Chess

THE 4TH Comtois tournament in Belfort finished on 23 December in victory for Viktor Bologan from Moldavia by a clear point on 6.5/10.

The leader at the halfway stage of the six-player double-rounder, he was gently pursued in the second cycle by the two who came next, Alexei Fedorov (Belarus) and Ye Jiangchuan (China) on 5.5. Fedorov spoilt his chances of coming first by losing both games to bottom-placed Arnaud Hauchard (France), while Ye only kept pace with Bologan in the second cycle, equalling his score of a single win and four draws. Mikhail Gurevich (Belgium) made 4.5; and Vadim Zvjaginsev, (Russia) and Hauchard both accumulated just 4.

In contrast to Fedorov, Bologan won both of his games against Hauchard. This is the second of these. After 8...gxf6, the position is extremely similar to a 5...gxf6 Caro Kann. I'm not sure about 11...a5!? and don't like the acquiescent 16...Bxc2 at all - surely he should try 16...Bg6!? though 17.h4 might come anyway.

Perhaps Black should try 25...h6, though the pawn is a fixed weakness on that square. After 26.Qe4! and 27.Bf4! Black was in trouble since 27...Qd7 gets hit by 28.Ne5 Qd8 29.Nxf7! and after other queen moves 28.Qe5! is dire. Black had to surrender the exchange in view of the threat of 29.c5 and the rest was fairly easy.

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