27 June 2015

Do not Challenge Alina with the Benoni

Eteri Kublashvili reviews the 4th round of the Russian Championship Higher League.

Although round four of the men's section of the Higher League saw the first six boards (Artemiev-Popov, Alekseev-Dubov, Kobalia-Khairullin, Bukavshin-Frolyanov, Rakhmanov-Malakhov, and Matlakov-Khalifman) signing a peace treaty, the next six games ended decisively.

Vladimir Fedoseev defeated Dmitry Bocharov, Anton Demchenko won against Ernesto Inarkiev, Andrey Shariyazdanov gained the upper hand against Alexander Riazantsev, Vadim Zvjaginsev was victorious against Valeri Yandemirov, Alexander Motylev outplayed Aleksei Pridorozhni, and David Paravyan outperformed Evgeny Najer.

Bocharov – Fedoseev 

Dmitry decides to have a short way with the bold rook on d4 by attacking it with 20. Be3. However, White underestimated a nice shot 20...Rxf4! 21. Bxf4 Nxf4 22. Rxf4 Qxg5 23. Bxe6+ Kb8 24. Rcf1 Re8 with an edge for Black.

Najer – Paravyan 

White has just recklessly placed his rook on c7, which allowed the black knight to deal a painful blow 38…Nd4!, and it is not clear how to avoid losing an exchange. 

The record of the day was made by Olga Girya, who quickly finished her game in just 12 moves. In this case "quick" does not mean "bad", because this game handed the first victory to the Olympic champion, playing in the men's section of the tournament.

Olga Girya: "After the previous games, not very successful for me, I decided to strike up a fight and sacrificed a pawn in the opening. Following this the sacrifice the challenging and interesting lines emerge, and it appears that my opponent was not familiar with them.”

Girya – Dzhumagaliev 

“In this position I have come to like 6...Nf6 more than 6...Nd6. In principle, this line has been played on a number of occasions and has so far been successfully handled by other players.”

7. cxb5 Bb7 8. Nc3 exd5

“This is perhaps a dubious move.”

9. 0-0 Be7 10. Re1

"It turns out that my pawn on b5 is placed excellently, restricting the scope of the black pieces to a great extent. In addition to that I always threaten to sacrifice my knight on d5, followed by Bxh7+ if Black makes up his mind to proceed with castling. I will then recapture on d5 with my queen and the black rook on a8 starts hanging. Perhaps the position is to be evaluated as plus over minus."

10...Ne4 11. Nxd5 Nxf2 12. Nxe7. Black resigns.

On the first board of the women's section of the tournament Baira Kovanova launched an attack against the king of Marina Guseva, but Guseva defended resourcefully and succeeded in achieving equality.

On the second board Alina Kashlinskaya outplayed Daria Pustovoitova with white pieces and explained us how it happened.

Alina Kashlinskaya: "Prior to the start of the game I found out that I did not have a very good score against Dasha. Although I have won a couple of games, the overall score was still in her favor. Also, I was surprised by my opponent’s choice of the opening since she has never played Benoni beforehand, especially this rare line with the knight development on e7. In the Russian Club Championship I lost to Dina Drozdova with White in the same line virtually without a fight, after which I looked it up and it went for a fairly sharp line with 7. f4.”

“The Benoni seems to me to be such an opening for Black that must be very well comprehended and felt. You cannot just play it out from the book. It appears that in the complex position that arose on the board we both failed to quite grasp what was going on. With white and black pawns on e4 and f5 the tension in the center is created and maintained, whereas both opponents are waiting for whoever will be the first to capture, whoever is going to be the first to lose her nerves.”

Kashlinskaya – Pustovoitova 

“I believe that due to the space advantage my game is easier to go on with, while the black knights are being so badly positioned in addition to that. I think that Dasha made natural moves, with the exception that instead of 15...Rae8 Black should have probably exchanged on e4, followed by 16...Nf5, but White is unlikely to start experiencing any problems there as well.”

16. g4 fxe4 17. Nxe4 h6 18. Qc2 Qc7 19. Rbe1 b5 20. axb5 axb5 


“It is quite obvious that the majority of Black’s pieces are confined to the seventh and eighth ranks. Here I could not help but sacrifice a piece.”

21. Nxd6

“I am not sure this is sound. Further there came an interesting moment as after 21...Qxd6 22. Re6 Qb8 I had the opportunity to continue with 23. d6 (it was my original intention to do so). However, I noticed then that Black had at his disposal the possibility to answer it by 23...Nc6!, with the idea of returning the extra material via 24. Rxe8 Rxe8 25. Bxc6 Qxd6. It seems to me that Black should be more or less OK in this position.”

“So I played 23. Rfe1 with the idea of meeting 23...Qd8 by 24. d6 Nc8 25. Qxg6 with a mating attack. Here I missed 23...Rxf4, but eventually I managed to untangle somehow also thanks to Dasha being in time trouble.”

“Probably the engine is going to condemn this knight sacrifice because the position was superb anyway without having to go for it, but I just could not resist the temptation.”

Then the opponents followed up by swapping courtesies: the move 24. Qd3? could have turned into a fatal blunder had Black answered it with 24...Rd4, followed by closing the e-file via 25...Ne5. But Daria returned the favor by 24...Rxf3?, when after 25. Qxf3 Rf8 26. Qg2 Nc8 27. Rxg6 Black is doomed.

Thus, after four rounds the men’s section is still headed by Ivan Popov, who has so far gained 3.5 points. The pack of pursuers has increased in number up to twelve players; these are Mikhail Kobalia, Vladimir Fedoseev, Alexander Motylev, David Paravyan, Vladislav Artemiev, Evgeny Alekseev, Dmitry Frolyanov, Daniil Dubov, Ildar Khairullin, Vadim Zvjaginsev, Andrey Shariyazdanov, and Anton Demchenko.

The women’s section saw reshuffling inside the leading triumvirate, as Baira Kovanova and Marina Guseva, who have scored 3.5 points, were joined by Alina Kashlinskaya, who managed to crowd Daria Pustovoitova out. However, Dasha is still among the pursuers together with Svetlana Matveeva, Anastasia Bodnaruk, Oksana Gritsaeva, Anastasia Savina and Evgenija Ovod.