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Monday, November 2, 2015
12th Engine Master tournament show amazing confrontation between Gilgamesh vs DracoDaatson playing the "Semi-Slav Opening"
The Lull Before the Storm
By GM Christopher Lutz
The Semi-Slaw opening 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 is a ubiquitous guest in the Engine Masters. White has several direct approaches to fight against this setup, but it is also possible to play in less forcing ways. Gilgamesh demonstrated such a setup in his encounter with DracoDaatson from round 9. He developed his bishops to b2 and d3 and his knights to f3 and d2. Black apparently underestimated White's opening treatment and played some inaccurate moves. Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, Black had to face a white rook on the fourth rank and a strong attack. Eventually White managed to sacrifice a piece on Black's kingside and Black resigned (somewhat prematurely) on move 31.
Gilgamesch2553–DracoDaatson24971–0D1112th Engine Masters, 12m+1s, 30th Augus930.08.2015GM Christopher Lutz
1.d4d52.c4c63.Nf3Nf64.e3e65.b3!?White goes for a line that at first sight is less aggressive than the usual 5.Nc3. But as we will see soon, it is not without poison. White intends Bb2, Nbd2, Bd3.5.Nc3Nbd76.Bd3dxc47.Bxc4b5leads to the well-known positions of the Meran Variation.5...Nbd7Black goes for solid development. Usually this is a good idea, but maybe he should interfere with White's plan rather qickly.Since White's setup is a little bit slow, it makes sense for Black to strike immediately in the center, e.g.5...c5!?6.cxd5Nxd57.Bb2cxd48.Nxd4Bb4+and Black is OK.or8...Be76.Bb2Bd67.Bd30-08.Nbd2b69.0-0Bb7The position is very symmetrical, but White has two small advantages: Firstly, it's his move. Secondly, his c-pawn is placed on c4, not blocking the b2-bishop. On contrast, the b7-bishop is blocked behind the c6-pawn. As we will see, Black's bishop remains inactive until the end of the game.10.Re1Preparing e3-e4.Qc7?!This move is somewhat abstract. It doesn't help Black's development and the queen is in fact a bit further away from the kingside.10...c5!?looks preferable. White has now two extra moves (he has played Re1 and it's his side to move), but maybe things aren't that grave.11.e4dxe412.Nxe4Nxe413.Bxe4Bxe414.Rxe4Nf614...Be715.Qd215.Rh4!?and even though White is still better, the exchange of bishops has helped Black.11.e4dxe412.Nxe4Nxe4?!Black invite's White's rook to the party - probably not the best idea.12...Be7!?looks relatively best.13.Rxe4!This way of recapturing is much more precise than the 'stereotyped' 13.Bxe4. White's rook enters the scene and is ready to take aim at Black's kingside.Be7Controlling the h4-square, but White's rook also has another square available.13...Nf614.Rh4±with a strong attack. As soon as the diagonal a1-h8 goes up, the f6-knight and the h7-pawn are under fire.14.Rg4White makes no secret of his aggressive intentions.g6Weakening the diagonal a1-h8, but what else?14...f5!?can be considered, as it radically stops White's attack. But the backward e6-pawn is a problem then.15.Rg315.Ng5has no effect afterRf615...fxg4?16.Bxh7+Kh817.Nxe6Qd618.Qxg4+-followed by Qh5 is winning for White.16.Rg3Bd615...Bd615...Rae816.Qe216.Rh3Rae817.Qe2with an advantage for White. He can operate with ideas like Ng5 and/or c4-c5.14...Nf615.Rh415.Ng5Nf615...Bf6might run into a sacrifice:16.Nxh7!?16.Qc2!?