SOS - Secrets of Opening Surprises - February 2013

SOS - Secrets of Opening Surprises - February 2013

| 6 | Opening Theory

No time to study opening theory? Shock your opponent with an SOS!
With an SOS you deviate early (usually before move 6!) from regular lines in mainstream openings. So you will reach positions you have actually studied without having memorized tons of stuffy theory, while gaining time on the clock! And you will have fun watching the horror on your opponent's face... 

Every month, the editor of the SOS Secrets of Opening Surprises book series, IM Jeroen Bosch, annotates a game which was recently played with an SOS-variation.

SOS Game of the Month: February 2013

See also SOS–3, Chapter 10, pp. 82-89
As usual the Tata Steel Chess Tournament produced a lot of great chess games. In the Grandmaster B tournament junior World Champion Alexander Ipatov had a hard time, but he gained useful experience on this level. In a sharp game versus Nils Grandelius the Turkish GM opted for a SOS versus the Rauzer. The Scandiavian managed to score the full point with a spectacular (winning) king's march. However, along the way Black had sufficient attacking chances. Let's enjoy!

Here's the complete text of this game analysis:

Sicilian Rauzer - B60
Nils Grandelius
Alexander Ipatov
Wijk aan Zee (5) 2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5



They don't come much bolder than this. 6.Bg5 was intended to prevent the fianchetto, but Black ignores the 'positional threat' that White had set up with his previous move. Oleg Chernikov is the main expert 'of old' in this line, and he wrote the article for SOS-3.

7.Bxf6 exf6

In return for his broken pawn structure, Black is obliged to obtain counterplay with his bishop pair, his strong dark-squared bishop, and the break ...f6-f5.



One of the main (forcing) lines. Chernikov also investigates the alternatives: 8.Be2, 8.Bb5, 8.Qd2, 8.Nb3.

8...Bg7 9.Ndb5

A more quiet line is 9.0–0 0–0 10.Ndb5 f5, when according to the analysis of Chernikov in SOS-3 Black has sufficient play for his damaged pawn structure.

9...0–0 10.Qxd6 f5! 11.0–0–0



This is not the most popular response and Chernikov does not even investigate it. Yet, it seems like a highly playable (although very demanding) continuation.
Chernikov analyses 11...Qa5 12.Qc7 (12.Qd2 Ne5 13.Bd5 fxe4 14.h3?! Rd8 15.Qe2 Rxd5?! - 15...a6! - 16.Rxd5 Be6 17.Qxe4 Bxd5 18.Qxd5, and Black had enough for the pawn in Vehi Bach-Mascaro March, Arinsal 2011) 12...a6 13.Qxa5 Nxa5 14.Nd6! Nxc4 15.Nxc4, with compensation, and the more dubious continuation 11...Qg5+ 12.f4 Qh6!? (12...Qxg2 13.e5, White better).



The f2-pawn was under attack and White now threatens to close in the fianchetto bishop.
12.f3 fxe4 (stronger is 12...Qf2! ) 13.Nxe4 Bf5 14.Qc5 Qa5 15.Nbd6 Bxe4 16.Qxa5 Nxa5 17.fxe4 Be5!? 18.Be2 (18.Bxf7+!? Rxf7 19.Nxf7 Kxf7 20.Rd7+) 18...Rad8 19.Nc4 Nxc4 20.Bxc4 Bf4+ 21.Kb1 Bxh2! 22.Bd5 Be5, Lazarevic-Radovanovic, Belgrade 2012. The Black player bailed out with a draw offer, after 23.Bxb7 only White has chances.
Black is alright after the immediate 12.Nd5 Qxf2 13.Nf6+ Kh8 14.Nc7: 
- 14...Rb8, and now 15.Nfe8?! (15.Nce8) 15...Qe3+ (15...fxe4) 16.Kb1 Qxe4 17.Nxg7 Kxg7 18.Rhe1 Qxc4 19.Ne8+ Rxe8 20.Rxe8 Be6 21.Qf8+ Kf6 22.Rxb8 Qxa2+ 23.Kc1 Nxb8 24.Qxb8 led to a draw by repetition: 24...Qa1+ 25.Kd2 Qa5+ 26.Kc1 Qa1+ 27.Kd2 Qa5+, draw, Aroshidze-Vishnu, Figueres 2012.
- But not 14...Be6? 15.Bxe6 Rad8 (15...fxe6 16.Nxa8 Rxf6 17.Nc7, White better) 16.Bd7!, winning, Luther-Littlewood, Liverpool 2006.
The stem game of 11...Qb6 went 12.Qg3 Ne5?! (12...Qc5 13.Bb3 a6) 13.Bb3 f4 14.Qxf4 Ng4 15.Kb1 Be5 (15...Qxf2 16.Qd2, White slightly better) 16.Qd2 a6? (16...Nxf2! 17.Na4 Qxb5 18.Qxf2, White slightly better) 17.Nd4 Qa7 18.f3, and wins, Kadrev-Popov, Sofia 1958.


This is essential. Bad is 12...Rd8?, because of 13.Qc7! Qe3+ (13...Qxc7 14.Nxc7 Rb8 15.Rxd8+ Nxd8 16.Rd1 Nc6 17.e5 and wins) 14.Kb1 Be6 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.exf5 (16.Qxb7 and wins) 16...Rdc8 17.Rhe1 Qc5 18.Qd6 Qxf5 19.Qxe6+ Qxe6 20.Rxe6 and wins, Juarez-Yabra, Havana 1970.


