Mar 6, 2001

Round 9

Huebner - Anand [E08]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 c6 5. Qc2

White is overcautious. After 5. Bg2 the threat of the capture 5... dxc4 was not very dangerous because of 6. Ne5. An attempt to gain a material advantage from the position to come after 6... Bb4+ 7. Bd2 by force with 7... Qxd4? 8. Bxb4 Qxe5 would be smashed with 9. Na3!, White getting a frightful initiative for the sacrificed pawns.

5... Nbd7

White's last move allowed Black to begin an active counterplay immediately with 5... dxc4 6. Qxc4 b5, but V. Anand is holding to a different policy.

6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. b3 b6 9. Rd1

White is waiting. If Black's dark-squared bishop comes to b7, then White will play Nc3, and if to a6, then Nbd2.

9... Ba6 10. Nbd2 c5

After 10... Rc8 11. e4 there would be one of basic positions of the Catalan Opening on the board. Knowing about White's plan to advance e2-e4 White blows a counterstrike in the centre first.

11. e4

The German grandmaster shows his serious attitude. If he dreamt of a draw he could have held very well his position after 11. Bb2 Rc8 12. Rac1.

11... dxc4 12. bxc4

A new move. White takes control over the important central square d5 at once. In case of 12. Nxc4 cxd4 13. Nxd4 (if 13. e5, then 13... Nd5) 13... Rc8 which occurred in the game Filippov - Galkin (St.Petersburg, 1998) there were great complications after 14. Qe2 (again, the move 14. e5 to be followed with 14... Nd5 led to a very keen play with mutual chances) 14... Qc7 15. Bf4 Bxc4 16. bxc4 e5.

12... cxd4 13. e5 Ng4 14. Qe4 h5 15. h3

There was no 15. Nxd4? because of 15... Nc5 16. Qxa8 and 16... Qxd4.

15... Nc5 16. Qxd4 Nh6

Black has to withdraw for a while. In case of 16... Nxe5? 17. Qxe5 Bf6 he might run up against 18. Qxh5! (much weaker was 18. Qe1 Bxa1 19. Nb3 because of 19... Bc3! 20. Rxd8 Bxe1 21. Rxa8 Rxa8 22. Nxe1 Rd8, Black's chances better) 18... g6 (there was no 18... Bxa1 because of 19. Ng5) 19. Qh6 Bg7 20. Nf1! Bxh6 (if 20... Qxd1, then 21. Qxg7+! Kxg7 22. Bb2+ f6 23. Rxd1) 21. Rxd8 Rfxd8 22. Bxh6, Black having serious problems, as a result.

17. Ba3 Qc7

Black does not hurry with the natural 17... Nf5. After 18. Qc3 (there was no 18. Qf4? because of 18... g5!, catching the white queen, and in the endgame after 18.Qxd8 Raxd8 19. Bxc5 Bxc5 20. Ne4 Ba3 Black's chances were definitely better) 18... Qc7 Black would have had to reckon with the move 19. Nh41?.

18. Bxc5 bxc5!

Black decides consciously to slightly spoil his pawn structure. In case of the suggesting 18... Bxc5 19. Qf4 (19. Qh4 was a blank shot, because after 19... Nf5 the pawn g3 was hung) 19... Nf5 Black would have had to reckon with the move 20. Ne4!, because White would have developed a considerable activity for the sacrificed pawn after Bxc4 21. Nxc5 Qxc5 22. Rac1 Rac8 23. Rd7.

19. Qc3

Now White's queen is forced to move to a much less active position. In case of 19. Qf4 Rad8 White had already no 20. Ne4 as there was no compensation for the pawn after 20... Bxc4.

19... Rad8 20. Ne4 Nf5

21. g4?!

The position is approximately equal, but White continues to move ahead, probably still influenced with his active opening plan. After 21. Rab1 Bb7 22. Qc2 it was much more complicated to upset the balance of power.

