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Vladimir Eduardovich Akopian vs Alexander Khalifman
FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999), Las Vegas, NV USA, rd 7, Jan-06
Spanish Game: Closed. Pilnik Variation (C90)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Game 5 of the six game match in the World Championship tournament; this draw plus one in game 6 clinched the match for Khalifman 2-1. After 10..c5 the position is similar to the main line of the Chigorin Defense except that White has played d3 instead of h3. In the Chigorin 11 d4 is invariably played; here that break is accomplished in two moves 5 d3 and 15 d4. 18..Be6 was new; 11..Qc7 had been played in Abramovic-Mikhalchisin Lvov 1993 (Black won). Needing a win Akopian played for complications with 28 Qd2!? but Khalifman declined the invitation to play 28..g5 winning material (28 Bxg5!?) instead playing it safe with 28..Nxe4. Akopian pressed on with 36 f5!; Khalifman had to avoid 37..gxf? 38 Rd3..Qe6 39 Rg3+..Kh7 40 Qd4..Qh6 41 Qe5 with a solid plus for White. In playing 36..Qe3+ and 37..Qc5! had to be confident that the pawn-down rook ending was drawn. The alternative 41 Kg3..b4 42 Kf4..b3 43 Rd1..b2 44 Rb1..Kg6 (44..Ke6? 45 Ke4 wins) 45 Ke3..Kg5 46 Kd3..Kf4 47 Kc3..Rc8+ 48 Kxb2..Kg3 is drawn.

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