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Jun 12,2002

chess chess

Round 1

Kramnik-Akopian [D43]

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4

White ventures on a gambit continuation. Formerly 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 was played most often in the Moscow Variation of the Slav Defence, but the advantage of two bishops which Black gains in this line hinders White seriously from developing his initiative. It should be mentioned that it Vladimir Kramnik is one of those players who used to defend Black's position in this variation successfully.

6... dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.h4 g4 11.Ne5 h5 12.0-0 Nbd7 13.Qc2 Nxe5 14.Bxe5 Bg7 15.Rad1 0-0 16.Bg3

After 16.f3 Nh7 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.fxg4 Qxh4 19.gxh5 Black forced a draw with the help of a perpetual check after 19...Ng5 20.Qd2 Nh3+ 21.gxh3 Qg3+ 22.Kh1 Qxh3+ 23.Kg1 Qg3+ 24.Kh1 Qh3+ in the game Van Wely - Lautier (Monaco (active), 2000).


16...Nd7 17.e5 c5 18.Ne4 Bxe4 19.Qxe4 Qb6 occurred previously (Goldin – Khenkin, New York, 2000).

17.e5 f5 18.exf6 Qxf6 19.f3 Qf5 20.Qd2 Qg6 21.fxg4 hxg4 22.Qe3 Rf5

An exchange of the rooks with 22...Rxf1+ 23.Rxf1 Rf8 would let White keep his initiative after 24.Rxf8+ Nxf8 (if 24...Kxf8, then 25.Qf4+ is unpleasant, and after 24...Bxf8 Black has to reckon with 25.Qe5!) 25.Be5, so that the sacrificed pawn would be fully compensated.

23.Ne4 c5

Black parts with the extra pawn in order to engage his light-squared bishop in an active play and take the initiative. After 23...Raf8 24.Nc5 Bc8 25.b3 cxb3 26.axb3 Rxf1+ 27.Bxf1 White would keep a lasting pressure.

24.Nxc5 Bd5 25.a4 Raf8!

Black tries to gain as much as possible from the activity of his pieces without counting sacrifices. In case of 25...a6 26.Be5 White would still keep the pressure on Black's position.


26... Rf3!

Practically this new blow was predetermined by Black with his previous move.

27.gxf3 gxf3 28.Kh2 Nf6?

It looks as if V. Akopian derives a maximal benefit from the situation. After 28...Bh6 it would be very hard for White to defend against the opponent's threats. So, in case of 29.Qc3 (if 29.Qf2, then 29... Nf6 is already very unpleasant, and after 29.Qa3 fxe2 30.Rxf8+ Bxf8 31.Re1 Qg4 Bd6! Black's attack is nearly irresistible) 29...fxe2 (Black's attack seems to be very strong also in the line that was pointed out by V. Kramnik after the game: 29... Bf4!? 30. Rg1 Ng5! ) 30.Rxf8+ Bxf8 31.Rc1 Ng5! (now there is already no 31...Qg4 because of 32.Nd7! Bd6 33.Ne5) 32.hxg5 Bxc5 33.dxc5 Qe4 34.Kh3 Qf5+ 35. Kh2 (if 35. Kh4, then 35... Bf3) 35... Qf1, and the white king is doomed. Probably the best what White could do in this position was repeating the moves after 29.Qe5 Bg7 30.Qe3.

29.Bxf3 Bxf3 30.Qxe6+ Kh8

Another retreat of the king 30... Kh7 had its shortcomings too. So, after 31.Rxf3 Qc2+ White could chose 32.Bf2 Qxd1 33.Qf5+ Kh8 34.Ne6 Rf7 35.Ng5 to be followed with 36.Qg6 destroying Black's position.

31. Rxf3 Qc2+ 32. Rf2 Qxd1 33. Kg2 Qxd4

33... Re8 gives nothing because of 34. Qc6.

