David Smerdon | June 10, 2013 17:54

Greek tragedies

The recent FIDE Grand Prix event in Thessaloniki provided me with hours of entertainment over the past week. I took to it like test match cricket: I had the games up on screen in the background while I worked on my thesis in the office. I was thrilled to see Lenier Dominguez (my nemesis from the 2009 World Cup) power through the imposing field to record probably his biggest tournament victory, propelling him to 11th in the live world rankings.

While all the attention in the final rounds was on the tournament leaders, there were plenty of really interesting games throughout the field, with two in particular offering some beautiful variations to the armchair analyst. I’ve copied my analysis below (also giving me a chance to give this new webpage chessgame viewer a try. What do you think?)

In the battle between two former FIDE World Champions in round 8, Ukrainian Ruslan Ponomariov couldn’t hold a difficult rook-versus-bishop-and-knight endgame against Rustam Kazimdzhanov. However, from the safety of my office chair and with the aid of my computer engine, I spotted two tough drawing chances for Ponomariov just before the second time control. Here’s the position before Black played 54….Kh5, leaving Ponomariov (white) to find his 55th move:

PGN string

The other game I want to share with you is the multi-queen epic Topalov-Caruana. After the young Italian secured a second black queen, Topalov quickly capitulated, but he could have made things a lot more difficult for his opponent. Let’s check it out with Topalov (white) to play his 55th move:

PGN string


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David Smerdon's picture
Author: David Smerdon

David Smerdon is a chess grandmaster from Brisbane, Australia. David attended Anglican Church Grammar School and Melbourne University. To qualify for the title of Grandmaster, a player must achieve three Grandmaster norm performances, and a FIDE Elo rating over 2500. Late in 2007, Smerdon achieved his third and final Grandmaster norm. In the July 2009 FIDE rating list his rating passed 2500, so he qualified for the title of Grandmaster. He is the fourth Australian to become a Grandmaster, after Ian Rogers, Darryl Johansen and Zhao Zong-Yuan. In 2009, Smerdon won the Queenstown Chess Classic tournament.

Source: Wikipedia




choufleur's picture

64. Kxg3 Kf7!!
I fail to see why such an obvious moves deserves so much praise.

Dan O'Dowd's picture

re: Choufleur, Smerdon is probably here using the Nunn Convention in that any move in an endgame annotated ! is an only move, and in that regard, !! is a particularly hard to find only move. It's difficult to know this wins by analysis simply from the fact that White has two passed connected pawns on the sixth rank as well as two others further back.

Allons-y!'s picture

monsieur choufleur we must always bring in the king in the endgame! ah oui oui!

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