The Game of The Month   

Welcome to my game of the month feature. 

This will be an annotated game .....   
- from recent GM practice. This feature is primarily aimed at players in the 1000-to-1650 bandwidth  ... BUT it is my sincere hope that even a player of the exalted Master-class may find this both amusing, useful, and informative. 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.  

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  GOTM; October, 2003.  

 GM P. Svidler - GM A. Morozevich 


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Peter Svidler (2723) - Alexander Morozevich (2679) 
[C42]
56th National Championship
Krasnoyarsk, RUS;  (Round # 6),  09.09.2003

[A.J. Goldsby I]

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

Certainly one of the most important games of the year, it virtually decided first place in the Russian Championships. 

The game starts off as a Petroff. Black offers some wild tactics, but Svidler calmly by-passes any real significant problems - steering into an ending where the three connected and passed-Pawns for Black are tamed. A game rich in content, and a credit to both players. (I predict this game will remain an analytical enigma for years to come. I spent over two weeks on it, and never solved some of the more thornier questions.)

The ratings are those of FIDE.

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

1.e4 e5;  2.Nf3 Nf6;   
Black avoids the Ruy Lopez.  (Petroff Defense.)  {Also spelled the 'Petrov' Defence.}  

This opening was pioneered by a Soviet/Russian, (Petroff); but was really introduced into GM practice by the great American, H.N. Pillsbury. (And refined by GM Frank J. Marshall.) 

"Morozevich used to rely on the French Defense and also the Sicilian Najdorf, but a couple of years ago he added  1...e5;  to his repertoire."  Article in the January, 2004 issue of  "Chess."
  "Peter Svidler -- Russian Champion for the 4th time!"  by Alexander Baburin and V. Barsky. 

     [ Or 2...Nc63.Bb5 a6;  etc. ---> The Ruy Lopez. ]  

 

White chooses the line most approved of by theory. (Nxe5)  [For some analysis of 3.d4, click here.]  
3.Nxe5 d6;  4.Nf3 Nxe4;  5.d4!?,   
Again, this is the path that is most often trod at the highest level, although I have experimented with 5.c4!? at this point. 

     [ Interesting is:  5.c4!?, {Diagram?} with fair play for White.
        (Click on the move - to go to a page where c4 is analyzed in fairly deep detail.)   
         Related resource - Click  here.  Also  here. ]  

 

Black now chooses what I like to call, "The copy-cat approach." 
5...d5;  6.Bd3 Bd6!?;   
Not the  'normal'  "Main line"  in this position - the move ...Be7 is usually the one chosen here, at least at the Master level. 

Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with this move either. It controls the center (e5); develops a piece, and prepares to castle. It also addresses the 'Nimzovichian' idea of square control, as it is challenging the first player's dominance over the e5-square. 

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

     [ Just about all the books on this opening, including one that is less than 2 years old, say the 
       main line/best move here for Black is to play his Bishop to e7. For example: 
       6...Be77.0-0 Nc68.c4 Nb4;   9.Be2 0-010.Nc3 Be6!?;  {Diagram?}  
       11.Be3!? Bf5!12.Qb3 c6;  {Diagram?} 
       The end of the column. 

       13.c5!?,  {Diagram?}  I am not sure what to think about this move. 

          ( Maybe  13.cxd5!?, "+/=" )   

       13...Nxc314.bxc3 Nc215.Qxb7!? {Diagram?} 
       This looks very adventurous.

          ( 15.Rad1 Nxe3; "=" - MCO. )     

       15...Nxa116.Rxa1, "~"  {Diagram?}  
       White had an advantage, mainly because Black played the silly move, ...Bf6? 
       (Instead of ...Qd7.) 

       GM Nick de Firmian - Marciano;  FIDE Team Champ./Olympiad;  
        Elista, Russia,  1998. 

       [ See MCO-14;  page # 96, column # 1, and note # (f.). ] ]  

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

 

7.0-0 0-0;   
A very common position that has been reached dozens (hundreds?) of times at the Master level. 
(I checked the CB on-line database, which is very easy to do with CB8. {Simply right-click on the position!} There were over 1950 matches ... stretching from 1842 to 2003!) 

