The Indian Sign - First Move Chess -First Move Chess


The Indian teenagers continue to rampage and make the headlines, as Donnarumma Gukesh – who prefers to go by his given name of “Gukesh D” – made a little bit of history earlier this week in the $150,000 Aimchess Rapid prelims, by becoming the youngest player ever to beat Magnus Carlsen as World Champion in tournament praxis.

On the eve of the Chennai Olympiad back in August, Carlsen stated that he feared the all-teenage India B Team [over the host nations’ A Team] that went on to sensationally have a podium finish by capturing the bronze medal. It’s a sign of the times that saw all of Carlsen’s fears being realised in the Aimchess Rapid, as it was his second loss in two days to the dangerous new crop of Indian rising stars, as he also lost to 19-year-old Arjun Erigaisi.

But despite those two teenage defeats, Carlsen went on to be one of the eight qualifiers going forward to the knockout stage of the penultimate leg of the $1.6m Meltwater Champions Chess Tour – only to find himself once again clashing meeting Erigaisi in the quarterfinals!

Aimchess Rapid Quarterfinal bracket
Jan-Krzysztof Duda v Vidit Gukrathi | Magnus Carlsen v Arjun Erigaisi
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov v Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Richard Rapport v Gukesh D

You can follow all of the knockout stages action from Tues. 19 Oct., at with live commentary from the regular Tour team of host Kaja Snare with GM David Howell and IM Jovanka Houska, at

Meanwhile the ongoing $262,000 U.S. Chess Championship, being held in the Saint Louis Chess Club, is heading down the home-stretch of the final two rounds with Fabiano Caruana, looking for only his second title, holding onto his slim half-point lead over nearest challenger, Ray Robson – though now the front-runners only have Leinier Dominguez and Sam Sevian on their tail.

You can follow the race for the titles, which is free and live to watch from 2pm CT at

U.S. Championship: 1. F. Caruana, 7.5/11; 2. R. Robson, 7; 3-4. L. Dominguez, S. Sevian, 6.5; 5-7. J. Xiong, A. Liang,  S. Shankland, 6; 8-10. W. So, D. Swiercz, H. Niemann, 5.5; 1112. L. Aronian, A. Lenderman, 4.5; 13. C. Yoo, 4; 14. E. Moradiabadi, 2.

U.S. Women’s Championship: 1. WGM J. Yu, 8/11; 2. GM I. Krush, 7.5; 3. WGM T. Cervantes, 7; 4. A. Lee, 6.5;  5-7. FM R. Yan, M. Lee, WGM G. Tokhirjonova, 6; 8-10. IM A. Zatonskih, FM R. Wu, WGM T. Abrahamyan, 5; 11-12. WGM S. Foiser, IM N. Paikidze, 4; 13-14. WFM S. Morris-Suzuki, FM A. Eswaran, 3.5.

GM Gukesh D – GM Magnus Carlsen
Aimchess Rapid Prelim, (9)
French Defence, Classical Steinitz/Boleslavsky variation
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 Theory-wise, the Winawer variation (3…Bb4) is more popular – but the Classical French is a very solid option. 4.e5 A little like the Advance variation in the French (3.e5), this way of playing against the Classical French was popularised by the first World Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, hence the name-share. 4…Nfd7 5.f4 c5 The Classical French Steinitz sees White gaining a big advantage in space, but Black having a rock-solid position with his pawn formation that can come into it’s own, if we get to the endgame. 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 And now we come to the second part of the name-share, the Boleslavsky variation, named after the early Soviet-era player and leading theoretician, Isaac Bolesavsky, who became a mentor to David Bronstein, the first Candidates’ winner who became his eventual son-in-law. The idea behind 7.Be3 is to try and force an early release of the tension on d4. 7…a6 8.Qd2 b5 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Bxc5 Nxc5 11.Bd3 Qb6 12.Qf2 A common motif for White in this line, as the pin on the …Qb6 is a little awkward for Black, and on f2, White can also now castle kingside and go for the all-out kingside attack with f4-f5. 12…b4 13.Ne2 a5 14.0-0 Ba6 15.f5 exf5 16.Nf4 Ne7 17.e6!?! The turning point in the game, as the e6-pawn becomes a big bone stuck in Carlsen’s throat. 17…f6 18.Rac1 Looking to ratchet up the pressure on …Nc5/…Qb6 pin by opening the c-file – but better was the straight-forward 18.Nd4 to follow up with Qe3 and Rae1 to reinforce the e6 strongpoint. 18…0-0 19.c3 Qd6! Carlsen gets out of the troublesome pin and should be better – but the e6-pawn is clearly still a headache for him, and he never really reconciles this fact. 20.Bxa6 Rxa6 21.cxb4 Ne4! 22.Qe3 axb4 23.Nd4 Rxa2 24.Nb5 Qe5 Mr Engine will tell you that 24…Qb8 is better – but the human instinct clearly knows that the centralised queen is the more natural choice. 25.Rc7 Re8?? The position is on a knife-edge for Gukesh, and Carlsen surprisingly makes a big blunder. Instead, after 25…Ng6! Black is close to winning from here with the major threat simply being …Qxb2 and major threats on the seventh rank for the White king, forcing full grovel mode with 26.Nd3 where 26…d4! all but forces 27.e7 Re8 28.Nxe5 dxe3 29.Nc6 e2 30.Re1 Rxb2 31.Rd7 Ne5 32.Rd8 Nxc6! 33.Rxe8+ Kf7 34.Rc8 Nxe7 with …Nd5 and a winning advantage. 26.Qb6! [see diagram] With the Nf4 covering the mating threat on g2, Gukesh seizes his moment to take it to the nth degree, and suddenly Carlsen discovers that his position is collapsing all around him. 26…Ng5 There no time for 26…Ng6 as 27.Qb7 will soon see the Black king being instead being kebab’ed somewhere along the seventh rank. 27.Rxe7! The threat of Qd8+ means the rook can’t be captured – and with it, Gukesh sets the record of becoming the youngest player to beat Carlsen in a competitive competition. 27…Rea8 28.Qc7 Renewing the mating threats along the seventh rank – Carlsen is doomed, as he can’t even exchange queens due to his loss of material – but also there’s a hidden resource behind Qc7, as Black’s only trick was …Qe3+ and …Qxf4 and the queen couldn’t be captured due to the back-rank mate after …Ra1+ – but now White can cover this threat by playing play Qxf4. 28…Qe3+ 29.Kh1 1-0



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