May 31, 2010

Sveshnikov 201: Mainline 9.Nd5

The Sveshnikov is one of very few openings that I'm willing to play with either color. One author has tagged the opening The Easiest Sicilian, principally because the theory is relatively narrow, say, compared to the Najdorf.  The Sveshnikov makes up for its lack of breadth, however, by running deep in its theory.  The novelty in this game comes on move 26, and that's not unusal for the Sveshnikov.  Here, White dominates the center of the board, and that, among other things, allows White to save a tempo by keeping his King in the center.  Black's only play is based on the outside passed a pawn, which is too slow.

Walters,Gary (2343) - Mauro,Lucio (2355)

WCCC33PR04 ICCF, 20.04.2009 [Stockfish 1.7.1 JA 64bit (40m)]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 (6.Ndf5 is the only interesting alternative.) d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 0–0 12.Nc2 Bg5 13.a4 bxa4 14.Rxa4 a5

A position reached in countless games, and it likely appears at least 2,000 times in your largest games database. Now White has a major and a minor option. The minor option is 15.Bb5.

(See, e.g., Kasparov,Garry (2812) - Van Wely,Loek (2636) [B33] Hoogovens Wijk aan Zee (2), 17.01.1999 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 0–0 12.Nc2 Bg5 13.a4 bxa4 14.Rxa4 a5 15.Bb5 Bb7 16.Nce3 Bxe3 17.Nxe3 Ne7 18.0–0 Rb8 19.Qd3 Qb6 20.Bc4 Bc6 21.Ra2 Rfd8 22.b3 Qc5 23.Rfa1 Ra8 24.h4 h6 25.h5 Bb7 26.Rd1 Bc6 27.Rda1 Bb7 28.Bd5 Bxd5 29.exd5 Rdc8 30.b4 Qxc3 31.Qxc3 Rxc3 32.Rxa5 Rb8 33.Ra7 Kf8 34.Rd7 Nc8 35.Rd8+ Ke7 36.Rg8 Rxb4 37.Ra8 Kd7 38.Rxg7 Rc1+ 39.Kh2 Rf4 40.Ng4 Ne7 41.Ra7+ Ke8 42.g3 Rf5 43.Rh7 1–0)

Black’s more common response to 15.Bb5 (other than Van Wely’s 15...Bb7) is 15...Ne7.

(See, e.g., Shirov,Alexei (2723) - Van Wely,Loek (2668) [B33] Amber-rapid 12th Monte Carlo (11), 27.03.2003 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 Bg5 12.Nc2 0–0 13.a4 bxa4 14.Rxa4 a5 15.Bb5 Ne7 16.Nxe7+ Bxe7 17.Ne3 Rb8 18.Qe2 Qb6 19.c4 Be6 20.0–0 Qd4 21.Qc2 Bd8 22.Rd1 Qc5 23.Qd2 Bc7 24.Ra3 Rfd8 25.Rd3 g6 26.Nf5 Bxf5 27.exf5 d5 28.Qg5 d4 29.Rh3 e4 30.Qh6 Qxf5 31.Qxh7+ Kf8 32.Rf3 exf3 33.Qh8+ Ke7 34.Re1+ Qe6 35.Qh4+ f6 36.Qh7+ Kd6 37.c5+ Kxc5 38.Qxc7+ Kxb5 39.Rxe6 d3 40.Qc6+ Kb4 41.Re4+ Kb3 42.Qc3+ Ka2 43.Qa3+ 1–0)

Much more often played than 15.Bb5, however, is the move in the game, the major option. 15.Bc4 Now the common move, as in the game, is Rb8 15...Kh8 will usually transpose back to the main line after 16.O-O Rb8) 16.b3 (16.Ra2 is to be seriously considered. While the Rook is less actively posted at a2, there are variations ahead where the Rook slides along the 2nd rank to the Kingside. 16...Kh8 The King needs to get out of the Bishop’s line of sight and free the f pawn.

17.Nce3 White more often castles in this position, but there is no absolute need for White to remove the King from the center. White rather plans to play down the h file, and while this game is not decided there, the threats are ever present. Note that White will not castle in this game.) g6 (Black has played 17...Bxe3, but the idea is dubious and has scored poorly. Black should keep the Bishop pair. 18.h4 Bxh4 results in a highly dynamic position. Both Rybka and Stockfish need a substantial amount of time to turn the evaluation away from Black’s advantage and back to balanced.

19.g3 Bg5 White has sac’d a pawn to open the h file. Black has the Bishop pair, but has common Svesh weaknesses in a backward d pawn and weak a pawn. White’s structure is not remarkably better, but the Rook staring down the h file is a constant bother and the Knights are well posted.
20.Ra2 Thematic. White will return the Rook to play along the 2nd rank. 20...Bxe3 White was threatening to take over the game with 21.f4

21.Nxe3 Be6 Obvious and good. 22.Rd2 I think this is objectively best. This game is still in well-known territory, but is unclear. 22...Qe7 23.Rxd6 Still nothing that hasn’t been seen before.

23...Nd4 The Knight cuts off the White Rook, but obviously White had to be prepared for this. 24.Rd5 Nc6 The Rook is off limits. White will recapture with the Knight gaining a tempo on the Queen with the Black Knight still hanging. 25.Rd3 Bxc4 26.bxc4N And we finally arrive at a new position. Previously, the play had been 26.Nxc4 Qb7 27.Qd2 Nb4 28.Re3 Rfd8 29.Qe2 Nc6 30.Nd2 Qd7 31.g4 a4 32.Reh3 h5 33.Qe3 Qxg4 34.Rh4 Qg2 35.R4h2 Qg4 36.Rh4 Qg2 37.Rxh5+ Kg7 38.Rh7+ Kf6 39.R1h3 Qg1+ 40.Ke2 Rb7 Huschenbeth,N (2318)-Aulich,M (1996)/Kelheim 2007/CBM 122 Extra/1–0, but 26.Nxc4 offered little opportunity in my view to play for a win in CC. The point of bxc4 is that while the doubled c pawns are ugly, White is dominating the center of the board. There’s little time for Black to get the a pawn moving in a genuinely threatening manner. 26...Rfd8 27.Rd5 Kg8 28.Kf1 Rb2 29.Kg2 Qg5 [29...h5 30.Qc1 Rdb8 31.c5] 30.Qf3 h5 31.c5 Kg7 32.Nc4 Rb3 33.Rhd1 Re8 [33...Rf8!?] 34.Rd7+- Re7 35.Rxe7 Qxe7 36.Ne3 Rb8 [36...Rb5 37.Nd5 Qd7 38.Qf6+ Kg8 39.Qg5+-] 37.Rd6 Rc8 38.Qd1 Nb8 39.Qd5 a4

[39...h4 40.gxh4 a4 41.Ng4 Qxh4 42.Qxe5+ Kf8 43.Qf4+-] 40.Nc4 h4 [40...Rc7 41.Nxe5 a3 42.Nxf7 Qxf7 43.Qd4+ Kh7 44.Rd8+-] 41.Nxe5 a3 [41...Re8 42.c6 Rc8 43.gxh4+-] 42.Ng4 a2 43.Qd4+ [43.Qxa2?! Qxe4+ 44.f3 Qe1 45.gxh4 Rxc5±] 43...Kh7 44.Nf6+ Kh6 45.Qd2+ [45.Qd2+ Kg7 46.Qxa2+-] 1–0

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