GOTMJanuary, 2012.    

Welcome to my  "Game of The Month"  feature!  (Game # 46, for January, 2012.)  (A list of all the main games on this website.) 

This is a game, that is annotated - by me - for your enjoyment. Hopefully it is done in a way that is both entertaining and also informative, there are certainly lots of diagrams - and a link to a re-play page as well. The main purpose {and thrust} of this column is to try and educate the general chess public. 

I have deeply annotated this game on my hard drive, you are welcome to contact me if you would like to try and obtain a copy. (Because of copyright violations, I ONLY offer a printed version! I simply cannot afford to "give away" the electronic version any longer ...)

This is a feature where I will try to pick a game that was recently played at the GM level. Then I will annotate it and try to basically explain what happened. ---> This column is aimed primarily at lower-rated players.  (Say 1600 & below.) 

I hope that you enjoy this game ... feedback is both encouraged and welcome. (Please respect my copyright.) 
(This means do NOT!!! copy any of my work ... and post it on another website ... unless you get my WRITTEN permission, first.) 

    Click  HERE    to see an explanation of the symbols I commonly use - when annotating a chess game.     

    Click  HERE    to go to another server ... where you can search for this game in a "re-playable" format.   

    Click  HERE    to go to my channel on the "You-Tube" network/server.  (Click HERE to see my video for this game.) 

 The Players

gotm_jan-2012_GM Vitiugov.jpg, 18 KB
     GM Nikita Vitiugov     

gotm_jan-2012__GM Morozevich.jpg, 16 KB
     GM Alexander Morozevich     


gotm_jan-2012__ct.jpg, 47 KB


  54th Reggio Emilia: GM Anish Giri takes clear first!  

Six GM's - ALL OVER 2700!!!!! - played in this years battle of {chess} wits: Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Nakamura, Vitiugov, Caruanna and Giri. 
(GM A. Giri - being the lowest rated player - was probably the LAST choice the odds-maker's would have made to win this event ...)  

As I remember it, (I watched many of these games - LIVE! - on the Internet.); for most of the tournament, GM H. Nakamura was leading this event - at least, this was true in the early stages of this star-studded event. However, in the last few rounds, Nakamura lost to both Giri AND Ivanchuk ... and these two set-backs (really three straight losses) virtually eliminated Nakamura's chance of winning first place this GM contest.  

Morozevich (later) emerged as a possible contender for first, yet he also lost in the last round. (This is the game that we are looking at here.)

In the last round, Giri needed TWO top GM's to both lose ... in order for him to win clear first ... virtually an impossible outcome, nonetheless, this is exactly what occurred. [story]  

In a related game (another 1.c4) ... the second day that I was formatting this web page, GM H. Nakamura won a nice game at Tata Steel, 2012 (Wijk aan Zee) after 1.c4, e5.  [replay]  

In this incredibly complicated struggle, White eventually comes out on top. There were many reasons to examine this game, a few of the most important were:  

  1.  It's an English Opening  (1.c2-c4)  - to the best of my knowledge, I had never examined a game with this opening in my GOTM series of games/columns. 
     (I searched all of my web sites ... and all of the many web pages I have done. It is simply amazing, but I could not find many other games that featured a true English.) 

  2.  It was an incredibly complicated struggle, the exact place where one side (or the other) went wrong ... was very difficult to determine, even with the aid of chess engines. 

  3.  The outcome of this struggle had a huge impact on who was to win this tournament. 

I have endeavored ... whenever I quoted ANY (other) chess game ... to provide a link to a replay page - for that game. (Look for a link just after the game is quoted.) 
[Where this was not possible, there is at least a link to one of my web pages, where you can see at least the full TEXT-score (only) of the game that I have made a reference to.]  

  GM Nikita Vitiugov (2729) - GM Alexander Morozevich (2762);  
  ICT, 54th Masters' (Invitational) / Reggio Emilia, ITA; (R#10) / 06,01,2012.  

gotm_jan-2012__medal.gif, 07 KB

  [A.J. Goldsby I]   

This game is from the recent GM tournament in Reggio Emilia, Italy. This contest had a huge impact on first, as both Nakamura and Morozevich, who had been leading the  tournament, lost in the last round. This allowed GM Anish Giri to take clear first. Secondly, this game features one of the deepest sacks that I have ever seen, just trying to 
figure out exactly what happened in this Super-GM struggle was simply a temptation that I could not resist. 

Several on-line websites wrote that Vitiugov was not having a great tournament, and that Morozevich was "going for broke," perhaps hoping to outplay his opponent ... 
you can see for yourself what actually occurred in this game. 


It took many days of work, but I have endeavored to provide a fairly detailed opening survey ... ... ... 

The game begins with White pushing his c-pawn forward two squares. 

   1.c4(Center, hits d5.)    

This is the English Opening, probably so named because great British players - most notably Howard Staunton - brought this way of beginning a chess game to the forefront.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag01.gif, 09 KB

   rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/2P5/8/PP1PPPPP/RNBQKBNR b KQkq c3 0 1   



Many masters use this as a method for beginning a game ... heading for a QP opening, but trying to avoid specific opening systems like the Nimzo-Indian Defense
(If I may, I refer you to the sixth match game between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky played in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1972. In that game, Fischer played  1.c4,  knowing that Spassky would inevitably head for a Q.G.D. (QGD  = Queen's Gambit Declined. ~ editor); his failure to broaden his repertoire may have cost him the World Title. And I also note that GM Bent Larsen liked the Grunfeld Defense ... so much so, that as White he would begin a game  1.c4, Nf62.Nc3, g63.e4,  which allows a King's Indian ... but prevents Black from playing 3...d5.) 

