(1) Carlsen,M (2801) - Ponomariov,R (2739) [B80]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (8), 13.11.2009
[Humphreys,Michael]



1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.f3 b5 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.g4 h6 10.0-0-0 Ne5
10...Bb7 is more popular.

11.Qe1
Played after a long thought from Carlsen, this move appears to be a novelty.

11...Qc7 12.h4 b4 13.Nce2 Nc4 14.Nf4 Nxe3 15.Qxe3 Qb6
It would be too soon for Black's bishop to leave the c8-h3 diagonal. On 15...Bb7, White might already consider the thematic sacrifice 16.Ndxe6! with a strong attack. It should also be mentioned that 15...e5 would not win a piece, due to 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 and Black cannot meet the positional threats of Nd4-c6 and f3-f4. After 15... Qb6, the threat of e6-e5 is real, as can be seen on the note to White's next move.

16.Bc4
Intending to meet 16...e5 with the powerful 17.Bxf7+! The point behind Ponomariov's last move would have been illustrated after, for example: 16.Kb1?! e5! 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.exd5 Be7 19.Nf5 Qxe3 20.Nxe3 Bd8! when Black has a good position.

16...Qc5?
This move is certainly a mistake, since it adds strength to a future sacrifice on e6. If a white knight lands on that square, it will do so with the gain of tempo due to the position of the black queen.

17.Qb3!
White has a clear advantage since an upcoming sacrifice on e6 is now unavoidable.

17...d5
It could be that Black's best is 17...Ra7 when the rook provides at least some protection along the second rank, though the sacrifice of any of white's minor pieces would have been very strong.

18.exd5 Bd6 19.Nfxe6 fxe6 20.dxe6 Be7 21.Qd3 0-0 22.Bb3?
This move came as quite a shock to the computer-armed spectators who were kibitzing on playchess. com. Either 22.g5! or 22.Qg6! would have been winning for White.

22...Rd8??
After 22...Bb7! Ponomariov could have kept himself in the game, though White would still enjoy the better chances.

23.g5 Nh7 24.gxh6 Qh5 25.Qe4 Qxh6+ 26.Kb1 Ra7 27.Nf5 Rxd1+ 28.Rxd1 Qf6 29.Rd7 Bxd7 30.exd7+ Kf8 31.Qd5 1-0