The Newest Bulgarian Grandmaster

At the beginning of March a very strong open tournament took place in Macedonia. It was won by the Croatian GM Kozul and overall eight players tied for the first place.
The tournament was though memorable for a participant who scored half a point less, but who obtained his final GM norm. This was Petar Arnaudov from Bulgaria, a very original and unpredictable player with entertaining style of play.

He was very kind to annotate one of his efforts from the event for the readers of the blog:
Arnaudov,G (2468) - Damljanovic,B (2562) [A30]
Karpos Open 2013 Skopje MKD (3.15), 10.03.2013
[Petar Arnaudov]

Karpos Open in Skopije was a really strong and excellently organized tournament. It will also be quite a memorable event for me since I managed to achieve my last GM norm.After two easy wins in the first two rounds, I faced in round 3 Serbian chess legend GM B. Damljianovic.

1.Nf3 c5 [Now my preparation was over :)This was our second game for the day and I did not have much time to prepare. Branco is famous for his fighting spirit and his main weapon is The Kings Indian Defense which I mainly expected. ]

2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e6 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0–0 a6 [This is not the main move but it is perfectly playable. Hedgehog expert S.Shipov recommends 6...Be7 which is more flexible]


This is quite an interesting system which I prepared some months ago and this is my first game in it. I have tried 7.d4 and 7.Re1 many times in the past.]

7...d6 8.Bb2 Nbd7 9.d4 [9.e3 Be7 10.d4 This is the main theory, which is also quite interesting.]

9...cxd4 10.Nxd4!? [This was the first critical moment in the game. If Q:d4 we will be in a well known variation where black should be quite OK. The key difference between this position and the one after 7.d4 cd 8.N:d4 (which is quite harmless and black equalizes easily) is that Black cannot play the idea Qc8 and Nc6. Now the N cannot come to c6 and Black should be very careful to maintain the balance. White plan is very simple e3, f4 and Qf3.]

10...Bxg2 11.Kxg2 Rc8 [11...Qc7!? 12.e3 Qb7+ 13.Qf3 Qxf3+ 14.Nxf3+/=

this position is very unpleasant for black who do not have any counter play.]

12.e3 h5?! [My opinion is that this is too optimistic and just bad.]

13.f4! [This move is quite strong and unexpected for my opponent. I believe that here he understood that his position is dangerous. Maybe he was hoping for :

[13.h4? Be7= where the g4 square is very weak; Or- 13.h3 Qc7 14.f4 Nc5 15.Qf3 Nd3 16.Ba3 d5 with unclear play.]

13...Be7 [This move comes after 60 !!! minutes of thinking. It is clear that white has won the opening battle.]

[13...h4!? If black continues with his idea, 14.g4 h3+ 15.Kh1І the pawn on h3 seems very weak]

14.Qf3 Qc7 15.h3!

I like this move a lot. Now If black castles, g4 will come and the black king will feel unsafe.Black has no useful moves here. On the other hand, White can increase the pressure with Rd1, Rf2-d2, Ba3]

15...Rg8?! [This move came as a shock for me, I did not consider it at all. Now the very experienced Grandmaster tries to confuse me, he threatens g5 attempting to take control over e5 square. Pushing the pawn to g4 is also a possible threat. I think that after this move Black's position is strategically lost.]

[15...0–0 16.g4 g6 17.Rad1 Nc5 18.g5 Ne8 19.f5± this is just one variation which shows how dangerous blacks position is]

16.Ne4 [I like this move, despite the fact that computer does not agree with me .]

[16.Rad1 g5 17.fxg5 Ne5 (17...Rxg5 18.Ne4 Rg6 19.Nxf6+ Nxf6 20.Ne2 e5 21.Nc3 +/=) 18.Qf4 Nfd7 19.h4± Nf8 these variations look quite good for white, but I did not want to give any chance to black to complicate matters. I believe that his position is strategically lost and I do not want to allow him any chances for a dynamic play.]

16...g6 [16...Nxe4 17.Qxe4 g5 18.fxg5 Rxg5

19.Rxf7! Kxf7 20.Rf1++–]

17.Nxf6+ Bxf6 18.Rad1 [The rule "Exchange minor pieces if you lack space" is not valid here. So the trades of two minor pieces can only be in White's favour.]

18...Bg7 19.Rd2 [Prophylactics, Black has no counter-play and now I prepared to double on the d-file and in the same time protect the bishop just in case.]

19...Nc5 20.Ba3!

Now b4-b5 is a threat]

[20.Rfd1? This automatic move would be a mistake here because : 20...f5! and black has good chances.]

20...Bf8 21.Rfd1 Be7 [21...Qb7 22.Bxc5 Qxf3+ 23.Nxf3 dxc5 (23...bxc5 24.Ng5; 23...Rxc5 24.Ng5) ]

22.b4 [Now everything is ready to for the final effort and blacks position collapses very quickly.]

22...Na4 [22...Nb7 23.Rc2 +/=]

23.b5 g5 [the last try to complicate matters.]

24.fxg5 [But I had 1 hour against 30 seconds here and I had enough time to find the best moves and to finish my opponent.]

24...Rxg5 25.bxa6 Qxc4 26.a7 Qd5 27.Nc6 Qxf3+ 28.Kxf3 Nc5 29.Nb8

Very elegant finish. Now a8 -Q is coming, so my opponent resigned. I am very proud of this game, the fact that I outplayed so convincingly such a famous and experienced Grandmaster. I believe that this is one of my best games so far.Finally I finished the tournament with 6.5 from 9 with 2643 performance which achieved me my final GM norm.]



Franklin Chen said...

I enjoyed seeing this illustration of an interesting setup by White against the Hedgehog.

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