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Chess (#1031)

Devangshu Datta  |  New Delhi 

In the latest rating list, Carlsen is 2872 with Kramnik 2810, and then Aronian 2809. Anand is at no.6 with 2780 behind Radjabov (2793) and Karjakin (2786). Harikrishna has hit 2705 while Sasikiran is on 2677. In the women’s list, Humpy is no:3 with 2597 behind Judit Polgar (2690) and Hou Yifan (2617). There are five other Indians in the top 100, namely Harika, Tania Sachdev, Mary Ann Gomes, Eesha Karavade, Vijayalakshmi.

Peter Zhdanov has also tried to estimate earnings in terms of prize money and appearance fees (ignoring endorsement income) in 2012. Chess appearance fees are rarely disclosed. The German Bundesliga and the Russian Team championships both pay handsomely, again at negotiable rates.

As Zhdanov points out, this system indicates an inability to attract clean high-end sponsorship where fees would have to be transparently disclosed. Anand and Gelfand top the list. Third is Carlsen, then Aronian, Karjakin, Caruana, Nakamura, Kramnik, Grischuk, and surprisingly, Dmitry Andrekin. Anand cleared over $2 million, while Andreikin is estimated to have crossed $150,000.

The structure is actually more transparent in opens where appearance fees aren’t paid. The strong Gibraltar Open saw four players tied for first with 8 points from 10 games. There was a rapid play off. Maxime Vachier Lagrave lost to Nigel Short and Sandipan Chanda (who gains 22 Elo for this result) lost to Nikita Vituigov. Vituigov then beat Short in a thriller where triple repetition occurred. But due to an anomaly in the rules, Short couldn’t claim. The tie for 5-13 included Ivanchuk, Adams, Navarra and also included Zhao Xue, who held Ivanchuk in the last round to win the women's prize.

The Diagram, WHITE TO PLAY ( Dariusz Swiercz Vs Vachier-Lagrave, Gibraltar 2013) is a wild position. If white tries 24.Bc4? Rxc4! 25.bxc4 Nc3+!! 26. Nxc3 bxc3 27. b3 Qa3 wins for black. White found 24.Rhe1!! Rxc2 25.Bf3! Again, best and practically forces 25...Nc3+!?

White must take 26.bxc3 Rxc3 The alternative 26. Nxc3 Rxb2+ may win for black after 27. Kb2 Rxb3+. It's insane but white also wins after 26.bxc3 bxc3 27. Rxd4! Qa3 28. Kxc2 Qb2+ 29. Kd3 Qd2+ 30. Kc4 or 28.--Qxb3+ 29. Kd3. The Kt can block on c5/c3 and the threat of Qe8+ makes recapture on d4 tough.

White continued to play a wonderful tactical defence with 27.Qd5! Qc7 28.Nxc3 bxc3 29.Rxd4! exd4 30.g6 d3 31.Qxd3 Rxb3+ 32.Kc1 Rb8 33.Bd5 Qa5 34.gxf7+ Kf8 35.Re8+ Rxe8 36.fxe8Q+ Kxe8 37.Qe4+ Kd8.

Now white is clearly winning . The game ended 38.Kc2 Qa3 39.Qh4+ Ke8 40.Bc6+ Kf7 41.Bd5+ Ke8 42.Qe1+ Kd8 43.Qe6 Qb2+ 44.Kd3 Qxh2 45.Qg8+ Kc7 46.Qxg7+ Kd6 47.Bg2 Qh4 48.f6 Qe1 49.Qf8+ Kd7 50.Bh3+ Kc6 51.Qc8+ (1–0).

Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player

First Published: Sat, February 09 2013. 00:16 IST