Hastings commentary

(1) Howell,David (2593) - Kurnosov,Igor (2606) [C54]
Hastings Masters Hastings (7.1), 03.01.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 Howell is fond of this slow Giuco build-up, which often leads to positions similar to Steinitz's handling of the d3-Lopez. 5...d6 6.Bb3 a6 7.h3 Be6 8.Bc2 d5 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.Qe2 This is the basis of the Stinitz plan. White delays castling, and prepares to transfer the knight from d2 to the kingside, via f1. 10...Qe7 11.Nf1 b5 12.Ng3 Rad8 13.Bg5 h6 14.Bh4 d4! [I like this move, which shuts the door firmly on White's "Spanish" (actually, Italian, if one is strictlly accurate!) bishop on c2. Now White will not have the constant option of exd5 and d4, opening the bishop's diagonal. Of course, Black cannot win a piece by 14...g5? in view of 15.Nxg5 hxg5 16.Bxg5 with the threat of Nh5.] 15.0-0 g6 16.Kh1?! [Even though g6-g5 is not an immediate threat, it hangs over White in Damocletian fashion. Despite the computer's lack of knowledge of Greek mythology, it prefers the prudent 16.Qd2 making room for Ne2 and Bg3. Even so, the need for such cumbersome manoeuvres cannot be a reciommendation of White's position.] 16...Kh7 17.Nxe5? This was clearly what Howell's previous move was designed to prepare, but it comes up short. 17...Nxe5 18.f4 Ned7 19.Qf3 [One key point is that the obvious 19.e5 is refuted by 19...Ne4! ] 19...Qe8 Now the best White can hope for in the material stakes is a rook for ntwo pieces, but in the event, even that does not prove possible. 20.e5 Bd5 21.Qf2? [The final error, presumably missing Black's reply. White had to try 21.Qe2 although Black is still better after 21...dxc3 22.bxc3 Be7 ] 21...Qe6! Threatening Qxh3+. 22.Ne4 [22.Bxf6 dxc3 23.d4 Bxd4 wins.] 22...Bxe4 23.dxe4 d3 Winning a decisive amount of material. Howell continues to play on, but the position is gone, of course. 24.Qf3 dxc2 25.exf6 Rfe8 26.e5 Nb6 27.Rac1 Nc4 28.Rfe1 Rd2 29.Re2 Red8 30.Rxc2 R2d3 31.Qg4 Rd1+ 32.Re1 Rxe1+ 33.Bxe1 Qxg4 34.hxg4 Ne3 35.Re2 Nxg4 36.g3 g5 37.b4 Bb6 38.f5 Re8 39.e6 Nxf6 40.c4 fxe6 41.c5 Bxc5 0-1

(2) Haslinger,Stewart (2506) - Kjartansson,Gudmundur (2284) [C55]
Hastings Masters Hastings (7.8), 03.01.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Re1 d6 7.a4 h6 8.a5 a6 9.h3 Nh7 10.Nc3 Kh8 11.Nd5 f5 12.Bd2 f4 13.Bc3 Ng5 14.b4 Nxf3+ 15.Qxf3 Bg5 16.Rad1 Ne7 17.Nxe7 Qxe7 18.d4 Bf6 19.Re2 Bd7 20.dxe5 Bxe5 21.Bxe5 Qxe5 22.Bd5 c6 23.Bc4 Rf6 24.Red2 Be8 Diagram # 25.Qb3? [Once again, the Pianissimo has failed to yield White any particular advantage, but he would not be worse after 25.Qd3 Instead, Haslinger underestimated the danger.] 25...f3 26.g3 Qxe4 27.Rxd6?? [Missing a vicious tactic. 27.Rd4 was compulsory, although Black is clearly better after 27...Qe7 ] 27...Rxd6 28.Rxd6 Bf7! 29.Qc3 [Winning a piece in broad daylight, since 29.Bxf7 Qe1+ leads to mate. Haslinger struggles on, but the young Icelandic player duly brings home the full point.] 29...Qxc4 30.Rxh6+ Kg8 31.Qxc4 Bxc4 32.Rh4 Be6 33.Kh2 Rd8 34.Rf4 Rd1 35.g4 Rf1 36.Rxf3 Bd5 37.Rf5 g6 38.Rf6 Kg7 39.g5 Rb1 40.c3 Rh1+ 41.Kg3 Rc1 42.Rd6 Rxc3+ 43.Kh2 Rf3 44.Rd7+ Rf7 45.Rxf7+ Kxf7 46.Kg3 Ke6 47.Kf4 Bb3 48.h4 Bc2 49.f3 Bb1 50.Kg4 Bf5+ 51.Kf4 Bc2 52.Kg4 Ke5 53.h5 gxh5+ 54.Kxh5 Kf4 55.g6 Kxf3 56.g7 Bh7 0-1

