My young opponent scared GM Korchnoi in the first round, almost scoring an upset win. The crafty veteran found a way to swindle a draw by reaching R vs R+f-pawn+h-pawn.
NM Gurbauzade – IM M. Ginsburg, National Open Las Vegas, NV, 2007. Round 3.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Qb6!? A good idea to chase away the centralized white knight.
6. Nb3 6.c3 is seen sometimes but is not particularly scary. 6…Qc7 7. O-O Nf6 8. f4 d6 9. c4 Nbd7 10. Be3 b6 11. Nc3 Bb7 12. a4!? Nc5
13. Nxc5?! I would prefer the more consistent 13. a5. The text makes the pawn on a4 look a little silly.
13…bxc5 14. Qf3 Be7 15. Qg3 g6 16. h3 Rd8 17. Qf2 Nd7 18. Bc2 Bf6 19. Rad1 O-O 20. Rd3 Bg7 21. Rfd1 Nb8
Both sides are playing consistently. White has espied a weak black pawn on d6, and black sees a weak square to occupy on d4. The chances are balanced.
22. Qd2 Nc6 23. Rxd6 Nd4 24. Rxd8 Rxd8 25. Kh1 Bf6 Black has full compensation. 26. Bd3 Bc6 27. e5 Bh4 28. Bf2 Nf5 29. Qe1 Bxf2 30. Qxf2 Qb7 31. Bxf5 Rxd1+ 32. Nxd1 gxf5 33. Nc3 Qb4 34. Qh4!? An interesting try.
The game reaches a critical moment. White has many weak pawns and black is threatening to invade and attack the white king with the powerful Queen and unopposed bishop duo, but black has to worry about an open king and being temporarily a pawn down.
34…Qxb2? An incorrect decision in that the game ends in an immediate draw. As so often happens, positional considerations (removing the b2 support of white’s knight) are overshadowed by tactical ones. Much better would have been 34…Qxc4! restoring the material balance in a different way and there is no forced draw. The game would continue with black having some chances to press using his superior minor piece. There is no perpetual check in the position because the black king can get to f8, with the idea of interposition of the bishop on e8 if need be.
35. Qd8+ Kg7 36. Qf6+ Kf8 37. Nd5! This is the simple resource black missed. It’s a perpetual check now. 37…exd5 38. Qh8+ Ke7 39. Qf6+ 1/2-1/2.
There is no way for black’s king to escape the checks since 39…Kd7? 40. Qd6+ is not possible.