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Loek van Wely vs Zoltan Almasi
Rubinstein Memorial (2000), Polanica-Zdroj POL, rd 9, Aug-26
Slav Defense: Czech Variation. Classical System Main Line (D19)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Played in the last (9th) round; Van Wely was tied with Shirov a half point behind Gelfand so he needed a win. Van Wely with Black had faced 12 Na2 in a recent quick play game against Kasimdzhanov and decided to try the move in this game; 12 Rd1 is the main line. Perhaps 12..Be7 would have been more precise as then after 13 e4 Black would have had a promising alternative in 13..Nb6 (with the White d-pawn being unprotected). 17 b4 was still part of Van Welys preparation; taking the pawn with 17..Nxb4 18 Nxb4..Bxb4 19 e6 would have given White a winning attack. Almasi offered a draw after playing 21..Red8 but, of course, Van Wely declined needing a win and also feeling that he had a big advantage. With 27 Be4? Van Wely messed up his move order; stronger was 27 Bc1..Ne6 28 Be4..Rcd7 29 f5 with an attack. With both players in time trouble several errors were made leading up to the first time control. First Almasi played 34..gxf? missing the stronger 34..Nd5 35 e6..Re7 36 fxg..f6 when Whites attack is not dangerous and Black is better. Then Van Wely missed that he could win a piece with 36 Rb1. 37 Bc2? was also an error; better was 37 exf+..Qxf7 (37..Rxf7? 38 Bc2 wins) 38 Bd2 and White has more than enough compensation for the pawn. After they reached the time control the position was more or less equal but Van Wely played better and had he played 52 Bd8 rather than his 52 Bb6? he would have retained some practical winning chances.

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