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Recent GM games (# 4)

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  (Click  HERE  to go to my {actual} page for "Chess DownLoads.")  

  Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2013.  All rights reserved. 

GM E. Bacrot (2653) - GM J. Lautier (2663) 
 ch-FRA Playoff, (rapid) 
Val d'Isere, FRANCE  (Game # 1), 

[A.J. Goldsby I]

This game was annotated for the (possible) inclusion in the electronic magazine: "The Week In Chess."  (TWIC)  (By Mark Crowther  &  London's Chess Center.)   Or for publication in my web pages.  --->  No other usage is allowed!!!
  {Copyright 2002, A.J. Goldsby.}  


  The notes of Mr. Crowther's are used with his full permission.   

I use the normal symbols that  Informant  or  ChessBase  also uses, but they are (more-or-less) turned on their sides, like the smiley face.  :)  

Click  HERE  to see a detailed explanation of the symbols that I use.  

 This page is  TEXT - ONLY,  so you will definitely need a chess-board.   

Click  here  to see this game briefly annotated, but in a  java-script  (re-play)  format ... so that you can study it. 
(This is good,  especially if you don't have a chessboard handy!!) 

Replay this contest on the popular "chess games" server. 

This game was part of a rapid-playoff for the Championship of France. 

White plays a nice attack. 

See  GM Robert Byrne's  comments in the magazine,  'Chess Life'
(His column, "The 65th Square." January, 2003 issue. Page # 22.) 


1.d4 d52.c4 dxc4;   
The Queen's Gambit Accepted. 

In the Q.G.A, Black gives up the center - instead of holding it. Black gets much freer piece play, but White's initiative can be dangerous. 

     [ The Queen's Gambit Declined runs: 
        2...e63.Nc3 Nf64.Bg5, etc.  and is much more common at the master level. ].  

This move has a funny history. 

It is ancient. (I have found examples of it that are over 200 years old!)

It was first played - in an important game - in the great  MacDonnell  vs. LaBourdonnais matches. (See the book, "The Complete Chess Addict," {by Mike Fox and Richard James},  and their list of the "Sixty Greatest Games."  This is game #1 in that list.) 

For many years it was thought that this move was inaccurate - it was condemned by literally dozens of pundits. 


  • "A beginner's move," writes the early author,  James Mason. (1849-1905) 
    {James Mason was an Irishman who was both a strong player; and wrote in 
      newspapers, magazines, and also authored a key book.} 

  • "A move which is today considered grossly inferior." - GM Ruben Fine
     (Writing for "Chess Review.") {Fine was - much later - to repeat many of these 
      ideas in a popular book, "The World's Great Chess Games."} 

  • "Too abrupt an advance," says the writers,  GM Savielly Tartakower  
      &  James du Mont.  (In the book: "500 Master Games of Chess.")  


Yet by the 1980's and 1990's, this line was the height of GM fashion. (!) 
(A search of any on-line database will reveal hundreds of modern examples of this particular line.) 

I have always thought that the move, 3.e4, here was perfectly legitimate. And it would seem Master practice today would bear this opinion out. 

     [  The main line here - but which is fairly old, examples of GM play can be found 
        that were played over 50-to-75 years ago - is the continuation:  3.Nf3 Nf6;  
        4.e3 e6
  5.Bxc4 c5;  etc. {Diagram?}   and White usually maintains a slight 
       edge here in most of these variations.  [ See NCO; page # 386.]  

        A good (modern!) example of this line (by transposition) is the game:  
        GM Vladimir Kramnik - GM Vassily Ivanchuk
        Russia vs. "The Rest of The World."   Moscow/RUS/2002. (1/2, 40)  ].  

The correct response, Black attacks vigorously in the center. 

  '!' - GM Ruben Fine. 
(Many others have given this move an exclam as well.) 
 [ See the book, "The World's Great Chess Games," edited by  GM Ruben Fine.  1951. ] 

     [ Also playable is: 3...Nf6!?; "~" {Dg?}  with fair play. ].  

GM Huzman - when annotating a game in my database - gives this move an exclam. This is correct, as the move basically  (in the main lines), involves playing a gambit. (It is also the main line in several books I have on the Q.G.A.) 


