Wed, 2013-06-26 09:48 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "World Rapid Final"]
[Site "Astana KAZ"]
[Date "2012.07.08"]
[Round "14"]
[White "Carlsen, M."]
[Black "Radjabov, T."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2837"]
[BlackElo "2788"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]

{This week I will finish my two-part article on the Lowenthal by covering
White's more critical options (with 5.Nb5). This and last week's post presents
a repertoire for Black for the player wishing to play the Sicilian without
needing to know much theory, with an emphasis on rapid development and
solidity.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 {I intentionally
covered White's sidelines in a lot of depth as you're just as likely to face 5.
Nf3 as 5.Nb5 at a junior/club level. But now we get to the critical stuff!} a6
({If you also want to learn} 5... d6 {, the book 'The Complete Kalashnikov'
gives you the theoretical knowledge to play this successfully, but you need to
be rated 2000+ to have any chance of following/understanding the lines! That's
one problem with opening books - they tend to give you far more theory than
you need to know about an opening, which is where a good post or coach can
help sort out the essential lines/ideas.}) 6. Nd6+ Bxd6 7. Qxd6 Qe7 ({If you
decide to learn the main move} 7... Qf6 {too, make sure you go through
Vallejo's games in this line - he's one of the experts in this system, even
beating Kramnik with it in a rapid game.}) 8. Qxe7+ ({One point of Black's
system is that} 8. Qc7 {can be met by} d5 9. Qxe7+ Ngxe7 {, when Black is a
very useful tempo up on the game! Then} 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. c3 {(to stop ...Nd4/.
..Nb4)} Bf5 12. Nd2 O-O-O {would already favour Black.} (12... Nf4 $5 {
intending ...Nd3 or ...Bd3 also looks good.})) (8. Qd1 {and other retreats
will be covered in the next two games.}) 8... Ngxe7 {This endgame is fairly
comfortable for Black, but he should memorise the following tactical point: 9.
Nc3 d5! 10.exd5 Nb4 11.Bd3 Bf5!.} 9. Nc3 (9. c4 {stops ...d5, but Black can
then occupy the d4-outpost with} Nd4 10. Bd3 d6 {, followed by ...0-0 and ...
Nec6. Black can also play ...f5 and ...b5 to chip away at White's central
pawns.}) 9... d5 (9... Nb4 {provokes White into losing the ability to castle
after} 10. Kd1 {but this is not that important with the queens off.}) 10. Bd2 (
10. exd5 Nb4 11. Bd3 Bf5 {is already completely fine for Black. For instance,}
12. Bxf5 Nxf5 13. O-O Nxc2 14. Rb1 Rd8 {would give Black good play against
White's somewhat vulnerable d5-pawn.}) 10... Be6 (10... d4 {is interesting.})
11. O-O-O (11. exd5 Nxd5 12. Nxd5 Bxd5 13. O-O-O {gives Black the choice of
castling on either side of the board; maybe} O-O {would offer more winning
chances, intending a minority attack on the queenside to try and open up
White's king a bit.}) 11... O-O-O (11... d4 {is another good option, taking
more space in the centre.}) 12. f3 Kc7 13. b3 f6 14. exd5 Nxd5 15. Nxd5+ Rxd5 {
This is a very typical Lowenthal endgame. White can press a little bit with
his bishop pair, but Black has active pieces and no pawn weaknesses. In the
end even Carlsen couldn't squeeze a win out of this endgame. Of course if this
endgame doesn't appeal to you, you can always castle kingside or play ...d4 as
indicated earlier.} 16. Bd3 h6 17. Be4 Rd7 18. Bc3 Rhd8 19. Rxd7+ Rxd7 20. Re1
Bd5 21. Bf5 Rd8 22. Kb2 Bf7 23. Bd3 Bd5 24. a4 a5 25. Re3 Nb4 26. Bf5 Nc6 27.
g3 b6 28. f4 Re8 29. fxe5 Nxe5 30. Bd4 Bc6 31. h4 Nf3 32. Rxe8 Bxe8 33. Bf2 g5
34. Kc3 Bc6 35. Kb2 Be8 36. c3 Bc6 37. Ka3 Bd5 38. Bc2 Bc6 39. c4 Bd7 40. Be4
Bc6 41. Bf5 Be8 42. Kb2 Bc6 43. Kc3 Be8 44. Be4 Bc6 45. Bf5 Be8 46. Be6 Bc6 47.
Bg4 Be4 48. hxg5 hxg5 49. c5 bxc5 50. Bxc5 f5 51. Bh5 Bd5 52. Be3 Kc6 53. Bg6
Be6 54. Be8+ Kb7 55. Bb5 Bd5 56. Bd3 Be6 57. Bc2 Kc6 58. Bd1 Bd5 59. Be2 Kb7
60. Bd1 Be4 61. Bc5 Bd5 62. Bd6 Kc6 63. Be7 Kd7 64. Bf8 Kc6 65. Bg7 Kc7 66. Be2
f4 67. gxf4 gxf4 68. Bh6 Bxb3 69. Bxf4+ Kd8 70. Bxf3 Bxa4 71. Kd4 Bb3 72. Bd6
Kd7 73. Ke5 a4 1/2-1/2 Draw[/pgn]

