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Vadim Zvjaginsev vs Alexander Khalifman
Russian Championship Superfinal (2005), Moscow RUS, rd 2, Dec-20
Sicilian Defense: General (B20)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-20-05  The17thPawn: <Iron Maiden> - I think black has to keep the rook at home blocking the critical h1-a8 diagonal. Maybe 33.)... Qd6 holds but black is in for a rough ride.
Dec-20-05  iron maiden: Oops, leave it to me to miss that.
Dec-20-05  Koster: I wonder if VZ will repeat Na3 in other games. I think it gives black so many ways to equalise that Khalifman used too much time trying to decide on one. I would try a line with e6 and d5, and see how white can get the horse into useful action. The line black played might be OK but gives up more space than I like to concede. Could be that 7...Qxe4 is OK for black but white has good compansation. The attack starting with e5 seems to give white at least a draw against best defence and black was in too much time pressure to defend well anyway. Rd1+ is the losing move, the rook is needed on d5 to block Qa8+ but anyone could miss that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: 37.Qa8+ Bc8 38.Qxc8+ Qd8 39.Qe6+ Kh8 40.Re8+ Qxe8 41.Qxe8#
Dec-20-05  mrbasso: I don't really like 2...Nc6.
I'd prefer 2...g6,3...Bg7 or 2...d6.
Dec-20-05  twinlark: But if not 33...Rd1+, what? He's lost, and very quickly.

Eg: 33...Qd8 34. Qe6 Rf5 35. Bh6+/+

Or 33...Qd6 34.Bh6+ Kg8 35. Re8+ Kf7 36. Rf8+ Qxf8 37.Qxd5+ wins everything

Or 33...Qc6 34.Qf3+

Or 33...Bb7 34. Bh6+

Dec-20-05  twinlark: Similarly
if 33...Rd8 34.Bh6+
Dec-20-05  Koster: <twinlark> In your 2nd line can black play 34..Bg7 instead of Kg8? Rxg7 fails now to Rd1ch and Bxg7 may not be forced win. That's a little vague I know but have to be somewhere, I will look at it more later this evening.
Dec-20-05  twinlark: <Koster> You're right. An alternative to 34.Bh6? in my second line (after 34...Qd6) is 34. Qf3+. Then if:

34...Kg7 35. Qf7 mate or
34...Rf5 35. Qa8+ .

However 34...Bf6! seems to hold (35. Bxf6? Rd1+ wins all White's pieces or mates).

If 34. f4...Bg7 holds although 35.Re8+..Kf7 36.Ra8 Rd1+ 37.Kh2 Qe6 may lead after the Q swap and the capture of the surplus Bishop on a6 to a winning endgame. (38. Ra7+ Rd7)

Back to 33....Qd6 34.Bh6 Bg7 35. Bxg7+ Kg8: How about 36.f4! and Black is helpless to prevent 37.Bh6 followed by 38.Re8+. (36...Rd1+ 37.Kh2 and Black loses a tempo defending a8 (37...Bb7 38. Rxb7)).

Dec-21-05  Chess Classics: <The17thPawn: <Norman Glaides> The I think you're a patzer attack? LOL Khalifman must have near soiled himself when Zvjaginsev played 2.)Na3>

Looks like...


Dec-22-05  twinlark: Deary deary me. It seems that after 33...Qd6 34.Bh6+ Bg7 35.Bxg7 Kg8 36. f4 Bb5 37.Bh6 Bc6 holds. 37....Qc6 also seems to hold.

Thanks ChessBase.

Anyone have a cheap Fritz? (Not that one's needed for this analysis).

Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: According to Boris Gulko, Zvjaginsev has tried this opening on a number of occasions. Gulko annotated the game in the New York Sun this week and offered the same defense written up by <twinlark> in a later post. As a, say, tuesday puzzle, the position after move 35...Bf6 is interesting.

Apr-26-06  notyetagm: A nasty <X-RAY> forces resignation after 37 ♕a8+ ♕d8 38 ♖e8+!:

click for larger view

Z-man is really strong tactically.

Apr-26-06  outplayer: 2.Na3!? can be seen in the game Zvjaginsev-Ponomariov(1), Russian Club Championships, 2006.
Apr-26-06  notyetagm: <chancho: 37.Qa8+ Bc8 38.Qxc8+ Qd8 39.Qe6+ Kh8 40.Re8+ Qxe8 41.Qxe8#>

Is this line best play?

I don't see a mate after the superior defense 37 ... ♕d8. Instead White then uses the <X-RAY> tactic with 38 ♖e8+! ♔f7 38 ♖x♕ ♖x♖ 39 ♕x♗ to win queen for rook. This line is why I thought Khalifman resigned.

Dec-06-06  Whitehat1963: Zvjag is one of the most exciting players playing today!
Feb-09-07  Timothy Glenn Forney: I agree this ending is great with the deflection coming Rf8+ snagging the Q and B,winning the game.Great Chess
May-24-07  jmrulez2004: actually 2Na3 is not a bad move... it is a move that can be made cause in the sicilian blacks dark squared bishop cannot attack the is boked by the move c5. secondly, by putting a knight in the corner"now..lets not follow the knight in corner rule too strictly, chess is supposed to be flexible" gives more space for rooks to be placed in the center. as we all know classically speaking knights should be put in the center.. but there are 2 flaws to the rule. 1. the knight hampers the pawn underneath it from moving 2. when too many chips are put in the centre..there can be a suffocation for space and mobility.

so. Na3, is an original beauty, thats what i say:D

Jun-26-08  JonathanJ: <> why don't you call this opening line zvjaginsev variation?
Mar-23-11  shakespeare: phantastic game - the main point is to play a closed sicilian without the frequent d4 trouble you can get as white - at least I got crashed several times in tournament games with a central attack in the closed sicilian starting with a black horse hopping on d4

nice analysis of this game found on Nigel Davies DVD e4 for the creative attacking player -

May-14-11  wordfunph: Zvjaginsev - Khalifman
ch-RUS Superfinal 2005

after 2.♘a3

click for larger view

there was a picture (NIC Mag 2006 #1) of Khalifman making a naughty smile after Zvjag's 2.Na3


Premium Chessgames Member
  Chess4Him: This fascinating game is about the move 2.Na3. A book by in The Grandmaster Repertoire series suggests that this move may be able to take care of "certain weaknesses". What weaknesses might Black's position offer White?
Dec-21-11  Gilmoy: <jmrulez2004: actually 2Na3 is not a bad move...>

White's <5.c3> achieves a typical left-side Sveshnikov position. Normally Black forces N(b5)a3 with a6-b5, and the main line for White involves c3-Nc2. Here, White saves a few tempi, exposes no targets, and even benefits with the irritating <15.c4>, daring Black to commit either way.

<22.Nb1!> is another good lesson: White already sees that the tour to f3 has more life than Nc2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  profK: 1. d4 f5 and 2.Nh3 happens from time to time ...This is a quasi mirror image..Should be more of it !!!
Nov-10-22  Everett: <profK: 1. d4 f5 and 2.Nh3 happens from time to time ...This is a quasi mirror image..Should be more of it !!!>

I agree!

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