Moulthun Ly wins Sydney International Open and first GM Norm

Fri, 2014-05-02 18:44 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "Sydney Open 2014"]
[Site "Sydney AUS"]
[Date "2014.04.23"]
[Round "2.6"]
[White "Mungunkhuu, M."]
[Black "Ly, Mo"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A48"]
[WhiteElo "2215"]
[BlackElo "2440"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "2014.04.23"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.04.28"]

{The recent Doeberl Cup and Sydney International Open saw some big successes
for the local players. The standout performance by far was Moulthun Ly's
outright first place at the Sydney International Open and with it his first
Grandmaster norm - hearty congratulations! Let's check out his games to see
how he did it. First of all, he was extremely efficient against players rated
under 2500.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. e3 Bg7 4. Bd3 O-O 5. O-O c5 6. b3 cxd4 7.
exd4 d5 8. Re1 Nc6 {White has played very innocuously (the Colle-Zukertort
setup doesn't work at all against the KID) and after a few passive moves by
White, Black quickly takes the initiative.} 9. a3 (9. c3 {was preferable,
though I would prefer to be Black regardless. It's very hard to find a useful
plan for White in these positions due to his lack of a pawn break.}) 9... Bg4
10. c3 Re8 11. Be2 Ne4 {Black activates his pieces to support the ...e5 break,
which will open the position while White's pieces are sleeping at home.} 12.
Nfd2 (12. Ng5 Bxe2 13. Rxe2 {was a slightly better way to remove the e4-knight.
}) 12... Bxe2 13. Rxe2 Nxd2 14. Rxd2 ({It's hard to understand why White
didn't try developing with} 14. Nxd2 {.}) 14... e5 15. Bb2 (15. dxe5 Rxe5 {is
a very grim position for White, due to his lack of development. If} 16. Raa2 d4
17. cxd4 Nxd4 18. Rd3 Qe7 {is an effective way to open the position for
Black's pieces. White is really struggling to not get slaughtered.}) 15... Qb6
16. dxe5 Rxe5 (16... Na5 17. Rxd5 Rad8 18. b4 Rxd5 19. Qxd5 Rd8 20. Qf3 Nb3 21.
Ra2 Qe6 {with the unstoppable threat of ...Nd4 was even stronger, but Black
keeps a clear advantage with the text.}) 17. c4 d4 18. Rd3 Rae8 19. Nd2 Re2 {
It is hard to believe that White can survive the Black rook's penetration to
the 2nd rank, and Black caps it off very precisely.} 20. Rb1 Qa5 21. b4 Qf5 22.
Nf3 R8e4 23. Rd2 {This is a blunder, but it was difficult to find a good move
for White in any case.} Ne5 {A very cute overload tactic - the threat of ...
Nxf3 can't be stopped, but the rook on e2 is also immune.} 24. Rxe2 Rxe2 25.
Kf1 (25. Qxe2 Qxb1+ 26. Ne1 d3 {is fatal.}) 25... d3 (25... Nxf3 26. Kxe2 Qe4+
27. Kf1 Qxb1 28. Qxb1 Nd2+ 29. Ke2 Nxb1 {was simplest, but all roads lead to
Rome!}) 26. Bxe5 Bxe5 27. Rb3 Bd4 28. Qxd3 Rxf2+ 29. Ke1 Qe6+ 30. Kd1 Bf6 {
White has no chance of surviving with his king in the centre in a middlegame.}
31. g3 Kg7 32. a4 Qh3 33. Nd2 Qxh2 34. Qe3 Qh5+ 35. Kc2 Qf5+ 36. Rd3 Bg5 37.
Qd4+ Kg8 38. Kc1 h5 39. a5 a6 40. c5 Re2 41. Qd5 Bxd2+ 42. Rxd2 Re1+ 43. Kb2
Qb1+ 44. Ka3 Qa1+ 45. Qa2 Qc3+ 0-1
[Event "Sydney Open 2014"]
[Site "Sydney AUS"]
[Date "2014.04.24"]
[Round "3.5"]
[White "Ly, Mo"]
[Black "Smirnov, Ant"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2440"]
[BlackElo "2344"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2014.04.23"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.04.28"]

