The Slav Waterloo

Время публикации: 12.04.2012 00:34 | Последнее обновление: 12.04.2012 10:19

(Translation: Chess-News)
Only a short time has passed since the triumph of Dmitry Jakovenko in the European Championship, and now this – a crushing defeat by his fellow countryman. Dreadful! Let’s try to work it out.   

The Russian Championship 2012 (2nd round)
The Slav Defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 6.e4!? Bb4 7.e5
This is possibly more principled than 7.Bg5, which doesn’t necessarily have to be combined with the pawn pushes 5.a4/6.e4.
7...Nd5 8.Bd2


After 8...Bxc3?! 9.bxc3 b5 White can play 10.Ng5! without the prior exchange on b5, and the White’s minor pieces (except the knight on d5) remain passive. Specifically, that happened in the 1st game of the World Championship Alekhine – Bogolyubov, 1929. 
Forcing an exchange of the bishop (Black cannot avoid taking the pawn on b5 as otherwise the pawn on c4 would also fall). 9.Ng5!? was tried among other moves, which is not so effective with the bishop present on b4.
9...Bxc3 10.bxc3 cxb5 11.Ng5


The whole variation and this key position happen to be quite popular at the moment.
Other recent examples are regarding 11...h6 12.Qh5, and then: 12...0–0 (in the game Anand - Eljanov, Bundesliga 2012 there was 12...g6 13.Qh3 f5 14.exf6 e5 15.f7+ Kf8 16.Ne6+ Ke7! 17.Nxd8 Bxh3 18.gxh3 Rxd8 19.dxe5 with a small advantage for White in the complex endgame. I suspect that Anand could have played stronger on the 15th move by opting for the daring 15.g4, for example) 13.Ne4 Nc6 14.h4!? (14.Bxh6 gxh6 15.Qxh6 f5 16.Qg6+ Kh8 17.Qh6+ leads to a draw, Iljushina - Gunina, Dagomys 2010) 14...f5 15.Nd6 Bd7 with a complicated position, Matlakov - Bologan, The European Championship 2012.
12.Qh5 Qe7

It’s a somewhat “useful waiting move”. White prefers 13.Be2 more often, which is almost always met by 13...b4!
This advance brings Black only losses when executed in this way. And that, to be honest, is not particularly surprising.
The bishop has jumped to c4 in one go, and the gained tempo h2-h4 is very useful.
14...bxc3 15.Bc1


This kind of positions is described as “a great compensation for a pawn”. Any more - and it would be a clear advantage.
From various possibilities, the following has been tried: 15...Ncb4 16.0–0 There is a recent game on this subject - Morozevich - Khairullin, Jurmala Rapid 2012: 16...a5N 17.Ba3 (it’s likely that 17.Nxh7 is objectively stronger, and if 17...Qf8, then 18.Bb5+ Kd8 19.Qg5+, and so on) 17...Rb8?? (it was important to keep the d5 square under control: 17...Bb7!, not worrying about 18.Bb5+ Kf8) 18.Bxd5 exd5 19.e6! g6 20.exf7+ Qxf7 21.Rfe1+ 1–0.
Now there’s even grater compensation but for two pawns.


In the game Gupta – Sumets Visakhapatnam, 2011 there was 16...Qc7 (this cannot solve Black’s problems) 17.Rd1 (there is also the materialistic 17.Bxd5 exd5 18.Nxh7!?) 17...g6 18.Qg4 Nc6 (White has a big initiative or, rather, an attack even after 18...Qxc4 19.Rxd4 Qc7 20.Ba3!) 19.Ba3 Nxe5? (a calculation error in a bad position) 20.Bb5+! Bd7 21.Nxe6! and Black resigned after two moves.
There is a certain meaning behind 16...Nc2, defending against Ba3 with a tempo. But it’s hard to believe that this position is good for Black.


Depriving Black from an impressive resource 17.Ba3? Nf4!!, and after 18.Qg4 (less significant is 18.Qd1?! Qb7 19.Nf3 Nxf3+ 20.gxf3 f5!; or 18.Bxe7?! Nxh5 19.Bc5 hxg5 20.Bxd4 Nf4!?) 18...hxg5! 19.Bxe7 Rxh4 20.Qd1 c2! and it appears that Black isn’t at risk. The problem is that it’s bad to play 21.Qxd4? Nh3+ 22.gxh3 Rxd4 – Black wins the piece back and is left with extra pawns. So unreal!
17...exd5 18.Ba3


At about now, and considering the analysis below, it’s possible to conclude a surprising failure in Jakovenko’s preparation for this game. Dmitry didn’t get to the bottom of this sharp variation which was played by his opponent only a couple of months ago. I don’t even want to put question marks to some of the Black’s moves. In this case, the main question is towards the preparation. But it happens… Even worse happens. 
In case of 18...g6 19.Qd1! Qc7 (the only move; the others are no good at all) Black has a difficult position. White should only avoid going for 20.Qxd4? (20.Ne4!? is good, or 20.Qa4+) 20...hxg5 21.e6 Rxh4 22.exf7+ Kxf7, where White isn’t in time to win the rook on a8 due to the mating threat on h2.
19.e6! Bxe6
After 19...Nxe6? 20.Rfe1 it’s not possible to defend e6 and f7 squares simultaneously, the battle would end at that.
20.Nxe6 Nxe6 21.Qxd5


The Black king is permanently stuck in the centre, his h8 rook is out of play, while White’s pieces are active and will certainly become even more active. It’s not possible to compensate for this with the two scattered pawns. Black can defend for a reasonably long time in some variations, distracting White from an attack with their passed “c” pawn, but the overall assessment is certain: Black should lose this game.
Or 21...Rc8 22.Rfe1 c2 23.Rac1 (White should avoid 23.Rxe6+ fxe6 24.Re1 due to 24...Qd7! 25.Rxe6+ Kd8 with a likely draw, including in the following variation 26.Rd6 c1Q+ 27.Bxc1 Rxc1+ 28.Kh2 Qxd6+ 29.Qxd6+ Kc8) 23...Qc6 24.Qb3 (we’ll see that a similar position could have happened in the game if Black played 22...c2 и 23...Rc8).


