Mar 19, 2001

Semi-final. Second games (Round 2.2)

Gelfand - Anand [E05]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Nf3 Be7

Usually V. Anand plays either like in the game or a more aggressive 4... dxc4, but in the final round of the super tournament in Dortmund when he was struggling for the first place he chose 4... c6 5. Qc2 Nbd7 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. b3 b6 9. Rd1 Ba6 10. Nbd2 c5 11. e4 dxc4 12. bxc4 cxd4 13. e5 Ng4 14. Qe4 h5, and after a keen fight Black achieved his goal in the game Huebner - Anand (Dortmund, 2000).

5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4

The line 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc2 Bb7 which used to be popular formerly occurs now much more seldom as it was analysed practically until the draw.

8... Bd7 9. Qxc4 Bc6 10. Bg5 a5

10... Bd5 is considered to be more reliable. After 11. Qd3 Be4 12. Qe3 (after 12. Qd1 c5 Black equalised easily) 12... Nbd7 13. Nc3 Bc6 14. Qd3 Bb4 15. Rfe1 Bxf3! 16. Qxf3 c6 Black’s defence is quite strong as it was demonstrated in the game Beliavsky - Z. Almasi (Ubeda, 1997).

11. Nc3 Na6 12. Bxf6

White parts with his dark-squared bishop in order to perform the advance e2-e4 which will give him a mighty pawn centre.

12... Bxf6 13. e4 Nb4 14. Rfd1 g6

Black could have prepared a hole for the light-squared bishop on the queenside with 14... b6, but, as the game Beliavsky - Rozentalis (Batumi, 1999) showed, after 15. Ne1 g6 16. Nb5! Bg7 17. Rac1 Rc8 18. Nd3 Nxd3 19. Rxd3 Bxb5 20. axb5 Qe7 21. e5 he might have encountered serious problems even though of all minor pieces only bishops of different colours would have stayed present on the board.

15. Rac1

A new move. Previously White played either 15. Qe2 or 15. h4.

15... Re8

16. d5!?

White’s pawns in the centre start moving. The advance d4-d5 in itself gives no advantage to White because Black still keeps a strong blocking position on dark squares, but the whole position becomes very dynamic, as the result.

16... exd5 17. exd5 Bd7 18. Nd4 Rc8

Probably 18... Be5!? was more cautious.

19. Ne4 Be5?!

Black decided to avoid complications which could have arisen after 19... Bxa4, but most likely he was wrong. In case of 20. Ne6!? (after 20. b3 Bxd4 21. Qxd4 Rxe4! 22. Qxe4 Bxb3 23. Rd4 Qd6 Black was doing well with two pawns against the exchange, keeping the blocking position on the dark squares) 20... Qe7 (a dangerous situation was waiting for Black after 20... fxe6?! 21. dxe6 Qe7 22. Rd7 Bxd7 23. exd7+ Kh8 24. Nxf6 Qxf6 when White, though temporarily missing a rook, had a number of interesting opportunities, e. g. 25. Qe2!?) 21. b3 fxe6 22. bxa4 exd5 23. Nxf6+ Qxf6 24. Bxd5+ Nxd5 25. Qxd5+ Kh8 26. Qxb7 Rf8 27. Rc2 Qb6 the position got much simpler and White’s slight positional advantage was hardly achievable.

20. Nc5 b6 21. Nc6

After 21. Nde6 Qe7 it was a much more complicated task for White to gain a profit from his position.

21... Bxc6 22. dxc6

22... bxc5!?

Black decided to change the course of the game sharply. Sacrificing the queen, he attempts to take the initiative. Any retreat of the black queen allowed White to keep his rather unpleasant initiative. So, after 22... Qg5 23. f4 Bxf4 24. Qxf4 Qxf4 25. gxf4 bxc5 26. Rxc5 Ra8 27. Re5 Black had a poor endgame. In case of 22... Qf6 23. Nd7 Qf5 White played 24. Nxe5, maintaining unpleasant pressure on light squares, as well as in case of 22... Qe7 23. Rd7 Qf8 24. Ne4 Bxb2 25. Rb1 Bg7 26. Ng5 Re7 27. Qh4, and though in the last line this pressure cost a pawn to White, it was worth even more.

23. Rxd8 Rcxd8 24. Re1 Bd4

The object of the attack is the square f2.

25. Rxe8+ Rxe8 26. Qb5 Kg7 27. Qxa5?!

Most probably it was at this moment that White lost a great deal of his advantage. He should have defended against the attack on f2 with 27. Kf1!?. After 27... Nc2 (no better was 27... Bxb2 28. Qxa5 Nc2 because of 29. Bd5) 28. Bd5 Re1+ 29. Kg2 Rb1 30. Qxa5 Rxb2 31. Kh3 Nb4 32. Be4 Rxf2 33. Qxc7 it was much more complicated for Black to set up a co-ordination of his pieces.

