venerdì 6 luglio 2018

Six Characters in Search of an Author

Georg Meier – Ian Aleksandrovich Nepomniachtchi
4th Gideon Japhet Cup; Jerusalem, July 6, 2018
Queen’s Pawn Opening D02

Ian Aleksandrovich Nepomniachtchi has deservedly won the 4th Gideon Japhet Cup, showing “class and cool” in his crucial ninth round game with Georg Meier. 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 c6 5. 0-0 Nf6 6. c3 0-0 7. Re1 Nbd7 8. Bf4 Nh5 9. Be3 Re8 10. Nbd2 e5(!). Why not? 10. ... Nhf6 may transpose into 11. Qb3 Ng4 12. Bf4 e5 that is also quite satisfactory for Black, U. Andersson - Unzicker, 47th Hastings International Chess Congress, Hastings 1971/1972. 11. dxe5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Bxe5 13. Qb3 Qc7 14. c4 d4 15. Bh6 Bh8 16. c5 Be6 17. Qa3 Qd7. 17. ... Ng7 (in order to reply 18. Ne4 with 18. ... Nf5) was also worth considering. 18. Ne4 Bd5 19. Nd6 Bxg2 20. Kxg2 Re5 21. e4 dxe3 22. Rxe3 Rxe3 23. Qxe3. Meier is desperately trying to get something out from under Nepomniachtchi’s seat. Here, however, recapturing with the Bishop looked a little more natural. 23. ... Nf6 (23. ... Bxb2?? 24. Rb1+−) 24. Qf3 Nd5 25. Rd1 b6(!)


26. Rxd5!? Meier tries to force things by an Exchange sacrifice “on call”, but, however correct it is, it is not enough to win. 26. ... cxd5 27. Qxd5 Rd8 28. b4? It must be a sign of demoralisation. White ought to have contented himself with 28. Bg5(!) Rc8 29. f3!? (threatening Nd6xc8) 29. ... Rxc5 (or 29. ... Rc6 30. Be7!=) 30. Qa8+ Kg7 31. Ne8+ Kf8 32. Nd6+ Kg7 33. Ne8+ drawing by perpetual check. 28. ... bxc5 29. bxc5 Qe6(!) 30. Qxe6. By now White had no longer any good move, but the exchange of Queens is tantamount to surrender as the ending is easily winning for Black. 30. ... fxe6 31. Bf4 Bd4 32. Nb7 Rc8 33. Bd6 Kf7 34. f4 Ke8 35. Kf3 Kd7 36. Ke4 Bg1 37. h3 Rc6 38. Ke5 Ra6 39. Bf8 (39. a3 Kc8−+) 39. ... Rxa2 40. Kf6 Rb2 41. c6+ Kxc6 42. Nd8+ Kd7 0 : 1.

Ian Aleksandrovich Nepomniachtchi (left) and Georg Meier (right) playing their last round game. Photo: Vladimir Barsky.

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