M.Notkin. Gentlemen, make your mistakes!
M.Notkin. September best: Kramnik – Morozevich
M.Notkin. Sir G.Thomas Passion
M.Notkin. August Best: Alekseev – Wang Yue
M.Notkin. Best Games of August
M.Notkin. Black Misfortune
M.Notkin. Best in July: Tiviakov – Eljanov
M.Notkin. Best Games of July
M.Notkin. Knight's choice
M.Notkin. Best in June: Shirov – Ivanchuk
Maxim Notkin. Symptoms of Rook Madness
M.Notkin. May best: Morozevich – Ivanchuk
M.Notkin. April Window to Europe
Maxim Notkin. April best: NAJER – NEVEROV
Best Game 2006: Topalov - Aronian
M.Notkin. Best Games of April
M.Notkin. Best Games of March
M.Notkin. Long Trunks
M.Notkin. Who’s Afraid Of The Queens Exchange?
M.Notkin. The best game of February
Best game of January - Shirov-Radjabov
M.Notkin. The best game of January
M.Notkin. The best game of October
M.Notkin. The best game of September
The best games of December
14 best creative achievements of November
Peter Svidler and Andrey Belozerov become September’s laureates
The best game of July: Pelletier - Volokitin
The best game of August: Zvjaginsev – Zhang Pengxiang
M.Notkin. Unbearable Heaviness of Rook
Maxim Notkin. Treasures of the Island of Freedom
Topalov-Anand becomes the best game of the year!
Tigran Petrosian and Evgeny Bareev become the March laureates
Maxim Notkin. Spicy dessert
M.Notkin. Topalov-Aronian becomes the best game of January
Beyond comparison in December: Motylev – Bareev
Rublevsky-Mamedyarov becomes the best game of June
Maxim Notkin. Two February laureates
Game of the Month summary: Svidler-Kasimjanov is October's laureate
GAME OF THE MONTH - AUGUST. August special
GAME OF THE MONTH - SEPTEMBER. Ukrainian borscht with pampushkas
Game of the Month summary: Ivanchuk-Volkov wins in September!
The game A.Dreev – L.Dominguez becomes the March laureate!
The game Ponomariov-Kramnik is the best one in January!
The best games of January 2005
M/Notkin. The artists are not only grandees (part 1)
M.Notkin Best Games of April
M.Notkin. SUMMER TIME, AND ...
The game Topalov – Anand becomes May's Laureate
April’s Laureates Moiseenko – Svidler
February's best games
E.Sutovsky - V.Kramnik - the best game of July
M.Notkin. The artists are not only grandees (part 2)
M.Notkin. Beauty will save the world
M.Notkin. Drinking May tea
The game A. Grischuk - A. Dreev becomes February's laureate!

22.11.2005 GAME OF THE MONTH - AUGUST. August special

While we all can't wait for Argentinean masterpieces, which will appear in October, let us take a farewell glance at the summer beauties. We begin with a game that did not get a high spot in our rankings, but is quite rich in content and unusual in shape. Sergey Ivanov sings his praise: "A highly interesting novel idea in a very topical branch of Ivan Sokolov's system; White's powerful central strategy; ingenious maneuvers, resulted in white queen breaking on the h-file and mating the enemy king."

Aarhus, Young Masters tournament

1.d4 ¤f6 2.c4 g6 3.¤c3 Ґg7 4.e4 d6 5.¤f3 0-0 6.Ґe2 e5 7.0-0 ¤c6 8.d5 ¤e7 9.b4 ¤h5 10.¦e1 f5 11.¤g5 ¤f6 12.f3 ¤h5 13.c5 ¤f4 14.Ґc4 ўh8 15.g3. The question where to start a theoretical reference is similarly important to an annotator, as the problem of arranging the rooks after the opening is critical for a player. The position after 14...ўh8 occurred quite often, so we shall not go into this bush, even if one would be able to decorate the text by quoting Kramnik or Shirov. The names of Bareev and Radjabov are enough to stress that this is not some dead end, but a progressive direction of modern theory.

Their game in Wijk aan Zee 2003 continued as follows: 15.¦b1 a6 16.ўh1 h6 17.¤e6 ¤xe6 18.dxe6 ¤c6 19.b5 ¤d4 20.bxa6 bxa6 21.Ґa3, and Bareev, who played White, developed a serious initiative. Later Black used tactical ideas, associated with ¤e7xd5, and not without success. Masters of the white pieces are not always so cunning as the winner of the Russian Higher League 2005. Many strong players moved the knight on e6 without losing any time, others made the text-move.

