The sixth and last women’s Grand Prix for 2012 is on at Ankara. Each GP has a fund of Euro 40,000 with first place worth Euro 6,500. Each invitee plays four GPs and the best three results are counted with 160 points for first, 130 for second, 110 for third, and so on, and points averaged if places are shared.
Originally, the overall GP champion was to receive Euro 15,000 and the right to challenge for the world title. The Euro 15,000 award stands. But Hou Yifan, who isn't playing Ankara, has forced a change in the challenge condition.
Hou won three of the four GPs she played for a perfect score of 480. So the second-placed GP finisher will challenge her. This could be either Anna Muzychuk (375 points from three; 275 points from best two) or Koneru Humpy (320 points from three; 255 points from best two). Humpy shares the lead with Ruan Lufei (both 3.5 points) after four rounds, with Muzychuk on 3. There are seven rounds to go. Ruan-Humpy meet in Round 6 and Humpy-Muzychuk is in Round 9.
On Saturday. the Sao Paulo-Bilbao Grand Slam starts. This is played in a sound-proofed glass cage and of course, Bilbao was the first to adopt soccer scoring. This edition has Carlsen, Aronyan, Anand, Karjakin, Caruana, Vallejo in a double-rounder. One obvious way to game soccer-scoring is reciprocal cheating (I throw game 1, you throw game 2) but that’s very unlikely here! It will be Anand’s first outing since his title defence and one hopes the world champion has recovered form.
There were many wonderful games at the Olympiad so one is spoilt for choice. The diagram, WHITE TO PLAY, (Nakamura Vs Kramnik, USA Vs Russia, Olympiad 2012) leads to an extremely unusual material balance after a forced under-promotion. White played 61. c7 e2 62. c8=N+!
The vanilla 62. Kxe2 f3+ 63. Kxf3 (or Kxd2) Bxc7 draws. The text wins after 62... Kf6 63. Kxe2.
White can round up pawns and then mate. It's tricky. The black bishop's presence eliminates both zugwang and stalemate defences. The second knight's presence means mate can be forced in the “wrong” corners (h8,a1), unlike with K+B+Kt against lone king.
Kramnik tried 63. --- Ke5 64. Nb6 Kd4 65. Bg2 Be1 66. Nd5 Ke5 67. Nb4 Bh4 68. Nd3+ Kf5 69. Kxd2 Kg4 70. Ke2 Bf6 71. N1f2+ Kg3. Running for h8 with 71.--Kf5 will last longer. White finished with 72. Bf3 Bd8 73. Ne4+ Kh4 74. Ne5 Bc7 75. Ng6+ Kh3 76. Ne7 Bd8 77. Nf5 Bb6 78. Kf1 Kh2 79. Bg4 f3 80. Nh4 1-0. It's mate after 80.-- Bd4 81.Nxf3+ Kh1 82.Ng3# or 80-Bc7 81.Nxf3+ Kh1 82.Nf2#.
Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player