An unexamined life is not worth living.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gelfand - Korchnoi, Biel 2001

Replay Game B. Gelfand - V. Korchnoi, GM 2001

B. Gelfand (2704) - V. Korchnoi (2617) [D18]

GM/Biel SUI (1) 2001

One of the first games played by Korchnoi that I saw was Korchnoi-Kinteros, 1973, where White very convincingly refuted Black's strategy in the Benko gambit. Here is another example of Korchnoi refuting a pawn sacrifice, but in a game played 3 decades later:

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Qe2 Bg4

10. e4 I am sure that Gelfand was aware that this move involves a pawn sacrifice, and also that Korchnoi is particularly known for being a greedy defender- accepting sacrifices and then displaying great creativity in surviving opponent's initiative. Going through the game, it is not too clear what he missed in his preparation, as White's compensation never looks quite sufficient. 10. h3 Bh5 (10... Bxf3 11. Qxf3 O-O 12. Rd1) 11. Rd1 O-O 12. e4 Qe7 13. e5 Nd5 14. Ne4 h6 15. Ng3 Bg6 10... Nb6 White's pi eces and pawns are placed very prettily on c4, d4, and e4, but every one of them is under attack, and also both knights on f3 and c3 are under attack. This is a great example of a pawn centre collapsing under intense piece pressure. 11. Bb3 Bxf3 12. Qxf3 Qxd4

13. Rd1 Qe5 14. Bf4 Qh5 15. Qd3 15. Qxh5 Nxh5 16. Be3 Nf6 17. a5 Nbd7 15... Nbd7 16. e5 Nxe5 17. Qd4 Bxc3 18. bxc3 Ng6 19. Bd6 Qa5 20. Bc5 b6 21. Bb4 Qe5 22. Qxe5 Nxe5 23. Bd6 Ned7 24. a5 Ne4 25. axb6 Nxd6 26. Rxd6 Ke7 27. Rxc6 axb6 28. Rb1

28... Rhc8 The rest of the game is mostly a display of Black's technique in converting the extra pawn. 29. Ba4 Nc5 30. Bb5 Rxc6 31. Bxc6 Ra2 32. h4 Kd8 33. Rd1+ Kc7 34. Be8 f6 35. Bb5 Ra3 Black neutralized the counterplay and now himself begins to attack weak pawns. 36. c4 e5 37. Kf1 Ra2 38. Rd5 e4 39. h5 h6 40. Kg1 Ra3 41. Kh2 Rd3 The main pr oblem with defending this kind of positions is that when you are a pawn down, you cannot trade rooks, so you are forced to retreat your pieces into passive squares. 42. Rf5 Kd6 43. Rf4 Ke5 44. Rg4 Ne6 45. Bc6 Ng5 46. f4+ desperation. 46... Kf5 47. Rh4 Ne6 48. g4+ Kxf4 49. g5+ Kxg5 50. Rxe4 Nd4 0-1

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