Marin on Tromso R5 – Taking a break

8/7/2014 – Wednesday was an unusual day at the Olympiad: the famous (or infamous) Bermuda party was scheduled, which our main reporter of course had to attend. That has led to a delay in our full round five report. Back in Bucharest our expert annotator Mihail Marin had a football match to watch – the first in thirty years. For this reason he restricts himself to one key encounter, the top game on the top board.

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Marin on Tromso – round five selection

I will start by admitting that my comments tonight are biased by a couple of factors, all of them deriving from the fact that I have just... returned from a footbal match!

I very rarely go to the stadium in Romania (last time it happened, hmm, thirty years ago), but last week my wife unexpectedly said: "Steaua is playing on Wednesday, why don't we go?" My wife never watches football, never. I felt that the moment was so extraordinary that I immediately booked the tickets online and I must confess I enjoyed the match! But now it is kind of late in the night, so I decided to restrict my selection to just one game, the top one of the top match. It reflects some of my feelings from the stadium, as it was decided by an early attack, similary to the fact that Steaua's goal in the third minute proved decisive for the qualification.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov before the start of round five

[Event "41st Olympiad Tromso 2014 Open"] [Site "Tromsø¸"] [Date "2014.08.06"] [Round "5"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Ivanisevic, Ivan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E33"] [WhiteElo "2743"] [BlackElo "2613"] [Annotator "Marin,Mihail"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "NOR"] [WhiteTeam "Azerbaijan"] [BlackTeam "Serbia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "AZE"] [BlackTeamCountry "SRB"] 1. d4 ({It is interesting to compare the line played in this game with a modern English anti-Nimzo setup:} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. g4 $5 {In this variation Black has less control in the centre and White has not spent a tempo on committing his queen, so intuitively I would say that Black's chances of finding a clear-cut antidote are slimmer. But at the same time hundreds of games have been played starting from this position and there is no better theoretician than the accumulation of practice!}) 1... Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 {[#]This is one of my favourite ways of meeting 4.Qc2. Black avoids the theoretical lines by setting up a strategic battle where understanding plans and structures is more important than memorizing lines-lines-lines. White's main continuations are 6.a3 and 6.Bd2, but after yesterday's win with black Mamedyarov was in an aggressive mood.} 6. g4 $5 { "Almost" a novelty. The early advance of the g-pawn has become a common pattern in many openings. Imagine, they have tried it in the good old Tartakower Queen-s Gambit! But every time it pops up in a new form, the surprise effect may be at least as big as when Bogoljubov faced Keres' 6.g4 in the Scheweningen Sicilian, back in 1943. Since Black has relatively good control in the centre in our Nimzoindian position, this attack should not be too dangerous, but meeting it over the board may be unpleasant without previous (at least brief) preparation. "Did my opponent analyze this thoroughly or is it just an experiment?" Or: "Could he have meant 6.g3, but dropped the pawn one square too far?" And finally, after failing to answer those above: "Should I have played the Queen's Gambit Accepted?!" These are the kind of questions that may be assaulting the player with black while his team-mates would think he is emerged in deep calculation. Or at least this would happen with me, maybe other players have better over-the-bord discipline. } e5 {Ivan replied relatively fast, after eight minutes. After all, ...e6-e5 is the main idea of the whole variation. However, there are many reasonable alternatives.} ({If taken by surprise, I would probably play} 6... h6 {kindly inviting my opponent to justify weakening his kingside so early.}) ({The other way of reacting in the centre would be} 6... d5 {, preparing to meet} 7. g5 { with} Ne4 {when it would be far from clear if the extra tempo has served for anything else than weakening his position.}) ({Finally, the pawn is not really poisoned:} 6... Nxg4 7. Rg1 e5 {with unclear play in Chatalbashev-Vocaturo, Deizisau 2008}) 7. dxe5 {Judging from the relatively long thought (11 minutes) on this move, we could infere that Mamedyarov was improvising after all. He could hardly have missed Black's last move during his anayisis.} dxe5 {This natural move, played almost without thinking, allows White getting the kind of position he was aiming for, although objectively Black seems to be still OK.} ( {Black could have changed the course of the game with} 7... Nxg4 $5 {for instance} 8. Bg5 Qd7 9. exd6 Bxd6 {with good play for... both sides!}) 8. g5 Bxc3+ {This practically forces White to spoil his structure, but the dynamic compensation he gets for it is more relevant.} (8... Nd7 {would ensure White some small advantage after} 9. a3 Bxc3+ 10. Qxc3) 9. bxc3 (9. Qxc3 {would allow Black gain time for his development with} Ne4 10. Qe3 Bf5) 9... Nd7 $6 { After this passive move, obstructing the undeveloped queen and bishop, Black's position becomes difficult.} (9... Nh5 10. Ba3 Qd7 {followed by ...Qf5 soon would have offered better chances for a balanced fight.}) 10. Ba3 {[#]This simple bishop move paralyzes the enemy king and queen!} Nb6 $2 {It seems that Ivan had lost his feel for danger completely, as he played this (virtually decisive) mistake almost instantly.} (10... Na5 {followed by ...c7-c5 would have allowed Black getting castled.} 11. Qa4 {should not take Black away from his intended path:} c5 {since} 12. Nxe5 $6 Qc7 {ould offer Black at least some compensation for the missing pawn. In the long run, the chronic weakness of the c4-pawn would be a telling factor, while the a3-bishop would face the risk of becoming the worst piece on board.}) 11. Rd1 Bd7 12. Bh3 {Mamedyarov took almost ten minutes before playing this winning move. He might have simply tried to understand whether his opponent had some trump up to his sleeve.} Bxh3 {A desperate measure.} ({Theer was no other way to free himself from the pin, for instance} 12... Qc8 13. Rxd7 Nxd7 14. O-O {followed by Rd1.}) 13. Rxd8+ Rxd8 14. Qe4 {[#] Under different circumstances (that is, with his king on b8 or g8) Black would have excellent compensation for the queen, due to White's weaknesses on light squares. But with the king in the centre Black is helpless. } Na4 {Setting up a nice trap.} 15. Qe3 ({Only not} 15. Nxe5 $2 Rd1+ 16. Kxd1 Nxc3+ {wins}) 15... Rd7 16. Nd4 Bg2 17. Rg1 Kd8 18. Nf5 Be4 19. Nxg7 {[#]The rest is agony. Black does not even have the structural element to his favour.} Bg6 20. Qh3 Nb6 21. Nh5 f5 22. gxf6 Nxc4 23. Be7+ Nxe7 24. fxe7+ Rxe7 25. Nf6 Bf7 26. Rg7 Be6 27. Qh6 Nd6 28. Rxe7 Kxe7 29. Ne4 Nxe4 30. Qg7+ 1-0

He saw the knight fork! Ivanisevic after Mamedyarov has played 15.Qe3.

Mihail Marin

Born in 1965, GM Mihail Marin has several times been Romanian champion and first made the leap over the Elo barrier of 2600 in 2001. Marin possesses a rare gift for a grandmaster – he is able to explain in readily comprehensible terms the ideas behind moves, variations and positions. This ability is there for all to admire in his contributions to ChessBase Magazine. Marin has written some books which have earned the highest of praise, among which are "Secrets of Chess Defence" and "Learn from the Legends". He Marin lives in Bucharest and is married to women's International Master Luiza Marin.

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