Karjakin with an Important Win

Round nine of the Russian Super Final saw Sergey Karjakin scoring an important win in the battle for the medals.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Russian Championship Superfinal"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.08.18"]
[Round "9.4"]
[White "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Black "Svidler, Peter"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2753"]
[BlackElo "2739"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:29:02"]
[BlackClock "0:37:58"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 {The forced
nature of the Arkhangelsk line makes it preferrable option at top level.} 7. c3
d6 8. a4 Rb8 9. d4 Bb6 10. axb5 axb5 11. Na3 O-O 12. Nxb5 Bg4 13. d5 ({Giri
opted instead for slight and lasting advantage after} 13. Bc2 exd4 14. cxd4 d5
15. e5 Ne4 16. Ra3 f6 17. exf6 Qxf6 18. Nc3 Bxf3 19. gxf3 Nxc3 20. bxc3 Qxf3
21. Qxf3 Rxf3 22. Kg2 {Giri,A (2773)-Nakamura,H (2802) Stavanger 2015}) 13...
Ne7 14. Bc2 Qd7 {[%cal Rd7h3] Diagram [#] "I got a little bit upset that he
played like that as I believe that Black equalizes after that" Karjakin.} 15.
c4 Ng6 16. h3 {This practically forces Black to sacrifice a piece.} ({Worse is
} 16. Qd3 Nh5) 16... Bxh3 (16... Bh5 17. Qd3 {proveides no compensation
whatsoever for the pawn.}) 17. gxh3 Qxh3 18. Ng5 Qg3+ 19. Kh1 Qh4+ 20. Kg2 Nf4+
{[%csl Gf4] Diagram [#] Better than} (20... h6 21. Nh3 Nxe4 22. Qe2 f5 23. Ra3
{with advantage for White as proven in the game Karjakin,S (2672)-Radjabov,T
(2729) Cap d'Agde 2006}) 21. Bxf4 exf4 22. Nf3 Qg4+ 23. Kh1 {For the piece
Black will get soon a second pawn and will enjoy attacking possibilities.} Rfe8
24. Ra3 {A very important move in White's set-up without which he would be
simply worse.} Nxe4 25. Bxe4 Rxe4 26. Rc3 {Diagram [#]} Ba5 {A somewhat
misterious bishop move.} ({Perhaps Black should just go into an endgame with}
26... Qh5+ 27. Nh2 Qxd1 28. Rxd1 Bxf2 {where his pawns might become quite
dangerous as well.}) (26... Rbe8 $5 {deserves serious attention too. Karjakin
considered the position as approximately equal.}) 27. Rc1 $146 {Diagram [#]} ({
The only predecessor saw:} 27. Rc2 Rbe8 ({But Karkjakin was afraid of the
cunning} 27... Be1 $5 {which separates the white heavy pieces and might be
quite annoying. Obviously, the bishop is untouchable} 28. Rxe1 $4 (28. Nxe1 $4
Qxd1) 28... Rxe1+ 29. Qxe1 Qxf3+ 30. Kg1 Qg4+ 31. Kf1 Qh3+ 32. Kg1 f3 $19) 28.
Nh2 Qh3 29. Qf3 Qh6 30. b4 {with advantage for White in Lopez Martinez,J (2550)
-Bellia,F (2405) San Sebastian 2008}) 27... Rbe8 28. Nh2 Qh4 29. Nd4 $1 {[%csl
Gd4][%cal Gh2f3,Gd4f3] Diagram [#] After this move it becomes evident that
Black misses his bishop on the a7-g1 diagonal. The knights cement White's
position and provide time to consolidate the position.} h5 ({There is no
counterattack after} 29... Re1 $2 30. Qa4 Qxf2 31. Qxe8+ $1 {[%csl Yf2][%cal
Rf1f2] Diagram [#] (Karjakin)}) ({But maybe Svidler should have sent the
bishop back to where it belonged} 29... Bb6 30. Ndf3 Qe7 31. b4 Re2 $16) 30.
Qd3 {Better than} (30. Qa4 Bb6 {when the trick} 31. Ne6 $2 {does not work due
to} Rb8 32. Qc2 f3 $1 33. Ng5 Qxg5 {with mate threat which prevents White from
snatching the rook (Karjakin).}) 30... Qf6 {Svidler could have brought the
bishop back again} (30... Bb6 {to which White intended to continue with} 31.
Ndf3 (31. Ne6 $2 f3 $1) 31... Qe7 32. b4 {with advantage. For example} Re2 33.
Rc2 Rxc2 34. Qxc2 Qe2 35. Qf5 Bxf2 (35... g6 36. Qxf4 Re4 37. Qf6 $16) 36. Ng5
Bg3 37. Qxf7+ Kh8 38. Ngf3 $1 $16 ({A funny line is} 38. Nhf3 Qxf1+ 39. Ng1
Qxg1+ (39... Qd1 $4 40. Qxe8#) (39... Qe1 40. Qxh5+ Kg8 41. Qf7+) 40. Kxg1 {
[%csl Yg1] Diagram [#]} Re1+ 41. Kg2 Re2+ $11 {with study-like perpetual.}))
31. Nc6 Bb6 32. b4 f3 {The last attempt for counter-play which White
mercilessly refutes.} 33. Qxf3 Rf4 34. Qc3 ({But not} 34. Qxh5 $2 Rh4 {when
the threat Qf6-f4 will force White to part with his queen.}) 34... Qxc3 35.
Rxc3 Bxf2 36. Rf3 $1 {[%csl Rf4][%cal Gc4c5,Gb4b5] Diagram [#] Trades one of
the active rooks and the remaining one is neither capable of creating of its
own, nor good enough to stop the white passers.} (36. c5 {was also playable
though} Re2 37. cxd6 cxd6 38. Rf3 Rxf3 39. Nxf3 $16 {(Karjakin)}) 36... Rxf3
37. Nxf3 Re2 38. Ng5 $1 {The white horses made good job today.} f6 ({The
knight cannot be trapped after} 38... Bh4 39. Nxf7 Re8 40. Rf4 Bf6 41. Nh6+ {
(Karjakin)}) 39. Ne6 h4 ({Or} 39... g5 40. Nxc7 g4 41. Ne8 g3 42. Nxf6+ Kf7 43.
Nxh5 {and White is just in time (Karjakin).}) 40. Nxc7 Bg3 {Black last chance
was} (40... h3 {when if White is not careful things might end in perpetual.
Svidler however saw the following study} 41. Rxf2 $1 ({For example} 41. b5 {is
only a draw after} Bg3 42. b6 Rh2+ 43. Kg1 Rg2+ 44. Kh1 Rh2+ $11) 41... Rxf2
42. b5 Rb2 43. c5 $1 {[%cal Gd5d6,Gb5b6,Gb6b7,Gd6d7,Gd7d8,Gb7b8] Diagram [#]}
dxc5 44. d6 Rd2 45. Nd5 $1 Kf7 46. b6 Rxd5 47. b7 Rd1+ 48. Kh2 Rb1 49. d7 $18)
41. Ne6 Rc2 ({Now on} 41... h3 {the simplest is} 42. Nf4 Rh2+ 43. Kg1 g5 44.
Nxh3 Rxh3 45. Kg2 g4 46. Rxf6 {Diagram [#] and Black is completely stuck.}) 42.
b5 {Sergey Karjakin will play tomorrow decisive game with the white pieces
against the tournament leader Evgeny Tomashevsky.} (42. b5 Kf7 43. b6 Rb2 44.
b7 $18) 1-0


