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Ruslan Ponomariov vs Peter Svidler
MTel Masters (2006), Sofia BUL, rd 7, May-18
Sicilian Defense: Kan. Modern Variation (B42)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-17-06  suenteus po 147: First!!

Ponomariov desperately needs to win this if he doesn't want to finish last. Any thoughts on if Svidler's recent win will motivate him to mre aggressive play?

May-18-06  DCP23: "Svidler" and "aggressive" are words which aren't meant to be used in one sentence. However, I do believe that Pono will NOT win this game -- Peter will either draw this or might win in case of some slip on Pono's part -- but will unlikely pursue the win actively otherwise.
May-18-06  Hitchhiker: looks quite balanced at move 20
May-18-06  borisbadenoff: 1 e4 c5
2 Nf3 e6
3 d4 cxd4
4 Nxd4 a6
5 Bd3 Nf6
6 O-O Qc7
7 Qe2 d6
8 c4 g6
9 Nc3 Bg7
10 Nf3 O-O
11 Bf4 Nc6
12 Rac1 Nd7
13 Qe3 Nce5
14 Nxe5 Nxe5
15 Be2 b6
16 Rfd1 Re8
17 Qd2 Nxc4
18 Bxc4 Qxc4
19 Qxd6 Bb7
20 Be5 Bxe5
21 Qxe5 Rad8
22 f3 b5

click for larger view

May-18-06  borisbadenoff: They are running out of time.

23. Kf2 Qc6
24. Ne2 Qb6+
25. Rd4 Rd7
26. b4 Red8
27. Ke3 Rxd4
28. Nxd4 Rd6
29. Qf6 Rd7
30. Rc5 Qd6
31. g3 a5

click for larger view

May-18-06  yogi1986: svidler and agressive don't belong in the same sentence? This must be a joke, this is about a guy who won the Russian championships clean at least 4 times before. Kasparov in a 2003 interview in response to an earlier kramnik interview singled out svidler and polgar as two young players who play dynamic "kasparov chess."
May-18-06  pferd: Instead 41...f5 why not 41. Rb7 (to save b pawn).
May-18-06  suenteus po 147: <singled out svidler...who play dynamic "kasparov chess."> Too bad Kasparov wasn't with Svidler today. On the other side of things, thank goodness Ponomariov finally won a game!
May-18-06  euripides: A very nice positional game by Ponomariov.

<pferd> After 41...Rb7 I think White keeps the pressure on with 42 Qc8 with the threat of d6. Black can stagger on with 42...Kf7 but it looks very good for White, who might play either 43 d6 Qd7 44 Rc7 Rxc7 45 Qxc7 Ke6/e8, or (probably better) 43 Qh8 lookng for Rc8. Black has more counterplay in the line Svidler chose.

At the end, 52 Ke5 looks like a mistake because after 53 Rc6 Kxe4 White has 54 Re6+; but White was presumably winning anyway.

May-19-06  crwynn: How many people, watching this game around move 20, said to themselves "how about playing f3, walking into a pin on the a7-g1 diagonal, and marching the king to e3 with all major pieces still on"?

