Young Guns do Battle: Part 1

There have recently been some very interesting matches in the chess world, featuring young guns Leko, Polgar, Tkachiev and Bacrot. David from Luxembourg was rather older than the others, though he is only 29! The Leko-Bunzmann match was held from 16-22 October in Hamburg, Germany. Alongside this event was a strong open tournament in which a number of Aussies participated, namely Ian and Cathy Rogers, Max Leskiewicz, Manuel Weeks, Veronica Klimenko and Zong-Yuan Zhao. Swede Rolf Lundqvist, who has lived in Australia for 19 years, was also part of the gang. Vassily Yemelin from Russia won the open event with 7.5/9, with nine players close behind on 7/9 including Ian who was awarded 3rd place on tiebreak.

The Leko-Bunzmann match was sponsored by Contrust-Capital who also sponsors the 17 year old German talent, Bunzmann.
Bunzmann is not yet a GM, but a glance at his 2596 ELO shows that he is a player to be taken seriously with a bright future ahead of him. This time Leko, ranked 9th in the world, was too strong winning the 6 game match 4-2.

The following game was an impressive positional crush by Leko in the style of the Swedish Grandmaster Ulf Andersson.

Leko,P (2701) - Bunzmann,D (2596) [C00]
Match Hamburg GER (4), 19.10.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.e4 e6 2.d3 [2.Qe2 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Qb5 has, not surprisingly, only been played once before. It was none other than Aleksandar Wohl who on this occasion decided to try playing the Lopez with the queen instead of the king's bishop...] 2...d5 3.Qe2!? dxe4 4.dxe4 b6 5.c3 Ba6 6.Qc2 Bxf1 7.Kxf1

yg01.gif (4751 bytes)

White's set up may seem very odd, but there is logic behind it. Black will probably want to play ...e5 but then he will be left with a "bad" bishop and therefore a potentially passive game. Note that in this position Black will find it very hard to profit from White's losing the right to castle. 7...Nc6 8.Nf3 Qd7 9.Be3 Nf6 10.h3 e5 11.Nbd2 Be7 12.b4 White starts to gains space on the queenside, meanwhile Black is struggling to find an active plan. 12...a6 13.Ke2 0-0 14.Rhd1 Rad8 15.a4 Nh5 16.Kf1 White completes the artificial castling operation, ensuring the safety of his king. 16...Bf6 17.Rab1 Qc8 18.b5 This move not only fixes the pawns on the queenside to White's advantage, but is also the prelude to a sharp turn of events. 18...axb5 19.axb5 Na5

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20.g4! Nf4 21.Bxf4! exf4 22.e5 Be7 23.Re1 Now Black is left with a very weak f-pawn which can hardly be protected by ...g5 as this would leave a huge hole on f5. Black is in no position to take advantage of the "weaknesses" created by g2-g4 thanks to his passive minor pieces. 23...Qe6 24.Re4 Nb7 25.Nb3 Qh6 26.Kg2 Nc5 27.Nxc5 Bxc5 28.Rbe1 Rfe8 29.Qe2 Ra8 30.Rd1 Ra3 31.Rd3 Qe6?! This move, giving away the f-pawn without a fight doesn't seem like the best chance. 32.Rxf4 h6 33.c4 Ra4 34.Rd2 c6 35.bxc6 Qxc6 36.Qd1 Ra3 37.Rd8 Ra2?!

yg03.gif (4118 bytes)

Black falls for a trick after which it is completely hopeless. 38.Qd5!+- Rxf2+ 39.Kg3 Rxd8 40.Qxc6 Re2 41.Re4 Ra2 42.e6 g5 43.h4 1-0

Bunzmann,D (2596) - Leko,P (2701) [D85]
Match Hamburg GER (5), 20.10.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5 8.Rb1 0-0 9.Be2

yg04.gif (4720 bytes)

