By Daniel Quigley
Theoretical Novelty (TN): A move, usually played in the opening, thought not to have been played before. This normally refers to the effort of serious titled players engaged in prepared and conscious planning, or the luck of an inspired amateur, not the uniquely thoughtless move of the patzer. Although not all TNs will stand the test of time, such innovation is worth recognizing. —Ed.
Damir Studen (2251) – Kirill Kuderinov (2469). A49
Atlanta Championship, Round 4, March 22, 2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.0-0 d6 6.Re1 Black wants to play a standard King’s Indian Defense, but by eschewing c4 White is refusing to accommodate. Presumably, White has put considerable faith into this pet anti-KID line. 6…Nc6 White’s refusal to play c4 means that White is less likely to play d5 since his d-pawn, without support from c4, may easily become overextended. Black therefore wants to attack d4 right away, since he figures it won’t advance. Here, Black chooses the more modern way of …e5 to attack it rather than the more venerable move (in Fischer’s day) …c5. Either plan is actually fine for Black, if followed up correctly. However, if White isn’t going to advance to d5, this means he will want to exchange. Given a choice, which pawn would we rather swap for Black’s d4, all other things equal? My answer would tend to be the c5-pawn, but the text move renders the question moot. 7.e4 e5 8.c3 Re8
9.d5 is also playable here, and is probably more ambitious. If Studen were playing an “A” player, my bet is that 9.d5 would be his preference. However, playing up, White no doubt does not mind a draw.
9…Nxe5 10.Nxe5 Rxe5
Recapturing with the rook is a theoretical novelty. Previously, Black has played 10…dxe5 for a quick draw. Kuderinov is trying to keep queens on the board in order to preserve some winning chances.
11.Bf4 Re8 12.Nd2 a5 13.a4 Bg4 14.Qc2 Nh5
This move takes Black’s knight out of the play. Black could have considered 14…Nd7 intending …Ne5, but White would have exchanged his f4 bishop for the knight, and been none the worse for doing so. In terms of minor pieces, when one side has two bishops and the other side a bishop and knight and there are two or more semi-open files and no locked pawns, the two bishops are favored. However, Semi-open positions with one file open, that have no real prospect of opening up further, such as this one, generally do not favor either side.
15.Be3 Qd7 16.Bd4 Nf6 17.e5?!
White wants to open the position; however, here he is making considerable concessions to do so. By opening the position at the cost of a few tempi this way, White gives Black a slight initiative, which Black now uses to drive White’s pieces back. White could have chosen not to change the nature of the position and to keep building instead with the stable yet equal 17.f3, intending Bf1 and Bc4.
17…dxe5 18.Bxe5 Bf5 19.Qc1 Bh6 20.f4 Ng4 21.Nf3 Bf8!
Intending to attack along the weakened a7-g1 diagonal.
Black did not want to play 22…Nxe5 because, being the higher rated player, he is still in an avoid-exchanges-in-order-to-keep-winning-chances mode. However, the only means to an advantage in this position, whatever the opponent is rated, is to make the exchanges the position calls for and play for the endgame, e.g. 23.Nxe5 Qd6 24.Kh2 c6, or 24…Qb6; Black with the two bishops and two open files (rather than the one open file seen earlier) has an advantage he can try to nurse. Instead, after the text, the game becomes completely equal. Black has no two bishops advantage, or, in Silman’s terms, no imbalances with which to play.
23.Bd4 Bxd4+ 24.Nxd4 Rxe1+ 25.Qxe1 Re8 26.Qd2 Ne3 27.Bxb7 Bxh3 28.Bc6
It appears Black must lose material, but this is not so; Black saw the antidote long ago and now plays it.
Since White can not ignore the threat to his g-pawn, Black gains the needed time to relocate his e8-rook.
Although it is counter-intuitive, the best way to protect g3 is with 29.Qh2, which ties Black’s queen down to the defense of the Bishop on h3.
This inaccuracy cost White an exchange and jeopardized the game. The most direct way to a draw was the forcing line: 30.Rxd1! Qxd1+ 31.Kh2 Qh5 32.Bxe8 Bd7+ 33.Kg1 Bxe8. Now Black tries valiantly to put this game into the win column and White has to lose hair in a hunt to find resources with which to hold the position.
