[Event "London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.01"] [Round "1"] [White "Adams, Michael"] [Black "Tabatabaei, M. Amin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2661"] [BlackElo "2692"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,93,20,9,9,9,14,7,7,7,6,14,14,5,9,7,8,-9,-9,-14,-7,-17,-21,-20,-17,-17,-13,-18,-10,-10,34,23,34,43,53,32,81,77,86,68,48,61,104,109,172,103,85,91,141,141,148,139,144,144,144,144,137,136,193,193,193,193,203,203,205,193,196,193,193,194,214,214,220,220,220,147,153,157,157,157,155,155,160,149,163,163,217,216,220,228,232,232,229,239,239,226]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Nc3 {This Italian Opening with the knight on c3 was played a few days ago by Rapport. Adams had already played it a few times. Many different plans are possible in this opening and this is one of its attractions.} h6 (5... O-O {Aronian simply castled in the aforementioned game against Rapport.}) 6. O-O O-O 7. h3 d6 {I don't like this move very much, as it allows White to exchange the knight for the bishop, giving sense to the play with Nc3.} (7... a6 {is logical, opening the path for the bishop.}) (7... Re8 {is also possible.}) 8. Na4 $1 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Bb6 9. a3 {A necessary move to open the way for the bishop and not allow a similar maneuver for Black with ...Na5. The exchange on b6 does not need to be done now, as the bishop has nowhere to run. In chess it's good to be flexible.} Be6 {Other moves were tried recently:} (9... Bd7 10. Nxb6 axb6 11. Re1 Re8 12. c3 Be6 13. Bb5 Bd7 14. a4 Ne7 {with an equal position in Saric-Nihal, FIDE Grand Swiss Douglas 2023.}) (9... Re8 10. b4 Be6 11. Bxe6 Rxe6 12. c4 {White is better: Esipenko-Nakamura, Chess.com rapid 2023.}) 10. Bxe6 fxe6 11. c3 Qe8 12. b4 Ne7 13. Ra2 $1 {[%c_effect a2;square;a2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This plan has become traditional in the Italian, especially after an exchange of bishops on e6. The rook is very useful on the second rank, defending White's king and also putting pressure in the opposite position, going to c2 or d2.} Kh8 {A new move. Tabatabaei has a dubious plan in mind.} (13... Nh5 14. Nxb6 axb6 {Van Foreest-Giri, NED-ch KO Utrecht 2023. Here the best move for White is} 15. a4 $1 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Preventing the move b6-b5 and keeping a small advantage.}) (13... Ng6 {is perfectly normal.} 14. Re1) (13... c6 14. Nxb6 axb6 15. Be3 b5 16. a4 bxa4 17. Rxa4 {with some pressure for White.}) 14. Re1 g5 $2 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;Mistake;persistent;true] This plan is incorrect and is the main reason for Black's defeat. The position becomes very difficult to defend. It's a bit strange to play like this, considering that White has the supremacy of the dark squares and the king becomes a target on the a1-h8 diagonal.} (14... Ng6 {is better.}) 15. d4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The good old adage: against an attack on the flank, counterattack in the center.} Ng6 (15... exd4 16. cxd4 {is not good for Black either.}) 16. dxe5 dxe5 17. Nxb6 cxb6 {Another strange move, although I can understand that Tabatabaei wanted to use the c-file.} (17... axb6 18. c4 {Preparing Rd2 followed by Bb2.} g4 {Black must create some kind of attack.} 19. hxg4 Rd8 20. Rd2 Nxg4 {Here White has many paths to the advantage, but the most clear-cut is:} 21. Nh2 $1 {[%c_effect h2;square;h2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Nxh2 22. Qh5 $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Rxd2 23. Bxd2 Ng4 24. Qxg4 {with an overwhelming advantage.}) 18. c4 Qc6 (18... g4 {The same variation we saw after 17...axb6 can happen now, in an even worse version for Black.} 19. hxg4 Rd8 20. Rd2 Nxg4 21. Nh2 $1 {[%c_effect h2;square;h2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Nxh2 22. Qh5) 19. Rc2 {Adams is the co-author of an excellent book I read recently titled \"Think Like a Super GM.\" In this book, the GM, who is one of my favorite chess players in history and with whom I had the honor of playing twice, shows his decision-making process. One of the pieces of advice he gives that is useful for players of all levels is not to complicate a position that is already very favorable. He follows his own advice in the game we're analyzing. At times the computer suggests a sharper, possibly better move, but Adams prefers to control the game without adventures.} (19. Rd2 {is the machine's suggestion, sacrificing a pawn.} Qxc4 (19... Nxe4 20. Rd3 Qxc4 21. Bb2 {Black's position is about to collapse.}) 20. Bb2 {White firmly controls the d-file and the e5-pawn will soon be captured.}) 19... Rad8 20. Qe2 Qa4 (20... Nf4 {improves Bllack's pawn structure a little, but the position remains horrible after} 21. Bxf4 exf4 22. c5) 21. c5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Bringing the rook into the game.} Nh5 {This loses by force, but good advice is difficult.} (21... bxc5 22. Rxc5) (21... b5 22. c6 $1 {[%c_effect c6;square;c6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 22. Rc3 {A solid choice, but here I really think Adams should have struck .} (22. Nxe5 $1 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] wins on the spot.} Nxe5 23. Bb2 {The knight on e5 is pinned and the other one is attacked.} (23. Qxh5 {Even this is winning, in this case with a bit of adventure.} Qxc2 24. Qxh6+ Kg8 25. Qxg5+ Kh7 (25... Kf7 26. Qxe5) 26. Qxe5 Qxf2+ 27. Kh2 Qxe1 28. Bb2 {Black cannot defend mate.} Rd7 29. Qh5+ Kg8 30. Qg6+)) (22. cxb6 {is also pretty good.} axb6 (22... Nhf4 23. Bxf4 Nxf4 24. Qc4 {with an easy win.}) 23. Rc7 $1 {[%c_effect c7;square;c7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] with a totally winning position.}) 22... Nhf4 23. Bxf4 Nxf4 (23... exf4 {Black is left without a weak pawn on e5, but also without any shadow of initiative.} 24. Rec1 {with a nearly winning position for White after the invasion on the c-file.}) 24. Qe3 Rd1 25. cxb6 (25. Nxe5 {is very tempting.}) 25... axb6 26. Kh2 {Typical Adams play: solid and effective.} Rxe1 27. Qxe1 Qd7 28. g3 Nh5 (28... Ng6 {doesn't help:} 29. Qe3 {Sooner or later White will take one or more pawns. Weaknesses abound.}) 29. Nxe5 Qg7 30. Rf3 $1 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The most accurate.} Rxf3 31. Nxf3 Nf6 32. Qe3 {As they say, the rest is a matter of technique, a skill that Adams isn't lacking.} Qc7 33. Qd4 Kg7 34. Ne5 h5 35. Nf3 $1 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} g4 (35... Kg6 36. Qd3 {wins easily as well.}) 36. hxg4 hxg4 37. e5 (37. Ne5 {is also good.}) 37... gxf3 38. exf6+ Kf7 39. Qg4 Kxf6 40. Qxf3+ Ke7 41. Qe4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] It's always good to centralize the queen. Black continues to have problems preventing the exchange of queens and defending the pawns, in addition to the material disadvantage he already has.} Qb8 42. Qh4+ Kd7 43. Qd4+ Kc6 44. Qc4+ Kd6 45. Qf4+ e5 46. Qf6+ Kd5 47. Qxb6 1-0 [Event "London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.01"] [Round "2"] [White "Bartel, Mateusz"] [Black "Moussard, Jules"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A17"] [WhiteElo "2659"] [BlackElo "2635"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,59,19,22,24,11,17,23,29,3,17,9,21,-3,-27,-27,-24,-35,-9,-1,0,0,0,-33,-33,-78,-64,-37,-37,-62,-69,-90,-90,-75,-18,-21,-26,-64,-65,-78,-56,-100,-9,-36,62,61,77,60,106,106,115,36,28,29,141,142,242,299,1340,1339,1372,1372]} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qb3 (4. Qc2 {is the most popular move.}) (4. g4 $5 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Interesting;persistent;true] Even this is possible, a pawn advance we will soon see on the board.}) 4... c5 5. a3 Ba5 (5... Bxc3 $6 {[%c_effect c3;square;c3;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] is a positional error, as it simply hands the pair of bishops to White.}) 6. g4 $6 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] A thematic move in the English Opening but rare in this specific position. The computer isn't impressed, and the feeling is that this is a bad version of the g-pawn advance. It's important to highlight that the first chess player to try this move is the legendary grandmaster and World Champion Maia Chiburdanidze.} h6 $1 {[%c_effect h6;square;h6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The best reaction, stopping g4-g5.} (6... Nxg4 $6 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] This is playing into White's hands.} 7. Rg1 {followed by the capture of the g7-pawn.}) (6... Nc6 {is also possible but less accurate.} 7. g5 Ng4 8. Ne4 Qe7 9. Rg1 f5 10. gxf6 Nxf6 11. Qe3 {with a complicated game in Chiburdanidze-Razuvaev, Palma de Mallorca 1989.}) 7. Rg1 Nc6 {A new move and a good one.