Master Miniatures Part 2

Tue, 2013-09-10 09:33 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "2nd Washington Int"]
[Site "Rockville USA"]
[Date "2013.08.10"]
[Round "8.3"]
[White "Smirin, I."]
[Black "Sarkar, J."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B93"]
[WhiteElo "2663"]
[BlackElo "2437"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2013.08.06"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]

{This week I'll be continuing my series on 'Master Miniatures', looking at
recent high-level games ending decisively and abruptly. In our first game
Smirin scores a quick knockout against Sarkar who was having a fantastic
tournament.} 1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f4 {This
is not the most fashionable answer to the Najdorf, though it was advocated in
the old 'Beating the Sicilian' series of books.} e5 7. Nf3 {We see the first
point of White's setup - he can retreat the knight here without blocking his
f-pawn.} Qc7 (7... Nbd7 {is the more common way for Black to develop.}) 8. Bd3
Be7 9. O-O O-O ({Not surprisingly the pawn grab} 9... exf4 10. Bxf4 Qb6+ 11.
Kh1 Qxb2 {is unplayable, as after} 12. Nd5 Nxd5 13. exd5 {White is simply too
far ahead in development.}) 10. Kh1 {White gets out of the way of a check on
the a7-g1 diagonal. This move is quite standard for these positions.} (10. a4 {
prevents ...b5, but this wasn't a big threat and with} Nbd7 {followed by ...
Nc5 Black puts some pressure on White's centre.}) 10... Nbd7 11. Nh4 $5 {This
rare move probably came as a surprise to Sarkar, though the idea of bringing
the knight to f5 for a kingside attack is very blunt indeed.} (11. Qe1 {is a
more common move, but after} Re8 {it's not entirely clear where White's queen
will go as} 12. Qg3 $6 {walks into} Nh5 {.}) 11... Nc5 $1 {This is a strong
reply, as Nf5 can now be met with Bxf5 eliminating the errant knight.} 12. fxe5
dxe5 13. Bg5 $1 {White correctly brings more pieces into play. Sometimes the
simple move is the strongest!} (13. Nf5 Bxf5 14. Rxf5 Rfd8 $15 {on the other
hand gives Black a clear initiative in the centre, while White's kingside play
is nowhere to be seen.}) 13... Be6 $6 {This move gives White some definite
pressure, but perhaps Black was panicking about Bxf6 and Nd5.} (13... Rd8 {
actually covers this threat adequately as} 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Rxf6 $1 Nxd3 16.
cxd3 gxf6 17. Nd5 Rxd5 $1 ({not} 17... Qd6 18. Qh5 {with a very powerful
attack on the kingside - the queen and two knights are too much for the bare
black king.}) 18. exd5 Bd7 $13 {leaves Black with an okay position - despite
the doubled f-pawns he can hold the kingside with ...Qd6, followed perhaps by .
..Kh8 and ...Rg8.}) 14. Nf5 Bd8 {This move looks ugly but it isn't so easy for
White to exploit Black's temporary disunity.} (14... Bxf5 15. Rxf5 $36 {on the
other hand gives White a comfortable initiative with Qf3 to follow.}) 15. Qf3
Ne8 {Obviously an exchange of bishops will alleviate the pressure on Black's
position.} (15... Nxd3 16. cxd3 Ne8 {might have been a more accurate move
order though. I still prefer White after} 17. Be3 $14 {- see the note to move
16.}) 16. Be3 f6 $2 {This might not seem like a mistake but this innocent
looking move opens up Black's king a bit and is the root of his subsequent
problems.} (16... Nxd3 17. cxd3 {favours White as his pieces are better
positioned - in particular the d8-bishop and e8-knight are unnaturally located.
White could follow up by opening the position with} Rc8 18. d4 $1 $36 (18. Rac1
Qd7 {seems defensible for Black.}) 18... exd4 19. Bxd4 Bxf5 20. Qxf5 {and
White has a strong initiative both in the centre and on the kingside. The poor
f8-rook will take several moves to enter the game.}) 17. Be2 $1 $16 {A very
accurate move. White leaves the c5-knight looking silly and prepares Rad1 and
Nd5 to dominate the central light squares.} g6 18. Rad1 $1 {Yes, White can
even ignore the threat to the knight as the tactics work out in his favour.}
Rc8 (18... gxf5 19. exf5 Bf7 20. Bh6 $18 {gives White a winning position, as}
Ng7 $140 {loses to} 21. Qg3 {.}) (18... Kh8 $142 {to threaten gxf5 was the
best defence but nonetheless} 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. Rxd5 Ne6 21. Nh6 $16 {leaves
White in a much better position as Black is still weak on the light squares
and it's not easy to free his minor pieces from their defensive duties.}) 19.
