(1) Gelfand,Boris (2733) - Karjakin,Sergey (2721) [D15]
Nalchik FIDE GP Nalchik (13), 29.04.2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 b5 6.c5 Nbd7 Sergey is playing this system regulary and with success so I was very pretty confident that we would have this position on the board.
7.a3 a5 8.Qc2!? This is a new idea of the young Israeli GM Maxim Rodshtein. We had analysed it together with him and Alexander Khuzman. White is preparing e3-e4. [Sergey had won a memorable game after 8.Bd3 e5! 9.dxe5 Ng4 10.e6 (10.Nd4 Ndxe5 and the bishop on d3 is under attack.) 10...fxe6 11.Nd4 Nxc5 12.Be2 Nxf2!! 13.Kxf2 Bd6 14.g3 0-0+ 15.Kg2 Bd7 16.Bd2 e5 17.Nb3 Ne6 Eljanov,P -Karjakin,S /Foros UKR 2007. with a great position.]
8...Qc7 [If 8...e5 9.dxe5 Ng4 10.Nd4 Ndxe5 then the bishop is not under attack and it gives White some promising possibilities, for example 11.Ncxb5 ; 8...g6 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Bg7 should be tried in future.]
9.e4 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Qxe4 Nf6 12.Qe5 A similiar position arises from 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.c5 Nbd7 6.Bf4 Nh5 7.Bd2 Nhf6 8.Qc2 g6 9.h3 Qc7 10.e4 Ne4 11.Ne4 de4 12.Qe4 Nf6 13.Qe5, but here Black has played b7-b5 and weakened the c6 pawn.
12...Qxe5+ 13.Nxe5 Bb7 14.a4! An important idea. White is getting control of the important c4-square and fixing the weak pawn on a5.
14...b4 15.Bf4 It is not clear yet, which piece should go to c4. [15.Bc4 Nd5 ]
15...Nd7? Here the knight is placed too passively. Better was [15...Nd5 16.Bg3 g6 with good chances to equalize.]
16.Nc4 [Too hasty would be 16.d5?! Nxe5 17.Bxe5 f6 18.Bg3 cxd5 19.Bb5+ Kf7 20.c6 Bc8 and White's initiative comes to a dead end.]
16...Ba6 Forced, as Bc7 was the threat. [16...g6 17.Bc7 ]
17.Nb6 It took me a long time to decide on this move. It leads to a long lasting advantage, but it wouldn't be easy to advance. [White had at his disposal a temporary pawn sacrifice 17.d5!? and after the forced 17...cxd5 18.Nb6 Ra7 (18...Nxb6 19.cxb6+/- ; 18...Bxf1 19.Nxa8 Bxg2 20.c6+- ) 19.Nxd5 Bxf1 20.Kxf1 Black has two possibilities to win a pawn: 20...Nxc5 (20...e5 21.Be3 Nxc5 22.Rc1 (22.Ke2 with long-term compensation also deserves attention) 22...Rd7 (22...Nb3 23.Rc8+ Kd7 24.Nb6+ Ke6 25.Ke2 ) 23.Nb6 Nb3 24.Nxd7 Nxc1 25.Nxe5+/= with small white advantage; 20...e6?! 21.Nc7+ Kd8 22.c6 ) 21.Ke2 (21.Be3 e6 ; 21.Nc7+ Kd8 22.Nb5 Rd7 23.Ke2 e5 ) 21...e6 22.Nc7+ Ke7 23.Rhd1 (23.Nb5!? ) 23...Nb3 24.Rab1 with full compensation for the pawn, but I was reluctant to force matters.]
17...Ra7 18.Bxa6 Rxa6 19.Nc4 After the exchange of the bishops the knight is ideally placed on c4 and the black rook is doomed to protect the a5-pawn. White also has a space advantage, so despite the weak d5-square his chances are better.
19...Ra7 20.0-0-0 e6 White's advantage is indisputable, but how to progress? I had decided that the only reasonable idea is to break through on the f5-square and to create a second weakness in addition to a5.
21.Be5 White is advised to hurry as his task would be more difficult to achieve if Black could develop his pieces. [A similiar idea was 21.Rhe1 Be7 (21...Nf6?! 22.Bb8 Rb7 (22...Ra6 23.Bc7 ) 23.Be5 Ra7 24.f4 ) 22.Be5 0-0 23.f4 Rd8 24.Kc2 (24.f5 exf5 ) 24...g6 25.g4+/= ]
21...Nf6 [21...Nxe5 22.Nxe5 Rc7 23.f4 g6 24.Nc4 Ra7 25.g4 Bh6 26.Rhf1 Ke7 27.Kc2+/= doesn't solve Black's problems.]
