Gustafsson,J (2629) - Kramnik,V (2799) [E94]
40th Dortmund GER , 14.07.2012
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 c6 8.0–0 exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.f3 d5 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.Rc1
13...Nc6 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Rxc6 Bb7 16.Rc1 dxe4 17.Qxd8 Raxd8 18.f4І Gustafsson,J - Maze,S /Aix-les-Bains 2011. Of course Gustafsson had no objections to getting another comfortable little plus. 14.Qb3 a4 15.Qxd5 Qxd5 16.exd5 a3 17.b3 Nc6! 18.Nc2
The charm of this sacrifice is that it’s not directly connected to any forced variations. Like the “Golden Key” it simply opens a secret door to another world. A world where the pragmatism of material values takes a back seat…
…And nevertheless, it seems Black’s initiative should probably only be enough to draw…
But actually, that’s not the case! In order to hold the balance White needs to find the complex manoeuvre: 20.Rc7! Bd4 21.Re7!
20...Nxa2 21.Ra4 Rxa4 22.bxa4 Bd4
The only way to continue resistance was the humble retreat 23.Kh1! Nb4!! 24.Bc4 Bxe3 25.Ra1 Bc5 26.Rxa3 Nxd5
23...Nb4 24.Rc1 a2!!
In general, this week even without queens a well-coordinated “limited contingent” would often simply tear apart the opponent’s superior forces.
Socko,B (2629) - Negi,P (2661) [D92]
Leiden NED , 12.07.2012
In the Gruenfeld Defence the players have played a sharp variation that was recently seen in the game Grischuk – Caruana, Tal Memorial 2012. The Polish grandmaster was the first to deviate from the known model, but Negi nevertheless got serious compensation. Now White was hoping that after the bishop retreated he could play Bg2, covering his main weaknesses. But…
22...Nf3+ 23.Kd1Bxb2! 24.gxf5?!
White could still have held the position - 24.Rb1!, although after 23...Bd7! 25.Rxb2 Rxc5 26.Rb4 Rc2 27.Be1 a5 or 27...Bc6 he’d still have had to live through some unpleasant moments.
24...Nxd2 25.Kxd2 Bxc1+ 26.Kxc1 Rxc5+ 27.Kb1 gxf5 28.f3 f4!
The far-advanced pawns promise real winning chances:
29.exf4 d2 30.Be2 e3 31.Kb2 Kg7 ... 0–1
In the next example the imprisonment of the king remained only in the realm of the possible. But it could have been very different…
Caruana,F (2775) - Naiditsch,A (2700)
40th Dortmund GER, 13.07.2012
If Arkadij Naiditsch had had a little more time he wouldn’t have missed the chance to “escort away” Caruana’s king: 36...Re1+! 37.Kc2
All forced: a single false step would be considered an attempt to escape! 37.Kd2 Qe3+ 38.Kc2 Rc1#! The guards shoot on sight!
37...Qa4+ 38.Kc3 Qb3+ 39.Kd4 Rd1+ 40.Kc5 Qe3+
Now the king has two paths: onwards and upwards or, having completed a circle, back home again. The problem is that everywhere the scaffold awaits…
“Onwards and upwards”: 41.Kc6 Qb6+ 42.Kd7 Qd6+ 43.Kc8 Rxd5 44.Qe4 Qa6+
...and mate in a few moves.
“Back home again”: 41.Kxc4 Qd4+ 42.Kb5 Qb6+ 43.Ka4 Qa6+ 44.Kb3 Rd3+ 45.Kc2 Qc4+ 46.Kb1 Rd1#
All that’s left to add is that in time trouble Naiditsch decided to play “more solidly” - 36...h6 and, having rattled around at the junction between two slots, the roulette ball of this game stopped on the colour Caruana – draw.
And here’s the study-like geometrical operation that decided the outcome in the game:
Polgar,Ju (2709) - Mamedov,R (2628)
Turkish League 2012 Konya TUR , 11.07.2012
The whole game had been a roughly equal struggle, but just when all the pawns on the queenside had been exchanged and it seemed the draw agreement wasn’t a million miles away it turned out that due to the pin of the knight Black experiences certain difficulties.
With the last move, 34...Ba8-c6??, Black was ready to set up the “correct” battery of Qb7 and Bc6, not yet realising there was no time for aesthetic qualms: he should have played 34…Qb7 or 34...Bb7.
The defensive “artery” has been blocked.
The defender is attacked…
37...exd5 38.Bxe4 dxe4
All that remained was the final jab…
Of course Rauf made a serious mistake, but his blunder was understandable, and I’ve got other candidates for “Blunder of the Week”:
Ponomariov,R (2726) - Caruana,F (2775) [B51]
40th GM Dortmund GER, 14.07.2012
With his last move Ruslan took the pawn on c4 and, naturally, expected the retreat 31...Qb7, after which the game would have remained in the zone of rough equality. But there unexpectedly followed 31...Nxd2??
