Recalling Deep Blue
(Odessa 2019, 2020)

Recalling Deep Blue

GM Mikhail_Golubev

Aside from having played chess professionally for some 15 years, and my involvement in other forms of chess activities, one thing I always liked doing is annotating chess games.

I started contributing to Informator and New in Chess in the 1980s, and my first big article was published in NiC Yearbook in 1991. Since then... a lot of time has passed. From 2001 to 2014, I prepared far more than a thousand issues of Chess Today, normally including one annotated game each time. I also acted as an official commentator in a number of events (including all three Foros super tournaments in 2006-2008) and was often involved in work with Russian websites ChessPro and Chess-News. Until now, I still annotate games for other sites including In other words, it is a huge experience, rooted in a different epoch.

In this blog, I would like to present seriously annotated games and opening overviews (some of which I already posted here: Velimirovic Attack: Still Dangerous!The Incorrect Vs The BayonetAnna Muzychuk's Great Gibraltar Game). 

Still, preparing a seriously annotated game or an article that is more than a superficial collection/explanation of suggestions by engines (this could be done within minutes), is time-consuming and usually requires several days of work.

I therefore would like to ask readers, especially those who have become familiar with my work throughout the years, to donate and support this blog, thereby inspiring me to provide more material of this kind.

As an example, you can find two annotated encounters from the friendly internet rapid Ukraine vs Serbia below. I find these games to be curious (especially the one I lost - in the variation widely known after the Deep Blue vs Kasparov 1997 final game, although it was well-known already before that). As I barely play online rapids, preferring blitz instead, it seemed logical to analyse these two games. Yet, it took some ten months (a stroke in the end of June 2019 certainly didn't help) to find the time and energy to finalise the annotations. Thus, if you appreciate what I have done in this blog so far, I would like to ask for your donations in order to be able to prepare many more serious articles!

Mikhail Golubev, 22 Feb 2020

GM Mikhail_Golubev - IM Novak_Pezelj
UKR vs SRB rapid 15+2 (Game 2), 07.04.2019
Caro-Kann B17 [Golubev]

1.e4 [0:01] 1...c6 [0:03] 2.d4 [0:07] 2...d5 [0:01] 3.Nc3 [0:01] 3...dxe4 [0:07] 4.Nxe4 [0:02] 4...Nd7 [0:29] 5.Bd3 [0:07] 5...Ngf6 [0:03] 6.Ng5 [0:06] 6...e6 [0:23] 7.N1f3 [0:20] 7...h6?! [0:04]

The main continuation is 7...Bd6! 8.Qe2 h6 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4.

8.Nxe6! [0:24] 

8...fxe6 [0:10]

Surely bad for Black is 8...Qe7? 9.0–0! fxe6 (9...Qxe6? 10.Re1) 10.Bg6+ Kd8 11.Bf4! and then, e. g. 11...b5 (or 11...Qb4 12.a3!?, Golubev-Tobak, Star Palmyra Open, Odessa 2003, and if 12...Qxb2 13.c4) 12.a4 Bb7 13.Re1 Nd5 14.Bg3 Kc8 15.axb5 cxb5 16.Qd3 +- Comp Deep Blue-Kasparov, New York 1997.

9.Bg6+ [0:13] 9...Ke7 [0:03]

And this line is not that simple. White is surely a stronger side anyway, but it's not easy to prove a serious advantage while engines can't be always trusted.

10.0–0?! [0:17]

Attention! A seldom played move 10.Bf4! can be in fact better, because White takes under control the h2-b8 diagonal and prevents Black's ...Qc7, ...Kd8 plan. Here, 10...Qa5+ 11.c3 Kd8 (quite a depressing alternative is 11...Nd5?! 12.Bg3 Kd8 13.0–0) 12.0–0 Be7 seems to be critical.
Now White an important choice; the most natural move is quite good: 13.Re1!? (other options: 13.c4!? and here 13...Rf8?! 14.Re1 +/- or 13...Nf8 14.Bd3! is a curious attempt; while 13.a4 Nd5 14.b4 Qb6 15.a5 Qa6 turns to be unclear after 16.Bd2 Rf8! or 16.Bd3 b5! 17.axb6 Qb7!!; there's also 13.Bg3!? and here 13...Nf8!? 14. Bd3!? is presumably better for White, while after 13...Rf8 rather than 14.a4 Nd5 15.b4 Qb6 16.a5 Qa6 17.Qd2 Qc4!? and now 18.Rfc1 Rf5! or 18.Ra3 Rxf3 19.gxf3 N5f6 20.Re1 Nf8! White should go for 14.Re1!, transposing to 13.Re1!?) 13...Nd5 (White most likely has the advantage also after 13...Rf8 14.c4!? +/- or 13...Nf8 14.Bd3!? +/-) 14.Bg3 Rf8 15.Rxe6 Nf4 16.Bxf4 Rxf4 17.Qe2 Bf8 +/-. White is clearly better and can try, for example, 18.a4!?.

