White: GM Yury Shulman
Black: Peter Bereolos
2003 Chicago Open
Round 2 Board 7
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 Na6 8. O-O Ng4 9. Bg5 f6 I had been prepared to play the currently fashionable line 9... Qe8 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. h3 f6!? but decided at the board to play this older variation. That's not a good sign. 10. Bh4 Theory regards 10. Bc1 as better than the text, but in my database they have scored about the same. 10... Qe8?! This move may be playable, but I award it the dubious mark because of my previous experience with it. I had played this move against Tom Rowan in the 1997 Space City Open. Afterwards, I looked up the theoretical recommendation and found that Nunn awards white a clear advantage after 11. c5! I didn't really analyze that position to see if Nunn's evaluation was correct, but that is the whole point, I didn't have anything prepared against 11. c5. All that having been said it seems that if Black is not going to play his queen to e8 on move 9, then maybe he should try to take advantage of that fact with moves like 10...Nh6 or 10...c6 since e8 isn't the most ideal square for the queen. Note that Black need not fear the tactical sequence 10... Nh6 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qxd8 Rxd8 13. Nxe5 because 13... g5 wins a piece. 11. Re1 Rowan played the insipid 11. dxe5 which doesn't trouble Black at all. The text move has scored even better than 11. c5 in my database. 11... c6 12. a3 h5 This move has been played in this type of position ( I found a couple of games where it was played on the previous move) but looking at it now, it seems a bit suspicious. Black is starting a flank action with a still fluid center, so Shulman takes the classical approach and looks for a counterattack in the center. It was probably better to regroup with 12...Nh6 13. Bg3 Nh6 [13... g5 14. h3 Nh6 15. c5] 14. c5 exd4 15. Bxa6 dxc3 15... dxc5 16. Bc4+ Be6 17. Bxe6+ Qxe6 didn't seem like enough for a piece; 15... bxa6 16. Qxd4 and Black's position is littered with weaknesses 16. Bc4+ Be6 17. Bxe6+ Qxe6 18. cxd6 cxb2 19. Rb1 Nf7 20. Rxb2 b6 I really didn't like my position after 20... Rfd8 21. Rxb7 (White might do better to keep his passer with 21. Rd2 c5 (21... Rd7)) 21... Nxd6 22. Bxd6 Rxd6 23. Qa4 but that is better than the text. The d-pawn is a bone down Black's throat that he should try to eliminate at all costs. 21. Rd2 Qd7 22. Nh4
22...g5 I saw most of what was about to happen, but thought maybe I could get a piece for my problems. Anyway, 22... Nh8 or 22... Kh7 didn't look too appealing after 23. f4 23. Nf5 h4 24. Ne7+ Kh7 25. e5! Threatening e6 on top of everything else 25...fxe5 25... Qe6 26. exf6 Qxf6 27. Qc2+ is no better 26. Qh5+ Nh6 27. Qg6+ Kh8 28. Bxe5 [1:0] 28...Qxe7 is the only way to avoid 29. Qxh6#. In my original notes I mentioned that Crafty said it is still mate in 7, but given a little more time to look at it, the beast decided that it was mate in 6.