27 August 2015

Fortune Favors the Daring

Rounds 7-11 of the Superfinal in the review prepared by Evgeny Miroshnichenko.

Tomashevsky – Khairullin
Round Seven

The game is representative of the tenacious positional style of the new Champion of Russia.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 c5 6.cxd5 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qxd5 8.e3 Bg7 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.Be2 cxd4 11.cxd4 0–0 12.0–0 Bf5 


This novelty appears to have been prepared by Evgeny specifically for this tournament. Previously this position has seen the following developments: 

1) 13.Qa4 e5; 

2) 13.Nd2 e5 14.Bf3 Qd6 15.Nc4 Qb4 16.Bxc6 Qxc4 17.Bxb7 Rab8 18.Qf3 exd4 19.Bd5 Qb4 20.e4 Be6 21.Rad1 Qc3 22.Qf4 Bxd5 23.exd5 Qc5 24.Bf6 Bxf6 25.Qxf6 Qxd5 26.Qxd4 Qxa2 27.Ra1, draw, as in Gelfand – Carlsen, Moscow 2009; 

3) as well as a straightforward 13.Qb3 Qxb3 14.axb3.

3-a) An attempt to handle this position in the Tomashevsky style was seen in one of the old simul games of Veselin Topalov – 14...e5 15.d5 e4 16.dxc6 exf3 17.Bxf3 bxc6, which ended in a draw after 18.Ra3 Rfc8 19.Bg3 a5 20.h3 Bc2 21.Bd6 a4 22.bxa4 Rxa4 23.Rc1 Rxa3 24.Bxa3 Ba4 25.g4 Bb5 26.h4 h6 27.h5 gxh5 28.gxh5 Ra8 29.Bd6 Ra1 30.Rxa1 Bxa1 31.Be4 Bg7 32.f4 Bf8 33.Be5 Bg7, as in Topalov – Pereda de Pablo, Tenerife 1997. However, 18.Ra5 (instead of 18.Ra3) would have given White a sizeable advantage: 18...Rfc8 19.Rc1 Be6, with a rather unpleasant “4 against 3” ending to arise for Black in the near future.

3-b) Placing the king rook to с8 seems to be a logical move – 14...Rfc8.  Now 15.h3 does not make any special sense since after 15...e5 16.d5 (16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Nd4 Be4 –Black does not experience even the slightest of problems) 16...Nb4 17.d6 e4 18.Nd4 Bd7 19.Rfc1 a6 20.Bg3 (Bе5 was a threat) 20...Bxd4 21.exd4 Nc2 22.Ra2 Nb4 the game ends in a draw by the repetition of moves.


This natural move should perhaps be recognized as a sufficiently serious inaccuracy.

We can only guess at what was planned against 13...Rfc8; to my mind 14.g4 Bd7 15.Rb1 is an interesting direction for further analysis. 

14.Qb3 Qxb3 15.axb3 a6

In this position 15...e5 would have been rather unsuccessful: 

1) 16.Nxe5 Nxe5 17.dxe5 a6 (17...Bxe5 18.Rxa7 also favours White) 18.Bf6 Rc3 19.b4 Bxf6 20.exf6 Rb3 21.b5 axb5 22.g4 Be4 23.f3 Bd3 24.Bxd3 Rxd3 25.Kf2 Rd6 26.g5 – and although the engine expresses some optimism, the Black’s position is very likely to be hopeless already;

2) the line 16.d5 e4 17.dxc6 exf3 18.Bxf3 Bxa1 19.cxb7 Be5 20.bxc8Q Rxc8 seems less convincing, although even here Black is in for an unpleasant defence. 

16.g4 Be4 17.Nd2 Bd5 18.Nc4 Rcd8 19.Rac1

Perhaps even more accurate was the immediate 19.Nb6 Bxb3 20.Rfc1 with the same ideas as in the game.


The 19...f5!? attempt, followed by Bf6, was worthy of paying attention to. It appears that the line 20.Nb6 (20.f4 Bf6 21.Bxf6 Rxf6 22.g5 Re6 23.Kf2 Kg7 – and Black has so far failed to achieve the full equality) 20...Bxb3 21.d5 Rxd5 22.Nxd5 Bxd5 affords Black reasonable compensation for the exchange sacrifice, although the final conclusions can be only arrived at upon prior conducting of a serious amount of the analytical job.


Black is gradually running out of useful moves.


Black should have probably tried to solve the problem of the unpleasant pin of the e7-pawn in the most straightforward manner via 20...Bf6. However, even here after 21.Bg3!? (a slight edge is also retained after 21.Bxf6 exf6 22.Rc3) Black is unable to liberate his position as 21...e5 would be bad in view of 22.dxe5 Bxc4 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Rxc4 Bxe5 25.Rxc6 Bxg3 26.Rb6 Bh4 27.Rxb7 Rd2 28.Kf1.


From now on the game starts to acquire the forced nature. 

21...Bxb3 22.Rd2 Rd6

After 22...Nc6 23.Rb1 Na5 24.Rdb2 Be6 25.Bg3 White features a clear-cut edge. 

23.Nc8 Rc6 24.Nxe7+ Rxe7 25.Rb1 Bf6

Even though the engine attempts 25...Rd7 26.Rxb3 Bf8 to dispense with the bishops trading, after a simple consolidation move 27.Kg2 the White’s advantage is unmistakable.

26.Bxf6 Rxf6 27.Rxb3 Nd5 28.Kg2 b5 29.Bf3 Nb6 30.Ra2 Na4 31.Rc2 Rd6 32.g5

While Black’s queenside pawns cannot start rolling forward, White is grabbing space at the kingside at his leisure. In the over-the-board game Black’s position is as good as doomed to failure.

32...Kg7 33.h4 h6 34.Kg3 hxg5 35.hxg5 f6 36.gxf6+ Rxf6 37.Ra3 Rd6 38.Bd1 Ra7 39.Rca2 Nc5 40.Bc2 Ne6 41.Ra5 Nc7 42.Be4 Rb6 43.Kf3 Ne8 44.Ke2 Re7 45.Kd3 Nc7 46.f3 Rd7 47.Rc2

This is a start of the final assault.

47...Ne6 48.Ra1 Kf6 49.Rg1 


49...g5 50.Rh2 a5 (50...Nc5+ 51.Ke2 Na4 52.Rh6+ Kg7 53.Rxb6 Nxb6 54.Rxg5+ does not bring any relief either) 51.Rh6+ Ke7, and now the strongest is 52.Kc3! b4+ 53.Kb2 (while White threatens to win the g5-pawn, Black’s pawns still fail to present any real danger) 53...Rbd6 54.Rh8 a4 55.Ra8 a3+ 56.Kb3 Rb6 57.Ra4, winning.

