Saturday, 26 June 2010

Benoni Smoothie

As promised, here is one of my nice games I played in Italy against Maya Porat from Israel. I was happy with this game because my preparation paid off and the whole game seemed to smoothly follow from the beginning to the end as I gradually outplayed my opponent. Simon even called this game thematic for Benoni which I feel is a nice compliment. You can replay the game via an applet below, but here is the game with my commentary.

Maria Yurenok (1984) - Maya Porat (2182)
5 June 2010, 1st Open Di Roseto

I chose to play this particular variation of Benoni (A79) because I found a game in that variation which GM Yaacov Zilberman played against Maya and I liked it for white. First 17 moves pretty much follow that game (with move order changes).

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7. Nd2 Bg7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 Re8 10. O-O Na6 11. f3 Nc7 12. a4 b6 13. Nc4 Ba6 14. Bg5 h6 15. Be3 Rb8 16. Qd2 Kh7 17. Rab1 Bxc4 - in the above mentioned game Maya played 17...Qd7

18. Bxc4 a6 - clearly my opponent wants to play 19...b5 so I employ prophylactics:

19. Qd3!? Qc8?! - black can still play 19...b5 ending up with some compensation for a pawn: 20. axb5 axb5 21. Nxb5 Nxb5 22. Bxb5 Nxd5 23. Qxd5 Rxb5 24. Qxf7 +/= But I guess it's not everyone's cup of tea. However, after the move in the game the d6 pawn can be attacked, keeping initiative with white.

20. Bf4 Bf8 - I'm happy for black's bishop to come off the big diagonal! Although 20...Rd8 was probably not much better.

21. b4 - I continue with my obvious plan of advancing on the queenside

21...Nh5 +/-  it's probably better to put the knight on d7 giving black an option to put the knight on c5 or e5 in some cases. The way the game unfolds the knight never leaves its h5 square until the end of the game.

22. Be3 Bg7 23. bxc5 bxc5 24. Rxb8 Qxb8 25. Rb1 - clearly I can't take on a6 just yet as my c3 knight is hanging. However, capturing the b-file is a big bonus.

25...Qd8 - I was expecting something like 25...Qa7 followed by 26...Rb8 trying to contest the b-file. But it's not easy as a6 and d6 pawns are weak and both of black's knights are poorly placed.

26. Ne2 Qd7 27. Rb7 +/-  my rook is in heaven!

27...f5? - trying to create some counter-attack but it's just weakening black's position. It's hard to suggest a good plan of defence for black, perhaps 27...Re7 keeping everything defended for the time being. There was a possible clever trap: 27...Nf6 28. Bxa6? (28.Qb3 is good instead) Qxa4 29. Rxc7? Qa5 -+ threatening mate in one and the rook. Note, this wouldn't work with black's knight still on h5 as there is an intermediate move g4 attacking the knight and giving escape to the king, e.g: 27...Qxa4 28. g4 +- and one of the knights will fall.

28. exf5 gxf5 29. Bf2 - I missed that I could win pretty quickly if I played: 29. Bd2! Nf6 (otherwise the knight on h5 is hanging with a check in many variations, e.g.: 29...Qc8 30. Rxc7 Qxc7 31. Qxf5+ followed by 32.Qxh5) 30. Ba5 Rc8 31. Bxa6 and black is completely lost

29... Kh8 - again 29... Qxa4 doesn't work because of 30. g4 +-

30. Qb3 Qf7 31. Bxa6 - it was interesting to try something like 31. Bxc5 dxc5 32. d6 Qf6 33. dxc7 Nf4 34. Nxf4 Qd4+ 35. Kf1 Qxf4 36. g3 Qc1+ 37. Kg2 Qd2+ 38. Kh3 Qd7 39. Rb8 +- but why complicate things for yourself, especially close to time-trouble? After my move in the game black's position is very hard to defend anyway.

31... Qxd5 32. Qxd5 Nxd5 33. Bb5! - clearing the pathway for the a-pawn.

33... Rc8? - this loses quickly and I don't have to think very hard - just push the a-pawn forward! The best practical chance would have been 33... Ra8 as it gives white opportunities to go wrong. The best of white's responses would have been 34.Bc6! threatening 35.Rxg7 and winning quickly after favourable exchange of pieces. However, white's alternative options like 34. Be1 or 34. Rd7 would have taken more effort to finish the game.

34. a5 Ra8 35. a6 Nb4 36. a7 Kh7 37. Be1 Kg6 38. Bxb4 cxb4 39. Bc6 Be5 40. Re7 - my opponent resigned as she either loses the rook or the pawn queens 1-0


Pau said...

Excellent!! congratulations!! well done,.

Maria Yurenok said...

Thanks Pau :)

Alberto Santini said...

Very enlightening game.

The opening move order is interesting, because e4 is delayed.

I like Be2 instead Bd3 because the bishop, finally, is not chased by the knight.

For 19...b5 see Topalov Veselin (BUL) - Simeonov Stefan (BUL), Ch Bulgaria, 1989, but I think you know that game. :)

I like the idea to sac the exchange in c7.

Maria Yurenok said...

Thanks Alberto.

I think the idea of delaying e4 is to avoid giving black an option to develop their bishop on g4.

Yes, I've seen Topalov's game when I was analysing mine for publishing. Nice win from very young Topalov!