Games
[Event "Astana"] [Site "Astana"] [Date "2001.05.24"] [Round "4"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Morozevich, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D15"] [WhiteElo "2712"] [BlackElo "2749"] [Annotator "Gelfand"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2001.05.20"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "KAZ"] [EventCategory "20"] [Source "Quality Chess"] [SourceDate "2009.05.20"] {Alexander Morozevich is a highly creative grandmaster from Moscow. He has always gone his own way and tried to reinvent the game of chess, which at times is very impressive, but at other times has been a liability to him. He played in the World Championship tournaments in 2005 and 2007 and peaked in the world rankings in 2008 where he was placed second. He has not done so well in recent years, but is still often found either just inside or just outside the top ten. It is well known that Morozevich played a lot of training games with friends and trainers, in person or online. In 2001, when this game was played, Morozevich had just emerged in the World elite and this is how he did it. He played rare openings, otherwise provocative and dubious-looking. But he had analysed them deeply and, as said, gathered a lot of practical experience in training games. Probably people remember his 11. .... g5 in the Slav, which is now main line. He played the Chigorin and in the French, he popularised some sharp variations with .... g6 in the Burn Variation. his contribution to opening theory at that time was huge and is still felt today especially through the style of preparation, involving very risky and concrete play, but also creating big problems for the opponent to solve. if he wants to refute it. The opponent is forced to think independently and play very energetically from the beginnning of the game.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 a6 ({Again the Chebanenko Variation. At the time this game was played, this variation was quite novel and the idea of it not yet fully mapped out. At first, it was developed by especially Bologan, but later on both Kasparov and Topalov played it for a while, adding a lot of new ideas to the theory. Comparing withthis game it makes sene to illustrate Black's idea based on} 4... Bf5 {which is met by} 5. cxd5 (5. Qb3 Qb6 {is known to cause Black's fewer problems, but in the game the a-pawn has moved and the queen would no longer be defended.}) 5... cxd5 6. Qb3 {Diagram [#] Black cannot defend both the b-pawn and d-pawn with any of the moves that he wants to make. Retreating the bishop is unpleasant, but probably the best. A young Eygptian GM avoided this retreat when playing against me. After} Qb6 7. Nxd5 Nxd5 8. Qxd5 e6 9. Qb3 Bb4+ 10. Bd2 Nc6 11. e3 Rc8 12. a3 Bxd2+ 13. Nxd2 { Black had hardly any compensation for the pawn in Gelfand-Adly, Dresden (ol) 2008.}) 5. a4 Bf5 {Diagram [#] In the Malakhov game we saw 5. .... e6. Compared to this 5. .... Bf5 is the natural move. In the Slav Defence it is always nice if you can develop the bishop and play .... e6. The drawback is that it weakens the b7-pawn, which obliges White to play Qb3 immediately. If Black has time to play .... e6 he would be able to defend with .... Qc7.} 6. Qb3 Ra7 {Diagram [#] This might seem incredibly odd, but actually it is quite a common idea in the Chebanenko and one of Morozevich's idea at the time. He won a good game against Anand in the Dortmund tournament where Anand collapsed losing four games and winning none. The rook is, of course, badly placed on a7, but Black is banking on this being a temporary inconvenience. If he gets time to play .... e6 and .... Nbd7, he would be able to develop in a carefree way. Later on White would not be able to prevet the rook from coming back into the game, as we can see in the Anand game. Clearly, it is a provocation and it forces White to play very energetically, to go forward and do something. If Black were given the time to finish setting up his structure, there would be nothing wrong with his position. He would have no weaknesses and be ale to paay .... Ne4 or .... Nh5 with good play. It would be hard to suggest anything snsible, for White to do to put pressure on Black.