Posts Tagged ‘Korchnoi’

The Fabulous 00s: Spassky takes on Korchnoi again

December 24, 2009

Spassky – Korchnoi Redux

In Elista 2009 we have Boris Spassky playing a match with Viktor Korchnoi… again.

The two were on very bad terms in their Candidates match contested in the Belgrade 1977.  Time and again, Spassky would try to overcome Korchnoi’s French Winawer with overall poor results (for example this reverse). Spassky would retire to the back stage or turn his back on the board and watch on a big projector between moves (shades of Kramnik-Topalov!).  I would also become crabby confronted with endless French Defenses. I presume things are not so icy now.

One of their 2009 match games was especially interesting for a wild tactical line that remained behind the scenes – in fact, quite far behind the scenes, but so unique tactically we have to present it.  Thanks to GM Alex Baburin’s timely Chess Today bulletins for rapidly bringing this game to my attention!  Note the duo’s strangely depressed ELO ratings – tempus fugit!

Elista Match  Game 5   12/24/09

Viktor Korchnoi (2567) – Boris Spassky (2548).

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. a3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Qc2 Be7 7. e3 a6 8. Bc4
Nb6 9. Bd3 Qd7 N  10. b3
(10. O-O! f5 11. b4 e4 12. Nxe4! fxe4 13. Bxe4 with equal chances)

10… f5 11. e4?

Again, 11.  O-O! e4 12. Nxe4 fxe4 13. Bxe4 with equal chances.  Here is precisely where the incredible tactics lie, if we carry out a little.

13…Bf6 14. Bb2 Bxb2 15. Qxb2 O-O 16. Rac1
Qe7 17. Qc2 Be6 18. Bxh7+ Kh8 19. Be4 Bxb3 20. Qxb3 Qxe4 21. Rc5 Qg6 22. Ng5
Rf5 23. Rxf5 Qxf5 24. f4 Rf8 25. Rf3 Na5 26. Qc3 Nac4 27. e4 Qc5+ 28. d4 Qc6
29. f5 Kg8 30. Rg3 Qa4 31. Ne6 Rf7 32. Nxg7!!
and here we are starting the amazing adventure.  Yes, it’s a little far afield, but it has incredible fantasy value.  Take a look.

Position after 32. Nxg7 (analysis)

Black’s king is thoroughly denuded, but his remaining pieces are quite active.

This is just the start of the adventure.  Play proceeds 32…Rxg7 33. f6 Qd1+ 34. Kf2 Rg4!
Only move!

Not, of course, 34… Rxg3?? 35. Qxg3+ Kf7 36. Qg7+ Ke6 37. Qe7 mate.

Continuing, white has the delightful 35. h3! which in fact is the only move for white.  All these only moves for both sides mean the position is a real tightrope act.

Now we get to another great position!

Position after 35. h3! (only move) - Analysis

Now, black has two moves!    See if you can spot them both.

The first is 35…Nd2.

The second, more spectacular and good on shock value alone, is 35…Nd5!!  – by some perverse “logic of chess”, both moves turn out to have equal value.

Let’s look at the second move.

35… Nd5!! 36. Qxc4? (This is a blunder.  Correct is 36. exd5! Nd6! {Only move!  But now white faces a difficult problem!} 37. Qe3!! Only move for a draw!} Qc2+ 38. Kg1 Rg6 39. Qe6+ Kf8 40. Qe7+ Kg8 41. Qd8+ Kf7 42. Qd7+ Kf8 (42… Kxf6 $4 43. Rf3+ Kg5 44. Qd8+ Kh5 45. Qh8+ Rh6 46. g4+ Kg5 47. Qd8+ Kg6 48. Qg8 mate) 43. Rxg6 equal, or 43. Qe7+ Kg8 44. Qd8+ {Perpetual check})

Finishing the faulty 36. Qxc4?, that move is met by 36… Qd2+! 37. Kf1 Rxg3 38. Qxd5+ Kh7 39. Qf7+ Kh6 40. Qf8+ Kh5 41. Qf7+ Rg6 42. Qh7+ Qh6 and black wins.  So, in conclusion, 35…Nd5!! 36. exd5 Nd6 draws.

Now let’s go to the other, more conventional defense.  It leads to very wild situations!

35…Nd2 36. f7+ Kh7!

Position after 36...Kh7! (Analysis) - more craziness!