 

8.c4!,  {Diagram?}  
The sharpest approach.

It took me nearly 30 years to fully appreciate that without c4, 
White will get hardly any advantage at all. 

     [ Of course White could play:  8.Re1 Bf59.c4!, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        and also maintain a slight advantage here. ]  

 

8...c6;    
This is virtually forced. 

     [ Of course not:  </=  8...dxc4??9.Bxe4, ("+/-") {Diagram?}    
       and White wins a piece. 

       Not recommended is:  </=  8...Be6?!9.Re1, "+/="  {Diagram?}    
       and White maintains a solid edge. ]  

 

Now the most popular moves are: Nc3, cxd5, and Re1. But White chooses another line. 
9.Qc2!?,   
This is not, statistically speaking, the most popular continuation; but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this method of playing, either.   

 

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

 

     [ Var. # 9W1.)  
      
White could also play:  9.Nc3 Nxc310.bxc3,  "+/="  {Diagram?} 
        with a small edge. 

        GM N. de Firmian - NM J. Bick;  Continental (CCA) Open, (Rd. # 4) 
        Vermont, 2003.  (1-0, 26 moves.);  

***

       Var. # 9W2.)  
      
One of the more popular lines is the following continuation:  
       9.cxd5 cxd510.Nc3 Nxc311.bxc3 Bg412.Rb1 b6;  {Diagram?} 
       The end of the column. 
       13.Rb5 Bc714.h3 a615.Rxd5 Qxd516.hxg4,  "~{Diagram?}  
         ... "White has compensation for the exchange, but probably no more than that."  
        -  GM Nick de Firmian. (MCO)  

       This very respected opening book quotes NO games here, for this particular position. 
         --->  Is this an oversight?   (Approx. 25 examples in my db.)    

       Probably the strongest contest in this line is the game:  
       GM S. Dvoirys - GM E. Rozentalis;  (FIDE) Zonal Tournament 
       Lvov, USSR;  1990. (1/2 - 1/2 in 58 moves.) 

       [ See MCO-14;  page # 96, column # 4, and note # (p.). ];  

***

       Var. # 9W3.) 
       Also good for White is:  9.Re1, "+/="  {Diagram?} 
       and White definitely holds a small advantage in this position.  

       [ See MCO-14; page # 96,  and also columns # 2 - 4. ]  

       The best example I could find in my own database was: 
       GM Vladimir Akopian (2678)  -  GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2660);  
       (FIDE) Grand Prix (rapid?) /  Moscow, RUS;  2002
       {A long game that was eventually drawn.} ]  

 

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

 

9...Na6!;  
This looks like the most ambitious move for Black, trying to exploit the rather exposed position of the White Queen.  

"The introduction to a gambit ... that steals the initiative."  - GM Robert Byrne.

     [ Black also plays   9...f5!?; {Diagram?}  in this position. ]  

 

10.a3,   
There is no point in allowing the Black Knight to intrude into the b4-square in this position. 

     [ </=  Not 10.Nc3?;  because simply 10...Nb4; "=/+" ]  

 

10...f5;   
Obviously played to fortify the e4-square for Black.  

     [ The other  'book'  move in this position was:  10...Bg4!?; "<=>" {Diagram?} 
        with very unclear consequences. 

       Or  10.Bxe4!? dxe411.Qxe4 Re8; "<=>"  {Diagram?}  with play for Black. ]    

 

11.Nc3 Nc7;   
The Black Knight should not spend the whole game on a6. 

     [ Maybe  11...Be6!? ]  

 

12.b4!?, (Maybe - '!')  {See the diagram - just below.}  
Is this a new move? (No.)  

 

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

   The position immediately following b4 on White's 12th move. (gotm_10-03_pos1.jpg, 22 KB)

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

  (r1bq1rk1/ppn3pp/2pb4/3p1p2/1PPPn3/P1NB1N2/2Q2PPP/R1B2RK1 b - 12)  

 

N. Gaprindashvilli (first) played it in a (ladies) Soviet Championship in 1973, and won quickly.

White gains some nice space on the Queenside. 

