Apr 25, 2001

Round 4

Svidler - Ivanchuk [B33]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5

The opponents chose the Sveshnikov Variation to be the field for their opening fight.

9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 O-O 12. Nc2 Bg5 13. a4 bxa4 14. Rxa4 a5 15. Bb5

After the well known game Kasparov - Van Wely (Wijk aan Zee, 1999) this continuation became especially popular.

15... Ne7

15... Bb7 was played in the above mentioned game.

16. Ncb4 Bd7 17. Nxe7+ Bxe7

18. Bxd7

This led to a quick equalisation. In the game Motylev - Agamaliev (Bydgoszcz, 1999) the opponents played 18. Nc6 Bxc6 (probably V. Ivanchuk was going to continue in another way: 18... Qe8 19. Qd5 Be6) 19. Bxc6 Rb8 20. Ra2 Qb6 21. Bd5 occurred with a slight but lasting advantage for White.

18... axb4 19. Bc6 Rxa4 20. Qxa4 bxc3 21. bxc3 Qb8 22. O-O Bd8 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Van Wely - Gelfand [E34]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5

Black chose the toughest way of struggling for an equality from a number of more or less equal opportunities.

5. cxd5 Qxd5 6. e3 c5 7. Bd2 Bxc3 8. Bxc3 cxd4 9. Bxd4 Nc6 10. Bc3 Bd7 11. Nf3 Rc8 12. a3 Ne7 13. Rd1

After 13. Be2 O-O 14. O-O Bb5 15. Rfd1 the opponents agreed on a draw in the game Khalifman - Leko (Dortmund, 2000).

13... Qc5 14. e4 Bb5 15. Be2

15... Qc6!?

Black wants to fight. There was a mere 15... O-O 16. O-O with an approximate equality.

16. Bxb5

In case of 16. Nd4 Black had 16... Ba4!, getting a better play.

16... Qxb5 17. Nd4 Qc4 18. f3 Nc6

Black is ready to part with some of his material for an opportunity to play against the white king which is lingering about in the centre. In the endgame which could have appeared in case of a more prosaic 18... O-O 19. Qb3 Qxb3 20. Nxb3 or 18... e5 19. Ne2 0-0 (if 20...Qc5, then 20. Qa4+) 21. Qd3 the centralised position of the king would be not a shortcoming, but, quite the contrary, a merit of White’s position.

19. Nxc6 Rxc6 20. Qf2 Qc5 21. Qg3 Nh5 22. Qb8+ Rc8 23. Qxb7 O-O 24. Qd7

Other opportunities were no better. So, in case of 24. Bd4 after 24... Qg5 25. O-O (if 25. g4, then 25... Rc2) 25... Nf4 26. g3 Ne2+ 27. Kh1 Rc2 White’s king suffered an unpleasant attack.

24... f5

25. Qd4

White wants to simplify the play, trying to avoid still worse things. In case of 25. Qxe6+ Kh8 Black’s attack was rather dangerous. For instance, after 26. Rd7 (if 26. Bd4, then there was 26... Qa5+, and if 26. Rd4 with the idea of castling, then 26... Rfd8 was rather unpleasant) 26... Rcd8 27. Qe7 (after 27. Rxd8 Rxd8 White’s position was extremely dangerous because his rook on h1 was out of the play) 27... Qe3+ 28. Kd1 (the line 28. Kf1 Rde8 29. Qh4 fxe4 30. Qxh5 exf3 31. Bxg7+ Kg8 32. Qd5+ Re6 was impossible for White as, after all sensible checks to Black’s king were over, the mating threats to White’s king were still present) 28... Rxd7+ 29. Qxd7 Qg5 Black’s threats were very serious.

25... Qb5 26. Qe5 Qxe5 27. Bxe5 fxe4 28. Rf1

In case of 28. fxe4 Rc4 29. Bd4 a6 Black’s activity was enough to return him the missing pawn, all the more that White’s rook on h1 was eliminated from the play.

28... Nf4 29. Bxf4 Rxf4 30. Ke2 exf3+ 31. Rxf3 Rxf3 32. gxf3 Kf7

The rook endgame is obviously a draw.

33. Rd7+ Kf6 34. Kd3 a5 35. Ra7 Rb8 36. Kc3 Rc8+ 37. Kd3 Rb8 38. Kc3 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Movsesian - A. Fedorov [B76]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O d5

A. Fedorov plays the most keen and fundamental Dragon Variation again, as he did in the second round.

10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Qxd5 Qc7 14. Qc5 Qb7 15. Qa3 Bf5 16. Bd3 Rab8 17. b3

17... Rfc8

This time Black positions his rook in a slightly different way in comparison with that game (Ivanchuk - A. Fedorov, Polanica Zdroj, 2000) when 17... Rbc8 18. Bxf5 gxf5 19. Rd3 Qc6 20. c4 Qf6 21. Rhd1 Rc6 22. Bd4 was played, and White gained an advantage.

18. Bxf5 gxf5 19. Rd3 Qc7 20. c4 a5 21. Rhd1 Ra8 22. Rd7

Until the last move White acted similarly to the above mentioned game, but now he has to make some corrections because of the threat of a5-a4.

22... Qe5

22... Qxh2 was bad because of 23. Qxe7.

23. Bd4 Qf4+ 24. Kb1 Bf8 25. Qc1 Qxc1+ 26. Kxc1

Well, Black has a difficult endgame without a pawn. Is it really possible that A. Fedorov would play this variation once more in this tournament?

