Podolchenko E. (2475) - Maiorov N. (2524)

BLR-ch/Minsk (9) 2009

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 c5 7. dxc5 d4!?

In this game we feature an interesting gambit which has been pioneered by GM Oleg Romanishin. 4 Qc2 is very popular at all levels these days, so Black needs a serious reply. I'm not sure whether this gambit is a permanent answer, but it is certainly very dangerous. The idea of 4 Qc2 is pretty simple. White wants to play a2-a3 and recapture on c3 with the Queen, gaining the two Bishops without any hassle.

8. Qc2

8. Qg3 is another possibility,after which Black should continue with 8... Nc6 9. Qxg7 Rg8 10. Qh6 e5 which is of course,very sharp

8... e5 9. e3 Nc6 10. Nf3 O-O

Rapid development is the key feature of Black's opening idea. If White is able to play Be2 or Bd3 and then castle he will surely have the better game,so it is up to Black to deny him.

11. b4

11. Be2 Bg4 12. O-O Bxf3 13. Bxf3 d3 14. Qc3 e4 15. Bd1 a5 16. Ba4 Qe7 17. b4 Ng4 18. Bb2 f5 leads to a position which is difficult to judge. White has two Bishops but it is not easy to break the shackles of the strong black pawn-chain.

Meanwhile 11. Bd3 Qe7 does not look impressive for White

11... Re8 12. Bb2 d3! 13. Qc3 Bf5

A new improvement. Previously played was

13... e4 14. Nd2 a5 15. h3 axb4 16. axb4 Rxa1+ 17. Bxa1 h5 18. g3 Bf5 19. Bg2 Qd7 20. g4 Bxg4 21. hxg4 Qxg4 22. O-O (22. Bf1! Ne5 23. Rh2 Qf5 24. Qd4 Nfg4 25. Rg2) 22... Re5 23. Qxe5 Nxe5 24. Bxe5 h4 25. Kh2 Qe2 26. Bc3 Ng4+ 27. Kg1 f5 28. b5 Matveeva,S (2411)-Turova,I (2381)/ Kallithea 2008

14. b5

Podolchenko can find nothing other than to push his queenside pawns. He is completely boxed in by the pawn on d3.

14... Ne4 15. Qc1

15. Qxd3 Qa5+

15... Qa5+


16. Nd2 Nd4!!

Attractive moves like this are possible when you have the better position and an advantage in development. Refrain from this type of move alone at home if you do not.

17. Bxd3 Nb3

What a crushing pin!

18. Qc2 Nbxd2 19. O-O-O Nxc5 20. Rxd2 Nxd3+ 21. Rxd3 Qc7

Maybe you or I wouldn't resign this position, but White has had enough of the pounding. I got the feeling that White was less than impressed with his game for quite some time. If you don't like your position, how can you hope to play it well?




Bergstrom J. (1953) - Zubrickas R. (2224)

Elo-Challenge (4) 2009

Here is a game sent to me by one of my Swedish friends, which I thought was interesting enough to publish. White chooses a very unusual opening idea to great effect!

1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 c5 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. c3

The Polar Bear Opening,used with great success by GM Danielsen from Denmark. I like the idea, a Leningrad in reverse.

6... e6 7. a4

7. Na3 is the way the GM often handles it. He puts his Knight on c2, Queen on e1 and then decides on a plan. Plans available include Kingside activity with h3 ad Qg3/h4, play in the centre with e2-e4 or play on the queenside with Rb1/b4.

7... Nge7 8. O-O O-O 9. e4

9. Qe1 d4 (9... b6 10. e4 dxe4 11. dxe4 Ba6 12. Rf2 Qc7 13. Na3) 10. Na3

9. Na3! awaiting events,may well have been the best move.

9... dxe4 10. dxe4 e5 11. Na3 Qxd1 12. Rxd1 Be6

I must say this does look rather equal. Perhaps White would rather have his pawn still on a2!?

13. Be3 b6 14. Nd2 Rfd8 15. Bf1 Bh6

15... Bg4 16. Re1 Rd7 17. Ndc4 exf4 18. gxf4 Rad8 is a nice,easy way to get the Black pieces working together.

16. Kf2 f5 17. Bc4 Bxc4 18. Naxc4 Rd3 19. Nf3 Rxd1 20. Rxd1 fxe4??

Bergstrom has lulled his opponent into a false sense of security with his quiet play!

20... exf4 21. Bxf4 Bxf4 22. gxf4 fxe4 23. Ng5 Rf8 was surely a better way.

21. Nfxe5 Rd8 22. Rxd8+ Nxd8 23. a5 Nd5 24. axb6 axb6 25. Nd7 b5 26. Nd2 c4 27. Nxe4

Excellent,methodical play.

27... Bg7 28. Nb6 Nxe3 29. Kxe3 Ne6 30. Nd5 Bf8 31. g4!

As in all endgames of this type, the next task is to create a passed pawn.

31... Kf7 32. Ng5+!?

I think I would have played 32. h4 just planning gradual improvement. Black can do nothing;it's torture for him.

32... Nxg5 33. fxg5 h6

33... Bd6 34. h3 Be5 35. Ke4 Ke6 36. Nb4 Kd6 37. Nc2 Bg3 38. Nd4 Kc5 39. Ne6+ Kd6 40. Nf8 sees the Knight reach an ideal destination.

34. Nc7! b4 35. cxb4 Bxb4 36. gxh6 c3 37. bxc3 Bxc3 38. Nd5 Bb2 39. Ke4 Bc1 40. Nf4 Bb2 41. h4 Bc3 42. g5 Ba1 43. Kf3 Bc3 44. Kg4 Bd2 45. Nh3 Be3 46. h5 Bd2 47. hxg6+ Kxg6 48. Nf4+ Kh7 49. Kf5 Bc3 50. Nh5 Bd2 51. Kf6 Kh8 52. Kg6 Bc3 53. Ng3 Bb4 54. Nf5 Bc5 55. Kf7

Very,very good endgame play, making a mockery of Bergstrom's lowly rating..