European Chess Championship, 2015

Tue, 2015-03-17 10:44 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015"]
[Site "Jerusalem ISR"]
[Date "2015.02.24"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Damaso, Rui"]
[Black "Navara, David"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E15"]
[WhiteElo "2451"]
[BlackElo "2735"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "148"]
[EventDate "2015.02.24"]

{The recent European Championship in Jerusalem is one of the strongest open
tournaments of the year, despite the fact that the world top 20 tend to avoid
it (as they have plenty of super-tournament invitations). It always garners a
deep field of several 2700+ players and many more 2600+ players, and others
seeking to qualify for the World Cup (the second stage of the World Chess
Championship cycle). And with so many players, there are lots of games one can
learn from. Such is the depth of the field that the players coming up to the
top seeds in Round 1 would be the top seed in most Australian weekenders! Of
these Round 1 games, the most interesting was Navara, who showed that maverick
attacking play can still flourish in the computer era.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 b6 3.
d4 e6 4. g3 Ba6 {The main move as all White's defensive options have specific
drawbacks.} 5. Qb3 Nc6 6. Nbd2 h5 $5 {A very creative idea, bringing the
h8-rook into play with ...h4 to undermine White's kingside before the king
even castles there!} ({The most common} 6... Na5 7. Qc3 c5 8. dxc5 bxc5 9. e4
Bb7 10. e5 Ne4 11. Nxe4 Bxe4 12. Bg2 $14 {leads to a very complex position
where White's extra space might offer some pressure.}) 7. e4 (7. Bg2 h4 8. gxh4
Bb7 9. O-O {(...Nxd4 was threatened)} Ne7 $1 {was probably Black's idea,
angling for ...Nf5xh4 when White's king is a bit weak.}) (7. h3 h4 8. g4 {is a
pragmatic response, but hardly an affront to Black's scheme after} d5 $11) 7...
h4 8. Qa4 $6 {This only loses time.} (8. gxh4 Qe7 $1 (8... e5 $2 9. d5 Nd4 10.
Nxd4 exd4 11. e5) 9. e5 Nh5 {is a funny position, but White's centre is in
danger of being overextended and Black seems OK as long as he plays ...d6 soon.
}) (8. e5 Ng4 9. Bh3 f5 10. exf6 Nxf6 11. Qd3 {with chances for an edge was
probably best. Black has to worry a bit about his king safety with Qg6 being a
tricky problem.}) 8... Bb7 9. d5 {Presumably the idea was that now ...Na5
doesn't gain a tempo on the queen, but Navara charged on instead:} hxg3 $1 {
Black gets a ton of compensation for the piece.} 10. dxc6 (10. fxg3 Nb4 {
favours Black as White's centre is a bit vulnerable and} 11. a3 a5 $1 12. Qd1
Na6 $15 {sees the knight ready to increase the pressure on White's centre from
c5.}) 10... Bxc6 11. Qc2 gxf2+ 12. Ke2 ({The more natural} 12. Kxf2 Ng4+ 13.
Ke1 Qf6 {gives Black a very strong initiative - simply ...Bc5 and ...Qf4 are
threatened and White's king will be very unsafe, while White struggles to
complete his development.}) 12... Nh5 $2 {Black gets a bit too creative.} (
12... Bc5 {was correct, when the pawn on f2 is a monster and even with gradual
play Black will keep a very serious advantage.} 13. Bg2 Rh5 $5 14. e5 Ng4 15.
Ne4 Qe7 {and Black is probably already winning as White is unable to
coordinate his pieces and all of Black's pieces are very aggressively posted.})
13. Nb3 $1 Ng3+ $2 {Continuing with the flawed plan in mind.} (13... Nf6 $1 $17
) 14. hxg3 Rxh1 15. Kxf2 {Now things aren't so clear, but the most interesting
portion of the game has passed - Navara went on to outplay/outcalculate his
opponent a second time and win.} Rxf1+ 16. Kxf1 Qf6 17. Nbd4 Bb7 18. e5 Qe7 19.
Bg5 f6 20. exf6 gxf6 21. Qg6+ Qf7 22. Qxf6 Qxf6 23. Bxf6 c5 24. Nxe6 dxe6 25.
Ne5 Be7 26. Bxe7 Kxe7 27. Rd1 Kf6 28. Ng4+ Kf5 29. Ne3+ Ke4 30. Ke2 Rg8 31. Rd6
Bc8 32. Nf1 e5 33. Nd2+ Kf5 34. Nf1 e4 35. Rh6 Ke5 36. Ke3 Bg4 37. Rh4 Bf3 38.
