How to Attack the Benoni?

A Good Finish

Magnus Carlsen had a very bad tournament in Reykjavik,with some horrible moments including a one-move piece blunder against Pelletier. His final game though was typical for his style:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Open European Team Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.11.22"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2850"]
[BlackElo "2748"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:24:24"]
[BlackClock "0:02:04"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 {Diagram [#] Carlsen did not have great tournament in Iceland
but remained true to his search of fresh opening lines.} d5 3. e3 c5 4. c3 {
A Reversed Slav defense arose on the board.} Nc6 5. Nd2 cxd4 6. exd4 {Now we
have typical Carlsbad pawn structure. Similar position can easily arise from
the exchange Caro-Kann after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c3.} Bf5 7. Qb3 Qc8
{In case of} (7... Qb6 {White will leave his queen where it is} 8. Ngf3 {
and enjoy the possible trade after} Qxb3 9. axb3 {as he has the clear plan
b3-b4-(b5) and Nd2-b3-c5(a5).}) 8. Ngf3 e6 9. Nh4 Be4 {[%cal Yf2f3] Diagram [#]
Motylev decided not to provoke the f2-f3 move and played solidly against
Grischuk in Berlin:} (9... Bg6 10. Nxg6 hxg6 11. h3 Be7 12. Bd3 Bd8 $1 13. Nf3
Bc7 {with approximate equality, Grischuk,A (2774)-Motylev,A (2649) Berlin 2015}
) 10. Nxe4 Nxe4 11. Nf3 Bd6 {Not only finishes the development but reduces
White's attacking material on the kingside. In the Carlsbad the first player
is looking for piece attack there as he owes the nice e5 outpost and can
easily shift heavy pieces along the third (fifth) rank.} 12. Bxd6 Nxd6 13. Bd3
Qc7 14. Qc2 $146 {[%csl Ge1,Rh7][%cal Rd3h7] Diagram [#] A novelty. The idea
is clear- to prevent the immediate castling and to provoke kingside weakness
by Black.} ({The straightforward} 14. O-O {gave a chance to Black to castle at
once} O-O 15. Qc2 g6 (15... h6 $5 {looks safer.}) 16. Rfe1 b5 17. Qd2 Kg7 {
with mutual chances in Sandipan,C (2594)-Kasimdzhanov,R (2700) Dubai 2014})
14... O-O-O {Wojtaszek decided to avoid any kingside attacks and simply went
on the opposite wing.} ({If} 14... h6 {White can wait for his opponent's
castling with an useful move like} 15. Qe2) ({While} 14... g6 {can be answered}
15. h4 $5 O-O-O 16. h5 {and White is using his rook from its initial position.}
) 15. O-O h6 {Quite unusual situation arose. Instead of a minority attack,
Black will attack on the kingside himself, while White will push the pawns
against the enemy king as well.} 16. a4 Kb8 ({The line} 16... g5 17. a5 g4 18.
Ne5 Nxe5 19. dxe5 Nc4 20. Bxc4 Qxc4 21. a6 b6 22. Ra4 {is favourable for the
first player.}) 17. Rfe1 ({Black will reply in the same way after} 17. b4 Rc8)
17... Rc8 {[%cal Gc6b4] Diagram [#] The threat Nc6-b4 forces White to retreat
temporarily.} 18. Qd1 Rhe8 $1 {Wojtaszek switches to central play. A wise
decision that should nivilate White's aggressive intentions on the queen's wing.
} (18... g5 19. Ne5 h5 20. Nxc6+ Qxc6 21. a5 g4 22. a6 {looks better for White.
}) 19. Bf1 Re7 (19... f6 $5 {followed by e6-e5 is also good.}) 20. Rc1 Rd8 21.
Re2 $1 {[%cal Gf3e1,Ge1d3,Gd3c5] Diagram [#] A deep maneuver. The rook frees a
square for the knight that wants to get on the best square ever- c5.} Ne4 22.
b4 Ng5 23. Ne1 {The point behind Carlsen's maneuver. If Black manages to trade
the knights, he will be out of danger.} e5 $1 {This is the proper moment to
hit the center, all the pieces are either on the first or the second rank.} 24.
b5 Na5 25. Rxe5 Rxe5 26. dxe5 Qxe5 {Diagram [#] The Polish GM played
energetically and almost equalized completely. Now he wants to put pressure on
the backward c3 pawn, thus next move is forced:} (26... Nc4 $5 {was an
interesting pawn sacrifice} 27. f4 Ne6 {when Black has compensation thanks to
the weakened dark squares.}) 27. c4 Ne6 28. Nf3 Qf4 $2 {[%csl Ya5] Diagram [#]
But this is wrong. Black needed to try and trade the queens instead} (28... Qd6
29. cxd5 Qxd5 30. Qxd5 $6 (30. Qe1 $5 {might still give some hopes for an
advantage to the first player.}) 30... Rxd5 $11) 29. cxd5 Rxd5 30. Qxd5 Qxc1
31. g3 {Takes away the f4 square and prepares the development of the bishop.
