Wrong Opening Evaluation
By Efstratios Grivas © 2007
This game was played in the first board of the play-off match between my team ‘AEK Athens’ and ‘ASOP Dias Petroupolis’ for the team champion title of the 2007 A' Local Division of ESSNA. It is quite rare to see to GMs fighting in a team's championship of such a low category but these days everything seems to be possible!
□ Grivas,Efstratios (2507)
■ Parligras,Mircea (2542)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Be7!?
My opponent recently has tried 4...Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 0–0 6.Bg2 d5 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.0–0 c6 9.b3 b6 10.Ne5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Nd7 12.f4 b5 = Georgiev,K-Parligras,M/Athens 2007. Of course I had some improvement in mind but I was not able to show it yet!
5.Bg2 d5 6.Nf3 0–0 7.0–0 c6
After 7...dxc4 8.Qc2 a6 9.Qxc4 b5 10.Qc2 Bb7 11.Rc1 Bd6 12.Bg5 Nbd7 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Nbd2 Rc8 15.Nb3 += Khalifman,A-Tissir,M/Shenyang 2000, White is happy as he can safely play for two results (win or draw).
8...b5?! 9.cxb5 cxb5 10.Rc1 Bb7 11.Ne5 +=.
9.Bf4 b6 10.Nbd2 Bb7 (D)
Black's alternative is 10...Nh5 11.Be3 Bb7 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.Rfc1 += Gostisa,L-Raspor,G/Ljubljana 2003 or 10...Ba6 11.Rfd1 (11.e4 Nxe4 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Ne5 Nxe5 14.dxe5 Qd3 15.Rac1 Qxc2 16.Rxc2 Rad8 17.Be3 c5 18.Bxe4 Rd7 = Volokitin,A-Gyimesi,Z/Mainz 2007) 11...Rc8 12.Rac1 += Radjabov,T-Topalov,V/Wijk aan Zee 2003. The text-move is solid and probably the best.
My database contains 40 games with the text-move, played by well-known GMs among others. But it is not a good one. White should go on with 11.Rfd1 c5 (11...Nh5 12.Be3 f5 13.Ne5 Bd6 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Ndc4 += Mascaro March,P-Solana Suarez,E/Mondariz 2006) 12.dxc5 bxc5 13.cxd5 exd5 14.Ne5 Qb6 15.Nxd7 Nxd7 16.Rac1 Rfd8 17.Nf3 Abramovic,B-Kiroski,T/Skopje 1993, with a tiny advantage for White in a complex position.
My opponent thought for about 15 minutes (probably he did not knew the position) and he came up with the best move. After 11...Nxe4 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Qxe4 Nf6 14.Qe2 c5 15.Rad1 White has scored heavily: 15...cxd4 16.Nxd4 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 Qc8 18.b3 Qb7+ 19.Qf3 Qxf3+ 20.Kxf3 += Wojtkiewicz,A-Thorhallsson,T/Komotini 1993. Other, worst tries for Black, are: 11...Rc8?! 12.Rad1 b5 13.c5 a5 14.a3 Nh5 15.Be3 f5 16.exf5 exf5 17.Nb3 Ra8 18.Bd2 Kh8 19.Rfe1 Rf7 20.Nc1 g6 21.Nd3 +/- Andersson,U-San Segundo Carrillo,P/Athens 1997; 11...c5?! 12.exd5 exd5 13.Rfe1 Rc8 14.Qf5 dxc4 15.Nxc4 g6 16.Qh3 Bxf3 17.Bxf3 cxd4 18.Qf1 Ne8 19.Rad1 Bf6 20.Bb7 Rc5 21.b4 Rf5 22.Bh6 Bg7 23.Bxg7 Nxg7 24.Rxd4 +/- Gurevich,D-Browne,W/Key-West 1994.