±retains all advantages of White's position. Nxh7 and Bxg6+ is threatened.16...Kxh717.Rxg6fxg618.Qh5+Kg819.Qxg6+Bg720.Qh7+Kf721.d5with a possible line:e521...Rg822.dxe6+Kxe623.Re1+Ne524.f4+-21...Nf622.Bg6+Ke723.Qxg7++-21...Ne522.Bg6+Kf623.f4+-22.Bg6+Kf623.Bh5Qd624.dxc6Qxc625.Qg6+Ke726.Qxg7+Kd827.Rd1Qxg2+28.Qxg2Bxg229.Kxg2Rg8+30.Kf1with an advantage for White in the endgame, but obviously things are far from clear.16.Rh4Nd5Black is going for twisted manoeuvres, but in fact he is already under a heavy attack.16...Rad8is a standard move, but then White can bring even the a1-rook into the attack:17.Qd217.Qf3?Ne4allows Black to relieve the pressure.17.Qe2!?might be an option17...Rfe818.Re1Bf819.Re3Bc8!?and Black has a rather passive position, but it's not easy for White to break through.19...Bg720.Reh3h521.Rg3with a sacrifice on f7 next. 16...Rfe8?doesn't help in view of17.Qf316...Ne4?17.Nxe6fxe618.Rxe4+-17.Bc1White keeps the character of the position. He also had another rather promising choice.17.cxd5!?Bxg518.Rg4Bf419.g3Bh620.dxe6fxe621.Qe2±with a nice advantage for White. He can attack the e6-pawn and start an attack against the kingside with h2-h4-h5.17...Nf6Black has deflected White's dark-squared bishop from the diagonal a1-h8, but this bishop can also be employed in other ways.18.Bf4Bd619.Bxd6Qxd620.Qd2After the exchange of bishops the dark squares around Black's king are weak. So White emplaces the queen and doesn't allow Black to play the freeing ...c6-c5.h5Obviously Black doesn't like to weaken his kingside, but this move is a must.20...c5?21.Nxh7Nxh722.Qh6+-21.Re1Rad821...c5again has drawbacks:22.Bxg6!22.Rf4!?is not so convincing:Rad8!?22...Qe723.Bxg6fxg624.Rxe6Qg725.Qe1leads to a positon from the line starting with 22.Bxg6.23.Rxf623.Bxg6e524.Nxf7Rxf725.Bxf7+Kxf723...Qxd424.Nxf7Qxf625.Nxd8Rxd8and even though White is still better, Black has survived the worst.22...fxg623.Rxe6Qc724.Rf4Qg725.Qe1White is a piece down, but all of his remaining pieces are optimally placed.h4!?25...cxd426.Re7Qxe727.Qxe7Rae828.Qb4+-26.Rfxf626.Re7?Qxe727.Qxe7Rae8and White's queen cannot retreat to b4.26...Rxf627.Re7Qh628.Qe5Raf829.Rxb7Rxf230.h3+-followed by Qe6+ and Rh7+.22.Nf3Making room for the queen.Qe722...c5is still not possible:23.Ne5e.g.cxd423...Qe724.Qg5Rfe825.Rf4Nh726.Qg3+-24.Qg5Qe724...Nh725.Qh6intending Rxh5Nf626.Nxg6+-25.Rxh5+-23.Qg5It becomes obvious that at some point in the near future White will sacrifice a piece on g6 or f7.Rd7Black has to protect his queen to unpin the f6-knight.23...c5?24.Rf4Kg725.Nh4+-followed by Bxg6.24.h3It might look strange to take away the h3-square from the h4-rook, but this rook doesn't intend to move backwards anyway. In fact, h2-h3 has a dual purpose: Firstly, it controls the g4-square, so that Black' knight cannot go there and possibly White can prepare g2-g4. Secondly, it gives White's king a breathing hole if the position should open up.Ne8Trying to relieve Black's position through the exchange of queens. But White's queen just moves further into Black's camp.24...c525.Ne5Rc725...Rxd426.Rxh5Rxd327.Nxd3+-26.dxc5bxc526...Rxc527.Rxh527.Re3and a sacrifice on g6 is coming next, e.g.Ne828.Qxe7Rxe729.Bxg6fxg630.Nxg6Rg731.Nxf8Rxg2+32.Kf1Kxf833.Rxe6Kf734.Re5Nf635.Rxc5+-25.Qh6( Ne8 )Qf626.Ne5( Qf6 )Rc727.Bxg6+-This sacrifice has been in the wind for quite some time. White is winning.fxg628.Nxg6( fxg6 )Qg7The alternative is:28...Qxf2+29.Kh2Now we see the benefits of having played h2-h3!Rf630.Rxe6Rxe631.Qh8+White wins Black's queen now but has to shed some pieces.Kf732.Qf8+Kxg633.Qxf2Rce734.Qg3+Kh635.Qf3Black has rook and two minor pieces in return for a queen and two pawns. But his king is open and the b7-bishop still doesn't participate. So White is technically winning, e.g.Nf636.Rf4Ne437.Rf5Kg738.Qxh5+-and White already has three pawns.29.Qxh5( Qg7 )Rf529...Nf630.Qe5+-30.Qg4Kf731.Rh8Black decided that he had seen enough and resigned. This is a pity, because the game could have been continued for quite some more moves.The following line is more or less forced:31.Rh8Nf632.Qg3Rc833.Rxc8Bxc834.Ne5+Kf835.Nxc6Qxg336.fxg3+-White has four pawns for the piece and is technically winning, but Black can hang on for a while.1–0