Eljanov's Icelandic Masterpiece

Pavel Eljanov is having the probably best chess year of his live. At least this far. He made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup, lifted his rating again above the 2750 mark and above all, played a lot of great games. A game with a creative player like Grzegorz Gajewski of Poland suggests an interesting, colorful battle. This game in round eight of ETCC indeed became a candidate of a best game in Reykjavik:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Open European Team Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.11.21"]
[Round "8.2"]
[White "Gajewski, Grzegorz"]
[Black "Eljanov, Pavel"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2647"]
[BlackElo "2753"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:02"]
[BlackClock "0:03:19"]

1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. Qc2 {Diagram [#] A popular Anti-Slav
move order. Another one goes:} (5. h3 $5 e6 6. b3 c5 7. Bb2 Nc6 8. cxd5 exd5 9.
Rc1 {Kovalenko,I (2700)-Malakhov,V (2694) Berlin 2015}) 5... e6 6. b3 c5 {
Since White did not occupy the center Black has every right to lose a tempo
and fight for t.} 7. Bb2 d4 $146 {[%csl Ya8,Yb8,Yc8,Gd4,Yf8][%cal Gd5d4]
Diagram [#] Looks risky as Black is not yet prepared for the open play and
indeed none had tested this move before. All the games so far saw the move:} (
7... Nc6 {For example} 8. a3 Be7 9. Bd3 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Ne2 g6
13. Nf4 O-O 14. h4 $5 {with irational position, Janssen,R (2520)-Buhmann,R
(2603) Germany 2010}) 8. Ne4 Nc6 9. Nxf6+ Qxf6 10. exd4 {Gajewski wants to
take the maximum of the position. Another way to play is:} (10. Bd3 e5 11. Be4
Bd6 {although here Blck consolidates the position.}) 10... cxd4 {Better than} (
10... Nxd4 11. Nxd4 cxd4 12. Qe4 Bc5 13. Bd3 {Diagram [#] with advantage for
White.} ({Or} 13. b4 $14)) 11. Bd3 Bd6 {Catching up with the development.
Black would be happy to take the bishop pair with} (11... Nb4 {but after} 12.
Qb1 Nxd3+ 13. Qxd3 e5 14. O-O Bd6 15. Rfe1 O-O (15... Bf5 $2 16. Qxd4) 16. c5 {
Diagram [#] White firmly seizes the initiative.}) 12. O-O (12. Be4 $5 $14 {
also makes sense.}) 12... h6 {Once more} (12... Nb4 13. Qb1 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 e5
15. Rfe1 {transposes into the line above.}) 13. Be4 e5 {Gajewki is at
crossroads. To continue playing for initiative, or to cash in his lead in
development. In the game he chose the latter.} 14. Bxc6+ $6 {[%csl Gc8,Gd4,Gd6,
Ge5] Diagram [#] This wins a pawn but gives too much compensation for Black in
return.} ({Both} 14. Rfe1 O-O 15. a3 {followed by c4-c5 and b3-b4.}) ({Or the
immediate} 14. a3 O-O 15. b4 {expanding on the queenside should give some
advantage to the first player.}) 14... bxc6 15. Qe4 O-O 16. Qxc6 Bg4 {[%csl
Yb2,Yc6,Gd4,Ge5][%cal Ge5e4,Gf6g6,Gf7f5,Gg4h3,Gd6h2,Gf8e8] Diagram [#] In
return for the pawn Black has more space, strong center (thus opportunity for
a kingside attack) and bishop pair. Eljanov must have been happy of the
opening suprise that he had uncorked earlier.} 17. Rfe1 Rac8 18. Qe4 Bf5 19.
Qe2 {Forced as} (19. Qh4 g5 $1 {works well for Black.}) 19... Rfe8 20. d3 Bb4
$1 {[%csl Ya2,Yb3,Yc4][%cal Ga6a5] Diagram [#] A nice idea. Eljanov blocks the
queenside pawn majority of his opponent and prepares the storm on the opposite
wing.} 21. Red1 a5 22. a3 Bc5 ({Also interesting was} 22... Bc3 23. Bxc3 dxc3
