SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
This tournament is what chess is all about! There has been some extraordinary chess played so far. Showcased today is Nisipeanu vs Reinderman from the 3rd round. Enjoy it! It is certainly one of the best attacking games played this year.
STANDINGS AFTER 7 ROUNDS (first 40 places)
The Romanian star’s 3rd round game against Grandmaster Reinderman was nothing less than magnificent! The student of Misha Tal has learned well not only how to attack (like his master!) but how to create excitement among the spectators and public. This pretty game has already been published in many magazines and on dozens of websites since it was played earlier this week, and I am certain that it will be included in many fine books, still to appear, on the artistic appeal of our noble game.
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 8th MOVE (8. Qf3)
I have never been a big fan of Alburt’s line (4…g6 5.Bc4 Nb6!?), but who am I to judge chess tastes? All I can profer is my humble opinion that …it is not to my taste! In anycase, we have before us one of the critical theoretical positions in Alburt’s line.
Most often played hás been 8… Qe7 when after 9. Ne4 de 10. Bg5 Qb4 11. c3 Qa5 12. Bf6 O-O 13. Bxg7 Kxg7 14. Qf6 Kg8 15. Qxe5 Qxe5 16. de White hás a comfortable edge in an ending. In praxis White does better than one would think…
For this reason Reinderman played differently:
This is the modern way of playing, but still hás to be worked out
9. Qh3 h6 10. Nf3
Less good would be 10. Ne4 de 11. Bxh6 ed when Black is in good shape
10… de 11. de
This is the difference: White e pawn is defended with the Knight on f3, while maintaining the threat on h6
11… Nc6!? Black must respond quickly in the center or he will risk being run over
12. Bxh6 Nxe5
Now if 13. Nxe5 Bxe5 14. Nc3 Re8 15. Rd1 Qf6 the position would be unclear, as has been played in more than a handful of master games.
13. Ng5!? This move is very annoying for Black
There are only 3 games in my database with this move. In all of them Black has replied with 13… Qf6 but after 14. Bxg7 Qxg7 15. Nc3 Nd5 16. O-O-O White is better with simple development: 16.. c6 17. Rhe1 Nd7 18. Bxd5 ed 19. Qh4 Nc5 and now, instead of 20. Rxd5 which was played in Boudre vs Petit 1991 France, simply 20. Re7 when it is not clear how Black can defend.
Grandmaster Mikhail Marin (a friend of mine) , when annotating this game for chessbase.com proposed 13…Qd4!?
as an option. But it has since been shown that after 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Nc3! Rh8
(what else?) 16. Qg3!
leaves Black struggling against a small but persistant initiative.
However, to be fair, I think the truth is that Black is gambling a bit in the Alburt variation, and that the best Black can hope for is a well-timed blunder by White! In such a case, the Alburt variation would be quite attractive…
13… Nd3!? This is new, and appears to be approved by chess engines.
But to us Homo Sapiens, it seems incredible that such a greedy policy can have any chances of success when all of White’s pieces are on top of Black’s King! Surely White’s attack is worth more than an exchange!?
14. cd Bxb2 So if White takes Black’s Rook, Black will capture the White Knight
White can force a draw now with 15. Nh7 Re8 16. Bg5 f6 17. Qh6 fg 18. Qxg6 Kh8 19. d4 Bxd4 20. Bc2 Nd5 21. Nxg5 Re7 22. Qh6 Kg8 23. Bh7 Kh8 (Diagram,right) But Nisipeanu clearly wants more. Moreover, White feels well within his right to EXPECT more!
Despite the chaotic nature of the position, Nisipeanu pursues the logical course and completes his developement.
15… Bxa1 16. O-O
Forgive me for making the all too human observation that despite being an exchange up, Black’s undeveloped Queen-side must be an important factor when evaluating the position objectively
Now Black can not hold with the immediate 16… Be5?! Because of 17. Nh7! (Not 17.Ndf3 because of 17…Bf4! when things would not be so clear)17… Re8 (17… Nd7 18. Bg5) 18. Bg5 f6 19. Qh6 fg 20. Qxg6 Bg7 21. Ne4! (diagram, right)
White has a really strong attack!21… Nd7 22. f4! g4 23. f5
) Now the attack is clearly winning!
