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Peter Svidler vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Biel (2018), Biel SUI, rd 6, Jul-27
English Opening: Symmetrical. Three Knights Variation (A34)  ·  0-1



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Given 10 times; par: 57 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Morning: Liked White's position until 20.e5. Perhaps appearances deceived again and Black was doing well the entire time.
Jul-27-18  Ulhumbrus: 20 e5? looks like an unnecessary pawn sacrifice. The sequel suggests that Svidler has overlooked something and that something is enough to upset all of his plans. Instead of this after 20 f4 and 21 Kf2 White seems to have the advantage.
Jul-27-18  dehanne: Svidler spent 25 minutes on the losing mistake 28.g4?
Jul-28-18  ChessHigherCat: By move 9, black looks hopeless underdeveloped:

click for larger view

but MVL manages to turn it around with brilliant play in the end game.

Jul-28-18  Ulhumbrus: <ChessHigherCat: By move 9, black looks hopeless underdeveloped:

click for larger view

but MVL manages to turn it around with brilliant play in the end game.> Although White has more pieces developed Black's N on e6 is three moves ahead in development of White's N on f3. Even so, how does Svidler lose his lead in development with respect to the other pieces? The move 10 h4 does not count as a developing move and although Black may need to play 10...g6 so as to provide the h pawn with a target the move h5 is only of value if White has the attack on the h file or some threat or other based on h6, and he appears to have neither. Instead of 10 h4, 10 g3 prepares to get the king out. Now suppose that both sides try to continue their development. On 10 g3 g6 11 Kg2 Bg7 12 Be3 0-0 13 Qd2 Bd7 Black's N on e6 is three moves ahead in development of White's N on f3 but if he can't make this count White may as well be ahead in development. Thus on 14 Rc1 Ne6-d4?! the capture 15 Nf3xd4! moves the N a second time to exchange itself for a knight that has moved no less than five times, so that White gains three tempi.

Jul-28-18  ChessHigherCat: <Ulhumbrus> The claim that the knight is "three moves ahead in development" seems very subjective to me. Just to give an extreme example, imagine black moves a knight from g1 to h3 and black 10 times. That doesn't mean it's a superknight worth 10 moves in development. If, however, all of the knight moves are reasonable, I see what you mean, but the knight on e6 doesn't seem that well placed to me (although it does have certain advantages like controlling d4 and protecting c5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: It's theory, so it must be known that Black is OK. White has lost castling privilege, which lowers Black's risk significantly -- no Evans/Danish/Muzio waterfall is looming. White's 3-1 development lead isn't overwhelming, ironically because those 3 pieces are already ideal, and cannot be improved by a 2nd move -- ergo White must play <9.d3> to activate something else, and then it's only 3-2.

The Ne6 is weird because it looks self-congesting (like a Bd6 in front of the d-pawn), but it actually <does> count as a goofball 3-tempi investment as part of the double-Nd4 idea -- which Black does, in fact, do. That's almost a reverse-Sveshnikov blockade, very annoying, and surely worth 2 tempi. See Gerard Welling for numerous equally goofy early-N detours to play double-Nd5 as White, or similar themes. I dunno if it's truly worth all 3 tempi (and evidently most non-Welling GMs agree), but it's not weak.

Suppose White doesn't play <9.h4>, and instead tries to develop "normally", e.g. 9.Be3 10.Qc2 very classical, so 1800s, done that. Black isn't facing much pressure, and easily develops two pieces, so White's "lead" is only 5-4, and he still can't castle or get either Rook into it <hmm>. White must have tried exactly this for decades, and has concluded that it's ... m'lem.

Ergo, <9.h4!> is the <fruit> :) of modern innovation (backed by gobs of computer analysis). It makes sense: the Re1 ship has sailed, so you might as well put the Rh1 to use ASAP. Black wants Bg7, and the weenie h-attack against the fianchetto has some potential for imbalance and mayhem. Also, Black might not be castling, either, and so this is the odd type of position where Kf1 might be safe enough. So this is the new theory, resulting in a Bg7-chase -- and <14.Nd5 15.Nxf6+> White gets what he wants.