50.Rgc1 Rd6 51.Rc8 Rgd7 52.Rg1 Rg7 53.Kd2 g5 54.Kc3 a5 55.Ra8 Rc7+ 56.Kb2 a4 57.Rh1 Rc4 58.Rh6+ Ke7 59.Rh7+ Kf6 60.Rg8 Black resigns. 

Kosteniuk – Savina
Round Seven

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nc3 Qb6 6.Be3

6.Na4!? Qa5+ 7.c3 Bxd4 8.Qxd4 Nf6 9.Nc5 Nc6 10.Qd6 b6 11.Nb3 Nxe4 12.Qxc6 dxc6 13.Nxa5 bxa5 14.Be3 with an excellent compensation for the pawn.



This is the most principled continuation. 7.Na4 Qa5+ 8.c3 Bxd4 9.Bxd4 would be an alternative continuation.

1) 9...Nf6 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Be2 Qe5 12.Qd3 Rg8 13.g3 Rb8 14.f4 Qc7 15.b3 b5 16.Nb2 d6 17.0–0 Ke7 18.Nd1 b4 19.c4 Qb6+ 20.Ne3 Qd4 21.Rad1 Qxd3 22.Rxd3 Bb7 23.Bf3 a5 24.Rfd1 Rbd8 25.Kf2 Ba8 26.Nc2 Nb8 27.a3 bxa3 28.Nxa3 Na6 29.Nb5 Nc5 30.Rxd6 Rxd6 31.Rxd6 Bxe4 32.Rb6 f5 33.Bxe4 fxe4 34.Rc6 Nxb3 35.Rc7+ Kf6 36.Nd6 Rd8 37.Nxe4+ Kg6 38.Ra7 h6 39.c5 Rd4 40.Ke3 Rc4 41.Kd3 Rc1 42.h4 Nxc5+, with a draw, as in Riff – Bauer, Nancy 2011;

2) 9…Nxd4 10.Qxd4 e5 11.Qb4 Qxb4 12.cxb4 Nf6 13.Nc3 d6 with a reasonable position for Black.

7...Bxe3 8.fxe3 Nf6

This is a rare move. A lot more popular is 8...Qxe3+ 9.Be2 Kf8 10.Qd6+ Nge7 11.Nc7 Rb8 12.Rd1 h5 13.Rf1 Rh6 14.h4 Qb6!? (with the threat of е5; 14...Rg6 15.Rd3 Qc1+ 16.Nd1 Qxc2 17.Bxh5 Rf6 18.Rxf6 gxf6 19.Bf3 Qc4 20.a3 b6 21.Rc3 Qd4 22.Rxc6 Qg1+ 23.Ke2 dxc6 24.Qd8+ Kg7 25.Qxe7 Qd4 26.Ne8+ Kg6 27.Bh5+ Kxh5 28.Qxf7+ Kxh4 29.Qh7+ Kg5 30.Qg7+ Kh4 31.Qh6+ Kg3 32.Qh3+ Kf4 33.Qh4+ Ke5 34.Qxf6+, and Black resigned, as in Vitiugov – Haugli, Caleta 2014) 15.Qf4 f6 16.Qd6 Qxb2. A strange position emerges when on the one hand Black is unable to complete development, but on the other hand White is already down two pawns and without any particular threats. 


9.e5 Qxe3+ (losing is 9...Nxe5? 10.Qd4) 10.Qe2 Qxe2+ 11.Bxe2 Nxe5 12.Nc7+ Kd8 13.Nxa8 b6 14.a4 Bb7 15.Nxb6 axb6 16.a5 bxa5 17.Rxa5± deserved paying serious attention to.

9...Ke7 10.Qd2 Ne5?!

In the case of 10...Rd8 11.0–0–0 Ne8 12.Be2 Kf8 13.Rhf1 f6 14.g4 White’s attack is very dangerous, whereas Black still needs to find some way to activate his c8-bishop.

11.0–0–0 Ne8 12.Nf5+ Kd8 13.Nd4 a6

It seems that under the shelter of the e5-knight Black will manage to overcome his being behind in development; the former World champion, however, starts to perform with such precision and energy that she goes on obtaining an overwhelming position.

14.Nf3 Qc7 15.Qf2 Ke7

15...b5 16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.Qxf7 b4 18.Na4 Qxe4 19.Qf2 would have been in White’s favor.

16.Qh4+ Nf6 17.Qg3 d6 18.Nxe5 dxe5 19.Qxg7 Rg8 20.Qh6 b5

Some active measures are again required of White to be taken.

21.Be2! b4 22.Rhf1 Rg6 23.Qh4 Qb6

23...bxc3 24.Rxf6 Rxf6 25.Rf1 cxb2+ 26.Kb1 with an advantage for White.

24.Nb1! Qxe3+ 25.Nd2 Bb7?

The previous stages of the game saw both opponents acting on a high level, whereas now Black chooses a poor location to develop his bishop.

A less self-suggesting move 25...Bd7 should have been preferred, at which case 26.Bh5 (26.Rf3 Qxe2 27.Rdf1 Ke8 28.Rxf6 Rxg2 seems to lead to all appearances to a drawish outcome either after 29.Qh6 Rxh2 30.Qg5 Rg2, or through a little bit more lively game after 29.Rd1 Rc8 30.Qxh7 Rxc2+ 31.Kxc2 Ba4+! 32.b3 Qc4+! 33.Kb1 Qd3+) is no longer good in view of 26...Qg5!

26.Bh5! Qg5 27.Qf2!

These awkward to meet shots of the white pieces from both flanks of the board look very elegant!

27...Qxh5 28.Qb6 Kf8 29.Qxb7 Rd8 30.Nc4?

30.g4!! Qxg4 (30...Qg5 31.h4!) 31.Qc7, and Black has to part ways with the exchange sacrifice in order to avoid worse fate 31...Rxd2 32.Rxd2 Qg5 33.Qd8+ Kg7 34.Kb1. In view of the fact that 34...Nxe4 does not work because of 35.Rxf7+! Kh6 36.Qf8+ Rg7 37.Re2 with an immediate win, White should gradually manage to convert his advantage. 

30...Rxd1+ 31.Rxd1 Rxg2

Now the tension escalates, especially since the time trouble has come into the scene...

32.Nd6 a5

The engine recommends 32...Rxh2, not only for the sake of taking a pawn (which is also important!), but also intending the exchange of rooks, upon which the black king is going to feel relatively safe: 33.b3 Kg7 34.Rg1+ Ng4 35.Qe7 Rh1 36.Rxh1 Qxh1+ 37.Kb2 Qh5 38.Ne8+ Kg6 39.Nd6, and Black is likely to have to put up with the repetition of moves.