      [ See my analysis of the sixth match game  from the  Fischer-Spassky Match. (1972)   Replay this game on the "Chess Games" website. ]  


Needless to say, whether or not the game evolves into a QP opening or is a pure English depends mostly on how Black chooses to respond to White's first move. 

Of course, White could have opened 1.d2-d4 or 1.e2-e4, but that would have made this an entirely different type of game. 


   1...Nf6;   (center, development)  

Black avoids the drawish symmetry of 1...c5. With 1...Nf6; perhaps Black hopes for 2.d4, e6; 3.Nc3, and now 3...Bb4; with a transposition to the Nimzo-Indian. 
And (of course); after 2.d4, g6; play could head towards a King's Indian Defense, please see last month's column for coverage of that opening.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag02.gif, 09 KB

   rnbqkb1r/pppppppp/5n2/8/2P5/8/PP1PPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 2   



Of course Black could meet the English with  1...e6;  &  2...Nf6;  aiming for  3...d7-d5;  which is how Boris Spassky always played against this particular opening. 


          [ Black can also play the popular systems that begin with  1...e5;  for example: 
            1...e52.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g64.Bg2, "+/="  4...Bg7;    
             when White maintains a small, (but solid) edge out of the opening here.  


gotm_jan-2012_ap01.jpg, 144 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


            [ See MCO-15, page # 686; columns 19-24 and all notes.]   

             A good game in this line would have to be:   
            GM Garry Kasparov (2800) - GM Nigel Short (2635);  / [A26]   
            ICT, 8th Super-GM / (Round #02) / Linares, ESP; (Spain) / 1990.   
            {Garry won a brilliant game, 1-0 in 48 total moves.}   


            For extremely good coverage of the lines that begin with: 1...c5;   
            please see "The Encyclopedia of Chess Openings." (ECO)   

            "Modern Chess Openings" has pages of lines as well, please   
             begin at: MCO-15, page # 703; and column # 67. 

            According to one brand-new computer book, most GM's (today) will follow this line:   
            2.Nf3 Nf63.Nc3 e6 4.g3 b65.Bg2 Bb7 6.0-0 Be77.d4,  "+/="  (A plus for White.)  
            when White is solidly better, although Black is NOT without adequate plans for play himself. 
            (This is a transposition into the Hedgehog, which also can come about when White plays 1.e2-e4.)  


gotm_jan-2012_ap02.jpg, 144 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


            [ See MCO-15, page # 709; beginning with column # 85. ]   

            One very convincing contest (for White) would have to be:   
            GM Vladimir Kramnik (2790)GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic (2565); /  [A30]   
            ICT, 7th Melody Amber (rapid) / Monte Carlo, (R# 09) / 22,03,1998.   
            {White won, 1-0 in 41 moves.}  [replay]    

               *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****     

            See also M. Carlsen's win over V. Gashimov from Round One of the Wijk aan Zee / 2012 Tata Steel tournament.  [replay]  ]     



   2.Nc3 d5(center break)    

The English Opening with 2...d5; play is often similar to the Exchange Variation of the Grunfeld Defense, and the Pawn structure often appears to have arisen out of a Sicilian Defense, but with colors reversed. [Note that MCO calls this system: "The Grunfeld English," see MCO-15, pg. # 701 and col. # 61. Several of my books on the English also refer to this as "The Grunfeld System," and a transposition to that opening system is possible.]  
(Sicilian Defense = 1.e4, c5; Gruenfeld Defense = 1.d4, Nf6;  2.c4, g6;  3.Nc3, d5. - the editor.)


gotm_jan-2012_diag03.gif, 10 KB

   rnbqkb1r/ppp1pppp/5n2/3p4/2P5/2N5/PP1PPPPP/R1BQKBNR w KQkq d6 0 3   



White almost always captures on d5 here. [I once saw a scholastic game where White played 3.e3, here. (The first player succeeded in turning an English into a QGD, 3.e3, discourages 3...d5-d4.) However 3.e3, is neatly met by 3...e5!; and Black has a good game.]   


          [ The number one move here, according to the Fritz "PB" (PB = "Power Book")  ... would be: 2...e5(center)   
            see any reliable opening reference here (like ECO) for more details. 

            [ See also MCO-15, beginning on page # 680, and column # 01. There are many pages of lines. ]   

            One very complex line, that was popular about 10-20 years ago, is:   

            3.Nf3 Nc64.g3 Bb4 5.Bg2 0-06.0-0 e4 7.Ng5 Bxc38.bxc3 Re8 9.f3 e3!?;  "~"  (unclear)  


gotm_jan-2012_ap03.jpg, 142 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


            and Black has often had good play from this position.   

            See the engaging contest:   
            GM Garry Kasparov (2740)GM Anatoly Karpov (2700);  [A29] /  
            The 34th (FIDE) World Champ. (KK4) / Seville, ESP; (Game #2) / 14,10,1987.   
            {Karpov won a smashing game, 0-1 in just 32 total moves.}   

             [ Again, all this is MCO-15; page # 680; and column # 01.]  ]  



White captures, as this is the play that causes Black the most problems. (3.d2-d4, 3...e7-e6; is a transposition into the Q.G.D.) 

   3.cxd5 Nxd54.g3(fianchetto)   

According to the Rybka book, (and the Fritz "Power-Book"); this is White's most popular option at this point ... ... ...   


gotm_jan-2012_diag04.gif, 09 KB

   rnbqkb1r/ppp1pppp/8/3n4/8/2N3P1/PP1PPP1P/R1BQKBNR b KQkq - 0 4   



And according to the statistics - generated from my main DB on my local hard drive - this is also the #1 choice of masters ... 
 when they reach this position.  


