S. Rublevsky (2688) - Evgeny Alekseev (2639) [B30]

ch-RUS Superfinal/Moscow RUS (3) 2006


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Qc7

One of the more interesting positions in the theory of the Two Knights Sicilian arises after 4... Nd4 5. e5 Nxb5 6. Nxb5 Nd5 7. Ng5!? (as discussed by Baker and by Motwani). Believe it or not, White has a clear edge and lots of attacking potential:

7... h6?

(a) 7... f6 8. Qh5+ g6 9. Qf3

(b) 7... Nc7 8. Qh5 g6 9. Qf3 f6 10. exf6

(c) 7... Qb6 8. Qf3 f6 9. Qxd5 fxg5 10. c4

8. Nxf7!! Kxf7 9. Qf3+ Nf6 (certainly not 9... Ke6? 10. c4 Nb6 (10... Nb4 11. a3! Nc2+ 12. Kd1 Nxa1 13. g4) 11. d4! d5 12. dxc5!) 10. exf6 exf6 11. Qd5+

 

5. O-O Nd4

Not 5... e5?! 6. d3 h6 (6... Be7 7. Bg5) 7. Nh4 and White has too much control of the light squares.

 

6. d3!?

Since White often wishes to play a delayed d4 push, this looks at first like a waste of time. But Rublevsky's idea is to be able to retreat the Bishop to b3 when it is chased by Black's pawns.

6. Re1 a6 7. Bc4 b5?! 8. Nd5!

 

6... a6 7. Ba4 b5 8. Bb3 Nxb3 9. axb3

Despite the loss of the light-squared Bishop, White retains lots of control of light squares due to his pawns.

 

9... Bb7 10. Bg5 e6 11. Re1 d6 12. Bxf6!?

Surrendering two Bishops for two Knights, but that is not necessarily a disadvantage here since White has strong control of the center. The resulting positions remind me of some in the Four Knights (which Rublevsky also plays). Black's King, meanwhile, will have trouble finding a safe home.

 

12... gxf6 13. d4! cxd4 14. Nxd4 Qc5

Attacking ideas like Nd5 and Qh5 were in the air. But White has more ideas.

 

15. Qd3 Be7

15... Rg8! 16. Nd5?! (16. b4?! Qxb4 17. Nd5 exd5 18. exd5+ Kd7 19. Qf5+ Kc7) 16... exd5 (16... Bxd5 17. exd5 Qxd5 18. g3 Be7 19. Qxh7 Rf8 20. Rad1) 17. exd5+ Kd8 18. c4

 

 

16. b4! Qg5

a) 16... Qxb4 17. Nd5! (17. Nb3!? Rc8 18. Qg3) 17... exd5 18. exd5 Bxd5 19. Qe3 Be6 20. Nxe6 fxe6 21. Qxe6 d5 22. Qxf6

b) 16... Qc4 17. Qe3!? Qxb4?? 18. Nd5!

 

17. Re3! Kf8 18. Rg3

Shades of Fritz-Kramnik, Game 6?

 

18... Qh6 19. Nb3

Na5 is one idea.

 

19... Rd8 20. Qd4

Having begun by securing the light squares, White invades on the dark.

 

20... d5

Black is hard-pressed for counterplay. No better is 20... Rg8 21. Rxg8+ Kxg8 22. Qa7 Rd7 23. Na5 Bc8 24. Qb8 Qf8 25. Nc6 Bb7 26. Nxe7+ Rxe7 27. Qxd6

 

21. Qa7! Ba8 22. Qxa6 Rg8

22... dxe4?? 23. Qxa8 Rxa8 24. Rxa8+ Bd8 25. Rxd8+ Ke7 26. Rxh8

 

23. exd5 Bxd5 24. Nxd5 Rxg3?

A sloppy move. Black is still fighting after

24... Rxd5 25. Qc8+ Rd8 26. Rxg8+ Kxg8 27. Qc7

 

25. Nxe7!

Gaining two pieces for a Rook, which is decisive.

 

25... Rg5 26. Qb7 Qh3 27. Nc5 Kg7 28. g3 Rh5 29. Qg2 Qg4 30. Nd3 Qc4 31. Qf3

White threatens the Rook at h5 and attack by Ra8. Black is lost.

 

1-0

Game in PGN