Black's position is very unpleasant to say at least.} (31. Qd7 Qf4 {is less
precise.}) 31... Qc5 32. Qd7 Qf8 33. Ne5 {[%csl Ya5,Yb8,Yf8] Diagram [#] All
of a sudden the black pieces are completely helpless. The knights lack
co-ordination, the queen is extremely passive.} Nc5 34. Qd5 {With the major
threat Qd5xc5.} Kc7 35. Nxf7 Nxa4 36. Qe5+ Kb6 (36... Kc8 37. Bh3#) 37. Nd6 Nc5
38. Ne8 {Diagram [#]} ({The threat Qe7-c7 mate can be stopped only with} 38.
Ne8 Qf7 {but that loses a whole piece after} 39. Qd6+) 1-0



Eljanov's Icelandic Masterpiece

Pavel Eljanov is having the probably best chess year of his live. At least this far. He made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup, lifted his rating again above the 2750 mark and above all, played a lot of great games. A game with a creative player like Grzegorz Gajewski of Poland suggests an interesting, colorful battle. This game in round eight of ETCC indeed became a candidate of a best game in Reykjavik:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Open European Team Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.11.21"]
[Round "8.2"]
[White "Gajewski, Grzegorz"]
[Black "Eljanov, Pavel"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2647"]
[BlackElo "2753"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:02"]
[BlackClock "0:03:19"]

1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. Qc2 {Diagram [#] A popular Anti-Slav
move order. Another one goes:} (5. h3 $5 e6 6. b3 c5 7. Bb2 Nc6 8. cxd5 exd5 9.
Rc1 {Kovalenko,I (2700)-Malakhov,V (2694) Berlin 2015}) 5... e6 6. b3 c5 {
Since White did not occupy the center Black has every right to lose a tempo
and fight for t.} 7. Bb2 d4 $146 {[%csl Ya8,Yb8,Yc8,Gd4,Yf8][%cal Gd5d4]
Diagram [#] Looks risky as Black is not yet prepared for the open play and
indeed none had tested this move before. All the games so far saw the move:} (
7... Nc6 {For example} 8. a3 Be7 9. Bd3 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Ne2 g6
13. Nf4 O-O 14. h4 $5 {with irational position, Janssen,R (2520)-Buhmann,R
(2603) Germany 2010}) 8. Ne4 Nc6 9. Nxf6+ Qxf6 10. exd4 {Gajewski wants to
take the maximum of the position. Another way to play is:} (10. Bd3 e5 11. Be4
Bd6 {although here Blck consolidates the position.}) 10... cxd4 {Better than} (
10... Nxd4 11. Nxd4 cxd4 12. Qe4 Bc5 13. Bd3 {Diagram [#] with advantage for
White.} ({Or} 13. b4 $14)) 11. Bd3 Bd6 {Catching up with the development.
Black would be happy to take the bishop pair with} (11... Nb4 {but after} 12.
Qb1 Nxd3+ 13. Qxd3 e5 14. O-O Bd6 15. Rfe1 O-O (15... Bf5 $2 16. Qxd4) 16. c5 {
Diagram [#] White firmly seizes the initiative.}) 12. O-O (12. Be4 $5 $14 {
also makes sense.}) 12... h6 {Once more} (12... Nb4 13. Qb1 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 e5
15. Rfe1 {transposes into the line above.}) 13. Be4 e5 {Gajewki is at
crossroads. To continue playing for initiative, or to cash in his lead in
development. In the game he chose the latter.} 14. Bxc6+ $6 {[%csl Gc8,Gd4,Gd6,
Ge5] Diagram [#] This wins a pawn but gives too much compensation for Black in
return.} ({Both} 14. Rfe1 O-O 15. a3 {followed by c4-c5 and b3-b4.}) ({Or the
immediate} 14. a3 O-O 15. b4 {expanding on the queenside should give some
advantage to the first player.}) 14... bxc6 15. Qe4 O-O 16. Qxc6 Bg4 {[%csl
Yb2,Yc6,Gd4,Ge5][%cal Ge5e4,Gf6g6,Gf7f5,Gg4h3,Gd6h2,Gf8e8] Diagram [#] In
return for the pawn Black has more space, strong center (thus opportunity for
a kingside attack) and bishop pair. Eljanov must have been happy of the
opening suprise that he had uncorked earlier.} 17. Rfe1 Rac8 18. Qe4 Bf5 19.