          [ After the following moves: 
             4.d4 g65.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg77.Bc4 0-0 8.Ne2 c59.0-0 Nc610.Be3,  
             the opening has morphed - from an English Opening - into the Grunfeld Defense.  


gotm_jan-2012_ap04.jpg, 140 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


             See my "Game of The Month"  column  for October, 2011. 
             (You will find a nice list of many links, and many games that I have annotated in this particular 
               opening system. Look at the section that immediately follows the game analysis; toward the 
               bottom portion of the web page.) ]  



   4...Nxc3!?,   (Changes the Pawn-structure.)  

This gets off the beaten path, the main lines are 4...g6; see the note (just below) for more analysis.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag05.gif, 09 KB

   rnbqkb1r/ppp1pppp/8/8/8/2n3P1/PP1PPP1P/R1BQKBNR w KQkq - 0 5   



This exchange solves Black's overall problem of what to do -- or how to protect - the BN on the d5-square. However, it has the definite drawback of strengthening White's center 
and also opening the b-file White Rook on a1, as well. 


          [ One opening reference gives:   
            4...g65.Bg2 Nb66.d3 Bg77.Be3 0-08.Qd2 Re89.Bh6 Bh8;   
            The end of the column. 

            10.h4 c6;   
             This is one way of playing this particular line.   

                     (The "Power-Book" gives a line that is close to our main variation here, for example: 
                      10...N8d7;  11.h5, "+/="  (Maybe "+/")  with play similar to our main line.)    

            11.h5,  "/\"   (with an initiative / "+/=")   when White has a solid edge.  


gotm_jan-2012_ap05.jpg, 142 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


            Serper - Ganguly; Calcutta /1995.  
            (As quoted by the authors of MCO here. Please note that I searched for the above   
             game ... but never found it.)  

            [ See MCO-15, page #701; column # 61 and all the corresponding notes here - 
              especially note # (f.) And the latest edition of ECO gives a strikingly similar line. ] 

             The authors of MCO state that: "If Black survives the mating attack down the h-file,   
             his central superiority could become dangerous."   


            The most interesting game that I could find in the on-line database was the encounter:   
             GM Xu Jun (2578) - IM Jamshed Isaev (2425);  [A16]  
             ICT, The Asian Champ. (tournament)  /  Udaipur, India; (R# 03) / 12,01,2000. 
             {White won a very nice game, 1-0 in just 30 total moves.} ]   



   5.bxc3 g6;   (development, square control)    

This is the most common reply here, other ideas like  5...e7-e5!?  might also be playable here.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag06.gif, 09 KB

   rnbqkb1r/ppp1pp1p/6p1/8/8/2P3P1/P2PPP1P/R1BQKBNR w KQkq - 0 6   



Both sides usually fianchetto their King Bishop in this variation.   


   6.Bg2 Bg77.Rb1,   (b-file, hits b7)   

This is one of White's most popular options here, and its easy to understand why. 
(Its flexible, and Black's LSB must now remain at home ... because of White's latent threats to the b7-square.)   


gotm_jan-2012_diag07.gif, 09 KB

   rnbqk2r/ppp1ppbp/6p1/8/8/2P3P1/P2PPPBP/1RBQK1NR b Kkq - 0 7   



Of course, just about any reasonable developing move would be OK for White in this particular position. 
(Because the center is not wide open, there is not the "mad rush to castle," like you see in some double-KP openings.) 


          [ Another option for White is:   
             7.d4 c58.e3 0-0 9.Ne2 Nc6;  "~"  (Unclear, about equal?)   


gotm_jan-2012_ap06.jpg, 140 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


            but Black is fine here. ]  



   7...Nc6!?;   (Blocks the c-pawn.)   

This move hits the center and also develops a piece.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag08.gif, 09 KB

   r1bqk2r/ppp1ppbp/2n3p1/8/8/2P3P1/P2PPPBP/1RBQK1NR w Kkq - 0 8   



However, conventional wisdom is that Black needs his c-Pawn to counter-attack White's central Pawns in most closed/Q-side opening systems - Black's last play prevents  Morozevich from achieving a ...c7-c5; pawn break anytime soon. Yet I feel sure that Morozevich had deeply prepared this line, as he seems to know exactly what he is doing for most of the game, while his opponent seems to be merely drifting ... at least, this is true after the opening phase of the game is complete. 


          [ The following line - which I found in one program's opening book - looks to be a slight improvement  
             over the course of the actual game:   
             7...Nd78.Nf3 0-0 9.0-0 Nb610.Qc2,  "+/="  (With an edge.)  


gotm_jan-2012_ap07.jpg, 140 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


              when White is slightly better here, but Black has some prospects for good play.   

            One interesting game was:   
            GM Penteala Harikrishna (2612)IM Leonardo Valdes (2372);  [A16]  /  
            FIDE Team (Calvia) / Men's Olympiad / Mallorca, ESP; (Round #2) / 16,10,2004.  
            {White won a smashing game, 1-0 in just 25 total moves. However, I found many   
             improvements for Black's side in this line.} ]   



   8.h4!?(K-side, maybe - '!')   

White goes for the idea of possibly trying to open the h-file, which (I think) pretty much guarantees White a small advantage (from the opening phase) in this system.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag09.gif, 09 KB

   r1bqk2r/ppp1ppbp/2n3p1/8/7P/2P3P1/P2PPPB1/1RBQK1NR b Kkq h3 0 8   


I played an idea very similar to this in one of my games a few years ago in a game vs. NM Bill Melvin
(When I first played this move in that game, my idea of h2-h4 was a "TN," at least in that particular line. Today - the idea of White playing an early h2-h4 has become commonplace in many lines of The English Opening.) 



