Anand back in Busyness

After a bad performance in Gibraltar the former world champion Vishy Anand is in his element in Zurich. First he did well at the blitz event, sharing the second place and defeating the sole winner Hikaru Nakamura. Yesterday was even better for him after a convincing start of the rapid part of the event. First there was a blitz-krieg against Aronian:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Zürich Chess Challenge 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.13"]
[Round "1.3"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2784"]
[BlackElo "2792"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "37"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:28:15"]
[BlackClock "0:23:36"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 {[%csl Gc3,Gc6,Gf3,Gf6] Diagram [#] One
more way to avoid the Berlin- just get into the Four Knights.} Bd6 {A fighting
move. Aronian avoids the heavily explored lines after} (4... Bb4) ({Or} 4...
Nd4 {which both have somewhat drawish reputation.}) 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 Re8 {
One of Black's plans is to transfer the knight to g6 and go for regroupment
with c7-c6 and Bd6-c7. The immediate} (6... Ne7 {however allows the highly
entertaining} 7. Nxe5 Bxe5 8. d4 d6 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. Be3 {with advantage for
White in Michiels,B (2462) -Stefanova,A (2527) Antwerp 2009}) 7. a3 h6 8. Bc4
Bc5 9. Be3 Bxe3 (9... d6 {looks more solid.}) 10. fxe3 {[%csl Yf7,Rg8][%cal
Gf1f7,Gc4f7,Gf3h4,Gh4f5,Rd1f3,Rd1e1,Re1g3] Diagram [#] Now that the "f" file
has been opened White's plan is crystal-clear- Nf3-h4-f5 followed by either
Qd1-f3 or sometimes Qd1-e1-g3 and mate on the kingside.} d6 11. Nh4 ({Also
good is} 11. Qe1 Ne7 12. Nh4 c6 13. Qg3 {with kingside attack in Bicho,
N-Santos,A Aveiro 2003}) 11... Be6 $146 {This is Black's best bet but his
position remains highly suspicious after Anand's reply.} ({The only
predecessor saw:} 11... Na5 $2 {When instead of White could have won with the
beautiful} 12. Bxf7+ $3 {Diagram [#]} Kxf7 13. Qh5+ Kg8 (13... Kf8 14. Rxf6+
Qxf6 (14... gxf6 15. Qxh6+ Kf7 16. Qh7+ Kf8 (16... Ke6 17. Nd5 Nc6 18. Nf5 {
and Black is helpless.}) 17. Ng6#) 15. Rf1) 14. Rxf6 $1 gxf6 (14... Qxf6 15.
Qxe8+) 15. Qg6+ Kf8 16. Qh7 Re6 17. Nf5 Ke8 18. Nd5 $18 {[%csl Ya5,Ya8,Rc7,Yc8,
Yd8,Ye6,Re8][%cal Rd5c7] Diagram [#] and Black cannot parry the threat Nd5xc7+!
}) 12. Nf5 $1 {The knight on f5 is more important than any double pawns on the
"c" file. There will be no endgame!} Bxc4 ({Or} 12... Bxf5 13. Rxf5 {when
White proceeds with his kingside attack and the attempt to bring fresh
defenders with} Ne7 {fails to} 14. Rxf6 $1 gxf6 15. Qh5 Rf8 16. Qxh6 $18) 13.
dxc4 Kh7 14. Qf3 {Diagram [#] The outcome of the opening battle is a failiure
for Aronian. On the top of that he blunders.} Nb8 $2 ({Black is usually trying
to bring a pawn on f6 in these positions. However} 14... Ng8 {will be strongly
met with} 15. c5 $1 ({It is too early for} 15. Nxg7 Kxg7 16. Qxf7+ Kh8) 15...
dxc5 16. Rad1 {with clear edge for White after} Qg5 17. Rd7 Qg6 18. Rxc7 {
[%csl Gc7,Gf1,Gf3,Gf5] Diagram [#]} ({Or} 18. Nd5)) 15. Nxh6 $1 {[%csl Yh7]
Diagram [#] A deadly blow! It is highly unusual to see a top GM losing that
quickly, albeit in a rapid game.} Kxh6 ({Or} 15... gxh6 16. Qxf6 Qxf6 17. Rxf6
{with certain loss in the endgame.}) 16. Qh3+ Kg6 ({Since} 16... Nh5 {loses to
both} 17. g4 ({And} 17. Rxf7 {is very convincing too.}) 17... g6 18. gxh5) 17.
Rf3 Nh5 18. Rf5 $1 {Diagram [#] The final touch.} Nf6 (18... Rh8 19. Qg4+ Kh6
20. Rxh5#) 19. Qh4 {Aronian resigned just a move before the mate.} 1-0

Then came a devilish trick against Giri:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Zurich Chess Challenge 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.13"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2798"]
[BlackElo "2784"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "92"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:02:42"]
[BlackClock "0:06:21"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 a6 7. a4 O-O 8. Re1 h6
({A fresh game saw} 8... Ba7 9. Na3 h6 10. Nc2 Re8 11. Be3 Be6 12. Bxe6 Rxe6
13. Bxa7 Rxa7 14. d4 exd4 15. Nfxd4 Nxd4 16. Qxd4 Ra8 {with approximate
equality, So,W (2773)-Mamedyarov,S (2747) Wijk aan Zee 2016}) 9. h3 Be6 10.
Bxe6 fxe6 {[%csl Rf2][%cal Gd8e8,Ge8g6,Rf6h5,Rh5f4,Rf8f2,Rc5f2] Diagram [#]
Funnily, Anand is trying to achieve similar position to the one he had against
Aronian the round before with reversed colours!} 11. Be3 Bxe3 $146 {The
simplest and strongest move.} ({The predecessor saw Black getting into some
trouble after:} 11... Ba7 12. Bxa7 Rxa7 13. d4 (13. b4 $5) 13... exd4 14. cxd4
e5 15. Nc3 $14 {[%csl Gd4,Ge4] Diagram [#] Duexmann,M (1060)-Fraenzel,M (1495)
Solingen 2005}) 12. Rxe3 Qd7 (12... Nh5 {is premature due to the standard trick
} 13. Nxe5 $1) ({But} 12... Qe8 {is perfectly playable.}) 13. Nbd2 ({Normally
White will be happy to advance in the center, but} 13. d4 {allows} exd4 14.
cxd4 d5 15. e5 Ne4 $11) 13... Qf7 14. g3 (14. b4 $5 {Diagram [#] to exapand on
the queenside makes sense as well.}) 14... Nd7 15. Kg2 a5 $1 {[%csl Gb4][%cal
Ga5b4] Diagram [#] Anand can be happy with the opening, he equalized
comfortably.} 16. Qc2 Nc5 17. Rf1 Qd7 18. b3 Ne7 (18... Rf7 {is more obvious,
but Anand's move is more concrete.}) 19. Nc4 b5 {[%csl Rb3] Diagram [#] The
point behind Black's play. He gets counterplay against the b3 pawn.} 20. axb5
Qxb5 21. Rb1 Nc6 22. Ncd2 Rab8 23. d4 {Giri is trying to reduce the pressure
against the b3 pawn.} Nd7 (23... exd4 24. Nxd4 Qb7 25. Nxc6 Qxc6 26. b4 {
is somewhat better for White instead.}) 24. dxe5 Ndxe5 25. Nd4 {Safer was} (25.
Nxe5 Qxe5 26. f4 Qc5 27. Qd3 Qb5 28. Qxb5 Rxb5 {Diagram [#] with approximate
equality.}) 25... Nxd4 26. cxd4 Nc6 27. Qc3 Qb6 {Now the weaknesses are
leveling themselves. The black pawns on c7 and a5 do not look too good, but
neither do d4 and b3 in White's camp.} 28. Nf3 Nb4 29. Qc4 Rbe8 30. Rc1 Rf7 31.
Nd2 $6 {A serious inaccuracy. Correct was:} (31. Ne1 $1 {when} Ref8 32. Qxe6 {
may lead to a sweet draw after} d5 $1 33. exd5 (33. Qxb6 $2 Rxf2+ {is bad for
White.}) 33... Qxe6 34. dxe6 Rxf2+ 35. Kg1 Rf1+ 36. Kh2 R8f2+ 37. Ng2 Rxc1 38.
e7 {Diagram [#]} Rf8 39. exf8=Q+ Kxf8 $11) 31... Ref8 32. f4 $2 {One
inaccuracy leads to a serious mistake.} ({This time} 32. Qxe6 $2 {was bad for
White as the knight on d2 is hanging} d5 $1 33. exd5 Qxe6 34. dxe6 Rxf2+) ({
However} 32. Rf1 $1 {was correct when the game would have remained
approximately even.}) 32... e5 $1 {[%csl Yd4,Re3,Yf4,Rg2] Diagram [#] Anand
immediately spots a tactical possibility and nets a pawn.} 33. Nf3 (33. f5 exd4
) (33. fxe5 d5 $1) 33... exf4 34. gxf4 d5 $1 {[%csl Yc4,Ye4,Rg2] Diagram [#]
And sacrifices is back for activity. The real problem for Giri is not the pawn,
but the horrendous situation of his king.} 35. exd5 Qd6 36. Ne5 Rxf4 37. Kg1 {
The pawn on c7 is taboo due to the knight fork} (37. Qxc7 Qxc7 38. Rxc7 Nxd5
$19 {[%csl Yc7,Ye3] Diagram [#]}) 37... Kh7 (37... Nxd5 38. Rg3 {is less clear.
}) 38. Rg3 R8f5 39. Rg4 {Once more the c7 pawn is invincible:} (39. Qxc7 Rf1+
40. Kh2 R5f2+ 41. Rg2 Qf6 $19 {[%csl Rh2] Diagram [#]}) 39... Qf6 {Anand
energetically conducts the attack.} 40. Rxf4 Rxf4 41. Rf1 Qg5+ 42. Kh2 Re4 43.
Nf3 ({Slightly more resilent is} 43. Rg1 {but this should also lose say after}
Qf4+ 44. Kh1 Qf5 45. Kh2 Re3 46. Qf1 Qxf1 47. Rxf1 Rxb3 $19) 43... Qf4+ {
Diagram [#]} 44. Kg2 Re3 45. Qc1 Re2+ 46. Kh1 Qg3 0-1



