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GM Salgado Lopez - GM Balogh annotated by GM Balogh

User Rating: / 2
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 28 November 2013

GM Csaba Balogh (2630) had an impressive 2767 performance playing for Hungary on Board 2 at European Team Chess Championship'13. Photo:

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I managed to win a nice game in the European Team Championship.

Salgado Lopez,Ivan (2610) - Balogh,Csaba (2630) [A15]

Warsaw POL Warsaw POL (3.6), 10.11.2013

[Balogh Csaba]

View the game

1.c4 My opponent almost always plays 1.e4, so this came as a surprise to me. I knew that he has very good preparation in general, so I decided to play something different than what I usually do.
I usually play 1...e5 here.
2.Nf3 c6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e3 a6
This is the first time that I employ the Slav with a6. I was hoping to get my opponent to a slightly unexplored territory.
5.d4 b5 6.c5
[6.b3 is the other big main line.]

We are following the latest fashion. White wants to avoid the developing of the b8 knight by attacking the pawn on c6 and later on he also intends to fortify his knight with f4.
7...Bg7 8.Be2
[I remembered a recent top game, which continued with 8.f4 a5! Black plays this against White's queenside approaches with b4 followed by a4! 9.Be2 h5! Black is getting ready to play on the light squares, so he works out the points. 10.00 Bf5 11.Bf3 Qc7 To be able to play Nbd7. Very consequent play by Black. 12.Nd3 Nbd7 13.Nf2 e6 14.Bd2 Ke7= Black obtained a very comfortable position. Later on the game got even more closed and it finished in a draw. Gelfand-Ivanchuk, Paris 2013.]
8...00 9.00
White did not play f4, so Black has an alternative to create counterplay in the center, which is the main idea in many lines in the a6 Slav.
9...Nfd7! If White takes on d7, Black will easily achieve e5, while if the knight retreats to d3, e5 is coming immediately with perfect perspectives for Black.
10.f4 Nxe5 11.fxe5 f6
A principled move to undermine the center! White needs to react actively, otherwise Black quickly overtakes the initiative.

[11...Bf5!? is an alternative to avoid the complications, followed by f6 later on.]
White finds the right idea to explode the Black center, but executes it in the wrong move order. Now the advantage passes to Black. [He should have played 12.exf6 exf6 Black intends to play f5, blocking the e3 pawn, followed by Nd7f7, Ra7e7 with a very strong pressure against the backward weakness. 13.e4! b4 This is the critical move. Black wants to win the e4 pawn. 14.Nxd5! cxd5 15.exd5

The position which has arisen is extremely complex and requires huge analysis for both sides. It would have been interesting to play it, especially since neither of us had checked it at home...]
12...fxe5 13.Rxf8+ Qxf8 14.dxe5

14...d4! I was happy to play this temporary sacrifice, having foreseen the consequences. Black succeeds in maintaining his pawn structure. If White could have taken on d5, Black's position would have fallen apart.
15.Qxd4 Nd7! This is the point! Black wins back the pawn and obtains an excellent position with the outpost on e5! After long thinking, my opponent found a very nice idea. He wanted to keep his pieces active, but unfortunately for him he loses too much time with it.
[16.Be3 should have been played. 16...Nxe5 17.Rf1 Qe8 Black threatens to play Nf3 and if the queen retreats then Be6 and Rd8 are coming. Black has a clear edge.]
16...Nxe5 17.Bb3+ Kh8

I must admit that I did not get the point of 16.Bd1. I thought that due to the threat of Nf3, the queen must retreat to d2 or d1, but both could be met by Bg4 and Rd8 next and Black is just close to be winning. My opponent had a very deep idea in mind.
18.Be3!! Ng4!
Black takes the dark squared bishop and suddenly the one on g7 becomes the real "master" of the position. [The point is that 18...Nf3+? does not work because of 19.gxf3 Bxd4 20.Bxd4+ and I am forced to give up my queen and end up being a piece down.; The same idea as in the game could not be done by 18...Nc4? because of 19.Bxc4! and again the queen is not hanging!]
19.Qd3 Nxe3 20.Qxe3