     [ Another possibility for White was simple and straight-forward development here, e.g.:   
        8.Nf3 0-09.0-0 b610.d3 Bb711.Bf4 Na512.Qd2, "+/="  12...Qd7!;  "<=>"  (piece play)   


gotm_jan-2012_ap-naw8m.jpg, 140 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


       when White might have a small edge here, but Black has a very solid and flexible position.    
       (Analysis with Fritz & Houdini.) ]   



   8...h6!;   (Prevention / Defense)   

To me, this is kinda ugly, but possibly it could be forced ... 
(If now 9.h5!?, then 9...g5; in order to prevent White from opening the h-file.)   


gotm_jan-2012_diag10.gif, 09 KB

   r1bqk2r/ppp1ppb1/2n3pp/8/7P/2P3P1/P2PPPB1/1RBQK1NR w Kkq - 0 9   



See the note after move seven for what could happen to Black if he allows the h-file to be opened before the second player has completed his overall development.  


   9.Nf3,   (center, development)   

White develops his King's Knight first - before pushing any of his center pawns. 
(Perhaps White is hoping that his opponent will reveal more of his intentions before he commits his central Pawn structure to a specific formation.)  


gotm_jan-2012_diag11.gif, 09 KB

   r1bqk2r/ppp1ppb1/2n3pp/8/7P/2P2NP1/P2PPPB1/1RBQK2R b Kkq - 0 9   



This is good for White as was the immediate d2-d4, see the note just below.  


          [ White also gets a fairly sizable advantage with the following continuation:   
            9.d4 0-010.Nf3 Na511.e4,  "+/="  (space, center)   


gotm_jan-2012_ap08.jpg, 140 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


             and White has a solid edge here, but Black is not without plans for active counterplay.   

            GM C. Matamoros-Franco (2528)IM Ruediger Seger (2401) Predeal Open2007.   
            {White won a sharp game in 29 total moves, although the engines find many   
             decent improvements for Black.} ]    



   9...0-0;  10.0-0"+/="   (The four opening principles. / King-safety.)    

This is the most commonly played move here, according to a  DVD  on the  English Opening,  although d2-d4 (and Qc2) were also playable for White in this position. 
(Of course, castling on the K-side is the simplest, the most flexible ... and possibly even the best.)   


gotm_jan-2012_diag12.gif, 09 KB

   r1bq1rk1/ppp1ppb1/2n3pp/8/7P/2P2NP1/P2PPPB1/1RBQ1RK1 b - - 0 10   



GM N. Vitiugov has a rather unusual Pawn structure, yet despite this fact, (or perhaps because of it!); White maintains a solid edge. 
(All of the engines confirm - that at this point in the opening - that White has a small, but viable edge.)   


          [ White could also play:  10.Qc2, "="  (Maybe "+/=")  here as well. ("Power-book") ]   



   10...e5!?;   (space / center)   

Morozevich - typical of his style of play - plays one of the sharpest moves that he could find.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag13.gif, 09 KB

   r1bq1rk1/ppp2pb1/2n3pp/4p3/7P/2P2NP1/P2PPPB1/1RBQ1RK1 w - e6 0 11   



We are coming to the end of "known theory" here, the GM's will soon both be on their own.   


          [ Black could also try:  10...b611.h5 gxh512.Rb5 Bg413.Nh2,  "+/="  13...Qd7;   


gotm_jan-2012_ap09.jpg, 139 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


            when although White is clearly better here, Black went on to win the game in 44 moves. (0-1)   

            IM K. Rasmussen (2417)GM V. Mikhalevski (2532); /  ICT, Saint Vincent / 2000.   
            (See just the text score of the {above} game, as far as I could tell, this game was not on the CG website.) 


            RR  The computer prefers:   
            (>/=)  10...Rb811.d4 Bf512.Rb2 Qd713.Bf4, "+/="  (With a plus for White.)  


gotm_jan-2012_ap10.jpg, 140 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


            and although White has a small edge here, I find that Black's position is solid and fully playable. (- Fritz 12) ]   



White's next move (d3) appears to be forced, to try and prevent Black from playing to play ...e5-e4.   

   11.d3 Kh7!?;   (TN?)     

This is not a bad idea, many times Black's King is needed to help protect the h6-square.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag14.gif, 09 KB

   r1bq1r2/ppp2pbk/2n3pp/4p3/7P/2PP1NP1/P3PPB1/1RBQ1RK1 w - - 0 12   



This appears to be the first new move of this game, previously (in this position) Black had played his KR over one square.  
 (See the note - just below.)   


          [ Known "theory" (searching the PB and the games db; using the position after   
             White's eleventh move here); yields the following struggle:   

             11...Re812.Nd2 Qd7 13.Ne4 Qe714.Qa4, ''   ("+/")  (White is clearly better.)   


gotm_jan-2012_ap11.jpg, 140 KB

  {Analysis diagram.}  


            and though White is much (much) better in this position, the game was eventually drawn after over fifty moves.   
            {1/2 - 1/2;  52 total moves.}   

             M. Voiska (2301) - R. Genova (2219); ICT, Sunny Beach / 2006.   [See just the text-score of this game.] 

             (This game is in the ChessBase database, but it is not in the CG database of games.)  ]   



   12.Nd2!,    (clearance/redeploy)   

This is the first choice of many chess engines ...  


gotm_jan-2012_diag15.gif, 09 KB

   r1bq1r2/ppp2pbk/2n3pp/4p3/7P/2PP2P1/P2NPPB1/1RBQ1RK1 b - - 0 12   



White clears the long diagonal for his LSB and also virtually prevents Black from playing ...e5-e4; on his next move. Nd2! also frees White's K-side mass of Pawns to possibly run down the chess board ... 


            [ RR  12.Qa4!?,  "+/="  (White is a little better.)  - Houdini 1.5 ]    



   12...f5;   (strategy?   