This surprising king move is the only move, once again, but an amazing resource!  Black must avoid the blunder 36… Kxf7?? 37. Qxc7+ Ke8 38. Qe5+ Kd8 39. Rxg4 Qf1+ 40. Kg3 Qe1+ 41. Kf4 Qf2+ 42. Kg5 and white should score the full point.

37. Rxg4! This leads to a draw.  Curiously, once again, it’s an only move.  Not the optically tempting underpromotion 37. f8=N+?! Kg8 38. Rxg4+ Qxg4 39. Qxd2 Qh4+ 40. Kf3 Qf6+ 41. Qf4 Qxf4+ 42. Kxf4 Kxf8 and black is clearly better.

37… Qf1+ 38. Kg3 Qe1+ 39. Kf4 Qxe4+ 40. Kg3!   Once again, an only move!. If 40. Kg5??, well that move is too frisky, and black wins:  40…Qe7+ 41. Kh5 Qxf7+ 42. Kh4 Qf6+ 43. Kg3 (43. Rg5 Qxg5+! 44. Kxg5 Ne4+ and wins) 43… Nf1 mate!

And we conclude this amazing variation with the prosaic

40..Qe1+ 41. Kh2 Nf1+ 42. Kg1 Nd2+ 43. Kh2 Nf1+ {perpetual check draw})  Wow!

Unfortunately, after the game’s lame 11. e4? move, the game concluded quickly in black’s favor:

11… g5! 12. exf5 g4 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Be4 Nc6 15. Ne2 Bf6 16. Rb1 Qd6 17. h3 gxh3 18. Rxh3 Bd7 19. Rd3 Qf8 20. Bxc6 Bxc6 21. Re3+ Kd7 22. Bb2 Nd5 23. Qd3 Bxb2 24. Rxb2 Qxa3 25. Rc2 Rae8 26. Qd4 Kc8 0-1

Match Postscript

The two titans of chess history wound up battling to a draw in the Elista 2009 match.  I suddenly remembered a Spassky interview I had read somewhere.  Readers, I need help with its time and place.  I am also paraphrasing, and need the actual interview text.  Somebody asked Spassky to assess Korchnoi’s strengths and weaknesses.

Spassky said something like this: “Strengths:  encyclopedic opening knowledge, ruthless fighter, fierce uncompromising will to win, flawless endgame technique.  Weakness: no talent.”  It drew quite a snicker from us humor-loving fans.

A Nice Ending

This ending has occurred twice in the last two weeks!  The first, a OTB encounter between GMs.  The second…

Kuzmicz (2415) – Musialkiewicz (2147) Amplico Lite Rapid (6) 12/19/09

Position after 76…Bg3

White to play and win

In the game, white played 77. Rb5? Kf8 and now there’s no way to prevent Kf8-e8 with a draw.  Once black’s king has freedom on the queenside squares, it is still just close enough to run back and stop the h-pawn when white goes for the Rxg3 idea.

The correct line is very nice.

77. Rf5! Bh2 78. Rd5! Kf8 79. Rd4 Bg3 80. Re4! with a winning zugzwang; black must give up the h-pawn and the game.

The Fabulous 00s: USCL Opening of the Week (OOTW) Week 8

October 24, 2009

In Week 8, we had an interesting old-school Semi-Slav Meran (think Larsen, Uhlmann, and other giants of 1960s Candidate Matches!) with lots of twists and turns.

Quick Chess History Preamble

Before proceeding, you must, must play over these titanic Uhlmann-Larsen Semi-Slav games.  You’ll be glad you did.  Larsen in his heyday really uncorked some nice tactics and had a nice positional flow as well.  And Uhlmann was no weakie, scoring quite a few wins over Larsen in his career.

From 1968. Larsen finds a back-rank weakness to conclude the game, demonstrating the power of a Q&N versus weak pawns.

From the 1971 Candidates Match. Computers showed this to be a swindle where black should have lost but it was still a nice king-hunt.

And my personal favorite, also from the 1971 Candidates Match, Larsen ends the game with a spectacular bishop move that overloads white’s forces.

OK, now that this necessary historical detour is out of the way, on with the USCL action.