Qe2 {Forced as} (19. Qh4 g5 $1 {works well for Black.}) 19... Rfe8 20. d3 Bb4
$1 {[%csl Ya2,Yb3,Yc4][%cal Ga6a5] Diagram [#] A nice idea. Eljanov blocks the
queenside pawn majority of his opponent and prepares the storm on the opposite
wing.} 21. Red1 a5 22. a3 Bc5 ({Also interesting was} 22... Bc3 23. Bxc3 dxc3
24. Rac1 {with the idea} e4 25. dxe4 Rxe4 26. Qa2 a4 $1) 23. Re1 {Back into
"e" file control. Black is better after} (23. Nd2 Rb8 $1 ({Even better than}
23... Qg6 24. Ne4 Bf8 25. f3 $15) 24. Qf3 Qg6 $17) 23... Bg4 {Black continues
the preparation. The central break was already in the air:} (23... e4 $5 24.
dxe4 Bxe4 25. Rad1 Qg6 {with initiative on the center and the king's flank.})
24. Rab1 ({The result of the Black queenside operation can be seen in the line
} 24. Qe4 Bxf3 25. Qxf3 Qxf3 26. gxf3 Rb8 {and Black wins a pawn.}) 24... Rb8
25. Bc1 Qd6 {[%csl Ra3,Rb4][%cal Gf7f5,Ge5e4,Rd6b4,Rb4a3] Diagram [#] With the
obvious intention f7-f5 and e5-e4 (or sometines e5-e4 at once).} (25... Qc6 $5
{deserved attention too as if White tries the same idea as in the game} 26. h3
(26. Nxe5 Bxe2 27. Nxc6 Bxd3 {is clearly better for Black.}) 26... Bh5 27. g4 (
27. Bd2 {is the right move.}) 27... Bg6 28. Nxe5 (28. Nh4 {is still playable.})
28... Qc7 29. f4 f6 {Black would simply win a piece.}) 26. h3 Bh5 27. g4 Bg6
28. Nh4 e4 $1 {Diagram [#] Eljanov forces things. He opens the king's flank
and the center and goes directly for the white king.} (28... Bh7 {would lead
to risk-free advantage for Black.}) 29. Nxg6 fxg6 $1 {Black needs every open
file!} 30. Bd2 ({In case of} 30. dxe4 d3 31. e5 Qd4 32. Qe3 $2 {Black has the
fantastic resource} (32. Qb2 {is better although Black's attack is ovious here
as well.}) 32... Rxe5 $3 {Diagram [#] with decisive attack after} 33. Qxe5
Qxf2+ 34. Kh1 Qf3+ 35. Kh2 Bd6 36. Qxd6 Qf2+ 37. Kh1 Qxe1+ 38. Kh2 Rf8 $19)
30... e3 31. Bxa5 (31. fxe3 dxe3 32. Bxa5 Rf8 {does not help neither.}) 31...
exf2+ 32. Qxf2 Re3 33. Rxe3 dxe3 {The critical moment of the attack. Gajewski
chose the obvious defense} 34. Qh2 {This is possibly White's best practical
chance. White's intentions are obvious- to trade the queens, but Eljanov have
foreseen something ingenious.} ({In case of} 34. Qf3 {Black has another
fantastic resource} Kh7 $3 {[%csl Rh7][%cal Gf3d5,Yg8h7] Diagram [#] to move
the king away and to prevent the exchange of queens.} (34... Qxd3 $2 35. Qd5+
Qxd5 36. cxd5 e2+ 37. Kg2 {is in fact better for White.})) ({The blockading}
34. Qe2 {would give White chances for survival after} Qg3+ ({But} 34... Rf8 $1
35. Be1 Qc6 {is nevertheless a very strong attack for Black.}) 35. Kh1 Qxh3+
36. Qh2 Qf3+ 37. Qg2 Qf6 38. Bc7 {with chnaces to survive.} ({But not the
greedy} 38. Qd5+ Kh7 39. Qxc5 Qh4+ 40. Kg2 Qxg4+ 41. Kh1 Qf3+ 42. Kg1 Qf2+ 43.
