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Wei Yi vs Ruslan Ponomariov
Hainan Danzhou GM (2017), Danzhou CHN, rd 3, Jul-11
English Opening: Agincourt Defense. Catalan Defense Accepted (A13)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-11-17  fisayo123: These sort of positions always scare me. 4 v 1 on the Queenside. Wei Yi finds a way to imbalance an already very complex position even further.

17. g4!? an unobvious pawn sac opening the kingside and preparing a rooklift proves decisive. Maybe 20..b4 was better than Bc6. Preparing for counter play where black's trumps are.

Very good game from Wei Yi. 2017 has been a good year for him. The kid is back!

Jul-11-17  starry2013: Wei Yi had a long think before g4, Ponomariov took quickly and then Wei had another longish think (which made me wonder if he'd made an error). His last longish think was Rd1, after that he had to play quick as he was in severe time trouble. Despite that he seemed to convert it easily enough.
Jul-11-17  morfishine: Nobody is supposed to be able to play chess like this
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: White's 22. Rg5?! looks unconvincing as a move to improve his position.

Black can improve over the game continuation and gain an advantage with 22...Na4 23. Rf2 b4 (-0.78 @ 30 depth, Stockfish 8.)

Jul-12-17  Whitemouse: 22...Na4 is not a human move. "A knight on the rim is dim"
Jul-12-17  WorstPlayerEver: 22... Na4 attacks something. Always handy.
23... Nc4, the reason why Black sacced a pawn, does nothing. Literally stands there.
Jul-12-17  Boomie: <"A knight on the rim is dim">

Yes. But "A pawn in the bag is swag"

Jul-12-17  Boomie: -}

A human move would be 22...Re8. Black tells White, "Show me what you got." I'm sure there is some obvious winning line for White but it doesn't tickle my spidey sense sans engine. 23. e6 perhaps?

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Boomie> Thanks for the excellent recommendation 22...Re8!

Looking at it move-by-move with Stockfish 8 shows Black has slightly better than level chances after 22...Rfe8! 23.e6 fxe6 24.fxg6 hxg6 25.Rf6 Re7 26.Rfxg6+ Kf7 27.Bg7 Rg8 28.h4 Nd7 29.h5 Nf8 30.Rf6+ Ke8 31.Bh6 Rh8 32.Bg7 Nh7 33.Rh6 b4 34.Rgg6 c3 35.Rxe6 Rxe6 36.Rxe6+ Kd7 37.Rg6 Nf8 38.Bh3+ Ke8 39.Rxc6 Rxh5 40.Bf5 Rg5+ 41.Kf2 Rxg7 42.bxc3 b3 43.Ra6 c6 44.Rxa5 Rb7 45.e5 b2 46.Bb1 Rb3 47.Ra2 Nd7 48.e6 Nf8 49.Ke1 Rxc3 50.Rxb2 Re3+ 51.Kd2 Rxe6 52.Rb7 ) 23.bxc3 Nc4 24.fxg6 fxg6 25.Bxf8 Rxf8 26.e6 Be8 27.Rd1 Rf6 28.Rd8 Kf8 29.Rxb5 Ke7 30.Rbb8 Bc6 31.Rdc8 Rxe6 32.Rxc7+ Kd6 33.Rxh7 a4 34.Ra7 Kc5 35.e5 Bxg2 36.Kxg2 a3 37.Rc7+ Rc6 38.Rxc6+ Kxc6 39.Rc8+ Kd5 40.e6 = -0.08 @ 41 depth (diagram below)

click for larger view

Plugging the position into a 7-piece table base indicates the final position in this analysis is a draw.

However, I would clearly prefer to have the extra pawn as Black in this line.

Jul-12-17  Sargon1: 22...Na4 23.h4! Nxb2 24.h5 Nd3 25.Bh3! Bxe4 26.fxg6 hxg6 27.hxg6 Bxg6 28.e6! c3 29.Bxf8 Rxf8 30.exf7+ (30.Bf5!?) Kh7 31.Bf5 Bxf5 32.Rfxf5 c2 33.Rh5+ Kg7 34.Rhg5+ Kh7 35.Rh5+ draw.
Jul-12-17  Sargon1: 22...Rfe8 23.e6 fxe6 24.fxg6 hxg6 25.Rxg6! Kh7 26.Rg4! Nd7! 27.Rh4! Kg6 28.Be3 Rf8! 29.Rh6+ Kg7 30.Rxe6 Rxf1 31.Bxf1! Nb8 (31...Ra6!?) 32.Re7+ Kf6 33.Rxc7 Bxe4 34.Rc5 b4 35.Bxc4 Nd7 36.Rb5
Jul-19-17  JPi: Of course, if you test the game with a chess program you will find better options. However I'm under the charm of White play. The whole concept from the gambit c4 (7.a4 10.e4 14.d4! 16.f4 17.g4 and the Queen side rook coming to King side.) is simply beautiful. It likes the hands of a pianist coming from the left to the right side freeing a pleasant harmony. Keeping the balance on drawing zone the artist drew here his own creation. I mean whatever computer will say about the nuances offered by the fight under an approximative balance Wei Yi won this game simply because he understood better these possibilities than his respectful opponent.
Jul-19-17  JPi: By the way instead of 22.Rg5 what about 22.Rf4 ? In the last analysis suggested by <Sargon1> 22...Rfe8 23.e6 fxe6 24.fxg6 hxg6 (Else 25.g7) 25.Rxg6+ Kh7 26.Rg7+ comes as adding possibility 26...KxB 27.Rg3 and 28/29.Rh4# (27...Kh5 28.Bf3+ Kh6 29.Rh4#) ?
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