12. Winning Andersson Style

Hoogovenschaaktoernooi_1976_16,_17_Sosonko_14,_15_Andersson,_kop,_Bestanddeelnr_928-3654

The Swedish GM Ulf Andersson is famous for his extreme dry playing style. In his games, his main objective is to stifle his opponents activities with the help of astute prophylactic maneuvers. Once this is fulfilled, he will slowly increase the value of his own assets by patiently accumulating small advantages. Very often, he will reach an ending with a small but enduring edge. Instead of being tired and unfocused, which happens to many other players, Andersson is fully energized here, because he thrives in this sort of position. His style of slow accumulation enables him to win games against strong opponents, where it is sometimes difficult to find any grave mistakes in their play. It appeared as though they were sucked into a slowly revolving vortex. I am convinced, that the following game of mine qualifies for having “Andersson grade”:

1) I went for a rigid structure which was favorable for me due to my opponent’s weak square d5.

2) After that, the game was one-sided. The only likely result was a draw or 1-0. This is exactly what Andersson likes. Even if the chance for the draw is very high compared to the chance of him winning, he might go for it as long as the chance of him losing is nil. Accordingly, the draw rate of his games is quite high. But, whenever his opponent defends with only second best moves, he will relentlessly pounce on that. Consequently, a slight initial advantage might be enough for Andersson, because his opponents tend to add to that later on.

3) I almost won the game without tactics. I only had to calculate some short variations in moments, in which I had to decide about the most efficient way to turn the bench vice another round. Defensive calculations have not been necessary at all.

4) I was very patient throughout the entire game and improved my position whenever I could before taking actions.

But please, have a look and decide for yourself.

 

