GOTM; May, 2004.  


   Sergey Rublevsky - Andrei Volokitin   


DOUBLE-PLAY!!

I was inspired by the warmer weather ... the advent of the baseball season ... and the sight of boys playing ball on a corner lot ... to make this month's feature special  ...  
 ... ... ... TWO GAMES FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. 

   GM's L. Van Wely and Jan Timman faced off in the Cogas Energie Match  ...  for the details and game;  click  here.      


  Welcome to my ... "Game of The Month" ... for May, 2004.  

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

This is a fairly well-annotated game, from recent GM practice. This is a contest that is  aimed  at players  rated approximately  1000-to-1650  in rating strength. (USCF)  There is lots of repetitive stuff, and explanations; but before you get offended and write me a letter, please remember who I started this feature for.  (Lower-rated players!)  And while this feature is aimed at less experienced players ... and you will often find the simplest idea or variation explained ... it is my sincere hope that even the exalted MASTER class of player would find this work of some value. (At least I truly hope so.) 

Indeed, the opening work should be of value to ALL players. EVERY single pertinent opening resource has been consulted ... from ECO to NCO to MCO-14. (And also a couple of books ... and even a few pamphlets on this particular system of the Sicilian Defense.) Additionally all the work has been checked VERY carefully with a strong computer program, to guard against possible errors. And finally, I have conducted literally DOZENS of database searches ... I am quite certain that NO game ... that is important to the theory of this line ... was missed. 

I will continue this month, the trend I began a few months back. There will be fewer diagrams, but there will also be - I hope ... if I can get it to work properly ... a js-script re-play page as well. (A very handy feature to have, especially if you do not have a chess board handy. Maybe for those guys who are wireless ... an on the long train or car ride?) 

Be sure to drop me a line, and tell me what you think. And please be sure to tell all your chess friends about this column. Respect my copyright, and ... ENJOY!!   (Thanks.) 

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NOTE:  I just wanted to reiterate how much these games mean to me  ... ... ... 
and how much work it takes to actually bring these games {and the corresponding effort} to fruition. 

I started working on this game when this issue of TWIC first came out. It has been very close to three full weeks of intensive labor. What is some of this labor you might ask? Well, for one, there is the opening analysis. I probably worked at least a week on the opening. Every known reference work was consulted, from ECO to NCO to MCO, etc. I also have several books and pamphlets on this system, they were consulted as well. To take the cream of what the books had to offer, and then transfer that to my game was the ultimate goal. Another aspect of the opening work is that I literally do dozens and dozens and dozens of database searches.  [ Let me give you just one example. I searched the on-line database, and found a total of OVER 300 games for one position. I ignored all the games between lower rated players and players without titles. I found roughly 60 games that were interesting and transferred these to my hard drive. Then I played through nearly all of these, some in a fair amount of detail, trying to find the game that I felt was the most interesting for the possible student. Eventually ... you must pick  just one game  to represent the position at hand. Lets see ... I said that, "White is slightly better," so it could not be a game where the first player lost. Eventually I whittle the selection down to two or three games. Now which one? One is a long positional squeeze. Another is a long endgame, and the last one is a crazy King-side attack. Finally I decide on the endgame, as I think it most closely represents correct play for the aspiring student. Hours - even days - worth of work, and all just to find one game to represent one opening line! ] 

 And once I am done with the opening, the real work really starts.    The analysis.  Where did the loser go wrong? [Bear in mind I have been known to do extensive computer "engine-vs.-engine" analysis, just to insure the evaluation of one position is correct!!] The combination in this game is very complicated, at times the computer was practically no help at all. In the end, I spent very close to two full weeks of work doing the analysis ... usually a bare minimum of 2-3 hours a day, most often a whole lot more. 

Then I usually spend at least one day polishing everything up. I re and re-read all the verbiage to insure both accuracy and that the real intent of my thought is correctly conveyed. I might re-analyze a few sub-variations, and offer a few more explanations. Several times, as my wife can attest, this polishing process has taken 2-3 days of very intensive work. (She says I am grouchy during this phase.) 

Then I have to transfer the work to the actual HTML page. Now the freaking formatting begins. Have you ever seen a raw printout or page generated by most chess programs? It is so ugly and hard to follow, that it is almost obscene.  So I usually spend 2-3 days formatting the page.  There are two main goals here, #1.) THAT IT BE NEAT AND PLEASING TO THE EYE; and  #2.) THAT IT IS FAIRLY EASY TO FOLLOW BOTH THE GAME AND THE NOTES! Then I generate the diagrams, check everything with a compiler program ... and then I am done. (Once I upload and post it, that is.)  05/12/2004


   This is basically a text-based page. (With just a few diagrams.)   
  I strongly suggest that you use a chess set.  

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   Click  HERE  to see this game on a  java-script re-play  board.   

     Click  HERE  to see an explanation of the symbols I use.     


  GM Sergey Rublevsky (2671) - IM Andrei Volokitin (2600)  

  [B52]  
  National Team (Chess League) Championships  
  (Round # 1.) / Sochi, Russia;  04,20,2004.  

A.J. Goldsby I

   The CB Medal for this game ... you can readily see all the features of this game. (gotm_may-04_medal.gif, 02)


A.J.'s "Game of The Month" for May, 2004.  (From  TWIC  #  495.)  

I tell my students all the time ... "It does not matter how brilliant your idea is, you simply must complete your development BEFORE trying anything like an attack." (Or any other middlegame idea, for that 
matter.)  