This line featured in all 3 games with Bunzmann White, but Leko held him to a draw each time. The following game smacks of Kasparov-like preparation from Leko, who plays straight into an endgame a pawn down but where he can set up a fortress. 9...cxd4 Leko tried the more adventurous 9...Qa5 10.Rb5 Qxc3 in round 3, but now reverts back to the mainline. 10.cxd4 Qa5+ 11.Bd2 Qxa2 12.0-0 Bg4 13.Bg5 h6 14.Be3 Nc6 15.d5 Bxf3 16.Bxf3 Ne5 17.Rxb7 e6 18.dxe6 Qxe6 19.Rxa7 Nxf3+ 20.Qxf3 Rxa7 21.Bxa7 Re8 22.Re1 f5 23.Qe3 fxe4 24.f3 Qc4 25.fxe4 Re7 Threatening 26...Rxa7 and 27...Bd4+ winning. 26.Kh1 Qc3 27.Bc5!? Rc7 28.Rc1!? White could perhaps try to improve here or on the previous move, but now it is a dead draw. 28...Qxe3 29.Bxe3 Rxc1+ 30.Bxc1 h5 31.Kg1 Kf7

yg05.gif (3425 bytes)

Black intends to play ...Ke6 and just sit. Bunzmann will be unable to break through the fortress so accepts a draw immediately. He must have felt rather like Kramnik would have after his game with Kasparov from Linares this year. It was also a Grunfeld where Kramnik seemed to have good chances but it turned out that Kasparov had already analysed everything out to a draw at home. Chess these days... 1/2-1/2

Leko,P (2701) - Bunzmann,D (2596) [C11]
Match Hamburg GER (6), 21.10.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 gxf6 7.Nf3 b6 8.Bd3!? 8.Bc4 is the 'main line' when White normally castles queenside, but the game continuation was also used very successfully by Judith Polgar against only last week. 8...Bb7 9.Qe2 c6?! This looks unnecessary with White having played 8.Bd3 instead of 8.Bc4, as d4-d5 breaks are not yet in the air. Judith's game had continued: 9...Qd5 10.O-O Nd7 11.Rfe1 O-O-O 12.a4 with advantage to White, who won in only 15 more moves. 10.c4!? Nd7 11.Nc3 Qc7 12.0-0

yg06.gif (4753 bytes)

White, presumably taking advantage of Black's 9...c6, has adopted a different set-up than in the mainlines after 8.Bc4, with kingside castling and c2-c4. 12...0-0-0 13.Rfd1 Kb8 14.a3 Nf8 15.b4 Ng6 16.Qe3 Nf4 17.Bf1 Rhg8 18.c5 Now Black is in a bad way, as his light-squared bishop is incarcerated. 18...Rg7 19.Rac1 b5 20.a4 a6 21.g3 h5 22.axb5 axb5 23.d5!!

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A wonderful breakthrough. 23...Nxd5 24.Nxd5 Rxd5 25.Rxd5 exd5 26.Re1 Bd8 27.Bh3

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White has full control of the only relevant file and a beautiful outpost on d4 for his knight. 27...f5 Giving back the pawn to allow Bd8 some scope, but it is to no avail. 28.Bxf5 Rg8 29.Qh6 Be7 30.Ne5 Bg5 31.Qxh5 Bd2 32.Nd7+ Ka7 33.Ra1+ Ba6 34.Qxf7 1-0

David (Luxembourg) took on Vladislav Tkachiev (France) in an interesting although somewhat one-sided match in Cannes France from the 15th to 23rd October. Tkachiev is a charismatic young player with a lot of talent and imagination. He has long been an excellent 1 minute blitz chess player and I remember he liked to say that there should be a 1 minute World Championship! He loves the Kings Indian as Black and as White he also likes to fianchetto his King's Bishop, but here he takes the centre with d4 and c4 first. David managed to side step the Kings Indian easily enough (he played 1.e4! and drew each game-his last game White game was 1.c4 e5, also drawn) but he was unable to defend with the Black pieces, trying various systems but losing each Black game convincingly, thus Vladislav was able to take the 8 game match undefeated with a 6-2 score.

Tkachiev,V (2648) - David,A (2544) [E63]
Match Cannes FRA (1), 15.10.1999

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.Nc3 d6 The Kings Indian Defence, an opening which Tkachiev plays brilliantly himself. 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0-0 a6

yg09.gif (4977 bytes)

Black adopts the Panno system aiming for active play on the queenside. Shirov favours this method of play, and has won some great games with it. However, if Black isn't careful this system can rebound leaving Black's queenside riddled with weaknesses. 8.h3 Re8 9.Re1 Rb8 10.e4 Nd7 11.Be3 Na5 12.b3 b5 13.cxb5 axb5 14.Rc1 c6 15.Qd2 e5 16.Red1 Qe7 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.Ne1 Nf8 19.Nd3 Ne6 20.Ne2 b4 21.Nc5 Bf8 22.Qc2 Rb5 23.Nxe6 Bxe6 24.Bf1 Qf6 25.Qb2 Qg7 26.Rc2