     [ A standard reference instead gives the following continuation: 
       12.c5 Be713.Ne2 Ne614.b4 Bf615.Bb2 a6!?;  {Diagram?}  
       To prevent b5. 

         ( RR 15...Bd7!?; "~")    

       16.a4 g617.Ne5, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        White is just a little better.  (According to MCO, anyway.) 

       Kasputin - Kuzenkov;  Correspondence, 1986. 

       [ See MCO-14; page # 96, col. # 5, and note # (s.). ] ]  

 

12...a5!,   
The most challenging move by Morozevich  ...  who clearly wants a fight. 

     [ After the continuation:  
       12...Nxc313.Qxc3 dxc414.Bxc4+ Be615.Re1, "~"  {Diagram?} 
       White maintains an annoying initiative, and Black really misses his light-squared 
       Bishop. But it is not clear if White would have enough to win the game. 

*******

       Or Black could try:  12...Bd7;  13.Bb2, Ng5;  14.Ne5, Bxe5;  15.dxe5, f4;  
       16.f3, Kh8;  17.Rfd1, Qe8;  as in the game:  

        GM Peter Leko - GM Alexander Morozevich;  Dortmund, GER; 2002. ]   

 

13.b5!,  {Diagram?}  (TN?)  
The most thematic move here.  (Working on the base of Black's pawn chain.)  

"An interesting novelty." - GM Alexander Baburin and V. Barsky. 

The above authors go on to comment that Morozevich had studied this position very carefully at home ... but had difficulty recalling all of his analyses. Apparently even Super-GM's are human! 

     [ Also possible was:  13.c5 Be714.bxa5,  "+/="  {Diagram?} 
        and White is a shade better. ]   

 

13...Bd7;   
Black develops a piece and gets ready to connect his Rooks. 

This looks like a very tame reaction by Morozevich. Both the moves  ...Nxc3  and  ...Qf6 were to be considered here. 

 

*******

 

     [ After the continuation of:  13...Nxc3!?14.Qxc3 dxc415.Bxc4+ Nd5;  
       16.bxc6 bxc617.Re1,  "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        White is a tad better, but is it enough for a tangible advantage?

***

       Maybe Black could try:  13...Qf6!?14.Re1, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
       but White is still a little better. 

***

        It was not wise for Black to play the continuation: 
        </=  13...cxb5?!14.c5 Be715.Nxb5, "+/="  {Diagram?}    
       and White is clearly better.   - GM Robert Byrne  ]  

*******

 

14.Rb1!?,   
White must have had at least five different moves that looked promising. While this does give White a small advantage, I am not convinced it is the very best move at this particular point. 

An interesting note is that we are already out of the 'book' on this line - which is pretty amazing for GM chess in the year 2003. 

 

********

 

     [  Also good were:  
       # 1.)  14.bxc6 bxc615.c5, "+/=" {Diagram?}  
                 with a small edge to White. 

       Or  # 2.)  14.c5 Be715.Na4!?, "+/=" {Diagram?} 
                       and again White is better. 

                        ( Is  15.a4!?, "~" {Diagram?} possible here? )   

       Or maybe the best line was: 
       # 3.)  >/=  14.b6! Ne6!?;  {Diagram?}   
                        Other squares seem worse.  

                        ( I.e., </=  14...Na6?!;  15.c5 Be7;  16.Ne5, "+/="  {Diagram?}     
                          and White is clearly better. )   

                       15.cxd5 cxd516.Nxd5, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
                       and White is very clearly better in this particular position. ('' ?)  ]  

*******

 

14...Kh8;   
This is not exciting nor attractive, but the alternatives may have been even worse.

*******

       [ After the moves:  </=  14...cxb5!?15.c5! Be716.Nxb5, 
          16...Nxb517.Bxb5, "+/="  (Maybe - '')  {Diagram?}  
            ... White is clearly better. 

