|The Budapest Gambit: “But it’s bad, right?”||Excerpt: the first three chapters of FATHER’S LOVE by Timothy Taylor|
Or, as Maxwell Smart would say, “Missed by that much!”
While I won a typically stylish attacking/sacrificial game against Tatev Abrahamyan (given below) I have only myself to blame for not taking clear first. Had I won my last three games I would have cruised easily to the title, but I let myself down with an extraordinary brain fart of a move against Eugene Yanayt (see note to move one). This transformed a better position into a nearly lost one in a single move—and so instead of winning and finishing a half point ahead of Yankovsky, who took the title, I lost and finished a half a point behind him! So I have to wait till next year …
But until then, if one enjoys razor sharp opposite side attacks, sacrifices of all types, and mating attacks in general, then please take a look at the following game.
Taylor, Timothy – Abrahamian, Tatev
SCCF Championship, Beverly Hills 2011
The above lamented Yanayt – Taylor game began as follows: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.Qxc3 Qe7 8.Qc2 e5 9.d5 Nd8 10.e4 0–0 11.g3 a5 12.b3 b6 13.Bg2 Nb7 14.0–0 Nc5 15.Nd2
I have outplayed my opponent in the opening, and now if I play the evident 15… h5! launching an attack against White’s poorly defended kingside, I would have been confident of victory. Instead, I played the extraordinary—that is, extraordinarily bad—15… Ba6 which is not only a tactical mistake (White can now advance his b pawn, which had previously been taboo due to the potential pin) but is also a strategical mistake (playing on the wrong side of the pawn chain). Even worse, I saw the strong 15… h5, and yet somehow—and for what reason I can’t tell you—nonetheless made the Bishop boner. Sometimes errors are as inexplicable as creative brilliancies! After this break, my opponent quickly played 16.b4! and drove back all my now misplaced queenside pieces and won quickly. All I could do then was win the last two games (the main game is the first of those two) and hope to catch Yankovsky, but that did not happen.
A big surprise, but a welcome one: while I expected Tatev’s normal French, as she had played earlier in the tournament against Jack Peters, I felt well prepared against the Sicilian as I am now writing a book on that very opening!
2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6!?
Better and better—for me! The Najdorf is razor sharp and nearly impossible to learn in a short time. While Kasparov and Fischer played it all their lives and thus were comfortable with its labyrinthine levels, I felt sure that Tatev was not, and indeed she soon makes a serious error.
6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be3
Even Nakamura made this mistake! Correct is 8… Be6, waiting while developing.
Now one sees the problem: Black has castled prematurely, and thus White can go long and launch a vicious opposite side attack! One should note that not just Nakamura, but numerous famous GMs like Huebner, Ljubojevic, Ye Jianchuang, Hillarp Persson and Gallagher have all lost to this attack! So Tatev is in good company—and this is just one small line of the Najdorf. Black has to be prepared for everything!!
9… Be6 10.g5
I had already analyzed Nakamura’s loss for my book, which went as follows:10…Nfd7 11.h4 Nb6 12.Qd2 N8d7 13.f4 exf4 14.Bxf4 Ne5 15.0–0–0 Rc8 16.Kb1 Qc7 17.h5 Rfe8 18.Ka1 Bf8 19.Nd4 Qc5 20.g6! This and the coming Bxh6 sacrifice are key ideas of the attack. Nec4 21.Bxc4 Nxc4 22.Qd3 fxg6 23.hxg6 h6 24.Qg3 Qb6 25.Bc1 Qa5 26.Rdf1 Ne5 27.Nd5 Bxd5 28.exd5 Qxd5 29.Bxh6!! gxh6 30.g7! Be7 31.Rxh6 Nf7 32.Qg6! Nxh6 33.Qxh6 Bf6 34.Qh8+ Kf7 35.g8Q+ Rxg8 36.Qxf6+ Ke8 37.Re1+ 1–0 Carlsen, M-Nakamura, H /Wijk aan Zee 2011
In another recent GM victory, White combined the positional with the tactical: 11…Nc7 12.0–0–0 Nd7 13.h4 a5 14.a4 White’s position is so strong that he takes time out to snuff Black’s counterplay … 14…f5 15.exf5 Bxf5 16.f4 and now has the advantage across the board! 16…Kh8 17.Kb1 Na6 18.fxe5 dxe5 19.Rhf1 Bh3 20.Rxf8+ Bxf8 21.Bb5 Nab8 22.Qd5 Nc6 23.Bc4 The mate threat is a nice touch, as White cashes in. 23…Ne7 24.Qxb7 Qc8 25.Qxc8 Rxc8 26.Bb5 Nb8 27.Nxa5 Nf5 28.Bf2 Bg2 29.Nc4 e4 30.Nb6 1–0 Timoshenko, G-Valeanu, E/Galati 2006
Also good is the “no waiting” option: 12.f4 g6 13.0–0–0 Ng7 14.h4 Rc8 15.Kb1 f5 16.h5 gxh5 17.Bxh5 fxe4 18.Qh2 Rxc3 19.bxc3 Bf5 20.Bg4 Bxg4 21.Qxh7+ Kf7 22.Rdf1 Bf3 23.Rh6 Rg8 24.fxe5 Nxe5 25.Qxe4 Ke8 26.Rxf3 Nxf3 27.Qxf3 Bxg5 28.Qd5 1–0 Dolmatov, S-Zakharov, A /Linares 2000. While I knew these games, it was clear my opponent did not, and she began to burn a lot of time.
