Our game of the day is a recent loss by Loek van Wely of the Netherlands, who has had a rough couple of months at the board.
I hate to add insult to injury when Loek van Wely of the Netherlands is clearly going through a period of struggle with his chess game (for example, he lost seven games in the Tata Steel tournament in January), but this game was pretty awesome.
Dijkhuis, Tycho vs. Van Wely, L.
Dutch League 2016-17 |Netherlands NED |Round 6.2 |04 Feb 2017 |ECO: B89 |1-0
1. e4c52. Nf3e63. d4cxd44. Nxd4Nc65. Nc3d66. Be3Nf67. Bc4The Velimirovic Variation is not too common these days but has more than a little bite to it.
( 7. Qd2 )
( 7. f3This move is the most common way of continuing nowadays, after which I think that White is a bit better. )
( 7. f4 )
7... Be78. Qe2a69. O-O-OO-O10. Bb3The bishop on b3 looks a bit silly, it has spent two tempi to get to where it is, and it is staring at a roadblock on e6. But it can prove useful in some lines. 10... Qc711. Rhg1Na5Black attacks the bishop, but this loses some time.
( 11... b5This was the most logical way for Black to continue, but after 12. g4!b413. Nxc6Qxc614. Nd5!It turns out the bishop on b3 is useful. After: 14... exd515. g5The bishop would suddenly become a monster and White could restore material equality, after which his position would be much better. )
( 11... Nd7I prefer attacking the White light-squared bishop with the other knight. For example, after 12. g4Nc513. g5Bd7Black could soon follow with b5 and he would have some counterplay. )
12. g4b513. g5Nxb3+14. axb3Nd7Strategically, Black has an excellent position. He has the bishop pair, a better pawn structure, and no weaknesses. White needs to do something quickly to avoid having a worse position. 15. f4!Gaining space and preparing a pawn storm. The idea is to follow up with f5. 15... b416. Nf5!?Objectively this is not a great move, but I like the spirit of it!
( 16. Na4This would have led to a more sedate position. After 16... Bb717. f5e5There would be some trades: 18. f6exd419. fxe7Rfe820. Rxd4Rxe7Black looks fine. )
16... exf5?This is asking for trouble and Black is brutally punished.
( 16... Bd8!Cold blooded and strong. White would soon lose material and he wouldn't have enough compensation for it after: 17. Nxg7bxc318. Nh5cxb2+19. Kb1Kh8Black looks better, but the game is far from being decided. )
17. Nd5Qd818. exf5For the moment, White is down a piece, but his attack is dangerous -- g6 and f6 are already under pressure. 18... Re819. Bd4!A strong preparatory move. White threatens g6, which will create problems for Black.
( 19. g6?fxg6!20. fxg6Bf6!And Black would be okay. )
( 19... Bb7At first the engine likes this move, but White would have a huge edge after: 20. g6!f621. gxh7+Kh8It looks like everything is under control, but... 22. Rxg7!Kxg723. Rg1+Kh824. Qg4And Black can't avoid a disaster on g7. 24... Rg825. hxg8=Q+Qxg826. Qe2Black has too many pieces that are attacked and White should win easily. )
( 19... Bf6!This was the most resilient move, but after: 20. Bxf6!Black has no choice but to defend a miserable endgame with 20... Rxe2Other moves would fare even worse. ...21. Bxd8Bb722. Ba5And White has excellent winning chances. )
20. Qh5!White is ready to break through Black's defenses. 20... Bb721. Nf6+!Nxf6
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.