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Alexander Morozevich vs Ruslan Ponomariov
Tal Memorial (2008), Moscow RUS, rd 6, Aug-24
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical Variation (E32)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-24-08  Microdot: In my opinion this game is the most beautiful Nimzo-Indian in the history of game. 7.c6!

Go Morozevich go!!

Aug-24-08  sallom89: <Microdot> first time I agree with you on something, this game is very nice!
Aug-24-08  mrbasso: 7.c6 is kind of a cheapo. Moro knew Pono will likely go 7...dxc6? to get a symmetrical position, he only wanted the draw after all. Instead 7...bxc6 8.g3 d5 9.Bg2 d4 10.a3 Ba5 11.b4 Nxb4 12.axb4 Bxb4 gives white compensation but hardly more.
Aug-24-08  acirce: Apart from a weird Morozevichian novelty, come on, this game is nothing special. Ponomariov messes up completely, Black is just lost after 12 moves, and very little of the rest is interesting.
Aug-24-08  Hidden Skillz: pono messed up due to the chaotic pressure moro presented on him. even though it may not be a special game, it clearly is a typical morozevich game and nonetheless a nice one.
Aug-24-08  Dionyseus: Rybka 3 analysis:
7...Bxc3 8.Qxc3 Ne4 9.cxb7 Bxb7 is slightly stronger than what was played.

10...Nce4 is the first notable error. Sronger is 10...b6 11.Bxc5 Ne4 12.Bxb6 Qxb6 13.Qd4 Nc5

11...b5 cost black the game, although chances of white winning were already decent. 11...Qe7 12.0-0-0 Rd8 13.Rd8 Qxd8 14.g4 Nd6 is stronger.

<acirce> is correct, black is lost after just 12 moves.

Aug-24-08  vlado23: interesting comments from Morozevich in this europe-echecs video:

he says that if Ponomariov wanted to play Nc5 he should have played 7..bxc6 instead of 7..dxc6.

the engines suggest that 11..b5 was the loosing move - instructive that Morozevich thinks black has already gone awry by move 9.

Aug-24-08  Marmot PFL: <he says that if Ponomariov wanted to play Nc5 he should have played 7..bxc6 instead of 7..dxc6.> I thought the same thing at the time. The point of the knight moves Na6-c5 is control of e4 and the d pawn would clearly help. Also the books all say to capture toward the center. (There are many exceptions, eg. the Spanish exchange where dc6 is correct.)
Aug-24-08  ToTheDeath: One of those neat little games that turns general principle on its head. Moro had certainly prepared this line with a computer beforehand, it's cool that weird thrusts like 11.Qe5 and 12.g4! are winning moves.
Aug-25-08  notyetagm: <Hidden Skillz: pono messed up due to the chaotic pressure moro presented on him. even though it may not be a special game, it clearly is a typical morozevich game and nonetheless a nice one.>

Absolutely. Put your opponent under tremendous pressure and they will often crack, as opposed to trying to nurse a tiny advantage to an 80-move endgame win. Just a whole different philosophy on how to play chess.

<Garry Kasparov, watching the game on the server, said admiringly "Morozevich is playing chess refreshing and interesting chess. In a time where people are playing fifteen or twenty moves from preparation Morozevich is forcing his opponents to start thinking at move move seven they can't take that kind of pressure!">

Aug-25-08  notyetagm: <Dionyseus: ... <acirce> is correct, black is lost after just 12 moves.>

So Moro has roasted both Ponomariov and Kramnik shortly after they left their opening prep.

Very impressive. Not very often that you see a 2700 (2718) dead lost after only 12 moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Why not 19...Qxf6 ?
Aug-25-08  notyetagm:

<1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Na6 7.c6N

<Another new idea, brought to you by the fertile mind of Morozevich. Whether it's an important new idea or a one-time only try remains to be seen, but by changing the pawn structure typical of this variation there's at least a one-time edge in prep and comfort.>

7...dxc6 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.Qxc3 Nc5 10.Be3 Nce4?! 11.Qe5 b5?? 12.g4!

<Incredibly, White is winning already, on move 12! This is what happens to even great players when they're taken out of their comfort level. (Have a look at some of the Chess960 miniatures that occur every year for all the confirmation you could desire.) Black is losing a piece here, and it's just a question of how long before he coughs it up.>>

Aug-25-08  VinnyRoo2002: I'm sorry acirce, you are right that Ponomariov played inaccurately and one might go so far as to say poorly, but it wasn't by accident. It was by brilliant play by Morozevich. To call this game, "nothing special," is to insult the beauty of chess. And I know you didn't intend to do that. I think this was an amazing game, and if it wasn't, I'm not sure what is. I'm sure if this type of debate developed, other kibitzers would post other beautiful games, but all that would show is that there is a lot of beauty in chess, not that this game is not beautiful.
Aug-25-08  vlado23: <7..dxc6> Morozevich also says in that video that he had analysed this move but only with the continuation 9..e5 (with black trying to get a lead in development by sacking pawn), not with 9..Nc5.

Aug-25-08  chezzy: Didn't Pono have some chance with 16...Nxd2 ?
Aug-25-08  acirce: <VinnyRoo2002> I respect your opinion and acknowledge that it's a subjective issue but strongly disagree. I don't think this game is a waste of space or anything. It's worth looking at, just like any other game, although I would stop at the moment when Moro is simply a piece up for nothing at all with no plausible tricks left. But to call it amazing just sounds very silly to me. It's one of the least "amazing" games in the tournament. I'm not taking anything away from Morozevich, who (like Kasparov said) confused his great opponent by his original play, as it is not his fault Pono did not play at GM level. In the end, I guess it's just a fundamental difference in the way we look at chess and what we appreciate in it.
Aug-25-08  euripides: The classical Nimzo seems fertile ground for early tactical disasters.

I Sokolov vs Aronian, 2006

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <Didn't Pono have some chance with 16...Nxd2 ?> Nxd2 was the computer move though it lost too unless Moro would go into the trap 16...Nxd2 17.Qg5?? Nxf3+ 18.exf3 g6 19.Qh6 b3+ 20.Ke2 Bxf3+ 21.Kxf3 Qc3+ 22.K~ Qxf6.
Aug-25-08  Riverbeast: This is genius at work
Aug-25-08  Avarus: Wow. Moro keeps on doing his thing.
Aug-25-08  notyetagm: White to play: 12 ?

click for larger view

12 g2-g4!! (Golubev)

click for larger view

<VinnyRoo2002: I'm sorry acirce, you are right that Ponomariov played inaccurately and one might go so far as to say poorly, but it wasn't by accident. It was by brilliant play by Morozevich. To call this game, "nothing special," is to insult the beauty of chess.>

GM Golubev agrees with you, giving Morozevich's 12th move the !! in his annotations for Chess Today 2848. And he does not give out many !!'s.

12 g2-g4!! is one of those moves which looks obvious when you see it played but you would easily overlook if it was you playing the game.

Aug-25-08  lorker: Although Morozevich played the opening very creatively and clearly surprised Ponomariov, Ponomariov clearly played the opening very poorly. Thus this game is not that great a game as it was more of a win due to an opening trap as a chess win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <lorker> The opening belongs to chess too. ;)
Aug-29-08  chezzy: <alexmagnus>: <Didn't Pono have some chance with 16...Nxd2 ?> Thanks for showing the trap...but how should white play ?
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