The Fabulous 00s: 2010 World Teams – A Greek Tragedy Unfolds

Kotronias, the Minimizer

In today’s action, we had a sad occurrence.  In yesterday’s game, we had a very sad occurrence too.  Unfortunately, the same player got the short end of the stick both times.  A Greek Tragedy.
GM V. Gashimov 2759 (Azerbaijan) – GM V. Kotronias 2599  (Greece)

I thought Gashimov was really cool when I thought his first name was “Vulgar” but unfortunately it’s just Vugar.  Up to now, in his brief career, I have known for him for some dubious Benoni setups as black.  Nevertheless, he gets Cojones points for resuscitating Benonis. But presto… he has a 2759 rating!  What?!! The present game argues for some rating inflation.  Kotronias, on the other hand, is a well respected chess author and veteran on the chess scene for many moon now.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 d6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 9. f4 b5 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. Nxc6 Bxc6 12. Qe3 Qe7 13. Bd3 h5 14. Kb1 Qa7 15. Qh3 Qc5 16. Rhe1 Be7 17. Ne2 a5 18. f5 e5 19. Nc3 b4 20. Nd5 Bxd5 21. exd5 Bd8 22. Re4 Rg8 23. g3 Rg5 24. Rc4 Qf2 25. Rf1 Qe3 26. Rc6 Ke7 27. Qh4 Bb6 28. Qc4 Rb8 29. Be2 Bc5 30. Rc7+ Kf8 31. h4 Rxg3 32. Bxh5 Rg1 33. Bd1 a4 34. Rxg1 Qxg1 35. Qg4 Qxg4 36. Bxg4 Kg7 37. Kc1 Rh8 38. h5 Rf8 39. Bd1 Kh6 40. c3 bxc3 41. Bxa4 cxb2+ 42. Kxb2 Kxh5 43. Bc6 Kg4 44. a4 e4 45. Kc3 Rb8 46. Rxf7 Kxf5 47. Re7 Rb1 48. Bd7+ Kf4 49. Re6 Ke3 50. Kc2 Rf1 51. a5 f5 52. a6 Ra1 53. Re7 f4 54. Bf5 Ra4 55. Kb3 Rd4 56. a7 Bxa7 57. Rxa7 Rxd5 58. Rf7 f3 59. Kc2 Rd2+ 60. Kc1 d5 61. Be6

Let’s pause here and look at the situation.

Black to play and not win

I am surprised white (even with a 2759 rating, what miracles can occur here?) had not resigned already.  Maybe they were blitzing on increment?  Even so, black cannot avoid winning.  For example, 61…f2 followed by Re2 and Re1+, or 61…d4.  The pawns are unstoppable.  There followed:

61…Rd4 61…f2 is really the simplest.  The game now enters a Twilight Zone where black refuses various wins.

62. Rh7 Rc4+ Exceedingly simple again was 62…f2 63. Rh1 Kf3 64. Bh3 e3 and the dogies run home.

63. Kd1 Rc6 63…Ra4 or 63…Rb4 flush the WK out and win easily.

64. Bxd5 Rd6 I guess black was playing just on increment.  64…f2! 65. Rh3+ Kd4 66. Rh1 Rb6! 67. Ke2 Rb2+ followed by taking the bishop wins.  Sadly, black hasn’t ruined the win yet!

65. Rh5 Kf2 A nice geometric win is 65…Rd7 66. Ke1 Ra7 and wins.

66. Rf5 Rd8 67. Kc2 Ke3?? The final short-circuit.  Don’t you feel sorry for Kotronias?  67…Rxd5 68. Rxd5 e3 wins easily.   Just be careful of one thing: 69. Re5 Ke2! followed by …f3-f2 wins; not 69. Re5 e2?? 70. Kd2! and draws! (70….f3 71. Re3 drawing).  That would be very sad.

68. Re5! And draws.  Oh no!!

68…Rxd5 69. Rxd5 Ke2 70. Rf5 e3 71. Kc3 Kf2 72. Re5 Ke2 73. Kd4 f2 74. Rxe3+ Kd2 75. Rf3 Ke2 76. Rxf2+ Kxf2 77. Kd5 {Game drawn} 1/2-1/2

This kind of game, and the one Kotronias played yesterday, is enough for a few weeks R&R to recharge one’s batteries.

The game from the prior day was in some ways sadder.

Greek Tragedy Redux

Kotronias – Nakamura Petroff Defense

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nd6 7. Bf4 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 c6 10. Nbd2 Be6 11. c3 Nd7 12. Qc2 h6 13. Nf1 Re8 14. Ng3 Bf8 15. Re2 Bg4 16. Rxe8 Nxe8 17. Ne5 Be6 18. Re1 Nef6 19. Ng6 Qb6 20. Nxf8 Nxf8 21. h3 Re8 22. Re5 N8d7 23. Re2 Nf8 24. Re5 N8d7 25. Re3 Qa5 26. a3 Nf8 27. Be5 Qd8 28. f4 Bd7 29. Qf2 N6h7 30. Nh5 g6 31. Qg3 f5 32. c4! White was a bit short of time, but nothing serious.  The text move is quite strong.  I believe white had refused a draw a little earlier in the game as well.

32… Kf7 33. cxd5 cxd5

It started out so well

The solution is to tie black to the d5 pawn then gang up on f5 threatening a lethal sac.

34. Be2? A terrible follow-up.  Even without much time, 34. Qf3! with a big edge was easy to spot.  It is quite obvious the knight on h5 is immune and the d5 pawn is attacked.   Things are grim for black:  34…Be6? 35. Ng7! wins, 34…Bc6 35. Bxf5 gxf5  36. Ng3! is cute, and  34…Qb6 35. Qxd5+ Be6 36. Qf3 keeps the knight on h5 immune.

34…Ne6! Black is right back in the game.

35. Qf3 Bc6 36. Kh2 Qb6 37. Ng3? Time trouble? 37. Qf2 defending is fine for white.  The knight can always come back to g3.

37…Nxd4! Of course.  White’s spiral of misery continues.

38. Qf2 Nc2 39. Nxf5! Forced to keep the balance.
39…Nxe3 40. Nxh6+??
Oh no!   This hallucination is very hard to explain. 40. Nxe3 offered excellent compensation and a continued attack.

40..Kf8 Black is just up a piece.  Sadness.  But very good for the Americans to receive this unexpected game and match present.

41. Qg3 Bd7 42. Bc3 Nf5 43. Nxf5 Bxf5 44. Bf3 d4 {Black
wins} 0-1

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