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Etienne Bacrot vs Pavel Eljanov
Gashimov Memorial (Group B) (2014), Shamkir AZE, rd 7, Apr-27
Semi-Slav Defense: General (D43)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-27-14  david ne: nice win against bacrot
Apr-28-14  haydn20: 10...Nd7 Opening Ex has only dxc4 or Qd8 or dxe4.
12...c5 made for an interesting position. IMO White should take the pawn immediately. The later more open position favors the 2 B's. 19. h3 As a patzer, I grab the 7th rank: 19. Rc7 Rfd8 20. Qc1 Qd6. Now, after 22...Rfd8, Black is completely equal. 28. d6? too early I guess: 28. Ne5 Rd8 29. Nc4 Kg7 30.Ne3 Bd6 31. Nxg5 gxf5 is better. 33. Bc6(?) may be the losing move (if White is not already lost.) Maybe 33.f5 Bg7 34.Nc6 g5 holds better, but I don't know. In any case, once Bacrot became uncertain, Eljanov certainly hounded him to death.
Apr-28-14  mrbasso: It's strange that Bacrot, leading the tournament by 1 point, didn't play 3.cxd5 against one of his biggest rivals
according to the rating.
He should have played that move and look his opponent in the eye: "Now, try to beat me!"
Apr-28-14  Nerwal: <It's strange that Bacrot, leading the tournament by 1 point, didn't play 3.cxd5 against one of his biggest rivals according to the rating. >

The Exchange Slav is not part of his white repertoire. Probably he felt it wasn't a good strategy to play something new with the sole aim of drawing as white.

Apr-28-14  mrbasso: In that case he has to put in his repertoire for the next time when he is the sole leader in a tournament.
Apr-28-14  Nerwal: <In that case he has to put in his repertoire for the next time when he is the sole leader in a tournament.>

If 3. cxd5 was such a sure draw for white then probably Eljanov would have tried to avoid playing the Slav. These two recent games suggest on the contrary that he has no problem creating play in this line : S Brunello vs Eljanov, 2013 ; E Romanov vs Eljanov, 2013.

Apr-28-14  mrbasso: Your argument is very questionable. In the both games white played very ambitiously. The Slav exchange is almost a certain draw on that level if White doesn't play for the win.
Apr-28-14  Nerwal: <Your argument is very questionable. In the both games white played very ambitiously. The Slav exchange is almost a certain draw on that level if White doesn't play for the win.>

Black played more ambitiously than white in those games. If white goes for the risky 17. g4 in the first one, it's because after the normal 17. 0-0 he's already running the risk to get squeezed in typical dutch fashion.

Anyway, this is debatable, but doesn't solve the main question. If 3. cxd5 is a draw at will for white, then why did Eljanov play the Slav ? His choice of the Semi-Slav in the game shows he was ready to fight.

Apr-28-14  mrbasso: <then why did Eljanov play the Slav ?>

Eljanov was Black and he didn't have to
win at all cost but of course he was happy to play an unbalanced position. White could have avoided it.

Apr-28-14  belgradegambit: Fascinating ending. The knight always has difficulties when pawns are on both side of the board.
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