Gelfand B. - Svidler P.

Odessa Rapidplay Final 2009


1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. g3 a6 6. Bg2 Qc7 7. Nc3 Qxc4 8. O-O

White has happy to give up a pawn to try to take the initiative,which is of key importance in the speedier version of chess.

8... Nc6 9. Nb3 d5 10. Bf4 Bb4!?

10... Qb4 attempts to get the Queen out of the firing line, but in all other respects costs time: 11. Re1 (11. Rc1 Be7 12. e4 d4 13. e5 dxc3 14. exf6 Bxf6 15. Bd6 Qb6 16. bxc3 Ne7 17. c4 O-O 18. c5 Qb5 19. Nd2 Rd8 20. Ne4 Be5 21. Qf3 Ng6 22. Bxe5 Nxe5 23. Qc3 f6 24. Nd6 Qd7 25. Qb3 Kaposztas,M (2235) -Kustar,S (2405)/Ajka 1998 (25)) 11... Be7 12. e4! dxe4 13. Bc7 e3 14. Rxe3 O-O 15. h3 Na7 16. Rc1 Nb5 17. a3 Nxc3 18. Rcxc3 Qa4 19. Qc1 Qd7 20. Be5 Nd5 21. Red3 Nxc3 22. Qxc3 Qb5 23. Bxg7 Qxd3 24. Qxd3 Kxg7 25. Nc5! Kasparov,G (2838)-Kramnik,V (2802)/Moscow 2001

Meanwhile 10... Be7 is somewhat quieter and may well be best: 11. a3 d4 12. Nd2 Qc5 13. Na4 Qb5 14. Nc4 e5! 15. Bxc6+ bxc6 16. Nxe5 g5 17. Qxd4 gxf4 18. Nb6 Rb8 19. Nxc8 Rxc8 20. Qxf4 Bd6 21. Qf5 Ke7 22. f4 Qd5 Sapunov,E (2480)-Chuprikov,D (2422)/ Tula 2002 (25)

11. Rc1 Bxc3 12. Bd6?!

Cutting off the queen's retreat, but it may not be quite sound.

Instead 12. Rxc3 Qb4 13. a3 Qe7 14. Be3 Qd8 15. Bc5 Nd7 16. e4 Nxc5 17. Rxc5 dxe4 18. Bxe4 Qxd1 19. Rxd1 gives White a tremendous development advantage to compensate for his pawn.

12... Ne4 13. Nd2 Qd4 14. Nxe4 Qxd1

Svidler misses a trick with 14... Bxb2! 15. Bc5 Qxd1 16. Nd6+ Kd7 17. Rcxd1 b6! 18. Nxf7 (18. Nc4 bxc5 19. Nb6+ Kd6 20. Nxa8 Nd4! 21. e3 Ne2+ 22. Kh1 Bf6 23. Rd2 Nc3) 18... bxc5 19. Nxh8 Ke7 Of course, these complications are considerable, even for world-class players and a decision has to be made sooner rather than later in this type of chess. We cannot blame Svidler for avoiding this variation

15. Rfxd1 Bxb2 16. Rc2 Bd4 17. Nc5 f5 18. e4 fxe4 19. Nxe4 Bd7?!

19... dxe4! was again a superior try. 20. Bxe4 (20. Rxc6 Bxf2+ 21. Kxf2 bxc6 22. Bxe4 Bb7 23. Rb1 O-O-O) 20... e5 21. Rxc6 bxc6 22. Bxc6+ Kf7 23. Bxa8 Rd8 24. Ba3 Bxf2+

20. Bc5 Be5 21. f4 dxe4 22. fxe5 Nxe5 23. Rd6 Nd3 24. Ba3 Rc8 25. Rxc8+ Bxc8 26. Bxe4 Ne5 27. Rd1

It is really tough to unravel Black's position,despite the extra pawns.

27... b5

27... Nc4 28. Bc5 e5 29. Bd5 b5 is another route out.

28. Bb2 Ng6 29. Bxg7 Rg8 30. Bb2 Nf8 31. Kf2 Rg5 32. Rc1 Bd7 33. Bf6 Rh5 34. h4 b4 35. Bg5! h6 36. Bf3 Rxg5

He didn't manage to ever get fully coordinated. Gelfand converts the full point confidently enough.

37. hxg5 hxg5 38. Rc5 Ke7 39. Be2 Kd6 40. Rxg5 Bc6 41. Ra5 Nd7 42. Bxa6 Nc5 43. g4 Bd5 44. Be2 b3 45. axb3 Nxb3 46. Ra7 Nd4 47. Bd3 e5 48. Ke3 Ne6 49. Bf5 Nd4 50. Be4 Be6 51. g5 Nf5+ 52. Kf3 Nd4+ 53. Kg3 Nf5+ 54. Kf2

I actually feel that White's pawn sacrifice isn't quite sound, but we've seen that he gets a lot of pressure. A good practical bet would be the best description!

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