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!
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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
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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!

04.05.2007 M.Notkin. HEAD-ON AND OFF THE CUSHION

In this review I'd like to draw your attention to four games; the first two of them are clear and straight like an arrow and the other two are rather flowery.

S.Rublevsky – Zhang Pengxiang


1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.Ґb5 e6 4.0-0 ¤ge7 5.¤c3 ¤d4. After 5...a6 6.Ґxc6 ¤xc6 7.d4 cxd4 8.¤xd4 there is the tabiya of the variation.

6.¤xd4 cxd4 7.¤e2.

7...¤c6. The inclusion 7...a6 would bring no harm and be useful as after 8.Ґa4 ¤c6 it is not advantageous for White to play 9.c3 immediately in view of 9...d3 10.¤f4 b5 11.Ґb3 ¤e5 (to estimate the ensuing position it is enough to notice that white bishops have no moves at all!), so he has to waste a tempo on 9.d3.

8.c3 Ґc5. Ceding the d4-square gives a comfortable plus to White.

9.b4 Ґb6 10.a4. The variation10.Ґb2 dxc3 11.dxc3 0-0 promises no advantage.

10...a6. In Bachmann – Valerga, Villa Martelli 2006 there followed 10...dxc3 11.dxc3 0-0, and after that 12.Ґf4 deserved attention. Anyway it would have been better for Black than the move made in the game. A characteristic for Rublevsky's style energetic variation with a tactical decoration reveals the drawbacks of belated а7-а6.

11.Ґxc6 dxc6 12.a5 Ґa7 13.cxd4 Ґxd4 14.¤xd4 Јxd4.

15.Јc2! Otherwise Black has a chance to finish his development successfully. Now, whether White accepts the sacrifice or not, he obtains an obvious advantage due to his domination over the dark-colored squares.

15...Јxa1. Black has a lot of different evils to choose from:

15...0-0 16.Ґb2 Јd8 17.e5 with the following transfer of the rook via а3 to the K-side;

15...Јxb4 16.¦a4 и 17.Ґa3 aiming at the king that has stuck in the center;

15...e5 16.Ґb2 Јd6 17.f4 exf4 18.Јc3 or 17.Јc3 with an idea of Јg3, and  White has a strong initiative.

16.Ґb2 Јxf1+.  16...Јa2 17.¦a1 does not change the matter.

17.ўxf1 0-0.

18.g4! Foreseeing the erection of a barrier along the dark-colored squares Sergey prepares his battering rams for a fight.

18...f6. Computer suggests 18...f5, on which there is a fine-looking reply 19.g5, planning the set-up Ґe5, d2-d4, f2-f4, blocking Black up on his half of the board and gradually preparing the attack on the K-side.

19.h4 e5 20.Јb3+. Depriving the bishop of the е6-square.

20...¦f7. In case of 20...ўh8 White carries out the same plan. I see no need to explain who profits from black king being posted on the same diagonal as white bishop.

21.g5 Ґd7 22.gxf6 gxf6 23.d4 exd4. It is worth it to try 23...¦e8. On self-suggesting 24.dxe5 fxe5 25.Ґxe5? Black hampers the f-pawn advance with 25...Ґg4! 26.Јg3 h5 and the chances become equal. Correct is 25.Јg3+ ¦g7 26.Јh2 ¦ge7 (26...Ґg4 27.Ґxe5 ¦f7 28.h5, and Black has no time to caulk up every hole) 27.h5, and after proper preparation the f2-f4 breakthrough decides the issue.

24.Ґxd4 ¦e8 25.f3 ўg7. More stubborn is 25...¦e6.

26.Јe3 h6. Having defended himself against Јg5+ Black at the same time created another weakness in his own camp.

27.Јf4 ўg6 28.ўf2 Ґe6 29.Ґe3 ¦h8 30.Јd6 Ґc8 31.f4 Ґg4.

32.h5+!? To take with another pawn is also very strong: 32.f5+ ўh7 33.Јf4 h5 (33...Ґh5 34.Јxh6+ ўg8 35.Јf4+-) 34.Јh6+ ўg8 35.Јg6+ ўf8 36.Ґc5+ ўe8 37.ўe3 with the following e4-e5 (but not immediately 37.e5?! because of 37...Ґxf5).

