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Alexander Khalifman vs Vladimir Eduardovich Akopian
FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999), Las Vegas, NV USA, rd 7, Jan-05
King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation. Gligoric-Taimanov System (E92)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: This win in game 4 of their six game match ended up being the decisive game giving Khalifman a 2-1 lead which held up when the last two games were drawn. 7 Be3 was not Khalifnan's usual choice; he wanted to avoid preparation. 10 Bf2 avoids the exchange sacrifice that Kasparov played in game 11 of his 1990 title defense against Karpov: ie. 10 Qd2..d5 11 exd..cxd 12 0-0..Nc6 13 c5..Rxe3!?. 12..dxc? 13 Ndb5 would have been very good for White. 17 Nxe6 was a new move; 17 f4 had been played in Gelfand-Van Wely Wijk aan Zee 1996 (drawn). Khalifman was sceptical of 16..Be6!? allowing White's gain of the two bishops as well as a weakening of the center pawn structure. 26..g5?! created additional weaknesses; preferable was 26..a5 27 b5..Nb4 28 Bd4..Be7 when White's advantage would have been smaller than in the game. 31 Bxg5..Bxf2+ would not have helped White. Rather than playing the standard break 34 b5 Khalifman played the clever 34 a5! fixing the Black pawns on light suares; the same color as the White bishop. Not liking passive defense Akopian sacrificed a pawn with 35..d4!? hoping that the far advanced d-pawn would provide sufficient counterplay. 50..Kf7? lost quickly; a tougher defense was 50..Rd4 51 c6..bxc 52 Rxc6..Nd5 53 b5..e4+ 54 Ke2..Rd3 55 bxa..Nf4+ 56 Kf1..e3 57 a7..Rd8 58 Rd6! and White should win.

This was a good fighting game - nice positional play by Khalifman overcoming tough defense by Akopian.

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