Modern Chess 2

The second part of the IQP survey features two beautiful games annotated again by the prominent player and coach Viktor Gavrikov for "Modern Chess."
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Pecs-A"]
[Site "Pecs"]
[Date "1976.09.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Honfi, Karoly"]
[Black "Dorfman, Josif D"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D42"]
[WhiteElo "2460"]
[BlackElo "2405"]
[Annotator "GM Viktor Gavrikov"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "1976.09.20"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "HUN"]
[EventCategory "6"]

{Dear readers, In the present issue of "Modern Chess", we continue to examine
the positions with "isolani". The first artcile of the course was designed to
deal with three of the most important attacking possibilities in such
positions - rook transfer to the kingside, knight sacrifice on "f7" square and
pushing of the isolated pawn. In this article, I am going to bring to your
attention another three fundamental attacking ideas for the side which plays
with an isolated queen's pawn - transition into symmetrical pawn structure,
advance of the "f" pawn and advance of the "h" pawn. 1) Transition into
symmetrical pawn structure The transition into symmetrical pawn structure is a
topic, the importance of which is often underestimated in the chess
litterature. Such transition can arise in positions where the piece which
blockades the isolated pawn is exchanged. When we play a position with an
"isolani", the possibility of transition into symmetrical pawn structure after
an exchange on "d5" ( "d4" ) is always in the air and we should consider it in
every moment. That's why we are obliged to examine a new pawn structure, even
though it doesn't seem to have anything in common with the isolated pawn.
Under what circumstances we should give preference to the symmetrical pawn
structure? That is the question I am most often confronted to, when explaining
the present topic to my students. Despite of the fact that the answer is
rather complex, I will point out some general directions. Those of you who
have read the first article of the course know that when we play with an
isolated pawn, our long-term plan is to launch a kingside attack. According to
the basic chess principles, side attacks are successful when the situation in
the center is stable. In the same line of thoughts, the transition into
symmetrical pawn structure favours the side which is planning to attack the
opponent's king. On the other hand, in positions with symmetrical pawn
structure, our typical space advantage doesn't exist anymore. Moreover, there
are is no pressure on the "e" file. In order to use the advantages of the
symmetrical pawn structure, we shoul be ahead in the developpement and our
pieces must be more active. Only in these cases, we can organize a strong
kingside attack which compensates the fact that the space advantage is lost.
Also, it's important to mention that the transposition to symmetrical pawn
structure is generally favourable when the opponent's kingside is weakened.
The abovementioned ideas are brilliantly illustrated by the game Honfi -
Dorfman played in 1976. Let's take a look at that instructive game. The
position we are interested in arises after the moves:} 1. c4 c6 2. e4 d5 3.
exd5 cxd5 4. cxd5 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nxd5 6. Nf3 e6 7. d4 Nc6 8. Bd3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10.
Re1 {[%csl Re5,Re6,Re7,Re8][%cal Gf1e1] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] The diagram
position is extremely popular and can arise from many opening variations. As
an example, we can point out Panov attack in Caro-Kann defence, Semi-Tarrasch
defence, Alapin variation in Sicilian defence and etc. That's why the deep
understanding of that position helps us to improve our opening repertoire.} Bf6
{The idea of Black's last move is to free the "e7" square for the knight.
Afterwards, black is planning to strengthen the control over the key "d5"
square by playing moves like b6 and Bb7 or even Bd7 - c6. In general, one of
the main problems for Black consists in finding a suitable square for the "c6"
knight. Even though Black has managed to solve the abovementionned problem,
his last move has one very imporant negative side. When there are is no knight
on "f6" square, the "h7" pawn becomes a target in many variations.} ({A
popular alternative is} 10... Nf6 {[%cal Gc6b4,Gb4d5,Gb7b6,Gc8b7] Diagram [#]
Now the kingside is well protected but the "c6" knight has no good squares.
Given the fact that Black's only constructive idea is connected with the
manoeuvre Nb4 - d5, white must play} 11. a3 {[%cal Gd3c2,Gd1d3] Diagram [#]
followed by Q-B attacking set up along the "b1 - h7"diagonal.}) 11. Be4 $1 {
Diagram [#] Very interesting move. In favourable circumstances, White is ready
to enter in a position with a symmetrical pawn structure. In the diagram
position, the positional threat is 12.Qd3 with the idea to provoke weaknesses
on the kingside. As we already know, the weakened kingside is a sign that a
possible transition into a symmetrical pawn structure could be advantageous.}
Nce7 12. a3 Bd7 {Diagram [#] Diagram [#] A doubtful move. Despite of Black's
intention to increase the control over the critical "d5"square by means of 13..
.Bc6, white has some additional possibilities connected with an eventual
transition into a symmetrical pawn structure.} ({It was preferable to continue
with} 12... b6 {[%cal Gc8b7] Now, in any moment, Black is ready to recapture
on "d5" with a piece.}) 13. Qd3 g6 {The most typical reaction in response to
the attack against the "h7" pawn. As we have already pointed out in the first
article of our present course, Black is not advised to play the move h7-h6.
This move not only weakens the "b1 - h7" diagonal, but at the same time bishop
sacrifices on "h6" are always in the air.} 14. Bh6 Bg7 {As a rule, in such
kind of positions, the exchange of the black-squared bishops is in White's
favour. The weak dark squares on the kingside make the tranisition into
symmetrical pawn structure extremely tempting.} ({Better was} 14... Re8 {
In this position, white should probably go for the plan conected with the
advance of the "h"pawn.}) 15. Bxg7 Kxg7 {Diagram [#] Diagram [#]} 16. Bxd5 $1 {
Just in the right moment! This exchange is necessary, because everything is
ready for the change of the structure - White is ahead in development and
their pieces are more active, whereas the Black's kindside is very weak.} Nxd5
17. Nxd5 exd5 18. Qb3 Bc6 {[%csl Yc6,Gf3] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] A typical
middlegame position has arised. White can already claim a clear advantage.
Their knight dominates Black's bishop which is restricted by his own pawns. In
adition, we should mention that White's plan is extremely clear - after
putting his knight on the important "e5" square, white can proceed with
doubling his rooks along the "e" file. Later, the queen must be transferred to
the kingside with the idea to execute the typical h2-h4-h5 pawn advance. At
the same time, black is doomed to passivity.} 19. Re3 Qd6 20. Rae1 a5 21. Ne5
a4 22. Qd1 Bd7 $6 {[%csl Rg7] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] Black's idea is to
relocate the bishop, but they waste too much time.} ({Maybe it was better to
play} 22... Rfe8 {, but even in that case, white can proceed with his initial
plan.}) 23. h4 Bf5 24. h5 $1 {[%csl Yg7] Diagram [#] When White's pawn reaches
the "h5" squre, Black's king is always in potential danger. Now only the queen
must enter the attack.} Qb6 25. Qd2 {Diagram [#] The "d2" square is very
suitable for White's queen. From here, the queen not only protects "b2" and
"d4" pawns, but at the same time is ready to use the weak dark squares in
Black's camp. A possible idea is the advance g2-g4 followed by Rh3, h:g6 and
Qh6.} f6 $2 {Diagram [#] Mistake in a difficult position.} 26. Nd7 $5 {The
right idea is executed in a wrong way. Now, with a precise play, Black can
enter a Queen endgame where he is only a pawn down.} ({White should have
played the precise} 26. Ng4 $1 {[%csl Yg7,Rh6][%cal Rd2h6,Re3e7] Diagram [#]
Diagram [#] In this position, we should consider the following forced sequence:
} Bxg4 (26... g5 $2 27. Re7+ Kh8 28. Nh6 $18) (26... Rf7 $2 27. Re8 $18) 27.
Re7+ Rf7 28. Rxf7+ Kxf7 29. Qh6 Rg8 30. Qxh7+ Rg7 31. hxg6+ Kf8 32. Qh8+ Rg8
33. Re8+ Kxe8 34. Qxg8+ Kd7 35. Qf7+ Kd6 36. g7 Be6 37. Qxf6 Kc7 38. Qe7+ Kc8
39. g3 Bg8 40. Qe8+ Qd8 41. Qxa4 {Diagram [#] White has four pawns for the
bishop. His position is complitely winning.}) 26... Bxd7 27. Re7+ Rf7 28. Rxf7+
Kxf7 29. Qh6 {Diagram [#]} Rg8 $2 {This move loses on the spot.} ({Only the
tenacious} 29... Re8 30. Qxh7+ Kf8 31. Qh8+ Kf7 32. hxg6+ Kxg6 33. Rxe8 Bxe8
34. Qxe8+ Kh6 {could have left some chances of survival.}) 30. Qxh7+ Rg7 31.
hxg6+ Kf8 32. Qh8+ (32. Qh8+ Rg8 33. g7+ $1 {Diagram [#]} Kf7 34. Qh5+ Kxg7 35.
Re7+ {With a mate to follow.}) 1-0

