miniature games Part 3

Wed, 2013-09-18 09:35 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "ACP Cup 2013"]
[Site "Riga LAT"]
[Date "2013.09.13"]
[Round "1.2"]
[White "Jakovenko, D."]
[Black "Svidler, P."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B08"]
[WhiteElo "2724"]
[BlackElo "2746"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "42"]
[EventDate "2013.09.13"]
[EventType "rapid"]
[EventRounds "4"]
[EventCountry "LAT"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2013.09.16"]

{This week I've decided to take my miniature games from the just released
issue of 'The Week In Chess' (i.e. a database of games played in the last week)
. We start with a high-level rapid game where Svidler plays the Pirc to create
winning chances, but he surely didn't expect to win so quickly!} 1. Nf3 g6 {
There was a point in time where I met 1.Nf3 in this way, but it requires Black
to be familiar with certain openings in both the 1.d4 and 1.e4 complex.} 2. e4
d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bg7 {The play has transposed to the Pirc Defence, but
White is committed to Nf3 which reduces his options greatly.} 5. Be2 O-O 6. O-O
c6 {This flexible move is the main line.} 7. a4 (7. h3 {is White's other main
line.}) 7... Qc7 {Black prepares the ...e5 break that is typical of this
opening but also keeps his options open - the b8-knight may go to either d7 or
a6, or Black may play ...Bg4.} 8. Be3 Nbd7 9. Nd2 (9. h3 {is White's usual
option, preventing ...Ng4 and ...Bg4 for good, but Jakovenko tries to save a
tempo on this move.}) 9... e5 {With the d4-pawn vulnerable, this break makes
sense.} 10. Nc4 ({A waiting move such as} 10. Re1 $6 {runs into the tactic} Ng4
$1 11. Bxg4 exd4 {which gives Black a positional advantage after e.g.} 12. Bxd7
Qxd7 13. Bxd4 Bxd4 14. Nf3 Bg7 {.}) (10. d5 cxd5 11. exd5 {might have been
best, at least making use of the d2-knight's position to prepare Nc4 and Nb5
attacking the d6-pawn.}) 10... exd4 11. Bxd4 Rd8 {The rook is well placed here
to prepare a later ...d5, whereas} (11... Ne5 12. Ne3 $1 {would force Black's
knight back to d7 after a subsequent f4.}) 12. Qd2 {Jakovenko continues
developing.} Nc5 $6 {Objectively this move is a bit too ambitious.} (12... Nf8
$1 {would be very annoying, threatening ...Ne6 to reactivate the knight and
highlight the awkward position of the d4-bishop. Then a tactical confrontation
with} 13. e5 Ne4 $1 14. Nxe4 $6 dxe5 {would only accentuate White's problems.})
13. Qe3 $1 {Now the problem with 12...Nc5 is highlighted - the knight is loose
here and Black cannot successfully counter in the centre with ...d5.} b6 14. a5
{White has a certain pressure in this position as Black has not completed his
development and White still has a bit more space.} Be6 15. b4 $6 {This is the
point where the trend of the game turns in Black's favour.} (15. Rfd1 {was a
logical way to keep a small edge, as Black is still tied to the defence of his
b6 and d6-pawns.}) 15... Bxc4 $1 16. bxc5 (16. Bxc4 $2 Ng4 17. Qd2 $2 {(but
giving up the d4-bishop is positionally awful)} d5 {wins.}) 16... b5 {The
tables have turned and Black is better as his pieces are better positioned for
the opening of the centre.} 17. cxd6 $2 {White was already under pressure but
Black is probably already winning after this error.} (17. Bxc4 Ng4 {still
looks strong, but with} 18. cxd6 Qxd6 19. Bxf7+ $1 Kxf7 20. Qf3+ Kg8 21. Qxg4
Qxd4 22. Qe6+ Kh8 23. Ne2 {White can survive.}) 17... Qxd6 18. Rad1 $6 {This
loses material, but} (18. Bxc4 Qxd4 19. Qxd4 Rxd4 20. Bd3 Nd7 $1 {with the
ideas of ...Nc5 or ...Rb4 does not offer good survivability for White as his
pawns are weak and his pieces passive.}) 18... Ng4 $1 {This tactic is a
central theme in this line of the Pirc, and here it happens to be decisive!}
19. Qh3 ({or} 19. Bxg4 Bxd4 {.}) 19... Bxd4 20. Bxc4 (20. Qxg4 {isn't much
better as} Be6 $1 21. Qg5 f6 22. Qc1 Qb4 {is still winning.}) 20... Nxf2 21.