      [ The famous 'partie' went:  4.d5!? f5!?;  {Diag?}  Black anticipates Nimzovich ... 
         by attacking the base of the Pawn chain here.  (The move >= 4...Nf6!;  {Diagram}  
          is a little more precise here.)    5.Nc3 Nf66.Bxc4 Bc5; {Diagram?}  "Black's 
         position is freer,"  says GM Ruben Fine.  7.Nf3 Qe7;  {Diagram?}  This position is 
         close to equal.  {Actually White may be a little better.}  8.Bg5?!, (Maybe - '?') {D?} 
         This is an error, and overlooks a tactic. Qc2 was much better.  ( Now White should   
          correctly play: >= 8.Qc2!, "+/=" {Diagram?}   with just a very small advantage.  
          (I have done extensive analysis of this position and even computer- vs-computer  
           tests.) {A.J.G.} )   Now Black combines against f2 and c4.  8...Bxf2+!9.Kf1!?,  
         {Diagram?}  While this is considered the correct move by several writers, I think  
         it is inaccurate.   ( 9.Kxf2! Qc5+; 10.Ke1 Qxc4; 11.Nxe5 Qa6; "~" {Diagram?}   
          The position is unclear, or at best - Black has a tiny advantage. ("=/+") )   
         9...Bb6!10.Qe2 f4!11.Rd1!? Bg4, "=/+"  {Diagram?}  Black is clearly better, 
         (maybe "/+");  he has a fairly significant advantage in this position. He went on 
         to win a very, very brilliant game. 

         Louis C. de LaBourdonnais  -  Alexander MacDonnell; 
         Match - ENGLAND  vs. FRANCE 1834.  (Game # 50)   
         GM Ruben Fine  calls the above encounter  ...  
         the FIRST truly  IMMORTAL  game of chess!! 


         The continuation:  4.dxe5?! Qxd1+5.Kxd1 Nc6;  "=/+"  {Diagram?} 
          hands the initiative over to Black.  ]


This is OK, it certainly is very playable. (It is the main line, according to several books I have.) 

But according to a study of my database - and games I have downloaded from several online databases - the move  4...exd4;  is probably more reliable. (Statistically speaking.) 


     [  The book,   "Nunn's Chess Openings,"   gives the line:  4...exd4;  
Most books give this as the main line, but it is NOT the only move 
         that White can play in this position. 


         a.)  GM Robert Byrne  gives the following line:  5.Nxd4, Bc56.Be3, Nf6; 
                7.Qa4+!?,  I guess this is best.  (7.f3!?, Nc6!; is strong for Black. - R.B.)    
;  Nc3, 0-0;  {Diagram?}  ... "is good for Black."  - GM R. Byrne
                - Byrne in  'Chess Life.'   (The column, "The 65th Square." 
                  January, 2003 issue, page # 22.) 

         b.)  GM Byrne  also gives the following line as well:  5.Qxd4, Qxd46.Nxd4, Nf6; 
                7.Nc3, Bc5!?; 8.Ndb5, Na6!?9.Bf4!?, Be610.Bxc7, 0-011.Bd6, Rfd8;  
                12.Bxc5, Nxc513.Nc7, Rac814. Nxe6, Nxe615.f3, Nd414.Nxe6, Nxe6; 
                15.f3, Nd416.0-0-0, b5; "<=>"  {Diagram?}   
                ... "is at least equal for Black." - GM R. Byrne.  
                Zilberman - Bagirov;  U.S.S.R; 1985.  - GM Robert Byrne  in  'Chess Life.' 
                (The column, "The 65th Square."  January, 2003 issue;  page # 22.)  

                Not to be mean-spirited, but there is plenty of room in Byrne's analysis, 
                (and quoted games); for improvement.  


          5...Bb4+; ('!?')  {Diagram?}  
          This is also not the only move that Black can play here. 

           ( Black can also try:  5...Nc6+;  6.0-0, Be6;  7.Bb5, Bc5;  8.Nbd2, Nge7;     
             9.Ng5!?, This looks like a waste of time, to me.  I would try instead to try and    
             win back the d-pawn.  9...Qd7;  10.Nxe6, Qxe6;  11.Nb3, Qd6; 12.Bf4!?, Qxf4;     
             13.Nxc5, 0-0; "=/+" {Diagram?}  Black appears to be just a little better here.    
              Magai - Ganguly;  Calcutta, IND;  2001. )      

         6.Nbd2 Nc67.0-0 Nf68.e5 Nd59.a3!?,  {Diagram?}  
         This is sharp, but is it best?  


         ( Maybe Nb3 is better?  "Modern Chess Openings"  gives the continuation: 
             9.Nb3!? Nb6; 10.Bg5!? Be7;  The end of the column.  11.Bxe7 Qxe7;  
             12.Bb5 Bd7;  13.Bxc6 Bxc6;  14.Nfxd4 Bd5;  15.Qg4! 0-0!; "~"  {Diagram?}  
             MCO stops here and calls this position unclear.    
            GM I. Sokolov  - GM R. Huebner;  Haifa/ISR/1989.    

