Saturday, August 17, 2013

Games Department
By Jason Morris

Over the next few weeks, we'll look at games from the current World Cup underway in Norway. Some of the big names in attendance include USA GMs Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura. Of course anyone who follows chess knows about one of the other big names: GM Vassily Ivanchuck, or "Chucky" as he's affectionately known. Were it not for a mercurial streak in his temperament, Ivanchuck probably would have been World Champion at some point already. However, his nerves get the best of him, and he tends to get into time trouble often. Twice rated #2 on the FIDE list and regarded by his peers as a true "chess genius", you never know which Ivanchuck will show up to play. I'm sure much to IM Duda's dismay, it was genius Chucky he was paired with in round 1 of the Cup.

[Event "World Cup 2013"]
[Site "Tromso, Norway"]
[Date "2013.08.12"]
[Round "1.2"]
[White "IM_Duda"]
[Black "GM_Ivanchuk"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2535"]
[BlackElo "2733"]
[Opening "French: Burn variation"]
[ECO "C11"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4

The Burn Variation -- named after Amos Burn, not because black get's burned with it so often in club play.

5. Nxe4 Nbd7 6. Nf3 h6 7. Nxf6+ Nxf6 8. Be3 

8. Bh4 was an alternative, maintaining the pin at f6.

8. .. Bd6 9. Bd3 b6 10. Qe2 Bb7 

Contrast this game with Mike's from the previous blog. Here, fianchettoing the queen bishop makes a lot of sense, particularly the control of e4.

11. O-O-O Nd5 12. Kb1 Qf6 13. Nd2 O-O

Notice that Ivanchuck is in no hurry to take white's Be3 since it has no scope and his knight is a stronger piece.

14. Ne4 Qe7 15. c3 Bf4!

This is part of a plan to play e5, changing the pawn structure to one more favorable to black...a subtle but very masterly plan.

16. g3 Bxe3 17. fxe3 e5 

Position after 17. .. e5

Taking on e5 now would be a positional mistake for white, since black would be leaving himself with an isolated e-pawn on an open file and a huge target on e4. Black could then double or triple his heavy pieces in front of black's e-pawn; and, in conjunction with the Nd5, black would have an easy game. Black, for his part, doesn't want to take on d4 either, for this would simply repair white's pawns. The net effect is that, because of the pawn tension on e5, white can't advance e4 (N is in the way) or c4 (because of Nb4, undermining the Ne4) and this hampers his activity in the center.

Watch now how much Ivanchuck makes of this.

18. Rhe1 Rad8 19. Nd2 Nf6 20. Ba6?! (A bit optimistic, since Chucky won't trade.) Ba8 21. Qc4 Rfe8 22. Bb5?

White's first major error.  Better was the long retreat 22. Qf1 to give the Ba6 some rooom. There was a danger of that bishop being trapped by c6 and b5.

22. .. c6! 23. Bxc6 Rc8 24. d5 (The move white was counting on, but...) Nxd5! 25. Qxd5 Rxc6 26. Qb5 Rd8 27. Ne4 Rcc8 28. Qa4 Qe6 29. Qc2 

It's getting hard to suggest moves -- white's position is slipping away.

29. .. Qg4 30. Nf2 Qh5 31. h4 (31. Rxd8 was necessary) Qf3 32. g4 Rxd1+ 33. Rxd1 Qxe3

Now pawns begin to fall.

34. Qf5 (A desperate try, but it actually hastens the end.) Rf8 35. Rd7 Bf3! 

Cutting the queen's defense to the knight. This interruption-type tactic is one of the most often overlooked IMHO.

36. Nd3 Qg1+ 37. Nc1 (37. Kc2 is somewhat worse because of 37. .. Qd1 mate) Bxg4

And Duda has seen enough. 0-1  Very smooth chess by Ivanchuck.

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