21... hxg4 22. hxg4 Nh6 23. Nh2

A transition to the defence. 23. Qc2 complied better with White's 21st move, whereafter Black's best answer was probably the same as in the game: 23... Rxd1+! 24. Rxd1 Rd8. If Black took the sacrificed pawn with 23... Nxg4?!, then both sides had mutual chances in the position to arise after 24. Neg5 Bxg5 25. Nxg5 Rxd1+ 26. Rxd1 g6 27. Qe4! (there was no 27. Nxe6 fxe6 28. Qxg6+ Qg7 29. Qxe6+ Kh8 30. Qxa6 because of 30... Qh7 31. Rd2 Qh2+ 32. Kf1 Qxe5) 27... f5 (if 27... Nxe5, then White had a draw at the least after 28. Qh4 Kg7 29. Qh7+ Kf6 30. Qh4) 28. exf6 Qh2+ 29. Kf1 Ne5 30. f7+ Rxf7 31. Nxf7 Bxc4+ 32. Ke1 Kxf7.

23... Rxd1+ 24. Rxd1 Rd8 25. Rxd8+ Qxd8 26. Bf3 Bb7 27. Kg2

27... Bxe4!

Very reasonable. Black plays without illusions. His advantage of two bishops is hardly worth mentioning since White has a mighty knight on e4. After its capture Black's dark-squared bishop will be a real power, having a number of convenient squares on the kingside owing to the advance g3-g4.

28. Bxe4 Bg5 29. Kg3

White hurries up to cover the square f4. In case of 29. Qf3 he had to reckon both with an immediate 29... Qd2 and with a prophylactic 29... g6, postponing Qd2 until a more convenient situation.

29... Bd2 30. Qb2 g5 31. f3?

Losing White's game. After 31. Nf3 Bf4+ 32. Kh3 Kg7 33. Qb1 Qh8 34. Qb5 the position of the white king appeared to be very dangerous, still there were no fatal threats by Black. So, White was OK in case of the natural 34... Nf5+ 35. Kg2 Nh4+ 36. Nxh4 Qxh4 37. Bf3.

31... Bf4+ 32. Kg2 Qc7 33. Nf1 Bxe5

White loses a pawn as a result of his mistake on the 31st move.

34. Qe2 Bf4 35. Bb1 Kf8 36. Qb2 Ng8 37. Qh8 Be5 38. Qh5 Qd8 39. Bh7 Bf4 0-1

White resigned. Black's queen threatens to occupy a fine square in the centre of the board with the move Qd4, whereas its opponent is just out of play.

Leko - Junior 6 [C48]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Bc4 Bc5 6. d3

The Hungarian grandmaster avoids the keen continuation 6. Nxe5 d5 which occurred, for instance, in the game Shirov - Kramnik (Cazorla (m/6), 1998), as he does not want to get involved into complications in the game with the computer.

6... c6

The computer proves to be rather persistent, a positional 6... d6 did not suit it.

7. Nxd4

In case of 7. Nxe5 White had to reckon with 7... d5.

7... Bxd4

There was also 7... exd4 8. Ne2 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. O-O O-O with an approximate equality.

8. Qf3 h5?!

Some obscure tricks have begun. This move only weakens Black's kingside. 8... d5 9. exd5 Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 cxd5 11. Bb3 Qc7 was suggesting itself, similarly to the game.

9. h3 d5 10. exd5 Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 cxd5 12. Bb3 Qc7 13. O-O O-O

The computer refused to take the pawn with 13... Qxc3 as it did not want to suffer White's attack after 14. Bg5 e4 15. Qe3.

14. Qg3 a5

Now the capture 14... Qxc3 was still worse because of 15. Rb1!.

15. a4 Be6 16. Bh6 Ne8 17. Bd2 f6 18. f4 exf4 19. Qxf4 Nd6 20. Rae1 Bf7 21. Qd4

White queen occupies a splendid position on a pawn pedestal in the centre of the board.

21... Qc6 22. Re7 Rfe8

23. Rxf7!

Having overwhelmed the computer in the positional play, P. Leko begins the tactical realisation of his positional plan.

23... Nxf7 24. Bxd5 Qd7 25. Rb1 Rad8 26. c4 Qxa4 27. Rxb7 Rd7 28. Rxd7?