           [ See MCO-14; page # 452, column # 19, & also note # (e.). ]   

            But after the move: 16.Rfe1!, "+/="  {Diagram?}  White has a small, ...   
             - but secure -  advantage in this position. {A.J.G.} )    


        (Returning to the NCO analysis.) 
        9...Be710.Qb3,  {Diagram?}  Once again, a very forcing move.   (10.Nb3!?)   
        10...Na511.Qa4+ c6;  {Diagram?}  The end of the line/row.  12.Ba2 b5;  
        13.Qxd4 Be614.Ne4!? h6; "~"  {Diagram?}  GM John Nunn  labels this as 
        "unclear," I think White is probably a tad better here, in this position. ("+/=")  
        (Just looking at this position shows that White has a little more space, and 
          is much better organized/centralized.)  
        [ See NCO;  page # 380, line/row # 7, note # 42. ] 
        (Nunn quotes no game here. A search of  ChessBase's  on-line database 
         reveals ... no significant matches - in this position.)   ].  



While this is not a 'TN' - it is a fairly unexplored move ... at least by the standards of today's opening theory. 
(I think this move is a favorite of  GM's  AlburtBareev, and  Dreev.) 

     [  Instead of this, the openings reference book,  "Nunn's Chess Opening's"  
        gives the continuation:  5.Bd2 Bxd2+6.Qxd2 exd47.Nxd4 Qe78.f3 Nf6;  
        9.Bxc4 0-010.Nc3, "+/="  {Diagram?}  Nunn stops here and evaluates this 
        position as White being just slightly better here. (I concur.)  

        [ See NCO;  page # 380, line/row # 6, & notes # 33-36. ]  

        Nunn quotes no games here, but this is probably the encounter: 
        GM Ulf Andersson  - GM Yasser Seirawan;  
        Tilburg, 1990.  (1-0, 45)  
        (Both players are top GM's. White won a nice game.)  ].   


This is logical here, Black wishes to reduce White's central influence ... as much as possible.  

     [  Also playable is:  5...Nf6!?; "~"   {Diagram?}  
        (See NCO for a complete analysis of this line.)  ].  

6.Nxd4 Ne7!?;  
Black wishes to develop safely - and as quickly as possible. 

While there is nothing terribly wrong with this approach, it is not the most aggressive - and probably will allow the first player to gain the initiative.  (Maybe - '?!')  

(Perhaps Black was trying to get away from his opponent's rather well-known 'book' knowledge?) 

The move  ... Qe7;  has a much better reputation here. 
(According to standard opening theory. Also according to a detailed search of the database, this move {statistically speaking} is both more popular and  more successful.) 

I have noticed - that at the very highest level of Master play - that one miscue such as this, (Black's failure to play ...Qe7 here); can often permanently and adversely affect one's game. (As is the case here. Of course at the lower levels of play, I doubt if such a  development - as we have here - would even be noticed by the average amateur.) 


NOTE:  I am not saying that ...Ne7 is unplayable!!  
(There are certainly many more places where the second player could seek improvements in this particular encounter.)   

  I am saying this is a major fork the theoretical road. An thus far ... the results have been predominantly in the first 
  player's favor. (After ...Ne7.) 


     [  Probably better was:  >/=  6...Qe7; ('!')  7.Bxc4 Nf68.0-0 0-09.Bg5!?,  {Diag?} 
        I am not sure about this move.    (Maybe better is: 9.Re1, "=")      9...Bxc3;  
        10.bxc3!?,  {Diagram?}  This might be a try for an edge, but could be a tad risky. 
          (Maybe safer was: 10.Bxf6, "=").     10...Qc511.Bxf6 Qxc4; "~" {Diagram?}  
        Nunn labels this as unclear, maybe Black is just a tiny bit better here.  ("=/+") 

        [ See NCO;  page # 380, line/row # 6, and note # 34. ]  

        Nunn  quotes no games here, but this is probably the contest: 
        GM G. Hertneck - GM H. Westerinen;  
        FIDE (Men's) Olympiads, Manila/PHI/1992. (56)  ].   

For the next few moves, both sides just sensibly continue to bring their pieces out. 
7.Bxc4 0-0
8.Be3 Nbc6!?;   
Straight-forward development cannot be bad. 

But maybe Black could have tried ...c5 here? 

     [ 8...c5!? ].  

9.Ndb5 Bd7;  ('!?')  
"9. ..Ba5  and  9. ..Be6;  have both been played here."  - Mark Crowther

     [ 9...Ba5!? ].  