Khismatullin Does not Stand Still

Last year Denis Khismatullin won bronze medal at the Russian championship, but the start of the current Super Final was not good for him. However, thanks to his consistent fighting mood he was capable of moving close to the equator of the tournament table after the following win:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Russian Championship Superfinal"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.08.17"]
[Round "8.6"]
[White "Motylev, Alexander"]
[Black "Khismatullin, Denis"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2658"]
[BlackElo "2642"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:31:12"]
[BlackClock "0:32:34"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 {Diagram [#]
"Alexander is a famous specialist when playing against Najdorf, but today I
got lucky and managed to use my round one preparation for Sergey Karjakin."
Khismatullin.} 7. Bc4 h6 8. Bh4 g6 {[%cal Gf8g7] Diagram [#] "A relatively
fresh idea that has been seen in correspondence games, but not in top-level
over-the-board."Khismatullin} ({Instead} 8... Ne5 9. Bb3 g5 10. Bg3 e6 11. h4
Rg8 12. hxg5 hxg5 13. Nf3 {was the course of Shirov,A (2732)-Ibrahimov,R (2543)
Villarrobledo 2009}) 9. Qe2 Bg7 10. O-O-O ({It is important that} 10. Bxf7+ {
does not work due to} Kxf7 11. Qc4+ d5 {(Khismatullin).}) 10... O-O 11. f4 Qc7
{Stops e4-e5 and prepares e7-e5.} 12. f5 $146 {Diagram [#] "Controversial
decision, but since this was the first choice of the computer I was prepared
against it." Khismatullin} ({All predecessors continued} 12. Nf3 {one example
goes} Nb6 13. Bb3 Bg4 14. h3 Bxf3 15. Qxf3 Nbd7 16. g4 {with sharp play in
Lampert,J (2454)-Cebalo,M (2379) Bad Woerishofen 2015}) 12... g5 {It seems as
this pawn will be a good hook for the White's attack but in reality it is
Black's play which is easier.} 13. Bg3 b5 14. Bb3 Bb7 15. h4 g4 {[%csl Yg4,Gg8]
[%cal Rh1h4,Rf1f5] Diagram [#] The point behind Black's play. This is typical
Dragon idea. Black may even sacrifice this pawn later in case of a need. The
most important thing though is to keep the files locked.} 16. h5 {Khismatullin
did not like this move neither and suggested some central play instead with
either} (16. Rhe1) ({Or prophylaxis} 16. Kb1) 16... Nc5 17. e5 {Practically
forced. After} (17. Bd5 $6 b4 $1 {Black's attack is too strong} 18. Bxb7 bxc3
19. Bxa8 cxb2+) ({Perhaps} 17. Nd5 {was better, although it would allow the
move} Nxb3+ 18. axb3 Bxd5 19. exd5 {The position is very complex, and I
suspect this was White's best bet. In the line} Nxd5 (19... Rac8 $5) {White
should go for the tricky} 20. Ne6 Qa5 21. Rxd5 Qa1+ 22. Kd2 Qxh1 {Diagram [#]}
23. Nxg7 $1 Kxg7 24. f6+ $1 exf6 (24... Kxf6 $2 25. Be5+ $3 {might end badly
for Black.}) 25. Qxg4+ Kh7 26. Qf5+ Kg7 27. Qg4+ {with perpetual.}) 17... dxe5
18. Bxe5 Qb6 {The queen prepares the queenside attack and keeps an eye on the
other wing.} 19. Rh4 {Motylev decided to sacrifice the exchange in order to
reach the black king.} ({Parting with the dark-squared bishop cannot be good
for White} 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 (19... Bxf6 {is also good} 20. Qxg4+ Kh8 ({The move}
20... Kh7 {is possible as well as the trick} 21. Bxf7 $2 {fails to the
in-between check} Bg5+)) 20. Qxg4 Rfd8 {Black controls the board.}) ({Black
also has very clear play after} 19. Rhe1 Rad8) 19... Kh7 20. Rxg4 {The point.
White's attack evaporates after} (20. Bxf6 Bxf6 21. Rxg4 b4 (21... Rad8 $5) 22.
Na4 Nxa4 23. Bxa4 Rad8 {[%csl Gb7,Gf6][%cal Gb7h1,Gf6a1] Diagram [#] with
clear edge for Black thanks to his awesome bishops.}) 20... Nxg4 21. Bxg7 Kxg7
({A bit more precise was} 21... Nxb3+ {as if White recaptures with the knight}
22. Nxb3 {Black can trade queens} (22. axb3 Rg8 $1 {repels the attack and
will leave Black winning after} 23. f6 Nxf6 24. Bxh6 Kxh6 25. Qxe7 Rae8 26.
Qxf7 Bc8) 22... Qe3+ 23. Qxe3 Nxe3 {with winning endgame for Black.}) 22. Qxg4+
Kh8 23. Qe2 (23. Qf4 Qf6 {will create the threat e7-e5 and White will have no
time to consolidate (Khismatullin).}) 23... Nxb3+ 24. Nxb3 Qf6 25. Na5 ({White
cannot afford to grab pawns} 25. Rd7 Bc6 26. Rxe7 {as then Black can swap off
rooks with} Rfe8 27. Rxe8+ Rxe8 28. Qf2 Re5 29. g4 Qg5+ $19 {Diagram [#]
Almost all endgames are easily won for the second player.}) 25... Qg5+ ({One
more precision was mentioned by Khismatullin} 25... b4 $1 {depriving the
knight of the d1 square} 26. Na4 Qg5+ 27. Rd2 Bd5 $1 {which would have
transposed to the game.}) 26. Rd2 b4 27. Na4 (27. Nd1 {was White's last chance
to try and cement the position by transferring the knight from a5 to e3,
although Black should be close to winning here as well.}) 27... Bd5 $1 {[%csl
Ya4,Ya5] Diagram [#] Now the white knights are horrible.} 28. c4 ({The bishop
is untouchable due to the pin} 28. Qe5+ f6 29. Qxd5 Rad8) 28... bxc3 29. Nxc3
Rac8 {Once that the rooks occupy the open files game would be over.} 30. Kd1
Rfd8 31. Ke1 {Once again the bishop is untouchable} (31. Rxd5 Rxd5+ 32. Nxd5
Rc1#) (31. Nxd5 Rxd5 32. Nb3 Qxf5 $19) 31... Qh4+ 32. Qf2 Qh1+ 33. Qf1 Qxf1+ {
Well calculated by Black. The endgame is won by force.} 34. Kxf1 Bxa2 $1 {
Diagram [#] Wins the pawn back. The rest was easy for Khismatullin.} 35. Rxd8+
Rxd8 36. Nc6 (36. Nxa2 Rd1+ 37. Ke2 Ra1) 36... Bc4+ 37. Ke1 Rd3 38. Kf2 Rd2+
39. Ke3 Rxb2 40. Ne5 Bb3 0-1



