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Aug 19,2002

chess chess

Round 1

Shirov - Svidler [B81]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. g4

A. Shirov demonstrates his loyalty to one of the most keen variations of the Sicilian Defence which is connected with the sacrifice of a piece, though his opponent is undoubtedly prepared for this line. Let’s only mention that in the recent tournament in Biel P. Svidler with White won two important games against B. Gelfand and L. Van Wely in this variation.

7... e5 8. Nf5 g6 9. g5 gxf5 10. exf5 d5 11. Qf3

A slight deviation. Previously the grandmaster from Spain played 11. gxf6 invariably, probably the present change was made owing to the efforts of L. Van Wely who defends Black’s position in this line with an enviable persistence and quite successfully.

11... d4 12. O-O-O Nbd7

13. Bd2

This move can be called a step back in some sense. A more crucial decision for this problem is desired. Still, after the well known 13. Rxd4 exd4 14. Bxd4 Bc5 15. Bxc5 Nxc5 16. Bc4 Black repelled the attack with 16...Qe7! 17. gxf6 Qe5 18. Rd1 Bxf5 19. Rd5 Qe1+ 20. Rd1 and got a draw in the game Gipslis - Rastenis (corr., 1988). Another decisive continuation 13. Bxd4 was followed with 13... exd4 14. Bc4 Qc7 15. Rhe1+ Kd8 16. Rxd4 Bc5 17. Rd3 Re8 18. Red1 Nh5 19. Bxf7 Qf4+ 20. Kb1 Qxf3 21. Rxf3 Ng7 22. f6 Ne6 23. Rf5 which allowed White to win the endgame despite Black’s two extra pieces (S. Farago - Habibi, Budapest, 1994). However the defending side acted not in the best way here. Much stronger was 14... Bc5 15. Rhe1+ Kf8 with an unclear play. And, finally, the line 13. Bc4 13... Qc7 14. Bb3 dxc3 15. g6 fxg6 16. fxg6 hxg6 17. Qg2 Qc6 18. Qxg6+ Kd8 19. Rhe1 Kc7 brought a victory to Black in the Russian Championship two years ago in the game A. Sokolov - Svidler (St.Petersburg, 1998).

13... Qc7

This move is considered to be the strongest. In case of 13... dxc3 14. Bxc3 Black’s opportunities would be restricted in a way. In the game Chiburdanidze - Cserna (Pristina, 1983) which was played in the very beginning of the development of this variation after 14... Qc7 (in case of 14... Bg7 15. Rg1 Black also takes the chance of suffering a very dangerous attack as it was in the game J. Polgar - Anand (Dos Hermanas, 1999)) 15. Bd3 Bd6 16. Rhe1 Nc5 17. Bc4 Black missed his best chance (17... Nfd7! 18. Qd5 Nb6 19. Bxe5 Nxd5 20. Bxd6+ Ne6! 21. Bxc7 Ndxc7 with an approximately equal play) and encountered great problems as the result of the erroneous 17... Nfe4? 18. Rxe4 Nxe4 19. Qxe4 Bd7 20. Qd5 O-O-O 21. Qxd6 Qxd6 22. Rxd6 Bxf5 23. Rf6.

14. Bd3

The exchange of pieces after 14. gxf6 dxc3 15. Bxc3 allows Black to create serious difficulties for White in developing his initiative for the sacrificed piece 15...Qc6.

14... Nc5

Black does not want to follow the game Chiburdanidze - Cserna (Pristina, 1983) with 14... dxc3 15. Bxc3.

15. gxf6

After 15. Bc4 dxc3 16. Bxc3 Nfe4 17. Rhe1 Nxc3 18. Qxc3 Bg7 19. f6 O-O 20. Rxe5 Be6 21. Bxe6 Nxe6 22. Qxc7 Nxc7 Black managed to repulse all White’s threats and then won in the game T. Wedberg - I. Novikov (Kobenhavn, 1991).

15... dxc3

The line 15... Nxd3+ 16. Qxd3 dxc3 17. Bxc3 Bh6+ 18. Kb1 Bf4 19. Rhe1 Bd7 20. Bxe5 Bxe5 21. f4 O-O-O 22. fxe5 gives a fair compensation of three pawns for the piece to White.

