Perfect Preparation

Opening preparation takes the biggest part of the overall study in top-chess today. Watching the play of young and talented Russian player at the EICC in Plovdiv (by the way winner of Aeroflot open), I was quite impressed by the fact that he practically does not spend any time in the opening up to 20th move, or even more. Here is a sample of his perfect homework:

Nepomniachtchi,Ian (2634) - Sulashvili,Malkhaz (2491) [B14]
9th European Individual Ch (m) round 6 Plovdiv BUL (6.75), 26.04.2008
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qc2 Nc6 9.Bd3 Ba5 10.a3 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Bb5+ Bd7 14.0–0 Qd5 15.c4 Qf5 16.Bxd7+ Kxd7 17.Qb3 b6 18.Rd1+ Ke7 19.a4 Rhd8 20.Ba3+ Kf6 21.Bd6 g5 22.Qb2+ Kg6 23.Ra3 e5

[23...g4 Is the famous game from the previous EICC. Let me remind you that Vladimir Potkin is Nepomniachtchi's trainer, so the young Russian player is deep into the position. 24.h3 h5 25.Rg3 f6 26.hxg4 hxg4 27.Rd4 Kf7 28.c5 Rg8 29.Rf4 Qg6 30.Rgxg4 Qh6 31.Qb5 Rad8 32.Qc6 1–0 Tkachiev,V (2652)-Potkin,V (2593)/Dresden 2007/CBM 118] 24.Qe2 f6

Nepomniachtchi did his homework. [25.Rad3 Rac8 26.Rd5 Re8 27.g4 Qf4 28.Qd3+ Kg7 29.Bxe5 Qxg4+ 30.Kh1 Rxe5 31.Rd7+ Kf8 32.Rxh7 Qf5 33.Qxf5 Rxf5 34.Rh8+ Kf7 35.Rxc8 Rxf2 36.Rc7+ Kg6 37.Rxa7 Rc2 38.Rc7 Bd2 39.Rc6 Bf4 40.Rxb6 Rxh2+ 41.Kg1 Ra2 42.Rb3 Rxa4 43.Rc3 Ra5 44.Rc2 Ѕ–Ѕ Nepomniachtchi,I (2600)-Rodshtein,M (2614)/Moscow RUS 2008/The Week in Chess 694] 25...g4 26.Rg3 h5 27.f3 Qf4 28.Kh2 Rac8 29.fxg4

Black collapses. 30.Bxe5 Qxe5 31.gxh5+ 1–0

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