Kh1 Rf8 $19)) 34... e2+ 35. Kh1 {It seems as White is achieving what he wants
but...} Qxd3 $3 {[%csl Yb8,Yg8,Rh1][%cal Rd3b1,Rd3f3,Rf3h3] Diagram [#] A bolt
out of the blue! Eljanov gives away the rook with a check!} 36. Qxb8+ Kh7 {
But now White misses his queen on the kingside. And the rook is hanging. And
the black pawn is getting promoted. Oh, my!} 37. Rg1 ({Or} 37. Kg2 Qxb1 38. Qf4
e1=Q {and wins.}) 37... Bd6 $1 {Diagram [#]} ({Avoids the temptation} 37...
Qxh3+ 38. Qh2 Qf1 39. Qg2 Bxg1 40. Qxg1 Qh3+ 41. Qh2 Qf1+ 42. Qg1 $11) 38. Qxd6
Qxd6 {The rest is easy for the queen and the position is too open.} 39. Bb4 (
39. Be1 Qxa3) 39... Qd3 40. Kg2 Qxb3 41. c5 h5 42. gxh5 gxh5 43. Kh2 Qc2 44.
Rg2 Qe4 45. Be1 (45. Rg1 g5) 45... Qf4+ {Diagram [#] Gajewski resigned due to
the lines:} (45... Qf4+ 46. Bg3 (46. Rg3 h4) (46. Kh1 Qf1+ 47. Rg1 Qxh3#) 46...
Qxg3+) 0-1



The Smothered Room

Sergey Karjakin joked on twitter after the third round of ETCC in Iceland that Russia may win the event without Alexander Grischuk. Indeed, the top GM did not take part in the first three matches but came in time for the decisive one in round seven against France:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Open European Team Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.11.20"]
[Round "7.2"]
[White "Grischuk, Alexander"]
[Black "Fressinet, Laurent"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2712"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:22:13"]
[BlackClock "0:28:57"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {Diagram [#] The Berlin is not as solid as it
used to be on Icelandic soil.} 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5
8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 h6 10. Rd1+ Ke8 11. Nc3 Ne7 12. b3 Bf5 13. Nd4 Bh7 14. Nce2
Rd8 15. Bb2 a6 $146 {[%cal Gc6c5] Diagram [#] To prepare the c6-c5 advance.
Fressinet definitely knew something about the other game in this line:} (15...
Nd5 16. c4 Nb4 17. Nf4 Rg8 18. g4 Na6 19. Nf5 {with pressure for White in
Caruana,F (2805)-Carlsen,M (2876) Stavanger 2015}) 16. c4 c5 17. Nf3 Nc6 18.
Nf4 Bc2 {That forces the capture on d8 to which Black wants to reinforce the
control over the critical e6 square.} ({Worse is} 18... Rxd1+ 19. Rxd1 Nd8 {
Due to} 20. e6 $1 {[%csl Yc7,Re5][%cal Ge5c7] Diagram [#] Anyway!} Nxe6 (20...
fxe6 21. Be5) 21. Nxe6 fxe6 22. Be5 $16) 19. Rxd8+ Nxd8 20. e6 {[%cal Ge1e8]
Diagram [#] The main theme in the Berlin. If this break works, Black can never
finish the development and will play without his kingside rook and bishop.} f6
$2 {This pawn should not be allowed to stay there.} ({For good or for bad
Black should have taken the pawn-} 20... Nxe6 21. Re1 (21. Nxe6 fxe6 22. Re1
Kd7 23. Ne5+ Ke8 {looks OK for the second player.}) 21... Kd7 (21... Rh7 $5 22.
Nxe6 fxe6 23. Rxe6+ Kd8 24. Re1 g5 {may also be fine for Black.}) 22. Ne5+ Ke8
{White can repeat moves if he likes or transpose into the line from above} 23.
Nxe6 fxe6 {when Black is fine.}) 21. Rc1 (21. Re1 $5 {made sense too.}) 21...
Bf5 {One more inaccuracy after which Black can hardly save the game.} (21...
Be4 {was not ideal neither due to} 22. Nh4 Rg8 23. Nh5 {with the threat Bb2xf6
when the bishop on e4 is another target.}) (21... Bh7 {seemed best though,
moving it away from the white pieces and eventually defending the rook on g8.
After} 22. Re1 Nc6 ({But not} 22... Bd6 23. Nh5 Rg8 24. Bxf6 $1) 23. Nh4 (23.
