Luke McShane has two successful careers: financial analyst in the City of London and grandmaster. Chess has been his priority in 2019, and it paid off handsomely on the Isle of Man last weekend.
A purple patch of three straight wins propelled the Londoner, 35, into the joint lead at the $430,000 tournament which has attracted a high-class entry headed by the world champion, Magnus Carlsen.
McShane has an original style, not taking routine principles of strategy for granted, as he showed in his third round win against his Vietnamese opponent where he advanced pawns in front of his own castled black king to create decisive threats.
Sharing the lead on 3.5/4, McShane met Fabiano Caruana, the US world No2 who last year played an epic title match against Carlsen. The Englishman got a winning advantage with subtle knight play, but, short of time, missed several wins of which the easiest ironically would have been a knight retreat to the back row.
Caruana escaped with a draw, and McShane lost in round six to China’s Wang Hao who shared the lead with the American going into Wednesday’s rest day. There are still five rounds to go. Games are free and live to watch online (3pm start) with expert and computer commentary plus player interviews.
Can you find a way to checkmate Black’s solitary mid-board king in just two moves? It looks simple, but there are hidden traps.
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