A worthy alternative - 22.Qb5+ Qd7 (after 22...Rd7?! 23.Rad1! Black doesn’t have a good way to free himself up: 23...Kd8? 24.Rxd7+ Qxd7 25.Qb8+ Qc8 26.Rd1+ with the checkmate) 23.Qb3!, where the following try doesn’t help: 23...Qd5 (23...f6? 24.Rad1) due to 24.Qb4! (not falling for the trap - on 24.Qxc3? there is 24...f6!, getting the king out of the crossfire zone just in time) 24...Rd7 25.Rad1, and it’s bad for Black: 25...Qxd1 (or 25...Qb7 26.Qa4!, paralysing the opponent’s pieces) 26.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 27.Kh2 Rd7 28.f4, and so on.


Since Black can’t castle, he wants to develop his h8 rook – a standard idea. But here it’s not clear where and why the rook is going. It would add to the defence of the knight on e6, but from h8 it would have protected the f8 square, which sometimes can be important. And the lost time… Basically, it doesn’t work. Although, the alternatives were not pleasant either.
For example: 22...c2 23.Rfe1 (it’s hardly worth stopping the rook’s relocation to c8: 23.Qa4+ Rd7 24.Rae1! Kd8 25.Re4 Nc5!? 26.Bxc5 Qxc5 27.Rc4 Qf5!, Black is still holding) 23...Rc8 24.Rac1 Qc4 25.Qb7 Rc7 (or 25...Qc7 26.Qb4 a5 27.Qg4!) 26.Qb8+ Rc8 27.Qxa7 Rc7 28.Qb8+ Rc8 29.Qd6 Rc7 30.f4! with the decisive advantage.
Maybe the most stubborn is: 22...Rd7 23.Rfe1!? (after 23.Rfd1 c2! it’s not easy to see a simple solution, although there may be a complex one; and on 23.Rac1 the answer is 23...Nd4! 24.Rfe1+ Kd8) 23...Kd8 24.Bb4 (another idea - 24.Re4 c2 25.Rae1, but this is slightly concerning: 25...Rd1 26.Rxd1+ cxd1Q+ 27.Qxd1+ Kc8) 24...Nd4 25.Qa2! Nc6 26.Bxc3 Re8 27.Bxg7!? The pawns are equal and it’s not clear how Black can defend his ruins. But, at least, it’s still a struggle.
While after 22...Rd2 it’s very effective to play 23.Rfd1!
If Black tried to attack the White’s queen while he hasn’t developed his rooks - 22...Rb8, then, among others, there is 23.Qa4+! Qd7 24.Qe4, and then, just as an example: 24...Rd8 25.Rab1 Qd5 26.Rb7! Qxe4 27.Re7+ Kf8 28.Rxe6+ Kg8 29.Rxe4 with an extra piece.
It’s a logical continuation but not the only one. The Black king is posed a question.


After 23...Rd2 Black’s hopes are crushed by 24.Qb5+! Kd8 (or: 24...Rd7 25.Rad1 Qb7 26.Qa4 Rh6 27.Rxd7 Qxd7 28.Qb4 Rh8 29.Qb8+ Qd8 30.Qxa7; 24...Qd7 25.Qb8+ Qd8 26.Qxa7, and so on) 25.Bb4!
Threatening the check from f8.


Of course, Black doesn’t want to return to h8 with the rook, it doesn’t seem serious in this situation.
But after 24...Rf6 25.Rad1! Rd2 (immediately loses 25...Rxd1 26.Qf8+ Kd7 27.Rxd1+) 26.Rxd2 cxd2 27.Qxd2 it turns out that Black hasn’t solved any problems: the rook on f6 is not very useful in defending the king. 27...Rf5 28.Qb4! with a swift end.
And the deed is done.


(Of course, after 25...Rc8 almost any move is winning, including 26.Rxc3 with the idea of 26...Qxc3 27.Qd6+ Ke8 28.Qe7#; while some would give a check on e7 straight away).
26.Qa4+ Kc8 27.Bb4 1–0

[Event "19th TCh-RUS 2012"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2012.04.10"] [Round "2"] [White "Morozevich, Alexander"] [Black "Jakovenko, Dmitry"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D16"] [WhiteElo "2765"] [BlackElo "2729"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2012.04.09"] [WhiteTeam "Economist-SGSEU, Saratov"] [BlackTeam "Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 e6 6. e4 Bb4 7. e5 Nd5 8. Bd2 b5 9. axb5 Bxc3 10. bxc3 cxb5 11. Ng5 Nc6 12. Qh5 Qe7 13. h4 b4 14. Bxc4 bxc3 15. Bc1 Nxd4 16. O-O h6 17. Bxd5 exd5 18. Ba3 Qc7 19. e6 Bxe6 20. Nxe6 Nxe6 21. Qxd5 Rd8 22. Qb3 h5 23. Rfe1 Rh6 24. Qb4 Kd7 25. Rac1 Rb8 26. Qa4+ Kc8 27. Bb4 1-0 


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