Monday, December 12, 2005

Joel Lautier - Robert Markus

This game was played earlier this year at the 15th European Team Championship. GM Alex Finkel annotated the game for "Chess Chronicle" magazine and the owner gave his permission to be posted here.

Joel Lautier (2672)
Robert Markus (2591)
[E15] - 15th ETC Gothenburg SWE
Comments by GM Alex Finkel

This is a very short, but a very eventful game with a lot of interesting variations.
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qb3 Nc6 6.Nbd2 Na5 7.Qc3 d5 [7...c5 8.dxc5 bxc5 9.e4 Bb7 10.e5 Ne4 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.Bg2 Nc6 13.0-0 Rb8 14.Ng5 Bxg2 15.Kxg2 Qc7 16.Re1 Be7= Van Wely,L-Gelfand,B/Monte Carlo 2005 ] 8.c5 [8.b3 c5 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.e3 Be7 11.Bb2 Qb6 12.Bg2 0-0 13.Ne5 Rad8 Martinovic,S-Tosic,M/Pirot 2004 ;8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Qc2 c5 10.a3 Rc8 11.dxc5 Rxc5 12.Qd1 Rc8 13.e4 Bxf1 14.Kxf1 Nf6= Riazantsev,A-Mchedlishvili,M Dubai 2005 ] This move is a novelty, but hardly a good one. 8...c6?! [8...Be7 9.e3?! Bxf1 10.Kxf1 Qd7 11.a4 Nc6 12.Ne5 Nxe5 13.dxe5 d4 14.exd4 Qc6 Van Wely,L-Hracek,Z/Germany 2004] 9.b4 Nc4 [9...Nb7?!] 10.Nxc4 dxc4!?

Of course it's more natural to take on c4 with the bishop, but it also doesn't promise black an easy life. [10...Bxc4 11.Ne5 a5 12.Nxc4 (12.Nxc6? Qc8 13.Ne5 axb4 14.Qxb4 bxc5) 12...axb4 13.Qxb4 bxc5 (13...dxc4 14.Qxb6 Qxb6 15.cxb6 Bb4+ 16.Kd1 Ng4 17.Kc2 Nxf2 18.Rg1) 14.Qb7 (14.dxc5 dxc4 15.Bg2 Nd5 16.Qb7 Qa5+ 17.Bd2 Qa4) 14...dxc4 15.Bg2 Rc8 16.Bxc6+ Nd7 17.d5±] 11.Qc2 [11.Bg2!? Nd5 12.Qb2 bxc5 13.bxc5! (13.dxc5 c3 14.Qa3 Bb5 15.e4 Nf6 16.Qxc3 Nxe4 17.Qd4) 13...Qa5+ 14.Qd2 c3 15.Qd1 Rd8 16.0-0] 11...Nd5 12.Bd2 Qf6 13.Rc1! White's position is strategically winning. All he has to do is to pay attention to the tactics. [13.Bg2 bxc5 14.bxc5 Bxc5 15.0-0 Bxd4 (15...Bb6 16.e4 Nc7 17.Bg5 Qg6 18.Bf4±) 16.Bg5 Bxa1 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.e4] 13...Be7 14.Bg2 Qg6 15.Ne5?! [More in the spirit of the position was 15.e4! c3 A)16.Ne5 cxd2+ 17.Qxd2 Qh5 (17...Qh6 18.Qxh6 gxh6 19.exd5 cxd5 20.a4±) 18.exd5 cxd5 19.h4±; B) 16.Bxc3!? 16...Nf4 (16...Nxc3?! 17.Ne5! Qh5 18.Bf3±) 17.Bf1 Bxf1 18.Kxf1 Qh5 19.Ng1± and white is just a pawn up.] 15...Qc2 16.Rxc2 Bf6

17.Nxc6? A mistake giving away a major part of white's advantage. [17.e4 Bxe5 18.dxe5 Ne7 19.Be3 b5 20.Ke2±] 17...Kd7 18.a4?! I guess white was counting on this
move, but it leads to black's advantage. [18.Ne5+ Bxe5 19.dxe5 bxc5 20.bxc5 Rab8] 18...Kxc6 19.b5+ Bxb5 20.axb5+ Kxb5 21.e4

The is the crucial moment in the game. With his next move black throws away a game,
blundering his king into a mating net, while after the correct 21...B:d4! white would be the one who has to fight for survival. 21...Nc7?? [21...Bxd4! 22.exd5 Kxc5
23.dxe6 Rae8 24.Bh3 fxe6] 22.e5 Be7 23.Rb2+ [23.Rb2+ Ka4 24.Ke2 Ka3 25.Bc3] 1-0

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