Luke McShane


White to play, position after 9…g5

It’s a joy to watch a player like Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who can light a fire with his bare hands. Where most are content to develop their pieces in the opening moves, he has a knack for igniting the play at the slightest provocation.

In the game below, Caruana’s move 9 h3 looks unremarkable, but Mamedyarov saw a ‘hook’ for his attack which began with 9…g5 (see diagram), since the imminent advance g5-g4 threatens to open the g-file, so that a rook on g8 can menace the White king on g1.

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