(10) Akobian,Varuzhan (2619) - Gordon,Stephen J (2524) [D58]
Gibtelecom Masters Gibraltar (3.7), 29.01.2009
Annotated by John Saunders for British Chess Magazine:
[Karpov first played this in the 1973 Leningrad Interzonal on his way to the world title.]
[White could also play 13 b5
or 13 a3 here.]
and 17 Rac1 have been played here before but this seems to be new.]
[The immediate 19 Bf5
, or 19 Bh7+ followed by 20 Bf5, look very natural here to try and weaken Black's kingside.]
[Black is anxious to generate some queenside play. The alternative pawn break 20 ..c5
might also be answered by 21 Bxe6
but it looks like White could then have a positional edge.]
is hard to evaluate but perhaps White feared Black having a passed b-pawn. However, the move he plays allows Black two passed pawns.]
[White has to hope that this kingside occupation is leading somewhere useful as things have become very difficult on the queenside.]
[The alternative move to defend the e6 pawn would lead to immediate disaster: 26 ..Qc6??
and Black cannot defend his king ( 27 ..Bf8?
and mate next move).]
would now be a mistake as 27 ..Qf8
defends g7 and leaves Black with much the better game. The main point of the text is to clear a path for White's rooks to come to the third rank and attack the black king.]
[If 27 ..Bg5!?
White can probably get away with 28 exd5!
leading to a probable draw.]
[Positionally White is really up against it so he has to find ways to make it tactical.]
[It's too late to turn back now.]
[Black decides to go for it but Fritz's first instinct is to try and defend against the threat of Ng6 and Ne7+ with 31 ..Rc7!?
and only now 32 ..Rxa4!?
which looks pretty strong for Black.]
is a positional blunder: 33 ..Kf7
would win back the exchange but lose all the momentum and threats that White needs to survive. It is worth looking at this position with a computer. At first they conclude that Black has a big material advantage and is therefore winning but they eventually realise that White is going to advance the f-pawn down the board to open up the black king and expose it to perpetual check threats. Eventually the computer rightly concludes that play leads inexorably to a draw.]
would be a mistake: 36 Rd1!
would win for White. Black must exchange a pair of rooks immediately.]
[Not the only move: Black could also play 38 ..Ra6
and hold the draw.]
would oblige Black to reply 39 ..Qxg6!!
and perpetual check follows.]
[White gets the first chance to give check but, fortunately for Black, he cannot force mate.]
also holds the draw.]
[A precise continuation. 44 Qb7+?
would be a bad error: 44 ..Qd5
and Black should win.]