Apr 25, 2001

Round 5

Markowski - Svidler [A07]

1. g3 d5 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 dxc4 4. Na3

A step aside. 4. Qa4+ was played in the third round in the game Markowski - Shirov (Polanica Zdroj, 2000).

4... Bg7 5. Nxc4 Nc6 6. d3 e5 7. Bd2

Probably this is a bit more precise than 7. Bg5 Nge7 8. Bg2 Be6 9. Rc1 f6 10. Bd2 a5 11. O-O O-O which occurred in the game Bricard - Tukmakov (Andorra, 1991).

7... Nge7 8. Bg2 Be6 9. Rc1 O-O 10. O-O Qd7 11. Ng5 Bd5 12. Bh3 Qd8 13. Ne4 f5 14. Nc3 Bf7 15. Bg2 Qd7

The opening stage is over. Black gained just a slight advantage which is connected with his prevalence in space.

16. Bg5 Rab8 17. Nd2 Nd4 18. Nf3 c5 19. Qd2 Rbd8 20. Bh6

White wants to simplify the position in order to level Black’s space advantage.

20... Nec6!?

20... Nxf3+ 21. Bxf3 e4 looked tempting, but most likely White was ready for this variant. After 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Bg2 c4 24. Rfd1 cxd3 25. exd3 exd3 White had 26. b3!, preparing 27. Bf1 to return the sacrificed pawn, and in case of 26... Nc6 there was 27. Na4.

21. Bxg7 Kxg7 22. Qd1 b6 23. Re1 Rfe8 24. Nd2 Ne7

Black is still better, but what plan should he choose now? Probably the best method to increase his advantage was not to undertake anything himself but to watch closely White’s attempts to disengage his pieces from their somewhat constrained position. From this point of view the move 24... Na5!? deserved attention (there were also great complications after 24... Qe7 25. e3 Nb4!), with the task to prevent 25. a3 (with the idea b2-b4) because of 25... Nab3, and in case of 25. b3, meaning to get the square c4 for the knight, there was 25... Qe7 with unpleasant X-rays along the d-file, and if 26. Nc4, then 26... Nxc4 27. bxc4 e4.

25. a3 Ng8

Maybe the position after 25... Nd5 26. Nxd5 Bxd5 27. Bxd5 Qxd5 was worth playing, as Black kept better chances in case of 28. b4 Ne6 or 28. e4 Qf7. After the move in the game the play gets equalised quickly.

26. b4 cxb4 27. axb4 Nf6 28. e3 Nc6 29. Qa4 Ne7 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Krasenkow - Almasi [D48]

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. d4 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3

The opponents play the Meran Variation which occurs inevitably in every strong tournament at present.

8... Bb7 9. O-O a6 10. e4 c5 11. d5 Qc7 12. dxe6 fxe6 13. Bc2 Bd6 14. Ng5 Nf8 15. f4 O-O-O 16. Qe1 e5 17. Nd5

Nothing interesting for so long. All these moves were seen already before.

17... Nxd5

Black is first to leave the beaten path. In the game Piket - Khalifman (Dortmund (round 6), 2000) 17... Bxd5 18. exd5 exf4 19. Bd2 Re8 was played. As the development of this game will show, Black’s unwillingness to render the advantage of two bishops to White won’t allow him to escape problems.

18. exd5 exf4

The capture of another pawn 18... Bxd5 to be followed with 19. Bd2 Re8 (in case of 19... b4 there was an unpleasant 20. a3) 20. Ne4 Ng6 (if 20... Bc4, then 21. Rf2) 21. f5 also let White develop a considerable initiative for the sacrificed pawn.

19. Bd2!

A programmed move with the threat of Bd2-a5.

19… b4

Black safely prevents the white bishop from getting to a5. An attempt to defend from the threatening Bd2-a5 with 19... Qd7 involved 20. Ba5 Bc7 (if 20... Re8, then 21. Bf5! was strong) 21. Rd1, creating a position with real chances for a successful attack for White.

20. Rc1 Kb8

The continuation 20... h6 21. Ne4 f3 22. Nxd6+ Qxd6 23. Bf5+ Kb8 24. Rxf3 Qxd5 25. Qg3+ was hardly good for Black.

21. Bb3 a5 22. a3 Ng6

Black agrees to lose by an exchange, hoping to weaken the onslaught of his opponent. In case of 22... h6 23. Ne4 f3 (there was no 23... g5 because of 24. axb4) 24. Nxd6 Qxd6 (24... fxg2? lost immediately because of 25. Rf7 Qxd6 26. Bf4) 25. Rxf3 White had a most dangerous attack.

23. axb4 axb4 24. Ne6 Qb6 25. Nxd8 Rxd8 26. Bc4 Be5 27. Rd1 Qd6

After 27... Bxb2 28. Bxf4+ Nxf4 29. Rxf4 Black had no particular counterplay as there was too little material on the board.

28. Qe2 f3 29. gxf3

The line 29. Rxf3!? Bxh2+ 30. Kh1 deserved attention.