Black could simply shift wood back-and-forth, but that (IMO) has never been the way that Morozevich plays chess.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag16.gif, 09 KB

   r1bq1r2/ppp3bk/2n3pp/4pp2/7P/2PP2P1/P2NPPB1/1RBQ1RK1 w - f6 0 13   



I thinks its appropriate to remind you that Morozevich was trying to play sharply and was probably looking to win this game ... and the tournament, as well. 

Black now has the option ... if White makes a mistake ... of starting a K-side avalanche of Pawns in an attempt to attack the White King. 
(Indeed! This is exactly what occurs much later in this game.)   


          [ RR  Or  12...Qe813.Qc2 b614.h5, "+/="  (Maybe "+/") - Fritz 12 ]   



The next series of moves ... (through Black's 15th move); are both reasonable and most of these plies are also some of the top choices of the chess engines, as well. 
 (White prepares d4.)   

   13.Ba3 Rf614.Qc2 Qe815.e3 b6(fianchetto?)   

Now Black has ideas of ...Bb7; or even ...Ba6; as was actually played in the game here.  
(Fritz preferred 15...Rb8 here, Black had to do something to try and neutralize White's pressure down the long diagonal.)  


gotm_jan-2012_diag17.gif, 09 KB

   r1b1q3/p1p3bk/1pn2rpp/4pp2/7P/B1PPP1P1/P1QN1PB1/1R3RK1 w - - 0 16   



Its a very unusual position, and its not easy symmetry, so Black can continue to play for more complications ... as he tries to out-maneuver his opponent.   


    *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  ****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****  ****  *****  *****  *****  *****  *****    

Maybe 16.Rfc1, was worth a look for White ... his next move seems to weaken his light squares, at least just a little.   
(White seems to go for easy centralization, which is rarely a plan which will totally backfire.)  


   16.d4!? Ba617.Rfe1 e4   

Black has succeeded in placing a Pawn on e4, in my opinion this greatly increases the chance that Morozevich might someday launch a winning attack against Vitiugov's King.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag18.gif, 09 KB

  r3q3/p1p3bk/bpn2rpp/5p2/3Pp2P/B1P1P1P1/P1QN1PB1/1R2R1K1 w - - 0 18  



Meanwhile, White is not without chances here - Black's Q-side still looks a little shaky. 


   18.c4 Rc8;   (hmmm)   

Its not clear what Black was trying to accomplish with this move ... maybe placing this piece on d8 was a little better.   


          [ RR  18...Rd819.Bf1 h5; "~" ]  


   19.Qa4!?,   (Reason?)  

I am not sure about this move for White ...   


gotm_jan-2012_diag19.gif, 09 KB

   2r1q3/p1p3bk/bpn2rpp/5p2/Q1PPp2P/B3P1P1/P2N1PB1/1R2R1K1 b - - 0 19   



Maybe  Bf1  or  f2-f3  might have both been a little better than what happened in the game. 
(Either move ... especially the idea of f2-f3 ... might have prevented the attack that Black actually gets in this brawl.)  


          [ RR  19.Bf1, "+/="  - Fritz 12.  


            RR  19.f3, "+/="  - Houdini 1.5. ]   



   19...Nb8;   (Plan - or reaction?)    

Black decides to allow the exchange of the Queens ... perhaps GM Morozevich did not see any real way of improving his position without the swap of the ladies.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag20.gif, 09 KB

   1nr1q3/p1p3bk/bp3rpp/5p2/Q1PPp2P/B3P1P1/P2N1PB1/1R2R1K1 w - - 0 20   




Now White should possibly consider Qb3 or Rb4. 
(GM Vitiugov may have swapped Queens ... thinking that it might lessen the possibility of a mating attack in this game.)  

   20.Qxe8 Rxe821.Rec1 Nd722.Nb3 Rf7;  "=(A balance of power.)    

And now - according to all the engines - the position is perfectly (100%) equal ... ... ...   


gotm_jan-2012_diag21.gif, 09 KB

   4r3/p1pn1rbk/bp4pp/5p2/2PPp2P/BN2P1P1/P4PB1/1RR3K1 w - - 0 23   



Both sides plans are indicated by the Pawn structure, Black will play on the King-side, while Vitiugov must play on the Q-side.  


Virtually all of the engines seem to indicate that White's best move here would be  23.Bf1.  

   23.Bb4 c5!?;   (Premature?)   

Now White could break up the Pawn structure - if he wanted to. 
(The engines indicate that perhaps Black should have played 23...Rc8; first, before playing ...c7-c5.)   


gotm_jan-2012_diag22.gif, 09 KB

   4r3/p2n1rbk/bp4pp/2p2p2/1BPPp2P/1N2P1P1/P4PB1/1RR3K1 w - c6 0 24   



Yet - as an accomplished GM who is considered a master of sharp, attacking games - GM Morozevich understands that the prelude to a successful mating attack is accomplished 
by driving all of your pieces to inferior squares. (So perhaps 23...c5; represents Black's best practical chance at winning this convoluted struggle.)   


   24.Bd2,   [ Very passive. (Possibly - '?!') ]  

This move is much too agreeable ... and may be the final nudge that his opponent needed to decide if it was time to begin the final assault.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag23.gif, 09 KB

   4r3/p2n1rbk/bp4pp/2p2p2/2PPp2P/1N2P1P1/P2B1PB1/1RR3K1 b - - 0 24   



Carefully study this position for a few minutes, and see if you cannot note all of the factors that might allow Black to pull off a successful K-side attack.  


          [ White should have played:   
             >/=  24.dxc5 Bf825.Bf1 Rc826.Rd1 Nxc5; "~"  (unclear)   
             when Black may have the better endgame, because of White's split Pawns on the Queen-side. 
            (Yet - this is still an improvement over the game, at least White would not get mated, or lose 
              material, as what occurred in the actual game.) ]   



Here the engines like the exchange on d4 - before Black proceeds any further (with other ideas).   


