Against an up-and-coming young player, one of the world’s best players loses his queen in an elementary combination. Was it an error, or a desperate attempt to change the course of the game?
In the Reykajavik Open, Dmitry Andreikin of Russia, ranked No. 21 in the world, was pushed to the limits by Lars Oskar Hauge, a young Norwegian kid. What happened reminded me of my own game against the same young player a few years ago, though I had an even tougher time than Andreikin.
Hauge, Lars Oskar vs. Andreikin, D.
Reykjavik Open 2016 |Reykjavik ISL |Round 5.11 |11 Mar 2016 |ECO: B47 |0-1
1. e4c52. Nf3Nc63. d4cxd44. Nxd4e65. Nc3Qc76. g3It is surprising to see a young player choose this line, but it is actually not harmless at all. The
next few moves weren't particularly interesting. 6... a67. Bg2Nf68. O-OBe79. Re1O-O10. Nxc6dxc611. e5Rd8!Black's idea is that he wants to force
White to move the queen somewhere besides g4 - since the knight is still on f6.
Eventually, White probably wants to move to g4, but this should ensure that
Black has played an extra move. 12. Bd2Nd513. Qg4b514. Rad1b415. Nb1!Incidentally, this seems to be the novelty, although I have a feeling that neither player had prepared this far. Compared to the move played before,
Na4, there is almost no scenario in which Na4 will be better placed. From b1,
White can still plan c4 - although it is much nicer to transfer the knight to
the king side of course!
( 15. Na4was played in an engine game in this
position, a striking, but admittedly rare example in which the computers
are not able to find the right move. )
15... a516. Bh6Bf8
( 16... g617. Nd2would just
create a lot of dark-squared weaknesses on the king side. )
17. Bg5Rd7A slightly awkward move to make.
( 17... Be7exchanging these bishops would
leave a gaping hole on d6, which can be quickly targeted by White. 18. Bxe7Qxe719. Nd2Ba620. Ne4and Nd6 will just throttle Black. )
18. Nd2Kh819. Be4!?An
interesting regrouping. The bishop wasn't doing a whole lot on g2,
but now it is a major player in the eventual kingside attack. Also note that
White isn't in any hurry - next he is ready to play Nf3 and soon maybe even create threats like Bxh7. While Black can play h6, it is certainly
not desirable as there is no clear counterplay for Black yet, while it gives
White a target to aim at on the kingside (maybe even by g4 and g5!??). At the
least, it is a very tough psychologically to be Black at this point in the game. It's quite
possible that both players were even nearing time pressure as the game hasn't
followed known paths. Andreikin now made a move that is
instantly declared as a blunder by the chess engine, but is it really? 19... Qxe5!?Loses after 20. Bxh7according to every chess engine. Could Andreikin have
missed this simple tactic, or hoped for some miraculous defense?
Tempting as it is to consider this to be just a human sort of blunder,
Andreikin almost certainly had anticipated Bxh7, and planned to give up his
queen for a rook and a minor piece. Objectively this is almost
certainly not the best decision, but it drastically altered the game. Now at least,
Black does not have to worry about an immediate mate, and his young opponent has to
navigate a new situation. Hauge definitely felt comfortable in the role of the attacker. On the hand, trying to convert a position up queen for rook and piece may seem
deceptively simple, but it is not so easy to adjust, as the computers might make
you think. Most importantly, Andreikin could play simple moves quickly, in
his usual style, something that was definitely not possible when he had to
worry about a killer blow on the king side. 20... Qxe1+21. Rxe1Kxh722. Nf3The computer doesn't notice anything wrong with this, but practically, in
such a situation, rather than try to consolidate, the best approach would
have been to try to destroy Black's position without giving him a chance to organize his own pieces. In fact, on closer examination, Black's pieces are not bad, particularly his undeveloped bishop on c8, which has the potential to be a real
monster once it does develop. Still it was hard to notice those issues at this point in the game.
( 22. h4!?going for h5 and h6 would have been more annoying, but I think Black is certainly
not out of the game yet. )
22... Kg8!23. h4
( 23. Ne5Rc7and f6 next. It isn't clear how Ne5 helps White. )
23... f624. Bd2
( 24. Qxe6+Rf7!25. Qxc6Bb726. Qb5fxg5with three pieces for a queen, I would probably prefer Black
in a practical game despite the silicon monsters doomsday warnings. )
any change in the situation? Where is White's initiative? It is probably
about this point that Hauge started to feel a little bit uncomfortable about his
position, and it was certainly tough to decide whether he should be just
trying to crush Black or consolidate. In the end, the inexperienced Norwegian
remained caught between the two extremes and couldn't decide on the right plan. 25. h5Rd626. Qh4Bf527. c4
( 27. h6should probably have been played. At least White gains something for all that
effort put into pushing the h-pawn, and the c2 pawn doesn't seem very
important. As I mentioned before, Hauge seemed a little confused between
whether he should go all in or keep his pieces organized consolidated, and in this position that confusion is most evident. )
27... bxc328. bxc3Rb829. Qa4Again, h6 was
necessary, but Hauge was probably starting to see ghosts, i.e. threats
like Rb2. To be fair, h6 also doesn't quite achieve anything
immediately. 29... Nb6!?30. Qxa5Bg4!The position has become more and more
messy. And Black's pieces are improving their coordination. 31. Be3Nc432. Qa7Rb5Maybe not the best move objectively, but I really like how the rook
feels on b5. Andreikin was already playing more by an aesthetic feel than
calculation. 33. Qa4Nxe334. Rxe3Bxh5the bishops are powerful, and the
rooks unchallenged. White certainly is no longer better in a practical game, though objectively he probably still is. Importantly, it has become harder for White to make decisions than for Black: 35. Qc2Bf736. Re1Rd8A slow regrouping, realizing that it is not necessary to hurry. 37. a4Rbd538. Ra1Bc539. Qe4?The big slip up.
( 39. a5Rd3would have remained extremely messy. )
39... Rd3!40. c4Rc3!Certainly
the move missed by White. It is surprisingly impossible for White to defend
against Bxc4 and Bd5. 41. a5
( 41. Qxc6Rxc442. Qa6Rc3and the knight is
stuck again. )
41... Bxc4Bd5 just can't be dealt with. In my game against Hauge, I also somehow managed to turn my desperation into a completely unexpected win, but I feel it won't be long before Hauge stops letting experienced grandmasters cheat death.
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