Gurevich M. (2590) - Kazhgaleyev M. (2490)

Cappelle op/Cappelle la Grande 1996


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Bg5 d6 5. e3 O-O 6. Be2 Nbd7 7. Qc2

You are about to play through a remarkable game. Using very modest tools, Gurevich fashions a masterpiece, based entirely on the excellence of his technique. You may have wondered why White hasn't developed his king's knight yet. Well, it's nothing profound Gurevich is just tinkering with the moveorder.

7... c6 8. Nf3 h6 9. Bh4 e5 10. Rd1 Qe7

This position has always been considered respectable for Black but I have to say that I would prefer to be White. It looks rather difficult to develop the Black queenside..

11. O-O g5 12. Bg3 Nh5

A prescribed method. Having played ...g6-g5, ...Nh5 had to follow. Hopefully, ... f7-f5 follows that. Gurevich stamps on Black's counterplay.

13. Bd3!

No loss of face or time. White has to stop ...f7-f5!

13... Nxg3 14. hxg3 Nb6 15. dxe5!?

TN A novelty, according to Gurevich, although I think putting TN by this move is rather silly- we are already in the middlegame . Having said that 15 dxe5! is excellent. It's important later on that the rook on d1 starts to play.

15. b4 f5 16. dxe5 dxe5 17. e4 fxe4 18. Nxe4 Qxb4 19. Nd6 Bg4 20. Qe2 Nd5 21. cxd5 cxd5 Shamkovich,L-Gufeld,E Baku 1972

15... dxe5 16. Bh7+!!

The move of the game for me-a subtlety which most players would miss. Let's list the advantages of the check: a) In an endgame ,Black's king is further away from the centre (small difference) b) The bishop on g7 loses some power (small but important difference) c) Black's king is more exposed to attack on h8 than on g8, particularly to sacrifices on g5 and then subsequent mating threats on the h file (almost a deciding factor). Gurevich hardly mentions the power of the check in his notes-he is being far too modest.

16. b3 f5

16... Kh8 17. Bf5!

Another fine move, putting the stopper on f7-f5. Note that White is sacrificing his c pawn.

17... Nxc4

Black's only alternative leads to an awful endgame e.g.

17... Bxf5 18. Qxf5 Nxc4 19. Ne4 (20.Nexg5) 19... Qe6 20. Qxe6 fxe6 21. b3 Nb6 22. Nc5

18. Bxc8 Raxc8 19. Ne4 Nb6

19... Qb4? 20. a3 Qb5 21. Rc1

20. g4!

[Ne4-g3-f5] White's light-squared control is worth far more than a pawn.

20... Rcd8

20... Qe6? 21. Rd6! Qxg4 22. Rxh6+ Bxh6 23. Nf6

21. b3!

21. Ng3?! Qe6

21... Rd5

21... Qe6? 22. Nexg5 hxg5 23. Nxg5 Qg6 24. Qxg6 fxg6 25. Rxd8 Rxd8 26. Nf7+

22. Ng3! Rfd8

22... Qe6 23. e4! Rxd1 24. Rxd1 Qxg4 25. Nf5

23. Nf5

23. Rc1 Qe6 24. e4 R5d7 25. Nf5 Nc8 26. g3 Ne7 27. Ne3 Ng8 28. Qe2 Nf6 29. Nf5 Ng8 30. Kg2 Ne7 31. Ne3 Kg8 32. Rc3 Rd4 33. Nf5 R4d7 34. Ne3 Rd4 35. Qc2 R4d7 36. Rh1 Rd4 37. Qb1 R4d7 Sieiro Gonzalez,L (2390)-Rohl Montes,J (2375)/Santa Clara 1998

23... Qd7

23... Qe6 24. e4 Rxd1 25. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 26. Qxd1 Nd7 (26... Qd7 27. Qxd7 Nxd7 28. Nd6) 27. Qd6

24. Rc1!

Just when it looks as though Black is getting back into the game Gurevich makes a fine rook sidestep. Although Black's firepower on the d file looks impressive, where is his penetration point? Meanwhile White threatens Nxg7 and Nxe5, which Black cannot ignore.

24... Qe6 25. e4 Rd3 26. Rfd1 Qd7 27. Re1

The second 'Rook finesse ' Eventually White takes the d file ,in his own good time.

27... f6?!

Makes the bishop a non-piece. Better were :

27... Qe6 28. Qe2! (29.g3, 30.Kg2,31. Rh1)

27... Nc8 28. Qe2 Ne7 29. Ne3! Ng6 30. g3 (31.Kg2)

28. Qe2! a5 29. g3!

That knight on f5 is a monster. Although White's attack takes time to set up, there's precious little Black can do about it.

29... a4 30. Kg2 Kh7

30... axb3 31. axb3 Rxb3 32. Red1! Rd3 33. Rh1 Kh7 34. Rxh6+ Bxh6 35. Rh1

31. Rh1 Kg6 32. Qe1!

[33.Rxh6,33.Qb4]

32... Rh8

32... axb3 33. Rxh6+! Bxh6 34. Qh1 Kf7 35. Nxe5+! (35. Qxh6 Rg8) 35... fxe5 36. Qh5+ Kg8 37. Qxh6 (38.Rh1)

33. Qb4!

The second string to White's bow. A Black can just about defend his king, Gurevich stretches play out to the other flank. As soon as Kazhgaleyev is pressured in this way his position falls apart. Classic strategy.

33... Nc8 34. bxa4!

[a4-a5-a6 35.Qb1, 36.Rcd1]

34... Bf8 35. Qb1 Rh7 36. a5!

Nailing the pawn on b7.

36... Ba3 37. Rcd1 Rxd1 38. Rxd1 Qe6 39. Rd3!

[40.Qh1]

39... Bc5 40. Qh1 h5 41. gxh5+ Kf7

41... Rxh5 42. Qxh5+ Kxh5 43. Ng7+

42. h6 Ne7

42... Kg6 43. g4

43. Qh5+ Ng6 44. Rb3 Qd7 45. N3h4!

A perfect tactical finish to the game, highlighting the beautiful play which went before.

45... gxh4 46. Nxh4

Games of this quality are often overlooked - everyone concentrates on the biggest names. Believe me, Guervich-Kazhgaleyev is a masterpiece.

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