16. Bxc3 Qc6!

P. Svidler is first to leave the theoretical lines. 16... Bh6+ 17. Kb1 Qc6 18. Qh5 Bf4 19. Bc4 Qxf6 20. Bxf7+ Ke7 21. Bb4 b6 was seen previously which allowed Black to get a better play in the game Nijboer - Van Wely, Rotterdam, 1999. So long we don’t know Shirov’s preparations for this line.

17. Qe3

Of course White did not want to exchange the queens, all the more that he would have lost the important pawn f5 then.

17... e4

After 17... Nxd3+ 18. Qxd3 White kept the pawn f5, restricting Black’s light-squared bishop considerably.

18. Bc4

There are many instances which demonstrate with evidence that the main threat for Black in this variation comes from the diagonal a2-g8 where the white bishop has just moved. After 18. f3 Bxf5 19. fxe4 Be6 Black was more comfortable with an extra piece.

18... Bxf5 19. Rd4 Ne6 20. Bd5 Qb6

21. Rc4!

Black’s achievements are evident. Nevertheless, White finds a chance to continue the struggle, and probably this is the only chance.

21... Bc5

It’s very interesting to see White’s compensation for the missing piece after 21... Qxe3+ 22. fxe3 Nc5! (22... b5? was bad because of 23. Bc6+ Kd8 24.Rd1+ Kc7 25. Rd7+ Kb8 26. Be5+)? It’s very likely that there was simply none. So, in case of 23. Rf1 Bg6 24. b4 Black had 24... Rd8 25. Rd4 (if 25. Rd1, then 25... Nd3+) 25... Bh6 26. Kd2 Ne6, and his material advantage would tell soon.

22. Qg3 Bxf2 23. Qe5 Qe3+ 24. Kb1

Black has a pure extra piece and it’s his turn to move, but it is not at all easy to untangle the pieces in the centre of the board.

24... Qf4 25. Qxf4 Nxf4 26. Bxb7 O-O!

A forced move. In case of 26... Rd8 there was an unpleasant 27. Ba5, and if 27... Rd6, then 28. Bc7.

27. Rf1

White wants to keep his light-squared bishop. After 27. Bxa8 Rxa8 28. Rd1 (28. Rf1 was still worse because of 28... Nh3 29. Be1 e3) 28... Ng6 Black’s e-pawn with the support of two bishops could have become very dangerous.

27... Rad8 28. b3 Be3 29. Ba5!

White begins another circuit of complications. After the natural 29. Bxe4 Black had continuous attacks in the line 29... Be6 30. Rc7 (if 30. Ra4 Bd7, then 31. Ra5 Bb5) 30... Bh3 31. Re1 Bf2 32. Rh1 (in case of 32. Rc1 there was 32... Ne2) 32... Nd5.

29... Bh3!

There was no other opportunity. In case of 29... Rd6 (if 29... Rd7, then 30. Bc6 Rd6 31. Bb4) there was 30. Bb4 Rxf6 31. Bxf8 Kxf8 32. Bxe4 Be6 33. Rc6, and White’s chances were no worse.

30. Bxd8 Bxf1 31. Rxe4 Rxd8 32. Rxe3 h5 33. Kb2

33... Rd6?

White’s persistence in looking for a chance to escape was rewarded. Black makes a mistake. After 33... Kf8 with the idea 34. Rf3 Bg2 White’s position without a piece could hardly have been saved.

34. Rf3 Rxf6

Two pieces should be given for White’s rook. There was no 34... Bg2 because of the intermediate 35. Rg3+.

35. Rxf1 Nd3+ 36. Kc3 Rxf1 37. Kxd3 a5 38. a4 Rf4 39. c4

White’s pawns on the queenside are extremely active. As a matter of fact, Black has no time to achieve his extra exchange, his main task is to get the king to the queenside as soon as possible.

39...Kf8 40. b4 axb4 41. a5 b3 42. a6 b2 43. Kc2 Rxc4+ 44. Kxb2 Ra4 45. Kb3 Ra1 46. Kc4 Ke7 47. Kd5 Kd7 48. Ke5 Kc7

The task is completed, but now there is a problem with the defence of the kingside pawns.