[Event "Tapolca"] [Site "?"] [Date "1986.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Wahls"] [Black "Egedi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B52"] [WhiteElo "2450"] [BlackElo "2380"] [PlyCount "137"] [SourceVersionDate "2002.05.06"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ {Diagram [#] The Moscow
Variation is an interesting side line for players who don't have the time to
learn the Open Sicilian. I used it as a transition line (this topic was
discussed in game 8), but made the mistake to linger too long in its cosiness
instead of learning how to kill the Najdorf. Consequently, the Najdorf gave me
a comparatively hard time afterwards, due to my lack of experience. Note:
Learning a complex opening against strong opposition is different from getting
used to it, while your opponents are still playing soft.} Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 ({
A good alternative is} 4... Nxd7 {which Kasparov played against me (see game
11).}) 5. O-O Nc6 6. c3 ({The alternative} 6. c4 {leads to a
Maroczy-bind-structure.}) 6... Nf6 7. d4 {Diagram [#]} e5 $6 {In the face of further central pawn thrusts by White, Black needs stability in the center. Establishing a strong barrier is
one way to solve this problem, however, it comes with a price. Black's pawn
structure now becomes rigid and the square d5 cannot be defended by pawns any
longer.} ({Better is} 7... Nxe4 8. d5 Ne5 $1 (8... Nb8 $2 9. Re1 Nf6 10. Bg5
$16 {with a strong attack}) 9. Re1 (9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Re1 Nd6 11. Rxe5 g6 $11)
9... Nxf3+ 10. Qxf3 Nf6 11. Na3 {and White has enough compensation for the
pawn, but probably not more.}) 8. dxe5 $1 {I decided to freeze the pawn
structure, since it was favorable for me. And as you know, a static advantage
is easier to handle than a dynamic one. The exclamation mark is for the
logical reasoning and the determination of my play. Alternatives such as 8.Re1
and 8.d5 might be equally strong, while} (8. dxc5 $2 Nxe4 $1 9. cxd6 Bxd6 $11 {
is clearly worse.}) 8... dxe5 {[%csl Yd5] Diagram [#] This is a famous pawn
structure, which you might know from the King's Indian Defence (with colors
reversed) or the Closed Spanish. And as you can see here, it can originate
from other openings as well. Hence, it is a marvelous example for the
universal significance of knowing the most important pawn structures. In
contrast to specific variations, which depend on your ability to memorize them
and hardly contain any exterior value, the knowledge of structures is the true
essence of your chess wisdom. It is neither bound to one place (a specific
line) nor does it depend on time (it cannot be refuted, like a specific order
of moves, hence it is timeless!). Consider the knowledge of structures your
most precious asset in chess! Needless to say, that the whole on d5 is the
most important feature of this position.} 9. Qe2 Be7 $6 {Here, Black had two
reasonable plans which would have kept White's advantage within acceptable
boundaries: either preventing Bg5 with 9...h6 or swapping queens by invading
on d3 (9...0-0-0 or 9...Rd8).} (9... h6 10. Na3 Be7 11. Nc4 Qe6 (11... Qc7 $2
12. a4 O-O 13. Nh4 Rfd8 14. Nf5 Bf8 15. Qf3 $16 {[%cal Rf5h6]}) 12. a4 O-O 13.
