(1) Moldovan,John (1801) - Minkov,Ari (1959) [E24]
Garden State Chess League 2010-11 Kenilworth, NJ (9), 02.06.2011
[Moldovan & Houdini 1.5a]

board 2 G/75+5 (delay) E24 Nimzo-Indian Defense Saemisch Variation

1.d4
Something I haven't used against Ari before. [Most of our previous games, including all the important ones, opened 1.Nf3 ; or 1.c4 ]

1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 b6
[For 5...d6 see my January win over Shiffman (2011 Kenilworth Ch.).]

6.f3 Bb7
Diagram

This, as we'll see, is fine... [... But 6...Nc6 7.e4 Ba6 (or 6...Ba6 then ...Nc6) seems more principled. For example: 8.Bg5 (8.Nh3 Na5 9.Qa4 0-0 10.Bg5?! d6 11.e5 Qd7 12.Qc2 Ne8 13.Qe4 J. Timman- Seirawan : Tilburg 1983 13...d5=/+ ) 8...h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bf2 Qe7 11.h4 0-0-0 12.d5 Na5?! 13.c5 Bxf1 14.d6 cxd6 15.cxd6 Qf8 16.Kxf1 Ne8 17.e5 f6 Carlsen - Leko : Monte Carlo 2007 (blindfold) 18.c4!+/= ]

7.Bg5
[7.e4 d6 (not 7...Nxe4? 8.fxe4 Qh4+ 9.Ke2 Qxe4+ (or 9...Bxe4 10.Nf3+/- ) 10.Kf2+/- ) 8.Bd3 c5 9.Ne2 Nc6 Abdalla - Brandao : Curitiba 2010 10.Be3 0-0 11.0-0 Na5 12.Ng3 Ba6 13.Qe2 is more thematic.]

7...h6 8.Bh4 d6 9.e4
[9.e3 was more flexible and the Bf1's preference.]

9...Nbd7 10.Bd3 e5 11.Ne2 Nf8
Diagram



12.Qa4+N
[This varies from the 12.0-0 Ng6 13.Bf2 0-0 14.Qd2 Qd7 15.Rfb1 Rad8 16.a4 a5 17.Qb2 Qe7 18.Qb5 Bc8= of Balchikliev - Malchev : Sofia 1943 but leads to a too-closed position.; I should have gone with 12.Qd2 Nxe4! 13.Bxd8 Nxd2 14.Bxc7 Nxf3+ 15.gxf3 Kd7 16.Bxd6 Kxd6 17.Kf2= , which was looked at for several minutes,; or 12.Qc1 Ng6 13.Bf2 Nh5= In the chosen ending White has no viable break.]

12...Qd7 13.Qxd7+ N6xd7 14.0-0 Ne6
[14...Nb8 /\ ...Nc6-a5 was an option.]

15.Rfd1 f6 16.a4 a5 17.Bf2 Kf7 18.Be3 Rhd8 19.Rd2 h5 20.Rf1 g5 21.Ng3
[21.g3 h4 22.Kg2 Rh8 23.Rdd1 would likely have transposed.]

21...h4 22.Ne2?!
This is too passive. [>=22.Nf5 /\Nf4 23.Bc2 ]

22...Ba6
Diagram



23.g3
[>=23.Rb1 , keeping an eye on the ...b5 break. The R trades are to my opponent's benefit because his minor pieces are superior.]

23...hxg3 24.hxg3 Rh8 25.Kg2 Rh6 26.Rdd1 Rah8 27.Rh1 Rxh1 28.Rxh1 Rxh1 29.Kxh1 c6 30.Nc1
White offers a draw... ... But, having a passed a-pawn, Black declines.

30...Nc7 31.Kg2 b5 32.cxb5 cxb5 33.axb5 Bxb5
Diagram



34.Bxb5
[>=34.c4= ]

34...Nxb5 35.Na2 Nb6 36.dxe5?
[>=36.Kf2 Na4 37.Bd2 ]

36...Nc4 37.Bc1?
[>=37.Kf2=/+ ]

37...Nxe5?!
[>=37...dxe5-/+ ]

38.f4 Nd3 39.Be3 g4 40.Kf1
Draw offer #2.

40...Ke6?!
[>=40...Nc5=/+ ]

41.Ke2?
[41.c4 Na3 42.Ke2 Nb2 43.c5= was right.]

41...Nb2
Diagram



42.Bc1?
[42.f5+ Ke5 43.Bc1 /\Nc4?? (43...Na4-/+ ) 44.Kd3+- , when Black has to give-up his Knights to stop 45.Bf4 mate!, was a much better try.]

42...Nc4 43.Kd3 d5
I'm in zugzwang.

44.f5+[]
What else?

44...Kd6 45.Bf4+ Kc6 46.exd5+ Kxd5 47.Bb8 Nbd6 48.Bxd6 Nxd6 49.c4+
Diagram



49...Nxc4??
[49...Ke5 50.Nc3 Nxf5 would have won.] Now White splits the point.

50.Nc3+= Kc5 51.Ne4+ Kb4 52.Nxf6 Nd6 53.Nd5+ Kc5 54.Ne3 a4 55.Nxg4 Nxf5 56.Kc3
Diagram

Game drawn by agreement. Time left - Moldovan 3:58, Minkov 29:42 Estimated time used - Moldovan 75:42, Minkov 49:53 Longest think by White - 6 minutes for 12.Qa4+ Longest think by Black - 5 minutes for 30...Nc7 1/2-1/2