**Round 9**

**Van Wely - Almasi [D19]**

**1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 **

In the struggling for the first prize in the last round L. Van
Wely stakes on the quiet Dutch Variation of the Slav Defence,
having rejected two most aggressive continuations 6. Ne5 and 6.
Nh4.

**6... e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O O-O 9. Qe2 Bg6 **

Black prefers not to allow the advance e3-e4 and avoids the
most popular line 9... Nbd7 10. e4 Bg6 11. Bd3.

**10. Ne5 Nbd7 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. Na2 **

For the short time which passed since the tournament in Biel
the Dutch grandmaster managed to make some corrections in his
opening repertoire. After 12. Rd1 Qa5 13. Qc2 Rad8 14. Na2 Bd6
15. b4 Qh5 16. g3 e5 in the game Van Wely - Gelfand (Biel, 2000)
White failed to gain more than a draw, though he had an
initiative during the whole game.

**12... Bd6 13. e4 **

A reinforcement. Previously only a dull 13. Nc3 was seen in
this position.

**13... e5**

**14. f4!**

This is what for White’s thirteenth move was made.

**14... exd4 15. e5 Bc5 16. Kh1 **

Of course there was no 16. exf6?? because of 16... d3+, but
16. Qd3 Nd5 17. b4! looked no worse than the move in the game.

**16... Nd5 17. b4!**

Another good move which is harmoniously connected with the
plan that White performs since the thirteenth move.

**17... Be7 **

It’s very dangerous for Black to take the second pawn. After
17... Nxb4 18. Nxb4 Bxb4 White gained a serious initiative with
19. e6.

**18. a5 **

White takes the square b6 under his control, not allowing the
black knight to get there. After 18. e6 N7b6 19. Bd3 (if 19.
exf7+ Rxf7 20. Bd3, then after 20... Qd6 21. a5 Nd7 Black was OK)
19... f5 20. a5 Na4 Black’s position was quite reliable.

**18... Re8 **

Black takes measures in case of a possible advance e5-e6. (
18... b6 )

**19. Bd2 **

After 19. e6 White probably did not want to encounter 19...
Bf6 whereafter the pawn on d4 would give him a lot of trouble.

**19... Nf8 20. Qe4 Qd7 **

In case of 20... Ne6 Black feared White’s attack after 21.
f5 gxf5 22. Qxf5 Rf8 23. Bd3 g6 24. Qg4.

**21. Qxd4 Red8 22. Qb2 b5 23. Be2 **

An important moment. White decided that his light-squared
bishop had already accomplished its mission on the diagonal a2-g8
and refused from the move 23. Bb3, not wishing to complicate the
defence of the pawn b4.

**23... Rac8 24. Rad1 a6 **

**25. Bf3?**

White loses the tempo. After 25. Bc1!? Qa7 26. Bg4 Rc7 27. Rf3
he managed to cover all the squares in the centre which were
accessible for Black’s knight and queen and thus kept an
evident advantage.

**25... Qa7 26. Qb3 Rc7 27. Be4 **

Now after 27. Bc1 Ne6 Black encountered problems with the
defence of the square d4.

**27... Qd4 28. Qf3?!**

A risky move which makes it difficult foe White to keep his
pawns on the queenside. An approximate equality could have been
maintained with 28. Qc2.

**28... Rcd7 29. Bc2 Qb2!**

Material losses are inevitable for White.

**30. Bb1 **

If 30. Bb3, then 30... Nc3!.

**30... Bxb4 31. Nxb4 Nxb4 32. Bc3 **

**32... Qb3?! **

Black does not use all the merits of his position in full
measure. After 32... Qxc3! 33. Qxc3 Rxd1 34. Qf3 Rxf1+ 35. Qxf1
c5 Black’s pawns began a victorious march to the first
horizontal, the weakness of which disorganised the co-ordination
of White’s pieces.

**33. Rxd7 Rxd7 34. f5!**

Now the pawn attack looks fairly serious with the help of two
mighty bishops.