I sure didn't. Maybe this is the first thing any GM would think of, but I have to think Pono just has some wacky ideas sometimes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. O-O Qc7 7. Qe2 d6 8. c4 g6 9. Nc3 Bg7 10. Nf3 O-O 11. Bf4 Nc6 12. Rac1 Nd7 13. Qe3 <13. Rfd1> Nce5 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. Be2 b6 <15... Nc4? 16. Bc4 Qc4 17. Bd6 is not good. White has a big lead in development, open lines, and Black Queen is misplaced.> 16. Rfd1 Re8 17. Qd2 Nxc4 18. Bxc4 Qxc4 19. Qxd6 <Even stronger seems 19. Nd5 Qe4 20. Nc7, White wins the exchange. This looks winning for White.> Bb7 20. Be5 Bxe5 21. Qxe5 <White has a small advantage. Black does not have any fatal weakness but Svidler is like in a box, reduced to a passive defence.> Rad8 22. f3 b5 <Black moves the pawn on a square of the same colour than his Bishop, and the c5 square is weakened. This is questionable.> 23. Kf2! <An unaccostumed use of the King in the middle game but his Majesty will be very useful.> Qc6 24. Ne2 Qb6+ 25. Rd4 Rd7 26. b4 <fixing the Black b pawn on a square of the same colour than the Bishop, and strengthening the outpost.> Red8 27. Ke3! Rxd4 28. Nxd4 Rd6 29. Qf6 Rd7 30. Rc5 Qd6 31. g3 a5 <does not look good as the b pawn is a new weakness. The White advantage increases.> 32. a3! axb4 33. axb4 Qa6 34. Ne2 <The idea is to answer to 34... Qa3 35. Qc3. This is safe but even stronger seems 34. Rc7! Rc7 35. Qd8 Kg7 36. Qc7 winning for White. The Black Queen has to defend the Bishop; and the b5 pawn is lost, when the White Queen goes to e5 or c5.> Qd6 35. Qc3 <35. Rb5?? Qd3> h5 36. Qd4 <36. Rb5 seems playable, but Ponomariov does not want to take any risk, allowing Black to invade along the d file.> Qe7 37. Qe5 f6 38. Qb8+ Kg7 39. Nc3 e5 40. Nd5 (?) <40. Rb5 wins. The move actually played was not good as Black could get now an equal game.> Bxd5 (?) <This gives for nothing a passed pawn to White. Better 40... Qe6 with an equal game. The Black Queen is ready to invade the light squares.> 41. exd5 <now White wins again.> f5 <41... Rb7 42. Qc8 with the threat 43. Qc6 wins.> 42. Qxb5 f4+ 43. Kf2 e4 44. fxe4 fxg3+ 45. hxg3 Qf6+ 46. Kg2 Qb2+ 47. Kh3 Rf7 48. Qd3 Qxb4 49. Qc3+ Qxc3 50. Rxc3 Re7 51. Rc4 Kf6 52. Kh4 Ke5 53. Rc6 1-0
May-19-06  euripides: <CR> you're not alone. Sakaev on says <One has to give due to Ruslan Ponomariov, who demonstrated excellent technique - his plan with 22.f3! followed by a king march deserves being included to all chess textbooks.> Chessbase suggests 40 ... Qe6; I guess White can get a queen ending with 41 Rxb5 Bxd5 42 exd5 Rxd5 43 Rb7+ Rd7 44 Rxd7 (Qc8 ?! Qb3+)Qxd7 when White's outside passed pawn is compensated by the exposure of his king; perhaps then 45 Ke2 to keep the Queen out of e1, but it doesn't look easy to win.
May-19-06  crwynn: I rejected 19.Nd5 while watching, on account of 19...Qxe4 but I missed that d6 would fall anyway, because 19.Nd5 Qxe4 20.Nc7 Bb7 21.f3 and Black has no time to protect the d-pawn. Still, an f3/g2/h2 pawn structure (with nothing on e4) is not very favorable and as Black comes out with a pawn and bishop pair for the Exchange, I think "winning" may be inaccurate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  nezhmet: This game offered a strange deja vu experience. In 1978, both IM Eugene Meyer and I were interested in the black side of the Paulsen. We noticed that often Black plays Be7, only to later route it to g7 with the (time-wasting?) moves g6, Re8, Bf8, Bg7.

The key question became, can black get away with the immediate g6 and Bg7? We tested this in a series of training games.

I got the chance to use an anti-g6 idea in an OTB game shortly thereafter: I played White in Chicago 1979 vs the estimable Grandmaster Roman Dzindzihashvili.

I omitted the move Qe2 to save time in the specific attacking idea.

Here is how the initial moves went:

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 e6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 a6
5. Bd3 a6
6. O-O d6
7. c4 g6?! (I feel this may be too ambitious; note I don't need Qe2 now). 8. Nc3 Bg7
9. Bg5!

This is the key idea to challenge g6.
Black has weakened the dark squares around his King, and white wastes no time going for them. I had found this in the Meyer training match, only I botched the attack and after a crazy king scrame, Eugene came out on top. In this game, I was more fortunate.

9.... Nbd7
10. Kh1 b6
11. f4 Qc7
12. f5! White has a huge initiative.

Black could not hold after the subsequent moves

12.... gxf?! (makes it somewhat worse)
13. exf e5
14. Ne6! fxe6
15. fxe6 O-O (necessary evacuation)
16. e7!! (the key winning move)

and since the Rook on f8 cannot move (verify this!) black had to suffer more with

17. exf8=Q+ Rxf8

and white converted the material edge.

I will try to find the complete game score of this game and the relevant Meyer training game to post to

Summary: by omitting Qe2, white has the opportunity for an extremely dangerous attack versus the early g6 formation involving Bg5 and a quick f4 and f5. It needs further tests. I have also seem GM Kamsky playing an early g6, and so far nobody has adopted the method shown in this early 1979 game.

May-19-06  wintep: Is 22. Nd5 to a simple very good move?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <euripides> <Chessbase suggests 40 ... Qe6; I guess White can get a queen ending with 41 Rxb5 Bxd5 42 exd5 Rxd5 43 Rb7+ Rd7 44 Rxd7 (Qc8 ?! Qb3+)Qxd7 when White's outside passed pawn is compensated by the exposure of his king; perhaps then 45 Ke2 to keep the Queen out of e1, but it doesn't look easy to win.> I do not think that 41... Bd5 is the only move. Black could try 41... Qa6, defending the Bishop and attacking the Rook.

The White Rook has to move because 42. Nc3? loses on account of 42... Bc6.

So where does the White Rook go? To a5 or c5? Let's see.

If 42. Ra5 Qf1, and the White King cannot escape to checks along the first rank.

If 42. Rc5 Qf1, it is all the same.

This the reason why I wrote that <the Black Queen is ready to invade the light squares>.

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