(1) Ivanchuk,Vassily (2754) - Jobava,Baadur (2710) [B12]
39th Olympiad Men Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (7.1), 28.09.2010

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3
Though not the first time Ivanchuk plays this line, the main proponents of the day are Timofeev, Nepomniachtchi, and Zviaginsev.

Though it is certainly offbeat, it was hardly a surprise as Jobava played this twice in the European Championship earlier this year against Timofeev and Nepomniachtchi. Note that Ivanchuk himself played this as Black in the 2010 Capablanca Memorial, beating Nepomniachtchi.


So much for the fledgling theory that existed. Obviously both players are more than desirous to play original and little-analyzed positions, but Jobava seems to feel this modest move is a red flag being waved at him.

There is nothing wrong with this move though it does tend to dissolve the central tension almost immediately, barring certain extreme sacrificial reactions by certain black-piece players that is...

5.exd5 Nf6
[5...cxd5 would be a calmer and more principled continuation as white would have to justify both a3 and f3, which don't help his development any. 6.c3 (6.dxe5?! Bc5 7.Nh3 Nc6 and black looks better.) 6...Nc6 With a good game.]

6.dxe5 Bc5
It seems clear that black had already decided on this continuation upon playing 5...Nf6. The gloves are off!

7.exf6 Bf2+ 8.Ke2 0-0 9.Qd2

On principle, this decision looks quite odd. It isn't so much the material issue of two pieces and rook for the queen (and chaos on the board still), but the fact that black will trade off two developed pieces for the queen, with no immediate way to aggressively sustain the initiative. For this reason alone Bxg1 seemed more logical.

10.Kd1 Re1+ 11.Qxe1 Bxe1 12.Kxe1 Bf5 13.Be2
The plans for both sides are quite clear: white must try to defend his king and material against the oncoming onslaught and if successful should win, and Black must pressure and threaten white so that he either wins by a mating attack or forces material concessions in his favor. The key issue is really how to proceed.

13...Nd7 14.dxc6 bxc6 15.Bd1 Re8+ 16.Ne2 Nxf6 17.Nbc3

In terms of piece play alone, it is hard to see how black can increase pressure. He opts to reroute the bishop to a6, but perhaps it won't really change all that much. Possibly black had to try and figure a way to soften the kingside up with the pawns and pieces, whle keeping white tied up in the center. Whether or not that is even possible is hard to judge of course, but as it stands, black's initiative seems to be pettering out.

17...Bc8 18.a4 a5 19.Rf1 Ba6 20.Rf2 h5 21.Ra3 h4 22.g3 h3 23.g4 Rd8 24.Nf4 Nd7 25.Rb3 Qd4 26.Nfe2 Re8 27.Ne4 Qxa4 28.Bd2 Qa1 29.Bc3 Ne5 30.Ra3 Qb1 31.Nd2 Qc1 32.Rxa5 Ng6 33.Rxa6 Nf4 34.Ra8!
[34.Ra8 After 34...Rxa8 35.Nxc1 ] 1-0