27... Re2 28. Qxc7 Rxf2 29. Kh1 Nd3 30. Qd8

The clouds are gathering over the position of the black king. White needs to oppose something to Black’s play. Probably the move 30. Bd5!? arranged the greatest problems for Black, creating a constant threat on f7. After 30... Ne5 31. a5 Ng4 32. Qxf7+ Rxf7 33. Bxf7 Nf2+ 34. Kg2 Ne4 35. a6 c4 36. Bxc4 Nd6 an endgame with non-standard relation of forces might have appeared on the board in which White would have winning chances with three pawns against Black’s knight.

30... Rc2!

After this move Black’s pieces begin to interact excellently. If Black played 30... Ne1, then White continued not with 31. c7?! Rxg2 32. Qxd4+ (after 32. h4? Rg1+ 33. Kh2 Nf3+ 34. Kh3 Be5 White lost the game) 32... cxd4 33. c8Q Rxb2 with chances for a draw by Black, but with 31. Qa5!, and after 31... Nxg2 32. c7 Ne3 33. Qe1 White managed to repel Black’s threat to his king. Insufficient was also 30... Rxb2 31. c7 Nf2+ 32. Kg1 Ng4+ because of 33. Qxd4+! cxd4 34. c8Q Rb1+ 35. Bf1 Ne3 36. Qa6, Black’s position being just hopeless.

31. Bf1

After 31. c7 Black forced a draw with the help of a perpetual check: 31... Nf2+ 32. Kg1 Ng4+ 33. Kf1 Ne3+ 34. Ke1 Nxg2+.

31... Nf2+ 32. Kg2 Ng4+ 33. Kf3 Ne5+

33... f5!? was also good, as after 34. Qe7+ Kh6 35. Qe1 Ne5+ 36. Kf4 Nxc6 White had no particular chances.

34. Ke4 Nxc6 35. Qc7 Nb4 36. g4

The web, spun by the black pieces in the centre of the board, won’t let the white king off without material losses for his army. After 36. b3 h5 37. Bc4 Rf2 38. a5 Kh6 Black created a dreadful threat of f7-f5#, and in case of 39. Bxf7 he had a perpetual check: 39... Re2+ 40. Kf3 Rf2+.

36... Rf2 37. Bb5 g5 38. a5 1/2-1/2 Draw. The endgame with bishops of different colours to appear after 38... Rf4+ 39. Qxf4 gxf4 40. a6 Nxa6 41. Bxa6 Bxb2 was a draw.

Bareev - Milos [E32]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 Ba6

Instead of a natural 8... Bb7 Black played 8... Ba6, aiming at the pawn on c4 as a possible object for an attack.

9. Nf3 d6

10. Qc2

A novelty. 10. e3 delivered a convenient play to Black after 10... Nbd7 11. b4 c5 12. dxc5 bxc5 13. b5 Bb7 14. Be2 a6 in the game Elbilia - Palac (Montpellier, 1997).

10... Nbd7 11. e4 e5 12. Bd3

White refused to relieve in the centre with 12. d5, because after 12... g5 13. Bg3 Nh5 Black got a strong blocking position on dark squares.

12... exd4 13. Nxd4 Ne5 14. O-O Ng6

It’s important for Black to annihilate namely White’s dark-squared bishop, because after 14... Nxd3 15. Qxd3 the binding on the diagonal d8-h4 was quite troublesome for him.

15. Bg3 Nh5 16. Rad1 Bb7 17. Rfe1 Nxg3 18. hxg3 Re8 19. Qc3

White is striving for an endgame, though he could have transferred the knight to c3 still in the middlegame with 19. Nb5.

19... Qf6 20. Nb5 Qxc3 21. Nxc3 Nf8 22. Bc2 Ne6 23. f4 a5

24. Nd5

With this move White allows Black to block up his queenside with a5-a4, probably hoping to attack later the pawn on a4. An alternative of 24. Ba4 Red8 25. Nd5 could have been successful in case of 25.. Nc5?! 26. Bb5, as Black would have no 26... c6? because of 27. Ne7+, but there was a much more strong 25... Kf8!, and White’s achievements from the move Ba4 came to nothing.

24... a4 25. e5 dxe5 26. Rxe5 Red8 27. f5 Bxd5 28. Rexd5 Rxd5 29. cxd5 Nc5 30. d6

With a bishop against a knight, White naturally attempts to open up the play.

30... c6 31. Rd4 Kf8 32. Bd1 Ke8 33. d7+ Nxd7 34. Bxa4 Ne5

Having left the convenient parking place on c5, the black knight found another good square on e5.

35. Kf2 Ke7 36. Bd1 c5 37. Rd2 Nc4 1/2-1/2 Draw.

"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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