17 February 2014

Commentary: Tradewise Gilbraltar 2014 - Round 1

The Tradewise Gilbraltar Chess Congress is always entertaining, both for the fans and for the players.  The following game, from round 1, was similarly entertaining and instructive for me.  What appears to be a solid King's Indian Attack formation is taken apart rather rapidly by Black, who employs some unusual-looking but very effective rook maneuvering to blast through on the queenside, while White dithers on the kingside.  The game notably features the formation of "Alekhine's Gun" by Black, with R+R+Q all aiming down the c-file. Although it was initially the opening that caught my eye, it's the example of how master-level players powerfully centralize their rooks that is my biggest take-away from the game.

[Event "Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2014 "] [Site "The Caleta Hotel - Gibraltar"] [Date "2014.01.28"] [Round "1.37"] [White "Malmdin, Nils-Ake"] [Black "Salem, A.R. Saleh"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B10"] [WhiteElo "2175"] [BlackElo "2564"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "48"] [EventDate "2014.01.28"] 1. e4 c6 2. d3 {indicating that White will go into the King's Indian Attack.} d5 3. Nd2 e5 4. Ngf3 Bd6 5. g3 Nf6 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Re8 8. Re1 Nbd7 9. a3 { more common here is either c3, reinforcing the center, or b3, preparing to develop the bishop.} a5 {a typical reaction, restraining the b4 advance.} 10. b3 d4 {while there are a variety of moves that are playable here, the text move scores 100 percent for Black!} 11. Nh4 (11. Bb2 {seems better, in order to make some progress on development and free up the first rank for White's heavy pieces.}) 11... Bf8 {Black anticipates Nf5, hitting the bishop, and proactively reinforces his kingside, as e5 no longer needs the bishop's attention.} 12. Nf1 {this is consistent with White leaving the bishop on c1, but appears to be too slow. Black will get his play on the queenside and in the center before White can develop any threats on the kingside.} a4 13. b4 c5 {the pawn is used as a lever to open the c-file for Black.} 14. bxc5 Ra5 $5 { an original way of getting the rook into play.} (14... Qc7 {is more normal-looking and less committal.}) 15. Nf5 {White is playing too slowly and not bringing enough of his army to bear.} (15. f4 $5 $15) 15... Rxc5 16. g4 Re6 $17 {Houdini agrees that this other unusual rook lift is the best for Black. Along the third rank, the rook can immediately increase pressure on the c-file and also be available for defense on the kingside, if needed. Black also clears a retreat square for the knight, based on the threat created by White's last move.} 17. h3 {White apparently still feels no sense of urgency.} (17. g5 {would at least be consistent.}) 17... Rec6 18. c4 {White chooses the least worst option, jettisoning the doomed c-pawn and picking up the a-pawn in return. However, Black is still in a dominant position and White has no counterplay.} dxc3 19. Qxa4 c2 $19 {a powerful move, cutting the Qa4 off from the kingside and ensuring White will have to cover the c1 square at all costs.} 20. Be3 Rc3 {Black keeps pounding away with his amazing rooks.} 21. d4 Qc7 { forming "Alekhine's Gun", with the R+R+Q on the same file.} (21... R6c4 22. Qb5 exd4 23. Nxd4 Nc5 {is Houdini's preferred way to make progress.}) 22. g5 $6 { this makes it easier for Black.} (22. Rec1 {blocking the pawn advance would make for stronger resistance, on the next move as well.}) 22... Ne8 23. d5 { this simply forces the rook to a better square.} R6c4 24. Qb5 c1=Q {White will lose a piece with no compensation and a fractured position, so resigns. An impressive c-file for Black!} 0-1

1 comment:

  1. 13.b4? is horrible. Why not play 14.Bh3 instead? I would expect to lose to anyone, if I made that sort of mistake.

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