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Michael Adams vs Ruslan Ponomariov
Linares (2002), Linares ESP, rd 2, Feb-24
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Zaitsev System (C92)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Why did Ruslan not play the "obvious" 24. ...Qc7? His move ...Ra7 was pure desperation, but was his position really that desperate?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I'd also like to add, 23. Bb3 was brilliant. All I had considered was 23. Be4, which was still probably also good for White, but Adam's choice was extremely testing.
Feb-28-02  Doctor Who: Here is analysis of this game by Malcolm Pein
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Sneaky> Your 24...Qc7 looks better than Ruslan's 24...Ra7. On 24...Qc7, perhaps Michael Adams intended 25. Ne3 with the idea of bringing his knight to g4 and then bringing his rook to e3 to put pressure on the e5 pawn while defending c3. However, this plan is slow and positional and black has resources to defend and should still be OK. The try 25. f4 here looks silly after 25...e4.

Does <Crafty> or anyone else see a refutation to Sneaky's 24...Qc7?

Aug-26-03  crafty: 24...♕c7 25. ♘e3 e4 26. ♘f5 ♖a7 27. ♖e3 ♔h8 28. ♘d4   (eval 0.46; depth 14 ply; 1000M nodes)
Nov-18-04  sourcerer: grandmaster error 47.....g4?
Aug-24-05  alexandrovm: ups, I must say lol here: 75. ...Rg3
May-29-07  Knight13: The reason of playing 75... Rg3 was to get himself mated.
Apr-19-08  positionalgenius: Allowing mate here is rather witty. I guess that was ponomariov's salute to a well played game by adams?
Feb-05-09  freeman8201: yes lol
May-14-09  WhiteRook48: 75...Rg3??
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: This was, apparently, the first time that Ponomariov had used the Zaitsev system (..Bb7). Adams had recently played 18 Ng4 against Beliavsky at Leon 2001; here he played 18 Bg5 to avoid preparation. At the 2001 Austrian Team Championship Almasi had played 19 Bh4 against Beliavsky and the game had been drawn; 18 Bxf6 was new.

Adams after 21..d5?!:
"This move shows a lack of experience with this variation. In these lines d5 is often a dangerous move to play as White's pieces become very active. Better were either 21..a5 or 21..Rc8..." (or 21..Bd7).

Black chose 24..Ra7?! hoping that he could hold pawn down endgame (owing to the two bishops and the weak pawn on c3); the alternative was was 24..Qc7 25 Ne3..e4 26 Qg6..Re7 27 Rad1..Kh8 28 Qf5 hoping that he could defend in a difficult middlegame. Adams felt that White would have similar winning chances in the opposite color bishop ending after 33..Bf5 34 Nxf5..gxf 35 Kd2.

Kasparov pointed out after the game that White had an easier win with 46 b5..Rg3 47 b6..Bxg2 48 Rxg2..Rxg2 49 b7..Ra2+ 50 Kb5..Rb2+ 51 Kc6..Rxb7 52 Bxb7 the point being that if Black leaves his king in the corner White can "stalemate" the black king by puuting his king on f8 and bishop on g8 forcing Black to play ..g4.

48..Rg3 regaining the g-pawn would have been a tougher defense though would not have changed the final result.

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