Friday, June 5, 2020

Sicilian Defense: Kan. Polugaevsky Variation

VISWANATHAN ANAND vs. KIRIL NINOV
Baguio City, 1987

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, e6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nd4, a6
5. Bd3, Bc5
6. Nb3, Ba7
7. Nc3, Nc6
8. Qe2, d6
9. Be3, Bxe3

White prefers this exchange of Bishops because the Black Bishop is more powerful.

10. Qxe3, Nf6
11. g4 ...

A surprise move.  This is part of White's plan to attack Black's King side.

11. ... b5

What happens if the Knight takes the Pawn?  If 11. ... Kxg4 then 12.Qg3 Nf6, 13. Qxg7 Rg8, 14. Qh6 ...  White succeeds in disrupting the enemy's castling, with a potential attack on its flanks.

12. 0-0-0, 0-0
13. g5!, Ne8
14. f4, b4
15. Ne2, a5
16. Nbd4, Nxd4
17. Nxd4, Qb6
18. e5,  Bb7
19. Rhf1, dxe5
20. fxe5, Rd8?!

Black should have played 20...g6 cutting White's Bishop's line of attack.

21. Bxh7, Kxh7



















22. g6+!, Kg8

If 22...Kxg6 then 23. Qh3 (with threat of Rg1#) f6, 24. Nxe6! forking three major pieces.

23. Qh3, Nf6

A necessary sacrifice.  White threatens Qh7 mate.

24. exf6, fxg6
25. fxg7,  Resigns

If 25... Kxg7 then 26. Nxe6+ Kg8, 27. Rxf8 Rxf8, 28. Nxf8 Kxf8, 29. Qh8+ and mate follows soon.

If 25... Rxf1 then 26. Qh8+ Kf7, 27. Rxf1+ Ke7, 28. g8=Q Rxg8, 29. Qxg8 Qxd4, 30. Qf8+ Kd7, 31. Rd1 White wins.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Spanish Game: Exchange. Bronstein Variation

MATTHIAS WAHLS vs. SAEVAR BJARNASON
Malmo, Sweden, 1985

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bb5, a6
4. Bxc6, dxc6
5. 0-0, Qd6
6. d3, Bg4
7. Be3, 0-0-0
8. Nbd2, f6
9. Rb1, Ne7
10. b4 ...

This move is part of White's plan to attack the flank.

10. ... Ng6
11. h3, Be6
12. a4, Qd7
13. d4, Bd6
14. b5, axb5

White succeeds in forcing Black to open this side of the board.  A weakness is now being created at  the a file.

15. axb5!, exd4
16. Ra1!, Kb8
17. Nxd4 ...



















17. ... cxb5?

Black does not really have much of a choice.  If 17. ... c5 then 18. Nc6+ bxc6, 19. Ra6 cxb5, 20. Qa1 and White's attack is unstoppable.

18. Ra8+, Kxa8
19. Qa1+, Kb8
20. Qa7+!!  Resigns

Amazing Queen sacrifice!  Mate cannot be avoided.  After Kxa7, White replies with Nc6 double check.  White finishes off with Ra1 mate.

Italian Game: Evan's Gambit

ADOLF ANDERSSEN vs. BERTHOLD SUHLE
Breslau, 1860

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bc4, Bc5
4. b4, Bxb4

Main line of Evan's Gambit.  White sacrifices a pawn in order to control the center.

5. c3, Bc5
6. 0-0, d6
7. d4, exd4
8. cxd4, Bb6
9. d5, Na5
10. Bb2, Nf6
11. Bd3, Bg4
12. Nc3, c6

Stockfish (computer software) comments that 12...0-0 is better.  The game may continue 13. Na4 Re8, 14. Nxb6 axb6, 15. Qc2 c6, 16. Nd2 Rc8  Black is good.

13. Ne2, 0-0
14. Qd2, Rc8

Stockfish suggested 14. ... Re8.  Now, if 15. Qf4 Bh5, 16. Bxf6 Qxf6, 17. Qxf6 gxf6, 18. Nf4 Bg6 ...

15. Qg5, Bxf3
16. gxf3, cxd5
17. Kh1, Nc4?

A bad move.  Black should have forced exchanges in order to eliminate the mating threat by 17. ... Ne8, 18. Qxd8 Bxd8, 19. Rac1 Rxc1, 20. Rxc1 Nc6, 21. exd5 ...

18. Rg1 Ne8



















19. Qxg7+, Nxg7
20. Rxg7+, Kh8
21. Rg8+, Kxg8
22. Rg1+ ...

White now wins the game.  The rest of the move is plain cosmetics.

22. ... Qg5
23. Rxg5 mate.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Italian Game, Max Lange Attack

VISWANATHAN ANAND vs. MAGNUS CARLSEN
Norway Rapid, April 1, 2017

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bc4, Nf6
4. d4, exd4
5. 0-0, Bc5

Black employs the Max Lange Attack.

6. e5, d5

Black opts to exchange pieces.

7. exf6, dxc4
8. Re1+, Kf8
9. Bg5 ...

White intends to capture the g7 pawn, while attacking the opponent's Queen.

9. ... gxf6
10. Bh6+, Kg8
11. Nc3, Bg4

Black cannot capture the Knight because of the mating threat Qxd8.

12. Ne4, b6
13. c3, Ne5

If 13....dxc3, then 14.Qxd8 Rxd8, 15. Nxf6 mate.

