Apr 23, 2001

Round 3

Svidler - Ponomariov [B06]

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6 5. f4 b5 6. Bd3 Bb7 7. Nf3 Nf6

This move is played usually after a preliminary 7... b4 8. Ne2. In the game Svidler - Beliavsky (Dortmund, 1998) there was a complex position with approximately even chances after 8... Nf6 9. e5 Nd5 10. Bd2 c5 11. c4 bxc3 12. bxc3 cxd4 13. cxd4.

8. e5 Ng4

After 8... Nd5 9. Nxd5 Bxd5 10. O-O White’s prospects looked some better.

9. Bg1 c5!

A reinforcement. Previously 9... O-O occurred which allowed White to gain a better play with 10. h3 Nh6 11. Bf2 dxe5 12. dxe5 f6 13. O-O.

10. dxc5

If 10. exd6, then there was a strong 10... c4!.

10... dxe5 11. h3

11... e4!

A sacrifice of the pawn should let Black open the diagonal a1-h8 for his bishop and spare a tempo, at the same time.

12. Nxe4 Nf6 13. Bd4 O-O 14. Bxf6

White parts with his dark-squared bishop on his own accord. Well, he would be forced to do it later anyway after 14. Nxf6+ exf6 15. c3 Re8+ (15... Qc7 16. O-O) 16. Kf2 Nc6.

14... exf6 15. Nd6 Qc7 16. b4!?

White has an extra pawn and his knight is in the enemy’s camp, but it’s not time to rest yet. In case of 16.Nxb7 there was 16... Re8+, and if 16. f5, then after 16... Qxc5 17. Nxb7 Qe7+ 18. Qe2 Qxb7 19. Be4 Nc6 Black got back all the stuff that he had given before. 16. Qe2 was also not very good because of 16... f5 17. Ne5 (in case of 17. O-O-O the move 17... Nd7 was good) 17... Nc6 18. c3 Nxe5 19. fxe5 Bxe5 20. Qxe5 Rfe8.

16... f5 17. O-O Bxf3

After 17... Bxa1 18. Qxa1 White had a pawn for the exchange plus an opportunity to play on dark squares.

18. Rxf3

After 18. Qxf3 Nc6 19. a3 Bxa1 20. Rxa1 there was an approximate equality on the board.

18... Nc6 19. a3

19... a5

Black attempts to force drawing simplifications. White’s tasks would be more complicated after 19... Nd4! to be followed with 20... Ne6, creating an unpleasant threat of Ne6xc5.

20. Nxb5 Qe7 21. c3

In case of 21. Rb1 Black had 21... axb4 22. axb4 Nxb4.

21... axb4 22. axb4 Rxa1 23. Qxa1 Nxb4 24. Qa7 Qxa7 25. Nxa7 Bxc3 26. Nb5 Bf6 27. Bc4 Rc8 28. Bxf7+ 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Milov - Gallagher [B07]

1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nge2 e5 7. h3

A helpful move, because after 7. O-O Nc6 White had to ease the tension in the centre: in case of 8. Be3 there was 8... Ng4, and then 8. h3 exd4 9. Nxd4 Black had a standard blow 9... Nxe4.

7... Nc6 8. Be3 Bd7 9. O-O a6 10. f4

In case of 10. Re1 White had to reckon with 10... b5, and after 10. a4 White got a counterplay against the pawn e4 with 10... exd4 11. Nxd4 Re8 12. Re1 Nb4! 13. g4 c5 14. Nde2 Bc6 in the game Svidler - Hennigan (Oakham, 1992).

10... exd4 11. Nxd4 Re8 12. Re1 Na5

After 12... Nxd4 13. Bxd4 c5 14. Bf2! Bc6 15. a4 Re6 16. Qd3 White’s position was still more pleasant (Buljovcic - Savicevic, Herceg Novi, 2000)

13. Bf2

In case of 13. b3 c5 14. Nde2 Bc6 15. Qd3 b5 Black had a counterplay as well as after 13. Qd3 c5 14. Nde2 b5.

13... c5 14. Nf3

After 14. Nb3 Nc4 15. e5 dxe5 16. fxe5 Nxe5 17. Nxc5 Black got a good play with 17... Bc6! in the game Solozhenkin - Svidler (St.Petersburg, 1995).

14... Bc6 15. Nd2

In case of White’s break-through in the centre with 15. e5 there was 15... dxe5
(15... Bxf3 16. Qxf3 dxe5 17. Bxc5 was also possible to be followed with 17... Qc7 or 17...Qc8) 16. Nxe5 Bxg2 17. Qxd8 Raxd8 18. Kxg2, and Black equalised with 18... Nd5!

15... b5 16. a3

16... Nd7!

A happy novelty. After 16... Qc7 Black encountered some problems because of 17. b4! cxb4 18. axb4 Bb7 19. Nxb5 axb5 20. Rxa5 Rxa5 21. bxa5 Nd7 (there was no 21... Qxa5 because of 22. e5!) 22. Nb3 in the game Maier-Fritz (Germany, 1992).