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Ostend"]
[Site "Ostend"]
[Date "1906.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Rubinstein, Akiba"]
[Black "Burn, Amos"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D40"]
[Annotator "GM Viktor Gavrikov"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "1906.??.??"]
[EventCountry "BEL"]

{3) The sacrifice of the knight on “f7” The sacrifice on “f7” is the
last attacking idea, which will be discussed in this issue of our magazine. Of
course, that such a blow on black’s position cannot come from nowhere -
there are certain premises. Our readers should remember that the sacrifice on
“f7” is always followed by the gain of the pawn on “e6”. In order to
achieve this scenario, two conditions need to be met: 1) The white
light-squared bishop must be put on the “a2-g8” diagonal; 2) The black
light-squared bishop must have left the “c8-h3” diagonal. To understand
the practical application of the theoretical concepts mentioned above, we
propose to your attention the match between Rubinstein - Burn, played in
Ostend, in 1906. The position that we are interested in arose after the moves:
} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. e3 Be7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O dxc4 8.
Bxc4 c5 9. Qe2 Nb6 10. Bb3 cxd4 11. exd4 Bd7 {Diagram [#] Diagram [#] With his
last move, Black clearly shows the intention to place his light-squared bishop
on the “a8-h1” diagonal. It is obvious that the bishop situated on
“c6”, will place a stable control on the “d5” square. Along with its
advantages, this maneuver hides its own risks. As already mentioned, the
abandonment of the “c8-h3” diagonal weakens the “e6” pawn, which is
under attack by the white bishop on “b3”. This is why Black has to be
extremely careful.} 12. Re1 $1 {[%cal Ge1e8] A great idea of Akiba Rubinstein.
Some of the keenest readers, probably already noticed that as in previous
games, White always places the rook on “d1”. However, the polish chess
virtuoso did not play as usual. Anticipating the future vulnerability of the
“e6” pawn, he decided to the place the heavy pieces on the “e” file.}
Bc6 13. Ne5 $1 {[%csl Re6,Rf7][%cal Re5f7] Diagram [#] Now, at any move, Black
should consider the sacrifice of the knight on “f7”.} Bd5 {Black tries to
neutralize the pressure on the “a2-g8” diagonal. However, the move 13...
Bd5 gives White the opportunity to take the bishop with the knight. In this
situation, Bb3 remained without an opponent and now the sacrifice on “f7”
became even more dangerous. It was better to play 13... Nbd5.} ({The tempting
gain of the pawn} 13... Qxd4 {can be confronted with the thematic sacrifice on
“f7”.} 14. Nxf7 $1 {Diagram [#] Diagram [#]} Rxf7 15. Qxe6 Bd5 (15... Nbd5
$6 16. Be3 Qb4 17. Nxd5 Nxd5 18. Bxd5 Bxd5 19. Qxd5 $16) 16. Nxd5 Nbxd5 (16...
Nfxd5 $2 17. Be3 $18) 17. Be3 Qxb2 18. Rab1 Qa3 19. Bxd5 Nxd5 20. Qxd5 Rd8 21.
Qxb7 Qxa2 22. Qxa7 Qxa7 23. Bxa7 Bb4 24. Rxb4 Rxa7 {Diagram [#] Diagram [#]
Although this position looks to be equal, Black has to work hard in order to
get a draw.}) 14. Nxd5 Nbxd5 {Black took with the right knight. It is
necessary to notice that in this kind of position with an isolated pawn, the
removal of the “Nf6” from the kingside usually portends problems.} ({
Here is one of the variations:} 14... Nfxd5 15. Qg4 {A typical move. From the
“g4” square, the queen not only opposes the black king, but also
intensifies the pressure on the “e6” pawn. Now, is already too late for
the black knight to come back on “f6”:} Nf6 $2 16. Nxf7 $1 {[%csl Rf7,Yg8]
Diagram [#] Diagram [#]} Rxf7 (16... Nxg4 17. Nxd8 $16 {[%cal Gb3e6]}) 17. Qxe6
Nfd5 (17... Nbd5 18. Re5 $16) 18. Re5 $16) 15. Bg5 Rc8 $2 {Diagram [#] Diagram
[#] A very serious mistake, Burn completely ignores white’s tactical threats.
} ({If the white’s next move was predictable, it is more likely that Black
should have defended the pawn on “e6”, by playing} 15... Qd6) 16. Bxf6 $1 {
A known rule - if you exchange one of the interconnected knight, the other one
losses its resistance. Now, at any black’s move, White sacrifices on
“f7”.} Bxf6 {Diagram [#]} (16... Nxf6 $2 17. Nxf7 $1) (16... gxf6 $2 17.
Qg4+ Kh8 18. Nxf7+ $1 Rxf7 19. Qxe6 Rf8 20. Bxd5) 17. Nxf7 $1 {[%csl Rf7]
Diagram [#] The logical conclusion of the Rubinstein’s strategy. The
pressure on the “a2-g8” diagonal is crashing.} Rxf7 18. Qxe6 Bxd4 19. Bxd5
Bxf2+ 20. Kh1 Qf8 21. Rf1 Rc2 22. Rac1 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 {[%csl Rc8,Rf7,Rf8,Rg8]
[%cal Gc1c8,Rd5g8] Diagram [#]} 1-0

If you like hat you see and want to subscribe for "Modern Chess" please, do not forget to use the code dbojkov for 15 % discount of the final price. Greets!


