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Aug 17,2002
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Round 2

Gelfand - Milov [E04]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 a6 6. O-O Nc6

The opponents play the Gambit Variation of the Catalan Opening. With his last move Black puts pressure on the pawn d4, trying to hinder the development of White’s initiative in the centre.

7. e3 Rb8

Black’s last move is not very popular in theoretical studies because it allows White to take back the sacrificed pawn. The high road is 7... Bd7. One year ago this move occurred in a game played by B. Gelfand, but then he had Black. After 8. Qe2 b5 9. Nc3 Bd6 10. e4 Be7 11. d5 Nb4 12. Ne5 exd5 13. exd5 O-O 14. a3 Nd3 15. Nxd3 Bg4 16. Qe3 cxd3 17. Qxd3 Qd7 18. Bf4 Bd6 Black maintained an equality in the game Karpov - Gelfand (Dos Hermanas, 1999).

8. Nfd2

This is the reason why 7…Rb8 is played not often.

8... Qd7 9. Nxc4 b5 10. Ncd2

10... Bb7

Previously only 10…e5 occurred in this position. 10... e5. After 11. Nb3 Bd6 12. Nc3 O-O 13. d5 Ne7 14. e4 c5 15. dxc6 Nxc6 16. Bg5 White had a slightly better play in the game Gorelov – Kharitonov (Volgodonsk, 1981).

11. a4 Be7 12. axb5 axb5 13. Nc3 Nd8 14. Bxb7 Nxb7

An exchange of the light-squared bishops frequently allows equalization of the positions in the Catalan Opening. But now there is a different situation. Black still has some problems, first of all concerning his retarded c-pawn.

15. Nf3 O-O

Another opportunity for Black was connected with 15... Bd6, preventing a blow from the white knight on e5 and involving complications after 16. e4 with 16... b4.

16. Ne5 Qe8 17. Ra7

This move allows Black to make the white knight retreat to the side of the board. This could have been avoided with 17. Qe2!? b4 (after 17... Nd6 18. Bd2 b4 19. Na4 Black had to spend some time to close the way to the centre through c5 for the white knight) 18. Nb5 c6 19. Nc7 Qc8 20. Na6 Ra8 21. Bd2 making White’s pressure on the opponent’s queenside quite perceptible.

17... b4 18. Na4 Bd6

If 18... c5, then Black had to reckon with the move 19. Qf3, threatening seriously to get to c6 with the knight.

19. Nc4

Well, it was a good idea to withdraw the knight from e5. After 19. Qf3 Bxe5 20. dxe5 Nd5 the position of the white pawns would have become considerably worse.

19... Qb5 20. b3 Ra8 21. Rxa8 Rxa8 22. Qc2 Na5?!

Black plays a helpful move, there is no doubt, but what he should have done first was to take control over the big diagonal. After 22... Qc6! 23. Bd2 (there was no 23. f3? because of 23... Rxa4! 24. bxa4 Na5 with Black’s win) 23... Na5 his chances were no worse than White’s.

23. Nxa5 Rxa5

24. e4!

White’s pawns begin their advance as a result of Black’s inaccuracy on the 22nd move.

24... e5 25. Bb2

Now the big diagonal will be open for White’s dark-squared bishop. In case of 25. d5 h6 it was much harder to engage it in the play.

25... exd4 26. Bxd4 Ng4

In case of 26... Nd7 there was a strong 27. Rd1!, but on no account 27. f4? because then Black would have gained the initiative with 27... c5! 28. Bb2 c4.

27. f3 Ne5 28. Bxe5 Qxe5 29. f4 Qd4+ 30. Kg2 Qa7

White’s queen should not have been allowed to occupy the diagonal a8-h1. Better was 30... Ra6 31. Rd1 Rc6 32. Qe2 Qa7, and if 33. e5, then there was an unpleasant 33... Qb7!.

31. Qc6 g6 32. e5 Bf8 33. Rd1 Qe3 34. Qc4

Missing the advantage. In the endgame to come after 34. Qf3! Qxf3+ 35. Kxf3 White’s chances were better.

34... c6!

Black’s rook enters the play at the cost of a pawn, allowing Black to get a draw, as a perpetual check to the white king becomes inevitable now.

35. Rd7 Rd5 36. Rxd5 cxd5 37. Qxd5 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Gallagher - Svidler [B92]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Kh1 b6

Last year the Swiss grandmaster defended with Black this position which appeared from the Najdorf Variation.

