Janus Christensen (2139) vs Chris Bak (1969)
Reykjavik Open | ? | 14 Mar 2016 | Round 8
[Event "Reykjavik Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.14"] [Round "8"] [White "Janus Christensen"] [Black "Chris Bak"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2139"] [BlackElo "1969"] [ECO "D07"] [Opening "QGD: Chigorin, 3.cxd5"] 1.d4 {I had prepared for e4, which my opponent had opened his white games with so far, but he decided to play d4 against me. I guess he wanted to take on the Chigorin!} d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Nf6 {This is fairly typical Chigorin position. Black has given up the bishop pair but enjoys a large lead in development. White's structure is solid and he has long-term trumps such as the bishop pair and pawn centre/space advantage. White has many ways to proceed. My opponent chooses the most natural.} 8.c4 Qd6 9.d5 Ne7 {White's most critical try is to play on the b-file. Targeting the b-pawn aims to hinder black's development and Bb4 is an idea black must be wary of. Without knowing these things, black could get into trouble very quickly. Black has several good ways to counter these ideas.} 10.Qa4+ (10.Qb1 {is a subtle move. The point is to prepare Bb4 while preventing the defensive resource Ne4-c5.} O-O 11.Bb4 c5 12.dxc6 Qc7 {is one possible continuation. The position is very double-edged. White can win a pawn but he is seriously behind in development.}) 10...Bd7 11.Qb3 {With the bishop on d7, not only is white directly threatening Qxb7, but the Qc7 resource in the previous variation is no longer available. I was out of book after Qa4+, but a good understanding of the opening ideas helped me find decent moves quickly.} a5 {Ne4-c5 is also possible to meet Bb4, but I thought this move was more appropriate because it also plays against Qxb7.} 12.Nf3 (12.Qxb7? O-O { Black completes his development with gain of time. Rfb8 is a big threat.} 13.Rb1 {White insists on keeping the queen on b7, but black can insist on his own idea with} c6 {renewing the threat of Rfb8 and collapsing white's centre.}) 12...O-O 13.Bc3 Ng6 14.Be2 Ne4 15.O-O {White doesn't mind giving up his bishop pair, but I'm not sure I want to take it! The c3-bishop is a good piece, but the knight has a lot of potential.} b6 {In the only database game in this position, a much stronger player than me played the position more aggressively. } (15...f5 16.h3 b6 17.Rac1 Rae8 18.Rfd1 f4 19.Qc2 Bf5 20.Bd3 Nxc3 21.Bxf5 Nxd1 22.Rxd1 fxe3 23.fxe3 e4 24.Be6+ Kh8 25.Qxe4 Qa3 26.h4 Rf6 27.h5 Nf8 28.Ng5 h6 {0-1 Tosic,M (2439)-Miladinovic,I (2563)/Bar 2010/CBM 135 Extra}) 16.Nd2 {Now I have to decide whether to exchange or retreat the knight. I thought about this decision in terms of black's plan, but what is black's plan? A kingside attack looks logical to me, starting with f5 and shifting the major pieces to the kingside with rook lifts. f5-f4 is always an idea. With respect to this plan, I thought keeping the knight would be more useful, but looking back on the decision now, I'm not sure why I thought that. I suppose I anticipated the position is likely to remain closed for a while, which is in favour of the two knights.} Nc5 17.Qc2 f5 {I thought it was smooth sailing for black now. White doesn't appear to have any active plans, while black will slowly build up on the kingside. My opponent thought for a while and came up with an interesting response.} 18.Bh5 {White intends to exchange his bad bishop for a knight that would be useful in black's plan.} Be8 {In hindsight it's better to avoid the trade, although I didn't anticipate white's plan.} (18...Nh4 19.Nf3 Nxf3+ 20.Bxf3 {I didn't like this at all during the game, but looking at the position now I'm not sure why. White will miss his knight in the closed structure, and black can slowly prepare e4/f4 by lifting his rooks, or perhaps even the immediate} e4 21.Be2 f4 {is good.}) 19.Bxg6 Bxg6 20.f4 e4 21.Nb3 Nd3 {A hard move to resist, but inaccurate. The knight looks nice on d3 but it doesn't achieve much there. Better would have been Nb7, heading for d6 which would at least force white to babysit the c4-pawn.} 22.Rad1 {Played quickly. White is not shy about his intention to sacrifice material.} c6 {If white is going to give up the exchange, it makes sense for black to open files for his rooks.} 23.Rxd3? {Objectively a bad move, but practically I thought this was a good decision.} exd3 $17 24.Qxd3 cxd5 { Perhaps this was a bit rash, but I did not see my opponent's response, which is the main justification for the exchange sacrifice. Not being aware of or respecting my opponent's plans is a common theme in this game! However, black can't prevent white's idea of the Be5/Pd6 configuration without giving up the exchange, so maybe this isn't so bad.