The Fabulous 10’s: Just a Draw?

US Championship 2010 Finals: Gruenfeld Perlexity

Shulman and Kamsky battled to a draw in a topical Gruenfeld Defense, and after game Kamsky said “The whole variation is basically a draw.”  Is it?  Well, it now appears that it is!

Shulman-Kamsky US Championship 2010 Finals

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 c5 8. Rb1 O-O 9. Be2 Nc6 10. d5?!

Not a good gambit

10…Bxc3+ Kamsky is right that this variation offers white nothing (at best a draw).  But can black try to win?  Yes, let’s see how!

11. Bd2 Bxd2+ 12. Qxd2 Na5 13. h4 This wild thrust is “logical” but at the same time unimpressive.

13…Bg4 14. Ng5 Bxe2 15. Kxe2

Black indeed has a winning attempt!

Here is where Kamsky can avoid a forced draw.  However, it appears too dangerous (see the comments).

15…e6 (?)  Probably too risky.  Let’s see one prior game in which black could have justified his play: 16. h5 Nc4 17. Qc1 exd5 18. Nxh7 (what else?) Re8! 19. hxg6 Rxe4+ (white is busted) 20. Kf1 Rh4! 21. Rxh4 Qxh4 22. Kg1 Ne5 23. gxf7+ Kxh7 24. Qc5 Kg7 25. Rb3 and here black turned a win into a loss with 25…Qc4??? 26. f8=Q!+ Rxf8 27. Qe7+ and black resigned, E. Bacrot – P. Popovic, Chalkidki 2002.  Black could have won with 25…Qe4! and after 26. Rg3+ Kxf7 27. Qc7+ Ke6! there are no more checks and black wins with no problems.   Postscript:  this try appears to be too risky – see the comments – due to 18. hxg6 fxg6 19. Rxh7! and white won some high-level games with this continuation.

15…h6(?) With the text move, it is indeed dead equal.

16. Nf3 Kh7 17. e5 Nc4 18. Qd3 Nb6 19. h5 Qxd5 20. hxg6+ fxg6 21. Ng5+ Kg7 22. Qxd5 Nxd5 23. Ne6+ Kf7 24. Nxf8 Nc3+ The reciprocal knight forks leave the position dead.

25. Ke3 Nxb1 26. Rxb1 Rxf8 27. Rxb7 Ke6 28. Rxa7 g5 29. Rc7 Ra8 30. Rxc5 Rxa2
{Game drawn}


An interesting winning try for black!


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2 Responses to “The Fabulous 10’s: Just a Draw?”

  1. John Andrson Says:

    “15. …e6! and 18. Nxh7 (what else?)” – You seem to be unaware of 18. hxg6 fxg6 19.Rxh7! and it is BLACK who is busted. See the games Avrukh-Sutovsky 2004 and Belov-Knott 2005. Several high-level CC games also support this conclusion. Best regards, John Anderson (London).

  2. nezhmet Says:

    Sacre bleu! Monsieur Bacrot played the wrong move! Kamsky’s conclusion is correct, then: it’s all just a draw!

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