Efimenko vs Naiditsch in Third Mukachevo Match

8/14/2010 – Once a year the Ukrainian/German industrialist Josef Resch, founder of the UEP chess promotion company (that organised Anand-Kramnik in Bonn in 2008) stages a match between a top Ukrainian grandmaster and an interesting foreign player. This year it is Zahar Efimenko, 2689, vs top German GM Arkadij Naiditsch, 2684. Illustrated report with GM commentary.

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This is the third of a series of matches to take place in Ukraine, with local GM Zahar Efimenko playing German GM Arkadij Naiditsch in a six classical games. In 2007 it was rapid chess between Ivanchuk and Leko, and in 2009 a classical match between Efimenko and Short. The organiser and sponsor is Josef Resch and his company Universal Event Promotion. The match is being held in the Hotel Intourist, Dukhnovich str. 93, Mukachevo Zakarpatska obl, 89600 Ukraine.

Match Schedule (time zone: GMT+ 2:00)

  • August 11th: 19:00 - Opening
  • August 12th: 15:00 - 1st round
  • August 13th: 15:00 - 2nd round
  • August 14th: 15:00 - 3rd round
  • August 15th: 15:00 - Press conference Efimenko, Naiditsch
  • August 16th: 15:00 - 4th round
  • August 17th: 15:00 - 5th round
  • August 18th: 15:00 - 6th round + 19:00 - Closing

GM Zahar Efimenko (Ukraine, left) and GM Arkadij Naiditch (Germany, right) with
the President of the Zakarpattia Chess Federation Alexander Galay

A musical presentation at the opening ceremony

The players meet the Mukachevo Mayor Zoltan Lengyel

Arkadij Naiditsch speaks to the media

Zahar Efimenko with is girlfriend Angelina Frolova

The start of game one

Game annotations by GM Mikhail Golubev

Efimenko,Z (2689) - Naiditsch,A (2684) [E04]
Match Mukachevo UKR (1), 12.08.2010 [GM Mikhail Golubev]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 c5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.dxc5. The most common continuation is 7.Qa4 Bd7 8.Qxc4 as, for example, in the recent game Kramnik-Naiditsch, Dortmund 2010. 7...Qxd1 8.Rxd1 Bxc5 9.Nbd2 c3 10.bxc3 0-0 11.Nb3 Be7 12.Nfd4 Bd7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.c4. White is slightly better in the ending.

15...Rfc8!?N A new move. In Yermolinsky-Gelfand, Sverdlovsk 1987 Black played 15...a5 ; some other moves were tested as well. 16.Be3 c5 17.Rab1. Possibly stronger was 17.f3 as suggested by Zahar Efimenko's assistant GM Mikhail Brodsky, and if 17...a5 18.a4 (rather than 18.Rab1 a4 19.Nc1 Rab8 20.Nd3 Nd7 21.Bf4). 17...Ng4 18.Bd2. In the variation 18.Rd7 Nxe3 19.fxe3 Kf8 20.Na5 Bd8 21.Rbb7 Bxa5 22.Rxf7+ White has no more than a perpetual check.

18...Ne5! Black has enough resources to hold. 19.Na5 Bd8 20.Bc3 Bxa5 21.Bxe5 f6 22.Bf4 Rd8 23.Bd6 Rac8 24.Be7 Rd4 25.Rxd4 cxd4 26.c5 Bd8 27.Bd6 Bc7 28.Rb7 Bxd6 29.cxd6 Rd8 30.d7 a5 31.Kg2 Kf7 32.Kf3

32...f5. Black avoids the line 32...e5 33.Ke4 Ke6 34.f4 f5+ 35.Kd3 exf4 36.gxf4 Rxd7 37.Rxd7 Kxd7 38.Kxd4 Kd6, where he is likely lost. For example: 39.h4 g6 40.e3 Kc6 41.Ke5 Kc5 42.Kf6 Kb4 43.Kg7 Ka3 44.Kxh7 Kxa2 45.Kxg6. 33.g4 g5 34.Ra7 a4 35.Ra5 Rxd7 36.gxf5 d3 37.exd3 Rxd3+ 38.Kg4 Kf6 39.fxe6 Rd4+. Possible was 39...h6?! with a trap 40.Rxa4 h5+ 41.Kxh5 Rh3+ 42.Kg4 Rh4+.

