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.

Gilgamesch2553DracoDaatson24971–0D1112th Engine Masters, 12m+1s, 30th Augus930.08.2015GM Christopher Lutz

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.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.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 leads to the well-known positions of the Meran Variation. 5...Nbd7 Black 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.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Bb2 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bb4+ and Black is OK.or 8...Be7 6.Bb2 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Nbd2 b6 9.0-0 Bb7 The 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.Re1 Preparing 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.e4 dxe4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Bxe4 Bxe4 14.Rxe4Nf614...Be7 15.Qd2 15.Rh4!? and even though White is still better, the exchange of bishops has helped Black. 11.e4 dxe4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4?! 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. Be7 Controlling the h4-square, but White's rook also has another square available.13...Nf6 14.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.Rg4 White makes no secret of his aggressive intentions. g6 Weakening 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.Ng5 has no effect after Rf615...fxg4? 16.Bxh7+ Kh8 17.Nxe6 Qd6 18.Qxg4+- followed by Qh5 is winning for White. 16.Rg3 Bd6 15...Bd615...Rae8 16.Qe2 16.Rh3 Rae8 17.Qe2 with an advantage for White. He can operate with ideas like Ng5 and/or c4-c5. 14...Nf6 15.Rh4 15.Ng5 Nf615...Bf6 might run into a sacrifice: 16.Nxh7!?16.Qc2!?± retains all advantages of White's position. Nxh7 and Bxg6+ is threatened. 16...Kxh7 17.Rxg6 fxg6 18.Qh5+ Kg8 19.Qxg6+ Bg7 20.Qh7+ Kf7 21.d5 with a possible line:e521...Rg8 22.dxe6+ Kxe6 23.Re1+ Ne5 24.f4+- 21...Nf6 22.Bg6+ Ke7 23.Qxg7++- 21...Ne5 22.Bg6+ Kf6 23.f4+- 22.Bg6+ Kf6 23.Bh5 Qd6 24.dxc6 Qxc6 25.Qg6+ Ke7 26.Qxg7+ Kd8 27.Rd1 Qxg2+ 28.Qxg2Bxg2 29.Kxg2 Rg8+ 30.Kf1 with an advantage for White in the endgame, but obviously things are far from clear. 16.Rh4 Nd5 Black is going for twisted manoeuvres, but in fact he is already under a heavy attack.16...Rad8 is a standard move, but then White can bring even the a1-rook into the attack: 17.Qd217.Qf3? Ne4 allows Black to relieve the pressure. 17.Qe2!? might be an option 17...Rfe8 18.Re1 Bf8 19.Re3 Bc8!? and Black has a rather passive position, but it's not easy for White to break through.19...Bg7 20.Reh3 h5 21.Rg3 with a sacrifice on f7 next. 16...Rfe8? doesn't help in view of 17.Qf3 16...Ne4? 17.Nxe6 fxe6 18.Rxe4+- 17.Bc1 White keeps the character of the position. He also had another rather promising choice.17.cxd5!? Bxg5 18.Rg4 Bf4 19.g3 Bh6 20.dxe6 fxe6 21.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...Nf6 Black has deflected White's dark-squared bishop from the diagonal a1-h8, but this bishop can also be employed in other ways. 18.Bf4 Bd6 19.Bxd6 Qxd6 20.Qd2 After 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. h5 Obviously Black doesn't like to weaken his kingside, but this move is a must.20...c5? 21.Nxh7 Nxh7 22.Qh6+- 21.Re1 Rad821...c5 again has drawbacks: 22.Bxg6!22.Rf4!? is not so convincing: Rad8!?22...Qe7 23.Bxg6 fxg6 24.Rxe6 Qg7 25.Qe1 leads to a positon from the line starting with 22.Bxg6. 23.Rxf623.Bxg6 e5 24.Nxf7 Rxf7 25.Bxf7+ Kxf7 23...Qxd4 24.Nxf7 Qxf6 25.Nxd8 Rxd8 and even though White is still better, Black has survived the worst. 22...fxg6 23.Rxe6 Qc7 24.Rf4 Qg7 25.Qe1 White is a piece down, but all of his remaining pieces are optimally placed. h4!?25...cxd4 26.Re7 Qxe7 27.Qxe7 Rae8 28.Qb4+- 26.Rfxf626.Re7? Qxe7 27.Qxe7 Rae8 and White's queen cannot retreat to b4. 26...Rxf6 27.Re7 Qh6 28.Qe5 Raf8 29.Rxb7 Rxf2 30.h3+- followed by Qe6+ and Rh7+. 22.Nf3 Making room for the queen. Qe722...c5 is still not possible: 23.Ne5 e.g. cxd423...Qe7 24.Qg5 Rfe8 25.Rf4 Nh7 26.Qg3+- 24.Qg5 Qe724...Nh7 25.Qh6 intending Rxh5 Nf6 26.Nxg6+- 25.Rxh5+- 23.Qg5 It becomes obvious that at some point in the near future White will sacrifice a piece on g6 or f7.Rd7 Black has to protect his queen to unpin the f6-knight.23...c5? 24.Rf4 Kg7 25.Nh4+- followed by Bxg6. 24.h3 It 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. Ne8 Trying to relieve Black's position through the exchange of queens. But White's queen just moves further into Black's camp.24...c5 25.Ne5 Rc725...Rxd4 26.Rxh5 Rxd3 27.Nxd3+- 26.dxc5 bxc526...Rxc5 27.Rxh5 27.Re3 and a sacrifice on g6 is coming next, e.g. Ne8 28.Qxe7 Rxe7 29.Bxg6 fxg6 30.Nxg6 Rg731.Nxf8 Rxg2+ 32.Kf1 Kxf8 33.Rxe6 Kf7 34.Re5 Nf6 35.Rxc5+- 25.Qh6 ( Ne8 ) Qf6 26.Ne5 ( Qf6 ) Rc7 27.Bxg6+- This sacrifice has been in the wind for quite some time. White is winning. fxg6 28.Nxg6 ( fxg6 ) Qg7The alternative is: 28...Qxf2+ 29.Kh2 Now we see the benefits of having played h2-h3! Rf630.Rxe6 Rxe6 31.Qh8+ White wins Black's queen now but has to shed some pieces. Kf7 32.Qf8+Kxg6 33.Qxf2 Rce7 34.Qg3+ Kh6 35.Qf3 Black 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. Nf6 36.Rf4 Ne4 37.Rf5 Kg7 38.Qxh5+- and White already has three pawns. 29.Qxh5 ( Qg7 ) Rf529...Nf6 30.Qe5+- 30.Qg4 Kf7 31.Rh8 Black 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.Rh8 Nf6 32.Qg3 Rc8 33.Rxc8 Bxc8 34.Ne5+ Kf835.Nxc6 Qxg3 36.fxg3+- White has four pawns for the piece and is technically winning, but Black can hang on for a while. 1–0
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