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!.

1 comment:

Alberto said...

Wow. Just, wow! What. A. Game. I just wonder why this game hasn't made headlines yet, for as you say it is sure to win a place of honor in the history of chess art.