Here a player with a FIDE 2600 rating ignores this advice, launching a full-scale assault almost from the very first move. The end result is a predictable loss, a good object lesson, and my game for this 
month!  

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

[ After I had been working on this game every day for almost a week, (doing opening analysis, spending many hours with the computer - investigating some of the key positions, and doing multiple searches of the databases); I began to actually regret choosing this game! In fact, after I had worked on this game for several days straight, I had come to believe that I had bitten off more than I could possibly ever chew!! It also renders my introduction to this game almost moot, but I left it in ... just to show that sometimes even a Master does not fully grasp all the ramifications of what happened in a game.]  

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

The ratings are accurate, and are actual FIDE ratings. 

*******

{They were already part of the game score when I downloaded this file from "The Week In Chess" web site. Of course the game was totally UN-annotated at that point!}


 1.e4 c5;  
The ultra-aggressive Sicilian, usually a sign Black would like to try to win. 

The Sicilian does not try to equalize like the move of 1...e5. Instead it is an asymmetrical opening 
that seeks imbalances from the very start. 

The positives are that Black does get to play for a win. (One only has to think of all the brilliant wins 
by Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer in this opening to know that Black does have good chances 
to play for the full point.) 

The drawbacks are that White, especially in an Open Sicilian, often has better development, 
more space, and a mobile Pawn center. This can be an explosive combination - if Black is not 
careful, he can be swept right off the chess board.
(Look at a few of the many books on miniatures in this opening, like the series of books ... 
 by SM Bill Wall.)  

     [ Black can also play: 1...e5; at this point as well. (Ruy Lopez ... anyone?) ]  

 

 2.Nf3 d6;  3.Bb5+!?,   {See the diagram ... just below.}     
Here it is, an off-beat branch of the Sicilian. (This was very popular for a while back in the 1980's.)  
Strangely - I am not sure if this line even has an adequate name.

 ("The Boleslavsky Bb5+ Variation?")  

{Eric Schiller - in SCO - calls this "The Canal Variation." Whether this is correct or not, I have no 
  idea ... I never heard it called this by this name - at least, not before I picked up Eric Schiller's 
  book. There was a CD pamphlet that was being sold in the 1970's or the 1980's, and this line was 
  referred to as: "The Anti-Sicilian System," ...  
  or something like that. GM J. Nunn, in his excellent book, "Nunn's Chess Opening's," 
  (NCO, pg. # 199);  refers to this opening as: "The Moscow Variation." It seems like every 
  reference work that I pick up gives this system a completely different name!!}  

 

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

   A somehwat unusual line of the Sicilian. (gotm_may-04_pos1.gif, 39 KB)

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

 

While this variation is similar to the Rossolimo Variation, (1.e4, c5;  2.Nf3, Nc6; 3.Bb5); 
this line has its own unique challenges and problems for Black here. 

It is also easy to assume that this variation is innocuous and not play energetically. It is then that 
you will find that this system has real teeth! {I am speaking from experience!!} 

Probably the main drawback to this system is that Black can - and often does - obtain a quick 
and full equality. But unless you are in a "must-win" situation, this should not be a large deterrent 
from playing this system. (White plays for a win - with little or no risk, and avoids the bulk of his  
opponent's preparation as well.)  

GM Nick de Firmian ... in MCO-14; confirms that this system has a reputation as a drawing line, 
at least at the highest levels.  

Apparently this system is a line that Rublevsky uses fairly regularly, I found close to 20 examples 
of this player using this line in the database. 

     [ More often played is the following continuation:   (>/=)  3.d4! cxd44.Nxd4 Nf6 
        5.Nc3, "+/="  {Diagram?}  which can lead to literally dozens of different branches 
        of the Sicilian. 

        (See previous installments of my column on the ... "Game of The Month.") ]  

 

 3...Bd7; (best?)  {Diagram?}   
This is the most popular response for Black in this line. (The other main choice is ...Nd7; here.)  

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

     [ One respected reference book gives the following alternative line:  
        3...Nd7!?4.d4 Ngf65.Nc3 cxd46.Qxd4 e5!?{Diagram?}  
        This looks like it fixes the pawn-structure too early for my taste.
      *****************************************************************  

            ( One of my tournament games against an  Alabama master  went something like:  
               >/=  6...a6!{Diagram?}  I think theory says that it is best for White to take 
               on d7. I like that line for Black as well.  

               7.Be2!? b5!?8.0-0 e5!9.Qd1!? h6!?10.a3!? Bb711.Bd3 Rc8! 
               12.Be3!? Nc5!;  "="  {Diagram?}  and Black had an easy game, and went 
               on to win in just under fifty moves from here. (Birmingham, 1988.  I wrote 
               down the guys rating, but left the slot for the name blank! I think I know who 
               it was, but it is better not to guess - in case I get it wrong.)  

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

              Not to be recommended is:   </=  6...g6!?; ('?!')  7.e5! dxe58.Nxe5 Bg7;   
              9.Bg5! 0-010.0-0-0! Qa5!?11.Nc4! Qc712.Rhe1! Qxh2?!13.Rxe7    
              13...Qxg2?14.Qh4!,  ''  (Maybe "+/-")  {Diagram?}    
              and White is clearly much better.  

              GM Jan Timman - GM Joel Lautier;  ICT / Hoogovens (Masters Invitational)    
              Wijk aan Zee, NED; 1997.  

              [ See MCO-14, page # 353;  column # 06, and also note # (w.). ] )   

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

       (We return to our study of the main line of book.)  
        7.Qd3!? h6!?8.Be3 Be79.Bc4 a610.a4 Qa5!?{Diagram?}     
        The end of the column.  