Rh2 Rd8 39. Rd2 Rd4 40. b3 a5 41. Nh2 Bd1 42. g4 a4 43. bxa4 Bxa4 44. g5 Rxc4
45. Ng4+ Kf5 46. Nh6+ Kxg5 47. Nf7+ Kf6 48. Nd6 Rb4 49. Nxe4+ Ke5 50. Nc3 Bc6
51. Rh2 Bd7 52. Rh8 Bf5 53. Re8+ Kd6 54. Rf8 Ke6 55. Rb8 Kd7 56. Rf8 Be6 57.
Rf4 Kc6 58. Rxb4 cxb4 59. Nd1 Kb5 60. Nb2 Bxa2 61. Kd2 Kc5 62. Kc2 Kd4 63. Nd1
Be6 64. Nf2 Ke3 65. Nd1+ Ke2 66. Nb2 b5 67. Nd1 Bf5+ 68. Kc1 Kd3 69. Nf2+ Kc3
70. Nd1+ Kb3 71. Ne3 Be4 72. Nd1 Ka2 73. Nb2 b3 74. Nd1 Ka1 0-1
[Event "16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015"]
[Site "Jerusalem ISR"]
[Date "2015.03.06"]
[Round "10.3"]
[White "Khismatullin, Denis"]
[Black "Eljanov, Pavel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E46"]
[WhiteElo "2653"]
[BlackElo "2727"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2015.02.24"]

{It's impossible to not share the ending of this game, which definitely stole
the Jerusalem show.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2 Re8 6. a3
Bf8 7. Ng3 d5 8. Be2 a6 9. O-O c5 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Bf3 Be6 13.
b4 Bd6 14. Bb2 Be5 15. Na4 Bxb2 16. Nxb2 Nc6 17. Nd3 Qb6 18. Rc1 a5 19. Rb1
axb4 20. axb4 Rad8 21. b5 Na5 22. Ne2 Ne4 23. Ndf4 Nc4 24. Bxe4 dxe4 25. Nd4
Bc8 26. Rc1 Ne5 27. Qb3 Qh6 28. Rc5 b6 29. Rd5 Bb7 30. Rxd8 Rxd8 31. Rd1 Qg5
32. Kf1 g6 33. h3 Nd3 34. Nc6 Bxc6 35. bxc6 Qc5 36. Qa4 Kg7 37. Qa1+ Kg8 38.
Qa4 Rd6 39. Qa8+ Kg7 40. Qa1+ Kh6 {With more time on the clock Black might
have gone for the simpler} (40... f6 $11) 41. Nxd3 exd3 42. Qh8 $1 {White
seeks counterplay against the Black king, and has a quite brilliant idea in
mind...} Qc2 $2 {This extremely natural move is in fact the decisive mistake!}
(42... Rxc6 43. Rxd3 Qc1+ 44. Ke2 Rc2+ 45. Kf3 Rxf2+ $1 46. Kxf2 Qc2+ 47. Kf3
Qxd3 48. Qf8+ {would see the game end in a draw by perpetual check.}) 43. Qf8+
$1 {A good start.} Kg5 44. Kg1 $3 {An exceptional idea, sacrificing the rook
to safeguard the king...and then the queen and pawns will work together to
mate the king! Outstanding!} Qxd1+ (44... Rd5 $3 45. Kh2 Kf6 $1 {is the only
way to continue the fight according to the program, but after} 46. e4 $1 Rc5
47. Qd6+ Kg7 48. Rxd3 Rxc6 49. Qe5+ Rf6 50. Rf3 Qc6 51. g3 {White is still
clearly better because of the long diagonal pin.}) 45. Kh2 {Amazingly there's
nothing Black can do to save his king.} Rxc6 (45... Rf6 {is obvious but fails
to} 46. f4+ Rxf4 (46... Kh5 47. Qg7 $1 {forces Black to give up the house to
avoid mate with Qxh7 or g4 first.}) (46... Kf5 47. Qe7 $1 Re6 {(else Qe5 is
mate)} 48. Qxf7+ Rf6 49. Qd5#) 47. exf4+ Kxf4 48. Qxf7+ Ke3 49. c7 {and the
White pawn queens first:} Qc2 50. Qe6+ Kf4 51. c8=Q) (45... f5 46. Qxd6 {is
clearly hopeless for a similar reason - Black can't both stop the pawn and
save his king.}) 46. Qe7+ $5 (46. Qxf7 {could have been played immediately,
but repeating once does no harm.}) 46... Kh6 (46... f6 47. f4+ Kh6 (47... Kf5
48. Qd7+ Re6 49. Qd5+ Re5 50. g4+ $18) 48. Qf8+ Kh5 49. Qg7 $1 h6 50. g4+ {and
White wins the queen.}) (46... Rf6 47. f4+ Kh6 48. Qf8+ $1 (48. Qxf6 Qb3 $1 {
leaves White with only a draw.}) 48... Kh5 49. Qg7 $1 {is also over for Black,
who will lose the lot.}) (46... Kh5 47. g4+ Kh6 48. Qf8+ Kg5 49. Qxf7 {is the
game with an extra g4 thrown in.}) (46... Kf5 {loses easily to} 47. g4+ Qxg4
48. hxg4+ Kxg4 49. Qe4+) 47. Qf8+ Kg5 (47... Kh5 48. Qxf7 {will be quite
similar.}) 48. Qxf7 {White's immediate threat is Qf4 Kh5 g4 Kh4 Qh6 mate.} Rf6
(48... Kh6 49. Qf8+ Kh5 50. g4+ {either wins the queen or mates with} Kg5 51.