[Event "20th Sigeman & Co"]
[Site "Malmo SWE"]
[Date "2012.05.09"]
[White "Berg, E."]
[Black "Li Chao2"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]

[pgn]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 (4... Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Nd5
Nxd5 8. exd5 Nb8 9. c4 a6 10. Nc3 Be7 11. Bd3 O-O 12. O-O f5 13. f3 Bg5 14. Kh1
Nd7 15. b4 a5 16. a3 axb4 17. Bxg5 Qxg5 18. axb4 Rxa1 19. Qxa1 Qe3 20. Be2 Nb8
21. Qb2 Na6 22. Rb1 Bd7 23. Nd1 Qd4 24. Qxd4 exd4 25. Kg1 Rb8 26. b5 Nc5 {
Black is better here because of his superior coordination, and his next three
moves are especially accurate.} 27. Nf2 Ra8 28. Rd1 Ra4 29. Nh3 h6 30. Rxd4
Bxb5 31. g4 Bd7 32. Rd2 fxg4 33. fxg4 Nb3 34. Rb2 Nd4 35. Bf1 Bxg4 36. Nf2 Bf3
37. Nh3 Bg4 38. Nf2 Bf3 39. Nh3 g5 40. Kf2 Bg4 41. Ke3 Nf5+ 42. Kd2 Ra1 43. Bg2
Rd1+ 44. Kc3 Rc1+ 45. Kd3 Re1 46. Nf2 Re3+ 47. Kd2 Re2+ 48. Kc3 Rxb2 49. Kxb2
Ne3 50. Kc3 Bf5 51. Be4 Bd7 52. Kd4 Nf5+ 53. Bxf5 Bxf5 54. c5 dxc5+ 55. Kxc5
Kf7 56. Kb6 Ke7 57. Kc7 b5 $19 58. d6+ Ke8 59. Nd3 h5 60. Ne1 g4 61. Ng2 b4 62.
Ne3 Be6 63. Nc2 h4 {and White resigned in Svidler-Timofeev, Moscow 2004.}) 5.
Nb5 a6 6. Nd6+ Bxd6 7. Qxd6 Qe7 {This is the game that put 7...Qe7 on the map,
and a number of China's rising stars have added this variation to their
repertoire.} 8. Qd1 {The reason the queen goes here rather than d2 or d3 is
because from d1 the queen doesn't inhibit White's development.} (8. Qd2 {would
trap the c1-bishop in, and}) (8. Qd3 {might run into ...Nb4 at some point:} Nf6
9. Nc3 d5 $1 {and this pawn sacrifice gives Black enough play after} 10. Nxd5 (
{or} 10. exd5 Nb4 11. Qd1 Bf5 {forcing the undesirable} 12. Bd3) 10... Nxd5 11.
exd5 Nd4 {threatening ...Bf5. Then} 12. Qd1 Qh4 13. c3 Qe4+ 14. Kd2 Bg4 15.
Qa4+ Bd7 16. Qd1 Bg4 17. Qa4+ Bd7 18. Qd1 {would be an entertaining repetition,
though Black might play for the win with 15...b5.}) 8... Nf6 {Black plays this
before White can try to set up 'the Bind' with c4 and Nc3.} 9. Nc3 (9. Bd3 d5
10. exd5 Nxd5 {would resemble the Jomalia-Kopinits game.}) 9... d6 {Black
continues his development. Black's typical development scheme is ...0-0 and ...
Bb7 followed by putting rooks on d8 and c8, though ...Be6 can be a good bishop
deployment also.} 10. Be2 (10. Bc4 {is more ambitious, but after} Be6 11. Bb3
O-O 12. O-O h6 {(preventing Bg5xf6) the position is equal as Black has good
control over the d5-square. He can follow in Sicilian style with} 13. Be3 Rac8
14. Qd2 Na5 {followed by ...Nc4 or ...Nxb3.}) (10. Nd5 Nxd5 11. exd5 {is
Houdini's first line, but this structure is well known from the Sveshnikov and
after} Nb8 $1 {(otherwise the knight will be inflexibly placed)} 12. Bd3 Nd7
13. c4 O-O 14. O-O f5 {Black has good kingside counterplay in similar fashion
to the 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 Sveshnikov. If you want to learn more
about these structures I highly recommend you play through the game
Svidler-Timofeev above.}) 10... O-O (10... Nd4 11. Be3 Nxe2 12. Qxe2 h6 13. Qd3
Be6 14. O-O-O Rd8 15. f4 {is given as better for White by Palliser, but I'm
not convinced after} b5 16. Bb6 Rd7 17. fxe5 dxe5 18. Qg3 O-O 19. Qxe5 Rc8 {
which gives Black good play for a pawn with ...b4 coming to force some lines
open.}) 11. Be3 b5 (11... Be6 12. O-O Rfd8 {is a logical way to prepare ...d5,
but this runs into} 13. Bb6 {which is extremely annoying.}) 12. O-O Bb7 13. a4
{With this move White tries to provoke weaknesses on the queenside.} Nd4 {This
forcing sequence leads to great simplifications.} 14. Bxd4 exd4 15. Qxd4 Nxe4
16. Nxe4 Bxe4 17. Rfe1 Qb7 18. axb5 axb5 19. Rxa8 Rxa8 20. Bf1 Bxc2 21. Qxd6 {
White's more active pieces and the weakness of b5 define White's advantage,
but Black defended well to hold the half point.} Be4 22. Rc1 h6 23. h4 b4 24.
Rc7 Qd5 25. Qxd5 Bxd5 26. Bc4 Ra5 27. b3 g6 28. Bxd5 Rxd5 29. Rc4 Rb5 30. Kf1
Kg7 31. Ke2 Kf6 32. Rd4 Ke5 33. Ke3 h5 34. g3 Rb7 35. Kd3 f6 36. Ke3 g5 37. Rc4
Rb5 38. Re4+ Kf5 39. Rd4 Ke6 40. Rc4 Re5+ 41. Kf3 Rf5+ 42. Kg2 Rb5 43. Re4+ Kf5
44. f3 Kg6 45. Rc4 Rb6 46. Kh3 Rb5 47. Kg2 Rb6 48. Kf2 Rb5 49. Ke3 Re5+ 50. Kf2
Rb5 51. Rd4 Rc5 52. Rxb4 Rc2+ 53. Ke3 Rc3+ 54. Ke2 Rc2+ 55. Kf1 Rc1+ 56. Kg2
Rc2+ 57. Kh3 Rf2 58. hxg5 fxg5 59. Rb6+ Kg7 60. Rb5 1/2-1/2 Draw [/pgn]