USCL Week 8 Meran Action

Vinay Bhat (SF) – Alexander Stripunsky (QNS)  USCL Week 8, Semi-Slav Meran

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5

The Meran

The Meran

8. Bd3

I want to draw the readers’ attention to the interesting try popularized by Larsen and Korchnoi in the 1960s, 8. Bb3!?.  After, for example, 8…b4 9. Ne2 Ba6 10. O-O Be7 11. Re1 O-O 12. Nf4 Nd5? (12… c5 13. e4 c4 14. Bc2 is very complex) 13. e4 Nxf4 14. Bxf4 white was simply better in and won in the ending,1-0 Kortschnoj,V-Ciric,D/Leningrad 1964.  And 8. Be2 is a totally different story, too.  The text is by far the most popular, but an argument can be made not to block up the d-file.

8… Bd6 9. O-O O-O 10. Qc2 Bb7 11. a3 a5!?

Here, 11… Qe7 was met by the surprising gambit  12. Ng5!? Bxh2+ 13. Kxh2 Ng4+ 14. Kg1 Qxg5 15. f3 and black could not hold the position in the long run,   1-0 Vyzmanavin,A (2580)-Shirov,A (2710)/Tilburg 1992.

To e3-e4 or not to e3-e4

To e3-e4 or not to e3-e4

12. e4!? Slovenian GM Alexander Beliavsky is a connoisseur of slow build-ups. Here, he preferred 12. Bd2!? Qe7 13. h3 b4 14. axb4 axb4 15. Ne4 Nxe4 16. Bxe4 Nf6 17. Bd3 c5 18. dxc5 Bxc5 19. Rxa8 Rxa8 20. Rc1 Bd6 21. e4 Nd7 22. Bg5 f6 23. Be3 Rc8 24. Bc4 Ne5 (24… Bc5!) 25. Nxe5 Bxe5 26. Qb3 Kf8 27. f3 Rc6 28. Rd1 Bxb2??  (28…h6 +=) 29. Bb5 Rc3 30. Qxb2 Rxe3 31. Qd4!  1-0 Beliavsky,A (2545)-Platonov,I/Kiev 1978.  A very nice piece win tactic at the end.  With the game move, white asserts in the center.  However, observe the note to black’s 15th and also black’s suggested improvement on move 16.  These seem to suggest black is OK here.  We might want to focus on 12. Bd2!? again as unassuming as that looks.

12… e5 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Bxe5 15. h3 Re8!?

Dubious looks 15… c5?! 16. Bxb5! (The other capture, 16. Nxb5 is met by the perplexing 16…c4! 17. Bxc4 Nxe4 with some activity) 16… Bxc3 17. bxc3 Bxe4 18. Qe2 and white was definitely better.  However, black hung on and drew later, 1/2-1/2 Epishin,V (2615)-Dokhoian,Y (2545)/Moscow 1991/URS-ch

But very interesting and logical here is 15… Nh5!? 16. Ne2 Re8?  (16…Qd6! 17. f4 Rad8!, a key Meran tactic to remember, and it’s fully equal!) and white won, 1-0 Maric,A (2443)-Tkeshelashvili,S (2286)/New Delhi 2000.  It’s always thematic in Merans to work on the dark squares.

16. Be3

Key Moment

Key Moment

16…Qe7? Black misses the nice resource 16… Bd4! with level chances.

17. Ne2! Now black has problems with his sleeping Bishop on b7 and strange queenside pawns.

17…Bc7 Nothing is solved by 17… Rad8 18. Rad1.

18. Bc5! Bd6 19. Bxd6 Qxd6 20. f4? Up to this point, white had a clear and pleasant advantage, with the passive B/b7.  However now he’s too impulsive and lets that fellow out of the box. After the simple 20. Rad1!  black is suffering.  For example, (20… Qc7 21. Bxb5 Nxe4 22. Nd4 and white maintains a plus.

20… c5! We’re out of the opening now, and black opportunistically has created a good game. I will just draw attention at the end to one very USCL-style double blunder that occurred.

21. e5 Qb6 22. Rf2 c4 23. Bf5 Nd5 24. Re1  Ne3 25. Qb1 Nxg2  26. Rd1 Rad8 27. Bd7 Re7 28. Rd6 Qc5 29. Qd1 Ne3?? Time pressure?  Very nice was 29… Nxf4!! 30. Nxf4 Qxe5 31. Ng2 Qg3 32. Kf1 Be4 33. Nf4 Bd3+ 34. Nxd3 Qxd6 and wins.

