May Miniatures

Tue, 2014-06-03 12:01 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "33rd Zalakaros Open 2014"]
[Site "Zalakaros HUN"]
[Date "2014.05.26"]
[Round "4.25"]
[White "Ekdyshman, M."]
[Black "Meszaros, T."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D01"]
[WhiteElo "2351"]
[BlackElo "2438"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "2014.05.23"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "HUN"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.05.26"]

{For this week's post I'll analyse some nice miniatures (wins in 25 moves or
less) from this month's batch of The Week In Chess games.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5
3. Bg5 {It's slightly amusing to think that the Veresov is a Ruy Lopez on the
queenside, and yet 3...a6 is very common in the Ruy while 3...h6 is not seen
often here!} c5 4. Bxf6 gxf6 5. e3 Nc6 6. Qh5 {White has to play aggressively,
otherwise Black will start making use of his central space and bishop pair.} e6
7. Nf3 cxd4 8. exd4 Bb4 {The pin isn't as good as Black had imagined, as after
...Bxc3 bxc3 he loses his bishop pair, while the doubling of White's pawns
isn't so serious with Black's own structure weakened.} (8... Bd7 9. Bd3 Qb6 10.
O-O-O O-O-O {would be my choice, emphasising fast development, as} 11. Qxf7
Nxd4 12. Nxd4 Qxd4 {is a favourable trade of pawns for Black (White has lost
his centre).}) 9. Bd3 Qb6 10. Qh4 {This is not at all in the aggressive spirit
of the opening. When you have already made clear positional concessions, there
is no time to just 'make a solid move'.} ({Surprisingly, after} 10. O-O {Black
can grab a pawn feasibly:} Nxd4 11. Nxd4 Qxd4 12. Rae1 h6 13. Nb5 Qb6 14. c3
Be7 {and White lacks a forced win, meaning Black is just clearly better.}) (10.
a3 {was correct, as} Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Qb2 12. O-O Qxc3 13. Qh4 Ke7 14. Rfe1 {
gives White a strong attack against Black's king, stuck in the centre. White
will force open the position with Rab1, Rb3 and c4 to make use of his big lead
in development.}) 10... Be7 11. O-O-O Bd7 12. Rhe1 Nb4 (12... O-O-O {with a
small advantage was also good.}) 13. a3 Nxd3+ 14. Rxd3 {Now White's pieces
come into their own, as castling either side leaves the e7-bishop en prise - a
factor that can be exploited with Nxd5.} Qc6 {This is just too slow.} (14... h5
{leaves White without a pawn break to open up the position and guards against
Qh5 or Qh6 invasions. Black is better as his king is perfectly safe and his
minor pieces are superior. In a sense, the doubled f-pawns actually leave the
f3-knight without any good squares.}) 15. Qh5 b5 {With castling out of the
question, Black seeks counterplay, but it is too late for salvation.} 16. Rde3
Rc8 17. R1e2 {White renews the threat of Nxd5, and there is nothing can be
done about this brute force breakthrough.} b4 18. axb4 Qa6 19. Kb1 {Stopping
the enemy's counterattack in one strike.} Rg8 20. Nxd5 Rxg2 21. Nf4 Rg6 (21...
Rg8 22. Nxe6 {wins a vital pawn, and the Black king is at the mercy of White's
rooks.}) 22. Nxg6 hxg6 23. Qh8+ 1-0 
[Event "23rd Chicago Open 2014"]
[Site "Wheeling USA"]
[Date "2014.05.25"]
[Round "7.10"]
[White "Priyadharshan, K."]
[Black "Shabalov, A."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B51"]
[WhiteElo "2420"]
[BlackElo "2506"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2014.05.22"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.05.26"]

{The following game was a bit strange, with Black making some careless
mistakes in a seemingly quiet position. The commander of the White pieces went
on to score his first GM norm in this tournament.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+
Nd7 4. O-O Ngf6 (4... a6 5. Bd3 {followed by c3, Bc2 and d4, as in a Ruy Lopez,
is surely what White had in mind.}) 5. Re1 a6 6. Bd3 (6. Bf1 {would be a more
logical way to develop, tucking the bishop out of the way of White's other
pieces.}) 6... Ne5 (6... b5 7. c3 Bb7 8. Bc2 e5 9. d4 Be7 10. d5 O-O 11. b3 {
would be a typical illustration of what White is aiming for - Black's
b7-bishop and d7-knight are both misplaced in this structure.}) 7. Nxe5 dxe5 8.
b3 e6 {This move is too passive and gives White everything he's after.} (8...