30…Re3 31.Qxg4 Bxg4 32.Rxd1 Bxd1 33.Kf2 Re7 34.b4 Bg4 35.bxa5 Bc8 36.Bb5 c5 37.Nc6 Re6 38.Ne5 Kf8 39.a6 ½-½
Black could struggle on with 39…Re7 40.Nc6 Rc7 41.Nb8 Ra7 42.Ke3 f5 with some winning chances. However, playing such a passive looking position in the face of White’s advancing a-pawn must have been psychologically daunting. Accepting White’s well-timed draw offer instead was a good, practical decision by the senior master, and a worthy result of a well-played game by both players.
Paul Taylor (1962) – Wayne Christensen (2120). C58
Atlanta Winter Congress, Round 3, February 21, 2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3
White’s main moves here are 8.Qf3 and 8.Be2. However, Taylor’s preference is perfectly viable as well. White’s idea is to keep control of e4.
Black threatens …Nf4 next in order to deprive White’s bishop of any comfortable square.
Since …f5 later can force this knight to move again, many who play White prefer 9.Nf3 instead, with a fine game.
Theoretical novelty. On the eight occasions this position has been reached previously, White plays 10.Bf1, but Black has won five of these encounters and drawn two of the others. White’s inability to castle for a long time after 10.Bf1 often tells. So, Taylor decided to make something of a sacrifice of his pawn structure. This is an excellent idea which gives this game considerable theoretical importance.
10 0-0 Nxd3 11.cxd3 Ba6 12.Re1 Bxd3 13.Nbc3
13.Qh5 keeps pressure on Black.
13…Be7 14.Ng3 0-0 15.Rxe5 Bf6 16.Re1 Qb6 17.Qf3 Rad8 18.b3 Qb4 19.Bb2 Nc4?
Naturally, Black wants to get this piece back into the game. However, Black needs to respond directly to the threats against his King’s position, hunker down, and play good defense, starting with 19…Bg6.
The problem with 20…cxd5 is that White would then play 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Qxd3 Ne5 23.Qf5 with the better pawn structure.
Slightly better than the text would be for Black to play 21…Bxb2 22.cxd5 Qc4 23.Rad1 cxd5 and Black is down only the exchange.
22.Bxf6 gxf6 23.Nh5 Rg5 24.Rac1 Qd4 25.Nxf6+ Kh8 26.Ne4
Further imaginative play can finish Black up quickly, e.g. 26.Qxc6 Rg6 27.Qd7 Qxf6 28.Qxd3 and White is winning. But the text is fine too.
26…Bxe4 27.Rxe4 Qxd2 28.Rce1 Qb2? 29.h4 Rc5? 30.Re5! Qc3 31.Qf6+ 1-0
Kirill Kuderinov (2469) – Paul Taylor (1962). C44
AtlantaWinter Congress, Round 1, February 21, 2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4
This is called the Scotch Game because the move was first played in 1824 by the Edinburgh chess club in a postal match with London’s club.
This move takes the game into Scotch Gambit waters because White proposes to allow Black to keep his d4-pawn in return for rapid development.
One of three moves White has to be prepared for if he wishes to play the Scotch Gambit. The other two are 4…Nf6 and 4…Bc5.
5.c3 dxc3 6.bxc3
The Edinburgh club in 1824 preferred to gambit a second pawn here with 6.0-0, a move that later came to be called the Hanneken Gambit. Staunton, a more conservative player by nature, introduced the text move in an 1840 game. Also playable is 6.Nxc3. All three of White’s sixth moves enjoy excellent reputations even today and provide white the better winning chances.
6…Ba5 is known as the Cochrane Variation and was the only way to play this position in the nineteenth century. The idea was to keep pressure on the c3 pawn. However, from a5 the Bishop’s scope is limited for the rest of the game to two relatively unimportant diagonals, and has little influence over the center. In more recent years, strategy in general has shifted towards maintaining utmost flexibility, and keeping as much influence over the center as possible. Thus, 6…Bd6 is now considered slightly stronger and has become the main line.
A theoretical novelty, and a dubious one. 7…Ne5, striking at the c4 Bishop, has enjoyed some popularity here, but it is actually even worse than the text because of the line 8.Nxe5 Bxe5 9.f4; Black falls even further behind in development and loses all central control. Moving the Queen out to e7 or f6 has been tried and found to give Black a playable game. However, best for Black here is simply 7…Nge7, intending to castle next move. The problem with the text, 7…Nh6, is that it does nothing to influence the center, and allows White to play the disrupting Bxh6 whenever he deems it in his best interest.