Bxf7+ Kg7 $1 {White resigned as he is going to lose at least the exchange.} 0-1[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "ACP Cup 2013"]
[Site "Riga LAT"]
[Date "2013.09.15"]
[Round "3.4"]
[White "Nepomniachtchi, I."]
[Black "Ponomariov, R."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E90"]
[WhiteElo "2717"]
[BlackElo "2756"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "2013.09.13"]
[EventType "rapid"]
[EventRounds "4"]
[EventCountry "LAT"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2013.09.16"]

{Our next game sees Nepomniachtchi (who came second in this ACP Cup after
losing an Armageddon game in the final to Grischuk) play a model attacking
game in a King's Indian Defence. Who said the kingside was Black's territory
in this opening?} 1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. d4 Nf6 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 {
This system is quite trendy as when White plays g4 it deprives Black of his
usual kingside attack (at the very least Black won't achieve a pawn storm
typical of the Mar del Plata). Already Ponomariov's reply is unusual.} Qe8 {
Perhaps Black hoped to avoid the dour} (6... e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9.
Bg5 {variation with his move order.}) 7. g4 $5 {Already White goes for it!
While the computers don't fancy this move, such an aggressive approach often
pays off at faster time controls.} (7. Be3 {would be a more sedate way of
playing.}) 7... Na6 {Black keeps the options of ...e5 and ...c5 open, though
normally this ...Qe8 business is associated with an ...e5 break.} 8. Bg5 c5 (
8... e5 9. d5 {would transpose to a standard line in the Makogonov system
(that's the name of this h3 variation).}) 9. Qd2 ({After} 9. d5 e6 {White's g4
advance is a little out of place in a Benoni structure, so he elects to keep
the tension.}) 9... b6 {A new move, but I don't see what was wrong with} (9...
cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nc5 {aside from Black's 0% score from this position.}) 10. Rd1 (
10. O-O-O {was also possible.}) 10... cxd4 11. Nxd4 Bb7 12. f3 Nc5 13. Bh6 {
Despite having played very naturally, White's position feels a lot easier to
play. His plan of attacking with h4-h5 and so forth is very clear whereas
Black has to make concrete defensive decisions.} a6 $2 {Black cannot afford
this waste of a tempo.} (13... Ne6 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 {was a better defence,
preparing to meet} 15. h4 {with} h5 {to prevent the complete opening of the
h-file.}) 14. Be2 {It's not clear that the bishop is better on e2 than f1.
Instead White should have continued his plan of attacking with} (14. Bxg7 Kxg7
15. h4 {when} h5 $2 {fails to} 16. gxh5 Nxh5 17. Nf5+ $1 {followed by Qg5 or
Qh6.}) 14... Rd8 {This turns out badly for Black, but if he tries something
like} (14... Bxh6 15. Qxh6 Na4 {White can even ignore the queenside and play
for mate:} 16. h4 $1 Nxb2 17. h5 $1 Nxd1 18. g5 {with a decisive attack.}) 15.
h4 e5 $2 {This loses because of White's reply, but even} (15... Bxh6 16. Qxh6
e6 17. h5 {was problematic for Black as he has no apparent counterplay and his
king is still a bit weak.}) 16. Nf5 $1 Bxh6 (16... gxf5 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. Qg5+
Kh8 19. Qxf6+ Kg8 20. gxf5 {checkmates.}) 17. Qxh6 Ne6 18. Nd5 {White has way
too much firepower on the kingside.} Nxd5 19. cxd5 gxf5 20. gxf5 Kh8 {This is
necessary to avoid Rg1 coming with check but it's not enough.} 21. Qf6+ Ng7 22.
