Battle of the Titans

Two titans of tournament chess in their everlasting battle for the crown will face each other in Chennai in November.  In contrast to the latest Hollywood remake, there is no new edition of the battle between good & bad and I don’t see either of the protagonists in the character of Zeus or Hades..

It’s barely a surprise to anyone, that – analogous to the eternal Gods – two contemporary legends fight in a virtual arena, even though their charismatic appearance will not be taken account of by chess players such as Fischer, Karpov, or Kasparov. Anterior duels for the crown were a matter of patience, as many weeks passed, or even months, until a decision was made. In an age, marked by rapid developments, the question about the young generation of the Olympus remains. Some say Magnus Carlsen owns the future: Maybe in a few weeks already?


Titan I

 How does White continue, concerning the weak base row?

M. Carlsen – E. Sipke, 2004. Of course, moving the rook to d6 is unthinkable due to Qe1 with early checkmate. The right way to continue: 1.Rg3+Rg6 2.Qe5+ Kxf7 3.Qf5+ and now Black may choose, how fast he likes to go down: 3…Rf6 (3…Ke8 4. Re3+ Kd8 5. Qxf8 Kc7 6. Qf7+ +-) 4.Qd7#

1 – 0


What about the “fair sex”? Let’s take another close look at the script: In a manner of speaking, there is a Half-Goddess in the world of chess – Judith Polgar –, whose legitimate successor hasn’t yet been chosen. As the mother of two, she has a secure place in the Olympus and in many little exhibition fights in the past, she has shown her credo of uncompromisingly fought out duels.


Titan II

 White’s turn, White wins

J. Polgar – Skembris, 1994. Inventively taking advantage of the overload on the d-row with 1…Bd5. Beating the Bishop by means of 1… Rd5 is taboo because of 2. Qxe6+ Qd7 3. Qyd7+ and White is in advantage.   As there is no other defence and the loss of a chessman is inevitable, White scores the whole point.

Fortunately, there is no Hades in the battles on the 64 squares, but ancient Gods, such as Boris Gelfand – a chess titan, who crossed sharp blades in the 80s – may knock on the door every once in a while.


Titan III

 Black’s turn, Black wins

W. Jakubenja – B. Gelfand, Minsk, 1980. By 1…Nxb2 the entire fortress is shattered. 2. Kxb2. 2. Nxd5 Bxd5 3. Kxb2 caused no relief because of 3…Bc4. 2…Bxa3 3. Kb3 Beating 3. Kxa3 leaves behind ruins in the kingdom after 3…Qxc3+ 4. Ka2 Qxh3. There is no rescue and White resigns: 3…Qa5 19. Rb1 Nc5+.

The Germans are fairly pleased with Niklas Huschenbeth, an aspiring hero with the heart of a fighter, but still far from the Olympus. But we all started small…


Titan IV

 How did White manage to hold the fort?

N. Huschenbeth – R. Swinkels, German Major League, 2008. While b1 is still under control, the Black heavyweights are already on the little defence on a2.  White continues with 1.Nf8+ and therefore saves the duel, because 1…Rxf8, like the duel continued 2. Qc7+ Kh8 3. Qe5+ Kh7 4. Qc7+ Kg8 5. Qc4+, is sufficient for perpetual check. ½: After 1….Kg8 the King can’t escape his fate: 2. Qe6+ Kxf8 3. Qf6+ Kg8 4. Qxg6+ Kf8 5. Qf6+ The King cannot move onto the e-row from out of the corner, as he might be checkmated then.


Written by Frank, translated by Birthe