        11.0-0 Nc512.Bxc5 Qxc513.Nd5 Nxd514.Bxd5 0-015.Ra3 Rb8
        16.Rd1 Kh8!?17.Rc3 Qa518.Qc4 f5; "~"  {Diagram?}     
        White seems to have a slight edge, according to several programs, but MCO 
        (and de Firmian) calls it even ... so I choose to split the difference. 

            (Maybe {now} 19.h3, "+/="  here.)   

        GM L. Yudasin - GM Z. KozulICT / European (men's) Team Championships  
        Pula, CRO; 1997.  (0-1, 37 moves.)  

        [ See MCO-14, page # 353;  col. # 06, and see also note # (x.). ]   

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

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

        According to MCO, ...Nc6; is probably playable - but seldom seen. 

        (</=)  3...Nc6!?4.0-0 Bd75.Re1 Nf66.c3 a67.Bxc6 Bxc6;    
        8.d4!? Bxe49.Bg5 Bd510.Nbd2 c4; "~"  {Diagram?}   
        with a very unclear position. 

        {White has some "comp" for the Pawn, but it is not clear if it will be enough or not.}  

        S. Byrnell - GM I. RogersICT / Lloyds Bank Open / London, ENG; 1990.    
        (This game was drawn in only 39 moves.)  

        [ See MCO-14, page # 353;  column # 5-6, & also note # (u.). ]  ]   

*********************  

   --->  Be sure to  study  the  January  "Game of The Month!"  (That opening is very similar to this one.)  

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

(After a brief look at theory, we return to the game at hand. It is no good to retreat the Bishop ... 
  this just loses a tempo. So the first player almost always exchanges on the d7-square in this 
  position.)  

 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7!{Diagram?}     
This is considered the correct move by almost all the theoretical manuals. 
(This is because the best square for Black's QN is still on c6.) 

     [  Possible is:  4...Nxd7!?{Diagram?}   
         with a playable game for Black.  

        See the {historic} contest:  
        I. Kan - G. LisitisinThe 22nd U.R.S. Championship  
        Moscow, U.S.S.R; 1955.  ]   

 

 5.0-0 Nf6!?;   {See the diagram ... just below.}     
This is all still pretty much book, although ECO and MCO prefer that Black use the other Knight here.

 

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

   Black continues to develop.  (gotm_may-04_pos2.gif, 39 KB)

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

 

There were almost  1000 games  in the database with this position. The earliest example I could 
find was the following:  GM I. Boleslavsky - GM M. Najdorf;  (FIDE) Candidates Tournament /  
Budapest, Hungary; 1950.
  {This game was quickly drawn in only 22 moves.} 

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

     [  Black can also play:  (>/=)  5...Nc6!?6.c3!? Nf67.d4!?{Diagram?}  
        Offering a pawn gambit, which Black declines.   

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

           ( Safer was:  >/=  7.Re1!, "+/="  7...e6!?;  8.d4!? cxd4;  9.cxd4 d5!?;       
             10.e5 Ne4, "="  {Diagram?}      
             Milorad Knezevic - Robert J. ("Bobby") Fischer;  Skopje, Yugoslavia; 1967.     
             {This game was drawn in 47 carefully played moves.}    

              [ See MCO-14; page # 353; col. # 05, and also note # (t.). ] )       

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

        (Returning to the main stem game/analysis-line here.)   
        7...e6!?8.dxc5!?{Diagram?}     
        This is too lax and easy-going.  

   *******   

           ( White should definitely try to punish Black with:  >/=  8.d5!, "+/="  {Diag?}      
               when the first player should keep a solid space advantage.      
               (My opponent - after the game - said he avoided this, as he did not like   
                 closed positions.)  )      

   *******   

       8...dxc59.Qe2! Qc710.Bg5!?,  "+/="  {Diagram?}    
       White has a small, but solid edge here - in this position.  

       Rex Demers - A.J. Goldsby I2nd Annual (city) Open    
       Orlando, FL; {USA} 1994.  (0-1, 39 moves.)  ]    

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

 

To be considered in this position was both the simple d3, and also the very natural move of Nc3 here. 

 6.Qe2!?,  (hmmm)   {See the diagram - just below.}      
This is not a bad move, in fact it is completely logical. 
(It is not yet clear where the Rooks should be deployed.)  

 

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

   An interesting Queen move by White.  (gotm_may-04_pos3.gif, 39 KB)

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

 

The 'book' move here is Re1, but there is no guarantee of an absolute advantage from 
this line ... so this move (Qe2) certainly looks worth a try.  

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

     [ With the following moves:   6.Re1!? Nc67.c3!?{Diagram?}  
        Trying to build a big center. 

           ( White can also try: 7.b3!?, "~"  {Diagram?}    
              but this looks too slow to me. )     

        7...e68.d4!? cxd49.cxd4 d510.e5 Ne4{Diagram?}   
        we transpose to a variation where Black has pretty solid equality.  
        (See the analysis, above.) ]   

  ************  

 

 6...Nc6;  7.c3,  {squares}   {Diagram?}   
This move is both natural and good. White prevents ...Nd4 by Black, as well as preparing 
a <possible> later pawn push in the center. (d2-d4)  

     [ White can also play b3 in this position. For example:  7.b3 g6{Diagram?}    
        This fianchetto makes sense here.  

        For example, see the contest:  GM Zhang Zong - GM V. Akopian 
        6th Ubeda Open, 2001.     