10...Qc7! [0:36]

A big mistake is 10...b5? where 11.Re1!? (11.Bf4 is also very good for White) 11...Nb6?! (if 11...Qc7 12.Rxe6+! Kd8 13.Ne5 Nxe5 14.dxe5+ Qd7 15.Bf4! Nd5 16.Re8+ Qxe8 17.Bxe8 Kxe8 18.Qh5+! with decisive advantage) 12.Ne5 +- was Golubev-S. Eggenberger, Basel (simul) 1999. For the record, it followed 12...Qc7 13.Qf3 Nbd5 14.a4 Bb7 15.Qh3 Qc8 16.axb5 cxb5 17.c4 bxc4 18.Qa3+ Kd8 19.Nf7+ Kc7 20.Qg3+ Kc6 21.Qh3 Bb4 22.Rxe6+ Kb5 23.Bc2 Nb6 24.Bd2 Bxg2 25.Ra5+ Bxa5 26.Nd6+ Ka6 27.Qa3 1–0.
But after the correct 10...Qc7! Black is alive!

11.Re1 [03:21]

Or: 11.g3!? Kd8 12.c4 Bd6!? 13.c5 Be7 14.Bf4 Qa5 15.a3 Nd5 16.b4 Qa6 Willigen-Tyulenko, ICCF 2013, and if 17.Bd3 b5, is complex and possibly playable for Black; while 11.c4 Kd8 12.g3!? leads to the same. In the number of games 11.Qe2 Kd8! was tested, with mixed results.

11...Kd8! [0:19]

As of now, I'm not sure whether White has a significant advantage in this position.

12.c4 [1:18]

Indeed, I couldn't recall any theory during the game. After my move it's not certain that White is any better at all. There's a number of alternatives.

Thus, 12.Rxe6!? Bd6 (12...Bb4!? is a curious additional option) 13.c4! Nb6! (13...Nf8?! 14.Rxd6+ Qxd6 15.Ne5 Be6 16.Bf4!) 14.Rxd6+ Qxd6 is, AT BEST, a bit better for White who can try 15.Ne5 or an immediate 15.c5.

Also quite sensitive is 12.Ne5!? Nxe5 13.dxe5+ Nd7 with the critical continuation (13...Nd5? 14.c4) 14.Be3! Qa5 (14...Qxe5?? 15.Bb6+; 14...c5?! 15.Qg4 Qb6! 16.Rad1! Kc7 17.Rd2! +/-) 15.Bf7! Kc7 (15...Qd5?! 16.Qh5! Kc7 17.Rad1 Qxa2 18.Be8! Frijling-Khlopov, Lechenicher SchachServer 2011; 15...Ke7? fails to 16.Bxe6!! Kxe6 17.Qh5! Ke7 18.Rad1 Nb6 19.b4! Qxb4 20.e6 +-) 16.Bxe6 Nxe5! 17.Bd2! Bb4 (17...Qc5?! 18.b4! with the idea of 18...Qd6 19.Bxc8 Rxc8 20.Bf4) 18.Bxb4 Qxb4 19.Bxc8 (if 19.Rxe5 Re8! 20.Qe2 Qxb2 21.Rd1 a5!? =) 19...Raxc8 20.Rxe5 Rhe8 21.Rxe8 Rxe8 with an extra pawn for White, but Black should have good chances for a draw after 22.Rb1 (or 22.b3 Qc3) 22...Qc4!?, etc.

While 12.g3?! Bd6! 13.c4 (or 13.Ne5 Rf8! and if 14.Nf7+ Rxf7! 15.Bxf7 Nf8 where White has to play 16.Bh5 -/+) 13...Nf8!, O. Kim-Reprun, Tashkent 1988, hardly can be a promising line for White.