Top Chess in Chita

The Russian Super Final takes place in Chita. With two rounds to go anything can happen in both sections. Evgeny Tomashevsky is leading the men's tournament, half a point ahead of the nearest rival but will have to defend the black color tomorrow against Sergey Karjakin who is trailing him by half a point. In the ladies section the leader is the young Aleksandra Goryachkina.
Not all the players have the tournament of their lives, but there are plenty of interesting games to watch. Like this one:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Russian Championship Superfinal"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.08.16"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Khismatullin, Denis"]
[Black "Dubov, Daniil"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2642"]
[BlackElo "2654"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "128"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:41"]
[BlackClock "0:24:02"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 5. b4 {White is stronger on the
queenside and expands as much as he can there. The problem with this plan is
that it neglects the development of the kingside.} ({A more common plan is} 5.
Nc3 Bg7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O {Carlsen,M (2863)-Mamedyarov,S (2756) Shamkir 2015})
5... Bg7 6. a4 O-O 7. Nbd2 Ne4 8. Bb2 Bg4 9. Qb3 a5 $146 {Diagram [#] "If I
stand passive I might get significantly worse" Dubov. Black is sacrificing a
pawn.} ({In the predecessing games Black was defending with} 9... Nxd2 10. Nxd2
Be6 {Kaenel,H (2364)-Sermier,G (2420) Switzerland 2011}) 10. b5 Nd7 {The point
behind Black's last move. Now White is more or less forced to accept the
challenge.} 11. cxd5 ({Bad is} 11. Bd3 $2 Ndc5 $1 12. dxc5 Nxc5 13. Qc2 Nxd3+
14. Qxd3 Bxb2 $19) ({The other natural move} 11. Be2 {also has a drawback} Nxd2
12. Nxd2 Bxe2) 11... cxd5 12. Qxd5 Nxd2 13. Nxd2 e5 $1 {[%csl Ye1][%cal Ge8e1]
Diagram [#] The point behind the sacrifice. Black breaks open the center and
intends to attack the uncastled white king.} 14. Be2 {Khismatullin understands
the danger and rushes to safeguard his king.} ({Black's initiative remains
strong in the endgame after} 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Qxd8 Rfxd8) ({The pawn-grabbing
} 14. Qxb7 $2 {is suicidal} exd4 15. Bxd4 Bxd4 16. exd4 Re8+) 14... Be6 15. Qe4
({Once more} 15. Qxb7 {looks dubious on the account of} exd4 16. Bxd4 Nc5 $5 (
16... Bxd4 $1 17. exd4 Nb6 {aint's bad neither.}) 17. Bxc5 Bxa1 18. Bxf8 Kxf8
19. Qe4 Bc3 {(Dubov)}) 15... Re8 {Black had plenty of choice how to develop
the initiative.} ({Like in the line above it made sense to open the center at
once with} 15... exd4 16. Bxd4 Nc5 17. Bxc5 Bxa1 18. Bxf8 Kxf8 19. Qd3 {with
plenty of compensation for the pawn.}) ({He could have also asked White if he
wants to repeat the moves after} 15... Bf5 {Or not, but when White goes for}
16. Qf3 (16. Qd5 Be6) 16... exd4 17. Bxd4 Bxd4 18. exd4 Nb6 {Black seems
perfectly fine.}) 16. d5 {This move slightly shocked Black who possibly
expected something like} (16. Nf3 exd4 17. Nxd4 Nc5 {with initiative.}) 16...
Nf6 {[%csl Re4][%cal Rf6e4] Diagram [#]} ({From far away Dubov wanted to
continue} 16... Bf5 {and it is somewhat misterious why he did not follow his
plan. The line} 17. Qc4 Rc8 18. Qa2 Rc2 (18... Qh4 $5 {might be better.}) 19.
Bd1 Rxb2 20. Qxb2 e4 21. Qa3 Bxa1 22. Qxa1 Nc5 $15 {is very good for Black.})
17. dxe6 $1 {The move that we should expect from Khismatullin- fearless
attacker.} ({Black has risk-free advantage after} 17. Qh4 Nxd5 18. Qxd8 Rexd8
$15) 17... Nxe4 18. exf7+ Kxf7 19. Bc4+ Re6 {The only move.} ({In case of}
19... Kf6 20. Nxe4+ Kf5 21. f3 $1 {[%csl Yf5][%cal Rg4f5,Rg2g4] Diagram [#]
Black is in trouble. For instance} h5 22. Rd1 Qc7 23. Nd6+ Kf6 24. f4 $1 {
Followed by 0-0 leaves him no reasonable moves.}) ({The king is not save in
the center} 19... Ke7 20. Nxe4 {with the threat Bb2-a3+}) 20. Nxe4 Rc8 ({Dubov
did not like the line} 20... Qh4 {because of the study-like play} 21. Bd5 $1 {
Diagram [#]} Rd8 22. g3 $1 Qh5 23. Bxe6+ Kxe6 24. O-O {with advantage for
White.}) 21. Bxe6+ ({Or else Black intended to give back the sacrificed
material after} 21. Rd1 Qxd1+ $1 22. Kxd1 Rxc4 23. Ng5+ Kf6 24. Nxe6 Kxe6 $17 {
with clear advantage in the endgame. It should also be noted that Dubov saw
