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Boris Gelfand vs Judit Polgar
World Cup (2009), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 3, Nov-27
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Nimzowitsch Variation Nimzowitsch Attack (E15)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-27-09  17.Bxg7: Fantastic game by Gelfand! He saw a lot more than us when played 14.Bd6! and clearly needed to sac the exchange.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Superb early middle game play. I like the way he found a way to win by advancing his king pawns; a lot of players will draw being up just one pawn going into the middle game.
Nov-27-09  Open Defence: Gelfand seems to have developed on the style of Karpov
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Yeah, a really high-class game by Gelfand. First, the pseudo-exchange sac which ends with a pawn up for White (the whole sequence from move 16 to 28 is pretty much forced - e.g. 26...Rc7 is necessary because White is threatening b4-b5), and then the way in which he converts it in the endgame. Gives the impression that things were completely under control from start to finish.
Nov-27-09  TheChessGuy: Yeah, this is an impressive game. That's the thing with Gelfand's chess. His opponent will think that they're fine, and then Israel's #1 will come up with a tactical shot straight out of left field. After that, he just calmly and steadily grinds them down until they resign.
Nov-27-09  whatthefat: 26.Rb1 was very nice indeed. I was surprised Polgar played it out as far as she did.
Nov-27-09  Plato: <Open Defence: Gelfand seems to have developed on the style of Karpov>

For what it's worth, Gelfand was the star student of Petrosian.

Nov-27-09  Red October: aaah thanks <Plato> I did not know that...
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: ...and their overlap is 'prophylaxis'.
Nov-27-09  Hesam7: <Eyal: Gives the impression that things were completely under control from start to finish.>

In other words most of this must have been done at home. Specially since as you point out there is a long forced sequence from the opening to endgame.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Hesam7: In other words most of this must have been done at home.>

I doubt it, actually, since according to the databases the novelty was played by Polgar and as early as the 10th move (the main line goes 10...Na6 11.Bf4 Nc5 12.Qc2). So I suppose that the sequence of moves 16-28 was the result of either some very deep calculation by Gelfand (which is still believable because of its rather forced nature - one can focus on the main line without worrying about many sidelines), or of some combination of calculation and very good "positional" intuition that fully justified itself. In this connection, it would be <very> interesting to know the clock readings of Gelfand's moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Also, analysis seems to indicate that Gelfand's play wasn't <that> perfect after all... especially with regard to move 18, where Ne5 was probably better than Ng5 (see [Monokroussos] and [Shipov]). So it would appear to have been "just" an excellent otb refutation of Polgar's dubious novelty.
Nov-28-09  JohnBoy: It looks like moves 16-28 amount to a great Sunday puzzle - winning a pawn with beautiful play. Is 21...Qd4 necessary? I suppose if 21...Qe7 then 22.Qc3 is pretty rough for black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Is 21...Qd4 necessary? I suppose if 21...Qe7 then 22.Qc3 is pretty rough for black.>

Yes, then after 22...Qe5 White would have a pleasant choice between 23.Qxe5 Nxe5 24.Nf6+ Kg7 25.Bxa8 Rxa8 26.Nd5 and 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.Nxd7! Qxc3 25.Rxc3 Rfc8 26.c5. The point where Black could apparently improve was on move 18, with ...Nc6 (instead of Rf8) - 19.cxd5 Qe7! 20.Nh3 (after 20.dxc6 dxc6 the knight on g5 is lost - that's one of the reasons why 18.Ne5 is better, because then White would have Nd3 at this point) 20...Ne5 21.d6 Qe6 22.Bxa8 Rxa8.

Nov-28-09  JohnBoy: <Eyal> - after 18...Nc6 19.Bxd5 and how does black respond? 19...Rf8 transposes into the game. Is there anything better? The f pawn is toast, and if black allows 20.Nf7 then white will probably recoup the X as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <JohnBoy> It's better to give up the f-pawn with 19...Qe7 (again) 20.Nxf7 Rf8 - Looks a bit scary, but White has nothing immediately crushing. Materially he has 2 or 3 pawns for the exchange (3 after 21.Ne5+ and 22.Nxc6) and overall he should have the advantage, but it's less clear than in the game - especially since he doesn't get to simplify to an endgame.
Nov-28-09  Paraconti: Now THAT'S classy chess.
Nov-29-09  JohnBoy: <Eyal> - you make a good case for 18...Nc6. But white can continue the pressure with 19.Bxd5 Qe7 (your move) 20.h4. The idea is that white buys time for Qd3 (or c2), and should black try 20...h6 then 21.Nxf7 Rf8 22.Nh6+ is better than your exchange of knights on c6.

I agree that this is not an immediate win, but black is in a world of hurt.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <JohnBoy: white can continue the pressure with [18...Nc6] 19.Bxd5 Qe7 (your move) 20.h4. The idea is that white buys time for Qd3 (or c2), and should black try 20...h6 then 21.Nxf7 Rf8 22.Nh6+ is better than your exchange of knights on c6.>

Of course - this IS actually an immediate win after 22.Ne5+ (22...Kh8 23.Ng6+, forking the queen). However, instead of 20...h6?? Black can now play 20...Rf8, since the Qd3-Ne4 idea doesn't work anymore as well as in the actual game (because of the better placement of Black's queen). White still seems to have considerable pressure after 21.Rc3, e.g. 21...Rae8 22.Re3 Ne5! (22...Qd8? 23.Nxf7! Rxf7 24.Bxf7+ Kxf7 25.Qd5+ Re6 26.Rxe6 dxe6 27.Qxc6) 23.Qd4 (23.f4?? Qc5) Qf6; but again, I don't see anything definitely decisive (24.f4?? still loses, this time to 24...Nf3+, and after 24.Kg2 Black finally has time for 24...h6), so I consider it less clear-cut than in the game.

Nov-29-09  JohnBoy: <Eyal> yeah - I believe you are correct. I certainly can't find anything better. Good analysis and thanks!
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