Nd5 $5 {This gives White a winning position, as does} (19. b4 gxf5 20. exf5 Bf7
21. Bxc5 $18 {when White is up material with a raging attack.}) 19... Bxd5 20.
Rxd5 $18 {Black has had no time to take the f5-knight because of White's
constant threats.} Ne6 21. Qg4 {Not only saving the knight but also
threatening Nh6 followed by Qxe6.} Kh8 (21... Qxc2 {opts to go down in flames:}
22. Nh6+ Kh8 23. Qxe6 Qxe2 24. Nf7+ Rxf7 25. Qxf7 Qxf1+ 26. Bg1 $18 {and Black
will be hard pressed to stop Qf8 mate without giving up a lot of material!})
22. Nd6 $1 {Yet another tactic! White has a decisive advantage as his pieces
infiltrate Black's position.} Nxd6 23. Qxe6 Nxe4 ({A more stubborn defence was
} 23... Nf7 {but White can still win in many ways, the simplest being} 24. Rc5
Qxc5 25. Bxc5 Rxc5 26. Bc4 $18 {when White is up material for nothing.}) 24.
Bd3 {Black resigned as his knight has nowhere safe to go. Also winning was} (
24. Rd7 {.}) 1-0[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "78th ch-ESP 2013"]
[Site "Linares ESP"]
[Date "2013.09.02"]
[Round "5.5"]
[White "Salgado Lopez, I."]
[Black "Villasenor Rubio, E."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B22"]
[WhiteElo "2614"]
[BlackElo "2260"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "28"]
[EventDate "2013.08.29"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]

{Our second game is a lot briefer - a strong Spanish GM gets to checkmate a
2260 in 15 moves - except his opponent resigned first!} 1. e4 c5 2. c3 Nc6 (
2... d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nc6 {is a better move order for Black.}) 3. d4 cxd4
{The problem with this obvious recapture is that White's queen's knight now
gains the c3 knight.} ({After the correct} 3... d5 $142 {Black may have been
concerned about the complications of} 4. dxc5 $5 dxe4 5. Qxd8+ Nxd8 $13 {, but
with occupation in the centre with ...e5 coming Black's position is fully
playable.}) 4. cxd4 d5 5. exd5 Qxd5 6. Nf3 {Here it is essential for Black to
counterattack in the centre before White can kick the Black queen away with
Nc3, but Black fails to appreciate the looming danger.} Nf6 $6 (6... e5 {is
one of the main moves, intending} 7. Nc3 Bb4 {to keep the queen on its active
position, whereas}) (6... Bg4 {is well met by the surprising} 7. Nc3 $1 Bxf3 8.
gxf3 Qxd4 9. Qxd4 Nxd4 10. Nb5 $1 $14 {which is very difficult for Black, even
if he can somehow hold with perfect play. Basically the Black king always ends
up in more danger than the White royalty!}) 7. Nc3 {Now Black is in trouble as
he ends up behind in development without good squares for his pieces.} Qd6 (
7... Qd8 8. d5 Nb8 9. Bf4 $16 {wasn't much better for Black, who can hardly
develop.}) 8. Nb5 $1 {White activates the knight with gain of time.} Qd8 (8...
Qb4+ {obviously loses to} 9. Bd2 Qxb2 10. Bc3 {catching the queen.}) 9. d5 $1 {
This move had to be foreseen when White played 8.Nb5. Now Black can't take on
d5 due to a little tactic.} Nb8 (9... Nxd5 10. Qxd5 Qxd5 11. Nc7+) 10. Bf4 {
Black still can't take on d5, so White keeps developing while generating
threats (Nc7).} Na6 11. Bc4 $5 {This is a good move, though technically} (11.