49. Kf6 Rf1+ 50. Kg5 Rg1+ 51. Kxh5 f5 52. h4 f4 53. Kh6 Rb1 54. Be4

White’s bishop fulfils two functions, supporting the white passed pawn and preventing Black from an advance of his pawn at once.

54... Rb6+ 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Almasi - Movsesian [E04]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3

The Catalan Opening was chosen, a quite aggressive opening but with good defending opportunities for Black.

4... dxc4 5. Bg2 c5 6. O-O Nc6

This variation was very popular in the middle eighties, but it has been well forgotten since then.

7. Ne5 Bd7 8. Na3 cxd4 9. Naxc4 Rc8

9… Bc5 was the best continuation here. Movsesian’s move promises no easy life to Black.

10. Qb3 Nxe5 11. Nxe5 Bc6 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Rd1 c5 14. e3 Nd5

A new move which hardly is very good. 14... Bd6 is considered to be best since the game Kasparov - Andersson (Belgrade (m/1), 1985) when after 15. exd4 c4 16. Qb5+ Qd7 17. a4 O-O 18. Be3 Rc7 19. d5 e5 20. Rdc1 Rfc8 21. Bf1 g6 22. Bxc4 Qxb5 23. Bxb5 Nxd5 24. Ba6 White had a slight but long lasting advantage.

15. Bf1!

Black evidently has to give up his plans concerning a castling.

15... Bd6 16. Qa4+ Kf8 17. exd4 cxd4 18. Qxa7

Two united passed pawns with the support of two bishops give good chances to White. After 18. Qxd4 Bc5 White’s chances to get a considerable advantage were less: Black’s knight had a good position on d5, and the bishop was rather active on the diagonal a7-g1.

18... Bc5 19. Qa6 Ke7 20. Bg5+ f6 21. Bd2 Qd6 22. Qd3 g6

Black has to weaken his position in order to engage the rook in the play. There was no way to disturb the white queen: after 22... Nb4 23. Bxb4 Bxb4 24. Qxd4 White’s passed pawns would be extremely dangerous even though bishops of different colours would remain on the board.

23. a3 f5 24. Re1 e5 25. b4 Bb6

To withdraw the bishop even further with 25... Ba7 was more logical, though after 26. a4 e4 27. Qb3 White’s chances were better all the same.

26. a4 e4

26... Nxb4 was very risky because of 27. Bxb4 Qxb4 28. Rxe5+ Kf6 29. Rd5 with a dangerous initiative by White. So, in case of a careless 29... Rhd8? an immediate decision was 30. Rb1.

27. a5 Ba7 28. Qb3 Kf6 29. Qb2

Maybe White had to venture on 29. b5 despite the possible complications after 29... e3 30. Bc1.

29... Kf7 30. Qb3 Kg7

It was worth considering a variant with immuring White’s light-squared bishop with 30... d3.

31. Rad1 Rhe8 32. b5 Nf6?

32... d3 should not have been delayed in any case.

33. Bc4?!

White’s bishop comes out, but is this really the correct time? After 33. b6 Bb8 34. Bb4 (a mere 34. a6 was good too) 34... Qe5 (in case of 34... Qd8 White gained by an exchange with 35. Ba6) 35. f4 Black had a hard position.

33... Bc5 34. b6?

Now it’s White’s turn to be mistaken. The move 34. Bf4 was obviously worth making.

34... d3?

Black forbore from this move for a long time but now he made it at a most inconvenient moment. White encountered problems after 34... e3! 35. Bc1 (in case of 35. fxe3 there was 35... dxe3 36. Bxe3 Rxe3, the move 35. Bxe3 was also bad because of a mere 35... dxe3, and after 35. b7 Rb8 White’s pawns were securely blocked up, still his problems stayed unsolved) 35... exf2+ 36. Kxf2 d3+ 37. Kf1 (in case of 37. Kg2 there was 37... Rxe1 38. Rxe1 d2) 37... Qd4, and White’s king suffered a dreadful attack.

