+ 27.Kg3 Rh3+ 28.Kf4 Rf3+ 29.Ke5 Rg6. Threatening both 30...d6# and 30...Re6#, and there is no way out. White resigns.
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