If 12…a5 13.a4 and only White has play ala Timoshenko.
Another way is 13.Kb1 Qc7 14.h4 Rc8 15.h5 b4 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 a5 18.Bb5 Rd8 19.g6! the thematic break 19…Ndf6 20.Rdg1 Rb8 21.Bc6 Bd8 22.Bh6!! the Carlsen sac again, this time on an empty square! 22…Qe7 (22…gxh6 23.Qxh6 fxg6 24.hxg6 Ng7 25.Nc5! dxc5 26.d6+–) 23.Bxe8 Nxe8 24.Bxg7 Nxg7 25.Qh6 fxg6 26.hxg6 hxg6 27.Rxg6 Qf6 T Q is lost in any case 28.Rxf6 Bxf6 29.Nxa5 Rb5 30.Nc4 Rxd5 31.Ne3 Rd4 32.Nf5 1–0 Glukhov, A- Ivanov, R/Togliatti 2011.
Also good is 14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 Nc4 16.Bxc4 bxc4 17.Nd4 Qd7 18.h5±
15.a3 is simpler (and the computer says better) when Black has no counterplay, but I liked the following pawn sacrifice.
15…b4 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 Qxa5 18.dxe6 fxe6
White’s pawn sacrifice is sound, but requires exact play.
19.Bg4 forcing 19…Nc7 20.h5 which transposes to the game is correct.
Correct is 19…d5! 20.Bg4 (White doesn’t really get through after 20.g6 h6 21.Bxh6 Qc5 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.f3 Rh8 24.h6+ Kxg6 25.Bd3+ Kf7 26.Qg2 Bf6) 20…Rc6 and Black has a more solid defense, though obviously White has compensation for the pawn.
Now all’s right with the world! White has a tremendous attack for the pawn.
20…d5 21.g6 h6 22.f3 d4 23.Bxh6!± is the typical Carlsen sac that I was aiming to get.
Again, 21…h6 22.Bxh6! with a winning attack is White’s main idea.
22.gxh7+ Kh8 23.h6 Nb5
Black can’t keep lines closed: 23…g6 24.Qd3 Kxh7 25.Qe4! (the premature 25.Bh5 allows 25… e4 with a temporary defense, but this kills) 25…Nd5 26.Bh5 Ne7 27.Bxg6+ Nxg6 28.Rdg1 and mates.
24.hxg7+ Bxg7 25.Bh6 Rc7
Black doesn’t get a draw after 25…Bf6 26.Bg5 Bg7 27.Be2! (27.Rdg1 is unwise: 27…Nc3+ 28.bxc3 bxc3 29.Qxd6 Qb5+ 30.Kc1 Qb2+ 31.Kd1 Rc4 32.Be3 Qb1+ 33.Ke2 Qxc2+ with counterplay) 27…Nc3+ (White crashes through after 27…Nd4 28.Bh6 Bf6 29.Qd3 Nxe2 30.Qg6 Qd8 31.Rxd6! and wins) 28.bxc3 bxc3 29.Qxd6 Rc6 and now 30.Bd8 is decisive.
Sacrificing a piece to lure Black’s rooks forward to weaken the back rank, but the cold blooded 26.Be2 Nc3+ 27.bxc3 bxc3 28.Bxg7+ Rxg7 29.Qc1 Rb7+ 30.Ka1 Rb2 31.Bc4 given by Fritz, seems to win.
26…Rxe6 27.Qg5 Rxh6
Black gives back some material in view of 27…Bxh6 28.Qg8 Mate, or 27…Nc3+ 28.bxc3 bxc3 29.Qxg7+!! This was my evil plan: my opponent’s face was a picture when she noticed this! 29…Rxg7 30.Bxg7+ Kxg7 31.h8Q+ Kf7 (31…Kg6 32.Qh7+ Kf6 33.Rh6+ Kg5 34.Rh5+ Kf4 35.Qf5Mate) 32.Rh7+ Kg6 33.Rg7+ Kf5 34.Qh5+ Ke4 35.Qg4 Mate.
28…Rc8! Defending the back rank is necessary, with chances to hold, but my opponent, in time trouble and battling sacrificial shock, missed my next move.
The hits keep coming! Black has no real defense to Re8, e.g. 29…Nc7 30.Re7 Rxe7 31.Qxe7 Qb5 32.Rg1 Ne8 33.Qf7 forces mate.
One might want to pause here and try to solve the problem: White to play and win!
30.Qg6+ Kg8 31.Re8+ Rf8 32.Re7
Mate is forced.
Highly entertaining, even if in retrospect the Timoshenko style 15.a3 would have squelched counterplay and most likely won without giving Black chances.
That said, the 26.Bxe6 sac was a very satisfying Spielman style attacking blow!
And the Najdorf remains a near impenetrable labyrinth!