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GM Motylev - GM Riazantsev annotated by GM Balogh

User Rating: / 6
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 22 March 2014
By GM Csaba Balogh, Hungary
Best FIDE rating: 2672

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We will now examine the first board encounter of the 6th round. These two players were leading the field with 4.5 points out of 5 games. After this fine victory Alexander Motylev, Karjakin's second, took the sole lead of the tournament.

View the game or check out the "text + diagrams" version below.

Motylev,Alexander (2656) - Riazantsev,Alexander (2689) [B11]

15th ch-EUR Indiv 2014 Yerevan ARM (6.1), 08.03.2014

[Balogh Csaba]

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Recently this setup became a very popular weapon against the Caro-Kann defence.
3...Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3
Giving up the bishop pair is the main line, but it cannot guarantee full equality for Black. Black has some alternatives, but those also lead to slightly unpleasant positions.
Black tries to keep the position closed to make the two bishops less effective.
[6.d4!? is a very serious alternative for White, played by many top players nowadays.]
6...Nf6 At the moment it is not obvious how Black should develop his minor pieces. The text move is the main, but Black has Nd7, followed by Bd6 or Bc5 and Ne7 as well.

This is the point of the d3 setup. White would like to play 000 and g4g5, while in the 6.d4 line, he is rather opting for a calm game with Bd3 and 00. White can fight for an advantage in both lines.
I don't like this move, especially in view of what is coming next. [7...Bb4 directly was possible. 8.a3 Ba5 9.e5 d4!? (9...Nfd7 10.Qg3 looks good for White.) 10.exf6 dxc3 11.bxc3 Qxf6 12.Qxf6 gxf6 With a slightly better endgame for White.]
8.g4 Bb4 This is the novelty, hardly a prepared one. It is a bit dubious to play Bb4 in two moves. Black could have played useful developing moves instead.
9.a3 Ba5 The following two moves for White are standard reactions in this variation.
[Black's idea behind losing a tempo is clear. Now after 10.e5 d4 11.exf6 dxc3 12.bxc3 Qxf6 13.Qxf6 gxf6 the pawn on g4 is a weakening. It would be much better placed on g3 to avoid having holes in the structure. Black can also find his counterplay with h5 later. But the game's continuation is just much stronger.]

After sending away the knight from attacking the e4 square, White occupies the most important central squares and also prevents Black from locking the position with d4. Now he has a very easy game with 000 and h4h5g6. White can hardly hope for more in this opening. It is a bit strange that such a well prepared player and Caro-Kann expert like Riazantsev ended up in such a bad position after only 11 moves.
11...00 12.000
Black also has problems with the placement of his knights. He is lacking space to find adequate squares for them. Therefore Black tries to explode the center, but the white pieces are much better prepared for the opening of the position.
12...e5 13.dxe5 d4
[Black would quickly collapse in the center after 13...Nxe5 14.Qg3 Re8 15.exd5 cxd5 16.Bg2! d4 17.Bxb7 dxc3 18.Bxc3+]
14.Ne2 Bxd2+ 15.Rxd2 Qxg5 16.Nxd4!
[At first sight it would have been tempting to include 16.Rg1 with tempo, but Black also has an intermediate move: 16...Nxe5!]
16...Qxe5 [16...Nxe5 looked much more logical, but the problem is that the knight does not have an outpost on e5. 17.Qf5! Qxf5 18.Nxf5 And Black cannot finish the development, because Nbd7 runs into f4. Otherwise White has an easy plan, Be2, Rhd1 and penetrate on the d-file. Sometimes Nd6 is very unpleasant. Black has serious problems due to his b8 knight.]
17.Nf5 Nf6
This was Riazan tsev's plan, on f6 the knight is more stable and now he could finish the development with Nbd7 and Rad8. Therefore White has to play energetically to achieve something before Black accomplishes his plan. 18.Qg2 [18.Bc4! looked even stronger in view of the following lines: 18...Nbd7 (18...Qxe4 loses to 19.Nh6+! gxh6 20.Rg1+ Kh8 21.Qxf6#; 18...Nxe4 19.Re2+) 19.Rg1 g6 20.Nh6+ Kg7 21.Nxf7! wins material. 21...Rxf7 22.Bxf7 Kxf7 23.Rxd7++]

The most aggressive move. White creates many attacking ideas by pinning the black queen and Qh6 can also sometimes be decisive.
19...Re8 [19...Nbd7 was probably better, although after 20.f3 White's advantage is undisputable.; 19...Qxe4 has a nice refutation: 20.Nh6+ Kg7 21.Bg2 The queen needs to cover the f5 square otherwise Nf5 mates. 21...Qe6 And now

22.Rd6! this decisive deflection wins the game! 22...Qxd6 23.Nf5++]
20.f3 Kh8 Leaving from the annoying check on h6, but it does not solve the problems.
21.Rg1! [There was a small trick, that White had to avoid 21.Nh6 or 21.Nd6 21...Qxg5 22.Nxf7+ Kg7 23.Nxg5 h6 and the knight is trapped.]
A desperate move, but Black was lost anyway. [21...Nbd7 22.Bc4 Black will soon collapse here too.]
22.Nd6! Qxg5 23.Rxg5 [Now even 23.Nxf7+!? was winning 23...Kg7 24.Nxg5 h6 The difference to 21.Nh6 is 25.Rd8!! Rxd8 26.Ne6+ Kf6 27.Nxd8+]

[23...Rf8 24.Nxb7+ White is not only a pawn up, but the b8 knight is still hopeless.]
The decisive blow! Black cannot avoid losing material.
[The f7 pawn could not be saved with 24...Kg7 because of 25.Rxe7 Nxe7 26.Ne8+ Kf8 27.Nc7+; 24...f6 25.Rxe7 Nxe7 26.Nxb7+ followed by Rd8 is also decisive.]
25.Re8 Black is totally paralyzed. White wants to play Bc4.
25...b5 26.Nf5!
[Black resigned in view of the Rxg8 and Rd8 mate threats: 26.Nf5 gxf5 27.Rg2+ An excellent game by Motylev!]  


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

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 22 March 2014 )
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