33.Rf1 Qg5+ 34.Kb1 Qg6 35.a3 Kg7 36.axb4

Taking into account the mutual time trouble that both opponents were in, let us refrain from subjecting the computer-suggested 36.h4!! to a detailed analysis, suffice it to say that White needs to take control over the g5-square! 36...Rxc2? 37.Kxc2 Qg2+ 38.Kb3 Qxf1 39.Qxf7+ Kh6 40.Nf5+ exf5 41.Qxf6+ Kh5 42.Qg5#.

36...axb4 37.Ka2 


37...Rxc2 38.Qe7 


This impulsive advance during the time trouble spoils the entire game, which was on the verge of nearly being bailed out. Correct was 38...Rxb2+ 39.Kxb2 Qg2+ 40.Kb3 Qxf1 41.Qxf7+ Kh6=.

39.Ka3! Rc6 40.Rxf6 Ra6+ 41.Kxb3 Rb6+ 42.Ka4 Black resigns. 

Girya – Goryachkina
Round Seven

White avoids the threefold repetition, but, as it turns out, does so not in the most suitable manner.



40...Qe7 41.Bf1?

Whereas the previous White’s move surrenders the e-file, now he misses a tactical blow entirely. 

Following the correct 41.Qd4 White should not experience any particular problems: 41...Qe2 42.Bg2 b6 43.Bf1 Qc2 44.Bd3 Qd1+ 45.Bf1 Qb1 46.Qd2 h5 47.Qc1 Qxc1 48.Bxc1 hxg4 49.Kh2=.

41...h5 42.Qg3 hxg4 43.Qxg4 Qe1 44.Bd4 Qc1 45.Qf3 b6

Although the menacing white pawn chain on the kingside has been reduced to nothing else but a bunch of weaknesses, the follow-up of the game defies any reasonable explanation...


This attempt to complicate the game ends up losing material. Good advice is beyond price for White in this position because in the case of 46.Qd3 c5 47.bxc5 bxc5 48.Be3 Nxe3 49.Qxe3 Qxe3 50.fxe3 a5 51.Kf2 Kf8 52.Ke1 Ke7 53.Kd2 Kd6 54.Kc3 Ke5 the resulting bishop ending is very likely to be hopeless for her.

46...Qxa3 47.h5 Kh7 48.h6 gxh6 49.Qe4 Nxe3 50.fxe3

The Black’s position is absolutely winning, but the real adventures are only about to start...


50...a5! 51.Qe7? Kg7 would have been a lot more accurate because 52.Bc4 fails to 52…Qc1+!

51.Bxa6 Qe1+

51...Qe5! 52.Qxc6 (52.Qxe5 fxe5, since the passed pawns on both flanks allow Black to prevail without any particular challenges) 52...Qxe3+ 53.Kg2 Qg5+ 54.Kh2 Qf4+ 55.Kg2 Qd4 seems enough to score a victory although definite technical difficulties are still to be overcome by Black.

52.Kh2 Qf2+ 53.Kh3 c5 54.bxc5 bxc5 55.Bc8!

This clever maneuver should have been enough to allow White to save the game.

55...Qf1+ 56.Kh2 Qe2+ 


57.Kg3! Qb2 (57...Qe1+ 58.Kh3 h5 59.Be6 h4 60.Qf3 Be8 61.Bd5=) 58.Be6 Qb6 59.Kh3! with sufficient counterplay.

57...Qd1+ 58.Kf2 Qd2+ 59.Kg1 Qc1+ 60.Kf2 Qb2+ 61.Kf1 Qa1+ 62.Kf2 Qb2+ 63.Kf1 Qe5 64.Qb7 Kg8 65.Be6 Bxe6 66.fxe6

The intermediate check fails to help White out – 66.Qa8+ Kg7 (66...Kf7 67.Qa7+ Kf8 68.fxe6 Qxe6 69.Qxc5+ promises reasonable chances to make a draw) 67.fxe6 Qxe6 68.Qa7+ Kg6! 69.Qxc5? Qf5+, and Black is winning. 

66...Qxe6 67.Qb8+ Kf7 68.Qb7+ Qe7

68...Kg6 69.Qg2+ Kh5 70.Qf3+ (70.Qh2+ Kg5 71.Qf4+ Kg6, etc.)70...Kg5 71.Qf4+ Kg6 72.Qg3+ Kf7 73.Qc7+ Qe7 74.Qf4 h5 with subsequent placement of the queen on е5 and sheltering the king from checks inside the White’s camp was a relatively easy winning plan.

69.Qd5+ Kf8 70.Ke2 Qe5 71.Qd8+ Kf7 72.Qd7+ Kg6 73.Qg4+ Kf7?

Black should have redeployed the queen to f5 – 73...Qg5 74.Qe4+ Qf5 75.Qg2+ Kh5, and White is running out of further checks.

74.Qd7+ Qe7 75.Qd5+ Kg7 76.Qg2+ Kh7 77.Qd5

Finding no other way to make some progress, Aleksandra makes up her mind to give away one of her pawns.

77...Qc7 78.Qf5+ Kg7 79.Qg4+ Kf8 80.Qh5 Qe5 81.Qxh6+ Ke8

Although the ending that has arisen on the board is likely to be drawish, the practical game (especially after having been over the board for more than 5 hours!) presents White up against a rather unpleasant task...



82...Kd7 83.Qd3+ Kc7 84.Qb5?! Qc3 85.Qa6 Qb2+ 86.Kf1 Qc1+ 87.Ke2 Qc2+ 88.Ke1 f5 89.Qa7+?

This self-suggesting check turns out to be a decisive mistake as the advance of the king forward must have been prevented at all costs.

89.Qb5! would have allowed to keep the position together. After 89...Kd6 White should have once again come up with the only move– 90.Qb7! Ke5 91.Qc6 (Now 91.Qa8 would have also been sufficient), and Black is forced to push the c-pawn forward: 91...c4 92.Qc5+ Ke4 93.Qd4+ Kf3 94.Qf4+ Kg2 95.Qf1+ with a draw.

89...Kc6 90.Qa8+ Kb5 91.Qb7+ Kc4 92.Qa6+ Kb3 93.Qb5+ Ka2 94.Qa5+ Kb2 95.Qb5+ Kc1 

Not only did Black find a shelter against checks, but have also activated his king, the fact which devoids any further resistance by Black of any chances for success.

