Game of the Month: October 2011

Kamsky, Gata (2756) Vs. Svidler, Peter (2740)
© FIDE World Cup Khanty Mansiysk 2011 Website
This knockout tournament was played in Khanty-Mansiysk in Siberia. Gata Kamsky is currently the highest rated player in the USA but originally came from Novokuznetsk in the USSR and so arguably had some home advantage. He was a very strong chess prodigy with an overbearing and irascible father who often issued violent threats to other players. Gata gave up chess in the last 1990s and went back to academia, graduating with a law degree.. He returned to chess in 2004 and has returned to the elite. He is currently ranked 10th in the world.
Peter Svidler is a Russian Grandmaster from St. Petersburg. He’s one of the most relaxed of the World’s top GMs. His theoretical knowledge perhaps lags behind that of his colleagues but he’s a noted specialist in the Grunfeld. He has a weakness for a lot of things English – especially cricket! Peter’s current rating puts him at number 16 in the world but after such a successful World Cup he is currently running at 9th in the world

World Cup 2011, Khanty Mansisk

This month I’ve chosen to annotate a game between Gata Kamsky and Peter Svidler from the World Cup. Not only did I find the game interesting (check out the double rook sacrifice by Svidler!) but it was also important in terms of the tournament as Peter Svidler went on to win the competition.

###pgn###[Event “FIDE World Cup 2011”] [Site “Khanty-Mansiysk RUS”] [Date “2011.09.07”] [Round “4.2”] [White “Kamsky, G.”] [Black “Svidler, P.”] [Result “0-1”] [ECO “C78”] [WhiteElo “2741”] [BlackElo “2739”] [Annotator “GJ”] [PlyCount “56”] [EventDate “2011.08.28”] [Source “Mark Crowther”] [SourceDate “2011.09.12”] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 {The modern Arkhangelsk (or Archangel) Defense. This is quite an aggressive line. Black develops his bishop more actively than in other variations of the Ruy Lopez and points it towards White’s king. The downside is that Black has been forced to play an early …b5 and so his queenside is looser than normal.} 7. a4 {And so White immediately exploits it.} Rb8 8. axb5 axb5 9. c3 d6 10. d4 Bb6 11. Be3 {A very rare sideline. Instead of trying to pick up the b5 pawn White simply gives greater support to his centre and prepares to develop his knight to d2.} (11. Na3 {is the mainline, when Black normally gives up the b pawn to generate counterplay on the kingside.} O-O 12. Nxb5 Bg4 {At the cost of a pawn Black has a lot of pressure on the d4 pawn and an annoying pin on the d1-h5 diagonal. White’s knight on b5 is also rather offside. Shirov has attempted to defend this position a few times recently, and, while his score hasn’t been very good, the positions he’s reached have been respectable theoretically.} 13. Re1 (13. d5 {was a recent try which was successful.} Ne7 14. Bc2 Qd7 15. Na3 Nexd5 16. h3 Bh5 17. exd5 e4 18. Bg5 Bxf3 19. Qd2 e3 20. Bxe3 Bxe3 21. fxe3 Be4 22. Rxf6 Bxc2 23. Rf4 Bg6 24. Nc4 Ra8 25. Na5 Rfe8 26. Ra3 Be4 27. c4 g5 28. Rf1 g4 29. h4 Qe7 30. Qf2 Bg6 31. b4 h5 32. Rc3 Qe5 33. Rb3 Qe4 34. Rc3 Qe5 35. Rfc1 Be4 36. Qf4 g3 37. Qxe5 Rxe5 38. Ra3 Kg7 39. Rf1 Ree8 40. Rfa1 Re5 41. Nb3 Rxa3 42. Rxa3 Bxd5 43. Nd2 Be6 44. e4 Bg4 45. Rxg3 f5 46. Re3 Re8 47. Kf2 Ra8 48. exf5 Ra2 49. Rd3 Bxf5 50. Rd5 Be6 51. Rg5+ Kh6 52. Ke3 Ra3+ 53. Kd4 Ra1 54. g3 Rd1 55. Kc3 Rg1 56. b5 Rc1+ 57. Kd3 Bf7 58. Nb3 Rd1+ 59. Ke2 Rb1 60. Nd4 Bxc4+ 61. Kd2 d5 62. Nf5+ Kh7 63. Rxh5+ Kg6 64. Rg5+ Kf6 65. Ne3 Rb2+ 66. Kd1 Be2+ 67. Kc1 Rxb5 68. Kd2 Rb2+ 69. Kc3 Rb5 70. Nxd5+ Kf7 71. Re5 Bg4 72. Re7+ Kf8 73. Re4 Bf5 74. Nxc7 Rc5+ 75. Rc4 Re5 76. Rf4 Ke7 77. Kd4 Ra5 78. Nd5+ Ke6 79. Nc3 Ra8 80. g4 Bh7 81. Ke3 Rc8 82. Ne2 Ke5 83. Ra4 Rb8 84. Nd4 Rb1 85. Ra5+ Kf6 86. Kf4 Rf1+ 87. Nf3 Bc2 88. Kg3 Rb1 89. Ra6+ Kg7 90. Nd4 Bd3 91. Rd6 Kf7 92. Kf4 Ra1 93. h5 {1-0 Nakamura,H (2751)-Shirov,A (2722) Wijk aan Zee 2011.