Apr 23, 2001

Round 9

Svidler -Van Wely [B81]

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

Piotr Svidler does not avoid a keen struggle, though a draw in this game would be most probably enough for him to win the tournament.

7... e5 8. Nf5 g6 9. Bg2

A step aside in comparison with the game from the first round (Svidler - Gelfand, Biel, 2000) where the topical line 9. g5 gf5 10. exf5 d5 11. gxf6 d4 12. Bc4 Qc7 13. Qd3 occurred.

9... d5

If Black took the sacrificed knight at once then the importance of the bishop on g2 would have grown considerably after 9... gxf5 10. exf5, allowing White to develop strong pressure on Blackís position.

10. Bg5 gxf5 11. Nxd5

Black solved all his problems successfully in the first round after 11. Bxf6 Qxf6 12. Nxd5 Qd6 13. exf5 Nc6 14. Qe2 h5 15. O-O-O hxg4 16. Nb6 Nd4 17. Rxd4 Qxd4 18. Nxa8 Bc5 19. Nc7+ Kf8 (Ponomariov - Gelfand, Biel, 2000).

11... Be7

There was also 11... Qa5+ , and we donít know whether White would be satisfied with the repetition of moves with 12. Bd2 Qd8 13. Bg5 or was going to play something new in this case.

12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. exf5 h5 14. h3 Bd7

15. Qd3

A novelty. Itís hard to tell whether this was a preparation or a result of Svidlerís meditation at the board. At this moment White spent more than half of the time which was given for the first 40 moves. Previously this line occurred in a game which was already mentioned in our comments of the first round and was drawn after 15. Qe2 hxg4 16. hxg4 Rxh1+ 17. Bxh1 Bc6 18. O-O-O Bxd5 19. Bxd5 Bg5+ (T. Tolnai - V. Gavrikov, West Berlin, 1989). It should be noted that White wonít part with the mighty knight d5 even to win the third pawn for a piece, because after 15. Nxf6+ Qxf6 16. Bxb7 Ra7 Blackís pieces on the queenside would liven up.

15... hxg4 16. O-O-O

A very brave move. White who is already suffering from material deficiency sacrifices a pawn in order to complete his development. Probably the position to occur after 16. hxg4 Rxh1+ 17. Bxh1 Bc6 18. O-O-O did not attract him any much.

16... gxh3 17. Rxh3 Rxh3 18. Qxh3 Bc6 19. Qh7 Kf8?

A serious blunder. After 19... Nd7 20. Qg8+ 20. f4 (after 20. Qg8+ Nf8 21. f4 Bxd5 22. Bxd5 Qe7 Black had an extra piece and a good position) Rc8 (the move 20... Nf8 made Black to reckon with 21.Qh6 ) 21. Re1 Nf8 Black had every chance to repulse Whiteís attack and keep a material advantage.

20. Be4 Bxd5

A forced move. The threat of 21. Rg1 is too serious. In case of 20... Nd7 the solution was 21. Nxf6 Qxf6 22. Bxc6, and after 20... Bg5+ White won with 21. f4 as there was no 21...exf4 because of 22. Qh8#.

21. Bxd5 Qd7 22. Bf3 Qc7?!

Making Blackís problems still worse. After 22... Qe7 23. Rg1 Ke8 (bad was 23... Bg5+ ? 24. Kb1 Qf6 because of 25. Bd5 with an awful threat of 26. Rxg5) 24. Rg8+ Kd7 25. Bxb7 Ra7 Black still could have continued to struggle as in this case there was no 26. Rxb8 because of 26... Kc7.

23. Rg1 Qc4

A desperate move. After 23... Ke7 24. Bh5 Kd6 (24... Qc4 was not good because of 25. b3 Qd5 26. c4) 25. Bxf7 Black encountered great difficulties too, because two of his pieces on the queenside, the rook and the knight, were out of the play and he had no opportunity to develop them because in case of 25... Nc6 White won with 26. Rg6.

24. Bxb7 e4 25. Qg8+ Ke7 26. Bxa8 Qxa2 27. Qxb8 Qa1+ 28. Kd2 Qxg1

Black lost a pawn in a forced play, still this is not the worst for him. White is to move, and now he will make Black to part with a piece in order to escape a mate with co-ordinated operations of his queen and bishop.

29. Qb4+ Kd7 30. Qb7+ Kd8 31. Qb6+ Ke7 32. Qc5+ Kd8

If 32... Kd7, then the solution was 33. Bc6+ Kc7 34. Ba4+ Kb8 35. Qd6+.

33. Qd6+ Kc8 34. Qc6+ 1-0 Black resigned.

Gallagher - Gelfand [B90]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5

The Israeli grandmaster did not venture to play the line with 6... e6 7. g4 which occurred in the fourth round in the game B. Gelfand Ė P. Svidler.

