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Teimour Radjabov vs Garry Kasparov
Linares (2003), Linares ESP, rd 9, Mar-03
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Classical Defense (D26)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Some selected comments from the annotations to this game in "Super Tournaments 2003" (Chess Stars):

<This game focuses on an interesting psychological point. Kasparov lost in the first round against the same player a very dramatic game in which he was almost winning. He obviously decided to refrain from exceedingly active and impulsive actions in this game and played definitely scholarly and was not afraid of exchanges and an eventual draw.>


<That move is the essence of the idea of this order of moves for White to play Qe2 before castling. White avoids the exchange of queens and plays a middle game with the typical for the Queen's Gambit Accepted symmetrical pawn structure without the c- and d-pawns. White maintains some initiative in principle, but Black has good chances to simplify the position and draw.>


<White is trying to utilize his right to begin the game by starting active actions as early as possible. He has two basic plans in this position.

1. He can push his e-pawn to e5 and use the weakness of the d6-square in order to play eventually on the kingside.

2. He can exert pressure on the queenside with the idea to dominate on the c-file and to occupy the c5-square. Black must play very precisely right now, coming out of the opening, so that he can preserve the balance.>


<This move weakens the queenside indeed, but on the other hand it secures the b7-square for the development of his bishop.>


<That quite concrete move became popular in the middle of the 90's of the last century. Black evidently wants to exploit the weakness of the d4-square, but the queen is quite exposed at the middle of the board. Black's other basic possibility - 10..e5 has a significant drawback - it weakens the d5-square.>


<After 12.Nc3 Black managed to equalize in numerous games played in the 90's with the move 12..Qe5, with the idea to stop e4-e5 for a while and eventually to try to exchange queens on the h5-square, for example: 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.Qxe3 Ng4=, and after the trade of the queens on g3 the position became rather drawish in the game I Sokolov vs Van Wely, 1995;


<Is it possible for Black to capture the e4-pawn? The answer to that question according to the tournament practice is negative: 12..Qxe4 13.Nd2 Qf5 14.g4 (White must deflect the queen from the defence of the bishop on c5.) 14..Qe5 (After 14..Nxg4 15.Bxc5 Bb7 16.Rfe1 Rd8, Lesiege vs I Krush, 2002, Black has no compensation for his material losses after the correct move for White 17.Rad1!) 15.Nf3 Qe4 16.Ng5 Qc6 17.Rac1 Bb7 18.f3 Bxe3+ 19.Qxe3 Qd6. Now it looks like Black is safe, but the sacrifice: 20.Nxe6! fxe6 21.Bxe6 secures a big advantage for White: 21..Kf8 (It is even worse for Black to play 21..Qe7 22.Rfe1 with the powerful threats of bishop checks from d7 or f7.) 22.Rfd1 Qe7 23.g5 Timman vs Lautier, 1997, and Black cannot retreat the knight: 23..Nd5 24.Rxd5 Bxd5 25.Qf4+ Ke8 26.Bxd5 because White is threatening to checkmate soon, so Black must give back the extra piece. His position then remains clearly worse because his king on e8 isolates the rook on h8 away from the actions.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: continued:


<Now comes the critical moment, whether White will manage to take advantage of the exposed placement of the black queen on c5, or not. He can try to occupy the c5-square with his knight, or he can also attempt to push e4-e5 and manoeuvre the knight to e4 and d6. Should he fail to do that (as it happened in this game) he must forget about an opening edge.>


<White does not achieve much after 14.e5 Nd7 15.Re1 Bb7 16.Nd2 0-0 17.Rac1 Qb6=, and he will not succeed to place his knight on e4, firstly because the e5-pawn is hanging and secondly because even if White defends his e5-pawn somehow, Black will exchange that knight the moment it appears on e4. White has not too many active ideas in fact. Also equal is 14.Nd2!? Bb7 15.e5 Nd7 16.Rfe1 Rd8 17.Nf1 0-0 18.Rac1 Qd4! 19.Rc3 Nb6=>


<It looks like White missed his chance to create real problems for Black at that particular moment of the game as well as during the next few moves. GM Huzman recommended here 15.Rad1!? (with the idea to deprive the knight on f6 of the d7-square after 15..0-0 16.e5, and contrary to the game controlling the e4-square), for example: 15..0-0 16.e5 Qc6 17.f4 Nd7 18.Rd6, and White occupies the d-file and maintains his initiative: 18..Qc7 19.Bc2 Rfd8 20.Qd3 Nf8 21.Rd1 or 15..b4 16.Na4 Qb5 17.Qe3 0-0 18.Nc5 and Black has some problems to worry about, because of White's powerful knight.>


<White now probably missed his last chance to fight for an advantage with 17.e5!? Nd7 18.Rfd1! Nc5 (the point is that White wins after 18..Nxe5 19.f4 ) 19.Bc2 (White fails to achieve much after 19.Nxb5 Qxb5 20.Rxc5 Qxc5 21.Qd7+ Kf8 22.Qxb7 g6, and White's first rank is weak as well as the f2-pawn and therefore his bishop and two pawns for the rook are not good enough.) 19..0-0 20.Nd5 Qxd2 21.Ne7+ Kh8 22.Rxd2 Rc7 (22..Rcd8 23.Rd6) 23.Bd1 Rxe7 24.Rxc5 - and White manages to occupy the c5-square (recommended by Huzman).>


<White has no advantage after 18.e5 due to 18..Ne4 19.Qf4 a5 20.Nxe4 Qxe4 21.Qxe4 Bxe4=.>


<This was essentially a silent draw offer because of the forced mass-reduction of material, but White had nothing better anyway.>

The rest of the game is lightly annotated with nothing extremely interesting.

Feb-01-10  KingG: Kasparov analysing with Radjabov after the game:
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