INSTEAD BLACK PLAYED THE MOST REASONABLE MOVE
16… Bd4!? (16…Bb2 is similar)
White can still not take the Rook on f8 because Black takes the Knight on g5
White now threatens to win immediately with Bg7! Note that 17. Ndf3 also looks promising, but is less energetic. Now Black should avoid 17… f6? because his problems become very serious after 18. Nxe6 Nd5 19. Qg3!
The critical moment of the game. None of the commentators had noticed that White can now win simply enough with the artistic 18. Nh7!
against which Black must soon bow his head:
After 18… e5?? 19. Nhf6
wins immediatly; Or if 18… Nd5 19. Bg5 f6 20. Qh6 fg 21. Bxd5 Re7 22. Qxg6 Rg7 23. Nef6 Bxf6 24. Nxf6 Kf8 25. Qh6 Kf7 26. Nh5 Rg8 27. Qh7 Kf8 28. f4 g4 29. f5
etc (diagram, right,below
Black can resign. If 29…ed5 30.Nf4!
(threatening Ng6 or sometimes Ne6) is more than a child’s eyes can bear to watch!
Or if 18…f6 (stopping Bg5) then 19. Be3! Bb2 20. Qh6 (diagram,right) 20… Kf7 21. Nhg5 fg 22. Nxg5 and Black is totally lost. He must give up his Queen.
Finally, should Black try 18…Nd7 then 19.Bg5 f6 20. Qh6! fg5 21.Qg6ch Bg7 22.f4 wins as in the above variation.
INSTEAD, NISIPEANU CHOSE A MORE TAL-LIKE MANNER TO ATTACK:
18. Nxf7 !? A beautiful move in its own right!
This tempting move is good enough to give good chances to win, but is certainly more tedious than the above mentioned alternative. And besides, White must now play perfectly in order to win!
Now Black must continue 18… Kxf7 19. Qf3 (diagram,right) 19… Kg8 (19… Bf6 20. Re1! always a key move in this variation20… Nd5 21. Ng5 Kg8 22. Qe4 Nf4 23. Qxf4 Bxg5 24. Bxg5 Qxd3 25. Qxc7 Qf5 26. Be3) 20. Qg4! Kf7 21. Re1 (diagram, right below)
The entry of the White Rook creates serious problems for Black on e6
21… Bf6 22. Qf3 Qd4! (22… c6 23. Ng5 Kg8 24. Qe4) 23. g4 (23. Bg5 Nd7) 23… Rh8 (23… Ke7 24. Be3) 24. Bg5 (24. g5 Rxh6 25. Nxf6 Rh4) 24… Nd7 25. Bd2! (diagram, right below)
The threat of Bc3 is too much for the Black defence to bear. After 25… Kg7 26. Bc3 Qxc3 27. Nxc3 Bxc3 28. Rxe6 Black is left with a shattered position.
RETURNING TO THE GAME, INSTEAD OF TAKING THE KNIGHT ON F7, BLACK MAKES WHITE WINNING CHANCES MUCH SIMPLER WITH A HORRIBLE MOVE
After this,White’s attack plays itself!
19. Be3 !
Black can not exchange on e3 because it would open the f-file for the attack!
From now on it is a massacre. White’s attack plays itself.
20. Qh7 Bg7
21… Kf6 (Ofcourse, going to f8 allow Bc5ch)
22. Ne4 White now repeats the position once for time 22… Kf7 23. Ng5 Kf6 , arriving at the above position
24. Nf3! There is no defence to Bg5
24… Qd6 only move
25… Kf7 26. Bh6
27. Ne5 Kf6
Now 28. f4 would be the most precise, and Black would probably have resigned. However, Nisipeanu’s road to victory is just as sweet!
28. Qxg6 Ke7 29. Bxg7
Ofcourse, there is no way that White will exchange Queens!
The Black King is floating about in the centre, while Black’s Queenside pieces are still in the same position as before White’s attack began! That must say something…
If instead 30… Nd7 then 31. Qh4 would follow
31. g4 ! Surprise!
Black loses his Queen . He resigns. An extraordinarily complex position to play over the board! Black never got the opportunity to develop his Queen Bishop!
After such a performance, a standing ovation! What else?
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS