Mukachevo: Nigel Short pulls ahead with game five victory

9/26/2009 – "So we have four games played and White could not win a single game yet," noted match commentator Klaus Bischoff. "Today we will see Nigel's last try with the white pieces." Try he did, and in fact pulled off a fine victory to take a 3.0-2.0 lead in this match (with one game to go). Not a single game so far has been unfought or boring. Report with 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 five

Commentary by GM Klaus Bischoff

Short,Nigel (2706) - Efimenko,Zahar (2654) [B90]
Match Mukachevo (5), 25.09.2009 [Klaus Bischoff]

So we have four games played and White could not win a single game yet. Today we will see Nigel's last try with the white pieces.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a4

Zahar goes for a Najdorf once again and Nigel is trying a sideline this time. 6...Nc6 7.Be2 e5 8.Nxc6!? bxc6 9.f4 Be7. I would have gone for 9...Nd7 immediately, but my engines are not too impressed. 10.a5!?

This is really becoming strange now. Combining f4 and a4-a5 does not look great. But Nigel creates space all over the board. 10...0-0 11.0-0 exf4 12.Bxf4 Be6 13.Kh1. Black has two plans now. He can either go for Nd7-e5 or he can try to prepare d5. Zahar tries to play it as flexibly as possible. But if he wants to chose the first plan he could have played Qb8 to speed it up. 13...Qc7 14.Qd2 Rfd8 15.h3!

Amazing! Nigel seems to think that he has plenty of time. Anyway, if he can afford such a move, his position cannot be so bad. 15...Qb7. Black is now ready for d5. 16.Qe3 d5 17.Be5

17...Nxe4. 17...dxe4?! is by no means a transposition. After 18.Qg3! Kh8 19.Nxe4 Ne8 20.Rae1 White is in the driving seat. 18.Nxe4 dxe4 19.Qxe4 Bd5 20.Qg4 g6 21.Qf4 c5

22.Bf3. 22.Kg1!? is interesting. Black has to do something against Rad1 and Rxd5. After 22...Qb4?! 23.c4 Be6 24.Bc3 Qb8 25.Qh6 Black could be lost. 22...f5 23.Bc3 Bd6 24.Qh4 Bxf3 25.Rxf3. 25.Qf6?! is too optimistic. After 25...Bxg2+ 26.Kg1 Be4! there is no mate. 25...Qf7 26.Re1 Re8 27.Rfe3 Rxe3 28.Rxe3 Bf8 29.b3 Rc8 30.Qe1. Nigel still has annoying pressure. I have to admit, that the a5-pawn is a strong trump now. 30...c4 31.b4 f4?

Did he overlook 36.Rf6? Now everything is forced. 32.Re6! f3 33.Qe5 Bg7 34.Qxg7+ Qxg7 35.Bxg7 f2 36.Rf6 Kxg7 37.Rxf2 c3 38.Rf4 Rd8. The best chance – sStarting with 38...g5? is even worse after 39.Rd4! 39.Rc4 Rd1+ 40.Kh2 Rb1 41.Kg3 Rb2 42.Rxc3 Rxb4 43.Rc6 g5 44.Kf3 Rb5 45.Rxa6 Rc5

46.c4! It is important for White to protect his passed pawn from the side. Nigel could not keep both queenside-pawns anyway. So he makes sure that he gets Rb6 and a6 in. 46...Rxc4 47.Rb6 h5 48.a6 Ra4 49.Ke3 Ra2 50.Rb7+ Kf6 51.a7 Kf5 52.g3 Ra4 53.Kd3 Ra1 54.Kd4 h4 55.gxh4 gxh4 56.Kc5. On his way to b8. After Kf4 there is always Rg7. 56...Kf4 57.Rg7 Kf3 58.Kb6

Black resigned. A great game by Nigel! 1-0. [Click to replay]

Results and standings

 Nigel Short ENG
 Zahar Efimenko UKR

Remaining schedule of the Short-Efimenko match

Saturday 26 September 16.30h Game six: Efimenko-Short


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