32...ўh7. After 32...Ґxh5 a hunt for the bishop begins; as a result of it black position is put completely out of commission: 33.f5+ ўh7 34.Јh2 Ґd1 35.Јg1!? Ґh5 36.Јh1 Ґg4 37.Јxh6+ ўg8 38.Јg6+ ¦g7 39.Јxf6 ¦h2+ 40.ўg1 ¦h5 41.Ґd4, and Black may as well resign.

33.f5 ¦g8 34.Ґd4 ¦e8. After 34...Ґxh5 35.Ґxf6 the passed pawn pair is unstoppable. If 34...¦gf8, then 35.e5 Ґxf5 (35...fxe5 36.Јg6+ ўh8 37.Ґxe5+) 36.e6. 

35.Ґxf6 ¦xe4.

36.Јd8 ¦xf6 37.Јxf6 Ґxh5 38.Јd6 Ґf7 39.Јc7 ўg7 40.Јxb7 ¦f4+ 41.ўe3 ¦xf5 42.Јxa6 ¦e5+ 43.ўd4 ¦b5 44.ўc3. Black resigned.


V.Gashimov – B.Lalic


1.e4 e5 2.¤f3 ¤f6 3.¤xe5 d6 4.¤f3 ¤xe4 5.d4 d5 6.Ґd3 ¤c6 7.0-0 Ґe7 8.¤c3. I can't say that man has never trod here, but in comparison with the main variations of the Petroff Defense this is a virgin land, a quiet haven, a sidetrack...

8...¤xc3. The alternative is 8...Ґf5.

9.bxc3 0-0. Black could have set his light-squared bishop up in the world as well – 9...Ґg4. But another fate was in store for it this day.

10.h3. The diagonal became significantly shorter. In the advanced chess gameAnand - Leko, Leon 2001 there followed 10.¦e1 Ґg4 11.Ґf4 Јd7 12.¦b1 ¦ab8 13.¦e3 ¦fe8 14.Јe2 Ґf8 15.¦e1 ¦xe3 16.Јxe3, and here Leko, being armed with computer, for some reason ceded a pawn – 16...Ґf5? (16...¦c8) 17.Ґxc7 Јxc7 18.Ґxf5.

10...h6.  InSakelsek – Ilincic, Budapest 2005 Black attempted to solve his opening problems with the maneuver 10...Ґf6 11.¦e1 ¤e7 12.¤e5 ¤f5. After 13.Јf3 ¤h4 14.Јg3 ¦e8 15.Ґf4 c6 (15...¤f5 also looks good) he had obtained a fairly good position, but in case of the inclusion13.Ґa3 ¦e8 14.Јf3 he would have to look for another idea as 14...¤h4 is refuted by15.Ґxh7+ ўxh7 16.Јh5+ ўg8 17.Јxf7+ ўh7 18.¤c6! ¦xe1+ 19.¦xe1 bxc6 20.Јh5+ ўg8 21.¦e8+ with a won position for White.

Varavin quickly obtained a powerful attack against I.Smirnov (Alushta 2001): 10...Ґe6 11.¦b1 ¦b8 12.¦e1 h6 13.¤h2 ¦e8 14.¦xe6! fxe6 15.Јg4 Ґg5 16.f4 Ґf6 17.Јg6, and soon black position crumbled.

Nielsen in his Internet blitz game against Najer (playchess.com 2004) played more accurately– 12...Јd7 13.Ґf4 a6 14.a4 ¦fe8 15.Јd2 Ґd6, and although he has lost in the end, this defensive method can probably be recommended all the same.

11.¦e1 Ґd6 12.¤e5. With an unpleasant positional threat Јh5. This is practically the only defense.

12...Јh4 13.¦b1 ¤xe5. In the light of what is to happen later 13...Ґxe5 14.dxe5 ¦e8 deserves attention.

14.dxe5 Ґc5 15.Јf3 b6. Now everything is very natural and logical, and along the 1st rank into the bargain. And still something is rotten in the state of Denmark...While analyzing this game, "Fritz" recollects itself but with a great delay.

16.Ґe3 Ґxe3. It was high time to suspect something wrong and to agree to deterioration 16...Ґe6 17.Ґxc5 bxc5. White would overtake the initiative by way of18.c4! c6 (18...dxc4 19.Ґe4 followed by Јa3, and every black Q-side pawn is in danger) 19.Јe3.

Here the capture on с4 does not promise the moon as well – 19...dxc4 20.Ґe4 Ґd5 21.Јxc5! ¦fd8 (21...Ґxe4 22.Јxc4 winning a pawn) 22.¦b7. Comparatively better is 19...d4 20.Јf3 ¦fc8 21.¦b7 Јg5. Black position is passive but still he is able to fight back.

