10 May 2013

Commentary - 2013 U.S. Championships, Round 5

As quoted in the Round 5 news report, GM Alejandro Ramirez had this to say about the following game.
"Shankland is known as a very booked-up player,” Ramirez said. “So I wanted to get him out of theory as soon as possible.” Ramirez said he knew the plan was working when they were both spending five minutes on every move.
I found the opening to be very interesting, a Nimzo-Larsen Attack against a Sicilian-style setup, which is not the most challenging way to oppose White's ideas.  Ramirez, who is blazing his way through the tournament so far, shows he is capable of analyzing unusual positions and thinking for himself while playing aggressively.

The other major news in Round 5 was that Gata Kamsky was (finally) held to a draw by Joel Benjamin, while Irina Krush continued her winning streak and was 5-0.

[Event "2013 U.S. and Womens' Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, Missouri, USA"] [Date "2013.05.07"] [Round "5.5"] [White "Ramirez, Alejandro"] [Black "Shankland, Sam"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A04"] [WhiteElo "2551"] [BlackElo "2612"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [TimeControl "6000+1145"] [WhiteClock "0:14:48"] [BlackClock "0:08:44"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. b3 {the Nimzo-Larsen.} d6 3. c4 g6 (3... e5 {is actually the main idea behind the previous move, but Black continues with his Sicilian-style development.}) 4. d4 Bg7 5. e3 Nc6 6. Bb2 Bg4 {breaking from the standard Sicilian ideas. This move in fact scores quite well for Black, at around 77 percent, but there are only a handful of games in the database with this position and only one at the professional level.} 7. Be2 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bxe2 9. Qxe2 Nxd4 10. Bxd4 Bxd4 {a key decision to exchange, which seems slightly better for White, who unlike Black is not left with a kingside dark square weakness as a result. White's development is also a little easier. Also possible was playing to keep the dark-square bishops on the board.} (10... Qa5+ 11. Nd2 Nf6 12. O-O O-O $11) 11. exd4 d5 {Black is slightly behind in development and this does nothing to rectify that.} 12. c5 $14 {without the opposing bishop to challenge it, White's d4 pawn is a source of positional strength.} Nh6 13. Nd2 Nf5 14. O-O O-O 15. Nf3 b6 {challenging the head of the pawn chain, another strategic decision which seems to work out a little better for White.} 16. b4 bxc5 17. dxc5 {White deliberately goes for the option creating a greater imbalance in the position, rather than the more solid bxc5.} Re8 18. Rad1 e5 19. Rfe1 f6 20. Qa6 {a strong move, switching the queen to an area where she can exercise greater dominance and directly assist the pawn advance.} d4 {Black attempts to set his own pawns in motion and obtain counterplay. However, it's interesting to observe that while White has three pieces lined up in front of Black's pawns to oppose their advance, Black has none in front of White's.} 21. Nd2 Kg7 22. Ne4 {the knight has multiple functions here, obviously blockading e4 but also threatening to hop into d6 and offering support to the c5 pawn.} Rf8 23. c6 {White obviously believes the dictum that passed pawns must be pushed.} Nh4 {according to Houdini, the major turning point in the game, which is now evaluated as heavily in White's favor. Black apparently intended to play f5 as a followup, but that never actually happens. White's c-pawn is far enough advanced that it becomes a major force and Black must focus on restraining its progress, as his passed d-pawn is not nearly as threatening.} (23... Qc7 {seems like the best option, blockading the pawn.} 24. Rc1 Rab8 {preventing White's queen from going to b7} 25. b5 $14) 24. Rc1 $18 Qd5 (24... Qc7 {no longer works due to} 25. Qb7 Qxb7 26. cxb7 Rab8 27. Rc7+ Rf7 28. Rxf7+ Kxf7 29. Rc1 {and the well-placed Ne4 tactically protects the b7 pawn due to the fork on d6.}) (24... Qe7 $5) 25. c7 d3 {Black desperately tries to create some counterplay.} 26. Qc6 Qd4 27. Rc4 d2 28. Rd1 { Unlike White, Black cannot make any progress against the pieces opposing the passed pawn.} Qd3 29. Rxd2 Qb1+ 30. Rc1 {White's well-coordinated pieces now dominate the board and the rout is on.} Qxb4 31. Rd7+ Kh6 32. Nxf6 Rxf6 33. Qxf6 Qg4 34. Qg7+ 1-0

No comments:

Post a Comment