***

       Black might should consider: 
       14...Nxc3!?15.Qxc3 cxb516.cxb5 b6;  "~"  {Diagram?}   
       and while Black may not have completely equalized, he may be  
       better off than he was in the actual game. ]  

*******

 

White now finds a way to change the pawn structure an try to keep Black in a passive mode for a very long time. 
15.c5! Be7;  16.bxc6 bxc6;  17.Bf4!?,   
Svidler must have determined that this was the most active approach. (Again - Na4, "+/=" looked good here.)

      [ Another approach was:  17.Re1 Ne618.Ne2 Qc7;  
        19.Bd2 Rfb820.Qa4, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
         with a small - but solid - advantage for White in this position. ]   

 

Black now re-deploys the Knight  ... which had been on a6 (for Black) on move nine. 

17...Ne6;  18.Be5,   
"The opening has gone well for White, who has a strong Bishop on e5 and control over the open b-file. As Svidler said, if in this line Black doesn't check-mate (White) on the King-side, he has serious positional problems."  - GM Alexander Baburin and V. Barsky. 

 

18...Be8!?,   
Obviously Black wants a full-fledged brawl ... and is not content to simply trade pieces here. (Does Black plan the maneuver, ...Be8-h5?)  

     [ Maybe 18...Bf6;  {Diagram?}  was worth a try in this position? 
        (Or even on the following move?) ]   

 

19.Rb6,   
Preventing ..Bh5. Possibly Svidler is preparing to double on the file, as well. 

The drawback to this move is that in some lines Black might play something like ...Bd8. (After Alex moves his Queen, of course.)  

 

*******

     [ Not  </=  19.Ne1?! Bf6!; "~"  {Diagram?}   
        Maybe a little better for Black?;  

***

       Also good for White was the very simple:  19.Rfe1, "+/="  {D?}  
       and the first player holds a small, (but obvious); advantage here. ]   

*******

 

Now it looks like Black is preparing the move, ...Bishop-to-d8; but possibly changes his mind. (This is usually a sign that something has gone wrong - when a player starts constantly changing his plan.)
19...Qc8!?;  20.Nd2,   
White is probably preparing to try and evict the horseman on e4  ...  doubling on the b-file looked good as well.  

 

     [ The natural   20.Rfb1!, "+/="  was certainly worthy of deep and careful consideration. ]   

 

20...Bg5!;  {See the diagram just below.}     
Black seems on the verge of untangling his pieces. 

 

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

   Black just played 20...Bg5! How does White proceed from here? (gotm_10-03_pos2.jpg, 22 KB)

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

 (r1q1br1k/6pp/1Rp1n3/p1PpBpb1/3Pn3/P1NB4/2QN1PPP/5RK1   w - 21) 

 

   The game will soon reach a crisis point. The depth of the tactics both sides now   
    unleash will peg the meter  ...  right off the end of the scale!!!   

Here f4, ("+/=")  comes under consideration, but  "Peter, the Wolf"  has an entirely different strategy worked out. (And after Nb3, Black should {again} have considered ...Bd8.  
OR! - even some other move - than what was actually played.) 

     [ It is not advisable for Black to play the continuation:  
        </=  20...Bd8!?; ('?!')  21.Na4! Bxb6?22.cxb6, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        ... "and the far-advanced b-pawn is worth its weight in gold." {compensation} 
        - GM Robert Byrne]     

 

21.Nb3 Bh5!?;  
Playing for piece activity.  

"Here 21...a4!? was worth considering."  - GM Alexander Baburin and V. Barsky. 

     [ The continuation of: 
        21...Nf4!?22.Na4!? Nxd323.Qxd3 f424.f3 Nf625.Qc3 Nd7!? 
        26.Bd6 Rf727.Nxa5, "+/="  {Diagram?}    
        ... "puts Svidler a pawn ahead with a solid grip on the position."  
        - GM Robert Byrne]   

 

22.a4,  (Maybe - '!?/?!')  {Diagram?}   
I guess this has been Svidler's plan all along. (Basically transfer his all his pieces to the Q-side to take advantage of the weak squares there, and the fact that Morozevich  - due to his limited mobility - has difficulty in following suit.) 