7. Nb3 Be6 8. f4 exf4 9. Bxf4 Nc6 10. Qd2

A harmless variation. Black obtains an equal play easily.

10... d5 11. exd5

After 11. O-O-O Black could have achieved an equalisation both after 11... Bb4 and after 11... Nxe4 12. Nxe4 dxe4.

11... Nxd5 12. Nxd5 Qxd5 13. Qxd5 Bxd5 14. O-O-O O-O-O 15. g3

This position is not new for Gelfand. After 15. Be2 g6 16. Rhg1 Be7 17. g3 Rhe8 18. Rgf1 f5 19. Bf3 the opponents agreed to a draw in the game Yudasin - Gelfand (Biel (izt), 1993).

15... Bd6 16. Bh3+ Kc7 17. Rhf1 Bxf4+ 18. Rxf4 Ne5

Previously 18... Bxb3 19. axb3 Rxd1+ 20. Kxd1 Rd8+ 21. Kc1 Ne5 was seen in this position (Klovans - Dvoirys, Budapest, 1992), also with a draw.

19. Rfd4 Bc6 20. Rxd8 Rxd8 21. Rxd8 Kxd8 22. Nd4 Bd5 23. b3 g6 24. Kd2 f5 25. c4 Be4 26. Kc3 Ke7 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Milov - Ponomariov [E73]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5

The Averbakh Variation in the Kings' Indian Defence leads often to very keen play. Not this time, however.

6... Na6 7. Nf3 h6 8. Be3 Ng4 9. Bc1 e5 10. O-O c6

After 10... Qe8 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. b3 Qe6 13. Ba3 c5 14. Nd5 Nf6 15. Qc2 b6 16. Bb2 Nd7 17. a3 Bb7 18. b4 White kept some initiative in the game Milov - Gallagher (Pula (zt), 2000).

11. dxe5

In case of 11. h3 Black had to reckon with 11... exd4 12. Nxd4 Nf6, pressing on the pawn e4.

11... dxe5

11... Nxe5 12. Nd4 Qb6 13. Be3 Qxb2 14. Na4 Qb4 15. Bd2 Qa3 occurred previously, a draw followed after the repetition of moves (Dussol - Apicella, Meudon, 1991).

12. h3 Nf6 13. Qxd8 Rxd8 14. Be3

To take the pawn with 14. Nxe5 made no sense for White because Black would have returned it easily after 14... Nc5 15. Bf3 Re8, having developed his pieces very well at the same time.

14... Ne8 15. Rfd1 Rxd1+ 16. Rxd1 Be6 17. a3 Nac7 18. Nd2 Bf8 19. Na4 b6 20. b4 Rd8 21. c5 b5 22. Nb2 f6 23. Nb3 Rxd1+ 24. Bxd1 Kf7

25. f4

The position got much simpler, still White does not want to agree to a draw and attempts to open up the play.

25... exf4 26. Bxf4 Bxb3

Probably Black did not want to let the white knight get to the square d4. Well, he could have played 26... Bg7 as well with the idea that if 27. Nd4, then 27... f5.

27. Bxb3+ Ke7 28. Nd3 Bg7 29. Kf2 a6 30. Ke3 Ne6 31. Bb8 h5

The position gets more and more tense with every move.

32. Nf4 Bh6 33. g3 N8c7 34. Bd1 Kd7 35. Kf3 Ng5+

Black prefers to defend actively. After 35... Nf8 Blackís redoubts were also well covered as 36. e5 gave nothing to White to be followed with 36... fxe5 37. Nd3 Kc8 38. Bxc7 Kxc7 39. Nxe5 Bc1 40. a4, maintaining an equality.

36. Kg2 Nxe4 37. Nxg6 Kc8 38. Bxc7

Itís better to part with the advantage of two bishops now as after 38. Ba7 Bc1 39. a4 bxa4 40. Bxa4 Kb7 41. Bb6 Nd5 black knights prevailed on the board.

38... Kxc7 39. Bxh5

White managed to win a pawn, but he wonít be able to keep this advantage because all his pawns on the queenside are weak.

39... Bc1 40. Bf3 Ng5 41. h4 Nf7 42. Ne7 Ne5 43. h5 f5 44. Nxf5 Bxa3 45. h6 Bxb4 46. Nd4 Bc3 47. h7 Ng6 48. Nxc6 b4 49. Na5 Nf8 50. Be4 Ne6 51. Nb3 a5 52. Bf5 a4 53. Bxe6 axb3 54. Kf3

A draw was inevitable after 54. Bxb3 Kc6 too.

54... Kc6 55. Kf4 b2 56. Ba2 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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