Nh4 Rfd8 14. Nf5 Bf8 {with a slight but lasting advantage to White.}) 10. Bg5
$1 {The defender of the square d5 has to be removed.} O-O $2 (10... Ng8 $2 {
You should acquaint yourself with this nice motive (preserving the precious
knight), but also note, that it doesn't function in this specific position,
since the loss of time can be exploited by White:} 11. Rd1 Qe6 12. Na3 Bxg5 13.
Nxg5 Qe7 14. Nb5 Kf8 15. Nf3 g6 16. Rd2 Kg7 (16... Rd8 17. Rxd8+ Qxd8 18. Rd1
Qe7 19. Nd6 Kg7 20. Qb5 Nf6 21. Rd2 Qc7 (21... Rd8 22. Qxb7) 22. Qxc5) 17. Nd6
Nf6 18. Nh4 {[%cal Rh4f5]} Qc7 19. Qe3 {[%cal Re3g5,Rh4f5]} h6 20. Qxc5 $18) (
10... Nh5 $2 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. Qxh5) (10... O-O-O $2 11. Na3 Qd3 12. Qxd3 Rxd3
13. Nc4 $16 {[%cal Rc4e5,Re5f7]}) (10... Rd8 $1 {The same idea as 9..0-0-0,
but without problems on f7.} 11. Na3 Qd3 $14) 11. Rd1 Qc7 $6 (11... Qe6 {
looks more natural.}) 12. Bxf6 $1 Bxf6 {[%csl Yc5,Gd5,Ye5,Yf6][%cal Gb1d2,
Gd2c4,Gc4e3,Ge3d5,Gd2f1,Gf1e3] Diagram [#] It is plain to see that my knight
is superior to his bishop. Not only is his bishop unable to participate in the
battle for the key square d5, it is also quite restricted by his own pawns.}
13. Nbd2 Rad8 {Black's only active idea consists in expanding on the queenside
with a6, b5 and c4, followed by Be7-c5. However desirable this might appear,
it is not feasible due to its consumption of time, which would have permitted me to
activate my pieces. Also, the pawn on b5 might become a target and can be
attacked with a4, as the following lines demonstrate:} (13... a6 14. Nf1 b5 15.
Ne3 Be7 {Black let's the knight enter d5, in order to follow up with his own
plan c4 and Bc5. However, the square d5 is also useful to other pieces than
the knight.} (15... Ne7 16. Ng4 $1 {Black's kingside structure is about to be
crippled, since the queen cannot defend the bishop without abandoning the
king's pawn.} Rfd8 17. g3 {When there is no need to rush, a bit of air is
always welcome.} Nc6 {[%cal Gf6e7]} 18. Nxf6+ gxf6 19. a4 {[%csl Ya6,Yb5,Yd5,
Yf5,Yf6] As you can see, Black has a lot of weaknesses.} Rxd1+ 20. Rxd1 bxa4 (
20... Rb8 21. Rd2 $1 {[%cal Gd2b2,Re2d1,Rd2d7]} Kg7 (21... bxa4 22. Qxa6) (
21... Ne7 22. Qd1) 22. Nh4 Ne7 23. Qd1 $18) 21. Qc4 a3 22. bxa3 Ne7 23. Qa4 $1
{[%cal Rd1d7]} Kf8 (23... Qc6 24. Qxc6 Nxc6 25. Rd6) 24. Nh4 {[%csl Ya6,Yc5,
Yf6,Yh7][%cal Rd1d7]} Ra7 25. Rd2 Ra8 26. Kg2 Ra7 27. Qd1 {[%cal Rd2d8]} Ra8
28. Rd6 $18) 16. Rd5 $1 Rfd8 17. Rad1 Bf8 (17... Rxd5 18. exd5 Nd8 19. Nf5 {
[%cal Re2e5,Rd5d6]}) (17... f6 18. Nh4 Bf8 19. Qg4 $18 {[%cal Rd5d7]}) 18. Ng5
$1 {Provoking further light-squared weaknesses in Black's camp.} h6 (18... Qe7
19. Qg4 $16 {[%cal Rd5d7]}) 19. Nf3 c4 20. a4 Rab8 (20... Qb6 21. axb5 axb5 22.
Nxe5) 21. h4 $1 Rxd5 (21... Rb7 22. Ng4 $1 f6 23. Ne3 Rdb8 24. h5 Ne7 25. R5d2
Kh7 26. g3 Qc5 27. Nh4 $16 {[%cal Ge2g4,Gh4f5,Gd2d7]}) 22. exd5 Nd8 23. Nf5 f6
24. Nd2 Nf7 (24... g6 25. Ne3 h5 (25... f5 26. h5 $1) 26. axb5 axb5 27. Ne4 Qg7
(27... f5 28. Nxf5 $1 gxf5 29. Nf6+ Kf7 30. d6 Bxd6 31. Nd5 Qc5 32. Qxh5+ Kf8
33. Qh6+ Kf7 34. h5 $18) 28. Qf3 f5 29. Nxf5 $1 gxf5 30. Qxf5 Nf7 31. Nf6+ Kh8
32. d6 Nh6 33. Qxe5 Rd8 34. Rd5 Ng8 35. Qxh5+ Qh6 36. Ne4 Qxh5 37. Rxh5+ Kg7
