An interesting battle between GM Aleksandr Lenderman and GM Vassily Ivanchuk, played in the April 2015 World Team Championship, illustrates a good example of my square count theory; it also illustrates a rather unusual variant by today’s standards.
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 O-O 5. Nf3 d6 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O c6
Black might have tried for a Benoni-type defense. White adopts an opening series that dates back to the last century.
8. Qc2 Nbd7 9. Rd1 Qc7 10. d5!
White creates the central van prong that sets the pawn structure in the center and assures White a space plus. Now, as so often happens, an exchange can lead to diminishing returns. 10…a6 suggests itself now to guard b5.
10. … c:d5? 11. Nb5!
This sharp move tosses the Queen into a rather tight spot because had she gone to 11…Qc5, then 12. b4 Q:b4 13. Rb1 embarrasses the Queen and square count begins to add up in White’s favor.
11. … Qb8 12. c:d5 Nc5 13. Nd2 a5
Normally this would be a good defensive strategy because it stops b4 attacking the Knight. But he should be looking at developing his Bishop to d7. Like in the previous lesson of Dragon Queen, after retreating the Knight to d3, he can launch a pawn attack via b5 which nets him some square count points. Also, …Rc8 15. a4 a5 16. Nc4 N:a4 is worth examining. With the clock ticking, it is not so easy this game of chess.
14. Nc4 N/c5:e4 15. f3?
White misses his best chance, noting that he could have obtained an excellent position with 15. Be3 Bf5 16. g4 N:g4 17. B:g4 B:g4 18. Q:e4 f5 19. Qg2 B:d1 20. R:d1. Now things get messy with the e4-pawn gone; who is ahead?
15. …Bd7 16. a4 B:b5 17. a:b5 Nc5 18. Nb6 Ra7 19. Be3 Rd8 20. Ra3 Bf8 21. Rda1 Qc7 22. b4 Q:b6 23. b:a5 R:a5 24. R:a5 N:d5 25. Bf2 Bh6?
Although adding to square count, this is weak as it carries no threat or defensive point.
26. R/5a3 Nf4 27. Ra8 Kg7
27. …Bf8 was correct so d6 was guarded,
28. Bc4 R:a8 29. R:a8 Qc7 30. Kf1
The wrong way! Correct was 30. Kh1 Qd7 31. B:c5 d:c5 32. g3
30. …Qd7 31. Qd1 Nce6 32. g3 Nh3? 33. Bb6 Neg5 34. Bc5 Nf4 35. B:d6 Qh3ch 36. Ke1 Ng2ch 37. Ke2 Nf4ch 38. Ke1 Ng2ch 39. Ke2 Nf4ch 40. Kd2! Nfe6 41. Kc3 Qf5 42. h4! Black resigned (1-0).
China 15 / Ukraine 12 / Armenia 11 / Russia 10 / United States of America 10