gm Ristic, N
gm Kovacevic, A
Serbian Ch Vrbas 24-04-2015 Position before Black’s 20th move. White intends to follow up with c4 and then try to sink his Knight onto d5. A clear strategy, but one that is too slow for this game…
BLACK TO PLAY AND GET THE UPPER HAND
gm Damljanovic, B
gm Pavlovic, Milos
Serbian Ch Vrbas 24-04-2015 Position before Black’s 40th move. A typical scenario that keeps repeating itself from the King’s Indian Defence…White dominates on the Queenside and Black seeks counterplay on the otherside of the board. An old axiom states that the Kingside is always more vulnerable…
BLACK TO PLAY AND CRUSH!
gm Tomashevsky, Evgeny
gm Almasi, Zoltan
World Teams Tsaghkadzor ARM 2015.4.23 Position after 28 moves. A very dynamic struggle up to now, not to say imperfect. These make, generally speaking, the most interesting games for the spectators! Two Bishops vs two Knights; an extra pawn for White (Black had sacrificed it earlier) but Black’s pieces are active and all in play. The struggle for the initiative is in full bloom…
HOWEVER, if up to now both sides had been playing along general principles of modern strategy, now is the time for concrete interpretation of the position. Who stands better and why? Almasi’s answer is brilliant and unexpected: Black is busted! Why? Because Black’s King is all alone, far from the rest of his pieces…
If you divide the board right down the center files, you will notice that Black’s King is without companionship…White’s Bishop pair can quickly line up against the Black monarch; as well, the Rook can shift to the attack via g3. What Almasi had sensed before playing his previous move is that an explosion on g7 was imminent (Rg3 and Bc3) and almost impossible to prevent. He is right!
All according to plan, but the wrong move order! Curiously, after this Rook move, White loses his advantage.
Correct was :
Amazingly, it is Zugzwang! Almasi’s intuition was 100% correct, but at the critical point of your attack it is often imperative to calculate concretely and exactly. Had the Hungarian star done so, then most certainly he would have chosen 30.Bc3. The immediate threat is just 31.Bxg7!!, and there is no good way to prevent it:
a) 30… Rd7? 31. Bxc6;
b) 30… Rbc8 31. Bxg7! Qxg7 32. Rg3 Nd4 33. Rxg7+ Kxg7 34. Qg4+ Kh7 35. Qe4+ Kg7 36. Qb7+ Kf6 37. Qxa6 and White mops up easily. The Queen is far more powerful than the Black Rooks
c) 30… Kh7 31. Qe4+ wins the Knight;
d) 30… Rdc8 31. Bxg7! Kxg7 32. Rg3+ Kh8 33. Qf6 Kh7 34. Bc2#;
e) 30… Ne7!? (the toughest try) 31. Rb3 (31. Bxg7? Ng6!) 31… Qa7 32. Qe5! Nf5 (32… Ng6 33. Rxb8 Rxb8 (33… Nxe5 34. Rxd8 Kh7 35. Bxe5)) 33. Rxb8 Rxb8 34. Bc2! Kh7 (34… Kh8 35. g4 Nh4 36. Qe4) 35. Qxe6 etc
Finally, if 30…Qd7 then 31.BxN! QxB 32.Bxg7!
White wins as in the previous variations.
GETTING BACK TO THE GAME:
The threat of Ne2+ allows Black to gain time to bring his Knight over to the Kingside. After 31. Qe5 Nf5! 32. Rb3 Qd5! the worse was behind Black and the game pretty balanced. Black even won the game when White misplayed when short of time.