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Recent GM Games (# 22)

  The 5th Karpov Tournament  

LCC's  "The Week In Chess," (TWIC, Issue # 490);  has reported on the results of the  5th Karpov Tournament.  This was a VERY strong  tournament ... a  Category XVIII.  (Category Eighteen, {# 18}  the average rating of the participants was a whopping 2676!! Incredible!)  

The  tournament  was held in a village or a small town called Poikovsky, the dates were the 17th through the 26th of March, 2004. (Poikovsky is in the Nefteyugansky region, and is located west of Siberia.) {Or in the western region of Siberia?}   

GM Alexander Grischuk, (RUS - 2719);  started fast ... with 3 wins out of the first four games, but then he seemed to fade. (A long string of draws, with a loss thrown in as well.) But a very exciting win in the last round - over China's GM,  Zhang Zhong  - gave him first place on tiebreak over  GM Sergei Rublevsky, (RUS). All the  games  should be {eventually} available from  London Chess Centre's  TWIC

  The Players  (in this game)

I asked around on several chess servers ... no one had ever even heard of  GM Vladimir Malakhov, (2700). [info]  And few people had heard of  GM Vadim Zvjaginsev, (2654); [info] as well. (Although - I believe - that I remember reading about Malakov as a junior player, and there was no way that I could forget Zviagintsev's many brilliant combinations - see the game introduction for more info.) I doubt if there are many players in the U.S. who were familiar with both players. Neither player is especially all that well known, especially not in the West. (Although I am sure both are really excellent players!) 
{If you are curious as to what either player looks like, there are several pictures on the ChessBase web site.   
  --->  Go the CB player database and search for either player - and make sure you use their last name and also 
  insure that you spell it correctly.}  

REPLAY  this game on the  "Chess Games"  web site.  (This is NOT my web page or site!)  

  GM Vladimir Malakhov (2700) - GM Vadim Zvjaginsev (2654)  

  5th Karpov Tournament  
  Poikovsky, RUS;  23,03,2004.  

[A.J. Goldsby I]


Wednesday, March 31st, 2004.

I saw this game in the most recent issue of "The Week In Chess," (Issue # 490); and I just knew that I had to have this game for one of my websites. (It is ... without question ... one of the most amazing chess games I have seen in the  last 20-30 years. The combination is simply one of the finest and the most amazing  that I have ever seen. Period, end of story ... and bar none.) 

The players are not well known outside of Russia. I know Malakov  ...  I think I remember seeing his name connected with some Russian Junior Tournament a number of years back. (I went on ICC this morning. No one I could find had ever even heard of the player playing  the White pieces here. And most were not familiar with the fellow playing the Black pieces 
 as well.) Additionally, I sent out an e-mail to a bunch of people, friends, Internet students,  general chess contacts, etc. Of those who responded, most did not know who these players were as well. (The player of the Black pieces I know well. When he was very young, I went over quite a few of his games in many {and various}  chess magazines.) Zvjaginsev played some of the most amazing combinations that I had ever seen up until 
that time. 

Just to give you a taste of some of the games I remember by Zvjaginsev, (also formerly spelled Zviagintsev); here are a few games I recall  ...  just from pure memory. When this player was only about 15, he played a game that was printed in many chess magazines. He sacrificed a slew of pieces (as White) on the King-side to end in mate. I also recall seeing about a dozen of his games in the  "INFORMANT,"  in many of these he sacrificed very brilliantly to win. In 1993 or 1994, (Pamplona, Spain?); he beat the great Vicktor Korchnoi in a game as White  - in under 25 moves. (The game was really over before 
move fifteen!)  In the Hoogovens / Wijk aan Zee / Steel Tournament, (Open, Masters Section); one year (1995?); he defeated the player, GM Roberto Cifuentes-Parada, (as Black); ... in a virtual cascade of sacrifices ... that ended in a Queen sack ... to set up an unstoppable mating net. {This combination can already be found in several books. Like the book:  "Chess Puzzles,"  by  GM David Norwood.  Henry Holt books, 1995.} 

***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***  

The ratings are those of FIDE, and are completely unchanged and also accurate. (TWIC generally gives the players, along with their ratings, as long as this information  is available.) 

{The game starts off in a relatively normal fashion ... there is no hint of brilliance here ... 
 at least, not in the opening phase of this game.}  


1.Nf3,  (flexibility)  {Diagram?}    
The Reti Opening ... although this opening can easily transpose 
 to almost any line under the sun!  

     [ I prefer: 1.e4!?,  as a first move. (Most masters like 1.d4, instead.) ]  


1...Nf6;  2.c4,   {Diagram?}    
Now it is an  English Opening ...  

     [ After the simple moves:  2.d4!? d5!?{Diagram?}     
        we have transposed into a QP game ... which could become a  Queen's Gambit 
        here if White decides to play c4 on the next move from this position. ]  


2...g6;  3.Nc3 Bg7;   {Diagram?}     
Of course - the fianchetto is perfectly acceptable for Black in this position.  

     [ After the moves:   3...d5!?4.d4!, "/\"   {Diagram?}   
        we have reached a position from the well-known 
        Gruenfeld Defense. ]   


4.e4!? d6;  5.Be2 0-0;  6.0-0 e5;  7.d4 Nc6;  8.d5 Ne7;  {Diagram?}    
Now through a somewhat unusual move order ...  
we have reached a very well-known opening  <tabiya.> 
(The King's Indian Defense, ... "The Mar del Plata Variation."   
This system was a favorite of   Bobby Fischer  ...  who was the first "big name"  
 player to adopt this line on a regular basis.) 

***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***   ***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***   ***     ***     ***     ***     ***   

Now the  main lines  for White are  9.Ne19.Nd2,  and  ... of course ...
the move  9.b4!? (Which is by far the most popular move in this position 
at the GM level now-a-days.)  

{See MCO-14; beginning on pg. #580.} 

9.Nd2!?,   {Diagram?}     
An older line  ...  The  "Bayonet Variation"  (9.b4!)  is more common today.   



   The position immediately following White's move, 9.Nd2.  (alaf2_rgm22-pos1.gif, 42 KB)



I {actually} have already annotated many games in this line.  [ more, (See entry #8.) ] 

In fact, at one time ... I had an entire web site devoted to the games played  
with the King's Indian Defense. (But this  <free>  site was closed when the
'Excite'  {business}  group folded.)  

***           ***           ***          ***          ***          ***           ***          ***          ***  

 The reason   for this move is that with a Pawn on d5, White's play is on the 
left-hand side of the chess board. Thus White transfers his pieces to the 
side of the board where he can expect play to develop.  

***           ***           ***          ***          ***          ***           ***          ***          ***  

     [ Today, most masters normally use the move:   9.b4!?{Diagram?}   
        in this particular position.  {See  any good book - or any well known 
        reference manual - for more on this particular line. Also please 
        consult  MCO-14;  beginning on page # 588 for more analysis.}  ]     


Now I would consider playing  ...c5;  here.   [ more
 9...a5!?; ('!')  {Diagram?}    
A very good move for Black. 
But what is the exact point of this play in this position?  



   The position following Black's pawn thrust (...a5) on move nine.  (alaf2_rgm22-pos2.gif, 42 KB)



One of the main ideas for Black is to simply try to slow down ... if not prevent altogether  ... 
White's very standard Queen-side Pawn advance from this position. If White does follow 
through with this plan, then the second player hopes to exchange enough material to take 
most of the  'sting'  out of White's initiative. 

     [ Or Black can play the older ...Ne8:  
        9...Ne8!?; ('!?')   10.b4 f511.c5!?,  (Maybe - '!')  {Diagram?}  
        The most energetic move for White here, I believe.    

           ( Also interesting here is:  11.f3!?; "+/="  {Diagram?}         
              with a solid game for White. )       

        11...Nf612.f3 f413.Nc4, "+/="  (Maybe - '')  {Diagram?}    
         and experience has shown that White's Q-side attack is much  
         quicker than Black's Pawn storm, followed by a piece assault 
         on the King-side; for the second player.   

         A. Lesiege - A. LukszaThe Quebec Open  (1-0, 45.)   
         Montreal, CAN;  2000.   

         [ See also MCO-14,  page # 593;  col.'s 22-24, and also note # (i.). ]  ]     


 --->  Since - in most games that arise from this opening - White plays on one side 
         of the board, (the Q-side); and Black plays on the other ...  White next move is     
         very logical and prepares the ... "Pawn-storm."      

10.a3 Bd7!?;   {Diagram?}    
One idea of this move is to play  ...a5-a4; freezing White out on the 
Queen-side; and making it harder to (favorably) open lines on the 

Black can also play  ...Nd7; in this particular position.  
[ See MCO-14,  page # 592; column # 24, and all notes. ]   

     [  Interesting was:  10...Nd7!?{Diagram?}  as has been played in 
         a number of key games in this line. (See any good book for more info.)  ]   


 11.b3!?,  (space)  {Diagram?}    
A standard idea to gain room and possibly prepare the development of White's QB 
onto the b2-square here. The other point is that if Black {now}  plays  ...a4!? here,  
that White can respond b4! with just a slight advantage.  

     [  Less effective is:  (</=)  11.Rb1!? a412.b4 axb313.Nxb3 b6 
        14.Ra1 Qe8; ('!')  {Diagram?}  and this position is equal according  
         to GM Nick de Firmian and MCO-14. ]   


 11...c6!?;  (Q-side)  {Diagram?}   
The idea of this move ... is to (obviously) open some lines and generate some 
counterplay on the right-hand side of the board for the second player here.  

     [ Another idea is for Black to play the move: 11...Ne8!?; "+/="  {Diagram?}   
        in this position ... preparing the quick King-side action that begins with 
        the pawn advance, ...f7-f5.  

        White probably has a slight edge in this position and has won the majority 
        of the games arising from this line. But occasionally Black gets a little lucky 
        and wins one, ... for example:  GM W. Browne - GM John Nunn;  
        ICT / Masters (Mechanics Institute?) San Francisco, CA; (USA)  1995.   
        (Black won,  {0-1};  a nice game that ended in a R+P ending - and lasted all 
         of 58 moves.)  


       Several different books give the move ...c5; in this position as being the 
       main line here.  For example:  (>/=)   = 11...c5!?12.Rb1 Ne813.b4 axb4 
       14.axb4 b615.bxc5 bxc516.Nb3!? f517.f3 Nf6{Diagram?}   
       The end of the column here.  

       18.Bd2 f4; 19.Nb5 Nc8!?;  "<=>"  {Diagram?}  
       Interesting ... but maybe just a little better was  ...Ra6!?  ("=/+")  here?  
       20.Ra1 Rxa121.Qxa1 g522.Qa6 Qe723.Na5 g4!; "~"  {Diagram?}   
       Black has very good play in this position which GM N. de Firmian  
       assesses as being 'unclear.'  ("=")  

       GM Rafael A. Vaganian (2616) - GM Boris Gelfand (2620)   
       The 56th National {URS} Championship Tournament 
       Odessa, U.S.S.R;  1989.  (Black won, 0-1 in 52 moves.)   

       [ See MCO-14, page # 592; column # 23, and also note # (s.). ]  ]    


 12.Bb2 Qb6!?;  {Diagram?}   
Black has several playable moves in this position ... I guess the main idea of this 
sortie is to try and discourage White from playing b4. 

     [ Black has also  {previously}  - in this position - played:   
       12...c5; "~"  {Diagram?}   with a pretty good game.  

       And also:   12...Ne8!?, ('?!')  {Diagram?}    
       in this position as well.  
       [ See Nunn's books on the KID.]  ]    


 13.dxc6 bxc6;  14.Na4 Qc7;  {Diagram?}    
This looks relatively forced.  

Now f4!? looks interesting, but White follows established theory.  
15.c5!?,  ('!')  15...d5;  16.Nb6 Rad8!;  (TN?)  (centralization?)  {Diagram?}   
As far as I was able to determine, this move was/is brand-new to opening theory 
in this position.  

