SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Yesterday was an exciting round at the Grand Prix in Tashkent. Not less than 3 decisive games! I suppose the most important achievement was knocking out Morozevich from the lead! Now not less than 5 players share the lead…ofcourse, this means nothing so early on in the tournament, especially with so many dynamic players in the pack.
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 27th MOVE (27.c4)
Black is probably ok, but I think that Morozevich did not feel comfortable with his position. He has nothing to do (trying to advance his Kingside majority must be suicide) and yet he is the only one with weaknesses! On top of this, Morozevich might have been worried about what he would do if Ponomariov ever tried to g4 (!) to open up his King Bishop….
In anycase, rather than play something constructive like 27…a4 (trying to eliminate one of his pawn weaknesses), Morozevich decided to anticipate a later g4 on White’s part and add protection to his f5 by placing his Knight on e7.
Very strong! I am certain that Morozevich saw this idea, but probably mis-evaluated the resulting positions. In essence, there is no sacrifice involved here: it is just an exchange of 2-pieces for Rook and one or two pawns. Such transformations are common in modern master play…the tricky part is to correctly evaluate whether you are better off with minor pieces or with the Rook and pawn(s)!
Wrong now is to take the Bishop with the Bishop, as White could then force a won ending: 28… Bxf5? 29. Nd5 Qf7 30. Nxf6 Qxf6 31. Qxf6 gxf6 32. Rd5! and Black’s pawns fall, as they say, like ripe fruit from a tree. Morozevich must keep the Queens on the board.
28… Rxf5 29.Nxf5 Bxf5
So I just assume that Morozevich had forseen this position before playing his 27th move. What did he really expect here? To have the time to play his Knight to d4 (via d6 and f5) ? In that case his 2-pieces would be better than the Rook and pawn… Perhaps Morozevich was simply over optimistic.
IN ANY CASE, Ponomariov never gave Black the chance to bring his Knight into play. He started to attack Black’s pawn weaknesses and never looked back…
30. Qh5!? (Rd5!) Rf8 (Not 30…Nd6? 31.Rxd6!) 31. Rd5 Kh7 32. Rdxe5 Bg6 33.Qh4
Black is paralyzed and stuck with weak pawns that can not be defended for long. White won in a handful of moves.
You can play over the entire game here
Kamsky does not often play the Dutch defence (I can only find 3 previous examples in my database), but when he does, he usually has a good reason to do so. In 2007 Kamsky’s computer broke down in the World Cup, so he decided to avoid preparation (since he could not do any!) and for the first time in his life he tried the Dutch–and won against a surprised Bacrot.
And earlier in the tournament, Kamsky’s favourite Slav/Meran was decimated by Caruana (game below). So while this opening is in the repair shop, Kamsky had little to play against Gelfand other than the Dutch! And once more he WON! And a nice little game too..
Ofcourse, we should not forget that Kamsky also wanted revenge for his last year defeat against Gelfand: there he played a Dutch also…
CUTE CHESS TACTIC!
From yesterday’s round at the Kostic Memorial. Position after White’s 31st move (31.Bf3)
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
Kiril Georgiev is having a difficult tournament thus far, almost in last place.
SOLUTION TO TACTIC:
Black gets a decisive positional advantage with 31… Nxe3!! 32.Qxe3 Bd6! 33.Rxg6 Rxg6 34.Bh5 Qxh5 35.Rg1 Rxg1+ 36.Kxg1 Kg7. Black won easily enough.