As I stated earlier, Black's play will be on the K-side, towards that end, he begins to open lines in that sector.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag24.gif, 09 KB

   4r3/p2n1rbk/bp5p/2p2pp1/2PPp2P/1N2P1P1/P2B1PB1/1RR3K1 w - - 0 25   



Black cannot put this off indefinitely, note that White has a passed QP. (In a long endgame, that could become a big advantage for White.)   


   *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***     *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***     *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***     *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***     *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***     *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***    

The next series of moves are all pretty much best - for both sides.   

   25.hxg5 hxg526.a4 cxd427.exd4 f4!?;  (pawn play)  

All according to plan ... (see the note after move 22).   


gotm_jan-2012_diag25.gif, 08 KB

   4r3/p2n1rbk/bp6/6p1/P1PPpp2/1N4P1/3B1PB1/1RR3K1 w - - 0 28   



If I were White in this position, I think I would be a little worried here, Fritz has defeated me in training games from similar positions ... many times.  


          [ Maybe slightly better was:  RR  27...Kg6; "="  (counterplay) which maintains the balance. ]  



   28.a5,   "="   (White has some active Q-side play.)  

White continues with his advance on the Q-side.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag26.gif, 08 KB

   4r3/p2n1rbk/bp6/P5p1/2PPpp2/1N4P1/3B1PB1/1RR3K1 b - - 0 28   



The position is still pretty close to being deal level, as many good chess engines show by their evaluations here.   


          [ Prematurely pushing the c-Pawn can ruin White's position, as the variation just below will amply demonstrate.    
             </=  28.c5?! bxc529.dxc5? fxg330.fxg3 Bd3;  "-/+"  (Black is winning.) ]   



   28...f3!?;   (space, King-restriction)   

While this seems like a fairly 'normal' move here for White, I think it was to Morozevich's advantage to maintain the tension here.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag27.gif, 08 KB

   4r3/p2n1rbk/bp6/P5p1/2PPp3/1N3pP1/3B1PB1/1RR3K1 w - - 0 29   



Now White could activate his LSB via h3.   


          [ >/=  28...Kg6!;  "~" (unclear)  - Houdini 1.5 ]    



Now five different chess engines all choose  >/=  29.Bh3,  as White's most natural move here.  

   29.Bf1?! Kg6!;   (nexus)   

The critical position has been reached.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag28.gif, 08 KB

   4r3/p2n1rb1/bp4k1/P5p1/2PPp3/1N3pP1/3B1P2/1RR2BK1 w - - 0 30   



White has played some fairly passive moves over the last five or so turns, however, his position may still be tenable.    


   30.axb6?!,   (Bad timing?)  

This seemingly natural move, which is the logical follow-up to White's whole game may - in fact - be the losing move. 
(So - '?' is possibly a more accurate assessment; I was trying to avoid being overly harsh in my evaluations.)   


gotm_jan-2012_diag29.gif, 08 KB

   4r3/p2n1rb1/bP4k1/6p1/2PPp3/1N3pP1/3B1P2/1RR2BK1 b - - 0 30   



Now the game is a problem, "Black to move and win."   


          [ All the engines - after a lot of time and quite a bit of sliding back and forth - choose  >/=  30.Re1,  (e-file, pin)   
             as White's correct follow up. (If 30...Bf6; then 31.Bd3.) ]   



   30...Bf6!!;   (Very nice!!!)    

Now Black sacks a Pawn ... (or two) ...  to get a deadly line-up on the open h-file here.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag30.gif, 08 KB

   4r3/p2n1r2/bP3bk1/6p1/2PPp3/1N3pP1/3B1P2/1RR2BK1 w - - 0 31   



It could be possible that White is now lost, and nothing he will do will save his game.   


White's next move could be forced, at least, this is what all the engines seem to indicate after Black's last move. 

   31.Re1 Rh8!;   (Attack!)    

Black sacrifices a second pawn ...   


gotm_jan-2012_diag31.gif, 08 KB

   7r/p2n1r2/bP3bk1/6p1/2PPp3/1N3pP1/3B1P2/1R2RBK1 w - - 0 32   



... in order to double his Rooks on the h-file here. 
(When I first was playing through this game - without the help of any chess engine for analysis - I thought that White was quite lost here.)  


   32.Rxe4 Rfh7;   (What the ... ?)   

Black has succeeded in his plan, both of his Rooks are doubled on the h-file and Morozevich is threatening a simple mate in just one more move.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag32.gif, 08 KB

   7r/p2n3r/bP3bk1/6p1/2PPR3/1N3pP1/3B1P2/1R3BK1 w - - 0 33   



White looks to be lost, I thought that his next move was simply a prelude to resignation.  

   33.Rh4T(100% forced.)   

At first, it appears that White is simply playing a "desperado," in preparation to call it quits.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag33.gif, 08 KB

   7r/p2n3r/bP3bk1/6p1/2PP3R/1N3pP1/3B1P2/1R3BK1 b - - 0 33   



However, it turns out that Vitiugov does have a tactic in mind, but it also appears to fall a little short of the desired goal.  


          [ Of course not: </= 33.Re6?? Rh1#.  ]   


Now Black captures a whole Rook, but a check on e4 prevents a calamity here. 

   33...gxh434.Bd3+ Kg735.Bxh7 Kxh7;   (Material.)   

The dust has settled.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag34.gif, 08 KB

   7r/p2n3k/bP3b2/8/2PP3p/1N3pP1/3B1P2/1R4K1 w - - 0 36   



White has avoided being mated, but seems to be lost, as he is a piece down and the first player's King is still not secure.  