Nh5 Rg8 {and if} 24. Bxf6 Bg6 25. e7 Bxh5 26. exf8=Q+ Kxf8 27. Be5 Bxf3 28.
gxf3 Nxe5 29. Rxe5 $11) 23... Bd6 {White is better, but not winning, say} {Or}
24. Nhg6 (24. Nh5 Rg8 25. Bxf6 gxf6 26. Nxf6+ Kf8 27. Nxg8 (27. Nxh7+ Kg7)
27... Kxg8) 24... Rg8) 22. Re1 Bd6 ({In case of} 22... Nc6 23. Nh5 {Black has
difficulties with the development of the flank as} (23. g4 $5) 23... Rg8 {
runs into} 24. Nh4 ({Not the hasty} 24. Bxf6 Bg6 $1) 24... Bd3 25. Bxf6 $1 gxf6
26. Nxf6+ {and wins.}) 23. Nh4 Bc2 ({Without the bishop pair Black's position
will be a mess} 23... Bxf4 24. Nxf5) 24. Nh5 Rh7 ({Or} 24... Rg8 25. f4) 25. f4
{[%cal Gf4f5,Gg2g4] Diagram [#] Grischuk is building a solid pawn chain on the
kingside to support the e6 pawn.} Nc6 26. g4 Nd4 27. f5 {On a high level, the
game is over. The rook is excluded from the game on h7 and White has decisive
advantage on the other side of the board.} a5 28. Kf2 a4 29. bxa4 {To open a
file for the rook.} (29. Rc1 $1 {Diagram [#] was actualy easier. After} axb3 (
29... Be4 30. Ke3 Bc6 31. Bxd4 cxd4+ 32. Kxd4 {wins without any chances.}) 30.
axb3 Bxb3 31. Bxd4 cxd4 32. Ra1 {[%csl Ye8][%cal Ga1a8,Gh4g6] The rook gets
the open file and intends to mate with Ra1-a8+ and Nh4-g6.}) 29... Bxa4 30. Re3
{The point behind White's last move. Re3-a3-a8 is on the agenda.} b6 31. Ng6
Kd8 32. Rd3 Kc8 33. Ke3 {In time trouble Grischuk forces matters. Another win
was} (33. Ra3 Bc6 34. e7 Kb7 35. Re3 Be8 36. Nf8 Rh8 37. Nxg7 $18) 33... Bc2
34. Ra3 {If White had more time he might have chosen the line} (34. Rd2 Nxf5+
35. gxf5 Bxf5 36. Rxd6 $1 Bxg6 37. Nf4 cxd6 38. Nxg6 {[%csl Ge6,Yf6,Gg6,Yg7,
Yh6,Yh7][%cal Re6d7,Re6f7,Rg6e7,Rg6f8,Rg6h8] Diagram [#] with picturesque
position where the rook on h7 is still in a super-secure prison.}) 34... Nxe6
35. fxe6 Bxg6 36. Ra8+ Kb7 37. Rg8 {White regains the pawn with interest and
the passer on e6 decides the game.} f5 ({Or} 37... Kc6 38. Nxg7) 38. Bxg7 Bxh5
39. gxh5 Kc6 40. a4 Kb7 41. Bf6 Kc6 ({The rook endgame leave no hopes for Black
} 41... Be7 42. Bxe7 Rxe7 43. Rg6) 42. Rg7 Rh8 43. Rxc7+ {Diagram [#]
Fressinet resigned due to the line} (43. Rxc7+ Kxc7 44. Bxh8 Kd8 45. Bg7 Ke7
46. Bxh6 Kxe6 47. Bf4 Be7 48. Bc7 {A crucial win for Grischuk and Russia!}) 1-0



Tomashevsky Attacks

After the free day the ETCC in Iceland entered the decisive matches. In the men section Russia managed to score one more important win. The big Man in this match was Evegeny Tomashevsky. Known for his clean positional style, the Russian champion proved that he is also a dangerous attacker.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Open European Team Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.11.19"]
[Round "6.2"]
[White "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"]
[Black "Mchedlishvili, Mikheil"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2743"]
[BlackElo "2618"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:08"]
[BlackClock "0:00:34"]

1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 e6 6. e3 c5 7. Bxc4 Nc6 8. O-O
cxd4 9. exd4 Be7 {[%csl Gd4] Diagram [#] From the Slav defense the game went
into a typical QGA position with an extra tempo for White (in the Queens
Gambit the black pawn is on a6). Evgeny Tomashevsky's knowledge in these
positions should be huge thanks to his great coach Yuri Razuvaev.} 10. Qe2 {
A typical regroupment. The rook gets on the d file, ready to be shifted along
the third rank for a kingside attack.} (10. Bg5 O-O 11. Re1 Bd7 12. Qe2 Rc8 13.
