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PlayerS Game if the Site #3

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PlayerS Game if the Site #3

Postby iamachessstudent » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:21 pm

Once more today we feature a game from GKThomas, as he battles TEMES in a very strategic maneuvering game in the Slav Defense!
This variation was featured in the 2006 Topalov-Kramnik WCC Match, so it has the highest pedigree you could want ! After the first seven (7) moves of the opening, we are presented with a position that offers deep, rich strategical ideas; Whites' bishop-pair gives him hope of a long term initiative, but Black's position is resilient, and he can usually achieve active counter play in the center and King-side!
The game is tense throughout and really is a well played one on the parts of both our players!

On a sidenote: It is interesting that in his latest huge treatise on the Slav, the great GM Konstanin Sakaev barely discusses the variation move 6...Bg6, preferring to devote the whole chapter on the opening to 6...Be4; disappointing but authors choice!

[Event "m1354349764"]
[Site "net-chess.com"]
[Date "2013.03.02"]
[Round "1"]
[White "gkthomas"]
[Black "temes"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2891"]
[BlackElo "2973"]
[Game "g1105134401"]

ECO CODE: D12: Slav Defense: 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3{This is known as the "quiet Slav", of course the most popular move here is 4.Nc3 which has some of the most played and famous variations of the years and tests in many World Championship Matches; from Alekhine-Euwe all the way up to Topalov-Anand, a rich history! But just because the move played is less popular and used, does NOT mean it is not without venom, as we shall see!} 4...Bf5 {One of a couple very popular moves here, such as 5...e6 and 5...Bg4; the text move has a good, solid reputation.} 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 {A very hot and critical variation right now from the club player all the way to GM's, the Knight will "put the question" to this Bishop and win it; how Black allows this is another matter.} 6..Bg6 {This is the most common and popular move, and was tested thoroughly in the Topalov-Kramnik match in 2006; another rising move is 6...Be4 but the play there usually becomes more complicated and White has chances for keeping a firm initiative.} 7.Nxg6 hxg6 8.g3 {again the most popular plan though a few other moves have been tested here...8.a3 was played in Topalov-Kramink Match game # 9, 1-0 in 39 moves; 8.Rb1 was played in the same WC match in game # 11 with a draw in 66 moves; 8.Bd2 is another [popular choice here as well} 8...Nbd7 9.Bg2 dxc4 {Most popular and it makes sense, since the White K-bishop is transferred to g2, the c4 pawn is just waiting to be picked up. The question is how much pressure can White get on the Black position for this temporary loss of his pawn?!} 10.Qe2 {Theory and logical, the Queen develops attacking the black c pawn.} 10...Nb6 11.0-0 Bb4 {more commonly played is ..Be7. The move played is ok, but since the Bishop is not pinning the White Knight, it is more easily subject to attacks and gives White time to complete his development and choose his plan.} 12.a3 {attacking the Bishop immediately as noted...} 12...Ba5 {Exchanging this Bishop by 12...Bxc3? does nothing for Black and reinforces White's center and gives him the two Bishops} 13.Bd2 {preparing to move the Knight to e4 to regain his lost pawn following the exchange of the 2 dark-squared Bishops} 13...Qe7 14.Ne4 Bxd2 15.Nxd2 {the point of his 14th move,the pawn will be regained and the Knight gains a nice spot on the Queen-side.} 15...0-0 {Also completing his development and tucking his King away} 16.Nxc4 {16.a4 has been played here once, in order to force black to play...a5 so that the White pawn cannot come to a5 and make the Black Knight retreat} 16...Nxc4 17.Qxc4 g5N!? {THIS move is new, as usually 17...e5 has been played to give Black equal play in the Center and keep the game balanced, the few games that continued this way have all been Drawn so it is good pedigree. The novelty Black tries is harder to explain, but he wishes to keep the dark squares on the King-side under control, as well as threaten a breach of the White position on g4, perhaps by his Knight and then play ...e5 and get very active piece play after White exchanges; it is a very double edged interesting plan, since all other games have been drawn with the "accepted move", why not try something more radical!} 18.h3! {Excellent, White guesses Black's intent and seals off the g4 square to him.