38. Rxb5 $18) 25. Ne4 Nd6 26. Nfxd6 Bxd6 27. axb5 axb5 28. Qg4 {[%cal Re4f6,
Rg4e6]} Kh8 29. Qe6 Rd8 30. h5 Qd7 31. g4 $1 b4 32. Kg2 bxc3 33. bxc3 Ba3 34.
Qxd7 Rxd7 35. Ra1 Be7 36. d6 Bf8 37. f4 exf4 38. Kf3 Kg8 39. Ra6 Kf7 40. Kxf4
g6 41. Rc6 gxh5 (41... Rd8 42. Rc7+ Ke6 43. hxg6) (41... Kg7 42. Rc7 $18) 42.
gxh5 Rd8 43. Kf5 $18 {It is all about the white squares!}) 14. Nf1 g6 15. Ne3
Ne7 {Diagram [#]} 16. Rxd8 $1 {Exchanging all the rooks appeared logical to me out of two
reasons: 1. The ensuing ending queen + knight versus queen + bishop (a pair
of knights could be easily changed later on, and if not, the combination queen
+ 2 knights is even more fearsome) is highly favorable in rigid structures like this. 2. My queen would find invasion squares more easily
without rooks on the board.} Rxd8 {Here, my opponent was disregarding chess etiquette and offered me a draw, having the worse position, being the worse player and leading the black pieces.} 17. Rd1 b6 $6 {True, it is always desirable to overprotect pawns
which might hang eventually at the end of some unfortunate variation. But the
price his high. More white squares are weakened (also b5, since a6 cannot be
played that easily anymore - note that chain reaction!), and more pawns are on
the same color as the bishop.} 18. g3 $1 {You never know when your king needs
air in the future. But there is more to it. Putting the pawns on black squares
also restricts the activity of his bishop.} Bg7 19. Rxd8+ Qxd8 20. Qc4 $1 {
[%cal Gc4f7,Gf3g5,Gg5f7,Rc4a4,Ra4a7,Ra4e8] Diagram [#] What a square! From c4
she pressurizes f7 and threatens to move to a4, after which the pawn a7 could
not defended anymore by sensible means.} Qd7 (20... h6 $2 21. Qa4 $1 Nc8 (21...
Qc7 $2 22. Qe8+ Bf8 23. Ng4 $18) 22. Nc4 f6 23. Qc6) 21. Kg2 $1 {Whenever your
opponent has to stay put, it is advisable to exercise as many small
corrections to your position as possible. They might be useful later on. Can
you imagine, with this harmless king move alone, I achieved four different
goals! Maybe you want to figure them out by yourself....Okay, here they are: 1. I
overprotected the Nf3 2. I moved away my king from a potential check on the
first rank (that could save me a tempo later). 3. I moved the king closer to
the center. Maybe, he will continue to f3, who knows. And 4., well that is
a bit of a Grandmaster secret, a method I used in many, many games. Maybe it
is the single most powerful weapon of all...... I passed the DUTY of moving
back to my opponent! After all, it is only when it is his turn to move, that
he can commit a mistake, right? According to my experience, there is hardly
anything as difficult as making a move when all you can do is wait. It is a
psychological problem. Being in a passive position is painful, and the natural
impulse is to get rid of this pain, by creating counterplay, for instance. But
what if there is no genuine counterplay? What if all the pseudo-active moves
only lead to more weaknesses and more problems in reality?} h6 {The motivation
of his move is clear, but now we have another pawn on black (the bishop cannot
use h6 for the moment) and even more light-squared weaknesses.....} 22. a4 $1 {
