Thursday, May 08, 2008

Anti-Moscow Gambit: 15.Bg3!?

A recent game in the Semi-Slav / Anti-Moscow 15.Bg3!? line.

[White "Sakaev, Konstantin"]
[Black "Borovikov, Vladislav"]
[Site "Halkidiki"]
[Date "2002.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 {Semi-Slav} 5. Bg5 h6 {Semi-Slav / Moscow} 6. Bh4 {Semi-Slav / Moscow / Anti-Moscow Gambit} dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Be2 Bb7 10. h4 g4 11. Ne5 h5 12. O-O Nbd7 13. Qc2 Nxe5 14. Bxe5 Bg7 {So far, everything has been according to theory we've seen before...} 15. Bg3 $5 $146 {Sakaev's novelty! White is willing to sacrifice another pawn to play e5 and Ne4 without delay.} b4 $6 {Borovikov's reaction is unfortunate. It has been universally accepted since this game that immediately accepting the gambit is the only way to proceed. And yet his move is logical: (1) After the c3 knight retreats, it won't end up on its desired e4 square, (2) he still gets to take the d-pawn, and (3) Sakaev probably spent more time analyzing the gambit accepted than the gambit declined.} 16. Na4 $8 Qxd4 17. Bxc4 (17. Rad1 $2 Qxe4 $1) 17... c5 $2 {c5 is actually a losing move, because it allows White's bishop onto the a4-e8 diagonal.} (17... Qxe4 $2 18. Bd3 Qd5 19. Nc5 $1 Bc8 20. Rfd1 O-O 21. Bg6 $18) (17... a5 $1 { Giving the queen the a7 retreat square in the case of Rd1 and protecting b4.}) 18. e5 Qe4 $6 {Trying to force the trade of queens seems prudent as White is building up an attack, but this move isn't sound and Sakaev found the refutation.} ({But other moves also lose...} 18... Nd7 19. Rfd1 Qe4 20. Qxe4 Bxe4 21. Bb5 $18) 19. Bb5+ $1 Kf8 20. Qxc5+ $1 {The point. White's checks have avoided the queen trade yet still left the f6 knight en prise. Black's position is lost.} Kg8 21. f3 $1 {(else Qxg2#).} gxf3 22. exf6 { White wins the knight.} Bxf6 23. gxf3 Qg6 24. Kh2 Rc8 {Desperation.} 25. Qe3 Rc2+ 26. Rf2 {Game over.} 1-0

The key is to accept the gambit. After 15...Qxd4! 16.Rfd1 Qc5!N Black went on to win in Grischuck-Svidler, Mexico City 2007 and 15...Qxd4! 16.Rfd1 16...Qb6 has also done well.


drunknknite said...

I really like the posts, guess the endgame isn't the only forest you delve into.

But I must offer a correction... Grischuk-Svidler 2007 Mexico City ended in a draw. I watched the game 'live' (on ICC). It was very exciting. Grischuk is amazing, when he played 24.Bc4 eveyone that was commenting on the game (including several GMs) was stunned, but much credit to Svidler for hanging in there, it looked very tough for him to survive. Very memorable game.

likesforests said...

Oops, thanks for the notes! I'll have to take a closer look at that game. I'm just beginning to delve into serious opening study. I've always avoided 'theory', but now that I have Chessbase, good opening books, and read NIC that seems kinda silly.

drunknknite said...

Yeah I avoided theory for a long time. I played weird off beat lines cause I really just didn't appreciate the idea behind learning opening theory. For me now it's more seeing how good players handle the resulting positions than trying to memorize some random order of moves. And since good players play main lines, I feel like it's easier to get a hold of the main lines and learn from main lines than it is offbeat lines that are rarely used in practice.