Wilhelm Steinitz, the first World Champion, once said that the player with the initiative has the right to attack. In this game, White starts attacking and never lets up.
Anyone who knows me knows how big a fan I am of chess games with lots of violence (a.k.a., a lot of action). In this game, Karen Grigoryan, an international master from Turkmenistan, made a big fan out of me. His victim was Cristian Aranda Marin, a strong Spanish master.
Grigoryan, Karen vs. Aranda Marin, C.
28th Roquetas de Mar Open |Roquetas de Mar ESP |Round 2.6 |04 Jan 2017 |ECO: B43 |1-0
1. e4c52. Nf3e63. Nc3
( 3. d4cxd44. Nxd4a65. Nc3This would have been a more typical move order. )
3... a64. d4cxd45. Nxd4Bb4?!This is a very unusual move, and I don't like it.
( 5... Qc7This is the mainline. In addition )
( 5... b5Is also playable. It was popularized by Gata Kamsky, the former challenger for the World Championship. )
6. Bd3I like this move. White simply develops and does not worry about the
pawn structure. 6... d67. O-ONf68. Nce2!?This looks weird but it's quite a decent move. Now the bishop on b4 looks really dumb. 8... Bc59. Kh1
( 9. c3This move was more accurate because 9... b5Fails to 10. a4 )
9... b5Black has achieved a decent position from the opening, but the game is just getting started. 10. a4!White provokes Black into pushing his b-pawn to b4 to create weaknesses on the queenside. 10... b411. Nb3!Ba712. Bg5!White highlights the absence of the Black bishop on e7. The pin is quite annoying. 12... Nc6?
( 12... h6This would be the typical response, but after 13. Bxf6!Qxf614. f4White's initiative is growing rapidly. )
( 12... Nbd7!This was the best way, but Black would still have been a bit worse. )
13. f4!White wastes no time in starting his attack. 13... h6
( 13... O-O14. Ng3And Black's position is already critical because he cannot stop White from playing Nh5. )
( 14. Bh4?g5!This leaves Black with good counterplay because 15. fxg5hxg516. Bxg5Fails gruesomely to 16... Rxh2+17. Kxh2Ng4+18. Kh1Qxg5And White would be checkmated )
14... Qxf615. e5!?An energetic move but White had an even stronger one:
( 15. Bb5!This
tricky move would give White a big edg, because after 15... axb516. axb5Black loses his extra piece as he cannot prevent both bxc6 and b6. )
( 15... dxe516. Be4Bb717. Ng3And Black is under a lot of pressure. White's threat is Qf3. )
16. exd6Qxd617. Be4Qc7?!
( 17... Qxd118. Rfxd1Bb7I prefer trading queens, which is a good idea for the side with a more exposed king. White would still be a bit better. For example: 19. Rd6Rc820. Ned4Nxd421. Bxb7Rc722. Bxa6Nxc223. Bb5+And White's passed a-pawn is very strong. )
( 18. f5!?This move also doesn't look bad. )
18... Bd7?One mistake and the game swings around.
( 18... Bb7!This is very dangerous for Black after 19. Nxe6fxe620. Qh5+But he should survive. For example: 20... Kf821. f5e522. f6g523. f7With a position whose evaluation is unclear, but Black is not worse. )
19. f5!e520. Ne6!The point. White is happy to give up a piece to blast open the lines to the Black king. 20... fxe621. Qh5+Kd8
( 21... Ke722. Qh4+!Ke823. Qg4!And Black cannot protect both e6 and g7. )
( 22... exf523. Bxf5Nd4Black cannot keep the d-file closed in this way because: 24. Bxd7Qxd725. Qxe5!And the position blows up in Black's face. )
24. Qe2The easiest and most natural way to convert White's advantage.
( 24. Rf7!This move was even stronger, but also what a computer would play. I like the move chosen by White better. 24... Bxf725. exf7Rf826. Qg4+Kb827. Bxc6!A tough move to calculate in advance. 27... Qxc628. Qxb4+Kc729. Qe7+Kb630. Rd6 )
24... Bd425. c3!Black is never spared for one tempo; the punches keep coming every move. 25... bxc326. bxc3Rb8
( 26... Bxc327. Rc1 )
27. Nxd4exd428. cxd4The pawns will cruise up the board. Note the Black rook on h8 never once played an active role in the game. 28... Rb429. d5Ne530. Qxa6+Qb731. Rc1+
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter, has his own site, and is also on Facebook.