the line} 25. Kd2 Rxa4 26. Bc3 $6 Ra2+ 27. Kd3 e4+ $19) 21... Kxe6 22. O-O {
The smoke is going down but it is anything but clear still. White has adequate
material balance for the queen, but the black pieces control the open files.
The good old verdict unclear suits best in the situation.} Qd3 23. Ng5+ Kf5 {
"A nutter" would Simon say. Indeed, Black could have played safer} (23... Ke7
24. Ba3+ Ke8 25. Ne6) 24. h4 {[%csl Rf5][%cal Ge3e4,Ra1a3,Ra3f3] Diagram [#]
With the idea to insert the white rook along the third rank after e3-e4+
followed by Ra1-a3-f3.} Qe2 {The queen moves away from the third rank with a
tempo. It should also be noted that around this point of the game both players
were down to two minutes on their clocks.} ({On} 24... Qb3 {Dubov did not like}
25. Rfb1 ({However} 25. e4+ {might be even stronger, for example} Kg4 26. Bc1
Kxh4 27. Nxh7 Rc3 28. Bg5+ Kg4 29. Rac1 {and the black king is in danger.}))
25. e4+ Kg4 26. Bc1 {A critical moment of the game.} Rc3 $6 {It looks logical
to swap off one of the active white pieces with} (26... Bf6 $5 {this however
gives an extra option for White} 27. Nxh7 Bxh4) ({Or} 26... Bh6 27. Be3 ({This
time} 27. Nxh7 {is not as good} Bxc1 28. Raxc1 Rxc1 29. Rxc1 Qd2 30. Rc7 Qe1+
31. Kh2 Qxf2 $17) 27... Bxg5 28. Bxg5 Rc3 29. Rac1 Rxc1 30. Rxc1 h6 31. Bxh6
Kxh4 32. Be3 {If anyone is better here it is only White.}) 27. Be3 $6 ({
Khismatullin missed a golden chance} 27. Nxh7 $1 {was extremely strong when he
could have created a mating net after} Kxh4 28. Bg5+ Kg4 29. Kh2 $1 {Diagram
[#]} Kh5 30. Rae1 Qa2 (30... Qc2 31. f3) (30... Qg4 31. f3) 31. g4+ (31. f3)
31... Kxg4 32. Rg1+ Kh5 33. Kg2 Kg4 34. Kf1+ Kh3 35. Rh1+ Kg4 36. Rh4+ Kf3 37.
Rh3+ Kg4 38. Rxc3 $18) 27... Kxh4 ({Black cannot play for checkmate himself}
27... Rxe3 28. fxe3 Kg3 29. Rf3+) 28. Nf3+ ({Also interesting is} 28. g3+ Kg4
29. Rae1 Qc4 30. f3+ {with the idea} Kxg3 ({But Black is fine after} 30... Kh5
$1 31. g4+ Kh4 32. Nxh7 Kg3 33. Bf2+ Kf4) 31. Bf2+ Kf4 32. Bh4 Qc8 33. Re2 {
and White wins.}) 28... Kh5 29. Rad1 Qc2 {Surprisingly, this is also a mistake.
} (29... Rxe3 30. fxe3 Qxe3+ 31. Rf2 Qxe4 32. Rd7 Bh6 33. Rxh7 Qe3 {would most
likely ended in a draw.}) 30. Rfe1 ({Dubov saw the move} 30. Rd7 {and intended
to defend with} Rc7 {In the time-trouble both players missed the fantastic
resource:} 31. Ne1 $3 (31. Rc1 $2 Qxc1+ 32. Bxc1 Rxd7 {was the line that Black
was hoping for.}) 31... Qc3 32. g4+ Kxg4 33. Rxc7 Qxc7 34. Kg2 $1 {[%csl Yg4]
[%cal Rf2f3,Rf1h1,Rh1h8] Diagram [#] When all of a sudden the black king is in
mating net. White should win after} Bf6 35. Rh1 Bh4 36. Nf3 g5 37. Nxg5 $1 Qc2
(37... Bxg5 38. f3#) 38. Nf3 Bg3 39. Rxh7 Qxe4 40. Rg7+ Kf5 41. Kxg3 $18) ({
Black is defending after} 30. Rd5 g5 $1 {with the tactical idea to take any of
the white light pieces at the moment he captures on g5.} 31. Nxg5 (31. Bxg5
Rxf3) (31. Nxe5 Qxe4 32. g4+ Kh4 33. Rd4 Qxe5 34. Kg2 Qxd4) 31... Rxe3) 30...
g5 31. Nh2 Rd3 32. Rc1 Qxa4 {Diagram [#]} 33. b6 $2 {Now White's attack slows
down and it is the material advantage which matters.} ({White should have
opted for} 33. Rc7 Kg6 34. Rxb7) 33... Kg6 34. Nf1 Qxe4 35. Rc7 a4 36. Rec1 a3
37. R1c4 Qd5 38. R4c5 Qd6 39. Rxb7 a2 40. Rc1 e4 41. Ra7 {The time trouble is
over and Blаck has enough time to convert the advantage.} a1=Q ({But not}
41... Ra3 42. b7 a1=Q 43. Rxa1 Rxa1 44. Rxa1 Bxa1 45. Ba7 Be5 46. b8=Q Qxb8 47.
Bxb8 Bxb8 48. Nd2 {[%csl Yd2,Re4,Yf2,Yg2,Rg5] Diagram [#] when in order to
draw White needs to give his knight and two pawns for the e4 and g5 pawns only.
}) 42. Raxa1 Bxa1 43. Rxa1 Rd1 44. Rxd1 Qxd1 45. b7 ({There is no fortress
after} 45. g3 h5 46. Kg2 h4 47. gxh4 gxh4 48. Nh2 Kh5 49. Kh3 Qh1 {zugzwang.})
45... Qb1 46. g4 Qxb7 {[%cal Gg6f6,Gf6e6,Ge6d5,Gd5c4,Gc4d3,Gd3e2] Diagram [#]
Next Dubov demonstrated neatly the winning plan. First the king goes all the
way to e2.} 47. Kg2 Qd7 48. Nh2 Qd1 49. Ba7 Kf6 50. Bb6 Ke5 51. Ba7 Kd5 52. Bb6
Kc4 53. Ba7 Kd3 54. Bb6 Ke2 55. Bc5 {Then the queen is transferred to the
kingside.} Qd7 56. Bb6 Qf7 57. Be3 h6 58. Bb6 h5 59. gxh5 Qxh5 60. Nf1 Qf3+ 61.
Kg1 Qh3 62. Ne3 Kf3 63. Bd4 g4 64. Be5 {Diagram [#] And last, the decisive
break comes.} g3 $1 {White resigned not willing to see} (64... g3 65. Bxg3
Qxg3+ 66. fxg3 Kxe3 67. g4 Kd2 $19) 0-1


