Sunday, April 25, 2010


GM Wesley So once again showed his versatility and maturity in front of his adoring chess fans by repulsing the Marshall Attack employed by the Indonesian champion GM Susanto Megaranto in 5th round action of the 9th Asian Contininetal held at Subic, Olongapo, Philippines. Unlike his two previous wins with white, this time around GM So started the game with 1.e4 which his opponent countered with 1..e5 and soon the game transposed into a Ruy Lopez Opening. In his 8th move, GM Megaranto choose the sharp Marshall Gambit and in his 17th move sacrificed a piece in order to launch an attack against GM So's castled king.

Many chess fans were glued at the internet watching the game live at the NCFP website and at the same time kibitzing and analyzing the game at GM Wesley So page where members of Barangay Wesley (BW) holds court including resident analyst NM Glenn Bordonada. I was among the chess fans watching the game live and its like watching a brutal boxing match between a slugger ( GM Megaranto ) and a boxer ( GM So) who defended his position with ease, sidestepping all the landmines put in place by his opponent along the way. The game was so complicated, NM Bordonada commented that a slight inaccuracy on the part of Wesley would spell doom to his position. As the game progressed, it seems that GM So had seen all the traps and moved his pieces with speed and accuracy spending just an hour in the entire game. When GM So played 38.d5 ( correctly predicted by BW president wordfunph that the d4 pawn of Wesley will make the difference) causing his opponent to resign due to impending mate, the BW site exploded with shouting of joy, laughter, and congratulations. Indeed, chess like love and music makes a man happy especially if you are a die-hard GM Wesley So fan.

Here is the 5th game as annotated by NM Glenn Bordonada.

[Event "AIC 2010"]
[Site "Subic"]
[Date "2010.04.25"]
[Round "5"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Megaranto, Susanto"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C89"]

1. e4 e5

Megaranto does not often play the Ruy Lopez, so has he prepared a surprise for Wesley?

2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5

Here it goes. The Marshall Attack is one of the most feared attacking lines in the Ruy Lopez. In one World Juniors game, Gopal sacrificed almost everything against Wesley and survived.

9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d4 Bd6 13. Re1 Qh4 14. g3 Qh3 15. Qe2

There are less than 50 games in the database. More popular are:

a) 15. Be3. This is the main line. 15... Bg4 16. Qd3 Rae8 17. Nd2. Thousands of games have been played from this position. One example is 17... Qh5 18. a4 Re6 19. axb5 axb5 20. Qf1 Rfe8 21. Bxd5 Qxd5 22. h3 Bf5 23. Qg2 Qxg2+ 24. Kxg2 R6e7 25. b3 f6 26. Ra2 Be6 27. c4 Bb4 28. Rc1 Bf5 29. g4 Bd3 30. Nf1 Be4+ 31. Kg1 f5 32. Ng3 fxg4 33. Nxe4 Rxe4 34. hxg4 Rxg4+ ...1/2-1/2, Leko Peter 2751 - Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2670, Linares 2005;

b) 15. Re4. The second most popular line. Also over a thousand games. Here is a typical game: 15... g5 16. Qf1 Qxf1+ 17. Kxf1 Bf5 18. f3 h6 19. Nd2 Bxe4 20. fxe4 Nc7 21. Kg2 c5 22. e5 Be7 23. Ne4 cxd4 24. cxd4 a5 25. Be3 a4 26. Bd1 Nd5 27. Bf2 Rac8 28. Rb1 f6 29. exf6 Bxf6 30. Nd6 Rc6 31. Nxb5 Rb6 32. Bxa4 Rfb8 33. Na3 Rxb2 34. Rxb2 Rxb2 ...1/2-1/2, Anand Viswanathan 2788 - Svidler Peter 2740, San Luis 2005.

15... Bg4 16. Qf1 Qh5 17. Nd2 Nf4!?

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It is not the first time that this sacrifice has been played. There are two games in the database with this move.

18. gxf4 Bxf4 19. h4!

Best move.

19... Qxh4!

Megaranto improves on the remaining quoted game in the database: 19... Rae8 20. Ne4 Bb8 21. Qg2 Kh8 22. Bg5 f6 23. Nxf6 Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 gxf6 25. Re4 fxg5 26. Rxg4 Bf4 27. hxg5 Re8 28. Kf1 Bd2 29. Re4 Rf8 30. Re2 and White subsequently won.

20. Qg2 Rae8!

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Best. If 20... Bh3? 21. Nf3 Qh5 22. Bxf4 Bxg2 23. Kxg2 Rae8. If 23... a5 24. Ne5 Qf5 25. Bg3 a4 26. Bd1 a3 27. b3 Rae8 28. Bg4 Qc2 29. Rec1 Qd2 30. Bf3 and White is much better. 24. Ne5 Qf5 25. Bg3 Qc8 26. Re3 g6 27. Rh1 c5 28. dxc5 Qxc5 29. Nxf7 with a big advantage for White.

21. Rxe8 Rxe8 22. Nf1 Bh3!

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Stronger than 22... Re1 23. Bxf4! Rxa1 24. Qxc6 Qd8 25. Kg2 and White is better.

23. Qxc6 Bh2+!

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24. Kh1!

Not 24. Kxh2? Bd7+ and Black wins the Queen. Nor 24. Nxh2? Re1+ 25. Nf1 Rxf1+ 26. Kh2 Bg4+ 27. Kg2 Qh3#.

24... Rc8! 25. Qb7?!

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Stronger is 25. Qf3! which is the only move that sustains the advantage. 25... Bxf1 26. Bg5! Qxg5 27. Bxf7+ Kh8 28. Kxh2 Be2! 29. Qxe2 Qf4+ 30. Kg2 Qxf7 31. Rd1 and White has survived the attack with his pawn advantage intact. But converting the extra passed d-pawn to a win is still difficult because of the open position of the King.

25... Bc7! 26. Kg1 Qg4+ 27. Ng3 Bxg3 28. fxg3 Qxg3+ 29. Kh1

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29... Bg4?

Fortune favors the brave. After this, White is on top again and winning. Megaranto missed 29... Qh4! which leads to a draw: 30. Qxf7+ Kh8 31. Qf4 Bg4+ 32. Kg1 Qe1+ 33. Kg2 Re8! 34. Qxg4 Re2+ 35. Qxe2 Qxe2+ 36. Kg3 h5! 37. Kf4! =. But still the King cannot escape the endless Queen checks.

30. Qxf7+ Kh8 31. Bd5 Qe1+ 32. Kh2 Re8

If 32... b4 33. c4 Qh4+ 34. Kg1 Qg3+ 35. Bg2 Bh3 36. Qf3 and White is winning.

33. Bg5 Qe2+ 34. Bg2 Bh5 35. Qf4 Qxb2 36. Re1 Qxa2 37. Rxe8+ Bxe8 38. d5 Resigns

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