Nc3 $1 {with the idea of Bb5 was even better:} g6 12. Bb5+ Bd7 13. Bxd7+ Nxd7
14. Qd4 Nf6 15. O-O Bg7 16. d6 $18 {and White has a decisive lead in
development and central attack. If} Nh5 17. Be5 {covers the bases.}) 11... Qa5+
(11... e6 12. d6 $16 {is obviously horrible for Black too, as he can't even
develop his f8-bishop and castle.}) 12. Bd2 Qd8 13. O-O {White has a winning
position as he is light years ahead in development.} Nxd5 $6 (13... g6 {
wouldn't have changed the result:} 14. d6 $1 {When ahead in development, open
the position!} exd6 15. Qa4 Bd7 16. Rfe1+ {and it is the end.}) 14. Qa4 Nb8 {
Black resigned before White could play 15.Nc7 or 15.Nd6 checkmate.} (14... Bd7
15. Bxd5 {was also completely hopeless.}) 1-0[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Petersburg Summer Rapid 2013"]
[Site "St Petersburg RUS"]
[Date "2013.09.01"]
[Round "6.5"]
[White "Makarov, M."]
[Black "Zvjaginsev, V."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B27"]
[WhiteElo "2512"]
[BlackElo "2659"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "29"]
[EventDate "2013.08.31"]
[EventType "rapid"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]

{Our third game is another Sicilian, and is over just as quickly - with the
difference that Black is a much higher rated scalp! It goes to show that even
a very strong and creative GM can be beaten convincingly if things go your way.
Of course with a faster time controls opening accidents are much more likely.}
1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 {White realises his first move was a bit timid and transposes
to the Sicilian!} g6 3. c3 {This is probably the best version of an Alapin
Sicilian for White as the bishop is no longer so potent on g7.} Bg7 4. Bc4 (4.
d4 cxd4 5. Bc4 $5 $36 {is an interesting try in the style of the Morra Gambit.}
) 4... e6 {Normally the mix of ...g6 and ...e6 would be too weakening, but
with Black ready to gain a tempo on White's bishop with ...d5 it makes a lot
of sense. For this reason White tries to circumvent ...d5.} 5. e5 {White isn't
preventing ...d5 with this move but is making it harder for Black to kick his
bishop off the a2-g8 diagonal.} (5. d4 cxd4 6. O-O Nc6 7. cxd4 d5 8. exd5 exd5
{is a fairly symmetrical position where White will struggle to prove anything
tangible.}) 5... Nc6 (5... d5 6. exd6 Qxd6 7. d4 cxd4 8. O-O Nc6 9. cxd4 Nge7
10. Nc3 O-O 11. Ne4 Qd8 12. Bg5 $14) 6. d4 cxd4 7. cxd4 d6 $1 {It's very
important for Black to break down White's centre so that his g7-bishop can
reenter the game. Instead} (7... d5 8. Bb5 $14 {favours White as the g7-bishop
is misplaced and the pin on the c6-knight renders ...f6 not as effectual.} (8.
Be2 f6 $1 9. exf6 Nxf6 $132 {on the other hand gives Black excellent
counterplay with ideas of ...Ne4 and ...Qb6 to increase the pressure on the
IQP.})) 8. Qe2 $6 {This move is a decent practical try in blitz but
objectively it wasn't the best try on offer.} (8. Bg5 $5 {is very tempting,
developing with gain of time. Then} f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 10. O-O d5 11. Bb3 $14 {is
comfortable for White who can put pressure on the e6-pawn and/or occupy the
e5-square with an eventual Ne5. White has a fairly good version of a Tarrasch
French.}) 8... dxe5 (8... Nge7 {would be a more solid way of playing, for
example} 9. O-O dxe5 10. dxe5 Nd4 11. Nxd4 Qxd4 $11 {gives Black good
counterplay against the overextended e5-pawn and fluid development.}) 9. dxe5
Nxe5 $5 {Black decides to grab the pawn (...Qa5 is the point), but
particularly in a rapid game I would have concentrated on simple development
with} (9... Nge7 {.}) 10. Nxe5 Qa5+ 11. Nc3 Qxe5 12. Bb5+ {This is the whole
point of White's setup - the Black king will no longer be able to castle.} Ke7
$2 {This is not good at all for Black, as his king will be very weak in the
middle.} (12... Kf8 $142 {is correct, when White gets a strong initiative for
the pawn but perhaps not more than that:} 13. Be3 a6 14. f4 Qc7 15. Bd3 Nf6 16.