34. Qe5 Qd5+

An immediate exchange of the queens 34... Qxe5 35. Bxe5 is not better because Black's pieces on the diagonal a1-h8 turn out to be under X-rays of the white bishop.

35. Qxd5 Nxd5 36. Rxf8+ Bxf8 37. Na4 Bg7 38. Kf3

After 38. Bb8 Bd4 39. Kf3 Nf6 black pieces would have put a barrier on the way of the white king.

38... Nb6

Now 39. Bb8 would be already extremely unpleasant for Black.

39. Nxb6 axb6 40. Ke4 Bxb2 41. Kd5 1-0 Black resigned. After 41... c3 42. Be5+ Kh7 43. Kc4 Kg6 44. Bxc3 Bc1 45. Kd5 White king and bishop would provide a safe way to the eighth horizontal for the b-pawn.

Anand - Khalifman [C17]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Ba5 6. b4 cxd4 7. Qg4 Ne7 8. bxa5 dxc3 9. Qxg7 Rg8 10. Qxh7 Nbc6 11. f4 Qxa5 12. Nf3 Bd7 13. Rb1 O-O-O 14. Qd3

14... a6

The opening duel that began this year in Linares has continued. That game developed similarly until Black's last move. After 14... Nf5 White engaged the black knight on f5 at once with 15. Rg1 (in case of an immediate 15. Rb5 Qa4 16. Qxc3 there is 16... Rxg2 17. Bxg2 Qxb5 with a convenient play by Black (Rudolf - Vaganian, Forchheim, 2000))15... d4 16. g4 Nfe7 17. Rg3 whereafter a rather complicated position arose on the board (Anand - Khalifman, Linares, 2000). In the game Shirov - Romero (Holmes, Salamanca, 1998) 14... d4 was played, and White used the fact that the diagonal a7-g1 proved to be closed which let him complete the development of his kingside with 15. g3 Nf5 16. Bg2 Qc7 17. O-O. With the prophylactic move in the game Black wanted to find out about White's intentions before he will have to make something definite in the centre himselfe.

15. Ng5

A risky way, but it's not so easy to comprehend the shortcomings of the move 14.. a6. An answer like 15. g3 would be followed with 15... Nf5, while the move 15. Rg1 made little sense as there was no knight on f5.

15... Rxg5!

A standard but quite effective method for the variation of the French Defence that was chosen by the opponents.

16. fxg5 Nf5

Preventing in case of 16... Nxe5 the continuation 17. Qe3.

17. Bf4 Qxa3 18. Rb3 Qa4 19. g3 d4 20. Be2 Na5 21. Rb1 Bb5

22. Rxb5!

White is forced to counter-sacrifice the exchange. After 22. Qd1 Ne3 23. Bxb5 (23. Bxe3 dxe3 24. Bd3 Bxd3 25. cxd3 Qa2 26. Rf1 e2) 23... Nxc2+ 24. Kf1 axb5 25. Qd3 Nc4 his position would collapse in several moves.

22... axb5 23. O-O Nc4 24. g4 Ne7 25. Bg3 Nb2

Black wants to perform the advance d4-d3 as soon as possible. Concentrating efforts on the pawn e5 with 25... Nc6 looks less promising as in this case after 26. Qh7 (there is neither 26. Qe4 because of 26... Nd2, nor 26. Rxf7 because White's compensation for the exchange after 26... N4xe5 27. Qh7 Nxf7 28. Qxf7 e5 is insufficient) 26... N4xe5 27. h4 the strength of White's dark-squared bishop would have grown and he would still maintain his counterplay.

26. Qh7

If the white queen went to the left 26. Qxb5, then Black would have kept some good winning chances after 26... Qxb5 (there is no 26... Qxc2? because of 27. Rxf7 Rd7 28. Bf3 with White's win) 27. Bxb5 d3 28. cxd3 Nxd3 29. Bxd3 Rxd3.

26... d3 27. cxd3

27. Bxd3 is bad because of 27... Nxd3 28. cxd3 Qxg4 29. Qxf7 Nc6.

27... Nxd3?!