22.Bb8 White is repeating the position in order to have more time in an eventual time trouble. [I disliked 22.Bxf6 gxf6 23.Kc2 h5 (with small white advantage) and it is not easy to break through.]
22...Rb7 23.Bg3 Ra7 24.Bb8 Rb7 25.Be5 Ra7 26.f4 White is continuing his plan. f4-f5 is a threat now.
26...Nd5 Black is forcing matters. Now both players have to calculate very deep, as things are getting sharper. [Bad is 26...Ne4 27.Rhe1 f5 28.g4 Nf2 (28...Kf7 29.Re2 ) 29.gxf5! Nxd1 30.Kxd1+- ; A quieter alternative was 26...Be7 when White has to decide if he would try to break through by 27.f5 (or exchange the bishop for a knight and prepare f4-f5 carefully: 27.Bxf6 Bxf6 28.Nd6+ Kf8 29.g4 ) 27...exf5 28.Rhf1 Nd5 29.Rxf5 (29.Bxg7 Rg8 30.Bh6 Rxg2 31.Rxf5 Rxh2 ) 29...f6 30.Bb8 Ra8 31.Bg3 with the idea Nb6 31...Bd8 (with small white advantage) and both the bishop and the rooks are very passive.]
27.Rhe1 f6 [27...Kd7 28.Bb8 Rb7 (28...Ra8 29.Ne5+ ) 29.Bd6 (29.Ne5+ Kc8 30.Nxc6 Rxb8 31.Nxb8 Kxb8 32.f5 Nc7 ) 29...f6 30.Bxf8 Rxf8 31.b3 Ra7 32.g3 and compared to the game White has managed to prevent ...b4-b3. He gave up the c3-square in return, on the other hand.]
28.Bd6 [28.Bb8 Ra8 29.Bd6 Bxd6 30.Nxd6+ Kd7 31.g3 b3 32.Rd3 Rhb8 33.Rf1 Rb4 34.Rff3 Rxa4 35.Rxb3 Rxd4 36.Rb7+ Nc7 doesn't pose serious problems.]
28...Kd7 [28...Bxd6 29.Nxd6+ Kd7 30.g3 would transpose to the game, but probably Sergey didn't like 30.f5.]
29.g3 I decided to stick to my initial plan and rejected [the tempting 29.Nb6+!? Nxb6 30.cxb6 because of an exchange sacrifice: 30...Bxd6!? (it is also not clear if White's advantage is enough for a win after 30...Rb7 31.Bc5 Bd6 32.g3 h5 33.Re2 h4 34.Rde1 hxg3 35.hxg3 Rh5 ) 31.bxa7 Bxf4+ 32.Kc2 Ra8 33.Re4 Bd6 34.Rde1 e5!? (34...Rxa7 35.Rxe6 Be5 36.R6xe5 fxe5 37.Rxe5 leaves White with minimal winning chances. 37...Kd6 38.Kd3 h6 (38...Rf7 39.Rxa5 Rf2 40.Rg5 Rxb2 41.Rxg7 ) ) 35.Rh4 h6 36.Rg4 g5 37.Rd1 Ke6 and White has some advantage, but I was not sure how big it was.]
29...Bxd6 30.Nxd6 The e6-pawn has become weak and now White is preparing to double rooks on the e-file.
30...b3! Starting counterplay in time. Black is vacating the b4-square for a rook.
31.Re2 [31.Re4 f5 ]
31...Rb8 32.Rde1 Rb4 [Black could also try 32...Nb4 33.Kd2 Nc2 34.Rd1 Nxd4 but it was not sufficient, for example (34...Rb4 35.Kc3 Rxa4 36.Kxb3 ; 34...g6 35.Kc3+/- ) 35.Re4 Nc2 36.Nc4! with the idea Kc3 36...Nb4 (36...Ke7 37.Kc3 ) 37.Rde1 e5 38.fxe5 f5 39.e6+ Ke7 40.Rh4 Kf6 41.Ne5 with a clear advantage.]
33.Rxe6 [Weaker is 33.f5 Rxa4 (33...exf5? 34.Re8 Rxa4 35.Kb1 Rxd4 36.Rg8 Rg4 37.Rf8+- ) 34.fxe6+ Kd8 35.Kb1 g6 and White's play comes to a dead end.]
