ChessAdmin - Class A
D45: Semi-Slav: 5 e3
[...] 1.c4 ¤f6 2.¤c3 e6 3.¤f3 d5 4.e3 c6 this is the first time I've encountered a Semi-Slav type setup against the English. 5.b3 ¤bd7 6.¥e2 this may be a premature development of the bishop. 6...¥d6 7.O-O O-O 8.d4 this move puts the game firmly in Semi-Slav territory (although not for long). Alternate approaches may be better. Here's one from Mikhail Tal:
8.£c2 ¦e8 9.¥b2 e5 10.cxd5 ¤xd5 11.¤e4 ¥c7 12.a3 a5 13.¥c4 ¤f8 14.¤g3 ¥g4 15.¤e1 ¤g6 16.h3 ¥e6 17.¤f3 ¤f6 18.¥xe6 ¦xe6 19.¦ad1 ¦e8 20.e4 ¤d7 21.d4 exd4 22.¤xd4 ¥xg3 23.fxg3 £b6 24.¢h2 £c5 25.£e2 ¤de5 26.¤f5 ¦ad8 27.¦xd8 ¦xd8 28.¦d1 £f8 29.¥d4 ¦d7 30.¥c3 ¦xd1 31.£xd1 h6 32.h4 f6 33.h5 ¤e7 34.¤h4 £b8 35.¥xe5 £xe5 36.£d7 ¢f8 37.¤g6+ ¤xg6 38.hxg6 £h5+ 39.¢g1 £xg6 40.£xb7 £xe4 41.£a8+ 1/2-1/2 (41) Tal,M (2560)-Bagirov,V (2505) Riga 19818...£e7 9.¥b2 ¤e4 10.£c2 f5 now we have a classic Stonewall Dutch formation for Black. 11.¤xe4 starting a somewhat complex sequence. I had to think here for a while and also again on move 14 to make sure that I had it right. 11...fxe4 12.¤e5 the only move that doesn't give Black a positional edge. 12...£g5 the counter-threat by Black, which requires White to further support the Ne5. Exchanging on d7 is possible, but just benefits Black by freeing up the Bc8 and connecting his rooks. 13.£c3 ¦f5 increasing the pressure again on Black's side. 14.f4 exf3 15.¦xf3
15.¤xf3!? is the other major option. I thought that the text move seemed to keep the balance more easily.15...¤xe5 16.dxe5 ¦xe5 17.¦g3 an obvious move with an obvious threat that I made quickly. I should have considered other options as well, since there's no urgency to play the text move. For example, Black's Re5 is awkwardly placed and is a target for White's bishops.
17.¥d3!? starts a wild line: 17...¦xe3 18.¥xh7+ ¢h8 19.¦xe3 ¥c5 20.¦ae1 d4 21.£d3 dxe3 22.¥e4²
17.c5 is a safer version of the idea. 17...¥c7 18.¥d3 and Black's Re5 is trapped and will have to give itself up for the exchange, although this is not losing.17...£e7 18.¦f1 another "obvious" move played when there was a not-so-obvious good alternative.
18.¥a3 deflection tactic. 18...¥xa3 19.£xe5 ¥d6 20.£g5 £xg5 21.¦xg518...¦g5 Black now effectively takes over the initiative. His pieces are well placed to make threats on the kingside, while mine are not coordinating as well. 19.¦xg5 £xg5 20.¥h5 I did well to find this move, although I followed up on it poorly, essentially overestimating my threats and underestimating Black's. 20...¥xh2+ 21.¢h1??
21.¢xh2 I dismissed this move since I thought it just lost a pawn, but it keeps the position equal due to White's threats on the f-file and against the g7 square. 21...£xh5+ 22.¢g1 £g5 23.£b4 £xe3+ 24.¦f221...¥g3−+ only now did I see the problem of the mate threat. 22.¥f7+ the best practical chance for White, although I am already lost by this point. However, my opponent was running very low on time in the first time control, so I played on and tried to complicate matters as much as possible. 22...¢h8 23.¢g1 ¥d7 24.¥e8 ¦xe8 25.¦f7 e5 26.¦xd7 £f5 the game is effectively over, due to Black's mate threats. Under time pressure, however, he decides to pick up the material and just play safely. 27.£d2 £xd7 (27...¦f8 28.£e1 ¥xe1 29.¥xe5 ¥f2+ 30.¢h1 £h5+ 31.¥h2 £d1+ 32.¥g1 £xg1#) 28.e4 d4 29.£d3 £g4 30.¥a3 ¥f4 31.¢f1 ¥e3 32.£e2 £f4+ 33.£f3 £xf3+ 34.gxf3 h5 at this point Black could easily make random moves to reach the time control successfully, so I resigned.
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