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Alexander Grischuk vs Judit Polgar
Corus Group A (2005), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 6, Jan-21
Catalan Opening: Closed Variation (E06)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Willem Wallekers: 36. Bc7 was winning.
Jan-21-05  acirce: How? Doesn't that just lead after 36..b3 37.Nc3 Bxd6 38.Bxd6 Ra1+ 39.Kf2 b2 40.Kf3 b1=Q 41.Nxb1 Rxb1 to an ending that should be drawn even without the b-pawn (as in the classical Capablanca vs Lasker, 1914)?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Willem Wallekers: It wasn't my idea, I was obviously overconfident in teletekst's "expert". I tried 37. d7 and 37. Nd1 but that's more or less the same. Has it been proven that Capa played that endgame correctly?
Jan-22-05  percyblakeney: It does feel as if there ought to be a Grischuk win somewhere, maybe 25. Rxc7 would have been a good idea, there was time to take the d4 pawn a few moves later.
Jan-22-05  percyblakeney: 34. Nc4 could be a winning alternative, Fritz gives it +2.62, but both were in severe time trouble and I doubt that it's a clear win in any case.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: Here is some analyis of the game. If anyone wants a pgn analysis of this game tell me okay?

Analysis of Grischuk-Polgar Wijk aan Zee round 6
I have also included notes from GM Valerij Popov (elo 2588) from this website: "". A pgn file of this analysis has been posted in the group's file section (in the annotated games in pgn file).

Grischuk,A (2710) - Polgar,J (2728) Opening:Catalan Opening:Open variation ECO: [E05]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 21.01.2005

In this game Grischuk plays a system of play known as the "Catalan Opening." This opening combines the Queen's Gambit with elements of the English and Reti openings, in order to accentuate pressure on Black's Q4 (d5). It needs delicate handling by White, as a compromise must be made between the demands of development and the aims of positional play. Although an old opening, Tartakower played it in a 1929 Barcelona tournament and then named it after the region. Its adoption is a combined White/Black effort, often transposed in. (source:

The game began with these moves:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4

Grischuk indicates a willingness to play a Queen's Gambit.


Judith infers that she is going to play a Nimzo-Indian Defense or a Queen's Indian Defense.


Intending to fianchetto his king's bishop.


This move is the main continuation in my database, she gains more of a presence in the center of the board.


[ Analysis: In this position the move 4.Nf3 is more popular ie: 4...Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4 Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bg5 Bd5 11.Qd3 c5]

The game now continued:


Judit uses the most often played continuation for Black.

5.Nf3 0-0

The most popular move (for Black).


Grischuk also plays the most popular idea.


By playing this move, Judith defines the variation being played:it is the Open variation of the Catalan. The main continuation in response to her move, he intends to recapture the pawn on c4 immediately.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: 7.Qc2 a6

A move almost universally played in my database. She intends to play ...8...b5 to gain a tempo after Grischuk plays 8.Qxc4.


[ Analysis:In my database it is more popular for White to play the move 8.a4 ie. 8.a4 Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bg5 Bd5 11.Qd3 c5 12.Nc3 Bc6 13.Rfd1 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Bxg2 15.Kxg2 Qa5]


Gaining a tempo. This pawn advance is the only move Black plays in my database for this position (659 games).


An idea almost always played by the first player in this position.


She develops another piece, indicating she is going to fight for control of the h1-a8 diagonal. This is the only move Black plays in my database (654 games).


The second most popular move in my database, developing another minor piece. [ Analysis:The main line in this position continues: 10.Bf4 Nc6 11.Rd1 Nb4 12.Qc1 Rc8 13.Nc3 Nbd5 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 15.Be3 c6]

Judit now played the move:


Polgar creates luft for her king and also prevents Grischuk from playing Bg5. This move has been played in two games before this game.It seems that Grischuk was apparently willing to settle for a quick draw, as the move 10...Be4 leads to a draw by repetition of position ( ie. see the analysis relating to 10...Be4 below). [ Analysis:Usually in this position Black plays 10...Be4 ie. 10...Be4 11.Qc1 Bb7 12.Qc2 Be4 13.Qc1 Bb7 14.Qc2]

Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: For his next move Grischuk played:


Grischuk continues to follow known opening theory (preventing Polgar from playing ..b4).


Again following known theory.Polgar spends a tempo to break any potential pin (against her rook) after Grischuk was to move his knight from f3.