But Svidler misses a very nice tactic ...  that is fairly well-hidden in this position, and one that would have given him a definite advantage. 

 

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

     [ The best line for White definitely began with Na4! here. For example:  

        >/=  22.Na4! Bg6!?; {Diagram?}  Seemingly the most solid try.  

        (Also possible was:  22...Nf4!?; {Diagram?}     
          but White still plays f3 with a healthy advantage.)    

        23.f3! Nf6!?;  24.f4! Bh6;  25.Qc3!?, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        and it does not appear that Black can prevent the eventual loss of his QRP here. ('' ?) 

           (The move 25.Bd6!?, {Diagram?} also merited attention, and may lead to a fair     
            advantage for White.);     

***

        It is also possible that the truly simple, but elegant move:  
        22.Rb1!?, "~"  {Diagram?}  will yield White a very small edge. ]  

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

 

Now Black should play ...Bd8; or even ...Nf4. (I am not really sure what the logic behind Black's next move.) 
22...Qe8?!;  (Probably - '?')  {Diagram?}  
I guess Morozevich either did not sense the danger ... or simply assumed that he was worse - no matter what line he played at this point of this critical chess contest. 
(Or perhaps he was counting on a surprise tactic {against e5} to give him the advantage here?) 

It seems that Black had to play ...Bd8! at this juncture of the game. I am sure that unless he was already in time pressure, he saw this move. But your guess is as good as mine as to what line that he envisioned in his mind's eye, that steered him away from the correct move here. (He may have not liked the idea of White having a far-advanced, passed Pawn on the b6-square.) 

*******

     [ After the continuation:  
       </=  22...Bf4!?23.Bxf4 Nxf424.f3 Nxd325.Qxd3, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
       White also gains a (small) edge.  

***

       The best line was:  >/=  22...Bd8!23.f3!? Bxb6; {Diagram?}    
      
This could be best

           ( Instead, Black could try:  23...N4xc5; 24.dxc5 Nxc5; 25.Nxc5 Bxb6;       
             26.Ne2 Rf7; 27.Nf4 Qe8; 28.Bd4, "+/="  {Diagram?}       
             White maintains "the upper hand."  - GM Robert Byrne. )       

        24.cxb6, "~{Diagram?}     
        with a radical and very unbalanced position for both sides. {Unclear?} ]  

*******

 

Now its fun to play White, three completely different ideas/moves seem to yield the first player an advantage in this position. 
[ # 1.) Nd1 - so the Knight on e4 cannot be exchanged - followed by f3. And ...   # 2.) Simply Rb1. ]  

23.f3!?,   
Good enough ... for at least a small advantage for White. The main idea now is if Black plays the passive ...Knight/e4-to-f6; White simply plays Bishop-takes-Pawn on f5 ... ... ... 
with a tremendous position.

 

*******

     [ Was  >/=  23.Nd1!?,  "+/="  {Diagram?} was better than the game?  
        (I think so. Why allow Black to exchange his Knight on e4?);  

***

       The move:  >/=  23.Ba6, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
       also could be a small improvement over the game. 

       For example, (after Ba6 by White):  
       23...Ra724.f3 Nxc325.Qxc3 Qa8;   26.Bd3 Be3+;  
       27.Kh1 f428.Rb1, "+/="  (Maybe - '')  {Diagram?}  
       and White is definitely better. ]   

*******

 

23...N6xc5!?;   
This looks good ... but is it really the absolute best move for Black in this particular position? 

"Black tries to solve his problems tactically." - GM A. Baburin and V. Barsky. 
 (They recommend that Black try 23...Nxc3; 24.Qxc3 Nf4;  25.Re1.)  

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

     [ I am almost sure that the best continuation is: >/=  23...N4xc5!!;  {Diagram?} 
       Black obviously could have inverted the order of his first two moves in this 
       particular line. 

       24.dxc5,  {Diagram?}     
       This could be best. 

