The Inscrutable Dragon
A game from GM Baburin’s excellent daily newsletter ‘Chess Today‘ caught my attention: from the recently concluded J. Polgar – G. Kaidanov Sicilian Theme Match held in South Carolina! A big mystery lurks under the surface.. of course, the bigger mystery is why the Sicilian lost every game in the four-game regulation match!
[Event “Sicilian Theme Match”] [Site “Hilton Head SC USA”] [Date “2010.02.23”] [Round “2”]
[White “Polgar, Judith” 2687] – [Black “Kaidanov, G.” 2583]
[Result “1-0”] [ECO “B78”] [EventDate “2010.02.22”] [Source “Chess Today”]
Typically for Judith, she follows the main line very strictly in the following sharp battle.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. O-O-O Rc8 11. Bb3 Ne5 12. Kb1 Re8 (?!)
Perhaps it’s just me, but 12…Re8 looks passive. Are there good alternatives?
13. h4 h5 14. g4 (?!) I don’t believe in this brute force approach but it’s very good in faster time controls. Unless, of course, the opponent is prepared. :O Take a look at Sherzer-Shirov, given below, for the dangerous motif Be3-g5 aiming to get rid of the linchpin black knight.
14…hxg4 15. h5 Nxh5 16. Rdg1 e6?! This move has been seen a lot, but Golubev in Chess Today mentions 16…Qa5!? as playable. Here is the mystery – in fact, my computer loves 16…Qa5 to death and gives black a huge plus. Dragoneers, what’s the truth?
16… Qa5 (Rybka – !) 17. Bh6 Bf6 18. fxg4 Nxg4 19. e5!? (A tricky try) 19…Qxe5 20. Qd3 d5! (20… Qxd4?? 21. Qxg6+ mates – 21…Bg7 22. Qxf7+ Kh8 23. Bxg7+ Qxg7 24. Qxh5+ Nh6 25. Qxh6+ Qxh6 26. Rxh6#) 21. Nxd5 Bg7 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Qd2 e6 24. Ne7 Rxe7 25. Rxg4 Rh8 and black is very happy. The text weakens d6 and this proves very important later.
17. Bh6 Qf6 ?! The computer prefers 17… Bh8! 18. fxg4 Nf6 19. Bg5 Bg7 20. Qf4 Rc5 21. Bh6 Bh8 22. g5 Nfg4 and black is all right.
Can anyone shed light on what’s really going on after 16…Qa5 – how good is it?
18. fxg4 Bxh6 19. Qxh6 Qg7 20. Qd2 Nf6 21. g5 Nh5 22. Nce2! Very strong! Black is worse and went under in short order to direct attack.
22…Nc4 23. Bxc4 Rxc4 24. b3 Rc5 25. Ng3 Nxg3 26. Rxg3 Rec8 27. Rgh3 e5 28. Rh4! exd4 29. Qh2! White is just winning now.
29…Kf8 30. Qxd6+ Kg8 31. Qxd7 d3 32. c4 Qc3 33. R4h2 b5 34. e5 Qxe5 35. Rh7 R5c7 36. Qd6 1-0
This game harkens back to the fantastic brute-force 1990 World Junior game Sherzer-Shirov. In this game, the exceedingly dangerous try 15. Bxf6!? was employed.
Sherzer-Shirov 1990 World Junior
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be3 g6 7.f3 Bg7 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 Ne5 11.Bb3 h5 12.O-O-O Rc8
13.Bg5 Rc5 14.g4 hxg4 15.Bxf6!? An unusual method of removing an important defensive piece and well worth further study. Students of famous encounters will recognize this theme from a Rauser variation battle Joel Benjamin – Vishy Anand Groningen 1993, annotated in Anand’s best games book. Joel has also annotated it separately. Anand came a millimeter from getting checkmated on the open h-file and won a thriller after some white miscues. It’s rather unfair that both Alex Sherzer in this game and Joel came up short after executing a surprising new motif and getting a clear edge.
Benjamin-Anand Groningen 1993
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.O-O-O O-O 9.Nb3 Qb6 10.f3 Rd8 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.Bxf6! Bxf6
13.g4 g6 14.h4 a6 15.g5 Bg7 16.h5 b5 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.f4 b4 19.Na4 Rb8 20.Qh2 Kf8 21.Rd3 e5 22.f5 gxf5 23.Rh3 Ne7 24.Rh8+
Ng8 25.Rxg8+ Kxg8 26.Qh7+ Kf8 27.exf5 Bxf5 28.Qxf5 Qc6 29.g6 Rb7 30.Rh7 Qxa4 31.Qg5 Qe8 32.Bxa6 Re7 33.Bd3 e4 34.Bb5 Re5
35.gxf7 Rxg5 36.fxe8=Q+ Rxe8 37.Bxe8 Rg1+ 38.Nc1 Kxe8 39.a4 bxa3 40.bxa3 Bc3 41.Rh4 d5 0-1
15…Bxf6 16.f4 Nc4 17.Qd3 b5
I recently got an email query from John Anderson (London) asking if I had looked at 17…Qc8 here. No, I have not. 🙂
18.e5! White is better now, but loses his way in the complications.
Bg7 19.h5 dxe5 20.Ndxb5 Nxb2 21.Kxb2 Rxb5 22.hxg6 Rxb3+! Wow!
23.cxb3 exf4 24.gxf7 Kxf7 25.Rh7 Qc8 26.Qd5+ Be6 27.Qe5 Rg8 28.Rd4 Bf5 29.Qxf4 Kg6 30.Rc4 Qe6 31.Rh2 Rd8 32.Qc7 Rd3 33.Rc6 Rd6 34.Rxd6 exd6 35.Rd2 d5 36.Ka3 d4 37.Na4 Qe3 38.Qc6+ Kg5 39.Rh2 g3 40.Rg2 d3 41.Qd6 Be5 42.Qd5 Qe4 43.Qd8+ Kg4 44.Rd2
Qf4 45.Rxd3 Bxd3 46.Qxd3 Qf8+ 47.b4 Qf3 0-1
In Facebook News
Nigel Davies recommended Ray Keene to me and Ray set a world’s record in prompt “confirmation”! I saw Ray play at the Marshall Chess Club once in the early 1980s.
General Societal Decline Observation
I recently was forced to switch to AT&T having purchased an iPhone. I had the misfortune of needing to dial 555-1212 (information). A female robovoice chirped, “Let me give you some INFO!” “Hold on… here’s the INFO!” Whatever happened to the word ‘information’? I didn’t like the robovoice getting all old-timey and folksy.
Maybe Society Not Dead After All
In a second, more uplifting, observation, I was following Toyota Tundra on an interstate and the license plate was custom, “1 COWGRL”. Near the plate I saw a bumper sticker and it said “If your going to ride my ass pull my hair.” The most knee-slapping thing about this bumper sticker was the “your” instead of “you’re”. Nevertheless, kudos to that particular Toyota Tundra driver.
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