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GM Korobov - GM Vitiugov Annotated by GM Naiditsch

User Rating: / 3
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 31 October 2013

By GM Arkadij Naiditsch, #1 German chess player, FIDE 2724

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After a great performance in the World Cup, where he beat Nakamura and only lost to Kramnik in the quarter finals, Korobov continues his rise to the chess elite. In a great attacking game he defeated the very solid Vitiugov, who just came 3rd at the Russian Championship.

Korobov,Anton (2716) - Vitiugov,Nikita (2729) [E21]

29th ECC Open 2013 Rhodes GRE (4.2), 23.10.2013

[Arkadij Naiditsch]

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1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+
Lately 3...Bb4 (the Bogolubov) became more popular and has been played by Vitiugov a lot. 4.Nc3 White decides to go back into the Nimzovich with a different move order. [4.Nbd2 00 5.a3 Be7 6.e4 d5 7.e5 Nfd7 is the other critical line, with a very unclear position.; 4.Bd2 Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 00 is also considered to be quite solid for Black.] 4...b6

[4...c5 5.g3 is the other main line.]
is the most fashionable move at the moment. [5.Bg5 was the main move for many years.]
5...Bb7 6.Bd3 Bxc3+
Black could of course have waited with this move by playing 00 first and take only on the next move. 7.bxc3 d6 8.00 00 This position is quite interesting. We can see that Black's pawn structure is better and his idea should be to try and close the center by playing e5c5 after which the white bishop pair would get weaker. White for his part should search for an open game.
9.Nd2! Very typical and strong. The white knight would become "stupid" on f3 after Black's Nbd7 followed by e5. Now White keeps the option of playing f4, putting even more pressure on the black center.
9...e5 10.e4
[After 10.f4 exf4 11.Rxf4 Re8 White's bishop on c1 would be slightly out of play, which makes the position quite unclear.]
Black wants to play exd4 and provokes White into playing Re1. after which the f4 idea is getting lost.
11.Re1 Nc6
Once again Black is hoping for White to not be careful and play d5, which would be a horrible positional mistake. White has to keep a flexible center.
12.Bb2 Na5 Maybe it was also possible for Black to play Ne7Ng6, but Vitiugov is targeting the c4 pawn. In many cases the Ba6 move could be unpleasant for White in the future.

A strange move. I think that 13.Qc2 looked much more logical.
A strong move! The black queen wants to take a nice position on a4 after which Black will be able to play Ba6 at any moment.
This is already a serious mistake. Of course White's idea is correct and the knight is going to g3f5, but Black is in time to protect everything and end up with a material advantage.
14...exd4! Of course! Why not to take a pawn if you can!?
15.Qc2 Nc6! Once again Vitiugov chooses the best move. Black needs his knight back in defence and to win the pawn back on d4 is still not possible.
[16.cxd4? of course didn't work as after 16...Nb4 Black is winning the e4 pawn: 17.Qc3 Nxd3 18.Qxd3 Bxe4] 16...dxc3 White already wanted to take on d4.
We are at the critical moment of the game now.
17...Qd8? A very passive move and maybe it is what Korobov was hoping for. Now White is getting great play. [17...Ne5! was the right solution and I have no idea what White wanted to do here... 18.f4 (18.Nf5 doesn't seem to work as after 18...Nxd3 19.Qxd3 Bxe4 20.Rxe4 Nxe4 Black is almost winning.) 18...Nxd3 19.Qxd3

19...Qe6 As I cannot imagine that White has enough compensation for the pawn I prefer Black's position here.]
18.f4! Preventing Ne5.
18...Nd7 19.Rad1
A solid move. [It might have been interesting to play 19.e5 dxe5 20.Bxh7+ Kh8 21.Be4 Followed by Rad1 and I think Black's position is very dangerous.]
[Black cannot play 19...Nc5 because of the killing 20.Nh5! and the g7 pawn cannot be protected.; Maybe the best chance for Black was to avoid Nh5 at any costs: 19...g6 followed by f6 and Nc5. Of course Black's position is very dangerous, but maybe the game is still unclear.]
We can see how well a strong pawn center is working with a bishop pair. Black is a pawn up but we have the feeling that White is at least a piece up.
Black doesn't have a choice. [After 20...f6 21.e5! Black's position is falling apart.]
21.Nf6+ Nxf6 22.Bxf6 Qd7
Black wants to play Qe6 next.
Of course! White's idea is to mate Black by playing Qd6Qh6 next. Bb2 followed by Qc3 is another idea.
In order to be able to play Kh7 after Qd2.

24.Rf1! Another very nice move by White. It looks like White should have something concrete, but maybe not. So Korobov decides to bring an extra piece into the attack. This is a great "positional" way of attacking the black king.
24...Qc6 Black is hoping to somehow get his queen into play.
Taking away more squares of the black queen. Black's position seems to be lost.
25...g5 26.h4 White continues what he started, to open Black's king position to the maximum.
Maybe Black wanted to play Ng8 followed by f6, but it is just too late...
27.hxg5 hxg5 28.Qd2
The most simple. The g5 pawn is falling.
28...f6 29.Bxf6 Qc5+ 30.Rf2 Kf7 31.Bxg5
It is already White who is a pawn up now.

A nice finishing move in a totally winning position.
32...Nc6 33.Bh5+ Kf8 34.Bf6
A great attacking game by Korobov, but if Vitiugov had played 17.. .
Ne5! maybe we would have seen the opposite result.


More annotated games, tactics & endgame puzzles, surprise section/study can be found in the weekly Chess Evolution bulletin.  25 pages total. Subscribe!

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Ivanchuk-Kramnik annotated by Chess Evolution GM Team
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