} (7... d5 {is also better for Black.} 8. cxd5 (8. h4 {is the best try:} d4 9. g5 {with a slightly better position for Black.}) 8... exd5 9. g5 hxg5 10. Rxg5 Be6 (10... Kf8 {is even better.}) 11. Qxb7 Nbd7 {with excellent compensation for the pawn in Naoum-Paravyan, Wch U16 Al Ain 2013.}) 8. h4 Nd4 $6 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (8... h5 $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the best reply, giving Black a clear advantage after either 9.gxh5 or 9.g5. This move (h5) is common in Sicilian positions when White commonly plays g4 and h4. Yet another proof that chess patterns repeat themselves even in very different openings.} 9. gxh5 (9. g5 Ng4 {The kingside is closed, and White's plan loses meaning.}) 9... Kf8 $1 {[%c_effect f8;square;f8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Another very precise move with the idea of playing d7-d5. Black has a clear advantage.}) 9. Nxd4 cxd4 10. Nb5 d5 {The position is complicated, but it's still better to be in Black's shoes, both practically and objectively.} 11. c5 {An understandable reaction, so the center doesn't open up.} (11. Nxd4 e5 {with good play.}) (11. g5 hxg5 12. hxg5 Ne4 {with good counterplay for Black.}) 11... Ne4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Attacking the pawns on c5 and h4.} 12. Nxd4 {This is probably not the best. White could take the queen from b3 so the capture on c5 would no longer be possible due to the fork with b2-b4.} (12. Qf3 $1 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Now the computer recommends an extremely sophisticated maneuver to secure the initiative.} Qd7 (12... Nxc5 $2 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} 13. b4 {loses a piece.}) (12... Bxd2+ $5 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} 13. Bxd2 Nxd2 14. Kxd2 Qa5+ 15. b4 Qxb5 16. e4 dxe3+ 17. Qxe3 {with unclear play.}) 13. Nxd4 Bd8 $1 {[%c_effect d8;square;d8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A subtle move, attacking the h4-pawn and preparing to place the bishop on f6.}) 12... Nxc5 13. Qb5+ Nd7 14. b4 Bb6 15. Bb2 {Both players don't seem to be very interested in the h4-pawn for some reason. The computer is a little greedier.} (15. Nf3 {is relatively best, although Black is better after} Qf6) 15... a6 (15... Qxh4 {There's nothing wrong with putting this pawn in the pocket.}) 16. Qa4 O-O $2 {[%c_effect g8;square;g8;type;Mistake;persistent;true] White is back in the game now.} (16... Qxh4 {Black is simply a pawn up and has the safer king. The computer already evaluates the advantage as winning.}) 17. g5 Ne5 (17... h5 {is a safe move, keeping the kingside closed.} 18. Nf3 {with an equal position.}) 18. gxh6 g6 19. Qb3 (19. h5 $2 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;Mistake;persistent;true] is bad due to} Qh4 $1 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] attacking the d4-knight and the pawn on h5. There's also some pressure on the f2-pawn.}) 19... Qxh4 {The pawn is finally captured.} 20. h7+ Kh8 {Black has to decide between opening the h-file or placing the king on the dangerous diagonal of the b2-bishop.} (20... Qxh7 {is possible with complicated play. White has enough compensation for the pawn.}) 21. Qe3 (21. Qg3 {is better, keeping the game equal.} Qxg3 22. Rxg3 {The point is that the tempting 22...Nc4 doesn't work so well:} Nc4 $6 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (22... Kxh7) (22... f6) 23. Nxe6+ $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Nxb2 24. Nxf8 Bf5 25. Bh3 Bxh3 26. Nxg6+ fxg6 27. Rxh3 {with a slight advantage for White in this unbalanced endgame.}) 21... f6 $2 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] A losing mistake. Black has two good alternatives.} (21... Nc4 {A dangerous move, but it's tactically justified.} 22. Nf3+ Nxb2 23. Qe5+ $1 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (23. Qxb6 Qf6 {with a good position.}) (23. Qc3+ d4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 23... f6 24. Nxh4 Bxf2+ $1 {[%c_effect f2;square;f2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The only move.} 25. Kxf2 fxe5+ 26. Ke1 Kxh7 27. Rc1 Bd7 28. Rc7 Rad8 {with a balanced position.}) (21... Qf6 $1 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the most accurate move when Black keeps the better position.}) 22. Nf3 $1 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A beautiful move, clearly missed by Moussard.} Nxf3+ (22... Bxe3 {loses material after} 23. Nxh4) 23. Qxf3 {Sadly for Black, there's no way to defend the important g6-pawn.} e5 (23... Kg7 $2 {[%c_effect g7;square;g7;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} 24. Rh1 Qg5 25. h8=Q+ Rxh8 26. Rxh8 Kxh8 27. Bxf6+) 24. Rxg6 Be6 25. Rc1 (25. e3 $1 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the best move, immediately preparing Bd3.}) 25... Rf7 $1 {[%c_effect f7;square;f7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 26. e3 Re8 $2 {[%c_effect e8;square;e8;type;Mistake;persistent;true] The rook is not very useful on e8. It's better to move it to f8, defending the f6-pawn and making the e5-e4 advance a possibility.} (26... Raf8 $1 {[%c_effect f8;square;f8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 27. Bd3 $1 {[%c_effect d3;square;d3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The bishop comes to play at the right time. Now it supports the pawn on h7, frees the path for the plan with Ke2-Rh1, and can also go to f5.} Bd8 {This loses on the spot.} 28. Bxe5 $1 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A nice tactical solution.} Rxh7 (28... fxe5 {loses to} 29. Rxe6 $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Rxf3 (29... Rxe6 30. Qxf7) 30. Rxe8+ Kg7 31. Rg8+ {followed by the promotion with h7-h8.}) 29. Rxf6 Qh1+ 30. Ke2 1-0 [Event "London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.03"] [Round "3"] [White "Gukesh D"] [Black "Volokitin, Andrei"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A34"] [WhiteElo "2720"] [BlackElo "2659"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,55,35,-14,-14,-9,22,1,25,25,25,25,58,29,22,18,11,23,19,19,82,14,14,-16,-1,-38,17,17,47,-38,-44,-44,-33,-51,-23,-23,-23,-40,-9,-9,-6,-35,23,23,23,23,326,184,247,227,435,478,500,522,534,521,794,816]} 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nc7 6. b3 {A rare choice.} (6. Nf3 {is the main move.}) 6... e5 {Black's natural reaction, achieving a pawn formation known as the \"Maroczy Bind.\"} 7. Bb2 Be7 8. Rc1 {White's game is very concrete and based on a quick attack on the \"Maroczy's pawns,\" even if this comes at the price of neglecting the development of the kingside.} O-O {The best reaction. When in doubt, just castle.} (8... Ne6 $6 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] This move gives the d5-square to White.} 9. Nd5 Bd6 10. e3 O-O 11. Ne2 {with the advantage in Spraggett-Fier, Linares 2015.}) (8... f6 {is a solid choice, protecting the e5-pawn.} 9. Nh3 Be6 10. f4 Qd7 11. Nf2 Nc6 {with chances for both sides in Spraggett-Umetsubo, Famalicao op 2022.}) 9. Ne4 {This natural move is a novelty. Gukesh came well-prepared to this game.} (9. Na4 {Has been played a few times, although it's curious to place the knight at the edge of the board.} Nd7) (9. Nf3 {has also been tried.} f6 {with equal chances.}) 9... b6 $1 {[%c_effect b6;square;b6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] An excellent reply. Volokitin is a very strong player, especially when he has the initiative. Sacrificing material for development is not a problem for him.} (9... Nd7 {is also possible, preserving material equality.} 10. d3 b6 (10... f5 11. Nd2 {Black has advanced the pawns too quickly and is overextended.}) 11. Nf3 Bb7 12. O-O f6 {Here White can try a variety of plans. In general, I think he has a slight advantage.}) 10. Bxe5 {Black's previous move was both a pawn sacrifice and an exchange sacrifice. It's better to accept the former than the latter.} (10. Nc3 {The rook on a8 will be captured, but it's hard to believe that Black has no compensation after this back and forth with the knight.} Qd7 11. Bxa8 Nxa8 {The light-squared bishop is certainly worth a rook.}) 10... Bb7 11. Ba1 {Black was threatening to play f7-f5, forcing White to lose more time before developing the pieces.} (11. Nf6+ $2 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] doesn't work:} Bxf6 (11... gxf6 12. Bxb7 fxe5 13. Bxa8 Nxa8 {is also winning.}) 12. Bxf6 Qc8 $1 {[%c_effect c8;square;c8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Black wins material.}) 11... Qc8 {Protecting the b7-bishop and renewing the threat of f7-f5.} 12. g4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (12. Kf1 {is the other option, but Gukesh's choice is more dynamic. It's hard to play with the king stuck in the middle.