Grischuk creates a double-attack against Polgar's c-pawn winning a tempo. This move appears to be a theoretical novelty. [ Analysis: The move 12.Bc3 was played in the following game: Johannessen,L (2538) - Holst,A (2358) [E05] Politiken Cup Copenhagen (8), 24.07.2004 1.Nf3 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 d5 4. d4 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 h6 11.a3 Ra7 12.Bc3 a5 13.Nbd2 a4 14.b4 axb3 15.Qxb3 Bd5 16.Qxb5 Rxa3 17.Rxa3 Bxa3 18.Ba5 Nc6 19.Qd3 Be7 20.Bc3 Nb8 21.Rc1 Bb7 22.Nb3 Bd5 23.Bd2 Ba3 24.Ra1 Bd6 25.Ne1 Bxg2 26.Nxg2 Nbd7 27.e4 Be7 28.Rc1 c5 29.dxc5 Nxc5 30.Nxc5 Bxc5 31.Qxd8 Rxd8 32.Rxc5 Rxd2 33.f3 g5 34.h3 Kg7 35.Ne3 Re2 36.Nf1 Nd7 37.Rb5 Kf6 38.Nh2 Kg6 39. Ng4 h5 40.Ne5+ Nxe5 41.Rxe5 Kf6 42.Ra5 Rb2 1/2-1/2]

Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: Returning to the moves played in the Grischuk-Polgar game, Judith now played:


[ Analysis:Junior 9: 12...Be4 13.Qc3 c6 14.Be3 Nd5 15.Qb3 Nxe3 16.fxe3 c5 =]

The game continued:

13.Qb3 Bd5

Attacking Grischuk's queen winning a tempo. [ Analysis:Junior 9: 13...Nc6 14.e3 Qa8 15.Qd1 b4 16.Be1 Bd5 17.Nbd2 Rb8 18.Qc2 Na5]


GM Valery Popov analyzing the game at the website: indicated hat it will not be easy for Judit to get the rook on a7 into the game. As well she has the weakness at c7 to worry about.


She finally develops her last minor piece. [ Analysis:Junior 9: 14...Ng4 15.Qf4 f5 16.Bb4 c5 17.Bxc5 Bxc5 18.dxc5 e5 And Black has compensation for the pawn.]

Grischuk now played the move:


Creating a double-attack against her weak c-pawn which ties down her queen and rook to defend this pawn. [ Analysis:Junior 9: 15.Nc3 Bb7 16.b4 Nb6 17.Qd3 Qa8 18.Bf4 Bd6 19.Be5 Ne4 20.Nd1 a5 =]
The game continued with Polgar playing:


Breaking the pin against her c-pawn. [ Analysis:Junior 9: 15...Nb6 16.Nbd2 Qa8 17.b3 Rd8 18.Qd3 Bd6 19.a4 b4 20.Re1 Ne4 ]


Developing his last minor piece. [ Analysis:Junior 9: 16.Nc3 Bxf3 17.Qxf3 c5 18.e3 Kh8 19.Ne4 cxd4 20.exd4 Nd5 ]
Polgar now played:


Improving the mobility of her bishop.


Intending to double his rooks on the c-file to pressure her weak c-pawn. [ Analysis:Junior 9: 17.b3 Qa8 18.Bh3 Nb8 19.Ne5 c5 20.Ndf3 cxd4 21.Qxd4 Nbd7 22.Nd3 Bb8 ]

Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: The next move in the game was:


Centralizing her rook, placing it on the same file as his queen. She now threatens to play ...e5.


Spending a tempo to take the queen off the same file as her rook.By playing the move 18. Qd3 Grischuk prevents Polgar from playing ...c5 and now he threatens to play e2-e4.(GM Valery Popov)


Creating pressure against his knight.


After this move GM Popov states: "It is time to admit that Grischuk has a stable positional advantage."


Overprotecting her c-pawn.


He spends a tempo to reduce the mobility of her dark-squared bishop.Judit's position is cramped and her pieces lack mobility and good squares to redeploy to in order to improve her position.
[ Analysis:Hiarcs 8: 20.Nh4 g5 21.Bxd5 Qxd5 22.Ng2 e5 23.Ne3 Qxd4 24.Qxd4 exd4 And White would have compensation for the pawn.]

For her twentieth move Judit played:


A waiting move, although now her rooks can connect themselves. [ Analysis:Hiarcs 8: 20...Ne4 21.Nh4 Nxd2 22.Qxd2 Qb7 23.Bxd5 Qxd5 24.f3 Qb7 ]

Grischuk's next move was:


He offers to exchange bishops on g2 (which would end her pressure against his kingside caused by her battery of Queen and rook). [ Analysis:Hiarcs 8: 21.Ne1 Bxg2 22.Nxg2 e5 23.e4 exd4 24.f4 Ne8 25.Qxd4 Nf8 26.e5 Be7 ]

Polgar next played:


[ Analysis:Hiarcs 8: 21...g5 22.Bxd5 Qxd5 23.Nhf3 Ne8 24.e4 Qb7 25.h3 Rd8 ]

The game now continued:

22.Nxg2 e5

Creating tension in the center.