} 7. a5 {This has a simple point. I want to play Qb6, which can only be prevented with the concession 7. .... dxc4. My evaluation of this move was that it would give me an advantage in the long term and even though I knew he had prepared something, I was very optimistic about my chances.} e6 8. Qb6 Qxb6 9. axb6 Ra8 10. c5 Nbd7 {Diagram [#] This was clearly still part of my opponent's preparation. I was out of the book after five moves, while my opponent was still playing really fast.} 11. e3 { This was the pawn structure I was aiming for. 11.Bf4 is also possible and it is tempting to put the bishop on the other side of the pawn chain, but if I get my knight on a5 and develop the kingside I will have a serious advantage. Therefore, it is not so important if my bishop is developed or not, so I quickly get my othr pieces out and casle to safety. Getting the knight to a5 is so important that everything else dims in comparison. Another point is of course that Black is not intending to allow me to get everything as I want it, without offerring some resistance. We should consider seriously how he intends to deal with this simple plan. Once we do so, it becomes apparent that he is planning on sacrificing a piece at some point for 2-3 pawns and activity. If you know your opponent is planning to sacrifice a piece against you, it makes sense to get your pieces into the game and keep your position compact. These were my reasons and they are all reasonable. But I have to say that I cannot see anything wrong with 11.Bf4 either. Maybe it is also a good move. But i wanted to keep things under control, as whenever it goes out of control, Black will have achieved the game he wanted.} Be7 ({White also does not need to be afraid of} 11... e5 12. b4 exd4 13. Nxd4 Bg6 14. Bb2 {Diagram [#] White enjoys a nice advantage.}) 12. Be2 ({I could also play} 12. Nd2 {but the idea was to develop before heading for a5 and this is what I did.}) 12... O-O ( {I assume that one of his ideas was to exchange my bishop for a knight to prevent it from coming to a5. But it was not really possible.} 12... Bg4 { does not work at this point:} 13. Nd2 Bxe2 14. Kxe2 Nxc5 15. dxc5 Bxc5 { Diagram [#] White has} 16. Na4 $1 {Diagram [#] when Black does not have a good way to win the third pawn.} ) 13. Nd2 $1 {The knight is headed for a5, as planned.} ({White's play in this game is all about timing. If he castled at this point} 13. O-O {Black would have enough time to play} Bg4 {when after} 14. Nd2 Bxe2 15. Nxe2 {the knight is badly placed at e2. Black plays} Nxc5 16. dxc5 Bxc5 {White is potentially still better here, but Black has managed to get three pawns for hi piece and has good practical chaces. If White wastes time and does nothing, Black will still be able to improve his position. Another point concerning this variation is that Black has managed to change the course of the game. I was very happy to have the b7-pawn as a target, so why should I allow my opponent to escape this path so easily? This is one of the main things I learned from Rubinstein.}) 13... e5 ({This is how he planned to play, but in my analyis for the book, I found it not hat easy to prove an advantage against:} 13... a5 {The first moves I checked turned out to be very tricky.} 14. Nb3 {This looks like it wins pawn, but Black has an avalanche of tricks.} Bc2 15. Nxa5 {Diagram [#]} Nxb6 $1 {If White takes the knight, Black gets .... Bb4 in with an advantage.} 16. Bd2 Nc4 $1 17. Bxc4 dxc4 18. O-O Bd3 19. Rfc1 Rfb8 $1 20. Na4 $6 Nd5 21. Nxc4 $2 Bxc4 22. Rxc4 {Diagram [#]} b5 $1 23. Nb6 {White loses a decisive amount of material. So the best way for White would be to prepare Nb3 by castling short.}) (13... a5 14. O-O $1 Bc2 {Black has to prevent the knight from coming to b3, as Black will no longer have the .... Nxb6 and .... Bb4 trick, because the rook on a1 is no longer hanging. Imagine that the first moves were}) (13... a5 14. O-O e5 15. Nb3 Bc2 {to provoke this situation. White has} 16. Nxa5 Nxb6 17. cxb6 Bb4 18. Nxc6 {and White keeps his advantage.}) (13... a5 14. O-O Bc2 15. Re1 $1 {I am not too sure if this is too subtle, as the move does lose a tempo when Black takes the bishop on d1 on the next move.