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Anna Muzychuk vs Emil Sutovsky
ACP Golden Classic (2012), Amsterdam NED, rd 5, Jul-19
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance. Tal Variation (B12)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Both these players are far stronger than I, but I don't understand the popularity of 5....Be4/Bh7, allowing e6.

<twinlark> In the 1980s, I used to play the Advance a fair amount, mostly with Black and most of the games went 4.Nc3 e6 5.g4 Bg6 6.Nge2. That variation has plenty of sharp play, though there's even a dull snooze-fest of mine in this DB from that variation.

Jul-19-12  twinlark: Sorry <perfidious>, I had some more comment so I incorporated my earlier comment before I saw your post:

<Wild and wooly game. Caro-Kan is supposed to be nice sedate drawish snooze fest.>

into this message. It's definitely a strange variation, all right.

Sutovsky is renowned for mixing it up into tactical melees yet it was Muzychuk that took the fight to him.

They both danced around a veritable minefield of a game, and I (with the help of my trusty abacus) haven't been able to find any winning lines for either player. The closest appears to be <19. Qf3> instead of that brave and exciting exchange sacrifice <19. Rxh7>:

click for larger view

Black has to do something about his exposed king or die. The best move seems to be <19...Ke8 Ne6> when it's still on for young and old but you'd have to think White's practical chances are better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <twinlark> There seems to be a fair amount of action with 5....Be4/Bh7, but I don't understand the appeal over 5....Bd7, really. White obviously wants to play e6 for free, which he gets after the continuation above.

The position in the diagram looks unclear after your suggestion 19.Qf3, though I haven't analysed in depth. You see, even we weaker players can use the author's copout 'unclear'! After forty years' practice reading the adjective, time to have a go!

Jul-19-12  twinlark: <perfidious>

<White obviously wants to play e6 for free>

Odd one. The engine isn't especially impressed with e6, but defending against it is probably a lot harder than simply playing Bd7 as you suggest. Still, it looks like Muzychuk and Sutovsky were both in a fighting mood and the game is a beauty.

<even we weaker players can use the author's copout 'unclear'!>

Even the engine thinks this one is unclear...After <18. Qf3 Ke8 19. Ne6 Bxd4>:

click for larger view

the engine suggests a move I reckon few humans would go for, namely <21. Nc3>, but it's 2nd line is the more human friendly <21. Rh6>:

click for larger view

Black has only one saving move it seems, and it's not that obvious, especially when it seems <21...Bf2+> loses. I'll post the solution on my forum rather than leave it here as a spoiler.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <twinlark> I'm unsure what you mean, because after 5....Bd7, Black will usually play 6....e6; at any rate, the idea loses its force when e6 doesn't damage Black's pawns and weaken g6.
Jul-20-12  twinlark: <perfidious>

<There seems to be a fair amount of action with 5....Be4/Bh7, but I don't understand the appeal over 5....Bd7, really. White obviously wants to play e6 for free, which he gets after the continuation above.>

I interpreted this is meaning 5...Bd7 makes 6.e6 less attractive. I'm not familiar with this opening at all.

Jul-20-12  achieve: I haven't yet analysed this myself, but here is the account and some analysis of the game from the official website:

<The only finished game of the day was an amazing combat between Anna Muzychuk and Emil Sutovsky. Anna countered Emil's Caro-Kann with the ultra sharp h4 line of the Advance Caro-Kann, and sure had to remember quite some analyses when Sutovsky continued with the rather unusual ...h6-...Be4 combo. In the chaotic play that followed, White managed to move only his pawns and the light-squared bishop for no less than 14 moves (a remark by GM Ivan Sokolov), while Black lost his right to castle, exposed his king and sacrificed a pawn in the process. By move 16, White had all her remaining pieces but one on the first rank and Black's development could be easily dubbed as "original".

White played her only trump, i.e. a pawn attack on the king, which however never came near to winning the game and Sutovsky (who was ready to give away his queen in one of the main lines) seemed set to a remarkable victory... If only Anna had not found the fabulous 22.Nd2!!, an almost magical knight development (!) which practically keeps the balance! After some precise, yet wild play from both sides, the game ended rather justly in a repetition after 31 moves. A breathtaking exchange of blows!>

Jul-20-12  twinlark: <achieve>

<White played her only trump, i.e. a pawn attack on the king, which however never came near to winning the game>

Neither side ever had a winning position as such which also meant that neither player blundered in this incredible game. The critical point of the game seems to me to have been White's 18th, where she made the strategic and tactical decision to sac the exchange on h7, which would have won against most players.

But it seems that <18. Qf3> as explained below, would have given White excellent chances to put some real pressure - more than in the game - on Black's position. There's no forced win with this move, but White's got more chances without the counter attack Black was able to muster in the actual game.

Jul-20-12  achieve: Thanks for your clarifications. When I get the time I will dive into this game. At the moment I am working on this Bio, you see ;) My weekend assignment. Things are progressing nicely.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <twinlark> Indeed, 5....Bd7 is to prevent 6.e6, though in one of my very first games with the Caro-Kann in summer 1978, I played 5....Bh7, being lacking in understanding. My ~2000 opponent played 6.e6 fxe6 7.Bd3, after which he got the standard light-square play for the pawn.
Sep-06-12  whiteshark: Here's an in-depth video-analysis of this game by IM Christof Sielecki:
Dec-12-12  qqdos: See Garry's enthusiastic commentary on this game in Chess Informant 115. "If all draws were as action-packed as this one, the fans would clamour for more!"

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