30. Bc6? Maybe also time trouble?  White misses the escape 30. Bxb5! Rf8 31. Qd4 Qxb5 32. Nc3 Qe8 33. Qxe3 Re6 and it’s equal!

30… Rxd6 31. Qxd6 Qxc6 32. Qxc6 Bxc6 33. Nd4 Bd7 0-1

And in News of the Surreal: When Do Bots Go Bad?

When they shout one or more tokenizers!

TriviaBot(TD) shouts: *** Element 1 undefined in Congratulations to !1 for winning the trivia game with a score of !2 points.

The Fabulous 80s and Beyond: Dealing with the Leningrad Dutch 7…Qe8

June 17, 2008

First Steps: The Bareev Game and a Wasted TN

In Naestved, Denmark 1988 I was paired against an IM in the first round. Nothing so special about that, but it turned out to be young Evgeni Bareev, rated 2560. Ut-oh, that’s rather high for an IM.  You might wonder why I (2420) was paired in this way in the first round.  It turns out the organizers had consulted what appeared to be the back of a cracker-jack box and instituted quarter pairings throughout the event.  Near the last round, a 1900-player was in serious danger of taking one of the top spots and Gyula Sax was totally freaking out.  Only an upset defeat of that A player prevented a “scandale totale.”

Here was the game.

M. Ginsburg – E. Bareev (2560), Naestved Denmark 1988. Round 1.

1. c4 f5 See this post for a discussion of the poor move order 1. Nf3 f5?.

2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Qe8 8. Nd5 Hoping for 8….c6? 9. Nxf6+ Bxf6 10. Bh6 or 9…Rxf6 10. Bg5 with a pleasant advantage.

8…Nxd5 9. cxd5 Qb5 Recommended by theory. Curiously, this position was just reached in Yaeger-Young, US Junior 2008, but Yaeger played the innocuous 10. Qc2 now and lost later on. After 10. Qc2 c6 nothing special is going on.

10. e4!?! TN My improvised TN! which was mentioned in passing in an Andrew Martin pamphlet! A fantastic blitz move! Bareev started to think, and think, and think.

Position after the shocker 10. e4!?

10…fxe4 11. Ng5 c6!? The point of all this is revealed after the greedy 11…Qxd5 12. Bxe4 Qxd4? 13. Qb3+! with advantage. Black also has 12…Qb5 13. a4 Qc4 (staying on the sensitive b3-g8 diagonal) and now after 14. Be3 c6, 15. Nxh7 leads only to a draw. On 14…Nc6, 15. Rc1 Qb4 puts black’s queen on a weird place and with 16. b3 white can keep the game going, or venture 16. Nxh7 with as far as I can see nothing more than a draw after 16…Kxh7 17. Qh5+ Kg8 18. Qxg6 Rf6. The conclusion is that 11…Qxd5 is playable, unless I am overlooking something. Bareev did not care to enter into the pawn grab waters.

12. Nxe4 The knight tour continues. If 12…cxd5? 13. Nc3! forks b5 and d5 with advantage. One simple line is 12…cxd5? 13. Nc3 Qa5 14. Nxd5 Nc6 15. Bd2 gaining additional time and then 15…Qd8 16. Bc3 with a solid edge.

12…Qb6! Bareev is too smart for 12…cxd5? and this move, in fact, I had not foreseen.

13. Qe2! The right reaction to get on the e-file. If 13…cxd5? 14. Ng5! Qxd4 15. Ne6 and it looks very loose for black. If 13…Qxd4!?, white can play for an attack with 14. Rd1 Qb4 15. Ng5! with king-side ideas. The threat of Ng5xh7 becomes real after 15. Ng5 Be5 16. Be4!. However, black has 16…Qb5! to defend.

13…Qa6!? Another interesting move. But in this case it may not be best, since 13…Qxd4!? was in fact quite playable.

14. Qxa6? Wrong! After playing inventively, white should continue in that manner and keep the queens on with 14. Qe3. After, for example, 14. Qe3 cxd5? we know that 15. Ng5 gives good chances. But what else can black play? Nf3-g5 is happening anyway! After 14. Qe3!, white has an advantage.

14…Nxa6 White has helped black develop. 15. dxc6? Better is 15. Nc3 Bd7 16. Bg5 Rf7 17. Rae1 with equality.

15…bxc6 16 d5?? A huge lemon. 16. Nc3 Nb4 17. Bg5 keeps white in the game.