96.Qa6 Qd2+ 97.Kf1 Qxe3 98.Qa1+ Kc2 99.Qa2+ Kc3 100.Qa5+ Kd4 101.Qb6 f4 102.Qa7


102...f3?? 103.Qxc5+ Kd3 104.Qxe3+ Kxe3 105.Ke1=.

103.Ke1 Qg3+ 104.Kf1 Qd3+ 105.Ke1 f3 106.Qa4+ Qc4 107.Qd1+ Ke4 108.Qb1+ Qd3 109.Qb2 Qe3+

109...f2+! 110.Qxf2 (or 110.Kxf2 Qd4+ 111.Qxd4+ Kxd4) 110...Qe3+ 111.Qe2 c4 (111...Qxe2+?? 112.Kxe2=) 112.Kf1 Qxe2+ 113.Kxe2 c3, winning.

110.Kf1 Qd4 111.Qb7+ Qd5 112.Qh7+ Kd4 113.Qg7+ Kc4 114.Qg4+ Kb3 115.Qc8 Qd3+ 116.Kf2 Qe2+ 117.Kg3 f2 118.Qxc5 f1Q 119.Qd5+ Qc4 120.Qb7+ Qb5 White resigns. 

Jakovenko – Artemiev
Round Nine

Both players featured «+1» at the moment and were likely pinning their hopes on being able to fight for medals. At some point of the game Dmitry Jakovenko failed to comprehend the necessity of starting to fight for a draw and allowed his younger opponent to develop an attack with a rather restricted amount of material remaining on the board.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Ne7 6.0–0 Nbc6 7.Nb3 g6 8.c4 Bg7 9.Nc3 0–0 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bg3 Ne5 13.Be2 N7g6

Black has handled the opening part of the game in a very original fashion and is now facing the conflict of being behind in development on the one hand in exchange for being able to take control over the dark squares on the kingside on the other hand. 


Quite interesting is 14.Qd6 Nf4 15.Bxf4 gxf4 16.Nd4 b6 (16...b5 17.cxb5 axb5 18.Ndxb5 Ba6 also deserves paying attention to as it produced the impression that Black is playing two openings at the same time: the Volga gambit on the queenside and something resembling the King’s Indian Defence on the kingside since the queen can plunge into g5, whereas the f8-rooks can be transferred to b8, should the need to do so arise) 17.Nf3 Nxf3+ 18.Bxf3 Bb7 19.Qxf4 Qg5 20.Qxg5 hxg5 21.Rfd1 Bc6 with an excellent compensation for the missing pawn.

14...b6 15.f3 Bb7 16.Bf2 Nf4 17.Na4

In the case of 17.Rfd1?! f5 18.exf5 Rxf5 the cluster of black pieces on the kingside starts to take really menacing dimensions. Thus, bad is 19.Qe3 (even after the strongest continuation 19.Ne4 Bxe4 20.fxe4 Rf7 White’s position inspires no particular optimism) 19...Nxg2 20.Kxg2 g4 21.Kf1 gxf3 22.Bd3 Rh5 23.Qxb6 Qg5, and Black is winning.


This continuation leads to equality in a forced way.

The consequences of the line 17...Bc6 18.Nxb6 Rb8 19.c5 Nxe2+ 20.Qxe2 Bb5 21.Qd2 Bxf1 22.Rxf1 are not altogether clear, although not entirely devoid of benefits for Black as the arising position is rather complicated to definitely forecast any of the three possible results which the game is likely to end up with.

The strongest continuation, perhaps, is 17...b5. Now 18.cxb5 d5 19.exd5 Bxd5 20.Nc3 axb5 21.Nxd5 Qxd5 22.Rfd1 Qxd2 23.Rxd2 Nc4 is losing, whereas 18.Nac5 Bc6 is also unconvincing. There remains 18.Nb6, but then 18...Rb8 19.Rfd1 Bxe4! 20.fxe4 Rxb6 21.c5 (21.Bxb6 Qxb6+ 22.c5 Qb7, and the edge clearly belongs to Black) 21...Rc6 22.Rac1 f5 23.Nd4 fxe4 24.Nxc6 Nxc6 with an obvious advantage for Black.

18.Qxe2 Nxc4 19.Qxc4 b5 20.Qb4 bxa4 21.Na5 Bc6 22.Nxc6 dxc6 23.Qxa4 Bxb2 24.Rab1 Be5 25.Qxc6 Qd2 26.Qc5 Bf6 27.Qa3 Rfd8 28.Qa4 Rac8

Despite the symmetrical structure of the position White is being far from complete equality as the black pieces display too much activity.

29.Rbd1 Qe2 30.Rxd8+?!

It appears that White should have continued molesting the black queen by 30.Rde1!? in order to force it out of the penultimate rank.

1) 30...Qc4 31.Qxc4 Rxc4 32.Re2 Rd3 33.Rb1, when despite the persisting problems the exchange of queens allows White to feel relieved to a great extent. 

2) From the practical point of view a lot more unpleasant for White is 30...Qc2 31.Qxa6 Rd2, although after 32.Kh1 Kg7 33.Qa7 Rc7 34.Qb6 it is not clear how Black is about to increase his pressure. At least according to the computer line 34...Rc6 35.Qa7 Be5 36.a3 Rc7 37.Qb6 Rc4 38.Qa7 Kg6 39.Rb1 the zugzwang would not be anywhere near.

30...Rxd8 31.Re1 Qb2 32.Qxa6?

32.Qb3! Rd2 33.Qxb2 Rxb2 34.a3 Be7 (34...Ra2 35.Bc5) would have allowed White to bail out thanks to the poor position of the rook on b2: 35.Rc1 Bxa3 36.Rc8+ Kh7 37.Bd4 Rb1+ 38.Kf2, and Black has to put up with the draw by the perpetual check in order not to suffer the worse fate after 38...Bb2 39.Rh8+ Kg6 40.Rg8+ Kh7 (the attempt to maintain the fight ends up badly after 40...Kh5 41.Kg3! f5 42.exf5 exf5 43.Rb8 or 41…Bxd4 42.Kh3 with the inevitable mate) 41.Rh8+, etc. 

32...Rd2 33.Bg3

Or 33.Rf1 Bd4.


This is even stronger than the mundane 33...Rxg2+ 34.Kh1 Rc2, which is also enough for a win.

34.Qc8+ Kg7 35.Qc1 Qd4+ 36.Kh1 h4 37.Bb8 Qf2 White resigns in view of 38.Rg1 h3. 

Tomashevsky – Bukavshin
Round Nine

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.Qc2 Nh5?!