17.¦xe3. From here and to the end of the game White, with the exception of a single move, will move only with his rooks!

17...Ґe6. The opponent's next move could have been hindered by17...c5,but Black should clearly realize that the pawn sacrifice is by no means temporary at that. After18.Јxd5 Ґe6 White retains his material advantage in different ways, for example, 19.Јf3 Ґxa2 20.¦a1 Ґe6 21.Јe4! Јxe4 22.Ґxe4. 

18.¦b4 Јe7 19.¦f4. White intends to extend the influence of his major pieces along the files, and I somehow fail to notice anything that can stand up against it. This is an approximate variation: 19...¦fd8 20.¦f6 gxf6 21.Јf4 ўf8 22.Јxh6+ ўe8 23.Ґb5+ ¦d7 24.exf6 Јf8 25.Јh7 followed by ¦xe6. From this we can draw a conclusion that stronger is 19...¦fc8 defending himself against a check from b5 in good time. Still it remains unclear where to move after 20.h4 (depriving the queen of the g5-square and intending to restructure his major pieces along the same lines as in the game). White forces are clearly superior on the K-side, and Black cannot hold his own without his rooks' assistance. But trying to escape with his king to the Q-side in the given structure is most likely a doomed undertaking.

19...c5? After this there is no escape for Black. It is not only his 19th move that is worth a question mark, but I am not exactly sure as to where else to put it. Let the readers, especially those ones who practice the Petroff Defense, do this for themselves.

20.¦f6! ¦fd8. Winning variations are simple and pleasant – 20...gxf6 21.Јg3+ ўh8 22.Јh4, or 20...d4 21.Јe4, or 20...c4 21.Јh5 cxd3 22.¦g3 g6 23.¦gxg6+ fxg6 24.¦xg6+ Јg7 25.Јxh6.

21.Јh5! ўf8. 21...gxf6 22.¦g3+ ўf8 23.Јxh6+ ўe8 24.Ґb5+ with a mate.

22.¦g3 c4. 22...Јc7 23.¦xg7 ўxg7 24.Јxh6+ ўg8 25.Ґh7+ ўh8 26.¦f4.

There follows a brilliant finale.

23.¦xg7! cxd3 24.¦g8+! ўxg8 25.¦xh6. Black resigned.

Let us turn to the games where the losing party was being hit from every direction. The following game is commented by Mikhail Golubev (ChessToday).

V.Epishin  - K.Movsziszian
La Laguna

1.d4 d6 2.¤f3 g6 3.c4 f5 This move means that instead of the King's Indian (3...Ґg7, 3...¤f6) Black wishes to play the Dutch Defense.

4.b4!? An extremely rare move, which Movsziszian nevertheless has already faced for a third time. The most common continuation is 4.¤c3 ¤f6 5.g3 Ґg7 6.Ґg2 0-0 7.0-0 with a normal Leningrad Dutch.

4...Ґg7 5.Ґb2 ¤f6 In the game Peralta-Movsziszian, Binissalem 2004 Ґlack opted for 5...¤h6!? 6.e3 0-0 7.Јb3 (7.Ґe2!? ¤f7 8.0-0 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.¤bd2 Ґe6 11.c5 Јe7 was Eljanov-M.Gurevich, Khanty Mansiysk 2005 and here White could develop the initiative with 12.Ґc4 ¦d8 13.Јb3 Ґxc4 14.¤xc4 according to M.Gurevich) 7...a5 8.b5 a4 9.Јc2 e6 10.Ґe2 ¤d7 11.0-0 g5 12.¤bd2 b6 13.¦ad1 Јe7 14.Ґa3 Ґb7 15.¦c1 g4 16.¤e1 f4 with unclear play

6.e3 Another game between the same opponents, Peralta-Movsziszian, Calvia open 2005, continued 6.g3 0-0 7.Ґg2 c6 8.0-0 ўh8 9.¤bd2 Ґe6 10.a4 ¤bd7 11.b5 Ґg8 12.¤e1 Јc7 13.¦c1 e5 14.c5 e4 15.cxd6 Јxd6 16.bxc6 bxc6 which also led to complicated position

6...0-0 7.Ґe2 e6!? 8.¤c3 Јe7 9.0-0 ¤c6.

Now the idea of Black's setup is clear: he is ready to transfer his c6 knight to f7.