However, there is the matter of Pawns ... and Black is slowly running out of them!  


   36.Ra1!?(Hits Bishop/a6.)    

This looks like a very active move, yet the simple capture on a7 perhaps should have been strongly considered by GM N. Vitiugov.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag35.gif, 08 KB

   7r/p2n3k/bP3b2/8/2PP3p/1N3pP1/3B1P2/R5K1 b - - 0 36   



Not surprisingly, all of the better chess engines, (Fritz, Rybka and also Houdini); seem to indicate that White is quite lost here. 
(So, perhaps the correct verdict would be: "36.Ra1?" here.) 


In a way, White was either lucky ... or just good. 
(Playing perhaps the most complicated move in a very difficult position ... especially if your opponent is short of time ...  
 is actually an intuitive process.)  


          [ I tested this position with about 7-10 strong chess engines. 

            All of them seem indicate that White should have played:   (>/=)  RR  36.bxa7!? hxg3;  "=/+"  (Black is still a little better.) 
            and Black is still a little better in this position. 

             (But its NOT clear that Black can force a win!!! Some of the endgames that I examined are drawn due to the paucity 
              of the lowest valued units.) ]   



The next two ply are pretty much forced for both players.   


White has to keep his pieces active, to play passive moves in this position would only guarantee that Vitiugov would eventually lose the game.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag36.gif, 08 KB

   7r/R2n3k/1P3b2/8/2bP3p/1N3pP1/3B1P2/6K1 b - - 0 37   




Now Black has a choice to make, and its an extremely crucial one!  


          [ Or {probably worse was} :   (</=) RR  37.bxa7 Ra8;  "-/+"  (Black has a winning advantage.)  
             when White falls apart. ]   



   37...Bxb3?(Maybe - '??')    

Not only does this move throw away the win for Black, it also places GM A. Morozevich in severe jeopardy of losing the game, as well.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag37.gif, 08 KB

   7r/R2n3k/1P3b2/8/3P3p/1b3pP1/3B1P2/6K1 w - - 0 38   



Better was the simple and natural ...Rd8; to get the BR off the useless corner square of h8. 
(Also - Black's Knight was a good piece, it gave Black two "hits" on the b8-square, which is where White wants to promote his dangerous b-pawn.)   


          [ Black should have played the following continuation: 
            >/=  37...Rd838.Na5,  Hmmm. 
            Might as well.   

                  (Or 38.Nc5 Bxd4; "-/+")   

            38...Bd539.gxh4 Bxd4;  "-/+"  when Morozevich is winning. ]   



The next few moves are relatively forced/best ... for both parties, I think.  

   38.Rxd7+ Kg639.Bf4 hxg340.Bxg3,  "+/="  (Best / forced.)   

Now White is OK, the machines even show that Vitiugov might be just a tad better here.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag38.gif, 08 KB

   7r/3R4/1P3bk1/8/3P4/1b3pB1/5P2/6K1 b - - 0 40   



Of course, the question Black should be asking is: "how do I get all of my pieces to better squares?"   


          [ </=  40.fxg3?! Rh7;  "-/+" ]   



   40...Ba4?!(Another inaccuracy.)   

Perhaps the last bad choice made by Morozevich in this game, now it appears that nothing he can do will save his game from this point, onwards.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag39.gif, 07 KB

   7r/3R4/1P3bk1/8/b2P4/5pB1/5P2/6K1 w - - 0 41   



Now White finds a nice move based on a tactical shot.  


          [ Black had to play: >/=  40...Be6!41.Rd6 Bc8!42.Rxf6+ Kxf643.Be5+ Ke644.Bxh8 Kd5;  (endgame)  
            (Opposite-colored Bishop's!!)  

             ... when Black may be able to draw because of the difficulty of this type of ending. ]   



   41.Rd6!,   (Pin, threat?)    

Not only does this pin cause Black great discomfort, White also threatens RxB/f6+, and Be5+, winning a whole Rook.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag40.gif, 07 KB

   7r/8/1P1R1bk1/8/b2P4/5pB1/5P2/6K1 b - - 0 41   


Black is probably lost from this point in this struggle ...  


   41...Rg842.b7 Kf5  

Black is trying to defend ...   


gotm_jan-2012_diag41.gif, 07 KB

   6r1/1P6/3R1b2/5k2/b2P4/5pB1/5P2/6K1 w - - 0 43   



Oh, how the worm has turned! 
(Just a few moves ago, White was losing, and now he might be winning in this position.)  


   43.Ra6!?,   (Hmmm.)   

This is OK ... and does not really change the computer's evaluation of this position.  


gotm_jan-2012_diag42.gif, 07 KB

   6r1/1P6/R4b2/5k2/b2P4/5pB1/5P2/6K1 b - - 0 43   



However,  43.Rb6, (Fritz)  followed by promoting the Pawn seemed much simpler for White.   


The next series of plays looks to be best/forced ... ... ... 

   43...Bxd444.b8Q Rxb845.Bxb8 Bc246.Kh2!   

White finds a nice tactic, and improves his King's position at the same time.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag43.gif, 07 KB

   1B6/8/R7/5k2/3b4/5p2/2b2P1K/8 b - - 0 46   



Of course, the Pawn on f2 is off-limits ...   


   46...Bd3?!;   (Maybe just - '?')   

Black could be lost, yet he still needs to find the best defense ...   


gotm_jan-2012_diag44.gif, 07 KB

   1B6/8/R7/5k2/3b4/3b1p2/5P1K/8 w - - 0 47   



The time-limit was 50 moves in 100 minutes, plus a 15-second delay, so I am sure that time pressure (eventually) became a big factor in this struggle.   


          [ Even worse was:  </=  46...Bxf2??47.Ra2"+/-"  and Black loses a piece.  