This rather incomprehensible opening experiment of Ivan Bukavshin was confidently refuted by the future winner of the tournament. 

11.Be5 Rg8 12.h4 


The position arising at the end of a more or less forced line 12...g4 13.Nh2 g3 14.Bxh5 gxh2 15.0–0–0 looks quite menacing for Black as White has completed his development and is prepared to carry out the d4-d5 advance. In the case of 15...Nd7 16.Bxh2 Qxh4 17.Bg3 Qg5+ 18.Kb1 Nf6 19.Bf3 Black is still unable to castle: 19...0–0–0 (although the engine votes for the prophylactic 19...a6, defending the pawn against the d5 advance, Black’s position after the straightforward 20.e5 Nd5 21.Ne4 Qg7 22.Bh4 is unlikely to find any proponents) 20.e5 Nd5 21.Bh4, and White is winning. 

13.hxg5 hxg5 14.Bxf4 gxf4 15.d5 Nd7

15...cxd5? is unlikely to turn out good for Black.

1) Not so clear-cut is 16.0–0–0!? Nc6 17.exd5 Nb4 18.Qh7 Rg7 19.dxe6 Qxd1+ 20.Bxd1 Nd3+ 21.Kb1 Rxh7 22.Rxh7 0–0–0 23.Rxf7 b4 24.Nb5 Bc5, and Black’s position starts to feature some counterplay.

2) 16.exd5 Bxd5 17.0–0–0 Nc6 18.Nxd5 exd5 19.Rh5 Ne7 20.Rhxd5 Nxd5 21.Qe4+ Be7 22.Rxd5 Qc7 23.Ng5!

2-а) in this position 23...Rd8? permits a cascade of sacrifices: 24.Ne6! fxe6 25.Bh5+ Kf8 26.Rf5+ exf5 27.Qxf5+ Kg7 28.Qg6+ Kh8 29.Qh6#; 

2-b) more stubborn is 23...Rh8, where after 24.Re5 Rd8 25.Qxf4 Rd7 26.Qxf7+ Kd8 27.Ne6+ Kc8 28.Nxc7 Bg5+ 29.Rxg5 Rh1+ 30.Kc2 Rxf7 31.Nxb5 Rxf2 32.Nc3 everything ends up rather prosaically as the ending is absolutely winning for White.) 

Instead of 21...Be7, somewhat better is 21…Ne7, although even here after 22.Rxd8+ Rxd8 23.Qb7 Black is not the one to be envied. 

Whereas the previous moves have been played without a lot of contemplation, Tomashevsky plunged into deep thinking at this moment. 


This is obviously the strongest move as White is obliged to complete his development in any case. 

It is yet too early to define the situation in the center as after both 16.dxe6? fxe6 17.0–0–0 Qe7 or 16.dxc6? Bxc6 17.Nd4 Qb6 the edge starts to belong to Black.

16...Qb6 17.dxe6 fxe6 18.Nd4 Nc5

There are no worthy alternatives to the text, as the only reasonable attempt to complete the development is doomed to failure: 18...0–0–0 19.Nxe6 Re8 20.Qd2! Ne5 (20...Nc5 21.Nxc5 Bxc5 22.Qxf4 does not change the evaluation of the position) 21.Qxf4 Rxe6 22.Qf5 c5 23.Nd5, and White is winning.

19.Bh5+ Ke7 


Although this move is enough to retain advantage, it is not the strongest one. 

As Evgeny admitted later, he was aware of the decisive continuation 20.e5 Nd3+ 21.Rxd3 cxd3 22.Qxd3, but failed to believe that the position arising after 22...Rd8 23.Nf5+ exf5 24.Qxf5 Rg7 grants White the possibility of unhasty deploying his troops while being a whole rook down: 25.Ne4! c5 (it is not easy to comprehend at first what White is threatening to do, whereas the attempt to pass the move on to White such as 25...a6 26.Bg4 c5 27.Nd6 Rxd6 28.exd6+ Qxd6 29.Rd1 fails to help as White is winning already) 26.Nd6 Bd5 27.Rd1 Qc6 28.Bf3 Bxf3 29.gxf3 Qxf3 30.Qf6+ Kd7 31.Nxb5+ Qxd1+ 32.Kxd1, and White is winning.


20...Nd3+ loses to 21.Bxd3 Qxd4 22.Bxc4! (22.Bf1!? Qe5 23.Qd2 is also good) 22...Qxc4 23.Qd2 Rg7 24.Rh8 Rf7 25.e5! Ke8 26.Qd6 Re7 (26...b4? 27.Rxf8+ Rxf8 28.Qd7#) 27.Rdh1 f3 28.g3 Qg4 29.R1h7 Qg5+ 30.Kd1, threatening Nе4, whereas after 30...c5 31.Nxb5 Rc8 almost any move is winning because Black is nearly in zugzwang. The straightforward 32.Nc7+ Rcxc7 33.Rxf8+ Kxf8 34.Qd8+ Re8 35.Rh8+ Kg7 36.Qxg5+ Kxh8 37.Qh5+ is good enough to finish the game.

21.e5 Rg7

21...Nd3+!? 22.Bxd3 Rxd4 was worth giving a try, and although after the straightforward continuation 23.Be4 (interesting is 23.Bg6!?, and in the case of 23...Qc5? 24.Ne4 Qxe5 25.Rh5 White manages to have the black queen trapped in the center of the board in a rather sympathetic manner) 23...Qc5 24.Bf3 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Qxe5 26.Qd2 Qc7 White goes on retaining his dangerous initiative, the final outcome of the game is far from being decided.


22.Nf5+ exf5 23.Qxf5 Nd3+ 24.Bxd3 cxd3 25.Qf6+ Kd7 26.Rxd3+ Kc8 27.Rh8 was a winning continuation. The move in the game, however, releases a significant portion of advantage. 


This is quite a reasonable attempt to launch counterplay against the white king, which should have afforded Black with reasonable chances of making a draw.

The attempt to reduce the amount of material on the board via 22...Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Ke8 fails to bring any relief. After 24.Nd4! it is going to end up badly for Black – 24...f3 25.gxf3 Kf7 26.f4 Kg8 27.Nxe6! Nxe6 28.Ne4 with a decisive attack, e.g.: 28...Nd4 29.Bxc4+ bxc4 30.Qxc4+ Kh7 31.Ng5+ Kg6 (31...Rxg5 32.Qf7+!) 32.Qd3+ Nf5 33.Ne6! followed by Rg1.

23.Ne4 Rxd1+?!

