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Carlsen, Caruana ranked 1-2 before Chess Olympiad.

Last week, the FIDE released its monthly rating lists. Ratings were computed to enable the world chess body to work out seedings for the upcoming 43rd chess Olympiad slated on Sept.

23-Oct. 6in Batumi,Georgia.

Seedingsarebased on the assessment of therespective strengths of each team. The September 2018 lists include 170,000 players, including 1,600 grandmasters.

While Norwegian Magnus Carlsen (2839)and American Fabiano Caruana (2827)remained No. 1 and No.

2 in the world ranking,Shakriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan movedup to third with his rating risingto 2820 from 2801.The Azeri top gun played brilliantlyin this year'sBielFestival, leaving behind by 1.5 points a strong fieldthatincluded world champion Carlsen.

The rest of the top 10 underwent a major reshuffling with two familiar names dropping out of that select group: Hikaru Nakamura (USA) and Sergey Kariakin(Russia). Ding Liren (China) was in fourth spot with 2804. This is the highest world rating and ranking achieved by a Chinese player.

FrenchmanMaxime Vachier-Lagrave, Armenian Levon Aronian and Dutchman Anish Giri rounded out thetop seven with 2780 each. They were followed by Russian Vladimir Kramnik (2779), Wesley So (USA) 2776 and Indian Vishy Anand (2771).

Ding Liren returned to competitive chess last month (he had a broken hip surgery in May) and his amazing 82-game undefeated run continued by beating Bulgarian former world champion Vaselin Topalov, 3-1, in a four-game match held Aug. 11-14in his hometown of Wenzhou (China).

In the following game, White's pawn stake-out formation allows him to close in on both sides, finishing off Black's resistance. Wenzhou 2018 W) D.

Liren (China) B)V. Topalov (Bulgaria) Catalan System 1.

d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3.

Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4ch 5.

Bd2 Bd6 5..

.Be7 is the standard continuation, though the text is not necessarily bad.

6. Nc3 O-O 7.

Bg5 c6 8. Bg2 h6 9.

Bxf6 Qxf6 10. O-O Qd8 Planning to capture with 11...

dxc4. 11. c5 Bc7 12. e4 b6 13. b4 bxc5 14. bxc5 dxe4 Seems premature as it weakens Black's Q-side pawns. The engine recommends 14..

.Ba5 with these possibilities: 15. Qc2 Ba6 16. Rfe1 Nd7 17. e5 Qc7 and the game hangs in the balance.

15. Nxe4 Ba6 16. Re1 Bc4 17. Qa4 Bd5 Black harps on this theme, but seems not good enough. 18. Re3 Qc8 19. Nc3 Bd8 20. Rb1 Bf6 21. Bf1 Rd8 22. Nxd5 cxd5 After 22..

.Rxd5 23. Bd3 Rd7 24. Be4, White is slightly better.

23. Reb3 ..

. White's control of the open b file, plus a strong passed c pawn, leaves him with every chance of winning.

23...

Re8 24. Rb7 Re7 25. Rxe7 Bxe7 26. Ne5 Bf6 27. f4 ..

. Stronger according to the engine is 27.c6!, e.

., 27..

.a5 28. Rb6 Bd8 29. Rb7 Bc7 30. Bb5 Qd8 31. Qc2 Qe7 32. Bd3 Na6 33. a3, and Black will soon run out of reasonable moves.

27...

g6 28. h5 29. Kf2 Kg7 30. Ke3 a6 31. Rb6 Ra7 32. Bd3 ..

. 32. Qb4 Nd7 33. Nxd7 Qxd7 34. Rxa6 Bd8 35. Bb5 should win in the long run,but Liren wants more.

32...

Ra8 33. Qc2 Nd7 34. Rc6 Qe8 35. Rc7 Nxe5 The alternative 35...

Bxe5 36. fxe5 Nxe5 37. dxe5 Qb8 38. Rc6 Qxe5ch 39. Kf3 seems insufficient, but probably a good try as Black desperately needscounter-play. 36. fxe5 Bd8? Missingthe engine's 36..

.Qb8!? whereupon 37. exf6ch Kg8 38. Rc6 Qxg3ch 39. Kd2 Qx, the game continues.

Now White ends the game in brilliant fashion. 37. Rb7 Qc6 38. Qb1 Bc7 39. Bxg6! Rg8 39..

.fxg6 is met by 40. Qb6! and wins.

40. Bxf7! 1-0 Again 40...

Kxf7 loses to 41. Qb6. Solution to last week's puzzle: White to move and mates in 4. white-Kd7, Rh7 black=Ka7, Pf7 1.

Kc6 ..

. 1.

Kc7? f6 2. Rh5 f5 3.

Rxf5 Ka6 4. Rxf5 Ka7 and White mates in 5.

1..

..

Ka6 If 1..

.Kb8 (1..

.Ka8 2.

Kb6 followed by 3. Rh8 mate) 2.

Rxf7 Ka8 (2...

Kc8 3. Rh8 mate) 3.

Kb6 Kb8 4. Rh8 mate.

2. Rxf7 Ka5 3.

Rf4 Ka6 4. Ra4 mate.

Black to move and win.
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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Sep 8, 2018
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