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Ruslan Ponomariov vs Ding Liren
Hainan Danzhou GM (2017), Danzhou CHN, rd 5, Jul-13
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Bishop Attack Classical Defense (E48)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-13-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: 18. f4 makes no sense to me. Anybody have an idea why Ponomariov played this?
Jul-13-17  ChessHigherCat: <ajk68: 18. f4 makes no sense to me. Anybody have an idea why Ponomariov played this?>

Because if 18...Bxf1 19. fxe5 and if Bd3 there are two main options: a) 20. exd6 Bxc2 and white has a passed d pawn (possibly supported by the e pawn later) b) 20. Qe1, which doesn't look too promising because of the pins.

Actually, I just looked at the game continuation and it was just what I predicted in option a. I think Mr P's mistake was a bit later, he should have played 24. Bxc6 followed by e5 and Bc3 or Bf4 and there's no way in hell black could do better than a draw in that situation (unless of course Uncle Fishstick knows better).

Jul-14-17  ozmikey: I think the main reason for 18. f4 is simply that after any move by the rook, Black gets an irresistible attack after 18...Nfg4 (18. Re1 Nfg4 19. Rxe2?? Nf3+ 20. Kf1 (or 20. gxf3 Qxh2+ and mate next) Ngxh2 mate would have been amusing). It's amazing the mileage that Black can get out of his piece activity in these Nimzo positions.
Jul-14-17  ChessHigherCat: <ozmikey: I think the main reason for 18. f4 is simply that after any move by the rook, Black gets an irresistible attack after 18...Nfg4 (18. Re1 Nfg4 19. Rxe2?? Nf3+ 20. Kf1 (or 20. gxf3 Qxh2+ and mate next) Ngxh2 mate would have been amusing).>

That's a good point. Is there any way white can survive in this "delayed f4" line?:

18. Rfe1 Nfg4 19. f4 Qh6 20. h3 Nf3+ 21. gxf3 (Kh1 Nf2#) Bxf3?

White can't play 22. hxg4 of course, because of Qh1+ 23. Kf2 Qg# but is there any defense at all against the (mega)threat of Qxh3?

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