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Shelby Lyman on Chess: It’s Not Over Till It’s Over

Hint and Explanation: Sacrifice and Mate

Magnus Carlsen has lost little momentum since decisively winning a title match with Viswanathan Anand in November of last year.

Returning to the chess arena in a February tournament in Zurich, Carlsen finished first in a field of elite players. The ex-champion Anand tanked to a dismal fifth in the six-player event, dashing, it would seem, any hopes he had for a comeback.

But Anand continued in his quest. Urged on by former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, he took part, albeit hesitantly, in the recent Candidates Tournament in Khanti-Mansiysk, Russia.

After taking an early lead, the Indian grandmaster won the event. It was a substantial victory. With a sudden and unexpected display of competitive elan, he had gained the right to another title match with Carlsen.

A major factor in the rematch — which is scheduled to take place in November — will be their relative ages. Anand is 44, Carlsen only 23.

Head-on match play is a sustained and grueling struggle favoring youthful stamina.

Also significant and intimidating is Carlsen’s soaring international rating, a mark of a growing superiority over other top players.

But Anand, superbly talented, disciplined and tough when in form, can never be taken lightly. Substantial underdog in the present, notwithstanding, he is capable of building on his recent comeback.

Below is a win by Daniil Dubov against Dmitry Kokarev from the 21st Russian Team Championship in Loo, Russia.

Dubov Kokarev

1. d4 d5

2. c4 dxc4

3. Nf3 Nf6

4. e3 e6

5. Bxc4 c5

6. Qe2 a6

7. dxc5 Bxc5

8. O-O Nc6

9. a3 Bd6

10. Rd1 Qc7

11. N(b)d2 O-O

12. b4 b5

13. Bb3 Bb7

14. Bb2 R(f)d8

15. R(a)c1 Be7

16. Ng5 R(a)c8

17. h4 Qb8

18. f4 Qa7

19. f5 Nd5

20. Nf1 Bxg5

21. hxg5 N(c)e7

22. Rxc8 Bxc8

23. f6 gxf6

24. gxf6 Ng6

25. Qh5 Black resigns

Solution to Beginner’s Corner: Solution: 1. Qh7ch! Kxh7 2. Rh3ch! (a double check) Kg8 3. Bh7 mate!