            ( The move of: 7...e6!?; {Diag?} is solid, but less ambitious. )    

       After the further moves:  8.c3!? Bg79.d4 cxd410.cxd4 Rc8 
       11.Bb2 0-012.Nc3 d513.e5 Ne8;  "~"  {Diagram?}     
       Black should be OK. {Analysis line.} ]  

 

 7...Qg4!?;  (attack?)    {See the diagram ... just below.}     
An overtly aggressive move ... I thought this would have been new to theory, but it was definitely  
not a new move ... not by a long shot!   

 

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

   Black plays an interesting Queen move of his own.  (gotm_may-04_pos4.gif, 39 KB)

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

 

While not unsound, I greatly prefer the move of ...e6; in this position for Black.  
(While somewhat staid, Black will not get blown away after such a solid move - there are hundreds   
  of games in the database after 7...e6; and the second player wins his fair share of these contests.)  

 

     [ Or  >/=  7...e68.d4!? cxd49.cxd4 d510.e5 Ne4; "~"  {Diagram?}      
        when Black has few real problems to deal with here.  

        For example, see the game:  GM E. Rozentalis - GM A. Chernin;    
        URSch-FL, Lvov, USSR; 1987.  (Black won, 0-1, in like 75 moves.)  ]   

 

  8.d3,   {Diagram?}    
This is probably the simplest answer here for White.  

     [ The other try here was:  8.Re1, "~"  ]    

 

 8...Ne5!?;  (hmmm)   {Diagram?}      
This move is the first try of most computer programs, but I don't like it. Before Black begins 
engaging in any middlegame operations, he should complete his development and castle. 
(Good chess principles.)

     [ After simple moves like:  >/=  8...g6; ('!')  9.h3 Qd710.Bg5 Bg711.Nbd2 0-0 
        12.Qe3, "+/="  {Diagram?}   when White keeps a small, but solid edge ... but with 
        correct play Black should probably equalize. {analysis} ]   

 

White's next move is virtually forced. (Not NxN/e5??, Qxe2.)
Otherwise, White gets doubled Pawns in front of his King.  

 9.Nbd2 Nh5!?;  {Diagram?}    
Again ... this move is the first choice of several computer programs that I tested this position 
on  ...  (Fritz 8.0, Deep Junior, and CM9000); but what-ever happened to the concept of  ...  
"getting out all your pieces, and then castle as quickly as possible." ???  
(The quote is from Emanuel Lasker's "Manual of Chess.")  

      [ Maybe Black could try something like:   9...e610.h3 Qh5;    
         11.Re1, "~"  ("+/=")  {Diagram?}    
         when White might have a slight edge ... but not a whole lot more. ]  

 

 10.d4! Nf4;  (a mating attack???)    {See the diagram ... just below.}       
According to the laws of positional chess - as I understand them - an attack like this by the 
second player is ONLY feasible when the first has made some fundamental error.  
(I don't believe White has made any mistakes; his moves - according to all the principles that 
 I teach all of my students - have been thoroughly sound.)  

In the meantime, it is hard to believe that a three-piece attack ... with the rest of Black's forces 
sitting on their original squares ... will refute White's entire opening set-up!!  

 

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

   Black threatens something.  (gotm_may-04_pos5.gif, 38 KB)

  *************************  

The position is interesting, and certainly is worthy of close study. (And maybe a diagram as well!)  

 

     [ Or  10...0-0-0!?11.Qe3{Diagram?}   
        This is probably best.  

           ( Not </=  11.dxe5??;  as  11...Nf4;  {Diagram?}      
             wins the house for Black. ("-/+")     
             {White has no reasonable way to meet the threat of mate,     
               and also the Knight's attack on the Q.} )      

        11...Nf412.g3 Nxf3+13.Nxf3 Nh3+14.Kg2, "+/="  (wild!)  {Diagram?}    
        with a very unbalanced and unusual position ... but White only has a small - but 
        (a)  fairly firm - advantage.  

        This could be an improvement over the actual course of the game ...  
        but I am  NOT (!)  certain, so I will only offer this continuation ...  
        and allow the student to make his own choice in this position. ]  

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

 

White's next move is forced.  (If the silly Qe3???, then just Qxg2#.)  

 11.Qb5+ Kd8!?N;   {See the diagram - just below.}       
This appears to be the first original move of this game - Black varies from the  Horvath - Utasi 
encounter given just below. (Several programs choose this move ... and rate the position as 
being completely equal.)  

 

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

   Black's last move is not appealing.  (gotm_may-04_pos6.gif, 38 KB)

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

 

In my opinion, this move stinks. The simple visual impression is horrible. 
(If Black's attack fails, he will certainly have a very rotten game.)  

But this may not be the losing move, or at least not according to the boxes.
(I think it could be the losing move, but also ... I am NOT 100% sure.)   

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

     [ A previous game had gone:  (>/=)  11...Nc612.Ne1!?{Diagram?}    
        This is probably inferior. ('?!')  

           ( I don't understand why White avoided the very simple:      
             >/=  12.g3!, ("+/=")  {Diagram?}      
             as it appears to give the first player a fairly decent advantage. )      

        12...0-0-013.f3 Qh514.d5 Ne515.Nb3? ('??')  {Diagram?}  
        A bad move or even {effectively} a blunder ... the White Queen very  
        quickly runs out of useful squares. 