}) (13. Bc2 exd4 14. Nbxd4 Nxd4 15. cxd4 Bxf3 16. gxf3 Nh5 17. Kh1 Qf6 18. Ra4 Ra8 19. Be3 Rxa4 20. Bxa4 Nf4 21. Rg1 g6 22. Bb3 Rb8 23. Rg4 Ne6 24. Bxe6 Qxe6 25. Rg1 c5 26. d5 Qf6 27. b3 c4 28. Bxb6 Rxb6 29. bxc4 Rb2 30. c5 Rxf2 31. Rf1 Rb2 32. Qe1 dxc5 33. e5 Qf4 34. Rf2 Rxf2 35. Qxf2 c4 36. d6 Qxe5 37. d7 Qc7 38. Qd4 Qd8 39. Kg2 c3 40. Qxc3 Qxd7 {1/2-1/2 Karjakin,S (2720)-Anand,V (2790) Wijk aan Zee 2010 saw the World Champion drumming up enough counterplay early last year.}) 13… Bxf3 {This is a typical idea. Due to the pressure on d4 White must keep his quen on d1 and so now his structure and king safety have been compromised.} 14. gxf3 Nh5 {Getting ready to bring the queen into the game to increase the pressure on d4.} 15. Kh1 Qf6 16. Rg1 exd4 {Now Black gives up a piece for a few pawns in a very forcing variation. The following is a good example of modern computer assisted preparation.} 17. Bg5 Qe5 18. Bd5 dxc3 19. Bxc6 cxb2 20. Rb1 Bxf2 21. Rg2 Rb6 {The last few moves have been pretty much forced. This position was tested a few times in the Wijk aan Zee tournaments.} 22. Bd7 {This year’s attempt at finding an advantage.} (22. Qd5 Bc5 23. Rbxb2 Rxc6 $1 24. Qxc6 Ng3+ $1 {A nice idea forcing White to open the h file due to the hanging rook on b2.} 25. hxg3 Qxg5 {And surprisingly, despite White’s extra rook, he cannot avoid perpetual check.} 26. Rb1 Qh5+ 27. Rh2 Qxf3+ 28. Rg2 Qh5+ {1/2-1/2 Ivanchuk,V (2749)-Shirov,A (2723) Wijk aan Zee 2010.}) (22. Rxf2 {was used to good effect by Peter Leko against the Italian GM Fabiano Caruana but Black’s play can be improved.} Qxg5 23. Rc2 Nf4 24. Qf1 d5 25. exd5 Nxd5 26. Bxd5 Qxd5 27. Rcxb2 Qc5 28. Rc1 Qe5 29. Rbb1 Rfb8 30. Na3 Rb2 31. Rxb2 Rxb2 32. Rc2 Rb8 33. Nc4 Qf4 34. Nd2 h5 35. Qe2 Ra8 36. Rc4 Qd6 37. Nf1 f5 38. Ng3 Ra1+ 39. Kg2 f4 40. Qe8+ Kh7 41. Qxh5+ Kg8 42. Qe8+ Kh7 43. Qe4+ Kg8 44. Qxf4 Ra2+ 45. Kh3 {1-0 Leko,P (2739)-Caruana,F (2675) Wijk aan Zee 2010.}) 22… Bc5 23. Qc2 (23. Na7 {was tried in the earlier game and worked extremely effectively as Shirov immediately blundered with} Ra8 $2 24. Nc6 Rxc6 25. Bxc6 {1-0 Smeets, J (2662)-Shirov,A (2722) Wijk aan Zee 2011.}) 23… h6 24. Bxh6 Qf6 25. Bxg7 Nxg7 26. Nxc7 Qxf3 27. Nd5 Rb3 28. Ba4 Rb7 29. Bc6 Rb3 30. Qd2 Be3 31. Nxe3 Qxe3 32. Qxd6 Rc3 33. Rbg1 Qxg1+ 34. Rxg1 Rc1 35. Qg3 Rxg1+ 36. Qxg1 Rc8 37. Qb6 Rxc6 38. Qxb2 Rg6 {and Shirov successfully held the draw. Nepomniachtchi,I (2733)-Shirov,A (2722) Wijk aan Zee 2011.}) (11. h3 {preventing the bishop from coming to g4 has also been tried often and indeed was Kamsky’s previous choice.}) 11… O-O ({Previously players have immediately pinned the knight with} 11… Bg4 12. Nbd2 O-O 13. h3 (13. Qe1 Qd7 14. d5 Na5 15. Bc2 Bxf3 16. Nxf3 Bxe3 17. fxe3 Nc4 18. b3 Nb6 19. Nh4 Kh8 20. Nf5 {was a little better for White at this point with kingside potential and a strong knight. Sevillano,E (2520)-Shankland,S (2446) Saint Louis 2009.