Young Guns do Battle continued

The Polgar-Bacrot match was a 4 game rapid play event in Bastia, France played from the 4th-5th November with 80 000 Fr  worth of prizes. The games were very exciting and hard fought. Bacrot played excellently and beat the higher rated Judith 3-1.

Polgar,J (2671) - Bacrot,E (2592) [C78]
Rapidplay Match Bastia FRA (2), 04.11.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 I am not sure what this system has been called, so I will call it the Tkachiev system for now. Bacrot won his 2 Black games with this opening, virtually ensuring victory in the match. 7.c3 d6 8.d4 Bb6 9.Be3

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White chooses a solid continuation, hoping for a slight positional advantage. 9...0-0 10.Nbd2 Bb7 11.Re1 Re8 12.d5 Ne7 13.Bxb6 cxb6

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An unusual structure for the Lopez (although normal in the Tkachiev variation) has arisen, where Black has doubled b-pawns but an open c-file. With her next few moves Judith aims to gain the upper hand on the queenside but Etienne has an amazing surprise waiting for her. 14.Bc2 Qd7 15.Bd3 Rec8 16.Rc1 Rc7 17.b4 g6 18.Qe2 Rac8 19.c4 Nexd5!!

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An incredible move! At the cost of a piece Black shatters White's centre and opens up the diagonal for the Bb7. The idea is hardly unknown in the Lopez, but seems rather amazing here and may have come as a shock to Judith. [19...bxc4 20.Nxc4 Would have given White a serious advantage due to the weakness of the Black queenside.] 20.exd5 Nxd5 21.Be4 [21.Ne4 Qe7] 21...f5! An excellent move, now Black will win p-c4 and gain a massive pawn phalanx in the centre. 22.Bxd5+ Bxd5 23.Qd3 Be6 24.Ng5! A strong move making way for the White f-pawn. Judith must try and attack the Black pawn centre and then blockade it before it becomes mobile. 24...bxc4 25.Qh3 Qe7 26.Nxe6 Qxe6 27.Qc3 b5 28.f4! e4 29.Nf3! Qf7 30.Nd4 d5

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White has succeeded in blockading Black's 3 (!) passed pawns. 31.Rcd1 Re8 32.Kf2 Qg7 33.h4 Rce7 34.Re3 Rd7

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It seems to me that the position is in a rough state of balance, as White has blockaded the Black pawns but in doing so is tied down and will find it difficult to undertake any active operations. However Judith is not content with waiting around and now sacrifices a pawn in order to infiltrate the Black position with her queen. Unfortunately her winning attempt backfires... 35.h5? Qh6 36.Ne2 Qxh5 37.Qf6 Qh6 38.Qc6 Red8 39.Qe6+ Kh8 40.Rh3 Qg7 Now Judith is in serious trouble, as 41...d4 is threatened, as is 41...Rd6 exchanging off the queens and leaving White with a weak e-pawn. 41.Nd4 Rd6 42.Qe5 Qxe5 43.fxe5 Rb6 44.Ke3 Kg7 45.Ne2 Re6! 46.Nd4?

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46.Kd4 or perhaps 46.Kf4 should have been preferred, as now Etienne sacrifices the exchange for a pawn, leaving him with 5 pawns for a rook and a winning position. 46...Rxe5! 47.Nc6 d4+! 48.Kf4 Red5 49.Nxd8 Rxd8-+

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50.Ra3 d3 51.Rxa6 c3 52.Rc6 c2 53.Rc7+ Kf6 54.Rc6+ Kf7 55.Rc7+ Kf6 56.Rc6+ Kf7 57.Rc7+ Ke6 58.Rh1 d2 59.Rxc2 d1Q 60.Rxd1 Rxd1

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We have finally arrived at the last phase of this great fight. The rook ending is hopless for Judith however... 61.Rc6+ Rd6 62.Rc5 Rd2 63.Rxb5 Rxg2 64.a4 g5+ 65.Ke3 Rg3+ 66.Kd4 Rd3+ 67.Kc4 Ra3 68.a5 g4 69.Rb8 g3 70.Rg8 Ke5 71.Kb5 f4 72.a6 e3 73.Kb6 Ke4 74.a7 e2 75.b5 0-1

Polgar,J (2671) - Bacrot,E (2592) [C78]
Rapidplay Match Bastia FRA (4), 05.11.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.c3 d6 8.d4 Bb6 9.Be3 0-0 10.Nbd2 Bb7 11.a4

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Judith deviates from their third round battle, striking at the b5-pawn. Now Etienne continues with very energetically and poses White big problems. 11...exd4! 12.cxd4 Nb4! 13.Bg5?! This is too ambitious, White should have bailed out with 13.e5 although Black would have had excellent play in that case. [13.e5 dxe5 14.Nxe5 Bxd4? 15.Nxf7] 13...h6 14.Bh4 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 also looks very unattractive with Black's 2 bishops gunning down on the White centre. 14...g5!