[Event "35th Nezhmetdinov Cup"]
[White "Kokarev, Dm"]
[Black "Kharlov, A."]
[Result "0-1"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]

[pgn]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 a6 6. Nd6+ Bxd6 7. Qxd6 Qe7 8.
Qd1 Nf6 9. Nc3 d6 10. Bg5 {This move is very ambitious, threatening Nd5 to
make full use of the pin.} Be6 11. Bxf6 {This move gives Black too big a lead
in development.} (11. Nd5 {might well give White a slight edge:} Bxd5 12. exd5
Nb8 13. Be2 h6 (13... Nbd7 14. O-O O-O 15. c4 e4 {is also interesting, with
ideas of ...Ne5, but again not sufficient for equality.}) 14. Be3 Nbd7 15. O-O
O-O 16. c4 Nh7 17. f3 f5 {and while Black can play on the kingside with ...
Nhf6, ...g5 and ...f4, objectively White has to be better with the bishop pair
and ideas of b4 and c5 to make inroads on the queenside.}) 11... Qxf6 {This
pawn sacrifice proves to be completely sound.} 12. Qxd6 Nd4 13. Bd3 Rd8 {The
poor queen is getting kicked around by Black's pieces, and White still has to
do something about his king.} 14. Qb4 Qf4 (14... Qg5 {is also interesting.})
15. Ne2 (15. Qxb7 Nxc2+ 16. Bxc2 Qd2+ 17. Kf1 O-O 18. Ba4 Rb8 19. Qxa6 Qxb2 20.
Re1 Qxc3 {is one lovely tactical line, whereas}) (15. O-O {allows} Nf3+ 16.
gxf3 Bh3 {when White has to find} 17. Bb5+ axb5 18. Qxb5+ Kf8 19. Qc5+ Kg8 20.
Qe3 {to stay in the game, but then} Qxe3 21. fxe3 Bxf1 22. Rxf1 Rd2 23. Rf2
Rxf2 24. Kxf2 f6 {is at least not worse for Black.}) 15... Nxe2 16. Kxe2 Rd4
17. Qc5 (17. Qxb7 O-O 18. f3 {gives Black good compensation for the pawns but
White is holding on.}) 17... Kd7 $1 {A nice way of preparing ...Rc8 indeed!}
18. h3 {This is just a blunder.} (18. Qa5 Rc8 19. Qd2 {is much more tenacious,
but I'd still take Black after} Qg4+ 20. Kf1 Qxe4 21. Re1 Qd5 {as Black has
regained his material and the h1-rook remains out of play.}) 18... Rc8 19. Qb6
Rxc2+ {Ouch!} 20. Bxc2 Bc4+ 21. Bd3 (21. Ke1 Qd2# {is checkmate!}) 21... Bxd3+
{White resigned as his king will be hunted down by Black's three musketeers.
Conclusion: The Lowenthal and related lines present a solid repertoire for
Black, which despite their rarity in practice are fairly easy to play as they
are based on rapid development and the creation and maintenance of a
dark-squared centre (the e5-pawn). The reason the lines here aren't popular
amongst GMs is because White can achieve a small edge if he plays the best
move every move, but they are a good choice below that level, forcing your
opponents into positions where you are much more familiar with the positional
and tactical ideas.} 0-1 Black wins [/pgn]