Kristiansund Sjakklubb

ksk - stiftet 1917




Mihai Suba
Vladimir Okhotnik

European Seniors, Courmayeur (7)

Maroczy Bind

I focused on this game as IM Okhotnik played the tournament very enterprising (he finished second) and, therefore, this was a key game to my success. My book "The Intuitive Sacrifice" is almost finished, and it inspired me the exchange sacrifice in this game.

1. Sf3 c5 2. c4 Sf6 3. Sc3 Sc6 4. d4

Other moves do not promise much.

4... cxd4 5. Sxd4 g6

The most difficult to crack is, 5... e6 but my opponent likes very much his black bishop in fianchetto. He is an expert in Modern Defence.

6. Sc2!?

In my database this is the move with the best score. Nevertheless it is not my habitual choice.

6. e4 d6 7. Le2 Sxd4 8. Dxd4 Lg7 9. Le3 O-O 10. Dd2 is the most used move order in the Maroczy, and probably the best. The same psychology as before; I was sure that, within the next moves, my opponent wouldn't give his bishop for the knight, to double my c-pawn.

6... Lg7 7. e4 d6 8. Le2 O-O 9. O-O Sd7

10. Te1!?

To provide a simple defence to my central pawn and avoid further weaknesses. If my opponent wants to play (like in the English Opening but with a tempo down), Sc5 and f5, the rook on e1 may prove very useful. In fact I was rediscovering the wheel, in the few games which saw 10.Te1 before, White had outstanding results.

10... Sc5

Curiously, there is no serious game with 10... Lxc3

11. Lf1

11... Te8

An interesting novelty, probably in anticipation of Lh6.

There are instead two games with 11... Lxc3 (Beliavsky - Ermenkov and Perez Candelario - Gonzales de la Torre). Black was always crashed, but we cannot draw any conclusion, as in both games casting was withe the better player as White.

12. Lg5 Da5?!

More consistent with 11...Te8 is, 12... Le6 13. Tb1 Lxc3 14. bxc3 Da5 15. Sd4 (or 15. Dd2 Se5 16. f4 Sxc4 17. Dd4 Sb6 18. Lh6 f6 19. e5 dxe5 20. fxe5 Tad8 21. Tb5! Dxb5 22. Lxb5 Txd4 23. Sxd4 Ld7 24. exf6 a6 25. Lxd7 Sbxd7 26. fxe7 Kf7 27. Sb3=) 15... Tac8 16. Dd2 b6 17. Lh6 with an unclear game. Black has obvious targets on the queenside, while White hopes to get closer to the enemy king. Comparing with the two games mentioned above, Black is a tempo up.

13. Ld2 Dd8

Okhotnik did his last two moves quite quickly (well, the second is almost forced due to the threat 14.b4) and having lost a tempo he seemed quite happy. Inducing White to play b4, Black insures counterplay either on black squares, or on the a-file after ...a5. I don't think I have anything better, then take the gountlet!

14. b4 Se6 15. Tb1 a5 16. a3 axb4 17. axb4 Sed4?!

Placing the wrong knight on a good square. Better is 17...Scd4! as now White takes over the initiative.

18. b5! Sb8

18... Sxc2 19. bxc6 Sxe1 20. cxb7 Lxb7 21. Txb7 Dc8 22. Tb3 Sxg2 23. Kxg2 De6 24. f3+/=

19. Sxd4 Lxd4 20. Sd5 Lg7 21. Lg5

One engine draws my attention to the interesting possibility, 21. e5 dxe5 22. Lb4 Lf8 23. Ta1 Txa1 24. Dxa1 e6 25. La5 Dg5 26. f4 Df5 27. Ld3 Lc5+ 28. Kh1 Dxd3 29. Sf6+ Kf8 30. Sxe8 Ld4 31. Lb4+ Kxe8 32. Da8 Dxc4 33. Dxb8 Dxb4 34. Dxc8+ Ke7 35. Dxb7+ Kf8 36. Tc1 exf4+/= Something of it I had seen (of course not that far) but even if I saw the whole suite, I'm not sure I would have done it. I considered my position good, without the need for wild complications.

21... h6?! 22. Le3

The standard maneuvre, in order to win a tempo by Dd2.

22... Sd7 23. Dd2

23. b6 in order to insure a tempo gain when the knight is alungat from d5, is possibly better, e.g., 23... Ta2 24. Db3 Ta5 25. Tbd1 Sc5 26. Dc2 Dd7 27. e5! Lxe5 28. Lxh6+/-

23... e6 24. Sb4

The knight was expulsed, but two pawns are en prise.

24... Dh4

looking for tactical solutions in a wabbling position is of bad omen. To me, such hang on in, with all respect for the opponent, looks like desperation.

25. Lf4 Lc3

The alternative is 25... Se5 but Black's position will be worsening with every move, e.g., 26. Lg3 De7 27. Ted1 Lf8 28. b6 with the threat c5.

26. Dxd6!

I'll hold the exclamation mark, against any engine. There was a demand fom the organiser to present the best games, for a brilliancy prize or so. At the end none won it. The reason was, weaker players looked at the games with stronger programs, which found the play less then perfect! It's true, there is a simple solution, 26. Dxc3 Dxf4 27. Tbd1 Ta4 28. Sd3 Df6 29. Dc2 Ta8 30. Dd2 and Black will lose a pawn very soon. This is the program reason for my move to score worse. In this endgame, Black might establish a knight on c5 and bring his king to e7. How is White going to win? Anyway, the reader might appreciate that White's black squares bishop is better than any black rook.

26... Lxe1 27. Txe1 Df6 28. Dd2 Ta4

The last trick, if

29. Ld6

29. Lxh6 Txb4 30. Dxb4 g5 and Black survives.

29... g5 30. e5 Dd8 31. h4 Sf8 32. hxg5 hxg5 33. c5

Nice looking, but 33. Sa2 Da5 34. Sc3 wins immediately. Is the fact that I played a "less winning" move a serious reason to reject it?

33... Sg6 34. b6 Ld7 35. Tb1 g4

Black has nothing to lose anymore.

36. c6

36. Dh6 Dh4 37. Dxh4 Sxh4 38. c6 Lxc6 39. Sxc6 Tea8 40. Lc7 is just as won as in the game.

36... Txb4 37. Txb4 Lxc6 38. Txg4 Kg7

After, 38... Dxb6 39. Ld3 Black is mated quickly.

39. Ld3 Th8 40. Lxg6 fxg6 41. Df4 Th6 42. Tg3 Th8

Best is, 42... Th4 43. Lf8+ Kh8 44. Df6+ Dxf6 45. exf6 Kg8 46. Ld6 Th5 47. f4 Tb5 48. Th3 Le4 49. Le5 Txb6 50. Kf2 Ta6 51. Th8+ Kf7 52. Th7+ Ke8 53. g4 where winning is a question of time.

Black is sort of zugzwang, 42... Th7 43. Dg4

43. Tc3! Th4

Black doesn't have any defence against Txc6, so he attacks the queen (who knows?) Now two sham sacrifices decide the game.

44. Df6+ Dxf6 45. exf6+ Kxf6 46. Txc6 Td4 47. Lc7 Td1+ 48. Kh2 bxc6 49. b7 Tb1 50. b8=D Txb8 51. Lxb8 c5 52. Kg3 1-0

Partiene i pgn-format. Kan lastes ned.

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