Ignorance is bliss

This year’s Rilton Cup turned out well for me. It was not because I played very well, but rather due to the fact that I was a bit lucky and then didn’t make a mess of it in the later rounds. In the sixth round I managed to win a King’s Indian with the black colours against Maxim Turov and then in the seventh I got the chance to play the same side of the same opening against Mihail Krasenkow. It was clear to me that whatever happened I would always know less of what was going on than my opponent did. Maybe my real advantage was that I would not know how bad my position really was?

I’ll be back soon.

The day before the Day

Tomorrow sees the start of the World Chess Championship Final between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand. Every nook of chess media has filled up with tips and touts as to how the match will go. I decline to offer any such tips and prefer to be surprised whatever happens. I hope Magnus will win, but will be almost equally happy if Vishy takes the title. It’s a clear win-win, for me. What I do hope for is a more equal struggle than the one we witnessed last year. And I believe there is reason for hope. Vishy Anand has a good year behind him and seems to have more “bite” than last year. The margins in our game have become increasingly small and a good start will mean a lot to any one of the two players. Last year the match was decided in the ninth game when Anand managed to get the kind of position that he will have to score from if he is going to have a chance in this match:

Bishop sacrifice on g4 – part 2.

As mentioned it the last entry I played a tournament in Isle of Man at the beginning of October, that was sponsored by PokerStars. It was a well arranged and strong tournament where I had a bad start and struggled to get my game to an acceptable level. I had every intention of publishing a game while I was playing, but in the end I spent so much energy on trying to get myself in shape that there was simply no energy left for anything else. The upside is that I played a King’s Indian game where I got to sacrifice the bishop on g4:

Bishop sacrifice on g4 – part 1.

A few week ago I played an interesting game in Isle of Man that featured a bishop sacrifice on g4. This is obviously not a general theme in just any position, but I will give two examples of how this sacrifice can be an excellent idea for Black in situations where Black’s dark squared bishop is fianchettoed, as usually occurs in the King’s Indian and the Sicilian Dragon. I will start with an example from the Dragon and then give an example from the King’s Indian. I believe it is important to recognize this kind of theme at the board and to be constantly aware of the possibility in situations where it matters. Let’s start with how it can look in the Dragon:

My game from Isle of Man will be published on Thursday.