}) 12... Ne6 $2 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] Here Gukesh finally started to think. Excellent preparation in a variation with not too much theory. 12...Nc6 and 12...f5 are better attempts to demonstrate compensation for the pawn.} (12... Nc6 13. g5 Qd7 {Followed by Rad8.}) (12... f5 13. gxf5 Qxf5 14. d3 {Black has managed to weaken the white king's position, but it's difficult to say whether the compensation is sufficient for the pawn.}) 13. Nh3 {Now White can complete the development, and the pawns on the kingside are ready to advance.} Nc6 14. e3 $6 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] A prophylactic move, preventing the knight from going to d4. This subtlety, however, is unnecessary.} (14. O-O $1 {[%c_effect g1;square;g1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Ncd4 15. e3 f5 {I suppose this is the line Gukesh wanted to avoid.} 16. gxf5 Nxf5 17. f4 {White has a clear advantage with a pawn up and the monster bishop on a1.}) 14... Nb4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (14... Ba6 $5 {[%c_effect a6;square;a6;type;Interesting;persistent;true] is another natural move, but after} 15. a3 Qd7 16. g5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White wants to play f4-Kf2. Black certainly still has a few tricks here, but further sacrifices are necessary.}) 15. O-O Nxa2 16. Rb1 {Black has managed to recover the material but needs to be careful: the plan with f4-f5 is very dangerous.} Nb4 $6 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (16... Qd7 $1 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is a better chance, followed by Rad8. It's not yet time for the knight to come back.}) 17. f4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} f6 18. Qf3 $6 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] White had a forced win, but it's easy to find it with a cup of coffee and the computer on.} (18. f5 $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Ng5 19. Nhxg5 fxg5 20. f6 $1 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} gxf6 (20... Bxf6 21. Nd6 {An important detail.}) 21. Rf5 $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] An accurate move. Now Black either captures on e4 and suffers on the light squares, or loses the pawn on f6. The machine evaluation is ruthless: White is winning.}) 18... Bc6 19. f5 Nc7 $2 {[%c_effect c7;square;c7;type;Mistake;persistent;true] The decisive error, after which Gukesh executes a forced destruction sequence on the black king.} (19... Ng5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is necessary. The game is not clear after} 20. Nhxg5 fxg5) 20. g5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} fxg5 21. Qg3 $1 {[%c_effect g3;square;g3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White's bishops cross the board with lethal force, especially the one on a1.} h6 22. f6 $1 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} gxf6 (22... Bxe4 23. fxe7 $1 {[%c_effect e7;square;e7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] and the black position collapses.}) 23. Bxf6 Bxe4 (23... Bxf6 24. Nxf6+ {Followed by a knight sac on g5.}) 24. Nxg5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The decisive blow.} Bxf6 25. Rxf6 Rxf6 26. Nxe4+ Kh8 (26... Kf7 27. Nxf6 Kxf6 28. Rf1+ {The king will soon be mated.}) 27. Nxf6 Qf5 28. Rf1 1-0 [Event "13th London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.03"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Gukesh D"] [Black "Volokitin, Andrei"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A34"] [WhiteElo "2746"] [BlackElo "2660"] [Annotator "Mueller,Karsten"] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] { 1-} 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nc7 6. b3 e5 7. Bb2 Be7 8. Rc1 O-O 9. Ne4 b6 10. Bxe5 Bb7 11. Ba1 Qc8 12. g4 $5 {Very creative. The pawn will have a great future.} Ne6 $6 {This is very artificial.} (12... Nc6 {is more natural.}) ({Of course not} 12... Qxg4 $2 13. Nf6+ Bxf6 14. Bxb7 $16) 13. Nh3 Nc6 14. e3 (14. O-O $5) 14... Nb4 15. O-O Nxa2 16. Rb1 Nb4 $2 {Black does not have for this.} (16... Qd7 17. f4 Rad8 {was called for to limit the damage.}) 17. f4 {A strong attacker comes following the saying f for forward.} f6 18. Qf3 $2 {This is too slow.} ({The direct} 18. f5 Ng5 19. Nhxg5 fxg5 20. f6 gxf6 21. Rf5 {gives White a very strong attack.}) 18... Bc6 19. f5 Nc7 $2 {Here the knight is too far away from the king defense.} (19... Ng5 20. Nhxg5 fxg5 $11 {was forced.}) 20. g5 {The battering ram opens the gates of Black's castle.} fxg5 (20... Ne8 {does not defend due to} 21. Qh5 Nd3 22. gxf6 Nxf6 23. Nxf6+ Bxf6 24. Ng5 Bxg5 25. Qxg5 Rf7 26. e4 Qb7 27. Rf3 Bxe4 28. Rxd3 $18) 21. Qg3 h6 22. f6 {The battering rams just keep coming.} gxf6 (22... Bxf6 {can even be met by} 23. Nxf6+ gxf6 24. Nxg5 hxg5 25. Rxf6 Ne6 26. Rbf1 Bxg2 27. Qxg2 Qc6 28. Qg4 Rae8 29. Rg6+ $18) 23. Bxf6 Bxe4 24. Nxg5 $1 {It is typical that a knight sacrifice opens the roads for the long range pieces.} Bxf6 25. Rxf6 Rxf6 (25... Bxb1 26. Nf7+ Kh7 27. Rxh6#) 26. Nxe4+ Kh8 (26... Kf7 {is met by} 27. Nxf6 Kxf6 28. Rf1+ {and Black's king is too open, e.g.} Ke7 29. Qh4+ Kd6 30. Rf6+ Ne6 31. Qf4+ Ke7 32. Rf7+ Ke8 33. Qf6 $18) 27. Nxf6 Qf5 (27... Qf8 28. Bxa8 $18) 28. Rf1 (28. Rf1 Qg5 29. Qxc7 $18) (28. Bxa8 Qxb1+ 29. Kg2 $18 {wins as well by the way.}) 1-0 [Event "London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Niemann, Hans Moke"] [Black "Royal, Shreyas"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2667"] [BlackElo "2438"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,89,26,31,20,20,12,19,19,19,10,19,8,8,8,8,8,-17,7,0,0,0,7,5,7,-24,-24,-24,7,2,1,-33,-16,-47,-28,-28,5,-31,-14,-7,6,-19,-11,-17,-1,0,4,7,19,27,23,25,42,22,25,-63,-63,-63,-52,-80,-93,-126,-77,-156,-160,-146,-160,-160,-156,-177,-68,-75,139,120,185,226,232,226,651,672,833,858,901,918,875,877,877,885,884,883,885,890]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. c3 a5 7. Re1 O-O 8. h3 h6 9. Nbd2 Be6 10. Bb5 Qb8 11. Nf1 Qa7 {This is one important position for the line with a7-a5 in the Italian.} 12. Re2 $5 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A modern idea, keeping the bishops on the board.} (12. Be3 Bxe3 13. Nxe3 Ne7 {Followed by Ng6.}) (12. d4 {leads to a complicated position where Black has good chances after} exd4 13. Bxc6 dxc3 $5 {[%c_effect c3;square;c3;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} 14. Ba4 Bxf2+) 12... a4 13. Ng3 Qa5 14. Bxc6 bxc6 {Both players were still clearly in book, having played all these moves quickly.} 15. Rc2 $5 {[%c_effect c2;square;c2;type;Interesting;persistent;true] This move has been played before, and it's a difficult one to play, to say the least. It seems strange to take the rook off e2 and place it behind a pawn. The continuation of the game will offer some hints about the hidden idea of this move, but we can still take the opportunity to remember Nimzowitsch's concept: the \"mysterious rook move.\" Being a precursor to the concept of prophylaxis, we can suspect that this concept holds the key to White's idea: the fight against the d6-d5 move. In fact, after White plays c4, the move d6-d5 becomes, perhaps, less attractive as it opens the way to the rook.} (15. Nh4 Rfe8 {with the idea of playing d5 followed by Bf8, controlling the center and protecting the king.}) (15. d4 Bb6) 15... Rfb8 $6 {[%c_effect b8;square;b8;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] This is a new move. Speaking of \"mysterious rook moves,\" I really don't like this one. The rook seems to be too far from the king and does not fulfill a very important role here. The computer, naturally, disagrees with everything I wrote and considers the move to be ok.} (15... Kh7 16. Bd2 Bb6 17. c4 Qa7 18. Bc3 c5 19. Bd2 c6 {with a good position for Black in Santos Ruiz,-Meskovs, Bundesliga 2022.}) (15... Rfe8 16. Nh4 d5 17. Qf3 Nh7 18. Nhf5 Bf8 {with equal play: Yu-Le, Aimchess Rapid 2023.}) (15... Bb6 {is very useful, anticipating d4 and preparing the c6-c5,c7-c6 plan: Dabrowski-Annoni, EU-ch 2022 email.}) 16. c4 $1 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Qb6 17. Qe2 Kh7 (17... Nd7 {is better, with the idea of playing d5.}) 18. Rb1 (18. Bd2 {It's more accurate to start with this move, as it's not clear whether the white rook should go to b1 or directly to f1 to prepare for the f2-f4 advance.}) 18... Qa7 (18... Nd7 {This is again the correct move.}) 19. Bd2 Bb6 {The impression one gets is that Royal didn't know what plan to execute. Not having a plan is a chess player's worst nightmare.} 20. b4 (20. Nh4 {with the idea of playing Rf1-Kh2 and f4 is very promising.}) 20... axb3 21. axb3 c5 22. Nh4 Ng8 $6 {[%c_effect g8;square;g8;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (22... c6 $1 {[%c_effect c6;square;c6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] It's time to bring the queen to the defense.