The Bayonet attack
As usual I'll start with the Bayonet attack and our first game this month is Van Wely, L - Bacrot, E, Dortmund 2005. Bacrot chose a rare line with 13...Ra8, following the game Dorfman, J - Bologan, V, ch-FRA 2005, but Van Wely decided to deviate with 15.Ra3. Etienne met this with a new continuation 16...b6, which didn't allow him to fully equalize however:
Eventually Bacrot made an inaccuracy which cost him a pawn and he eventually blundered in time-trouble. It seems that the line with 13...c5 is safer.
Our second example is the game Eljanov, P - Beliavsky, A, 6th EICC Playoffs 2005. In the following diagram, the initial position of the Bayonet Attack, Black chose the uncommon continuation 9...Nd7:
White reacted with 10.c5 which doesn't achieve its goal and after this Black not only equalized, but gained the upper hand. However later in the game Black commits an inaccuracy and then blunders awfully and loses the game. This line can be recommended for those who don't want to study long theoretical lines after 9...Nh5 and 9...a5. As the game shows, not everyone is familiar with this line.
Classical. The main line with 9.Nd2
This line features in the very interesting game Sakaev, K - Fedorov, A, 6th EICC Warsaw 2005. Sakaev based his preparation for the game on an earlier game of Fedorov in this line which also went 13.Qa4, instead of the 13. Nb3 which he played earlier this year against the same opponent in the Aeroflot Open 2005.
White improved upon Beliavsky's play and in the diagram position played the beautiful pawn sacrifice 17.f4!! which destroys Black's position. Sakaev conducted the game very strongly and despite one inaccuracy, which wasn't noticed by his opponent, wins the game in good style. A must see game!
The Orthodox with 7...Nbd7
The only game in this line was played by yours truly: Mikhalevski, V - Agullar, Alonso, First International tournament, Alajuela 2005. This game, played against a weak opponent, contains no tactical tricks and is not really important from the theoretical point of view, but it shows typical plans in a very popular pawn structure.
In the diagram you can see a position of complete domination by the white pieces. I would say this is a position of White's dream in this system, and I might add that Black can't avoid material losses.
Classical. A rare line with 8...Na6
The game Bacrot, E - Topalov, V Dortmund 2005 featured a rare line with an early h3.
In the diagram position White found the strong novelty 12 Be2 and obtained a slight, but long-lasting advantage. Topalov had to defend passively and eventually committed a mistake which could have cost him the game. Fortunately for him Bacrot missed his chance and in the ensuing endgame with an extra pawn he couldn't break through Black's fortress.
This system featured in a game between two 2700+ players- Ivanchuk, V - Bologan, V, Canadian Open 2005.
In this position, on only the 10th move, White has already committed a mistake, which allowed Black to win a pawn by 'sacrificing' his knight with 10...Nxf2!
It seems that Ivanchuk missed the stunning queen sacrifice (leading to a beautiful mate) which could follow (and which we only usually meet in 19th century games!)
The following position, which could arise in one of the lines, is worth a diagram:
White has an extra queen and the move, but is helpless against 21...Rdc8 mate!
If we go back to the game we'll see Bologan later commits a mistake in a position with an extra pawn and allows counterplay which eventually turns out to be enough for a draw. Anyway a great save by Ivanchuk. Certainly his experiment on the 10th move shouldn't be repeated! Moreover, I believe White has to look for an advantage after the more popular 9. Bh4.
The system with 5.h3 and 6.Be3
Our next game is Radjabov, T - Milov, V, 6th EICC, Warsaw 2005.
In the diagram position Black repeated a dubious novelty of Romanian GM Istratescu and despite an attempt to improve Black's play with 11...Qe7 he ended up in a bad position. One inaccuracy cost him a pawn, which Radjabov converted to a win without any problems. A good technical win from the young player.
The Fianchetto System
Our final game is Akopian, V - Avrukh, B, Amsterdam 2005, where Boris implements the line with 9...Nb6, which is becoming popular recently:
A long theoretical battle led to a balanced position after Akopian's novelty 19 e3, however, an inaccuracy from Avrukh then allowed White to seize a slight advantage and eventually win a pawn, although by precise defense Black saved the draw. A tough game in which both players showed good theoretical preparation and technical skill.
Enjoy the issue and see you in August.