10. a4 Bb7 11. f3 Nc6 12. Bg5 Nb4 13. Nb1 h6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Na3 Qc7 16. c3

Black encountered greater problems in the continuation 16. Qd2 Nc6 17. Nc4, both after 17... Rfd8 18. a5 bxa5 19. Nbxa5 Nd4 20. Nxb7 Qxb7 21. Bd3 Bg5 22. Qf2 (Ivanchuk - Topalov, Monte Carlo (rapid), 1998) and in case of 17... Rad8 18. Qe3 b5 19. axb5 axb5 20. Qb6 (Palac - Hracek, Batumi, 1999).

16... Nc6 17. Nc4 Rad8 18. Ne3

A new move. In the game Psakhis - Topalov (Las Vegas (m/1), 1999) 18. Qd3 Bg5 19. Ne3 was played whereafter the opponents agreed to a draw even before they began to struggle really.

18... Ne7!

Now the white squares d5 and f5 are well covered.

19. c4 Bg5

Black managed to regroup his forces successfully, it’s obvious that his chances are not worse.

20. Nd5 Nxd5 21. cxd5 f5 22. Bd3

An attack of the black king with the use of the diagonal b1-h7 with 22. exf5 Rxf5 (there was also 22... Qf7) 23. Bd3 Rff8 24. Bb1 was hardly good because of 24... Qc4.

22... fxe4 23. fxe4

A capture with the bishop 23. Bxe4 had its merits too.

23... Rxf1+ 24. Qxf1 Rf8 25. Qe2 Bc8 26. Nd2

To take the pawn 26. Bxa6?! Bxa6 27. Qxa6 was risky because of 27... Rf2 28. Qa8+ Kh7 29. Qc6 Qd8!, and now apart from the hanging pawn on b2 by White his king is going to suffer an attack from all Black’s pieces.

26... a5 27. Nf3 Bg4 28. Rf1 Bf4 29. Qe1 Qf7 30. Ng1 Qc7 31. Ne2 Qc5 32. Nc3

White has not ventured on 32. Nxf4, though his queen would have restricted the opportunities of his opponent considerably, threatening constantly to break through into his camp both in case of 32... exf4 33. Qh4 Bd7 34. b3 Qe3 35. Rf3 and in the line 32... Rxf4 33. Rxf4 exf4 34. h3 Bd7 35. b3 Qd4 36. Qh4.

32... Qd4 33. Be2 Bd7

33... Bc8!? deserved attention.

34. Bb5 Bc8

After 34... Bxb5 35. Nxb5 Qxb2 36. g3 Bg5 37. Nxd6! (but no 37. Rxf8+ Kxf8 38. Nxd6 because of 38... Ke7 letting the black king withdraw from the dangerous area easily) 37... Rxf1+ 38. Qxf1 White’s queen and knight could have got to the black king soon.

35. Qe2 g6

36. g3?

After 36. Ba6! White maintained an equality.

36... Bd2!

White’s knight is attacked by the black bishop.

37. Rxf8+

There was no blow 37. Be8 because of 37... Bxc3! (bad was 37...Rxe8 because of 38. Qf3 Bf5 39. exf5 Rf8 40. Rd1 Rxf5 41. Qe2 Rf2 with 42. Qe4! by White) 38. Rxf8+ Kxf8 39. bxc3 Qxc3 40. Bxg6 Bh3!, and after 41. Qf2+ Ke7 42. Qf7+ Kd8 43. Qe8+ Kc7 44. Qe7+ Kb8 45. Qxd6+ Ka7 Black’s king would have hidden in a shelter on the queenside.

37... Kxf8 38. Qd3

The move 38. Ba6 is not attractive any more because of 38.. Bh3!, as then after 39. Qf3+ Ke7 40. g4 Black would have proceeded to a winning endgame with 40... Qe3!. Probably a more persistent opposition was possible in case of 38. Qf3+ Ke7 39. h4, but even here Black’s winning chances were rather good after 39... h5.

38... Qxd3!

The beginning of an exchange operation which should lead to a bishop endgame, winning for Black.

39. Bxd3 Bxc3 40. bxc3 Bd7 41. Bc2

There was no 41. Bb5, because after 41... Bxb5 42. axb5 a4 the black pawn would have passed.

41... b5!

The remote passed pawn on the a-file should bring the victory to Black.

42. axb5 Bxb5 43. Kg2 a4 44. c4 a3 45. Bb3 Ba4 46. Ba2 Ke7 47. Kf3 Bc2 48. Ke3 Kd7 49. Kd2

White has to part with the pawn as otherwise the black king would have come to White’s camp from the queenside.