O-O Bd7 17. Rac1 (17. h3 {is the computer's preference but this feels too slow
to me.}) 17... Bc6 18. b4 $44 {and Black has problems untangling though White
has no immediate threats himself.}) (12... Bd7 13. Bxd7+ Kxd7 14. Be3 $40 {
would definitely favour White as the Black king is very exposed on d7 to Rd1
or 0-0-0.}) 13. Be3 {Naturally a queen exchange is not on for White.} Bh6 $4 {
This must have been Black's intention when he played 12...Ke7, but it contains
a gigantic flaw.} (13... Nf6 {is a better continuation but I'd still back
White to win after} 14. f4 Qc7 ({or} 14... Qb8 15. Bc5+) 15. Rc1 $16 {when
it's very hard for Black to get out of Nd5 without allowing something worse.})
14. f4 $1 $18 {This is the key point - the f4-pawn cannot be safely captured.}
Qh5 (14... Bxf4 15. Bxf4 Qxf4 16. Nd5+ {wins the queen due to the pin.}) 15. g4
{Black resigned here, as he either loses a ton of material or gets mated:} (15.
g4 Qh4+ 16. Bf2 Qh3 (16... Qf6 17. Bc5+) 17. Bc5+ Kd8 18. Qd1+ Kc7 19. Qd6#)

[pgn][Event "15th Sants Open 2013"]
[Site "Barcelona ESP"]
[Date "2013.08.27"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Filippov, An UZB"]
[Black "Vocaturo, D."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C69"]
[WhiteElo "2630"]
[BlackElo "2549"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2013.08.23"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]

{To conclude our blog post, here are three miniatures from Grandmaster play.
Technically the first two games aren't miniatures but they are still over
quickly! I've left these three games unannotated to give you a chance to come
up with your own ideas on how both sides should have played!} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3
Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Qd6 6. d3 f6 7. Nbd2 Be6 8. Qe2 Ne7 9. Nc4
Bxc4 10. dxc4 Ng6 11. Rd1 Qe6 12. Be3 Be7 13. c5 Rd8 14. Nd2 Kd7 15. b4 Kc8 16.
a4 Nf4 17. Qf1 h5 18. b5 a5 19. Nb3 Rxd1 20. Rxd1 cxb5 21. Nxa5 Rd8 22. Rxd8+
Kxd8 23. axb5 Qa2 24. Qd1+ Kc8 25. c6 bxc6 26. Nxc6 Bd6 27. g3 Ne6 28. Qxh5 Kb7
29. Qe8 1-0[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "15th Sants Open 2013"]
[Site "Barcelona ESP"]
[Date "2013.08.29"]
[Round "7.2"]
[White "Esen, B."]
[Black "Bruzon Batista, L."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A40"]
[WhiteElo "2559"]
[BlackElo "2698"]
[PlyCount "56"]
[EventDate "2013.08.23"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Bb4+ 3. Bd2 a5 4. Nf3 d6 5. g3 Nc6 6. d5 Ne5 7. Nxe5 dxe5 8. Bg2
exd5 9. cxd5 Ne7 10. Nc3 O-O 11. a3 Bd6 12. Rc1 b6 13. e4 Ba6 14. Bf1 Bxf1 15.
Kxf1 f5 16. Kg2 Bc5 17. Bg5 fxe4 18. Nxe4 Bd4 19. Bxe7 Qxe7 20. Qb3 Qf7 21. a4
b5 22. Qd3 bxa4 23. Rc4 Qxd5 24. Rf1 Rab8 25. Rxc7 Rxb2 26. Qc4 Qxc4 27. Rxc4
a3 28. Ra4 Re2 0-1[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "15th Sants Open 2013"]
[Site "Barcelona ESP"]
[Date "2013.09.01"]
[Round "10.1"]
[White "Adhiban, Baskaran"]
[Black "Burmakin, V."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2567"]
[BlackElo "2565"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "2013.08.23"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O h6 7. c3 Nd7 8. Na3 Bh7
9. Nc2 c5 10. dxc5 Nc6 11. b4 Bxc2 12. Qxc2 Ndxe5 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. c4 Nxc4 15.
Bxc4 dxc4 16. Rd1 Qc7 17. Bb2 h5 18. Qxc4 h4 19. Be5 Qc6 20. b5 Qxc5 21. Qd3
Be7 22. Qd7+ Kf8 23. Rac1 {Thanks for reading, and may you be on the winning
side of your next miniature!} 1-0[/pgn]