Play Like Ray in Moscow
By Jennifer Shahade   
February 23, 2009
Raylead325.jpg
IM Ray Robson in a break between Moscow tournaments, visiting his coach Alexander Onischuk's home in Crimea. 
In his article on scorching the Moscow Open, Alexander Onischuk opined that his 14-year-old student Ray Robson, may have needed more time to acclimate, as he had a tough start, but then won four in a row. Indeed, Robson has not slowed down, but continued his excellent run into the Aeroflot Open (February 16-27.) Robson stands with 3.5/6 and a 2650+ Performance rating and is in the hunt for his first GM norm in the final three rounds. The strength of the tournament can be appreciated by facts like famous GM Loek Van Wely's bye in round five. He started with .5/4 and was one of Ray's victims.

American GM Melikset Khachiyan is also shining in Moscow, with 5/6 and a 2700+ performance in the very strong "A2" section.

Round 7 Update: Ray Robson lost to GM Ildar Khairullin while Khachiyan drew on board one of the A2 section against IM Davit Petrosian.

A little over a year ago, CLO posted a story, Play Like Ray, when Ray earned his final IM norm in Texas. Here are some more Robson puzzles inspired by his Aeroflot triumphs:

22...fxg6Ray.jpg
White to Move, Robson-Bocharov, position after 22...fxg6.

In his round five game against GM Dmitry Bocharov (2647), Ray reached the above position. While his move does not win by force, it creates a wild chase that maximizes pressure on Black. What move did Ray play?

Show Solution


PositionBocharov38...Qe8.jpg
White to Move Robson-Bocharov, Position after 38...Qe8

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36.Ra4VanWely.jpg
Black to Move
Van Wely- Robson, Position after 36.Ra4

In the above position against GM Loek Van Wely, Ray Robson found a sequence to lead the game to an imbalanced endgame in Black's favor.

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AkobianRobsonafter32.Rc1.jpg
Black to Move
Akobian-Robson after 32. Rc1

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33.Rxc4.jpg
Black to Move
Akobian-Robson, Position after 33.Rxc4


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Check out the full games from which the puzzles above were pulled:







From the other American GMs in the A tournament, Jaan Ehlvest has 3.5/6, Onischuk has 3/6 and Varuzhan Akobian, Robson's latest victim, has 2.5.  

In the "A2" tournament, IM Irina Krush has 3/6, GM Alexander Ivanov has 2.5. In the B section, Bayaraa Zorigt has 2/9.

Other breaking news from Aeroflot is top-seed Shakhriyar Mamedryrov's withdrawal from the tournament, due to suspicions that his opponent was cheating. Read more on chessbase.com.