Dennis M's Chess Site

This is a blog for chess fans by a chess fan. I enjoy winning as much as anyone else, and I've had a reasonable amount of success as a competitor, but what keeps me coming back to the game is its beauty. And that, primarily, is what this site will be about! All material copyrighted.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Linares: Round 3 Recap

"The fact that a player is very short of time is, to my mind, as little to be considered an excuse as, for instance, the statement of the law-breaker that he was drunk at the time he committed the crime." – Alexander Alekhine

Round 3 of Linares was looking like an audition for the Nobel Peace Prize, with two quick draws in the books and the players in the third game preparing to beat their swords into plowshares. But then...time pressure happened.

Let's start with the least interesting game, a Marshall Gambit between Kasimdzhanov and Adams. While the Gambit can lead to wild, complex play, it is just as often used as a drawing weapon (this goes back to Spassky in the 60s - check his 1965 Candidates' Match with Tal and a couple of his games with Fischer in that decade), and that's just what happened in this game, as Black's two bishops, active position and White's frozen queenside equalized the chances.

Kasimdzhanov,Rustam (2678) - Adams,Michael (2741) [C89]
Linares Spain (3), 25.02.2005

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d3 Bd6 13.Re1 Bf5 14.Qf3 Qh4 15.g3 Qh3 16.Bxd5 cxd5 17.Be3 Bxd3 18.Qxd5 Rad8 19.Qf3 Bf5 20.Nd2 Be6 21.Bd4 h6N 22.a3 Bb8 23.Qg2 Qf5 24.f3 Rfe8 25.Ne4 Bd5 26.Re2 Re6 27.Rae1 1/2-1/2

Next, we turn to the shorter but richer draw between Leko and Anand. It's funny that the overtly aggressive Marshall often peters out fairly quickly, while Petroff's Defense, long scorned as a shameless drawing weapon, often leads to very sharp and imbalanced positions.

Leko,Peter (2749) - Anand,Viswanathan (2786) [C42]
Linares Spain (3), 25.02.2005

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Re1 Bg4 9.c3 f5 10.Qb3 0-0 11.Nbd2 Na5 12.Qc2 Bd6 13.Ne5N Bh5 14.b4 Nc6 15.Ndf3 Re8 16.Bb2 Qf6 17.Qb3 Kh8 18.Be2

[18.Qxd5 is a sharp alternative, but Black has resources here, too: 18...Rad8 19.Bxe4 fxe4 20.Qxe4 Bxf3 21.Qxf3 Bxe5 22.dxe5 Qxf3 23.gxf3 Nxe5 24.Kf1 Nxf3 25.Rxe8+ Rxe8 26.Rd1 Nxh2+ 27.Kg2 Ng4 28.Rd7 Rc8 29.c4 Nf6 30.Re7 Ne8 31.b5 Kg8 and although White has enough compensation for the pawn, Black should hold.] 18...Rxe5! A strong exchange sacrifice, after which White has nothing better than to accede to perpetual check. [18...Nxe5 19.dxe5 Bxe5 20.Nxe5 Bxe2 21.Rxe2 Rxe5 (21...Qxe5 22.f3+/-) 22.c4+/-] 19.dxe5 Nxe5 20.Nxe5 [20.Qxd5 Nxf3+ 21.Bxf3 Bxh2+ 22.Kf1 (22.Kh1 Bxf3 23.gxf3 Qh4 24.Rxe4 fxe4 25.Kg2 e3 26.fxe3 Rd8-+; 22.Kxh2 Qh4+ 23.Kg1 Qxf2+ followed by ...Bxf3 forces mate.) 22...Bf7 23.Qd4 Bc4+ 24.Re2 (24.Be2 Qxd4 25.cxd4 Nd2#) 24...Bxe2+ 25.Kxe2 Be5-+; 20.Nd4 Nd3! (20...Ng4 21.g3 f4 might even be better for Black.) 21.Bxd3 Bxh2+ 22.Kxh2 Qh4+ 23.Kg1 Qxf2+=] 20...Bxe5 21.Bxh5

21...Bxh2+ 22.Kxh2 Qh4+ 23.Kg1 Qxf2+ 24.Kh2 1/2-1/2

Finally, Vallejo Pons-Kasparov. Kasparov played a relatively uncommon line best known from the massacre Anand-Karpov (1-0, 36). Vallejo deviated first, got nothing, and was on the slightly less comfortable side of what looked to me a relatively routine draw.

Unfortunately, Vallejo was in time trouble (as always), with about 3 minutes for 14 moves. In such situations, there's always a strong temptation to find clear, simple solutions, and that's what 27.Ra5 seemed to offer: the Bc5 is pinned, the knight can come to a6, Black loses the two bishops - all is well. All very nice and tidy, and 27...Bxf2+ 28.Qxf2 Qxa5 is met by 29.Nxe6, grabbing a pawn and attacking the Rf8, which can't move because of 30.Qxf7+ followed by 31.Qxg7#.

Of course, there was a hole in his analysis, to put it mildly: 29...Bxg2! wins immediately. I have no doubt that if Vallejo had Black after 27.Ra5, he would have found that combination 100 times out of 100, and likewise, had he not been in time trouble, he'd have found it with White 100% of the time too - and the calculation wouldn't have taken him very long, either. In time trouble, bad things are likely to happen, and as Alekhine wrote, time trouble is not an excuse. Avoid it!

Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2686) - Kasparov,Garry (2804) [D21]
Linares Spain (3), 25.02.2005

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e4 b5 5.a4 c6 6.axb5 cxb5 7.b3 Bb7 8.bxc4 Bxe4 9.cxb5 White scores well in this variation, but Kasparov knows best! 9...Nf6 10.Be2 Be7 11.0-0 0-0 12.Nc3 Bb7 13.Bf4 [13.Ne5 a6 (13...Nd5 may improve.) 14.Bf3 Nd5 15.Nxd5 exd5 16.Rb1 Qb6 17.Be2 axb5 18.Rxb5 Qc7 19.Bf4 Bd6 20.Bd3 Ba6 21.Bxh7+ Kxh7 22.Qh5+ Kg8 23.Rb3 Bxe5 24.Rh3 f6 25.dxe5 Qe7 26.Qh7+ Kf7 27.Rg3 Ke8 28.Rxg7 Qe6 29.exf6 Nc6 30.Ra1 Kd8 31.h4 Bb7 32.Rd1 Ba6 33.Ra1 Bb7 34.Rd1 Ba6 35.Qb1 Rxf6 36.Bg5 1-0, Anand-Karpov, Las Palmas 1996] 13...Bb4 14.Na4 Nbd7 15.Qb3 Nd5 16.Bg5 Be7 17.Bd2 a6 18.b6?! [18.bxa6 Bxa6 19.Bxa6 Rxa6 leads safely to a draw] 18...Bc6= 19.Ne5 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Nxb6 21.Nxb6 Qxd2 22.Nxa8 Qxe2 23.Nc7 Qxe5 24.Qg3 Qf5 25.Rxa6 [25.Nxa6 is better, preventing the Black bishop from reaching c5 and starting to bring the knight back to civilization.] 25...Be4 [25...Qe4!-/+] 26.Ra7 Bc5

27.Ra5?? Bxf2+ 28.Qxf2 Qxa5 29.Nxe6 Bxg2! [29...Bxg2-+ 30.Qxg2 (30.Kxg2 Qd5+; 30.Nxf8 Bxf1) 30...Qb6+] 0-1


Post a Comment

<< Home