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GM Korobov - GM Edouard annotated by GM Naiditsch

User Rating: / 4
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 24 April 2014

By GM Arkadij Naiditsch, #1 German chess player
Best FIDE rating: 2737

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We are in the last round of Dubai Open. Korobov is on 6/8 and Edouard is leading with a fantastic score of 7/8. For Korobov the deal is easy, win or nothing, which doesn't make the game easier to play for Edouard, who can be sure that his oponent will try everything to win.

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

Korobov,Anton (2698) - Edouard,Romain (2670) [D02]
16th Dubai Open 2014 Dubai UAE (9.1), 15.04.2014
[Arkadij Naiditsch]
1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Gata Kamsky likes to play this sort of opening, going for a long term game and at the same time taking out his opponents from the long theoretical lines. The bad thing about 2.Bf4 is of course that White is not hoping for any opening advantage.
2...Nf6 3.Nf3 g6
A very safe opening. [Another option is to play here istantly 3...c5 followed by Nc6 and e6.]
4.e3 Bg7 5.h3 White is usually playing h3 to avoid the Nh5 move as it is important not to exchange the bishop on f4.
5...00 6.Nbd2 c5 7.c3
[Of course White can't play 7.dxc5?! Nfd7! Black is winning back the pawn on c5 and getting very comfortable play.]
A solid choice. [After the inaccurate 7...Nc6?! 8.dxc5! White is already in time to keep the pawn on c5. 8...Nd7 9.Nb3; The most simple way to equalize seems to be 7...Qb6 8.Qb3 c4 9.Qxb6 axb6 and this endgame should not be worse for Black.]
8.a4 Black has to decide whether to play Ba6 or not now.
8...Nc6 I am not sure about this choice to keep the bishop on c8, as it is becoming quite a passive piece now. [8...Ba6 looked more simple and after 9.Bxa6 Nxa6 10.00 Nc7 I cannot imagine White having anything serious to put pressure on Black's position.]
9.Be2 Now Black has to solve the problem with his bishop on c8.
Black is going for the e5 push. 

[9...Bf5 10.00 Ne4 was another possible way to continue.]
White is now getting what he wanted: an unclear game.
A very human reaction. Black is going for a position with a pawn down but good compensation for it. [A more risky move would have been 10...Bb7 11.Qxd5 The position is getting very sharp. 11...cxd4 (The immediate 11...Nxd4 12.Qxb7 Nc2+ 13.Kd1 Nxa1 14.Bb5 leads to a position where White will catch the black knight by playing Ke2 next with a much better position.) 12.exd4 Nxd4 Now this move makes more sense as the e-file is open. 13.Qxb7 Nc2+ 14.Kd1 Nxa1 It is very hard to say who is better here.]
[Of course after 11.dxe5 Ndxe5 Black would reach his dream position.]
11...exf4 12.Qxc6 fxe3!
A strong move. [After 12...Rb8 13.e4 White's pawn up would dominate over the compensation of Black.]
Not an easy decision. [13.Qxa8 also looks quite tempting. 13...exd2+ 14.Nxd2 At first sight Black doesn't have any compensation, but in fact the position is much more complicated. 14...cxd4! 15.cxd4 (After the more passive 15.00 Nc5 Black has very strong compensation.) 15...Re8

(15...Qe7 16.Qe4
White is in time to protect everything and castle.) 16.Nc4! is the only move which might give White some advantage, but during the game it is not an easy thing to find 16.Nc4! because it looks pretty dangerous to continue playing without castling.]
Black is hoping for fast play in the center and the pressure on the e3 pawn of White and the bishop pair could also give him enough play for the pawn.
The most logical move. Korobov also had in mind to put pressure on the f7 pawn if possible by playing Bc4.
14...Nf6 15.Rae1 Qe7
[Trying to win the pawn back by playing 15...Bh6 would lead to nothing after 16.Bc4! White is going to be very strong on the f-file. 16...Bd7 17.Qd6 Bxa4 followed by Ne5 and a strong attack. 18.Qg3]
16.Bd3 Bb7 17.Qb5
White manag ed to be solid in the center, but the white queen is a bit out of the game on b5.

A good move. White is avoiding f5 move and at the same time bringing his queen back.
18...Kh8 19.d5 I am not sure about this move. [Another possibility was 19.e4 cxd4 20.cxd4 Rbd8 21.e5 and I think White should be better here.]
19...Ng3 20.Rf2 f5! Black stops the e3 pawn from moving and controls the dark squares. It is hard to say if White is better here...
21.e4 fxe4
[After 21...Qd6 22.c4 fxe4 23.Nxe4 Nxe4 24.Bxe4 Rbe8 25.Rfe2 Bc8 I think Black should be able to hold this position because of the very strong g7 bishop.]
22.Nxe4 Nxe4 23.Rxe4 Of course White is taking the e-file under control.
23...Qf7 24.Bc4!
A good move. Now the pawn is still on c3, which kills the g7 bishop.
24...Rbd8 Black needs to go for the d5 pawn, the position is pretty forced.
25.Rfe2 A very human move, but maybe not the best. [Maybe White should have tried to hold on to the d5 pawn by playing 25.Rd2 Bc8 26.Qd1 and I think White would have realistic chances to be better here.]
25...Bxd5 26.Bxd5 Rxd5 Black's main enemy on d5 is gone so Romain could take some kind of a breath.
White is going for the a7 pawn as there is no other hope of being better.
27...Qf5 28.Rxa7
The white rook on a7 is out of the game, but on the other hand White wants to play Ree7. Black needs to act immediately.

Black misses a great chance to equalize. [28...Rd3! with the double idea of playing Rxf3 and Bd4 would probably soon lead to a handshake. 29.Qe6 Rxf3 30.gxf3 Qxf3 White cannot avoid perpetual check.]
The white queen is back in the game. [29.Ree7 would not lead to anything good for White after 29...Rxf3! and the white king is facing all the black pieces totally alone.]
29...c4!? A good practical decision. [29...Rxf3 30.Qxd3]
A slightly strange move. [30.Qxd3 looks much simpler. 30...cxd3 31.Ree7! With the idea of taking on g7 and playing Rad7. 31...Bf6 (31...Rxf3 loses to 32.gxf3 d2 33.Re8+ Bf8 34.Rxf8#) 32.Red7 and I think White's chances to win the game would be pretty good.]
30...Rxf3! Once again Black is doing all he can to mess up the position.
31.gxf3 Qxf3
The white king is under the attack, but being an exchange up should be enough for White to find some defensive motif. The bad thing is that Korobov was already in quite some time trouble.

32.Qe4?? What a shocking blunder! [White had to find 32.Rd2! and Black has no good retreat with his rook. 32...Rg5+ 33.Rg2 White is in time to hold things together and has very good chances to win the game.]
And suddenly the game is just over. What a dramatic finish, after 33.Kh2 Qg3 34.Kh1 Qg1 mate. This is another game where we could clearly see that White was pushing all game long, finally reaching a position with very good winning chances and then blundered mate in 2. It is never easy to play under pressure in the last round!


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 ( Thursday, 24 April 2014 )
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