24. Rac1 {with the idea} e4 25. dxe4 Rxe4 26. Qa2 a4 $1) 23. Re1 {Back into
"e" file control. Black is better after} (23. Nd2 Rb8 $1 ({Even better than}
23... Qg6 24. Ne4 Bf8 25. f3 $15) 24. Qf3 Qg6 $17) 23... Bg4 {Black continues
the preparation. The central break was already in the air:} (23... e4 $5 24.
dxe4 Bxe4 25. Rad1 Qg6 {with initiative on the center and the king's flank.})
24. Rab1 ({The result of the Black queenside operation can be seen in the line
} 24. Qe4 Bxf3 25. Qxf3 Qxf3 26. gxf3 Rb8 {and Black wins a pawn.}) 24... Rb8
25. Bc1 Qd6 {[%csl Ra3,Rb4][%cal Gf7f5,Ge5e4,Rd6b4,Rb4a3] Diagram [#] With the
obvious intention f7-f5 and e5-e4 (or sometines e5-e4 at once).} (25... Qc6 $5
{deserved attention too as if White tries the same idea as in the game} 26. h3
(26. Nxe5 Bxe2 27. Nxc6 Bxd3 {is clearly better for Black.}) 26... Bh5 27. g4 (
27. Bd2 {is the right move.}) 27... Bg6 28. Nxe5 (28. Nh4 {is still playable.})
28... Qc7 29. f4 f6 {Black would simply win a piece.}) 26. h3 Bh5 27. g4 Bg6
28. Nh4 e4 $1 {Diagram [#] Eljanov forces things. He opens the king's flank
and the center and goes directly for the white king.} (28... Bh7 {would lead
to risk-free advantage for Black.}) 29. Nxg6 fxg6 $1 {Black needs every open
file!} 30. Bd2 ({In case of} 30. dxe4 d3 31. e5 Qd4 32. Qe3 $2 {Black has the
fantastic resource} (32. Qb2 {is better although Black's attack is ovious here
as well.}) 32... Rxe5 $3 {Diagram [#] with decisive attack after} 33. Qxe5
Qxf2+ 34. Kh1 Qf3+ 35. Kh2 Bd6 36. Qxd6 Qf2+ 37. Kh1 Qxe1+ 38. Kh2 Rf8 $19)
30... e3 31. Bxa5 (31. fxe3 dxe3 32. Bxa5 Rf8 {does not help neither.}) 31...
exf2+ 32. Qxf2 Re3 33. Rxe3 dxe3 {The critical moment of the attack. Gajewski
chose the obvious defense} 34. Qh2 {This is possibly White's best practical
chance. White's intentions are obvious- to trade the queens, but Eljanov have
foreseen something ingenious.} ({In case of} 34. Qf3 {Black has another
fantastic resource} Kh7 $3 {[%csl Rh7][%cal Gf3d5,Yg8h7] Diagram [#] to move
the king away and to prevent the exchange of queens.} (34... Qxd3 $2 35. Qd5+
Qxd5 36. cxd5 e2+ 37. Kg2 {is in fact better for White.})) ({The blockading}
34. Qe2 {would give White chances for survival after} Qg3+ ({But} 34... Rf8 $1
35. Be1 Qc6 {is nevertheless a very strong attack for Black.}) 35. Kh1 Qxh3+
36. Qh2 Qf3+ 37. Qg2 Qf6 38. Bc7 {with chnaces to survive.} ({But not the
greedy} 38. Qd5+ Kh7 39. Qxc5 Qh4+ 40. Kg2 Qxg4+ 41. Kh1 Qf3+ 42. Kg1 Qf2+ 43.
Kh1 Rf8 $19)) 34... e2+ 35. Kh1 {It seems as White is achieving what he wants
but...} Qxd3 $3 {[%csl Yb8,Yg8,Rh1][%cal Rd3b1,Rd3f3,Rf3h3] Diagram [#] A bolt
out of the blue! Eljanov gives away the rook with a check!} 36. Qxb8+ Kh7 {
But now White misses his queen on the kingside. And the rook is hanging. And
the black pawn is getting promoted. Oh, my!} 37. Rg1 ({Or} 37. Kg2 Qxb1 38. Qf4
e1=Q {and wins.}) 37... Bd6 $1 {Diagram [#]} ({Avoids the temptation} 37...
Qxh3+ 38. Qh2 Qf1 39. Qg2 Bxg1 40. Qxg1 Qh3+ 41. Qh2 Qf1+ 42. Qg1 $11) 38. Qxd6
Qxd6 {The rest is easy for the queen and the position is too open.} 39. Bb4 (
39. Be1 Qxa3) 39... Qd3 40. Kg2 Qxb3 41. c5 h5 42. gxh5 gxh5 43. Kh2 Qc2 44.
Rg2 Qe4 45. Be1 (45. Rg1 g5) 45... Qf4+ {Diagram [#] Gajewski resigned due to
the lines:} (45... Qf4+ 46. Bg3 (46. Rg3 h4) (46. Kh1 Qf1+ 47. Rg1 Qxh3#) 46...
Qxg3+) 0-1


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