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The point of Black's operation that he began on move 11. White's centre falls apart if Judith retreats her bishop. Interestingly, Black's strategy is based on the "Leko" plan that I discuss in the game Ivanchuk-Tkachiev - see Appendix. 15.Nxg5 Consistent with White's 13th, but Judith only obtains 1 pawn for the piece and it never seems like she can generate enough threats. 15...hxg5 16.Bxg5 Re8 17.Re1 Bxd4 18.Nf3 Be5 19.Bh4 Bf4 20.g3 Bh6 21.Nd4 Bxe4!? 22.Ne6 Rxe6 23.Bxe6 Bg6 24.Qf3 Bg7 25.Bf5 Bxf5 26.Qxf5 Qd7 27.Qf4 Nbd5 28.Qf3 Rb8 Black has a clear advantage.

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The smoke has cleared, with Bacrot once again sacrificing the exchange for a pawn. Now Black has 2 pieces for a rook and White no longer has any threats on the kingside. 29.axb5 axb5 30.Bg5 Qg4 31.Qxg4 Nxg4 32.Rad1 c6 33.Re2 Ne5 34.Bc1 Nf3+ 35.Kg2 Nd4 36.Re4 Nb3 37.Bg5 Nc5 38.Re2 Na4 39.Rc1 Rc8 40.b3 Nc5 41.h4 Nxb3-+

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Once again Etienne has 3 connected passed pawns! The game is effectively decided. 42.Rce1 f6 43.Be3 c5 44.h5 Nxe3+ 45.Rxe3 c4 46.g4 c3 47.f4 Nd4 48.Rd3 f5 49.h6 Bh8 50.g5 c2 51.g6 c1Q 52.Rxc1 Rxc1 53.Ra3 Rc8 54.Ra7 Ne6 55.h7+ Kf8 56.Rf7+ Ke8 57.Kg3 Rc7 58.Rxf5 Nf8 59.Rg5 Nxg6 60.Rxg6 Rg7 0-1

Appendix

Ivanchuk,V (2702) - Tkachiev,V (2648) [C78]
15th ECC Gp 6 Budapest HUN (3), 13.10.1999
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 Vladislav does not shy from upholding his variation against such a great player and theoretician 7.a4 Bb7 8.c3 d6 9.Re1 0-0 10.d4 Bb6 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bh4 exd4!

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This concept has become the latest fashion in the Ruy Lopez, having been used at the highest level by Leko in similar positions. Black surprisingly gives up the centre, and then follows up with the risky but active...g5.
thing I have noticed about opening fashion in modern chess is that it is not just exact moves that become popular but new ideas that can be played in similar positions. 13.cxd4 g5! 14.Bg3 Re8 15.axb5 axb5 16.Rxa8 Bxa8 17.d5 Ne7 18.Nc3

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and the players prematurely ended an interesting battle. 1/2-1/2

Romanov,O (2275) - Wallace,J-P (2345) [D49]
Sollentuna, 1995
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.e5 cxd4 11.Nxb5 axb5 12.exf6 gxf6 13.0-0 Qb6 14.Qe2 b4!? This was awarded a "N" (Novelty) in Informator.  14...Ba6 is the other move. 15.Rd1 Ra5?! b5 [15...e5!? Zajogin,A; Romanov,O] 16.Bf4!Bb7? This loses quickly. [16...e5? 17.Rac1! When White has possibilites in many variations to sacrifice on d4 or e5 is analysed in Informator in detail by Zajogin,A and Romanov,O. I chose the better 16...Bc5 the second time around against Zajogin but was crushed anyway. 17.Nxd4!

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17...Qxd4 18.Bb5 Qxf4 19.Rxd7 Bd6 [19...Ba6 20.Rad1! Bxb5 21.Rd8+ Ke7 22.Qxb5! Rxb5 23.R1d7# #]

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20.Rxb7+ Kf8 21.Qh5 Bc7 22.Rd1 and White won.*

Zajogin,A (2390) - Wallace,J-P (2345) [D49]
Stockholm, 1995
[John-Paul Wallace]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.e5 cxd4 11.Nxb5 axb5 12.exf6 gxf6 13.0-0 Qb6 14.Qe2 b4 15.Rd1 Ra5?! b5  16.Bf4! … Rac1 c7, Bc8 16...Bc5 17.Nd2! Bb7 [17...Ba6 18.Nb3] 18.Rac1! Rg8 19.f3 Bd5 20.Kh1 Rxa2? [20...e5 21.Bc4! Zajogin,A; Romanov,O] 21.Bxh7 Rh8 22.Be4 Qb7 23.Nb3! Bb6 24.Nxd4 Bxe4 [24...Bxd4 25.Rxd4 Bxe4 26.Qxe4!+- with the idea 26…Qxe4? 27.Rc8+ Ke7 28.Bd6# # Zajogin,A; Romanov,O] 25.Nb5!+- Kf8 26.fxe4 e5 27.Nd6 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.