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Aug 19,2002

chess chess

Round 4

The game Karpov - J. Polgar, played in the fourth round, was extremely fascinating. There was everything in that duel: an interesting opening idea, sacrifices and counter-sacrifices. The result was a draw, as often happens when both opponents are up to the mark. As a result of Karpov’s half-halt, Viorel Bologan joined the leader of the tournament, having overwhelmed with White Vadim Milov in a long positional struggle in the Paulsen Variation. Judith Polgar and Nigel Short follow the leaders with a minimal lag of a half-point: Short played White with Rafael Leitao and defeated him in the Najdorf Variation. The loser of the tournament Milos at last improved his position. Against the youngest participant of the tournament D. Flores he chose the same variation which occurred in the game Flores – Karpov in the first round. This time White refused to sacrifice a pawn and played 10. exd6 instead of 10.Bd3, still this did not help him. Black got a good play and won the game quickly. In the game Ricardi - Pierrot there was no particular struggle. The opponents agreed to a draw rather soon.

Karpov - Polgar [E15]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3

Unlike the game with Milos from the second round where the Catalan Opening occurred, this time Karpov chose his favourite Queen’s Indian Defence.

3... b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6 8. Bc3 d5 9. Ne5 Nfd7 10. Nxd7 Nxd7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. O-O Nf6

All this stuff is well known and was seen in Karpov’s practice both for White and Black. However, when playing Black, he chooses 12... Nf6 much more seldom than another popular continuation 12...Rc8.

13. e4 b5 14. Re1 dxe4 15. Qc2 Rc8 16. Rad1 Nd5

This unexpected strike of Black’s knight became popular after the game H. Olafsson - L. Portisch, Manila (ol), 1992.

17. Bb2

An acceptance of the sacrifice of a piece 17. cxd5 cxd5 leads to an unpleasant binding on the c-file, and after 18. a3 (if 18. Bf1, then after 18... b4 19. Bxa6 Rxc3 20. Qb2 Qb6 two extra pawns and the weakness of White’s pawn on d4 make up a sufficient compensation for the sacrificed material for Black) 18... Bxa3 19. Qa2 b4 20. Bxb4 Bxb4 21. Qxa6 Rc2 22. Re2 Qc8! White annihilates one binding but instead he gets another, no less unpleasant, on the second horizontal. Another continuation, 17. Bxe4 Nxc3 18. Qxc3 Bf6, which was long considered to be the basic line, gains nothing for White. In the game Karpov - Timman (Hoogeveen, 1999) after 19. Qc2 g6 20. Nf3 bxc4 21. bxc4 Qa5 22. c5 Bb5 23. Qc1 Qxa2 24. Qf4 Bg7 White preferred to repeat the position with 25. Ra1 Qb2 26. Reb1 Qc3 27. Rc1 Qb2 28. Rab1 Qa2 29. Ra1 and thus agreed to a draw, and in case of a keen 19. c5 Bxd4 20. Qc2 f5 21. Bg2 Qf6 22. b4 which occurred in the game Karpov - Ehlvest (Bali, 2000) White had a compensation for the missing pawn , but nothing more.

17... f5!?

A new, rather interesting move. Black makes White take the sacrificed knight. In the game Dydyshko - Huzman (Batumi, 1999) the opponents played 17... Nb4 18. Qxe4 bxc4 19. bxc4 Nxa2 20. Ra1 Nb4 21. Bc3 Rb8, and after 22. Bxb4 Bxb4 23.Rxa6 Bxd2 24. Rd1 Bc3 25. Qd3 Bb2 26. Rxa7 Qb6 27. Qc3 there was a draw. Most probably Karpov was going to reinforce his play somewhere. So, the move 22. Reb1 deserves attention, making it hard for Black to defend his two minor pieces, hanging on the queenside. So, 22... Qd7 (no 22... c5 23. Bxb4 Bb7 because of 24. Ba5! Bxe4 25. Bxd8, and Black was not able to restore the material balance in any case) did not solve all Black’s problems because of 23. Rb3 Rb7 24. Qb1 Rfb8 25. Ra4, Black losing material.

18. cxd5 cxd5 19. Qb1 b4 20. Nf1

Looks logical. First of all White tries to strengthen the pawn d4.

20... Qb6 21. f3

White wants to organise an active play. Otherwise Black will combine the threats to take the pawn d4 and to break-through on the kingside with f5-f4. A blocking move 21. f4 provided no complete solution because of 21.... g5.

21... Bf6

Black puts more pressure on the pawn d4. An attempt to develop the play on the kingside with 21... f4?! allowed White to take the initiative after 22. gxf4 (no 22. fxe4? because of 22... f3) 22... exf3 23. Bxf3 Rxf4 24. Bg2 Bf6 25. Bh3.

22. Ne3

22... Rc3!

An excellent resource. Having only two pawns for a piece, Black sacrifices by an exchange. After 22... f4?! 23. gxf4 Bd3 White could have extinguished Black’s initiative totally with 24. Rxd3 (if 24. Qa1, then 24... Bh4) 24... exd3 25. Qxd3.

23. Bxc3 bxc3 24. Nc2 e5

Black missed a chance to put even more strain on the position with 24... Bxd4+!? 25. Nxd4 e5. For a moment White has two extra pieces, but nevertheless he has to look for a chance to escape, no more. After 26. fxe4 (if 26. Kh1, then after 26... exd4 27. Qc1 Qf6 Black’s pawns in the centre are extremely dangerous, ready to begin their advance) 26... exd4 (no 26... fxe4? 27. Bxe4) 27. exf5 d3+ 28. Kh1 c2 29. Bxd5+ Kh8 Black won a rook for one of his far advanced pawns, while another pawn stayed alive, causing a lot of trouble to White.

25. Ne3 exd4 26. Nxd5 Qc5 27. Nxf6+ Rxf6 28. b4 Qc4 29. Qb3!

The queens should be exchanged, whereafter the white king will be able to enter the struggle against Black’s pawns. After 29. Qc1 d3 30. Qe3 (if 30. Re3, then 30... Qd4) Black continued not 30... d2 31. Rxd2 cxd2 32. Qxd2 with an approximate equality, but 30... c2!, presenting real problems to White.

29... d3

To begin the exchange of the queens himself is not good for Black. After 29... Qxb3 30. axb3 d3 31. fxe4 d2 (31... fxe4? was bad because of 32. Bxe4) 32. e5 Rb6 (if 32... dxe1Q+, then 33. Rxe1 Rb6 34. Rc1, annihilating the second dangerous passed pawn) 33. Rxd2 cxd2 34. Rd1 Rxb4 35. Rxd2 Black got a worse endgame.

30. Qxc4+ Bxc4 31. Bf1

More precise than 31. fxe4 d2 32. exf5 (after 32. e5 Ra6 White’s position can turn out worse) 32... Rd6, maintaining the strain of the position.

31... Rc6 32. fxe4 d2 33. b5 Rc5 34. Bxc4+ Rxc4 35. exf5 dxe1Q+ 36. Rxe1 Kf7

White’s extra pawn is evidently a temporary factor, the rook endgame is drawn.

37. Rc1 Kf6 38.Kf2 Ra4

After 38... Kxf5 39. Ke3 White’s king came up to the black c-pawn, neutralising it.

39. Rc2

Also after 39. Rxc3 Rxa2+ 40. Kf3 Rxh2 there was an evident draw on the board.

39... Ra5 40. Ke3 Kxf5 1/2-1/2 Draw.

"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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