Shamkir Starts with Two Decisive Games

The first round of the super tournament in memory of Vugar Gashimov Shamkir started with two white wins and three draws. The former world champion Vladimir Kramnik won in his trademark style against the English GM Michael Adams.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.17"]
[Round "1.2"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2746"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:31"]
[BlackClock "0:00:05"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. d4 {It seems as the
Catalan is an opening specifically designed for Vladimir Kramnik. Small, but
lasting edge, no couterplay at all for the opponent, this suits his style
perfectly fine.} dxc4 7. Ne5 Nc6 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. Nxc6 Qe8 10. Nxe7+ Qxe7 {
Kramnik had tried this line twice at two different Candidates tournament.} 11.
Na3 {[%csl Yc4][%cal Ga3c4] Diagram [#] This is what he also did against Anand
in Khanty an year ago.} ({Against the future world champion he tried} 11. Qc2
e5 12. Rd1 Rb8 13. Nc3 h6 14. dxe5 Qxe5 15. Bf4 Qe7 16. Rd4 Be6 17. Rad1 {with
slight edge for White, Kramnik,V (2810)-Carlsen,M (2872) London 2013}) ({The
main move remains} 11. Qa4) 11... c5 ({Marin's recommendation was recently
tested by Naroditsky} 11... Rd8 12. Qc2 Rxd4 13. Nxc4 Qc5 14. b3 Rd8 15. Ba3
Qh5 16. f3 {although Black managed to win later, the opening seems to favor
White, Kjartansson,G (2439)-Naroditsky,D (2601) Saint Louis 2014}) 12. dxc5
Qxc5 13. Be3 Qc6 $146 {[%csl Rg2][%cal Rb7g2] Diagram [#] A novelty. It has
been though already mentioned by GM Marin as well.} ({Taken by surprise in
Khanty Anand chose} 13... Qh5 14. f3 c3 $1 15. bxc3 Qa5 16. Qc1 Ba6 17. c4 Rac8
{and kept the game leveled, Kramnik- Anand, FIDE Candidates, Khanty Mansiysk
2014. Or perhaps this was a perfect preparation by Black?}) ({Nakamura solved
the opening problems after} 13... Qb4 14. Qc1 Ba6 15. Bd4 Rfd8 16. Rd1 Rac8 17.
Qc3 Qa4 18. Qc2 Qxc2 19. Nxc2 c3 20. Bxc3 Rxd1+ 21. Rxd1 Bxe2 {Aronian,L (2797)
-Nakamura,H (2767) Saint Louis 2014}) 14. Rc1 Bb7 15. f3 Ba6 ({The
counter-attacking attempt fails after} 15... Ng4 16. Bd4 e5 17. Rxc4 Qh6 18.
fxg4 $16) 16. Nxc4 Bxc4 17. Qd4 {An improvement upon Marin's line that goes} (
17. b3 Bxb3 (17... Bxe2 {might be better}) 18. Rxc6 Bxd1 19. Rxd1 {with slight
advantage for White (Marin).}) 17... Rfc8 $6 {This does not seem optimal.
Critical is the queen sacrifice after} (17... Nd5 $5 18. Rxc4 {Diagram [#]}
Qxc4 $1 19. Qxc4 Nxe3 20. Qa6 Nxf1 21. Kxf1 {White has a queen and a pawn for
the two rooks and chances for the advantage, but the rooks seem quite strong
as well.}) 18. b3 Qa6 19. bxc4 Qxa2 20. Kf2 $14 {Now White is a little better.
His pieces are more centralized and the bishop is clearly stronger than the
knight.} (20. Bg5 $5 {at once is also interesting.}) 20... a5 21. Bg5 {This
move is definitely part of White's plan but White should have prepared it with}
(21. Rfd1 $14) 21... e5 $1 {Strong play by Adams who almost equalizes after
this.} 22. Qd6 ({Naturally not} 22. Qxe5 $2 Re8) 22... Rd8 23. Qb6 {Diagram [#]
} Rab8 $6 {It is somewhat reliefing that even at the top level players tend to
chose the wrong rook. After the correct:} (23... Rdb8 $1 {White will lack the
nice resource that he used in the game. He will still be somewhat better after}
24. Qe3 ({Or} 24. Qc6 Rc8 25. Qb5 Rab8 26. Ra1 Rxb5 27. Rxa2 Rxc4 28. Rfa1 $11)
24... a4 25. Bxf6 gxf6 26. c5 a3 27. c6 Qb2 28. c7 Rc8 29. Rc4 {but Adams
would have decent chances for a draw.}) 24. Rfd1 $1 {Kramnik immediately
seizes the chance to occupy the open file with a tempo.} Re8 ({Alas, the queen
is untouchable} 24... Rxb6 25. Rxd8+ Ne8 26. Rxe8#) 25. Qe3 a4 ({In the line}
25... Re6 26. Bxf6 Rxf6 27. Qxe5 {Black has no time to play Rf6-e6 as the
other one hangs.}) 26. Bxf6 gxf6 27. Qe4 {Kramnik opened the enemy king and
now intends to combine the threats against the king with the advance of the
passed c pawn. Black's defense is extremely difficult.} ({The computer claims
that a better idea is to push at once} 27. c5 {but Kramnik remained true to
his style and avoided any counter-play connected with} e4) 27... a3 28. Rd7 {
Diagram [#] The culmination of the game.} Rbd8 $2 {Once again Adams chooses
the wrong rook!} (28... Red8 {would have been better, keeping both the open
files under control. If Black manages to trade a pair of rooks, he would
survive.} 29. Rcd1 (29. Ra7 Qb2 {and there is no Rc1-b1!}) 29... Rxd7 30. Rxd7
Qb3 {Compare this position with the one after 30...Qc3 from below.}) 29. Ra7 $1
Qb2 30. Rb1 {Two rooks in the attack and a queen can paint plenty of checkmate
pictures...} f5 {Desperation, but there was no way out.} ({Like the one after}
30... Qc3 31. Rxf7 $1 {[%csl Rg8][%cal Gb1b7,Ge4h7] Diagram [#]} Kxf7 32. Rb7+
{This is the difference. One rook is destroying the king's castle, the second
one assists the queen. Black is checkmated after both} {and} Kf8 (32... Ke6 33.
Qc6+ Kf5 34. g4+ Kg6 (34... Kg5 35. Rg7+ Kh4 36. Qxf6+ Kh3 37. Qh6#) 35. Qe4+)
33. Qxh7) 31. Rxb2 fxe4 32. Rxa3 Rd4 33. Rc2 Rc8 34. c5 exf3 35. Rxf3 {Kramnik
won a pawn and all his pieces are ideally placed.} Rc6 36. Rd3 Rxd3 37. exd3 f5
38. d4 $1 {[%csl Yc6][%cal Gf2e2,Ge2d3,Gd3d4,Gd4d5] Opens the road for the
king. Black resigned after} exd4 39. Ke2 {An excellent start for the former
world champion!} 1-0

Full report by Peter Doggers.