Only this active knight move is consistent with his previous play. Taking the pawn with 13.Nxe4 leaves Black the better chances after 13...Bf5.




Both sides are on a tightrope act. Objectively both sides probably have equal (dynamic) chances, but one mistake can cost you the game in such a situation.
14.Qc7 is met by 14...Bg4!?.
14.b4 Qd8 (14...Qa4!? 15.Qc5 a6! 16.Nb6 axb5 17.Nxa4 bxc4 is a sharp queen sacrifice - for only a pair of bishops - that appears to give Black more than enough compensation) 15.Qxd8 Rxd8 16.Ne7+ Kf8 17.Rxd8+ Nxd8 18.Nxc8 Rxc8 19.Bb3 Nc6 is at least equal for Black.

14...Kh8 15.Nc7

The best move.
Forty years ago White had tried 15.Nxe4 Bg4 (Black is better after 15...Bf5! 16.Nbc3 - 16.Ng5 h6 17.Nxf7+?! Rxf7 18.Bxf7 Qxb5 19.Bb3 Bxc2! and wins - 16...Rad8 17.Qa3 Qxa3 18.bxa3 Rc8) 16.Rd3 Qa4 (16...Bf5!) 17.Nd2? (17.Na3, Black slightly better) 17...Nb4 18.Rb3 Nxa2+ 19.Kb1 Rad8! 20.Qa3 Qxa3 21.Nxa3 Rxd2, and Black was better in Suess-Kestler, Dortmund 1973.


White is better after the alternatives 15...Rb8 16.Nce8 Bf5 17.Nxg7 Kxg7 18.Nh5+! gxh5 19.Rd5 and 15...Bg4 16.Nxa8 (16.Nxg4? Rad8 17.Qa3 Qxc7, Black better) 16...Bxd1 17.Rxd1 Rxa8 18.Nxe4, White slightly better.


16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Nd7 Rfc8! is highly unclear.



The intermediate 16...Rad8! may well be stronger: 17.Bd7! (17.Nd7 fxe6 18.Nxe6 Qxa2 19.Nxg7 Kxg7 20.Qa3 Qxa3 21.bxa3 Rxf4, Black better) 17...Qxa2 18.Ncd5 Qa1+ (18...Nb8 19.c3 Nxd7 20.Nb4!) 19.Kd2 Qxb2, and compared to the game Black's material investment is smaller. Black appears to have enough for the piece here.

17.Nxa8 Qxa2 18.Nc7

The safe way to play is 18.Qa3 Qxa3 19.bxa3 Bxf6 20.Nc7 Nd4 21.c3 (21.Rhe1 Rc8!) 21...Ne2+ 22.Kc2 Nxf4 23.Rhe1, White slightly better.

18...Qa1+ 19.Kd2 Qxb2 20.Nce8

Containing Black's rook and aiming to exchange the strong fianchetto bishop.
20.Nxe6 Rxf6, with compensation.


20...Nd4! 21.Nxg7!?

21.Qc7 Bxf6 22.Nxf6 Rxf6 23.Qc3, White slightly better.


Spectacular and logical, but, in all objectivity, the losing move.
Only White can win the ending after 21...Kxg7 22.Qc7+ Kxf6 23.Rb1! (Black is OK after 23.Qc3 e3+ 24.Kd3 Qxc3+ 25.Kxc3 Ne2+ 26.Kd3 Nxf4+ 27.Kxe3 Nxg2+) 23...Nb3+ 24.Ke2 Nd4+ 25.Kf2! Qxc2+ 26.Qxc2 Nxc2 27.Rhc1, although Black keeps drawing chances of course.


22.Nxe4 wins on points after 22...Qxc2+ 23.Ke3 Qe2+ 24.Kxd4 Rc4+ 25.Ke5 Rxe4+ 26.Kf6.


22...Nxc2+ 23.Kxe4 Qxf6 24.Nxe6 Re8 25.Kf3, and wins.


White can win by allowing Black to promote his e-pawn: 23.Kf2! e3+ 24.Kg3 e2+ 25.Rd3 e1Q+ 26.Rxe1 Qxe1+ 27.Kh3, and wins.

23...exd3 24.Qxd4 Qxc2

Otherwise the win would become technical.
24...Qxd4+ 25.Kxd4 dxc2 26.Rc1 Kxg7 27.Ne4, and wins.



25...d2 26.Qxd2 Qb3+ 27.Ke4 Rc4+



The only way is up, but it suffices to win.


28...Qb5+ 29.Kxe6 Kxg7 30.Qd7+ Qxd7+ 31.Nxd7, and wins.

29.Kd6! Qb6+ 30.Ke7! Rc7+ 31.Nd7

31.Ke8 Rxg7 32.Nd7 Rg8+ 33.Kf7 Rg7+ 34.Ke8=.

31...Kxg7 32.Rxe6

Or 32.Rc1.

32...Qc5+ 33.Qd6 Qc4? 34.Qe5+ Kg8 35.Kf6!


The king forces mate.

35...Rc6 36.Qb8+ Rc8 37.Re8+

Black resigned.

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