Qd4 9. Nc3 Bg4 10. Be2 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 Rd8 {with equality would be the correct
continuation.}) 9. Bb2 Nd7 10. a4 b6 11. Na3 Be7 (11... Bd6 12. Nc4 Bc7 {was
preferable, though Black is still in trouble after} 13. f4 exf4 14. Qg4 Bb7 15.
Qxg7 Rf8 16. e5 {.}) 12. Nc4 Qc7 13. Qh5 g6 14. Bxe5 (14. Qh6 Bf8 15. Qh3 {
followed by f4 might have been even stronger.}) 14... Nxe5 15. Qxe5 Qxe5 16.
Nxe5 Bf6 17. Nc4 {A very clever move.} (17. f4 g5 18. Rad1 gxf4 19. Nc4 Rb8 20.
Nd6+ Ke7 21. Nxc8+ Rbxc8 22. e5 Bg7 23. Bxa6 Rcd8 24. Bb7 {is a secure extra
pawn for White, but the presence of opposite-coloured bishops could make
winning difficult.}) 17... Bxa1 18. Nxb6 Bf6 {A blunder, but Black was already
odds on to lose:} (18... Rb8 19. Nxc8 Bg7 (19... Rxc8 20. Bxa6 Rd8 21. Rxa1
Rxd2 22. Bd3 {decisively traps in Black's rook.}) 20. Bxa6 {would still
clearly favour White though, as} Kd7 21. Na7 Ra8 22. Bb5+ Kd6 23. Nc6 Rhc8 24.
e5+ Kc7 25. d4 {sees White's knight well and truly escape, and soon White will
have three connected passed pawns on the queenside.}) 19. Nxa8 Bd8 {Black was
counting on this, but White has a little trick to break the knight out of its
cage.} 20. a5 Bxa5 {Otherwise Nb6 follows.} 21. Ra1 Bxd2 22. Bxa6 {White is
still a pawn up, and he has the better mobilised position to go with it.} Bc3
23. Bb5+ Bd7 24. Ra7 {Resignation is a bit premature, though} (24. Ra7 Bxb5 25.
Nc7+ Kf8 26. Nxb5 Be5 27. g3 {should be a very comfortable win for White.}) 1-0 
[Event "23rd Chicago Open 2014"]
[Site "Wheeling USA"]
[Date "2014.05.23"]
[Round "3.1"]
[White "Bregadze, L."]
[Black "Sadorra, J."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A15"]
[WhiteElo "2428"]
[BlackElo "2611"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2014.05.22"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.05.26"]

{This miniature is a bit peculiar in that Black goes all out for complications
against a lower-rated player, only to get burned by them!} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6
3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O d6 6. Nc3 e5 7. d3 {Again, one would not expect
such a quick game from an opening as quiet as this one!} h6 {Black wants to
deprive the c1-bishop of the g5-square, but I would go for development with} (
7... Nc6) ({or prepare a ...d5 break with} 7... c6 {.}) 8. Rb1 Re8 {Black
wants to push through with ...e4, but as we'll see the plan isn't particularly
good!} 9. b4 c6 (9... e4 10. Nd4 exd3 11. exd3 {has only seen White gain space
and piece activity from the trade.}) 10. b5 {White is already slightly better
because of his pressure on the queenside, but Black's next only enervates his
position.} e4 (10... d5 11. Nd2 Be6 12. bxc6 bxc6 13. Qa4 {gives White nice
pressure on Black's centre though, and in particular it will be difficult for
him to develop his queenside.}) 11. dxe4 Nxe4 12. Nxe4 Rxe4 13. Bf4 (13. Nd2
Re6 14. Bb2 Bxb2 15. Rxb2 {is a simple continuation that clearly favours White
(as Black has almost no development, and the pressure on the c6-pawn
effectively freezes the queenside pieces in their stables)}) 13... Rxc4 14. Ne5
(14. Bxd6 Bf5 15. bxc6 bxc6 16. Rb7 Nd7 17. e3 {would still leave White with
some pull as the c6-pawn is a bit weak and the b7-rook exudes some pressure.})
14... Rc5 {This is an unfortunate blunder.} (14... Bxe5 15. Bxe5 Bf5 {was
forced, when Black is in fine shape as White's pieces are facing toward the
queenside, not Black's king, and} 16. e4 Bxe4 17. Bxe4 Rxe4 18. Ba1 c5 {
doesn't offer White more than enough compensation for the pawns.}) 15. bxc6 (
15. Nxf7 Kxf7 16. Bxd6 Rc3 (16... Rc4 17. bxc6 bxc6 18. Bxb8 Qxd1 19. Rfxd1 {
and the endgame is an easy win.}) 17. bxc6 Nxc6 18. Qd5+ Be6 19. Rxb7+ Ne7 20.
