Monday, January 27, 2014

Semi-Slav Defense

The Semi-Slav Defense is a mixture of the Queen's Gambit Declined and the Slav Defense, characterized by Black's pawns advance to both c6 and e6.

The following game is one of Anand's best.

"Anand's love of the Semi-Slav defense goes way back. In 1991 in Brussel, the then 21-year-old Indian grandmaster made headlines by exchanging punches with the former world champion Anatoly Karpov during their quarterfinal Candidates match. The Semi-Slav was Anand's main defense. The score was tied before the last game.

The magical use of the long diagonal h1-a8 helped Anand to win the world championship matches against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008 (Game 3) and Veselin Topalov in 2010 (Game 12). He owns the diagonal, it is his highway to the chess crown. Aronian saw the light bishop come to life and it was a monster. And things got worse after Anand also included the dark bishop into his attack."

by Lubomir Kavalek, International Chess Grandmaster

Wijk ann Zee, 2013

1. d4, d5
2. c4, c6
3. Nf3, Nf6
4. Nc3, e6
5. e3, Nbd7
6. Bd3, dxc4
7. Bxc4, b5
8. Bd3, Bd6

The Meran Variation goes 8...a3, 9. e4 c5 ...

9. 0-0, 0-0
10. Qc2, Bb7
11. a3, Rc8!?

This move is a preparation for c5 pawn advance.

12. Ng5 ....

A positional trap that may lead to 12....Bxh2+, 13. Kxh2 Ng4+, 14. Kg1 Qxg5, 15. f3 Ngf6, 16. b4 with a better position for White.

12. .... c5!

Now, all pieces break loose.

13. Nxh7 ....

White wins a pawn, but his Knight gets stranded along the way.  

13. .... Ng4!

Not as good as 13....c4, 14. Nxf6 Nxf6, 15. Be2 and White gets the edge.

14. f4 ....

White blocks the long diagonal, but Anand decides to use his other Bishop.

If 14....h3, then 15. Bh2+ Kh1, 16. Qh4 and Black has plenty of counterplay.

14. .... cxd4!
15. exd4?!, Bc5!

A surprise move.  This Bishop sacrifice is designed to take control of the g1-a7 diagonal.

16. Be2? ....

White underestimated Black's next move. But capturing the Bishop still retains Black's lead: 16. dxc5 Nxc5, 17. Be2 Qd4+.

16. .... Nde5!!

17. Bxg4 ....

The e5 Knight cannot be captured: 17. fxe5 Qxd4+, 18. Kh1 Qg1+, 19. Rxg1 Nf2 mate.

If 17. dxc5 Qd4+, 18. Kh1 Nf2+, 19. Rxf2 Qxf2 and Black mates either at g2 or at the first rank.

17. .... Bxd4+
18. Kh1, Nxg4
19. Nxf8, f5!

There is no need for the Black Queen to rush to h4.  If 19....Qh4, then 20. Qh7+ and the attack collapses.

20. Ng6 ....

This prevents the Queen move for the moment.  Black still wins after 20.Qd3 Qh4, 21.Qg3 Qxg3, 22.hxg3 Kxf8, 23.Rd1 (23.Nd1 Ke7 threatening 24...Rh8 mate.) 23...Bxc3; or after 20.Qe2 Qh4! 21.Qxe6+ Kxf8 22.Qxf5+ Kg8 23.Qe6+ Kh8.

20. .... Qf6
21. h3 ....

Other moves would not help.  If 21.Qd3 Qxg6 22.Qg3 Nf2+-+; or 21.Ne5 Nxh2! 22.Rf2 Qh4 23.Kg1 Qg3-+.

21. .... Qxg6
22. Qe2 ....

After 22. hxg4 Qh6 mates.

22. .... Qh5!

Threatening 23....Qxh3 mate.

23. Qd3, Be3!

White resigns. The move effectively blocks the defense of the h-pawn where the White Queen threatens mate by 24....Qxh3+.  If 24. Bxe3 Qxh3+, 25. Kg1 Qxg2 mate.

An amazing chess brilliancy of Viswanathan Anand.  The game bears a striking similarity to the game between Rotweli and Rubinstein in Lodz (1907).  That game is known as Rubinstein's Immortal Game, and considered one of the greatest chess games of all time.

Nimzo-Indian Defense, Bishop Attack Classical Defense

Essent Crown 2002

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, e6
3. Nc3, Bb4
4. e3, 0-0
5. Bd3, d5
6. cxd5, exd5
7. Nge2?! ....

A dubious move.  A better post for the Knight is at f3.

7. .... Re8
8. 0-0, Bd6!

Black sees a weakness in White's seventh move, and sends a Bishop into action.

9. a3? ....

A useless move. The Bishop is no longer there.

9. .... Ng4!!
10. h3, Nh2
11. Re1, Nf3+!!

By this sacrifice, Black manages to create havoc in the opponent's king side.

12. gxf3, Qg5+
13. Kh1 ....

If 13. Kf1, then 13....Bxh3 mate.

13. .... Qh4
14. Nf4, Bxh3
15. Ncxd5, Re6!!
16. Nxe6 ....

White has no choice but to capture the Rook which is destined to h6.

16. .... Bf5 discovered check
17. Kg1, Qh2+
18. Kf1, Bg3!!

White resigns.  There is no defense against the threats 19....Bxd3+ followed by  20....Qxf2 mate.

A truly remarkable game.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sicilian Defense, Paulsen - Bastrikov Variation

Lasker Autumn GM 2001

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, e6
3. Nc3, Nc6
4. d4, cxd4
5. Nxd4, Qc7

The Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation.