15...h6. If further games prove that Korobov's idea is well-alive and winning, then Black will have to put his knight on h5 for the third time in 15 moves.

16.gxf4. Here it is – the novelty. The game Najer – Voitsekhovsky, St. Petersburg 2002, can be treated as a good example of traditional handling of this position. It ended in a draw after 16.¤e6 ¤xe6 17.dxe6 ¤c6 18.cxd6 cxd6 19.¤b5 Ґxe6 20.Ґxe6 Јb6+ 21.Ґe3 Јxb5 22.exf5 gxf5 23.a4 Јxb4 24.¦b1 Јa3 25.¦xb7 ¤d8 26.Ґc1 Јc5+ 27.Ґe3 Јa3 28.Ґc1 Јc5+ 29.Ґe3 Јa3.

16...exf4 17.e5!? hxg5. Even if Anton hadn't won this game, we would have to thank him for providing us with such a picture. And it will soon become even more colorful!

18.exd6 cxd6 19.Ґb2 Ґd7. A sound decision to complete the development. In case of 19...dxc5 20.bxc5 Јa5 21.Јb3 Јxc5+ 22.ўg2 Black loses material in view of the Ґa3 threat.

20.Јd2 ¤g8 21.b5!? White sacrifices a second pawn. Of course, there were alternatives, for instance, 21.¤e2, planning ¤d4-e6.

21...dxc5 22.d6 Ґd4+ 23.ўh1 ¤f6. Black could prevent the knight's lunge on d5 by 23...Јa5! White can reply to it with 24.Јg2!? with a funny idea: 24...Ґxc3 25.Јd2! (soon we shall see this pendulum maneuver in different circumstances), but, of course, Black is not obliged to take on c3. After the text-move, White should have carried out his initial plan, but the got distracted with a move active possibility. My calculations show that with perfect play Black can now obtain an advantage.


24...Јa5? One had to pay more attention to the most annoying pieces. After 24...Јb8 25.¤d5 Јxd6 26.Ґxd4 cxd4 27.Јxd4 Black has a treacherous blow: 27...Ґxb5!, and the endgame that results after 28.¤xf6 (28.Ґxb5 Јxd5) 28...Јxe7 (28...Јxd4?? 29.¦h7#) 29.¤d5+ (29.¤d7+ Јg7 30.Јxg7+ ўxg7 31.¤xf8? Ґxc4) 29...Јg7 30.Јxg7+ ўxg7 31.Ґxb5 ¦ac8 is in Black's favor.

25.¦ae1 a6. Black thought that his two-level defense on the kingside is unbreakable. This opinion was reasonable to some degree, but a wild white pawn corrected the picture. The queen made two feints first:

26.Јg2! g4 (there is no other defense against Јxg5) 27.Јd2! (now the f4-pawn hangs) 27...g5.

28.h4! This is a model position to study one of the basic elements of chess: a pawn capture. I have to admit that after a careful examination of options I got an irresistible wish to consider the move f4xg3 (en passant extended).

28...gxf3? This loses, as well as four other options: 1) 28...gxh4 29.Јxf4; 2) 28...gxh3 29.Јh2 g4 30.Јxf4; 3) 28...Ґe3 29.¦1xe3 fxe3 30.Јxe3 f4 31.Јe5 and 4) 28...Ґxb5 29.hxg5 Ґxc4 30.Јh2+ ўg8 31.Јh6 Ґf7 32.gxf6. One had to use the rook for defending purposes by 28...¦g8!, and don't be discouraged that it perishes at once: a new one appears on the same spot. I gave Fritz enough time to think in the position that arose after 29.Ґxg8 ¦xg8 30.hxg5 ¦xg5 31.Јxf4 ¦h5+ 32.ўg2. It showed at least three lines with the evaluation balancing around zero. I think this allows me to use a polished for decades cliché "with great complications" and proceed to the conclusion.

29.hxg5 f2.

30.ўg2!! An excellent finishing maneuver! A heavy piece inevitably enters the h-file, and black king perishes.

30...fxe1¤+ 31.Јxe1 f3+ 32.ўxf3 ¤h5. A study-like final emerges after 32...Ґe8 33.gxf6 Ґh5+ 34.ўf4 Јd8, and now, instead of 35.Јh4?? Јxd6+, there is 35.¤e4!! fxe4 36.Јh4 Јxd6+ 37.ўxe4, and white king is one of the most attentive witnesses of his black colleague's capitulation.

33.Јh4 (33.g6 wins too) 33...Ґe8 34.¦xe8! Black resigned.

Another representative of glorious young Ukrainian generation displayed a fine positional pawn sacrifice.
Ukraine-ch, Rovno

1.e4 e5 2.Ґc4 ¤f6 3.d3 d6 4.¤f3 Ґe7 5.0-0 0-0 6.¦e1 c6 7.a4 ¤bd7 8.¤c3 b6. A theoretical part of this game can be decorated by referring to the game Kharlov – Topalov, Tripoli 2004. After 8...¤c5 9.d4 exd4 10.¤xd4 a5 11.Ґf4 ¤g4 12.Ґe2 ¤f6 13.Ґf3 ¦e8 14.Јd2 g6 15.h3 ¤fd7 16.¦ad1 Ґf8 17.g4 Јb6 18.Ґg2 ¤e5 the situation started to resemble of a King's Indian defense. Then Veselin sacrificed a rook and added another evergreen masterpiece to overfull depositary of chess treasures.

9.¤e2 d5. Seeing that the opponent's setup looks more and more Spanish, Black decides that it is time to use Marshall counter-measures.

10.exd5 cxd5 11.Ґa2 Ґb4! In response to 11...Ґb7 Black apparently did not like 12.¤g3, and white knight has time to get to f5 while Black is busy defending on e5. The text-move denies white knight the c3-square. In case of 11...Ґd6 White could play 12.¤c3 Ґb7 13.Ґg5 d4 (after 13...h6 one also has to take into account 14.Ґxf6 ¤xf6 15.¤xe5, and White wins a pawn) 14.¤b5 Ґb8 15.¤a3 ¦e8 16.¤c4 Ґc7 17.Ґh4 planning Ґg3, and the pressure on e5 steadily increases.

12.c3 Ґd6 13.¤g3 g6 14.Ґg5 Јc7. More precise is 14...Ґb7, but it becomes clear only when one gets acquainted with further development of the game.

15.d4 e4.

16.¤e5! Ґxe5. Black has to part with a bishop, as 16...¤xe5? drops a pawn after 17.dxe5 Ґxe5 18.Ґxf6 Ґxf6 19.Ґxd5.

17.dxe5 Јxe5 18.f4! Јc7 19.¤f1. The d5-pawn could not be taken due to a check on c5. However, it will turn out soon that White's driving force is not greed but desire to make lofty blockading ideals of Nimzovich a reality. The knight goes to e3, and d4 is destined for the queen.

19...Ґb7. After 19...Јc5+ 20.¤e3 Ґb7 White can still establish a control over d4 with his pieces, playing 21.¦c1 followed by b2-b4.

20.Јd4 Јc5 21.¦ad1 ўg7 22.¤e3 h6 23.Ґh4. A tasteless regaining of a pawn by 23.Ґxf6+ ¤xf6 24.Јxc5 bxc5 25.¤xd5 ¦fd8 was hardly in White's plans.

23...Јxd4 24.¦xd4 ¦fe8? A mistake that allows White to harness the enemy knights. Black had to play 24...¤c5, and after both 25.¤xd5 ¤xd5 26.Ґxd5 Ґxd5 27.¦xd5 ¦fe8 (not 27...¤xa4 28.¦xe4 ¤xb2? 29.¦b4, and the horse is exhausted)  28.¦d4 f5, and 25.Ґxf6+ ўxf6 26.Ґxd5 Ґxd5 27.¤xd5+ ўg7 28.b4 ¤xa4 29.¦dxe4 ¦ad8 30.c4 ¤b2 a draw seems the most likely outcome.

25.b4! ¦ac8 26.c4! Like in Korobov's game, white pawns tell their weighty word at the crucial moment.

26...dxc4 27.Ґxc4 ¦c7?! An unnecessary move. It was better to play ¤f8 at once or to try 27...Ґc6, which could be met by 28.¦a1 with attacking prospects on both wings.