           ( After the plain:  >/=  15.Rf2, "="  {Diag?}  White has nothing to fear! )       

        15...a6!16.Qb6!? Ne2+17.Kf2[],   (urgh)   {Diagram?}   
        It is ugly to have to drag your King out into the open, but this move is 
        completely forced.   

           ( </=  17.Kh1? Nc4;  18.Qa7 Ng3+;  19.Kg1 Nxf1; etc. ("-/+") )       

        17...Nc418.Qa7 Nxc119.Nxc5?{Diagram?}   
         Piling errors ... on top of errors.  

           ( >/= 19.Rxc1[], 19...Qxh2, "/+" )     

        19...dxc5!?('?')  {Diagram?}     
         Black fails to take advantage of White's mis-step!   

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

           ( Much better was:  >/=  19...Qh4+!20.g3[] Qxh2+;  {Diagram?}      
             Putting White in a terrible bind.        

             Now White only has  ONE  legal move ... according to the rules of chess!       
             21.Ng2 dxc522.Qxc5+ Kb823.Qxc4 Rc824.Qd4 e5!!;       
             25.Qxe5+ Ka826.Raxc1 Bc5+27.Ke1 Qxg2; ("-/+")  {Diagram?}        
             with an easy win for Black.      

             Of course this combination is very long ---> 17 ply, in fact!  It also contains        
             many subtle and hidden points,  so it is very easy to see why even a strong      
             player would not be able to calculate such a sequence over the board. )        

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

        20.Qxc5+ Kb821.Qxc4 Qh6!?;  "/+"  (Maybe "-/+")   {Diagram?}   
         Black went on to win from here.  

        T. Horvath - T. UtasiNational Championship Tournament  
         (Budapest?), Hungary; 1984.  (Black won, 0-1, in 44 moves.)     

        I annotated this game ... at least the important part ... mainly because I am 
        sure many players wanted to repeat Black's success in this game.  

        But, as you can readily see from the above analysis, repeating a game -  
        just because of the result - can be an extremely risky business!!    

           ( Better was: >/=  21...Rc8!; "-/+" );      

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

       Black could take a crack at:  (>/=)  11...Nd7!?12.g3 Rb813.Kh1 a6;  
       14.Qa4 Nd3;  "~"  {Diagram?}     
       with a crazy position ... but I don't think that Black is losing here.  {analysis} ]   

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

 

 12.Ne1!!;  (Maybe - '!!!')  (search horizon)    {See the diagram ... just below.}     
The computer says that this move is incorrect, and the scores almost immediately begin 
to favor Black by nearly half a pawn. (Or more!)  

Editors note: I repeated the above experiment on (at least) five different computers, to include several 
of my students' computers as well. We also used chess engines from CB, (Fritz, Junior, Shredder, etc.); 
programs like Crafty and Rebel, and many others - like ChessMaster 9000. One program that one of 
my students uses - I forget the name of the engine, but I think it is one you can download for free off 
the Internet - says that Black is WINNING after 12.Ne1. (By nearly two or three points.)  

 

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

   White just played a move so deep ... possibly even the best commercial programs do NOT understand it!  (gotm_may-04_pos7.gif, 37 KB)

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

 

But my experience is that if the final outcome  {of any sequence of moves} is more than 
5-7 moves in advance,  {and also has many sidelines};  [then]  the computer may  not  
be capable of fully comprehending all of the consequences of the combination. 

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

     Therefore I will ignore the computer's hastily drawn conclusions.  

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

     [  Maybe poor Volokitin only expected a continuation something like:  
        12.g3!? Nh3+13.Kg2[]{Diagram?}   
        Putting the King in the corner only manages to drop a piece.  

           ( Not </= 13.Kh1?? Nxf3; "-/+" )     

        13...Nf4+14.Kg1 Nh3+15.Kg2 Nf4+;  ("=")  {Diagram?}    
        with an obvious and simple draw by repeating these moves ...  
        over and over again. ]    

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

From here - - - until Black's play of 16...Qh5; all of the moves appear to be forced ... for both sides!  
{I have been through this sequence around 25 times ... with many different analysis engines. This 
  only seems to confirm the above statement.}   

 12...Ned3;  (why?)    {See the diagram ... just below.}    
This combination - from Black's point of view - is based on the possibility of decoying 
the defender of the heart of White's position, (the WN on e1); away from the defense 
of the vital g2-square.  

 

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

   Black continues to mix it up.  (gotm_may-04_pos8.gif, 38 KB)

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

 

I wonder if Volokitin thought he was winning in this position?  (It is possible!)  

 13.f3[],  ('!')   {Diagram?}   
This is completely forced.  

     [ Of course not:  </=  13.Nxd3 ???,  because of  13...Qxg2#. ]   


I went over to a friend/student's house Saturday; May 14th, for a few hours. We spent quite a bit of time looking at this game on his brand new lap-top. (Less than 2 weeks old.) It has a Pentium IV processor, (I forgot to check his RAM); and has  Fritz 8.0  loaded into it. Strangely, when we reached the position for White's 13th move, his computer wanted to investigate  13.Qxb7,  and  13.Ndf3

I have no rational explanation for this, unless his laptop has one of those scaled-down processors (Celeron?) that I believe that many laptops and computers of this type use. Curious and curiouser. 

I had already begun formatting this page - I have already spent at least two days on this task, so it was much too late to try and change the ChessBase document and begin anew. Any comments or analysis would be appreciated!  

----->  {I BRIEFLY analyzed both of the above moves ... they seem to favor Black.} 


 13...Qg5;  {Box?}   {Diagram?}    
 Fritz 8.0  confirms that this move is forced (or best) here.  