Qd2 Bf6 21. Qf4 {and Black cannot avoid material loss with Bxe7 next turn.})
15... bxc6 (15... Nxc6 {was Black's chance to reenter the game.} 16. Nxc6 (16.
Nxf7 Kxf7 17. Bxd6 Re5 {is the key difference to before.}) 16... bxc6 17. Qxd6
Qxd6 18. Bxd6 Rc4 19. Rfc1 {still isn't a bed of roses for him mind.}) 16. Nxf7
Kxf7 17. Bxd6 Rc4 ({or} 17... Ra5 18. Qb3+ Be6 19. Qb7+ Nd7 20. Bc7 {.}) 18.
Bxb8 Qe7 (18... Qxd1 19. Rfxd1 {is a very amusing endgame, in that Black's
a8-rook is trapped!}) 19. Bd5+ {But now Black won't even make it to an endgame.
} cxd5 20. Qxd5+ Qe6 21. Qxa8 Bd7 22. Rb7 1-0 
[Event "Asian Nations Cup 2014"]
[Site "Tabriz IRI"]
[Date "2014.05.23"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Kalugampitiya, R."]
[Black "Ding Liren"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B42"]
[WhiteElo "2145"]
[BlackElo "2714"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "46"]
[EventDate "2014.05.22"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "IRI"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.05.26"]
[WhiteTeam "Sri Lanka"]
[BlackTeam "CHINA"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "SRI"]
[BlackTeamCountry "CHN"]

{It's always instructive to see games where one side cleanly outplays the
other, so that one knows what to aim for in a type of position, with little
interference from the opponent.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5.
Bd3 Bc5 6. Nb3 Ba7 7. Nc3 d6 (7... Nc6 {is more common, but Ding aims to take
the opponent out of his theoretical knowledg early.}) 8. a4 {White prevents ...
b5, but there was no need to do this as ...b5 can always be answered with a4
in any case, when Black will have weakened his queenside.} (8. Qe2 Nc6 9. Be3
Nge7 10. O-O e5 {would be a more normal continuation, when Black has quite
decent play on the dark squares, much like a Kalashnikov with the dark-squared
bishop outside the pawn chain.}) 8... Nc6 9. O-O Nf6 {This is feeling more and
more like a good Scheveningen for Black.} 10. Kh1 e5 ({Perhaps Black wanted to
avoid a pin like} 10... O-O 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bh4 {, though} g5 13. Bg3 e5 {gives
Black a really nice dark squared chokehold.}) 11. Bg5 (11. Nd5 Nxd5 12. exd5
Ne7 13. f4 O-O 14. c4 f5 15. fxe5 dxe5 {is unclear, with both sides having
strong majorities, though White can try to put the squeeze on Black with} 16.
Bd2 {followed by Bb4.}) 11... h6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. Nd5 Qd8 14. c3 O-O {Black
can actually play around the d5-knight fairly well, and the sniper on a7 now
has no rival.} 15. Qh5 {White's queen has no chance of delivering checkmate
all by herself. Going for the 'attack' on the king is completely the wrong
approach.} (15. Bc4 Be6 16. Qd3 {is a more positional and correct continuation,
when Black should probably look to an ...f5 break.}) 15... Be6 16. Nd2 Rc8 (
16... Ne7 17. Nxe7+ Qxe7 {is also not bad, but Black gives White the chance to
try and come up with a dodgy plan.}) 17. f4 exf4 18. Nxf4 Ne5 19. Nxe6 fxe6 20.
Bc2 {There's no doubt that Black is fine here with such a great knight on e5,
but after} (20. Qh3 {White wouldn't be in huge danger either.}) 20... Qb6 21.
