Apr 25, 2001

Round 7

Krasenkow - Svidler [D85]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 c5 8. Rb1

The opponents begin their duel in one of the most threadbare variants of the Gruenfeld Defence, theoretical studies embrace more than thirty moves in some lines of this variation.

8... O-O 9. Be2 cxd4 10. cxd4 Qa5+ 11. Bd2 Qxa2 12. O-O Bg4 13. Bg5 h6 14. Be3 Nc6 15. d5 Bxf3 16. gxf3

This decision is hardly very good, but White counts on the suddenness first of all. A normal 16. Bxf3 Ne5 17. Rxb7 led to a quick equalisation after 17... a5! in the recent game Van Wely - Svidler (Biel, 2000).

16... Nd4!?

White’s sixteenth move would have been better if Black had to play 16... Ne5, but Black need not put his knight on the way of the white pawns, he can choose a less dangerous retreat. A quiet 16... Na5!? was not bad, as well as the move in the game.

17. Bd3

The continuation 17. Bxd4 Bxd4 18. Qxd4 Qxe2 19. Rxb7 Qxf3 is of little interest for White.

17... Qa3

At the moment the fate of the b-pawn is not very significant for Black In case of 17... b6 after 18. Rb4!? e5 19. f4 Black had problems with the knight d4.

18. f4

The capture 18. Rxb7 to be followed with 18... Rfb8 19. Rxb8+ Rxb8 20. f4 Rb3 allowed Black to gain a big advantage on the queenside.

18... Qd6!

Again Black refuses to defend the b-pawn. If 18... b6, then after 19. e5 Nf5 (19... Nf3+ 20. Kg2 Nh4+ 21. Kh3 Nf5 22. Bxf5 gxf5 23. Qh5 was no better for Black) 20. Bxf5 gxf5 21. Qh5 White could get some chances to attack Black’s king owing to the remote position of the black queen on a3.

19. Rxb7 Rfb8 20. Qb1 Nf3+ 21. Kg2 Nh4+ 22. Kh1

It’s better for the white king to stay under its shelter. In case of 22. Kg3 g5 23. e5 Bxe5 24. fxe5 Qxe5+ 25. Kh3 Nf3 there was a rather unpleasant attack from Black’s pieces.

22... g5?!

Black is incautious. What would be good in case of 22. Kg3 is not very efficient against 22. Kh1. Black could have kept good chances if he turned to the queenside. After 22... a5 23. Rc1 (no 23. Rg1 a4 24. Rg4 because of the mere 24... a3) 23... a4 24. Rc6 Rxb7 25. Qxb7 Rb8 26. Qa7 Qb4 Black’s prospects looked even better.

23. Rg1!

Suddenly White gains good prospects on the kingside instead of Black.

23... gxf4

In case of 23... Rxb7 24. Qxb7 Rb8 25. Qxa7 Nf3 there was a good 26. Rg4, whereafter 26... h5? was bad because of 27. Bc5!

24. Bc5

This tactical opportunity appeared owing to the strong position of the White’s rook on the open g-file.

24... Qe5

With this move Black agrees to sacrifice the exchange. After 24... Rxb7 25. Qxb7 (White could have won the queen with 25. Rxg7+ Kxg7 26. Qa1+ Qf6 27. Bd4 Ng6, but Black’s material compensation would be more than sufficient in this case) 25... Qb8 26. Qxe7 Nf3 27. Rb1 Qc8 Black had every opportunity to defend his position, because White’s king was covered not very good.

25. Bd4

At this moment White had an alluring alternative, connected with 25. Bxe7!? Ng6 26. d6 Re8 (there was no 26... Nxe7 because of 27. Rxb8+) 27. Bb5 Rxe7 28. dxe7 Nxe7 29. Qb4 with a hard defence by Black.

25... Rxb7 26. Qxb7 Qxd4 27. Qxa8+ Kh7 28. Bb1 Qe5?!

It seems as if Black has missed the best chance: 28... Ng6!. It was not at all easy for White to set up a harmonious co-operation of his pieces in this case. At the same time, a greedy 28... Qxf2? led to a defeat after 29. e5+ Ng6 30. d6 exd6 31. Bxg6+ fxg6 32. Qe4 Kh8 33. exd6.

29. Qe8 Nf3 30. Rc1 Kg6!

Being in trouble, P. Svidler finds an interesting counterplay opportunity. After 30... Nd2 31. Bd3 (there was no 31. Qxf7 because of 31... Nxb1) 31... f5 32. f3 White was very close to a victory.

