Winning by better understanding the plan behind a position
WGM Keti Tsatsalashvelli as commentator at the 2017 World Cup

Winning by better understanding the plan behind a position

NM HanSchut
Oct 31, 2017, 9:37 AM |

In 2008, my daughter Donna played the European girls championships in Montenegro. In round 7 she was paired against one of the favorites, Keti Tsatsalashvelli from Georgia. Keti has become a Woman Grand Master and makes regular appearances as a chess co-commentator at major events like the recent World Cup in Tbilisi .

In our preparation we came accorss the following game that Keti played one month earlier at the World Youth Chess Championships in Turkey.

 After 12. 0-0-0 the following postion arose:

Black has the bishop pair. White has a lead in development and a better pawn structure. In this position Keti played 12... a6 to prevent the white knight game coming to b5. It seems like a logical move but is actually dubious because after Nd5 white gets a structural advantage. 

To understand this, please have a look at the following grand master game.

The game shows how white can win with his strong knight and a queen side pawn majority. It is surprising that despite this being an open position, the black bishop is powerless against the white knight. The white knight has very strong outposts on both d5 and f5. White played the instructive knight manouvre Nb1-d2-f3-h4-f5.
It is a very instructive game that was played in Buenos Aires in 1994 at a tournament organized my Joop van Oosterom in honour of Lev Polugaevsky.  The theme of the tournament was the "Sicilian defence" in all the games. After 1.e4, black had to play c5 and white had to play 2 Nf3.  After 2...d6 or 2...e6 or 2...Nc6. White had to play 3 d4 and black had to capture and white had to take Nd4. Salov won the tournament ahead  of Anand, Ivanchuk, Judith Polgar and Karpov.

Schut, Donna (2069) - Tsatsalashvili, Ketevan (2271) 1-0

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. f3 e5 6. Nb3 d5 7. Bg5 Be6 8. Bxf6
gxf6 9. exd5 Qxd5 10. Qxd5 Bxd5 11. Nc3 Be6 12. O-O-O a6?! (Better 12... Nd7
13. Nb5 Ke7 14. Kb1 Bh6) (Or 12... Nc6 13. Bb5 Rc8 14. Nd5 f5 15. Na5 (15. Ba4)
15... Bh6+ 16. Kb1 Kf8 {0-1 (56) Harikrishna,P (2758)-Giri,A (2769) Shenzhen
2017}) 13. Nd5 Bxd5 14. Rxd5 Nc6 15. c3 Rc8 16. Kb1 h5 17. g3 Rd8 18. Rxd8+
Nxd8 19. Bd3 Bd6 20. Nd2 Ke7 21. Ne4 Bc7 22. Rd1 Rg8 23. Bc2 Ne6? {Allowing for a small combination winning a pawn and the game.} 24. Rd7+ Kxd7 25. Nxf6+ Kd6 26. Nxg8 Ng5 27. Be4 f5 28. Bxb7 e4 29. fxe4 fxe4 30. Nf6 Ke5 31.Nxh5 Nf3 32. h4 a5 33. Kc2 Ne1+ 34. Kd2 Nf3+ 35. Ke2 Ng1+ 36. Kd1 Bb6 37. Ke1 Nf3+ 38. Kf1 a4 39. Nf4 a3 40. bxa3 Ba5 41. h5 Bxc3 42. h6 Kf5 43. Bd5 Kg5 44.
h7 Kh6 45. Ke2 Nd4+ 46. Ke3 Nf5+ 47. Kxe4 Nxg3+ 48. Kf3 Nf5 49. Be4 Nd6 50. Bc2
Kg7 51. a4 Nb7 52. Ke3 Bb2 53. Ne6+ Kh8 54. Bg6 Ba1 55. Kd3 Na5 56. Ke4 Nc4 57.
Kf4 Bc3 58. Bd3 Na5 59. Kg5 Nc6 60. Be4 Na5 61. Kh6 Nc4 62. Ng5 Ne5 63. Kh5 Kg7
64. Ne6+ Kh8 65. Nd8 Kg7 66. Nb7 Nd7 67. Kg5 Nf6 68. Kf4 Nd7 69. a5 Nb8 70. Bd3
Nc6 71. a6 Bd4 72. Ke4 Bg1 73. a3 Ne7 74. Ke5 Nc8 75. Kd5 Be3 76. Nd6 Na7 77.
Nf5+ 1-0