Rad1 Nb4 14. Ne5 Nfd5 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. Bxd5 Bxg5 17. Bxb7 Bxa4 18. Ra1 Rc7 $11
{Onischuk,A (2662)-Rublevsky,S (2702) Berlin 2015}) 10... O-O 11. Rd1 Nb4 12.
Bg5 h6 {This move prepares the development of the black light-squared bishop.
A famous mistake is the hasty:} (12... Bd7 $2 13. d5 $1 {[%cal Gd1d8] Diagram
[#]} exd5 14. Nxd5 Nbxd5 15. Bxd5 Nxd5 16. Rxd5 Bxg5 17. Nxg5 {with serious
advantage for White. White recent example goes} h6 18. Qd2 hxg5 19. Rxd7 Qf6
20. Rxb7 {with a solid extra pawn for White in Rodshtein,M (2660)-Duda,J (2591)
Jerusalem 2015}) 13. Bxf6 {White decided to trade the bishop. This is
obviously a concession as the first player wants to have as many pieces as he
can for the future attack. But at the same time White gets some important
squares for his knights.} ({In case of} 13. Bh4 {Black can already proceed
with the development} Bd7 14. Ne5 ({As the line} 14. d5 exd5 (14... Nbxd5 {
is also possible.}) 15. Nxd5 Nbxd5 16. Bxd5 Nxd5 17. Rxd5 Bxh4 $11 {is no
longer dangerous for Black.}) 14... Bc6 15. Bg3 Nbd5 16. a5 Rc8 17. Bb3 a6 18.
Rdc1 Bb4 19. Bh4 Qd6 20. Qd1 Bb5 21. Nxb5 axb5 22. Rxc8 Rxc8 23. Qf3 Qc7 24. h3
Ra8 25. Qd1 Bd6 {1/2-1/2 (25) Ivanchuk,V (2748)-Tkachiev,V (2639) France 2010})
13... Bxf6 14. Ne4 b6 {The most natural development.} (14... Be7 15. Ne5 Nc6
16. Nxc6 bxc6 17. a5 $14 {Van Wely,L (2654)-Van Foreest,J (2519) Vlissingen
2015}) 15. Ne5 Bh4 {In case of the natural} (15... Bb7 {White has} 16. Nxf6+
Qxf6 17. Nd7 Qg5 18. f4 {winning the exchange.}) 16. Ra3 {The other rook also
does not mind to get shifted on the kingside.} Bb7 17. Rh3 Bd5 $146 {[%csl Yc4,
Yd5][%cal Yd5c4,Yc4d5] Diagram [#] A novelty. Mchedlishvili is happy to trade
a pair of light pieces. I am curious to see what did Tomashevsky prepare
against:} ({Black did well after} 17... Nd5 18. Qg4 Bg5 19. Nxg5 Qxg5 20. Qxg5
hxg5 {in Ikonnikov,V (2527)-Van Foreest,J (2514) Dieren 2015}) 18. Nc3 Bxc4 19.
Qxc4 Be7 {Careful defense. The knight is more valuable than the bishop in the
line:} (19... Nd5 20. Nxd5 exd5 21. Qd3 $14) 20. Qe2 Rc8 (20... Nd5 {can be
met in a similar way} 21. Qg4 Nxc3 22. bxc3 {with pressure for White on the
kingside.}) 21. Qg4 {[%csl Yg8][%cal Gg4g8,Gh3h8] Diagram [#] A common picture
in the isolated pawn positions. Thanks to his extra space White can lift his
heavy pieces in front of the pawn chain to attack. Hoever, since Black's
pawn structure is almost intact his resources should prove sufficient to hold
the attack.} Kh7 22. Rg3 Bf6 ({The weakening moves are punished at once} 22...
g6 $4 23. Nxf7) 23. Ne4 {The threat is to capture on f6 and fork on d7 with
the second knight, thus} Rc7 24. h4 $1 {Razuvaev's trademark. The pawn is
getting ready to worry the black king anytime he goes g7-g6.} Qe7 {It is
somehow strange, but Black lacks good moves. The computer suggestion} (24...
Nd5 25. Kh2 g6 (25... Rc2 $4 26. Nxf6+) 26. h5 g5 {is hardly any human
player's choice.}) 25. Kh2 $3 {[%csl Gh2] Diagram [#] A deep preparatory move.
