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Gata Kamsky vs Larry Christiansen
United States Championship (2010), St. Louis, MO USA, rd 5, May-18
Spanish Game: Classical Variation (C64)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-18-10  Jim Bartle: Why was 20...f5 necessary?
May-18-10  Calli: 21.Rf6 was threatened. Maybe 20...Bd8 is better, but I doubt it. Position looks lost.
May-18-10  Jim Bartle: Thanks, calli.
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  HeMateMe: Wonderful attacking position. I think the tricky part is finding 25. Q-d2, which seems to provoke black's pawn moves on the kingside, opening up more holes.
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  keypusher: This game was an absolute blast to watch live. I remember thinking 11.f4 couldn't be right, since it gives up the bishop pair in exchange for what I thought couldn't be enough of an attack. But after 17.Bc2 I began to get a sinking feeling over Black's kingside. Maybe ...f7-f5 could have been played at move 15? 17...Qd7 and 18...dxe5 seem inconsistent; I expected 18...d5. Kamsky's maneuvers with the queen in moves 20-25 make quite an impression, as <HeMateMe> said. I remember thinking it would be nice if White could play 26.g4, and then he played it! Apparently Kamsky rattled off a long variation re what would have happened if 26...fxg3 -- does anyone know the moves? (g2-g4 in front of my king always ends badly for me, I must say.)

Anyway, a wonderful game.

May-19-10  Eyal: <Apparently Kamsky rattled off a long variation re what would have happened if 26...fxg3 -- does anyone know the moves?>

I didn't hear the broadcast, but the winning idea should be a combined pressure on the f-file and the diagonal - 27.Rxf5! Rxf5 28.Qd3 Raf8 29.Rf1 Qg6 (29...Qf6 30.Nd7, and Rxf5 would be good enough here as well, of course) 30.Rxf5! Qxf5 31.Qxf5+ Rxf5 32.Bc2.

And yes, a great attacking game by Kamsky - it should feature in the next program of "Attack with LarryC"...

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks, Eyal. 29...Qg6 in your line is a nice idea! but of course it comes to nothing after RxR.
May-19-10  Marmot PFL: Maybe Christiansen thought Kamsky was too well prepared for a Sicilian, but this is a dubious alternative. I played it for a while but soon quit. Black gets a cramped position with few prospects.
May-19-10  YouRang: <Jim Bartle: Why was 20...f5 necessary?>

White was threatening 21.Rf6! (note g-pawn is pinned). Black can't unpin the g-pawn either: 20...Kh8?? 21.Nxf7+! & 22.Qxd6 ).

With the rook on f6, white blocks Pf7, pins the black LSB, and threatens Rxh6 or Qd3 (Q+B battery aimed at h7).

So, 20...f5 might have been the best he had, stopping Rf6 and closing the diagonal to h7.

May-19-10  YouRang: I think 20...f5 was fine, but 22...f4 was questionable. It defeated part of the point of playing 20...f5 -- to close the diagonal to h7. White took advantage right away with 23.Qd3!

Better for black would have been 22...Rae8, developing his rook on the open e-file.

Importantly, this would guards his bishop on e6, because white has another tactic threatened: 23.Nxc6!, if 23...bxc6? then 24.Rxe6! 25.Qxe6 Bb3! pinning and winning the queen. But if 22...Rae8 had been played, this idea is spoiled because black can recapture on e6 with the rook.

Controlling the open e-file is important because in some lines where white moves rook up the f-file, the knight becomes pinned to the rook on e1.

May-19-10  mortigi tempo: 22... Rae8 was definitely better. It seems to lose the f5 pawn after white plays 23. Ng6 Rf6 24. Nf4 and it looks dangerous for white to take it but it all seems to workout. But the downside being the opposite colored bishop positions and I don't see any more great ways for white to push the attack and an opposite colored bishop endgame seems both unwanted and likely.
May-20-10  nariga: <Eyal> How about 26... fxg3 27.Rxf5! Rxf5 28.Qd3 Kg7 29. Qxf5 Rf8
May-21-10  thesonicvision: dennis mono lecture:
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Morning: According to the database, Kamsky left book with 7.Qc3. Today's NY Times suggested an even earlier TN: 6...Nf6!?; 7.Qg3,0-0; 8.Qxe5,d5; 9.exd5,Ng4, a highly speculative two-pawn sacrifice. All of which shows there remain some uncharted territories in the first 10 moves.
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  GrahamClayton: Akobian suggests that 11..ef4 was an error, as Kamsky gets a strong centre and an increasing advantage. He suggests 11...ed4 12.f5 ♕g6 13.♔h1 h6 14.♗b3 ♘e5 15.♗h6 ♕h6 16.♕e5 with an unclear position.

Kamsky's battery of the Q & B on the c2-h7 diagonal was deadly.

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