10.Јb3¤ A novelty. The only preceding game was not especially impressive: 10.b5 ¤d8 11.a4 ¤f7 12.a5 g5 13.Јb3 g4 14.¤d2 e5 (14...¤g5!?) 15.¦fe1 Ґe6 16.¤d5 Јd7?? 17.¤xf6+ Ґxf6 18.d5 and White won in Franke-Wesseln, Germany 1998.

10...¤d8 11.a4 ¤f7 12.a5 g5 13.c5 g4 14.cxd6 cxd6 15.¤e1 ¤g5 16.¤d3 ўh8 17.¦fc1 Ґd7 18.b5 ¦ac8 19.Ґa3 ¤fe4.

On the previous moves each of the opponents slowly developed his own play, but now a more concrete struggle begins.

20.¤e5? A careless move, which allows Black to execute a nice combination. 20.¤xe4! would have diminished Black's attacking potential. Then, after 20...fxe4 (maybe better is 20...¤xe4 after which Epishin's 21.¤e5 is already a good move) 21.¤f4 seem to give White the better prospects: in some lines his knight would go to h5. (Instead, 21.¤e5 may lead to a draw in the line 21...¤f3+ 22.gxf3 gxf3 23.¤xd7 Јg5+ 24.ўf1 fxe2+ 25.ўxe2 Јg4+ 26.ўf1 ¦xf2+ 27.ўxf2 Јf3+ 28.ўe1 Јh1+ where Black gives a perpetual check.)

20...¤h3+! White's reply is forced: he must capture the knight.

21.gxh3 ¦xc3! 22.¦xc3 Again, this seems to be forced. 

22...Ґxe5! Should Black's attack succeed? The game itself and some analysis give a positive answer. Funnily, in a similar position, but with the white pawn on a4 instead of a5 the picture could have been different.

23.dxe5 Any alternatives to this natural capture hardly would have helped White much. After 23.¦c2!? very strong is 23...Јg5! (rather than 23...gxh3?! 24.Ґf3!) 24.ўf1 Ґxh2 with a terrific attack; 23.hxg4? loses immediately to 23...Ґxh2+!

23...gxh3 24.Јb2? More stubborn, but still insufficient, would have been 24.¦a2 Јg7+ 25.ўf1 Јg2+ 26.ўe1 Јxf2+ (possibly, 26...Јxh2!? can be even stronger) 27.ўd1 ¦g8 28.¦c1 where after 28...d5!?µ White, despite being a rook up, basically does not have any useful moves. The desperate 29.Ґg4 should lose after the approximate continuation 29...Јf1+ 30.ўc2 ¦c8+ 31.ўb1 ¦xc1+ 32.Ґxc1 fxg4 33.b6 a6 34.¦c2 Јb5 35.Јxb5 Ґxb5 36.¦c8+ ўg7 37.¦c7+ ўg6 38.¦xb7 g3 39.¦c7 gxh2 40.b7 h1Ј 41.b8Ј ¤g5! 42.Јg8+ ўh5 43.¦xh7+ ўg4!

24...Јg7+ 25.ўf1 Јg2+ [25...¦g8 was also good enough.]

26.ўe1 Јg1+ 27.Ґf1 Here White would have been happy, having his pawn on a4, but...

27...Ґxb5! The final blow, which decides the game immediately.

28.ўd1 [28.Јxb5 Јxf2+ 29.ўd1 Јd2#] 28...Јxf1+ 29.ўc2 Ґa4+! White resigned.

R.Ponomariov – I.Sokolov


1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 b5 4.a4 c6 5.axb5. In the second game of the match Fritz – Kramnik the variation 5.¤c3 b4 6.¤a2 ¤f6 7.e5 ¤d5 8.Ґxc4 e6 9.¤f3 a5 10.Ґg5 Јb6 and so on had been tested with good play for Black up to finale that was spread all over the world mass media.

5...cxb5 6.¤c3.

6...Ґd7. A generally sound idea of posting the light-colored bishop on the long diagonal after 6...Јd7 is in all probability dubious as Black seriously lags in development. 7.b3 promises White the brighter future.

7.¤f3 e6 8.Ґe2 ¤f6 9.0-0 Ґe7. To take the second pawn 9...b4 10.¤a4 ¤xe4 is riskybecause of 11.d5!? or11.Ґxc4, and if 11...Ґc6, then12.¤e5.

10.d5 exd5. In Yermolinsky – Zaltsman, St.Martin 1993 White achieved an obvious advantage after10...b4 11.d6! Ґf8 (equally bad is 11...bxc3 12.dxe7 Јxe7 13.bxc3, and the bishop gets to a3) 12.e5! bxc3 13.exf6.

