The Amateur Eye -Winning is Not EASY!

This game features a rare defeat by one of the USA’s great champions.  Alexander Shabalov since moving to America won a slew of American Powerhouse Tournaments.  But this year he met his match in Abhijeet Gupta, an India upstart in my literature.  The event was Iceland’s contribution to world tournaments in 2016, Reykjavik.

l. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  Nf6  4. d3  This idea is returning to a popular stance in opening theory which I partly attribute to the introduction of powerful automated machines called computer science digest.  It seems to have caught the eye of everyone from world champion Carlsen on down the lists of top rated players throughout the world chess body. Part of the reason for this is that the Ruy Lopez/Berlin Defense patterns have lost appeal because of the improvement in Berlin variation systems. I concur with black’s choice here which adds to his square count.

4. … Bc5 5. c3  A useful defense of the d4 square. White cannot win the e-pawn by 5. B:c6  d:c6  6. N:e5? Qd4!  Once again the f2 square proves costly.

5. … O-O  6. O-O  Re8  7. Bg5  h6  8. Bh4  White may have an alternative move by 8. Be3.

8. … Be7!  9. Nbd2  d6!  10. Re1?  He misses the trick that black has after this move.  Necessary was 10. Bg3!  Bd7  11. a4  Bf8  12. Re1 with normal type Ruy Lopez development.

10. … Bd7 11. a4?  This oft played sortie on the Q-side is here flawed.

11. … g5!!  12. Bg3  g4  13. Nh4  N:e4  Grabbing this center pawn can only benefit black forces.

14. d:e4  Perhaps white thought he was being clever by 14. R:e4  B:h4  15. R:g4+ B:g4  16. Q:g4+  Qg5!!  17. Q:h4  Q:d2  18. f4  Q:b2  19. Rf1  Q:c3  and black gets back with his Q in time to blunt any white king hunt.

14. … B:h4  15. B:h4  Q:h4  16. a5  a6  17. Bc4  Kg7 and black, a pawn up, won the game  after 33-moves. 0-1.  Gupta went on to finish in lst Place at 2016 Reykjavik.

This is another computerized opening system in my opinion. Czech star Sergei Movsesian bests Richard Rapport’s  Sicilian Defense.

l. e4  c5  2. Nf3  e6  3. d4  c:d4  4. N:d4  a6  5. Nc3  b5  6. Bd3  Qb6  7. Nf3  Qc7  8. O-O  Bb7  9. Re1  Bc5  10. Ng5  A novelty!   The computer designated 10. Qd2 as it’s own choice.

10. …d6  11. Qh5!  This sharp king-side sally by the Queen pressures black to think BEWARE!  Driving it away from h5 only weakens black’s pawn structure.

11. …g6  12. Qh3  Nd7 13. Be3  Ngf6  14. Rad1  B:e3  15. R:e3  b4.  16. Ne2  Ne5  17. Nd4 Qe7  Another game which shows black failing to castle, leaving the Rooks unconnected and White achieving central square attacks by the Knights.

18.  Be2  White’s aim is to reposition this Bishop to attack the central h1-a8 diagonal.

18. … h6  19. f4  Ned7  These defensive Knights are no match for their counterparts.

20. Ng:e6 f:e6  21. N:e6  Rc8  22. Bf3  Bc6  23. e5!  Sets in motion the beginning of the final breakthrough.

23. … d:e5  24. f:e5  Nh7  25. Ng7+!! Q:g7  26. Qe6+  Qe7  27. Q:g6+  Kd8  28. B:c6  White’s repositioning this Bishop now pays off big time.

28. … Nf8  29. Qe4  Kc7  30. Bb7  Qc5  31. … K:c8 32. Rd5  Qc7  Attackers dream of such power!

33. Q:b4  Resigns  1-0.  (annotations by Don, the kindred spirit.)

Kindred’s comments on the Sicilian Defense

The objective of this defense is to undermine white’s central pawn structure by exchanging l. e4  c5,  if the d-pawn is advanced to d4 such as 2. d4 c:d4 3. c3  d:c3 a rather interesting gambit line.  A more frequent line goes: 2. Nf3  followed by 3. d4  c:d4  4. N:d4.White secures a strong center aimed at quick development and attack in an open type position.  Black’s idea is to get a half-open c-file with numerous defensive formations to choose how the battle scene develops.  These two thoughts make the Sicilian Defense one of the oldest and oft played systems against white’s e-pawn advance.  White can avoid d4 altogether by adopting an Indian reverse type game developing the d2-d3 with a bishop-fianchetto via Nf3 >g3 > Bg2 set up.  But black must also be prepared for another gambit idea starting with 2. b4 c:b4 3. a3.  The gambit player often prepares at home his whole system of deployment that often catches the unwary into what is called “risk” adventures. I am reminded of what Grandmaster Larry Evans was known to say:  A pawn is a pawn, is a pawn!






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