} (24...Rad8 25.Be5 Qd7 26.d6 {How does this compare to the game? Black controls d5, and the weak c4-pawn is on the board, so an improvement for black.}) 25.Be5 Qd7 26.cxd5 Bf7 27.Rd1 Rfd8 28.d6 $11 {White advances the passed pawn} Bxb3 {This loses a pawn, but I considered it the lesser evil. If white managed to play Nd4, his minor pieces would dominate the battleground.} 29.Qxb3+ {White's exchange sacrifice worked perfectly. I have made a series of inaccuracies and white stands much better.} Qf7 30.Qxb6 {I should have worked out whether Qxa2 was safe before playing Qf7, instead I worked it out now and deemed that it was losing by force..} Qa7 (30...Qxa2 31.d7 {Bc7 is a decisive threat, and black can't prevent it forever.} Qa4 32.Qe6+ Kh8 33.Rc1 {with plenty of winning threats.}) (30...a4!? 31.Qb1 Rdb8 $16) 31.Qb3+ Kh8 {Let's take stock. White is down an exchange but has tremendous compensation: the bishop and pawn are worth at least a rook. White's position is not free of weaknesses but his control is so strong that I can't see how black could generate any meaningful counterplay. He has to keep an eye on the 7th rank and the d7 square at all times, and white's pieces control everything. White is much better.} 32.Rc1 (32.Rf1 {I thought placing the rook on g3 would have caused more problems, perhaps straining my defenses beyond the breaking point. White was worried about counterplay, but can black actually achieve anything?} Rab8 33.Qd3 {Identifying f5 as the target.} Rb4 { Black should instead wait passively with a move such as 33..Qd7, but he is much worse in any case.} 34.Qxf5 {is one of many strong moves.} Qxe3+ 35.Kh1 $18 {White needs a tempo to deal with his back rank before proceeding with his plan, but black cannot create any real threats in the meantime. White is winning.}) 32...a4 {The queen is perfectly-placed on b3, so I threw this in to try and create something.} 33.Qc3 Qd7 34.Qd4 Rdc8 {The choice of rook is important.} (34...Rac8 35.Rc7 Rxc7 36.dxc7 Qxd4 37.exd4 Rc8 {is a tempo down on the game.}) 35.Rc7 {It's either this or give up the c-file. Nevertheless, if white had any advantage left, this loses it.} (35.Rxc8+!? Rxc8 36.h3 $16 {is the way to go according to Stockfish.}) 35...Rxc7 $11 36.dxc7 Qxd4 37.exd4 {I was very confident, albeit not certain, about my drawing chances in the endgame. Black brings the king to d7 and how does white make progress? I don't think he can, and it is even black who can start thinking about winning if he can activate the rook..} Kg8 38.d5 Kf7 39.Kf2 { Bxg7 is possible, but my opponent sensibly decided that it was more important to activate his king then waste time grabbing a largely irrelevant pawn. In addition, white may regret opening the g-file.} Ke7 40.Ke3 g6 {I hadn't come to the same conclusion as the previous note, and greedily kept the pawn. The tempo may be the difference between a win for black and a draw.} (40...Kd7 41.Kd4 Ra7 {and the rook gets to b7, cutting the king off.}) 41.Kd4 Kd7 42.Kc5 Ra5+ 43.Kc4 Ra7 44.Kb5 (44.a3 {is too slow as black gets the b-file.}) 44...a3 {Making space for the rook. White must play precisely to hold the draw.} 45.d6 (45.Kb6 {I thought this was an easy draw at the time.} Ra4 {Forced, otherwise Kb7 wins.} 46.Bd6! {The only move to draw.} (46.Kb5?? {I thought this forced Ra7, but I had missed} Re4 47.Kb6 Re1 48.Kb7 Rb1+ 49.Ka6 Rb2 {transposing to the game.}) 46...Rd4 47.Bxa3 Rxd5 $11 {Objectively this is a draw, but white had to find one only move to get here, and very precise play is still required to hold the balance.}) 45...Rb7+ $15 46.Ka6?? { Making black's life much easier.} (46.Ka4 Rb2 47.Kxa3 Rxg2 48.Kb3 Rxh2 (48...g5! 49.fxg5 Re2! 50.Bg3 Re4! { is the only way to win according to the engine.}) 49.a4 {Stockfish's evaluation is the dreaded 0. 00, but anything could happen in a human game.}) 46...Rb2 47.Bd4 Rxa2 48.Bc5 {Black is winning, but white is putting up stubborn resistance. Fortunately I am up to the task of conversion. The rest of the game is a powerful demonstration of why a rook is worth more than a bishop!} Ra1 49.Kb7 Rb1+ 50.Bb6 Rc1 51.Bd4 a2 52.Bb2 Rc4 {Threatening Rb4+.} 53.Be5 Rb4+ 54.Ka6 Rb1 55.Ka5 a1=Q+ 56.Bxa1 Rxa1+ 57.Kb6 Rc1 {Not allowing the king to approach the centre. If 58. Kb7 then black plays 58..Rb1+ followed by Rb2 to gobble a kingside pawn before heading back to control white's passed pawns. Then the black pawns can force a promotion by themselves.} {#R} 0-1
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