This move is possible because Black’s king is on a half-open file at e8.
8…Be7 9.Bxh6 gxh6
White has created a positional weakness in Black’s camp which will prove fatal. This game’s interest is in watching how White now exploits his advantage and converts it to a win.
(This move was given as 10.Qd4 in the game score provided, but that must be a mistake. White would have played 10.Qd5.) Note how 10.Qd5 all but forces Black’s immediate response. White wants to give Black as few options at counterplay as possible, but prefers to have Black responding to White’s threats.
White’s threat is a crude mate threat: Qe4 and Qxh7. More subtly though, White is maintaining his positional bind and giving Black no options.
11…Kg7 12.Qe4 Rh8 13.Qg4+ Kf8
If 13…Bg5? 14.h4, of course.
An alternative is 14…Rg8, intending after 15.Qxh7 or 15.Bxh7 to play 15…Rg7 with …d6 to follow. At least Black would be generating kingside activity of his own and giving White something to think about. Black could, for example, hope for 15.Bxh7 Rg7 16.Qxh6 d6 17.exd6 Qxd6 18.Qxd6 Bxd6 when, with two bishops and a rook on the g-file, Black would have excellent prospects of drawing.
15.Nbd2 d6 16.Nc4 Be6
Consistently, White continues by making a forcing move, but this time he is giving up material for insufficient compensation. White has the better position due to his spatial advantage and Black’s exposed king, but the advantage requires some nursing yet. Another idea was 17.Rfd1, to reduce Black’s pressure on White’s e5-pawn, and then Ne3, intending Nf5+, forcing Black to find a difficult defense, namely 17…Rg8 18.Ne3 Kh8 19.Nf5 Bxf5 20.Qxf5 Rg7, and White probably has nothing better than 21.exd6. Still, White is applying pressure in this line and keeps the better chances. Nonetheless, after the text move, Black could gain the advantage.
17…Nxd4 18.cxd4 dxe5 19.Nxe5 Qxd4 20.Rae1
(The 20.Rad1 of the game score must be another error. There were more score errors. I have silently tried to correct them in order to reconstruct the game as given by these moves. [Folks, we love you contributing your games and we need them, but do review them before you pass them on. —Ed.] )
The fact that White has to run in order to avoid queen exchanges demonstrates the extent to which White has lost his entire advantage. The endgame favors Black by allowing him to put so much pressure on White that he induces White to want to make exchanges.
Black should take a page from White’s playbook and make a stronger, more forcing move here with 21…Bd6 to keep the pressure on. After 22.Bf5 Bxf5 23.Qxf5 Qf6 24.Qg4+ Qg5 25.Qd4 Rhe8, White is going to have an uphill fight to find a draw. For example 26.f4 Bxe5 27.fxe5 Rad8 and White’s position remains difficult.
22.Qxb7 Bd6 23.f4 Qh4 24.Qc6 Rab8 25.Qe4 Rb4 26.Qe3
In a complicated position, perhaps intimidated by his opponent’s high rating, Black makes an understandable decision to simplify the position. However, Black’s greatest asset in this position is his two bishops. He simply had to dig down deep, not be afraid to let the position remain complicated, and find a better move if he wanted to entertain any real prospect of a favorable outcome. I prefer 26…Bxa2 with the idea of making White prove he has anything.
White has lost his way in the complications too. Best was 27.Qxe5+ Qf6 28.f5! Bxa2 29.Qg3+ Kf8 20.Rf2 with a complicated game.
27…Qg5 28.Qf2 Rg4?
The fatal error. Black overlooks his back rank weakness. If 28…Rd8 instead, it’s anyone’s game.
29.Qf6+ Kg8 30.Rf2?
Even quicker is 30.Be4, cutting off the g4-rook, and Black has no adequate reply to the threat of Rd1-d8+.
30…Rd4 instead keeps the game alive.
31.exf6 Rb4 32.Rb1 Rb6 33.Rxb6 axb6 34.Rd2 Bd7 35.Bb5 and mate in four, the prettiest of which is the Bishop mate: 35…h5 36.Rxd7 h7 37.Rd8+ Kh7 38.Bd3#. 1-0 `