            The correct line of defense probably was:  >/=  46...Kg4T(- Fritz 12.)   
             when White might be winning, but the first player still has to find a lot 
             of good moves to force Black to capitulate. ]   



   47.Ra4 Be5+?;   (Maybe - '??')    

I don't know why Morozevich is exchanging here ...  
(The computer's evaluations change drastically after this faulty play by White!! Right after this move, Fritz's evals simply skyrocket!)  


gotm_jan-2012_diag45.gif, 07 KB

   1B6/8/8/4bk2/R7/3b1p2/5P1K/8 w - - 0 48   



This just makes things easier for Vitiugov, better was  >/= 47...Bf6;  and trying to make White force the exchange of the dark-squared Bishops in order for White to make real progress from here.  



Now the win is fairly straightforward and undemanding for White ... I reckon that you do not become a 2700+ player without having at least a little technique.  

White drives the Black King back as much as possible, and then wins the f-Pawn. 

   48.Bxe5 Kxe549.Kg3 Be2 50.Kg4 Kf651.Kf4 Bd1 52.Ra6+ Kf753.Ke5 Be2 54.Rf6+ Kg755.Kf5 Bd3+;   
   56.Kg5 Be257.Rf4 Kg8 58.Kh6 Bd159.Rd4 Be2 60.Rd7,  
(Restrict the BK.) 

White has tried to "out-tempo" the Bishop. This failed, yet White has succeeded in nailing the Black King to the first row.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag46.gif, 07 KB

   6k1/3R4/7K/8/8/5p2/4bP2/8 b - - 0 60   



The correct plan is now child's play, (esp. for this class of player); bring the WK back, grab the Black f-Pawn, and enjoy a simple (winning)  <<K+P vs. K>>  endgame. 
( White will have just enough space ...  by keeping his King in front of the Pawn, White wins the ending without any further difficulties. 
   ---> See my 'Endgame School' if you would like to explore the subject of K+P endgames. [more] )  


   60...Kf861.Kg5 Ke8 62.Ra7 Kf863.Kf4 Kg8 64.Ra3 Kf765.Rxf3 Bxf3 66.Kxf3 Kf667.Kf4, "+/-"     

This is a simple endgame win, Morozevich realizes this and turns down his King.   


gotm_jan-2012_diag47.gif, 06 KB

   8/8/5k2/8/5K2/8/5P2/8 b - - 0 67   



          [ The win is relatively elementary now, in case you want to see "the proof" ... here it is:   
             67.Kf4 Ke668.Kg5 Kf7 69.Kf5 Ke770.f3! Kf7 71.f4 Ke772.Kg6 Ke6;  
             73.f5+ Kd774.f6 Ke8 75.Kg7"+/-"   and the f-pawn will promote. ]   



What a shame that Black lost this game, his concept came very close to succeeding! 
[ This game should be a stark warning to all the students that think simple/passive moves are OK in any position. By repeatedly playing inert and docile tries on the chess-board, Vitiugov brought his position to the edge of the great divide. Only the fact that Morozevich stumbled in a byzantine setting, (perhaps short of thinking time); allowed GM Vitiugov to win this convoluted, dense struggle. ] 


     Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2012. All rights reserved.     



   1 - 0   

If you are interested, I have made a database of all the relative and pertinent games in the English. [A16] If you would like this UN-ANNOTATED version (for free!); all you have to do is to send me an e-mail ... you MUST be able to open an archived ChessBase file ... I would prefer not to send it as a PGN file, it would be too large. 

Please note that the English Opening can be reached via 1.c2-c4, and also 1.N/g1-f3. 

Grunfeld Defense  -  1.d4, Nf6;  2.c4, g6;  3.Nc3, d5!?  [More, see this opening line on the CG website.] 

  The analysis for this page was prepared with the excellent programChessBase 10.0. (My main engine was Fritz 12, I also use Houdini 1.5.)  

  The HTML was polished with several different tools and programs, (mostly FP)  ...  the text was checked for spelling with MS Word.  

  The diagrams were created with the program,  Chess Captor 2.25. (And also ChessBase 10.0.) 

  Emails ... about this web-page.  


<< Hi AJ!

I watched the video and went over the annotations. It is all very impressive! I truly enjoyed it! I saw no mistakes but had to prove to myself after 37...Rd8; 38.Nc5 Bxd4; Black is winning. For example, 39.Nxd7 hxg3!;  40.Ne5+ Kg8;  41.Nxc4 Bxf2+;  42.Kf1 Bc5;  with  43...g2+;  coming next.

Again this is remarkable work! You put a tremendous effort into this project and it really shows. Fantastic job!

I also got an e-mail from a lady named Sharon. She lives in south Florida, and she said her young son also enjoys my web pages. As a treat, when her son is good, she prints out one my web pages, and gives it to him - as a reward for various tasks, like cleaning his room. (She asked that I not use his name.) So hello there! Thanks for the e-mail, and I am glad that you enjoy my web pages. 

Click  HERE  to return to my  HOME Page  for this site. 

Click  HERE  to go (or return) to my "games list," for the  year of 2012.  

Click  HERE  to go to (or return to) my (main/big/old GC) web-site.

Click  HERE  to go (or return) to my  GC  page for  "The Game of The Month."  

(Or use the "back" button on your web browser.)  

  Click  HERE  to go to my first domain,  or click  HERE  to go to my second domain.  


  This page was first posted on/in:  (late) December, 2011.     Final format completed on: Monday; January 23rd, 2012.     This page was last updated on 03/17/15 .  

    COPYRIGHT (c) A.J. Goldsby I;    

    Copyright () A.J. Goldsby; 1985 - 2014 & 2015.  All rights reserved.    

Free Counters
Free Counters