Apr 22, 2001
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Round 1

Svidler - Milov [B43]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 b5 6. Bd3 Bb7 7. O-O Qb6 8. Be3 Bc5 9. Nce2 Nf6

Black attempts to reinforce one of the lines of the Paulsen Variation. 9... Nc6 10. c3 Nf6 11. b4 Bxd4 12. Nxd4 occurred previously in the game Rohde - Benjamin (Estes Park, 1987), retaining certain advantage by White.

10. b4!

White drives the black bishop away from the important diagonal a7-g1.

10... Bxd4

The capture of the pawn 10... Bxb4? was bad because of 11. Nf5.

11. Bxd4 Qc7 12. c4!

White maintains the tempo, developing further his initiative. For the sake of his initiative he is ready to part with the pawn.

12... e5

Black has not ventured to take White’s sacrifice. After 12... bxc4 13. Rc1 Bxe4 (if 13... d5, then 14. exd5 exd5 15. Re1 O-O 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Bb1 with the threat of 18.Qc2, beginning a strongest attack of the black king) 14. Rxc4 Bc6 15. Ng3 White had a very serious initiative for the sacrificed pawn. Black’s problem was that his king felt not too easy in the centre and there was no 15... O-O because of 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Bxh7+ with a mating attack by White.

13. Bb2 Nc6

Black can forget about winning an extra pawn. In case of 13... bxc4 14. Rc1 there was neither 14... Bxe4? because of 15. Bxe4 Nxe4 16. Qd5, nor 14... Nxe4? because of 15. Rxc4, Black losing a piece in both lines.

14. cxb5 axb5?!

After this move Black will part with some material inevitably. He should have ventured on 14... Nxb4, and after 15. Rc1 Qb8 16. Bb1 axb5 (there was no 16... Bxe4 because after 17. Bxe4 Nxe4 18. a3 Black had problems in finding a good retreat for his knight) 17. Rc5 Nc6 18. Rxb5 there were no crucial threats though White’s position with the advantage of two bishops was still better.

15. Nc3 Nd4

Black has to part with the pawn. After 15... Nxb4 16. Nxb5 Qb8 17. Ba3 White’s threats were extremely dangerous.

16. Bxb5 O-O

In case of 16... Nxe4 White would have played 17. Nxe4 Nxb5 (no 17... Bxe4 because of 18. Bxd4 exd4 19. Qxd4 ) 18. Nc5, creating serious threats.

17. Bd3 Rfd8 18. Re1 d5 19. exd5 Bxd5

Even after 19... Nxd5 20. Nxd5 Rxd5 21. a4 Rad8 22. Qg4 White would have achieved his extra pawn sooner or later.

20. Nxd5 Rxd5 21. Rc1

White’s position is winning owing to the advantage of two bishops and the extra pawn.

21... Qb7 22. Bc4 Rd7 23. a3 Rad8 24. Qd3 e4 25. Qe3 h6 26. h3 Rd6 27. Bf1 Rd5 28. Rc4 Nf5 29. Qc1 R8d6

Losing immediately. Having returned the knight to the centre of the board Black could have struggled for a longer time after 29... Nd4 30. Qf4.

30. Bxf6 Rxf6 31. Rcxe4 Qb6 32. Re5 Ng3 33. Qc8+ Rd8 34. Qxd8+ 1-0 Black resigned.

Van Wely - Gallagher [E94]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Na6 8. Be3 Ng4 9. Bg5 Qe8 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. h3 h6 12. Bd2 Nf6 13. Be3 Qe7

This continuation became popular three years ago after the games Kramnik - Shirov (Monte Carlo, 1997) and J. Piket - Kramnik (Tilburg, 1997) were played. Black’s idea is to take control over the square c5, because in case of 13... c6 there would be 14. c5.

