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Vassily Ivanchuk vs Teimour Radjabov
Grand Slam Chess Final (2008), Bilbao ESP, rd 8, Sep-10
Sicilian Defense: Four Knights Variation (B45)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-10-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Am I too soon?
Sep-10-08  stonebrain2006: Im curious to know if 14.Qg3 is a novelty here or not.
Sep-11-08  Ulhumbrus: 6 a3 loses a tempo for development, and invites loss against the Sicilian. Perhaps Ivanchuk thinks that without preparation it is easy for Black to make a wrong choice against it.

Two alternatives to 6....e6 are 6....d5 and 6....g6, now that White has sacrificed a tempo for dvelopment upon a3.

18 b4 can perhaps be called an insult to Black when employing the Sicilian defence. However Short employed the move b4 at least once in his match with Kasparov in 1993, in the game Short vs Kasparov, 1993 and it may be that in some positions White gets away with it. Besides, it does gain something for the concession. It prevenst the advance ...b4 which helps Black to break therough on the c file. Also it makes the move a3 useful, as the a3 pawn now supports the b4 pawn.

An alternative to 18...Rc7 is 18...a5, preparing to isolate the b pawn so that ...d5 will discover an attack upon it.

The stratagem 19 Re3 is a classic way of making use of an advantage in space, developing the Rook to the third rank so that the Rook prepares to attack the Q side as well as the King side.

19...g6 disturbs the King side pawns without necessity. This is probably Radjabov's first mistake.

On 24 f5! the g6 pawn is overworked. If it has to defend the N on h5, it cannot also capture a pawn or even a piece on f5. In that case the point f5 is really covered by not two pawns but by only one, the e6 pawn.

The exchanges 24...dxe5 and 25...exf5 bring White's bishops on to the diagonals h2-g8 and h3-c8 respectively whence the bishops attack Black Rooks on the squares c7 and c8 respectively. With 27 Bxc8 Ivanchuk takes one of these Rooks and on 28 Ree1 Ivanchuk has won the exchange and later the game.

Sep-11-08  mrbasso: <6 a3 loses a tempo for development, and invites loss against the Sicilian. Two alternatives to 6....e6 are 6....d5 and 6....g6, now that White has sacrificed a tempo for dvelopment upon a3.>

6.a3 is perfectly fine. 6...d5 is not very good. After 7.Bb5 black can't avoid an awkward isolani position. 6...g6 is outright bad (7.Ndb5).

Sep-11-08  Ulhumbrus: <mrbasso: <6...d5 is not very good. After 7.Bb5 black can't avoid an awkward isolani position. 6...g6 is outright bad (7.Ndb5).> If this is so- and I am not sure that it is- it suggests preparing ...d5 or ...g6 by 6...a6.

The matter warrants further examination.

An initial look at the opening explorer suggests that 6...Bc5 is promising.

A second look at the openings explorer suggests that on 6...d5 7 Bb5, 7...Bd7 8 exd5 Nxd5 is promising.

Sep-11-08  mrbasso: 6...Bc5 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nd5 9.Ne4 is better for white. 7...dxc6 might be stronger, but it's not appealing for Black either.

There is only one high level game (>2600 ELO) for 8...Nxd5 in the Databases. Surely, Ivanchuk found an improvement for white.

[Event "Bundesliga 0203"]
[Site "Germany"]
[Date "2002.10.19"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Golubev, Mikhail"]
[Black "Krasenkow, Michal"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B45"]
[WhiteElo "2528"]
[BlackElo "2651"]
[PlyCount "35"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. a3 d5 7. Bb5 Bd7 8. exd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. O-O Be7 11. Be3 Bf6 12. c4 dxc4 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. Bxc4 O-O 15. Qc2 Qc8 16. Rad1 Bf5 17. Qc1 Be4 18. f3 1/2-1/2