Qf4+ Kh4 52. Qh6#) (48... Rc5 49. Qf4+ Kh5 50. g3 $1 {also wins by force; Qh4
mate is threatened and} (50. g4+ $4 Kh4 51. Qh6+ Rh5) 50... g5 51. Qf7+ Kh6 52.
Qf6+ Kh5 53. g4+ {is curtains.}) (48... Rc4 {also fails, not to Qxc4, but} 49.
f4+ $1 (49. Qxc4 $4 Kf6 {sees the king escape the mating net.}) 49... Kh6 50.
Qf8+ Kh5 51. Qg7 {and the threats of Qxh7 and g4 kill Black.}) 49. f4+ Kh6 50.
Qxf6 Qe2 {Black is counting on the pin on the g-pawn to save him, but it
doesn't.} 51. Qf8+ Kh5 52. Qg7 $1 {A deadly quiet move.} h6 53. Qe5+ Kh4 (53...
g5 54. Qe8+ Kh4 55. Qg6 $1 {is similar to the final position to the game - the
threat is simply Qxh6 Qh5 g3 mate.} gxf4 56. Qxh6+ Qh5 57. Qxf4+ Qg4 58. Qxg4#)
54. Qf6+ Kh5 (54... g5 55. Qxh6+ Qh5 56. g3#) 55. f5 $1 {Black has no defence
as his last guards are stripped away.} gxf5 (55... d2 {fails to} 56. Qxg6+ Kh4
57. Qxh6+ Qh5 58. g3#) 56. Qxf5+ Kh4 57. Qg6 $1 {Black resigned as White
intends Qxh6 Qh5 g3 mate once again, and moving a piece to h5 allows Qg3 mate
as the king can't escape to h5. A pretty incredible game, wouldn't you agree?}
[Event "16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015"]
[Site "Jerusalem ISR"]
[Date "2015.02.26"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Korobov, Anton"]
[Black "Solak, Dragan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D17"]
[WhiteElo "2687"]
[BlackElo "2607"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2015.02.24"]

{This game was unique for Black trying to castle, forgetting he'd moved his
rook (although his position was losing regardless).} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3
Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Nb6 8. Ne5 a5 {This is a very
well known position, and so it is quite impressive that White came up with a
decent novelty here!} 9. h4 $5 $146 {The idea behind this move is that White
wants to play f3 and meet ...e6 with g4, when Black's bishop would be trapped
after ...Bg6 h5!} (9. Bg5 {(intending ...e6 e4!)}) (9. e3 {(intending kingside
development)}) (9. g3 {(playing in Catalan style) and}) (9. f3 {(ambitiously
intending e4 to take over the centre) have been White's standard tries, with
White getting some small chances but all in all Black has held his own.}) 9...
Nbd7 (9... e6 10. f3 {makes it hard to avoid both the Noah's Ark Trap (g4/h5)
and central domination with e4.}) 10. Qb3 Nxe5 11. dxe5 Nd7 {Now the position
becomes very sharp with both sides having funnily placed pieces.} 12. e4 (12.