Ashritha Eswaran Victorious in Tulsa

The USA girls under 20 championship took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the end of June. It was an all-play-all round robin closed event where ten of the best American girls competed. This year it was a qualifier for the USA women championship and thus the main reason for the very strong field.
The average USCF rating of the girls was above 2200 (2214 to be more precise) which made it the strongest ever championship. Three of the girls (Annie Wang, Jennifer Yu and Apurva Virkud) competed at the USA women championship this year, while Ashritha Eswaran made a debut at this prestigious event last year. What is greatly encouraging for the USA chess is that most of the participants are very young and have a lot of time and room for improvement.

The youngest participant Carissa Yip is only eleven years old and is already teaching chess (chess is a regular contributor to www.chesskid.com). These young girls are exceptional. All of them are A+ students and beside chess have a lot of side interests. Music, arts and reading are naturally above those, but other sports take serious part too. For instance Sarah Chiang holds a 3rd degree Black Belt in the Martial Arts of taekwondo!
I knew very little about Tulsa and am pretty much at the same level. One thing is sure- it is very hot and humid. We arrived in the evening before the first round, got at the hotel and then everything went in a flash. Nine rounds were played in five days and the pressure was enormous. I admire the girls for their stamina. And their fighting spirit, of course.
At the opening ceremony the USCF president Ruth Haring mentioned the contract according to which the players cannot draw before move thirty. They did not need it. From the total of 45 games that were played and only nine ended peacefully. None of them was short. The games were transmitted live on monroi.com

My student Ashritha Eswaran was the lowest rated player of the event (together with Agata Bykovtsev.) The intense school year did not contribute to her chess development and she dropped some rating points. She also lost her initial game, but this did not discourage her. We knew that at this championship anyone can beat everyone and that we have time to catch up with the leaders. At the beginning the tournament the lead was grabbed by Annie Wang and Agata Bykovtsev. However, Annie lost to Ashritha in round four and then allowed two more losses, while Agata slowly lost the point advantage in the middle of the event.

Our tournament was following an interesting schedule- loss, two wins, then again loss and two wins. Round seven was an improvement- a draw instead of the loss and then I was secretly hoping for the "regular" pair of wins. They really came- in round eight against the current world champion (under 12) Jennifer Yu and in the decisive last against game against Maggie Feng.
Before it Ashritha was leading with 5.5, while Maggie had 5 and the white pieces. The game was a mind-blower itself. Feng got completely won position, earned material but got into severe time trouble. The time control was 90 minutes for the whole game with thirty seconds increment and around move thirty Maggie was practically playing on increment only. Ashritha managed to swindle her in time trouble and win the game, thus claiming the title.
The closing ceremony was a bit unusual for an European. The girls received cash prices and the organizer Frank Berry asked them to carefully check the amount. There were no medals, nor trophies for the winners. Some additional cash prices went for best game, best combination and endgame.

Although Frank is a very experienced organizer this tournament cannot be called success. A lot of things can be improved and the girls hope that the next year's championship will take place in Saint Louis (as the boys' one) in an attempt to raise the interest towards the female chess in USA.