{Anton has had some good results recently, but in this game Moulthun simply
outplayed him.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 d5 5. O-O c6 6. c4 dxc4 7.
a4 {One of many moves to be tried in this position - the idea is to stop Black
from defending his c4-pawn with ...b5, and prepare Na3 to regain it (after
which White would have a central majority).} Ne4 8. Qc2 Nd6 9. e4 Bg4 {This is
a move often seen in the Grunfeld, but I'm generally distrusting of it when it
doesn't pin the f3-knight.} (9... Na6 10. Na3 O-O {seems most natural,
intending to secure the b4-outpost with ...Nb4 and ...a5, but} 11. Rd1 Nb4 12.
Qe2 a5 13. Bd2 {then gives White very good control of the position - White can
regain the c4-pawn when he pleases, and he has total central control. Similar
ideas are sometimes seen in the Catalan.}) 10. Ne5 Be6 11. Be3 O-O (11... f6
12. Nf3 O-O 13. Na3 Na6 14. Nd2 f5 {undermining White's centre could be an
improvement.}) 12. Nd2 Na6 13. Qc3 f5 {Black tries to challenge the White
centre immediately, but compared to the note to move 11, here White already
has his knight on the e5-outpost.} (13... Qc8 {would be better, with the idea
of preparing ...c5:} 14. Ndxc4 Nxc4 15. Nxc4 c5 {and the pin down the long
diagonal gives Black good play.}) 14. d5 Nf7 {Black tries to solve his
problems tactically.} (14... cxd5 15. exd5 Bf7 16. Rfe1 {gives White quite
strong compensation, because of his active pieces and powerful d5-pawn which
cuts Black's position in two.}) 15. dxe6 Nxe5 16. Bd4 fxe4 17. Rad1 Qc7 18.
Nxe4 {Actually it is the c4-pawn that is more important to eliminate:} (18.
Nxc4 Nf3+ 19. Bxf3 Rxf3 20. Ne3 Bxd4 21. Qxd4 Qb6 22. Qxe4 {intending Ng4-e5
would be extremely good for White.}) 18... c5 {This move forfeits the
initiative - Black had to develop, and fast!} (18... Rad8 19. Bxe5 Qxe5 20.
Qxc4 Rd5 {is messy - Black has definite activity here and can play around the
e6-pawn.}) 19. Bxe5 Bxe5 20. Qxc4 Bd4 21. Ng5 {Now White is in complete
control (his bishop is a lot stronger than Black's, and the e6-pawn is very
annoying), and it's all over after a subsequent mistake by Black.} Rf6 22. Nf3
Raf8 (22... Rd8 23. Nxd4 cxd4 24. Rxd4 Qxc4 25. Rxc4 b6 {was necessary, but
White is at least clearly better because of the domination of the bishop over
the knight.}) 23. Nxd4 cxd4 24. Rxd4 Qb6 (24... Qxc4 25. Rxc4 {doesn't work
because Black lacks a rook on d8 to stop Bd5 after ....Rxe6.}) 25. b4 Kh8 26.
a5 Qxe6 27. b5 Nb8 28. Qxe6 Rxe6 29. Bxb7 Re2 30. Re4 Rb2 31. Rxe7 Rxb5 32. Rc1
Rxa5 33. Rcc7 Rh5 34. Bf3 Rh6 35. Rxa7 g5 36. Be4 Rc8 37. Rxh7+ Rxh7 38. Rxh7+
Kg8 39. Ra7 Kh8 40. Kg2 Rd8 41. Ra5 Rg8 42. Ra7 Rd8 43. Rh7+ 1-0
[Event "Sydney Open 2014"]
[Site "Sydney AUS"]
[Date "2014.04.24"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Nisipeanu, LD."]
[Black "Ly, Mo"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E53"]
[WhiteElo "2686"]
[BlackElo "2440"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2014.04.23"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.04.28"]

{Our next game ended just when the struggle looked like intensifying.} 1. d4
Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4
9. Bxc4 b6 10. Qe2 Bb7 11. Rd1 Nbd7 12. d5 Bxc3 13. dxe6 Bxf3 14. gxf3 fxe6 15.
bxc3 Qc7 16. Bxe6+ Kh8 17. Qc4 Nc5 (17... Qb7 {had normally been seen before,
when after} 18. Bxd7 Nxd7 19. Qd5 Qxd5 20. Rxd5 {White can try to press a bit 
(although all but one game ended in a draw from this position).}) 18. Bf4 (18.
Bh3 Qe5 19. Be3 Qh5 20. Bxc5 bxc5 21. Bg2 {is the engine's first line, but I
don't believe that White can claim anything here as his structure is too weak
and his extra pawn is useless.}) 18... Qc6 19. Bh3 Nfe4 {This is quite a
strong reply, although White still stays within the confines of equilibrium.}
20. Be3 Rxf3 21. Bg2 Qg6 22. Rd4 {It's fairly common to play imprecisely on
the move that you offer a draw (as you're often thinking more about the draw
offer than the position) and I think that's what happened here.} (22. Bxc5 bxc5
23. Rd3 {would just be equal - Black's king is a bit safer, but if the queens
were to come off then White's bishop could easily be better than the knight.})
(22. Rd4 Raf8 23. Rf1 h5 {would give Black a very strong attack - in practice
it would be very difficult for White to survive.}) 1/2-1/2
[Event "Sydney Open 2014"]
[Site "Sydney AUS"]
[Date "2014.04.25"]
[Round "5.3"]
[White "Ly, Mo"]
[Black "Zhai Mo"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B32"]
[WhiteElo "2440"]
[BlackElo "2243"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2014.04.23"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.04.28"]