23...b3! 24.axb3 Nxb3+ 25.Kb1 Qa6 26.Qxc4 (26.Qc3 c5 27.Nd6 Qa1+ 28.Kc2 Qa4 29.Bxc4 Be4+ 30.Nxe4 Nd2+ 31.b3 Qa2+ 32.Qb2 Qxb2+ 33.Kxb2 Nxe4, and the worst is over for Black) 26...Qxc4 27.Bxc4 c5! 28.Nd6 Bxf3 29.gxf3 Nd4 30.Nb7 Rc8 31.Nxc5 Rxc5 32.Rxd4 Rxe5 33.Rxf4 Rf7= was an excellent chance to bail out. 

24.Rxd1 c3

Now 24...b3 25.axb3 Nxb3+ 26.Kb1 Qa6 27.Qxc4 Qxc4 28.Bxc4 c5 29.Nf6! is too late as Black has no time to capture on f3 in view of the mate on d7: 29...Nd4 30.Nxd4 cxd4 31.Rxd4 Bd5 32.Bxd5 exd5 33.Nxd5+ Ke6 34.Nxf4+ Kxe5 35.Ra4 Bc5 36.g3, winning. 

25.Nd6 b3 26.axb3 


Although more stubborn is 26...Qxb3 27.Qxb3 Nxb3+ 28.Kc2 Nc5 29.b4 Ba6, White succeeds in winning this position also – 30.bxc5 Bxe2 31.Rb1 Bb5 32.Nxb5 cxb5 33.Rxb5 Rxg2 34.Nd4 Rxf2+ 35.Kxc3, and the c-pawn seals the fate of the game: 35...Rh2 (35...Bg7? 36.Rb7+ Kf8 37.Nxe6+ or 35...Bh6 36.Rb7+ Kd8 37.Nxe6+ Ke8 38.c6 Rf1 39.Rb8+ Ke7 40.Nc5) 36.c6 Rh3+ 37.Kc4 Rh1 38.Rb7+ Ke8 39.Rb8+ Ke7 40.Nc2!, winning. 

27.Kb1 cxb2 28.Bc4 Nc5 29.Nh4 Nd7 30.Ng6+ Kd8 31.Nxb7+ Kc7 32.Nd6

32.Rxd7+ Rxd7 33.Nxf8 Rf7 34.Nc5! is a spectacular line as the knights are untouchable.

32...Qa5 33.Ba2

This is the last component as White is not supposed to blunder the mate on а1! Further resistance is to be attributed to the time trouble and the reluctance to accept the inevitable.

33...Rxg6 34.Qxg6 Qxe5 35.Ne8+ Kb6 36.Qxe6 Qxe6 37.Bxe6 Nc5 38.Ba2 Black resigns. 

Lagno – Girya
Round Nine

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 e6 7.N1f3 Bd6 8.Qe2 h6 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 Qc7 11.0–0 b6 12.Qg4 Kf8 13.b3 Bb7 14.Bb2 Nf6 15.Qh3 Nd5 16.g3 c5 17.dxc5 Bxc5 18.Ne5 Nf6 19.Rae1 Rd8

Both players have used up a lot of time to reach this position, but surprisingly enough all this has been seen more than once already...


This step into the abyss has also happened before...

20.Qh4 Be7 21.Qf4 Bd6 22.Qh4 (White is only slightly better after 22.Ba3!?, e.g.: 22…Kg8 23.Bxd6 Rxd6 24.c4 Nh5 25.Qe3 Nf6 26.Rd1 g6 27.Be2 Kg7 28.Rxd6 Qxd6 29.Rd1) 22...Be7 23.Qa4 Ba8 24.Re2 Bc5 25.Bb5 h5 26.Bc6 h4 27.Bxa8 Rxa8 28.g4 h3 29.Rd1 Qb7 30.Qc6 Qxc6 31.Nxc6 Rh4 32.Rd3 Nxg4 33.b4 Bxf2+ 34.Rxf2 Nxf2 35.Kxf2 a6 36.Ne5 Kg8 37.c4 Rc8 38.Bd4 Re4 39.c5 bxc5 40.bxc5 f6 41.Nc4 Rg4 42.Nd6 Rc6 43.Kf3 Rg2 44.Rb3 Rxh2 45.Rb6 Rxa2 46.Rb1 a5 47.Kg3 h2 48.Nb5 e5 49.Na7 Rc7 50.Nb5 Rb7 51.c6 Rxb5, and White resigned, as in Hou Yifan – Ma Qun, Xinghua 2014.

20...Ba8! 21.Nxf7?!

21.Bh5 Nxh5 22.Qxh5 Qb7 23.Re4 Kg8 24.Rfe1 Rd2 25.Nd3 f5 26.Nf4 fxe4 27.Qe8+ Bf8 28.Ng6 e3 29.Qxf8+ Kh7 30.Qxh8+ Kxg6 31.f3 Rg2+ 32.Kh1 Re2 33.Rf1 Qxf3+, and White resigned, as in Sutovsky – Svidler, Novi Sad 2009; 21.Qh4 fxg6 22.Nxg6+ Kg8 23.Bxf6 Qc6 24.Re4 Qxe4 25.Qxe4 Bxe4 26.Bxd8 Bxg6 27.Rd1 Kh7, and White resigned, as in Simacek – Piorun, Wroclaw 2010.

Most stubborn is 21.Rd1 Ke7 22.Bh5, and the following tactical miracles start to take place: 22...Ne4 23.Qh4+ g5 24.Qg4 Rxd1 25.Qxd1 Rd8 26.Qf3 f5 27.Ng6+ Kd7 28.Be5 Nxf2 29.Qxa8 Ne4+ 30.Kg2 Rxa8 31.Bxc7 Kxc7, and Black still needs to conduct some technical work to convert his advantage.


After this move Black is simply winning a piece.


22.Re4 Nxe4 23.Nxd8 Ng5 24.Nxb7 Nxh3+ 25.Kg2 Ng5!–+ would have ended up equally poor for White.

22...Qxf7 23.Bxa8 Rxa8 24.Bxf6 Qxf6 25.Rxe6 Qf7 26.Qg2 Rd8 27.Qe4 Kg8 28.c3 Rd2 29.b4??

This is the last moment blunder. After 29.Re8+ Bf8 30.Rb8, White still features a definite amount of practical counterplay.

29...Rxf2 White resigns. 

Artemiev – Khismatullin
Round Ten

Denis Khismatullin has become a real hero of the second half of the tournament, and if not for disappointing defeats at the start, the most combatant member of the championship could have accumulated enough points to gain a medal.


37...Qf5! 38.Rxb7 Bxe3+ was winning immediately.

