Mukachevo: Nigel Short wins 3.5-2.5

9/27/2009 – "Nigel has a 3:2 lead, so it is quite simple for Zahar," wrote GM Klaus Bischoff. "He has to win the last game, a draw is of no use. This must-win situation is unpleasant, but every chess player has been in there." And who amongst us has not failed. The game ended in a draw and Nigel Short had won the match 3.5-2.5, pretty much in keeping with the rating difference. Final 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, continued 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 took place in the West-Ukrainian town of Mukachevo. It was 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 was seconded by GM Alexander Beliavsky, Short played without a second.

Game six

Commentary by GM Klaus Bischoff

Efimenko,Zahar (2654) - Short,Nigel (2706) [C56]
Match Mukachevo (6), 26.09.2009 [Klaus Bischoff]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4. Zahar was not too successful with the Ruy, so he goes for a new opening. But the real surprise is his next move. 3...exd4 4.Bc4

The last time I saw this position was probably when I played a junior tournament. 4...Nf6 5.e5 Ng4. For the second time in the match I try to find very old books to give you a little more information. And I found a very nice book written by Keres in 1973. Those were the days, the book has 350 pages and I could learn six or seven different openings when I was 12 years old. Nigel's 5.Ng4 got half a page, and Keres knew already in 1973 that "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg". 6.0-0 d6 7.exd6 Qxd6. Keres recommended Bxd6. So do my engines. 8.Na3

White gets this Na3 for free, because Black has to play a6 to stop Nb5. 8...a6 9.h3 Nh6! The first move which is not given by Keres. But modern players do not mind putting their knights on the rim. It is important to have f7 well protected. 10.Re1+ Be7 11.Bg5 Nf5

12.Bb3!? Here Zahar spent oceans of time to make g4 work. But after 12.g4 h6 13.Bd2 Black has 13...Ne3! 14.fxe3 (14.Bxe3 dxe3 15.Rxe3 0-0 does not give much.) 14...h5 is recommended by my engines. (14...Qg3+ is good enough too.) ; The quiet 12.Bd3 may be the best chance. After 12...0-0 13.Bxf5 Bxf5 14.Bxe7 Nxe7 15.Qxd4 White has his pawn back. 15...Nc6 16.Qxd6 cxd6 17.Rad1 with a lasting advantage is unpleasant for Black. 12...0-0 13.Nc4 Qd8 14.Bxe7 Nfxe7 15.Nce5 h6 16.Qd3 Nxe5 17.Rxe5 Nc6 18.Rh5

good old coffehouse chess. 18...Qf6 19.g4. 19.Ng5? could have worked in a coffehouse 150 years ago but not in Mukachevo today. After 19...Bf5 20.Nxf7 Bxd3 21.Nxh6+ Kh7! (of course not 21...Kh8?? 22.Nf7+ Kg8 23.Rh8#) 22.Ng4+ Kg6 Black is winning. 19...Be6 20.g5

20...Qg6. 20...Qf5 was also playable. After 21.Qxf5 Bxf5 22.gxh6 g6 23.Rh4 Rad8 the position is equal according to my engines. But I understand perfectly well that Nigel did not go for this. This "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" h-pawn is still dangerous. 21.Qxg6 fxg6 22.Bxe6+ Kh7 23.Rh4 Rxf3 24.Bd5 Rf5 25.Bxc6 bxc6. Black has a shattered pawn structure but his rooks are very active. He is not in danger. 26.gxh6 Re8 27.hxg7+ Kxg7 28.Rxd4 Re2 29.Rd7+ Kh6 30.Rf1 Rxc2 31.b3 Rxa2 32.Rxc7 Rf3 Draw agreed. So Nigel won the match 3.5:2.5. Congratulations! 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Postmortem analysis after the match, with Zahar Efemenko, left, and Nigel Short

On the right is the main organiser and sponsor, UEP President Josef Resch

The organiser, the arbiter and spectators on the stage follow the analysis

The happy winner in Mukachevo: Nigel Short

Final results and standings

 Nigel Short ENG
 Zahar Efimenko UKR


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