Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sicilian h5


(An abridged version of Chess Piece, BusinessWorld, 30 May 2011)

46th Capablanca Memorial
Havana, Cuba

May 10-21, 2011

1-2. GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2776, GM Le Quang Liem VIE 2687, 6.5/10

3. GM Dmitry Andreikin RUS 2687, 5.5/10

4. GM David Navara CZE 2702, 5.0/10

5. GM Lenier Dominguez Perez CUB 2726, 4.5/10

6. GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista CUB 2693, 2.0/10

Le Quang Liem had a horrible Asian Games last November (0.5/5), but aside from that had been on a hot streak. In February he won the Aeroflot Open in Moscow for the second time in a row. Apart from the fact that nobody had ever won it twice, this was also the strongest open in the world -- 73 GMs!

By virtue of this victory he was given a slot in the Dortmund SuperGM tournament where he finished second to Ruslan Ponomariov ahead of Kramnik, Mamedyarov and Leko.

Le Quang played a great game with David Navara which I want to show you. But first let us have a bit of theory on the line that Le Quang uses.

The English Attack against the Sicilian Najdorf has enjoyed great popularity during the last two decades. In fact, after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 has overtaken 6.Bg5 as the main line.

What is there not to like anyway? White has a clear plan of attack with f3, Qd2, 0-0-0, g4 and h4, while Black has to find some way to stymie his opponent’s kingside attack while simultaneously generating some threats of his own on the queenside.

Soon Black found an antidote. After 7...Be6 8 f3, Black can play ...h5, either now or after 9 Qd2, with the intention of severely slowing down any kingside attacking ideas White might have. The plan of ...h5 was hugely popularized in the ’90s but the idea was actually started much earlier.

Navara, David (2702) -- Le Quang Liem (2687) [B90]
Capablanca Memorial Elite Havana CUB (4), 14.05.2011