The Move of the Year?

The EICC finished yesterday in Jerusalem and as far as I can see from the various pictures, great coverage of the event and thoughts shared in internet it was a greatly organized event.
It is hard to say which of the games played in Jerusalem was the best, everyone will definitely has his/her own preferences.
The following game however is special. It was played in a crucial moment, round ten of the event and the winner was receiving a chance to play for the title. It was also crowned by a spectacular move which will stay in the treasury of the chess world.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "European Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.03.06"]
[Round "10.3"]
[White "Khismatullin, Denis"]
[Black "Eljanov, Pavel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2653"]
[BlackElo "2727"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:02:23"]
[BlackClock "0:02:39"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 {The Nimtzo-Indian Defense is a good sign that a
complicated, tough battle is about to come.} 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2 Re8 6. a3 Bf8 7.
Ng3 d5 8. Be2 a6 {Eljanov chooses the more complicated continuation. The
capture} (8... dxc4 {leads to a symmetrical play and offers better chances of
equality to the second player-} 9. O-O c5 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. Bxc4 {Kuzubov,Y
(2661)-Kryvoruchko,Y (2706) Lvov 2014}) 9. O-O c5 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. cxd5 $146 {
[%cal Gc4d5] Diagram [#] Previously only} (11. b4 {had been checked with
promising position for White after} Ba7 12. Qc2 dxc4 13. Bxc4 Qc7 14. Bd3 Nbd7
15. Bb2 {El Debs,F (2514)-Henriquez Villagra,C (2466) Praia da Pipa 2014})
11... exd5 12. Bf3 {A somewhat strange version of the IQP arised. The white
knight normally stays on f3 in these positions, and the bishop is on e2. The
different positions of these pieces have their pros and cons. For instance, a
knight on f3 would make it harder for Black to break in the center with d5-d4,
but will allow a chance to the black bishop to get on g4. On the other hand
the white bishop on f3 is far more active than on e2.} Be6 {A natural desire
of the isolated pawn is to go forward. However after} (12... d4 13. Nce4 Bb6
14. exd4 Bxd4 15. Bf4 $1 {White will have big lead in the development and if
Black dares to take the pawn with} Bxb2 $6 {He will get smothered after} 16.
Ra2 $1 Nxe4 17. Nxe4 Bf6 18. Rd2 Nd7 19. Nd6 {with domination of the white
pieces.}) 13. b4 Bd6 14. Bb2 {The pawn is untouchable due to} (14. Nxd5 $2 Bxg3
15. Nxf6+ Qxf6 {when the rook is hanging on a1.}) 14... Be5 {Eljanov decided
to get rid of the bishop as it was idirectly helping the attack against the
isolani. This is visible in the line} (14... Nc6 15. Na4 Rc8 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17.
Bxd5 {where the pawn falls. If we continue the line though, we shall see that
Black is OK after} Bxg3 18. hxg3 Red8 19. e4 Ne7) 15. Na4 {Trading the
dark-squared bishops is good for White, as long as he can black the d5 pawn.
In the next moves both sides play around the d4 square.} Bxb2 16. Nxb2 Nc6 17.
Nd3 Qb6 ({Black could have also played} 17... d4 $5 {[%cal Rd5d4] Diagram [#]}
18. Bxc6 ({Or} 18. Nc5 dxe3 19. Qxd8 exf2+ 20. Rxf2 Nxd8 21. Nxb7 Nxb7 22. Bxb7
Ra7) 18... bxc6 19. exd4 Qxd4 20. Nc5 {It seems as White is better, but} Qxd1
21. Rfxd1 a5 $1 {clarifies the situation. Black is OK.}) 18. Rc1 a5 $1 {Good
strategy by Eljanov. He wants to get rid of the queenside pawns and to open
room for his pieces. Black obviously did well in the opening.} 19. Rb1 axb4 20.
axb4 Rad8 {Another promising continuation is the typical} (20... d4 $1 21. b5 (
21. e4 Bc4) 21... Na5 22. exd4 (22. e4 Nc4) 22... Qxd4 {If anyone is better
here, it ain't White...}) 21. b5 Na5 22. Ne2 Ne4 23. Ndf4 Nc4 24. Bxe4 $1 {The
black knights became too active and Khismatullin hurries to get rid of one of
them.} (24. Nd4 Nc3) 24... dxe4 25. Nd4 Bc8 {The position has been modified
but remains approximately equal.} ({Also possible was} 25... Bd7 $11 {with the
idea to prevent} 26. Rc1 $6 Bxb5 27. Rb1 Na3 28. Rb2 (28. Rb3 Qd6 $1) 28... Qf6
) 26. Rc1 Ne5 27. Qb3 Qh6 $1 {A crafty little move!} 28. Rc5 $1 {Khismatullin
is aleart. What can be more natural than occupying the sevent rank?! Nothing,
except that after} (28. Rc7 $2 {[%csl Yc7,Rh2] Diagram [#] Eljanov had
prepared the nasty} Rxd4 $3 29. exd4 Nf3+ $1 {with huge advantage for Black,
say} 30. gxf3 Qxf4 31. Rxc8 Rxc8 32. fxe4 Qxe4) 28... b6 29. Rd5 {The rook
carefully avoids the mines. Now one interesting continuation was} (29. Rxe5 $5
Rxe5 30. Nc6 Qd6 31. Nxd8 Qxd8 32. Rd1 {when White is a tad better but the
game looks drawish.}) ({Just as before} 29. Rc7 $2 {is bad due to} Rxd4 30.
exd4 Nf3+ $1 31. gxf3 Qxf4 32. Qc3 exf3 (32... Bh3)) 29... Bb7 30. Rxd8 Rxd8
31. Rd1 Qg5 32. Kf1 $1 {Another good prophylaxis. Worse is} (32. h3 Nf3+ 33.
Nxf3 exf3 34. g3 h6 {when the f3 pawn will feel like a bone in White's throat.}
) 32... g6 33. h3 Nd3 34. Nc6 $1 {Khismatullin avoids the draw in the line.} (
34. Nxd3 exd3 35. Nc6 Bxc6 36. bxc6 Qc5 37. Rxd3 Rxd3 38. Qxd3 Qxc6 $11) 34...
Bxc6 35. bxc6 Qc5 $1 {So does Eljanov! Black can force a perpetual after} (
35... Nxf4 36. Rxd8+ Qxd8 37. exf4 Qd2 38. Qa4 ({This way of avoding the draw}
38. Qc4 $4 {is not the brightest ever} Qd1#) 38... e3 39. fxe3 Qxe3 40. Qc4 b5
$1 41. Qxb5 Qxf4+ 42. Kg1 Qc1+ $11 {with perpetual.}) 36. Qa4 Kg7 37. Qa1+ Kg8
38. Qa4 {In the time trouble Eljanov rejects the repetion with a blunder} Rd6
$2 {[%csl Rc6] Diagram [#]} 39. Qa8+ $2 {That goes unpunished. Instead} (39. c7
$1 Qxc7 40. Qe8+ Kg7 41. Qxe4 f5 (41... Nxf4 42. Qe5+) 42. Ne6+ Kf7 43. Qxf5+
gxf5 44. Nxc7 {would have won a pawn for White.}) 39... Kg7 40. Qa1+ Kh6 {The
strong threat is Qc5-c2 and Khismatullin goes for the extreme} 41. Nxd3 exd3
42. Qh8 $3 {Thus abandoning his own king. If Eljanov was crafty earlier, then
Khismatullin's devilish at least... Anyway, who would not play here} Qc2 ({
Wrong was} 42... Qxc6 $2 43. Qf8+ Kg5 44. Qxf7 Qc2 $4 45. Qf4+ Kh5 46. g4+ Kh4
47. Qh6#) ({But} 42... Rxc6 43. Rxd3 $11 {should be a draw.}) 43. Qf8+ Kg5 {
[%csl Yf1,Gf8,Yg5][%cal Rc2d1,Rd3d2,Rd2d1] Diagram [#] Now take a deep breath
as what follows is magic.} 44. Kg1 $3 {What a move!!! White gives his rook
with a check! And...wins!!!} Qxd1+ {There was no way back.} (44... Qxc6 45.
Qxf7 $1) (44... Rxc6 45. Qxf7 $1) 45. Kh2 Rxc6 ({Or the prosaic win after}
45... Qc2 46. Qxd6 Qxf2 (46... d2 47. Qf4+ Kh5 48. g4+ Kh4 49. Qh6#) 47. Qxd3)
46. Qe7+ {Before working the lines till the end Khismatullin gives a chance to
his opponent to lose faster. Eljanov has no choice anyway.} Kh6 {Everything
else loses as well} (46... Kh5 47. g4+ Kh6 48. Qf8+ Kg5 49. Qxf7) (46... Kf5
47. g4+) (46... f6 {This one is tricky as after} 47. f4+ Kh6 48. Qf8+ Kh5 {
White has to avoid one more trick with the spectacular} 49. Qg7 $3 ({While the
obvious} 49. g4+ {will be only a draw after} Qxg4 $3 {Forced, but nevertheless
beautiful and White has to find the draw after} 50. hxg4+ Kxg4 {as} 51. Qd8 $2
{even loses!} ({Instead both} 51. Qb4 $1 Rc2+ 52. Kg1 Kg3 53. Qe1+ Kf3 54. Qd1+
Kxe3 55. Qe1+ $11) ({and} 51. f5 $1 $11 {should draw.}) 51... Rc2+ 52. Kg1 Kg3
{[%csl Yg1][%cal Rc2c1] Diagram [#]})) (46... Rf6 47. f4+ {wins as well for
White.}) 47. Qf8+ Kg5 48. Qxf7 $1 {[%csl Yg5] Diagram [#] Unbelievable, yet
true. Despite the extra rook, super strong passer and the fact that White
attacks only with his queen and pawns Black has no defense! The game concluded}
Rf6 49. f4+ Kh6 50. Qxf6 Qe2 51. Qf8+ Kh5 52. Qg7 h6 53. Qe5+ Kh4 54. Qf6+ Kh5
55. f5 $1 gxf5 56. Qxf5+ Kh4 57. Qg6 {And not waiting to see the mate after} (
57. Qg6 d2 58. Qxh6+ Qh5 59. g3# {Diagram [#] Eljanov resigned. Hats off to
Denis Khismatullin!}) 1-0

