Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mas Strike Back!

IM Mashafizul Helmi (right) didn’t wait long to prove that he is still focus to achieve his first GM norm by defeating the legendary Filipino - GM Eugene Torre (left) in the 7 round of the Tarakan ASEAN Chess Circuit yesterday. And the most interesting about his victory is he done it in “sexy” style by sacrificing his knight twice in the middle game followed by dangerous attacks in the middlegame. Experienced Torre try to put up tough resistance but the most he could get is transposing to endgame with three pawns down which is too much to hope against IM Mas caliber. Malaysian chess community is following closely his performances especially when he was given a two years leave from his job starting from October 2007 (he is a PETRONAS engineer) to concentrate on his GM title hunt. Lets pray his got one in this tournament!

In the previous round against GM Zhang Zhong, IM Mas Hafizul failed to shock his opponent by using the Sicilian Dragon instead of his usual Najdorf Variation. This time his gamble pay off when he employ the Vienna Game against GM Eugene Torre instead of his usual Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation.

Analyze by Hairulov and Fritz

IM Mas Hafizulhelmi (2382) - GM Eugenio Torre (2519)
ASEAN Masters Chess Circuit ,Round 7, 15.01.2008

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 Mas early opening moves is quite tricky because he start with a bishop opening move order (2.Bc4) but then transpose to Vienna Game by playing his next move (3.Nc3) 3.Nc3 Nc6 4. d3 Na5 5. Bg5

This is quite a strange move but it is interesting to note that Mas have twice (2.Bc4 and 5.Bg5)"broke" the chess opening wisdom- Knight first then bishop. Fritz doesn't list this move at all in it opening books. Probably Mas just want to play pure chess, not just copying the theory! 5...Be7 5...Nxc4 6.dxc4 will give black the bishop pairs and double white c pawn but the c4 pawn is actually quite strong because it prevent black thematic break with d5 ! 6.Qf3 c6 7.Nge2 0–0 8.h3 d6 9.0–0 Nd7 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Ng3 This knight is heading for f5 or h5. 11...Nc5 12.Rad1 12.b4!? Nxc4 13.dxc4 Na6 14.Rab1 is an interesting try. 12...g6 13.Qe3 b6 14.Qh6

14.Bxf7+ doesn’t promised much because after 14...Rxf7 15.b4 Nab7 Black is okay 14...Nxc4 15.dxc4 White c4 made black thematic d5 break more difficult15...Ba6?! I think this move just strengthen white pawn structure. Probably black have to play 15...Ne6 straight away 16. b3 Rad8 17. Rd2 Bc8 18. Rfd1 Mas keep the black d5 break under proper check 18...Ne6 19. a4 19.Nf5?! look like a nice sacrifice at first but black is not worse after 19... gxf5 20.exf5 Qg5 21.Qxg5+ Nxg5 22.h4 Nh3! 23.gxh3 Bxf5 24.Rxd6 Rxd6 25.Rxd6 when the position is more ore less equal19...f6 20. Ra1 a5 21. Rad1 Ng5 22. Rd3 Be6 23. Nge2 Kh8 24. Rg3 Rd7 25. h4 Nf7 26. Qe3 Rb8 27. Nd5! the start of Mas "sexy dancing knight"

27...Qd8 28. f4 so far Torre have used a wait and see approach but looking at white incoming attack, Torre decided that he could not just sit and wait 28... f5 29. h5 gxh5 29...g5 will not solve black problem because white have 30.exf5 gxf4 31.Ndxf4 Bxf5 ( 31...exf4? is answered with a wild Fritz line 32.Qd4+ Ne5 33.fxe6 fxg3 34.exd7 Qg5 35.Qxd6 Qe3+ 36.Kh1 Nxd7 37.Nxg3 and white is clearly better) 32.Ng6+ hxg6 33.hxg6 Qf6± (33...Bxc2? fails to 34.Rf1 Rbb7 35.Rg4+-) 30. Nd4! another sexy dancing knight!

30...cxd5 31. Nxe6 d4? a lesser evil would be 31...Qh4 32.exd5 exf4 33.Nxf4+- 32. Nxd4! Qf6 32...exd4 33.Qxd4+ Ne5 34.fxe5 +- 33. Nxf5 exf4 34. Qxf4 Ne5 35. Qg5 Rf8 36. Qxh5 Ng6 37. Qh6 Re8 38. Rf1 Qe6 39. Nh4

Torre resign. Probably he knows that the best he can do is 39... Rg7 40.Nxg6+ Rxg6 41.Rxg6 Qxg6 42.Rf8+ Rxf8 43.Qxf8+ Qg8 44.Qxd6+- with three pawn down. So 1-0 Bravo Mas!

Photo from: Whitenaval Chess Paparazi

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