35. b7 Rcd8 36. Bf4 Qd4 37. Be3 Qd6 38. Bf4 Qd4 39. Rd2 Ng4 40. Qb2 Qxb2 41. Rxb2 Ba7

Now the move 41... e3 cannot help already. After 42. fxe3 d2 43. Rd1 Bxe3+ 44. Bxe3 Nxe3 45. Rdxd2 Rxd2 46. Rxd2 Nxc4 47. a6 Na5 48. Rd7+ Kh6 (in case of 48... Kf6 49. a7 Nxb7 50. Rxb7 Ra8 51. Rxh7 Black had a losing rook endgame without a pawn) 49. b7 Nxb7 50. Rxb7 Ra8 51. Kf2 g5 52. Ke3 Kg6 53. Kd4 White wins the game.

42. Kg2 Kf6 43. h3 g5

Probably 43... Ne5 44. Bb5 Rf8 45. a6 g5 46. Be3 was slightly more persistent.

44. Bc7 Ne5 45. Bb5 Rg8 46. Bxd8+ Rxd8 47. Rc1 f4 48. Rc8 Rd4 49. Ra8 f3+ 50. Kh2 d2 51. Rxa7 1-0 Black resigned.

Markowski - Van Wely [A07]

1. g3 d5 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Qa4+ c6 5. Bg2 e6 6. cxd5

Previously the Polish grandmaster played differently in this position, but in the game Markowski - C. Horvath (Krynica, 1998) Black got a good play after 6. O-O Nf6 7. cxd5 exd5 8. d3 O-O 9. Nc3 Bg4 10. Nd4 Qc8 11. Nb3 Re8.

6... exd5 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. O-O Nbd7 9. d4

After this advance White’s position looks not too good. The light-squared bishop will stay behind the black pawn d5, and the squares c4 and e4 require constant attention, or Black’s knights will occupy them very soon.

9... O-O 10. Bf4 Re8 11. Qb3 Nb6 12. a4 a5 13. Rfd1 h6 14. Rac1 Nc4

15. Ne5?!

Now White’s pawn chain is seriously damaged. A stubborn 15. Qa2 was better with the idea to drive out the black knight from c4 with b2-b3.

15... g5!

Black’s chances are evidently better.

16. Be3 Nxe3!

Black was not tempted wit the opportunity of 16... Nxe5 17. dxe5 Ng4 because after 18. Bb6 Qe7 19. f4 gxf4 20. gxf4 his knight on g4 would be in endangered.

17. fxe3 Qd6?!

Maybe Black was a bit too impatient. There were therapeutic methods of handling the knight e5. After 17... Qe7 18. Rf1 Be6 Black’s knight retreated from f6 thus accentuating the insecure state of the knight on e5.

18. Rf1 Rxe5

According to the plan which has begun with the 17th move.

19. dxe5 Qxe5 20. Qb6 Qe7 21. e4 Nd7

After 21... Nxe4 22. Nxe4 dxe4 23. Rcd1 white pieces were released.

22. Qb3 d4 23. Nb1 Ne5 24. Nd2 Be6 25. Qa3 Qxa3 26. bxa3 Bf8

26... Rd8!? deserved attention, engaging the rook and threatening with d4-d3 at a convenient moment. In this case Black’s chances were preferable.

27. Rb1 Ra7 28. Nf3 Nc4

29. Nxd4!

White takes the opportunity to simplify the position and turns the game to a nearly forced drawn endgame.

29... Nd2 30. Nxe6 fxe6 31. Bh3 Bxa3 32. Bxe6+ Kh8 33. Kg2 Nxf1 34. Kxf1 Bb4 35. Rd1

Every exchange brings White closer to the draw. It’s the turn of the rooks now.

35... b5 36. Rd8+ Kg7 37. Rd7+ Rxd7 38. Bxd7 bxa4 39. Bxc6 Bd6

Black attempts to find a winning chance in the endgame with bishops of different colours, having fixed White’s pawns of the kingside on available black squares.

40. Bd5 a3 41. Ke1 g4 42. e5

Surely the open diagonal a8-h1 will be useful for the white bishop.