} 23. Nhf5 Qd7) 23. f4 exf4 24. Bxf4 {White has achieved a very comfortable position, with a space advantage and attacking prospects on the kingside, with Black's heavy pieces dangerously far from the king.} Re8 25. Bd2 $6 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] Niemann brings the bishop to c3, but this is more sophisticated than the position requires.} (25. Rf1 $1 {[%c_effect f1;square;f1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is simple and good.}) 25... c6 $1 {[%c_effect c6;square;c6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 26. Ngf5 $6 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] This leaves the knight in an awkward position on h4.} (26. Nhf5 {is better.}) 26... d5 (26... Bd8 $1 {[%c_effect d8;square;d8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is more precise, preparing Qd7 or g6.}) 27. Bc3 (27. Nd6 $1 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the right way to fight for the initiative.} Red8 28. e5 {with chances for both sides.}) 27... d4 28. Bd2 {A hard-working bishop.} Bc7 (28... Qb8 {The computer is very happy with Black's position.} 29. Qf3 Bc7 {The queen can help the defense by going to d8, and the rook can help in the counterattack by going to a3.}) 29. Qf3 (29. g4 {immediately looks better.}) 29... g6 (29... Qb8) 30. g4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Bd8 $6 {[%c_effect d8;square;d8;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (30... Qb8 $1 {[%c_effect b8;square;b8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is again the right move.}) 31. Ng2 gxf5 $6 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] There's no need to capture the knight, no matter how uncomfortable it is.} (31... Qb8 {The rook might go to a7, helping to defend from the seventh rank.}) 32. gxf5 Bc8 33. Kh1 {I've always admired chess players who still manage to play calmly even when they are down a piece.} Qe7 $6 {[%c_effect e7;square;e7;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (33... Bg5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This very difficult move is necessary.} 34. Bxg5 (34. Nf4 {is also possible.}) 34... hxg5 35. Qh5+ Nh6 36. Qxg5 Rg8 37. Qh4 Qc7 38. Nf4 Qd8 39. f6 {My machine believes the position is equal. I must admit that, without its guidance, I wouldn't have a clue about the evaluation.}) 34. Rg1 Bc7 35. Qh5 {The white attack develops slowly and steadily. The fate of the black king already seems inevitable.} Be5 $2 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (35... Qf8 {is the only chance.}) 36. Nh4 $1 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The knight joins the attack.} Ra7 37. Nf3 Bg7 38. Bf4 {The rook is ready to participate, and White officially has all the pieces attacking.} Bf8 39. Rxg8 $1 {[%c_effect g8;square;g8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The most clear-cut.} (39. e5 {is also winning.}) 39... Kxg8 40. Rg2+ Bg7 {Other moves lead to mate.} (40... Kh8 41. Bxh6) (40... Kh7 41. Qg4) 41. Rxg7+ (41. Bxh6 {is also winning.}) 41... Kxg7 42. Bxh6+ Kh7 43. Bg5+ (43. Ng5+ {ends in a pretty mate:} Kg8 44. Bg7 Kxg7 45. Qh7+ Kf6 46. Qh6+ Ke5 47. Nf3#) 43... Kg8 44. Bxe7 Rexe7 45. f6 1-0 [Event "London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.05"] [Round "5"] [White "Royal, Shreyas"] [Black "Bartel, Mateusz"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D94"] [WhiteElo "2438"] [BlackElo "2659"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "114"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,114,25,27,27,10,45,34,27,27,49,49,50,38,35,35,36,39,34,34,44,44,60,47,57,29,43,20,40,36,36,29,51,32,26,34,47,49,44,26,30,30,44,-24,33,35,18,2,36,36,32,28,34,23,34,30,15,10,17,-96,-86,-97,-97,-103,-97,-99,-98,-101,-102,-109,-106,-104,-104,-104,-104,-105,-97,-97,-94,-144,-144,-144,-144,-144,-144,-107,-107,-107,-103,-211,-228,-225,-231,-289,-289,-323,-323,-323,-323,-323,-329,-323,-329,-321,-196,-232,-217,-242,-254,-305,-291,-306,-317,-565,-573,-532,-520]} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 {The Schlechter Variation is passive and leads to an advantage for White without any major problems or risks. But it's still a playable line, as will be demonstrated in this game.} 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O Be6 {Not the most popular choice, but it was played recently by Abdusattorov in a rapid game. Bartel has also played it in November, so it was probably not a big surprise for Royal.} (7... Bg4) (7... a6) 8. b3 {A natural choice. Many moves are playable and almost all of them offer a small advantage to White. We have a long positional battle ahead and Bartel probably counted on that.} (8. h3 {is a useful move for White normally, to prevent Bg4. To play it after Black has placed the bishop on e6 seems provocative.} Ne4 (8... dxc4 $1 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the most challenging move.}) 9. Qb3 {with a slight advantage for White in Keymer-Abdusattorov, Tata Steel India rapid Kolkata 2023.}) (8. Ng5 Bf5) (8. Qb3 Qb6) (8. cxd5 cxd5 {This is the idea: by inviting White to capture on d5, the knight is ready to go to c6. Anyway, White is slightly better.}) 8... Ne4 9. Bb2 Nxc3 (9... f5 $6 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] was played by Bartel in a rapid game.} 10. Rc1 {White has the advantage: Moranda-Bartel, POL Superleague Rapid Final Bydgoszcz 2023.}) 10. Bxc3 h6 {Played in order to prevent Ng5.} (10... Bg4 {is possible:} 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 e6 {This is vintage Schlechter Defense. White has the pair of bishop's and more space, but Black is utterly solid. We have at least fifty moves of maneuvering ahead.}) 11. Qc2 (11. h3 {is good prophylaxis against Bg4 or even g5-g4. This later idea seems absurd at the moment, but don't hurry with your conclusions.}) 11... Bf5 {This natural move is a novelty.} (11... Nd7 {allows White to play e4 and achieve the advantage.} 12. e4 dxe4 13. Qxe4 {Andersson-Engqvist, Sweden 2015.}) 12. Qb2 e6 {Bartel reinforces the center and now has the option to capture on d5 with the e-pawn. Of course, the bishop is in an uncomfortable position and this will need to be resolved with g5 or h5.} 13. Rfc1 (13. Ne5 {forces} h5 $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] But this is still not a big problem for Black.} 14. h3 h4 {With the typical and unavoidable slight advantage for White.}) 13... g5 {Freeing some space for the bishop.} (13... Nd7 {is possible.}) 14. Nd2 {This is probably not the best plan.} (14. b4 {immediately is possible:} dxc4 15. Bxc4 Nd7) (14. cxd5 {is interesting:} cxd5 (14... exd5 15. b4 {with the minority attack and a slight edge.}) 15. h3 {Avoiding g4. If Black's knight is developed on c6, White can chase it with b4-b5.} (15. Ne5 Nd7 16. Nd3 {is also possible.})) 14... Nd7 15. b4 Rc8 (15... dxc4 16. Nxc4 {This is good for White, as the knight becomes active.}) (15... g4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This surprisingly primitive plan is suggested by the computer.} 16. b5 h5 {Black just starts pushing the pawns as well, apparently with good counterplay, if my machine has not gone mad.}) 16. a4 {The advance of the queenside pawns is the natural plan.} Re8 17. b5 (17. c5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This is the most accurate way of playing. White has the advantage after} e5 18. b5) 17... c5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 18. cxd5 exd5 19. dxc5 $6 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (19. Bf3 $1 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the best way to fight for an advantage.} Be6 ({or} 19... cxd4 20. Bxd4 Rxc1+ 21. Rxc1 Ne5 22. Be2 {with the advantage.}) 20. dxc5 (20. h3 $5 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;Interesting;persistent;true] is also possible.}) 20... Bxc3 21. Qxc3 Rxc5 22. Qd4 {with a small advantage for White.}) 19... Bxc3 20. Qxc3 (20. Rxc3 $2 {[%c_effect c3;square;c3;type;Mistake;persistent;true] is tactically flawed:} d4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 20... Nxc5 21. Qb4 (21. Qd4 {leads to an equal endgame after} Ne6 $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (21... b6 22. Bf3) 22. Rxc8 (22. Qxa7 $2 {[%c_effect a7;square;a7;type;Mistake;persistent;true] loses the queen after} Ra8 23. Qxb7 Re7 24. Qc6 Rc7) 22... Nxd4 23. Rxd8 Nxe2+ 24. Kf1 Rxd8 25. Kxe2 Rc8) 21... b6 (21... Qf6 $5 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;Interesting;persistent;true]}) 22. Nf3 Qf6 23. Qa3 {Probably played to avoid ...Bd3, although he shouldn't have worried too much.} (23. Nd4 Bd3 24. Bg4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 23... Ne4 (23... Ne6 {is a good way of playing, controlling d4 instead of attacking f2.