Rg1 Rg8 23. h5 {Black resigned. This game is a good advertisement for the
Makogonov and certainly explains why Black normally answers with ...e5.} 1-0[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "WCh Women 2013"]
[Site "Taizhou CHN"]
[Date "2013.09.14"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Ushenina, A."]
[Black "Hou Yifan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "2500"]
[BlackElo "2609"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "48"]
[EventDate "2013.09.11"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "CHN"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2013.09.16"]

{The big match taking place at the moment is the Women's World Championship
Match between Hou Yifan and defending champion Anna Ushenina. Currently Hou
has taken a significant lead of 3-1: the following miniature being her best
game of the match thus far.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. e4 {
The most ambitious move, completely occupying the centre with pawns.} (5. Nf3 {
was played by Ushenina in the first game of the match. She obtained a better
position but went on to lose.}) 5... d5 {The correct continuation, immediately
challenging the centre; alternatives such as} (5... d6 {fail to put the
necessary pressure on White's centre.}) 6. e5 Ne4 7. Bd3 (7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3
c5 {can also become very sharp, but the latest word is that Black is doing
absolutely fine in this line.}) 7... c5 {The central situation is extremely
sharp, and one mistake by either side could have severe consequences.} 8. Nf3 (
8. Nge2 cxd4 (8... Nxf2 $5 9. Kxf2 cxd4 {is an extremely unclear and untested
alternative.}) 9. Nxd4 {transposes to the game.}) (8. cxd5 exd5 9. Nge2 {is
the old line.}) 8... cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nd7 10. Bf4 Ndc5 11. O-O Bxc3 (11... Nxd3 12.
Qxd3 Bxc3 13. bxc3 b6 14. cxd5 Qxd5 {has also received a lot of testing, but
White has scored well after} 15. Rfd1 {with the intention of c4, f3 and Nb5-d6.
}) 12. bxc3 Bd7 {The position remains very sharp - will the knights on e4 and
c5 prove active and dangerous or a weakness to attack? That depends on the
next 10 moves.} 13. Be2 {White preserves her bishop pair from being exchanged.}
Na4 14. cxd5 exd5 15. c4 {White is playing in classical fashion, opening the
centre for her bishop pair, but Black's knights are surprisingly nimble.} Rc8
16. Qb3 {A new move, attacking the b7-pawn, but it seems harmless in view of
Black's response.} (16. Rfe1 {is one of the moves that had been played before.}
) 16... dxc4 17. Bxc4 $2 {This is just a mistake.} (17. Qxb7 {was correct,
though after} Nac5 $1 18. Qb4 Nd3 19. Bxd3 cxd3 {White is definitely not
better.}) 17... Nac3 $1 {White's pieces are completely tangled up by the Black
knights which control a lot of very important squares. The immediate threat is
...Ba4 and it is extremely hard to get out of it.} 18. a4 (18. Bd3 Ba4 19. Qb4
a5 {wins the d4-knight.}) (18. Bxf7+ Rxf7 19. e6 Bxe6 20. Nxe6 Qf6 {is clearly
better for Black as White can hardly move her pieces.}) 18... Bxa4 19. Rxa4
Nxa4 20. Nf5 {White tries her luck with a desperate counterattack, which is
comfortably refuted.} Nac3 $1 21. e6 Rxc4 $1 {Black shows good calculation to
finish the game.} 22. Qxc4 (22. e7 Qd3 23. exf8=Q+ Kxf8 {is winning for Black
due to the threat of ...Ne2 followed by ...Nxf2.}) 22... b5 23. Qb3 Qd3 24.
exf7+ Rxf7 {White resigned, as the threat mentioned in the previous note is
still on. Rarely do you see a World Champion lose in such a way with White.}