An important moment. 27... Qd4+ suggests itself but in this case White can keep the tension of the position with 28. Bf2 (if 28. Rf2, then 28... c2 solves, and in case of 28. Kh1 there is an unpleasant 28... Qe3) because after 28... Qxe5 29. Qxf7 Qxe2 30. Qxe7 Qxg4+ 31.Bg3 the activity of White's queen and dark-squared bishop would put a lot of trouble for the black king in the absence of the pawn on e5. Probably it was worth to alert the reserves with 27... Nc6!. Then after 28. Qxf7 (there is no 28. Rxf7 because of 28...c2 ) 28... Nd4 29. Bf3 Nxf3+30. Rxf3 Black's queen and knight would be able to damage White's forces with 30... Qd4+ 31. Bf2 Qxg4+ 32. Rg3 Qd1+ 33. Kg2 Nxd3 and then in case of the threat to their king with 34. Bb6 they would have time to defend against White's attack with the manoeuvre 34... Qe2+ 35. Kh1 Qe4+ 36. Kg1 Qc6, and now if 37. Bxd8, then simply 37...c2.

28. Qxf7 Qd4+ 29. Kh1 Qd5+ 30. Bf3 Qd7 31. g6 Nc6?!

31... c2 was probably Black's best chance even though White gets a good compensation for the exchange after 32. g7 (not so clear is 32. Bh4 Re8 33. g7 Nxe5 34. Qf8 or even 34. Qxe7) 32... c1Q 33. Rxc1+ Nxc1 34. Bh4 Ng8 35. Qf8 Re8 36. Qc5+ Kb8 37. Qxc1 Qxg7 38. Bf2.

32. Be4 Nc5

There is no 32... Ncxe5 because of the forced line 33. Qxd7+ Kxd7 34. Bxe5 Nxe5 35. Rd1+ Ke7 36. Rxd8 Kxd8 37. g7.

33. Bh4 Nxe5 34. Qxd7+

In case of 34. Bxd8 Black could still struggle with 34... Nxf7 35. gxf7 Qxd8 36. f8Q Nxe4.

34... Rxd7 35. Bg3 Nxg6

Black parts with the piece. After 35... Nc6 36. Rf8+ Nd8 (there is no 36... Rd8 because of 37. g7) 37. Bc2 b4 White would ensure his win with 38. Bh4 b3 39. Bxd8 Rxd8 40. Rxd8+ Kxd8 41. g7.

36. Bxg6 Rg7 37. Be8 Nd7

In case of 37... b4 38. Bb5 Rg8 (if 38... Kd8, then 39. Bd6! threatening with a mate) 39. Ra1 (now if 39. Bd6, then there is 39... b6) 39... Na6 40. Bc4 Black's pawns would be tied.

38. Bxd7+ Kxd7 39. Be5 Rxg4 40. Bxc3 b4 41. Bf6 b3 42. Bb2 Re4 43. Rf3 Rb4 44. Re3 Rb5 45. Kg2 Kd6 46. h4 e5 47. h5 1-0 Black resigned.

Leko - Huebner [C12]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Bb4 5. e5 h6 6. Bd2 Bxc3 7. bxc3 Ne4 8. Qg4 Kf8 9. Bd3 Nxd2 10. Kxd2 c5 11. Nf3

The opponents played the so-called Mac Catchon Variation in the French Defence. In case of an immediate capture 11. dxc5 there was 11... Nd7.

11... Nc6

Black allows White to open up the play in the centre. After 11... c4 12. Be2 Nc6 13. h4 b5 14. a3 Bd7 15. h5 a5 16. Rhb1 Rb8 17. Qf4 Ke7 18. g4 Qf8 19. Qe3 Kd8 20. Ne1 Kc7 Black managed to get a reliable position and even win in the game Christiansen – Korchnoi (Reykjavik, 2000).