Perfect Play

Wesley So's slow start in Dortmund prevented him to play for the highest spot in the event. Despite the fact that he was the only player to defeat the future winner Fabiano Caruana he struggled to find his optimal play, but towards the end of the event he showed what he is capable of. His game against Vladimir Kramnik was one of the jewels in the event.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.07.05"]
[Round "7.2"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2778"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "151"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:26:58"]
[BlackClock "0:02:17"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {Diagram [#] Some years ago when Vladimir
Kramnik prepared the Berlin for his historical match with Garry Kasparov there
was a popular story in the chess circles. Kramnik's second and guiding light
in the line was GM Aleksej Aleksandrov of Belarus. His friends would regularly
ask him "Aleksej, what will happen after Garry tears your Berlin into small
pieces? You will be left with no Black opening?" To which he will reply "I am
not even sure that the move 1.e4 will exist after the match."} 4. O-O Nxe4 5.
d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Ne7 10. Nc3 Bd7 ({A recent
example goes} 10... h6 11. Ne4 b6 12. b3 Bd7 13. Bb2 Kc8 14. Rad1 a5 {Caruana,
F (2772)-Carlsen,M (2843) Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012}) ({While Kramnik previously
preferred} 10... Ng6) 11. Ng5 $146 {Diagram [#] Wesley So tries to prove that
it still exists.} ({In comparison, one of Aleksandrov's games saw} 11. Ne4 Ng6
12. Nfg5 Ke8 13. f4 Nh4 14. Kf2 Be7 15. Be3 h6 16. Nf3 Bf5 {Zhigalko,A (2600)
-Aleksandrov,A (2617) Minsk 2010}) 11... Ke8 12. e6 {The point behind White's
play. The typical pawn sacrifice opens the road for the white rooks.} Bxe6 ({
Better than} 12... fxe6 13. Re1 {when White regains the pawn at once.}) 13.
Nxe6 fxe6 14. Re1 Kf7 {[%csl Yc6,Yc7,Ye6][%cal Ge1e8,Gd1d8] Diagram [#] For
the pawn White has obvious compensation, but it is much more difficult to
regain it than it seems at a glance.} 15. Ne4 h6 16. Rd1 e5 {Black develops in
an active way.} (16... Ke8 $2 {drops the pawn after} 17. Nc5) ({There was
another possibility} 16... Nd5 {when} 17. c4 Nf6 18. Nxf6 Kxf6 19. Bd2 {is
compensation for a pawn without much risk for White.} (19. Rd7 Bd6)) 17. Rd7
Rc8 18. Bd2 b6 ({Once more} 18... Ke6 $2 19. Nc5+ {is bad for Black.}) ({And}
18... Ke8 19. Rd3 Rd8 20. Rxd8+ Kxd8 {was possible with approximate equality
after both} 21. Bc3 ({Or} 21. Nc5 Kc8 22. Re1 Ng6 23. Nd3 Bd6 24. Bc3 Re8)
21... Ng6 22. Rd1+ Kc8) 19. Re1 {In the following stage of the game both
players find optimal moves. White develops naturally and puts pressure in the
center, Black carefully finishes the development of his troops.} Ke6 20. Rd3 c5
21. f4 Nc6 22. Rg3 Re8 {[%csl Ge8][%cal Ge8e6,Ge6e5] Diagram [#] An excellent
defensive move.} 23. fxe5 ({The point of Black's maneuver is revealed in the
line} 23. Rg6+ Kd7 24. Rd1 Re6) 23... g5 $5 {Kramnik sacrifices the pawn back
and takes the initiative. This is better than} (23... Nxe5 24. Bc3 ({Similar is
} 24. Nf2 Kd7 25. Bc3 Nc6 26. Rxe8 Kxe8 27. Bxg7 Bxg7 28. Rxg7) 24... Kd7 25.
Nd2 Nc6 26. Rxe8 Kxe8 27. Bxg7 Bxg7 (27... Rg8 28. Re3+) 28. Rxg7 Kd8 {and
White is better in the arising endgame.}) 24. h4 Bg7 25. hxg5 Bxe5 26. Rf3 hxg5
27. Bxg5 ({Simlar to the game is} 27. Nxg5+ Kd7) ({While the computer suggest
the curious} 27. Nf6 $5 {to take away the d7 and d5 squares of the black king,
and thus win time to stop Be5-d4 check. The game is about even after} Re7 28.
c3) 27... Bd4+ 28. Nf2+ Kd5 {[%csl Yg1][%cal Ge8e1,Gh8h1,Rd4g1] Diagram [#]
Now Black enjoys some pressure although there is nothing concrete yet.} 29. Rd1
Rhg8 {If Black wants, he can force a draw with} (29... Ne5 30. Rf5 Rhf8 31.
Rxf8 Rxf8 32. c3 Rxf2 33. cxd4 Ng4 34. dxc5+ Kxc5 35. Rd2 $11) 30. Bf4 Re2 {
Kramnik sacrifices a piece. Instead:} (30... Kc4 31. c3 Bxf2+ 32. Kxf2 Ne5 33.
Bxe5 Rxe5 $11 {was a draw.}) 31. c3 Rxb2 32. cxd4 Nxd4 33. Be3 Rxa2 34. Rf4 Ra4
{For the piece Black has three pawns and this is usually more valuable in the
endgames. Any of the three can become a queen, something that the knight is
obviously not capable of. On the other hand White's forces are very active
and the pawns too far from the promotional squares.} 35. Ne4 {[%csl Yd5][%cal
Rd1d5,Rf4d4,Rf4a4] Diagram [#] The pin is annoying, which means that Black may
part with one of his pawns.} Kc6 36. Nc3 Ra3 37. Bxd4 cxd4 38. Ne2 d3 {This
one went too far from the supporting team and will be soon off-board.} 39. Rf3
Ra2 40. Nf4 d2 41. Kf2 b5 42. Rc3+ Kb7 43. Nd5 Rg7 44. Rb3 a6 45. Nb4 Ra4 46.
Rxd2 {[%csl Ga6,Gb5,Gc7] Diagram [#] White won one of the pawns but the
remaining started moving.} c5 47. Nd5 Rd7 ({Also good is} 47... Rag4 48. Ne3
Rf7+ 49. Ke2 (49. Kg1 Re4) 49... Re4 $11) 48. Rf3 {So finds a very nice way to
activate his pieces.} Re4 ({In the line} 48... Rd4 49. Rxd4 cxd4 50. Rf5 {the
d pawn gets separated fro the remaining pawns. We already know what happens in
similar situations.}) 49. Rf6 $1 {Creates a strong hidden threat.} Ka7 $1 {
Which Kramnik avoids.} ({For example, the natural} 49... c4 50. Rb6+ Ka7 51.
Ra2 $1 {[%csl Ra7] Diagram [#] will lead to mate.}) 50. Rd3 $1 {One more great
maneuver to improve the second rook and saev it from the pin.} c4 ({The rook
is defended in the line} 50... Re5 51. Nb4 Rxd3 52. Nxd3 Rd5 53. Nf4) 51. Rh3
$1 Rd4 ({Thanks to the active rook, the knight is untouchable} 51... Rxd5 $4
52. Rh7+ Kb8 53. Rf8+ {Diagram [#]}) 52. Nb4 R4d6 53. Rhh6 Rxf6+ 54. Rxf6 {
White did great and forced his opponent into defense.} Rd2+ 55. Kf3 {Diagram
[#] So's play in the endgame is perfect and his opponent starts to experience
problems. But Black's resources are not over yet.} a5 ({One way to defend the
position was} 55... Kb7 $5 {with the idea} 56. Nxa6 (56. Rxa6 $6 {will still
lead to a draw but it will be White who has to find it after} Rb2 57. Nd3 cxd3
58. Rd6 d2 59. Ke2 $11) 56... c3 57. Nc5+ Kc7 58. Nb3 c2 $11) 56. Ra6+ Kb7 57.
Rxa5 {A second pawn disappears from the pawn and nevertheless, Black is still
not losing.} Kb6 58. Ra2 Rd7 59. Ra8 Kc5 {It is only after this move that we
can say definitely that Black is in trouble. Instead Kramnik should have opted
for} (59... Rf7+ $1 {[%csl Gb5,Gc4,Yf3,Rg2][%cal Gf3e3,Gf3g3,Gc4c3,Gb5b4]
Diagram [#] In order to force the white king to make a decision. Since it is
needed for both kingside support and to help in the fight against the passers
the game should stay undecided. For example} 60. Ke3 Rg7 $1 61. Nd5+ ({Or} 61.
Kf2 Rf7+ 62. Kg1 Kc5 {and in comparison to the game the white king is far away.
}) 61... Kc5 62. Nf4 Re7+ 63. Kd2 Rd7+ 64. Kc2 b4 {Now the white king does not
help the g pawn and Black should be able to capture it in return for his two
pawns at some moment.}) 60. Nc2 $1 {White achieved the perfect queenside
set-up.} Rc7 61. Rf8 c3 (61... b4 62. Rf5+ {drops the pawn at once.}) 62. Rf5+
Kb6 ({Or} 62... Kc4 63. Ne3+ Kb3 (63... Kb4 $2 64. Nd5+) 64. Rxb5+) 63. g4 {
Diagram [#] The black pawns are stopped and the white one is faster.} Ka5 64.
g5 Ka4 65. Ke3 Rd7 {Nothing changes} (65... Re7+ 66. Kd3 Rd7+ 67. Nd4 c2 68.
Rf1) ({Nor} 65... Kb3 66. Kd3) 66. g6 b4 67. Rf4 Kb3 68. Nxb4 Re7+ 69. Re4 Rg7
{The pawn endgame is lost for one tempo} (69... Rxe4+ 70. Kxe4 Kxb4 71. Kd3 Kb3
72. g7 c2 73. g8=Q+ {check!}) 70. Rg4 Re7+ 71. Kf3 Rg7 72. Nc6 Rg8 73. g7 c2
74. Nd4+ Kc4 75. Nxc2+ Kd5 76. Rg6 {Diagram [#] A great achievement for Wesley
So who managed to outplay Vladimir Kramnik on his own territory!} 1-0