} e5 16. Bd1 Bxd1 (16... Bd3 17. Nb3 {is entirely in White's favour.}) 17. Rxd1 Ra6 18. Nb3 Rfa8 19. Ra4 { Diagram [#] Black is suffering. In the long run he cannot defend the a-pawn. At this point we are of course, speculating about what would happen in a game, but we can add a few moves to show a possible course it could take.} Nf8 20. Bd2 Ne6 21. Rda1 Ne4 22. Nxe4 dxe4 23. Rxa5 Rxa5 24. Rxa5 Rd8 25. Ra7 {Diagram [#]Black is too late with his counterplay. Once the b7-pawn fails, his position will no longer be tenable.} Rd7 26. d5 $1 {The b7-pawn can no longer be defended. So the final conclusion is that after 13. .... a5 Black will not be able to hold the pawn.}) 14. O-O Rfe8 {Diagram [#]} 15. Nb3 ({One of Black's tricks is} 15. b4 $2 { loses to} exd4 16. exd4 Nxb6 $1 {and Black wins a pawn.}) (15. b4 {would, of course, be the dream way for White to play, but the tactics do not work.}) 15... Bf8 16. Bd2 $2 {It was only when I had the time to go really deep that I realized that this move might be superflous. I do not think that it entirely spoils the the advantage, but as can be seen in the notes to the next move, the bishop is actually better placed on c1 if Black defends optimally.} (16. Na5 Rab8 17. b4 Re6 {Diagram [#]} (17... Nxb6 {does not fully work here. White should reply} 18. dxe5 Rxe5 19. cxb6 Bxb4 20. Bd2 {when Black does not have sufficient compensation. An important point is that after} d4 $2 {White wins with} 21. Ne4 {or 21.Nb1!}) 18. f3 $1 {This is the key move. Rather than trying to prove the advantage immediately, White should improve his position as much as possible. At the same time the rook will be passive on b8 and Black will struggle to find squares for all his pieces (the concept of Space Advantage is crucial in understanding Rubinstein's games and we shall have a look at this concpt in Chapter 3).} (18. Nxb7 Rxb7 19. Bxa6 Rb8 20. Ne2 { Diagram [#] might look attractive at first but it is important for White to keep control. Here Black can change the course of the game with} Nxb6 $1 21. cxb6 Rxb6 22. Bc8 Bd3 23. Bxe6 fxe6 24. dxe5 Bxe2 25. Re1 Ra6 26. exf6 Bxb4 { Black has decent compensation.}) 18... h5 (18... Nxb6 {is even worse at this point. Black has to respect White's main theme of} 19. g4 $1 {when White wins after both} Bg6 20. dxe5 Rxe5 21. f4 {19. .... Bc2 20. dxe5 Rxe5 21.Ra2! and White wins a piece without any real compensation.}) 19. Rd1 {White is preparing his position slowly. At some point he will strike on b7, a6 or c6 giving Black big problems. Although nothing immediate exists here, it is hard for me to believe that Black would hold this position in a practical game, which is what counts in the end. Again, it is not easy for Black to change the course of the game.}) 16... Bc2 $2 ({Morozevich becomes impatient, but thetactics do not work out well for him. The attempt to create counterplay down the e-file does not work. After} 16... Re7 17. Na5 exd4 18. exd4 Rae8 {White could just play 19.Bf3, but more importantly he can change the nature of his advantage with the tactical strike} 19. Nxb7 Rxe2 20. Nxe2 Rxe2 21. Bc3 {Black has teo minor pieces for a rook but they have no mobility. White will exchange the black rook and win quickly or slowly. It does not matter; the result will still be 1-0.}) ({It was only while preparing the material for this book that I realized that the best defensive try for Black is connected with anticipating Nb3-a5 with} 16... Rab8 $1 {The idea is to play .... h5, .... g6, and .... Bh6 to activate the passive f8-bishop. White must still be careful that Black does not manage to sacrifice a piece under good circmstances.} 17. f3 $5 ({I believe this is the most attractive idea.} 17. Ra5) (17. Na5 exd4 18. exd4 Nxc5 19. dxc5 d4 { Diagram [#] would lead to deep complications. Maybe White is a bit better somewhere, but I do not think this is a sensibe way for White to play.}) 17... Bc2 $5 {Black probably has to provoke this concrete action. This is his one chance to give up a piece for three pawns. He should not have been given the chance, but sometimes we make mistakes. We can only reduce the amount of mistakes we make, not eradicate them altogether.