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Teimour Radjabov vs Vassily Ivanchuk
M-Tel Masters (2008), Sofia BUL, rd 1, May-08
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Nimzowitsch Variation Quiet Line (E15)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Giving back the exchange with <31.Rd5?> was a bad idea from Radjabov. There are surely some better ways to transform this advantage into a win.
May-08-08  Whitehat1963: 31. Rd5? Unbelievable. What was he aiming for? Anyone?
May-08-08  hitman84: Radja obviously tried for a win with Rd5 exchange sac without which it's just equal or may be even slightly better for black. Radja has a bad bishop, and to his dismay neither can he create open files for his rooks nor infiltrate via the d-file because the 6,7 and 8 ranks are under control.

This was just a deep positional game from Chuky.

May-08-08  ALwoodpusher: I thought white was going to sack the exchange at move 30.Rd5-Bxd5 31.cxd5!? followed by Rc3 with a playable game.
May-08-08  hitman84: <ALwoodpusher>Black can play Kd6 and defend the c5 pawn. Once black ♖ comes to b4 then both the b3 and e4 white pawns will be under fire constantly.

I think 27.a4 was a strategical mistake.

May-08-08  slomarko: what the hell was that terrible 31.Rd5?? thats a move not even a 1500 would play.
May-08-08  TheBB: I agree with <hitman84>. The black position at move 31 looks strong. Can white do anything meaningful to prevent ...g6, ...Ng7-e6-d4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <TheBB: I agree with <hitman84>. The black position at move 31 looks strong. Can white do anything meaningful to prevent ...g6, ...Ng7-e6-d4?>

31 Bf3 right away prevents this plan.
if then 31...Nf6 White welcomes the loss of the e pawn if it means his rooks get open lines.

So Black has problems finding play too, and the "balanced" verdict at topchess is probably right.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Perhaps the most interesting move of the game was 27...Qc5. Black has already sacrificed the Exchange, and now he offers to trade Queens and ruin his pawn structure in the bargain. And yet the result is an impenetrable fortress. Black has the draw in hand, and also has the luxury of playing for a win by repositioning the Knight.

White returned the Exchange on move 31 with the idea that the weakened Black pawns would get eaten up by the Rook. Obviously, this proved not to be the case. Profound work by Ivanchuk.

May-09-08  Avarus: The exchange sac seems great. White has no way to get a rook in on the d-file, has a bad bishop and a weak pawn e4. I can't see a good plan for white.
May-09-08  YouRang: White would have had to be a genius to know that 31.Rd5 would be a losing move.

But even an average player would know it was a bad move. :-p

May-09-08  Strongest Force: Somebody was smoking something.
May-09-08  positionalgenius: 31.Rd5?? What a howler.
May-09-08  minasina: this was live commentary in Russian; “translation” (without functioning board):
May-09-08  Zkid: I think you guys are wrong. Show me how white can make progress, other than by Rd5. The d-file is blocked off, black is up a pawn on the K-side, and the Q-side is obviously not avaliable for white. Rd5 is the only real winning attempt, and I don't think it was the losing move. What about 35. c5+? e.g. 35...Kc6 36. Bf1 and next Bc4, (36...Nxe4 37. Bg2 Kd5 38. c6+ Kd4 39. Rb7 and white is fine) - against Kd7/e7/e6 white can just develop K-f2-e3, since the R is tied down to a-pawn, and c6 Rb6 doesn't seem to help, and lastly Ng4+ fails after Ke2 and if Nxh2? Bh3. In conclusion, I don't think Rd5 was that bad. In fact, it seems like white's only attempt, which he misplayed.
May-10-08  Ranjan Kumar Nandy: 31. Rd5??? No other rated player could even imagine
May-10-08  crwynn: After 31.Bf3 Nf6, Black plays ...g6 (meeting h4 with ...h5), ...Ne8 and ...Ng7. ...Ne6-d4 can be prevented by a bishop on h3 or g4, but ...f5 is also possible, it is a complicated position but Black may have a little edge.
May-10-08  euripides: <zkid> Interesting idea. There's also <35.c5+ Kc6 36.Bf1> Nd7 37.Bc4 (threatening mate so no time for f6) Nxc5 38.Bxf7 when I wonder if BLack can consider playing 38...Kd6 39.Bd5 Ra6 planning Rb6, hoping for the sequence Rxa5 Nxb3 Bxb3 Rxb3 when material is level in the R+P ending and White has an outside passed pawn but Black's king is closer to the action. But White looks OK here.

Notkin on <minasina>'s chesspro link agrees with you in disliking the 'abstract' 35.h4 and suggests 35.Rb8 instead.