Qxb7 Nxe5 13. Bf4 Rb8 14. Qa7 f6 15. e4 Be6 {is fairly promising for Black as
White's king is suddenly quite exposed in the centre and Black's pieces
coordinate well.}) 12... Be6 13. Qxb7 Nxe5 (13... Rb8 14. Qa7 Nxe5 15. f4 {
transposes to the 14.f4 note.}) 14. Bf4 (14. f4 $5 Rb8 15. Qa7 Ng4 16. Be2 $13
{may give White an advantage, but it's obviously quite an unclear position.})
14... Rb8 15. Qa6 Ra8 16. Qe2 Qb8 {To his credit, Black continues to find good
defensive moves, avoiding major tricks while keeping his pieces active.} 17. h5
Nd3+ $6 (17... g5 $3 {is the only way for Black to get equality, but I'll let
you guess the chances of finding this over the board, without any assistance.})
18. Qxd3 Qxf4 19. g3 (19. Rd1 Rb8 20. Rd2 {was possibly a better way to keep
the pressure up. Black has problems with his kingside development and king
safety.}) 19... Qd6 $2 {The queen just gets kicked around from here, and so he
should have played} (19... Qc7 $1 {with a reasonable game.}) 20. Qe3 $1 {
Keeping the queens on and intending e5 to open the long diagonal for when Bg2
comes around.} Qb4 21. Bg2 Bc4 $2 {This is a blunder, and} (21... Rb8 {had to
be tried, but here too White keeps strong pressure by playing} 22. e5 $1 {and
White is one move away from connecting his rooks, while it's unlikely Black
will at all.}) 22. e5 {Black resigned after trying to play 22...0-0-0, upon
which the arbiter and Korobov reminded him that the a8-rook had already moved!
So Black would have had to move his king, and that is clearly hopeless for him.
} (22. e5 Rc8 23. Rh4 $1 {however just wins for White - Black can't unpin the
bishop and} e6 24. b3 $1 Qxb3 25. Rb1 {would then win a piece.}) 1-0 
[Event "16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015"]
[Site "Jerusalem ISR"]
[Date "2015.03.05"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Navara, David"]
[Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A34"]
[WhiteElo "2735"]
[BlackElo "2714"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "105"]
[EventDate "2015.02.24"]

{One player who impressed in the tournament was Czech GM Navara, who played
quite inspiring chess and finished in second place at the end, gaining a
number of rating points. I think you'll be quite impressed by the way he takes
his dominion over the centre in this game.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 d5 {
This is the usual go-to defence against 1.Nf3/1.c4 for Grunfeld players who
want to avoid being move ordered into a different defence to 1.d4.} 4. cxd5
Nxd5 5. e3 {Not very ambitious, but at least the centre will be very solid
when White plays d4...except he doesn't in this game!} Nxc3 6. bxc3 Qc7 (6...
g6 {would be standard.}) 7. Bb2 $5 {An interesting approach - White argues
that playing d4 will give Black a target to attack with his pieces and pawns,
and opts for a more hypermodern approach! Also, ...g6 is no longer a great
idea as White is first to the long diagonal with c4.} Nd7 $6 {This move feels
too passive to me, and I'd have gone for one of} (7... e6 {and}) (7... Nc6 {.})
8. Qb3 $1 {This is a bit coffeehouse, but it's rather strong as now ...e5 is
well met by Ng5!} e6 {Black settles for less, but now White will get good
control over the centre from the flanks.} (8... e5 $4 9. Ng5 Nf6 10. Bb5+ {
just wins.}) 9. c4 b6 (9... e5 $5 10. Bd3 Bd6 {might be best now that the
a2-g8 diagonal is closed, though White's central majority should give him a
plus.}) 10. a4 $1 {A standard positional approach to exchange White's second
pawn island with a5 and axb6, but usually you only see it in the middlegame!
I'm pretty sure I've seen Darryl Johansen use this plan to good effect when
encountering a Grunfeld approach, and flank play works well at this point
because White has strong control over the centre.} Bb7 11. a5 {Black will
think twice about queenside castling now!} f6 {Blocking the long diagonal to
facilitate development with ...Be7 and ...0-0, but weakening e6.} 12. Bd3 Bd6 (
12... Be7 13. Qc2 f5 {is best as} 14. Bxg7 $6 {fails to win material and only
helps Black after} Rg8 15. Bc3 Rxg2 {.}) 13. Qc2 $1 {Now Black has problems
dealing with the threats on the kingside.} f5 (13... bxa5 {is the engine's
first move, but one wonders where Black's king will reside after} 14. Bxh7 $36)
14. Ng5 $1 Nf8 15. f4 ({The subtle} 15. Be2 $1 {with the threat of Bh5 was
very strong according to the computer (who wants to play the weird ...Rg8 in
response) but Navara's choice also gives him a big advantage.}) 15... h6 16.