20...Qf6! A nice plan of centralizing the queen. Otherwise the rook comes to f1 and the queen does not find its place on the board. On e5, it is going to control everything.
21.Rf1 Qe5 White has no useful move. His heavy pieces are standing on their best positions, while the minor ones are completely paralyzed. The knight should be improved somehow, but then the b2 pawn simply falls. [The endgame after 21...Qd4?? would be excellent, but it is tactically refuted by 22.Rf8+!+]
22.h3 The next step for Black was to develop the queenside pieces. I could have done it by playing Be6, but I thought the bishop pair could be extremely strong later on. So I was looking for another way to get my rook out from the corner. 22...a5! Black threatens to win with a4 followed by a3 when the bishop leaves and then the c3 knight loses its stability. [22...Bd7 is not as good. 23.Rd1 The bishop is passive on e8, while I also did not want to pin my own rook on d8...] 23.Rd1

[23.a3 Ba6 24.Rd1 transposes to the game.]
The bishop just temporarily goes to a6, the main target was to get the rook into the game via f8.
24.a3 Rf8 It is hard to dream about a better position than this one. All pieces are excellently placed, while White has no active moves. All the pieces are forced to defend something. The question is to find out how Black should improve his position now...
25.Kh1 h5! A good plan! I wanted to get my king to h7, when I often threatens to play Bh6, sending away the queen from the protection of the c5 pawn.
26.Bc2 Kh7 27.Bb1
White simply had no move, so my opponent decided just to wait.
I already had the forthcoming actions in mind and decided to change the diagonal. [27...b4!? 28.axb4 axb4 29.Na4 Bb5 was also winning. 30.Nb6 (30.b3 Bh6 31.Qg1 This is the only square... 31...Qg3+) 30...Qxb2+]
28.Ba2 Bh6! 29.Qg1 Otherwise Black takes on c5 and he continues enjoying all the advantages he had before, plus an extra pawn. However all the pieces are standing so well that the position screams for a final blow.
Sending the knight to the edge of the board, otherwise the b2 pawn falls.
30.axb4 axb4 31.Na4

31...Bxh3 [31...Qxe4 32.Re1 Qh4+ was also winning.]
This is a kind of resignation. [32.gxh3 was the last chance, although Black can choose between two wins now: 32...Qxe4+ is objectively even stronger. (32...Rf3 seems to be game over, but White has a very nice defence, which I had actually seen in the game:

33.Bg8+!! (33.Qg2 Rg3+) 33...Kg7 (33...Kxg8? 34.Qxg6+) 34.Qd4! White manages to trade queens and avoids getting mated, but still he ends up in a lost endgame. 34...Rxh3+ 35.Kg2 Rg3+ 36.Kf1 (36.Kh2 Bf4 37.Qxe5+ Bxe5+ Black wins the piece back.) 36...Qxd4 37.Rxd4 Kxg8+ White is helpless against the h- and g-pawns.) 33.Qg2 Rf3 34.Be6! The only move to defend against Rxh3, but it does not save White. Black has several ways to continue the attack. 34...g5! is the strongest according to the machine, with the simple idea to close the bishop diagonal by playing g4 and then Rh3 mates.(A more human win is 34...Be3+ followed by Qf4 and Rf2. White can only watch this, he cannot create any counterplay with such poor pieces like the knight on a4.) ]
32...Qxh2+ [32...Bxg2+! 33.Qxg2 Rf4!+ was even stronger, but I decided to not risk a sacrifice when the position is winning automatically even without it...]
33.Kxh2 Bg4 Black has an extra pawn and the bishop pair continues dominating.
34.Rd3 [34.Rd4 Rf1+ White is in mate net.]
Black wants to play h4 followed by Bf4.
The game is over.
35.g3 Bf3


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, 28 November 2013 )
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