(1) Ivanchuk,V (2779) - Wang Yue (2739) [C42]
XXVI SuperGM Linares ESP (8), 19.02.2008
Together with the Marshall Attack, this tabyia is one of the biggest nightmares for 1.e4 players. In practice, Black's piece activity has usually matched the potential force of White's mobile pawn centre. The theoretical evolution has been anything but spectacular over the past years. Players of similar level, using similar engines, which run on computers of similar strenght will logically find similar variations. Modern times...
Not this time, though! This generally useful move, winning space on the queenside, has never been played before and does not seem to be on the engines' list of preferences. We may call it a human novelty.
After a series of half-waiting moves for both sides, Black decides to start concrete play. His decision is logical, because it is not easy to suggest a way of further improving the piece placement.
[My personal feeling is that this move, which spoils White's structure, is connected with an oversight (see my comment on White's 28th move). The main alternative was 21.d5
, leading to a structure that is characteristic for the Gruenfeled Defence! (Compare with the game Grischuk-Dominguez, from this same round).]
We can notice certain elements that seem to compensate for the weakness of the c3-pawn. pawns along the seventh rank are vulnerable and if White will manage to play Bd5 the knight would be dominated.
[Ivanchuk took a long time before playing this move. When playing 21.dxc5 he may have relied on 28.Re7
Nxb7 30.Rxb7 Rxc3 31.Rxa7 when the same rook ending as in the game would arise, only that with reversed colours. Unfortunately for White, this line is flawed tactically. After 29.Bxb7 (??) Black wins material with 29...Kf8
does not work because of 31...Nxb7
. Would it be this last detail that escaped Ivanchuk's attention?!]
A remarkable decision. Ivanchuk probably felt that only White can be worse in this position, because of his weak pawns. The ending to which he transposes is objectively dead drawn, although at grandmaster level (up to World Champions) it frequently ended in a win for the active side. Ivanchuk's confident play in the final part of the game proves that he knew his lesson well.
Very logical play. In order to make queenside progress, Black will need to march in with the king, sacrificing one or two kingside pawns. Therefore, it is essential for White to bring his own candidates to promotion closer to the back rank.
It is obvious now that White is out of any danger.
The simplest way to a draw. The resulting pawn ending can be found in the books.
[Black has no active plan, since after 66.f5
(Only not 67.Kh4?
because of 67...Kh6
and White is in zugzwang.) 67...Kf7
he should return with 68...Kg7
, in order to avoid losing.] 1/2-1/2