[%cal Ra4a5,Ra5a6] Diagram [#] Of course, it is important to use the board in
its entire width to attack your opponent. Black has to reckon now with
additional motives: 1. a4-a5xb6, thus creating a weakness on b6 which might
be attacked by Qb3 and Nc4 2. a4-a5-a6, thus creating a potential far
advanced passed pawn (Whites knight might attack the pawn a7 from b5, or, after an
exchange of queens, there might follow Nc4xb6!). 3. a4-a5 followed by Qa6.
This third plan looks like the most realistic one. By not changing an b6,
Black cannot actively defend his b-pawn with Qc6 (attacking e4), because he
still has to look after his pawn on a7. Depending on the circumstances, I
might transfer my king's knight to c4, augmenting the pressure on b6.} Nc6 {
Apparently, my opponent preferred to surrender the square d5 in order to stop
the dangerous a-pawn.} 23. Nd5 {Finally! I worked for this to happen since I
played 8.dxe5. It is definitely an important milestone on the way to victory.}
Kh7 {Black bases his hopes on counterplay with f7-f5, which now is his only
active plan. Since I am in control of the white squares, it is doubtful
whether this will bring him any good, however.} 24. Qd3 $1 {Before executing
my main idea, I make a little side step with the queen, in order to chase his
king to an inferior square. Such moves are not as spectacular as tactical blows,
for instance, still they are an important part of mastery, even more so, if
you want to play Andersson style.} Kh8 25. Qb5 {Now the threat is 26.a5.} Kh7 {
Black is renewing his idea f7-f5. The immediate pawn advance fails, however:} (
25... f5 $2 26. Nh4 {Now the king's absence from h7 makes itself felt.} Qd6 (
26... Kh7 $2 27. Qd3 $18 {[%cal Rd5f6,Re4f5]}) 27. Qc4 (27. Qd3 $2 Ne7) 27...
fxe4 (27... Na5 $2 28. Qd3 c4 29. Qf3 $18) (27... Qe6 $2 28. exf5 gxf5 29. Nxb6
$18) 28. Qxe4 Kh7 29. Nf3 Kg8 30. Nd2) (25... Qe6 26. Nd2 Na5 (26... f5 27. Qd3
Qd7 28. Qf3 $16) 27. Nc4 (27. Nf1 $5 h5 28. Nfe3 Bh6 29. Nc7 Qc8 30. Ned5)
27... Nxc4 28. Qxc4 Bf8 {(protecting c5)} (28... Qd7 29. a5 bxa5 30. Qxc5 Qa4
31. Qc8+ Kh7 32. Ne7 Qxe4+ 33. Kh3 h5 34. Qg8+ Kh6 35. Qxf7 Qg4+ 36. Kg2 Qe4+
37. Qf3 Qc4 38. Qc6 Qf7 39. Nd5 a4 40. Ne3 $16) 29. h3 $1 {(preventing Qg4)} (
29. Qa6 Qg4 30. f3 Qd7 31. a5 bxa5 32. Qxa5 Qb7 33. Qa2 {White has the
advantage, but his king's position is a bit open.}) 29... Qd7 30. Qa6 f5 31. a5
fxe4 32. Ne3 $16) 26. Nd2 {I tried to play as dry as possible and didn't want
to put me in a position were I would have to calculate any longer lines, thus
being in danger to fail somewhere. Objectively, it was well possible to
continue with 26.a5:} (26. a5 f5 27. Qd3 {[%cal Rd5f6]} (27. axb6 fxe4 28. Nxe5
$1 (28. Ng5+ $2 hxg5 29. bxa7 Qxd5 $1 30. a8=Q e3+ 31. Kg1 Qd1+ 32. Kg2 e2 $19)
28... Bxe5 (28... Qxd5 29. Qxc6 Qxc6 30. Nxc6 axb6 31. Nb8 b5 32. Nd7 c4 33.
Nc5 $16) 29. bxa7 Qxd5 30. a8=Q e3+ 31. f3 Qd2+ 32. Kh3 Qd7+ 33. g4 Qd1 34.
Qbb7+ Bg7 35. Qf8 Qf1+ 36. Kg3 Qf2+ 37. Kf4 Qxh2+ 38. Kxe3 Qe5+ 39. Kd2 Na5 40.
Qbe7 Nc4+ 41. Kc1 (41. Kc2 $2 Qh2+ $11) 41... Nxb2 42. Qxe5 $18) 27... Nb8 28.
axb6 axb6 29. exf5 gxf5 30. Nh4 e4 31. Qc4 (31. Qd1 b5 32. Ne3 Qxd1 33. Nxd1 f4
34. gxf4 b4 35. Kh3 h5 36. Nf5 Nd7 37. Nxg7 Kxg7 38. Kh4 Kg6 39. Ne3 Nf6 40.
