Classical: The Bayonet attack
The game Gymesi, Z - Fedorov, A, CRO-chT, Sibenik 2005 featured a rare line with 14...Ra6:
This way Black deviated from Golod, V - Avrukh, B, ch-ISR, Ramat Aviv 2004, in which 14...Kh8 was played. Soon White played a novelty, which stopped Black's activity on the kingside and the position remained balanced before Black committed a serious mistake with 23...Kh7? and eventually White ended the game with a simple, but nice tactical blow.
In this position White only needed one more move to finish the game. Try to find it.
Classical with 9.Bd2
In Kramnik, V - Zvjaginsev, V ch-RUS, Superfinal 2005 Kramnik surprised his opponent with this rare line:
It's similar to Kramnik's favourite Bayonet attack, but there also major differences. Zvjaginsev decided to avoid the main theoretical lines, which usually arise after 9...Ne8 and 9...Nh5, with 9...Kh8 and soon Kramnik seemed to obtain a comfortable position. However it turns out that White's advantage was not sufficient for a win and eventually a draw was agreed.
I believe Kramnik could have improved his game by postponing the exchange on c5, and also later on he had an interesting chance to sacrifice his queen. Maybe this game will wake up the popularity of this line? Let's wait and see.
The Orthodox with 7...c6.
Yevseev, D - Kotronias, V, 48th It Reggio Emilia 2005 featured the rare line with 7...c6, which to my great surprise hasn't been covered on our pages yet. So I want to fill a gap:
The game transposed from the Gligoric variation and I think that in such a move order it's better for White to meet 7...c6 with 8.d5, which is also the main line, instead of 8.0-0. Also 9.Bxd4 looks like a better try than 9. Nxd4, which allowed Black to equalize almost immediately with 10...d5. With precise play Black kept the balance and eventually the game was drawn. Many interesting variations in this game remained behind the curtains.
The Orthodox with 7...Na6
The game Shishkin,Va-Kruppa,Y, 4th I Platonov Mem 2006 featured the rather popular modern line with 13.c5. Since accepting an exchange with 16.Bb4 doesn't look attractive for White anymore, he is currently looking for an improvement in the following position with a slight advantage for White:
This position arises after 18.Rfc1, which Kruppa answered with 18...Kh8 - already for the second time. Later on Shishkin introduced a novelty on move 22 trying to improve upon their game in the same tournament a year ago. After a series of strong moves from both sides White missed his chance to obtain a slight edge and soon he had to agree to a draw. I believe the last word in this fundamental line is not said yet, and that we'll certainly see more games in it.
The game Nyback, T - Stokke, K XXXV Rilton Cup 2005/06 featured another interesting direction in the Orthodox variation with 7...Na6:
In the diagram position Black played the immediate 19...f5, which I believe is imprecise. More flexible is 19...Kh7, with the idea of ...f5, which occurred in the game Tukmakov, V - Gallagher, J, Basel 1999. Already Black's next move turned out to be a positional mistake and despite White's inaccuracy Black's position remained difficult. However, then White erred which allowed Black to equalize, and then he in his turn returned the favour and after a one move blunder resigned the game. This game is a good example of typical mistakes in this pawn structure.
Classical with 6...c6
Vallejo, P - Kamsky, G WCC Places 9-12 featured a rare line with 7...a6, which is typical for Kamsky these days:
Paco reacted aggressively with 8.e5, but without making any visible mistakes he soon realized that he was not better anymore. Kamsky then outplayed his strong opponent move by move and won the game in a pure positional style. This game reminds me of the best days of the former World number three player. Probably White's 8th move is already not the most precise. This line is a good option for Black to avoid main theoretical paths in the Classical system.
An interesting theoretical line was tested in the game Korchnoi, V - Socko, B, 5th Amplico AIG Life rapid 2005:
Black has just sacrificed a pawn in the style of the Benko gambit and after 12.a4 the diagram position has arisen. Socko then forced matters with 12...axb5 followed by 13...Ba6 and obtained typical Benko counterplay on the a and b-files. He next created pressure on the a-pawn and sacrificed an exchange in order to take the initiative and so Korchnoi allowed his opponent to force a draw by perpetual. An interesting line, which deserves further tests.
And finally an interesting tactical battle: Moiseenko,A-Van Wely,L, WCC Khanty Mansyisk 2005.
In the diagram position, which arose after 10...e5, Moiseenko came with a brave, but overoptimistic, sacrifice of two pawns. Black reacted correctly and after White's mistake (17.Qxd6?) he had a chance to transfer the game into a clearly better endgame. Instead, Van Wely sacrificed an exchange and though his position was still better Moiseenko succeeded in exchanging all his remaining pieces for Black's pawns to leave the latter with two knights on an empty board! A very interesting fighting draw. Don't miss it!
Enjoy the issue and see you in February.