Chess Time With Sam Collins

24th November, 2019
Chess Time With Sam Collins

Jorge Cori – Alireza Firouzja

Firouzja v Cori match, Hoogeveen Chess Festival, 2019

The highlight of the Hoogeveen Chess Festival was a match between top Peruvian GM Jorge Cori and the Iranian prodigy Alireza Firouzja, who is the world's top-rated junior. Firouzja won convincingly by 4.5 to 1.5.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.0–0 Nc6 8.e3 0–0 9.Nc3 Re8 10.Nh4

This trendy move (preparing f4 to prevent Black's freeing ...e5 advance) has been recommended in recent repertoire works by Nick Pert and Boris Avrukh. Cori had better luck with the traditional main line 10.Re1 in his next white game, which he won in 65 moves.

10...e5 11.d5 Nb4 12.e4

12.Qb3!? is Avrukh's suggestion.

12...c6 13.Qb3 Nd3 14.Be3 Nf4 15.Bf3 cxd5 16.exd5 g5!?

A bold concept, sacrificing material to weaken the white king.

17.gxf4 exf4 18.Bxb6 axb6 19.Rfe1 Be5!

19...gxh4 20.Rxe8+ Qxe8 leaves White with the better chances in view of Black's shattered structure.

20.Ng2 g4 21.Rxe5 Rxe5 22.Be4 f3

Such a position is easy for a computer to defend, but most humans stumble when their king falls under a direct attack.


23.Nf4! takes control of the h5–square, after which Black still has to demonstrate full compensation for the sacrificed material. The game remains very complicated but White seems to have the better chances.

23...Rh5 24.Qc4! Qh4 25.Qc7 g3!! (D)

XABCDEFGHY 8r+l+-+k+( 7+pwQ-+p+p' 6-zp-+-+-+& 5+-+P+-+r% 4-+-+L+-wq$ 3+-sN-sNpzp-# 2PzP-+-zP-zP" 1tR-+-+-mK-! xabcdefghy

An excellent interference, blocking the white queen's defence of the h2–pawn. 26.Qxg3+ loses the queen to 26...Rg5 but otherwise the black attack is decisive.

26.Nf1 gxf2+ 27.Kh1 Rg5 28.Ng3

Rather than seek an immediate knockout, Firouzja shows good attacking technique by including his last two pieces in the battle.

28...Bh3! 29.Bxf3 Re8! 30.Nce4 Rxe4! 0–1

Recapturing on e4 leads to pretty mates after 31.Nxe4 Rg1+ 32.Rxg1+ fxg1=R+ 33.Kxg1 Qe1# or 31.Bxe4 Qxe4+! 32.Nxe4 Bg2#.

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