33...Rxa4 34.Kb1 It is important to prevent Ra1.
34...Ra8! Black cannot allow Re8. [Bad is 34...Rxd4 35.Re8 and Black is helpless: 35...h5 36.Rg8 Ne7 37.Rxg7 Kd8 38.Nf5 ]
35.Ne8?! I was hesitating between this move and 35.Nf5, and as it turned out in home analysis (with the computer's help) this move is a mistake, which gives Black chances to save the game. [Stronger was 35.Nf5! Kc7 , and now (bad is 35...g6 36.Ne7 Rxd4 37.Rd6+ Kc7 38.Rxc6+ Kb7 39.Rd6 Re8 40.c6+ Ka8 41.c7 ) 36.Ne7! (36.Nxg7 Rxd4 (36...Rd8 37.R1e4 Rc4 38.Ne8+ Kb8 39.Nd6 Rc2 40.Re2 ; 36...Kb7 37.Nf5 Ra2 38.Ne3 ) 37.Rxf6 Kb7 38.Rfe6 Rg8 and White has big technical difficulties.) 36...Nb4 37.R1e3 Rd8 38.Nf5! with the idea 38...Rd5 39.Nd6 However, it is almost impossible to find this line over the board especially being short of time.; 35.Nb5? cxb5 36.Rd6+ Kc7 37.Rxd5 Rd8 allows Black to take over the initiative.]
35...Rxd4 36.Rd6+ [In the event of 36.Nxg7 Black can hold both by 36...Rc4 halten (and the study-like 36...Rd2 37.Rd6+ Kc8 38.Re8+ Kb7 39.Rd7+ Ka6 40.Rxa8+ Kb5 41.Rb8+ Kc4 42.Rxd5 cxd5 43.Kc1 Rc2+ 44.Kd1 a4! 45.c6 Kd3 46.Ne6 Rxc6 47.f5 Rc2 48.Nf4+ Ke4 49.Re8+ Kf3= with the idea 50.Re2 a3 51.bxa3 Ra2-+ ) 37.Rd6+ Kc7 38.Ne6+ Kb7 ]
36...Kc8 37.Rxc6+ Kb7 38.Rce6 Rd3? Black is taking away the rook from the Nd6-Nb5 threat, but he is losing an important tempo. [He could save the game by 38...Rd2! 39.c6+ (39.Nd6+ Kc7 40.Nb5+ Kb7= ; 39.Nxg7 a4 ; 39.Rc1 Rxh2 40.c6+ Ka7 leads to the same position.) 39...Ka7 40.Rc1 Rxh2 41.Nxg7 (41.c7 Rc2 42.Rxc2 bxc2+ 43.Kxc2 (43.Kc1 Kb7 44.Nxg7 Kxc7 ) 43...Nxc7 44.Re7 Rxe8 45.Rxc7+ Kb6= ) 41...Rc8 42.Rd6 Nb4= ]
39.c6+ Ka7 40.c7 The passed pawn on the 7th rank decides the outcome of the game. [40.Rc1 leads to the same position.]
40...a4 [A bit more stubborn was 40...Rd2 41.Rc1 Rc2 but after 42.Rxc2 bxc2+ 43.Kxc2 Rc8 44.Kd2 Nxc7 45.Re7 Kb6 46.Nxg7 White is close to victory.; 40...Rc8 41.Rc1 ]
41.Rc1 The time control had passed and it is obvious that White is winning.
41...a3 [In the event of 41...Nb6 the easiest is the simple 42.Nxg7 (not so clear is 42.Rxb6 Rxe8 43.Rb4 Rc8 44.Rxa4+ Kb7 45.Rb4+ Ka7 46.f5 Rd7 47.Rxb3 Rcxc7 with some chances to save the game.) ]
42.bxa3 [42.Nd6 a2+ 43.Ka1 Nb6 ; 42.c8Q? Rxc8 43.Rxc8 Rd1+ 44.Rc1 a2+ 45.Ka1 Rxc1# ]
42...Nc3+ 43.Rxc3 Rxc3 44.Kb2! Winning an important tempo, as [44.Nd6 Rxc7 45.Nb5+ Kb7 46.Nxc7 Kxc7 and the a3-pawn is hanging.]
44...Rxe8 [44...Rc5 45.Nd6 Rxc7 46.Nb5+ Kb7 47.Nxc7 Kxc7 48.Re7+ Kd6 49.Rxg7 ]