**34... gxf5 **

Black plays into White’s hand, opening up his position.
There were very interesting complications after a more
fundamental 34... Nd5!?. Now in case of 35. fxg6! (after 35. e6
Re7 36. fxg6 f6 White’s attack was helpless) 35... Nxc3 36. e6
Black might wish to keep the extra piece with 36... Nxe6, and
after 37. gxf7+ Kf8 38. Qh5 Rd1 (in case of 38... Rd8 39. Bg6 Nd5
40. Qh8+ Ke7 41. Qe8 Black might encounter difficulties) 39. Qh8+
Ke7 40. f8Q+ Nxf8 41. Qxf8+ Ke6 42. Bf5+ the game would be most
likely drawn with a perpetual check. As for the line to begin
with 36... Qxe6, the white a-pawn became really dangerous after
37. Bf5 Qc4 38. Bxd7 Nxd7 39. Qxf7+ Qxf7 40. Rxf7 Ne5 41. Ra7
Nxg6 42. Rxa6.

**35. Bxf5 Re7 36. e6 Na2?! **

In case of 36... fxe6? Black took the chance to encounter 37.
Bc2! Nxc2 38. Qxf8+ Kh7 39. Qxe7, and after the strongest 36...
c5 37. Qg3 f6 38. Qd6 Nd5 39. Ba1 White’s two bishops and a
passed pawn were very powerful.

**37. Bc2?**

Another blunder. After 37. exf7+ Rxf7 Qxf7 (in case of
37...Rxf7 38. Bc2! Black is lost) 38. Bd2 c5 39. Be3 Black’s
position was really hard.

**37... Qxe6 38. Bd2 Qe2?! **

Black strives for simplifications. 38... Qd7!? was possible.
After 39. Bg5 (in case of 39. Bb3 Qxd2 40. Bxf7+ Kh8 41. Bxa2 Nh7
42. Bb1 Re1 43. Bxh7 Rxf1+ 44. Qxf1 Kxh7 45. Qf5+ Kh6 46. Qh3+
Kg5 47. Qg3+ Kf5 Black’s king happily escaped to the queenside,
and Black won) 39... Re6 (if 39... Re5, then after 40. Bb3 Rxg5
41. Bxf7+ Kh8 42. Bxa2 Nh7 43. Qf4 the activity of the white
pieces was dangerous for Black despite his extra pawn) 40. Bb3
Nb4 41. Bxe6 Nxe6 White got a fair compensation for the exchange.

**39. Bb3 Qxf3 40. gxf3 Rd7 41. Rf2 Nc3 **

This way only, because 41... Rxd2 42. Rxd2 Nb4 43. Rd8 was
dangerous for Black.

**42. Bxc3 Rd3 43. Rc2 **

**43... b4? **

Black makes every effort to complicate his way to a draw.
After 43... c5 44. Ba2 b4 45. Bd2 b3 46. Bxb3 Rxb3 47. Rxc5 Ng6!
(45... Rxf3?! was much weaker because of 48. Rc6 48... Rf6? 49.
Rc8 of even an immediate 48. Rc8!?) a draw was the most probably
result.

**44. Bxf7+ Kxf7 45. Bxb4 Rxf3 46. Rxc6 Ng6 47. Rxa6**

Now Black will suffer torments of a hard endgame without a
pawn.

**47...Nf4 48. Kg1 g5 49. Ra8 Rb3 50. Bd6 Rd3 51. Bc7 Rc3 52.
Bb6 Nd5 53. Bd8 Kg6 **

**54. Rb8 **

White refuses to play the position to appear after 54. a6 Ra3
55. a7, as after 55... Ra2 (in case of 55... Kf5 there was 56.
Be7, and in case of 55... Kf7 or 55... Kg7 Black had to reckon
with 56. Kf2, as 56. Bxg5 promised nothing to White because of
56... Nc7) 56. Ba5 Rxa5 (a long series of checks 56... Ra1+ 57.
Kf2 Ra2+ 58. Ke1 Ra1+ 59. Kd2 Ra2+ 60. Kd3 Nf4+ 61. Ke4 Ra4+ 62.
Kf3 could not change the situation considerably) 57. Rg8+ Kf5 58.
a8Q Rxa8 59. Rxa8 Nf4 60. Kf2 the struggle would most probably
end with a draw notwithstanding White’s extra exchange.