}) 24. Nd4 Bg6 25. Bf3 Nxf2 {[%c_arrow e4f2;keyPressed;none;from;e4;opacity;0.8;to;f2;persistent;false]} (25... Rc4 $5 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;Interesting;persistent;true] is a good alternative.}) 26. Kxf2 (26. Rf1 $5 {[%c_effect f1;square;f1;type;Interesting;persistent;true] leads to equal play:} Nd3 27. Bxd5 Qe5 28. Bxf7+ $1 {[%c_effect f7;square;f7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Bxf7 29. Qxd3 Qxe3+ 30. Qxe3 Rxe3) (26. Rxc8 {is also possible:} Rxc8 27. Rf1 Nd3 28. Bxd5 Qe5 29. Bxf7+ Kg7 30. Kh1 Qxe3 31. Ne6+ Kh7 32. Nf8+ Kg7 33. Ne6+ {The game surprisingly ends in a draw. I love random perpetual-check variations.}) 26... g4 $6 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (26... Rxc1 $1 {[%c_effect c1;square;c1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] It's better to exchange rooks first.} 27. Rxc1 g4 28. Qc3 (28. Rc6 Qh4+ 29. g3 $2 {[%c_effect g3;square;g3;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Qxh2+ 30. Bg2 Be4 {This is the difference: there's no way of protecting the g2-bishop.}) 28... gxf3 29. Nxf3) 27. Rxc8 $6 {[%c_effect c8;square;c8;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (27. Rc6 $1 {[%c_effect c6;square;c6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is very unpleasant for Black. The key to finding this type of move is to use the \"Candidate Moves\" technique. As suggested by respected author and GM Jacob Aagaard, this is only possible by calculating slowly and looking for ideas that are not immediately apparent.} Rxc6 (27... Qh4+ $2 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;Mistake;persistent;true] loses after} 28. g3 Qxh2+ 29. Bg2 Be4 30. Rg1 $1 {[%c_effect g1;square;g1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 28. bxc6 gxf3 29. gxf3 {Here Black has to fight for survival. An important variation goes:} Qh4+ 30. Kg2 Qg5+ 31. Kh1 $1 {[%c_effect h1;square;h1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] and now Black cannot take on e3, as after} Rxe3 $2 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} 32. c7 {White is winning.}) 27... Rxc8 28. Rc1 (28. Rf1 $5 {[%c_effect f1;square;f1;type;Interesting;persistent;true] White has many alternative routes for this rook and this is one of them.} gxf3 29. gxf3 {with a balanced position.}) 28... Rc4 $1 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This strong move was probably missed by Royal.} 29. Ke2 $2 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (29. Rxc4 $2 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} dxc4 {leaves Black with a dangerous passed pawn.}) (29. Rf1 {is still possible.}) 29... gxf3+ 30. Nxf3 (30. gxf3 Qh4 31. Rh1 Qh3 32. Kf2 Kh7 {White's pieces are tied up.}) 30... Bc2 $1 {[%c_effect c2;square;c2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This subtle move wins the a-pawn.} 31. Nd4 $2 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (31. Qa1 $1 {[%c_effect a1;square;a1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the only chance, when white's position is difficult, but not lost.}) 31... Rxa4 32. Qb2 Be4 33. Qb3 Rc4 (33... Ra5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is better. Black has a winning position: the rook is not as bad as it seems.}) 34. Rxc4 dxc4 35. Qxc4 Bxg2 36. Qc8+ Kh7 37. Qc2+ Qg6 38. Qc7 Be4 $2 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;Mistake;persistent;true] This lets the win slip.} (38... Bd5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is better. In case Wihte captures the a-pawn, Black is winning after} 39. Qxa7 Bc4+ 40. Kf2 Qf6+ 41. Kg3 Qe5+ {The queen and bishop coordinate very well in the attack against White's king and pawns.}) 39. Kd2 $2 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (39. Qxa7 $1 {[%c_effect a7;square;a7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] leads to a likely draw after} Qg2+ 40. Ke1 Qg1+ 41. Kd2 Qxh2+ 42. Kc3 Qf2 43. Qxb6 Qxe3+ 44. Kb4) 39... Qg2+ 40. Ke1 (40. Kc3 {is not enough:} Qf2 41. Qf4 Qxf4 42. exf4 Kg7 $1 {[%c_effect g7;square;g7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] with a winning endgame.} (42... Kg6 $2 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] This looks natural but it's a mistake:} 43. Nc6 a5 44. Ne7+ $1 {[%c_effect e7;square;e7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This is the difference.} Kh5 45. Nc8 {with a draw.})) 40... Qg1+ 41. Ke2 Bg6 $1 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 42. Qe5 (42. Qxa7 Qxh2+ {The h-pawn will eventually decide the game.}) 42... Qg2+ 43. Ke1 Qe4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 44. Nc6 (44. Qxe4 Bxe4 {This endgame is hopeless for White. The important detail is that the knight cannot go to c6:} 45. Nc6 a5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (45... a6 {is also good.})) 44... Qb1+ 45. Kf2 a5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The final detail. Black drastically improves his pawn structure and creates a passed pawn.} 46. Ne7 (46. bxa6 {loses the knight after} Qc2+) 46... Bd3 47. Nd5 Qf1+ 48. Kg3 Qg1+ 49. Kf3 Qf1+ 50. Kg3 Qg1+ 51. Kf3 Qg5 52. Qd4 Bxb5 53. h4 (53. Nxb6 Qf5+ 54. Qf4 (54. Kg3 Bc6) 54... Qxf4+ 55. Kxf4 a4 56. Nd5 a3 {with an easy win.}) 53... Qf5+ 54. Kg3 h5 55. Nf6+ Kg6 56. Qxb6 Qe5+ 57. Kg2 Bf1+ {0-} 0-1 [Event "London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.07"] [Round "6"] [White "Volokitin, Andrei"] [Black "Niemann, Hans Moke"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2659"] [BlackElo "2667"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,77,25,17,13,19,19,19,22,22,34,34,51,51,60,60,54,58,63,54,67,54,55,54,54,54,62,60,60,26,52,5,34,34,68,82,69,70,91,91,92,92,92,-102,-102,-103,-103,-106,-61,-66,-45,-64,93,93,90,91,80,2,91,44,51,69,95,107,103,103,138,132,140,142,148,142,146,132,118,78,391,399,1225,1276]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 {As a somewhat experienced player, I remember that, when I was young, I witnessed the rise of the Berlin Defense, which I could never have imagined would become what it has become today. First I saw the Hungarian GM Zoltan Almasi popularize it, and I even faced him in this line. I also saw Kramnik use it as the weapon that neutralized Kasparov, who simply could not imagine that this defense was correct. In those times, entering the endgame was automatic and considered the natural attempt at refutation. This position, to me, never seemed easy to play for Black, but eventually White gave up and looked for other ways. From time to time, however, some strong GM is still able to break the solidity of the Berlin endgame.} 9. h3 $5 {1035 games} (9. Nc3 {4760 games}) (9. Rd1+) (9. Bg5+ $6 f6) (9. c3 $6) (9. c4) 9... Be7 10. Nc3 {There are so many possible plans for both sides in this endgame that it doesn't make much sense to mention them all. I'm going straight to the first moment that caught my attention.} Nh4 11. Nxh4 Bxh4 12. Be3 h5 $6 (12... Ke8) 13. Ne2 $5 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Interesting;persistent;true] This move is the first of several subtle moves Volokitin played in this beautiful game, which the reader should pay close attention to. Although we're not yet talking about a theoretical novelty, this move is anything but obvious, and the Ukrainian GM thought for a long time before executing it. Alternatives include:} (13. Ne4) (13. Rad1+ {is the most popular move.} Ke8 14. Ne2 Be7 $11 {There are many important games at this position.}) 13... Ke8 (13... Be7 {The commentator has the advantage of knowing what happened in the game. Knowing the plan executed by White, I can suggest Be7 immediately, since then the move f3 can always be answered with ...h4.} 14. f4 f5 15. exf6 gxf6 16. Rad1+ Ke8 {with equality in Vachier Lagrave-Karjakin, Olympiad Batumi 2018.}) 14. f3 $1 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This move is the theoretical novelty. It's probably not a big deal; certainly the computer will show equality for Black. But what matters in chess is to create practical problems for the opponent. White wants to play the g2-pawn to g4, gaining space on the kingside. After all, the Berlin's biggest problem is that White gains a pawn majority on that side of the board.} Be7 $6 {[%c_effect e7;square;e7;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] Niemann plays according to the traditional plan, moving the bishop back to then push the f-pawn. However, here it is dubious.} (14... Bf5 $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is an important alternative.} 15. Rac1 (15. Nd4 Bh7 {with equal chances.}) 15... Rd8 16. g4 Be6 {Black's position is easier to play than what happens in the game.}) 15. g4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White manages to carry out his plan.