SPICE Cup sizzling in 1st half!

GM Vinay Bhat with GM Wesley So in background.

GM Vinay Bhat with GM Wesley So in background.
Photo by SPICE (Polgar).

After four rounds, one thing is clear in Lubbock, Texas. Players came to play fighting chess. Papp-Rensch was played to bare kings in round one. While a number of other games were quickly drawn in the first round, things really heated up in subsequent rounds with exciting action, king hunts, queen sacrifices, tactical melees, positional crushes and even a miniature.

In round two, Hammer-So and Akobian-Andrekin had plenty of fireworks and even the draws such a Kuljasevic-Diamant had a lot of twists and turns. Rensch-Antal saw a Staunton Gambit with 1.d4 f5 2.e4!? fxe4 3.Nc3. The Hungarian grabbed the pawn, solidified and pocketed the full point. Games have generally been hard fought with complicated positions.

One of the wildest games of round three was perhaps Robson-Bhat. Robson played pramatically and grabbed an impressive center. Bhat laid in a crouch position until the board exploded. White appeared to have a menacing attack while black marched two connected passed pawns up the board.

Robson-Bhat (after 39.Bd2-e3) Robson-Bhat (after 48.f5-f6)

At a critical moment (diagram #1), Bhat sacrificed his queen after 39…Qxe3! 40. Bh7+ Nxh7 41. Rxe3 d2… the pawns are unstoppable. Robson tried to conjur up a few tactics after 48.f6 (diagram #2), but after 48…c1=Q (Rybka announces mate in 18 here) 49. fxg7+ Bxg7 50. Qxc1 Qxh4+ 51. Kg1 Bd4+ 52. Kf1 Qh1+, Robson resigned.

Round four was a bit more placid, but had some excitement as well. So-Mamedov had a “barn-burner” that featured several sacrifices. Ironically, the game ended in a three-fold repetition. Ippolito-Antal had an exciting encounter with white’s innovative sacrifice on 17.Bxd5!? However, the position was not favorable for white and he entered an inferior R+P ending. Tough going.

The “A” field will play round five tomorrow before taking a rest day. The “B” will continue with round six.

GM Susan Polgar watching Rauf Mamedov and Wesley So analyze while  Gabor Papp and Varuzhan Akobian also kibitz.

Susan Polgar watching Rauf Mamedov and Wesley So analyze while Ben Finegold, IM Gabor Papp and Varuzhan Akobian also kibitz. So’s father is seated at the board. Photo by SPICE (Polgar).

Monroi Coverage: https://monroi.com/2009-spice-cup-chess-festival-home.html
Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2009/09/15/spice-cup-begins-on-19th/
SPICE Cup reports: https://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/search/label/SPICE%20Cup

GAMES

Round 1: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-1.htm
Round 2: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-2.htm
Round 3: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-3.htm
Round 4: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-4.htm
Round 5: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-5.htm
Round 6: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-6.htm
Round 7: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-7.htm
Round 8: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-8.htm
Round 9: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-9.htm
Round 10: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview4/spicecup2009-10a.htm

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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