10.a3, (!)  {Diagram?}  
I really like this, White forces the second player to make an immediate decision about his Bishop on b4. 

"The beginning of a good plan." - GM R. Byrne

     [ 10.Qh5!? ].  

White gains a significant edge after this move, but perhaps Black already has difficulties equalizing here.  

     [  White is also better after:  10...Bxc3+11.Nxc3 Ne5!?12.Be2 b6;  
         13.f4 N5c614.0-0, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
          with a fairly nice advantage ... for the first player here.  ].  

11.b4 Bb6;  
Black is losing space, and slowly getting boxed in. 

     [ 11...a6!? ].  

12.Bxb6 axb613.f4 Na7!?;   
This move is correct - at least according to opening theory. 

I think this move only serves to compound Black's problems ...  
 the Rook on a7 will be out of play for the foreseeable future. 

     [  Maybe  13...Qc8!?; "~" {Diagram?}   was worth a try? 

        Black could also consider: 13...Kh8!?; "~"  {Diagram?} 
        The main idea being to meet the pawn advance f5, with ...f6.  ].  

14.Nxa7 Rxa715.0-0, "+/="  (White is clearly a little better.)   
White has emerged from the opening with virtually no weaknesses and a nice advantage in space.  In addition, Black's Knight on e7 has some difficulty in finding a good square.  

 This position has been reached in GM praxis several times before.   
Most notably:  A. Vizmanavin - V. Bagirov;  Podolsk/RUS/1992. and   L. van Wely - R. Huebner;  Klooster's Ter Apel/NED/1997.  (White won BOTH games!!)  

     [  White could consider: 15.Qh5!?;  {Diagram?}  (difficult play) 
         or also  15.Qb3!?,  {Diagram?}  with an interesting game.  ].  

Black is trying to get this poor fellow back into the game. 

But g6 hardly seems the best square for this piece. 

     [  Maybe a mite safer is: =  15...c616.Kh1, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
        and White is still a little better. 

        Another try is:  15...Bc6!?;  {Diagram?}  but White is still a little better. ].  

This is simple and good. White masses on the King-side, where he has more space. 
(Tarrasch would have probably approved.)

"The first new move." - Mark Crowther

     [  I prefer 16.a4, "+/="  {Diagram?}  with a small advantage for White 
         in this position. {A.J.G.} 

         Also playable is:  16.Qd4, "+/="  16...Ba4?!;  {Diagram?}  
         This looks like a mistake to me.   (Better had to be: >= 16...Bc6;  when   
           17.Qf2, "+/="  {Diagram?}  and White has a small advantage.)  
         17.Qxd8 Rxd818.Bb5! Bb3!?19.Rfb1, "+/"  {Diagram?}  
          White has a clear advantage here. (White eventually won.)  

          GM L. Van Wely - GM R. Huebner;  R/Ter Apel/NED/1997.  (1-0, 57).  ].   

White continues to seek some opportunities on the K-side.  
16...c617.Qg3 Qc7;  
"White has a very nice position with lots of pressure and Black doesn't have a lot of counterplay."   - Mark Crowther.  

18.h4!? Ne719.a4!,   
White grabs even more territory. 

      [ 19.Qg5!? ].

This allows White a small combination, but it is difficult to suggest a valid improvement for Black here. 

"Black is short of options, this move brings about complications which turn out badly for him." - Mark Crowther.  

(The losing move? Maybe, maybe not. It is certainly a very critical juncture in this contest!) 

     [  Black's other two options were: 19...c5!?20.b5 Raa821.h5, "+/=" {Diag?} 
         and White maintains a nice edge.  

         Or Black can try:  >= 19...b5!?(Maybe - '!')  {Diagram?}  
         This appears to be Black's best chance here.   20.axb5 Rxa121.Rxa1 c5;  
         22.b6,  {Diagram?}  This appears forced.   ( Definitely not:  22.bxc5?? Qxc5+;    
           23.Kh2 Qxc4;  which wins for Black.  ("-/+") )    22...Qxb623.b5 Qf6;  
         24.e5 Qf525.Bd3 Qg4; "~"  {Diagram?}   Black has nearly equalized. 
         At worst White's advantage is actually very small. ("+/=") {A.J.G.}  ].  

GM R. Byrne calls White's next move ... "a nice idea." 
20.Rad1! Qxb4!?(Maybe - '?!')   
Black continues his bid for freedom and counterplay ... but it might have been wiser to simply retreat. 

     [  Probably better was:  20...Qc7; {Diag?}  although White retains an edge.  ]

21.Bxf7+! Rxf722.Rxd7,   
"The seventh rank is once again a happy hunting ground." - GM R. Byrne. 