The king moves away from the possible checks along the first rank and White
ask his opponent-"What are you doing next?"} Nd5 $6 {Probably the first real
mistake that Mchedlishvili committed in the game. The knight is getting closer
to the black king and on a wonderful outpost, but it lets the second white
rook join the attack.} ({The natural} 25... Rfc8 $2 {to trade the rooks with
Rc7-c1 is concretely bad due to} 26. Nxf6+ Qxf6 27. Rf3 $18) ({But Black could
have been equally prophylactic with} 25... Kh8 $1 {Diagram [#]}) 26. Nxf6+
Qxf6 27. Rdd3 {Logically follows the plan of kingside attack. The threat is
Rd3-f3! But I like one other idea that reveals the idea behind the deep Kh2
move:} (27. Rc1 $1 {[%cal Gg1h2] Diagram [#] which will force the black rook
to abandon the open file as} Rxc1 {loses the queen after} (27... Rfc8 {also
loses due to} 28. Rxc7 Rxc7 29. Rf3) 28. Nd7 $16) 27... Ne7 28. Rgf3 Nf5 29. g3
Kg8 ({Nothing changes} 29... Rd8 30. Qe4 Kg8 ({Black loses the knight in the
line} 30... Rd6 31. g4 Qxh4+ 32. Kg2 Kg8 33. Rh3) 31. d5 $1) 30. Qf4 {The
threat is d4-d5 and there is nothing that Black can do to stop it!} Rd8 31. d5
$1 {[%csl Gd5,Rf5][%cal Gd4d5,Yf3f8] Diagram [#] The most typical IQP break
spells trouble for Black.} Rc2 $2 {This hangs material.} ({Naturally, Black
cannot capture the pawn} 31... Rxd5 32. Rxd5 exd5 33. Qxf5) ({Most resilent was
} 31... Rcc8 32. dxe6 fxe6 {Although here too, White has large advantage after
the simple} 33. Qe4 $16 ({Or he may win a pawn with} 33. g4 g5 34. Qe4 Rxd3 35.
Nxd3 Nd6 36. Rxf6 Nxe4 37. Rxe6 $16)) 32. Nxf7 $1 {[%csl Rd8,Rf5] Diagram [#]
Small combination a'la Capablanca which crowns the great technical job of
Tomashevsky.} Rf8 (32... Qxf7 33. dxe6 {loses everything.}) (32... Kxf7 33.
dxe6+ Kxe6 34. Rxd8) 33. dxe6 Rc5 ({Or} 33... Qxe6 34. Qxf5 Qxf5 35. Rxf5 Rxf7
36. Rd8+) 34. b4 {Diagram [#] A very important win for Russia!} 1-0



Following Botvinnik

Every match in Reykjavik is a tough one as there are practically no underdogs. The value of a single win is enormous and one can see how solidly some teams play, looking for someone to win and the others to keep the balance.
The French teams had huge psychological pressure after the disastrous 13-th of November. But they showed that they are strong, powerful team. Take a look at one of the games of their leader:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Open European Team Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.11.17"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"]
[Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2684"]
[BlackElo "2765"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "70"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:03:07"]
[BlackClock "0:22:23"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 {Diagram [#]
Ever since Rashkovsky revived this line it remains a problem for the first
player in the English Attack.} 7. Bc1 Nf6 8. Be3 Ng4 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bh4 g5 11.
Bg3 Bg7 12. h4 {Diagram [#] Quite a rare line.} ({The main move remains} 12.
Be2 {One recent example went} h5 13. Bxg4 hxg4 14. Nd5 Nc6 15. Nf5 Bxf5 16.
exf5 Bxb2 17. Rb1 Qa5+ {and the impression is that the line is almost
exhausted, Jakovenko,D (2759)-Karjakin,S (2753) Chita 2015}) ({The French GM
has some bitter experience in the second most popular line after} 12. h3 Ne5
13. Be2 Nbc6 14. Nb3 b5 15. a4 $5 $146 {Ivanchuk,V (2715)-Vachier Lagrave,M
(2757), 2015}) 12... Nc6 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. Bc4 Qa5 15. Qf3 Ne5 $3 $146 {
[%csl Rf7][%cal Rf3f7,Rc4f7] Diagram [#] A novelty in the spirit of Botvinnik!
True, he sacrificed a pawn for bishop pair in an endgame against Suetin,
Vachier Lagrave does it in the middlegame.} ({All the seven predecessors saw}
15... Be6 {which solved Black's problems as well. One example-} 16. Bxe6 fxe6
17. Qxg4 Bxc3+ 18. bxc3 Qxc3+ 19. Ke2 Qc4+ 20. Kd2 Qd4+ {and a draw was agreed
in Ivanchuk,V (2731)-Dominguez Perez,L (2754) Beijing 2013}) 16. Bxe5 Qxe5 17.