Report and congratulations to the winninr, GM Evgeniy Najer from Russia!.


David and the Total Chess

The EICC in Jerusalem is approaching its end. But the great games produced their are countless.
The following one has an important impact on the general standings:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "European Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.03.05"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Navara, David"]
[Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2735"]
[BlackElo "2714"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "105"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:03:41"]
[BlackClock "0:16:04"]

1. Nf3 {Navara plays pretty much everything and varies his openings on accaunt
of the opponent. In this game he chose a tricky opening idea to deal with the
Gruenfeld defense.} Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e3 {In search of
innovation! This line is quite fresh and fashionable. White is mainly pinning
his hopes for an opening advantage with one of the following continuations:} (
5. g3) (5. d4) (5. e4) 5... Nxc3 {This was perhaps easy to predict.} ({Peter
Leko's careful aproach led to a completely different game after} 5... e6 6. d4
cxd4 7. exd4 Be7 {with a typical IQP position that arises from the Panov/
Nimtzo-Indian/Tarrasch openings, Tomashevsky,E (2714)-Leko,P (2731) Sochi
2014. The problem with this aproach however is that Nepomniachtchi does not
play neither of these openings, at least with the black pieces. He is an
expert of the Panov attack, but as White.}) 6. bxc3 Qc7 7. Bb2 $1 $146 {[%csl
Rg7][%cal Rb2g7,Gc3c4] Diagram [#] A novelty on move seven! It seems illogical
to place the bishop on the diagonal which is blocked by the pawn, but this is
only temporary. The world champion had tested} (7. d4 g6 8. Bb5+ Bd7 9. a4 Bg7
10. O-O O-O 11. Ba3 b6 {when the position still resembles the Gruenfeld,
Carlsen,M (2881)-Giri,A (2752) Stavanger 2014}) 7... Nd7 ({If anything, Black
is not going to fianchettoe the bishop!} 7... g6 $6 8. c4 {is awkward for the
second player.}) ({Perhaps Black will try in the future} 7... e5 {with natural
development- Bf8-e7, Nb8-c6 and central control.}) 8. Qb3 e6 ({Once more the
fianchettoe is not appealing} 8... g6 9. Ng5 e6 10. c4 e5 {when White has a
pleasant choice between the aggressive} 11. h4 ({and} 11. f4) ({or the
positional} 11. Be2 {after which the knight on g5 will be rerouted to the d5
square via e4-c3.})) 9. c4 {The opening operation was successful! Navara took
his opponent out of the book and objectively speaking White enjoys some
pressure. The bishop on b2 is very nicely placed.} b6 10. a4 {Since the black
kingside is frozen, White prepares a "warm" welcome for the black monarch.} Bb7
({The careless} 10... e5 $6 11. a5 Bb7 $2 {allows a nice combination} 12. axb6
axb6 13. Rxa8+ Bxa8 {[%csl Ya8,Ye8] Diagram [#]} 14. Nxe5 $1 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Qxe5
16. Qa4+ {and wins.}) 11. a5 $1 f6 {Nepomniachtchi tries to close the long
diagonal and free his bishop.} ({Things are not very optimistic for Black after
} 11... O-O-O 12. axb6 (12. Be2) (12. Bd3) 12... axb6 13. Be2) (11... e5 $2 {
transposes to the above-mentioned line after} 12. axb6 axb6 13. Rxa8+ Bxa8 14.
Nxe5 $1) 12. Bd3 $1 {Once that the pawn had moved on f6 the black kingside
became vulnerable and the Czech Grandmaster neatly uses that.} Bd6 $6 {An
inaccuracy.} ({Better was} 12... Be7 $5 {with the idea} 13. Qc2 f5 14. Bxg7 Rg8
15. Bc3 Rxg2 {with slightly better chances for White.}) 13. Qc2 f5 ({White is
also much better after} 13... Nf8 14. Be4) 14. Ng5 $1 {[%csl Re6,Rg7][%cal
Gg5e6,Gb2g7,Gg7h8,Ga5b6,Ya5a6] Diagram [#] Play on both flanks!} ({Black was
OK after} 14. Bxg7 Rg8 15. Bc3 ({Not} 15. Qc3 $2 Bxf3 $1 16. gxf3 Kf7 17. Bh6 (
17. Rg1 Bf8 $1) 17... Be5 {when Black is on top.}) 15... Rxg2 $11) 14... Nf8 {
The most reasonable defense.} ({Black's position falls apart after} 14... e5 $2
15. Ne6) ({And} 14... Ke7 {can be met by the simple} 15. f4 {with large
advantage} ({Or the more entertaining} 15. Nxe6 $5 Kxe6 16. Bxf5+ Kf7 17. Bxh7)
) 15. f4 $1 h6 ({It suddenly transpired that the pawn on g2 is invincible. In
