Wednesday Workout: Play like Conrad Holt!

It’s Week 10 in the 2019 Pro Chess League, and that means one thing: Battle Royale.

GM Conrad Holt (Dallas Destiny) played a whale of a game against GM Xu Xiangyu (Chengdu Pandas), and his blistering attack serves as the basis for this week’s Wednesday Workout.

Two diagrams from Holt’s victory are given below, and you’re asked to discover Black’s move in both cases. Answers and the complete game are given below. Good luck!

Position 1: What should Black play?

Position 2: How did Holt finish the job?

Position 1:

16. Ng3! 17.Rg1

(a) 17.fxg3 should draw, i.e. 17. f2+ 18.Ke2 Qxg4+ 19.Ke3 Qg5+ 20.Ke2 Qg4+.

(b) Trying to deflect the queen with 17.Bg5 gets complicated after 17. Bb4+! (17. Qxg5 18.hxg3 Be7) 18.Rc3!? (worse is 18.Nc3 Qxg5 19.hxg3) 18. Bxc3+ 19.bxc3 Qxg5 20.hxg3 and White only has some compensation for the material. The c5 outpost looks particularly useful.

17. Qxh2 18.Rxg3 Qh1+ 19.Bf1 Ba6! 20.Be3 Bb4+ 21.Nc3 Qxf1+ 22.Kd2 Qd3+ 23.Ke1

Position 2:

23. Qxe3+! 24.fxe3 f2+ 25.Kd2 f1Q 0-1

25. f1Q 26.Qxf1 Bxf1 and Black is up a clean piece.

Complete game:

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