           ( Alternatively: 24.Nxc5 Nxc5;  25.Re1 Ne6;      
              26.Nxd5!, "+/="  {Diagram?} and White is a little better. )      

       24...Be3+!25.Kh1 Nxc5;  {Diagram?}       
       The correct follow-up. (Black has a discovered attack on the Bishop on e5.)  

          (Not </= 25...Bxc5?; 26.Rb7, '')     

       26.Bd4!? Bxd427.Nxd4 Qe3!; "~"  {Diagram?} 
       and Morozevich has reached a kind of dynamic equilibrium. ("=")  
       {Black will certainly regain his lost piece.}

***

       After the moves:  23...Nxc3; ('?!')  24.Qxc3, ''  ("+/")  {Diagram?}  
       Black's a-pawn appears to be lost no matter what move Morozevich 
       plays in this position.   

***

       Also possible was:  23...Be3+!?24.Kh1 N4xc525.Nxc5 Nxc5    
       26.Bxf5 Nd7;  27.Bxd7 Qxd728.Nd1,  ''  ("+/")  {Diagram?}     
       but White looks to be clearly better in this position.   
       (Variation by - GM R. Byrne.)  ]   

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

 

GM Alexander Baburin and V. Barsky award White's next move an exclam. 

24.Nxe4!?,  (Maybe - '!')   
Other than simply going for shock value ... and MASSIVE complications, I am not sure what this move really does for Svidler.  (The position is so complicated, even Deep Blue might get lost in the thickets of different lines and variations!! And even after 5-10 minutes of machine time, several different programs give vastly differing and conflicting evaluations of the various key positions!) 

*******

     [ After the continuation of:  24.fxe4!? Nd725.Ra6 Nxe526.dxe5 fxe4; 
        27.Rxf8+!? Qxf828.Rxa8 Qxa829.Be2 Qa7+; "~"  {Diagram?}  
        Black seems to have good play.  (Maybe  "<=>")  

        It is NOT clear whether this is really preferable to what was played in the 
        actual game, or not! (I would have been tempted to try it, if Black makes 
        an error, the extra piece will probably come in handy!);  

***

        Also to be considered was the fairly simple continuation of:  
        24.Nxc5!? Nxc525.Re1!, "+/="  {Diagram?} 
        when I think White is just a little better in this position. ]   

*******

 

24...Nxe4?;   
Black, nearly lost in a vast sea  ...  an endless morass of fathomless choices ... (almost understandably) - goes astray.  

     [ It seems that Black had to play:  >/=  24...fxe4 []25.Nxc5 exd3;  
       26.Qxd3, "+/="  (Maybe - '')  {Diagram?}  
       but White remains with a fairly solid edge in this position.
       "The position remains difficult for Black." - Baburin and Barsky. ]   

 

25.Rb7!?,   
Good enough for a large advantage for White. (25.g4!? was also worth a look as well.) 

GM A. Baburin and V. Barsky give this move an exclam here. 

 

     [ I would have (probably) injected Re1 first ... for example:  
        25.Re1 Bh426.Rb1, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        and White is clearly better. (Maybe - '');  

***

       The move:  25.fxe4, '' ("+/") {Diagram?}  immediately - - - almost 
       certainly gives White a large advantage as well. ]   

 

25...Bf6!?;  (Maybe - '?!')   
I think Black already made the decision NOT to withdraw his Knight from e4. 

     [ It looked like Black had to retreat his Knight (back to f6), but after 
        the relatively simple moves:  >/=  25...Nf6!?26.f4 Bh627.Bxf5,  ""  {Diag?} 
        (and) White is clearly better. ("+/") ]   

 

The next series of moves looks to be relatively forced. 
(Although getting the Rooks off the board - for Black - at move 30 was a consideration.) 
26.fxe4 Bxe5;   27.dxe5!? fxe4;  28.Rxf8+ Qxf8;  29.Be2 Bxe2;  
30.Qxe2 Qf5!?;  {Diagram?}    
"If Black could keep the Queens on, he would have had decent compensation. Unfortunately for him, White can now force the exchange."  - GM Alexander Baburin and V. Barsky.  