11.exd5. Frequently occurring in such positions11.e5 is not very promising: 11...¤e4 12.¤xd5 (12.Јxd5 ¤xc3 13.bxc3 Ґc6) 12...Ґc6 13.¤xe7 Јxe7, and on14.¤d4 there may follow 14...Јxe5.

11...Јb6? Black should have played 11...Ґb4!? with a possible continuation12.Ґg5 h6 13.Ґh4 0-0 (14.¤e4 g5!).

12.Ґf4? A favor in return. In case of 12.Ґe3! Black faces serious troubles, for example, 12...Ґc5 (12...Јb7 13.d6 Ґd8 14.¤d4; 12...Јd6 13.¤d4) 13.Ґxc5 Јxc5 14.Јd4! Јxd4 (14...Јd6 15.Јe3+ Јe7 16.¤e5, and castling leads to the loss of a pawn after17.¤xc4) 15.¤xd4, and the reluctance to part with a pawn ends up in a technically lost position after 15...b4 16.¤a2 ¤xd5 17.Ґf3 Ґe6 18.¤xb4 ¤xb4 19.Ґxa8.

12...Ґc5. The continuations 12...0-0 13.d6 Ґd8 14.¤e5 and12...Ґd6 13.Ґg5 do not look as attractive as the move in the game, but now Ruslan carries out a most unexpected piece sacrifice. 

13.Ґxc4! bxc4 14.Јe2+ ўf8. The continuations 14...Ґe7 15.¦fe1 (where White wins back a piece) and 14...ўd8 15.¤e5 cannot cast doubt on White's idea.

15.¤e5. White is down a bishop, but all his pieces are active and excellently coordinated, while Black still have a lot to develop (running ahead I can remark that he never managed to finish the process of mobilizing his forces).

15...Ґf5?! After 15...¤a6?! 16.¤xc4 Јb7 17.Ґd6+ ўg8 18.¦xa6 Јxa6 19.Ґxc5 Ґb5 20.b3 there is already an approximate material equality on the board, and with the dangerous passed d-pawn at that. A crucial continuation is, in all probability,15...a5, liberating the Q-side. White can choose from16.¤xc4, 16.¦fd1 and16.¦fe1. The play is not forced, Black has a material advantage, but his h8-rook still has to wait long for being released from its prison by its own king. Thus it is extremely difficult to give an unequivocal estimate of this position.

16.¤a4 Јb5.

17.¤xc5. After the exchange of queens Black faces difficult problems – 17.Јxc4 Јxc4 18.¤xc4. The c5-bishop hangs, and there is a threat of ¤ab6. Position can be held, precise playsupposed– 18...¤xd5 (18...Ґd4 19.¤ab6; 18...¤bd7 19.¤xc5 ¤xc5 20.Ґd6+; the move 18...Ґd3 19.¦fc1 changes practically nothing) 19.Ґxb8 (19.¤xc5 ¤xf4 20.¤b6 axb6 21.¦xa8 ўe7 is not dangerous for Black), and after 19...Ґe7 or19...¦xb8 20.¤xc5 ¦b5 White has only an insignificant advantage.

17...Јxc5 18.¤xc4 Јd4. Losing at once is 18...Јxd5? 19.¦fd1. In case of 18...ўg8 White can pay attention to the cornered a8-rookagain – 19.Ґe3 Јb5 (preventing 20.¤b6) 20.¦a5 Јb7 21.¦fa1 h6 (development still has to wait – 21...¤bd7? 22.¤d6) 22.Ґd4. Despite White's noticeable pressure Sokolov should have preferred this continuation,I guess.

19.Ґe5! In the variation19.Ґd6+ ўg8 20.¦fd1 Јe4! 21.Јxe4 ¤xe4 22.¤b6 ¤xd6 23.¤xa8 a6 24.¤c7 Ґc8 the black minor pieces are hard to get.

19...Ґd3. And here Black gets a cheerless position after transposing into ending – 19...Јd3 20.Ґd6+ ўg8 21.Јxd3 Ґxd3 22.¤b6 Ґxf1 23.ўxf1.

A picturesque sight! A chess composer's practiced eye will probably see something of a shape-problem in this central grouping.