12. dxc5 Qa5 13. Qf4 Qxc5 14. Nd4 Bd7 15. Rhb1 b6

15... Nd8 occurred twice, in the game Morozevich - Vallejo (Pamplona, 1999) White answered with the move 16.a4, while in the recent game Mikhaletz - Mchedlishvili (Alushta, 2000) White preferred 16. Bb5.

16. a4 Na5 17. Ba6 Bc8

Black did not want to agree to the position after 17... Nc4+ 18. Bxc4 Qxc4 19. a5 Rc8 (an immediate 19... b5 was bad because of 20. Rb4, and there was no 20... Qc5 because of 21. Rxb5!) 20. Qg3, but he could just stay where he was with 17... Qc7.

18. Bb5 Qe7?!

White's next move should have been prevented. Better was 18... Qc7.

19. Nc6!

White drives away the black king that has blocked the queenside.

19... Nxc6 20. Bxc6 Rb8?

There were more drawing chances after 20... Bb7 21. Bxb7 Qxb7 22. a5 Rb8. For instance, after 23. axb6 axb6 24. Rb4 Kg8 25. Rba4 Qc6 26. Ra7 Rb7 Black held the position. The light-squared bishops make only additional troubles for Black until they stay on the board.

21. a5 Qg5 22. Qxg5 hxg5 23. axb6 axb6

23... Rxb6 was bad because of 24. Rxb6 axb6 25. Ra7.

24. Ra7 f6

If Black captured the pawn 24... Rxh2, then after 25. Rba1 Rh8 (in case of 25... Rxg2 the solution was 26. Ra8) 26. Rc7 Rh4 27. Raa7 (Black still held somehow after 27. g3 Rc4 28. Raa7 Kg8) 27... Rf4 28. f3 all his pieces would have been paralysed.

25. c4!

Leaving no respite for Black.

25... Rh4

If 25... dxc4, then 26. Kc3 is strong.

26. cxd5 Rd4+ 27. Kc3 fxe5 28. Rb4 exd5 29. Rxd4 exd4+ 30. Kxd4 Be6 31. Ke5 Bf7 32. Ra8

Practically the struggle is over after the exchange of the rooks. After a careless 32. Bxd5? Black would get the draw with 32... Re8+ 33. Kd4 Bxd5 34.Kxd5 Re2.

32... Rxa8 33. Bxa8 d4 34. Kxd4 Ke7 35. Ke5 Be6 36. Be4 Bd7 37. c3 Be6 38. Bg6 Bc8 39. Bh5 Bd7 40. f3 Be6 41. Bg4 Bf7 42. Kf5 Kd6 43. Kxg5 Kc5 44. f4 Kc4 45. f5 Kxc3 46. f6 gxf6+ 47. Kxf6 Bc4 48. h4 b5 49. h5 b4 50. h6 b3 51. h7 b2 52. Bf5 Bd3 53. Bxd3 1-0

Black resigned.

Adams - Piket [C42]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O Bg4

7... Be7 occurs more frequently.

8. c4 Nf6 9. cxd5 Bxf3 10. Qxf3 Qxd5 11. Qxd5

11. Qe2+ Be7 12. Bb5 would allow White to struggle for an advantage as well.

11... Nxd5 12. Nc3 O-O-O 13. Bc4 Nce7 14. Bd2 g6

Black brings his bishop to the diagonal a1-h8 in order to control directly the pawn on d4. Previously 14... Nxc3 15. bxc3 Nd5 16. Rfe1 c6 17. Bb3 Ba3 18. c4 occurred in the game Dvoirys - Schwartzman (Groningen, 1992) with White's advantage, in the game Dvoirys – Schieder (Oberwart, 1996) White was also better after 14... f6 15. Rfe1 c6 16. Re4 Nc7 17. Be2 Ned5 18. Bg4+ Kb8 19. Rae1.

15. Rfe1 Bg7 16. Bg5 Rd7 17. Bxe7 Nxe7 18. Bxf7 Kb8!

Black frees the square for his knight and soon wins back the sacrificed pawn.

