27 March 2013

Stonewall Hero II

After having put aside Win with the Stonewall Dutch (Sverre Johnsen/Ivar Bern/Simen Agdestein, Gambit, 2009) for some time in order to focus on tournament preparation and middlegame studies, I've been working through it again. As with the original Modern Stonewall Hero, I'm now back at the Chapter 6 exercise where the reader is supposed to analyze one of the games of their "Stonewall hero".  Mine is GM Artur Yusupov (or Jussupow, as he appears in the ChessBase database) and I've selected a top-level struggle between him and Beliavsky for this edition.  A first pass was done through the game for commentary without an analysis engine, per the book's instructions.  I found this to be an excellent illustrative game for the Stonewall, as it demonstrates how Black (thanks to some White errors in judgment) can win the clash of basic strategic ideas in the opening.

[Event "URS-ch54"] [Site "Minsk"] [Date "1987.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Beliavsky, Alexander G"] [Black "Jussupow, Artur"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A90"] [WhiteElo "2630"] [BlackElo "2645"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "108"] [EventDate "1987.03.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "17"] [EventCountry "URS"] [EventCategory "12"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1999.07.01"] 1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 d5 {...c6 would be a move-order finesse, as the text move gives White the option to exchange on d5, although that is not common.} 5. Nf3 c6 6. O-O Bd6 {the standard position for the Modern Stonewall.} 7. b3 {the main line.} Qe7 {aimed at preventing Ba3, which would allow White to exchange off the Bd6.} 8. Bb2 O-O (8... b6 {is the major alternative, choosing to develop the bishop to b7 or a6 and supporting options on the queenside.}) 9. Nc3 {this is not considered the best placement for the knight in a Stonewall, since it has fewer options while on c3.} Bd7 {whenever Black plays this, the aim is to swing the bishop around to the kingside via e8.} 10. Ne5 {White would be happy with a piece exchange on e5, as he would improve his control over the dark squares with the Bd6 gone and have a strong, cramping pawn on e5 afterwards.} Be8 11. Nd3 {this formation rarely appears in the database and the move is more often seen when the other knight has been developed via d2-f3, thereby obtaining a lock on e5.} Nbd7 12. e3 {this seems like a generally passive waiting move. Black wins all three games in the database after this.} g5 {Black wastes no time in initiating kingside operations.} 13. a4 {White’s forces are clearly more oriented toward the queenside, so he logically starts expanding there.} Bg6 14. f4 {this seems to play into Black’s strategy by providing a target for the g-pawn and distracting White from queenside expansion. White may have been worried about an eventual Black ...f4 advance, however.} Bh5 {the immediate ...Bh5 would have allowed White to block with the f-pawn after f3, although Black was perhaps originally more interested in fighting for the e4 square.} 15. Qc1 Ne4 {a very thematic knight move in the Stonewall. While the knight is very active, Black should not be afraid to exchange it, either, especially since the Nd7 can swing around to f6 to replace it.} 16. fxg5 {this seems a little premature to me.} (16. a5 gxf4 17. Nxf4 Bf7) 16... Nxc3 {Black chooses to eliminate the defender of the e2 square, to further activate his light-square bishop and then exchange it.} 17. Qxc3 Be2 18. Rfe1 Bxd3 {Black exchanges off his "bad" bishop for an excellent White knight.} 19. Qxd3 Qxg5 20. Ba3 {Black cannot reasonably avoid the exchange.} Bxa3 (20... c5 21. cxd5 {wins a pawn.}) 21. Rxa3 Nf6 {after the exchanges end, Black’s knight is evidently superior to White’s bishop and he has the initiative on the kingside.} 22. Qf1 h5 23. Qf4 Qxf4 24. gxf4 (24. exf4 {seems safer for White.}) 24... Kf7 {clearing the way for Rg8 and bringing the king closer to the center for the endgame.} 25. Ra2 Rg8 26. Kh1 Rg7 27. Bf3 Rag8 {Black’s strategy is simple and dictated by the one open file on the board.} 28. Rg2 {White’s decision to trade down only makes Black’s task of penetrating White’s position easier.} Rxg2 29. Bxg2 a5 { prophlyaxis against a further pawn advance with b4.} 30. Kg1 h4 31. Kf1 Ng4 32. h3 Nf6 {now Black will have the g3 square available and the Bg2 is further restricted.} 33. Kf2 Rg3 34. c5 Ne4%2B {the only way to make progress.} 35. Bxe4 {White rids himself of his "bad" bishop and prevents further penetration by the knight.} fxe4 36. Rh1 Ke8 37. Rg1 {White decides to avoid passive defense in the rook endgame, although Black’s rook ends up being more active in a decisive way.} (37. Rh2) 37... Rxh3 38. Rg7 Rh2%2B 39. Kf1 Rh3 40. Kf2 Rh2%2B { repetition of moves presumably to make the time control.} 41. Kf1 Rb2 42. Rxb7 Kd8 43. Kg1 Re2 44. b4 axb4 45. a5 Rxe3 46. a6 Kc8 47. Rxb4 Ra3 48. Rb6 e3 49. Rxc6%2B Kd7 50. Rd6%2B Ke7 51. f5 exf5 52. Rxd5 Rxa6 53. c6 Rxc6 54. Rxf5 Rg6%2B { Black’s separated passed pawns cannot both be stopped.} 0-1

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