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GM Bacrot - GM Ivanchuk annotated by GM Balogh

User Rating: / 2
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 14 November 2013
By GM Csaba Balogh, Hungary, FIDE 2630

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We are in the knock out part of the Cap'd Agde rapid tournament. Etienne Bacrot convincingly eliminated the 1st seed Ivanchuk with 20.

Bacrot,Etienne (2730) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2733) [D15]
2nd Karpov Trophy KO Cap d'Agde FRA (1.1), 01.11.2013
[Balogh Csaba]

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1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 It was considered to be kind of impossible to guess what Ivanchuk was going to play, but lately he plays the Slav with a6 in all his games against 1.d4.
4...a6 5.e3 b5 6.b3

6...Bf5 A relatively rare continuation. [The main line by far is 6...Bg4]
7.Bd3 [White has a more aggressive option too: 7.Ne5 h6 (7...e6 is strongly met by

8.g4! Bg6 9.h4 and Black has problems with saving his bishop.) 8.g4 Bh7 9.Bg2 e6 10.00 Followed by f4 with a nice attacking position for White.]
7...Bxd3 [7...e6 seems to be a better option for Black, after which White has a much harder task to achieve the e4 plan which happened in the game. 8.00 Nbd7 Black should not be afraid of doubling his pawns. 9.Bxf5 exf5 10.Qc2 g6

This pawn structure is quite standard in many different openings. Black controls the central squares well. He develops his bishop d6 and gets a playable position.]

8.Qxd3 e6 9.00 Be7

10.e4! White successfu lly executes the standard plan, after which he gets a stable positional advantage.
10...dxe4 [The tactical justification of the previous move is that after 10...b4 11.e5! bxc3 12.exf6 Bxf6

13.Ba3! Black has problems with castling, or if he plays 13...Be7 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 he is goin g to miss his dark squared bishop and White will make use of by centralizing his knight on e5 later on. 15.cxd5 cxd5 16.Rfc1! The most exact move to win the pawn back. White immediately doubles his rooks on the opened file. 16...00 17.Rxc3 Followed by Rac1 and Ne5, with a clear advantage.]

11.Nxe4 Nbd7 12.Bf4! The ideal square for the bishop, which intends to occupy the d6 square later on.

13.Rfd1! We might be familiar with this kind of position without the inclusion of the b5b3 pair of moves. In that case Black has a slightly worse position with some space disadvantage, however he doesn't have any weaknesses and Black usually holds those games without any special efforts. However in our case, White has a clear target on c6, which is also the reason why he has put his f-rook to d1, he intends to play Rac1 next. Opening the b-file with bxc4bxc4 always favors White as his bishop controls the b8 square and he gets a free hand to penetrate with his own rooks along the b-file.
13...Qa5 A mysterious move. Ivanchuk probably wanted to pin the a1 rook to the defence of the a2 pawn, but he puts his queen out of the battle. [13...Nxe4 14.Qxe4 Qc8 was more logical, although White gets an advantage here as well: 15.Rac1 Nf6 16.Qe2 Qb7 17.Ne5 White has very easy play, but Black still has chances to consolidate. 17...Rac8 18.Qf3 Nd7 19.Rc3 Followed by Rdc1 with the threat of taking on b5 when it hurts the most.]
14.Nxf6+! Black has no good recapture. He must either let the bishop occupy the d6 square or the knight jump to e5.
14...Bxf6 [14...Nxf6 is also bad in view of 15.Ne5 Rac8 16.Qf3 Qb6 17.a4! Rfd8 18.Be3 Black is doomed to passivity.]
15.Bd6 Rfd8 16.c5 It is nice to have such a bishop on d6, especially when the knight is going to follow him to e5.
16...Nf8 [16...e5

was the last chance to create some counterplay, although after the very strong 17.g4!! Black ends up in trouble. The point becomes clear later on, White opens the back rank with tempo because he is threating to trap the bishop with g5. (17.Qe4 exd4 18.Nxd4 Re8! is White's problem and he cannot take on c6 because of Bxd4 and the mate on e1.; 17.dxe5 Nxe5! would be fine for Black.) 17...g6 18.Qe4! exd4 19.Nxd4 Bxd4 20.Rxd4 With a big advantage.]

17.Ne5 Bxe5 18.dxe5

The d6 bishop destroys all of Black's counterplay. White has many different ways to improve his position, but the best is to play on a kingside attack with h4h5, Qe4, Rd3Rg3. 18...Ng6 Ivanchuk tries to transfer his knight to d5.
19.Qe4 Rac8 20.h4! An obvious attacking move! 20...Rd7 [Black cannot stop the h-pawn by playing 20...h5 because he faces difficulties with protecting the h5 pawn later on. 21.g3 Followed by Qf3.]
21.h5 Ne7 [21...Nf8 22.Rd3 is also quite hopeless.]
22.h6 [22.Bxe7! Rxe7 23.h6+ was even stronge r to deprive Black of any kind of counterplay by eliminating the knight. We transpose to the game if Black takes on h6, otherwise White mates with Qg4 g6 Qg5f6.]

[22...Nf5 was the only practical chance to keep the knight on board. 23.hxg7 Qd8 24.Rd3 Objectively White is just winning, he can still do whatever he wants while the black rooks have no chance to join to the game.]
23.Bxe7! White eliminates the only defender. His heavy pieces are coming fast to the attack and Black soon has no defence. 23...Rxe7 24.Rd3! The rook joins the attack along the 3rd rank.
24...Qc7 [24...Kh8 25.Qh4+ White gets his queen to f6 with tempo.]
25.Rad1 Rf8 26.Rg3+ Kh8 27.Rd6! The most precise way to win! White protects the e5 pawn in order to be able to drive his queen to f6. [27.Qf4 would have allowed 27...f5!]
27...f6 [27...Rg8 is also hopeless: 28.Rxg8+ Kxg8 29.Rxc6 Qb7 30.Qg4+ Kf8 31.Rd6 White has mating a attack and the c-passed pawn are deciding the outcome.]
28.exf6 Rxf6 29.Qd4 Black resigned. Ivanchuk definitely had a bad day, but it is still an impressive positional achievement by Bacrot!


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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Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 November 2013 )
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