19. Re2

19. Rad1 Nc8 would change nothing.

19... Nc8 20. Bb3 Rxd4 21. g3 a5

Black now wants to win the game. Rhd8 would look more natural now or with the next move.

22. Rae1 Nd6 23. Kg2 b5 24. a3 Rf8 25. Nd5 Bh6

In case of 25... Nf5 Black has to reckon with 26. Ne7 Nxe7 27. Rxe7, and after 27... Bf6 28. Rxh7 Rd2 29. Rf7 Rxf7 30. Bxf7g5 31. b3 Bd4 32. Rf1 White had time to defend everything and kept the extra pawn.

26. f4 c5

27. Re6

This move was a mistake. After 27. Ne7!? Kc7 28. Bg8! Black would have encountered serious problems.

27... Rd8 28. Ne7 Kc7 29. Bd5 Bf8 30. Bf3 Rd2+ 31. R6e2 Rxe2+

Black exchanges his most active piece himself. 31... Nc4 was much stronger.

32. Rxe2 Bxe7 33. Rxe7+ Rd7 34. Re5 Kb6 35. Rd5 Rd8 36. g4 c4 37. Kf2 Nf7


Black was run out of time. White's position is still more pleasant, but a more detailed estimation requires a good deal of analysis.

Bareev -Junior 6 [D45]

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 c6 4. e3 Nf6 5. b3 Nbd7 6. Bb2 Bd6 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bd3 Qe7 9. O-O e5 10. Be2

10. dxe5 occurred.

10... e4 11. Nd2 a6 12. cxd5 cxd5

13. b4?

Probably White overlooked the consequences of Black's 14th move.

13... Bxb4 14. Qb3 Nb8! 15. Na4 Qd6

The computer defends calmly. It was evidently not satisfied with the prospects after 15... Bxd2 16. Nb6 Ra7 17. Ba3 Qd8 (if 17... Qc7, then 18. Bxf8 Kxf8 19. Rad1 is strong) 18. Bxf8 Kxf8 (there is no 18... Qxf8 because of 19. Qc2) 19. Rad1.

16. Rfd1 Nc6

As a result, the hardware player kept the extra pawn but still failed to achieve.

17. Bc3 Bxc3 18. Qxc3 Bg4 19. Bxg4 Nxg4 20. Nf1 b5 21. Nc5 Rfc8 22. Rdc1 h5 23. Rc2 Nf6 24. Rac1 Ne8 25. a4 b4 26. Qe1 h4 27. h3 Qh6 28. Nb3 Rc7 29. Qe2 Raa7 30. Qg4 Kf8 31. Nfd2 Ne7 32. Rxc7 Rxc7 33. Nc5 Ra7 34. Ndb3 Kg8 35. Qe2 Nc7 36. a5 Nb5 37. Qd2 Nc6 38. Na4 Qf6 39. Rc5 Rc7 40. Qe2 g6 41. Qc2 Kg7 42. Qe2 Kh8 43. Qc2 Qd6 44. Qe2 f5 45. Qd1 Kh7 46. Qe2 Rf7 47. f4 exf3 48. Qxf3 Ne7 49. Qf4 Qxf4 50. exf4 Rf6 51. Nb6 Rd6 52. Kf2 Kh6 53. Nc8 Nxc8 54. Rxc8 Kg7 55. Ke3 Re6+ 56. Kd3 Re1 57. Rc1 Rxc1 58. Nxc1 Kf6 59. Na2 b3 60. Nb4 Ke6 61. Nxa6 Kd6 62. Nb4 Nxd4 63. Kc3 Ne2+ 64. Kxb3 Nxf4 65. a6 Kc7 66. Kc3 g5 67. Kd4 g4 68. Kc5 d4 69. Kxd4 Nxg2 70. Nd3 gxh3 71. Nf2 h2 72. Ke5 f4 73. Ke4 Kb61/2-1/2


"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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