White: FM Peter Bereolos

Black: GM Ildar Ibragimov

2003 World Open

Round 2 Board 4

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. g3 c5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 Qa5!?

This move does not appear to have received much testing. 8. Bd2 The bishop is a bit awkward here, but I wasn't convinced that White had enough compensation after 8. O-O Qxc3 9. Bf4 (or 9. Bg5) although my database shows a large plus score for White. I also found a game between two Canadian masters where White was successful sacrificing a different way with 8. Qd3 cxd4 9. Bd2 dxc3 10. Bxc3 in Rohland-South Toronto 1978 8... d6 White is fine after the direct attempt to win the c-pawn 8... Qa6 9. Qb3 Na5 10. Qb5 Nxc4 11. Qxa6 bxa6 12. Ne5 9. O-O e5 9... Qa6 10. Bf4 Na5 11. dxc5 dxc5 12. Ne5 Nxc4? 13. Qd3 10. Qc2 h6 11. e4 Qc7 12. d5 Na5 13. Qd3 b6 14. Be1 Bd7 15. Nd2 Qc8 16. f4 this may not be the best plan since Black seems to be better placed to play on the kingside. So White should look to the queenside for counterplay and thus will have to at some point challenge the Black knight with 16. Nb3 so perhaps this was the time to play that move. 16... Bh3 17. f5 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Qd7 19. a4 The final chance to play 19. Nb3 without having to spend an extra move with Rfb1 (which also takes a defender away from the kingside) to prepare it 19... O-O-O 20. Bf2 20. Qb1!? with the idea of 21. Qb5 20... Rdf8 21. Rfb1 g6 22. fxg6 22. Nb3 Nxb3 23. Rxb3 gxf5 24. exf5 e4 22... fxg6 23. h3 g5 24. Nb3 Qh7 25. Nxa5 bxa5 26. Rb5 playing passively with 26. Re1 didn't feel right. After 26... g4 Black is taking over the initiative, so I burned my bridges for the attack. 26... Qxe4+ 27. Qxe4 Nxe4 28. Rab1!?

This may be a bit too much, but I'm still not sure. 28. Be1 Kc7 29. Rxa5 (29. Rab1 Rb8 and the knight should be superior to the bishop in the ending.) 29... Kb6 30. Rb5+ Ka6 when the Black king is safe so Black should have an edge thanks to the passed e-pawn and better minor piece. 28... Kd8? After this White is in firm control of the position. It looks dangerous to grab the piece with 28... Rxf2+ 29. Kg1 since White is threating mate as well as skewering the rook on h8, but 29... Rd8 solves both problems by guarding the rook and giving the king a bolt hole at e8. 30. Rb7 (White can regain the piece with 30. Re1 but the ending after 30... Rf3 31. Rxe4 Rxg3+ 32. Kh2 Rxc3 doesn't look too healthy.) 30... Rf3 31. Rxa7 Nf6 (31... Rxg3+?! 32. Kh2 and the knight is again tied to the defense of the rook so White will be able to play Rbb7 and get a perpetual.) Now, White doesn't seem to have enough for his piece, but 32. Rb6!? is still very tricky. 32... Rxg3+ 33. Kh2 Rxc3 34. Rc6+ Kb8 35. Rca6 (35. Rf7!?) and it seems that White is still quite alive. 29. Be1 Ke7? Black is in difficulties, but this drops a piece. 30. Rb7+ Kf6 31. Kf3! catching the knight in the middle of the board. 31... Nxg3 32. Bxg3 Kg6+ 33. Ke2 h5 34. Rxa7 h4 35. Bh2 Rf6 36. Rf1?! A time pressure mistake. There is no need to challenge the f-file, especially since it gives up the b-file, which seems pretty unimaginable if you look at the position a few moves before. 36. Rxa5 Rhf8 37. Bg1 g4 38. hxg4 h3 39. Be3 and the game should soon be over. 36... Rb8 37. Rxf6+ Kxf6 38. Bg1 Rb2+ 39. Kf3 39. Kd3 Rg2 40. Be3 Rg3 41. Rxa5 Rxh3 42. Ra6 39... Rc2 40. Rd7?! Another mistake on the last move of the time control. The black king easily controls the passed d-pawn. White's problem is Black's active rook, so he should take measures to limit that activity by creating a passed a-pawn with 40. Rxa5 40... Rxc3+ 41. Be3 Rxc4 42. Rxd6+ Kf5 43. Rd8 e4+ 44. Ke2 Rc2+ 45. Bd2 c4 46. Kd1 Ra2 47. Rg8 Ra3 48. Rxg5+ Kf6 49. Rg4 Ke5 50. Rxh4 Kxd5 51. Rh8 c3 51... Rxa4? 52. Rh5+ followed by 53. Rxa5 exchanging rooks, when White wins since his bishop is on the same color as the queening square of the rook pawn. 52. Bc1 Ra2

53. Rh5+? I think this is where the win finally turns into a draw. I was getting frustrated at my inability to bring home the point. I think the win is still there by running the h-pawn with 53. h4 Kc4 54. h5 53... Kd4 54. Rxa5 e3 55. Rg5 e2+ He spent quite a bit of his remaining time (down to about 2 minutes with a 5 second delay) before playing this move. I'm not sure if he was just double checking that the rook ending was a draw, or if he was considering 55... Rh2!? which also seems to lead to a draw. 56. Ke1 Ra1 57. Kxe2 Rxc1 58. Rg4+ Kc5 59. Rh4 Perhaps it is slightly better to play 59. Kd3 which at least carries the threat Rc4+ followed by Rxc3, but it is still a draw after 59... Rh1 60. Rc4+ Kb6 61. Rh4 Rc1 62. Rh5 The position is now drawn, but perhaps Black is still a little uncomfortable. He doesn't even need the c-pawn to draw, but psychologically, he would rather just play against an h-pawn, rather than a+h since there is greater room to go wrong against two pawns, especially with limited time on the clock. 59... Rg1 60. Kd3 Rg3+ 61. Kc2 Kb6 62. Kb3 Ka6 63. Rh6+ Ka5 64. Rh5+ Ka6 65. Rh4 Ka5 66. Rh6 Rf3 67. h4 Rh3 68. h5 c2+ trading c for a rather than giving up the c-pawn for nothing. The resulting ending is still drawn, but there is no reason that White shouldn't make Black play a few exact moves, especially when Black has to make his moves with only a few seconds to reflect on them. 69. Kxc2 Kxa4 70. Kd2 Kb5 71. Ke2 Kc5 72. Kf2 Kd5 73. Kg2 Rh4 74. Kg3 Rh1 75. Kf4 Rf1+ 76. Kg5 Ke5 77. Ra6 Rg1+ 78. Kh6 Kf5 79. Kh7 Rb1 80. Rg6 Rb7+ 81. Rg7 Rb8 82. Rf7+

82... Ke6? White's persistence finally pays off. The draw was in hand with 82... Kg5! 83. h6 Rb6 84. Rg7+ Kh5= 83. Kg7 Rb1 84. Rf6+ Now the White rook can block check both horizontally and vertically. He sat there shaking his head in disbelief at what he had done until his time ran out. [1:0] and a nice round of applause from the crowd.