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The opening has not been a success for Black, and White is threatening to gain complete control of the position with 27.Nc1-d3. This prompted Black to sacrifice a pawn hoping for some sort of active play in return, but unfortunately he never gets close to enough play. 26...c5 27.Nc1 c4 28.bxc4 Rbb8 29.Nb3 Nc6 30.Kh2 Qf6 31.Qc1 Qe7 32.Rcd2 Qb7 33.c5 Ra8 34.Bc4 Bxc4 35.Qxc4 Qa6 36.Qc2 Qb5 37.Rd5 Ra7 38.R1d2 Rea8 39.Nc1 Ra6 40.Qd1 Ra3 41.Qf3 R3a4 42.Rd7 1-0

David,A (2544) - Tkachiev,V (2648) [C78]
Match Cannes FRA (2), 16.10.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5

yg11.gif (4913 bytes)

Tkachiev is considered by many as the man who turned this rare 5...b5 and 6...Bc5 into a real weapon, and now it is seen even at the highest level and continues to prove to be both an exciting and sound response to the Ruy. Unfortunately I don't find this particular game very interesting, but it was David's best chance to win a game in this match. Unfortunately for him Tkachiev defended resourcefully a pawn down to draw. In all his other Black games against 1.e4 Tkachiev played the Scandinavian, however, see the Polgar-Bacrot match below to see some great games in this line, while I have also added the recent Ivanchuk-Tkachiev to the Appendix below.7.a4 Bb7 8.d3 0-0 9.Nc3 b4 10.Nd5 h6 11.Be3 Bd6 12.Nxf6+ Qxf6 13.Bd5 Rab8 14.Nd2 Na5 15.Bxb7 Rxb7 16.Qh5 Qe6 17.f4 exf4 18.Bxf4 Nc6 19.Nb3 Rbb8 20.Nc5 Qe7 21.Bxd6 Qxd6 22.Qd5 Ra8 23.Nxd7 Rfd8 24.Qxd6 cxd6 25.Nb6 Rab8 26.Nd5 Rb7 27.Rf2 Rc8 28.Ne3 Ne5 29.Rd1 b3 30.c3 f6 31.h3 Kf7 32.Rf5 Ke6 33.d4 g6 34.Rf2 Nc4 35.Nd5 Rf8 36.Rdf1 f5 37.Nf4+ Kf7 38.exf5 gxf5 39.Nd3 Kg6 40.g4 Rbf7 41.Nf4+ Kh7 42.Nd5 f4 43.Re1 h5 44.Kg2 Kh8 45.Re6 f3+ 46.Kg1 Rg7 47.Nf6 hxg4 48.Nxg4 Rg5 49.Re7 Rg7 50.Re6 Rg5 51.Re4 Kh7 52.Kh2 Nxb2 53.Rxb2 Rxg4 54.Rxg4 f2 55.Rg1 fxg1Q+ 56.Kxg1 Rb8 57.Kf2 d5 58.Ke3 Kg7 59.Kd3 Kf6 60.c4 Rh8 61.cxd5 Ke7 62.Rxb3 Kd6 63.Kc4 Rc8+ 64.Kb4 Kxd5 65.Ka5 Rc4 66.Ra3 Rc6 67.Rb3 Rh6 68.Rb6 Rxh3 69.Kxa6 Kxd4 70.Rc6 Rb3 71.a5 Kd5 72.Rc1 1/2-1/2

Tkachiev,V (2648) - David,A (2544) [D72]
Match Cannes FRA (3), 17.10.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d5 Switching systems, now playing a Grunfeld, but this move order allows White an additional possibility to play the King's Knight to e2. True to his imaginative style Tkachiev is happy to try this method, while there is still a lot of theory on it there is less than the systems with Nf3. 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nb6 7.Ne2 e5 8.d5 0-0 9.0-0 c6 10.Nbc3 cxd5 11.exd5 Na6 12.b3 f5 13.Ba3 Rf7 14.Nb5 Bf8 15.Bb2 Nc7 16.Nxc7 Qxc7 17.a4 Bd6 18.Nd4!! a6 [18...exd4? 19.Qxd4 A) 19...Re7 20.Qh8+ (20.Rfe1) 20...Kf7 21.Qxh7+ Ke8 22.Qxg6+; B) 19...Rg7 20.a5!+-] 19.Ne6 Qb8 20.Rc1 An extremely early resignation, but Black faces serious difficulties positionally and was probably too rattled by 18.Nd4!! to summon the strength to fight. 1-0

