Saturday 28 April 2012

Chess history and training combined

By seeing this title many would think that I am trying to combine something completely unimaginable, and probably that a next text doesn´t has something to do with either chess history or chess training. I shall let you (my dear readers, who outnumbered all my expectations) to judge me after reading it.
Black on move
First of all, I am challenging you to find this position in your database. It doesn´t matter is it mega2012 or TWIC with all possible updates. Of course, every chess game can not finish in a database and probably some weak players play it, or maybe a game is very old, or tournament where a game is played was not so important, or , or....
Nothing out of that is a truth.
This position arose in a game between two players rated 2435 (White) and 2315 (Black) , but today both of them are grandmasters. So is that game very old? No, because it is played in 1989 (yeah, old, give me some Caruana-Giri game, would say some of nowadays juniors) and a tournament was indeed very important, USSR Championship.

To be honest, I don´t have a clue why this game is not in a databases but many of games played in Soviet Union from that period were not published outside of USSR. So, where I found it.
I remember when I played Malmö Open (one of these strange Swedish tournament which Nils described) in the summit of 2010, that some  chess enthusiast tried to sell old chess books. A last day of the tournament price for Chess Informant (Sahovski Informator) was quite unusual, zero Swedish crowns. I carefully asked him, why is Informant free and he told me that nobody want it.
I told him that I want as many Informants as I can take with me, and he gave me a bag with six or seven editions ( from early 90s and late 80s) and promised me not to publish my game from the last round (I played very badly and played a three-moves draw in the last round).
Many thought that I lost my mind with these old books, and playing like a child, just to see me sharing a first place in Prague Open couple of weeks later.
So what I basically do with Chess informants? Opening theory is much more advanced nowadays and I can find many games with other sources. 
I like when players commentating their games, and I actually very appreciate analyses without computers (and 20 years old games in the chess informants are analysed without computers). There are a lot of mistakes, but then I like to find these mistakes buy making exercises for my training from diagram positions in Chess Informants and solving them. Diagram positions are mostly critical positions and usually  after diagrams follows wide analyse. By reading John Nunn´s Chess Puzzle Book I found that this famous grandmaster and author has a similar method.
One of these positions which I found in Chess Informant from 1989 is a position on the first diagram and I shall share my analyses with you.
As I said this is the game:

                           Nenashev A. (2435) - Chuchelov V. (2315)  USSR 1989

Black sacrificed an exchange and has to do something quick or white´s material advantage will tell. He has a bishop pair and a good control over dark squares.
He found a good tactical posibility:
White has only two realistic candidate moves. One is to take a knight a.) 26.gxf3 , and another is b.) 26.Nf4 with idea of taking on e6 when Black reatrets with his knight. On every other knight move, for example 26.Ng3 black plays 26...Ne5 with a pawn, bishop pair and extremely good control over dark squares for the exchange. He has at least compensation ( I would choose black every time and everywhere).
We shall try first with
a.) 26.gxf3? and Black has to play 
26...Qf2! with a lot of threats. 
27.Qf6 (27.Qd4, Qxf3+ 28.Kg1,Bh3 29.Qf2, Bc5 Black wins) 27....Bh3
28.Rg1, Be7
29.Qf4, Bd6 and it is not possible to defend both focal points h2 and f3.

As we see 26.gxf3 is a bad move, and in the game Nenashev played better:
b.) 26.Nf4! and that Chuchelov answered brilliantly with:
They reached a position on next diagram.

White on move
This is a point where Chuchelov, who commentated a game in the Chess Informant, gave a nice analyses of 27.Rc1.
According to his analyses, that is the bad move and White should lose the game after it. It is interesting that he didn´t mark a move with a question mark, which is correct not to do, but just after analyses which I will provide.
I will first show what actually happened in the game and draw a conclusion that many draws are more interesting than majority of trivial wins. I am strongly against a football point rules in chess (at the matter of fact even in football) and can not understand that two draws like this is worth less than a banal wins and  a heavy defeat.
Let´s look what hapened:
27.Nxe6 and Black was forced to play...
27...Qh5 besides a mate threat Nf3# , a whole rook is hanging on d1
28.Nf4, Qxd1+
29.Kxh2, Bh6!  It seems that Black in on his way to victory but....
30.Nd5!, Qxd3 Now, everything normal leads to perpetual and in the game they played:
31.Qe5, Qa3
32.Nf6+, Kh8
33.Nh5+  with perpetual   1/2-1/2