16…c5 Of course! Now black is much better. Very poorly played by me.

17. a3 Rb8 18. Ra2 Really rather pathetic.

18….c4? Black gaffes. 18….Bb7! was much stronger. 19. Nc3 Nc7 with Ba6 to come and white is really suffering.

19. Bg5! Now I’m all right again.

19…Bf5 20. Rc1? I make yet another mistake! Jet lag?? After the obvious 20. Bxe7! Bxe4 22. Bxe4 Re8 23. Bxd6 Rxe4 24. Bxb8 Nxb8 25. Rc2 and 26. Ra1, white is right back in it!

20…Rfc8 21. Nd2? Now it’s not the same: 21. Bxe7 Bxe4 22. Bxe4 c3! 23. bxc3 Re8 24. Bxd6 Rbd8 25. Bb4 Rxe4 26. c4 Rc8 with some edge to black. Even so, I should have played this. The text is hopeless.

21…Bd3! With total paralysis. What a bad first round!

22. b4 c3 23. Nf1 Rb7 24. Bh3 Rcc7 25. Be6+ Kh8 27. Ne3 a5! 28. bxa5 Na6! 29. Ng4 Rb2 30. Raa1 Nc5 31. Nh6 Nxe6 32. dxe6 Bd4 33. Nf7+ Kg7 34. Be3 Bxe3 35. fxe3 h6 0-1

Later on, I tried to be more ‘normal’ and I couldn’t have come closer to a KO.

MG – IM J. Sarkar, US Ch. 2006, San Diego
1. c4 f5 2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Qe8

I don’t trust this move. It’s so uni-dimensional and committal! (with the crude idea of e5). But how to punish it? White should aim for structures where one of two things happens: 1) achieving the idea of e5 is playable tactically but positionally hurts black! or 2) by changing structures, white can aim to entice black to give up on e5 (for example, reverting to a Stonewall). Then, the fundamental point of Qe8 is lost and white is happy. Let’s see some variations.

8. d5!? A useful space gaining move. But, as we shall see, it is crude and black has counterchances on the dark squares.

Positionally more motivated is my recommendation of 8. Qb3! which of course has been seen in lots of games. In most of the games, though, either one side or the other played inaccurately right off the bat.

Position after 8. Qb3! – Analysis.

Continuing, 8…c6 9. Rd1! which is a very accurate sequence.

As a sidenote, going back to the analysis diagram, the droll point of 8. Qb3 is the rather crude trap 8…e5?? 9. c5+! (Very aesthetic!) 9…Kh8 10. cxd6 cxd6 11. Nb5! e4 12. Ng5! (a fantastic sortie by the two knights!) 12…Qd7 13. d5 and black has a miserable game. For those who like further sadistic variations on this theme, 8…e5?? 9. c5+ Qe6 10. Qxe6+ Bxe6 11. Ng5 Bc8 12. Nd5! wins.

Similarly, 8…Nc6?! 9. c5+! is also a white edge. If white takes away e7-e5, the main point of Qe8 is lost. The clumsy looking 8. Qb3! Kh8 is also met by 9. Rd1.

Let’s proceed with the ‘main line’. After 8. Qb3 c6 9. Rd1, if 9…Na6 for example then 10. c5+! anyway gives an advantage after the forceful sequence 10…Qf7 11. Qxf7 Rxf7 12. Ng5! Rf8 13. cxd6 exd6 14. d5! c5 15. Bf4! Ne8 16. Ne6!. If 10…d5 “Stonewalling” it, this represents a failure of the black principal idea to play e5 and white simply continues with 11. Bf4! enjoying a nice edge.

Korchnoi has also shown in a related line the idea of Qb3-a3 and then the b-pawn can rush up, defeating Dolmatov in a nice miniature. That game went
1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 d6 4. d4 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 c6 (not Qe8, but we see Qe8 soon) 8. Qb3 Kh8 9. Rd1 Na6 10. Qa3! Qe8 11. b4! Nc7 12. Bb2 e5 13. dxe5 dxe5 14. Qa5 Na6 15. b5 b6 16. Qa3 Nc5 17. bxc6 e4 18. Nd4 Qf7 19. Rac1 Be6 20. Ncb5 a6 21. Nd6 Qc7 22. Nb7 1-0, Korchnoi-Dolmatov, FIDE WC Candidates, Las Vegas 1999. At the time, this game made a big impression for its consistent positional message.