29... Bxb2 30. Bxb4 cxb4 31. Qxb2 Ne5 32. Be2

To retreat along another diagonal was weaker. After 32. Ba2 Ba6 33. Rb1 (if 33. Rf2, then 33... Nd3 with a fork) 33... Bxf1 34. Qxb4+ Qxb4 35. Rxb4+ Kc7 36. Kxf1 White had problems in achieving his extra pawn.

32... Qc5+?!

White’s task would have been more complicated after 32... Bxd5. There was no easy way to gain a perceptible profit from the binding on the d-file.

33. Kh1 Qc3 34. Rb1 Qxb2 35. Rxb2 Rxd5 36. Rxb4 Kc7 37. Rc1+ Bc6

In case of 37... Nc6 there was 38. f4.

38. Kg1 Kd7

If 38... Rd2, then White would have won after 39. Kf1 Kd7 40. f4 Nf3 41. Rc3 Nxh2+ 42. Kf2 h5 43. Rb6 Ba8 44. Ke3 Ra2 45. Rg6.

39. f4 Nd3

The position gets simpler inevitably. In case of 39... Ng6 40. Rb6 Rd6 (if 40... Ne7, then 41. Bf3, and if 40... Ba4, then 41. Ra1) 41. Rcxc6 Rxc6 42. Bb5 White had an easy win.

40. Bxd3 Rxd3

41. f5!

A strong move. White moves the pawn to a light square where it is within the reach of the black bishop, but instead he opens the way to the kingside for his rook on b4, which becomes the crucial factor, combined with the absence of the black king there.

41... Rd6

After 41... Bf3 the solution was 42. Rh4 h5 43. Rh3 Ke7 44. Kf2.

42. Rh4 Ke7

If 42... h6, then 43. Rg4.

43. Rxh7 Kf6 44. Rc5 Be4 45. Rh8 Rd7 46. Kf2 Rd5?!

In case of 46... Rf7 47. Rh5 Ra7 48. Ke3 Re7 Black’s opposition could have been more stubborn, though the result most probably would be the same anyway.

47. Rxd5 Bxd5 48. Ke3 Kxf5

Now White will win easily, because after the exchange of the white f-pawn for the black g-pawn Black’s king will be cut off from White’s single pawn. Black at least could have tested his opponent in the well known theoretical endgame after 48... g6 49. fxg6 Kxg6.

49. Rh5+ Ke6 50. Rg5! 1-0 Black resigned. After the pawn g7 will be taken, White’s single pawn won’t encounter any problems on its way to the seventh horizontal.

A. Fedorov - Shirov [C39]

1. e4 e5 2. f4

A move from the chess middle age, though at present certain interest is displayed again to the King’s Gambit owing to successful games played by A. Fedorov and A. Morozevich.

2... exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. h4 g4 5. Ne5 d6 6. Nxg4 Nf6 7. Nf2 Rg8 8. d4 Bh6 9. Nc3 Nc6 10. Nd5 Nxd5 11. exd5

All these moves were seen already.

11... Qe7+!

Previously only 11... Ne7 was played here against A. Fedorov. This move which probably was prepared by A. Shirov still at home looks very strong and leaves practically no chance for a successful defence to White.

12. Be2 Nb4 13. c4 Bf5!

This move is indissoluble from Black’s 11th move. In order to escape considerable material losses White has to take the sacrifice of a piece, offered by Black, but instead he will suffer a vicious attack.

14. Qa4+ Kf8 15. Qxb4 Re8 16. Qd2 Rxg2 17. Kf1 Rg3 18. Qd1 Be4

All Black’s pieces contribute actively to the attack of Black’s position.

19. Rh2

There was no 19. Nxe4 Qxe4 20. Rh2 because of 20... Bg7, Black winning the game.

19... f5

Black prepares 20... Qg7.

20. Nxe4

In case of 20. Nh1 the solution was 20... Bxh1 21. Rxh1 Qe4.

20... fxe4 21. Bg4 e3 22. Bf3 0-1 White resigned. After 22... Qg7 his position could not have been saved.

Gelfand - Movsesian [D15]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 a6 5. c5

The most principled way to struggle against Black’s fourth move. 5. a4 was played in a game between the same opponents at the Europe Team Championship in Batumi.

5... Nbd7 6. Bf4 Nh5 7. e3 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O f6

Two games were drawn right in this position: Zoebisch - Krpelan (Austria, 1996) and Xu Jun - Dreev (Pekin, 2000).

10. h3

10... Nxf4?

Black chose an unlucky move. He should have played 10... e5 11. Bh2 e4 12. Bxe4 dxe4 13. Nxe4 O-O (in case of 13... Bf8 14. Qb3 White would begin a strongest attack) 14. Qb3+ Kh8 15. Nd6 f5 16. Nf7+ Rxf7 17. Qxf7 Qg8, and, despite a good material equivalent of a rook and two pawns for two pieces, the estimation of the position would be still not clear because without open files on the board White’s rooks would not be able to show there worth fully.

11. exf4 e5 12. f5!

White sacrifices a piece and stalemates nearly all Black’s pieces.