Modern Chess 1

I am glad to present a new chess product, made of my good friends!
“Modern chess” is a magazine of educational type, publishing Grandmaster’s lectures concerning all the stages of the chess game – opening, middlegame and endgame. The articles are interrelated, each one of them being a part of a comprehensive course on a specific topic. Besides the opportunity to read the magazine in PDF, you are offered an interactive version, accessible from the web site.
Therefore, “Modern chess” is a digital educational platform, suitable for anyone who has the ambition to improve his knowledge on the chess game. For more information about Modern Chess Magazine, please visit: http://www.modern-chess.com/en/modern-chess-magazine
I am happy to publish a complete article by GM Gavrikov about the isolated pawn in four parts. Here are the first two games:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "URS-ch sf"]
[Site "Sverdlovsk"]
[Date "1957.??.??"]
[Round "15"]
[White "Polugaevsky, Lev"]
[Black "Lutikov, Anatoly S"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[Annotator "GM Viktor Gavrikov"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "1957.??.??"]
[EventRounds "19"]
[EventCountry "URS"]

{The attack with an isolated pawn - GM Viktor Gavrikov Dear chess friends,
this article marks the beginning of a training course designed to acquaint the
readers of the magazine "Modern Chess" with one of the most important type of
positions in middlegame - isolated pawn. The importance of this topic is
related to the fact that it can arise from a huge number of openings. Several
examples are Queen’s Gambit, Slav Defense, Tarrasch Defense, New Indian
Defense, Nimzowitsch Defense, Sicilian Defense and many other openings.
Therefore, good knowledge of these positions is necessary for any chess player,
regardless of his repertoire. Our magazine provides a full course of study on
the isolated pawn, which contains three logically linked articles. The first
two published materials focus on the methods of playing with an isolator. This
article will explain in depth the three most important attacking ideas for the
side playing with an isolator, which are - the transfer of the rook on third
horizontal, the movement of the isolated pawn and the sacrifice of the knight
on “f7”. No less important are the techniques, which will we discussed in
the second article of our series - the switch to a symmetric pawn structure
after the exchange on “d5”, the movement of “f” pawn and the movement
of “h” pawn. Once our readers are familiar with the offensive potential of
the isolated pawn, they can move forward to the closing article of the course,
which stresses the methods of playing against such a pawn. 1) The transfer of
the rook on third horizontal For a better understanding of this maneuver, it
is necessary to make some general clarifications. The main advantage of the
isolated pawn is that it provides spatial advantage. While the isolator
controls the “e5” and “c5” squares (respectively “e4” and “c4”)
, they can be perfect outpost for the knights. Another essential advantage is
the possession of the semi-opened line “e” which is often used as a
springboard for the development of an attack against the enemy’s king.
Taking into consideration the above-mentioned advantages, the side playing
with an isolated pawn should seek for attack on the kingside and avoid pieces
exchange. The readers should know that in endgame such a pawn is a weakness
rather than a strength. One of the classic methods of attack is the transfer
of the rook on the kingside. This is maneuver is possible, due to the spatial
advantage, provided by the isolated pawn. We can say that quite often the
isolator acts as a “screen”, behind which the regrouping of the pieces is
performed, aiming to play offensive against the king. A relevant example,
which fully illustrates the idea of the transfer of the rook on the third
horizontal, is the classical game between the two Russian Grandmasters, Lev
Polugaevsky and Anatoli Lutikov, played back in 1957.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3.
Nf3 c5 4. e3 Be7 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Bd3 ({Deserves attention move d4-d5, which
leads to Benoni’s pawn structure, favorable for white:} 6. d5 exd5 7. cxd5 d6
8. e4 $14 {The White’s advantage is due to the fact that the “e7” square
is not suitable for the bishop - in this types of structures the best place is
on the big diagonal.}) 6... d5 7. O-O dxc4 8. Bxc4 Nbd7 {[%cal Ga7a6,Gb7b5,
Gc8b7,Gd8b6,Ga8c8,Gf8d8] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] Very crucial moment! When
Black develops the knight on “d7”, they seek for harmonious development of
the queenside. Their plan includes moves а7-а6, b7-b5, Bb7, Qb6, Rac8 и
Rfd8. However, the early development of the knight on “d7” is premature,
because White can oppose a7-a6 with a2-a4. In that situation, the black knight
will be far from the weakened square “b4”.} ({Therefore, the modern theory
recommends starting with} 8... a6 {[%cal Gb7b5] which aims to cause a2-a4 and
thus weaken the square “b4”. The difference here is that the black knight
is still on “b8” and may move easily to “b4”, from where it does not
only control the “d5” square, but also prevents offensive ideas of white
queen - bishop battery on the “b1- h7” diagonal and the transfer of the
rook on the third line through “d3”.} 9. a4 Nc6 {[%csl Rb4][%cal Gc5d4,
Ge3d4,Gc6b4] Diagram [#] Diagram [#]}) 9. Qe2 {A typical move for queen’s
structure It is obvious that soon enough this will lead to a position with an
isolated pawn and White will start to place its pieces on the best places. The
queen occupied the “e” line, which will become semi-opened after the pawn
exchange, while the rook should be placed on “d1”, where it will create a
dangerous confrontation against black queen.} a6 10. a4 cxd4 11. exd4 Nb6 12.
Bb3 {the best place for the bishop in this kind of positions. The control of
the “d5” square is crucial, when the black knight is on “b6”.} Bd7 13.
Ne5 {Diagram [#]} Be8 $2 {[%csl Ye8,Rf8][%cal Rf8e8] Diagram [#] Very
instructive mistake. The bishop on “e8” disturbs the coordination between
the heavy black pieces and limits the movement of the rook from “f8”.} ({
Black should prefer the following option:} 13... Bc6 14. Nxc6 bxc6 {Diagram [#]
The position that occurred is very interesting and popular, but very often was
incorrectly evaluated. The “c6” + “e6” structure, against “d4” is
called “saw”. It is important to know that this type of structure is
favorable for Black, only if the light-squared bishop is not on “c8”,
otherwise it will become the prisoner of his own pawns. Black also possess the
semi-opened line “b”, which fully compensates white’s couple of bishops.
A very interesting and difficult game to follow.}) 14. Rd1 Nbd5 {Diagram [#]}
15. Rd3 $1 {[%cal Gd3g3,Gg3h3] Diagram [#] White chose the best moment to
transfer the rook on the kingside. It depends on the position where the rook
should be placed, on “g3” or “h3”.} Rc8 16. Rg3 $1 {An important
moment from a practical point of view. When we transfer the rook on the third
horizontal in positions with isolated pawn, it is necessary to choose the
square from which the rook confronts the black king. White threatens Bh6.} Kh8
17. Bg5 Nb4 18. Rd1 {After this move all white pieces are in play. Now it is
time to trigger an attack on the kingside.} Rc7 19. Rh3 $1 {Diagram [#] It is
good to pay attention that the white took is seeking for confrontation against
black king. A real storm will start soon on the kingside!} g6 {With his last
move, Black caused irreparable weaknesses around his king. However, it should
be noticed that it is not easy to find a better move.} ({Obviously,} 19... Kg8
{stumbles across a typical move for this type of position} 20. Ne4 {Diagram [#]
White’s idea is more than logical. He seeks for the exchange of Nf6, which
is the only defender on the kingside. Here is how it could develop:} Nbd5 21.
Nxf6+ Nxf6 22. Qd3 h6 $140 ({After} 22... g6 23. Bh6 {Black rook is blocked.})
23. Bxh6 $1 gxh6 24. Qe3 $18 {Diagram [#] Checkmate is inevitable.}) 20. Qf3 $1
{[%csl Rf6] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] White not only highlights the unstable
position of the knight on “f6”, but also prepares the breakthrough d4-d5.}
Rg8 $2 {A serious mistake in a very hard position.} ({Did not save} 20... Bc6 {
because of} 21. Qe3 {[%cal Gg5f6,Ge3h6] After the exchange on “f6”, the
white queen moves to the “h6” square.}) 21. Ne4 {Undoubtedly the most
natural move. White, however, miss the more elegant and quick win.} ({White
could choose also} 21. d5 $1 {Diagram [#]} exd5 22. Nxd5 Nbxd5 23. Rxd5 $1 Nxd5
$140 24. Rxh7+ $1 Kxh7 25. Qh3+ Kg7 26. Qh6# {Diagram [#] Diagram [#]
Picturesque position!}) 21... Nh5 {Black tries to close the “h” line, but
now the “f7” became exclusively weak.} (21... Nxe4 $2 22. Rxh7+ $1 Kxh7 23.
Qh3+ Kg7 24. Qh6#) 22. Qxf7 $1 {[%csl Rh8] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] The last
shot! Black’s position is falling apart. The rest does not need any comments.
} Bc6 (22... Bxf7 23. Nxf7+ Kg7 24. Nxd8 Rxd8 25. g4 Nf6 26. Bh6+ Kh8 27. Ng5
$18) (22... Bxg5 23. Nxg5 $18) 23. Qxe6 Rg7 24. d5 Bd7 25. Bxe7 Rxe7 26. Qd6
Qe8 27. Nf6 Nxf6 28. Qxf6+ Rg7 29. d6 {Diagram [#]} 1-0

