Apr 20, 2001


Leonid Stein Memorial (A)

Round 1

The very first round of the strong tournament in Lviv showed that all participants are in the battle mood. There was the only draw in the game V.Korchnoi - B.Gelfand, and in this game there was a full-scale struggle as well. In Nimzo-Indian Deference, white (Korchnoi ), by his move 13. g2-g4, has clearly expressed his aggressive intensions. All the game was held in a stubborn struggle. White tried to attack on the kingside, black developed an initiative on the queenside using the pawn advantage there. By the control, it seemed that Black were more successful in his plans, but the white's strong  move 39.Bg4! with sacrificing a pawn made a drawish full stop to this game.  V.Ivanchuk, the top rated player of the tournament, in his game with his former compatriot A.Beliavsky, managed to win in  Ruy Lopez. In Zaitsev Variation, Black has chosen a rare line on move 12 - 12...Na5, but did not manage to equalize the position completely. During the whole game, white pressed the black's position, and made a fine small combination on move 36, breaking the opponent's defense in the center by e4-e5. It turned out, that it is impossible to play 36...Nxe5 because of 37.Rf8+ and the checkmate on the next move, therefore black had to give away a pawn, and already in 5 moves he had to resign. The game M.Krasenkow - O.Romanishin was very stubborn too - have a look at it below.

Krasenkow, M - Romanishin, O. [A17] 

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. g4!? 

This is a relatively quiet line of Nimzowitsch variation of English opening, here white chooses a new-fashioned and a very aggressive plan which was introduced into practice at FIDE World Championship in Gronningen in 1997. 


A bold decision. Black castles his king to the part of the board which may go under a serious attack It is usual to make here a cautious move 4... h6, to which white usually strengthens the threat g4-g5 by 5. Rg1 with further h2-h4. 

5. g5 Ne8 6. Qc2 d5 7. b3 Be7 

A new move. It was played 7... Nc6 in this position before.

8. Rg1 c5 

8... d4 just made it possible for White to play 9.Ne4 bringing the knight closer to the black king. 

9. e3 Nc6 10. Bd3 f5 

It turns out that Black has to weaken his position on the queenside. The tactical solution 10... Nb4 11. Bxh7+ Kh8 12. Qb1 and now 12...d4 (it is not possible to play 12... g6 because of 13. Bxg6 fxg6 14. Ne5 with attack) with an idea to advance d pawn in the case the knight retreats, is met by the intermediate 13. a3!. If 10... g6, white would play 11. a3 with further moving h pawn.

11. gxf6 Nxf6 12. a3 Qe8 

In case 12... d4 13. Ne4 Nxe4 14. Bxe4 d3  White after 15. Qb1 and further Rg1-g3 attacking g3 pawn.

13. Bb2 Qh5 14. Be2 


Now, when the white bishop has moved from the attacking position at d3 square, Black starts the tactic complications. 

15. Nxd4 Nxd4 16. exd4 Qxh2 17. O-O-O cxd4 18. Ne4 Qf4 

It is not possible to grab h pawn after the preliminary 18...Nxe4 19. Qxe4 by 19...Rxf2 ( not 19... Qxf2 because of the mortal 20. Rxg7+!) because of 20. Bxd4 Bxa3+ 21. Kb1 Rf7 22. Rh1 and White comes to the black king.

19. Bd3 Nxe4 20. Bxe4 h6 21. Bxd4 

21... Bf6? 

A culmination of the whole game. Black had to play 21... Bxa3+ 22. Kb1 e5 23. Be3 ( if 23. Bh7+ Kh8 24. Be3, then 24...Bf5)  and Black finds a very strong reply 23... Qxe4!, which after 24. Qxe4 Bf5 25. Qxf5 Rxf5 26. Bxh6 Rf7 would lead to an equal endgame.

22. Be3 Qd6 23. c5 Qa6 24. a4 Qa5 

Clouds gathered over the black king. After 24... Kh8 25. Rh1 there is no defense from h6 strike.

25. Bxh6 Qb4 

26. Rxg7+!
The rook sac destroys the black king's position and results in the victory of white.

26...Bxg7 27. Bh7+ Kh8 28. Bxg7+ Kxg7 29. Qg6+ Kh8 30. Qh5 Rxf2 

After 30... Qa3+ 31. Kc2 Qa2+ 32. Kc3 the white king easily escapes from the checks of the black queen.

31. Be4+ Kg7 32. Rg1+ Kf8 33. Qh6+ Ke7 34. Rg7+ Rf7 

The quick end was coming also after 34... Ke8 35. Qh5+. 

35. Qg5+ Ke8 36. Rg8+ Black resigned. The checkmate is inevitable:  36... Rf8 37. Qh5+ Ke7 38. Rg7+ Kd8 39.Qg5+ Ke8 40. Qe7# .

"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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