} f5 $6 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (15... hxg4 {first is more accurate:} 16. hxg4 f5 17. exf6 gxf6 {with an improved version of the game, even though White retains a small advantage.}) (15... a5 {The computer simply ignores White's plan and prepares the advance on the queenside.}) 16. exf6 gxf6 (16... Bxf6 $6 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} 17. Bd4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] It's well-known that when your opponent has the bishop pair, a possible plan is to try to exchange one of them. White now achieves this and has the advantage thanks to his better pawn structure. Of course, it's still not easy to break Black's defense.}) 17. Nf4 hxg4 18. fxg4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] For this reason it was better for Black to have captured on g4 earlier, when White was still forced to recapture with the h-pawn.} f5 $2 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;Mistake;persistent;true] This move opens the game to White's rooks, which is fatal to the black king, it being trapped in the middle of the board—let's not forget that Black can no longer castle.} (18... Kf7 {is necessary. White is just slightly better, according to the computer.}) 19. Rae1 (19. Bd4 {leads to a winning position:} Rg8 20. Rae1 Kf7 21. Ng2 $1 {[%c_effect g2;square;g2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] with the idea of playing Ne3 and capturing the f-pawn.}) 19... Kf7 {The only move.} 20. Bd4 Rd8 {[%c_arrow e1e7;keyPressed;none;from;e1;opacity;0.8;to;e7;persistent;false]} (20... Bf6 21. Bxf6 Kxf6 {It's clear that Black's position is horrible. A possible variation is:} 22. Kg2 Bd7 23. Nh5+ Kg6 24. Re7 fxg4 25. hxg4 (25. Nf4+ {is of course also good, but let's not spoil my variation.}) 25... Bxg4 26. Rg7+ $1 {[%c_effect g7;square;g7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Kxh5 27. Rh1+ Bh3+ 28. Rxh3#) 21. Rxe7+ {This move seemed completely brilliant to me when I first saw the game. The computer, unfortunately, is not so impressed. Objectively I should put a $6 or even $2 for this exchange sacrifice, but I refuse to do it. The idea is too beautiful to deserve punishment by this commentator for \"simply\" being incorrect from a scientific point of view.} (21. Be5 {leaves White with a nearly winning position, but without spectacle. When I analyzed the Adams-Tabatabaei game, I mentioned that the English GM, who currently leads the tournament, recommends not complicating games that are following a favorable path. For him, 21.Be5 would be automatic. But that doesn't mean this will always be the right decision; after all, every person thinks in a different way and each player must follow their heart.}) 21... Kxe7 22. Bc5+ Kf7 23. g5 {Volokitin prepares the advance of the g- and h-pawns. His positional compensation for the exchange is considerable and Black needs to play with great precision.} Rg8 $2 {[%c_effect g8;square;g8;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (23... Be6 $2 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] is also insufficient:} 24. g6+ (24. Re1 {is also good.}) 24... Kf6 25. Re1 Re8 26. Bd4+ {winning the bishop.}) (23... b6 $1 {[%c_effect b6;square;b6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the only way to defend. If Black finds all the computer moves he can somehow keep his head above water, even with White's pawns advancing.} 24. Be3 (24. Bb4 c5 25. Bc3 Ba6 26. g6+ Kg8 27. Re1 Re8 $1 {[%c_effect e8;square;e8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] with saving chances.}) 24... Ba6 25. Re1 Rd6 $1 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The only way. Black has to rush to exchange rooks.} 26. h4 Rad8 $1 {[%c_effect d8;square;d8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 27. h5 Rd1 28. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 29. Kf2 Kg7 {and apparently it's possible to save this position.}) 24. h4 Be6 (24... b6 {is the only chance.}) 25. Kf2 $1 {[%c_effect f2;square;f2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White prepares the simple Rg1 followed by h5. There's no longer any salvation for Black.} Rg6 26. Rg1 Rag8 {Black manages to avoid the h4-h5 advance, but his pieces can barely move.} 27. Re1 Re8 28. Rg1 Reg8 29. Bd4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White improves the position of the bishop. There's no need to hurry.} Bd5 30. Be5 b5 31. Bxc7 Be4 {A desperate attempt to create some counterplay, but now Volokitin exploits the d-file.} 32. Rd1 Bxc2 33. Rd7+ Ke8 34. Rd8+ Kf7 35. Rd7+ Ke8 36. Rd2 R6g7 (36... Be4 37. Nxg6 Rxg6 38. Bf4 {followed by the advance of the pawns, with an easy win.}) 37. Be5 Rh7 38. Bf6 $1 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The most accurate.} (38. Rxc2 Rxh4) 38... Rf8 39. Rd8+ {A brilliant game by Volokitin.} (39. Rd8+ Kf7 40. g6+) 1-0 [Event "London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.08"] [Round "7"] [White "Tabatabaei, M. Amin"] [Black "Vitiugov, Nikita"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B93"] [WhiteElo "2692"] [BlackElo "2704"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,119,28,16,35,32,71,63,54,26,26,45,50,24,12,36,43,7,0,-33,-21,-42,-57,-56,-56,-64,-57,-83,-68,-70,-46,-85,-93,-87,-87,-87,-24,-73,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,228,0,143,216,275,339,85,61,61,61,70,70,85,105,114,114,114,147,123,154,152,221,225,245,242,242,242,242,249,238,253,452,138,225,224,196,123,123,123,103,105,105,114,114,111,139,139,657,794,28681,31,209,233,835,1322,1330,1322,1860,1322,28022,29960,29961,1292,29959,29960,29961,29962,29963,29964,29979,29980,29985,29986,29987,29988]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f4 {This old move still has some venom, it seems.} e5 7. Nf3 Nbd7 8. a4 Qc7 {Preventing the development of the bishop on c4.} (8... Be7 9. Bc4 {with many theoretical variations.}) 9. g4 $5 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A fresh idea, played only once before, but by a renowned theoretician.} d5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A novelty that was played quickly by Vitiugov, who was prepared. I'd like to know how top GMs manage to remember so much.} (9... exf4 $2 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} 10. g5 {White is already winning: L'Ami-Yilmaz, Tata Steel-B Wijk aan Zee 2023.}) 10. g5 d4 11. gxf6 dxc3 12. fxg7 Bxg7 {All these moves are the first choice of the computer.} 13. f5 {Now Vitiugov started to think.} (13. Rg1 {is also possible, with a complicated position after} Bf6 14. b3 exf4 15. Bh3) 13... cxb2 {Black has many candidate moves.} (13... Nc5 $5 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] is possible and requires accurate play by both sides.} 14. Qd5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} cxb2 15. Bxb2 Bd7 $1 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] with chances for both sides.}) (13... Nf6 14. Rg1 Bf8 {with unclear play.}) (13... b6 {This is very logical and it's my favorite move. Black simply prepares development.} 14. Rg1 Bf6 {with a messy position.} (14... Bf8 {is also playable.})) 14. Bxb2 Qb6 {A risky decision, going after the e4-pawn. This is playable, but not very practical.} (14... b6) (14... Nc5) 15. Ba3 Qe3+ 16. Be2 Qxe4 17. Rg1 {It's hard to imagine that Black can survive this position, but the computer actually evaluates it as equal.} Bf8 {After this move Tabatabaei finally started to think. Excellent preparation.} (17... Bh6 {is weaker: the bishop on a3 is too strong.} 18. Rg3 $5 {[%c_effect g3;square;g3;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} Qxf5 19. Nd2 {The knight goes to c4 with a winning attack.}) 18. Qd2 {Very logical.} (18. Bxf8 Rxf8 19. Qd2 Nf6 $1 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] and Black is surviving.}) (18. Ng5 Bb4+ $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The only move.} (18... Qxf5 $2 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} 19. Nxf7 $1 {[%c_effect f7;square;f7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] leads to disaster.}) (18... Qh4+ 19. Rg3 {is also winning for White.}) 19. Bxb4 Qxb4+ 20. Qd2 Qxd2+ 21. Kxd2 Nc5 {Exchanging queens is a huge relief for Black.}) 18... Nc5 $2 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;Mistake;persistent;true] This move loses. There's only one acceptable continuation for Black.} (18... Qxf5 $6 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} 19. Bb2 $1 {[%c_effect b2;square;b2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] with a strong initiative.}) (18... Bxa3 $2 {[%c_effect a3;square;a3;type;Mistake;persistent;true] brings White's rook into the attack:} 19. Rxa3 Qxf5 20. Re3) (18... Qxa4 $2 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} 19. Bb2 {Black can just pick up pawns.}) (18... Nf6 $1 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This is the way to go.