the line} 15... Bxg2 16. Rg1 Bc6 (16... Qb7 {loses prosaically after} 17. axb6
axb6 18. Rxa8+ Qxa8 19. Bxg7 Rg8 20. Bxf8 $18) 17. axb6 axb6 (17... Qxb6 18.
Bxg7 {is a mess for Black.}) 18. Rxa8+ Bxa8 {[%csl Ya8,Ye8,Rg7][%cal Rg1g7,
Rb2g7,Yc2a4,Ya4e8,Ya4a8] White has the fantastic resource} 19. Nf7 $3 {with an
instant win. For example} ({By the way} 19. Nxe6 $1 Nxe6 20. Bxf5 {would also
work.}) 19... Qxf7 (19... Kxf7 20. Rxg7+) (19... Rg8 20. Nh6 Rh8 21. Bxg7) 20.
Rxg7 ({or also} 20. Qa4+ {in either case with a win.})) 16. Nf3 Ng6 {The black
king has not peace after neither} (16... O-O-O 17. O-O $16) ({Nor} 16... Kf7
17. O-O (17. Ne5+) 17... Nh7 18. Ne5+) 17. h4 $1 {Amazing play with the rook
pawns! Larsen would be so proud of Navara. Now the black king is not safe
anywhere...} O-O-O {Nepomniachtchi decided this is the lesser evil. However...}
({Or:} 17... O-O 18. Rh3 $1 {[%csl Rg6,Rg7][%cal Gh3g3,Rg3g7,Yh4h5] followed
by Rh3-g3 and h4-h5. You did not forget about the bishop on b2, did you?}) 18.
axb6 axb6 {Diagram [#]} 19. Bxf5 $1 {Well calculated combination!} Nxf4 (19...
exf5 20. Qxf5+) 20. Be4 $1 ({But not} 20. exf4 exf5 21. Qxf5+ Kb8 22. Ne5 Bxg2
{when the black bishops come into life.}) 20... Bxe4 21. Qxe4 Nd3+ $1 {The
Russian GM finds the best defense.} 22. Ke2 $1 ({Definitely not} 22. Qxd3 $4
Bg3+) 22... Nxb2 23. Rhb1 $1 {Navara regains the knight while developing!} Rhe8
24. Rxb2 Qb7 25. Qb1 $1 {Once again the best continuation. White's
concentration in the attack is enviable!} ({Both} 25. Qg4) ({and} 25. Qg6 {
were tempting but the text is stronger.}) 25... Bc7 26. Rba2 {White's position
is overwhelming. The rooks are about to enter the king's castle.} Bb8 27. Ra8
Rd6 28. R1a7 $5 {A somewhat surprising, but strong idea! The queen will
co-operate much better with the knight than the black rooks and the bishop.} (
28. Qg6 $1 Re7 (28... Red8 29. R1a7 Qxa7 30. Rxa7 Bxa7 31. Qxg7) 29. Ne5) 28...
Qxa7 ({Or} 28... Qc6 29. Qg6 Red8 30. Ke1 $1 {with the unstoppable threat
Nf3-e5!}) 29. Rxa7 Bxa7 30. Ne5 Red8 {Black's defense is extremely difficult.}
(30... Bb8 31. Qb5 Red8 32. d3 {with the threats Ne5-f7 and Ne5-c6 looks
winning for White}) 31. d3 Rf8 32. g4 $1 {Once again Navara plays on both
flanks and opens operative room for the queen. Grand play!} Bb8 33. Qh1 $1 {
[%csl Ya8,Rb8,Yc6,Yd7,Yf7,Yg6][%cal Rb1h1,Rh1a8,Gg4f5,Ge5f7,Ge5d7,Ge5c6,Ge5g6]
Diagram [#]} h5 {The only chance. Black is completely paralized after} (33...
Bc7 34. Qa8+ Bb8 35. h5 $18) 34. gxh5 Rf5 35. Ng6 Rf7 ({Or else the rook will
be in trouble in the line} 35... Rxh5 36. Qf3 Rh6 (36... Rh7 37. Qf7 Rd8 38.
Qxe6+) 37. Qf8+ Rd8 38. Qxg7) 36. Qe4 Rf6 37. Ne7+ Kc7 {One sweet line of a
Q+N team work is} (37... Kd7 38. Qb7+ Bc7 {[%csl Gb7,Yd7,Ge7] Diagram [#]} 39.
Nc8 $1 Rc6 40. Na7 $3 Rd6 41. Qc8+ Ke7 42. Qxc7+) 38. Qh7 Rf7 39. Ng6 {A total
domination! The threat h5-h6 is unstoppable!} e5 40. Nxe5 {Now it should have
been over. White's plan is to place the knight on d5 after the preliminary
e3-e4 if needed. But every epic battle needs at least a pinch of a drama...}
Re7 41. Ng6 (41. Ng4 {was a win.}) 41... Red7 42. Nf4 $2 {Diagram [#] Here it
is! The dramatic blunder. Instead, the correct} (42. Qg8 Rxd3 43. Nf8 Rd2+ 44.
Kf3 Re7 45. Ne6+ Kb7 46. Nxg7 {still wins.}) 42... Kb7 $2 {The favour is
returned. Black could have saved the game after} (42... g5 {Ouch!} 43. Nd5+ ({
I doubt that the pawns are as good as the rook in the line} 43. Qxd7+ Kxd7 44.
hxg5 Ke7) 43... Rxd5 44. Qe4 Rxd3 $1 (44... R5d6 45. hxg5 {might still be a
win for White!}) 45. hxg5 ({Perhaps White missed that in the line} 45. Qxd3 $2
Rxd3 46. Kxd3 gxh4 47. h6 Kd7 48. Ke4 Ke6 {Black can stop the pawn?}) 45...
Rd2+ 46. Kf3 Rh2 47. h6 Rf7+ 48. Kg4 Rf1 {and the active rooks should save the
game.}) 43. Qf5 Bc7 44. e4 {Now everything is under control and Navara
finishes the game in style.} b5 45. Nd5 bxc4 46. dxc4 Rd8 47. e5 Re8 ({There
is not fortress after} 47... Rxd5 48. cxd5 Rxd5 49. Qe4 Kc6 50. e6) 48. Nxc7
Kxc7 49. Qf7+ Kd8 50. Qxe8+ Kxe8 51. exd6 Kd7 52. Kf3 Kxd6 {Diagram [#]} 53.
Ke4 {I suspect that this move was not played but was registered after
Nepomniachtchi resigned. What a game!} ({Both} 53. Kf4) ({and} 53. Kg4 {win
easily.}) 1-0