38.Rxb7 Qf5 39.Bb5 Qf2+ 40.Kh2 Bxe3 41.Qd1 Bf4+ 42.Kh1 Qg3

Black was winning easily in the following lengthy although not complicated line: 42...Qxb2 43.Rxd7 Rxd7 44.Bxd7 Qc3 45.Bb5 Qg3 46.Kg1 Be3+ 47.Kh1 d4 48.a5 (48.Qf3 Qe1+ 49.Qf1 Qxf1+ 50.Bxf1 e4 51.Bb5 Kf6 52.g3 Ke5 53.Kg2 d3–+) 48...Bf4 49.Kg1 Qh2+ 50.Kf2 Be3+ 51.Kf3 Qf4+ 52.Ke2 e4–+.

43.Qg1 Nc5 44.Rxf7+ Kxf7

Although Black’s position is still winning, the Khismatullin’s time trouble has come again into the play and Denis almost lets the victory slip away. 

45.a5 e4

45...Qa3 46.a6 Qxb2 would have been more accurate, e.g.: 

1) 47.a7 Qa3 48.a8Q Qxa8 49.Qxc5 Qa1+ 50.Qg1 Qxg1+ 51.Kxg1 e4 with a decisive advantage;

2) 47.Qxc5 Qb1+ 48.Qg1 Qxb5 49.Qa1 (or 49.a7 Qa5) 49...Qb3 50.a7 Qg3 51.Qg1 Qa3 or 51.Kg1 Qh2+ 52.Kf2 Bg3+ 53.Kf3 e4+ 54.Ke3 Bf4+ 55.Kd4 Be5+ 56.Kxd5 Bxa1 57.a8Q Qe5+, and Black is winning. 

46.Nd1 Ke6 47.a6 Bb8 48.Ne3 d4?

Computer precision was required already to win the game: 48...Nd3 49.Ng4 h5 50.a7 hxg4 51.axb8Q (51.a8Q Nf2+ 52.Qxf2 Qh2#) 51...Qxb8 52.Bxd3 exd3 53.Qe3+ Qe5 54.Qxd3 Qe4, and the queen ending is won for Black, although he will have to run back and forth across the board seeking shelter against all possible checks.


49.Bc4+!? Kd7 50.Ng4. Now White threatens to take the d4-pawn with a check, but in the case of 50...e3? 51.Qa1! e2 52.Bxe2 d3 53.a7 dxe2 54.Qg7+ Kc8 (54...Ke6? 55.Qxg6+ Kd7 56.Qf7+) 55.Qf8+ Kb7 56.axb8Q+ Qxb8 57.Qf3+ Kc8 58.Qxe2 the advantage is taken over by White. Therefore, 50...Qd6 51.Qa1 Ba7 52.Nxh6 is forced. Although Black retains his advantage, the straightforward victory is no longer readily available.


Insufficient is 49...Nd3 50.Bc4+! Ke7 51.Bxd3 Qxd3 52.Nb4 Qc4 53.Qxd4 Qxd4 54.Nc6+ Kd6 55.Nxd4 Kc5 56.Ne2 Kc4 57.Kg1 Kd3 58.Kf1 Kd2 59.g4=.

50.Nd4+ Kf6 51.Nc6 e3 


52.a7! Bxa7 53.Qf1+ Kg5 54.Bxd3 Nxd3 55.Qxd3, and White manages to salvage the game.

52...Ne4! 53.Qa1+ Kg5 54.Bxd3 Nf2+ 55.Kg1 Nxh3+ 56.Kh1 Nf2+ 57.Kg1 Nxd3

57...Ng4!? 58.Qc3 (58.a7 Qh2+ 59.Kf1 Qh1+ 60.Ke2 Qxg2+ 61.Ke1 Qf2+ 62.Kd1 Qd2#) 58...Qf2+ 59.Kh1 e2 60.Qa5+ (60.Bxe2 Qh4+! 61.Kg1 Qh2+ 62.Kf1 Qh1#) 60...Kh4 61.Bxe2 Qxe2 62.Qa1 Qe3 63.a7 Qg3 64.Kg1 Qh2+ 65.Kf1 Qh1+ 66.Ke2 Qxa1 was winning in a spectacular manner.

58.a7 e2 59.Qa5+

More stubborn is 59.a8Q, although after 59…e1Q+ 60.Qxe1 Qxe1+ 61.Kh2 Ne5 62.g3 Qe2+! 63.Kh3 (63.Qg2 Ng4+ 64.Kh3 Nf2+ 65.Kh2 Qh5+) 63...Qf1+ 64.Qg2 Qf5+ 65.g4 Nxg4 Black prevails nonetheless.

59...Kh4 60.a8 Qe1Q+ 61.Qxe1 Qxe1+ 62.Kh2 Ne5 63.g3+ Qxg3+ 64.Kh1 Ng4 White resigns.

Savina – Bodnaruk
Round Ten

Anastasia Bodnaruk has markedly stepped up the tempo towards the end of the tournament, whereas the failure of Alexandra Kosteniuk at the last round did allow Nastia to go even as far as taking the silver.


Black has obtained a very comfortable position with the hanging pawns, whereas the last move transmits an unambiguous message of starting to train her guns at the enemy’s king. 

16.Bb2 f4?! 

Although the last move, made according to the principle “Fortune favours the daring”, brought Black a swift victory, objectively speaking this pawn advance should have been delayed in favour of supplying the additional resources into the battlefield via 16...Rae8!?


In the case of the cold-blooded 17.Rae1! Rae8 (after 17...fxe3 18.Rxe3 it turns out that Black does not feature any real threats and crumbles down on the e4-square – 18...Rf4 19.Nd2 Bc5 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Rxe4 Rxe4 22.Nxe4 Bb6 23.Re1 and White has an edge) 18.exf4 Bxf4 19.Re2 (19.Bxe4 dxe4 20.Nd2 Bxh3 21.Nxe4 Qd7 would be not so clear) 19...Qf7 20.Rfe1, and now 20...Bxh3 does not work in view of 21.gxh3 Qg6+ 22.Kf1! Qh5 23.Ng1 Ng3+ 24.fxg3 Bxg3+ 25.Kg2 Bxe1 26.Rxe8 Qxe8 27.Nf3 Qe3 28.Nxe1 Qxe1 29.Bxh7+ Kh8 30.Bd3 c5 31.Bc1 and White’s chances are to be preferred.