After <19.Nxd4 cxd4>, now White has the lead in pawn moves 5-4, but resulting in ... h6 against the fianchetto. Is that h-pawn a strength, or just overextended? Surely they both saw this far in prep, or OTB. Alas, Svidler overlooks something, and promptly errs: he finds the one line in which Kf1 <isn't> safe enough :o

Jul-28-18  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4: d 25 dpa

1. = / + (-0.58): 28.Kf2 Bc6 29.Rxd4 Rxe5 30.Bb3 Rc8 31.Rh1 Re8 32.Bd1 Kf6 33.Bh5 R8e6 34.Bg4 Rb5 35.b3 Re3 36.Rc1 Rd5 37.Rxd5 Bxd5 38.d4 Rd3 39.Rd1 Rg3 40.Bf3 Bxf3 41.gxf3 Rh3 42.Kg2 Rxh6 43.Re1 Rg6 44.d5 Rg7 45.Re6+ Kf5 46.Rh6 Re7 47.d6 Re2+ 48.Kh3 Rf2 49.Rxh7 Rxf3+ 50.Kg2 Rd3 51.Rf7+ Kg4 52.d7 Rd2+ 53.Kf1

2. = / + (-0.65): 28.Rxd4 Rxe5 29.Rd5 Rxd5 30.Bxd5 Kf6 31.Bxb7 Rb8 32.Be4 Bf5 33.Bxf5 Kxf5 34.Rh2 Rc8 35.d4 Rc1+ 36.Kf2 a6 37.b3 Rd1 38.Rh3 Rxd4 39.a3 Rd2+ 40.Kf1 Rd6 41.b4 Rc6 42.Ke2 g4 43.Rh5+ Ke4 44.Rg5 Rc2+ 45.Kf1 Rc1+ 46.Ke2 f3+ 47.gxf3+ gxf3+ 48.Kf2 Rc2+ 49.Kf1 Rh2 50.Rg7 Rxh6 51.Re7+

Jul-28-18  cormier:

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Analysis by Houdini 4: d 22 dpa

1. = / + (-0.43): 27.Rh1 Rf5 28.Rxd4 Rxe5 29.Rd5 Rxd5 30.Bxd5 Bf5 31.g3 fxg3 32.Kg2 Rd8 33.Bxb7 Rxd3 34.Rf1 Rd2+ 35.Kxg3 Rd3+ 36.Kf2 Rh3 37.Bd5 Rxh6 38.Kg3 Rf6 39.Re1+ Be6 40.Bxe6 Rxe6 41.Rh1 h6 42.Kg4 a5 43.Kh5 Kd6 44.Rd1+ Kc5

2. = / + (-0.47): 27.Rh5 Rf5 28.Kf2 Rd8 29.b4 Bc6 30.Re1 Bd5 31.Bxd5 Rxd5 32.Rhh1 Rdxe5 33.Rxe5+ Rxe5 34.Rc1 Kf6 35.Rc4 Kg6 36.Rxd4 Kxh6 37.g3 fxg3+ 38.Kxg3 Kg6 39.Rd6+ Kf5 40.Rd7 Rb5 41.Rxh7 Rxb4 42.Rf7+ Ke6 43.Rg7 Kf6 44.Rd7 Rb2 45.Kg4 Ke6 46.Rc7 Kd6 47.Rf7

Jul-28-18  cormier:

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Analysis by Houdini 4: d 26 dpa done

<1. = (0.00): 26.Bd5> Rac8 27.Bxb7 Rc2 28.Rf1 g5 29.Rh5 Rg8 30.Bd5 Be6 31.Be4 Bf7 32.Rh2 Bg6 33.Bxg6 Rxg6 34.g3 Rxh2 35.Kxh2 Rxh6+ 36.Kg2 fxg3 37.Kxg3 Ke6 38.b4 Kxe5 39.Kg4 Ra6 40.Rf5+ Ke6 41.Rxg5 Rxa2 42.Kf4 Rh2 43.Ra5 Rh3 44.Ke4 Rh4+ 45.Kf3 Rh3+ 46.Ke4 Rh4+

2. = (-0.21): 26.e6 Bc6 27.Re5 Kd6 28.Rg5 Rf6 29.b4 b6 30.b5 Bb7 31.Kf2 Raf8 32.Rhg4 Rf5 33.Rxf5 Rxf5 34.a4 Bc8 35.Kf3 Bxe6 36.Bxe6 Kxe6 37.Rxf4 g5 38.Rxf5 Kxf5 39.g4+ Ke5 40.Kg3 Kd6 41.Kf3 Kd5 42.Ke2 Ke5 43.Kf3

Jul-28-18  ChessHigherCat: <Gilmoy: Black wants Bg7, and the weenie h-attack against the fianchetto has some potential for imbalance and mayhem.>

Very entertaining and informative, thanks! I never would have suspected there was so much analysis behind it (although I suspected that move 9 between 2800 players can't be pure improvisation).