} 19. Bxf8 Rxf8 20. Qd6 Nd5 21. Rd1 Qb4+ 22. Qxb4 Nxb4 {Exchanging queens and surviving.}) 19. Ng5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Tabatabaei conducts the attack with enviable precision from here on.} (19. Rd1 $2 {[%c_effect d1;square;d1;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Bxf5 {Forced, but good.}) 19... Qh4+ (19... Qxf5 {loses in many ways.} 20. Bh5 (20. Rf1)) 20. Rg3 h6 {Other moves are no better:} (20... Qxh2 $2 {[%c_effect h2;square;h2;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} 21. Bb5+ {loses the queen.}) (20... Bxf5 21. Qd5 {attacks everything.}) (20... Qd4 21. Qxd4 exd4 {Black exchanges queens, but cannot protect f7.} 22. Bh5 (22. Bc4 {is also good.})) 21. Nxf7 $1 {[%c_effect f7;square;f7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] It's necessary to destroy the king's protection.} (21. Qd5 $2 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;Mistake;persistent;true] is very tempting, but doesn't work:} hxg5 22. Qxe5+ Ne6 $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Black escapes.}) (21. Bxc5 {is also winning, but it looks more difficult:} hxg5 (21... Bxc5 22. Nxf7 $1 {[%c_effect f7;square;f7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 22. Bxf8 Kxf8 (22... Rxf8 23. Bg4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 23. O-O-O Qf4 24. Qxf4 exf4 25. Rd8+ Ke7 26. Rxh8 fxg3 27. hxg3 {with a winning endgame, since Black's queenside cannot move.}) 21... Ne4 {The best chance.} (21... Kxf7 22. Qd5+ {loses on the spot.}) (21... Rg8 22. Nd6+ Bxd6 23. Qxd6 Rxg3 24. Qxe5+ {Black can resign.}) 22. Qd5 Nxg3 (22... Bxa3 {leads to mate after} 23. Qxe5+ Kxf7 24. Bc4+) 23. Qxe5+ Kxf7 24. hxg3 Qh1+ (24... Bb4+ 25. Bxb4 Qxb4+ 26. c3 {Black cannot defend the rook and the checks on c4 or h5.}) (24... Qf6 {There's a pretty win here:} 25. Bc4+ Kg7 26. Qc7+ Be7 27. Bb2 $1 {[%c_effect b2;square;b2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Qxb2 28. Qxe7#) 25. Kf2 Qc6 (25... Qh2+ 26. Kf3 {The checks will soon be over.}) 26. Bh5+ (26. Qxh8 {also wins, but in a more complicated manner:} Bxf5 (26... Bc5+ 27. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 28. Kg2 Bxf5 29. Bh5+ $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Ke6 30. Qxh6+ {with a decisive attack.}) (26... Bxa3 27. Bh5+ Ke7 28. Re1+ {with checkmate soon.}) 27. Bh5+ $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Bg6 28. Qh7+ Bg7 29. Rf1 $3 {[%c_effect f1;square;f1;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] Fantastic $1 Discovering moves like this is why I love analyzing chess games.} Bxh5 30. Ke3+ $1 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (30. Kg1+ $2 {[%c_effect g1;square;g1;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Bf3) 30... Ke8 (30... Ke6 31. Qf5#) 31. Qg8+ Kd7 32. Qxg7+ Kc8 33. Rf8+ Be8 34. Qe5 {winning.}) 26... Kg8 27. Bxf8 Rh7 28. Bg6 Rc7 29. Bxh6 Qc5+ (29... Qxc2+ {doesn't save Black:} 30. Kf3 Qc3+ (30... Rc3+ 31. Kg4 Rc4+ 32. Kh3) 31. Qxc3 Rxc3+ 32. Kg4 Bd7 33. Re1 {and the rook goes to e7.}) 30. Qxc5 Rxc5 31. g4 {By a miracle, Vitiugov has managed to avoid mate in the middlegame, but his king remains in danger even after the exchange of queens.} Rxc2+ 32. Kg3 Bd7 33. Re1 Rc6 34. Re7 Be8 (34... Rxg6 35. fxg6 Bxa4 {Black's king is still suffering:} 36. Rg7+ Kh8 37. Rh7+ Kg8 38. Bg7 {followed by Bf6.}) 35. Bh7+ Kh8 36. Bf4 Rc5 37. f6 Bxa4 38. Bg6 Rf8 39. g5 (39. Bh6 $1 {[%c_effect h6;square;h6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] forces immediate capitulation.}) 39... Rc3+ 40. Kf2 Bc2 41. Bxc2 Rxc2+ 42. Kg3 Rc5 43. Rxb7 (43. Kg4 {is also good.}) 43... Rb5 44. Ra7 Kg8 45. Rg7+ Kh8 46. Kg4 a5 47. Bd6 Rd8 48. Be7 {This doesn't spoil the game, but there's a simpler move.} (48. g6 $1 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Rxd6 49. Rh7+ Kg8 50. f7+ Kf8 51. Rh8+ Ke7 52. f8=Q+) 48... Rc8 (48... Rg8 49. Rxg8+ Kxg8 50. g6 {followed by f7.}) 49. Kh5 Rg8 50. Rg6 $3 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] The only winning move $1} (50. Rxg8+ Kxg8 51. Kg6 Rb6 {leads to a draw.}) 50... Rxg6 51. Kxg6 Rb6 52. Kh6 (52. Kf7 {is also winning:} a4 (52... Rb1 53. g6 Rg1 54. Bf8 a4 55. Bg7#) 53. g6 Rb8 54. Bf8 Rb7+ 55. Ke6 Rb6+ 56. Bd6 {followed by the march of the f-pawn.}) 52... a4 53. g6 Rb1 54. f7 Rh1+ 55. Kg5 Rg1+ 56. Kh5 Rh1+ 57. Kg4 Rg1+ 58. Kh3 Rf1 59. Bf8 $1 {[%c_effect f8;square;f8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The only winning move again $1} (59. f8=Q+ $4 {[%c_effect f8;square;f8;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Rxf8 60. Bxf8 a3 61. Bxa3 Kg7 {with a draw.}) 59... Rg1 60. Bc5 {A wonderful game.} 1-0 [Event "London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.09"] [Round "8"] [White "Moussard, Jules"] [Black "Royal, Shreyas"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2635"] [BlackElo "2438"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "136"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,136,26,16,20,-14,28,28,42,33,35,17,17,13,15,14,13,13,23,23,27,8,21,17,24,24,24,17,-5,10,-5,2,18,-1,31,24,53,59,61,74,74,58,58,58,58,58,58,67,83,67,71,64,67,54,55,35,44,108,151,150,175,175,172,186,199,195,188,188,201,169,197,206,193,187,188,193,205,217,221,209,218,173,199,82,74,53,41,52,55,-131,-140,-187,-41,-51,-51,-55,-55,-232,-243,-243,-243,-250,-250,-248,-248,-270,-274,-274,-271,-297,-300,-304,-305,-305,-302,-302,-325,-353,-382,-381,-378,-418,-442,-498,-504,-507,-507,-504,-524,-618,-638,-622,-634,-660,-670,-722,-706,-719,-761]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nd7 3. d4 Nb6 {A strategically creative system: the b6-square is not the knight's natural habitat. The advantage is that it's more difficult for White to play the pawn to c4.} 4. Bg2 Bf5 5. b3 $5 {[%c_effect b3;square;b3;type;Interesting;persistent;true] Not so much to fianchetto the bishop, but rather to play c4.} e6 6. O-O h6 7. c4 c6 8. Nbd2 {I don't really like this square for the knight, I think it could go to c3, either now or after c5.} (8. c5 Nd7 9. b4 Ngf6 10. Nc3) (8. Nc3) 8... Nf6 9. Bb2 Be7 10. e3 {A thematic move, making way for the queen on e2.} O-O 11. Qe2 a5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Advancing the pawn to a4 is a good plan that shows the advantage of the knight on b6 and the disadvantage of the knight on d2.} 12. Ne5 Nbd7 13. Nd3 {A new move.} (13. Nxd7 Qxd7 {was equal in Krysa-Fedoseev,Titled Tuesday blitz 2020.}) (13. Rfd1 {is also a possible move.}) 13... a4 {A natural continuation. 13...Ne4 and 13...Qb3 are good options, with equality in both cases.} (13... Ne4) (13... Qb6) 14. Rfc1 (14. e4 {is a normal break, but here Black is fine due to the queenside counterplay.} dxe4 15. Nxe4 Nxe4 16. Bxe4 Bxe4 17. Qxe4 Qb6 (17... Bf6 {is also good.})) 14... Qb6 15. c5 Qa6 (15... Qb5 {is more accurate. The difference is that after} 16. Bf1 b6 $1 {[%c_effect b6;square;b6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White cannot play 17.b4 due to the pressure on the b2-bishop.}) 16. Bf1 b5 $2 {[%c_effect b5;square;b5;type;Mistake;persistent;true] This is a clear positional mistake. Black shouldn't close the queenside.} (16... b6 {is better:} 17. b4 Rfb8 {with equal chances.}) 17. f3 {Now White can prepare to advance in the center without any major worries.} axb3 18. axb3 Qb7 19. e4 Bh7 20. e5 {White has achieved a clear advantage.} Ne8 21. Rxa8 Qxa8 22. Ra1 Qb7 23. b4 g5 $5 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A difficult move, as it creates more weaknesses, but Black tries to generate some activity.} (23... Nc7 24. Nb3 {is sad for Black.}) 24. Nb3 Ng7 25. Na5 {The knight on a5 fulfills an important function, pinning Black to the defense of the c6-pawn. It can come back when needed.} Qc7 26. Nf2 h5 {Probably played with the idea of taking away the knight's g4-square, but this creates even more weaknesses.} 27. Re1 (27. Nb3 f6 28. Ra3 $1 {[%c_effect a3;square;a3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This is a very strong plan, suggested by the computer. White prepares total dominance of the a-file. To do this, he simply needs to place the queen behind the rook.}) 27... Re8 (27... f6 {is a better chance to create some play.}) 28. Qd2 Nf8 29. Nh3 {Black loses a pawn on the kingside.} g4 30. fxg4 hxg4 31. Nf2 Bf5 32. Be2 (32. Qd1 {is also good.}) 32... Nh7 33. Nxg4 {White has a winning position, with an extra pawn and well-placed pieces. There are many ways to play in the next few moves, but I will focus on the critical moments that made the game change hands.} Bg6 34. Qf4 Nf5 35. h4 Kh8 36. Ne3 Nxe3 37. Qxe3 f5 38. Qf4 Rg8 39. Kf2 Be8 40. Ke3 (40. Bc1 {White's best approach is to bring this bishop back into the game, avoiding any tactical issues and maintaining a decisive advantage.