Vallejo Pons(GM) (2629) - Ponomariov(GM) (2734)
Ciudad de Linares (Linares, Spain), 03/09/2003

Round 14 [Khalifman,A]


Underground fight. This game will be tough I guess. if Paco wing he will score 50% what seems to be incredible success for him.
1. Nf3 Nf6  2. d4 e6  3. c4 b6  4. g3 Bb7  5. Bg2 Be7  6. O-O O-O  7. Nc3 Ne4  8. Bd2 Bf6  9. Qc2 However, it's a bit too solid. 9.Rc1 as played by Kasparov against Ponomariov in Round 5 is more aggressive.
[9. Rc1]
9. ... Nxd2  10. Qxd2 d6  11. Rfd1 Another plan is 11.Rfe1 intending the active play on the kingside.
[11. Rfe1]
11. ... Nd7  12. b4 A new move although it belongs to White's plan. 12.d5 e5 13.e4 was played in this position before.
[12. d5 e5  13. e4]
12. ... g6  13. a4 a5  14. b5 But closing the queenside doesn't look correct. White's active chances seemed to be there. Now they are not.
14. ... Bg7  15. Rac1 Qe7  16. Qg5 Doesn't look like Paco dreams about 50% score. The last move looks like being accompanied with a draw offer.
16. ... Nf6  17. Ne1 Still keeping on "exchange strategy".
17. ... Bxg2  18. Nxg2 Rac8  19. Ne4 See comment above.
19. ... Rfd8  20. Ne3 Closer and closer to the draw. Neither side seems to have an active plan.
20. ... h6  21. Nxf6+ Qxf6  22. Qxf6 Bxf6  23. c5 dxc5  24. dxc5 Bg5  25. c6
[25. c6 Bxe3  26. fxe3 Kf8  27. Rd7 Rxd7  28. cxd7 Rd8  29. Rxc7 Ke7  30. Rb7 Rxd7  31. Rxb6 Rd1+  32. Kf2 Ra1 and finally drawn]
25. ... Kf8  26. Rd7 Bxe3  27. fxe3 Rxd7  28. cxd7 Rd8  29. Rxc7 Ke7  30. Rb7 Rxd7  31. Rxb6 Rd1+  32. Kf2 Ra1  33. Rb7+ Time to go home, boys! This game was rather dull but still... Congratulations, Paco! Take care, Ruslan!
33. ... Kd6! Sorry, Ruslan doesn't agree - and he's right considering the opponent's time-trouble.
34. Rb6+ Kd5  35. e4+ Kxe4  36. Ra6 Rxa4  37. b6 e5  38. b7 Rb4  39. Ra7 h5  40. h3 So now Vallejo will have to defend highly unpleasant version of rook ending 3-4.
40. ... f6  41. Rxa5 Rxb7  42. Ra4+ Kf5 This ending is a hard job to defend for White player and to annotate for the commentator. Anyway it's a true punishment for Paco who just wanted to make a draw from the very beginning.
43. e4+ Kg5  44. Ra6 Rf7  45. Kf3 h4  46. Rb6 Rh7  47. Re6 So White didn't succeed to defend it. At least it didn't take long.
[47. Re6 hxg3  48. Kxg3 Rh4  49. Rxf6 Rxh3+  50. Kxh3 Kxf6  51. Kg4 Kf7  52. Kh4 Kg8  53. Kg4 Kh7  54. Kh4 Kh6  55. Kg4 g5  56. Kf5 Kh5  57. Kxe5 g4  58. Kf4 Kh4  59. e5 g3  60. e6 g2  61. e7 g1=Q  62. e8=Q Qf2+ winning]
47. ... hxg3  48. Kxg3 Rh4  49. Rxf6 Rxh3+  50. Kxh3 Kxf6  51. Kg4 Kf7  52. Kh4 Kg8 Ruslan didn't do well in this tournament but he still saved his honour finishing ahead of two outsiders. Strong will!
53. Kg4 Kh7 


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