42... Bxe5 43. Kd2 Kf6 44. Kc2 h5 45. Kb3 Bd6 46. Bc6 Kg5 47. Ka2 h4 48. gxh4+ Kxh4 49. Kb3 Kh3 50. Bd7 Bxh2 51. Kxa3 Bc7

Black has two passed pawns on different flanks. This could have been enough to win but for White’s e-pawn. The point is that Black’s bishop should defend the pawn a5 from a square on the e-file but there is no such square on the e-file.

52. Ka4 Kg3 53. Bc8 Kf4 54. Bd7 g3 55. Bc6 Ke3 56. Bf3 Kf2 57. Kb5 Bd8 58. Ka4 g2 59. Bxg2 Kxg2 60. e4 Kf3 61. e5 1/2-1/2 Draw. An exchange of the last pawns is inevitable.

Krasenkow - Ivanchuk [D18]

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Nh4 Bg6 10. Nxg6 hxg6 11. h3 O-O

Black does not try to gain an advantage from the semi-open h-file, he simply wants to finish his development.

12. Qf3

Many squares were used for the white queen previously: c2, b3, e2, but to f3 it goes at the first time. Still, this makes no difference for the estimation.

12... Qa5 13. Bd2 Rad8 14. Rfd1 Rfe8 15. Be1

15... e5

A programmed move which either leads to an equalisation or allows Black to arrange threats to the black king on the diagonal a2-g8.

16. dxe5

If White really wanted to struggle he probably would have chosen 16. Ne4. Still, after 16... Bxe1 (great complications arose in case of 16... exd4 17. Bxf7+!? Kxf7 18. Nd6+ Kg8 19. Nxb7 Qb6 20. Nxd8 Bxe1 21.Rxe1 with slightly better chances by White) 17. Rxe1 Qb4 18. b3 exd4 19. exd4 a5 an equality was kept anyway.

16... Nxe5 17. Qe2 Nxc4 18. Qxc4 Qc5 19. Qxc5 1/2-1/2 Draw.

A. Fedorov - Gelfand [B80]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e6 7. Be3 b5 8. g4 h6 9. Qd2 Nbd7 10. O-O-O Bb7 11. Bd3

A keen variation of the Sicilian Defence was played. White chose a solid continuation. In the game Anand - Gelfand (Monaco (active), 2000) after well known moves 11. h4 b4 12. Na4 Qa5 13. b3 Nc5 14. a3 Black applied an excellent 15...Rc8! and thus reanimated this important variation.

11... Ne5 12. Rhe1

12... Qa5!

12... b4 13. Na4 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 which was considered to be possible previously, is risky because of 15. f4 Qd7 16. b3 Nxg4 17. Nb6 Nxb6 18. Nxe6 as it was shown in the game Anand – Lautier (Monaco (active), 2000). The move 12... Rc8 also brought no special success to Black in this year. Thus Black’s novelty is rather interesting.

13. Nb3

In case of 13. Kb1 there was 13... b4 14. Nce2 d5.

13... Qc7 14. Qf2 Nxd3+ 15. Rxd3

It’s very important that there was no 15. cxd3? because of 15... b4.

15... Nd7 16. Rd2 Be7 17. a3 Rc8 18. f4!?

White ventures on an exacerbation of the position, weakening his pawn e4.

18... Nc5 19. Bxc5

In case of 19. Nxc5 there was a strong 19... dxc5 20. e5 b4 21. Nb1 c4.

19... dxc5 20. Red1 b4 21. Rd7 Qb8 22. axb4 cxb4

23. Qb6??

White’s blunder loses him the game. After a normal 23. Na4 Bxe4 (if 23... Bc6?!, then after 24. Rxe7+ Kxe7 25. Qc5+ Ke8 26. Nb6 White had a fair compensation for the sacrificed material) 24. Nac5 Bxc5 25.Nxc5 Bh7 (25... b3 gave nothing because of 26. c3) 26. Rb7 Qa8 27. Rdd7 O-O 28. f5 the position was very complex.

23... Qxf4+ 24. Kb1 Bc6 25. Rxe7+ Kxe7 26. Qxb4+ Kf6 27. Rd6 Kg6 28. Nd4 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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