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Biel Interzonal"]
[Site "Biel"]
[Date "1976.08.04"]
[Round "18"]
[White "Portisch, Lajos"]
[Black "Sosonko, Gennadi"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E57"]
[WhiteElo "2625"]
[BlackElo "2505"]
[Annotator "GM Viktor Gavrikov"]
[PlyCount "49"]
[EventDate "1976.07.??"]
[EventRounds "19"]
[EventCountry "SUI"]
[EventCategory "12"]

{2) The movement of the isolated pawn Considering the spatial advantage and
the reference squares, the isolated pawn provides many other dynamic
possibilities, linked to the movement of the isolator. Here is crucial to ask
a basic question, the answer to which confuses even the experienced chess
players: In which circumstances is necessary to push the isolated pawn?
Although the answer to this question is not obvious, we will try to give a
general rule, easy to understand for everybody: The isolated pawn should be
moved forward, when the side playing with it has development advantage. This
rule is based on the fact that the player, whose pieces are better developed,
seeks to open the position and seize the initiative. Despite this, there are
positions in which the isolated pawn is a weakness and the side playing with
it tries to get rid of it, while pushing. This is usually happening in the
endgame. Now, we would like to give you an example of a game, played by one of
the greatest Hungarian theoretician Lajos Portish.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3
Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. Bg5
Bb7 11. Re1 Nc6 {Diagram [#] Diagram [#] This is one of the most popular
position in Rubinstein system in Nimzo-Indian defense. By placing the knight
on “c6”, Black seeks to place pressure on the isolated pawn. However, the
knight is not very well placed on “c6”, because the black’s
light-squared bishop cannot control the “d5” square. All these facts
contribute to the movement of the isolator.} ({Safer is to play:} 11... Bxc3
12. bxc3 Nbd7 {[%cal Gd8c7] followed by £c7. This is a different type of
middlegame position - a pair of isolated pawns “c3”+”d4”. We would
like to notice that this specific pawn structure will be subject to a separate
topic in our magazine.}) 12. a3 {A key move! White prepares to play Bd3, while
preventing Nb4. One the queen is on “d3”, White intends to play Rаd1, in
order to prepare the d4-d5 move or to build a battery on the diagonal
“b1-h7”, using Bа2 - b1 maneuver.} Be7 13. Qd3 {[%cal Ga1d1] Diagram [#]
Diagram [#]} Nh5 $6 {Black made a typical mistake for these positions. With
his last move, Black seeks to exchange the dark-squared bishops, as such 14.
Bxe7 14...Nxe7. As a result, the knight from “h5”, goes to “f6” and
Black totally controls the square “d5”. It should be also noted that the
exchange of the dark-squared bishops diminishes the white’s offensive
potential - as we know, the side playing against the isolated pawn seeks for
the exchange in order to get to the endgame. However, the move 13...Nh5 is
premature, because White is not obliged to the exchange the bishop, he can put
it on “d2”!} ({It was better to choose this order:} 13... h6 14. Bh4 Nh5
15. Bxe7 Nxe7 {[%cal Gh5f6,Ge7d5] followed by Nf6. Black has a full game ahead.
}) 14. Bd2 $1 {Here is the difference! Black not only failed to exchange the
dark-squared bishops, but also removed his horse from the center. “d4-d5”
threat begins to take real shape.} Nf6 ({The gain of the pawn also looked
attractive:} 14... Na5 15. Ba2 Bxf3 $2 16. Qxf3 $1 {[%cal Gf3h5,Gb2b4]} Qxd4 {
Diagram [#] The knight on “h5” is under attack, but black’s position is
still kept together by the unprotected bishop on “d2”. No matter how
strange this looks, but Black loses because of the limited mobility of the
other knight (Nа5).} 17. Rad1 {[%cal Gf3h5] Diagram [#]} Nf6 18. b4 $1 $18 {
Black is defenseless. The knight has nowhere to go - 18...Nс4 is followed by
19.Bf4}) 15. Rad1 Na5 $6 {The beginning of a wrong plan - Black neglects the
development of the heavy pieces, while helping White to implement his idea
(Ba2-b1). It is necessary to point out that by putting the horse on “a5”,
grandmaster Sosonko intended to strengthen the control over the strategically
important square “d5”. However, as we will see later, White has a very
convincing answer.} ({Better was} 15... Rc8) 16. Ba2 Nd5 $2 {Diagram [#] Black
continues to follow his wrong plan - in pursuing his strategical goals, he
forgets about the tactical resources of his opponent. The problem is that we
cannot block an isolated pawn with a piece.} ({Again it was better to play}
16... Rc8) 17. b4 $1 {This specific move escaped Sosonko’s attention.} Nxc3
$2 {Diagram [#] The third and last mistake. Now, the only passive white piece
(Bd2) reaches the big diagonal. White has a huge advantage in development and
he is ready to push d4-d5.} ({It was necessary to choose:} 17... Nc6 18. Nxd5
exd5 {The position has changed again form the structural point of view. On the
board we have the so-called “symmetrical pawn structure”, which will be
discussed in details in the next issue of our magazine. For now, we will say
that in this type of middlegames, the side that has a better development of
the pieces has also the advantage. In the position from the diagram, White has
a very typical attacking idea:} 19. h4 $5 {[%cal Ga2b1,Gg7g6,Gh4h5] Diagram [#]
White intends to play Bb1 and to confront g7-g6 with h4-h5. Of course, before
pushing the “h” pawn, it is advisable to point the weaknesses on the dark
squares on the kingside with ¥h6. Interesting is that the pawn cannot be
gained:} Bxh4 20. b5 Na5 21. Bb4 {Diagram [#]}) 18. Bxc3 Nc6 19. d5 $1 {
[%csl Rd5][%cal Gd1d8,Ge1e8,Gc3h8,Ga2g8] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] When there
are no better places to put your pieces, it is a sign that this is the moment
to push the isolated pawn! The Black’s position is falling apart.} exd5 20.
Bxd5 Qc7 (20... Bf6 21. Qc4 $18 {[%cal Gd5f7,Gd5c6]}) 21. b5 $1 Na5 22. Be5 $1
{Diagram [#] Last accurate move - now the black material losses are inevitable.
} Qc5 (22... Qc8 23. Bxg7 $18) (22... Qd8 23. Bxb7 Nxb7 (23... Qxd3 24. Rxd3
Nxb7 25. Rd7 $18) 24. Qd7 Nd6 25. Qg4 g6 26. Qf4 $18) 23. Bxb7 Nxb7 24. Qd7 Na5
25. Bd4 {Diagram [#]} 1-0

Part 2 of the article will follow soon. I am also happy to announce that you can use the promo code dbojkov for 15 % discount on any of the products of "Modern Chess".