40.Kf3 Rd3+ 41.Kg2 Ra3 42.Re5! White preserves an extra pawn. But anyway the draw is inevitable. 42...Ke7. But not 42...Kxe5?? 43.e7. 43.Rxg5. Or 43.Re2 g4! 43...Kxe6 44.Rh5 Rxa2 45.Rxh7 a3 46.Ra7 Ra1 47.h4 Kf5 48.Ra5+ Kg6 49.Kf3 a2 50.h5+ Kg7 51.Kf4 Rh1 52.Rxa2 Rxh5 53.Ke4 ½-½. [Click to replay]

On the second day the German GM was able to overcome his opponents Berlin Defence and draw first blood in this match.

Naiditsch,A (2684) - Efimenko,Z (2689) [C67]
Match Mukachevo UKR (2), 13.08.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Ke8 10.Bf4!? Naiditsch already used this rare move. 10...Be6 11.Rfd1. 11.a3 h6 12.Rad1 occurred in Naiditsch-Jakovenko, Poikovsky 2010. 11...h6 12.g4 Ne7 13.h3 Nd5. If 13...h5 14.Ng5! 14.Bd2 Nxc3 Preventing Ne4. Still, the exchange does not look necessary. 15.Bxc3 c5 16.Kg2 Be7 17.Ng1! A clever retreat. White is somewhat better. 17...h5 18.f3

18...Rd8. Black could have tried 18...Bc4!? preventing Ne2. Then, 19.b3 (19.f4!?) 19...Ba6 20.e6 hxg4! , etc. is not dangerous for him. 19.Ne2 Rxd1 20.Rxd1 hxg4 21.hxg4 Bg5 22.a3 Ke7 23.Bd2! Bxd2 24.Rxd2 b5? A wrong move, which weakens the c5 pawn. 25.Nc3!

25...Rb8. After 25...b4?! them move 26.Nd5+! is unpleasant, but not (26.axb4 cxb4 27.Nb5 a5!? 28.Nxc7 Rc8). 26.Ne4! Nothing special is achieved by White after 26.Nd5+ Bxd5 27.Rxd5 c4 28.f4 Ke6 29.Rc5 Kd7. 26...c4 After 26...b4!? 27.a4, preserving the advantage. Weaker is (27.Nxc5 bxa3 28.bxa3 Rb5). 27.Kg3 a5 28.f4! g6?!

Another weakening, after which Black's chances to save the game are minimal. More stubborn could have been 28...c6!? , preparing .. .Bd5. 29.Kh4! The white king goes to g5, supporting f4-f5. 29...b4 30.axb4 axb4 31.Kg5 Rb5. Preventing f4-f5, but now the black king is danger. 32.Nf6 c3 33.bxc3 bxc3 34.Rh2! A decisive activation of the rook. 34...Bd5. White is also winning after 34...Rb2 35.Rh8 Bd7 36.Nd5+ etc. 35.Rh3!

And the rest was easy for Naiditsch. 35...Bc6 36.Rxc3 Rb6 37.Rc5 Ra6 38.Kh6 Kf8 39.c4 Rb6 40.Nd5 Bxd5 41.cxd5 Rb7 42.d6 cxd6 43.exd6 1-0. [Click to replay]

The Transcarpathian Cup Childrens Open, which started two days before the match

There are a number of groups and events: rapid, blitz, simul by Ponomariov,and tours

The central street of the Ukrainian city of Mukachevo

The Catholic church

The well-known "Saints Cyril and Methodius" statue in contemporary Mukachevo. The Byzantine Greek brothers are credited with the creation of the Slavic Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets, and were canonized for their effort.


 Zahar Efimenko UKR
 Arkadij Naiditsch GER


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