f5+ Kh6 41. Kg3 $18) 31... b5 32. Qa2 {[%cal Ra2a8,Rd5e3]} Qe6 33. Qa8 Nd7 34.
Nf4 Qf7 35. Qb7 $18) 26... f5 27. Qd3 {[%cal Rd5f6]} Kh8 28. Nc4 Ne7 29. Nce3
Nxd5 {Diagram [#] Now was the first time in the game, where I had to do
serious calculations. The status quo was very nice. My queen-knight-combo
formed a strong attacking unit against his king and weak pawns, making use of
the their monopoly on the light squares. Consequently, giving up this nice
status quo would require strong arguments backed by hard calculations.} (29...
h5 30. Qc4 Nc8 31. exf5 Nd6 32. Qd3 Nxf5 (32... gxf5 33. Qd1 Qf7 34. Nxb6 $18)
33. Nxf5 gxf5 34. Qf3 Bh6 (34... Qf7 35. Ne3 f4 36. Nd5 Qg6 37. Ne7 Qf7 38.
Qa8+ Kh7 39. Qe4+ Kh6 40. Nf5+ Kg5 41. Nh4 Kh6 42. gxf4 exf4 43. Kf3 Kg5 44.
Ng2) 35. c4 Qf7 36. a5 $1 bxa5 37. Qa3 Bf8 38. Qxa5 $18 {[%cal Ra5d8]}) 30.
Qxd5 {After the computing was done, I finally opted for a change of status
because I reckoned to win a pawn that way.} Qxd5 (30... Qxa4 31. exf5 gxf5
32. Nxf5 {With the knight on f5, Black has no chances of survival, e.g.} Qe8
33. Qb7 Qg6 34. Qc8+ Kh7 35. Qd7 a6 36. h4 e4 37. h5 Qf6 38. Nxg7 Qxg7 39. Qf5+
Kg8 40. Qxe4 $18) 31. Nxd5 {[%cal Rd5e7,Re7f5,Re7g6,Re7c8,Rc8a7,Rc8b6]} Bf8 32.
exf5 gxf5 33. Ne3 f4 34. gxf4 exf4 35. Nf5 $18 {Diagram [#] My knight keeps on
dominating the bishop.} (35. Nd5 $2 Kg7 36. Kf3 Kg6 37. Nxf4+ (37. Kxf4 Bd6+)
37... Kf5 {is not so convincing.}) 35... Kh7 36. Kf3 {Maybe you remember my
comments on 21.Kg2!...} Kg6 37. Kxf4 Kf6 38. c4 $1 Ke6 39. Ke4 Kf6 40. b3 $1 {
Diagram [#] I am sure, Andersson would have strongly approved this strategy.
Before putting my extra pawn to good use, I improve my queenside pawns. Not
only are his pawns nailed down on black squares, I also move my pawns on white, so
his bishop will only be cutting through thin air afterwards.} Ke6 41. f3 Kf6 42. f4 Ke6 43.
Ne3 Bg7 44. Ng4 h5 45. Ne5 Bf6 (45... Kd6 46. Kf5) 46. Nc6 $1 {Diagram [#] I
decided that the best square for my knight would be on d5, because from there
it would support the march of my passed pawn to f6. However, to make his
outpost even more appetizing, the knight softens up Black's pawn structure
beforehand, so there would be a nice target on b6, when he finally arrives on
d5.} a6 47. Ne5 Bd8 48. Nf3 Bc7 49. h3 {Not even the x-ray attack on the h-pawn
has to be tolerated. Let's put him on white.} Kf6 50. Nd2 Ke6 51. Nf1 Bd8 52.
Ng3 $1 {Before jumping to d5, the diligent knight fulfills yet another task. It
forces the h-pawn into the reach of my king.} h4 53. Nf5 Bf6 54. Ne3 Be7 55.
Nd5 Bd8 56. f5+ {Diagram [#] Only after every aspect of my position was
optimized, the pawn finally moves.} Kd6 57. Kf4 b5 58. f6 bxc4 59. bxc4 Ke6 60.
Kg4 $1 {Of course, 60.Kg5 is better in an objective way, but if an opponent
misses the right point for resignation, you are entitled to toy around with
him a bit by showing him that even second best is still enough. Additionally, the memory of his inadequate draw offer was still fresh, so there really was no alternative to this little demonstration. } Bxf6 61. Nxf6 Kxf6 62. Kxh4 Ke5 63. Kg4 Kd4
64. h4 Kxc4 65. h5 Kd3 66. h6 c4 67. h7 c3 68. h8=Q c2 69. Qh6 1-0

 

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