(3) Bates,Richard (2387) - Summerscale,Aaron (2467) [A81]
Hastings Masters Hastings (7.9), 03.01.2009

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.0-0 0-0 6.a4 d6 7.a5 Na6 [Apparently a novelty. 7...c6 was played in a game Hebden-Santo Roman, 2001.] 8.d5 e5 9.dxe6 c6 10.Ng5 Qe7 11.Ra3?! Evidently played with the follow-up in mind, but it is tactically incorrect. 11...h6 Diagram # 12.Nf7? [Continuing on the fatal path. 12.Nf3 had to be played.] 12...Bxe6 13.Nxd6 [13.Nxh6+ Kh7 also leaves the knight trapped.] 13...Rfd8 14.Rd3 Nb4 15.Rd2 Bf8 16.c3 Na6 Wite's errant steed still has no escape, and White is forced to concede a piece. 17.Nxb7 Rxd2 18.Qxd2 Qxb7 19.Qd4 Kf7 And Black duly won. 20.Nd2 Bd5 21.Nf3 c5 22.Qf4 Kg8 23.Rd1 Re8 24.Qh4 g5 25.Bxg5 hxg5 26.Qxg5+ Bg7 27.Qxf5 c4 28.Qg6 Nc5 29.h4 Ne6 30.h5 Be4 31.Ng5 Bxg6 32.Bxb7 Bxh5 33.Nf3 Nc5 34.Bd5+ Bf7 35.Bxf7+ Kxf7 36.Rd4 Rxe2 37.Rxc4 Ne6 38.Rb4 Ne4 39.Rb7+ Kf6 40.Rb4 N6c5 41.Nh2 Kf5 42.Rc4 Rxf2 43.Rxc5+ Nxc5 44.Kxf2 Nd3+ 45.Ke3 Nxb2 46.Nf3 Nc4+ 47.Kd3 Ne5+ 48.Nxe5 Kxe5 49.g4 Kd5 50.g5 Kc5 51.a6 Kb5 52.g6 Bh8 53.Kd2 Kc4 0-1

(4) Neverov,Valerij (2571) - Jones,Gawain C (2548) [E70]
Hastings Masters (8.2), 04.01.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nge2 c5!? I have to say that this looks a trifle suspicious to me, but it has been played more than once by American GM, John Fedorowicz. In addition, the immortal Bobby Fischer was fond of playing the move against 5.f3 (instead of Neverov's 5.Nge2), evidently believing that the displacement of the black king was not serious for Black. 6.dxc5 dxc5 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Be3 b6 9.0-0-0+ Bd7 10.f4 This is the main difference from the Fischer games. White can take extra space in the centre by having his pawn on f4, rather than f3, although he would prefer to have his knight on the more active square f3. 10...e5 11.g3 Kc8 12.Nb5 Ne8 [12...Nxe4 looks dangerous, but it is not clear whether White has anything concrete after 13.Bg2 f5 ] 13.h4 h5 14.Nec3 Nc6 15.Nd5 Rb8 16.Bh3 Bxh3 17.Rxh3 Kb7 18.Rh2 Rd8 19.Rhd2 a6 20.Nbc3 Nd4 Black has contained his opponent's early initiative, and now seems to have no problems. 21.fxe5 Bxe5 22.Bg5 f6 23.Bf4 Bxf4? [This looks like the turning point. Jones over-estimates his tactical possibilities, connected with Nf3. The exchange on f4 relieves White of his isolated e4-pawn and opens the g-file against the backward pawn on g6. Instead, after a move such as 23...Nd6 Black nlooks at least equal.] 24.gxf4 Rg8 25.Rg2 Nf3 26.Rh1 Rd7 27.Ne2 Suddenly the black knight on f3 finds itself cut off in enemy territory, and an unfavourable exchange on d4 will be forced. 27...Rf7 28.Rh3 Nd4 29.Nxd4 cxd4 30.Rb3 Now Black's position crumbles. 30...b5 31.cxb5 a5 32.b6 Nd6 33.Rc2 Rc8 34.Rc7+ Rfxc7+ 35.bxc7+ Ka7 36.e5 fxe5 37.fxe5 Nf5 38.Kd2 Nxh4 39.e6 Nf5 40.e7 Nxe7 41.Nxe7 Rxc7 42.Nxg6 Rg7 Black is now clearly lost, and although Jones defends tenaciously, in an attempt to exploit the paucity of white pawns, Neverov patiently converts his advantage. 43.Nf4 h4 44.Kd3 Rg4 45.Ke4 Ka6 46.Rd3 Rg1 47.Kxd4 Rf1 48.Nd5 Rh1 49.a4 h3 50.Nc3 Rh2 51.Kc5 Rxb2 52.Rxh3 Rc2 53.Kc4 Kb6 54.Rh6+ Kb7 55.Kb3 Rc1 56.Nd5 Ka7 57.Rh4 Ka6 58.Rc4 Rd1 59.Ne3 Rd3+ 60.Rc3 Rd8 61.Kc4 Rh8 62.Kc5 Rc8+ 63.Kd4 Rh8 64.Rc6+ Kb7 65.Re6 Rh4+ 66.Re4 Rh5 67.Nc4 Rg5 68.Re5 Rg4+ 69.Kc5 Ka6 70.Re6+ Ka7 71.Kb5 Rg7 72.Kxa5 Rg1 73.Re7+ Kb8 74.Kb5 Rh1 75.a5 Rh6 76.Ne5 Rh1 77.Nd7+ Kc7 78.Nb6+ Kb8 79.Ka6 Rh7 80.Nd7+ Ka8 81.Re8# 1-0