Ruslan was surprised, shrugged his shoulders and took the other knight: 32.Qxd5 Nxf1
It seems that it paradoxically escaped Fabiano’s attention that after 32…e6 the queen wouldn’t even think of retreating: 33.Nxe6 fxe6 34.Qxe6+ Kh8 35.Rxd2 Qxc3 36.d5 with an easy win.
33.Nxf7! e6 34.Qxe6 Rf8 35.Ne5+ Kh8 36.Kxf1 1–0
The second “Great Blunder” happened in the game:
Arnaudov,G (2486) - Volokitin,And (2704)
TCh-MKD Struga MKD, 16.07.2012
The Bulgarian has conducted the game well. He wasn’t even disturbed by a novelty in a fashionable variation of the Gruenfeld Defence. Volokitin had to engage all his ingenuity to generate satisfactory counterplay.
Now it was possible to play 27.h3! and after 27...Qxd1+ 28.Kg2 Qf3+ 29.Qxf3 Nxf3 30.Kxf3 he could still torment the Ukrainian grandmaster. You could choose to take either the rook or the knight, which apparently would have led to draws.
The one thing not to do was centralise the queen - 27.Qd5??
There rapidly followed 27...Nf3+ 28.Kg2 Nh4+ 29.Kg1 Re8!
...and it turned out there was no defence against 30...Rxe3! Black resigned.
Novelties! Новинки!! Nouveautés!!!
There were new ideas galore in the opening this week!
Here are four of them.
Naiditsch,A (2700) - Meier,Geo (2644) [A30]
40th GM Dortmund GER , 14.07.2012
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 c5 3.g3 e6 4.Nf3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0–0 Be7 7.Re1 d6 8.e4 a6 9.d4 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Qc7 11.Be3 Nbd7 12.Rc1 Ne5
Of course Meier noticed the threat of the knight coming to d5, and prudently defended against it...
No, it’s no accident that Arkadij Naiditsch is the editor-in-chief of “Chess Evolution” - he also has some special novelties!
13...exd5 14.cxd5 Qd7 15.Nf5 0–0 16.f4 Ng6
In the game, however, Naiditsch had to fight for a draw.
When a novelty is the move g7-g5 it’s always interesting. And if Ivanchuk’s the one playing it…
Le Quang Liem (2693) - Ivanchuk,V (2769) [D18]
ACP Golden Classic Amsterdam NED , 15.07.2012
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0–0 Nbd7 9.Nh4 Bg6 10.h3 Bh5 11.g4
Here Le Quang himself played 11...Nd5 12.Ng2 Bg6 with Black against Mamedyarov (Khanty-Mansiysk 2010)...
12.Ng2 Bg6 13.f3 h5! 14.e4 hxg4 15.hxg4
Now the most energetic move was 15...Qc7! as White can’t block the dangerous diagonal - 16.e5 Nxe5! 17.dxe5 Qxe5–+, and the pawn capture 16.Bxg5 leads to disastrous consequences 16...Bxc3 17.bxc3 Qh2+ 18.Kf2 Bxe4...
In the game Vassily Mikhailovich dispatched his queen to the flank 15...Qa5 16.Qe2 0–0–0, which also, however, kept the initiative… 0–1
There was a “mirror image” novelty in the game:
Mamedyarov,S (2726) - Adams,Mi (2723) [E34]
Turkish Bank Chess League 2012 Konya TUR (1), 11.07.2012
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.cxd5 Qxd5 6.Nf3 Qf5 7.Qb3 Nc6 8.Bd2 a5 9.e3 0–0 10.a3 a4 11.Qd1 Bd6 12.g4?! N
Shakhriyar’s love of the move g2-g4 is well-known! It’s enough to recall his game last year: Mamedyarov – Sargissian (Ningbo 2011): 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Bf4 Nf6 5.e3 0–0 6.a3 b6 7.g4!?N
But in the given situation the dzhigit got a little carried away…
12...Nxg4 13.h3 Nf6 14.Rg1 e5 15.d5 Ne7 16.Rg5 Qd7 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Rxe5 h6!
Taking away the last square the rook could retreat to.
19.Ne4 Nxe4 20.Rxe4 Nxd5 21.Qf3 Qf5 22.Qg2 Be6 23.0–0–0 ½
But more memorable for me than those rapier thrusts with the g-pawn was the inconspicuous move h2-h3…
Sutovsky,E (2687) - Kamsky,G (2744) [C91]
ACP Golden Classic Amsterdam NED , 15.07.2012
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.d4 Bg4 10.Be3 exd4 11.cxd4 Na5
This position has been encountered in roughly a thousand games and in almost every case White has automatically replied 12.Bc2. No-one had played Sutovsky’s move!
12.h3!?N Nxb3 13.axb3 Bh5 14.Nbd2 Qd7 15.Qc2 There’s complex play ahead.
The ACP Golden Classic in Amsterdam was organised by the Association of Chess Professionals. That organisation is headed by Emil Sutovsky. If the president can hold negotiations for new projects, sing classical opera arias in his spare time and also think up novelties… the Association has a bright future!
And that, it seems, is all...
Best of the week (Week 28, 9-15 July 2012)