Author: Alexey Kuzmin
…The “Pussy Riot” girls’ crude prank could probably have been “hushed up” if they hadn’t published their video on the internet – PR! Probably after that as well it would have been possible to “resolve the question” – there was, after all, more foolishness and hooliganism in their “action” than deliberate blasphemy. But then the mass media got involved: Madonna, McCartney… And when the figure of Garry Kasparov appeared under the spotlights on the stage towards the end of the play even chess sites found it hard to remain aloof…
…On the 17th August the trial came to an end in Moscow of the three members of a punk rock group. After bursting into a Russian Orthodox Cathedral – the Church of Christ the Saviour – under the guise of protest their clothing, actions and obscene shouts profaned a place that’s sacred for Christian believers and the majority of Russian citizens. Built in the early nineteenth century, the Church of Christ the Saviour was blown up in 1931 during Stalin’s dictatorship and rebuilt only in the nineties. For many in Russia it’s a symbol of repentance, faith and the coming of a new era.
Kasparov’s support of the hooligans shouldn’t be seen as a reflection of his attitude to the feelings of millions of believers. I hope the leading opposition figure admired only the anti-Putin part of the “punk prayer” that offended the religious feelings of Russians. Appearing at the court building on the day the sentence was read out, Garry Kimovich actively expressed his solidarity with the “feminists”. And, you have to say, he did it clearly, boldly, in typically emotional Kasparov fashion and, the main thing – resonantly! They say he even bit a policeman…
It’s hard to deprive myself of the pleasure of starting this review with a bold attack conducted by our site’s Editor-in-Chief…
Tkachiev,V (2644) - Istratescu,A (2647)
French Championship, 16.08.2012
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bxc4 e6 5.Nf3 c5 6.0–0 a6 7.Bb3 Nc6 8.Nc3 cxd4 9.exd4 Be7 10.Bg5 0–0 11.Re1 b5 12.h4!? Bb7
When Ivanchuk played Aronian (Wijk aan Zee 2008) he continued 12…h6, which was more accurate than the natural development of the bishop.
13.d5! Nxd5 14.Nxd5 exd5 15.Bxd5 Bf6 16.Rc1 The previously seen 16.Qd2 isn’t so active. 16...Rc8 17.Bxf6 Qxf6 18.Ng5 Ba8?
Strangely enough this is already the decisive mistake. Black should have aimed to simplify the position - 18...Nd8. After the game Tkachiev said that in that case he was planning on continuing with 19.Qd3 g6 20.Rxc8 Bxc8 21.Qa3 and a small edge.
It unexpectedly turns out that there’s no satisfactory defence to the direct threat of Rf3. If 19…Ne5 there would follow 20.Qc2! with a double attack. In case of 19…Nd4 20.Rxc8 Rxc8 21.Qg4 Ne6 there’s another double attack - 22.Qe4!, and if 21…Rd8 – the thematic 22.Qd7!
19... g6 20.Nxf7! Nd4 Losing is 20...Rxf7 21.Rf3. 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.Nd6+ Bxd5 23.Nxc8 Bb7 24.Re8+ 1–0
Note that the events from the French Championship are being well-covered in our news section, with fairly detailed reports on each round.
While “the week’s main national championship” has moved from Russia to France, the 10th World Champion has completed that voyage in reverse in recent days: from Paris to Moscow. I’ve brought up Spassky for a reason. Over the whole course of his career Boris Vasilievich played the sharp Leningrad Variation against the Nimzowitsch Defence. As a 16-year-old he used it to beat the World Championship contender Vasily Smyslov with a spectacular attack. That was the first serious game in which Spassky played 4.Bg5. The last time he played the Leningrad Variation was in an encounter with Nigel Short in a rapid tournament in Zurich almost half a century later – in 2001. Spassky also won that one.
Spassky,Boris - Smyslov,Vassily [E31]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bg5 Diagram
At the end of the last century the city founded on the Neva by Peter the Great recovered its historical name: St. Petersburg. But the name of the system remains “Soviet”: the Leningrad Variation.
4...h6 5.Bh4 c5 6.d5 exd5 7.cxd5 d6 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Bb5 0–0
10.Nge2 Ne5 11.0–0 Ng6 12.Bg3 Nh5 13.Bd3 Nxg3 14.Nxg3 Ne5
15.Be2 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Qh4 Diagram
17.f4! The signal to attack.
17... Ng4 18.Bxg4 Bxg4 19.Qa4! Black’s bishop and queen unexpectedly begin to experience discomfort on the fourth rank.
19... Bc8 20.e4 Qg4 21.Qc2 h5 22.Rf2 b5 23.e5 h4
24.Nf1 Bf5 25.Qd2 dxe5? 26.fxe5 Bg6 27.Re1 h3 28.d6 Be4 Diagram
29.Ne3! The start of the decisive attack!
29...Qe6 30.Rf4 The white pieces step around what seems to be the vulnerable g2-point, leaving it far behind the frontline.
