The opening has not gone very well for the Dutch star, who seemed to be more interested in gaining the Bishop pair and building a pawn chain than in finding a safe haven for his King. Morozevich , in the past few moves, has made efforts to break open the centre to get at his majesty. With Giri’s last move he hopes to slow down the Black offensive by exploiting the pin on the e5 pawn (the Bishop on a5 is undefended). The Russian star is not impressed:
A thoroughly logical and justified sacrifice. Quite simply, the King is more important than a mere Bishop! Curiously, White has very good survival chances if he declines the Greek gift with the cold blooded 25. ed! Rhe8 26. Kd3!! and analysis has failed to find a knockout blow for Black. In a number of variations Black can get a pawn-up ending, but White would retain excellent drawing chances.
Perhaps shocked by Black’s last move, Giri now loses his objectivity and takes the poison Bishop.
There are tens of thousands of master games along this theme: someone forgets
to castle; the opponent sacrifices material to expose the trapped King; check, check…mate!
Black has a number of ways to win the game. Probably the most precise is the immediate 25… Qg4-ch! After 26. Bf3 d3-ch! 27. Kf2 Rdf8 28. Qd1 Rxh4! Black has an easily winning attack (Diagram,right)
White has no piece coordination to withstand the enslaught. If now 29. Rxh4 Qxh4-ch 30. Kg2 Rh8! 31. Qg1 Nc4! White can resign with a clear conscience.
Perhaps underestimating the power of the check on g4, Morozevich plays a slightly weaker move, which , however, should still win–but only in the long run as it would allow White to put up strong resistance.
Morozevich’s move is entirely logical and consistent. The only problem is that it was not the most precise. Now White must play the cold blooded 26. cd! Rxe4 27.Kd1! and White’s King can survive for a time, though after moves such as Nd5 and Rde8 it would be just a question of time before White loses material.
In anycase, in a practical game , even if the White player would see this possibility, he would most of the time prefer to risk losing quickly than to suffer a long and painful task with little real chance to escape…
26. Bg2?! de 27. Bc1
An amusing position: the White King is really the only piece that is doing something useful (blockading a pawn), all the other pieces are dangling.
Even more curious, Morozevich once more did not go in for the immediate check on g4, even though this would be the quickest way to end the game: 27… Qg4-ch! 28. Bf3 Qg3! threatening mate 29. Rf1 Rd2!! (Diagram, below)
30. Bxd2 Qh2-ch with a forced mate. Very cute!
However, Morozevich’s move is quite enough to get the job done:
27… Qd3-ch!? 28. Ke1 e2 29. Bf4-ch Ka8 30. Kf2 Rf8
And Giri soon gave up the cause…