ToTheDeath: Notes from ChessCafe- Enjoy!
Tseshkovsky – Kasparov
57th ch-RUS, Moscow (7) 2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6
GK: Objectively 6...e5 leads to simpler play, but I had to play according to the tournament standings. The text is riskier.
7.O-O Be7 8.a4 Nc6 9.Be3 O-O 10.f4 Qc7 11.Kh1 Re8 12.Bg1
GK: After this move Black can simplify the game, but the most combative continuation is 12...Bd7.
12...Bd7 13.Nb3 b6 14.Bf3 Rab8
GK: Here I calculated a long line: 15.Qe2 Nb4 16.e5 Nfd5 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.Be4 g6 19.Qf3 (19.Nd4? Nf4) 19...dxe5 20.fxe5 Rf8, which must be quite safe for Black, with chances to recapture the initiative.
15.Qe2 Nb4 16.e5 Nfd5 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.Be4 b5
GK: What an awful move! Of course, much stronger was 18...g6. I decided to play b6-b5 and then 19...g6 on any reply by White. Yet it transpired that after 19.Nd4 Black’s position is just hopeless.
Question: When did you notice that 18...b5 is a mistake?
GK: Immediately after I played it!
Q: How can you explain this move?
GK: Well, I just play badly!
GK: Brilliant, but a weak move. It is much stronger to swap the a-pawns first. In this case the white rook joins the attack on the a-file.
Question to Tseshkovsky: Did you consider 20.axb5? Why you didn’t play it first?
VT: 20.f5 is merely a more spectacular move! When would I have another chance to play such a move against Garry Kasparov? And my result in this tournament has deteriorated enough to allow me to just have some fun.
Here many grandmasters analyzed a lot of complicated lines following 20...dxe5! Kasparov disregarded this move on general grounds and did not even calculate it. He was ready to sacrifice a piece to get the initiative, even if it objectively favors White. Soon they found that 20...dxe5 refutes White’s optimistic attack, and started to look at the same position without a-pawns (after 20.axb5 axb5 21.f5 dxe5), which increases White’s attacking chances. Here is one of the lines: 22.Nxe6 fxe6 23.fxg6 Nf6! 24.Rxf6 Bxf6 25.Ra7 Qd8 (25...Qd6 26.b4!) and White’s resources are insufficient. Stronger is 24.Ra7! Qc4, and now 25.Bd3 Qd5 26.gxh7 Kh8 27.Bg6 with the idea Rd1, and Black is in serious trouble.
GK: I was confident that Valery would sacrifice on f5 – he is naturally an attacking player and sacrifices with greater ease than other players. I was sure that I would be able to defend and hopefully I would have had counterplay after 22.Nf3.
GK: Maybe even 22...gxf5 is playable. 23.Qh5 Be6! might save Black, but it requires serious analysis.
23.Rxf5 gxf5 24.Qh5 Bf8 25.Qxf5 Bg7
GK: I calculated until here. Black should be able to hold.
GK: A bad move! And I, in turn, made a mistake. 26...Rd8 was the correct approach! 27.Be4 Rd1 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.Rg3 f6. Black is ready to play …Qa7, and his rook on d1 pretty much ensures better chances. If 26.axb5 Rxb5 27.c4 I wouldn’t hesitate to play 27...Rxd5 28.cxd5 Qd6, and it’s a draw. That would be a good conclusion to the game, considering the position after my 18th move.
Q: What about 26.Bxe4?
GK: Black has 26...Re6! and is at least not worse.
26...e4 27.Rh3 h6
GK: I saw 28.Qg6!! before playing 27...h6, but nevertheless decided to allow it. First of all, it is a hard move to find at the board after 3 hours of tense play. Yes, I had 27...Re5 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.Rg3 Rxd5 30.Rxg7, and maybe White does not achieve anything, but it all looks too scary. 28.Qg6 with idea of 29.Rg3 forces me to reply with 28...e3 29.Rg3 Qe5 30.Bxf7+ Kh8 31.Rxe3 Qxe3 32.Bxe3 Rxe3, and this ending is probably winning for White.
GK: Now Black must be winning. But the miracles are not over yet.
29.Bxf7+ Kh8 30.Qg6 Rf8
GK: 30...Re7 would win easier. I calculated two nice variations: 31.Rh3 Qf4 32.Bd5 Qc1 33.Bxe4 Qxg1!; and the trickier 31.Bd5 Rf1 32.Bxe4 Rxg1+ 33.Kxg1 Qd4+ 34.Kf1 Qd1+ 35.Kf2 Bd4+ 36.Re3 Qd2+ 37.Kf1 Rf8+ 38.Bf5 Qc1+ 39.Re1 Qf4+ 40.Ke2 Rxf5. Then suddenly I saw the much stronger...
31.axb5! axb5 32.Bd5 Rf1 33.c3!
GK: Once again the situation becomes problematic.
33...Rbf8 34.h3 Qf6 35.Bxe4 Qxg6 36.Rxg6 Re8 37.Bd3
GK: Here Tseshkovsky missed the more stubborn 37.Rg4 after which I would respond with 37...Rd1. The objective evaluation of this practical endgame does not matter much, as we play without an adjournment. I feel Black has good practical winning chances, but there is still a lot of play ahead.
37...Rd1 38.Rd6 Bf8 39.Bg6 Bxd6 White resigns.
GK: Great luck! Great luck...