Untypical Miss

Vladimir Kramnik is famous for his great technique, but even the best can sometimes miss a chance. This is exactly what happened in his game against Liviu- Dieter Nisipeanu from round six of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "43rd GM 2015"]
[Site "Dortmund GER"]
[Date "2015.07.04"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Kramnik, V."]
[Black "Nisipeanu, LD."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A13"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2654"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Doggers"]
[PlyCount "165"]
[EventDate "2015.06.26"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. e3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. b3 c5 5. Bb2 Nc6 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bb5 Bd6 8. d4
{It is curious that so far Vladimir Kramnik follows a game of his great rival
Veselin Topalov.} cxd4 ({Nisipeanu deviates from this game, which went} 8...
O-O 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. O-O Bg4 11. Nc3 Rc8 12. Rc1 a6 {and here instead of} 13.
Be2 {that was played in the game, White had the strong shot} (13. Nxd5 $1 Qxd5
14. Qxd5 Nxd5 15. Rxc5 Ncb4 (15... axb5 16. Rxd5) 16. Rxc8 Rxc8 17. Bc4 {with
an extra pawn.}) 13... Ba7 14. h3 Bh5 15. Nh4 Bg6 16. Nxg6 hxg6 {Topalov,V
(2793)-Karjakin,S (2767) Stavanger 2013}) 9. Nxd4 O-O 10. O-O Qc7 11. h3 $146 {
[%csl Rg4][%cal Rh3g4] Diagram [#] A logical novelty which prevents the
possible pin of the Nf3. In comparison the stem game saw} (11. Nf3 $6 Bg4 $1
12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. Nc3 ({Or else White loses the exchange} 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Qxf3
Be5) 13... Bxh2+ 14. Kh1 Be5 15. Nxd5 Qd6 16. Nf4 Bxf4 17. exf4 Qxf4 18. Bxc6
bxc6 {when Black was on top, Agzamov,G (2485)-Geller,E (2545) Yerevan 1982})
11... Bh2+ 12. Kh1 Be5 13. Qc2 Bd7 14. Nf3 $1 {[%csl Yb2,Ye5] Diagram [#] The
trade of the dark-squred bishop is huge achievement for the side which plays
against the isolated d5 pawn. This significanlty lowers the attacking
potential of the black pieces and guarantees the strong d4 outpost for the
white pieces.} Bxb2 15. Qxb2 {Kramnik got the type of position he loves most.
Slight advantage without any risk. Now the inquisition begins.} Rac8 16. Rc1 {
An accurate move. In comparison, the immediate} (16. Nc3 $6 {allows
counterplay along the c file after} Ne5 $1 17. Nxe5 (17. Bxd7 $2 Nxf3 18. gxf3
Qxd7 19. Kg2 d4 $1 {will see White's position in flames.}) 17... Qxe5 18. Bxd7
Rxc3 19. Bb5 Rxe3 $1 (19... Rfc8 $5)) 16... Qd6 17. Nc3 Ne5 ({White is also
slightly better after} 17... Ne4 18. Bxc6 Bxc6 19. Nd4 $14) 18. Be2 Nxf3 19.
Bxf3 Qe5 20. Qd2 Be6 {[%csl Rd5,Ye6][%cal Ye6d5] Diagram [#]} ({It looks as
the c6 square is better for the bishop} 20... Bc6 21. Ne2 (21. Rd1 Ne4) 21...
Ne4 22. Bxe4 (22. Qe1 Rfe8) 22... dxe4 23. Rc3 Rfd8 {with chances for
counterplay along the open file. Black can also try to lift a rook along the
sixth rank.}) 21. Nb5 Bd7 22. Qd4 {Kramnik's play against the isolated pawn is
a classical exmple of what to do in these positions. First he trades a pair of
light pieces, then the queens, thus completely immobilizing the d pawn.} (22.
Nxa7 $4 {self-traps the knight} Ra8) 22... Qxd4 23. Nxd4 a5 ({Black could have
slowed down his opponent's plan with the move} 23... h5 $5) 24. g4 $1 {This
pawn is more than annoying as it always threatens to kick the black knight
away from the isolani.} h6 ({This is what can happen if Black does not pay
respect to the white pawn} 24... Rxc1+ 25. Rxc1 Rc8 26. Rxc8+ Bxc8 27. g5 Ne4
28. Bxe4 dxe4 29. Kh2 {followed by a king march to f4 and e4.}) 25. Kg2 Rxc1
26. Rxc1 Rc8 {[%csl Gc1,Gc8] Diagram [#]} 27. Rb1 $1 {The signature of a great
master. White needs the rook to pressurize the pawn on d5 and voluntarily
gives away the open file. Please, not though that there are no entry squares
for the black rook there.} Ra8 ({It made sense to bring the king to center as
soon as possible.} 27... Kf8 $5) 28. Ne2 {Bent Larsen once said that the
isolated pawns have to be taken, not blocked. This is one of those cases.} g5 {
Stops the knight from the f4 square, but there is another one.} 29. Nc3 Be6 30.
Rd1 Rd8 31. e4 $1 {[%csl Yd5] Diagram [#] Reveals the point behind the move 27.
Rb1! The isolated pawn cannot survive.} d4 32. Kg3 (32. Nb5 d3 {complicates
matters.}) ({But White can win the pawn with} 32. Rd3 {as well.}) 32... Rc8 ({
White has to be careful not to fall in a trap after the crafty} 32... Kg7 33.
Nb5 ({The automatic} 33. Rd3 $4 {will lead to a cold shower as} dxc3 34. Rxd8 {
is not coming with a check and Black promotes after} c2) 33... d3 34. e5 $1 {
with large advantage for White.}) 33. Nb5 Nd7 34. Nxd4 {White won a pawn and
the rest should be "a matter of technique."Indeed, the former world champion
plays flawlessly until a certain point.} Ne5 35. Be2 Rc3+ 36. f3 Kg7 37. Rd2
Kf6 38. Nf5 $1 {[%csl Ye6,Gf5] Diagram [#] It seems illogical to trade the
super-knight and to leave the bishop. However, 1) This destroys Black's
defensive central set-up. 2) There are not bad bishops as even the worst
bishop can be always traded for a knight (Kasparov).} Bxf5 (38... Kg6 39. Nd6)
39. exf5 Ke7 40. Rd5 Nc6 41. Bb5 b6 42. h4 f6 43. Bxc6 {There you go!} Rxc6 44.
hxg5 hxg5 45. a4 Rc3 46. Rb5 Rc6 47. f4 $1 Rc3+ 48. Kf2 gxf4 49. Rxb6 Kf7 {
After a fantastic endgame it's time to cash in, but from this point Kramnik
seems to be missing a few chances to win.} 50. b4 ({White could also play} 50.
Rb5 Kg7 51. Rxa5 Rxb3 52. Ra8 {[%cal Ga4a5,Ga5a6,Ga6a7,Yg4g5,Rf5f6,Rf6f7,Rf7f8]
Diagram [#] with the idea to put the pawn on a7 and then play g4-g5 to create
a (winning) f-pawn:} Ra3 53. a5 Kh7 54. a6 Kg7 ({a bit more complicated is}
54... Kh6 55. a7 Ra2+ 56. Ke1 Ra1+ 57. Kd2 Ra2+ 58. Kd1 Ra1+ 59. Kc2 Kg7 60.
Kd2 Ra2+ 61. Ke1 Ra1+ 62. Kf2 Ra2+ 63. Kf3 Ra3+ 64. Kxf4) 55. a7 Ra4 56. g5 $1
fxg5 57. f6+ $1 Kf7 {and now the standard trick that White was playing for all
along:} 58. Rh8 $1 Rxa7 59. Rh7+) 50... Rc2+ 51. Kf3 Rc3+ (51... Ra2 52. b5
Rxa4 53. Rb7+ Kf8 54. Ra7 Rb4 55. Rxa5 Kg7 56. Ra7+ Kh6 57. Ra8 $1 Kg7 (57...
Rxb5 58. Rg8) 58. Rb8 {and again White will create a free f-pawn.}) 52. Kf2 $6
({The win is} 52. Kxf4 Ra3 (52... Rc4+ 53. Kf3 {I suspect that Kramnik missed
in the line} axb4 (53... Rc3+ 54. Ke2 axb4 55. Rxb4 Ra3 56. Kd2) 54. a5 Rc3+
55. Ke4 $1 Ra3 56. a6 b3 {that he does not need to trade the pawns and has the
move} 57. Kd3 $1 {with the idea Rb6-b7+ followed by a6-a7 and wins.}) 53. g5 $1
{Diagram [#]} fxg5+ 54. Kxg5 Rxa4 (54... Rg3+ 55. Kh4 Ra3 56. b5 Rxa4+ 57. Kg5)
55. Rb7+ Ke8 56. b5 Ra1 57. Ra7 Rb1 58. Rxa5 {is a theoretical win.}) 52...
Rc2+ 53. Ke1 Rc1+ 54. Kd2 f3 55. Ke3 Rc3+ 56. Kf2 axb4 57. Rxb4 Kg7 58. Kg3 $2
{After this superficial analysis the conclusion is that Kramnik only gave away
the win with this move.} (58. Rb8 $1 Rc4 (58... Ra3 59. Ra8 Kf7 60. a5 {can be
compared to the note to White's 50th move.}) 59. a5 Rxg4 60. Kxf3 Ra4 61. Rb5
Kf8 62. Ke3 Ke7 {and now} 63. Rd5 $1 {[%csl Ye7][%cal Ge3d3,Gd3c3,Gc3b3,Gb3b4,
Gb4b5,Rd1d8] Diagram [#] looks like a winning ending:} Rc4 64. Kd3 Rc1 65. Kd4
Rc6 66. Rb5 Ra6 67. Kc5) 58... Ra3 59. Rb7+ Kh6 60. Ra7 f2+ $1 {Diagram [#]}
61. Kxf2 Kg5 62. Ke2 Kxg4 63. Ra5 Kf4 64. Kd2 Ke4 65. Kc2 Kd4 66. Ra6 Rc3+ (
66... Ke5 67. Kb2 Rg3 68. Ra5+ Kd4 $11) 67. Kb2 Rc4 68. Ra5 Rb4+ 69. Ka3 Kc4 {
Diagram [#]} 70. Ra6 Rb3+ 71. Ka2 Rb4 72. Ra8 Kc5 73. Ka3 Rf4 74. Rb8 Rf1 75.
Rb5+ Kc4 76. Kb2 Rf2+ 77. Kb1 Kc3 78. a5 Kc4 79. Rb7 Rxf5 80. a6 Ra5 81. a7 Kc5
82. Rf7 Kb6 83. Kc2 {Diagram [#]} 1/2-1/2