**54... Rc1+ 55. Kf2 Rc2+ 56. Kf3 **

Bringing the game closer to a draw. After 56. Kg3 Rc3+ 57. Kg4
Ra3 (weaker was 57... Rc4+ 58. Kf3 Kf5 because of 59. Rb3!?) 58.
Rb5 Ne3+ 59. Kf3 Nf5+ there were also not many winning chances.

**56... Rxh2 57. Rb5 Rh3+ 58. Kf2 Rd3 59. a6 Nb4 60. Bc7 **

After 60. Rxg5+ Kh6 there was an easy draw.

**60... Nxa6 61. Rb6+ Kf5 62. Rxa6 **

White managed to win a piece, but this is not enough to win
the game. More than this: the g-pawn becomes now a real trouble
for White because of its closeness to the eighth horizontal.

**62... Rd5 63. Bb6 Rb5 64. Be3 Kg4 65. Kg2 Rb2+ 66. Bf2 Rb5
67. Ra4+ Kh5 68. Be3 Re5 69. Kf3 Rf5+ 70. Ke4 Rb5 71. Ra1 Kg6 72.
Bd4 Rb4 73. Ra8 Rb5 74. Rd8 Kh5 75. Kf3 Rb3+ 76. Be3 Rb5 77. Rh8+
Kg6 78. Ke4 Rb4+ 79. Ke5 Rb5+ 80. Ke6 Ra5 81. Bd4 Ra6+ 82. Ke5
Ra5+ 83. Ke4 Rb5 84. Be5 Rb4+ 85. Kd5 Kf5 86. Rf8+ Kg4 87. Rf1
Rb5+ 88. Ke6 Rb6+ 89. Kf7 Rb5 90. Kf6 Rb6+ 91. Kg7 Rb5 92. Bf6
Kh3 93. Rf3+ Kh2 94. Ra3 g4 95. Bh4 Rh5 96. Bg3+ Kg2 97. Bd6 Rd5
98. Ra2+ Kf3 99. Bb8 Rb5 100. Ra3+ Kg2 101. Ba7 g3 102. Kf6 Kh2
103. Be3 g2 104. Ra8 Rb1 105. Rh8+ Kg3 106. Rg8+ Kf3 107. Bc5 Rc1
1/2-1/2 Draw.**

**Movsesian - Shirov [B70]**

**1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. g3
g6 7. Nde2 **

White wants to keep as many pieces as possible on the board.
After 7. Bg2 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Bg7 9. O-O O-O 10. h3 Be6 11. Qb4 Qc8
12. Kh2 a5 Black got a convenient play in the game Svidler -
Gelfand (Polanica Zdroj, 2000).

**7... Bg7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Rb8 10. a4 a6 11. h3 **

A necessary move. After 11. Nd5 b5 12. axb5 axb5 13. Be3 b4
14. Ra2 Ng4 Black took the initiative in the game Ivanchuk -
Kramnik (Horgen, 1995).

**11... b5 12. axb5 axb5 13. Be3 b4 14. Nd5 Nd7 **

**15. Rb1 **

Usually 15. Qc1 or 15. Ra2 is played in this position. For the
last variation we can mention a curious game I. Marinkovic - A.
Kovacevic (Ulcinj, 1997) which developed as follows: 15... e6 16.
Ndf4 b3 17. cxb3 Nb4 18. Ra1 Bxb2 19. Rb1 Be5 20. Nd3 Nxd3 21.
Qxd3 Nc5 22. Qc2 Ba6 23. Rfd1 Rc8. It should be noted that many
chess players were caught in a simple trap in the position on the
diagram: after 15. Nd4?? White lost because of 15... Bxd4! 16.
Bxd4 e6 17. Ne3 (17. Nf4 e5) 17... e5 18. Ba7 Rb7.