Expanding in the center and threatening 24.dxe5. [ Analysis:Junior 9: 23.e4 exd4 24.Qxd4 Be5 25.Qd3 Rd8 26.f4 Bd6 27.Qf3 Ne8 28.Qe3 Nb6 ]


[ Analysis:Junior 9: 23...Re8 24.d5 Nb6 25.Qf3 Qb8 26.Ne3 Rb7]


Threatening e4-e5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: 24...Bf8

[ Analysis:Hiarcs 8: 24...Be7 25.e5 Ng4 26.h3 Ne3 27.Nxe3 dxe3 28.Qxe3 c5 ]

Grischuk's next move was:


He regains material equality. [ Analysis:Hiarcs 8: 25.e5 Nd5 26.Qxd4 N7b6 27.f5 Re8 28.Rc6 Raa8 29.Bxb6 cxb6 30.Qxd5 Rad8 31.Qa2 Bc5+ 32.R1xc5 bxc5 33.Rxc5 Qd7 34.e6 Qd4+ 35.Kh1 fxe6 ]

Polgar now played:


A neccessary move. According to GM Popov unless Judit played this move "she would not have enough space."

26.bxc5 Rxc5

Regaining material equality.

27.Rxc5 Nxc5

Grischuk goes up a piece.


GM Popov states "Judit cannot return the material, things are bad for Judit." [ Analysis: Junior 9: 28...Qd7 29.Rd5 Nxd5 30.exd5 Bxa3 31.Ne4 f5 32.Bb6 Rb7 33.Nc5 Bxc5 34.Bxc5 b4 ]

The game continued with Grischuk playing:


In his analysis GM Popov gave the ?! [ Analysis: According to GM Popov a better idea was 29.Qc3! (Hiarcs 8 a lso suggested this move) ie. 29.Qc3! Bxc5+ 30.Qxc5 Ra8 31.e5! "And White would have more chances to win than in he does in the game."-GM Popov.]

Polgar and her opponent now played these moves:


He gains a protected passed pawn.


Regaining material equality.


Overprotecting his passed pawn.


[ Analysis:Hiarcs 8: 31...Ra8 32.Ne4 Bc1 33.Nd1 Ba3 34.d6 Re8 35.f5 Rc8 ]

Play in the game now continued:

32.Ne4 b4?

GM Popov gives the ? in his analysis, stating "It is difficult to understand this move. The black bishop is out of play and also the pawn on b4 is not long for this world now." [ Analysis:GM Popov suggests that a better idea for Judith in this position was to play 32...f5!?: 32...f5 33.d6 Rf8 ( 33...Kh8 34.Nc5 Qc6 35.Ne6 Rg8 36.Bb4 Bxb4 37.Qxb4 Re8) 34.Nc5 Bxc5 35.Qxc5 Rf6 36.Bb4 Rf8]

Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: Grischuk now played the move:


Advancing his passed pawn, which frees up the d5-square for his knight.


Attacking her rook, winning a tempo unless she exchanges queens.


[ Analysis:Worse is exchanging queens: 34...Qxd5?? 35.Nxd5 b3 36.d7 b2 37.Nec3 f5 38.d8Q+ Rxd8 39.Bxd8 ]

The game continued:

35.Qxb5 axb5

Attacking her rook winning a tempo. [ Analysis:GM Popov: 36.Bc7? b3 37.d7 Be7 38.Nd5 Bd8 39.Bxd8 b2! 40.Ndc3 Rxd7 41.Ba5 Ra7 42.Bb4 Ra4 ]

Polgar now played:


The lost tempo.


Threatening Nd5.

[ Analysis:GM Popov: 37.Ng4 b3 ( 37...Kf8 38.Ne5 Ke8 39.Nxd7 Kxd7 ) 38.Ngf6+ gxf6 39.Nxf6+ Kg7 40.Nxd7 b2 41.Bd4+ Kg8 42.Bxb2 Bxb2 43.Ne5]

Polgar's next move was:


( Threatening 38...Bxe3 39.Bxe3 f5.40Nc5 Rxd6.)

Grischuk's next move was:


( Threatening 39.Ndf6+! winning.)


Advancing her passed pawn nearer to queendom seems the best idea.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: 39.Bb4?

Grischuk makes a mistake. [ Analysis:GM Popov and Hiarcs 8: Best was >=39.Nef6+! gxf6 40.Nxf6+ Kg7 41.Nxd7 f6 42.Nxf6 Be3+ ( GM Popov gives the move 42...b2 here however the move 42...Be3+ is better). 42...b2 43.d7 b1Q 44.d8Q Be3+ 45.Kg2 And white would be winning, ) 43.Kg2 Bxc5 44.d7 Be7 45.Ne4 b2 46.Nd2 Kf6 =]

Returning to the moves played in the game:



Allowing him to play Nc1.


She threatens 41...b1(Q) winning.
The game now continued:


[ Analysis:Junior 9: 41.Bc5 Bxc3 42.Nxc3 f5 43.Nb1 Kf7 44.Kf2 Rd8! =]

And now the game concluded as follows:

41...b1Q 42.Nxb1 Bxb4 43.Nxb4 Rxd6 44.Ke3 The players agreed to a draw. 1/2-1/2

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