12...Bb4 [0:14]

After 12...Bd6 White at least can play 13.Rxe6!? (which transposes to 12.Rxe6 Bd6 13.c4).

13.Bd2 [3:50]

More common is 13.Re2 Nf8!? as in Wolff-Granda Zuniga, New York 1992 and other games (13...Bd6 again allows 14.Rxe6!?). Note that an immediate 13.Rxe6? is just bad because of 13...Nf8!.

13...Bxd2 [0:09]

Things are quite unclear, I would say. An alternative was 13...a5!? and Black is not necessarily worse.

14.Qxd2 [0:04] 14...Nf8 [0:06] 15.Bc2!? [0:09] 15...Bd7 [0:13]

16.Rad1!? N [0:03]

16.b4 (after which Black can sometimes consider not ...Kc8, but ... Ke7 as a route for the king) 16...Be8!? has been played in a few games, in both the OTB and correspondence chess. It's difficult to say what's the most interesting move for White there.

16...Kc8 [1:27]

16...Be8 allows 17.d5!?.

17.b4 [0:51] 17...a6!? [0:31] 18.a4 [0:11] 18...Kb8! [1:04] 19.Ne5 [1:01]

Engines prefer a somewhat counter-intuitive (for us mere mortals) 19.Rc1, preparing possible b5.

19...Bc8 [0:39]

Instead, 19...Be8!? was what I anticipated. I'm not sure now that White has sufficient compensation after this move. Maybe... but how? After 20.b5?! (20.c5 Nd5!?) 20...axb5 21.axb5 (21.cxb5 N8d7!? 22.bxc6 Nxe5 23.dxe5 Nd5 24.cxb7 Ra7!? -/+) 21...cxb5 22.cxb5 Ra2! 23.Ra1 Qxc2! (it's important to avoid the devilish trap 23...Rxc2?? 24.b6!! Rxd2 25.Ra8+!! Kxa8 26.bxc7 +-) 24.Rxa2 Qxd2 25.Rxd2 Nd5!? -/+ Black is better.

20.d5? [2:24]

An overoptimistic "breakthrough" that ruins not Black's but White's own position. Surely better was 20.b5!? cxb5 (the alternative is 20...N8d7!? 21.bxc6 bxc6 where after 22.Rb1+?! Black plays not 22...Ka7?? because of 23.Qa5! +- but 22...Bb7!; instead, White rather has to try 22.a5 with the complex lines like 22...Ra7!? 23.Ng6 Re8 24.Nf4 Rb7!? 25.Nxe6 Qd6 where both 26.Nxg7 Rxe1+ 27.Qxe1! and 26.c5!? Qd5 27.Nxg7 in the long run can be acceptable for the first player) 21.cxb5! (instead of 21.axb5? N8d7!, what I considered during the game) 21...N8d7! 22.Bb3! Nxe5 (22...Nd5? 23.Rc1! Qb6 24.Nf7 Rf8 25.Bxd5! exd5 26.a5! Qxb5 27.Nd6! Qa4 28.Qb2 +-) 23.dxe5 Nd7 (White is OK also after 23...Nd5 24.Bxd5 and if 24...exd5?! 25.Rc1!) 24.a5! axb5 25.Rc1! Nc5! 26.Qe3! = with approximate equality.

20...exd5 [0:09] 21.cxd5 [0:03] 21...Nxd5! [0:03] 22.Bb3 [0:13] 22...Ne6 [0:20]

Or 22...Nd7!? 23.Nf7 Rf8 24.Bxd5 cxd5 and after 25.Rc1 (25.Re7!? g5!) 25...Qb6 (also good is 25...Nc5!? because after 26.Ne5 Black has 26...Nb3!) 26.Qf4+ Ka7 27.a5 Qf6! 28.Qe3+ there's 28...d4! –+.

23.Bxd5?! [0:22]

A better practical chance was 23.b5 axb5 24.axb5 Rd8 25.bxc6 -/+.

23...Rd8! –+ [0:08]

And Black is winning.