Black tries to re-activate his Rook. 

     [  The continuation:  22...Qc5+!?23.Kh2 Ng6!?24.Rd8+ Rf825.Rxf8+, 
         25...Nxf826.f5, "+/" {Diagram?}  gives White  ... 
         quite a sizeable advantage here. 

         The continuation:  22...Ng623.Rxf7 Kxf724.f5, "+/="  {Diagram?}  
         also looks pretty good for White.  ].   

23.Rfd1 Raf8;  
Black is probably now losing. (Or at least a little worse.) 

     [  Mark Crowther  -  writing for his chess column in Barbados - looks at 
        the line:  23...b524.axb5 Ra325.Rd8,  {Diagram?}  This is ok, but ... 
          (25.R1d3, "+/"  {Diagram?}  {A.J.G.}    25...Rf826.f5!?,  {Diagram?}  
        This is interesting.   (Or White could play: 26.Rxf8+ Kxf8;  27.Rd3, "+/"   
           {Diagram?} {A.J.G.})     26...Rxc3; {Diagram?}  Black grabs the free horse. 
           (If 26...Qxc3; 27.Qb8 Qc5+; 28.Kh2 Nd5; 29.exd5 cxb5; {Diagram?}   
           is probably winning for White. (Mark Crowther)  White should now play   
           30.f6!, "+/-" {Diagram?} White should win. {A.J.G.}  Maybe Black should   
           try 26...Qc5+!?; instead?  {A.J.G.} )    27.Qb8 Nd5;  {Diagram?}  This looks 
        forced - Black must cover d8.   (27...Rxd8??; 28.Rxd8+ Kf7; 29.Rf8#)   
        28.exd5 cxd5; {Diagram?}  He (M.C.) stops here and says: "This looks like 
        Black's best chance."  - Mark Crowther.  Continuing this line just one or 
        two moves further reveals:  29.Rxf8+ Qxf830.Qxb7, "+/"  {Diagram?}  ...
        & White is clearly better. (Maybe winning?)  {A.J.G.}   

        Another option is:  23...Qc5+!?24.Kh2, "+/"  {Diagram?}   
        White remains with a large and distinct edge ... no matter what Black plays 
        from here. White's large edge in space, his Rook on the 7th rank ... and total 
        command of the d-file, add up to a great game for the 1st player.  ].  

24.f5 Kh825.Kh2!,   
A nice piece of prophylaxis - White avoids any nasty, surprise checks on the g1-a7 diagonal. 

     [ 25.h5!? ].  

This piece also decides to head for the King-side ... to join the fracas there. 

      [  Another good continuation was:  26.Qc7!? Qxc327.Rxe7 Rxe728.Qxe7,   
          28...Qf629.Rd7, "+/"  {Diagram?}   (A Rook on the 7th rank!) 
          with a very large advantage in the endgame to follow.  ].  

26...Ng8?!(Maybe - '?')  {Diagram?}  
This is a mistake in an already difficult position. 

(Was Black low on time here? The computer's assessment - of this position, after over 30 minutes of analysis time - changes VERY significantly after this move!) 

     [  Black's only chance is:  26...Qc2[];  {Diagram?}  according to the computer. 
         (Although White holds a fairly large advantage in this position as well.)  
        And now White should simply play:  27.Nc3, "+/"  {Diagram?}  
        when White is clearly much better. 

        Some have suggested the line:  26...Nxf5!?; ('?!')  27.exf5 Qxf5;  
        28.Rxf7 Qxf729.Qg4, "+/-"  {Diagram?}
   but White should win. 
         (And without any great difficulties.)  ].   

 ... and the second player throws in the towel. (Black Resigns.) 

White's play was a good model for exploiting a space advantage. 

This game is a stark warning:  GM Larry Evans  once stated that if you do not take up the initiative during the course of the game, your opponent almost certainly will. Black paid a high price for his rather tame and inaccurate opening. 

Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I.   Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2002
(Click  here  to go to my main {old Geo-Cities} home page.)

     [  White wins easily after:  27.Nf4 Nf628.Rxf7 Rxf729.Rd8+ Ng8[];  {Diag?} 
        This is the only move.   (29...Rf8?; 30.Ne6, "+/-")    30.Ne6 Qe731.Kh3!
        31...h6!?;  {Diagram?}
  Curiously - Black is almost in a form of total and 
        complete zugzwang.    (Or 31...g6; 32.h5! Rf6[]; 33.Qb8, "+/-"  winning.)   
        32.Qb8, "+/-" {Diagram?}  and the g8-Knight is lost.  ].  

 1 - 0 

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

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