**15... e6 16. Ndf4 b3 **

Black plays similarly to the above mentioned game I.
Marinkovic - A. Kovacevic (Ulcinj, 1997), and most probably he is
wrong. After 16... Nde5 he has a good play without any
adventures.

**17. cxb3 Nc5 18. Nc1 Na5 19. e5!? **

A curious blow. White wants to get more than the position
after 19. Bxc5 dxc5 20. Qc2 Qb6 would give him.

**19... Ba6! **

A good response. In case of 19... Bxe5 20. b4 Rxb4 21. Ncd3
Nxd3 22. Nxd3 an incautious 22... Rb5? might lose Black’s game
after 23. Nxe5 dxe5 (23... Rxe5 24. Bf4) 24. b4 Nc4 25. Bh6 Re8
26. Bc6, and even after the strongest 22... Rb3 his position was
dubious after 23. Nxe5 dxe5 24. Bh6 Re8 25. Ra1.

**20. Re1 Naxb3 21. exd6 Qd7 **

Black will maintain the material balance soon.

**22. Nxb3 Nxb3 23. Ne2 Be5 24. Nd4 Nxd4 25. Bxd4 Bxd6 26.
Bc3 Qe7 27. Ra1 **

The move 27. Qd4 is not dangerous because of 27... e5.

**27... Bb7 28. Bxb7 Rxb7 29. Qf3 Rb5 30. Qe3 Bb4 31. Ra7 Rb7
32. Rxb7 1/2-1/2 Draw.**

**A. Fedorov - Svidler [B07]**

**1. e4 d6 **

It would be interesting to know how would the Byelorussian
grandmaster play after 1... e5?.

**2. d4 Nf6 3. Bd3 e5 4. c3 g6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. O-O Bg7 7. Bg5
h6 8. Bh4 O-O 9. Nbd2 b6 10. a4 **

After 10. Re1 Bb7 11. a4 Black made a minor mistake in the
game De la Villa - Shirov (Leon, 1995), having played 11... a5?!
(11... a6! was better), so that after 12. Qc2 12... Qe8 13. Bb5
Nh5 14. Rad1 f6 15. Nc4 Rf7 he would encounter certain
difficulties in case of 16. b4!.

**10... a6! **

P. Svidler is alert and does not repeat Shirov’s mistake.

**11. Qc2 **

11. Re1 which occurred in the game Tiviakov – Kasimdzhanov
(Groningen, 1999) led to a more complicated play.

**11... Bb7 12. dxe5 Nxe5 **

Black exchanges the knights and thus simplifies the position.

**13. Nxe5 dxe5 14. Nc4 Qe7 15. b4 1/2-1/2 Draw.**

**Gelfand - Krasenkow [A30]**

**1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 b6 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O g6 6. Nc3 **

At the tournament in Biel Boris Gelfand did not strive for a
complex struggle in the game against L. Van Wely and chose a
modest 6. b3.

**6... Bg7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 O-O 9. Qh4 d6 10. Bh6 Nbd7 11.
Rac1 Rc8 **

**12. Rfd1?! **

A strange move. Usually White continues with 12. b3 in this
position.

**12... Qc7 1/2-1/2 Draw. **Black refused to check
White’s preparations for the variation 12... Bxh6 13. Qxh6 Rxc4
where he had a healthy extra pawn with no particular compensation
by White.

**Ivanchuk - Markowski [B27]**

**1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. d5 Nf6 5. e5 **

The usual continuation is 5. Nc3.

**5... Ng4 **

**6. Ng5 **

A short acrobatic feat with knights begins. After 6.Bf4 d6 7.
Bb5+ Kf8 White encountered problems in the game F. Bellini - M.
Sibilio (Cesenatico, 1986).

**6... Nh6 **

If 6... Nxe5, then after 7. f4 f6 8. Nxh7 Nf7 Black had to
reckon with 9. Qg4.

**7. Ne4 1/2-1/2 Draw. **The game was drawn at the most
interesting moment.