24.Qa2 [0:08] 24...Rxd5 [0:18] 25.Rxd5 [0:03] 25...cxd5 [0:01] 26.Qxd5 [0:01] 26...Ka7 [0:08] 27.a5 [0:02] 27...Qc3 [0:23] 28.Rd1 [0:07] 28...Qxb4! [0:21] 29.g3 [0:05] 29...Qc5 [0:04] 30.Qe4 [0:04] 30...Qxa5 [0:11] 31.Rd6 [0:02] 31...Qc5 [0:12] 32.Rd5 [0:01] 32...Ng5 [0:08] 33.Qd3 [0:01] 0–1


IM Novak_Pezelj - GM Mikhail_Golubev
UKR vs SRB rapid 15+2 (Game 1), 07.04.2019
Sicilian B31 [Golubev]

1.e4 [0:07] 1...c5 [0:02] 2.Nc3 [0:02] 2...Nc6 [0:04] 3.Nf3 [0:07] 3...g6 [0:08] 4.Bb5 [0:03]

White transposed to the Rossolimo Variation.

4...Bg7 [0:05] 5.0–0 [0:02]

5...Nd4!? [0:23]

After 5...d6 there is 6.e5! (6.Re1 Bd7 7.Bxc6 Bxc6 8.d4 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nf6 10.Bg5 0–0 = N. Bondarchuk-Golubev, Odessa 1984) 6...dxe5 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.Re1, introduced on GM level by Morozevich and Svidler in 1998. Another option is 5...e5.

6.Nxd4 [0:13] 6...cxd4 [0:06] 7.Ne2 [0:02] 7...a6 [0:55]

Or 7...Nf6 and if 8.e5 Ng4! 9.Nxd4 Nxe5 = Keitlinghaus-Barbero, Lazne Bohdanec 1995.

8.Bd3 [0:11]

Somewhat more often White plays 8.Ba4.

8...d5 [0:22] 9.c3? [0:21]

This is a big mistake. Normal is 9.exd5 Qxd5 =.

9...dxe4 [0:20] 10.Bxe4 [0:03]

10...d3! [0:33]

A highly unpleasant move. Now Black has a big advantage because White cannot win the d3 pawn safely.

11.Nf4 [0:19] 11...Nf6! N [0:16] -/+
Simpler than 11...e5 12.Nxd3 (12.Re1 Ne7 13.Nxd3 f5 14.Bxf5 Bxf5 15.Nxe5 0–0 -/+ Zenunovic-Ristic, Vrnjacka Banja 2007) 12...f5 13.Nxe5! Bxe5 (if 13...fxe4 14.Qa4+ Kf8, then instead of 15.Qxe4?! Bf5! White can play 15.d4!) 14.Bf3 where White's compensation for the knight is not fully sufficient but there's still a fight ahead after, say, 14...Kf7!? 15.d4 Bf6, etc.

12.Re1 [0:34]

12.Bxd3? g5; 12.Qf3 e5 (or 12...Nxe4 13.Qxe4 e5).

12...0–0 [1:23] 13.Bf3 [0:52] 13...Qd6 [0:35]

Even stronger is 13...e5! 14.Rxe5 Qd6! and if 15.Qe1 Bg4 (or 15...Ng4).

14.g3 [0:28] 14...e5 [0:09] 15.Ng2 [0:01] 15...e4!? [2:02]

15...Re8 allows White to regroup: 16.Ne3 e4 17.Bg2 -/+.

16.Bxe4 [0:07] 16...Nxe4 [0:06] 17.Rxe4 [0:03] 17...b5 [0:33]

White's position is bad, despite his extra pawn.

18.Re3 [0:02] 18...Bb7 [0:04] 19.Qf1 [0:02] 19...Rad8 [0:27] 20.Ne1 [0:02] 20...Qc6 [0:26]

More precise is an immediate 20...Rfe8! 21.Rxe8+ Rxe8 22.Nxd3 and here stronger than Qc6 are 22...Qf6 or 22...g5.

21.f3 [0:09] 21...Rfe8 [1:25] 22.Rxd3 [0:09] 22...Rxd3 [1:04] 23.Nxd3 [0:03] 23...g5 [0:09]

But White is in trouble anyway.

24.Nb4 [0:09] 24...Qc5+ [1:07] 25.d4 [0:03] 25...Bxd4+ [0:03] 26.cxd4 [0:50] 26...Qxd4+ [0:08]

27.Qf2? [0:04]

Necessary was 27.Be3! Qxe3+ (not 27...Rxe3?? 28.Nc2!) 28.Qf2 -/+, preserving some practical chances for a draw.

27...Qd1+ [0:38] 28.Kg2 [0:20]

Or 28.Qf1 Re1.

28...g4 [0:26] 0–1