Monday, 22 June 2015

This was not a weekender

The better you are at chess, the more consistent your play. Although like most generalisations, this is only true until it is false.
As someone who watches a lot of chess in person, I usually get to see players of all strengths throughout the year. From the absolute randomness of interschool chess to the iron precision on the top boards of the Chess Olympiad, the stronger the players the fewer the mistakes. But as someone who enjoys the game for the games sake, my more enjoyable games are the ones with shifting fortunes. The most common venue for these sort of games are weekend chess events, usually between boards 5 and 15. Above or below that one mistake (small at the top, big at the bottom) will decide the game, but in the middle, it is more missed opportunities and slight miscalculations that define the game.
The following game fits the narrative of a 'weekender game', but was definitely not played at one. It was played in the current Capablanca Memorial, between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Yangi Yu. Yu is completely dominating this event, starting the double RR with 4.5/5, but did have a bit of escape in this game. A sharp Sicilian saw both players attacking on opposite sides of the board, before Nepomniachtchi found a lovely queen sacrifice to gain a winning advantage. But like in so many weekender games Black fought back, and White had to run his king up the board. Then just before the time control Nepomniachtchi played an obvious move (37.e7) which turned out to be the losing one. With his king in the centre of the board, this one tempo allowed the Black pieces to start checking and a few moves later Yu had picked up a loose piece and with it the game.
A poor return for such adventurous play from Nepomniatchi, but something that a lot of 2000 strength players can sympathise with.

Nepomniachtchi,Ian (2720) - Yu,Yangyi (2715) [B33]
50th Capablanca Mem Elite Havana CUB (5.3), 19.06.2015

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