} 18...Nd5 { A very nice square for the Knight to be centralized on, White will attempt to play e4 at some point to make the Knight relinquish this square.} 19.Rac1 Rad8 20.Qa4 {Attempting to get at the pawns on black's Queen-side, Black must take this threat seriously.} 20...a6 {And he does!} 21.Qb3 Rd7 {Building a defense based on protection of the 7th rank, very well done} 22.e4 {Deciding it is time to chase that Knight off the d5 square, and if 22.Rc5 instead then Black has 22...Rfd8 equalizing.} 22...Nf6 23. Rfd1 Rfd8 24.e5 {Again chasing that Knight.} 24...Nh7!? {I gave this an interesting mark, because the obvious move is 24...Nd5, again putting the Knight on a powerful central outpost. Perhaps Black wanted to protect the g pawn and allow the Queen access to White's King-side, but the Knight looks misplaced at h7. The question is: can White take advantage of this?} 25.Qe3 {watching those dark squares, and centralizing the Queen.} 25...f5!? {Another double edged move, instead of the passive 25...Nf8 which is playable, Black goes to complicate play on the King-side and create two (2) threats of either ...f4 or..g4; White must exercise caution here.} 26.Rc4 {giving the d pawn more protection so the Queen can go elsewhere} 26...Qf7 {deciding on a plan to push the f4 pawn forward} 27.Rd3 {also, 27.Bf3 is possible here, to shore up the King-side and prevent that g pawn from ever getting to g4.} 27...f4!? {Again playing for complications and a win! The simple 27...Qg5 28.g4 fxg4 29.Qe2 is enough to equalize, but here Black wants more!} 28.Qe2! += {an excellent move, keeping the tiniest of edges! Of course not 28.gxf4?! gxf4 and White's Queen is under attack and his King-side is wide open. White keeps control of the light squares around the King-side and forces Black to come up with another plan} 28...Qg6 {also keeping watch over the light squares and preparing to move the Queen to the dark squares around the White King-side} 29.Be4 Qh6 {threatening the h pawn} 30.Qg4 {Defending the H pawn and attacking Black's isolated e pawn.} 30...Nf8 31.Kg2 {The White King can now protect his own...} 31...Rf7 {Staying active along the 7th rank, Black's play is not easy, but he does a wonderful job at keeping things as difficult as possible for his opponent.} 32.Rb4 g6 {A good move, consolidating the f5 square!} 33.Qe2 Rh7 {Counterattack on the H file!} 34.g4 {A great defense, also locking the King-side up for Black!} 34...Qg7 35.Qc2 Rd7 36.Rc4 { A good move keeping the tension, but Id like to see how black played after 36.Rdb3, really squeezing the pressure on the Queen-side; but maybe it is not enough to win in this very difficult but seemingly equal position!?} 36...Qe7 37.a4 {Preparing to push the pawn to a5, where it will totally blockade the Black queen-side single handedly!} 37...Qd8 {Black sees this and for now prevents it} 38.Qc3 {insisting on that pawn push to a5!} 38...Qb6 {allowing Whites' plan , but it ant really be prevented, maybe 38...Rh4!? or ...Rh6 would be over all slightly better, although I cant see any move that would make Black's position any easier to play right now. The slight but enduring initiative White has kept through the whole game is really impressive!} 39.a5 {of course!} 39...Qa7 40.Kf1 {Keeping the King as safe as he can.} 40...Rdf7 {Continuing to keep the defense along the 7th rank and waiting for White to attempt to breach his position..a smart plan.} 41.Ke2 {bringing the King up to safety and keeping a hold on the position, but how to break-thru?} 41...Qb8 {Dropping back and defending the 8th rank and again waiting...} 42.Kd1 {Also waiting} 42...Qd8 43.Rf3 {blockading the f pawn, but not trying a break-thru; White is content with the position and will hold it, waiting for Black to make a mistake an if not, he is willing to accept peace} 43...Rh4 Black offered a Draw and White accepted GAME DRAWN

You might think White is very much better here, BUT how to break thru the Black position?! The Queen-side is pretty locked in, so the only choices are the Center or King-side. but when we look at the Center, White cannot force a d5 break-thru so that remains safe, so the only recourse is the King-side; but a look at that and we can see Black is very well off there as well! White was wise in accepting a Draw, for in such positions as this it is SO easy to over-reach and make a blunder yourself as you are trying so desperately for a win!}

A great game in a very tense variation! both players showed lots of good preparation, ingenuity and will power as they battled and fought against the others ideas! WELL PLAYED!)
iamachessstudent
 
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