Morozevich unstoppable in Saratov!
It seems that nobody can stop Morozevich at the Governor’s Cup and he leads a strong field by a whole point after just 4 rounds. He has won his last 2 games (both with the Black pieces!), though today’s effort featured a considerable element of luck when first Morozevich and then Ni Hua overlooked a strong finesse (zwischenzug) that could have won the game in short order!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 18th MOVE (18.g4!):
gm NI HUA
The opening has not gone well for the Russian , but he works to keep White from simply rolling him over on the K-side with his pawn advance.
18… e5!? 19. fe Qxe5 20. h4 g6!? 21. Rf4
Here Morozevich should go thru with his originally intended 21… Bxg4!? 22. Rxg4 Nxg4 23. Qxg4 , where we have an unbalanced position very similar to what later actually happened later in the game. The 2 minor pieces are somewhat better than the Rook and Pawn, but no more than that; it would still be a tough fight for both players.
INSTEAD, Morozevich played weaker:
21… Kg7? 22. Rf1
Here Morozevich must have thought that there was no essential difference if he would take the Pawn on g4 with his Bishop, but he is very mistaken.
Relatively best is 22… Nxg4 23. Rxf7 Rxf7 24. Qxf7 Kh6 but after 25. Qf8! Kh5 26. Ne4 Black has a difficult game to try to hold. Losing immediately would be 26… Bf5? 27. Qf7! Bxe4 28. Qxh7 Nh6 29. Be2 etc.
Now the Chinese star can get a winning position with the finesse 23. Qh1!! which simply threatens to win a piece! After 23… Qe3 (what else?) 24. Kb1 Nh5 25. Rxg4 Ng3 26. Rxg3 Qxg3 27. Ne4 Qe5 28. Nf6 Rbd8 29. h5 Black can not hold out for long.
BOTH PLAYERS OVERLOOKED THIS ZWISCHENZUG!
23. Rxg4? Nxg4 24. Qxg4 Rbd8
And we now have a very similar position to the one described above in the note after White’s 21st move. The game is just beginning…later errors cost the Chinese star the game.