20.Јd2! Јxd5. From the following variations it is obvious that the knight cannot be grabbed – 20...Јxc4 21.¦fc1 Јg4 (if Black does not exercise control over the c8-square, then after 21...Јxd5 22.¦c8+ ўe7 23.¦xh8 Јxe5 24.Јxd3 White feels quite at home at his rear) 22.h3! (making the queen occupy the square meant for the knight; less strong is 22.Јxd3 ¤bd7) 22...Јd7 (on 22...Јf5 there follows 23.Јb4+ ўg8 24.¦xa7!) 23.Јxd3, and Black never manages to move half of his army from the last rank (23...¤xd5 24.Ґd6+! Јxd6 25.¦c8+ ўe7 26.¦xh8 is losing).

21.¦fd1. White could have benefited by simplifying the position – 21.Ґxf6 gxf6 (21...Јxc4 22.¦fc1+-; 21...Ґxc4 22.Јb4+ ўg8 23.¦fd1 ¤c6 24.Јc3+-) 22.¤e3 Јe4 23.¦fd1, giving a piece back and obtaining a clear-cut advantage in the endgame, as 23...Ґb5? won't work- 24.Јd6+ Јe7 (24...ўg7 25.¦d4) 25.Јf4 with a decisive attack on the king. But Ponomariov, famous for his brilliant technique, makes the game still more complex instead!

21...Јxc4 [21...Ґxc4? 22.Јb4+] 22.¦ac1 Јa6. The best defense is 22...Јe6! On 23.Јxd3 Black replies with 23...¤bd7! Tempting is 23.Јb4+, but here Black once again manages to benefit by getting rid of the deadweight (let's remember that in the position after 21st move he has two extra knights!) – 23...ўg8 24.Јb7 (if 24.Ґxb8, then 24...Јe8! with won position for Black) 24...h6! 25.Јxa8 Јxe5 26.¦xd3 ўh7.

White should play 23.Ґxf6, as he has done in the game. Now in case of 23...¤d7 24.Ґc3 he wins back a second piece as well, as on 24...Ґf5 (24...Ґb5 25.Јg5) there follows 25.¦e1 and then, depending on where the queen has retreated, Јd5 or Јg5, for example, 25...Јg6?! 26.Јd5 ¦b8 27.Ґe5 ¤xe5? 28.Јxe5 with a win.

After 23...gxf6? 24.Јh6+ ўe7 25.¦xd3 White wins back a knight at the very least, obtaining an obvious advantage in a major piece ending.

It is high time to get developed – 23...¤c6! Then 24.Ґc3!, and even after 24...Ґe4 25.f3 Ґf5 26.Јf4 white initiative will be converted into something material. But what to do after 24...¦d8?

Here White executes a paradoxical doublet (or an in-off – let the experts correct me) 25.Ґa5!, and any rook's retreat leads to white advantage. The variations are just plain fabulous, for instance, 25...¦d7 26.¦e1 Јd5 27.Јb4+!! ¦d6 28.¦xc6!+-. Still with the help of 25...¤xa5 26.Јxa5 Јd7 27.¦c3 g6 Black manages to keep an equality.

23.Ґxf6 ¤d7. Suspicious is 23...gxf6 24.Јh6+ ўe7 25.¦e1+ Ґe2 26.¦c2 with a strong attack.

24.Ґc3! Ґb5. If 24...Ґf5, then 25.Јd5 with a double attack on the rook and the bishop. After 23...¤c6 24.Јxd3 (unclear is 24.Ґc3!? Ґg6 25.Јd6+ ўg8) 24...Јxd3 25.¦xd3 gxf6 26.¦xc6 there is a rook ending which is better for White, but Black should have suffered exactly this continuation.

25.Јg5. The charge does not abate. On 25...f6 the outcome is decided by 26.Јd5! with a threat of taking the rook and checking from b4.

25...¤f6 26.Јc5+ ўg8 27.Ґxf6. This capture re-establishes the material equality as both 27...Јxf6 28.Јc8+ and 27...gxf6 28.¦c3 lose.

27...h6 28.Ґc3 ¦e8. Alas, but 28...ўh7 29.Јf5+ is impossible.

29.¦d6 Јb7 30.Јf5.

Now after 30...a6 31.Јg4 ¦h7 32.¦cd1 or 32.h4 both parties could have been satisfied: White  – because the h7-rook permits to estimate the position as better for him unequivocally, and Black because he still keeps on playing after his ordeal. There is no slightest doubt that Ivan has been troubled for time at this moment. His mistake ends this wonderful game prematurely.

30...Јe7? 31.Јxb5. Black resigned.

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