6. Be3, a6

The Paulsen (Kan) Variation.

7. Bd3, Nf6
8. 0-0, Ne5
9. h3, Bc5
10. Kh1 ....

Preparing for eventual f4, and getting the King out of the way.

10. .... d6
11. f4, Ng6
12. Qe1, 0-0
13. f5, Ne5
14. Qh4, b5
15. Rf3 ....

An ingenious way of "removing" the pesky Knight at e5, while opening the g file for an attack on the king side.

15. .... Nxf3
16. gxf3, Qb6
17. Rg1!! ....

White sacrifices a piece for control of the g-file.

17. .... Bxd4
18. e5!! ....

18. .... Bxe3

If 18....dxe5, then 19. Qxf6 g6, 20. fxg6 fxg6, 21. Rxg6+ hxg6, 22. Qxg6+ Kh8, 23. Qh7 mate.

19. Rxg7!!, Kh8

If 19.....Kxg7, then 20. exf6+ Kh8, 21. fxe6, and White threatens mate at h7.

20. Rxh7!! ....

Better than 20. exf6 h6, and Black manages to prolong the game.

20. .... Nxh7
21. f6 !!!, Resigns

Black cannot avoid being mated.  A fantastic game.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sicilian Defense, Fischer-Sozin Attack Flank Variation

Linares, 1993

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, a6
6. Bc4, e6
7. Bb3, b5

The Fischer-Sozin Attack Flank Variation.

8. 0-0, Be7

Gelfand knowingly avoided the complications that may arise after 8....b4, 9. Na4 Nxe4, 10. Qg4 which favors White.

9. Qf3, Qc7
10. Qg3, 0-0
11. Bh6, Ne1
12. Rad1, Bd7
13. Nf3, b4
14. Ne2, a5
15. Nf4, Kh8

If 15....a4, 16. Nh5 g6, 17. Bxf8 ....

16. Bg5, Nf6
17. Qh4, Bb5
18. Nd4!!, Be8

If 18....Bxf1, then 19. Ndxe6 fxe6, 20. Ng6+ Kg8, 21. Bxe6+ ...., a situation which favors White.

19. Ndxe6, fxe6
20. Nxe6, Qa7
21. e5!!, dxe5
22. Nxf8, Bxf8
23. Bxf6, gxf6
24. Rd8 ....

The culminating attack.

24. .... Nd7

If 24....Qe7 the game may continue 25. Qc4 Bf7 26. Qxf7 Qxf7 27. Bxf7 Kg7 28. Bd5 and White gets material advantage.  In this variation, if after 25. Qc4 Kg7 26. Rfd1 with a tremendous attack.

25. Qg4, Resigns

Black cannot prevent mate at g8.  If 25....Bg7 then 26. Qe6 ....

Fantastic Kasparov attack!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

King's Gambit Accepted, Double Muzio Gambit

Daugavpils, 1990

1. e4, e5
2. f4, exf4
3. Nf3, g5
4. Bc4, g4
5. 0-0, gxf3
6. Qxf3, Qf6
7. e5! ....

Intended to lure the Black Queen away from f7, which White is targeting.

7. .... Qxe5
8. Bxf7+ ....

The Double Muzio Gambit. So far, White has already sacrificed two pieces.

8. .... Kxf7
9. d4, Qxd4+
10. Be3!! ....

The objective of White's 9th move.  Now, White gets a tempo.

10. .... Qf6

Not 10....Qxb2, 11. Qxf4+ Nf6, 12. Bd4 and the position favors White.

11. Bxf4, Ke8
12. Nc3, Nc6
13. Nd5, Qg6
14. Rae1+, Be7
15. Bd6!! ....

This elegant move opens the f-file for a mating threat at f8, whichever way the White Bishop is captured.

15. .... Kd8

Black removes the pin, thinking the King would be safe.  He is mistaken.

16. Qf8+, Bxf8

Black is clearly lost.  White may mate by 17. Rxf8 Qe8, 18. Rxe8. White's next move is much shorter.

17. Bxc7 mate.

Dazzling moves by Shirov.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Modern Defense, King's Pawn Fianchetto

Chess World Cup, 1989

1. d4, d6
2. e4, g6
3. c4, e5
4. Nf3, exd4
5. Nxd4, Bg7
6. Nc3, Nc6
7. Be3, Nge7
8. h4 ....

Kasparov decides to attack on the king side.

8. .... h6
9. Be2, f5
10. exf5, Nxf5
11. Nxf5, Bxf5
12. Qd2, Qd7
13. 0-0 ....

Sensing that Black is also set at castling on the queen side, White castles on the king side and prepares to attack on the queen side.

13. .... 0-0-0
14. b4! ....

This little sacrifice goes a long way....

14. .... Nxb4
15. Nb5, Nc2
16. Bf3!!, d5
17. Bxd5, Nxa1

If 17....c6, then 18. Nxa7+ Kb8, 19. Bf4+ Ka8, 20. Qa5 with a mating threat.

18. Nxa7+, Kb8
19.  Qb4 ....

Now, the finale.

19. ....  Qxd5

Black has no choice but to sacrifice his Queen.  If 19....b6, then 20. Bxb6 cxb6, 21. Qxb6+ and mate next move.

If 19....c6, then 20. Bf4+ Ka8, 21. Qa3 with a devastating attack.

White clearly wins at this point, but Black fights on.

20. cxd5, Nc2
21. Qa5, Nxe3
22. fxe3, Rhe8
23. Nb5, Rxd5
24. Qxc7+, Ka8
25. Qa5+, Resigns
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