One problem with lack of organisational coordination is alternating periods of famine and gluts when several high-voltage events coincide. If organisers consulted each other and spaced things out, life would definitely be more fun.
The World Teams Championship has just concluded in Ningbo. The only unbeaten outfit, Armenia grabbed gold with 5 wins and 4 draw in 9 matches. Aronyan recovered from a poor start to end with a tournament performance rating (TPR) of 2826 on top board.
China took silver (+6,=1,-2) and Ukraine (+5,=2,-2) took bronze. India ended seventh (+3,=1,-5) and played spoiler in the last round, beating Russia, which was in medal contention. There were several 2800-plus TPRs. Wang Yue on board two scored 2900-plus TPR for the hosts.
Meanwhile Magnus Carlsen (+5,=3,-1) won Biel with a round to spare. After round 9, the Norwegian has 18 points in soccer scoring and a TPR of 2850. “Weird Al” Morozevich (+3,=5,-1) is 14 and could seal second if he draws on wins against Pelletier in round 10.
Vachier Lagrave or Shirov (both 11) who are paired against each other, could take second if there’s a decision and Moro loses. Biel’s been very high quality. Everybody has at least one loss and the decision ratio is above 50 per cent.
There’s also the Dortmund Super GM where Kramnik is blazing a 3000-plus TPR. He (+5,.=2) has an incredible 6 points from seven games. Quang is second-placed with 4 while Giri is on 3.5. Ponomariov (3), Nakamura (2.5) and Meier (2) trail. Dortmund has an experimental 15-minute net broadcast to reduce chances of external aid (a.k.a cheating).
The diagram, WHITE TO PLAY (Kramnik Vs Ponomariov, Dortmund 2011) is the start of a fascinating tactical phase. It's more or less equal and black could try something solid like 19. Na4 Nxe4 21 Qxb4 etc. Instead play went 19.Na4 Bc4 !? It’s difficult to tell how much of the following was seen at this stage by either player.
White went 20.Qxb4 Qxb4 21.Nxb4 Bxf1 22.Rxf1 Nxe4 23.Nb6. Now 23.--Nd2 24. Rd1 Nxf3 25. gxf3 dxc5 26. gxf3 cxb4 or 26. Nxa8 Ne3 27. Bxe3 cxb4! both look ok. But it would be a brave man who trusted even computer analysis here without a lot of reviews.
Black played 23.-- Ra7 24.cxd6 Nxd6 25.Bxc6 Re2 26.N6d5 Nc8 27.h3 Nh6 28.Rc1 Nf5 29.Bb5! Somewhere in the previous 2-3 moves, white has gained advantage and yes, it was a severe time scramble. Black found best defence with 31.-- Ng3+ 30.Kh2 Nf1+ 31.Rxf1 axb5 32.Bxa7 Nxa7 33.Kg3 Nc8 34.Rd1 Bf8 35.Kf3 Rb2 but the difference in king activity leaves white probably winning. Kramnik wrapped up with 36.g4 Kg7 37.gxh5 Nd6 38.hxg6 fxg6 39.Nc7 Kf7 40.Nd3 Rxa2 41.Ne5+ Kf6 42.Nd7+ (1–0).
Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player