Now, it is time to look at
27.Rc1 A point is not that a rook will not hang after Black´s queen moves to h-file. There is something more cunning.
27...Qg5 ( Chuchelov gives only 27...Qe3 which transposes after 28.Nxe6,Qh6).
28.Nxe6 This is a position which White want it. Rook is not on d1 and it can not be taken after let´s say 28...Qh5 (but there is something else for White, not only 29.Nf4). On the other hand, Black has a possibility to play on three squares on h-file. We shall examine all.

White on move
a.) 28...Qh4 (or 28...Qh5) and now I will give a diagram for this position just because White´s next combination is nice.
29.Qg7+!! and this is a point with a rook on c-file.
30.Rc8+, Bf8
31.Rxf8 mate
As we can see, it is not possible to play with a queen on h4 or h5. By a simple process of elimination we can choose only option which is left and that is a queen move to h6 (which prevents mate).
So following a position from a previous diagram
27.Rc1, Qg5
28.Nxe6 only posible move is:
b.) 28...Qh6 Chuchelov didn´t missed that because he actually gave 27...Qe3 and than 28...Qh6 is only option to play on h-file avoiding these tempting (but bad) 28...Qh4(h5)
29.Qg7+ Still!
30.Rc8+, Bf8
31.Rxf8+, Qxf8
32.Nxf8 and we reached very interesting position.

Black to move
It seems that Black is in trouble because he is a piece down, but Chuchelov calculated (or analysed) further.
If white´s knight retreat from f8 black is wining a bishop and a game with a fork on f2, Nf2+ and Nxd3.
The knight is hanging again and there is no more forks (it is impossible to reach g3 square).
A point of black´s play. White knight on f8 is trapped (by taking a square d7).
White can give a knight for a pawn by playing... 
34.Nxh7 but after
34...Kxh7 the position is technically winning for Black. This is indeed a nice variation and I don´t know if he seen it during a game or in analyses.


This was a nice analyse from Chuchelov and most of it is very accurate. What can we conclude is that 27. Rc1 is a losing move and give a exclamation mark on 27.Nxe6 (Chuchelov actually did that) which draws.
It would be wrong because we didn´t analyse all candidate moves in position on following diagram:

White to move
Here, Chuchelov only looked at 29.Qg7+ which eventually loses.
There is more defensive resources in white position.
This move fulfiller two tasks. Moves a hanging piece and threats to close h-file with Nh3.
There are two possibilities for Black. First one is materialistic and a second one is somehow better (it is not unusual that in these kind of positions non-materialistic approach proves to be better, because usually it follows a idea while taking a material is a bit simplistic)
We will analyse both a.) 29...Ng4+?! and b.) 29...Qxg5!

a.) 29...Ng4+?!
30.Nh3, Nf2+
31.Qxf2, Qxc1+
32.Kh2 And in this position White still has a piece more but Black has a two pawns and full control on dark squares. I think that Black is in no danger but still I would slightly prefer White.

b.) 29...Qxg5!
30.Kxh2 Black is a whole rook down, but control on the dark squares gives him an easy draw.
31.Kg1, Qe3+
32.Kh2 ...and if Black want he can take a draw with 32...Qh6+, but he can play for a more
32...Qxd3 Now White has to find a good move
33.Qe5 which protects him from a threat of Bd6+ by tactical means (mate on c8)
What can follow is just an illustration, but anyway the position is balanced:
33...Qd7 with idea of Bd6
34.Qd5!, Bd6+
35.e5, Qf5
36.Qxd6, Qf4+
37.g3, Qxc1
38.Qd8+  with perpetual on squares d8, f6 and h4.

At the end you can ask yourselves, who are these guys?
Chuchelov is not so famous but still very good Grandmaster who lives in Belgium and his current Elo is 2541.
Alexander Nenashev is known as Grandmaster Alexander Graf (that´s right). In a year 2000 he moved to Germany and took a surname from his father. His current Elo is 2620 and he is a very strong player (as many of you already know).
So please, don´t throw away old chess books, give it to me :-) .

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