You should write a weekly column!

Jul-29-18  Ulhumbrus: The idea behind 10 h4 may be that with the N on e6 obstructing the e pawn the way left to develop Black's bishop is ...g6 and that gives the h pawn a target. However the advance h5 is not much of a threat unless White can gain something either from opening the h file or from h6. Svidler does gain one thing from h6. He is able to remove Black's KB by 14 Nd5 and 15 Nxf6+ . However the capture 16 Bd4 parting voluntarily with his black squared bishop suggests that Svidler has found no way to make it count. It suggests that he has overlooked something. Perhaps Svidler has come to the conclusion too late that Black's N on d4 is stronger than his queen's bishop even though Black has played ...g6 and parted with his king's bishop.
Jul-29-18  Nerwal: Seriously. It's modern, professional chess where GM study openings with seconds, engines and databases for most of their working time. 9. h4 was played by Murey more than 30 years ago. Svidler got the position after 10. h4 with the black pieces five years ago (Jakovenko vs Svidler, 2013). He already tried the line with 9.h4 twice against the same opponent at the World Cup last year.
Jul-29-18  morfishine: <Nerwal...Seriously. It's modern, professional chess> PLEEEEEEEEZ, do not patronize the informed crowd. Chess is Chess, the same chess as 150 years ago, pieces move, development is critical, tactics result from sound positional play, etc., etc...

Nothing has changed...there is no such thing as "modern professional chess"

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Yes a lot of the openings are as if Lasker was playing them! It as if they have finally learnt from the genius of Lasker, Capalanca, Rubiinstein etc with a few modern add ons using computers if they can remember the moves. They are just the same as Morfishine says...just the same...the rating differences are basically because more are playing these days...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: This is an old line I have known for some years now.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: But 10...g6 is dubious. Better maybe Ned4 etc as the online comp. suggests.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Ulhumbrus: 20 e5? looks like an unnecessary pawn sacrifice.> Indeed 20. e5?, allowing 20...fxe5 21. Re1 f6 ⩱ (-0.58 @ 40 ply, Stockfish 9), was unnecessary and weak.

Instead, 20. Rc1 ⩲ (+0.45 @ 36 ply, Stockfish 9), 20. a4 ⩲ (+0.43 @ 36 ply, Stockfish 9) or 20. Ke2 = (+0.38 @ 36 ply, Stockfish 9) would have left White in good shape.

However, as <dehanne> notes, the losing mistake didn't come until 28. g4? fxg3 -+ (-1.60 @ 36 ply, Stockfish 9). White made the win much easier for Black with 29. Rg4? Raf8! -+ (-4.24 @ 33 ply, Stockfish 9). Instead, 29. Rxd4 Bc6 ∓ (-1.60 @ 36 ply, Stockfish 9) would have put up much more resistance.

Instead of 28. g4? fxg3 -+, 28. Kf2 Be8 29. Rh1 Bc6 30. Rxd4 Rxd5 ⩱ (-0.62 @ 32 ply, Stockfish 9) would have maximized resistance and given White practical drawing chances.

Aug-24-18  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4: d 24 dpa done

1. = (0.20): 10...Ned4 11.Nb5 Be6 12.Bf4 Rc8 13.Nbxd4 Bxc4 14.dxc4 cxd4 15.Qb3 b6 16.Rd1 f6 17.e5 e6 18.Qd3 Bc5 19.g3 Nb4 20.Qd2 Nc6 21.Kg2 0-0 22.exf6 Qxf6 23.Qe2 Qf5 24.Rhe1 Rf6 25.Qe4 Qxe4

2. = (0.21): 10...h6 11.Nd5 Bd7 12.b4 cxb4 13.a3 bxa3 14.Bxa3 a6 15.Ne3 Ned4 16.Nxd4 Nxd4 17.Bc5 Ne6 18.Qf3 a5 19.Ba3 b5 20.Bd5 Rc8 21.Bb2 a4 22.Kg1 Qc7 23.Qh5 Qd6 24.Nf5 Qb4 25.Be5

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