     [ The move,  13...Qg6!?; "~"  {Diagram?}  was possible ... 
        whether it was any good or not is a different story. ]  

 

 14.Nb3 Nxe1;  {Diagram?}     
Now it almost appears that White could be lost in this position.  

{I gave - just this position, not the entire game score; or even the names of the players 
 involved - to a couple of my lower rated students. I asked all of them to evaluate the 
 position, and I asked them NOT to use a computer of any kind. 5 out of 6 persons 
 surveyed  (via e-mail)  concluded that White's position was lost here.}  

 

 15.g3[],  Zwischenzug   {Diagram?}   
A cute in-between move that manages to hold White's game together - at least for now.  

     [  If  </= 15.Rxe1????,  then  15...Qxg2#. ]    

 

 15...Nh3+;  16.Kh1 Qh5;  {See the diagram  ...  just below.}    
This move is also forced or best, at least according to Deep Junior.    

 

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

   Black just played ...Qh5. The second player seems to be doing very well, here.  (gotm_may-04_pos9.gif, 39 KB)

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

 

After a long period, (during the combo); where most commercial programs thought that Black 
was better, ... ... ...  Professor Shredder  ...  after a little over five minutes of cogitation ...  
now sees a very solid edge for White in this position.  

      [ Much worse would be:  </= 16...Qf6?!;  ('?')   17.dxc5!, {Diagram?}   
        This is probably best.  

            ( Interesting was:   17.Qxb7!?, "+/=" )  

        17...Nc2{Diagram?}   
        This is probably forced, ... 17...Rc8?; 18.Qe2, ''  would be a whole lot worse for Black.  

        18.Rb1 h5!?{Diagram?}   
        The only interesting try, passive defense with ...Kc7; is surely doomed to fail from here.  

        19.Na5 h420.Nxb7+! Kc7{Diagram?}   
        This is forced, after ...Kc8??; Black is rapidly mated.  

        21.cxd6+ exd622.Na5! Rb823.Qc4+ Kd724.Qa4+ Kc7;  
        25.g4! d526.Qxc2 Qa627.Kg2! Qxa528.Kxh3,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}    
        White is two Pawns up, (for which the second player has zero compensation); 
        and Black's King is completely exposed in the final position of this analysis line. ]

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

At first glance, both dxc5 and also Na5 look attractive here for White.  
 17.g4!?,  (good ... or bad?)    {See the diagram  ...  just below.}      
I have no idea what to say here.  

 

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

   White is a minimalist, he just pushes one pawn ... only one square.  (gotm_may-04_pos10.gif, 39 KB)

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

 

I have worked on this game for days, and I am still not sure whether this move is correct or not. 
Many good programs  ...  like CM9000  ...  seem to prefer a different move in this position.  

     [ Literal days of effort seems to confirm that that is possible, even probable, (!)  
        that the move d4xc5 was better here.  

       For example:  >/=  17.dxc5! Nxf3{Diagram?}  
       It is hard to come up with a better move for Black.  

            ( </=  17...dxc5??;  18.Nxc5, "+/-" )      

       18.Qe2 dxc519.Rxf3! Kc7{Diagram?}   
        This appears to be forced.  

            ( </=  19...c4??;  20.Rd3+! cxd3;  21.Qxh5, "+/-" )       

       20.g4!! Qxg421.Qg2 Qxg2+!?{Diagram?}  
       According to the computer, this is forced - the alternatives are all clearly worse!   

            ( Or 21...Qxe4!?;  22.Nxc5 Qc6!?;  23.Nb3 Rd8;  24.Be3, "+/-" )    

       22.Kxg2 c423.Na5 f6!?24.Kxh3 b525.b3,  ''  {Diagram?}    
       Although Black has two Pawns for a piece, the win is only a matter  
       of technique; IMO.  (Maybe  "+/-")  

       In all fairness to Rublevsky, I took many, many hours of time on this contest ...  
       and was always assisted by a good chess program. He had no such help, and may 
       only have had a matter of minutes to make his move choice in this position.  

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

       Of course NOT</=  17.Rxe1??, ('????')  17...Qxf3#.  ]    

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

 

 17...Qh4;  {Box?}   {Diagram?}   
Once again ... according to all the boxes, this move is forced.  

     [ </=  17...Qg6?; 18.Rxe1, ''  ('') ]   

 

In this position, many programs want to play Nxc5!? or Qxb7.  
(Remember - White is a Knight /piece down in this position.) 
 18.Be3!!,  (hmmm)    {See the diagram - just below.}       
This move is NOT about getting the piece back - in fact, White is about to sacrifice another 
piece here.  (This move also protects White's crucial f2-square.)   

 

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

   My goodness, what a move!!!  (gotm_may-04_pos11.gif, 39 KB)

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

 

The way in which White calmly ignores taking a piece and serenely mobilizes the last remaining 
forces is a very attractive idea ... and reminds us of the great Mikhail Tal at his best.  

     [ But not:   </=  18.dxc5?? Nf2+19.Kg1 Nxf3+20.Kg2,  
        20... Nxg4;  ("-/+")  {D?}  and  Black's attack  crashes through. ]   

 

 18...c4;  {Box?}   {Diagram?}    
According to several programs, this move is probably forced here.  

     [  ...Nc2 looked interesting, but ...  </=  18...Nc2!?; ('?!') 19.Nxc5!! dxc5  
        20.dxc5! Nxe3!?;  ('?')  {Diagram?}   Not good - but there is nothing here 
        that will save Black's game.  

