50 Moves: GM Ian Rogers' 17 in 17

by 50 Moves Magazine
1/10/2018 – Three highlights from 2017 selected by 50 Moves Magazine editor GM Moulthun Ly and analysed by Australian GM Ian Rogers. Among them are "the most remarkable piece of opening preparation for 2017" (spoiler alert: it's Nepomniachtchi) and "the missed opportunity of the year" from Wei Yi, plus a look at some of the top young talents from Down Under.

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The following is excerpted from Ian Rogers' "17 in 17" article in the December 2017 issue of 50 Moves, republished with kind permission.

by GM Ian Rogers

2017 saw plenty of fine chess — brilliant combinations, spectacular opening preparation and inspired attacks — as well as just as many missed chances and giant blunders.

The year also saw sliding doors moments, notable cheating incidents, both deliberate and inadvertent, players abandoning tournaments after wearing too little or being forced to wear too much, the World Champion suffering his worst year for a decade, a new Australian Grandmaster, and an Australian female player beating a Grandmaster for the first time in 17 years.

Here are 17 of year’s highlights and lowlights:

1. With a Little Help from my Friends

The 2017 Oceania Zonal tournament in Auckland created waves worldwide when 57 players 'earned' international titles but the event was more significant because it began Anton Smirnov's run to the World Cup and the Grandmaster title. Yet Smirnov's World Cup dream might never have begun without the help of Western Australia's Yita Choong. Max Illingworth had started the year in top form, taking out the Australian Open title on a tiebreaker and then winning his first five games at the Zonal, an event which offered just a single World Cup berth. Then Illingworth's momentum stalled, with three consecutive draws, and top seed Smirnov entered the last round with a half point lead over Illingworth (and Ari Dale). Since Smirnov was only able to draw his final, crazy game against Karl Zelesco, the door was left open for Illingworth to force a playoff for the World Cup position and ruin Smirnov's dreams. However to do so, Illingworth had to take some crazy risks against Choong.


2. Be Prepared

The most remarkable piece of opening preparation for 2017 came at the first Grand Prix tournament of the year in February in Sharjah. The Sharjah GP tournament was a genuine snoozefest, with 74% of games ending in draws, and half of them finishing before move 30. All 18 participating players had more draws than decisive games and the winning score 5.5/9, was the lowest ever for a nine round Swiss system tournament. Add to that the organiser Agon leaving commentators unpaid and the event would have been quickly forgotten were it not for Nepomniachtchi's stunning round six win.


A World champion's guide to the Petroff

The great popularity of the Petroff Defence at the highest level has attracted general attention as strong players employ this opening with great success and with both colours. Unfortunately, the opinion of the Petroff as a sterile drawish opening seems to be firmly implanted in many minds. The author tries to dispel these myths and examines the most popular lines and provides a large number of ideas that will enable you to play Petroff successfully, with either colour.

Li Chao

Li Chao bamboozeld by a novelty by Ian Nepomniachtchi | Photo: Max Avdeev, World Chess

17. Missed by that Much

The missed opportunity of the year came late in October during a six game match in the Netherlands between the world’s best teenager, Wei Yi, and a mercurial Ukrainian veteran, Vassily Ivanchuk.


Magic of Chess Tactics 2

FM Claus Dieter Meyer has put under the microscope a comprehensive fund of topical and timeless games / fragments. On video Hamburg GM Dr. Karsten Müller has outlined corner points of Meyer's work and created 14 tests plus 10 interactive test sets.

The full article with all 17 highlights is available at 50movesmagazine.com now available in Digital Web, Digital App (Android | Apple iOS) and Premium Print editions. 

50 Moves December cover

GM David Smerdon on the cover of the December issue

We are a team of professionals who come from all different walks of life, sharing a common passion, chess. Our team of the most dedicated and talented Australian writers cover everything from national and international events, openings, middlegames, endgames, tactics and studies, history, psychology, humour and more.


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