30... Bxg2 Capturing the pawn with 30...Qxe5 would lead to mate after 31.Ng4 Qd5 32.Nf6+! gxf6 33.Rg4+ Kh7 34.Rh4+.
31.Nf5! Rfe8 The attack also couldn’t be stopped with 31...g6 32.Rh4! gxf5 33.Rh6 and a win.
32.Re3! Rad8 Diagram
33.Nxg7! Rxd6 After 33...Kxg7 34.Rg3+ Kf8 35.Rxf7+! Black gets mated.
34.Nxe6! And without waiting for the finale 34... Rxd2 35.Rg3+ Kh7 36.Rh4#
New in the opening
At the Junior World Championship in Athens the top scorers were Alexander Ipatov, representing Turkey, and the Hungarian Richard Rapport. The Hungarian grandmaster, who ended up second on tiebreaks, replied 4.Bg5 against the Nimzowitsch Defence three times at the championship, and on each occasion he demonstrated something new. The most important of his novelties was played in his game against a Swedish junior.
Rapport,R (2605) - Grandelius,N (2562) [E31]
World Juniors Athens GRE, 13.08.2012
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bg5 c5 5.d5 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 d6 7.e3 Qe7 8.Nf3 e5 9.Qc2 h6 10.Bh4 Nbd7 11.Nd2 e4 12.Be2 g5 13.Bg3 Nf8 14.0–0 Ng6 15.f4 exf3 16.Rxf3 Ng4 17.Ne4! N6e5
Emphasising White’s clear edge. If the exchange sacrifice is accepted – 18…Nxf3 there follows 19.Bxf3! Now it loses to play 19…Nxe3 20.Qf2 Nxc4 21.Nxd6! Nxd6 22.Re1. But after 19…Ne5 20.Bh5 Rf8 22.Rf6! the pressure from White’s pieces can’t be withstood either!
Houdini claims that the most stubborn defence is 18...h5! In that case as well, however, it’s very hard for Black to hold on: 19.Nxd6+! Qxd6 20.Rxf7 Qg6 (losing is 20...Nxe3 21.Qe4! Nxf1 22.Rxf1) 21.Qxg6 Nxg6 22.Rg7±.
It seems Richard played in accordance with the variation he’d prepared at home: 18…h5 19.Nxd6! and so on. But with the bishop on d7 the situation is different. There was an overwhelming edge after the forced 19.h3 Nxf3+ 20.Rxf3 Ne5 21.Bxe5 Qxe5 22.Nf6+ Kd8 23.Nxd7.
19...Qxd6 20.Rxf7 Nxe3! Now Black survives. 21.Qe4 Nxf1 22.Bxe5 Nd2 23.Qe3 Qg6 24.Rf2 Qb1+ 25.Bf1 Nxf1 26.Rxf1 Qxf1+ 27.Kxf1 0–0+ 28.Kg1 Rae8 29.h3 Rf5 30.Qxc5 Rexe5 31.Qxa7 Re2 32.Qxb7 Rff2 33.Qxd7 Rxg2+ 1/2
Rapport won two others games in this variation a few days earlier. This weekly review isn’t an article on the opening, so we’ll give them in “uncommented” form.
Rapport,R (2605)-Antipov,M (2462)/Athens GRE 2012
4...h6 5.Bh4 c5 6.d5 exd5 7.cxd5 d6 8.e3 0–0 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.Nge2 a6 Diagram
11.a3!?N Ba5 12.0–0 b5 13.b4!? Bb6 14.Bg3 Qe7 15.bxc5 Bxc5 16.Nd4 Bxd4 17.exd4 Nb6 18.Bh4 g5 19.Re1 Qd8 20.Bg3 White is the one with chances.
Rapport,R (2605)-Yu Yangyi (2635)/Athens GRE 2012
4... c5 5.d5 d6 6.e3 exd5 7.cxd5 Nbd7 8.Bd3 h6 9.Bh4 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 Qa5 11.Ne2 Nxd5 12.0–0 0–0 Diagram
13.c4!?N Nb4 14.Bb1 Ne5 15.Nf4 Re8 16.a3 Nbc6 17.Nd5 Bg4 18.Qc2 Ng6 19.Bf6! Be6 20.Bc3 Qd8 21.f4! White has a powerful initiative.
As the question of what to play against the Nimzowitsch Defence remains relevant at all levels I think the Leningrad Variation with 4.Bg5 deserves close attention.
I saw a curious ending in a game from the Viennese tournament.
Ragger,M (2670) - Buhmann,R (2571)
Husek Vienna Open, 18.08.2012
The main events in this game unfolded after the fortieth move when the following “single-flank” ending arose:
According to all logic the encounter should soon have ended peacefully, but over the course of the following fifteen moves White systematically improved his position, while Black, standing still, appeared to expect his opponent to make “peace initiatives”.
Here’s what that led to.
And the small army can generate a mating attack!
Rejecting the sacrifice wouldn’t have saved Black. White would have retreated his bishop and then played g4-g5! with decisive effect.
