In the following game, White plays a very odd move in the opening, which was obviously prepared at home. Black fails to realize the move’s purpose and pays the price.
The Russian Team Championship was an incredibly strong all-play-all team competition. There were many exciting clashes, including the following interesting battle. Evgeniy Najer is the current European Champion, who is trying to defend his title in Gjakova, Kosovo, right now. In this game, he showed some subtle preparation and then an amazing idea to overpower Vladimir Artemiev, one of the brightest hopes of Russian chess.
Najer, E. vs. Artemiev, V.
TCh-RUS Men 2016 |Sochi RUS |Round 3.2 |03 May 2016 |ECO: B90 |1-0
1. e4c52. Nf3d63. d4cxd44. Nxd4Nf65. Nc3a66. Be3Ng47. Bg5h68. Bh4g59. Bg3Bg710. h3Ne511. Nf5Bxf512. exf5Nbd713. Be2Rc814. O-ONb615. Rb1!?Not exactly a novelty, but rare enough that this was probably a surprise move to Black. The move seems too passive -- playing Rb1 even before Black has played Nc4! But the idea is that it wasn't clear what White was going to do next. So now he plays a possibly useful move and passes the decision on to Black. If Black still continues Ne4 as he had planned, then Rb1 is kind of justified. But what else can Black do?
( 15. Ne4has been played
often. 15... d516. Nd2Nec417. Nxc4Nxc418. c3O-Oand Black is fairly safe. )
15... O-O?This falls into White's plan. White did not have much to do on the previous move but now he can start on the kingside with f4
( 15... Nec4was probably the best. 16. Bxc4Nxc417. Nd5!O-O18. Re1Re819. c3and perhaps White is better but Black is certainly solid as
well, unlike in the game. )
16. f4Nec4Again, the rook on b1 turns out to be perfectly placed. 17. fxg5!
( 17. Qc1would have been safer but after 17... Bf6things remain very unclear. )
( 17... hxg5White has a few moves but I doubt he would have started to worry about Ne3 now. He would probably try to exploit the recent exchange on g5 with 18. Bd3!Ne319. Qh5Nxf120. f6 )
18. Qd3Nxf119. gxh6Bf6!A great way to keep the kingside blocked.
( 19... Bxh620. Rxf1White's key idea is that Black's open king is very vulnerable and White can easily transfer his pieces to the kingside. For example, f6, Ne4, Bf4, Qg3, etc. )
20. Rxf1Kh7The Black king appears to be safe behind the White pawns. There is no way for White to bring his pieces over to create an initiative on the kingside, unlike after 19...Bxh6, which is what Najer probably expected. Now he has to deal with a new problem. He could try to play solidly and hope that the many pawns he has gives him an advantage, but Black's extra exchange would probably be crucial. And without the worries about his king, Black might actually have an easy game, with plans like Nc4 or Qc7 and Qc4, etc. So this was a crucial moment for White to come up with a plan. 21. Kh1Qc722. Bf4!The idea is not to defend the h6-pawn, which is not necessary -- Black was obviously never going to take it. Instead, White plans to push the kingside pawns forward with g4 and g5. It is an amazing idea. As I pointed out before, White can't really do much on the kingside
with his pieces, but he does have a lot of pawns! 22... Qc423. g4!Even after the queen exchange, the White pawns are ready to roll
on the kingside. 23... Rg8
( 23... Qxd324. Bxd3Rg825. Rg1 )
24. Qg3!With the queens still on the board, the pawn advance is even stronger. 24... Qb425. Bd3!Qxb226. Ne4d527. Nxf6+exf628. g5Now it is all over. 28... fxg529. f6+Rg630. Bxg6+fxg631. Bxg5Qxc232. Qe5Qe4+33. Qxe4dxe434. Rb1Rc635. Rxb6Rxb636. f7
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