28.¦ed1 ¤f8 29.f5! (pressing Black's cavalry more and more) 29...¤h5?! The game would probably last longer after 29...g5 30.Ґg3 ¦cc8, although Black's situation there is critical as well. For example, the bishop transfer to c3 after a due preparation looks very strong.

30.Ґd8! ¦c8 (30...¦c6 31.Ґb5) 31.¦d6 g5. After 31...¦xc4 32.f6+ ўg8 33.¤xc4 e3 a spectacular draw appears with some effort from both sides – 34.Ґe7 e2 35.¦e1 ¤f4 36.¤e3 Ґxg2! 37.¤xg2 ¤h3+ 38.ўh1 ¤f2+, but if White does not care about aesthetics, he wins easily by 34.¦e1 e2 35.g3.

32.Ґb5 ¦e5 33.g4! Finally White gets material reward for a long play without a pawn.

33...¦xb5 34.axb5 ¤f4 35.Ґf6+ ўg8 36.¦d8. Black resigned.

Let us give the floor to the Azerbaijani youth. The following games were published in [Russian newspaper] Chess Week, but I also can use Vladimir Barsky's comments for Chess Today. Perhaps with efforts of the two speakers combined, we should be able to discover more brilliance. Although I have no intention to dig deep – I only want to enjoy Teimour's and Shakhriyar's play once more.

European team championship, Göteborg

The opening and the middlegame passed uneventfully, some sharpness began to arise around the 30th move, and it became really exciting by the time scramble.

37.¦1e3. There was another unobvious way of brining the rook into play: 37.¦1e5! Now 37...fxe5? loses: 38.Јxe5+ ўg8 39.Јg3+ ¦g7 40.Јxb8+ ўf7 41.¦b6, and in case of 37...ўg8 38.¦b6 ¦d8 (38...¦xb6 leads only to a perpetual: 39.¦xd5 Јxd5 40.Јxd5 ¦bb7 41.Јxc4 b3 42.Јc8+) 39.¦e3 b3 the f6-pawn appears unprotected, and it can and must be eaten – 40.¦xf6. However, the text-move is also not bad.

37...¦bf8 (bad is 37...b3? 38.¦g3+ ўh8 39.¦xf6 ¦g7 40.¦b6) 38.¦b6 b3 39.¦ee6. And again the rook could be sent to the 5th rank: 39.¦g3+ ўh8 40.¦g5 to take the d5-pawn is passing. If Black acts like in the game, White seems to manage consolidating: 40...Јc7 41.¦xd5 c3 42.¦c5 c2 43.Јc3 Јd8 44.ўh2 (the  b3-pawn is immune – 44.¦xb3? Јd1+ 45.ўh2 c1Ј 46.Јxc1 Јxb3)  44...Јd1 45.a6. There is no win in a side variation 40...Јe7 41.¦xd5 Јe1+ 42.ўh2 c3 43.¦d8 Јe5+ 44.Јxe5 fxe5 45.¦xf8+ ¦xf8 46.¦xb3 c2 47.¦c3 ¦xf2.

39...Јc7 40.Јg4+. The time for 40.¦ec6 has not come yet – Black can respond with 40...Јe5. We will see positions similar to one that arises after 40.a6 c3 41.¦ec6 c2 further in the game. One could play 40.Јxd5, and in case of 40...¦d8 41.Јf3 c3 White has saving 42.¦bc6.

40...ўh8 41.Јd4 c3! 42.¦ec6? A decisive mistake. It is time to provide a verbal hint in this mass of variations. White loses because he rejected capturing any of black pawns on numerous occasions. The preceding maneuvering could be considered a sensible defensive plan if White used black king's retreat to h8 by 42.¦xf6. After 42...Јc4!? 43.Јe5 (if 43.¦xf7+ Јxd4 44.¦xf8+ ўg7 45.¦d8 then Black has a nice win: 45...Јxb6! 46.axb6 c2) 43...¦xf6 44.¦xf6 ¦xf6 45.Јxf6+ ўg8 the king can hardly escape from checks.

42...c2! 43.¦xc7 ¦xc7 is clearly out of question, and on 43.Јc3 there is 43...d4. White's next move seems to drive the enemy queen away from the commanding height, but she manages to send her cheers to the c2-pawn over two heavy pieces' heads.