26... f6 27. Ra7 e5 28. Rxa8 Rxa8 29. Bc3 Kf7 30. Rd7+ Ke6 31. Rxh7 Bb4 32. Kc2 e4 33. a3

A strange decision. Better looked 33. fxe4! fxe4 34. Rb7 e3 35. Rb6+ Kd7 (if 35... Kf5, then 36. Rxf6+ Ke4 37. Re6+ Kf4 38. Bd4 Bd2 39. Kd3 with an easy win, and in case of 35...Ke7 there was 36. Bxf6+ Kd7 37. Kd3) 36. Rxf6 e2 37. Bxb4 axb4 38. Kd2 Rxa2+ 39. Ke1 Rb2 40. Rf3, whereafter White would win easily the rook endgame.

33... Bxa3 34. fxe4 fxe4 35. Rb7 Be7 36. Rb6+ Kf7 37. Rb5 a4 38. b4

After 38. bxa4 Rxa4 Black still kept a chance to escape.

38... Rg8?

Black does not use the full range of his opportunities. White would have encountered more difficulties in achieving his advantage after 38... a3!. Probably Black was afraid of 39. Ra5 in this case, but after 39... Rxa5 40. bxa5 Bc5 41. a6 e3 (there was no 41... f5 because of 42. Bb4 a2 43. Kb2 Ba7 44. g3, White winning the game) 42. g4 (an attempt to run after two hares at once would bring no results also in case of an ambitious 42. Kd3 f5 43. Bb4 a2 44. Bc3 f4 45. Kc2?, and Black would even win after 45... e2 46. Kb2 Bd4) 42... Kg6 43. h4 f5 44. h5+ Kg5 45. gxf5 Kxf5 46. h6 Kg6 White had no way of reinforcing his position.

39. g3 Rh8 40. h4 Rg8 41. Be1 Bd6 42. Rb7+ Ke6 43. Rb6 Ke7 44. h5 Bxg3

Black won back the missing pawn, but White’s three passed pawns are already irrepressible.

45. Bc3 Bh4 46. h6 Kf7 47. Rb7+ Kg6 48. h7 Rh8 49. c5 Bg3

White’s pawns passed in case of 49... Rxh7 50. Rxh7 Kxh7 51. c6 Bg3 52. b5 Bc7 53. Bd4 a3 54. b6.

50. c6 Rc8 51. b5 e3 52. Kd3 a3 53. Rd7 a2 54. Ke2 Ra8 55. b6 Be5 56. Ra7 1-0 Black resigned.

Shirov - Krasenkow [C67]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5

This time A. Shirov encounters the Brazil Variation again, as in the second round.

8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. b3

Dissatisfied with White’s achievements after 9. Nc3 Bd7 10. h3 h6 11. Bf4 b6 12. a4 a5 13. Rad1 Kc8 in the game Shirov - Almasi (Polanica Zdroj, 2000), the grandmaster from Spain looks for another continuation.

9... h6 10. Bb2 Bd7?!

Black plays similarly to the quoted game, but now this plan is not very lucky. Previously 10... Be6 was played usually in this position.

11. Nc3 Kc8 12. Rad1 a5 13. h3 b6 14. a4 Bb4 15. Ne2 Re8 16. Nf4 g6

Black safely prevents White from Nf4-h5.

17. g4 Ng7 18. Rd3

18... Ne6

Black’s problems only grow more tense after this move, but to find an admissible alternative is not at all easy. So, after an active 18... h5 White has 19. Rfd1 Be6 20. Ng5 hxg4 21. Ngxe6 Nxe6 22. Nxe6 Rxe6 23. hxg4, getting a good play with three pawns against two by Black on the kingside, whereas Black’s pawn advantage on the queenside cannot be used because of the double pawns. As for 18... g5 19. Ng2 h5, after 20. Rfd1 Re7 21. Ne3 Black also has great problems.

19. Nxe6 Bxe6 20. Nd4 Bd7

If 20... Bd5, then 21. c4 Be4 22. Re3, condemning Black’s light-squared bishop.

21. Ne2 Bd6 22. f4!

The abundance of Black’s bishops on the d-file, combined with the eliminated rook on a8, makes his position hopeless.

22... f5 23. exd6 Rxe2 24. dxc7 Kxc7

Otherwise White has time to defend the pawn with 25. Be5.

25. Be5+ Kc8 26. Rfd1 Be6

In case of 26... Ra7 the solution was 27. Rd6, threatening with Rxg6.

27. Rd6 1-0 Black resigned. In case of 27... Bd5 White won with 28. c4.

Almasi - Markowski [D30]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. Bg5

White is not going to allow his opponent to play the Noteboom System after 4. Nc3, neither he is willing to lock up the bishop with 4. e3.

4... Be7 5. Bxe7 Qxe7 6. e3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Qc2 b6

The most common continuation in this position is 8... Nbd7. Still, after 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Bd3 Re8 11. O-O Nf8 12. a3 (also 12. Rab1 Ng6 13. b4 Bd7 14. b5 occurred in the game Beliavsky - Gelashvili (Saint Vincent, 2000) 12... Ng6 13. Nd2 Be6 14. b4 Rad8 15. Rfc1 a6 16. Na4 Ng4 17. Nf1 Qh4 18. Ra2 White created certain difficulties for Black in the game Chernin - Markowski (Budapest, 2000).

9. cxd5

At the Europe Championship the game Chernin - Krasenkow (Saint Vincent, 2000) was drawn right in this position. The present opponents favoured their audience with another five moves.

9... cxd5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. O-O Nc6 12. a3 Rac8 13. Qa4 a6 14. Rac1 b5 15. Qb3 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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