Tkachiev,V (2648) - David,A (2544) [A63]
Match Cannes FRA (5), 20.10.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 Black, in desperation, tries yet a third system, but g3 still comes, and another positional crush! 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.g3 Bg7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.Nf3 e6 8.0-0 exd5 9.cxd5 a6 10.a4 Nbd7 11.Bf4 Qe7 12.Rb1!? Nh5 13.Bg5 f6 14.Bd2 f5 15.Ng5 Ndf6 16.b4

yg12.gif (4868 bytes)

Rb1 and b4 plans are often effective against the Benoni, and here is no exception. 16...c4!? 17.b5 a5 18.b6 Ne4 19.Ngxe4 fxe4 20.Rc1

yg13.gif (4673 bytes)

White decides not to get side tracked by the prospect of material gain and prefers to consolidate his position first and then go about exploiting the weaknesses in Black' structure. [20.Nxe4 Bf5 Gives Black compensation for the pawn.] 20...Nf6 21.Bg5 Bf5 22.Nb5 Rac8 23.Qd2

yg14.gif (4696 bytes)

23...Qe5?! Black was in a difficult position, but this move just makes it worse. 24.Bf4! Qxd5 25.Nxd6 Rc6 26.Nxc4 Rfc8 27.Bc7 Rxc4?! 28.Qxd5+ Nxd5 29.Rxc4 Nxb6 30.Rcc1 Nxa4 31.Bxa5+- Bc3 32.Bxc3 Nxc3 33.Rc2 e3 34.Rb2 exf2+ 35.Kxf2 b5 36.Ra1 h5 37.Rb4 Kg7 38.Ra3 Bc2 39.Ke1 Rc5 40.Ra7+ Kf6 41.Ra6+ 1-0

Tkachiev,V (2648) - David,A (2544) [D49]
Match Cannes FRA (7), 22.10.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.d4 d5 David finally finds a setup that takes the sting out of Tkachiev's g3 systems, but Tkachiev shows he is far from ill-prepared to play a sharp Meran variation. 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 [8...Bb7 Is the other standard mainline.; 8...b4 9.Ne4 Be7 While this system has also proven its worth in the last few years.] 9.e4 c5 10.e5 cxd4 11.Nxb5 axb5 12.exf6 gxf6 13.0-0 Qb6 14.Qe2 b4 15.Rd1

yg15.gif (4552 bytes)

I have played this exact variation as Black, but without success. Black has an extra pawn but it is much easier to play White, not in the least because the Black king often finds itself vulnerable. In fact I lost 2 games in 1995 against 2 young Belarussians, it turned out they were friends and Zajogin, with whom I played the second game, had analysed my first game with his mate back in Belarus. Hmm, bad opening choice... 15...Bc5 In both games I played 15...Ra5?! preventing Bb5 ideas by White, but it isn't worth wasting a tempo on and it also weakens my bank rank/Bc8 and means after Bf4 and Rac1 I have to watch for Bc7 winning the exchange. However, the games, which my opponents published in Informator 64, are quite instructive so I have added them to the Appendix below. 16.Bf4 Bb7 17.Be4 Ba6 18.Qd2 Rd8 19.Rac1 h5? 20.Nxd4!

yg16.gif (4513 bytes)

This would have come as a surprise to David, but despite the line up of Rd8 and Qd2, the tactics work in White's favour. This same move shocked me (and wrecked my position!) against Romanov below. 20...Nb8?? Black surprisingly didn't smell a rat... 21.Rxc5! Qxc5 22.Bxb8

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and Black is lost as 22...Rxb8 23.Nc6! threatens the rook on 23.Qd8+! with mate in 2, and 23...O-O 24.Qh6 is too strong. 1-0

Please note: All my analysis given on these pages or for download may be reproduced, but please credit the notes to John-Paul Wallace.

The article continues in "Young Guns do Battle continued", they were broken up in order to speed up download time.