Nf3 Ng6 17. h4 $1 {This move tends to work well when there's a knight on g6 or
when White can play h5 and fix two pawns on h6 and g7. Here both requirements
are fulfilled!} O-O-O 18. axb6 axb6 19. Bxf5 $1 {A very deep combination as we
will see, though not the only good move of course.} Nxf4 (19... exf5 20. Qxf5+
Qd7 21. Qxg6 $18) 20. Be4 $1 Bxe4 21. Qxe4 Nd3+ $1 {A cunning trick, as the
knight is taboo because of ...Bg3+, but after} 22. Ke2 Nxb2 23. Rhb1 {White
regains the piece anyway as the knight is trapped!} Rhe8 24. Rxb2 {White is
winning as Black's king is very weak, White is owning the minor piece battle
as he dominates the light squares, and White's pieces are simply more active.
I won't analyse the rest but you might want to reinforce your material
imbalances understanding by analysing the arising queen vs. two rooks endgame
yourself.} Qb7 25. Qb1 Bc7 26. Rba2 Bb8 27. Ra8 Rd6 28. R1a7 Qxa7 29. Rxa7 Bxa7
30. Ne5 Red8 31. d3 Rf8 32. g4 Bb8 33. Qh1 h5 34. gxh5 Rf5 35. Ng6 Rf7 36. Qe4
Rf6 37. Ne7+ Kc7 38. Qh7 Rf7 39. Ng6 e5 40. Nxe5 Re7 41. Ng6 Red7 42. Nf4 Kb7
43. Qf5 Bc7 44. e4 b5 45. Nd5 bxc4 46. dxc4 Rd8 47. e5 Re8 48. Nxc7 Kxc7 49.
Qf7+ Kd8 50. Qxe8+ Kxe8 51. exd6 Kd7 52. Kf3 Kxd6 53. Kf4 1-0 
[Event "16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015"]
[Site "Jerusalem ISR"]
[Date "2015.03.04"]
[Round "8.14"]
[White "Gajewski, Grzegorz"]
[Black "Iljiushenok, Ilia"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D10"]
[WhiteElo "2646"]
[BlackElo "2450"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "108"]
[EventDate "2015.02.24"]

{Of course, in such a big field there will always be less fancied players who
excel, and one such player was the relatively unknown Russian player Ilia
Iljiushenok, who achieved his first GM norm easily and qualified for the World
Cup. Here I'll share one of his notable GM scalps.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3
Nf6 4. e3 a6 5. Bd3 Bg4 6. Qb3 Ra7 7. h3 Bh5 8. cxd5 cxd5 9. g4 Bg6 10. Bxg6
hxg6 11. g5 Ne4 12. Nxe4 dxe4 13. d5 Nd7 14. Qa4 b5 15. Qxe4 Nc5 16. Qd4 e5 17.
dxe6 Qxg5 18. Ne2 fxe6 19. Ng3 Rd7 20. Qg4 Qf6 21. f4 Rh4 22. Qf3 g5 23. Ne4
Nxe4 24. Qxe4 gxf4 25. exf4 Bc5 26. Rh2 Kf7 27. Rd2 Rd4 28. Rxd4 Qxd4 29. Qxd4
Bxd4 30. Bd2 Rxh3 31. O-O-O Rh2 32. Kb1 Re2 33. Bc1 Be3 34. Bxe3 Rxe3 35. Rd6
Re4 36. Rxa6 Rxf4 37. Kc2 g5 38. Kd3 g4 39. Ra7+ Kf6 40. Ra8 Kg7 41. Ke3 g3 42.
Kxf4 g2 43. Ra3 e5+ 44. Kxe5 g1=Q 45. Rb3 Qc5+ 46. Ke4 Qc4+ 47. Ke3 b4 48. Kd2
Kf6 49. Rf3+ Ke5 50. a3 b3 51. Re3+ Kf4 52. Re2 Kf3 53. Re3+ Kf2 54. Rc3 Qe2+
[Event "16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015"]
[Site "Jerusalem ISR"]
[Date "2015.03.03"]
[Round "7.6"]
[White "Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter"]
[Black "Bukavshin, Ivan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B48"]
[WhiteElo "2654"]
[BlackElo "2622"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "137"]
[EventDate "2015.02.24"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qd2 Be7 8.