}) 13… Bh5 14. Qe1 Bxf3 15. Nxf3 Re8 16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Nxe5 Rxe5 18. Bxb6 Rxb6 19. Bc2 Re8 20. Qe2 b4 21. Qc4 bxc3 22. bxc3 {was around level in Petrov,M (2526)-Pavlidis,A (2376) Thessaloniki 2010.}) 12. Nbd2 h6 13. h3 Re8 14. Qc2 $6 {A slightly odd looking move in my eyes as the queen feels rather clumsily placed.} (14. Re1 {could also be considered as Black isn’t actually threatening to win the e4 pawn.} exd4 15. cxd4 Nxe4 $2 16. Nxe4 Rxe4 17. Bd5) 14… exd4 15. cxd4 Na5 $6 {The wrong move order} (15… Bb7 {hitting e4 would have given Black good chances to take the upper hand as it’s not easy to hold the centre.} 16. Qd3 (16. Rfe1 Nb4 {leaves e4 very vulnerable. White can try the tricky} 17. Bxf7+ Kxf7 18. Qb3+ {regaining the piece but} Nbd5 19. exd5 Bxd5 20. Qd3 Qd7 {gives Black an advantage with the bishop pair and a favourable structure.}) (16. Qc3 $5 { would be an interesting pawn sacrifice. The idea is to allow the bishop back to c2.} Nxe4 (16… b4 17. Qc2 {and at least Black doesn’t have access to the b4 square although} Na5 18. Ba4 Bxe4 19. Nxe4 Rxe4 {is only decent comp for the pawn}) 17. Nxe4 Rxe4 18. Bc2 (18. Bd5 $6 {On the surface looks strong, forking rook and knight but allows Black the killing} Nxd4 $1 {with the threat of …Ne2+.} 19. Bxd4 Bxd5 20. Bxg7 Rc4 21. Qf6 Qxf6 22. Bxf6 {and Black has an extra pawn and is obviously on top.}) 18… Re8 19. Qd3 g6 20. Qxb5 {when Black can try} (20. Bxh6 $6 Qf6 {is very good for Black.}) 20… Nxd4 $5 {with a good game}) 16… Na5 17. Bc2 Nc4 $5 (17… Nxe4 18. Qxb5 {keeps the game roughly balanced}) 18. Rfe1 Nxe3 (18… Ra8 $5 {is also worth considering}) ( 18… c5 $5 19. dxc5 Nxe3 20. cxb6 Nxc2 21. Qxc2 Qxb6 22. Qd3 d5 23. e5 Ne4 $11 {would be around level.}) 19. Rxe3 Qd7 {followed by ….c5 and Black’s a little better}) 16. Ba2 Bb7 17. e5 $1 {This is the point. Black’s 15th move removed a defender from the centre and now White’s initiative becomes very strong.} Nd5 ({It’s also possible to throw in an exchange of pawns first.} 17… dxe5 18. dxe5 Nd5 ({But not} 18… Bxe3 $2 19. fxe3 $1 {when the pressure on f7 is decisive.} Nd5 (19… Nd7 20. Bxf7+ Kxf7 21. Ng5+ Kg8 22. Qh7#) 20. Bxd5 Bxd5 21. Rxa5 {and White has an extra piece.}) 19. Bxb6 cxb6 20. Bb1 g6 21. Qd3 {and White’s structure promises him the better chances.}) 18. Bb1 g6 19. Bxh6 {So, due to White’s kingside initiative he has picked up a pawn and looks to have a fantastic position as Black’s kingside is also rather loose. However the Anglophile from St. Petersburg succeeds in more than just complicating the issue.} Nc6 {And this is the problem; White’s centre is actually extremely vulnerable and if the centre collapses Black’s bishops will come to the fore.} 20. exd6 {I think this is an error as Black’s pieces now become too active.} ({Instead} 20. Qe4 $1 {should be preferred. However this move looks risky with the queen on the long diagonal but the tactics work out for White:} dxe5 (20… Nxd4 $5 {is another interesting try but White comes out on top in the complications:} 21. Nxd4 Rxe5 22. Qg4 Bc8 (22… Rh5 23. Bxg6 {looks very dangerous}) 23. Qg3 Bxd4 24. Nf3 Bxb2 25. Bxg6 Qf6 26. Be4+ Kh8 27. Bg5 Rxg5 28. Nxg5 Bxa1 29. Bxd5 {and Black’s king is very vulnerable.}) 21. dxe5 f5 22. Qd3 Nxe5 23. Nxe5 Rxe5 24. Nf3 Re6 25. Ba2 {and Black has succeeded in winning back his pawn but White still holds the advantage as Black’s kingside is so loose.}) 20… Qxd6 (20… Nxd4 21. Nxd4 Bxd4 22. Ne4 cxd6 23. Qd2 {is a bit more comfortable for White with his favourable structure.