14. a3

The Swiss grandmaster has already a successful experience of struggling against the continuation 14. Nd5. In the game Tukmakov - Gallagher (Basel, 1999) Black got a convenient counterplay after 14... Qd8 15. Qc2 (the line with 15. Nxf6+ Qxf6 16. c5 was proved in the mentioned Kramnik’s games) 15... c6 16. Nxf6+ Qxf6 17. Rfd1 Qe7 18. c5 Nc7 19. b4 Kh7 20. a4 f5.

14... c6 15. b4 Nh5 16. Re1 Nf4

17. Bxf4

A crucial decision. Now White will have to make certain efforts to neutralise the dark-squared bishop of his opponent. 17. Bf1 looked probably more promising. After 17... Qf6 18. Ra2 Re8 19. Rd2 Nc7 20. Kh2 g5 21. g3 Ng6 22. c5 Ne6 23.Na4 Rd8 24. Rxd8+ Nxd8 25. Nb2 Be6 26. Nd2 Bf8 27. Ndc4 White arranged the threat of an intrusion to d6 with the knight and got an advantage in the game Topalov - Movsesian (Sarajevo, 2000).

17... exf4 18. e5 Bf5 19. c5

After 19. Qc1 g5 20. c5 Nc7 21. Bc4 Rfd8 22. Ne4 Bxe4 23. Rxe4 Ne6 24. Qc3 Rd7 25. Rae1 Rad8 Black got a convenient play in the game Sadler - Apicella (Cannes, 1995).

19... Nc7 20. Bc4 Rad8 21. Qc1 Ne6 22. Ne4 Bxe4 23. Rxe4 Ng5 24. Nxg5 Qxg5

After the exchange of the knights it became obviously that White will have to open the diagonal a1-h8 for the bishop g7, because the barrier of the pawn c5 on its way is too weak.

25. Qe1 Rfe8 26. e6 Kh7 27. Rd1 Rxd1 28. Qxd1 fxe6 29. Rxe6 Rxe6 30. Bxe6 Qe5 31. Bc8 b6 32. cxb6 axb6 33. Qc1 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Ponomariov - Gelfand [B81]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. g4 e5 8. Nf5 g6 9. Bg2 d5

After 9... gxf5 10. exf5 Black could have encountered some troubles despite his extra pawn as White’s bishop g2 was too strong in this line.

10. Bg5 gxf5 11. Bxf6

In case of 11. Nxd5 Black had a choice between 11... Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Qd8 13. Bg5 Qa5+, then repeating moves, and 11... Be7 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. exf5 h5 with a complex play like in the game T. Tolnai - Gavrikov (West Berlin,1989).

11... Qxf6 12. Nxd5 Qd6 13. exf5

13... Nc6

13... Rg8 and 13... Bh6 occurred previously in this position. In the latter case after 14. h4 Bf4 15. Qe2 O-O 16. Rd1 Nc6 17. c3 Qc5 there was a complex position with mutual chances in the game Sax - Gelfand, (Eupen, 1999, 2000).

14. Qe2 h5 15. O-O-O hxg4!

Now Black returned the piece and kept the advantage of two bishops as his dividend.

16. Nb6 Nd4 17. Rxd4 Qxd4 18. Nxa8 Bc5 19. Nc7+ Kf8 20. Nd5

White will have to part with one of two f-pawns in any case.

20... Bxf5 21. Ne3 Qf4

Black loses the pawn. An outwardly passive move 21... Bc8!? deserved attention. Then there was a chance to use in the future such long lasting merits of Black’s position as the advantage of two bishops and the weakness of White’s pawns on the kingside.

22. Bxb7 Rh3 23. Qd2

There was no 23. Bxa6 because of 23... Rf3 whereafter there was no defence for White’s basic pawn f2 as the move 24. Rf1 would have been followed with 24... Rxf2.

23... Rxe3

An exchange is sacrificed after the pawn. Meanwhile, a quieter 23… Be6!? would do as well. In this case Black had a sufficient compensation for the pawn. Besides, there would be no 24. Bxa6? because after 24... Rxe3 25. Qd8+ Kg7 26. fxe3 Bxe3+ 27. Kb1 Qa4 White would simply lose his bishop.