17...dxe4 18.Nd2 Bxh3 


It was necessary to opt for the calm 19.Nxe4! Bxg2! (19...Bf5? 20.Qc4+ Rf7 21.Nxd6 Qxd6 22.exf4 Bd3 23.Rfd1 Bxc4 24.Rxd6 Bd5 25.Be5 would be in White’s favor) 20.Qc4+! (it is essential that the e6-square be taken under control because 20.Kxg2 f3+ 21.Kh3 Qe6+! is losing) 20...Kh8 21.Kxg2 f3+ 22.Kh3 Qd7+ 23.Kh4 Be7+ (23...Qe7+ 24.Kh3=) 24.Kg3, when no victory can be readily found for Black in this position any longer. The craziest of lines goes as follows: 24...Qf5 25.Qxc6 Rab8 (with the idea of Rb6) 26.Qh6 Rf6! 27.Nxf6! Bd6+! 28.Kh4 Rb4+ 29.e4 Rxe4+ 30.Nxe4 Qxe4+ 31.Kh5 Qf5+ 32.Qg5 Qh3+ with a draw.

19...Qg5+ 20.Kh1 Qf5 21.Qc4+ Rf7?

21...Kh8 22.Nxe4 Qxh3+ 23.Kg1 Rae8! (rather than 23...f3? 24.Bxg7+ Kxg7 25.Qd4+ Kg8 26.Qc4+) 24.Nxd6 Re6 was winning.

22.Nxe4 Re8

22...Qxh3+? 23.Kg1 Qg4+ (23...f3?? 24.Qxf7+) 24.Ng3 would be to White’s advantage.

23.Nxd6 Qxh3+ 24.Kg1 Qg4+

The game should have ended in a draw; however, Anastasia Savina detected a way to avoid the perpetual check, too much for her own good...

25.Kh2 Qh5+ 

25...Re6 26.Nxf7 Qh5+ 27.Kg2 Rg6+?? (27...Qg4+ with a draw) 28.Ng5+.


26.Kg1 Qg4+=.

26...f3+ 27.Kg3 Qg6+ 


It appears that White was still holding her position together after the only continuation 28.Kh4! Qxd6 29.Kh3! Qd7+ 30.Kh2 Re6 31.Bxg7!! Kxg7 (31...Rxg7 32.Rg1 Kh8 33.Qf4!) 32.Qd4+ Qxd4 33.Rg1+!! Kf8 34.exd4 with an approximately equal ending. All these moves are impossible to find over the board while in time trouble, however...

28...Qxd6+ 29.Kh3 Re6!

It is all over now.

30.Rad1 Rh6+ 31.Qh4 Rxh4+ 32.Kxh4 Qh2+ White resigns. 

Kovalevskaya – Kosteniuk
Round Eleven

A sad failure of Alexandra Kosteniuk, who was fighting for the gold medal since the start of the tournament, resulted in her losing the silver medal. Upon completion of the opening, which turned out unsuccessfully for Alexandra, she went on to outplay her opponent, while it is difficult to imagine that Black is at any risk of losing the position on the diagram.


25...Rd6 26.Rxe8+ Kxe8 27.Re1+ Kd8 was the easiest way in terms of reaching a draw with the resulting position being by no means inferior for Black. 25...Bxd3 26.Rxe8+ Rxe8 27.cxd3 Re6= was an alternative continuation.

26.Rxe6 fxe6 27.Bxg6 hxg6 28.g4! 


An attempt not to surrender the d-file is not going to help much as after 28...Rd5 29.h4 (29.f4) 29...Kf7 (29...g5 30.Kg2 Kf7 31.f4 gxh4 32.g5+–) 30.g5 White will gradually advance his king to g4 to be followed by h5.

29.g5 Rxc2 30.Rd1! Ke8

In the case of 30...Rxc3 31.Rd8+ Kf7 32.Kg2! Black would have stood very few chances of successful resistance as the white rook would have eliminated the entire penultimate rank of the black pawns.

31.Re1 Kf7 32.Rd1 Ke8 33.h4! Rxc3 34.h5 c4 35.hxg6 Rd3 36.Re1 c3

36...Rd6 37.Kg2 c3 38.g7 Kf7 39.g6+ Kg8 40.Rh1 fails to save either.

37.g7 Kf7 38.g6+ Kg8 39.Rxe6 Rd8 40.Re8+! Black resigns. 

Dubov – Motylev
Round Eleven

Alexander Motylev, who hasn’t won a single game, was very close to scoring a consolation goal in the last round.


Another attempt to open the game looks more promising – 23.g5 hxg5 24.Kg2; even after a simple move 23.Kg2 White features a small but stable edge.

23...exf4 24.gxf4 Nc5 25.Qf2?

Better was 25.g5 hxg5 26.fxg5 Nxe4 27.dxe4 Rxd1 28.Rxd1, and White is unlikely to lose in this position.

25...Nxa4! 26.Qxb6

26.bxa4? Qxf2 27.Rxf2 Rxe4 is losing.

26...Nxb6 27.c3 Bd6 28.Ra1 Ra8?!

A lot stronger is 28...Nd7 29.Rxa5 Nc5!, and now even the material-worshipping computer recommends taking 30.Rxc5 as the best continuation, whereas after 30... Bxc5 31.b4 Bb6 32.f5 Ra8 Black should convert his advantage without a lot of particular challenges.

29.g5 hxg5 30.fxg5 Nd7 31.g6 


31...fxg6! 32.Bxg6 Re2 would have afforded Black more chances for success, although the subsequent tight-rope walking of tactical nature is impossible to perform all by yourself: 33.Bf7+ Kh7 34.Ra4 Rh2+ 35.Kg1 b5 36.Rg4 (36.Re4 Nf6 37.Re6 Rxb2 38.Rxd6 Ra7 39.Be6 a4 would be to Black’s favor) 36...Ne5! 37.Kxh2 Nxg4+ 38.Kh3 Nh6 39.Be6 a4 40.Bd7 Ra6, but even in this case Black is far from being guaranteed a sure victory.


The subsequent moves were made under severe time pressure.

32...Be5 33.Bxe5 Rxe5 34.Rf5 Rxf5 35.Bxf5 c5 36.Kg2 b6 37.Kf3 Re8 38.Rd1 Rd8 39.Rg1 Rd4 40.gxf7+ Kxf7 41.Bg6+ Ke7

According to the engine, 41...Kf8 42.Rh1 Ng8!? was the last attempt to fight for a win, although now after 43.Rh8 Rd8 44.Kf4 Ke7 45.Ke5 Rd6 46.Be4 Nf6 47.Rc8 Nd7+ 48.Kf4 Rf6+ 49.Ke3 it is not at all clear how Black is supposed to achieve any progress.

42.Re1+ Kd8 43.Re6 Kc7 A draw was agreed, as after 44.Re7+ Rd7 45.Re6 it is not clear how Black can avoid the repetition of moves.