}) 21. Ne4 {I looked at this position in quite a lot of depth and in the end decided that, oddly, White’s not actually better here. The problem is that d4 is still weak and when that pawn drops Black manages very strong counterplay against White’s king.} Qb4 22. Ba2 (22. Bd2 {might be an improvement at this point but White is definitely not better. The following line looks logical:} Nxd4 23. Bxb4 Nxc2 24. Bxc2 Nxb4 25. Nf6+ Kh8 26. Nxe8 Nxc2 27. Rac1 Bxf3 $1 28. Rxc2 (28. gxf3 Nd4 {threatens both the knight on e8 and …Ne2+ regaining the exchange.}) 28… Be4 29. Rxc7 Rxe8 30. Rxf7 {with an interesting endgame. Generally I prefer the bishop pair to a rook and two pawns and so would plump for Black here.}) 22… Nxd4 $1 {The pawn is edible, despite the computer’s first thoughts.} (22… Qe7 $5 {is an interesting alternative with the idea that} 23. Bxd5 {can be met by} Nb4 {However White keeps something with} 24. Qd2 (24. Bxf7+ Qxf7 25. Qd2 Bxe4 26. Qxb4 Bxf3 27. gxf3 Qxf3 {looks pretty dangerous for White.}) 24… Bxd5 25. Nc5 Bxf3 26. Qxb4 ) 23. Nf6+ $1 {Uncompromising chess. The knight is of course taboo because of Qxg6+ due to the pin down the a2-g8 diagonal.} ({Instead} 23. Nxd4 Bxd4 $15 { would give Black a very pleasant position with his central active pieces.}) 23… Kh8 24. Nxd4 {Initially the computer likes White but gradually realises the power of Black’s two bishops.} (24. Nxd5 {must also be considered and, at this point, is probably obligatory.} Nxf3+ 25. Kh1 $1 (25. gxf3 Bxd5 26. Bxd5 Qh4 27. Qd2 Qg3+ 28. Kh1 Qxh3+ 29. Kg1 {and Black has at least a draw}) 25… Qh4 26. Qc3+ Nd4 (26… Bd4 {is also interesting.} 27. Qxf3 Qxh6 28. Qxf7 c5 29. Rae1 {is highly unclear.}) 27. Nxb6 b4 $1 {Now Black’s pressure down the h1-a8 diagonal gives White problems.} 28. Qd3 cxb6 29. Bxf7 Red8 30. Bc1 { looks rather perilous but it seems that White keeps equality:} Nc2 31. Qxg6 Rg8 32. Bxg8 Rxg8 33. Qh6+ Qxh6 34. Bxh6 Nxa1 35. Rxa1 Rxg2 {and the game looks to be petering out to a draw.}) 24… Nxf6 25. Nc6 Qh4 $1 {Those bishops are so strong that of course they shouldn’t be exchanged. Instead Svidler increases the pressure on White’s kingside.} 26. Nxb8 $4 {A horrible error. Kamsky had of course overlooked the power of Black’s next. However the position is already very unpleasant for White.} (26. Bxf7 {is necessary but horrible} Qxh6 27. Bxe8 Rxe8 {when the bishop pair easily trump the rook and pawn.}) (26. Bc1 Ra8 {leaves White all tied up.}) ({while} 26. Bd2 Re2 {allows Black a decisive kingside attack.}) 26… Re2 $3 {A wonderful shot and classic deflection.} ({ The immediate} 26… Qg3 {fails to} 27. Nc6) 27. Qc3 (27. Qxe2 Qg3 {is the very picturesque point and illustrates the power of the two bishops raking down towards the White king. White is a whole two rooks up but is incapable of defending against the mate on g2.}) 27… Rxf2 28. Nc6 Rxf1+ {With mate shortly. The game was not error free but very interesting and in the circumstances a wonderful game to witness. With this win with Black, Peter set himself up to go through to the later stages of the competition. In the quarter finals he defeated Judit Polgar, the strongest female player of all time. In the semis it was the turn of Ruslan Ponomariov, a former winner of the event to go down while in the final Svidler defeated his good friend Alexander Grischuk.} 0-1%%%pgn%%%

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