24. Qd8+ Kg7 25. fxe3 Bxe3+ 26. Kb1 Qc4 27. Qd1 Bd4 28. Qc1 f6 29. Rd1?

A real gift for Boris Gelfand. After 29. Ka1 Be6 30. Qb1 Bf5 Black evidently had a sufficient compensation for the exchange, but the question whether there was anything more stayed unanswered.

29... a5?!

B. Gelfand overlooked a way to win immediately with 29... Be3! 30. Rd7+ (after 30. b3 Qc7 31. Qxe3 Qxc2+ 32. Ka1 Qxd1+ 33. Kb2 Qc2+ 34. Ka3 Qxh2 Black’s extra pawns were fairly enough to win the game) 30... Kg6 31. Bxa6 (if 31. Bd5, then 31... Qf4 32. Bf7+ Kh6) 31... Qc6.

30. b3 Qc3 31. Rxd4 Qxd4 32. Qf1 Bg6 33. Qc4 Qg1+ 34. Kb2 Qxh2 35. Qxg4 Qxc2+

Black has an extra pawn and a better position.

36. Ka3 Qc5+

36... f5!? deserved attention. After 37. Qc4 Qd2 38. Qc7+ Kf6 39. Qb6+ (the endgame to come after 39. Qc6+ Kg5 40. Qg2+ Qxg2 41. Bxg2 Be8 was hopeless for White) 39... Kg5 40. Qg1+ Kh6 Black’s king escaped checks easily.

37. Kb2 f5 38. Qc4 Qxc4?!

What for was it to create a passed pawn for White in the endgame? In case of 38... Qf2+! the play could have been reduced with 39. Ka3 Qd2 to the above regarded line or with 39. Qc2 Qxc2+ 40. Kxc2 Kf6 to an endgame where it would be much harder for White to get a counterplay than in the game.

39. bxc4 Kf6 40. Kc3

40... f4?!

Looks as if Black lost all his winning chances with this move. He could have kept his pawns in a rank on the fifth horizontal, trying to transfer the bishop to the blockading square c6, and then he would be able to begin a pawn advance to the 1st horizontal. It could have been conducted as follows, for instance: 40... Ke7 41. c5 Bf7 42. a3 (no 42. Bc8 because of 42... Be6) 42... Kd7 43. Bg2 (after 43. Bh1 Kc7 44. Bg2 Be6 45. Kd3 Bc8 46. Kc4 Ba6+ 47. Kd5 Bb7+ 48. Kxe5 Bxg2 49. Kxf5 Kc6 50. Kf4 Kxc5 51. Ke3 Kc4 52. Kd2 Kb3 53. Kc1 Ka2 Black won) 43... Kc7 44. Bh1 (there was no way to bind Black’s pieces to the pawn f5, after 44. Bh3 Be6 45. Bg2 Bd7 46. Bh3 Kc6 47. Kc4 Be6+ White lost the game) 44... Be8 45. Bg2 Bc6 46. Bf1 (if 46. Bh3, then 46... Be4 to be followed with Kc7-c6) 46... Kd7 47. Bd3 Ke6, and Black’s king came to help its passed pawns and ensured the victory.

41. c5 Ke7 42. a3 Kd7 43. Kc4 Bc2 44. Kd5 e4 45. Kd4 f3

No other way than to let the white king block up the advance of the passed pawns as there was a threat of 46. Bxe4. In case of 45... e3 46. Bf3 Ba4 47. Ke5 Bb5 48. Kxf4 e2 49. Bxe2 Bxe2 50. Ke3 Black’s extra piece was not enough to win because of the bishop’s “wrong” colour as there was no way to drive the white king out from the corner a1.

46. Ke3 Ke6 47. Bc6 Ke5 48. Bb7 Bd3 49. Ba8 Kf5 50. Bb7 Ke6 51. Bc6 1/2-1/2 Draw. Black cannot reinforce his position.

























 
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