An unexamined life is not worth living.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Paul Keres Memorial 2002 – Part 2 – two bishops in the endgame

Part 1. I did not perform too well in that edition of the Keres Memorial, but the first round win was very satisfying:

(5) Jiganchine,Roman - Maheux,Pierre [B32]
Keres mem 27th Vancouver (1.9), 17.05.2002

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 a6 6.Nd6+ Bxd6 7.Qxd6 Qf6 Starting a new opening is always a painful process, so I felt myself really uncomfortable about the fact that in this position I was already out of book. 8.Qxf6 [Theoretical 8.Qd1 Qg6 seemed to involve some subtleties so I decided to go for a simple solution, even though it Black might get good chances to equalize immediately.] 8...Nxf6 9.Nc3 d5 10.exd5 Nb4 11.Bd3 Nfxd5 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.Bd2 Diagram


And here I got really happy about my two bishops. In this pawn structure the control of the 'd' file is what each player strives for to get an advantage, but for now it is blocked by 3 minor pieces, and I decided that my chance is instead to put pressure on the e5 pawn.13...Be6 14.0-0 [14.0-0-0!?] 14...0-0-0 15.Ba5 Rde8 [15...Rd7!] 16.Rfe1 f6 17.g3 Diagram


preventing ...Nf4. Depriving opponent's knight of outposts is a common strategy when possessing two bishops.17...Ne7 18.c3 Kb8 19.Bb6 Nc8 20.Be3 Rd8 21.Bf1 Bd5 22.f4 Diagram


Hoping to open up the position for the bishops22...exf4? Black cooperates... 23.Bxf4+ Ka8 24.c4 Bc6 25.b4 Now White has a large advantage: I managed to get my pawns advance, and Black's pieces are pushed back to the last ranks. 25...Rhe8 26.b5 axb5 27.cxb5 Be4 28.Bc7 Diagram


With a very tempting idea to set up a mating net: now White just has to get a rook on the 'a' file. 28...Rd4 29.Rad1 Rxd1 30.Rxd1 Re7 31.b6 Bc6 The threat was 32. Rd8 Bf5 33.Rd5 and Ra5. 32.Bh3 Re8 33.Rd3 Bb5 34.Ra3+ Ba6 Diagram


35.Rxa6+ I was really pleased that the game ended with this mini-combination: the advantage of two bishops was converted in its pure form: [35.Rxa6+ bxa6 36.Bg2+ White uses only his bishops to deliver mate.] 1-0
You can replay this game in a viewer:

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