} ({I like White's position after} 17... g6 18. Na5 h5 19. b4 Bh6 20. Bc1 $1 {and I fail to see how Black is going to be able to improve his position. It is likely that White will gradually improve his position on the kingside, while all the time considering sacrifices on a6, b7 or c6.}) 18. Na5 exd4 19. exd4 Nxc5 {This has to be played before White plays b2-b4 and locks down the queenside is a favourable structure for ever.} 20. dxc5 Bxc5+ (20... d4 {does not work out well. For example:} 21. Ne4 Nxe4 22. fxe4 d3 23. Bf3 Bxc5+ 24. Kh1 Bxb6 25. Bf4 {and Black is facing unpleasant questions.}) 21. Kh1 Bxb6 22. Rfc1 Bg6 23. Bf1 { Diagram [#] Back has three pawns for the piece, but Wite has a nice structure. He will play b2-b4 at some point and clamp down the queenside. Still, winning this endgame would take a long time. White would have to eliminate all the black pawns on the queenside and then break through slowly on the kingside. Even so, I like White's position. It might not be easy to win, but it is favourable and he can play on forever. Black's position seems pretty depressing to me.}) 17. Na5 exd4 ({t is too late for Black to play passively. After} 17... Rab8 {maybe the simplest is} 18. Rfc1 (18. Bxa6 $5 bxa6 19. Nxc6 Rbc8 20. Na5 {and the two passed pawns are clearly better than Black's extra piece.})) 18. exd4 Nxc5 19. dxc5 d4 {Diagram [#]} 20. Bf3 {While it is not possible for White to retain all his pieces, it is important to hang on to the valuable bishop.} dxc3 21. Bxc3 {It is not clear if Morozevich overlooked something or if he just lost patience. Black has not managed to solve the problems with the b7-pawn with his tactical operain. Actually they look more urgent than ever.} Ne4 ({White wins in all lines:} 21... Rab8 22. Bxf6 gxf6 23. Nxb7 {and Black's position collapses.}) ({Against} 21... Bxc5 {White has sevral options, but I saw the simple} 22. Bxf6 gxf6 23. Rfc1 Bxb6 24. Nc4 {and White wins a piece.}) ({I find the following line quite instructive. Against} 21... Be4 {I would play} 22. Bxf6 gxf6 23. b4 $1 {Diagram [#] White retains the favourabe structure. White has no reason to be concerned about doubled pawns in frnt of the king. We should only careabut the things that are really important. Black's bishop on f8 provides him with no counterplay. White's strategic operations have been entirely successful. We now see that the dark-squared bishop has been bad all of the game and that this has been a big part of Black's problems. In this line White has of course been entirely successful in keeping his best piece, while leaving his opponent with his most impotent piece. Petrosian wasknown for being great at exchanging the right pieces, but Rubinsein was not bad at this either.}) 22. Rfc1 Bd3 23. Nxb7 { White's strategy has succeeded entirely. Nothing really happened in the rest of the game. We were a bit short of time and there is always the chance that something strange could happen. But in this game it did not.} Rab8 24. Bxe4 Rxe4 {Diagram [#]} 25. Rd1 (25. Nd6 {is also good, but the active idea in the game looks nice.}) 25... Be2 26. Rd7 Bg4 ({After} 26... Re7 {I had planned} 27. Rxe7 Bxe7 28. Re1 $1 {with the point} Rxb7 29. Rxe2 Bxc5 30. Re8+ Bf8 31. Bb4 $3 {and White wins.}) 27. Rc7 Rc4 28. Rxa6 h5 (28... Bxc5 29. Nxc5 Rxc5 30. b7 Rb5 {is, of course, a completely winning position for White.Diagram [#]} {A human would find some slow plan to convert the advantage, but the computer points out a nice trick} 31. Ra5 $1 Rb6 32. Rg5 {and everything must go.}) 29. Ra7 Be6 30. Rxc6 Bd5 31. Rc7 Re8 32. h3 Rf4 33. Nd6 Re2 34. f3 Rxg2+ 35. Kxg2 Rxf3 36. Kg1 {It is hrd to quess what wentwrong with Morozevich's home preparation for this game, obviouly only he can tell. I certainly did not have the feeling of playing a surprising or genius move at any time, though I do think I handled the challenge of preventing his counterplay quite well. Morozevich was one of the first to work deeply with computer programmes, so maybe at some point he simply believed the evaluation of the computer, which evaluates the position as acceptable for Black even to this day. Probably his training games also went well and he felt confident enough to try it in a big tournament game.} 1-0