           ( Or 20...e6;  21.Rad1+,  ("+/-")  ... White has a winning attack. )      

        21.Rad1+! Nxd122.Rxd1+ Kc723.Rd7+,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}    
        and mate next move. ]   

 

 19.Qxb7!?,  (Maybe - '!'/'!!')   {Diagram?}    
This is very sharp, and since the final denouement is nearly ten moves (or more!) 
away - it might be beyond the computers ability to see the true value of this move.  

     [ Also very good was:  (>/=)  19.Na5!? Nd320.Qxb7 Rc821.Nc6+ Rxc6 
        22.Qxc6 Nhf2+!?{Diagram?}  It is difficult to suggest real improvements   
        (for Black)  in this position.  

           ( </= 22...e6?!;  23.e5!, '' )      

       23.Bxf2 Nxf2+24.Kg2 Nd325.Qa8+ Kd726.b4!, "+/="  ('')  {Diag?}    
       (and) White is clearly better here. ]    

 

Black's reply is forced.  
 19...Rc8[];  20.d5!?,  (hmmm)   (Maybe - '!!')   {See the diagram ... just below.}     
Is this  ...  "all part of the show,"  here? 

White is preparing several ideas - like Bxa2; and if ...c4xb3; then axb3, opening the key a-file.  

 

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

   Hmmm, odd. What did White's last move accomplish?  (gotm_may-04_pos12.gif, 39 KB)

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

 

Strangely this is like the fourth or fifth move choice here is several different strong programs 
in this position! (Yet White wins brilliantly with this move ... it is hard to argue with success. 
And since the combination is something like 8 moves long here, it might be  {again!}  beyond  
the machines ability to correctly see the outcome!)  

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

     ---> Some of the alternatives are examined just below here.   

     [  Var.)  # 20W1.  
        Also good for White was:  (>/=)  20.Na5!? Nd321.Nc6+ Rxc6   
        22.Qxc6, "+/="  (Maybe - '')  {Diagram?}     
        with play similar to a line that was analyzed previously.  

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

         Var.)  # 20W2.   
        Another line that was good for White is the following continuation: 
        (>/=)  20.Nc5!,  ('!!')  20...dxc521.Raxe1! Rc722.Qd5+ Rd7[]{Diagram?}   
        This is almost assuredly forced.  

            ( </=  22...Ke8?; 23.Qa8+ Kd7; 24.Rd1!, "+/-" )      

        23.Qa8+ Kc724.Qxa7+ Kc825.Qa8+ Kc726.dxc5, ''  {Diag?}    
        White is practically winning here.  (Black's King is too exposed.) 

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

         Var.)  # 20W3.   
        The best line probably is:  >/=  20.Raxe1!! cxb321.d5! Rc7{Diagram?}  
        This is practically forced.  

            ( </= 21...bxa2??;  22.Bxa7. "+/-" )      

        22.Qa8+ Kd7[]{Diagram?}   
        Absolutely no choice.  

            ( </=  22...Rc8??;  23.Qxa7. "+/-" )      

        23.Bxa7 Ng5[]{Diagram?}   
        Once again - there is no real choice here for Black.   

            ( </= 23...e6?;  24.Bb6. "+/-" )       

        24.Bb6 Nxf325.Re2 Qxg426.Re3! Ne5!?27.h3! Qg5 
        28.Qb8, ("+/-")  {Diagram?}   and Black's cause is hopeless.  ]    

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

 

Black's reply seems forced, and is the first choice of several strong {commercial} computer programs.  
 20...Nxf3;  (best)   {Diagram?}   
This is probably best, the only other reasonable move here is the move, Knight-to-d3.  

     [ Or   </=  20...Nd3?!; ('?')  {Diagram?}    
        This move idea has a nice refutation here.  

        21.Bxa7! Rc722.Qb8+ Kd723.Bb6 Nhf2+{Diag?}   
        Its worth a try.  

            ( Or 23...f5!?;  24.Qxc7+ Ke8;  25.Qxc4, "+/-"  {Diagram?}     
               with a won game. )      

        24.Rxf2! Nxf2+25.Kg2 f5!?26.e5!,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}     
        White is close to administering a mate in this position. ]    

 

 21.Rxf3 cxb3;  22.Rg3!,    {See the diagram - just below here.}      
It is a fairly safe bet that Black probably overlooked this neat in-between move  ...    
I know that I did!! (The first time that I played over this game. The point is that Black's Q+N  
are now kept out of the game long enough for White's Queen-side attack to be successful.)    

 

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

   A very nice rook move.  (gotm_may-04_pos13.gif, 38 KB)

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

 

And now White is winning, no matter what Black plays from here.  

 

     [ Or  </=  22.axb3 Qxg4; "/+"  {Diagram?}   and  Black  is better. ]   

 

 22...f6!?;  (Maybe - '?')   {Diagram?}   
Black is lost no matter what move he chooses at this point, but this move (mercifully?) 
allows a quicker finish to the game. (The first choice of both Fritz and ChessMaster are   
the move, ...Rc7; in this position.)  

I am not a big fan of kicking a guy when he is down. A loss is a loss, I usually only pipe 
up when a player does something really stupid ... like (yet) another huge blunder, or walks  
into a mating sequence. 

The purpose of ...f6; in this position is to give the Black King an escape hatch. 
(Flight square - to avoid a mate.)  

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

     [ Probably the best move was ...Rc7;  but even this will not save Black.  

