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Vladimir BELOV, grandmaster. The Day Two Review
August 31, 2008

After winning the first game, the players try to make the second one going smooth and calm. The next game is unique in a way that looking at it one can never guess who won the previous encounter.

Slav Defense D43

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2.

9...Bb4. Rare but poisonous continuation. Black aims to add a couple of extra pawns to the collection, not taking into account their development problems. 9...Bb7 is the usual move.

10.Qc2 g4. Black already started the risky play and there is no logic in turning back half the way.

11.Nd2. 11.Ne5 is more active: 11...Qxd4 12.0-0 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Qxe4 14.Qd2 with compensation.

11...Qxd4 12.Rd1 Qb6 13.0-0 Nbd7 14.e5 Nd5 15.Bxg4 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Nc5. After choosing such a line it is late for Black to act scared, thus she should consider 16...h5!? 17.Bxe6 - otherwise the pawn advances, creating problems for another bishop - 17...fxe6 18.Qg6+ Kd8 19.Ne4 h4!? Here White can continue 20.Bxh4+ Rxh4 21.Qg5+ Kc7 22.Qxh4 Nc5.

 17.Bh4 Qc7 18.Ne4 Nxe4 19.Qxe4 Bb7 20.Qf3 Rf8 21.Qh3 (another regrouping is interesting - 21.Bh5!? c5 22.Qg4) 21...Kd7. Placing the rook on a more active spot is another option 21...Rg8!? 22.Bxe6 (maybe 22.f4 is better) 22...fxe6 23.Qxe6+ Kf8 24.Qxh6+ Qg7 25.Qd6+ Ke8 26.Qe6+ Kf8, and White has only a draw.

22.f4 Rae8?! It was necessary to seek happiness in counterplay immediately after 22...Qa5 23.f5 Kc7.

23.Bf2. For mysterious reasons White refuses the logical f4-f5 on every move. Let's check it: 23.f5! Kc8 (23...Qxe5 24.Rfe1 Qg7 25.fxe6+ fxe6 26.Bh5!, and extra material is added to the ongoing attack; 23...Qb6+ 24.Bf2 c5, and now the strongest continuation is unobvious 25.Bg3! with decisive advantage: 25...Kc7 26.fxe6 fxe6 27.Rxf8 Rxf8 28.Bxe6) 24.fxe6 fxe6 25.Bxe6+ Kb8 26.Bd7, etc.

23...Kc8 24.Bc5 Rg8 25.Bh5 (again 25.f5! was very strong: 25...Qxe5 26.fxe6 fxe6 27.Rde1) 25...Qd7 26.Rd4 Kb8 27.a4 Rg7 28.Bf3 Qc8 29.Ra1 a6 30.Qxh6. The other idea was to transfer the queen closer to the opponent's king: 30.Qh4!?.

30...Reg8 31.f5?! White chooses the wrong moment for this break-through. Now Black gets counterplay. After 31.Rc1 Ne3! Black could force a draw: 32.Rd2 Nf5 33.Qf6 Rg6 34.Qxf7 R6g7. The best try to play for a win would be to reach the position with opposite-colored bishops: 31.Bxd5 exd5 32.Rd2.

31...Nxc3! 32.Rd6 (the idea transpires in the variation 32.Bd6+ Ka8 33.axb5 Ne2+!) 32...Nd5 33.Ra2? defending herself from the threats on d-file, White gets under the storm of Black's pawns.  33.fxe6 fxe6 34.Rxe6 b4 was better. Objectively Black is ok but the position is complicated and any result can follow.

33...b4! 34.a5? White starts to care about positional nuances in the moment when Black's pawns get really close to the promotion. After the correct 34.Qh4! c3! (34...b3 35.Rb2) 35.Bxb4 c5 White's position is still normal, but she cannot aim for more, for example, 36.Bxc3 (36.Ba3) 36...Nxc3 37.Rb2 Nd5 38.Bxd5 exd5 39.Rdb6 f6!

34...c3 35.fxe6 b3 36.Ra3 b2 37.Rb3.

37...Rg6! (distracting the queen from protecting on 1) 38.exf7. As it is known, no game was ever saved by resigning, and the player from Poland is using her last chance: 38.Qh4 c2!

38...Rxh6 39.Rxh6 c2 40.Rxc6 c1Q+ (Black has too many queens) 41.Kf2 Qxc5+ 42.Rxc5 Qxc5+ 43.Ke2 Qc2+. White resigned.


 The standard King's Indian set-up where White is seeking small advantage after occupying e4. Moreover the position of White is quite solid and probably this is what made the alertness of the Indian player disappear.   

29.Nc3? After 29.Ng3 White trades the light-squared bishops and keeps the minimal advantage.

29...Bxh3! 30.Bxd4. A lot of interesting lines did not appear on the board: 30.gxh3 Nxf3+ 31.Rxf3 (31.Kg2 e4! 32.Nxe4 Nh4+ 33.Kg1 {33.Kh2 Rxf1 34.Rxf1 Be5+ 35.Kg1 Qxh3 with a win} 33...Qxh3 34.Re2 Rf3! - the most important move of Black's attack - 35.Rxf3 Nxf3+ 36.Kf2 Rf8, and material losses are inescapable for White) 31...Rxf3 32.Bf1 e4.

30...exd4 31.Rxe8+?! White had an excellent practical chance 31.Nb5 Rxe1 32.Rxe1 Be5+ 33.Kg1 (33.Rxe5 dxe5 34.Qe1 Bf5 35.Qxe5+ Kg8 36.Qxd4 Bxd3 37.Qxd3 g4 favors Black), and to fight for the advantage one should find a beautiful continuation:

33...g4! 34.f4 (34.gxh3 gxf3-+) 34...Rxf4 35.Rf1 Qe7! The queen joins the attack and Black has very strong initiative.

31...Qxe8 32.Bg6 dxc3 33.Kxh3. Winning an exchange doesn't make White happy: 33.Bxf7 Qxf7 34.gxh3 Qf4+ 35.Kh1 Be5 (35...Qd2? is bad due to 36.Qf5 ) 36.Qc2 Qg3.

33...Qc8+ 34.g4 Rf4 35.Qe1.

35...Be5. The 3-pawn and the power of the e5-bishop give Black a decisive advantage. 

36.Qe2 Kg7 37.Bb1 h5 38.Rg1 hxg4+ 39.Rxg4 Qh8+ 40.Kg2 Rxg4+ 41.fxg4 Qh2+ 42.Kf3 Qh1+.  White resigned.

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