(5) Conquest,Stuart (2526) - Ansell,Simon (2410) [B20]
Hastings Masters (8.4), 04.01.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 d6 6.0-0 Nf6 7.Ng5 0-0 8.f4 Bg4 9.Qe1 exf4 10.Bxf4 Nd4 11.Qd2 Qd7 12.e5 dxe5 13.Bxe5 b5 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Bxf7+ Rxf7 16.Nxf7 Kxf7 17.Rae1 Rg8 18.Kh1 Rg6 19.Ne4 Kg7 20.c3 Nc6 21.Qe3 Qd5 22.b3 b4 23.cxb4 cxb4 24.Ng3 Bd7 25.Rf4 Bd6 26.Rh4 Bxg3 27.hxg3 Qg5 28.d4 Qxe3 29.Rxe3 Bg4 30.d5 Ne5 31.Kg1 a5 32.Kf2 Rg5 33.Re4 h5 34.Rh1 Kf7 35.Rd4 Nd7 36.Rc1 Re5 37.Rd2 Ke7 38.Rc7 Kd8 39.Rc6 Bf5 40.Kg1 Re1+ 41.Kf2 Re5 42.Kg1 Re3 43.Ra6 Nc5 44.Rxa5 Ne4 45.Rd1 Nc3 46.Rf1 Re5 47.a3 bxa3 48.Rxa3 Nxd5 49.Ra7 Be4 50.Rfa1 Re7 51.Kf2 f5 52.R1a6 Nf6 53.Rxe7 Ng4+ 54.Kg1 Kxe7 55.b4 Kd7 56.Rg6 Kc7 57.Kf1 Ne3+ 58.Kf2 Ng4+ 59.Ke2 Bxg2 60.Rg5 Be4 61.Rxh5 Kb6 62.Kd2 Kb5 63.Kc3 Nf6 64.Rh8 Nd5+ 65.Kb3 Nb6 66.Rb8 Kc6 67.Kc3 Kc7 68.Rh8 Kc6 69.Kd4 Nd5 70.Rb8 Diagram # 70...Nf6 [For a long time, the position had looked dead drawn, and had Ansell now continued 70...Kc7 this would still have been the case. Instead, he chose] 71.b5+ Kc7 72.Rh8 Bb1 73.Rh1 Be4 74.Rh6 Ng4 75.Rg6 Bb1 [A further inaccuracy. He should prefer 75...Nf2 so as to be able to answer 76.Kc5 with 76...Nd3+ ] 76.Kc5 Ne5 77.b6+ Kd8? Losing immediately, but the position was now gone anyway. 78.Rg8+ Ke7 79.b7 Nd7+ 80.Kd4 Ba2 81.Rc8 1-0

(6) Gordon,Stephen J (2521) - Leroy,Didier (2286) [D31]
Hastings Masters (8.7), 04.01.2009

