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14-year-old Aydin Suleymanli's move that would have made Dvoretsky proud!

by Sagar Shah - 27/02/2020

The Aeroflot Open is considered to be one of the strongest events in the world of chess. Over 60 GMs are taking part in the tournament, with 33 of them being above 2600 Elo. After eight rounds of intense chess, with just one round to go, can you guess who is the leader of the Aeroflot Open 2020? It's the 14-year-old talent from Azerbaijan IM Aydin Suleymanli (2474). Aydin's performance at the event has been off the charts. He has played all opponents above the rating of 2600 and beaten four of them. He has an Elo performance of 2816 and with a draw in the last round he could well become the champion! In round eight he played a gem against Parham Maghsoodloo and in this article we have a closer look at this brilliancy.

What is prophylactic thinking?

Prophylactic thinking = stopping your opponent from executing his/her idea.

 

Of course the definition could be deeper and could cover more points, but essentially prophylaxis is all about stopping your opponent's plans and ideas. Mark Dvoretsky was one of the biggest propagators of Prophylactic thinking. He was able to create a structured way in which players all across the world could read his books and hone their skills related to prophylactic thinking. 

 

Here's one book in the ChessBase India shop, that we thinking is just excellent to develop your prophylactic thinking.

In the eighth round of the Aeroflot Open 2020, we reached a position that is a beautiful exercise related to prophylactic thinking. It was a battle between the former World Junior Champion Parham Maghsoodloo and Aydin Suleymanli, the 14-year-old talent from Azerbaijan. Here's the critical position.

 

Parham Maghsoodloo vs Aydin Suleymanli, Round 8

White has just played Bg3. Black to play. What would you do here?

14-year-old Aydin Suleymanli leads the Aeroflot Open 2020 with 6.0/8

This is not the first time we are reporting about Aydin Suleymanli on our newspage. The first time I saw the youngster in action was in October 2019 when he was playing in Mumbai, India at the World Youth Championships under-14. Although there were several Indian talents taking part, Aydin simply cut his way through the field and became the under-14 World Youth Champion.

Flanked by two Indians, Aydin Suleymanli proved that he is the best player under-14 in the world! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

I did an interview with Suleymanli at the event (can be found at the end of the article) where I asked him about how much time he spent on chess. To which he replied, "I train with Farid Abasov. I do not go to school and spend all my time working on chess!" When asked if he wants to become a professional, he said, "I think I am already a professional player. I would like to become an elite GM!" It was quite amazing to see the confidence and positive attitude of the youngster.

 

I met the youngster once again later in the year at the World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2019 in Moscow. This performance at the start of the world rapid was truly impressive as the Suleymanli began 5.0/7, beating players like Belov, Cheparinov, Adhiban and Shimanov! He went on to gain 116 Elo points at that event. It was clear to me that we were seeing someone truly special in the world of chess.

 

At the Aeroflot Open 2020, Aydin began as the 71st seed! He kicked off his campaign with a win over Aleksandar Indjic (2622). He then had a string of four draws against Yilmaz Mustafa (2607), Praggnanandhaa (2602), Mikhail Kobalia (2609) and Haik Martirosyan (2630). Round six onwards is where he picked up pace as he first beat Vasif Durarbayli, then the veteran Ilia Smirin and finally Parham Maghsoodloo (2674) in the penultimate round. To score six points out of eight rounds against an opposition of 2600+ Elo is truly mind boggling. Aydin has performed at an Elo of 2816 and is gaining 36 Elo points! All eyes will be on his final round encounter against his compatriot Rauf Mamedov. Aydin will have the black pieces and even a draw would mean that he would become the champion based on the tiebreak.

Suleymanli's performance at the Aeroflot Open 2020

Standings after round 8

Rk.SNoNameTypsexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2 
171IMSuleymanli AydinU18AZE24746,042618
211GMMamedov RaufAZE26436,042595
34GMSjugirov SananRUS26745,542601
46GMAdhiban B.IND26545,542577
517GMParavyan DavidRUS26295,542565
629GMYilmaz MustafaTUR26075,542562
78GMJumabayev RinatKAZ26465,542552
15GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND26305,542552
942GMShimanov AleksandrRUS25875,542536
1040GMPetrosyan ManuelARM25905,532593
1138GMAleksandrov AleksejBLR25925,042605
1243GMIdani PouyaIRI25775,042601
1356GMAsadli VugarAZE25385,042591
145GMSarana AlexeyRUS26565,042590
1512GMSethuraman S.P.IND26415,042585
169GMRakhmanov AleksandrRUS26455,042558
1719GMDeac Bogdan-DanielROU26265,042531
1848GMAntipov Mikhail Al.RUS25625,042530
1923GMZhou JianchaoCHN26225,042513
2026GMSmirin IliaISR26155,032533

Suleymanli's brilliancy against Parham Maghsoodloo

Before you check the entire game with annotations, it might be a good idea to indulge in the seven point test by Sagar Shah in this video where he covers the game and asks you to think at seven critical moments.

Try to see if you can solve all the seven questions correctly

Suleymanli plays the active line beginning with ...Bf5. Maghsoodloo being the uncompromising player that he is replied with Qb3!?

Suleymanli had done his homework and sacrificed not just his b7 pawn, but also his c7 pawn in return for piece activity. In the above position Maghsoodloo took the pawn on b7. But it seems like inserting the move g4 would have been better.

Black is two pawns down, but has excellent piece activity in return. Does Black have enough compensation? Let's find out.

The position that was given at the start of the article. Black to move. Did you find the right answer?

What's the most natural move for Black. You take on a2 with your knight and White responds with Ra1 Nxc3 and now White has the powerful move Ba6!

 

Analysis variation

With Ba6 White has solved all his problems of development. Next the knight will come to e2, the king will tuck itself on f2 and White could even start playing for an advantage. It's only when you delve deep into the position, do you understand the essence of it. It is extremely important to stop the f1 bishop from developing and finding a stable square on the board. That square is on a6. And so Aydin stopped his opponent's idea with the move...

15...a5! The power of this move now becomes apparent. It is high level of prophylactic thinking by Suleymanli.

As you can see, the bishop on f1 has no stable squares along the diagonal and Black is better.

After a small lapse by Suleymanli, White got his final chance to fight for equality here. What should he play?

Maghsoodloo played the move Ra2, which looked normal, but turns out to be an error. The right move is Ra3! The main point is that Black has to do something on every move otherwise the white bishop will develop on b5 and White will be completely fine. After Ra2 Bb1, White was in trouble because now if the rook moves to a3, then the dark squared bishop attacks it with Bb4 and the rook swoops in on c1. Instead if White had directly played Ra3 then he would have been completely fine.

If White lost the a4 pawn then it would be all over. But Maghsoodloo had prepared his last trap in the game. He played Rc2!? How should Black react?

Suleymanli is too strong to fall into such traps! He simply gave a check on e1 and picked up the rook on c2 with a completely winning position, which he converted in the next few moves.

 

Previous coverage of Aydin Suleymanli on ChessBase India

Final moments of Aydin Suleymanli's win over Aditya Samant at World Youth 2019
I am already a professional player - Aydin Suleymanli
Aydin shows superior understanding to beat Abinandhan

Just 14 and already a professional player - Aydin Suleymanli

If you would like to improve your prophylactic thinking, you can definitely go for the Dvoretsky combo from the ChessBase India shop.

 


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