Tomashevsky's Endgame on Video

Three light pieces versus a rook is a rare endgame, but a recent game by Evgeny Tomashevsky (versus Maxime Vachier Lagrave) placed in into the spotlight. In this video I will try to explain the winning mechanism for the stronger side.


Very Unusual Endgame

Round eight of the Tbilisi Grand Prix witnessed a highly unusual endgame. Three light pieces were fighting a rook. According to my Megabase, there are only eight predecessors of this endgame!The tournament leader Evgeny Tomashevsky extended his lead after a demonstration of an excellent technique.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix - Tbilisi"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.02.23"]
[Round "8.4"]
[White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2716"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "182"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:33:16"]
[BlackClock "0:03:19"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O {
Evgeny Tomashevsky is a very solid player who solves the opening problems in a
somewhat unusual way. His white color remains true to his styyle, while with
the black pieces he prefers to go for sharp opening lines where the situation
is clarified as soon as possible. The Marshall line in the Ruy Lopez have
served him well for many years.} 8. a4 {Vachier does not want to test his
opponent in the main lines.} Bb7 9. d3 d6 ({The immediate} 9... b4 {can be met
with} 10. Nbd2 {when the knight enjoys the c4 square.}) 10. Bd2 {A modern move.
White has a wide choice in the position.} (10. Nbd2 Na5 11. Ba2 c5 12. Nf1 bxa4
{is Caruana,F (2844)-Tomashevsky,E (2701) Baku 2014}) (10. Nc3 {used to be the
main line, but Black scored well. One example-} Na5 11. Ba2 b4 12. Ne2 c5 13.
Bd2 Rb8 14. Ng3 Bc8 $1 15. h3 Ne8 16. Nh2 Bg5 17. Nf3 Bf6 18. Nh2 g6 19. Ng4
Bg5 {with very nice play for Black in Caruana,F (2492)-Adams,M (2735)
Gibraltar 2007}) 10... b4 {Now that the bishop had occupied the d2 square for
the knight this is strong.} 11. c3 Rb8 {A common temporary pawn sacrifice.} ({
Another plan is} 11... a5 12. d4 exd4 13. cxd4 d5 14. e5 Ne4 {as in Ducarmon,Q
(2487)-Fedoseev,V (2661) Pune 2014}) 12. cxb4 Bc8 $146 {Evgeny comes well
prepared for the game. The bishop is moving to a better position.} ({
Previously only} 12... Ba8 {was seen, but the bishop is not as effective as on
the other diagonal} 13. b5 axb5 14. a5 (14. axb5 Rxb5 15. Nc3 Rb8) 14... Nd4
15. Nxd4 exd4 16. Bf4 {Rogulj,B (2427)-Rogic,D (2505) Austria 2000}) 13. b5
axb5 14. axb5 Rxb5 15. Ra8 ({White can hardly hope for an advantage after} 15.
Nc3 Rb8 16. h3) 15... Rb8 16. Rxb8 Nxb8 17. d4 $1 {[%csl Rd4,Rd5,Re4,Re5]
Diagram [#] Maxime occupies some central squares with his knights.} exd4 18.
Nxd4 c5 $1 {Tomashevsky replies in adequate way. Next he wants to carry out
the freeing d6-d5 advance which will level the game completely.} 19. Nf3 ({Or}
19. Nb5 Qb6 20. N1c3 Nc6 21. Bf4 Nd4 22. Nxd4 (22. Bc4 Bd7 23. Nxd6 Bxd6 24.
Bxd6 Qxd6 25. e5 Qb6 26. exf6 Qxf6 $11) 22... cxd4 23. Nd5 Nxd5 $11) 19... Nc6
20. Bc3 ({In case of} 20. Nc3 Bg4 $1 {creates the nasty Nc6-d4 threat.}) 20...
Be6 21. Nbd2 {This allows the central break, but the French GM obviously had
the intresting complications on his mind.} ({More precise is} 21. Na3 {at
least for a moment stopping} d5 $2 22. Bxf6 Bxf6 23. exd5) 21... d5 $1 22. Ng5
Bg4 $1 23. Qc2 {[%csl Yh7][%cal Re4e5] Consequent and...wrong. Vachier missed
some detail in his calculations.} ({Black has plenty of play for the pawn after
} 23. f3 d4 24. fxg4 dxc3 25. bxc3 Ne5 26. h3 {but this was preferrable to
what happened in the game.}) 23... c4 $1 {Very strong! The bishop is becoming
too vulnerable.} ({Most likely Maxime spent most of his time calculating the
consequences of the sharp continuation} 23... d4 24. e5) 24. Nxc4 ({The bishop