The problem with this move is Black is now pretty much obligated to go ahead 
and sacrifice his QRP.  

     [ Black had previously played:  (</=)  16...Ra7!?17.Qc2 Be618.b4 Nd7!? 
       19.exd5!? Nxd520.Nxd5 cxd5!?21.Nb3 d4!?; (?!)  22.Rfc1 Bxb3!?  
       23.Qxb3 axb4!?24.axb4 Rxa125.Bxa1 e4!?26.Bc4 Qf427.Qd1!?, {D?}     
       This could be inferior, and appears to forfeit most of the first player's advantage.  

           ( Better was:  27.Rd1!, "+/="  )     

       27...Ne528.h3 Nf3+?!; ('?')  {Diagram?}  
       This is wrong.  (Time trouble? An oversight of some kind?)  

           ( Much better was:  >/=  28...Rb8; "~"  {Diagram?}        
              when Black looks to be OK. ("=/+") )      

       29.gxf3 exf330.Kh1 Qh6??{Diagram?}  
       A gross, total blunder.  

           ( Black had to play:  >/= 30...Be5[];  {Diagram?}  here ...      
              in this position ... which might have been good enough     
              to even draw. )       

       It is (now) all downhill for Black  ...  from this particular position.  
       31.Qf1 Qf432.Re1 Ra833.Bb2 d334.Bxg7 d2?!; ('?')  
       35.Ra1,  ('!?')  {Diagram?}  This is nice, but ...    

           ( After a move like:  >/=  35.Re7!, ("+/-")  {Diagram?}         
              Black could quit. )     

       The rest is very unevenly played, but really requires no comment.  
       35...Rxa136.Bxa1!? Qxc437.Qxc4 d1Q+38.Kh2 Qxa1;   
       39.Qf4 Qc340.Kg3 Kg741.Qe4 f542.Qe7+ Kg843.Qe6+,  
       43...Kg744.c6 Qxb445.Qe5+ Kf746.c7 f4+{Diagram?}  
       Now QxP/f4+, would cause most players to throw in the towel.  

       47.Kh4? Qb648.Qd5+ Kf649.Qg5+ Kf750.Qxf4+ Kg7;  
       51.Qe5+ Kf752.Qe7+ Kxe753.c8N+,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}   
       M. Tosic (2375) - (GM) I. Sokolov (2550)ICT / Masters Section (Open?) 
       (Rd. #11) / Vrnjacka Banja, Yugoslavia;  1990.  ]     


I only lightly annotate the rest of the game ... because it may be beyond the 
comprehension of most of us regular chess players!  
 17.Bc3 Nxe4!?;  18.Nxe4 dxe4;  19.Bxa5 Nf5!?;  (Maybe - '!!')  {Diagram?}  
Instead of passively sitting back and accepting defeat, Black gives up an 
exchange for an attack.  (But is it all sound?)   

     [ The computer gives:  19...Qb720.Nc4 Rb821.b4, ""  {Diagram?}   
        and White is clearly much better. ]   


 20.Nc4 Qb8;  21.Bxd8 Rxd8;  22.b4 Be6;  23.Qe1, ('!?')  {Diagram?}   
This move is not pretty to behold, yet it may very well be forced.  

     [ </= 23.Qb3? Nd4; <=>" ]    


 23...Nd4;  "<=>"   {Diagram?}   
Now Black has considerable  "comp"  ...  
the Knight on d4 is probably worth more than a Rook.



   Black just anchored his Knight on the nearly impervious d4-square.  (alaf2_rgm22-pos3.gif, 42 KB)



White needs to come up with a good, overall, coherent plan for this position. 
(He seems to be wandering  ...  and choosing his moves almost randomly.)  

Now Nd6 could be best ...  But White decides to attack the c-pawn ... which 
Black protects.  

 24.Na5 Qc8!;  25.Rd1!? Bh6!;  26.Kh1!? Bf4;  27.a4!? Bd5!; {Diagram?}    
Pointing another piece at White's King ... and doing something else very positive as well. 
(Clearing an important line ...  the why of this will become apparent shortly.)  