I thought for a long time but I could not come-up with something satisfactory. White's centre and knights are not well-placed and he suffers from luck of coordination. Still, the alternative 12.Nxc4 should be tried: 12...c5 13.e5 (13.Rfe1 cxd4 14.Nd6 d3 [14...Bxd6 15.Bxd6 Rc8 16.Qd3 e5 17.Nxe5! Nc5 18.Bxc5 bxc5 19.Rac1 Qe7 20.Nc4 +=] 15.Qxd3 Nc5 16.Qd1 oo Molnar,P-Jaracz,P/Pardubice 2007) 13...Nd5 14.dxc5 Nxc5 15.Rfd1 Rc8 oo Giffard,N-Shchekachev,A/Evry 2001.
13.Rad1? Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.dxc5 Bd5 -/+.
13...cxd4 14.e5 Nd5 15.Qxd4 Nxf4 16.Qxf4 Nc5 =+ is also good for Black.
The less evil was 14.Rad1 cxd4 15.Qxd4 Nc5 16.e5 Qxd4 17.Nxd4 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Nd5 =+.
14...Nd5 15.Ne4 cxd4!
Simplification to a much better ending!
16.Qxd4 Nxf4 17.gxf4 Nc5 18.Nxc5 Bxc5 19.Qxd8 Rfxd8 20.Red1 h6! (D)
Now allowing a Ng5-e4 manoeuvre. Black has a steady advantage, based on his bishop-pair and the weakened White's pawn structure. But still White can fight!
21.Ne1?! Ba6 22.Bf1 Bxf1 23.Kxf1 Rd4 24.Rxd4 Bxd4 25.Rb1 b5 -/+.
21...Bd5 22.b3 Be4?!
Looks good but in fact helps White. 22...Kf8 was called for.
White missed again his chances: 23.Nd4! Bxg2 24.Kxg2 a6 25.Kf3 Rd5 26.Ne2 Rcd8 27.Rxd5 Rxd5 =+.
Preserving the bishop-pair and targeting the a2-pawn!
24.Kf1 Ba3 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Bb7 Rc1 27.Ke2 Bb1?!
27...Rxd1! 28.Kxd1 Bc5 29.Ke2 Bb1 30.a4 Ba2 is an easy win for Black.
Setting a (last) trap in which Black felled.
28...Rxd1 29.Kxd1 Bc5 30.Bd3!.
29.Rxc1 Bxc1 30.Kd1! Bxf4 31.Kc2
And the a2-bishop is a goner. But still Black preserves his advantage as he gets too many pawns for the piece. My opponent informed me after the game that he missed this trap.
The correct pawn. Black must create passed pawns.
32.Nd3 g5 33.Kb2 Bxb3 34.Kxb3 Kg7 (D)
White has got a piece for four pawns. Three of them are passed and dangerous. Anyway Black is not in a position to loose and he can calmly improve his position.
35.Bb7 g4 36.Kc4 Kg6 37.Kd4
White cannot go after the queenside pawns: 37.Be4+ Kg5 38.Kb5 h5 39.Ka6 h4 40.Kxa7 Bxe5 41.Nxe5 Kf4 42.Nxg4 Kxe4 -+.
37...Kf5 38.Be4+ Kg5 39.Bc6 h5 40.Be8 Kg6 41.Ke4 h4 42.Nf4+
42.f3 g3 (42...gxf3 43.Kxf3 Kf5 44.Bxf7 Bxe5) 43.Nf4+ Kg7 44.Ng2 h3 45.Nf4 g2 46.Nxh3 a6 -+.
42...Kg5 43.Ne2 h3 44.Bc6
44.Bxf7 Bf4! 45.Nxf4 h2.
White is lost and the end of the game was:
45.Be8 Bf4! 46.Bc6 h2 47.Kd4 a4 48.Kc4
48.Nc3 a3 49.Na2 b5 50.Bg2 Bd2 51.Kd3 Be1 52.Ke2 Ba5 53.Nc1 Kf5.
48...Bxe5 49.Kb4 f5! 50.Kxa4 f4 51.Bh1 f3 52.Nc1 g3!