[Event "Chess.com"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.01.23"] [Round "8"] [White "Esipenko, Andrey"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2714"] [BlackElo "2772"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 {The Italian is as common nowadaysdays as the Ruy Lopez was before.} Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d5 {The most direct try for an equality.} 7. exd5 Nxd5 8. Re1 {The immediate pressure against the e5-pawn is White's best chance.} Bg4 9. Nbd2 ({White can also throw in:} 9. a4 a5 10. h3 Bh5 11. Nbd2 Nb6 12. Bb3 Qxd3 13. Nxe5 Qf5 14. Nef3 Rad8 15. Qe2 {also with symmetrical position in Firouzja,A (2804)-Aronian,L (2772) Warsaw 2021}) 9... Nb6 {That is the thing, Black can aslo attack the opponent's central pawn.} 10. h3 Bh5 11. Bb3 {According to Megabase, this retreat is recently more successful than 11.Bb5.} Qxd3 12. Nxe5 Qf5 13. Nef3 Rfe8 $5 {\"This is a rare move, but people obviously know about it. It is on my course for White; I say White is slightly better in this game,\" said Giri, with mischievous smile on his face.} 14. g4 {Esipenko accepts the challenge.} Bxg4 15. hxg4 Qxg4+ 16. Kh1 Ne5 17. Nh2 Qg6 18. Bc2 Nd3 19. Bxd3 Qxd3 {Up to here, everything was more or less forced. White needs to quench the opponent's initiative as quick as possible.} 20. Ndf3 $146 {Thus, the trade of the queens is offered, but at the price of a pawn. Giri, however, had memories that he offered another square for the knight.} ({And this might be the b3-square, as in the email predecessor:} 20. Nb3 Qxd1 21. Rxd1 Bxf2 22. Ng4 Bh4 23. Rg1 Kf8 24. Kg2 { and the game eventually ended in a draw, Rohs,R (2318)-Larsson,M (2287) ICCF email 2016}) 20... Qxd1 21. Rxd1 Bxf2 {Black has three pawns for the piece, and as a rule this translates into more pieces traded=the more valuable the pawns become. Their potential value can improve from three to thenty-seven pawns in theory, which means that Esipenko will need to wisely positon his pieces to actively suppress the pawns.} 22. Bf4 c6 23. Rd2 {\"This move is not critical.\" (Giri) And the Dutchman quickly proves why.} ({More in the spirit of the position might have been} 23. Ng4 Bc5 24. b4 Re4 25. Be5 Rxg4 26. bxc5 Nd5 {with approximate equality. A white bishop on d4 will make a difference.}) 23... Be3 $1 {\"After the trade of the bishops I was comfortable. Generally, if I trade the right pieces, and if White does not jump quickly on my king with some Nh2-g4 and Ra1-g1 then I am safe.\" (Giri)} 24. Bxe3 Rxe3 25. Nd4 Nc4 26. Rf2 Rae8 27. Raf1 ({It made sense to centralize the knights at once with} 27. Nf5 $5 Re1+ 28. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 29. Kg2 Kf8 30. Nf3 {when it is still about even.}) 27... Nd6 28. Nf5 ({Here, too} 28. Ng4 {is possible, but without the bishop on board, not as impresisve and Black can fight for the initiative with either} Rg3 ({Or} 28... Re1)) 28... Nxf5 29. Rxf5 f6 30. Kg2 Kf7 31. Rd1 h5 $1 {Using a small tactic Giri brings his pawns into motion. This is why Esipenko needed more pieces on board; it would have been riskier then, pushing the foot-soldiers in front of the king.} 32. Rf2 ({The forcing line} 32. Rxh5 Re2+ 33. Kg3 Rxb2 34. Rd7+ Re7 35. Rxe7+ Kxe7 36. Ra5 a6 {forces White to a gloomy defense.}) 32... g5 33. Rd7+ {\"I think this was his mistake. He should have freed the knight to either f1, or via f3-d4-square and then enter with the rook behind, and then I was not thinking I would be able to win this game.\" (Giri)} ({But how exaclty? The line} 33. Nf3 Kg6 34. Nd4 Re1 $1 35. Rdd2 g4 $1 {looks more than fine for Black as his pawns keep moving.}) ({Whereas} 33. Nf1 {can be met with} Re2 34. Ng3 Rxf2+ 35. Kxf2 h4 36. Nf5 Kg6 {once again lifting the loose White blockade.}) 33... R3e7 34. Rd6 Re6 {Black would love to swap one pair of rooks, when his pawns would move effortlessly.} 35. Rd7+ R8e7 36. Rd8 $1 {Not allowing further trades.} g4 $1 {But now the knight is depressed.} 37. Rh8 ({Still, it was not too late to bring this piece back to the game with} 37. Nf1 $1 {Then in the forcing line} h4 38. Rh8 g3 39. Rf4 Re2+ 40. Kg1 g2 41. Nh2 Rxb2 42. Rh7+ Ke8 43. Rxe7+ Kxe7 44. Rxh4 Rxa2 45. Rh7+ { White is just in time to hold on to the material equlibrum.}) 37... Kg6 38. Rg8+ Rg7 39. Rf8 Kg5 {More progress is made by Black in the time-trouble.} 40. Nf1 h4 41. a4 a5 $1 {Another instructive decision by Giri. He wants to build a self-sufficient queenside setup, put the rook on e5-square and finally push f6-f5. Therefore, the pawn is ideally located on the fifth rank.} ({Here and on the next move Black correctly avoids} 41... g3 42. Nxg3 $1 hxg3 43. Kxg3 { which should likely lead to a draw despite the extra pawn for Black.}) 42. b4 b6 43. bxa5 bxa5 44. Ra8 Re5 {All set for f6-f5.} 45. Nd2 {And Esipenko blunders under pressure, practically blitzing this natural move.} ({He should have improved the knight, no question about that, but only after the preliminary} 45. Rc8 Rc5 {and now} ({Instead Black could have fought further with the cunning} 45... Rg6 $5 46. Rxc6 f5 47. Rc8 f4 {This looks very scary for the first player, but perhaps he might be able to survive. The key is to sacrifice the knight in the proper moment for a blockade, as in the following (non-forcing) line} 48. Rb2 h3+ 49. Kf2 Kh4 50. Rh8+ Rh5 51. Rxh5+ Kxh5 52. Ng3+ $1 fxg3+ 53. Kxg3 {and White seems to hold.}) (45... Re6 46. Ra8) 46. Nd2 $1) 45... g3 $1 {Esipenko obviously missed an important detail in his calculations.} 46. Nf3+ Kf4 $1 {Under a discovered check! Such moves are easily missed, even by top-grandmasters.} ({Maybe the Russian GM only saw} 46... Kh5 $2 47. Rh8+ {from afar, which is winning, but for White.}) 47. Rf1 ({ Or else White loses too much material.} 47. Nxe5+ gxf2+ 48. Kxf2 fxe5) 47... h3+ $1 {The final, neat move! Black wins by force.} ({Weaker was} 47... Re2+ 48. Kg1 g2 49. Rf2 {when White defends.}) 48. Kxh3 ({A prettier finish would have been} 48. Kg1 g2 49. Rf2 Kg3 50. Nxe5 h2#) 48... g2 49. Rf2 Ke3 0-1
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