Lastly, if 8. Qb3 Na6, there is nothing wrong with the thematic move 9. c5+ but it’s not the powerful dagger blow as it is in other lines. After 9…Kh8?! 10. cxd6 exd6 11. Be3 black has an offside knight. More accurate for black is 9…Qf7! 10. Qxf7+ Rxf7 11. Ng5 Rf8 12. c6!? b6 and he should be able to unangle. White can play more abstractly with 9. Bf4!? awaiting events and taking away e5 for the time being.

8…a5 9. Nd4 Na6 10. e4 fxe4 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 Bh3 13. Re1 Nc5 14. Bh1 Qf7 15. Be3 Rae8?! The unprejudiced 15…Bf5!, offering a trade of this optically nice bishop, is a good move for black. The text is mechanical and after the upcoming e5 break, white gets some nice squares.

16. Qd2 a4 17. Rad1 e5 18. dxe6 Nxe6 19. Nb5! White has an edge!

19…Qd7 20. f3!? This waiting move I thought was very nice. White shuts down black’s simplifying idea of Bg4 for the time being. But, I had the scary looking 20. Bxb7 c6 21. Nxd6 Rb8 22. Qb4 Nd8 23. Ba7! and the Rybka engine says I can do this, with some advantage.
20…Nd8?!
Correct was 20…Rf7.

21. Nc3 Be6 22. c5?! 22. b3! +=

21…Nf7?! 22…a3! =

23. f4 Bg4 24. Rc1 dxc5? A big lemon. Now white swarms. Better, again, was 24…a3.

25. Qxd7 Bxd7 26. Bxc5 Rxe1+ 27. Rxe1 Rb8? This should have been the decisive blunder. 27…a3 was the last chance. Then, 28. Bxa3 is +=, but not 28. Bxf8?? Kxf8! =.

28. Bd5? White is just hugely better with fantastic piece activity. But I had 28. Re7! first, and if 28…Be8 29. Rxc7 just wins.
28…Bf8 29. Ne4 Bc6 30. Nf6+ Kh8
I get confused by all the possible captures. I start on the right path…

31. Bxf8 Bxd5 32. Bb4?? No!!!! Playing for mate in time-trouble is the wrong thing to do!
Simply 32. Nxd5 Bxd5 33. Re7 and it’s all over, black cannot escape the vice and loses the ending quickly. In the game, black managed to evade the attack and survive!
32..Bxa2 33. Bc3 Rd8 34. Re7 Kg7 35. Rxc7 b5 36. Rb7 Bc4 37. g4
The quiet 37. Kf2! offered better winning chances.

37…h6 38. h4 Rd3? Necessary was Kf8, either with Rd1+ thrown in or without.

This is white’s last chance in the first time control. It’s a problem, white to play and win.

Position after 38…Rd3. Can white solve this tricky problem?

39. g5?? Wrong! White allows black’s trick! The quite beautiful answer was 39. Ne4+ Kf8 (39…Kh7 40. g5! wins) 40. Bf6! setting up a fantastic mating net. if 40…Kg8, 41. Rb8+ Kh7 42. g5! and now 43. Be7 and Nf6+ mating is threatened. Suppose black defends with 42…Rd7. White plays 43. Be7!! anyway! This is worth a diagram.

Position after 43. Be7!! winning (analysis).

All these variations are quite study-like. Another nice one is 39. Ne4+! Kf8 40. Bf6! Ke8 41. Nc5!! hitting the rook, threatening the lethal Rb8+, and winning. Fantastic N & B coordination. I just didn’t have the time to observe all these nice things and forgot to play the knight check in time.

39…hxg5 40. hxg5 40. fxg5 does not seem to make much of a difference.

40…a3! The last move of time control and black finds an equalizing shot! How embittering.
41. Ne4+
Too late for this!

