Sunday, February 14, 2010


                                                Diagram 2 and 3

Daily Express UK

Diagram 1

Sunday January 10,2010
By Luke McShane

ALEXANDER Grischuk was deserving winner of the 62nd Russian Championships. This was his first national title, though I don’t expect it will be his last.

In the Superfinal, which was a 10 player round robin, Grischuk edged out top seed and five times champion Peter Svidler by half a point, winning with 6.5/9.

With five players rated above 2700 (the world’s top 34), the Championship remains formidably strong even after the breakup of the Soviet Republics, with Russia occupying five places in top 20 world rankings.

Alexander Grischuk - Sanan Sjugirov
(Moscow, 2009)

1.e4 c5
2.Nf3 d6
3.d4 cxd4
4.Nxd4 Nf6
5.Nc3 a6
6.Be3 e5
7.Nb3 Be6
8.Qd2 Be7
9.f3 0–0
10.0–0–0 Qc7 11.g4 Rc8 12.g5 Nh5 13.Kb1 Nd7 14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 Nxf4 16.Qxf4 Ne5 At first sight it looks a little odd for White to have given up his dark squared bishop and given Black a good square for the knight on e5.
Diagram 2 (left) and Diagram 3

But White's attack on the kingside develops rather straightforwardly now. 17.h4 Qb6?! Taking the pressure off c2 allows Grischuk to achieve Nc3-d5 very easily. 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.Rxd5 a5 20.Rb5 Qc7 21.Nd4 a4 22.a3! Black's queenside counterplay is stopped altogether.

22...Ra5 23.h5 Bf8 23...Rxb5 24.Bxb5 Qd8 25.g6 hxg6 26.hxg6 Nxg6 27.Qg4 is only temporarily acceptable. White will capture on a4, post the bishop on b3 and keep battering at the kingside without any fear of counterplay.

24.g6! Rxb5 25.Bxb5 Qb6 26.gxf7+ Kh8 27.h6! A nice combination to wrap up the game. 27...Qxd4 28.hxg7+ Bxg7 29.Qf5 Ng6 30.Qxc8+ Nf8 31.Qc3! 31.c3?? Qxe4+ drops the rook on h1. 31...Qxe4 32.Rg1! (see diagram 1)


Artyom Timofeev - Denis Khismatullin
(Moscow, 2009)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 Nc6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nf6 9.f3 Bg7 10.Be3 0–0 11.0–0 Rac8 12.b3 a6 13.a4 Qd8 14.Qd2 Qa5 15.Rfd1 Rfd8 16.Rac1 Nd7 17.h3 Nxd4 18.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 19.Qxd4 Qc5 20.Kf1 Qxd4 21.Rxd4 Nc5 22.Rb1 a5 23.Ke2 f6 24.Kd2 Kf7 25.Kc2 g5 26.Nd5 h5 27.Ne3 h4 28.Rd5 Rc6 29.Rbd1 Rdc8 30.Rf1 Rb6 31.Rb1 Rbc6 32.Rd2 Ne6 33.Kc3 Nc5 34.Nd5 Ne6 35.Rf1 Rg8 36.Ne3 Rb8 37.Nf5 Rb6 38.Rfd1 Ra8 39.Rd5 Nc7

The game has been quiet up to this point, but I was watching online and had the impression Timofeev believed in his chances. After much shuffling, he created the opportunity for a very imaginative idea here.

40.Rb5! Nxb5+ Maybe Black came to regret this move, the last move before the time control at move 40...Rxb5 was possible, but White would preserve winning chances. Less good was 40...Raa6, when 41.b4! is strong, as Black's pieces end up in a real tangle.

41.axb5 Probably stronger than 41.cxb5, although that was probably quite playable too. I'm sure Timofeev had to trust his judgement here. There is no guarantee of actually winning the miserable rook on b6, but extracting it causes Black massive inconvenience.

41...Ke8 42.Ra1 e6 43.Ne3 d5 Black couldn't delay this forever. White was threatening Ra1–a4, followed by Kc3-d4 and b3-b4 44.exd5 Rd6?! [44...exd5? 45.Nxd5 wins a whole rook as White threatens to take on b6 or give check on c7.; 44...Kf7 might have been a better defence though.

45.Ra4 exd5 46.Nxd5 Rd6 47.Kd4 Re8 48.Rxa5 Re2 would give Black meaningful counterplay] 45.c5 Rdd8 46.Kd4 Timofeev concentrates on locking up the rooks. [46.dxe6 Rac8 offers some counterplay.] 46...Rac8 This meets with an amazing refutation. [46...exd5 was the alternative. 47.Nxd5 (47.Nf5 is also promising.) 47...Kf7 48.c6 certainly offers White good winning chances.] 47.Rxa5! e5+ 48.Kc4 b6 49.b4!! [49.Ra6 Rxc5+ 50.Kb4 was probably strong too, but it's messy. 49...bxa5 50.bxa5 (see diagram 2) A wonderful idea. The rooks are no match for the wall of infantry.

50...Ra8 51.a6 e4 52.fxe4 Kd7 53.Nf5 Re8 54.c6+ Kd8 55.Nd6 Re7 56.Kc5 f5 57.exf5 Re2 58.Nb7+ Ke8 59.d6 Rxg2 60.d7+ Ke7 61.f6+ Kxf6 62.c7 (see diagram 3)


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