 28.Bc4,  ("+/=")  {Diagram?}      
Bc4 looks best ... and the boxes all agree with me here.  



   White just played Bc4,  ...  you will not believe what move Black plays next here.  (alaf2_rgm22-pos4.gif, 43 KB)



White should be better ... the Q-side pawns will be deadly in any endgame.  

     [ Playable was:  28.Nc4!?, "+/=" ]     


Now comes a truly astounding shot.  
 28...Nf3!!;     (Maybe, probably - '!!!')   {Diagram?}  
Maybe one of the most amazing shots ever played on a chess board.  

Fischer or Tal never played a better or more imaginative or a more wildly,  
aggressive, and stunning move.  

White's reply looks nearly forced. (Qc3 might also be playable.)  

 29.Qe2!?,  {Box?}   {Diagram?}     
White looks to be hanging on in this position ...  



   White just played Qe2!? here. What move would YOU play next in this position?  (alaf2_rgm22-pos5.gif, 44 KB)



  The only question is how does Black proceed from here?    


      [  Not  </=  29.gxf3??,  as  29...Qh3;  "-/+"  {Diagram?}  
         and mate next move.  (Now we see why it was important 
         that the diagonal from c8-to-h3 be clear or unobstructed.)  ]   


One would think that Black has already emptied his bag of tricks ... 
but such is not the case.  
 29...Nxh2!!;  30.Bxd5!?,  {Diagram?}       
White is wisely following the rule that one should try and exchange
pieces when under attack. And it almost works  ...  

     [ 30.Rxd5!? ]   


White is forced to return some of the material here.  

     [ Of course not:  </=  31.Rfe1? Nf3!32.gxf3?? Qh3+    
        33.Kg1 Qh2+34.Kf1 Qh1#  ]    


 31...Nxf1;  32.Rxf1,   {Diagram?}   
This looks forced,  Qxf1, Qf5;  looks  a whole lot worse  for White.  

     [ Of course not:  32.c6?? Ng3+;  etc.  {Diagram?}  
        (White drops the Queen.)  ]    


Black - having regained almost all of his material - is probably  
quite happy here.  

Now Kg1 might not be a bad idea ... but maybe White has already given 
up on this little party. ('?')  

 33.c6!? d4;  34.Rd1!?,  {Box.}  {Diagram?}      
If White allows Black to play the move,  ...d4-d3;  it would be time  
to throw in the towel.  

     [ Not: 34.Qd3!? Qe6!; "/+"  ("-/+")  {Diagram?}   
        and Black is on the move. ]     


 34...Bg3!?;  (Possibly - '!!!')  {Diagram?}  
Here all the computers choose other moves for Black here. 
One good try was:  34...Qf5!;  35.g4, Qf6;  '/+'  when the second player has 
an extremely good,  (no)  -  a possibly winning attack.  

But it is highly probable that the idea behind this move is beyond the  
average PC's  "event horizon." 
 {Beyond the average computer's ability to calculate ahead, at least 
  in 5-10 minutes.}  

     [ Very interesting was:  34...Rd5!?; "/+"  ('!!')  (Maybe  "-/+")  {Diagram?}   
        with clearly the better game for Black here. ]   


 35.f4!? e4!?; ('!')  {Diagram?}   
This works  ...  almost everything does for Zvjaginsev in this position!   

     [ Interesting was:  35...Bxf4{Diag?}  which probably wins as well. ]   


The rest is basically a mop-up operation here  ...  but an extremely
well-coordinated and a beautiful one, to say the least.  
 36.Nb3!? d3!;  37.Qxe3[] Qg4!;  38.Rb1!? Qh4+;  39.Kg1 Qh2+;    
 40.Kf1 Qh1+;  41.Qg1,  {Diagram?}     
This was obviously forced  ...  in fact it was the only legal move 
 that White could play here.  



   Black is about to unleash the final storm!  (alaf2_rgm22-pos6.gif, 44 KB)



The only question now is ... what is Black's follow-up? Careless play might allow 
White to make something of his mass of Q-side Pawns.  

