Monday, March 31, 2008

Novelty of the Century

After so many years in chess,when you think you have seen everything, it is still amazes you in a way you can never imagine. Small wonder that it was “Vassily,” who did it again, one of two most creative geniuses of modern chess. Just him and Morozevich.

[Event "Amber Rapid"]
[Site "Nice FRA"]
[Date "2008.03.18"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Ivanchuk, V."]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B87"]
[WhiteElo "2751"]
[BlackElo "2732"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2008.03.15"]

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 a6
6. Bc4

Fisher’s favorite method of treating Najdorf. Recently it was on a spike of popularity again, thanks mainly to the efforts of Rublevsky and Volokitin.

7. Bb3 b5

For years 7…b5 was considered the most reliable way of equalizing for black. The alternative 7…Nbd7 (7…Be7 8.g4 is way too passive for black) 8.Bg5! (much more aggressive than an old move 8.f4) Qa5 is now under heavy fire after both 9.Bxf6 Nxf6 10.0-0 (with the idea of f4-f5) or simple 9.Qd2, followed by 0-0-0.

8. Bg5 Be7
9. Qf3 Qc7
10. e5 Bb7
11. exd6 Bxd6
12. Qe3 Bc5
13. O-O-O Nc6

It was all well known and played before dozens of times with the verdict of semi forced draw.The latest example was Kogan – Sutovsky, Israel 2006 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Ne4 Bxd4 16.Rxd4 Nxd4 17.Nxf6+ Kf8 18.Qxd4 Rd8 19.Qh4 h6 20.c3 Qe5 21.Nh7+ Ke8 22.Nf6+ Kf8 23.Nh7+ etc.,draw!
What happens next in the featured game can only be compared to the feeling, when whatever you’re dropping to the ground, defies gravity and flies to the outer space.

14. Qxe6+!! fxe6
15. Nxe6

Gregory Kaidanov teaches that whatever happens on a chess board you should try to put in words, before proceeding to calculations and variations. So let’s do just this. "White sacrificed his queen (worth 9 pawns,by the way) for 2 pawns(!) then continues to play as if nothing happens (just making quiet moves)”

Same description,using Larry Christiansen’s method, will be looking much more laconic: “Sickening.”

15… Qe5

Facing the novelty of the century in a rapid game(!!), Karyakin makes a practical decision – to return the queen for a rook…….and forcedly ends up in a hopeless endgame!

Let’s try to figure out if there’s more than just a “shocking value” to 14.Qxe6.
First of all ,black cannot decline the offer by playing 14…Kf8. After 15.Bxf6 Bxd4 (15…Nxd4 16.Bxg7+ Kxg7 17.Qg4+ Kf8 18.Rxd4)16.Nd5! fxe6 (16…Bxf6 17.Qxf6)17.Nxc7 Bxf6 18.Nxe6 Ke8 19.Rhe1 Rb8 20. Nxg7+ Kf8 21.Ne6+ Ke8 22.Nd8+ Kf8 23.Nxb7 Rxb7 24.Re6 Bg5+ 25.f4 Nd8 26.fxg5 Nxe6 27.Bxe6 we getting our magical 3 pawns for the exchange with an easy winning position.

Then, since 15…Qe5 allows white to win a third pawn on g7 and therefore makes a queen sac for a knight in return kinda senseless, because white is already better materially – the only realistic possibility by black (and Fritz/Rybka confirms) is to sac queen back for a knight on e6 by playing 15…Qe7.

White has two ways to continue his spectacular play, the most obvious 16.Rhe1 and very interesting 16.Nd5. Incredibly black’s only defence after 16.Nd5 is “the answer in kind” 16…Nd4!! (the endgame after 16…Nxd5 17.Bxe7 Ncxe7 18.Nxc5 0-0-0 19.Rhe1 Bc6 20.Nxa6 Kb7 21.Nb4! Kb6 22.Nxc6 Kxc6 23.a4 is very bad for black). After 16…Nxd4!!,white avoids the danger after 17.Nxe7 Nxe6 18.Bxf6 Bxe7 19.Bxe7 Kxe7 20.Rhe1 Bc8 21.Rxe6 Bxe6 22.Re1 Rhe8 23.Rxe6+ Kd7 24.Rxe8 Rxe8 25.Kd2, but he certainly can’t win.

After 16.Rhe1 Qxe6(the only one) 17.Rxe6+ Ne7 18.Rde1 (less challenging is 18.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Bd5 Bxd5 20.Nxd5 Rd8!21.Nxe7 (white is also hardly in a danger of losing after 21.b4 or 21.Nxf6+) Kf7 22.Rde1 Rde8 23.Rxa6 Rxe7 24.Rxe7 Bxe7 25 Ra7 b4 26.Kd2 and draw is the most appropriate result), black has few choices, namely 18...Rd8, 18…0-0-0 and 18…Kd7. First two lead to a very pleasant endgame for white after 19.a4 b4 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Ne4 Bxe4 22.R1xe4. White is going to get third pawn for a piece and the question only remains if his technique would be enough for conversion. So it looks like 18…Kd7 is the only defensive option for black and white has a choice between repeating the position after 19.Rd1+ Ke8 20.Rde1 and continuing to play for a domination in the center of the board with 19.f3!?

16. Nxg7+ Kf8
17. Ne6+ Kf7
18. Rhe1 Qxe1
19. Nxc5+ Kg6
20. Rxe1 Kxg5
21. Nxb7 +-

Three pawns for the exchange is too much and Vassily finishes in style,using his impeccable technique.

21… Nd4
22. Nd6 Rhf8
23. f3 b4
24. Nce4+ Nxe4
25. Rxe4 Nxb3+
26. axb3 a5

27. Rg4+ Kf6
28. Ne4+ Ke5
29. Rh4 a4
30. bxa4 Rxa4
31. Nc5 Ra1+
32. Kd2 Rg8
33. g3 Rf1
34. Ke2 Rb1
35. Rxb4 Kd5
36. Ne4 Kc6
37. h4 Rh1
38. Rc4+ Kb6
39. b4 Rd8
40. Rc5 Ra8
41. c3 Ra2+
42. Ke3 Re1+
43. Kf4 Rf1
44. Rh5 Ra8
45. Rh6+ Kb5
46. Nd6+ Ka4
47. Rxh7 Kb3
48. Rc7 Rd8
49. Nf5 1-0


Naisortep said...

This was found during preparation and not over the board. Karjakin had reached this position before in a game he had won. Still very nice.

Anonymous said...

You think you've seen everything in chess? meh.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

I should have had a guess the author contest.