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. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Bg7 10. h3 Ne5 11. Nf5 Bxf5 12. exf5 Nbd7 13. Be2 Rc8 14. O-O Nb6 15. 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. Ne4 has been played often.
15... d5 16. Nd2 Nec4 17. Nxc4 Nxc4 18. c3 O-O and 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... Nec4 was probably the best.
16. Bxc4 Nxc4 17. Nd5! O-O 18. Re1 Re8 19. c3 and perhaps White is better but Black is certainly solid as well, unlike in the game.  )
16. f4 Nec4 Again, the rook on b1 turns out to be perfectly placed.
17. fxg5!
17. Qc1 would have been safer but after
17... Bf6 things remain very unclear.  )
17... Ne3
17... hxg5 White 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! Ne3 19. Qh5 Nxf1 20. f6  )
18. Qd3 Nxf1 19. gxh6 Bf6! A great way to keep the kingside blocked.
19... Bxh6 20. Rxf1 White'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. Rxf1 Kh7 The 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. Kh1 Qc7 22. 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... Qc4 23. g4! Even after the queen exchange, the White pawns are ready to roll on the kingside.
23... Rg8
23... Qxd3 24. Bxd3 Rg8 25. Rg1  )
24. Qg3! With the queens still on the board, the pawn advance is even stronger.
24... Qb4 25. Bd3! Qxb2 26. Ne4 d5 27. Nxf6+ exf6 28. g5 Now it is all over.
28... fxg5 29. f6+ Rg6 30. Bxg6+ fxg6 31. Bxg5 Qxc2 32. Qe5 Qe4+ 33. Qxe4 dxe4 34. Rb1 Rc6 35. Rxb6 Rxb6 36. f7


Parimarjan Negi is an Indian grandmaster who is the second-youngest ever to earn the title (at 13 years 4 months and 22 days). Ranked No. 90 in the world, he is currently a sophomore at Stanford University.