{One <former> student suggested ...Qh4; here as winning. But after Qe3, all I 
  can readily see is a repetition of moves.} 

41...e3!!;  (Incredible!!)  {Diagram?}    
Black has given up everything else, it is only fitting that this game will end 
with a Queen sacrifice!  

42.Qxh1 e2+;  43.Kg1 d2!;  ("-/+")  {Diagram?}     
White resigns ... all the boxes say it is a forced mate in four moves.  

A SUPER game ... and one full of crazy moves ... 
and psychedelic, wild and unbelievable tactics. 


  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2004 and 2005.  All rights reserved.   


   0 - 1   

(All games - Code initially generated with the program,  ChessBase 8.0.) 

(All diagrams on this page were generated with the program,  Chess Captor, 2.25.)

  What do the players think about this game?  

I thought I would try to locate one of these players ... and ask their opinion of this game, and the actual combination. So I tracked down both of the players - via the Internet - and sent them an e-mail. (I am not sure if Zvjaginsev speaks any English.) Here is one response. 


Subject:  Re: One of your games 
Date:  4/6/2004;  4:41:50 AM Central Daylight Time 
From:  *****************@*****.ru (V. Malakhov)
To:  *

Dear Sir,

Just a few remarks I can give to this game. 16...Rad8; is a mistake, better was 16...Ra7. Then, 19...Nf5; was the best chance. If 19...Be6; then 20. Nd5!, winning, or 19...Bg4;  20. Qe1 Be2;  21. Nd5!, (is) also winning. After (my move) 22.b4, which was a mistake, better was - 22. Nd6! Be6;  23. Bc4, (which) led to an almost winning position for White. Then, instead of 24.Na5?  Better was 24.Ne3.  27.a4? - (was a) mistake, I should play 27.Nc4 - now probably 27...Qa8; 28.Na5 Qc8; with a draw. After 31...Nf1; 32.Rf1 e3;  the position was totally winning for Black; but, of course, the final combination was very beautiful.  

Vladimir.  (The words in brackets or parenthesis are mine, all I did was clean up the English.)   


Of course I am not going to comment (too much) on this. {And I am certainly not going to go back and re-analyze this game!}  I did spend somewhere between 10-20 hours of (computer-assisted) analysis on this game  ...  nothing really jumped off the page at me.  It would be interesting to see what Zvjaginsev's opinion is of all this.  Maybe someone who knows him can contact him and ask him? 

Thursday; September 15th, 2005:  A new brilliancy by the incredible tactician Zvjaginsev?  

Possibly. I don't analyze this game ... here. At least, not yet. (Nonetheless, it is an astounding chess game.)   

White's 24th move ... might be a triple exclam. ('!!!')  (Source: TWIC, # 566.) 


  GM V. Zvjaginsev (2659) - GM Andrey Shariyazdanov (2592);   
58th ch-RUS, Semi-Final 
Kazan, RUS; (R9) / 11.09.2005


1.e4 c5;  2.Nf3 Nc6;  3.c3 Nf6;  4.e5 Nd5;  5.Bc4 Nb6;  6.Bb3 d5;  7.exd6 c4;  8.Bc2 Qxd6;  9.0-0 Bg4;  
10.Re1 e6;  11.b3 Be7;  12.Na3 cxb3;  13.axb3 Nd5;  14.Nb5 Qd7;  15.Ra4 Ncb4;  16.Nbd4 Bf6;  
17.h3 Nxc2;  18.Qxc2 Bh5;  19.Ba3 b5;  20.Ra5 Bxf3;  21.Nxf3 Bd8;  22.Ra6 Qb7;  23.Raxe6+ fxe6;  
24.Rxe6+ Ne7;  25.Qf5 Rf8;  26.Qh5+ Rf7;  27.Nd4 g6;  28.Qe5 a6;  29.Qh8+ Rf8;  30.Qxh7 Qd5;  
31.Rxe7+,  Black Resigns.  

  1 - 0  

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