The July Update
This month I was very busy playing in a number of tournaments in North America and so most of the games I commented for this update are taken from the Canadian Open in Kapuskasing and the World Open in Philadelphia. I hope the game Miroshnichenko-Nataf will be of special interest...
I would like to start with the game Bacrot, E - Radjabov, T, FIDE WCh KO Tripoli 2004 in which the following position of Bacrot's favourite variation was reached:
Now Etienne tried to improve upon his earlier game against the same opponent with 18.bxc6?! instead of 18.Ba3, but his idea didn't work this time. After a number of mistakes committed by both players the game ended with a win for Radjabov. 13.Qb3 still requires further tests.
A rare line with 9...Ne8 occurred in the game Miroshnichenko, E - Nataf, I, Canadian Open 2004. White tried a new idea (11.a5) and achieved the better play. After 38.Rh3 the following interesting position arose:
Now instead of the simple 38...Nf6! with a decisive attack, Nataf came up with a fantastic queen sacrifice 38...Nf3? Unfortunately the idea didn't work, but attracted a lot of interest in the playing hall. Miroshnichenko defended like a lion and transferred the game into a winning endgame. Don't miss it!
Classical: The Orthodox Variation with 7...Na6
As usual I tried to take part in a theoretical discussion in one of the topical lines I commented in the previous updates. The game Mikhalevski, V - Miroschnichenko, E, Canadian Open 2004 saw the same line as discussed in the June update.
In this position Black played the improvement 20...Bf8!, better than Nakamura's 20...Nc6. I succeeded in obtaining a slight advantage and after Evgeny's mistake on move 33 I could win a pawn, but missed my chance and the game ended in a draw. I believe the game is of some theoretical importance.
You can imagine my surprise when I found out that only a few days before this game 20...Bf8! was already tested in Gurevich,M-Lopez Martinez,J, Andorra la Vella 2004! In that game Black played 21...Qa4 instead of Miroshnichenko's 21...a6, which was my main worry during my game. White also succeeded in gaining the upper hand in this game, but after an inaccuracy on move 32 allowed Black to escape with a draw.
These two games show that Black will still have to look for improvements...
In the game Huzman, A - Miroshnichenko, E, Canadian Open 2004, White opted for 11.Nd2 (instead of 11.h3) which was played earlier this year by his "student" Boris Gelfand. Black tried a rare line 11...Bf6?! which looks dubious. White missed a number of chances to obtain an advantage and the game ended peacefully. I wouldn't recommend testing this line again as Black.
Classical: The Gligoric-Taimanov system
In the game Nickoloff, B - Huzman, A, Canadian Open 2004, the following theoretical position arose:
White played a relatively rare variation with 12.c5?! and soon got a worse position. However after 17...f5?! he had a chance to take the initiative, but missed it and eventually lost. I believe White has to look for an advantage in other lines...
The decisive game of the Canadian Open 2004 was played between the two top-rated players in the tournament: Moiseenko, A - Miroshnichenko, E.
This position was reached in a relatively rare variation in which White tried to launch a direct attack on the black king from the very beginning (with h4; Bh6; h5).
Black defended resourcefully and reached an equal position by move 40. As often happens Black committed a mistake on move 40. The rest of the game was an example of good technique by Moiseenko. Despite a very tough defense Miroshnichenko, who was leading throughout the tournament, had to resign on move 56. A high-quality game.
And finally I want to show you a game I played in the 8th round of the World Open. The game Mikhalevski,V-Wojtkiewicz featured a rare system with 5...c6. I opted for 6.h3 which can hardly be called a refutation and suddenly found myself in a bad version of the Gruenfeld defense.
After a number of inaccuracies from both sides I finally managed to obtain a better position. However in severe time-trouble I committed an awful positional mistake (30.Be5??) and instead of fighting for a win I had to defend a difficult position and eventually lost...
I believe 6.Bd3 is a much better choice.
Enjoy the games! See you soon.