Bxf7+ ({The position of the white queen on f7 will only help Black build his
initiative-} 17. Qxf7+ Kd8 18. O-O-O Rf8) 17... Kd8 18. hxg5 {There is no time
to castle due to the pin} (18. O-O-O Rf8 {when White will lose the bishop
sooner or later.}) 18... Rb8 {For the pawn Black has total domination on the
dark squares, diagonals and files for all his pieces.} 19. Bb3 ({King's safety
comes first, but after} 19. O-O-O Qxg5+ 20. Rd2 Rf8 $1 {Diagram [#] Black has
various ways of developing the initiative-} 21. Qh5 Qxg2 ({Either the aggressive
} 21... Be5 22. g3 ({Or else White loses the exchange} 22. Qxg5 hxg5 23. Rh7
Bf4) 22... Bg4 {with similar endgame as in the game.})) ({Believe it or not,
the computer quickly put the 0.00 evaluation. Here is his main line} 19. gxh6
$1 Rxb2 20. hxg7 $3 {[%csl Ra1,Re1,Gg7,Rh1][%cal Gg7g8] Diagram [#]} Rxh1+ 21.
Kd2 Qd4+ 22. Qd3 Qxf2+ 23. Ne2 Qxf7 24. Qg3 $1 (24. Rxh1 $2 Qxg7 {is clearly
better for White.}) 24... Rxa1 25. g8=Q+ Qxg8 26. Qxg8+ Kc7 27. Qg7 Raxa2 28.
Qxe7+ Bd7 29. Nd4 c5 30. Ne6+ Kc6 31. Nd8+ {Yeah, go find this over the board..
.}) 19... Rf8 20. Qe3 Qxg5 $1 {[%csl Yb2,Yb3,Yc2,Yc3,Gc8,Gg7] Diagram [#] So,
it is Botvinnik after all who inspired the sacrifice.} ({The middlegame is
better for White} 20... hxg5 21. O-O-O {as his king is safer.}) 21. Qxg5 hxg5 {
Although White is a clear pawn ahead and has seemingly better pawn structure
it is only Black who can play for a win. The white bishop and knight are
occupied with the defense of the queenside and Black can start advancing his
own "a" and "c" pawns to break the defense there. This is not everything- he
can make use of the kingside too.} 22. f3 g4 $1 23. Ke2 a5 $1 {Diagram [#]} 24.
Na4 {Now Vallejo's pieces will remain passive till the end of the game.} ({
The best resource was} 24. Rad1 Ba6+ 25. Ke3 {intending to meet} Be5 {with} 26.
Ne2 $1 Bxb2 27. Nd4 $1 {when Black will have to trade the dark-squared bishop
for the knight with approximate equality.}) 24... Ba6+ 25. c4 ({Or} 25. Ke3 c5
26. c3 Bb5 {in either case the white king is quite uncomfortable.}) 25... Rb4
26. Rac1 gxf3+ 27. gxf3 Bd4 28. Rc2 c5 {All the black pieces occupied
commanding positions.} 29. Rh2 Rg8 30. Rc1 Bc8 $1 {[%cal Gc8e6] Diagram [#]
But some can get even better!} 31. Nc3 Be6 32. Kd3 $6 {Makes things easier for
Vachier.} ({An interesting defense was} 32. Nd5 {with the idea} Bxb2 ({However,
Black can improve with} 32... Bxd5 $1 33. cxd5 a4 34. Bd1 Rxb2+ 35. Rc2 a3 $19)
33. Nxb4 Bxc1 34. Nd5 {which should be holdable endgame for White.}) ({Perhaps
the best defense was} 32. Rd1 Bxc4+ 33. Bxc4 Rxc4 34. Kd3 Rb4 {although
Black's advantage is huge here as well.}) 32... Rg3 33. Ke2 {The pawn is
doomed anyway:} (33. Rf1 Bh3 34. Rd1 Bg2 $17) 33... Bxc4+ 34. Kd2 ({This time
White cannot deprive the opponent of the bishop pair} 34. Bxc4 Rxb2+ $1) 34...
Rxf3 35. Bxc4 Rxb2+ {Diagram [#] Hats off to Maxime Vachier Lagrave and the
whole French team!} ({Vallejo resigned due to the line} 35... Rxb2+ 36. Rc2
Rxc2+ 37. Kxc2 Rxc3+) 0-1