Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Zlotnikov annotates last week's win versus Tennessee

IM Mikhail Zlotnikov generously agreed to annotate his win from last week versus FM Todd Andrews of the Tempo. I edited some of his comments, but the annotations are his. You can replay the game unannotated here.

Editor's note: Zlotnikov and Andrews played in the last round of the U-2400 section of the 2007 World Open. Zlotnikov won that game, and tied for first.

I played my last and critical game in the World Open's U2400 section and won a game against Andrews by playing 1. c4. So, in this game, I decided to use 1. Nf3, so I wouldn't be surprised by my opponent's possible preparation. Our game went a familiar route; my opponent likes to develop his bishops on b7 and b4 and Queen via e8 to h5 to attack my king.

1.Nf3 e6 2.g3 b6 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.0-0 f5 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 Black would like to eliminate the Knight on c3, before starting an attack on the kingside, so it doesn't participate in struggle for the center.

7.Qc2 In order to take Knight with the Queen after exchange on c3.

7...0-0 8.d3 Bxc3 9.Qxc3 Qe8 10.b4 This attacks the center and queenside, which counterbalances Black on the kingside. It also allows me to develop my Bishop to b2 and threaten g7.

10...d6 11.c5! This forces Black's Knight to develop to a6 instead of d7 because of the threat of the pawn fork on c6.

11...Na6 12.cxd6 cxd6 13.Bb2 Rc8 14.Qd2 14. Qd4 looked promising, but I didn't want to allow ... Rc2.

14...e5 15.a3 Allows the Queen to be flexible.

15...Qh5 16.Rac1 Trying to exchange both Rooks and relieve pressure on my King, which also has the benefit of a favorable endgame.

16...Nc7 Black tries to avoid exchanging, and instead, moves his Knight to e6 to support his kingside attack.

17.b5!! The start of a good strategic plan, which includes several moves with Queen from d2-b4-h4. Black can't take the pawn, because of Qb4, followed by a4.

17...Ne6 18.Qb4 Rcd8 19.Qh4 Qe8 If instead, 19... Bxf3 20. Bxf3 Qxh4 21. gxh4, and White has a slightly better endgame.

20.a4 Protecting the b-pawn and leaving open the option to move Bishop to a3 to attack the pawn on d6.

20...h6 Black tries to attack the queen; White must find a way to attack the center or queenside. I decided to exchange my Bishop on g2 and get access with my Rook to square c6.

21.Nd2 Bxg2 22.Kxg2 f4 23.Rc6 Rd7 Preparing to move ... g5, and if I take the pawn on h6, Black will kidnap my Queen.

24.Qh3 Before I mount attack on the pawn on d6, I must first prepare the defense of my kingside.

24...g5 25.f3 h5 26.Nc4 g4 27.Qh4 Nd4 Black's attack has reached a dead end, so he tries to create some counterplay, but it's too late.

28.Rxd6 Attacking Black's Knight on f6.

28...gxf3+ 29.exf3 Rxd6 30.Nxd6 Qe6 Only move. The rest is easy.

31.Qg5+ Kh8 32.Bxd4 exd4 33.Nf5 Ne8 34.Qxh5+ Kg8 35.g4 Ng7 36.Qg5 Qf6 37.Qxf6 Rxf6 38.Nxg7 Kxg7 39.Re1 1-0

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