Sep-11-08  Ulhumbrus: <6...Bc5 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nd5 9.Ne4 is better for white. 7...dxc6 might be stronger, but it's not appealing for Black either. There is only one high level game greater than 2600 ELO for 8...Nxd5 in the Databases. Surely, Ivanchuk found an improvement for white. [Event "Bundesliga 0203"]
[Site "Germany"]
[Date "2002.10.19"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Golubev, Mikhail"]
[Black "Krasenkow, Michal"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B45"]
[WhiteElo "2528"]
[BlackElo "2651"]
[PlyCount "35"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. a3 d5 7. Bb5 Bd7 8. exd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. O-O Be7 11. Be3 Bf6 12. c4 dxc4 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. Bxc4 O-O 15. Qc2 Qc8 16. Rad1 Bf5 17. Qc1 Be4 18. f3 1/2-1/2>

The opening explorer gives 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6 6 a3 which transposes into the present game. After 6...d5 7 Bb5 Bd7 8 exd5 Nxd5 9 Nxd5 exd5 10 O-O Be7 the opening explorer gives the games

Loman vs Blackburne, 1900

and

Shabalov vs Khmelnitsky, 1996

in which Black won
and the game

N Pogonina vs V Cmilyte, 2008

which was drawn.

None of this proves anything, because the games could contain mistakes. The opening warrants looking at further.

Sep-11-08  goldenbear: In my view, 8.Qc7 is more accurate than Bd7. In choosing to play 8.Bd7, I think Black should hope to play Qb8 in one move, without wasting a tempo. Therefore, I think the correct formulation of 8.Bd7 is 11.Qb8, when Black acquires the additional resource b5 and b4, which I think is the best way to exploit 6.a3. Two points: 1)I don't have a computer program of any kind and 2)I actually think Black is fine in the game for a long time, so I am speaking from the point of view of trying to gain an advantage for Black after 6.a3, which, of course, may not be possible. I would be interested in hearing what others have to say about these nuaces...
Sep-11-08  goldenbear: Oh, and by the way, I definately think 6.d6! is best. 6.a3 has ruled out the Rauzer, Keres, and English Attacks. A Schveningen set-up begging to be played!
Sep-11-08  Ulhumbrus: I think that C H O'D Alexander or some other British author spoke of why the Sicilian was so effective against a wood shifter. I don't believe that Ivanchuk intended to play inactively. However The move 6 a3 does nothing to advance White's development, and can be forecast to lose against the Sicilian, which may necessitate more rapid development on White's part.

<goldenbear: Oh, and by the way, I definately think 6.d6! is best. 6.a3 has ruled out the Rauzer, Keres, and English Attacks. A Schveningen set-up begging to be played!> Here is an idea. 6...d6 has prevented Nd6+ following Nb5, so after 7 Be2, how about 7...g6.

Sep-11-08  euripides: The Scheveningen often gives Black a wide choice of pawn breaks and targets. But after 20 moves here b4 and e5 are impossible and moving the knight would allow a mating attack, so that f5 is also blocked and White can play 21.Nd1 without fearing 21...Nxe4? 22.Qxh7+ with mate to follow:


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Sep-11-08  euripides: ... also 21...d5 takes further pressure off e5 so then 22.f5 looks dangerous.
Sep-12-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <euripides: White can play 21.Nd1 without fearing 21...Nxe4? 22.Qxh7+ with mate to follow> Nice. Or 21...Bxe4? 22.Nxe4 Nxe4 23.Qxh7+!.
Sep-12-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: 22...Nxf4 seems playable, at first glance. However, after 23.Rxf4 e5 24.Rxf7! Kxf7 25.Qxh7+ Ke8 26.Qxg6+ Kd7 27.Rh3 exd4 the position is unclear. White has only 2 or 3 pawns for the Rook but the King is unsafe.
Sep-12-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: 25.Bxe5! shows Ivanchuk fighting spirit. 25.fxg6 Bxg2+! 26.Qxg2 Qxg2+ 27.Kxg2 exd4 28.gxh7+ Kh8 29.cxd4 is drawish.

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