49... Bxe4 50. Kc3 Bf3 51. Kd3 Kc7 52. Ke3 Bg4 0-1 White resigned.

Ponomariov - Van Wely [B22]

1. e4 c5 2. c3

Unlike the game which he played in the first round, the Ukrainian grandmaster chooses a quieter development system against the Sicilian Defence.

2... Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bc4 Nb6 6. Bb3 c4 7. Bc2 Qc7 8. Qe2 g5 9. e6 dxe6 10. Nxg5 Qe5 11. d4 cxd3 12. Bxd3 Qxe2+ 13. Bxe2

All these moves are well known. 13. Kxe2 h6 14. Nf3 e5 15. Na3 Bd7 16. Be3 Nd5 17. Be4 Nf4+ 18. Kf1 Bg7 19. Nh4 O-O-O 20. Nf5 Bxf5 21. Bxf5+ e6 22. Bc2 Rd7 with an equal play occurred already in the practice of Ruslan Ponomariov (Ponomariov – Sadler, Hastings, 1999).

13... h6 14. Ne4 e5 15. Na3

15... f5!?

Usually Black plays 15... Bf5 in this position. L.Van Wely shows that he has a more aggressive plan.

16. Bh5+ Kd8 17. Ng3 e6 18. Nc2 Bd6 19. Bd2

With the move 19. b3 White could have prevented the black knight from getting to c4, but then it was able to occupy another good square with 19... Nd5 20. Bb2 Nf4.

19... Nc4 20. O-O-O Nxd2 21. Rxd2 Ke7 22. Rhd1 Bc7

The advantage of two bishops ensures better chances to Black.

23. Nf1 b5 24. g3 Rb8 25. b4 Rd8 26. Nfe3 Rxd2 27. Rxd2 Bb7 28. a3 a6 29. Na1 Bb6 30. Nb3 Na7 31. Bd1 Nc8 32. Nc5 Nd6 33. Rc2

After 33. Nxb7 Rxb7 34. Be2 (in case of 34. Bf3 there was a strong 34... Bxe3 35. fxe3 Rc7 36. Kc2 Nc4, White losing a pawn) 34... Rc7 35. Rc2 Bxe3+ (if 35... Ne4, then 36. c4!, and now 36... Nxf2 could have been opposed with 37. c5 Ba7 38. Bxb5 ) 36. fxe3 Nc4 37. Bxc4 Rxc4 Black had excellent winning chances in a rook endgame.

33... Bxc5

33... Be4!? deserved attention, because in case of 34. Nxe4 (if 34. Rd2, then after 34... Bxc5 35. bxc5 Nb7 White lost a pawn) Black had 34... Nxe4 35. c4 Nxf2 36. c5 Nxd1.

34. bxc5 Ne4 35. c4 Rc8 36. cxb5 axb5 37. Bf3 Kd7 38. Kb2 Bd5 39. Bxe4 Bxe4 40. Rc3 Kc6 41. Nf1

After 41. Nc2 Bxc2 42. Rxc2 Rd8 White would have to part with the pawn c5.

41... Rd8 42. f3 Bd3 43. Ne3 h5 44. Kc1 Rd4 45. Nd1 Be2 46. Nf2 Rc4 47. Kd2 Rxc3 48. Kxc3 Kxc5 49. f4 exf4 50. gxf4 Kd5

An extra pawn should be enough for Black to win.

51. Kd2 Bf1 52. h4 Kc4 53. Nh1 Bg2 54. Nf2 Kb3 55. Nd3

55... Bd5

Black can delay the capture of the pawn a3 for a while and reinforce the position of his pieces.

56. Nb4 Be4 57. Na6 Kxa3 58. Kc3 Bd5 59. Nb4 Ka4 60. Nd3 Ka5 61. Nb4 Bc4 62. Nc2 Ka4 63. Nd4 Ka3 64. Nc6 Ka2 65. Ne5 Kb1 66. Nd7

The pawn endgame to appear after 66. Nxc4 bxc4 67. Kxc4 Kc2 68. Kd4 Kd2 was winning for Black.

66... Kc1 67. Nf6 Be2 68. Ne8 Kd1 69. Ng7 Bg4 70. Nxe6 Ke2 71. Nd4+ Kf2 72. Nxb5 Kg3 73. Kd2 Kxh4

White cannot stop the h-pawn.

74. Ke1 Kg3 75. Nd4 h4 76. Kf1 h3 77. Kg1 h2+ 78. Kh1 Kh3 0-1 White resigned.





"He who fears an isolated queen's pawn should give up chess". Siegbert Tarrasch











"The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move"! David Bronstein.











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