}) 40... Bd8 41. Kd3 $2 {[%c_effect d3;square;d3;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (41. Kf2 {White can return the king and keep maneuvering.}) (41. Bc1 {allows} Ng5 $5 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] White has a big material advantage, but the win still has to be demonstrated after} 42. hxg5 Bxg5 43. Rh1+ Qh7 44. Rxh7+ Kxh7 45. Kf2 Bxf4 46. Bxf4) 41... Nf6 $1 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true][%c_arrow h7f6;keyPressed;none;from;h7;opacity;0.8;to;f6;persistent;false] Suddenly Black is back in the game due to this tactical shot.} 42. Rg1 (42. exf6 $2 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] loses the queen after} Rxg3+) (42. Qh6+ {is a good practical choice, since after} Qh7 43. Qxh7+ Nxh7 {the knight at least doesn't arrive on e4, although the g3-pawn cannot be protected.}) 42... Ne4 {The knight, which was previously a sad piece with no prospects, suddenly becomes a monster on e4.} 43. Kc2 $2 {[%c_effect c2;square;c2;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (43. Bc3 $1 {[%c_effect c3;square;c3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the only chance, bringing the bishop to e1 to protect the pawn chain.} Qh7 44. Be1) 43... Qh7 44. Kb3 Bxh4 $1 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 45. Bc3 Nxg3 (45... Rxg3 {is an easier way to convert the advantage.} 46. Rxg3 Bxg3 47. Qf3 Qh4 {with an easily winning position.}) 46. Bf3 Rg6 $1 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 47. Rg2 Qh6 $1 {[%c_effect h6;square;h6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 48. Bd2 $2 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (48. Qxh6+ {is the only move.} Rxh6 49. Bd2 Rh7 {White has drawing chances.}) 48... Bg5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This was certainly missed by Moussard.} 49. Qxg3 Bxd2 50. Qh2 Rxg2 51. Qxh6+ (51. Qxg2 Qe3+) 51... Bxh6 52. Bxg2 Bd2 {The rest is very easy: the king enters the game and the knight is unable to help.} 53. Bf1 Kg7 54. Nb7 Kg6 55. Kc2 Bxb4 56. Kd3 Be1 57. Be2 Bf2 58. Bd1 Kg5 59. Be2 Bg1 60. Bd1 Kh4 61. Be2 f4 62. Nd8 Bd7 63. Nf7 b4 64. Bd1 Be8 65. Nd8 Bg6+ 66. Kd2 Bxd4 67. Nxe6 Bc3+ 68. Kc1 Bxe5 {0-} 0-1 [Event "London Chess Classic 2023"] [Site "London"] [Date "2023.12.10"] [Round "9"] [White "Niemann, Hans Moke"] [Black "Gukesh D"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2667"] [BlackElo "2720"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] {[%evp 0,69,18,18,18,18,14,19,20,20,18,9,24,26,29,31,30,-6,9,2,10,3,29,34,34,34,39,15,15,-25,4,-14,20,9,77,23,16,9,54,28,28,-5,160,160,152,153,171,174,195,177,177,191,192,206,193,187,187,186,177,185,185,171,213,166,285,287,286,290,296,262,305,293]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. c3 a6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Re1 h6 $5 {[%c_effect h6;square;h6;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A very interesting plan that has been used many times in this position. Black simply wants to start the pawn advance on the kingside.} 9. a5 {A rare move. White will have some problems in the next moves, so Italian Opening theoreticians should probably analyze the main line with 9.Nbd2.} (9. Nbd2 g5 {with big complications.}) 9... g5 10. Be3 {Neimann decides to exchange the dangerous a7-bishop.} g4 11. Nfd2 Bxe3 $1 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] An obvious move and also a novelty.} (11... h5 $6 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} 12. Bxa7 Rxa7 {Yu-Ju, Danzhou rapid 2021. Here White should play} 13. Nf1 {with the advantage.}) 12. fxe3 $6 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] It's curious to take on e3 with the pawn when the rook is no longer on the f-file, but now White looks more solid against the advance of Black's pawns. It's a difficult choice, but objectively it's better to take with the rook, although I still like Black's position.} (12. Rxe3 h5) 12... Nh7 $5 {[%c_effect h7;square;h7;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A subtle move. The knight can go to g5 if necessary, protecting the f7-pawn.} (12... h5 {is natural and also possible:} 13. Rf1 Rh6 {with a complicated game, but Black has easier play.}) 13. Nf1 (13. Rf1 Ng5 {The knight is very well-placed here.}) 13... h5 {Black is the winner of the opening battle, having achieved a clearly better position.} 14. Ng3 Qg5 (14... h4 {is simpler:} 15. Nf5 Bxf5 16. exf5 d5 17. Bb3 Nf6 {Black has a clear advantage. The duet of pawns in the center and also on the kingside draws attention.}) 15. Nd2 Ne7 $6 {[%c_effect e7;square;e7;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] This move allows for an excellent counterplay chance that Niemann doesn't waste.} (15... O-O {is better.}) 16. Qa4+ $1 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} c6 (16... Bd7 $2 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;Mistake;persistent;true] loses a pawn after} 17. Bxf7+) 17. Qb4 h4 18. Nf5 $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This is White's idea.} (18. Ngf1 {is too passive. Black is much better after} Qf6) 18... Bxf5 (18... Nxf5 {is an important option. The game can become insanely complicated.} 19. exf5 d5 20. Qd6 $5 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;Interesting;persistent;true] An interesting option.} (20. Bb3 h3 $1 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] leaves Black with the initiative.}) 20... f6 $1 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The most accurate.} (20... Qf6 21. Qxf6 Nxf6 22. Bb3 Bxf5 23. Rf1 Rh5 24. e4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} dxe4 25. dxe4 O-O-O $1 {[%c_effect c8;square;c8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The only move.} (25... Nxe4 $2 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} 26. Nxe4 Bxe4 27. Bxf7+) 26. Bxf7 Rh6 27. Nc4 Bxe4 28. Nxe5 {with equality.}) (20... Qe7 21. Qxe7+ Kxe7 22. Bb3 Bxf5 23. e4 dxe4 24. Nxe4 {with good compensation for the pawn.}) 21. e4 $5 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} (21. Bb3 {is also possible, but the piece sacrifice is more interesting.}) 21... dxc4 (21... Qxd2 {leads to perpetual check:} 22. exd5 h3 23. Rxe5+ $1 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} fxe5 24. Qxe5+ Be6 (24... Kd7 25. dxc6+ bxc6 26. Be6+ {This apparently also ends in a draw.}) 25. Qxe6+ Kd8 26. Qd6+ Kc8 27. Qe6+) 22. Nxc4 {White prepares Nb6 or d4 and has good practical compensation for the piece.}) 19. exf5 d5 20. Bb3 (20. Qxb7 O-O 21. Bb3 $1 {[%c_effect b3;square;b3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (21. Bxa6 $2 {[%c_effect a6;square;a6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] loses after} Rfb8 22. Qc7 Rxb2 $19) 21... Nxf5 {This transposes to a position that could occur later in the game.}) 20... O-O $2 {[%c_effect g8;square;g8;type;Mistake;persistent;true][%c_arrow a1a4;keyPressed;none;from;a1;opacity;0.8;to;a4;persistent;false,b4g4;keyPressed;none;from;b4;opacity;0.8;to;g4;persistent;false,g4h4;keyPressed;none;from;g4;opacity;0.8;to;h4;persistent;false] A blunder that immediately leads to a losing position.} (20... O-O-O {is the simplest:} 21. Bd1 $1 {[%c_effect d1;square;d1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The best defense: White attacks the g4-pawn and prepares Nb3-c5.} (21. Ra4 $2 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} g3 22. Qxh4 Nxf5 23. Qxg5 gxh2+ 24. Kxh2 Nxg5+ 25. Kg1 Rdg8 {with a winning position for Black.}) 21... Nxf5 22. Qxg4 Kc7 {with equal play.}) (20... Nxf5 {is also possible:} 21. Qxb7 O-O 22. Qxc6 Nf6 {Black's queen and two knights look menacing near the white king.}) 21. Ra4 $1 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Gukesh certainly missed this pretty move, attacking pawns on the fourth rank.} g3 (21... Nxf5 22. Qxg4 {is also winning for White.}) 22. Qxh4 Qxh4 (22... gxh2+ 23. Qxh2 {Here White quickly creates a winning attack, for instance:} Nxf5 (23... Qxf5 24. Rh4 (24. e4 {is also good.})) 24. Nf3 {with an easy win.}) 23. Rxh4 gxh2+ (23... Nxf5 {Here either 24.Rg4 or 24.Rh5 wins.} 24. Rg4+ (24. Rh5) 24... Kh8 25. hxg3) 24. Rxh2 f6 (24... Nxf5 25. e4 {This pawn break is an important resource, opening the diagonal for the bishop and bringing the rook to the attack.} dxe4 26. Rxe4 Rae8 27. Rg4+ Kh8 28. Ne4 {All of White's pieces are well-placed.}) 25. e4 Rf7 26. Nf3 Rg7 27. d4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White is a clean pawn up and also has the positional advantage. Niemann wins the game without any problem.} exd4 28. Nxd4 Ng5 29. exd5 Nxd5 30. Rh6 $1 {[%c_effect h6;square;h6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Kf7 31. Kf1 Rag8 32. c4 Nc7 33. c5+ Nd5 34. Bxd5+ cxd5 35. Ne6 $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (35. Ne6 Nxe6 36. Rxe6 Rxg2 37. Rhxf6+) 1-0
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