31. Rc6+ Bf6 32. Qg8+ Kh5 33. Qxf7+ Kh4

A showy position. Black’s king ran far away from its burning house, but it’s still not easy to beat the final blow.

34. Qg6?!

34. Qh7!? was preferable. After 34... Qg5 (there was already no 34... Bg5? because of 35. Re6! Qa1 36. Rxh6+ Bxh6 37. Qxh6+ Kg4 38. h3# with a mate!) 35. Rc1 Kh3 36. Qf5+ Qxf5 37. exf5 Nxh2 38. Rc4 f3 (no 38... Be5? because of 39. f6! exf6 40. Bf5+) 39. Kg1 Ng4 with a most complicated endgame. White’s chances were undoubtedly better, but the position required a deep analysis.

34... Bg5 35. Kg2

After 35. Qf5 Qb2 Black won, and in case of 35. Rc1 after 35... Qb2 36. Qc6 Qxf2 37. Qc2 Nd2 38. Rg1 Qf3+ 39. Rg2 Qf1+ there was a perpetual check that most likely would end the game.

35... Nd4

After 35... Nd2 36. Rc1 Qb2 37. Re1 Qb3 38. Kg2 Qf3+ 39. Kg1 Qc3 40. Kg2 the moves would probably be repeated, reducing the game to a draw.

36. f3 Qb8?

Looking for a winning chance, Black runs a too great risk and loses. After 36... Nxc6 37. dxc6 Qd4 38. e5 Qd2+ 39. Kf1 Qd1+ the game would be drawn inevitably.

37. e5!

After this fine move the co-ordination of White’s pieces is improved.

37... Qxe5 38. Qe4 Nxc6?!

Black loses without a fight. After 38... Qxe4 39. Bxe4 Bf6 40. Ra6 Nb5 41. Ra5 Nd6 42. Rxa7 he could have defended persistently.

39. dxc6 Bf6

After 39... Qd6 White won with 40. Qe1+ Kh5 41. c7 Qxc7 (in case of 41... Qd7 the solution was 42. Ba2 Kg6 43. Qe6+) 42. Qe6.

40. c7 Qxc71-0 Black resigned. There was a forced mate with 41. Qe1+ Kg5 42. h4+ Kh5 43. Qe6.

A. Fedorov - Markowski [B72]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nb3 O-O 8. Be2 d6 9. f4 1/2-1/2 Draw. This short game is interesting only inasmuch as it helped the Byelorussian grandmaster break his long series of 6 losses at a run.

Gelfand-Almasi [D17]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5

White demonstrates his fundamental approach, choosing a keen central variation of the Slav Defence.

6... e6 7. f3 Bb4 8. e4 Bxe4 9. fxe4 Nxe4 10. Bd2 Qxd4 11. Nxe4 Qxe4+ 12. Qe2 Bxd2+ 13. Kxd2 Qd5+ 14. Kc2 Na6 15. Nxc4 O-O 16. Qf3

The move 16. Qe5 which used to be popular not long ago is rejected now because of 16... Rab8! 17. Be2 Nb4+ 18. Kc3 b5 19. Rhd1 f6! with no worse position by Black (Kramnik - Van Wely, Tilburg, 1998).

16... Qc5 17. Kb1 Nb4 18. Be2 Rad8 19. Rc1 Rd4

In the game Beliavsky - Shirov (Belgrade, 1997), where 19. Qf3 occurred for the first time, Black answered not so good: 19... Qg5?!, and after 20. Qg4 Qc5 21. Ra3 Rd4 22. Qh5 he encountered difficulties.

20. Ra3 Rfd8 21. Rac3

After 21. g4 Qg5 22. Rb3 a5 23. h4 Qg6+ 24. Ka1 Nc2+ 25. Ka2 Nb4+ 26. Ka1 Nc2+ the game Van Wely - Kramnik (Wijk an Zee, 1999) was drawn. White’s attempts to reinforce his position consisted chiefly in 21. Re3, and in a solid tournament in Bosnia which was held in Mai the move 21. a5 Qg5 was tested in the game Kir. Georgiev - Shirov (Sarajevo, 2000).

21... Qg5 22. g3 R8d5

22... Nd5 23. Rb3 occurred in the game Gomez Esteban - Alvarez Ibarra (San Sebastian, 2000).

23. Qe3 1/2-1/2 Draw. As a matter of fact, the game was ended before a real struggle began.

Ivanchuk - Shirov [D97]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 a6

The Hungarian Variation of the Gruenfeld Defence is considered as on of the best lines in the system with 5. Qb3, chosen by White.

8. Qb3 b5 9. e5 Nfd7 10. e6 fxe6 11. Be3 Nf6

One of the topical modern positions.

