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Vladimir Akopian vs Ivan Sokolov
5th Gibraltar Chess Festival (2007), Catalan Bay ENG, rd 8, Jan-31
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Anderssen Variation (C77)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-01-07  Hidden Skillz: Nf7!! is threatening mate. nicely played by akopian
Feb-03-07  argishti: now, this is what i am talking about!! go Akopian go!
Feb-04-07  aazqua: That's a heck of a move. Nice finish!
Feb-11-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: Illuminating -- I get this pawn structure often as White, so I love to see GM-level 1-0 games.

13 ... Nh5 14 h3 is book? Lovely idea -- 14 ... Nxg3?? 15 hxg4 "no escape" wins the Knight. (Perverse Black may do this anyways, just to laugh at tripled pawns.)

20 Nf5 very deep -- White already plans the strategic shift to Q-side. f is closed to White, but by declining the Q exchange, White leaves g equally closed to Black.

22 Rd2 23 Kf1 (to unpin f2) are consistent with the center push theme.

26 a4 is the "Flying Rook" theme. White has been so patient with the QR -- I would have forced a useless Rf1 by now.

31 Nf1 gives Black Nxf5 if he wants it -- he doesn't. Splitting White's two pawns to (d5,f5) is not weak for this pawn structure, since none of Black's pieces can attack them.

34 ... f5? probably loses -- it weakens g5, and cedes to White the tremendous outpost Nxe4.

Instantly we see the "smiting" Nxd6, which would unhinge the Bishop. How can that work? Double on the Bishop first. Hence, the patient build-up Ra4-a6-c6, Rd2-a2-a4-xb4. Like a boa constrictor! Black is reduced to passive Rook oscillations. Possibly R5f8, Rba8-a6, Rfa8 for counterplay on a?

45. Rxb4 closes the noose. Now Nxd6 and Rxd6+ collects a second pawn for free before recovering the piece. 45 ... Kh5? is the only move to save both g5 and the c-pawn -- but it's also a help-mate! Kasparov paid big to lure Topalev's King to a similar place -- poor Sokolov volunteers it for free :)

Nov-28-08  arsen387: A strategic masterpiece by Akopian. A great buildup of a queenside attack.

<Hidden Skillz: Nf7!! is threatening mate. nicely played by akopian> really nicely played but the real threat is Nf5!! not Nf7?, e.g. if after 46.Nxd6! Rxb4 then 47.Nf5! Rh8 (the only way to stop mate) 48.Ng7#, while in case of 47.Nf7? Rh8 48.Nxh8 Rf4 and there's no mate. Nf5 is essential to have Ng7 threat

Nov-05-11  cocker: <arsen387> I agree with <Hidden Skillz> that 47 Nf7 is the best reply to 46 ... Rxb4. This is because 47 Nf5 is met by 47 ... g4.

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