14. Nxe5!,  Bxd1



















A stunning Queen sacrifice!  This paves the way for White's victory.

15. Nd7!  ...

Now, it is clear.  White intends to capture the f6 pawn, which leads to mate.

15. ... Be7
16. N4xf6, Bxf6
17. Re8+!, Qxe8
18. Nf6 mate.

Great play by Anand.

Author's note:  While a You Tube video presentation exists, the game is not recorded in other chess literature.  Therefore, there is no certainty that the game was ever played.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange Variation

VISWANATHAN ANAND vs. IAN NEPOMNIACHTCHI
FIDE Chess.com Online Nations Cup
May 2020

1.d4, Nf6
2. c4, g6
3. Nc3, d5
4. cxd5, Nxd5
5. Bd2, Bg7
6. e4, Nxc3
7. Bxc3, c5
8. d5! ...

Anand opts to neutralize immediately Black's g7 Bishop.  This is part of his overall strategy.

8. ... Bxc3
9. bxc3, Qd6

Black hopes to control the c7-h2 diagonal.

10. Qd2, 0-0
11. f4! ...

Most common chess engines regard this as White's best move, in preparation for a center advance.

11. ... e6
12. Nf3, exd5
13. Bc4 ...

If the d5 pawn is taken, White's King would be in danger.

13. ... Be6
14. 0-0, d4
15. f5! ...

 An unexpected move.  White sacrifices a Bishop for a great pawn advance.



















15. ... Bxc4

Black should have sacrificed this Bishop to neutralize White's impending attack.  Best move is Bxf5.

If 15...gxf5 then 16. Qg5+ Kh8, 17. Qf6+ Kg8, 18. exf5! pinning the Bishop.

16. e5!, Qd7
17. f6!,  Resigns

Mate cannot be prevented at g7.



Monday, April 27, 2020

Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation. Yugoslav Attack, Modern Line

VISWANATHAN ANAND vs. MANUEL APICELLA
Champigny sur Marne op, 1984

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, g6
6. Be3, Bg7
7. f3, 0-0

So far, we have seen the main line of the Sicilian, Dragon Variation.

8. Qd2 ...

White prepares to castle on the Queen side.

8. ... Nc6
9. 0-0-0, Bd7
10. h4!, Qa5

Black plans to attack the a2 pawn, presumably Black's weakest spot.

11. g4!, Rfc8
12. Nb3 ...

Effectively driving away Black's Queen.

12. ... Qe5
13. g5!, Nb4?!



















Again, Black prematurely attacks the a2 pawn.  He is hoping for 14. a3 Na2+, 15. Nxa2 Nxe4, 16. fxe4 Qxb2 mate.   But White's reply is unexpected.

14. Bd4! ...

Effectively destroying Black's line of attack.

14. ... Qe6
15. gxf6, exf6
16. Kb1, a5
17. Bh3, Qe8
18. Bxd7, Qxd7
19. a3, Nc6
20. Nd5, Nxd4
21. Nxd4, Qd8

Black prevents Nb6.

22. h5!, b5
23. hxg6, hxg6
24. Nf5! ...



















White threatens 25. Nxg7 Kxg7, 26. Qh6+!!

24. ... gxf5
25. Rdg1!   Resigns

Black has no defense against White's eventual Qg2.  Now, if 25....Qf8, then 26. Nxf6 mate.

If 25....Kf8 then 26. Rxg7 Ke8, 27. Rh8+ Kd7, 28. Rxf7+ Kc6, 29. Rxd8 Rxd8, 30. Rc7 mate.

A gem of a game.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Scandinavian Defense

HIKARU NAKAMURA vs. ALIREZA FIROUZJA
Magnus Carlsen Invitational 2020

1. e4, d5

Firouzja chooses the Scandinavian Defense.

2. exd5, Qxd5
3. Nc3, Qa5
4. b4 ...



















Known as the Leonhardt Gambit,  with the objective of driving away Black's Queen.  d4 is an alternative choice.

4. ...  Qxb4

5. Rb1, Qd6
6. d4, Qd8?!

A devious move.  Better options would be Nf6 or c6 (to control d5).

7. Bc4, Nf6
8. Nf3, e6
9. 0-0, Be7
10. Ne5! ...

Now, White prepares for a center attack.

10. ...  0-0
11. Re1, c5

Black challenges the center pawn.   Chess observers say Nf6 is a better move.

12. d5 !!

White chooses to advance the pawn, hoping for an exchange.

12. ...  exd5
 13. Nxd5,  Be6?

Considered a blunder by chess observers.   But after 13....Nxf5, 14. Qxd5 Qxd5,  15. Bxd5 Bf6,  16. Nxf7 Rxf7, 17. Re8+  White's attack becomes fatal.

14. Nxf7!!,  Resigns



















If 14....Rxf7 then 15. Nxe7 Qxe7, 16. Rxe6!  White wins.

If 14....Bxf7 then 15. Nxe7+ Kh8, 16. Qxd8 Rxd8, 17. Bxf7  White has the advantage.

If 14....Kxf7 then 15. Rxe6 Kxe6, 16. Nxf6+ Kxf6, 17. Qf3+ Kg6, 18. Qe4+ Rf5,  19. Qe6+ Kh5, 20. Be2+ kH4, 21. g3+ Kh3, 22. Qxf4 mate.

This was one of Nakamura's best games.







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