Kindred’s Special: Another Line in the Slav

This old saying, “There is more than one way to play this game.” is demonstrative rhetoric here.  Indeed, there is!  The Aix-les-Bains, 2011 just completed, saw some very exciting games.  Ivan Cheparinov found an interesting way to use his Bishop-pair, showing again the value of squares–ranks, files and diagonals with a powerful center thrown in almost eliminating one defense strategy seen in most chess games–that of effective counter strikes at the center.  I am amazed at the relevance of my square count theory which is so often seen in chessplay.

White:  Ivan Cheparinov   vs.  Black:  Samvel Ter Sahakyan   Opening:  Slav D43

1. d4  d5  2. c4  c6  3. Nc3  Nf6  4. Nf3  e6  5. Bg5  h6  6. Bh4 Differing from the 6. Bxf6 in my previous column on the Slav Gambit.

6. … dxc4  7. e4  g5  8. Bg3  b5  9. Be2  Bb7  10. O-O  Nbd7  11. Ne5  Bg7  12. Nxd7 This exchange is common in this type of position. The Knight exchange could be questionable from the point of view that you may say that White exchanges a Knight moved three times and letting Black develop his own Knight from b8 that had not moved as yet.  White’s logic is that, if left to advance the pressure on the dark squares by the Bishop, such an exchange is positive.

12. … Nxd7  13. Bd6  a6  14. a4!  This pawn strike at the black pawn structure shows White striving for complications with play on the whole board.

14. … b4  15. d5!  Much goes into understanding the nature of the opponent as well as play in the position. This adventureous advance is always a dangerous threat and the defender must always beware of the d-pawn when it can advance. In the past I have sometimes looked at the character makeup of the players. It seems to me that White might believe that Black is weak handling this complexity being directed into. This is another game where my earlier columns expressed a look at unusual piece sacrifices.  Compare.

15. … bxc3  16. dxe6  Ne5  17. Bh5  A pin can prove mightier than the sword!  Black seems to be hard pressed to find a decent defense.

17. … cxb2  18. Rb1  Bc8 19. exf7+!  Nxf7  20. e5! White aggressively pursues his attack by support of the Bishop outpost and block of the diagonal, limiting the scope of the Bishop on g7.  It reminds me of Alekhine’s genius in such positions.

20. … Bf8  21. Qf3 greatly increasing the scope of square count.  Do you see anything for Black to do here but await the axe to fall?  I don’t.

21. … Ra7  22. Qxc6+  Qd7  23. Qxc4 Qe6  24. Qc6+ Qd7  25. Qc3  These Queen moves have repositioned the Queen to ever greater threats against the black position.

25. … Bxd6  26. e6!  This double attack opens the diagonal and threat to both the enemy Queen and Rook on h8.  One might say the game is in the bag!  After playing here, 26… Qxe6 27. Qxh8+ Kd7 28. Qd4, Black resigned the struggle, probably joyful to close book on it.


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