        For example:  >/=  22...Rc723.Qb8+! Kd724.Bxa7! e625.Bb6 Nf2+ 
        26.Kg2! Qd8[]{Diagram?}   This is forced, otherwise Black will probably  
        get mated.  

            ( Not  </=  26...Rc4??; 27.axb3,  "+/-"  {D?}  and White will mate Black.      

              Or  </=  26...Nxg4??;  27.Qxc7+ Ke8;  28.Qc8+ Qd8;  29.Qxd8#. )         

        27.Qxd8+ Kxd828.Kxf2 Kd729.Bxc7 Kxc730.axb3,   ("+/-")  {D?}  
        with a massive material edge.  

        (This was the correct way to avoid a loss in under 25 moves.) ]   

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

 

 23.axb3!?,   (hmmm)    {See the diagram ... just below.}      
The opening of the a-file is immediately decisive. The computer prefers the Bishop capture on a7,  
but the two ideas are very close to being interchangeable. (The two moves may even transpose into  
the basically the same variation.)  

 

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

   The position after axb3, White's advantage is very great, and his attack ... unstoppable.  (gotm_may-04_pos14.gif, 38 KB)

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

 

This probably should have been the last move of the game, as White's advantage is now decisive. 
(Did Black play on ... to avoid having this game labeled as an ultra-brilliant miniature?)  

 

     [ The continuation of:  (>/=)  23.Bxa7 Ng524.axb3 Ke8     
        25.Qxc8+ Kf726.Be3,  "+/-"  {Diagram?}  is similar to the game.  
        {And also winning easily for White!} ]    

 

 23...g5!?;  (hmmm)  {Diagram?}    
Black tries to mix it up ... but it is getting close to the time to throw in the towel. (Once again,  
...Rc7; might be a little better ... but it will make no real difference to the outcome of the game.)  

     [ Or  23...Rc724.Qb8+ Rc825.Qb5 Rc726.Bxa7,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}  
        and the Black King and Rook cannot repel White's attackers. ]  

 

 24.Rxa7 Ke8;  25.Qxc8+ Kf7;  26.Qe6+,  ("+/-")  Black Resigns,   1 - 0.     

A very brilliant and truly incredible chess game ... that should have also been a "shortie."  

I always knew that Rublevsky was an exceptional player, but this game gives me more respect 
for his tactical prowess ... in addition to his already impressive positional skills.  

Here is a game that seems to baffle even the best computer programs. The combination begun 
at move 12 is "once-in-a-lifetime," and took days of work with the computer before I began to 
appreciate it fully.  

This is also an excellent game to try and study in parts, and in depth - to increase your tactical skills.  

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

   All pages - HTML code initially generated with the program,  ChessBase 8.0.    
   The diagrams on this page were generated with the use of the program,  Chess Captor 2.25.  

 

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

   Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2004 - 2005.    
   All rights reserved.    

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

 

   1 - 0   


*** Additional study:   

Game # 1:  From the huge  Aeroflot Open  in Russia. The following game:  
GM Giovanni Vescovi (Brazil / 2633; Age-26) - GM Alex Areshchenko (Ukraine / 2564; Age-17?);  
In this battle of younger players, the slightly more experienced player triumphs. Here is an extremely fine 
& interesting chess game with a very powerful sacrifice. (Same opening.)  Analysis, please!  (TWIC # 485) 

Game # 2:  From a recent tournament, this game is between veteran GM E. Rozentalis, and the very young player, {13 years old};  IM Magnus Carlsen. The challenge for the student is to determine where did Black go wrong?  After the opening the second player seemed to have few ... if any ... problems. (Similar opening.) 

Game # 3:  GM E. Sutovsky - GM H. Nakamura;  (Rd. # 1) ICT / Masters, Pamplona, ESP;  2003.  
(See TWIC # 476.)  (See {also} my January, 2004; "Game of The Month.")  


I spent a great deal of time (2-3 weeks) analyzing this game ... and several days formatting the game as well. 

I did not quite make the deadline ... but I do not feel bad, as the bonus game was posted several days early. 

********

(I had many problems with my computer ... and spent 2-3 days trying to sort them out completely. At first I thought that I had a  virus of some sort, but this was not the case.  {Several scans - with different types of software demonstrated this was not the problem.}  Then I had to re-load some software, most notably  MSIE.  I also noticed that ANY Internet page with  Java   ...  caused the computer to freeze up.  This was probably caused by a patch that I downloaded ... which must have been incompatible with my older software ... or corrupted it completely. In the end, I had to download the newer version of the program ... but this took like 10-14 hours ... and required 2-3 RE-TRIES.  A BUSY SERVER???)  All this extra work set me back several days!! Sorry! 

  *************************  

I have only received a handful of e-mails so far on this game ... but the initial feedback has been VERY favorable. Thanks to those who took the time to write. I appreciate your time, support, thoughts and interest. I am happy that you enjoy this feature.  05/26/2004 


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 2004

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

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

Click  HERE  to see the  Addendum/Bonus-Game  for this month! 

Click  here  to go to my first domain, click  here  to go to my second domain. 

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

***

I finished formatting this page on:  Saturday;  May, 15th, 2004.  But - as this was a fairly complex game - I wanted to go back and check some analysis. I also did a lot of reading and re-reading of the page to insure that as few errors as possible crept into the final product. I also took a while deciding on a final design for the diagrams. 

This page was first posted on:   Monday;  May 17th, 2004.     This page was last updated on 03/18/15 .  


   COPYRIGHT (c) A.J. Goldsby I  

   Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2015.  All rights reserved.