A Perfect Attack

Michael Adams's first win at the Tata Steel in round ten was a great achievement especially when his opponent was the ultra-solid Sergey Karjakin:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.27"]
[Round "10.5"]
[White "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2769"]
[BlackElo "2744"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:59"]
[BlackClock "0:11:57"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 d5 3. e3 e6 4. Nf3 c5 5. c3 {Diagram [#] The London system is
becoming more and more popular, even at a top level. White is playing the Slav
defense with an extra tempo.} Nc6 6. Nbd2 Bd6 7. Bg3 O-O 8. Bd3 b6 9. Ne5 {
This is one of the main ideas of the whole line. White wants to attack on the
kingside and therefore plays in a Stonewall way.} Bb7 10. f4 {The bishop on g3
is also seemingly well placed, ready to go to h4. It seems as White had won
some tempos on the development of that piece, but if we count carefully, we
shall see that it is all the same. In the Stonewall the bishop goes to h4 via
d2-e1-h4. Here Karjakin had lost the time while maneuvering Bf4-g3-h4.} Ne7 {
A nice defensive maneuver.} 11. Qf3 ({Funnily, Karjakin has some experience
with this line, but as Black:} 11. Qc2 c4 12. Be2 Nf5 13. Bf2 Be7 14. Ng4 Nxg4
15. Bxg4 Nd6 16. f5 exf5 17. Bxf5 Nxf5 18. Qxf5 Qc8 {Andreikin,D (2720)
-Karjakin,S (2762) Baku 2015}) (11. Bh4 Ne4 {is good for Black.}) 11... Nf5 12.
Bf2 Be7 13. g4 Nd6 {Petrosian loved to place his knights this same way against
the Stinewall and to crack jokes about the awesomeness of the Dutch defense.}
14. g5 Nfe4 15. O-O-O ({Perhaps it was better to postpone the castling for one
more move} 15. Qh3) 15... c4 $146 {[%cal Gc5c4,Gb6b5,Gb5b4,Ga7a5] Diagram [#]
A novelty in comparison to the email game:} ({Sodomski,A (2006)-Fedorov,S
(2399) ICCF email 2011, which saw} 15... cxd4 16. exd4 b5 17. h4 b4 18. cxb4 a5
{which also looks quite promising for Black.}) 16. Bc2 (16. Bxe4 $6 dxe4 17.
Qg2 b5 {[%cal Gb7d5,Ga7a5,Gb5b4] Diagram [#] followed by Bb7-d5 and advance of
the "a" and "b" pawns will lead to a dream position for the second player.})
16... b5 {Both sides attack on the opposite flanks and the Big question is-
"Who is opening the king first." Since the white pawn chain is somewhat more
exposed, Adams does it.} 17. Qh3 b4 18. Nxe4 ({Naturally, Karjakin does not
want to open any files with} 18. cxb4 a5 $1 {Diagram [#]} (18... c3 19. bxc3
Qc7 (19... Nxc3 20. Qxh7#)) 19. b5 c3 20. bxc3 Nxb5 {when Black is definitely
happy.}) 18... dxe4 19. Be1 Bd5 {Adams prepares b4-b3.} ({The other way to
attack is} 19... bxc3 20. Bxc3) 20. Rg1 $6 {Diagram [#] Which Karjakin ignores.
} ({In case of} 20. cxb4 a5 $1 21. bxa5 {The English GM was probably planning
the rich exchange sacrifice} Rxa5 $1 {when} 22. Bxa5 $2 {might lead to quick
mate after} ({But White had definitely more chances defending the position
after} 22. a3 {than the one in the game. On a second thought} Nb5 $1 {Looks
really scary for White.}) 22... Qxa5 23. Kb1 (23. Rd2 c3 24. bxc3 Qxc3 25. Kd1
Rb8 $19) 23... c3 {[%csl Rb1] Diagram [#] and the white king has no defenders.}
) 20... b3 21. axb3 (21. Bb1 {seems more stubborn although Black's attacking
chances are huge after} bxa2 22. Bxa2 a5 ({Or} 22... Rb8)) 21... cxb3 22. Bb1
f5 $1 {[%csl Rc1][%cal Gf8f1] Diagram [#] A very nice idea. Adams offers his
opponent a choice of two eveils. To close the kingside and basically to resign
on the other one. Or...} 23. gxf6 Bxf6 {To open the "f" file for the black
rook and activate his bishop.} 24. Rg4 Nf5 {With the intention to improve
calmly with a7-a5-a4-a3 or Ra8-c8 and Qd8-a5.} 25. Kd2 {White tries to escape
but the poor king gets surrounded.} Qa5 26. Ke2 Bxe5 27. dxe5 ({There is no
way back as the "f" file had been opened-} 27. fxe5 Bc4+ 28. Kd2 (28. Kf2 Nxd4+
) 28... Qa1 {[%csl Rd2][%cal Ra1b2]}) 27... Rad8 28. Kf2 {Or:} (28. Bd2 Bc4+
29. Ke1 Rxd2 $1 {[%csl Ye1] Diagram [#] and White's position falls apart.} 30.
Kxd2 (30. Rxd2 Qa1 31. Rd1 Qxb2) 30... Rd8+ 31. Kc1 Rxd1+ 32. Kxd1 Qa1 33. Kc1
Bd3) 28... Qa1 {It is over.} 29. Bd2 Bc4 30. Qh5 Qxb2 31. Ke1 Rxd2 $1 {[%csl
Re1][%cal Rb2c1,Rc1d2] Diagram [#]} (31... Rxd2 32. Rxd2 Qc1+ 33. Kf2 Qf1#) 0-1



Crushing the Berlin

Round nine of Tata Steel saw Magnus Carlsen firmly occupying the first place after a win against his second Michael Adams. The other big news were Wei Yi's first win in the event. And what a win that was:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.26"]
[Round "9.3"]
[White "Wei, Yi"]
[Black "Navara, David"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2706"]
[BlackElo "2730"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:38:08"]
[BlackClock "0:01:40"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 {The Anti-Berlin is getting more and more
popular of lately. It seems as White has not much there as well, but at least
the queens are still on the board!} Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 O-O {Diagram [#]}
({Another plan is} 6... Qe7 7. h3 O-O 8. Nc4 Nd7 9. Qe2 b5 10. Ne3 Nb6 {
as in Caruana,F (2787)-Nakamura,H (2793) London 2015}) 7. Nc4 Nd7 8. Qe2 Re8 9.
Bd2 Bd6 10. h4 $146 {[%csl Yg6][%cal Gh4h5,Gg2g4,Gg4g5] Diagram [#]} ({So far
all the games saw} 10. g4 {One fresh example goes} Nf8 11. Ne3 Ne6 12. Nf5 a5
$1 13. h4 a4 14. Ng5 a3 {when the Dutch GM managed to create serious
counter play in Anand,V (2803)-Giri,A (2798) Bilbao 2015}) 10... c5 {Navara
wants to occupy the d4 outpost with comfort.} ({The knight can come back to}
10... Nf6 {but it will hardly stop the white pawns there.}) ({On the other hand
} 10... Nf8 {can be met with} 11. h5 {attacking and depriving the black knight
of the g6 square and this might be the critical test for Wei's novelty after}
Ne6) 11. h5 h6 {[%csl Rh6] Diagram [#] This is dubious to say at least. In now
way should have Black allowed a hook on the kingside. Both} ({the immediate}
11... Nb8) ({Or} 11... Nf8 12. h6 g6 {were better.}) 12. O-O-O {The immediate}
(12. g4 {was also good for White, for example} Nf8 13. g5 hxg5 14. Bxg5 f6 15.
Bd2 b5 16. Nxd6 cxd6 17. Rg1 {with attack.}) 12... Nb8 13. Rdg1 {Wei is not in
a hurry.} ({Once again} 13. g4 {is possible as Black is not willing to capture
the pawn} Bxg4 $2 (13... f6 14. Nh4) 14. Rdg1 Bxf3 (14... Qd7 15. Rh4 Bxf3 16.
Qxf3) 15. Qxf3 {[%csl Yf7,Rh6][%cal Rf3f7,Rd2h6] Diagram [#] This is not even
winning a pawn as the h6 and f7 spots cannot be defended simultaneously.})
13... Nc6 14. g4 f6 {Navara was obviously counting on this move to seal the
kingside. However...} ({Or else the kingside will be badly opened.} 14... Nd4
15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. g5) 15. g5 $1 {[%csl Yf6,Yg7,Rg8,Yh6][%cal Gg1g8,Gh1h8]
Diagram [#] Wei blows the barricades at once!} (15. Nh4 {will be the
traditional way to play.}) 15... fxg5 16. Nxg5 Nd4 ({In case of the immediate}
16... hxg5 17. Bxg5 {White's attack is also very strong. For example} Be7 (
17... Qd7 18. Bf6 Bf8 19. h6 $18) ({There is no need to transpose into the
game after} 17... Nd4 18. Qe3) 18. Bxe7 (18. Be3 $5) 18... Qxe7 19. h6 g5 20.
Qh5 g4 (20... Kh8 21. Rxg5) 21. Ne3 Kh8 22. Nxg4 Bxg4 23. Rxg4 Rg8 24. Rg7 Qf6
{Diagram [#] with two pawns for the piece and strong threats.}) 17. Qd1 hxg5
18. Bxg5 Be7 {It seems as the attack will soon peter out, but Wei had foreseen
the amazing} ({The other move loses quickly} 18... Qd7 19. Bf6) 19. Be3 $3 {
[%csl Yg7,Yg8][%cal Gg5e3,Rg1g8] Diagram [#] Human beings have difficulties in
seeing backward moves when attacking, but not the Chinese GM. The threat h5-h6
forces Black to go} Bf6 (19... Bd6 20. h6 $18) {But} 20. h6 {is played anyway
and it becomes obvious that the two rooks will have a great party on the open
files.} Re7 ({Black cannot hide behind the pawns as the lines prove} 20... g5
21. Bxg5 $1 {Diagram [#]} (21. Qh5 g4 22. f4) 21... Bxg5+ 22. f4 exf4 23. Qh5
Ne2+ 24. Kd1 Nxg1 25. Qg6+ Kh8 26. Qg7#) (20... g6 21. Qh5 $1 $18) 21. hxg7
Rxg7 22. Qh5 {Now that the black king is opened everything finishes in just a
few moves. The black queenside pieces never took part in the battle.} Be6 23.
Bh6 {Diagram [#] The simplest win.} ({There was a dual} 23. Qh8+ Kf7 24. Rxg7+
Bxg7 25. Nxe5+ Bxe5 26. Rh7+ Kg6 27. Rh6+ Kf7 28. Qxe5 $18) 23... Bf7 24. Bxg7
Bxh5 25. Bxf6+ Kf8 26. Bxd8 Ne2+ 27. Kb1 Nxg1 28. Bxc7 {Diagram [#]} 1-0



