The May Update
First of all I would like to apologize for being late this time. The reason is that I played two tournaments in the US throughout most of May and so I didn't have any time to complete this update...
This time I mostly concentrated on the Classical system which is not such a big surprise as most top games are being played in this system at the moment. You'll see one of the topical lines in the Bayonet attack, an unfortunate attempt to gain the advantage after Nxc7 in the Orthodox system with ...Na6, Dreev's favourite variation of the Samisch and finally, an interesting (from a strategical point of view) game in the 5.Bd3, 6.Nge2 system.
This time I've analysed two games in this system for you. The first game featured a very topical line with a typical manoeuvre of the knight via g8 to h6. See Dorfman - Bologan, Tch-FRA 2004
With 17...f6 Black sacrificed a pawn. White accepted the challenge and then came up with the new move 21.Qc1. Eventually he outplayed his strong opponent winning the game in fine style.
In our next game Harikrishna - Fedorov, Dubai 2004, we see a relatively rare line with 13...Nf6. After a number of inaccuracies from both sides White obtained a clear advantage, but then returned the favour and the game ended peacefully. Despite a number of mistakes this game is very interesting.
Classical: Orthodox Variation with 7...Na6
In Golod - Matikozian, Santa Monica Invitational 2004, the game reached the board position on move 9:
Who could expect that after 9...h6 Black falls into a hidden trap? Already after 11. c5 Black had to solve some very unpleasant problems, and on the 19th move White missed a nice forced win.
Following this White then had to work hard to break the very tough defense of the Armenian player. After a very long fight the game reached a rook ending with an extra pawn on one side, where the more experienced Israeli managed to trick his opponent and go home with the full point.
Our next game Eljanov - Efimenko, TCh-UKR 2004 sees a very popular line with 13.c5:
In this critical position White tried 16.Nxc7 instead of Shabalov's 16.Bb4 and once again obtained nothing. The game is yet further confirmation that White can't hope for any advantage if he doesn't take the exchange.
In the game Tunik - Kabanov, TCh-RUS 2004, White applied an inaccurate move order (13.Qc1 instead of c5). The position was balanced up to 29...Qd7?. Starting from this point White didn't leave his opponent one single chance and completely outplayed him with good technique.
Classical: The Orthodox Variation with 7...Nbd7
As usual, I have analysed one of my own games, this time played on the net. The game Mikhalevski,V-Plaskett, WCN 2004, saw the 8.Be3-line. I got a pleasant position from the opening, and after Black's mistake on the 24th move I could win a pawn, but missed his counterplay. Eventually, after a tough battle, I managed to win a pawn, but couldn't break Black's defense. The final part of the game was very spectacular!
This time only one game in this system which, once again, featured Dreev's favourite variation with 6.Nge2. In the game Malakhatko - Kritz, LIE Open 2004:
the players have almost transposed to another of Malakhatko's game (except for the inclusion of Qd2 and ...Rb8) after the last move 17...Qf6. At this key-moment of the game White missed an interesting opportunity (18.Qe3!) and his position collapsed in a few moves. A nice example of energetic play from Kritz.
And last but not least, the game Atalik - Kozul, Sarajevo 2004.
After a relatively rare opening variation the players reached this tricky position after 26...Qe7. White maintained his positional advantage throughout the game, but here he missed a nice manoeuvre (27.Na2!!) which would promise a serious advantage. In time-trouble White overlooked Black's counterplay and eventually lost. A very tough game!
Enjoy the issue. See you in June.