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A special greeting to all our readers. We are once again immersed in the 64 chess squares, and we hope that you will enjoy this selection of games that I chose for their instructional value and to help improve your chess level.
These days no one is surprised by the amazing success that the Indian representatives, such as Arjun, Vidit, Gukesh, Prag etc., have had, to just mention the current monarchs of this exotic Asian country. I had the opportunity to go there for the first time in the last 44th World Olympics in Chennai in 2022 where I was able to represent Colombia, and learn from the culture there. I must say that the tournament was not my best performance since I only achieved 4.5/9.
There are so many promising chess players that I think that an Indian could once again aspire to the world title in the near future. There are currently 9 Grandmasters in the FIDE top 100.
Returning to our main topic, below you will find games played in the Tata Steel Rapid and blitz in India as well as the Julius Baer Rapid Cup.

Download PGN of September ’23 1 d4 d5 2 c4 games

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Slow Slav/Grünfeld 4.e3 g6 [D11/94]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 Be6:

In the Lazavik, D - Abdusattorov, N, Julius Baer Rapid 2023, game Black played 19...b5?! allowing a tactical-positional maneuver that increased the activity of his bishop on the large a1-h8 diagonal and absolute control of the d4 square. After that there was no chance of counterplay, and White finished with good class.

QGA, Larsen Variation 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Bxc4 e6 6.Nc3 Nbd7 7.h3 [D25]

In Abdusattorov, N - Harikrishna, P, Tata Steel IND Rapid 2023, we find a less usual alternative in the Queen's Gambit Accepted in 11...Qb8, but Black suffers from a lack of space:

The promising young Uzbek, who was World rapid champion in 2021, showed impeccable positional understanding during the middle game where he suffocated his experienced Indian opponent. Harikrishna, who had no real chance of counterplay otherwise, went into a losing rook and then pawn ending. The reader is recommended to pay careful attention and examine the rook ending, since, as is well known, they are the most difficult to study.

Slav Triangle 4.e3 e6 5.Nbd2 Be7 6.b3 [D30]

In the battle that was Grischuk, A - Abdusattorov, N, Tata Steel IND Rapid 2023, it can be said that the Russian took a more schematic approach.

I have the feeling that he was perhaps comfortable with a draw, and although in the end Abdusattorov's pair of bishops gave him a small advantage, there was no real danger, and after 54 moves the game ended in a draw.

QGD, Exchange Variation 5.Bg5 c6 [D35]

This game in particular generated various emotions in me. In general, I have a strategic positional style, but it is a delight to see attacking games played with energy. Firstly, it must be mentioned that in this blitz game Grischuk, A - Vachier Lagrave, M, Tata Steel IND Blitz 2023, there is a fairly serious error in the middle game, 16...g5??:

This left the black king seriously exposed. After that there was no opportunity to save the contest, but even so there was a very good finish by the super GM Grischuk.

QGD Blackburne Variation 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bf4 dxc4 [D37]

The fight between the Indian players Vidit, S - Harikrishna, P, Tata Steel IND Rapid 2023, took place in a sharp and very theoretical line where Black equalized without problems, 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bf4 dxc4 6.e3 b5:

However, in the transition to the endgame Vidit played 21. Qe3? compromising his pawn structure and remaining very passive. Another critical moment arose after 41...Bg6? as It was much better to prefer 41...e4 with the idea of activating the king on the f6-e5 route. Then, to finish there was a very serious error that lost the game, 57. Kxd4?? Ng6, intermediate move, and the game was easily over.

QGD Ragozin System Mainline 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 Bb4 [D38]

In Vidit, S - Erigaisi, A there was a closed center where White's pieces are simply well placed but Black's space advantage makes maneuvers difficult, so it is necessary to create a break on the queenside. This occurred on move 16.b3:

Still, the game was quite balanced. However, after 23. Qd1?! the knight had to be captured and play went into a position of opposite color bishops, but still with the possibility of putting pressure on the queenside. On move 25.f3 was better and more ambitious, expelling the annoying knight and regrouping the pieces.

Semi-Slav, Moscow Variation 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 [D43]

In the meeting between Gukesh, D - Abdusattorov, N, Tata Steel IND Blitz 2023, we will explore the paths most traveled by the world elite and also some strategic ideas.

In this game it cannot be said that Black made serious mistakes, in general he had a good approach, but after 23...Qxe6 White's position is much easier to play, due to the chance to attack the weak point ob d5. Gukesh was able to finish the game in a simple way with 29. Qc6 followed by Ne5, an active and aggressive way that is not difficult to find over the board, but his constant desire to exchange queens led him to make a double error, first with 36. Qf3?? allowing Abdusattorov to activate! It is likely that at this point both were already in time pressure, however, 39...g4?? just gave away a free pawn, after which came the climax for White, scoring 1-0.

Closed Catalan 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 [E11]

To finish this interesting selection of games we have this battle between Abdusattorov, N - Vidit, S, Tata Steel IND Rapid 2023, where White makes a thematic sacrifice for central control:

There were two important critical moments, the first was 14...fxe4?! when the capture with the d-pawn had to be considered to maintain ta majority on that flank and the possibility of breaking with ...e5 and activating the pieces, and the second was 28.dxe5? 28.Nd3! with a huge advantage.However, in the attempt to recover said pawn his position worsened and the Indian player's minor pieces activated and were creating annoying threats. Firstly, 10.Qc2?! is a dubious move, the queen is better placed on e2 where it directly attacks the pawn on c4, then on 19...Nc5 Black easily achieves a satisfactory position with activity, and at the end, on 25. Rxd4, Nodirbek sacrifices an exchange, but it is not enough to stay in the game. Vidit finished the game a few moves later without any problem.

Till next month, Esteban

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