43.Јc5 ¦c8! 44.a6. A desperate attempt to prove the enemy that our pieces are heavier – 44.¦b8!? loses to 44...¦xb8 45.¦xc7 b2. And if White starts to prepare the same thrust by phlegmatic moves, Black just pushes his d-pawn forward – 44.g3 d4 45.ўh2 ўg7! 46.¦xc7 ¦cxc7 47.¦c6 ¦xc6 48.Јxc6 d3, winning.

44...b2!? More precise is 44...¦e7! 45.g4 b2 46.Јxc2 Јxb6 47.¦xc8+ ўg7 48.Јb1 Јxa6 49.¦b8 Јa1 50.¦xb2 ¦e1+, but playing such moves as 44...b2 is highly tempting.

45.Јxc2 Јxb6! If your kid asks you: "Daddy, what "strategic triumph" means?" – show his this fragment, and he'll understand.

46.¦xc8+ ўg7 47.Јb1 ¦e7 48.ўh2. 48.¦c2 is met by 48...¦e1+! 49.Јxe1 b1Ј, but here this move would be disastrous – 48...¦e1?? 49.Јxe1 b1Ј 50.Јxb1! Јxb1 51.a7. When annotators use the expression "it was not too late to spoil everything", they usually mean something like this, although if one really wanted to spoil everything, a move like 48...Јb7 fits this goal better.

Joking aside, Teimour makes his next move...

48...¦c7! (the king can be reached on h2 as well!) 49.¦xc7+ Јxc7+ 50.g3 Јc1 51.a7 Јxb1 52.a8Ј Јc2 53.Јa7+ ўg6 54.Јd4 b1Ј 55.Јg4+ ўh6. White resigned.

Abu Dhabi

1.c4 ¤f6 2.¤c3 g6 3.g3 Ґg7 4.Ґg2 0-0 5.d4 c5 6.d5 d6 7.¤f3 e6 8.dxe6 Ґxe6 9.¤g5 Ґxc4 10.Ґxb7 ¤bd7 11.Ґxa8 Јxa8 12.0-0 d5.

Regardless of the objective evaluation of this position (in my opinion, Black has a good compensation), one should not have meddled into this against Mamedyarov. Shakhriyar always looks for exchange sacrifices himself, so the right method to play against him consists in making it hard for him to give up his rook for your minor piece or, even better, to provoke a sacrifice on very unfavorable terms.

13.¦e1. Here they are today's youngsters! They have no respect to authorities. In his game with Cvitan, Doctor Hübner played 13.b3 Ґa6 14.a4 h6 15.¤h3 Јc6 16.¤b5 with really scientific thoughtfulness (Switzerland, 2000), but Sergey Grigoriants does not use the German's wisdom and follows Volod'ka Burmakin!

13...d4 14.b3 Ґa6 15.¤a4 ¦e8 16.Ґa3 Јd5 17.¤h3.

Looking at this diagram, once surely recalls another doctor.

17...Јf5. In the original game Burmakin - Yuferov (Cappelle la Grande 1998) Black stood winning in ten moves – 17...Ґh6 18.e4?! ¦xe4 19.¦xe4 ¤xe4 20.Ґc1 Ґb7 21.f3 ¤d2 22.Ґxd2 Ґxd2 23.Јxd2 Јxf3 24.¦f1 Јh1+ 25.ўf2 Јxh2+ 26.ўe1 Јxh3. Of course, White is not forced to part with the e-pawn – 18.Ґc1 is perfectly playable.

18.¤f4 g5 19.¤d3. Black himself forced the knight from h3 to the center, but got some attacking prospects in return. The fire concentrates on e2 and f2.

19...¤g4! 20.¦f1. Naïve 20.h3? is met by two-move 20...¤e3! 21.fxe3 Јxh3.

20...¤ge5 21.¤ab2 (21.¤axc5 ¤xc5 22.¤xc5 Ґxe2!) 21...Ґb7 22.f3. Alexey Kuzmin gives the line 22.¤xe5 ¤xe5 23.¤d3 Јh3 24.f3 ¤g4 25.¦f2 ¤xf2 26.¤xf2 Јe6 with advantage for Black.

22...g4 23.¤e1 (the f3-pawn must be supported) 23...gxf3 24.exf3.

24...Ґh6! Black pieces are light and mobile. And white pieces barely move and can't find any reasonable spots.