 

GM A. Baburin and V. Barsky award White's next move a full exclamation point. 
31.Qf2!?,  (Maybe - '!')  {Diagram?} 
Maybe good enough. But NxP/a5 and having the White Rook run down the Black c-Pawn first  ...  could have been better.   

     [ Maybe  >/=  31.Rc7!, "+/="  instead?  {Diagram?} 
       (White is clearly much better here.) ]  

 

31...Qxe5;  32.Qg3, ('!')  {Diagram?} 
This forces the exchange of the Queens, after which Black's Pawns don't look so impressive. 

     [ </=  32.h3 e3!; "=/+"  

        Or = 32.Qc5!? Qb233.h3!, "+/=" ]  

 

32...Qxg3;   
This is completely forced.  

     [ Definitely NOT:  </=  32...Qf6??33.Rb8+,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}  
        and Black loses. ]  

 

33.hxg3 h6;   {See the diagram - just below.}     
White threatened Nxa5, and if the Rook captures the N on a5, Rb8 would have been mate ... so the King needed an escape hatch.

 

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

   Black just played "Pawn ... to King's-Rook-Three." (...h6)  Its time to take stock and try and determine who is better.  (gotm_10-03_pos3.jpg, 17 KB)

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

 (r6k/1R4p1/2p4p/p2p4/P3p3/1N4P1/6P1/6K1   w - 34) 

 

Its time to try and evaluate this endgame. "Who stands better?" 

Material is equal - Black has three connected and passed pawns for the lost Horseman. And White's remaining pawns are doubled. But the real story here is that all of White's pieces are much better placed than their counterparts. So with correct play, White should win.  

 

34.Kf2!,   
A good practical decision. Once White's King has been activated, Black's cause is nearly hopeless. 

"Black's passed pawns are not going anywhere now, and the rest is clear."  - GM Alexander Baburin and V. Barsky.  

     [ 34.Rb6!?, '' ]  

 

 

In the final phase of this game, poor Morozevich desperately tries to whip up some counterplay, but Svidler's technique really gives Black absolutely no chance. 

34...Rf8+;  35.Ke2! Rf6;  36.Nxa5 Rg6;  37.Kf2 Rf6+;  38.Ke1! e3!?;  39.Re7! d4;  40.Nb3 c5;  41.a5!?,  (Maybe - '!')  {Diagram?}  
Aiming for an exciting finish. 

     [ Or 41.Nxc5!? Rc642.Re5, "+/-" ]  

 

Now Black will pick off the remainder of White's cripples on the King-side ... but it does him little good. 
41...Ra6;  42.Ke2! Rg6!?;  43.Nxc5 Rxg3;  44.a6 Rxg2+;  45.Kd3 Rd2+;  46.Kc4 Kh7;  47.a7! Ra2;  48.Kb5! d3;  49.Na6!, ("+/-")   Black Resigns.  (1-0)    

 (If ...d2; then  50.a8{=Q}, and if 50...d1{=Q};  ... now 51.Qe4+,  and Black is mated.)    

Perhaps one of the most complicated and interesting games of the entire year. It was also the critical game that {eventually} landed GM P. Svidler his FOURTH Soviet/Russian Championship!!
(A feat that has NO parallel in post-Soviet {chess} history!)  

 

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  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I.   Copyright (c) A.J.G;  2003  

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  1 - 0  


   For a slightly different take on this game, see the  December, 2003  issue of  'CHESS LIFE.'    

   GM Robert Byrne's column, ({the} '65th square');  page # 16.   


Material from the (English) magazine article in the  January, 2004  issue of  "Chess." 
"Peter Svidler -- Russian Champion for the 4th time!"  by GM Alexander Baburin and Vladimir Barsky. 
 (The article begins on page seven, and runs through page 10. This game is on page # 09.) 

  --->  This new information/material was added ... Saturday;  May 08, 2004.  


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  This page was first posted on:  Friday;  October 03, 2003.   This page was last updated on 03/18/15 .  


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