It can be one of the most difficult defensive formations to crack, but in this game, White breaks through after a small mistake by Black.
In this game, Stanislav Bogdanovich, a Ukrainian international master, playing White, uses a slightly odd move and a finesse to overwhelm Hovik Hayrapetyan, an Armenian grandmaster.
Bogdanovich, S. vs. Hayrapetyan, Ho
Andranik Margaryan Mem |Yerevan ARM |Round 2.4 |09 Jan 2017 |ECO: B41 |1-0
1. e4c52. Nf3e63. d4cxd44. Nxd4a65. c4I have always liked this move. White grabs as much space as he can since Black has not yet compelled him to play Nc3.
( 5. Nc3This is another common move, and I recently wrote about another game which had this position. )
5... Nf66. Nc3Qc7
( 6... Bb4When I analyzed this position, I remember thinking that this was the more challenging move. )
7. Be2b68. O-OBb7Black wants a standard hedgehog setup. I have never liked such positions. 9. Qd3!?This is unusual but very interesting.
( 9. f3This move would lead to a classical hedgehog. Theory regards White as being a bit better. )
( 9... d610. f4!The point. White has plans to use the f-pawn as an offensive weapon, not for defense. 10... Nbd711. b4a512. f5e513. Ndb5Qb814. Ba3Black is in trouble. )
10. Nxc6dxc6This looks natural, fixing the pawn structure. And if Black has the time, in a couple of moves he will be fine. White must play energetically. 11. Rd1Rd8?One mistake and Black's position is basically beyond repair.
( 11... Be7!After this move, Black looks okay. He can castle next, play c5, trades the rooks on the d-file, and then he seems to have a healthy position. )
12. Bf4!Surely Black overlooked this move. 12... Qc8
( 12... Rxd313. Bxc7Rxd1+14. Rxd1Black cannot stop both Rd8 and Bxb6. 14... Nd715. Na4!b516. Nb6Nxb617. Rd8+!Ke718. Bxb6Rb8 cannot be stopped. )
13. Qg3Black is
far behind in development. The bishop on f8 cannot move because g7 will be unprotected, and White already threatens to play Bc7. 13... Rxd1+It was hard to suggest anything else, but this helps White develop his last piece. 14. Rxd1Nd7
( 14... c515. Bc7And white wins a pawn. 15... Nd716. Na4 )
( 15. c5!This move was even better. 15... Nxc516. Bg5!f617. Bxf6gxf618. Bh5+Ke719. Qd6# )
15... g616. Na4Be717. Bd6!?
( 17. Nxb6I probably would have contented myself with having an extra pawn, but White wanted more. 17... Nxb618. Bxb6White should win eventually. )
17... Bd818. c5!This anchors the bishop on d6, preventing Black from castling, and entombs bishop on b7. Black is absolutely dead lost. 18... b519. Nc3f620. Bg4f5There was nothing else, although Black cannot expect to survive the opening of the center.
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.