What a pity. The last-year winner of the Dortmund super-tournament could have caught hold of the first place this year too if he played 28. Bxf7+! Rxf7 29. Qd5 now. Black would hardly be able to defend from the threats of White's pieces in the presence of the horrible binding on the diagonal a2-f7, so, White had an extra piece after 29... Ref8 (not better was 29... Qa1+ 30. Kf2 Ref8 31. Bf4 Qa3 with 32. c5 ! Qc3 33. Bd6) 30. Bf4! Qe8 (if 30... Qxc2, then 31. Bd6) 31. Bd6 Qe1+ 32. Kh2 h4 33. c5 (after 33. Bxf8 Qg3+ there was only a draw) 33... f5 34. Re7 Qf2 35. c6 f4 36. c7 f3 37. Qxf7+ Rxf7 38. c8Q+ Kh7 39. Qg4.

28... Qxd7 29. Bxa5 Re2 30. Bb6

White could have kept the pawn if he played 30. c3.

30... Qe8 31. Bc7

Now 31. c3 was already late because of 31... Re1+ 32. Kh2 (if 32. Kf2, then 32... Qe2+ 33. Kg3 Rd1 was unpleasant) 32...Qb8+ 33. g3 h4.

31... Rxc2 32. c5 Kh8 33. Bg3 Qd8 34. Bf2 Rc1+ 35. Kh2 Qb8+ 36. g3

If 36. Bg3, then 36... Qb1.

36... Nh6 37. Kg2 Rc2 38. Be4 h4 39. Qe3

In case of 39. gxh4 Qf4 40. Kg1 Nf5 41. Qd8+ Kh7 42. Qd4 White had to reckon with 42... Kh6

39... f5 40. Bd5 hxg3 41. Qxg3 Qb5 42. Qe3 Qb4 43. d4 Qb2 44. c6 Kh7 45. Qf4 Qa3

46. Be4!?

In general, the position can be estimated as approximately equal. White's advantage of two bishops and extra pawn are a sufficient compensation for the exchange. White could have fixed the position with 46. Bf3. With the move in the game he begins a combination, trying to advance his passed pawns.

46... Rxf2+ 47. Kxf2 fxe4 48. c7

White hurries too much. He should have taken the pawn on e4 too if he wanted a draw. After 48. Qxe4+ g6 49. d5 Nf5 (if 49... Qxh3 50. Qe7+ Kg8 51.c7, then the draw is more or less evident) 50. Qe5 Black had no convenient ways to strengthen his position.

48... Qa8 49. d5

49. Ke3 looked not badly.

49... Qa7+ 50. Kg2 Qa2+ 51. Qf2 Qc4 52. d6 Qc6 53. Qf8?!

Another untimely move. After 53. Kf1 Kg6 (with the idea to introduce the knight into the play) 54. Qf8 Qc1+ 55. Ke2 Qc2+ Black had nothing but a perpetual check both after 56. Ke1 and in case of 56. Kf1. After the move in the game the situation gets much more complicated.

53... e3+!

Black's e-pawn is introduced into the play against the white king.

54. Qf3

No other way. If 54. Kg1, then 54... e2. In case of 54. Kg3 the move 54... e2! was also very strong (after 54... Qxd6+ 55. Qxd6 Nf5+ 56. Kf4 Nxd6 57. Kxe3 Kg6 58. Kf4 a draw was the most probable result), Black to win after 55. Kf2 Qe4 56. Ke1 Qc2 57. Qe8 Qd1+.

54... Qc2+

55. Kf1?

This seems to be the crucial mistake. After 55. Kg1Qc1+ (in case of 55... e2 thre was a good 56. Kf2) 56. Kg2 Qc1+ 57. Kg1 there was no evident winning solution for Black.

55... Qc4+ 56. Kg2 Qe6!

Suddenly Black managed to co-ordinate his pieces.

57. Qc6

After 57. Qe2 Nf5 58. Qh5+ Kg8 Black's knight had time to get to the white passed pawns. After 57. Qb7 Qa2+ the play would have developed similarly.

