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Jaan Ehlvest vs Vassily Ivanchuk
Tal Memorial (1995), Riga LAT, rd 2, Apr-14
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Classical Defense. Alekhine System Main Line (D29)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-20-07  epiclurker: Re8???
Dec-26-10  GilesFarnaby: I will pursue my QGA investigation with one game I consider to be a real model of dealing (as black) with the problems that may arise and also knowing how to get profit of the lasting advantages of black´s setup.

3...a6. This may look like a stupid nuance in the move order at first:

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But I´ll try to explain why I consider it better than playing 3...c5 straight.

1) You can transpose to D22, one line that not only has a better record for black than most of the QGA lines, but is also one that many a white player will try to avoid due to not being sufficiently prepared for it. Some typical positions that could arise are the following:

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And tend to render a good Q-side B, or keeping the extra pawn without suffering. If white intends to leave the R on a1, then black can fianchetto the Bf8 and for sure it will hunt something in that diagonal.

2) In some ocasions you will also prevent Qa4+ after Bxc4. Black could answer Qa4+ with Nc6 if ...c5 has already been played, also, and be able to change queens after with ...Qa5+, and also white has to pay attention to a possible ...b5 fork (once Ra8 is defended somehow), thus having later to spend a tempo at least moving one of the pieces.

3) Black will be able to initiate the Q-side expansion if he feels like doing it, without the trouble of a possible Bb5+, thus we won´t have to study those lines if we don´t want to.

4) We will provoke an early a4 sometimes that, while not being strictly bad for white, will allow as to play aggresively with Bf8 in the now-safe b4 square, we can even develop it with check (e.g., 6...Bb4+) and either leave it there (if white blocks the check with Nbd2) without having to care about a3, or after Bd2 retire it to d6, provoking the white N to develop through c3 and thus creating a b2 backward pawn for white to worry about:

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5) Is also important to notice that white could transpose to some Slav or Catalan lines.

6.Qe2 this not only intends to support Bb4 (other option is Bb3, but that could ammount to a loss of tempo), but also open the rank for Rd1 after 0-0, exploiting black´s possible lack of development, that will have to confront the threat through Nbd7, Nfd7 or Qc7 and thus, in practice, white will gain control of the diagonal. I don´t reccoment to be picky with that as black: let white gain the file as long as you are developing fast and you don´t have dangerous pressure, you are always capable of fighting back the possesion of the file some moves after if things go well.

Dec-26-10  GilesFarnaby: 6...b5 the typical push to displace the B: now if Bd3 (the normal line) we will remove the pressure along the a2-g8 diagonal, with the menace for black´s 0-0 and central pawns that that can suppose, and if Bb3 we will try to scare white with the possibility of a later ...c4 or, at least, block any advance the c2 pawn could have previously think about doing.

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Of course an early ...c4 push just removes all the preassure away from white´s center, that will in that case be able to turn really powerful through convenient e4-e5 or d5 pushed, so I really don´t recommend it. Furthermore the Bc2 withdrawal is not bad at all for white, since from there the B can aim to many objectives.


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With a long-lasting advantage for white, that now can play e4 without remorse.

8...Nf6 not only developing, but preventing an early e4 and also making less plausible d5 by white.

9.Rd1 as said before...

9...Nbd7, not really dangerous for black and also further developing pieces. The alternative is ...Qc7, but after 10.Nc3 Nbd7 11.d5...

click for larger view shouldn´t exd5, because white will take with N and have Qc7 at range, thus provoking another displacement.

10...Qc8 to prevent the aforementioned while defending Ra8, Bb7 and intending ...Ng4 or ...Bd6 if possible.

11.d5, of course, when the king is still in the middle of the board and there are still many pieces walking the yard, open the game! Alternatives are Bc2 or g3, a profylactic push to discredit the Qc8 threats.

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12.Bxd5 objectively good, but let´s bear in mind that in the next 5 moves 4 pieces are exchanged. A legit attempt at complicating matters is 12.e4 dxe4 13.Ng5...

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...c4 14.Ncxe4 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Qe5 16.Bc2

Dec-26-10  GilesFarnaby: 15.e4, dubious at least. 15.b3 would not only prepare the B to develop in an aggresive manner, but only will prepare for black´s Q-side expansion without leaving one pawn hanging as e4 does.

15...Qb7 the point is preventing future e pawn advances and also answer the following threat:




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Not only defending Be7 with a piece other than the K but also attacking the awkwardly positioned Rd5.

17.Rf5, as promising as it may seem white´s setup equality reigns every square in the board.

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Here 17.Re1 would have been interesting (...Nxd5 18.exd5 0-0-0 19.Bxe7 regaining material and with a passed pawn), and black could continue 17...0-0 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.Rf5 Rac8, but also with equality.

17...f6. Perharps 17...0-0 could also work, but a move other than those would shed Ivanchuk´s chances.

18...0-0, and now that black is safe and has finished the development, is e4 who looks troubled and white´s Q-side the one to take care of!

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But since I was planning to comment on the opening only I won´t go any further: I will just sasy that black´s best achievemnt so far is a Q-side majority and more advanced, while white´s pieces are digressed on a barren K-side!

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