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 The French IM seems fond of this unusual move, and repeats it here, despite a heavy defeat two rounds earlier against Neverov. 3...a6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Qc2 [In the above-mentioned game, Neverov preferred 6.Bf4 Bd6 7.Bg3 Ne7 8.e3 0-0 9.Qb3 Qc7 10.Bd3 Nd7 11.Qc2 g6 12.0-0-0 and won in short order, after his opponent got his queen trapped on the white kingside - hard to imagine, at present, I agree, but it happened: 12...Nf6 13.Bh4 Ne8 14.Bg5 Ng7 15.e4 Bf4+ 16.Kb1 dxe4 17.Bxe4 Bxg5 18.Nxg5 Bf5 19.h4 Qf4 20.g3 Bxe4 21.Ngxe4 Qf3 22.Rhe1 Nef5 23.Rd3 Qg2 24.g4 1-0 Neverov,V (2571)-Leroy,D (2286)/Hastings 2009] 6...Bd6 7.e4 Initiating a more aggressive plan. White opens the position, seeking to show that 3...a6 is a loss of time. 7...dxe4 8.Nxe4 Nf6 9.Nxd6+ Qxd6 10.Bd3 0-0 11.0-0 Bg4 12.Ne5 [12.Ng5 was the alternative, but White does not seem to have a lot after 12...h6 13.Nh7 Nxh7 14.Bxh7+ Kh8 Gordon prefers to sacrifice a pawn, whilst still ahead in development.] 12...Qxd4 13.Nxg4 Qxg4 14.Rd1 White has the bishop pair by way of compensation, and will gain time on the exposed enemy queen. Even so, Black does not have any real weaknesses, so White's compensation should not be more than merely adequate. 14...Nbd7 15.Bf5 Qb4 16.Bd2 Qb6 17.Bc3 Qc7 18.Rd3 Ne5 19.Rh3 Diagram # 19...Ng6? [The computer's preference is for 19...g6 with approximat e equality. To a human player, the desire to avoid weakening the loing drak-squared diagonal is clear, but it seems that this what Black had to do. fter the text, his kingside is weakened too seriously.] 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Qe2 Kg7 22.Qh5 Rh8 23.Qh6+ Kg8 Now Black is effectively playing a rook down, quite apart from the direct threats to his king. 24.Rg3 Qe7? [Once again, the computer indicates a much tougher defence - 24...Qe5 The text loses simply.] 25.h4 Qf8 26.Qf4 Qg7 27.Qc4 Qh6 28.Rd1 Qh5 29.Rd7 Rf8 30.Be6! 1-0

(7) Neverov,Valerij (2571) - Kurnosov,Igor (2606) [D75]
Hastings Masters (9.1), 05.01.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 c5 5.Bg2 cxd4 6.Nxd4 0-0 7.0-0 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nc3 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Qc7 11.Qb3 Nc6 12.Rb1 Nxd4 13.cxd4 Bxd4 14.Be3 Bxe3 15.Qxe3 Rd8 16.Rfc1 Qd6 17.Bxb7 Bxb7 18.Rxb7 Rd7 19.Rxd7 Qxd7 20.Qe5 f6 21.Qc7 Rd8 22.Qxd7 Rxd7 23.Rc6 Rd2 24.Ra6 Rxe2 25.Rxa7 g5 26.Kf1 Rb2 27.h3 h5 28.Rxe7 1/2-1/2

(8) Williams,Simon (2494) - Gordon,Stephen (2521) [D43]
Hastings Masters (9.4), 05.01.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.e5 Nd5 11.Nd2 Nd7 12.Nde4 Qb6 13.a4 a5 14.Rc1 Nxc3 15.Nxc3 b4 16.Ne4 c5 17.dxc5 Bxc5 18.Rxc4 Bd5 19.0-0 0-0 20.Rxc5 Bxe4 21.Rb5 Qc6 22.f3 Bc2 23.Qd2 Bxa4 24.Rc1 Bxb5 25.Rxc6 Bxc6 26.h4 Rfd8 27.hxg5 Nf8 28.Qc1 Be8 29.gxh6 f5 30.Qg5+ Bg6 31.Bc4 Rd1+ 32.Kh2 Re8 33.Bb5 Rb8 34.Qe7 Bf7 35.Qf6 1-0

(9) Anderson,John (2213) - Haslinger,Stewart (2506) [C46]
Hastings Masters (9.9), 05.01.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Re8 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 Bh8 12.Bg5 Qd6 13.h4 Rb8 14.a3 Nd7 15.h5 Nc5 16.hxg6 fxg6 17.exd5 Rxb2 18.Bc4 Nb3+ 19.Bxb3 Qxa3 0-1

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