17. Qf3 Nb7?!

In case of the suggesting 17... Nb6 18. Rab1 (if 18. b3, then White had to reckon with 18... b4 19. axb4 cxb4 20. Rxa5 Bxc3, and if 18. Rad1, then there was an unpleasant continuation 18... Bxc3!? 19. Qxc3 Na4!, winning a pawn) 18... Nac4 19. Nxc4 Nxc4 Black’s position was no worse at the least.

18. Rab1 a5 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. exd5 Rxe1+ 21. Bxe1 c4 22. b4!

Black wanted to get his knight to c5, now White prevents him from doing this.

22... axb4

In case of 22... cxb3 23. Qxb3 the black pawn on b5 was very weak.

23. axb4 Ra2 24. c3 Qe7 25. g4 f5

Probably this was played too tough. 25... Nb6 to be followed with Na4 complied better with the plan that will be realised in the game.

26. gxf5 gxf5 27. Nf1 Qf7 28. Ng3 Nb6

Now that the kingside is already weakened with the advance f7-f5 Black should not have driven the knight to the opposite side. 28... Nf8! was stronger, preventing the advance h3-h4.

29. h4 Nd8 30. Rc1

30... Na4?

Now the pawn f5 cannot be protected. After 30... Nc8 31. Bh3 Ne7 Black had time to cover everything.

31. Bh3 Qa7+ 32. Kh1 Nf7 33. Nxf5 Bf6 34. Ng3 Nh6

After 34... Kf8 35. Ne4 Black was to lose as well.

35. Ne4

35. Qh5!? looked not bad also, because after 35... Kg7 (if 35... Qa8, then 36. Be6+ Kg7 37. Ne4 wins) 36. Qe8 there was a fearful threat of Ng3-h5#.

35... Qe7 36. Bf2 Bxh4 37. Bd4!

White parted with his extra pawn yet he acquired another important mainline that leads right to the head quarters of the black king, and this, combined with the inactivity of the knight on a4, is crucial for the result of the game, as now White will win very soon.

37... Kf8 38. Rg1 Qf7 39. Be6 1-0 Black resigned.

Van Wely - Gelfand [D19]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4

In this variation of the Slav Defence Black attempts to prevent White from the advance e3-e4 or at least minimise its effect.

8. O-O O-O 9. Qe2 Bg6

Black is trying to avoid the line 9... Nbd7 10. e4.

10. Ne5 Nbd7 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. Rd1 Qa5 13. Qc2 Rad8 14. Na2 Bd6

15. b4!?

15. Be2 e5 was seen previously as well as 15. h3 c5 16. Bd2 Qc7 17. dxc5 Bxc5 18. Rac1 Be7 19. Qb1 Qb8 20. Be2 Nc5 (Huzman – Anand, Haifa (active), 2000), with a convenient play by Black in both cases.

15... Qh5

Of course there was no 15... Bxb4? because of 16. Nxb4 Qxb4 17. Ba3, Black losing by an exchange.

16. g3 e5 17. Be2 Qf5 18. Qxf5 gxf5 19. Bb2 exd4 20. Bxd4 Be5 21. Nc3 Bxd4 22. Rxd4

It seems that White has got an advantage, still B. Gelfand manages to maintain the balance with his precise play.

22... Nb6 23. Rad1 Rxd4 24. Rxd4 Nbd5 25. Nxd5 cxd5!

Black agrees to play with the isolated d-pawn, but instead he restricts the opportunities of the white rook. After 26. Bf3 Rd8 27. b5 Kf8 28. bxc6 bxc6 29. Rc4 he suffered White’s long lasting pressure.

26. Bf3 Rd8 27. h3 Kf8 28. g4 Ke7

Now Black parts with a pawn to free his rook for a more active play. The same idea could have been performed in a slightly different way with 28... fxg4 29. hxg4 g5 30. e4 Ke7 31. exd5 (the rook endgame to come after 31. e5 Ne4 32. Bxe4 dxe4 33. Rxe4 Ke6 was a draw despite White’s extra pawn) 31... Kd6, all black pieces involved into an active play.

29. gxf5 Kd6 30. Kg2 Ke5 31. Bg4 Rc8 32. f4+ Kd6 33. Bf3 Rc2+ 34. Kg3 Rc3

The active position of Black’s rook compensates him the missing pawn.

35. Kf2 Kc6 36. h4 Rc2+ 37. Ke1 Rb2 38. h5 Rb1+ 39. Kd2 Rb2+ 40. Ke1 Rb1+ 41. Kd2 1/2-1/2 Draw.

"Chess is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it;and thence it is never played for money."

Benjamin Franklin, "Chess made easy", 1802

"It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has toplay the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position."

John Watson, "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy", 1998

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