Endgame Symphony

After Carlsen's quick draw against Karjakin in round eight of Tata Steel many believed that the co-leadership between the Norwegian and Fabiano Caruana will stay before the second free day. The American managed to equalize in the opening and seemed to hold on his own until David Navara started his endgame symphony:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.24"]
[Round "8.5"]
[White "Navara, David"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2730"]
[BlackElo "2787"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:07:41"]
[BlackClock "0:05:50"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 c5 6. dxc5 Na6 7. g3 Nxc5 8.
Bg2 Nce4 9. O-O Nxc3 10. bxc3 Be7 11. e4 d6 12. e5 dxe5 13. Nxe5 Qc7 14. Qe2 {
Diagram [#] Navara revealed that he had tried this line with a friend of his
in December in a couple of blitz games.} ({In one of them he committed a
mistake} 14. Bf4 $2 {After which Black went for} Nh5 {"and he was immediately
better"} (14... g5 {instead would have won a piece, but this is a blitz game,
remember?})) 14... Nd7 ({Another plan is} 14... Ne8 15. Bf4 Bd6 16. Rfd1 f6 17.
Nd3 Qxc4 18. Qb2 Rb8 19. Be3 {with initiative for the pawn in Dreev,A (2638)
-Ivanisevic,I (2662) Kragujevac 2015}) 15. Bf4 Nxe5 16. Bxe5 Bd6 17. Rfe1 Rb8 (
{"The principled continuation is"} 17... Bxe5 18. Qxe5 Qxc4 {when after say}
19. Red1 {[%csl Yc8][%cal Gd1d8,Gb1b8,Gg2a8] Diagram [#] "White has enough
compensation for the pawn, but not more" (Navara)}) 18. Rad1 Bxe5 19. Qxe5 Qxe5
20. Rxe5 b6 21. c5 f6 22. cxb6 axb6 23. Re2 $146 {[%csl Yb6][%cal Ge2b2,Gd1b1,
Gb1b6] Diagram [#] Navara was surprised to learn at the press conference that
he had made a novelty with his last move.} ({Two games saw instead} 23. Re3 b5
24. f4 Kf7 25. Red3 {one of them very fresh- Basso,P (2466)-Horvath,J (2533)
Spoleto 2016}) 23... Kf7 24. f4 {The only try to play for something, but this
idea is connected with a blunder . Instead} (24. Rb2 e5 25. Rdb1 Bf5 $11) ({And
} 24. Rd6 e5 25. Rb2 Be6 26. Rdxb6 Rxb6 27. Rxb6 Bxa2 {lead to equality.})
24... e5 25. fxe5 Bg4 26. e6+ Kg6 {Diagram [#] Ambitious play by Caruana. If
he wanted to draw, the move} (26... Bxe6 {would suffice. For example} 27. Rd6
Bc4 $11 ({But not} 27... Rfe8 $2 {To which Navara gave the study-like idea} 28.
Rdxe6 (28. Rexe6 $1 {is easier} Rxe6 29. Bd5 Rbe8 30. Rxb6 $18) 28... Rxe6 29.
Bd5 Rbe8 30. g4 h6 31. h4 g6 32. a4 f5 33. g5 {and Black is running out of
moves (Navara).})) 27. Be4+ ({White's original idea was to play} 27. Rdd2 Bxe2
28. Rxe2 {with the idea Bg2-d5 and c3-c4 with compensation, but he realized
that he had missed the simple} Rbc8 {after which teh whole plan does not work.}
) 27... f5 (27... Kh6 $1 {[%csl Yc3,Rd1,Re2,Ye6,Gh6][%cal Gg6h6] Diagram [#]
was stronger when the only one to play for the win will be Caruana. Although
Navara believed he should have enough compensation after} 28. Rdd2 Bxe2 29.
Rxe2 Rbc8 (29... Rfc8 $1 {is stronger though.}) 30. Bd5 {and White wins the
tempo to play c3-c4 due to the threat} Rxc3 $6 31. e7 Re8 32. Bf7) 28. e7 (28.
Rd6 Rf6 $11) 28... Bxe2 29. Rd6+ Kg5 {Navara's brilliant idea is seen in the
line} (29... Rf6 30. Rd8 Bb5 (30... Re6 31. Rxb8 Rxe7 32. Rxb6+ {just wins a
pawn for White.}) 31. Bd5 $3 {[%csl Yb5,Yb8,Gd5,Gd8,Ge7,Yf6,Yg6] Diagram [#]
with complete domination.}) 30. exf8=R Rxf8 31. Bd5 {White's initial thought
was to force a draw with} (31. Kf2 fxe4+ 32. Kxe2 {but then he realized he has
some chances for the win.}) 31... Rf6 32. Rd7 Kh6 33. Kf2 (33. c4 f4 $11) 33...
Bb5 34. Rc7 Rd6 {An inaccuracy. The Czech GM believed} (34... f4 {[%cal Rf4g3,
Rg3f4] Diagram [#] to be mandatory in order to activate the black pieces. The
position is indeed drawish after} 35. g4 Rd6 36. c4 Bd7 $11 (36... Rd7 37. Rc8
Kg5 $11)) 35. c4 Be8 36. Rc8 Bd7 {One more inaccuracy after which White's
chances get even higher.} (36... Ba4 {instead should be enough for counterplay
and equality} 37. Ke3 Kg5 38. Kd4 (38. Rc7 Rd7 39. Rxd7 Bxd7 $11) 38... Rh6 {
(Navara)}) 37. Rd8 Kg6 38. Ke3 Kf6 39. Kd4 {[%csl Yd6,Yd7][%cal Gd4e5] Diagram
[#] Now that the king is centralized White threatens to break in anytime.} (39.
Rf8+ {was worse} Ke5 40. Rf7 Be6 ({Or} 40... Bc6 {(Navara)})) 39... Ke7 40. Rg8
Rg6 41. Ke5 Rg5 ({One more study line by the Czech genius-} 41... h5 42. Rh8
Rg5 43. Bf3 Be8 44. Rxe8+ $1 Kxe8 45. Kf4 $1 {[%csl Rg5] Diagram [#] and White
wins the brilliancy price.}) 42. Rb8 {The first player is obviously dominating
but there is no direct way in.} ({White did not like the line} 42. Rh8 Rh5 43.
h4 Rh6 44. Rg8 Rg6 45. h5 Rg5 ({But not} 45... Rxg3 $2 46. h6 $1 {when White
reaches the h7 pawn.}) 46. Rb8 {with possible draw.}) 42... Rg6 43. Rh8 Rh6 44.
h4 Be6 ({The other defense was} 44... Rg6 45. Rxh7 Rxg3 46. h5 Kd8 47. Kd6 Be8
{but it is questionable if Black can survive this.}) 45. Ra8 $1 {No rook
endgames!} (45. Bxe6 Rxe6+ 46. Kxf5 Rc6 47. Rxh7 Kf7 $11 {(Navara)}) 45... Bd7
({Taking note on the above-mentioned Caruana could have tried his chances in
the rook endgame after} 45... Bxd5 46. cxd5 ({Better than} 46. Ra7+ Bb7) 46...
Rg6 47. Ra7+ Kd8 48. Ra3 Kd7 ({And not} 48... Rf6 $2 49. Ra8+ Ke7 50. Ra7+ Kf8
51. d6 $18 {(Navara)})) 46. Rh8 Be6 47. a4 Bd7 48. Ra8 ({Once more rejecting}
48. Rg8 Rg6 49. h5 Rg5 (49... Rxg3 $2 50. h6 $1 $18) 50. Rb8 Rxh5 51. Rxb6 f4+
52. Kxf4 Bxa4 {when Black should hold.}) 48... Rg6 49. Ra7 Rxg3 {Diagram [#]
This move loses.} (49... Kd8 50. h5 (50. c5 bxc5 51. a5 {is another winning
attempt.}) (50. a5 bxa5 51. c5 a4 $11 {(Navara)}) 50... Rh6 51. Bf3 Re6+ {
was the best defense and Navara was not sure if he has realistic winning
chances.} 52. Kf4 (52. Kxf5 Rf6+ 53. Ke4 Bc6+)) 50. a5 $1 {Thanks to the
newborn passer White tips the scales in his favour.} (50. Bc6 Rd3 $11) 50...
bxa5 51. c5 Kd8 52. h5 $1 {[%csl Gd6,Yg6][%cal Gh5g6,Ge5d6] Diagram [#]
Secures the d6 square for the king.} f4 53. Kd6 Bc8 54. c6 Rg5 ({The last
microscopic chance was} 54... Rd3 {but White wins after} 55. Rxg7 ({Navara saw
the trap though} 55. c7+ $2 Ke8 56. Ra8 Rxd5+ 57. Kxd5 Kd7 $11 {Diagram [#]}))
55. Bf7 {The combination of the white king, rook, bishop and pawn reminds me
of the famous game Alkhine-Teichman, Berlin 1921.} 1-0