O-O-O Nf6 9. f3 b5 10. Kb1 Ne5 11. g4 h6 12. Qg2 b4 13. Na4 d5 14. f4 Nexg4 15.
Bc1 e5 16. fxe5 Nxe4 17. e6 Ngf2 18. Qxg7 Bf6 19. Nb5 Qxc2+ 20. Kxc2 Bxg7 21.
Nc7+ Ke7 22. Nxd5+ Kxe6 23. Bg2 Be5 24. Rhe1 f5 25. Nc5+ Kf7 26. Nxe4 Nxe4 27.
Bxe4 fxe4 28. Rxe4 Re8 29. Rf1+ Kg6 {Another player in contention was Romanian
GM Nisipeanu (who you may recall visited Australia last year and won the 2014
Doeberl Cup with his compatriot Vajda). The following game gives a nice
example of his dynamic style and also of the value of the initiative in
dark-squared bishop positions. I'll skip the part before the endgame as it's a
bit insanely complicated for anyone not running through each move with an
engine.} 30. Nf4+ {The situation is that Black has the long-term advantage of
the bishop pair, but he lacks development and his king is a bit of a target
despite the absence of queens. Now Black committed an instructive mistake.}
Bxf4 $2 (30... Kh7 {leaves White without anything special as the natural} 31.
Nd3 {allows} (31. Rfe1 $4 Bf5) 31... Bh3 $1 32. Rfe1 Rec8+ {, keeping the
bishop pair. Then the logical outcome is a perpetual with} 33. Kb3 $1 Be6+ 34.
Ka4 Bd7+ 35. Kb3 Be6+ $11) 31. Rexf4 {Many would quickly dismiss this as a
draw due to the opposite-coloured bishops and limited material. But in fact
White has a big advantage as he can use the rooks together with the bishop to
attack Black's king and even initiate mating ideas. For opposite-coloured
bishop positions, they offer winning chances for the stronger side with even
one major piece each on the board, but these chances are elevated much further
with two or three major pieces each.} Bh3 (31... Re2+ 32. Kb1 Bh3 33. Rf6+ Kg7
34. Bxh6+ Kh7 35. Rc1 $1 {threatening Rc7 also leaves Black in some
difficulties.}) 32. Rg1+ (32. Rf6+ {as in the previous note was perhaps even
better.}) 32... Kh5 33. Rxb4 {White is now up a pawn and if Black regains it
he risks getting mated.} Re2+ 34. Kb3 Rf8 (34... Rxh2 35. Rb6 Rh8 36. Rxa6 {
should be winning for White as he has two passers and Black's passed pawn is
blockaded by his own pieces!}) 35. Rg3 Rxh2 $6 (35... Be6+ 36. Ka3 Rf1 {was a
better defence - such positions are very dynamic in nature and therefore it's
essential to fight tooth and nail for the initiative.}) 36. Rb6 Rh8 37. Rxa6 {
As I mentioned before, this endgame should be winning - I won't go through the
nitty-gritty of it but White converted in the game.} Bg4 38. Rc3 Bf5 39. a4 Kg4
40. Rb6 Be4 41. Rf6 Re2 42. Ka3 Rd8 43. Bxh6 Rd1 44. Bc1 Bc2 45. Rf4+ Kh5 46.
Rh3+ Kg6 47. Rg3+ Kh5 48. Rf8 Kh4 49. Rg7 Rd3+ 50. Ka2 Bb3+ 51. Ka1 Rd5 52. Rf1
Rd1 53. Rxd1 Bxd1 54. a5 Re4 55. Kb1 Ra4 56. Bd2 Bb3 57. Be1+ Kh5 58. Rb7 Be6
59. b4 Kg4 60. b5 Kf5 61. b6 Ra3 62. Kc2 Ra2+ 63. Kd3 Ke5 64. Re7 Ra3+ 65. Bc3+
Kd5 66. Rxe6 Kxe6 67. b7 Rb3 68. a6 Kd7 69. a7 1-0 
[Event "16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015"]
[Site "Jerusalem ISR"]
[Date "2015.02.25"]
[Round "2.18"]
[White "Babula, Vlastimil"]
[Black "Najer, Evgeniy"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E97"]
[WhiteElo "2545"]
[BlackElo "2634"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[EventDate "2015.02.24"]

{And who was the winner? It was Russian GM Evgeniy Najer, who took outright
first place with a score of 8.5/11 (which gives you an idea of how tight the
tournament was). Let's look at two of his games to see how he did it, starting
with the following model example of how to meet the Bayonet King's Indian.} 1.
d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7
9. b4 a5 {White was thinking of attacking Black's pawn chain with c5, so over
the next several moves Black makes this as hard as possible to achieve.} 10.