12... e4 13. Bxe4 dxe4 14. Nxe4 O-O

In case of 14... Bf8 Black’s king experienced a serious attack after 15. Qb3 Be7 16. Rfe1 Kf8 17. Re2 Kg7 (if 17... gxf5, then 18. Ng3 f4 19. Nh5 was unpleasant for Black) 18. Rae1 Qg8 (in case of 18... Bf8 good was 19. Nd6) 19. Qc3.

15. Qb3+ Kh8 16. Nd6 Bh6 17. Rfe1!

White gathers up his reserves without haste. After 17. Nf7+ Rxf7 18. Qxf7 Qg8 Black got off lightly.

17... Kg7 18. Re4 Nxc5

Black returns the extra piece, or otherwise White would win very soon, having put his both rooks on the e-file. 18... gxf5 would also let White win with 19. Re7+! Kh8 (if 19... Qxe7, then a fork: 20. Nxf5+) 20. Qf7!.

19. dxc5 gxf5

20. Re8!

The decisive blow.

20... Qxe8

If 20... Rxe8, then 21. Qf7+ Kh8 22. Nxe8 Be6 23. Qxe6 Qxe8 24. Qxf6+ was winning, and in case of 20... Qd7 the solution was 21. Rae1

21. Nxe8+ Rxe8 22. g3 a5 23. Re1 Rxe1+ 24. Nxe1 a4 25. Qb6 Bd2 26. Qc7+ Kg6 27. Nf3 Bc1

In case of 27... Bg5 the simplest way to achieve the victory was 28. Qd8.

28. Nh4+ Kh6 29. Qf7 1-0 Black resigned. If 29... Bxb2, then 30. Qf8+ Kh5 31. Qg7 won the game.

Ivanchuk - Van Wely [B85]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4 O-O 9. Kh1 Nc6

The theory does not favour this move, 9... Qc7 with the idea b7-b5 is more popular.

10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. e5 dxe5 12. fxe5 Nd7 13. Bf4 Bg5 14. Bg3

The book by G. Kasparov and A. Nikitin about the Scheveningen Variation of the Sicilian Defence gives preference to the move 14. Qd6.

14... Bh4 15. Bf4 Bg5

16. Qd2

White tries to achieve something better than a draw which was reached in the game Bielczyk - Skalik (Lubniewice, 1994) after 16. Bg3 Bh4 17. Bf4 Bg5.

16... Bxf4 17. Qxf4 Qa5 18. Rae1 Qxe5

Black wins a pawn only temporarily, soon he will have to return it because of multiple White’s threats.

19. Qh4 h6!?

A nice defensive resource which prepares the square g5 for the queen. In case of 19... g6 there was a mere 20. Bxa6 with better chances by White.

20. Bd3

White did not want to play the endgame which would arise after 20. Bxa6 Qg5 21. Qxg5 hxg5 22. Bxc8 Rfxc8.

20... Qg5

In case of 20... Qc7 White’s threats were extremely dangerous after 21. Qe4 g6 22. Qh4 h5 23. Qe7.

21. Qe4 g6 22. Qxc6 Rb8 23. Ne4 Qa5 24. b3 Kg7

In case of 24... Qxa2? the solution was 25. Nd6.

25. Qd6 Rb6 26. Qe7 Qb4 27. Qh4

Again White looks for a chance in the middlegame, having declined another endgame which could appear after 27. Qxb4 Rxb4.

27... f5 28. c3 Qa3 29. Nd2 Qd6

In case of 29... Qxa2? 30. Nc4 Rxb3 31. Ra1 Black’s queen perished, and after 30... Rc6 31. Rb1 it was trapped for the rest of its life.

30. Rf3 g5 31. Qf2 Qc5 32. Qe2 Bb7

33. Rh3?

White skilfully pressed upon Black’s position during the whole game, but now he is mistaken. 33. Re3! was the correct move, and Black would encounter problems when defending his position in this case. After 33... Bd5 (both 33... Re8 and 33... e5 were bad because of 34. Nc4!) Black had to reckon with 34. Bc4! (nothing could have been gained with 34. c4 Bb7 35. Rxe6 Rxe6 36. Qxe6 because of 36... Qf2! 37. Rg1 Qxd2 38. Qxd7+ Rf7 39. Qd4+ Rf6 with a draw) 34... f4 35. Rd3 White would have continued to put pressure. After the move in the game Black’s central pawns will begin their advance.

33... e5 34. Nc4 Re6 35. b4 Qc7 36. Na5 e4 37. Bc4 Ref6 38. Qf2?

In for a penny, in for a pound. White should have submitted to a worse position after 38. Nxb7 Qxb7, but now his knight on a5 proves to be out of the play.

38... Ba8 39. Bf1 Ne5 40. c4 f4 41. Qb2 e3 42. Kg1 g4 43. Rh5

White’s knight on a5 and rook on h5 are positioned awfully badly. No wonder that Black finds a tactical blow which allows him to win immediately.

43... Nf3+! 44. gxf3 gxf3 0-1 White resigned.

"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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