In the event, 35...Nd7 stops both c5 and Rb8.

May-10-08  jovack: 31. Rd5 threw away the game
May-11-08  patzer2: <You Rang> Excellent post. For some reason, White's miscue 31. Rd5? makes me think of the country song "what was I thinking," which can be heard at

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: Here are some first impressions, as I didn't see the game live.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb7 6. Bg2 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 a5 8. O-O O-O 9. Qc2 d6 10. Nc3 Nbd7 11. Rfe1 Bxc3 12. Bxc3 Be4 13. Qb2 Re8 14. Bh3 <14.Bf1 was played once. The idea is quiet the same. White wants to play Nd2 without trading the Bishops.> Bb7 15. Nd2 e5 16. Rad1 h6 17. f3 exd4 18. Bxd4 Ne5 <White threatened Bxd7.> 19. Nf1 Nh5 20. Bxe5!? <The most direct way to play e4, but at the cost of the Bishop pair. 20.Bg2 preparing e4 seems better.> Rxe5 21. e4 Qf6 22. Ne3! Qxf3!? <Sacrificing the exchange. Black has a pawn for the exchange and White cannot invade easily.> 23. Bg2 Qf6 24. Ng4 Qe7 25. Nxe5 dxe5 26. Qf2 Bc6 <26...Qc5 27.Qxc5 bxc5 28.Rd7, White invades.> 27. a4 <27.c5 b5 keeps the game closed. Now White is ready for 28.c5, as after 28...b5 29.axb5 opens new lines.> Qc5! <Impeding c5.> 28. Qxc5 bxc5 29. Re3 <To double Rooks on the open file with the idea to invade the 8th rank.> Kf8 <The King comes to e7 to impede White to invade d8.> 30. Red3 Ke7 31. Rd5!? <Since he cannot invade, Radjabov gives back the exchange. However, the ending is no more than equal.> Bxd5 32. Rxd5 Nf6 33. Rxc5?! <Bad, as Black will get the c5 square for his King or for his Knight. Better was 33.Rxe5+ Kd6 34.Rf5 Re8 with an equal game.> Kd6 34. Rb5 Ra7 35. h4 <35.Kf2 seems more natural, but Radjabov wanted to avoid Ng4+.> Nd7 <Threatens c6 winning the exchange.> 36. Rd5+ Ke7 37. Bh3? <Losing for sure. 37.Bf3 was better, although after 37...c6 38.Rd3 Nc5 39.Re3 Rb7 40.Bd1, Black has obviously the advantage.> c6 38. Rxd7+? <38.Rd3 Nc5 29.Rc3 Rb7, Black wins too, although more slowly.> Rxd7 39. Bxd7 Kxd7 40. c5 <40.Kf2 Kd6 41.Ke3 Kc5 42.Kd3 Kb4 43.Kc2 h5, followed by 44...g6 and 45...f5 wins. 40.g4 Kd6 followed by 41...Kc5 wins.> h5 <The simplest. 40...g6 41.g4 Ke6 should win too.> 41. Kf2 <The pawn ending is lost for White.> g6 42. Ke2 f5 43. exf5 <43.Kd3 fxe4+ 44.Kxe4 Ke6, Black wins.> gxf5 44. Kd3 Ke6 45. Kc4 f4 46. gxf4 exf4 47. Kd4 Kf5 48. Kd3 f3 <48.Ke3 Kg4.> 0-1

May-12-08  minasina: Rybka analysis, some critical points and variations
May-13-08  parmetd: why in god's green earth did he trade into a lost pawn ending?!@?!?!?!?!??!! This is the kind of blundering that makes me feel okay when I hang a queen or drop 8 pawns or throw away two rooks.
May-13-08  ahmadov: <parmetd: why in god's green earth did he trade into a lost pawn ending?!@?!?!?!?!??!!> That is a good question...
Premium Chessgames Member
  pawn to QB4: ..answered above <Rxd7+? <38.Rd3 Nc5 29.Rc3 Rb7, Black wins too, although more slowly.>> As far as I can see, it may be slow, but it looks a certain win for Black. I'm with my fellow Englishman, profound work by Ivanchuk; the most interesting game of the tournament for my money, and fully bears out Speelman's comment that he found Ivanchuk the hardest of the world elite to play against, because of his ability to find ideas from another planet - like the exchange sac followed by 27...Qc5. I'm not at all convinced that 31.Rd5 is a duffer's move. 27.a4 is the one I suspect is weakening, but obviously this is chess beyond my horizons and I expect they've seen some reason why Black can't be allowed to play ...a4 himself.
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