Wesley and the Kingside

It is always a great day for chess when two creative players meet over the board. In Dortmund this happened at round five and the game in question was between Wesley So and Ian Nepomniachtchi:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "43rd GM 2015"]
[Site "Dortmund GER"]
[Date "2015.07.03"]
[Round "5"]
[White "So, W."]
[Black "Nepomniachtchi, I."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E60"]
[WhiteElo "2778"]
[BlackElo "2720"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2015.06.26"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 {This Anti-Gruenfeld line is extremely popular
nowadays.} e6 {Diagram [#] A very interesting way to get into another opening.}
4. e4 c5 ({Another Gruenfeld specialists has passion for the original} 4... d5
$5 {One recent example of his saw} 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Nc3 dxe4 7. fxe4 Bb4 8. Bd3
Nxe4 $1 9. Qe2 O-O 10. Bxe4 Re8 {with wild complications in Giri,A (2750)
-Vachier Lagrave,M (2766) Biel 2014}) 5. d5 d6 6. Nc3 {Now the game transposes
into the Benoni.} ({Bogdanovich played instead} 6. Ne2 {against Nepomniachtchi
but failed to impress with opening advantage} Bg7 7. Nec3 Nh5 8. Be3 exd5 9.
cxd5 f5 10. Bb5+ Nd7 11. exf5 gxf5 12. f4 Nhf6 $1 13. O-O Ng4 {and Black was
happy in Bogdanovich,S (2581)-Nepomniachtchi,I (2714) Moscow 2015}) 6... Bg7 7.
Nge2 exd5 8. cxd5 O-O 9. Ng3 a6 {Diagram [#]} ({I have the feeling that the
immediate} 9... h5 {is more accurate. But that is a matter of taste.}) 10. a4
h5 11. Be2 {Most commonly White prefers the move 11.Bg5 in this situation.} ({
One more recent example in this line goes} 11. Bg5 {seems unpleasant for Black,
but he can easily get rid of the bishop, with a tempo} Qc7 12. Be2 Nh7 13. Be3
h4 14. Nf1 f5 15. exf5 gxf5 16. f4 Nf6 17. Bf2 Re8 18. Bxh4 Ne4 19. Ra3 Qa5 {
1/2-1/2 (19) Aronian,L (2770)-Ding,L (2755) Tsaghkadzor 2015}) 11... Qe8 $146 {
Diagram [#] Nepomniachtchi played this novelty in a flash. The queen moves
away from the possible pin on g5.} ({Practically all previous games continued}
11... h4 {Right now, before the knight gets the h1 square! The knight on f1 is
somewhat misplaced while from h1 it easily gets to f2 to overprotect the e4
pawn. One example} 12. Nf1 Nbd7 13. Bg5 h3 14. gxh3 Rb8 15. Ng3 Qb6 {with
counterplay for Black in Ivanchuk,V (2733)-Bacrot,E (2730) Cap d'Agde 2013})
12. Bf4 $1 {So wants to prove that the queen sortie was premature.} ({A
natural reply would be} 12. O-O h4 13. Nh1 Nh5 14. Nf2 {with somewhat better
position for White.}) ({Black's idea is revealed in the line} 12. Bg5 Nh7 13.
Bf4 (13. Be3 f5) 13... h4 14. Nf1 Qe7 {followed by f7-f5 and possibly g6-g5.})
12... Qe7 13. Bg5 Qe8 {Black lost a couple of tempoes, but he intends to take
back one of them with the mauver Nf6-h7. Creativeness is a good thing, but
tempoes are tempoes.} (13... Nbd7 14. Qd2 {is not what Black was hoping for.})
14. Qd2 Nbd7 15. Bh6 $6 {Possibly a bit premature. White had good alternatives
in his disposal. Both} (15. a5 $5) ({and} 15. O-O $5 {lead to slight advantage
to White.}) 15... Qe5 $1 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Bd3 $6 {So frees the e2 square for
the g3 knight and prevents the unpleasant check on d4. Still, this looks
rather slow.} ({In case of} 17. O-O Qd4+ $1 {[%csl Yc3] Diagram [#]} 18. Qxd4
cxd4 19. Na2 h4 {Black has no problems whatsoever.}) ({Thus} 17. Nf1 {although
as said before the knight is not extremely happy on f2.}) 17... Rb8 {Prepares
the standard b7-b5 break.} (17... h4 18. Nge2 {is also OK for Black.}) 18. Rd1
({Once again White cannot castle due to} 18. O-O Qd4+ 19. Rf2 Ne5 $17) 18...
Re8 19. Be2 {White admits his mistake.} (19. O-O $6 {[%csl Yd3][%cal Re5d4]
Diagram [#] leads to Black's advantage after} Qd4+ 20. Rf2 Ne5 21. Bc2 Qxd2 22.
Rfxd2 Nc4 (22... b5 $1 {might be even better.})) 19... h4 20. Nf1 h3 {
Nepomniachtchi can be happy with his opening idea. He had equalized at least.}
({Safer was} 20... Nh5 21. Ne3 Nf4 $11 {not pushing the "h" pawn too far.}) 21.
g4 b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. Ng3 b4 ({Another way to play the position is} 23... c4
$5 24. b4 ({Or} 24. f4 Qe7 25. g5 Nh7 26. O-O Nc5 27. e5 dxe5 28. d6 Qb7 {with
huge complications.}) 24... cxb3 {with counterplay.}) 24. Na4 {If anything,
White will get some time to finish his development.} Ra8 25. b3 Ba6 {And Black
is also happy to trade his light-squared bishop. All in all the position
remains balanced.} 26. Bxa6 Rxa6 27. O-O {[%cal Ge1g1] Diagram [#] White
catsles on move 27! His plan is to attack on the kingside, while Black should
look for a way to get counter-play on the other wing.} Rea8 28. f4 Qe7 $6 {The
first inaccuracy by Black in this game.} ({Strong was to get into an endgame
and to kill any kingside attack before it had even started} 28... Qd4+ $1 {
However in the line} 29. Qxd4 cxd4 30. g5 (30. Rxd4 Nxg4 $17) 30... Ng4 31.
Rxd4 Nc5 32. Nxc5 ({Safer is} 32. Rxb4 Nxb3 33. Rxb3 Rxa4 34. Rb2 Ra2 {
although here too Black has more than enough for the pawn and does not risk to
lose.}) {Black had to foresee the fantastic resource} 32... Ra2 $3 {[%csl Ra2,
Yg1][%cal Ra2g2,Rg2h2] Diagram [#] after which White has no salvation!} 33. Na4
Rg2+ 34. Kh1 Rxh2+ 35. Kg1 Rg2+ 36. Kh1 Rxg3 {with winning position for Black.}
) 29. Qe2 Nh7 30. Rf3 {So nicely regroups his forces and is ready to pick up
the h3 pawn.} (30. g5 $5 {not to allow the queen on h4 was perhaps better.})
30... Qh4 31. Kh1 $3 {[%csl Yg7,Yh4][%cal Rg1g7] Diagram [#] A crafty move
which White should have foreseen in advance. Black is in trouble and the lack
of time on his clock does not help him find the best moves.} c4 $2 {Not the
most optimal decision. So is happy to see the "g" file opened for his rooks.} (
{The pawn on g4 is poisoned} 31... Qxg4 32. Nf5+ $1 gxf5 33. Rg3 {as the queen
will be lost.}) ({If Black moves the king out of the check} 31... Kg8 {White
will simply continue with his attack} 32. Rg1 $1 {as} Qxg4 33. Nf5 $1 {is once
more crushing for him} Qh5 34. Qf1 $1 {and White wins.}) (31... Nb6 $1 {[%csl
Yd1][%cal Ra8a1] Diagram [#] was mandatory to open the "a" file asap and to
find counterplay along it. For example} 32. Nxb6 Rxb6 33. Rg1 Rba6 34. g5 Ra2
35. Qf1 Ra1 (35... Rc2) 36. Qxa1+ Rxa1 37. Rxa1 Qg4 {with counterplay.}) 32.
Qxc4 Qxg4 33. Qd3 Kf8 ({It is already late to open the file} 33... Nc5 34. Nxc5
({But not} 34. Qd4+ $2 Nf6 35. Nxc5 $4 Qxf3+ 36. Kg1 Qg2#) 34... dxc5 35. Rg1
Ra1 36. Nf1 $1 Qh4 37. e5 {is huge advantage for White.}) 34. Rg1 Rxa4 {
Desperation. Or else White will mount further pressure with} (34... Nhf6 35.
Qf1) 35. bxa4 Nc5 36. Qe3 Rxa4 37. Nf5 $1 {[%csl Yg4] Diagram [#] White wins
the queen and the game.} gxf5 ({The black queen is trapped after} 37... Qh5 38.
Rxh3) ({White the tricky} 37... Ra1 {is met by} 38. Rfg3 $1 (38. Rxa1 $4 Qg2#)
38... Rxg1+ 39. Rxg1 Qh5 40. Nxd6 {with a win.}) 38. Rxg4 fxg4 39. Rf1 Nf6 40.
e5 Nfe4 41. f5 $1 {Diagram [#] The time control is over and So energetically
wrpas up the game.} Ra2 (41... dxe5 42. Qh6+ Ke7 43. f6+ Kd6 44. Qf8+ Kxd5 45.
Qxf7+ $18) 42. e6 g3 43. hxg3 Ke8 44. g4 h2 45. Qh3 f6 46. g5 Nxg5 47. Qh8+ Ke7
48. Qg7+ Ke8 49. Qxf6 {Diagram [#]} 1-0