Carlsen Speeds Up

The world champion woke from the slow start and starting his rally. In round seven of Tata Steel he won his third consecutive win:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.23"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Eljanov, Pavel"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2760"]
[BlackElo "2844"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:03:33"]
[BlackClock "0:10:36"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ {A fashionable Anti-Catalan reply in
Wijk.} 5. Bd2 Be7 {Diagram [#] In contrast to Mamedyarov yesterday Carlsen
drops the bishop back to e7.} 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Qc2 Ne4 {Playing in a
Stonewall fashion.} 9. Bf4 c6 10. Nc3 g5 {[%csl Yd4][%cal Gf7f5,Gg5g4] Diagram
[#] It makes sense to chase the bishop away from the active position. Plus,
Black wants to advance on the kingside anyway.} ({The immediate} 10... f5 {
is also possible although after} 11. Rad1 b6 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. Rc1 {White's
position seems preferable, Abasov,N (2492)-Kuderinov,K (2480) Baku 2013}) 11.
Be3 Nd6 $1 $146 {[%csl Rc4,Re3][%cal Rd6c4,Rd6f5,Rf5e3] Diagram [#] The world
champion uncorks strong novelty! Previously only the straightforward} (11... f5
{had been tested. One short example-} 12. Rad1 Nd6 13. b3 Nf7 {1/2-1/2 (13)
Nogueiras Santiago,J (2533)-Jobava,B (2637) Havana 2005}) 12. b3 {Eljanov
sacrifices a pawn for the initiative.} ({In case of} 12. cxd5 {Black will
recapture} exd5 {and the knight on d6 is perfectly placed for the Carlsbad
pawn structure.}) 12... Nf5 {The point of the novelty. Since the pawn on d4 is
hanging Black gets a chance to grab a gorgeous bishop.} ({Instead} 12... dxc4
13. Ne4 {will give a lot of central play for the sacrificed pawn.}) 13. g4 $5 {
[%csl Yf5][%cal Gg3g4] Diagram [#] A courageous decision!} ({As mentioned above
} 13. Bc1 g4 {wins the pawn on d4.}) ({While} 13. Qd3 g4 14. Ne1 Nxe3 15. Qxe3
Bg5 {looks very comfortable Stonewall for the second player.}) 13... Nxe3 14.
fxe3 $5 b5 {[%csl Rb5] Diagram [#] Carlsen sacrifices a pawn on his turn!} ({
Black could have also developed kingside initiative with} 14... h5 {and if} 15.
gxh5 g4 16. Ne1 Bg5) 15. e4 {But Eljanov does not take it and concentrates on
central play.} ({There was nothting wrong with} 15. cxb5 cxb5 16. Nxb5 Ba6 (
16... Qb6 17. Nc3 Ba6) 17. a4 Rc8 {when Black has enough initiative to
compensate the pawn.}) 15... b4 ({The computer advocates} 15... bxc4 {but this
seems wrong after} 16. bxc4 dxc4 17. e5 {[%csl Yc4,Yc6,Rg8][%cal Gc3e4]
Diagram [#] The white knight will jump on e4 and the pawns on the "c" file
will soon perish.}) 16. exd5 {A courageous decision! Both players have
sacrificed pawns for initiative that far. Eljanov beats Carlsen on the number
of sacrifices now.} ({Objectively better was} 16. Na4 {to which I suspect
Carlsen would have gone for} dxe4 (16... Bb7) 17. Qxe4 Nf6 {with the idea} 18.
Qxc6 (18. Qd3 {is correct to sacrifice a pawn again...}) 18... Rb8 {Black is
already much better and if} 19. h3 $2 Bb7 20. Qb5 Nxg4 $1 {[%csl Yb5][%cal
Ge7g5] Diagram [#]} 21. hxg4 Bxf3 22. Qe5 Bf6 {wins for Black.}) 16... bxc3 17.
dxc6 Nb8 18. Qe4 {[%csl Gc4,Gc6,Gd4,Ge2] Diagram [#] For the piece Eljanov has
two pawns and powerful pawn mass in the center.} ({Or} 18. Rad1 Nxc6 19. Nxg5
Bxg5 20. Bxc6 {when both} Rb8 ({and even} 20... Bd7 21. Bxa8 Be3+ 22. Kg2 Qxa8+
{lead to advantage for Black.})) 18... f5 $1 {Black has to play actively if he
wants not only to convert his advantage, but even to survive. For example:} (
18... Na6 19. Ne5 Nc7 $2 20. Nxf7 $1 {and all of a sudden Black is in trouble.
Say} Rxf7 $2 21. Rxf7 Kxf7 22. Qxh7+ Ke8 23. Qg6+ Kf8 24. Rf1+ {[%csl Rf8]
Diagram [#] and it is over.}) 19. gxf5 exf5 20. Qd5+ {Alas, White has to trade
queens.} (20. Qe3 Nxc6) 20... Qxd5 21. cxd5 Na6 {The problem with the pawn
massive is that it does not get anywhere. If the white pawn from e2 was on e5
instead, this would have been a different story. Now Black is clearly better.}
22. Rac1 ({Or} 22. Ne5 Nc7 23. Nc4 Rd8 24. e4 fxe4 25. Bxe4 Nxd5) 22... Nc7 23.
Ne5 f4 24. Nc4 Rd8 25. Rxc3 Nxd5 {Diagram [#] The most dangerous pawn is gone
and White hurries to get some material back.} 26. c7 Nxc7 $1 {The best.
Greediness is as usual punished after} (26... Rd7 27. Rcc1 Bb7 28. Ne5 Rd6 29.
Rc5 {and White is most likely better.}) 27. Bxa8 Nxa8 28. e3 Bb4 {[%csl Gb4,
Gc8] Diagram [#] Normally a rook and a pawn are at least as good as the two
light pieces in the endgame. But not if those are two bishops.} 29. Rc2 Bb7 30.
h4 {White is correctly trying to get rid of the pawns.} Be4 31. Rh2 {This
makes things easier for Carlsen. Better was} (31. Rcf2 Nb6 32. exf4 Nxc4 33.
bxc4 gxh4 {although here too, Black should have serious winning chances.})
31... Nb6 32. Ne5 {Nothing helps:} (32. Nxb6 axb6 33. exf4 g4 $1) (32. hxg5
Nxc4 33. bxc4 fxe3) (32. exf4 Bc3 $1) 32... fxe3 33. hxg5 Rxd4 34. Ng4 Nd5 {
Diagram [#] Once that Carlsen wins a game things get scary for everyone.} 0-1