Grunfeld Defense, Russian System: Game in 30

This is a game I played on Chess.com today with an up-and-coming player. I thought it was good chess, yet we each missed golden opportunities. Both players saw better moves at the critical junctures but did not fully appreciate their value. Seeing good moves, even if you reject them, represents progress toward chess acumen. The time controls were thirty minutes and the game took place in the Russian system.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. Bf4 c6 8. e4
b5 {I had never seen this move before but it is black’s best try against the
Russian System. It will lead to simple equality. In this particular game I
hoped to prove black overextended.}

9. Qb3 Qa5 (9… a5 10. Qc2 Bg4 11. Be3 Bxf3 12. gxf3 {White must incur a pawn weakness in order to avoid losing the pawn on d4 (though he would have plenty of play).}) 10. Bd3 Be6 11. Qa3 Qxa3 12. bxa3 Nbd7 13. Ng5 Ng4 14. Nxe6 fxe6 15. Be3 Nxf2 (15… a6 16. Be2 Nxe3 17. fxe3 c5) 16. Bxf2 Rxf2 17. Kxf2 Bxd4+ 18. Ke2 Bxc3 19. Rac1 Bb2 20. Rxc6 Ne5 {Putting direct pressure on the pawn fixes the rook. White might have some ideas about putting the rook on a5 to set up a sacrifice. White would like totrade his bishop for black’s superior knight.} 21. Rc5 Nxd3 {I think black should have kept the knight on its strong square.} 22. Kxd3 a6 23. Rd1 (23. a4 b4 {This variation concerned me, though I liked the look of white’s a4. As it turns out the b pawn is not that dangerous. Black’s fate is tied to his pawn, so white should further tie down black’s rook to a8 and do damage with his other heavy piece.}) 23… Bxa3 24. Rc6 Bd6 25. h3 Kf7 26. Ke3 e5 27. Kf3 {A feint towards the queenside. Black cannot push his pawns yet.} a5 28. Rd5 b4 29. Rb5 h5 30. Rbb6 Rd8 31. Ra6 b3 32. Rxa5 {?} (32. axb3 g5 {White is winning though the fight is uphill.}) 32… b2 (32… Bb4 33. Ra4 Rd3+ 34. Kf2 Rd2+ 35. Kg3 {A brilliant drawing line that neither player noticed.}) 33. Rb5 Ba3 34. Ke2 Rd4 35. Rc3 Rxe4+ 36. Kd1 Bb4 37. Rb3 Re1+ 38. Kc2 Re2+ (38… Bc5 39. Kxb2 Bd4+ 40. Ka3 e4 {It’s a theoretical draw after a rook exchange. A pawn and an advanced passer equal the exchange.}) 39. Kb1 Rf2 (39… Bd2 40. a4 Rxg2 41. a5 e4 42. a6) 40. R5xb4 Rxg2 41. Rxb2 Rg1+ 42. Kc2 {My opponent is in time pressure because I talk too much.} Rg2+ 43. Kd1 Rg1+ 44. Ke2 Rg2+ 45. Kf3 Rxb2 46. Rxb2 Kf6 47. h4 e6 48. a4 g5 49. a5 1-0

 

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