25.¤bd3 Ґe3+ 26.ўg2 ¦e6 27.Ґc1. Vladimir Barsky gives pleasant 27.¤xe5 ¤xe5 28.Ґc1 ¦h6 29.h4 ¦xh4! 30.gxh4 Јg4+ 31.ўh2 Јxh4+ 32.ўg2 Јg5+ 33.ўh2 ¤g4+! with the mate.

27...¦h6 28.h4 ¦g6. In this situation the rook should not be sacrificed, because White can avoid a deadly knight check from g4 by moving his king to h3, since the c8-h3 diagonal is locked. Shak coolly prepares the attack on f3 and g3.

29.Ґxe3 dxe3 30.¦g1 (30.¤c1 ¤xf3! 31.¤xf3 ¤e5).

30...¦d6! Suddenly the d-file turned out to be open, and the rook moves there with decisive effect.

31.g4 Јf6 32.Јe2 ¦xd3! White resigned in view of 33.¤xd3 Ґxf3+. The game entered the top ten in all lists.

Now it is time to give the floor to the wise and experienced. Impeccable technique was the main reason of Sergey Tiviakov's success, and Zoltan Almasi impressed with his excellent opening preparation.

European team championship, Göteborg

1.e4 c6 2.d3 d5 3.¤d2 Јc7 4.¤gf3 ¤d7 (Black's unusual third move is usually linked with developing the bishop on g4) 5.exd5. In Gausdal 1992, Tiviakov played 5.Ґe2 against Grotnes (of course, 5.g3 is also possible) 5...¤gf6 6.0-0 e5 7.c3 Ґd6 8.Јc2 0-0 9.¦e1 ¦e8 10.¤f1 Ґf8 11.Ґg5 b6 12.¤e3 g6, and the game visibly becomes similar to Efimenko – Brodsky. Let us quickly return to our game in order to avoid sophisticated reasoning about mysterious opening ways.

5...cxd5 6.d4 e6 7.Ґd3 ¤e7. In the game Hennings – Derikum (Germany 1991) Black got not the worst of isolani positions after 7...Ґd6 8.0-0 ¤gf6 9.¦e1 0-0 10.¤f1 e5 11.dxe5 ¤xe5 12.¤xe5 Ґxe5. White could prevent е6-е5 on the 10th move, placing his queen on е2 and subsequently establishing his knight on the outpost on e5.

8.0-0 g6 9.¦e1 Ґg7 10.¤f1 ¤c6 11.c3 0-0 12.Ґg5!

White got a stable opening advantage thanks to the c8-bishop miserable position. In order to free the bishop, Dreev creates an isolated pawn for himself.

12...e5 13.¤e3 ¤b6 (after 13...Јd6 14.dxe5 ¤dxe5 there is unpleasant 15.Ґe4) 14.dxe5 ¤xe5 15.Ґf4 ¤xf3+ 16.Јxf3 Јc6 17.¤c2! White pieces gradually sneak into their lawful places.

17...Ґd7 18.¤d4 Јc5 19.Јg3 ¦fe8. It is clear that after 19...Ґxd4 20.cxd4 Јxd4 21.¦ed1 followed by Ґe5 (it is probably more precise than 21.Ґe5 Јg4) dark squares can not be protected adequately.

20.Ґd6 Јc8. In case of 20...¦xe1+ 21.¦xe1 Јa5 White may offer the а2-pawn. After 22.Јf4 Јxa2 23.Ґa3! black queen is locked, and a freeing attempt 23...¤c4? leads to a collapse – 24.Ґb1 Јa1 25.¤b3. 23...¦e8? loses to 24.¦xe8+ Ґxe8 25.Јb8, and after 23...¦c8 24.h3 it is difficult to defend against ¦e7.

21.h4. In case of 21.¤b5 Ґxb5 22.Ґxb5 Black could play 22...¦e6. It seems that both players considered the position after 21...¤c4 22.Ґxc4 and Ґe5 being better for White, however, Alexey gets into greater trouble when trying to avoid it.


22.¤b5! The two knights have so different fates – white one dies with honor, and black one shamefully remains on the board almost till the end of the game.

22...Ґxb5. One has to accept the loss of a queen, as 22...¤xb2 23.¤c7 ¦xe1+ 24.¦xe1 ¦b8? 25.¤xd5 is just too bad.

23.Ґxb5 ¦xe1+ 24.¦xe1 ¤xb2 25.¦e8+ Јxe8 26.Ґxe8 ¦xe8 27.Ґc5 b6.Trying to regain a queen by 27...¦e1+ 28.ўh2 Ґe5?, Black would have to resign after 29.f4. Now the technical stage begins. Sergey improves his position in a textbook manner.