is vulnerable after} 24. Ba2 h6 25. exd5 Nb4 26. Bxb4 Bxb4 27. Ngf3 Bxf3 28.
gxf3 Qa5) ({Or} 24. Ba4 Nb4 25. Bxb4 Bxb4 26. e5 Ne4 $1 27. Ndxe4 dxe4 {when
both the rook and the knight are hanging} 28. Qxe4 Qxg5) ({Alas, there is no
time for} 24. e5 $2 cxb3) 24... dxc4 25. Bxc4 Nd7 26. Nxf7 $1 {The best
practical chance!} ({The retreat is absolutely hopeless} 26. Nf3 Bxf3 27. gxf3
Nde5) 26... Rxf7 27. Bxf7+ Kxf7 28. Bxg7 Kxg7 29. Qxc6 {[%csl Yb2,Gd7,Ye1,Ye4,
Ge7,Yf2,Yg2,Gg4] Diagram [#] After the forces moves the game reached a highly
unusual distribution of forces. White has a rook and four pawns versus three
light pieces. I have never seen anything like that before. How can we asses
the situation? Well, obviously the pawns can become dangerous in an endgame if
there is time to advance them. If not, they will be targets. The three light
pieces can easily unite their efforts attacking any of the pawns and it will
be lost as the rook cannot separate itself into pieces. The general rule is
that the smaller parts should be better than the major piece as long as they
are united. This is the case here, the pieces are clearly better. One more
thing that helps is that two of them are bishops!} Ne5 30. Qc3 Bf6 31. Qg3 h5
32. h3 ({Or} 32. f4 h4 33. Qe3 Nd3 {[%cal Rf6d4] with the threat Bf6-d4.})
32... h4 33. Qe3 Be6 {Black consolidated his forces and starts attacking the
pawns.} 34. b4 Qd3 {True to his solid style, Evgeny removes the queen from the
board as well as the possibility of a perpetual.} 35. Kh2 ({Or} 35. Qf4 Qd4) ({
Similar to the game is} 35. f4 Qxe3+ 36. Rxe3 Nc6 37. Kh2 (37. e5 Be7 38. g3
Bxb4 39. Rd3) 37... Nxb4 38. g3) 35... Be7 36. f4 Qxe3 37. Rxe3 Nc4 38. Re2 {
Diagram [#] At a glance it seems as White should be OK, but the reality is
that he is about to lose all his pawns one by one...} ({One of the pawns is
lost anyway} 38. Rb3 Nd2) ({But} 38. Rd3 Bxb4 39. g3 {seems more accurate.})
38... Bxb4 {One down, more to go.} 39. g3 ({The passive defense would not help.
After} 39. Rf2 Nd2 40. e5 Kg6 {Black will bring the king on f5, the bishop on
e3 and chop the pawns off.}) 39... Nd2 40. gxh4 {Trades the last black pawn,
but there are too many pieces!} ({Naturally, White wants to keep his pawns
together, but after} 40. g4 Bd6 41. e5 Bb4 42. f5 Bc4 43. Rf2 Bd5 {Black can
suddenly create mating threats with his pieces.}) 40... Bc4 41. Rg2+ Kh6 42.
Kg3 {The king leaves the danger zone} (42. e5 Nf1+ 43. Kg1 Bc5+ 44. Kh1 Bd5 $19
) 42... Bf1 ({Also good is} 42... Nxe4+ 43. Kf3 Bd5) 43. Rh2 Bd3 44. Kg4 (44.
e5 $2 Nf1+) 44... Nxe4 {Two down.} 45. Kf5 ({Nothing changes} 45. Kf3 Kh5)
45... Bd6 46. Rg2 Kh5 47. Rg8 Ng5+ 48. Kf6 Nh7+ 49. Kg7 Bxf4 {Three.} 50. Ra8 (
50. Rh8 Be5+ {loses on the spot.}) 50... Be5+ 51. Kf7 Kxh4 {Four.} 52. Ra4+ Kh5
(52... Kxh3 53. Ra3) 53. h4 Bb2 54. Rf4 Bc3 55. Ke6 Be1 56. Rf3 Bg6 57. Rf1 Bb4
(57... Bxh4 {was OK as well.}) 58. Rf4 Nf8+ 59. Kd5 Be7 60. Rf1 Bc2 61. Rg1
Bb3+ 62. Ke4 Ng6 63. Kf5 Bd8 (63... Nxh4+) 64. Ke4 Be6 65. Rd1 Be7 66. Ra1 Bc8
67. Ra5+ Kxh4 {Diagram [#] Five! Evgeny swiped all the pawns off. This is a
theoretically won position.} 68. Ra1 Kg5 69. Rg1+ Bg4 70. Rg2 Bc5 71. Rg3 Nf4
72. Ke5 Bf2 73. Ra3 Bh3 74. Ra5 Bg2 {[%cal Gf2a7,Gg2a8] The bishops are
cutting the king along the diagonals an dthe knight assists them to push it
towards the back rank.} 75. Ra3 Ne2 76. Ra5 ({Or} 76. Ra2 Bg3+ 77. Ke6 Nd4+ 78.
Ke7 Bh3) 76... Bg3+ 77. Ke6+ Kg6 78. Ra6 Nd4+ 79. Ke7+ Kg7 80. Ra1 Bh3 81. Rh1
({If} 81. Rg1 Nf5+ 82. Ke6 Ne3+ 83. Ke7 Ng2 84. Rh1 Nf4 85. Rg1 Ng6+ {the king
will be forced on the eight rank anyway.}) 81... Bg4 82. Rg1 Ne2 83. Rf1 Bf4
84. Rd1 Nc3 85. Rd3 Ne4 86. Kd8 Nc5 87. Rd5 Ne4 88. Rd3 Ng5 89. Ke7 Nf7 90. Rd4
Bg5+ 91. Ke8 Ne5 {Picturesque domination. The threat Bg4-h5 can be stopped
only at the expense of the rook. Black resigned and Tomashevsky is getting
very close to the overall tournament victory!} 0-1