{Despite the rating difference, Moulthun had to work hard to put away one of
China's promising female talents.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qb6 {
This, the 'Grivas Sicilian', is a sideline, but it soon leads to a normal
Scheveningen position.} 5. Nb3 Nf6 6. Nc3 e6 7. Bd3 a6 8. O-O Qc7 9. f4 d6 10.
Qe2 Be7 11. Bd2 O-O 12. Rae1 {I analysed this position in some depth for
ChessBase Magazine not so long ago. The position basically revolves around
whether White can get a strong kingside attack (normally with e4-e5); if not,
Black is normally doing quite well with her queenside counterplay.} b5 13. Kh1
Bb7 {An automatic move, connecting the rooks, but after White's next it isn't
so easy to find a good plan for Black. I would prefer} (13... b4 14. Na4 Bd7 {
, trying to exploit the sidelined position of the a4-knight. Additionally, ...
e5 may gain in strength as a way of stopping White's e5 push when White can't
get a knight to d5.}) 14. a3 {I find it rather entertaining that some computer
programs consider this position a reciprocal zugzwang! Of course, these tense
Scheveningen middlegames are too complex for most engines to comprehend.} Rfe8
(14... b4 15. axb4 Nxb4 {would eliminate White's best attacking minor piece,
were it not for} 16. Nb5 axb5 17. Bxb4 {, but then} e5 {stops White's e5 break
and is OK for Black. If White tries a kingside pawn storm with f5 and g4-g5, ..
.d5 will quickly lead White to regret it.}) 15. e5 {This break is well timed
as Black can't reply with ...dxe5 (as the rook on e8 would need to be on f8 to
guard the f7-pawn)} Nd7 16. exd6 Bxd6 17. Ne4 Be7 {Structurally Black is doing
well as White's centre has been exchanged off, but first she has to survive
the middlegame!} 18. Ng5 (18. Bc3 {is a bit slow because of} b4 19. axb4 Nxb4 {
and once Black gets the bishop pair, she will just be better.}) 18... Nf6 (
18... g6 {was better to block the b1-h7 diagonal - the weakness of the dark
squares will be covered by ...Bf6.}) 19. Nf3 (19. Bc3 {with the threat of
taking on f6 and h7 was a big chance - if} g6 20. Nxf7 Kxf7 21. Qxe6+ Kg7 22.
f5 g5 23. Nc5 {gives White a deadly kingside attack.}) 19... Rac8 20. Ne5 Bf8
21. Nxc6 Bxc6 {Now Black is very comfortable as White has lost the initiative.}
22. Bc3 Nd7 23. Qf2 Bd5 24. Qh4 h6 (24... f5 {does weaken the e6-pawn, but it
is well defended and it is useful to kill White's attacking chances on the
kingside. Black still has her queenside play and better piece placement in the
centre, after all.}) 25. Qg3 Bc4 26. Bxc4 Qxc4 {White now plays a very cute
knight maneouvre to involve the cavalry in the kingside attack.} 27. Nd2 Qd5
28. Ne4 Rc4 29. Nf2 Qf5 30. Ng4 {Obviously Black can't take on c2 because of
Ne3.} Qg6 31. Qf3 h5 (31... b4 32. axb4 Bxb4 33. Bxb4 Rxb4 34. c3 Rb5 {
(stopping f4-f5!) with equality was beter.}) 32. Ne3 Re4 33. Rd1 Nb6 {The
kingside structure would be fine for Black if f5 could be stopped, but alas...}
34. f5 exf5 35. Nxf5 {Objectively this position is fine or Black, but it is so
much easier to play White because he has the initiative.} Nc4 (35... f6 {was
necessary to obstruct the c3-bishop, though White can keep some practical
pressure with} 36. h3 {followed by Rd3 and Rfd1.}) 36. Rd7 f6 37. h3 {Now it
is quite hard for Black to find a good move. In the game she blundered.} Re2 (
37... Ne3 38. Nxe3 Rxe3 39. Qd5+ R3e6 40. Rf5 {for instance keeps Black under
serious pressure - White's pieces are just a lot more active.}) 38. Qd5+ Kh8 ({
or} 38... R2e6 39. Ne7+ {.}) 39. Nh4 Qxc2 40. Qxh5+ Qh7 41. Ng6+ Kg8 42. Qd5+
R2e6 43. Nxf8 Kxf8 44. Rxf6+ {A nice way to finish the game. Black resigned.
That's all we have time for this week - next week we will examine Moulthun's
games from the second half of the SIO, as well as three of the games that
helped Junta towards his IM title.} 1-0