An unusual tournament has taken place at the Lindores Abbey Whisky Distillery in Scotland, namely a double-round competition between four of the world’s elite, including world champion Magnus Carlsen. The final scores out of six were as follows: Magnus Carlsen 3½, Ding Liren and Sergey Karjakin 3, Viswanathan Anand 2½, and this week I focus on the decisive games from this most imaginative event.
Carlsen-Anand: Lindores Abbey Stars 2019 (See diagram 1)
Anand, as Black, had doubtless prepared a defence against the dangerous-looking 21 Qb3. In fact, after 21 Qb3 Black can defend with 21 … Rb8 22 Qxf7+ Kh8 23 Nxc5 Nxc5 24 Rxc5 Ne5 with strong counterplay. By inverting the move order of his attack against f7, the reigning world champion gains a significant advantage. 21 Bxf7+ Kxf7 22 Qb3+ Kf8 23 Qxb7 Rxe3 24 Ng3 Nce5 25 Bd2 Rd3 26 Ne4 Black’s king is exposed and his queenside pawns are weak. 26 … Rb8 27 Qd5 Rxd2 28 Nxd2 Nd3 29 Rc2 Qe7 30 Ne4 Nf4 31 Qc4 Black resigns
Ding Liren-Karjakin: Lindores Abbey Stars 2019 (see diagram 2)
The f2 and f7 squares are notorious weak points in the army of every chess player. Black now spots an opportunity to strike at this sensitive target but sadly for him this turns out to be an occasion when White can defend. 17 … Nxf2 18 Kxf2 Bc5+ 19 Be3 Bxe3+ 20 Kxe3 f6 21 exf6 Rxf6 22 Bf3 Qe7 23 Kd2 Qd6 24 Kc1 White avoids the greedy 24 g4 which is refuted by 24 … Rxf3 25 gxf3 Qf4+ mating. 24 … Qxg3 25 Ra3 Raf8 26 Nc3 Kh8 27 Nb5 Bxb5 28 axb5 Qh4 29 Kb1 Rf4 30 Re3 R8f6 31 Bg4 Rc4 32 Qd3 Rb4 33 Bxe6 Black resigns
Karjakin-Anand: Lindores Abbey Stars 2019 (see diagram 3)
Here 50 … Re7 would pin the white knight and hamper his attempt to make anything of his passed b-pawn. 50 … Rxh3 51 Ne5 Black’s materialist 50th move enables White to coordinate his position and the b-pawn soon wins the game. 51 … Kf6 52 Kd5 Kg5 53 Rxf7 Be3 54 Rg7 Kf4 55 Rxg6 Kg3 56 b6 Rh1 57 b7 Rb1 58 Rg7 Bf4 59 Nc4 Rd1+ 60 Kc5 Rc1 61 Rf7 Rb1 62 Kc6 Bb8 63 Rf8 Rb4 64 Rxb8 Rxc4+ 65 Kb5 Rc1 66 Rg8 Black resigns