41…Rxc3! 42. bxc3 Bd5 43. Rxb5 Bxe4 44. Ra5 Nd6 45. Rxa3 Kf7 46. Ra5 Ke6 47. Kf2 Nc4 48. Rc5 Bd3 49. Kf3 Kd6 50. Rc8 Kd7 51. Ra8 Kc6 52. Rc8+ Kd7 53. Rf8 Bc2 54. Rf6 Bd3 55. Kf2 Kc7 56. Ra6 Kd7 57. Ra1 Kc6 58. Rd1 Bc2 59. Rd8 Bf5 60. Kg3 As befits a poorly conducted middlegame, it is white now that has to worry.
60…Nd6 61. Kf2 Kc5 62. Ke3 Nb5 63. Ra8 Nxc3 64. Ra5+ Kc4 65. Ra1 Nd5+ 66. Kf3 Kd4 67. Ra4+ Kd3 68. Ra3+ Nc3 69. Rb3 Be4+ 70. Kg4 Kc4 71. Rb8 Nd5 72. Re8 Kd4 73. Re5 Ne3+ 74. Kg3 Nf5+ 75. Kf2 Bd5 76. Re1 Be4 77. Rd1+ Bd3 78. Re1 Be4 1/2-1/2

Postscript – Something Completely Different (Nh3, Nf4)

When Leningrad Specialist Mikhail Gurevich loses a miniature, that is a cause for attention. His opponent, FIDE Women’s ex-WC Stefanova, plays very cleverly in the first phase. This is a way for white to sidestep the main lines we saw above.

[Event “Gibraltar”]
[Site “Gibraltar ENG”]
[EventDate “2008.01.22”]
[Round “2”]
[Result “1-0”]
[White “Antoaneta Stefanova”]
[Black “Mikhail Gurevich”]
[ECO “A81”]
[WhiteElo “2464”]
[BlackElo “2607”]

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Nh3!? g6 4. Nf4 This knight placement with the idea of a quick h2-h4-h5 makes sense because when black kicks the knight with g5, white has the intermediate move h5-h6! hitting the B/g7 to not give black the time to play himself h7-h6 to keep the pawn chain intact.  Thus the black king side pawn formation will be damaged.

4…Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. h4! Naturally.  h4-h5 will be a problem.

Position after 6. h4!

6…Nc6 6…d6 is also met by 7. h5! – here is some craziness: 7….e5 8. hxg6! exf4 9. gxh7+ Nxh7 (or 9…Kh8 10. Bxf4 with an edge) 10. Bd5+ Kh8 11. Bxf4 with white edge! For example, 11…Nc6 12. e3.

7. h5 g5 8. h6 Bh8 9. Nd3 Nxd4 10. Bxg5 Well, this was the point. Black’s king side is compromised.

10…Ne6 11. Bh4 d5 12. Nd2 c6 13. c4 Ne4 14. cxd5 14. Rc1! was a good alternative here and white retains pressure.

14…cxd5 15. Nf3 Qd6 16. Qb3 Bd7 16…b6 is also possible.

17. Nf4? 17. Rc1 was correct with equal chances.

17…Bc6? Black had the strong 17…N6c5! here and after 18. Qxd5+ Qxd5 19. Nxd5 e6 he is even somewhat better as he will take on b2 next.

18. Nxe6 Qxe6 Curiously, at this stage, black had reasonable defensive chances but soon went under to a tactical trick.

19. Rd1 a5 20. Nd4 Qf7? The unprejudiced 20…Bxd4 21. Rxd4 Rf7! gives the king an escape chance and black has counter-chances.

21. g4 21. Qe3 was also strong.

21…Bxd4 One move too late! White has a huge attack.

22. Rxd4 e5 Black has clearly missed white’s next tactically, but he had no other good moves at this point. He made too many concessions.

23. gxf5! exd4 24. Bxe4 The point! Black’s king has no refuge. After 24…dxe4 25. Qg3+ Kh8 26. Qe5+ is the decisive zig-zag maneuver with Rh1-g1 next.

Rae8 25. Qg3+ Kh8 26. Bd3 b5 27. Qf4 Qa7 28. Qd6 Qf7 29. Rg1 b4 30. Rg7 Qh5 31. Rg8+ 1-0

A crushing defeat inflicted on the veteran by Stefanova, although admittedly there were inaccuracies and black could have completely turned the tables on move 17.

Selected ICC Shouts

Blitzovich(GM) shouts: the study of crime begins with the knowledge of yourself

Finegold notes most people are motivated by achievement… food/sex are ok… but achieving goals and being successful at what you do is more important… ship it!

Detroit-Warrior what do i gotta do to find a hot chess girl??

aries2 googled for “is gasol soft?” and the third link coming back was the name of some chick i met at a vicary party in brooklyn

Chess Art of the Day

This angry picture of “Blokade.”

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