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Evgeny Alekseev vs Alexander Riazantsev
Russian Championship Superfinal (2008), Moscow RUS, rd 7, Oct-10
French Defense: Steinitz. Boleslavsky Variation (C11)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-10-08  Ezzy: Alekseev,Evgeny - Riazantsev,Alexander [C11]
Superfinal 61st RUS-ch Moscow (7), 10.10.2008

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qd2 0–0 9.Be2 a6 10.0–0 b5 11.a3 Qc7<20 games in the database, and 19 games played 11...Qb6 which does seem a more active square for the queen.> 12.Nd1 <Novelty I think. 12 dxc5 has been played before, which is also the computer choice.> 12...Rb8 13.c3 a5 14.Bf2< Black was obviously starting a plan of queenside expansion. Alekseev is positioning his pieces for a kingside attack, moving his knight from c3 - d1 - e3 with the idea of a future f5 pawn push.> 14...b4 15.axb4 axb4 16.Ne3< With idea's of 17 c4 or 17 f5. >16...Na5< A double purpose move stopping 17 c4 and also threatening 17... Nb3.> 17.Qd1 bxc3 18.bxc3 Nb3 19.Rb1 Na5< I’m quite shocked that Riazantsev didn't play 19...c4. He probalty thought that it may somehow fix his queenside and stop any further action or counterplay, but Alekseev hasn't really started anything yet on the kingside. Whites e2 bishop also looks pretty miserable after 19...c4.> 20.f5 Rxb1 21.Qxb1 Qb6 22.Qa2 Nc6 <Not really threatening 23...cxd4 24 cxd4 Nxd4 because white has 25 Nxd5.attacking the d4 knight with the bishop on f2.> 23.Rb1 Qa5 24.Qxa5 Nxa5< So, all this queenside activity has come to nothing for black. Now white starts his assault on the kingside.> 25.g4 Bd8 26.Bd3 cxd4 27.cxd4 Nc4? <This is just strange.. Perhaps he got frustrated and thought he had no scope for his pieces and sacrificing this pawn would help. But it doesn't.> 28.Nxc4 dxc4 29.Bxc4 Nb6 30.Ba2 exf5 31.d5 Na4< [31...fxg4 32.Nd4 Na4 33.Rc1 Looks good for white.]> 32.Rc1 Ba5 33.Nd4 Nc3 34.Bc4< White threatens 35 Be1 35 Nc6 and all sorts of nasty things.> 34...Bb7< [34...Ne4 35.Nc6 Nxf2 36.Kxf2 Bb6+ 37.Kg3 And it still looks grim for black.] >35.Nxf5 Ne4 36.d6 Ng5< Desperation, hoping for 27...Nf3+ picking up the e5 pawn - but it aint gonna happen.> 37.Ne7+ Kh8 38.Be2? <A bad move. White should not be taking the bishop off this diagonal. If black now plays 38..f6 then 39 e6 is not now possible. [38.Bg3 Is correct.]> 38...Nh3+?< Black has his chance to get back in the game. [38...f6! 39.e6 (39.Bg3 fxe5 40.Bxe5?? Nh3# Now that's a nice mate!!) 39...Nxe6 and white has dissipated his big advantage.]> 39.Kf1 Nxf2 40.Kxf2 Bb6+ 41.Kf1 Bd8 42.Rb1 Ba8< All the pieces on the back rank. Not the scope he wanted for his bishops when he made the strange pawn sacrifice. >43.Kf2 g6 44.Bf3 Kg7 <44...Bxf3 45.Kxf3 Bxe7 46.dxe7 Re8 47.Rb7 Kg7 48.g5 h6 49.h4 Is still winning. White just marches his king forward]> 45.Bxa8 Bxe7 46.dxe7 Rxa8 47.g5< And white just plays Rb7 and marched the king forward to d7. Black's king is serving a life sentence.> 1–0

Well played Alekseev. Riazantsev tried everything on the queenside to get some play and it was only temporary. He even became worse. Then he started to hallucinate with visions of freeing his pieces with a dubious pawn sacrifice 27…Nc4?

Alekseev then pushed for a breakthrough which succeeded, but he played the aweful 38 Be2 which could have wrecked his big advantage, but black didn’t see 38…f6!. Then it was just a matter of technique.

I like the imprisoned king at the end. Enjoyable game!

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