domenica 25 novembre 2018


Arnd Lauber – 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán)
38th SchachBundesliga; Baden-Baden, November 25, 2018
Nimzo-Indian Defence E53

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 0-0 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. dxc5 Nbd7 9. 0-0 Nxc5 10. Be2 Nce4 11. Nxe4 dxe4 12. Nd4!? White introduces his planned improvement over 12. Qxd8 Rxd8 13. Nd4 Bg4 which likewise led to a very comfortable game for Black, Shengelia – Ponomariov, 21st European Team Chess Championship, Hersonissos 2017. Indeed, with the Queens on the board Black’s Kingside prospects can more easily develop into a powerful attack. 12. ... Qe7 13. Bd2 Bd6 14. Bc3 Rd8 15. Qb3 Bg4 16. Bxg4 Nxg4 17. h3 Ne5! 18. Nf5 Qg5 19. Nxd6 Nf3+! 20. Kh1 Rxd6 21. Qxb7 Re8 22. Rad1? After this natural move White is already in serious trouble. 22. Qxa7(!) was his probably only good chance, though after 22. ... Rg6 23. Rg1! (on 23. g3?? Qg4!! most elegantly forces mate) 23. ... Qf5!∞ very unclear complications arise, with an apparent easier way for Black. 22. ... Rg6 23. g3

23. ... Rh6? Now 23. ... Qg4?? would be simply met by 24. Qd7 turning the tables. However, the text is careless enough to give sense to White’s 22. Rad1, thus nullifying any justification for Black’s Pawn sacrifice. The right way to proceed was 23. ... Qh5! 24. Qd7 Rf8∓→ maintaining a powerful attack. 24. Qd7! Rf8 25. Rd6. The game now precipitated into a difficult situation for Black. Both are however extremely low on time, so sudden reversal are to be expected. 25. ... Rxd6 26. Qxd6 Rd8 27. Qf4 Qd5 28. Qg4 Ng5. Stockfish stunningly gives 28. ... g5 29. Kg2 f5 as Black’s best defence, but what human being wouldn’t feel afraid after 30. Qh5? 29. a3 Ne6 30. h4 f5 31. Qh5 a6 32. Kg1 Nc5 33. Qg5 Ne6 34. Qh5 h6. Black makes a further concession to White’s Queen in the hope to challenge the status quo and not follow her written path. On the other hand, something less committal would not have necessarily made the outcome better; for instance: 34. ... Nc5 35. Qg5 Rd7 36. b4 Nd3 37. h5 Qc6 38. Bd4 with great advantage to White. 35. Rc1. Here the interpolation of 35. Qg6 Rf8 36. Rc1 might well have been stronger. 35. ... Kh7 36. Qe2? This is White’s most serious error so far. Simply 36. b4 would have prevented Black’s reply, while maintaining both the extra Pawn and the advantage of position. 36. ... Nc5 37. Bd4 Nb3 38. Rc4 Qb5! If anything, this is a little trickier than the immediate 38. ... Nd2 (39. Rc7 Nf3+∞). 39. Qc2? After 39. a4! Nxd4 40. exd4 Qb3 Black regains her Pawn with interest, but probably there is not that much to hope for a win. 39. ... Nd2 40. Rc7?? White’s 40th move is a losing blunder in an almost lost position. 40. Qxd2 Qxc4 41. Qa5 Rd5∓ was the only way to continue struggling with an Exchange down. 40. ... Qf1+ 0 : 1. For checkmate follows after 41. Kh2 Nf3 mate.

侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán). Photo © Thilo Gubler.

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