A scintillating attack
Pablo Salinas (born in 1994) is grandmaster from Concepción, a city in central Chile. Three years after getting his GM title, Salinas arrived in Sochi as the 147th seed at the FIDE World Cup. He was paired up against Danish GM Mads Andersen (111th seed, rated 2579).
Andersen had the white pieces. In a tense middlegame position, the Danish failed to acknowledge his king’s vulnerability.
White needs to look out for a potential knight sacrifice on f2, due to the infiltration of Black’s heavy pieces via e3. While 19.Rf1 does not work, White has a strong recourse in the surprising 19.Qxe4 — which would be followed by 19…dxe4 20.Rxd7 Qe5 21.Rxb7 Bxc3 22.Bxc3 Rxc3 23.Nxc3 Qxc3 24.Rd1, with a dynamically balanced position.
None of this happened, as Andersen played 19.a3, trying to deal with the pin along the c-file. Salinas did not take long to find 19…Nxf2. The engines give 20.Bxd7 as the least bad alternative, but the position is actually lost for White already!
There followed 20.axb4 Nxh3+ 21.Kf1 Qxe3 22.Qf5 Nf6 23.Bc1
Black does not need to defend his queen, as after 23…Ng4 (bringing the other knight to the attack) White cannot play 24.Bxe3 due to 24…Nxe3#.
Andersen attacked the queen once again with 24.Rd3, and Salinas got to ignore the ‘threat’ once again with 24…d4, opening up the light-squared long diagonal. White played 25.Red1
And now the beautiful final blow: 25…Qg1+ 26.Nxg1 Nxh2#. A memorable win! Salinas now needs to hold a draw with the white pieces in game 2 to gain a ticket to the second round.
Salinas and Andersen played on board 56 | Photo: Eric Rosen
Endgame analyses by GM Karsten Müller
Our in-house expert had no trouble finding instructive endgame positions from the first day of play in Sochi. First, he noted that “great care is always required when simplifying into a pawn ending”.
Egyptian GM Essam El Gindy faltered by entering a pawn endgame with 71.Rxf5+ gxf5 72.Kxd3 Kxe5. German GM Rasmus Svane won the game three moves later.
The second game in the replayer below shows the right technique to convert a position with knight, bishop and pawn against a lone rook from the game between Krikor Mekhitarian (Brazil) and Juan Carlos Gonzalez (Mexico).