12. Be2

With this move White gives a new turn to the game. 12. a4 is usually played here.

12... Nc6 13. O-O Qd6 14. Rac1 Na5 15. Qc2 Bb7 16. Rfd1 Nc4 17. Bxc4

White decides to simplify the position and get rid of the troublesome black knight on his territory.

17... Bxf3

This intermediate move is very helpful for Black because after 17... bxc4 he had to reckon with 18. Ne5.

18. gxf3 bxc4 19. Ne4 Qd5 20. Qxc4 Qf5

Black frees the square d5 for the knight. In case of 20... Nxe4 21. Qxd5 exd5 22. fxe4 dxe4 23. Rxc7 White’s chances were preferable.

21. Nxf6+

If 21. Qxc7, then 21... Nd5.

21... Rxf6 22. Qc2 Qxf3 23. Qc6 Kf7 24. Qxf3 Rxf3 25. Rxc7

The position is reduced to an equal endgame after mutual simplifications.

25... Rf5 26. Rdc1 Ra5 27. a3 Rb5 28. R1c2 Rab8 29. Ra7 Rxb2 30. Rxb2 Rxb2 31. Rxa6 Rb5 32. Ra4 Rb3 33. h3 h5 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Van Wely - Movsesian [D39]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 c5 7. Bxc4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Qa5 10. Bb5+ Nbd7

The opponents go deep into the niceties of the Vienna Variation. When playing it with Black against V. Kramnik in Monte Carlo, L. Van Wely preferred 10... Bd7.

11. Bxf6 Qxc3+ 12. Kf1 gxf6 13. h4

The tempting 13. Nxe6 would not give anything to White. After 13... Qe5! 14. Ng7+ Kf8 15. Nf5? (it was better to agree to the position to appear after 15. Bxd7 Bxd7 16. Nf5 Bxf5 17. exf5 Qxf5) 15... Qxb5+ 16. Kg1 Qe5 White lost quickly in the game Lobron - Zs. Polgar (Dortmund, 1990). Another opportunity 13. Nf5 led to a draw after 13... exf5 14.Rc1 Qe5 15. Rxc8+ Rxc8 16. Qxd7+ Kf8 17. Qxc8+ Kg7 18. Qxf5 Qa1+ 19. Ke2 Qxh1 20. Qg4+ Kf8.

13... a6 14. Rh3 Qa5 15. Be2 Nc5

Black need not hurry with his castling. After 15... O-O 16. Rg3+ Kh8 17. Qc1 Rg8 18. Rxg8+ Kxg8 19. Qh6 White had a good compensation for the pawn.

16. Nb3 Nxb3 17. Qxb3 b6

The strongest opportunity. After 17... e5 18. Rf3 Qd8 19. Rc1 White got a considerable initiative and soon won in the game Kramnik - Kaidanov (Groningen, 1993). The move 17... Qc7 also let White develop a strong initiative with18. Rd1 Bd7 19. Qb2 O-O-O 20. Rc1 Bc6 21. Bxa6! in the game Akopian - Cs. Horvath (Niksic, 1991).

18. Rb1

A new move. 18. Rc1 occurred previously and brought nothing but problems to White.

18... Bb7

Black returns his extra pawn. In case of 18... b5 19. Qb2 Qd8 (19... e5? was bad because of 20. Ra3 Qd8 21. Bxb5+) 20. Rd3 White had a sufficient compensation.

19. Qxb6 Qxb6 20. Rxb6 Bxe4 21. Bxa6

The game proceeded to an endgame with some winning chances by White owing to his remote passed pawn.

21... f5 22. Rc3 Ke7 23. f3 Bd5 24. Rc7+ Kf6 25. a4 Rhb8 26. Rxb8 Rxb8 27. Bb5 e5 28. Kf2 h5 29. g3 Ke6 30. f4

It’s hard for White to reinforce his position, because the king’s march to begin with 30. Ke3 would be stopped at once with 30... Rg8. After the move in the game Black also makes a draw easily.

30... exf4 31. gxf4 Rg8 32. Be2 Rg2+ 33. Ke3 Rh2 34. Bxh5 Kd6 35. Rc8 Rh3+ 36. Ke2 Rh2+ 37. Ke3 Rh3+ 38. Kf2 Rxh4 39. Bf3 Rxf4 40. Rd8+ Kc6 41. Rxd5 Rxf3+ 42. Kxf3 Kxd5 43. Kf4 Kc5 44. Kxf5 Kb4 45. Kf6 Kxa4 46. Kxf7 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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