Mukachevo: fourth game drawn, score 2-2

by ChessBase
9/24/2009 – "Enjoy your free day," our commentator GM Klaus Bischoff imagined the arbiter saying, though Bischoff assumed both players would spend it in front of their laptops. Not quite. Nigel Short went on an outing to Mukachevo Castle, located at the dizzying height of 68 meters, where he made a number of new friends, some of flesh and some in bronze. After that the fourth game was drawn. GM analysis.

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Universal Event Promotion (UEP), the company that staged major events like Kramnik vs Deep Fritz and the World Championship Anand vs Kramnik, is now continuing their series of the first-class matches with an encounter between former World Championship candidate Nigel Short and the very promising Ukraining GM Zahar Efimenko. The event is taking place in the West-Ukrainian town of Mukachevo. It is a classical match over six games, with time controls of 90 minutes for 40 moves, plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting with the first move. Efimenko is seconded by GM Alexander Beliavsky, Short is playing without a second.

Game four

Commentary by GM Klaus Bischoff

Efimenko,Zahar (2654) - Short,Nigel (2706) [C80]
Match Mukachevo (4), 24.09.2009 [Klaus Bischoff]

Enjoy your free day, the arbiter may have said to the players after game three. Nevertheless we can be almost sure that Nigel and Zahar spent their free day in front of their laptops.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 Nxb3

Of course he is not ready to repeat g6 against a better prepared opponent. Still, I would not make a bet that Nigel thinks Nxb3 is the best move here. He may intend to show the best move in game 6; classical match strategy. 11.Nxb3 Be7 12.Nfd4 Nxd4 13.cxd4 a5 14.Qc2. So Black has weaknesses in the c-file.But he will get a strong grip on the white squares to compensate this. 14...Qd7 15.Be3 Bf5 16.Qc1

Zahar intends Bg5, which is a strong positional threat. Exchanging the bishops would be positional suicide and f6 is (still) highly undesirable. 16...h6! 17.Nc5 Qc6 18.Qd1 Qg6. 18...Bxc5?! 19.Rc1! Qg6 20.Rxc5 c6 is not the end of the world for Black, but a guarantee he will suffer. 19.Rc1 0-0 20.Bf4 h5. Black starts with useful pawn moves. It is not at all easy to decide where to put the rooks. 21.f3 a4 22.Kh1 Rfe8 23.Qd2 c6

Nigel seems to think that Nb7-d6 is not a problem. He could have prevented this with Ra7 and only then c6. 24.Nb7 Bd7 25.Rfe1 Bf8 26.Nd6. He is going for a very small but safe advantage. 26.h3 is a possible improvement. Even a well timed g4 may be an idea later. 26...Re6. Preparing mass exchanges down the e-file. 27.h3 Bxd6 28.exd6 Rae8 29.Re5 f6 30.Rxe6 Rxe6 31.Re1

31...Qe8. He is keeping his queen close to the main enemy, the d-pawn. 31...Rxe1+ 32.Qxe1 Qc2 is playable according to my engines. After 33.Qe7 Qd1+ 34.Kh2 Qxd4 35.Qxd7 Qxf4+ it's a draw. 32.Rxe6 Qxe6 33.h4 Kf7 34.Kh2 Qf5 35.Bg3 Qe6 36.Qa5 Qe8 37.Qc7 Ke6 38.a3 Kf7 39.Bf4 Qe6 40.Bd2 Ke8 41.Ba5 Kf7 42.Bd2 Ke8 43.Kg3 Kf7 44.Kf2 Kg6 45.Bf4 Kf7

So he can only sit and wait.The only plan for White could be Qd8 and hyperspace the king to c7. But how can Zahar cross the e-file? After Be3 Black has Qf5. 46.Be3 Qf5 47.Qd8 Qe6 48.Bf4 Qe8 49.Qxe8+ Kxe8. 0.00 according to my engines. I do not doubt it. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Results and standings

 Nigel Short ENG
 Zahar Efimenko UKR

Free day outing

Well, the two players did not spend their free day in front of their notebooks. Nigel Short, at least, took part in an outing to Mukachevo Castle (or Palanok Castle), which is is located on a former 68 meter high volcanic hill and extremley well preserved. The cornerstone was laid in the 14th century, and the castle was later transformed into an impregnable fortress by French engineers. After the storming of the Bastille Palanok Castle was used as an all-European political prison. Through the centuries, the castle served as a residence to many people: the Koriatovych family for almost 200 years, the Serbian prince Ðurad Brankovic, Regent of Hungary János Hunyadi, and the wife of a Hungarian king, Laiosh Maria, among many others. From 1796 to 1897, the castle was used as a prison.

At its height the castle was protected by 164 cannons of varying sizes, and 60 barrels of gunpowder. It was surrounded by deep moat and high wooden walls. The total area of the castle is 14,000 m², and it has 130 different rooms with a complex system of underground passages connecting them together. The castle currently houses a museum dedicated to the history of Mukachevo and the castle.

Nigel Short at Mukachevo Castle

With a fan from Mukachevo, local chess activist Mikhail Beglyj, Elo 2028

After watching the second match game, in which Short successfully played the Open Ruy Lopez with 10...g6!?, Mikhail used this line in his internet blitz games and won it all, basically.

Mikhail's daughter Margarita is more pleasant than the wild boar in Carpathian Mountains.
Incidentally this young lady was named after Margaret Thatcher, whom her parents admired

Two other Ukrainian ladies Nigel met at Mukachevo Castle...

and a bearded gentleman – Karl Marx? Naw, a mediaeval prince

Remaining schedule of the Short-Efimenko match

Friday 25 September 16.30h Game five: Short-Efimenko
Saturday 26 September 16.30h Game six: Efimenko-Short


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