28.Ґd4 ¤c4 29.Јg5 ¤e5 30.h5 h6 31.Јe3 g5 32.f4 gxf4 33.Јxf4 ¦e6 34.Јf5 Ґf6 35.ўh2 Ґg7 36.a4 Ґf6 37.ўh3 Ґg7 38.g4 Ґf6.

39.g5!? One could keep playing on both wings by 39.Јf1, trying to stretch the opponent's defense, but the decision to complicate things in the time pressure turned out very successful.

39...hxg5 40.h6 g4+? White could face much more difficult task after 40...a6. Neither 41.h7+ ўg7 42.Ґxe5 Ґxe5 43.h8Ј+ ўxh8 44.Јxf7 ¦h6+ 45.ўg4 Ґxc3 46.ўxg5 Ґg7 47.Јxd5 a5, nor 41.ўg3 ўf8 42.h7 ўg7 43.Јxf6+ ¦xf6 44.Ґxe5 ўxh7 45.Ґxf6 ўg6 46.Ґd4 b5 47.a5 f5 lead to a win. White can either move his king looking for some zugzwang position (in order to avoid the check from h6 after capturing on f7 in the former variation), or turn to 42.Јf1, but he would have to sweat in any case. After the text-move everything runs smoothly.

41.ўg2 ўf8 42.h7 Ґg7 (42...ўg7 43.Ґxe5 Ґxe5 44.h8Ј+ ўxh8 45.Јxf7, winning the bishop after a check from е8 or h5) 43.Ґxe5 ¦xe5 44.Јd7 ¦e7 45.Јd8+ ¦e8 46.Јd6+ ¦e7.

47.Јh6! White queen worked well in this game, now it's time to sacrifice...

47...¦e2+ 48.ўf1 Ґxh6 49.h8Ј+. Black resigned. I don't remember exactly who said that a pawn is a soul of chess. Looking through these games, one gets the feeling that the buddy knew the subject...

And now, get ready for fanfare and drum-roll. Here is the laureate of this month, the most august game of 2005.

European team championship, Göteborg

1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 ¤f6 5.¤c3 a6 6.f3 e6 7.Ґe3 b5 8.g4 h6 9.Јd2 b4 10.¤a4 ¤bd7 11.0-0-0 ¤e5 12.b3 Ґd7 13.¤b2 d5 14.Ґf4 ¤xf3 15.¤xf3 ¤xe4 16.Јd4 f6.

The players reached a topical position that occurred in one of the most spectacular games of the year, Anand – Topalov. Vishy sacrificed a queen: 17.Ґd3 Ґc5 18.Ґxe4 Ґxd4, and after 19.Ґg6+ ўf8 20.¦xd4 a5 21.¦e1 Ґe8 22.¤h4 e5 23.¦d2 the players entertained the public for long, finally ending the game in a (forbidden by Danailov) draw. The move made by Almasi demonstrates that he is not inclined to act in eastern generous manner, however, soon it will become clear that Zoltan is also ready to part with some of his possessions on due occasion.

17.¦e1! Ґc5 18.Јd3. On 18.Јd1 Black would not play 18...¤f2? 19.Јxd5, but 18...Јa5!, attacking on a2 and sparing the threats ¤c3 and ¤f2 until better days, which are just about to come.


19.¤c4! Here is his point! Well, looks spectacular. Applaud – and look further, because the consequences of this move are not yet clear.

19...f5! After 19...¤f2 foppish 20.Јg6+? does not work, as after 20...ўf8 two of White's pieces are hanging, and Black also threats Ґe8, capturing the queen. But 20.Јf5! gives a significant advantage in all variations, for example: 20...¤xh1 21.Јxe6+ ўf8 22.¤d6 Јd7 23.Јxd5 ¦c8 24.¤h4 winning, or 20...dxc4 21.Јxc5 ¤xh1 22.Ґxc4 Ґxc4 23.Јxc4 0-0 24.Јxe6+ ўh8 25.¦xh1 with sufficient material advantage for a win, or, finally, 20...ўf8 21.¦xe6 ¤xh1 22.¤h4! with strong attack.

Developing 19...0-0 deserved attention: after 20.¦xe4 dxe4 21.Јxe4 Јd5 22.Јxd5 exd5 23.¤d6 Ґd7 a double-edged endgame emerges.

