An Excellent Technique

Just like Magnus Carlsen in the second round Wesley So demonstrated great technique against Rauf Mamedov. Round four saw the Philippine-born American Grandmaster take the lead in Shamkir with remarkable start- 3.5/4!
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.20"]
[Round "4.4"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Mamedov, Rauf"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2788"]
[BlackElo "2651"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:04:30"]
[BlackClock "1:00:27"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 {The Accelerated Dragon has a
reputation of a solid but passive opening. The main reason for this is White's
next move.} 5. c4 {Which leads to the Maroczy bind.} Nf6 6. Nc3 d6 7. f3 ({A
game of Mamedov's coach recently went} 7. Be2 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Bg7 9. Be3 O-O 10.
Qd2 a5 11. O-O a4 12. f3 Qa5 {and transposed into one of the main lines, Van
Wely,L (2665)-Khalifman,A (2613) Jurmala 2015}) 7... Bg7 8. Be3 O-O 9. Be2 Nh5
{Mamedov decided to weaken the kingside before trading the knights.} ({It
makes sense to trade a pair of knights at once with} 9... Nxd4 {Then after} 10.
Bxd4 Be6 11. Rc1 Qa5 12. Qd2 Rfc8 13. b3 a6 14. Be3 b5 15. Nd5 {The things
have developed more or less normally with White enjoying his usual slight
space advantage until Black came up with the spectacular} Nxd5 $1 16. Qxa5 Nxe3
17. Kf2 Bd4 {and White could not prove advantage in Negi,P (2633)-Istratescu,A
(2671) Graz 2014}) 10. g3 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 {Diagram [#]} Be6 $146 {I suspect an
over-the-board novelty and a very logical move.} ({Previously only the
immediate} 11... Qa5 12. O-O Bh3 {has been tried in an email game. After} 13.
Re1 (13. Rf2 $5 $14) 13... Qg5 {Black did well in Huzita,S (1865)-Hassim,U
(2308) ICCF email 2011}) ({The move} 11... Bh3 {looks suspicious as the bishop
can easily can get trapped there, say} 12. Bxg7 Kxg7 13. Qd4+ Nf6 14. g4) 12.
f4 Nf6 13. O-O Rc8 14. b3 Qa5 $6 {[%csl Ra5,Ye6][%cal Gf4f5] Diagram [#] The
beginning of Black's problems. The next move should not have been allowed.} ({
Instead} 14... Bh3 15. Rf2 {and only then} Qa5 {is somewhat better for White,
but playble for the second player.}) ({Normally Black wants to trade the
dark-squared bishop but here the straightforward attempt simply loses} 14...
Nd7 $4 15. f5) 15. f5 $1 {Now White grabs a lot of space and slowly squeezes
his opponent.} Bd7 ({The pawn is poisoned} 15... gxf5 $2 16. exf5 Bxf5 17. b4
Qxb4 18. Rxf5 {wins a piece for White.}) 16. a3 e6 {Black has to defend
passively as any pawn push creates weaknesses in his camp.} ({For example}
16... e5 17. b4 Qc7 18. Be3 {with a huge hole on d5.}) ({And if} 16... b5 17.
b4 Qc7 (17... Qd8 18. Nxb5) 18. Bxf6 $1 Bxf6 19. Nd5 Qd8 20. Nxf6+ exf6 21.
cxb5 {will clear edge for White.}) 17. b4 Qd8 ({In case of} 17... Qc7 {White
can continue in a similar way as in the game} 18. fxe6 fxe6 19. e5 dxe5 20. Bc5
Rf7 21. Bd6 {with advantage.}) 18. fxg6 fxg6 ({White is also much better after
} 18... hxg6 19. e5 dxe5 20. Bxe5) 19. e5 $1 {[%csl Ga3,Ya7,Gb4,Yb7,Gc4,Ye6]
Diagram [#] Wesley So modifies the pawn structure into his favour with the
last two moves. Now he will have a queenside majority, which is always useful
whenever the game approaches the endgame. Mamedov on his turn will have a weak
pawn on e6.} dxe5 20. Bxe5 {White wants to further improve his position with
Qd1-b3, Ra1-d1(e1), c4-c5. His play is very simple and obvious and Black
decided to try his luck in the edngame.} Bc6 21. b5 Ne4 22. Qxd8 Rcxd8 {"I
think this was a mistake" said So at the press-conference. meaning that this
was the mistake in the game. He suggested instead} (22... Rfxd8 {as best. But
as we shall see from the analyzes, White has a strong continuation which both
the players missed.} {White indeed has nothing in case of} 23. Bxg7 ({But after
} 23. bxc6 Nxc3 {[%csl Yb7,Yc3,Yg7][%cal Rc6b7,Re5g7,Re5c3] Diagram [#] White
is not obliged to take the pawn on b7 as they both thought} 24. Bxc3 {as this
indeed leads White nowhere after} ({White has however a clear road to the
advantage with} 24. cxb7 $1 Nxe2+ 25. Kg2 Rb8 ({Or else Black loses one of the
light pieces with} 25... Bxe5 26. bxc8=Q Rxc8 27. Rae1) 26. Bxb8 Rxb8 27. Rad1
{This is more precise than} (27. Rab1 Nc3 28. Rb3 Na4 {with chances for a draw.
}) 27... Nd4 ({The back rank is weak after} 27... Rxb7 $2 28. Rd8+) 28. Rb1 {
A rook and a pawn are usually much better than the two light pieces in the
endgame. Especially when the rook is assisted by a pawn on the seventh rank!})
24... Bxc3 25. cxb7 Bxa1 26. Rxa1 (26. bxc8=Q Bd4+ 27. Kg2 Rxc8 {is equal
instead.}) 26... Rc7 27. Rb1 Rb8 28. Bf3 Rxc4 {when only Black can be better.})
23... Kxg7 24. Nxe4 ({Or} 24. Na4 Be8 25. Rad1) 24... Bxe4 25. Rad1 {(So)}) 23.
Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Rc1 Nxc3 26. Rxc3 Bd7 {[%csl Ga3,Ya7,Gb5,Yb7,Gc4]
Diagram [#]} ({The bishop cannot stay active on the long diagonal due to the
pawn loss after} 26... Be4 27. Re3 Bf5 28. g4) 27. c5 {White achieved his
dream endgame with well advanced queenside pawn majority and active pieces. As
his king is easily entering the play the game is practically decided.} Rc8 28.
a4 Kf6 29. Kf2 Ke5 30. Ke3 Be8 31. Bf3 Rc7 32. Kd3 $1 {[%cal Gd3c4] Diagram [#]
Excellent technique! Before advancing the pawns So activates his pieces to the
maximum.} g5 33. Kc4 h5 34. a5 g4 35. b6 axb6 36. axb6 Rd7 37. Re3+ Kf6 38. c6
bxc6 39. Bxc6 Rd8 40. Bxe8 Rxe8 41. b7 {Diagram [#] Next Re3-b3 will follow
and march of the white king to c7. Just like in the second round Magnus
Carlsen needed only one mistake to defeat his opponent, Wesley So won a nice
positional game to grab the sole lead!} 1-0


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