No Jokes in the Poisoned Pawn

Round six of the Tbilisi Grand Prix was exciting as usual with Teimour Radjabov convincingly winning a short, but important game in the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf Sicilian.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix - Tbilisi"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.02.21"]
[Round "6.3"]
[White "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Black "Grischuk, Alexander"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2731"]
[BlackElo "2810"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:20:04"]
[BlackClock "0:04:11"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 {A small surprise.
In his younger days Teimour liked to play very sharp in the opening. However,
he did not play the Main line since 2011.} e6 7. f4 Qb6 {Diagram [#] The
Poisoned Pawn variation has its ups and downs. Of lately it seems as the
interest towards it is rising again. White waits until the second player gets
the deceptive feeling that all is good in this line for him and stops checking
the forced lines. And then White strikes! At least this is the way I explain
the fashionable trends in the line :)} ({In their previous encounter Alexander
chose a different plan} 7... Qc7 8. Bxf6 gxf6 9. f5 Nc6 10. fxe6 fxe6 11. Bc4
Nxd4 12. Qxd4 Rg8 {Radjabov,T (2744)-Grischuk,A (2728) Sochi 2008}) 8. Qd2 Qxb2
9. Rb1 Qa3 10. e5 h6 11. Bh4 dxe5 12. fxe5 g5 {This particular line dates
since the distant...2007 year!} 13. Bg3 ({Another line was tested by two
promising young players of lately} 13. exf6 gxh4 14. Be2 Nd7 15. O-O Qa5 16.
Kh1 Qg5 {Yu,Y (2697)-Robson,R (2628) Las Vegas 2014}) 13... Nh5 14. Ne4 Nd7 {
Black bought some time to develop a piece with his last moves, but created too
many weaknesses in his camp.} 15. Rb3 Qxa2 16. Be2 {[%csl Ya2,Gb3,Gd2,Gd4,Rd6,
Yd7,Ge2,Ge4,Rf6,Gg3,Yh5] Diagram [#] A very typical picture for the Poisoned
Pawn variation had arisen. Black has two extra pawns and White-three extra
pieces in the attack. It can hardly be sharper than that. Both the sides have
to be extremely precise in what they are doing. Grischuk came up with a novelty
} Nc5 $2 $146 {Which I personally doubt will attract many followers.} ({It was
mandatory to start with a check} 16... Qa1+ 17. Bd1 {and only then go for} ({
One point behind the check is that Black meets the witty} 17. Kf2 $6 {Not with
the natural capture} Qxh1 $2 ({But with the cunning} 17... Nxg3 $1 18. Nxg3 {
[%csl Rf2] Diagram [#]} (18. Rxa1 Nxe4+) 18... Qxd4+ $1 19. Qxd4 Bc5 {and
White is too many pawns down}) 18. Nxe6 fxe6 19. Bxh5+ Kd8 20. Qa5+ b6 21. Rxb6
) 17... Nc5 {This has been tested in three correspondence games with good
results for Black that far. One example} 18. Re3 Nxe4 19. Rxe4 Nxg3 20. hxg3
Qa3 21. O-O Bg7 22. Bh5 O-O {and Black seems in a good shape, Hervet,G (2352)
-Matei,C (2527) ICCF email 2009}) ({Black can also investigate the
consequences of the move} 16... Nxg3 17. hxg3 Bc5) 17. Nc3 $1 {A strong reply.
The knight moves away with a tempo.} (17. Bxh5 $6 Nxe4) (17. Nxc5 $6 Nxg3)
17... Nxb3 {Forced or else Black loses a piece after} (17... Qa1+ 18. Rb1 Qa5
19. Bxh5) 18. Nxb3 Bb4 ({Objectively speaking, Black's best try was} 18... Nxg3
19. Nxa2 Nxh1 {but since the knight is trapped after} 20. Kf1 Be7 21. Kg1 O-O {
White's chances are much better.}) 19. Bxh5 Qb2 {The vulnerable position of
the queen allows White decisive attack after} (19... Bxc3 20. Qxc3 Qb1+ (20...
O-O 21. O-O {with the threat Rf1-a1}) 21. Bd1 Bd7 22. O-O Rc8 23. Qf3 O-O 24.
Nd2 $1 {[%csl Yb1,Rg8][%cal Rd2e4,Re4f6] Diagram [#] and the knight is heading
for the juicy f6 square} Qb6+ 25. Bf2 Qb4 26. Ne4 {Once that this knight goes
to f6 it is all over.}) 20. O-O Qxc3 {Alas the king is not getting any peace
on the kingside as well} (20... O-O 21. Qf2 Qxc3 22. Bxf7+ Kh7 23. Qf6 Qxc2 24.
h4 $1 Qd3 25. h5 $1 {[%csl Yd3,Yh7] Diagram [#] and White wins.}) 21. Bxf7+ Ke7
22. Qf2 {The king stayed in the middle and the rest is a piece of cake for
Radjabov.} Kd7 ({Or} 22... Rf8 23. Qf6+ Kd7 24. Be1 Qc4 25. Bxb4 Qxb4 26. Bxe6+
Ke8 27. Bf7+ Kd7 28. c3 $1 Qa3 29. Ra1 {and the queen is deflected from the d6
square.}) 23. Qb6 Rf8 24. Be1 {One mistake in a sharp position proved one too
many for Grischuk. It is good to see Radjabov back in sharp battle!} 1-0



In the Spirit of the Old Masters

Georgia's capital Tbilisi is hosting the third tournament from the FIDE Grand Prix series. Half of the event have already passed and the best player so far is the former European champion Evgeny Tomashevsky from Russia. However, we cannot miss a game between two of the most artistic performers. It took place in round five:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix - Tbilisi"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.02.20"]
[Round "5.6"]
[White "Jobava, Baadur"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2696"]
[BlackElo "2759"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "54"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:02:21"]
[BlackClock "0:51:07"]