20.gxf5 exf5.

21.Ґc7! Admiring hum gets louder.

21...Ґxc4?! First of all I must note that 21...Јxc7 is bad. After 22.Јxd5 Јf4+ 23.¤cd2 black king gets stuck in the center, everything is pinned and the position quickly collapses. However, including an exchange on c4 does not help much.
21...Јf6 looks very tempting – "we'll see who is attacking!" The consequences of 22.Ґe5 Јe6 are unclear. In case of 22.¦xe4+ dxe4 23.Јd5 Black has at least the perpetual – 23...Јa1+ 24.ўd2 Јc3+ 25.ўc1. And yet, it seems White can claim an advantage by 22.¤fd2! After 22...dxc4 23.Јd5 Ґc6 24.Јxc5 he has a piece for two pawns, and tactical 23...Јa1+ 24.¤b1 Јxb1+?? 25.ўxb1 does not work, because the knight check from c3 will be banned by any regional category arbiter. If Black tries to carry out the same idea by 22...Јa1+ 23.¤b1 Ґe7, White will not yield to it (24.Јxd5?! Јxb1+ 25.ўxb1 ¤c3+ 26.ўb2 ¤xd5 27.¤d6+ ўf8 28.¤xf5 Ґf6+ 29.Ґe5 with approximately even ending), but just eliminate the enemy knight: 24.¦xe4! dxe4 25.Јd5. White's position here is better due to superior location of his queen.

Maybe the most attention-deserving move here is 21...Јd7. One can make up many variations, and I'll cite just one without any branches – 22.¤fe5 dxc4 23.bxc4 Јxc7 24.Јd5 ¦d8 25.Јe6+ Јe7 26.Јg6+ ўf8 27.Јxf5+ ўg8 28.¦xe4 Ґa4 29.¤g6 Јg5+ 30.Јxg5 hxg5 31.¤xh8 Ґc6 with equality. Further tests should reveal how far my superficial comments from reality are.

22.bxc4 Јxc7 23.Јxd5 Јf4+ 24.ўb2 Јxf3. Both 24...¦d8 25.Јxc5 Јxf3 26.Ґd3, and 24...¦c8 25.Ґh3! (not yet 25.¤e5 in view of 25...Јd2!) 25...Јxf3 26.Ґxf5 ўf8 27.¦xe4 lead to White's decisive advantage.

25.Јxa8+ ўe7. White collected an exchange, but his king is in danger – 26.Јxh8?? Јc3+.


26...ўf6? Correct is 26...ўf8, after which White not only has to prevent the queen check, but also to take control over the d4-square, as 27.Ґd3?? loses – 27...Ґd4+ 28.ўb1 (28.ўc1 Јf4+) 28...¤c3+. It is necessary to play 27.Јc8+ ўf7 (27...ўe7?? 28.Јxc5+) 28.Јd7+, but even here after 28...Ґe7! some precision is required. I shall cite two more variations, 29.Јd5+ ўg6 30.¦g1+ ўh7 31.Ґd3 Ґf6+ 32.ўb3, and 29...ўf6 30.Ґd3 ¦d8 31.¦hf1, and suppose that White will have to convert an extra exchange in the endgame, providing the best play of both sides. Now let us proceed to the shining finale, as it is within a stone's throw.

27.Јc6+ ўg5. It was still possible to return to f7, but then White would check from d5 instead of d7, as it is more advantageous for him.

28.h4+! In Christopher's defense I must say that all other White's moves just lose!

28...ўf4 (28...ўh5 29.Ґe2) 29.Јc7+ Ґd6 30.¦xe4+! ўxe4 (Black is a piece down after 30...Јxe4 31.Јxd6+ Јe5+ 32.Јxe5+ ўxe5) 31.Ґd3+ ўe3 (31...ўe5 32.¦e1+) 32.Јb6+ ўd2.

Black resigned after 33.Јxd6. It is a pity that Zoltan did not conclude the game with crushing 33.¦d1+! ўxd1 (33...Јxd1 34.Јf2+) 34.Јg1+ ўd2 35.Јc1#. We would love it even stronger.

This is it. My special sympathies for those who spotted that the move 28.h4 was decisive in both the first and the last games of this collection. First of all, you read it till the end, and, second, I like such trifling coincidences.

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