Bb3 Nd3 {This sets up an awesome trap, which White falls for. But objectively
the move is iffy.} (21... Rce8 {was a simple and correct way to play; if} 22.
Rxf8+ Rxf8 23. Bxe6+ Kh8 {Black has a strong initiative and pressure down the
open files and dark square diagonals.}) 22. Bxe6+ Kh8 23. Bxc8 (23. h3 Qxb2 24.
Bxc8 Nf2+ 25. Kh2 Qxd2 26. Rad1 Qxc3 27. Rc1 Qd2 {gives Black enough play for
the exchange.}) 23... Qg1+ {And it's a slam dunk after Nf2! White resigned.}
[Event "8th Agzamov Memorial 2014"]
[Site "Tashkent UZB"]
[Date "2014.05.21"]
[Round "7.4"]
[White "Volkov, Sergey1"]
[Black "Pashikian, A."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E20"]
[WhiteElo "2584"]
[BlackElo "2626"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "2014.05.15"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "UZB"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.05.26"]

{I'll conclude with a miniature between two GMs, where White gets too
ambitious, breaks some basic opening principles and pays the price.} 1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 {Volkov is one of the leading experts on White's
side of this, the Kmoch Variation, and many of the world's top players have
also added it to their opening repertoire, especially against Carlsen.} c5 (
4... d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. dxc5 {is the other main line,
which changes between += and = depending on the latest fashion.}) 5. d5 {Now
we have a funny Snake Benoni where the bishop only took one move to reach b4!}
b5 6. e4 O-O (6... bxc4 7. Bxc4 Nxd5 {is the old main line, but White is
slightly for choice (albeit in a still messy position) after} 8. Bxd5 exd5 9.
Qxd5 Nc6 10. Nge2 Ba6 11. Kf2 O-O 12. Rd1 {as Black has the inferior structure
and lacks piece coordination, despite having a nominal lead in development.})
7. e5 Ne8 (7... exd5 8. exf6 d4 9. a3 Ba5 10. b4 dxc3 11. bxa5 Qxf6 {is a
crazy option on Black's part - I'll leave it to you to work on this very
interesting position, if you're game!}) 8. f4 exd5 9. cxd5 d6 {The position is
razor sharp - White has control of the centre but lacks the piece development
to back it up. If he does complete his development, Black is positionally lost,
} 10. Nf3 c4 (10... Nc7 11. Bd3 c4 12. Be4 f5 13. exf6 Qxf6 {worked very well
for Black previously as White's centre has been demolished, but Volkov
definitely had an improvement ready earlier.}) 11. a4 Nd7 {Black leaves the
queenside to its fate and pushes straight for the destruction of White's
centre and king in it.} 12. Be2 (12. axb5 dxe5 13. fxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Qh4+ 15.
g3 Qe4+ {is a sweet trick.}) 12... Qb6 {It is of the utmost importance to stop
White castling to safety.} 13. axb5 dxe5 14. fxe5 Nc7 {The engine helpfully
indicates '0.00', but I would find it way easier to play Black here.} 15. Bxc4
(15. Ra4 a5 16. bxa6 Bxa6 {is also promising for Black, who has almost
completed his development; perhaps White should already give up material with}
17. Rxb4 Qxb4 18. O-O {to safeguard his king, though this is hardly a good
sign for White's prospects.}) 15... Re8 16. Qe2 {After this mistake,
committing the cardinal sin of placing the queen on the same file as the
opponent's rook, White is cactus.} (16. Bf4 {was the logical and correct move
- develop the lowest value pieces first!} Nxb5 17. Qd2 Nd6 18. Bd3 Nxe5 19.
Nxe5 f6 {would still favour Black though as he regains the material and keeps
White's king exposed in the centre.}) 16... Nxe5 17. Nxe5 Qd4 18. Be3 Qxe5 {
The pressure against the e3-bishop is now too much to bear.} 19. b6 {This is
already desperation.} Bg4 {The nicest and best way to finish White off.} 20.
Qxg4 Qxe3+ 21. Kd1 Bxc3 22. bxc3 Nxd5 {Black blasts open the centre completely
to end the game.} 23. Rxa7 Qxb6 24. Rxa8 Qb1+ 25. Kd2 Qb2+ {It is mate next
move. On that note, that's all for this week - catch you next week with some
more games!} 0-1