57... Qa2+ 58. Kh1 Nf5 59. Qe4 Qa1+ 60. Kh2

In case of 60. Kg2 the solution was 60... Qb2+ 61. Kf3 Qf2 62. Kg4 g6 63. Kg5 Qg3+ 64. Qg4 Qxg4+ 65. Kxg4 (if 65. hxg4, then 65... Nxd6) 65... e2 66.c8Q e1Q

60... Qb2+ 0-1

White resigned. In case of 61. Kg1 (if 61. Kh1, then 61... g6 ) the solution was 61... Qf2+ 62. Kh1 e2.

Khalifman - Kramnik [E05]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 Bd7 9. Qxc4 Bc6 10. Bg5 Bd5 11. Qd3 Be4

A well known variation of the Catalan Opening was played. Usually Black struggles for an equality in this variation with 11... c5 12. Nc3 Bc6 13. Rfd1 cxd4 14. Nxd4 Bxg2 15. Kxg2 Nbd7!.

12. Qd1

After 12. Qe3 Bc6 13. Nc3 Black had more grounds to struggle for an advantage. In particular, the FIDE World Champion A. Khalifman played so himself against J. Lautier in the inter-zonal tournament in Biel in 1993.

12... c5 13. dxc5

After 13. Nbd2 Black equalised the game easily with the super-precise 13... Bd5! with the idea that if 14. dxc5 Nbd7 15. b4, then 15... a5! (Miles - Ribli, Szeged, 1997).

13... Qxd1?!

A strange move, all the more that it was made by V. Kramnik. A draw could have been achieved with 13... Bxc5 14. Nc3 Bc6 15. Ne5 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 h6 17.Qxd8 like in the game Polugaevsky - Geller (Leningrad, 1977).

14. Rxd1 Bxc5 15. Nc3 1/2-1/2

Draw. The last round has its own rules. Objectively, White's position is more pleasant. White's chances were preferable after 15... Bc6 16. Ne5 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 Be7 (it's not easy for Black to develop his queenside, because in case of 17... Nc6? there is 18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. Nd7) 18. Rac1 h6 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Nc4 Nc6 21. Ne4.

Akopian - Adams [A30]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. g3 b6 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O e6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Re1 Ne4 8. Nxe4 Bxe4 9. d3 Bb7 10. e4 O-O

The opponents played a variation of the English Opening. An exchange of the knights, possible in case of 10... Nc6 11. d4 Nxd4 12. Nxd4 cxd4 13. Qxd4, cannot guarantee an easy equalisation for Black after 13... O-O 14. Bf4 d6 15. Qd2 Qc8 16. b3 as it was shown in the game Ehlvest Lindberg, Stockholm, 1998).

11. d4 cxd4 12. Nxd4 Nc6 13. b3

If White wanted to get more than a draw he had to continue with 13. Nb5!?.

13... Nxd4 14. Qxd4 Bc5 15. Qc3 1/2-1/2

Draw. There were at least three games where opponents continued to play in this position, and not all of them had a peaceful result. Still, as it was already noted, the last round has its own rules.

Piket - Bareev [D47]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. O-O b4 10. Na4

Two rounds ago E. Bareev defended his position after 10. Ne4 Be7 11. Nxf6+ Nxf6 12. e4 O-O 13. e5 Nd7 14. Be4 Rb8 15. a3 bxa3 16. b4 f5! 17. Bd3 Nb6 18. Bxa3 Nd5 (Khalifman - Bareev, Dortmund, 2000).

10... c5 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. Nxc5 Nxc5 13. Bb5+ Ke7 14. Bd2 a5 15. Nd4 Qb6

16. a3

16. Qe2 occurred in this position previously. The move in the game does not create any problems for Black, still, it does not spoil White's position either.

16... b3 17. Rc1 Rhd8 18. Qe2 e5 19. Nf5+ Kf8 20. Bc3 Nce4 21. Ng3 1/2-1/2


"And his six pawns were scattered like the ships of the Armada that should have conquered England; the Lord blew, and they were all isolated."

-Hans Kmoch, Groningen 1946 tournament book

"Nowadays, when you're not a grandmaster at 14, you can forget about it."

Anand Vishwanathan

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