This week I conclude my coverage of the Fidé (World Chess Federation) Grand Prix which finished last month in Khanty-Mansiysk. Three shared first place: Dmitri Jakovenko, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura. Although Jakovenko emerged in pole position on tie-break, it was Caruana and Nakamura who qualified for next year’s Candidates tournament to determine a challenger to world champion Magnus Carlsen by virtue of their superior scores in the overall series.
Here are some of the decisive moments from this important event.
Caruana-Tomashevsky: Khanty-Mansiysk 2015 (see diagram 1)
White’s king is safer than Black’s and he has powerful central play. Caruana quickly converted these advantages. 31 e6 Re7 32 Bh4 Ree8 If 32 ... Bxe1 33 Bxe7 Bxf2 34 Bd8 wins. 33 e7+ Qf7 34 Re6 b5 35 Rd8 bxa4 36 Qe3 Bxe7 Desperation but White’s build-up is overwhelming. He will move his king to unpin the rook and then continue Rxa8 Rxa8 and e8Q+. 37 Rxa8 Rxa8 38 Bxe7 Re8 39 Ka1 a3 40 bxa3 Qf5 41 Qc3 Black resigns
Nakamura-Vachier-Lagrave: Khanty-Mansiysk 2015 (see diagram 2)
Nakamura’s clever thrust now highlighted the weaknesses in the black position. 19 Nc5! bxc5 20 dxc5 Nd5 21 cxd6 Qxd6 22 Ne4 Qe5 23 Rc1 Nb6 24 Qb4 Rad8 25 Nc5 Rd4 This is a blunder but after 25 ... Ba8 26 Rfe1 the black position is unappealing. 26 Qc3 Bc8 27 Rce1 Black resigns
Jakovenko-Karjakin: Khanty-Mansiysk 2015 (see diagram 3)
Black’s blockade is not easy to penetrate. Jakovenko now manoeuvres cleverly in order to invade with his king. 57 Kh4 Rd5 58 Qb6 Bf5 59 Kg3 Kg6 60 Qa7 Rd3+ 61 Kf4 Rh3 62 Ke5 Rh4 63 Qe7 Rh5 64 Qf8 Rxg5 65 Kd6 Black resigns After 65 ... Kxf6 66 Qd8+ Kg6 67 h7 Black loses his rook.
The Chicago Open recently witnessed a remarkable result as 14-year-old Jeffery Xiong took first place and the $100,000 first prize ahead of a number of powerful grandmasters including Gata Kamsky. This week’s puzzle is a win by Xiong from an earlier event.