57.Nxf6+ Kg7 58.g5! Reb7
After 58...hxg5 59.h6+ Kxh6 60.Rg8!! mate is inevitable. However, it’s also inevitable now.
There was sad news from Belgrade: Svetozar Gligoric, a wonderful grandmaster who took part in the candidates battles in the 1950-60s, has passed away. We’ve lost a bright, multi-talented and extremely decent human being.
With the exception of Kramnik and Topalov, Gligoric had met all the World Champions from Euwe to Anand. He beat many of them. Sometimes spectacularly…
Gligoric,Svetozar - Petrosian,Tigran
URS-YUG Tbilisi , 1973
If the sacrifice was accepted 21...Kxg6? there would follow a second blow - 22.Rxd7! Qxd7 23.Qf7+ and the game would end in mate: 23...Kg5 24.f4+ Kh4 25.g3+ Kg4 26.Be2+ Kh3 27.Qh5#
22.Rxd7! Qxd7 23.Bxg8+ Kxg8 24.Qxc3 The tactical operation is over: White has an extra pawn and his opponent’s king cover has been utterly destroyed. On the 39th move Black resigned.
Tal,Mihail - Gligoric,Svetozar
Candidates Belgrade , 1968
32...Bd6+! The start of an accurately calculated combination which had already been prepared a few moves earlier.
33.Rxd6 Qf4+ 34.Rg3 Qxd6 35.Nf5
35...Ree1! If it wasn’t for this chord the whole composition would fail to sound!
36.Qxf7+ Kxf7 37.Nxd6+ White is forced to enter an endgame an exchange down, but the passed pawn on the c-file doesn’t leave him any real chances of survival.
37...Ke6 38.Rg6+ Kd5 39.Nf5 Rb7 40.Ne3+ Rxe3 41.fxe3 Rc7 42.Kg3 c4 43.Kf4 c3 44.e4+ Kc4 45.Ra6 c2 46.Ra1 Kd3 0–1
Botvinnik,Mikhail - Gligoric,Svetozar
Tel Aviv Olympiad, 1964
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 0–0 6.Rc1 c5 7.dxc5 Be6 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Ng5 Bg4 10.f3
10...e5! This is of course now a position known to theory, but back then the idea of 9…Bg4 10.f3 e5! was a brilliant improvisation!
11.Bg3 Later games showed that 11.cxd5 was correct here.
11...d4! 12.fxg4 dxc3 13.Qxd8 Rfxd8 14.Rxc3 h6 Despite the exchange of queens Black’s initiative grows.
15.Nf3 Ne4 16.Rc1 Nxc5 17.Be2 e4 18.Nd4 Nxd4 19.exd4 Bxd4 Black completely dominates in the centre, but Gligorich only managed to overcome the World Champion’s stubborn resistance on the 78th move - 0–1
Gligoric,Svetozar - Smyslov,Vassily
URS-YUG Kiev, 1959
17.g4! hxg5 If 17...Bxg4 then White has a won position after 18.Qxh6! f6 19.h3 fxg5 20.hxg4 Qg7 21.Bxg5.
18.gxh5 f6 19.exf6 Nxf6 20.hxg6 Ne4 21.f3 Nd2 22.Rf2 Nb3
23.Bxg5! Qxg5+ 24.Rg2 Qe3+ If 24...Qe7 decisive is 25.g7! Qxg7 26.Qh7+! with mate.
25.Kh1 Kg7 26.Qh7+ Kf6 27.Qh4+ Kg7 28.Qh7+ Kf6 29.g7 Qxd4 Leading to mate is 29...Rg8 30.Qh4+ Kf7 31.Bg6+! Kxg7 32.Qh7+ Kf6 33.Qf7#
30.gxf8Q+ Bxf8 31.Re1 and mate’s inevitable. 1–0
Petrosian,Tigran - Gligoric,Svetozar
Rovinj/Zagreb , 1970
A purely intuitive piece sacrifice. Black gets a long-term initiative but there’s still a long way to go until direct threats.
15.gxf4 Nxf3+ 16.Qxf3 g4 17.Qh1 exf4 18.Bb2 Bf5 19.Rfe1 f3 20.Nde4?! Qh4 21.h3?
Petrosian couldn’t withstand the build-up of still not overly dangerous threats and began to go wrong.
21...Be5 22.Re3 gxh3 23.Qxf3
23...Bg4! 24.Qh1 h2+ 25.Kg2
No better is 25.Kf1 Rf3!
25...Qh5 26.Nd2 Bd4 27.Qe1
There’s mate after 27.Rae1 Bh3+! 28.Rxh3 Rxf2+ 29.Kg3 Qg5#
If 28.Nd1 then 28...Rxe3 29.fxe3 Bh3+ 30.Kh1 Qg4 and mate’s inevitable.
28...Bxb2 29.Rg3 Be5 30.Raa3 Kh8 31.Kh1 Rg8 32.Qf1 Bxg3 33.Rxg3 Rxe4 0–1
And that, it seems, is all…
Did Garry bite a policeman? (13 – 19 August, №33)