Ba3 b6 11. bxa5 Rxa5 12. Bb4 Ra8 13. a4 Re8 $1 {I quite like this move as it
takes the sting out of White's standard device of a5, opening up the queenside
(which makes sense as this is where White's space advantage lies).} 14. Qb3 (
14. a5 c5 $1 15. dxc6 Nxc6 16. Bxd6 Rxa5 17. Rxa5 Nxa5 {illustrates Black's
idea - this wouldn't be possible with the rook on f8, and here} 18. Bxe5 Qxd1
19. Rxd1 Nxe4 $1 20. Nxe4 Bxe5 21. Nxe5 Rxe5 22. Rd8+ Kg7 23. Rxc8 Rxe4 {
ensures that the material equilibrium is retained.}) 14... c5 $1 {Taking en
passant doesn't get White very far, but otherwise the queenside is totally
locked up and Black can focus on his trademark kingside play starting with ...
f5.} 15. Ba3 Bh6 $1 {Activating Black's worst piece.} 16. Bc1 Bxc1 17. Rfxc1
Rf8 $1 {Repositioning the rook is preparation for ...f5.} 18. Rcb1 Ra6 {Now it
is nearly impossible to open the queenside - he would have to play a5 and that
entails a pawn sacrifice.} 19. Nd2 Ne8 20. Nb5 f5 21. f3 Nf6 {Black is already
better as White's queenside play is going nowhere and Black has the easy plan
of advancing his kingside pawns to sound the charge at White's king.} 22. Qc3
g5 (22... f4 {isn't necessary here as after exf5 Nxf5 Black's knight will find
a mansion on d4 to locate.}) 23. Ra3 Ng6 24. a5 {White makes a bid for
activity, but Black can strike on the kingside while White expends time
regaining the pawn.} (24. exf5 Bxf5 25. Re1 Nf4 26. Bf1 {may be best, but
White is still quite passive and Black can go about preparing the ...g4 break,
for instance.}) 24... bxa5 25. Rba1 Nf4 26. Bf1 fxe4 $1 {So it proved useful
to keep the tension after all!} 27. fxe4 Ng4 28. Rxa5 (28. g3 $1 Ng6 29. Bg2 {
was a better defence, as the a5-pawn is not running away.}) 28... Rxa5 29. Qxa5
$2 {The decisive mistake, allowing a fatal penetration on the kingside.} (29.
Rxa5 Ne3 $1 {is probably what White didn't like, but with the calm} 30. Qxe3
Qxa5 31. Nxd6 {White obtains good compensation for the exchange due to his
passed d-pawn, although only Black can win after} Qa1 $1) 29... Qf6 {The
threat is ...Nh3 and mate, and White is totally helpless.} 30. Nf3 Ne3 $1 31.
Qc7 Nh3+ 32. Kh1 Nf2+ 33. Kg1 Nh3+ 34. Kh1 g4 {Crashing through.} 35. Qxd6 gxf3
36. gxh3 Qg5 37. h4 Qg2+ 0-1 
[Event "16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015"]
[Site "Jerusalem ISR"]
[Date "2015.03.05"]
[Round "9.6"]
[White "Najer, Evgeniy"]
[Black "Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C42"]
[WhiteElo "2634"]
[BlackElo "2654"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2015.02.24"]

{The following game proved very important in setting up Najer's lead, and we
saw in the last game how strong Nisipeanu is when in form, so to beat him in
such a fashion was a very impressive feat.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4.
Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Bd6 (6... Nc6 7. O-O Be7 {, the Jaenisch, was
Kramnik's approach back in his Petroff days, although here} 8. Nc3 $1 {seems
to offer good chances for an advantage.}) 7. O-O O-O 8. c4 c6 9. Re1 Bf5 10.