1. b3 {The Nimzowitch-Larsen opening can nowadays be named after Baadur who is
commonly using it and keeps on finding fresh ideas.} Nf6 2. Bb2 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7
4. d4 {[%csl Yb2][%cal Gb2d4] Diagram [#] Georgian's favorite move. It seems
illogical to close the bishop that had just occupied the long diagonal, but
Jobava has an opinion of his own.} c5 5. e3 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. Qd2 Nc6 8. O-O-O
({One very fresh example of Baadur's saw} 8. f3 h5 {Perhaps this is what
inspired Shakh for what he did later in the game.} 9. Bb5 Qd6 10. Nge2 Bh6 11.
Qd1 Bf5 {and Black already very comfortable in Jobava,B (2727)-Carlsen,M (2862)
Wijk aan Zee 2015}) 8... Qa5 $146 ({A novelty upon a game these two played
earlier. That game saw} 8... O-O 9. f3 h5 10. Kb1 Bf5 11. a3 Rc8 {with
double-edged game in Jobava,B (2711)-Mamedyarov,S (2764) Beijing 2012}) 9. f3
h5 10. Kb1 Bf5 11. Bd3 $1 {[%csl Yd4][%cal Re1e8,Rd1d8] Diagram [#] This
enterprising pawn sacrifice is practically forced.} ({The normal development}
11. Nge2 $2 {is just bad as Black has concrete threats} Nb4 12. Rc1 Nxa2 $1) ({
While a waiting move like} 11. a3 {allows all the joy for Black after either}
Rc8 ({Or} 11... a6)) 11... Nxd4 $1 {Shakh goes for it! He could have easily
kept the balance after} (11... Bxd3 12. Qxd3 e6 {but he decided that the risk
is worth it.}) 12. Nge2 Nxe2 ({Worse is} 12... Bxd3 13. Nxd4 Ba6 14. Rhe1 {
when Black cannot easily evacuate the king from the center. For example} e6 15.
Nxe6 $1 fxe6 16. Rxe6+ Kf7 17. Nxd5 Qxd2 18. Re7+ Kf8 19. Rxd2 {and the attack
continues in the endgame.}) 13. Qxe2 Bd7 $1 {Correct decision. Generally,
Black would be happy to trade pieces. The problem with the move} (13... Bxd3 {
however is that it brings the white attackers too quick} 14. Rxd3 Rd8 (14... e6
$2 15. Nxd5 $1 {is a nice tactical shot.}) 15. Rhd1 {when Black is once again
losing the central pawn} e6 16. Nxd5 Rxd5 17. Rxd5 Nxd5 18. Bxg7 {with clear
advantage for White} Nc3+ 19. Bxc3 Qxc3 20. Qb5+ Qc6 21. Qxc6+ bxc6 22. Rd6)
14. Rhe1 e6 {For the pawn Baadur managed to bring his rooks in the center, but
what comes next? One more move and the black king will escape from the
dangerous zone and Shakh will start converting the extra pawn.} 15. Bxg6 $5 {
[%csl Ye8] Diagram [#] ! Nope, the king will stay in the center. Jobava
follows the classical rule. If the opponent's king is in the center, open
files to reach it.} fxg6 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 ({There is no time to escape} 16... O-O
17. Nxf6+ Bxf6 18. Rxd7) 17. Bxg7 Rg8 $5 {Mamedyarov rejects the draw after} (
17... Nc3+ 18. Bxc3 Qxc3 19. Rxd7 $1 Kxd7 20. Qxe6+ Kc7 21. Qf7+ Kc8 {The king
has to stay on the back rank as going up may lead to a big fall down} (21...
Kc6 $2 22. Re6+ Kc5 23. Qc7+ {and mate after} Kb4 24. Qxb7+ Kc5 25. Qc6+ Kb4
26. a3+ Kxa3 27. Qa4#) 22. Re8+ Rxe8 23. Qxe8+ Kc7 24. Qxa8 {White regains the
piece and is even a piece up, but the presense of their Majesties on the board
with the kings wide open will sooner or later lead to a perpetual after} Qe1+
25. Kb2 Qe5+ 26. c3 Qxh2 27. Qxa7 Qxg2+ $11) ({However, it seems as that the
best defense was the subtle} 17... Rh7 $1 18. Qe5 (18. Bb2 $5 Nc3+ 19. Bxc3
Qxc3 20. Rd6 O-O-O {brings the king into safety.}) 18... Kf7 19. c4 ({The
difference with the game continuation becomes apparent after} 19. Rxd5 Qxd5 20.
Qf6+ Kg8 $1) 19... Rxg7 20. cxd5 Kg8 21. dxe6 Qxe5 22. Rxe5 {White has two
pawns for the piece, but this is not enough here.}) 18. Qe5 Rxg7 $6 {[%csl Yd5]
Diagram [#] Tempting! When under attack it makes sense to annihilate as many
many active pieces as possible, even if we give back part of the material.
This however has a nice refutation.} ({White's attack is very strong in case of
} 18... Kf7 19. Rxd5 Qxd5 20. Qf6+ Ke8 21. Qxg6+ Kd8 22. Qf7 Kc7 23. Re3) ({But
} 18... Qc7 {looked like the best defense with the idea} 19. Qxd5 (19. Qb2
O-O-O) 19... Rxg7 20. Rxe6+ $6 ({Instead} 20. Qd4 $1 Kf8 21. g4 {keeps the
game unclear as the king is still vulnerable.}) 20... Bxe6 21. Qxe6+ Qe7 {and
Black holds and wins.}) 19. Rxd5 $1 {The knight is a very important defender.
Now the attack on the open files is furious!} Qb4 20. Rd6 Kf8 ({Once more
there is no time to saveguard the king} 20... O-O-O $2 21. Re4 Qa3 22. Rc4+ Bc6
23. Rxd8+ Kxd8 24. Qxg7) 21. Red1 Bc6 $2 {This loses instantly, but
objectively speaking Black was already in bad shape. True, after the most
resilent} (21... Be8 22. Rxe6 Bf7 23. Rd7 Kg8 {[%csl Rg8] Diagram [#] Baadur
had to find the following amazing resource} 24. Rxf7 $3 Kxf7 (24... Rxf7 {is
easier for White after} 25. Rxg6+ Kf8 26. Rh6) 25. Qd5 $3 {Ambush.} Kf8 26. Re4
$3 {A truly remarkable position! The two white heavy pieces dominate the three
black. Spirit rules material. White wins the queen at least. For example} Qa3 (
26... Qc3 27. Rf4+ Ke8 28. Qb5+ Kd8 29. Re4 Rc8 30. Qe8+ Kc7 31. Rc4+ Qxc4 32.
Qe5+) 27. Rf4+ Ke8 28. Ra4 Qf8 29. Re4+ Re7 30. Qb5+ Kf7 31. Rf4+) 22. R1d4 {
Not bad, but there was an instant win.} ({It seems as both the players missed
the important deflection after} 22. Rd8+ Rxd8 23. Rxd8+ Kf7 (23... Be8 24. Qf6+
Rf7 25. Qh8+) (23... Ke7 24. Rd4) 24. a3 $3 {when the queen has to abandon the
f4 square and thus lose the game} (24. c3 {should also do}) 24... Qe7 ({Or
mate after} 24... Qxa3 25. Qf4+ Ke7 26. Qf8#) 25. Qf4+ Qf6 26. Rf8+ $1 Kxf8 27.
Qxf6+ {and White wins.}) 22... Qb5 23. Rd8+ $2 {Lets the win slip away.} (23.
Qxe6 $1 {kept tremendous attack, say} Qg5 24. h4 Qe7 25. Qc4) 23... Rxd8 24.
Rxd8+ Ke7 25. Qd6+ Kf6 26. Qd4+ {Diagram [#]} Kf7 $4 {The culmination of the
battle and the last mistake. Shakh became once more overambitious and
blundered checkmate.} (26... Ke7 $1 {was mandatory when White can repeat the
moves} 27. Qd6+ ({Or try} 27. a4 {which should also lead to some perpetual
after} Qf5 28. Qd6+ Kf6 29. Rf8+ Rf7 30. Qd8+ Kg7 31. Rg8+ Kh6 32. Rh8+ Kg7 ({
But not} 32... Rh7 33. h4 $3 {when the black king is once again surrounded} Qf7
34. Rg8 $1 Rg7 35. Rf8 {Oh wait, was that the queen?}) 33. Rg8+ $11)) 27. Qf4+
Ke7 {An epic battle of two of the most creative players of our time!} ({And
not waiting to see the mate, Shakh resigned.} 27... Ke7 28. Qf8#) 1-0