I first encountered the Triskelion, the traditional coat of arms of the Isle of Man, when I saw Laurence Oliver’s film of Shakepeare’s Richard III. At the crucial Battle of Bosworth, Lord Stanley, the Earl of Derby and feudal lord of the Isle of Man switches sides and betrays Richard. His three-legged triskelion banners are seen hurtling down on King Richard’s forces just before the immortal lines, ‘A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!’
The only knights in action on the Isle of Man in the past weeks have been those on the chessboard. Congratulations are due to the organisers and sponsors for attracting a hugely powerful field which included the reigning US and British champions and the better part of the gold-medal-winning US Olympiad team. This week’s game sees one of that team coming to grief at the hands of a talented young Dutch grandmaster.
Nakamura-Bok; Isle of Man Masters 2016; King’s Indian Defence
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 f3 e6 4 e4 c5 5 d5 d6 6 Ne2 Bg7 In spite of a non-standard opening sequence, the game has transposed to a recognisable Benoni formation. 7 Nec3 a6 8 a4 Nh5 9 Be3 exd5 10 cxd5 f5 11 exf5 gxf5 12 Qd2 Varying from Garriga-Antoli, Mislata 2014 where 12 f4 was played. 12 … 0-0 13 Be2 Nd7 Allowing Black to advance with … f4 seems to me to be overly encouraging of Black’s counter-offensive. White should have taken his final chance to play 14 f4 himself. 14 0-0 14 … f4 15 Bf2 Qg5 16 g4 Ne5 17 Kh1 Nf6 18 Rg1 Qg6 19 Bh4 Much stronger is the development of his second knight with 19 Na3. 19 … h5 The immediate 19 … Nfxg4 20 fxg3 f3 is another way to pursue the initiative. 20 g5 Nfg4 (see diagram 1) 21 Ne4 21 fxg4 hxg4 is very strong for Black. 21 … Bf5 22 Nf6+ A rush of blood to the head. He must consolidate with 22 Nbc3. 22 … Rxf6 23 gxf6 Bxf6 White’s bishop is now stuck as 24 Be1 is met by 24 … Bxb1. 24 Nc3 Bxh4 25 Raf1 Bg5 26 h4 Bh6 (see diagram 2) 27 fxg4 White finally takes the knight but Black’s kingside pawn mass is now overwhelming. 27 … hxg4 28 Rxf4 Qh5 29 Rg2 Qxh4+ 30 Kg1 Ng6 31 Rxf5 Bxd2 32 Rxg4 Bxc3 33 bxc3 Qe1+ 34 Bf1 Kg7 35 Rfg5 Qb1 White resigns
The final rounds of the Tal Memorial in Moscow did little to add to the gaiety of nations. For example, in the last three rounds only one game had a decisive result (see this week’s puzzle). The final scores out of 9 were as follows: Nepomniachtchi 6, Giri 5½, Aronian, Anand 5, Svidler, Li, Kramnik, Mamedyarov 4½, Tomashevsky 3½, Gelfand 2.