Qb3 Qd7 (10... Na6 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. Nc3 Be6 13. a3 Nc7 {is the main line and
has been tested quite a lot in computer chess. Black tends to go for ...f5,
with quite a complex battle ahead.}) 11. Nc3 $1 ({And definitely not} 11. cxd5
cxd5 12. Qxd5 $4 Bxh2+ $1) 11... Nxc3 12. Bxf5 Qxf5 13. bxc3 b6 14. h3 $1 {A
powerful waiting move, as Black doesn't want to release the tension with ...
dxc4.} (14. cxd5 cxd5 15. Ne5 Nd7 {doesn't give White the option of g4 - see
the note to move 16.}) 14... h6 $6 {Black also makes luft for his king, but
White's luft proves a lot more useful than Black's.} (14... Nd7 15. cxd5 cxd5
16. Ba3 Bxa3 17. Qxa3 $14 {is White's idea, when Black would rather had had
the knight on b8 so he could have played ...Nc6-a5-c4, blockading White's
pawns. Now White has a modest pull.}) 15. cxd5 cxd5 16. Ne5 $1 {Now this works
very well.} Bxe5 (16... Nd7 17. g4 $1 Qe6 18. Nf3 Qf6 19. Qxd5 {wins a pawn -
obviously without h3 inserted Black could have taken on g4 after Nf3.}) 17.
Rxe5 Qd3 18. Rxd5 Nc6 {Black is a pawn down, but if he can blockade White's
pawns on the light squares, he will probably hold a draw. Najer continues
energetically to ensure that doesn't happen.} 19. c4 $1 Qe2 (19... Qe4 $5 {to
keep the queen centralised may have been more annoying.}) 20. Qc3 Rac8 $2 {
This allows a very nice tactic, which went unnoticed by both players.} (20...
Rfe8 21. Be3 Na5 22. c5 {is still much better for White though - I'd estimate
his chances of winning at 70% minimum.}) 21. Bb2 {White is still much better,
of course, but} (21. Bxh6 $1 gxh6 22. Re1 Qxa2 23. Qg3+ Kh7 24. Qf4 $3 {(the
hard move to spot) would have won as White threatens Rh5 mating and there's
not much that stops it, e.g.} Nd8 25. Rd6 Rc6 26. Qxh6+ Kg8 27. Rxc6 Nxc6 28.
Qxc6 {just wins.}) 21... Rfe8 (21... Na5 $5 22. c5 Nc4 23. Re1 Qxb2 24. Qxc4
Rfe8 {may offer somewhat better drawing chances.}) 22. c5 $6 (22. Rd7 $1 {
first would have been quite strong as it's hard to kick the rook off the 7th
rank with d5 being a threat.}) 22... Rb8 $1 {Black has defended well and
suddenly it's not so easy to convert the extra pawn as Black is quite active
and the White bishop is hard to activate.} 23. Ba3 (23. cxb6 $142 Rxb6 24. Ba3
{keeps decent winning chances.}) 23... b5 $1 {Suddenly Black has very serious
counterplay and isn't even much worse. The immediate threat is ...b4.} 24. Rd7
Rbd8 $2 {A natural move, but incorrect - I think Black underestimated White's
next.} (24... b4 $1 25. Qb3 Rf8 {was the best defence, when Black seems to
have sufficient play due to White's poor coordination and the fact that the
connected passers have turned into a weakness.}) 25. Rd6 $1 {A clever idea, so
that after Rxd6 cxd6 White advances his passed pawn.} Rc8 26. d5 Ne5 27. c6 {
The passed pawns should just be winning now, but in the game things weren't so
simple...} Nc4 28. Rd7 Nd2 {With the threat of ...Qe1 when a perpetual with
Kh2 Nf1 can't be avoided!} 29. h4 (29. Be7 $5 {was the fancy way to win.})
29... Re4 30. c7 $2 {This move looks crushing, but could have thrown away half
a point.} (30. Re7 $1 {snuffs out Black's play and would just win.}) 30... Kh7
$2 {Possibly not expecting another chance, Black also misses the draw.} (30...
Rg4 $1 31. Rd8+ Kh7 {would have drawn as} 32. Rxc8 Nf3+ 33. Qxf3 Qxf3 34. Rh8+
Kg6 $1 {(possibly the move missed by both players) leaves White nothing better
than allowing a perpetual with} 35. g3 Rxg3+ 36. fxg3 Qxg3+ 37. Kh1 Qh3+ 38.
Kg1 Qg3+ {.}) 31. Rxf7 Rg4 32. Bb2 {Black resigned. When looking at the list
of past European Championship winners, you'll notice that it's rare for a
2700+ player to win the title - usually it is one of the many strong but not
quite elite GMs rated in the 2600s who takes the title. One wonders why that's
the case; is it due to there being a larger quantity of such players in the
tournament, or does a greater hunger/less expectation play a part too?} 1-0