Classical: The Bayonet attack
As usual I'll start with the Bayonet attack. This time there are no less than four games played in this popular system, and three of these were played in the small Norwegian town Drammen, situated only 40 km away from Oslo. The following game was played in the penultimate round and was very important for the overall standings. See Mikhalevski, V - Matamoros, C, Drammen 2004/05
White has just played 19.bxc6, which Black suddenly answered with 19...Nxc6. The latter is a theoretical novelty of very low quality. In fact, it loses a pawn by force. In the game Eljanov, P - Nataf, IA, Calvia 2004, which you can find in the November update Black played the more logical 19...bxc6, but lost anyway. Probably Black has to look for improvements at an earlier stage of the game.
One such attempt was made in the game Porat, S - Djurhuus, R, Drammen 2004/05 on the very next day! My friend and pupil Shay Porat liked the line I played against Matamoros and after analysing the position with me right after the game decided to give it a try himself in the last round!
White has just played 17.Ba3 creating a threat of 18.Bxd6, which Black answered with 17...c5!? The move is a theoretical novelty and a worthy alternative to 17...Kh7, which occurred in the above game. Despite a quick loss (a serious blunder on the 21st move was the main reason for this) the line deserves serious attention and further investigation.
Our next game, Mikhalevski, V - Dworakowska, J, was played in the fifth round of the same tournament. Black played a rare line with 9...Ne8. Soon the game transposed into a 9.Nd2 line anyway. Dworakowska made a new move and then the inaccuracy 16.Nb5 led to big complications after the correct reply 16...Ne4. Both players then committed one serious mistake, the game switched from serious advantage for Black to the opposite and eventually I managed to outplay my opponent, finishing the game in style. Look at the diagram and try to find the decisive tactical blow.
The next game, Mikhalevski, V - Sidorenko, I, was played in the first round of the Israeli team championship 2005.
Black has just played 11...Nh5-f4 instead of the more popular 11...Nf6 and then went for a relatively uncommon line with 13...fxe4. I managed to obtain a comfortable advantage after the opening despite (or thanks to) Black's novelty 19...Be5?!, which I converted into a win, finishing the game with a small combination. I believe Black has to prefer 13...Bf6 as played by Shirov against Kramnik.
Classical: The Main line
Just before starting this update I received an e-mail from our reader Joshua Gutman who asked me to analyse a game in the Main line. I'm happy to do so especially taking into consideration the fact that I haven't analysed this variation for ChessPublishing yet. So here we go.
The game Krivoshey, S - Schebler, G, Bundesliga 2004/05 is a good example of the typical plans in this system.
The critical position arose after 21...Bf8. White played a novelty, 22.c6, which I don't believe will have too many followers - closing the position on the queenside doesn't look like the way to go. Both 22.cxd6 cxd6 23 .Rc1, which occurred in Nielsen,P-Kotronias, Premier Hasings 03/04 and Avrukh's recommendation 22.Rc1 deserve more attention. The current game saw a typical attack on the kingside, which brought Black an advantage. However his play in the later stage of the game didn't allow him to win the game.
Classical: The Orthodox Variation with 7...Na6
The game Ernst, S - Carlsen, M, Wijk aan Zee 2005 saw the following rare line:
The position arose after 10...Qb6. White came with a new idea 11.Na4 Qa5 12.f3. Earlier he had played 12. Bd2, which I believe is the critical line, and 12.Bf4. Soon Black initiated big complications, White reacted correctly and obtained a clear advantage, but then missed a chance to win the game on the spot and in the final position decided not to take a risk and repeated moves. A very interesting game with a lot of tactics.
Our next game in the Orthodox variation with 7...Na6 is Shishkin,Va-Kruppa,Y, 3rd Platonov mem 2005.
In the rather popular position of the diagram Black introduced a novelty 18...Kh8, which looks like a possible alternative to 18...Be6. The latter took place in Mikhalevski, V - Miroshnichenko, E, Canadian Open 2004 and Gurevich,M-Lopez Martinez,J, Andorra 2004 - you can find these games in the July update. Black succeeded in equalizing, but then erred a number of times and allowed White to obtain an advantage, which the latter converted without big problems. An important game for the theory of this variation!
Classical: The Gligoric-Taimanov system
And last, but certainly not least, a game between Israel's two top-rated players Gelfand, B - Sutovsky, E, Pamplona 2004/05.
Black played a rare variation with 7...h6. Then the game transposed into the 7...Nbd7 line and finally reached the following position:
With his last move, 15.Ng6, Boris purposely allowed 15...Nxf2!, when White obtained a strong initiative for two sacrificed pawns. Black then returned the two pawns, which wasn't necessary, and Gelfand obtained a better position with a dangerous passed pawn on the a-file which eventually forced Sutovsky to give up a piece. Black succeeded in regaining the material advantage, but his king came under a mating attack. Gelfand's play makes a strong impression. A must see game!
Enjoy the games! See you in February