9. Sitting at the wrong End of a Novelty

 

[Event "Gausdal"] [Site "?"] [Date "1986.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Howell, James C"] [Black "Wahls, Matthias"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B89"] [WhiteElo "2400"] [BlackElo "2460"] [Annotator "Wahls"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "1986.??.??"]

{This game was played at my first
World Junior Championship. I was facing the British attacking player James
Howell. To my regret, he was equipped with a very strong novelty, after which
the game was basically over. The quality of the novelty together with the neat
execution made this game a little piece of art.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 {I was hoping to reach a Hedgehog structure with} (5. Nb5 d6
6. c4 Nf6 7. N1c3 a6 8. Na3 Be7 {, but he had something much sharper in mind.})
5... d6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 Be7 8. Qe2 {Diagram [#] The Velimirovic-Attack is
considered to be one of the most aggressive ways to combat the Sicilian.} a6 9.
O-O-O O-O 10. Bb3 Qe8 $5 {Diagram [#] This was a recommendation from my
Velimirovic book. The idea is to remove the queen from the opposition with the
rook and defend the Nc6, thus preparing the advance b7-b5. Still, it looks
pretty artificial compared to the natural 10..Qc7. Consequently, there must be
some kind of benefit, one would suppose. And indeed, there it is: On 10..Qc7
White can play 11.g4 without any preparation, since after 11..Nd4 12.Rd4! e5
13.Rc4! Qd8 14.g5 he enjoys a distinct advantage. With the queen on e8,
however, the intermediate move 13.Rc4 is not possible. As I will show below,
10..Qe8 is still a good alternative to 10..Qc7 by today's standards. In other
words, this here might represent the weapon against the Velimirovic attack you
were always looking for.} 11. Rhg1 Nd7 {Since the knight will be pushed away
by Whites g-pawn anyways, he already starts his short journey to his ideal
square unsolicited.} 12. g4 Nc5 {On this marvelous place, the knight serves
two different functions. To start with, he is prepared to eliminate White's dangerous
bishop whenever required. But he will not do this prematurely, since he also
casts an eye on the pawn e4, which might end up defenseless after the advance
b7-b5-b4.} 13. g5 {Diagram [#]} b5 $6 {After this game, this immediate pawn
thrust appears to be very dubious. Maybe, it deserves a full ?, but
distributing this stigma would require a thorough analysis of this position by
myself, which I don't have the time for and which also doesn't appear
necessary. Recent games clearly indicate, that Black should go for the
preparatory move} (13... Bd7 $1 {Now, with the queen still on e8, the direct
attack 14.Qh5 (intending Rg4-h4) is repelled by the most simple means: 14..
Nxd4 15.Bxd4 Nxb3 16.axb3 f5! with a slight advantage for Black due to his
bishop pair. Here is the game you might want to study:} 14. f4 b5 15.
f5 b4 16. f6 $2 (16. Nb1 Nxd4 17. Rxd4 (17. Bxd4 $5 Nxb3+ 18. axb3 exf5 19. Qh5
Qc8 20. Qh6 Qxc2+ $1 {An important motif!} 21. Kxc2 Rfc8+ 22. Kd3 fxe4+ 23.
Kxe4 gxh6 24. gxh6+ Kf8 $15) 17... exf5 (17... Nxb3+ 18. axb3 exf5 19. exf5
Bxf5 20. Rxb4 d5 21. Ra4 Bd6 22. Nc3) 18. exf5 Bxf5 19. Rxb4 d5 20. Rf4 Nxb3+
21. axb3 Bg6 22. Nc3 Qc6 $13) (16. Nxc6 Nxb3+ (16... Bxc6 17. Bxc5 dxc5 18.
fxe6 fxe6 19. Bxe6+ Kh8 20. Nd5 Bxg5+ 21. Rxg5 Qxe6 22. Qe3 Bxd5 23. Rgxd5 c4 {
and Black is close to equalizing, e.g.} 24. Qd4 b3 (24... c3 25. b3 a5) 25.
cxb3 cxb3 26. axb3 Rae8 27. Rg1 Rg8 28. Re1 Qh3 29. e5 Qxh2 30. Kb1 Re6) 17.
axb3 Bxc6 18. Na2 Bxe4 19. f6 d5 (19... Bd8 $2 20. fxg7 Kxg7 21. Bd4+ $18) 20.
fxe7 Qxe7 $44 {Black has good compensation for the piece: 2 pawns, attacking
chances and a very strong bishop, e.g.} 21. Kb1 Rfc8 22. Rd2 a5 23. Nc1 e5)
16... bxc3 17. Qh5 cxb2+ 18. Kxb2 Nxb3 19. cxb3 Nxd4 20. Bxd4 e5 21. Bc3 a5 $1
$17 {Now, it's the white king, who is under attack.} 22. Rd5 a4 23. b4 a3+ 24.
Ka1 Rc8 25. Rg3 Be6 26. fxe7 Qxe7 27. Rdd3 Qb7 28. Qd1 Qxe4 29. Rxd6 Qc4 30.
Qd2 f5 $1 31. gxf6 Rxf6 32. Rd8+ Rxd8 33. Qxd8+ Rf8 {0-1 (33) Saptarshi,R
(2407)-Kryakvin,D (2575) Chennai 2010}) 14. Nxc6 Nxb3+ 15. axb3 Qxc6 16. Bd4 b4
{Here other moves have been tried, such as 16..Re8 or 16..Bd7. They don't look
too convincing, though.} 17. Qh5 Bb7 {Everything else is also refuted:} (17...
bxc3 18. Qh6 cxb2+ 19. Kxb2 e5 20. Bxe5 $18) (17... Bd7 18. Rg4 bxc3 19. Rh4
Bxg5+ 20. Qxg5 f6 (20... cxb2+ 21. Bxb2) 21. Qh5 {with a winning attack}) (
17... Re8 18. Bxg7 $1 Kxg7 19. Qh6+ Kh8 20. g6 fxg6 21. Rxg6 Bf8 (21... Rg8 22.
Rdg1 Bb7 23. Rg7 $18) 22. Rg8+ Kxg8 23. Rg1+ Kf7 (23... Kh8 24. Qf6+) 24. Qxh7+
Kf6 25. f4 bxc3 26. Rg6#) 18. Nd5 $1 $146 {Diagram [#] That was Howell's great
novelty. By blocking the route to e4, he prevents Black's queen from joining
the defense. The theory continuation was} (18. Rg4 bxc3 19. Rh4 Qxe4 20. Rxe4
cxb2+ 21. Kxb2 Bxe4 {after which Black's safer king compensates for the slight
material disadvantage.}) (18. Rd3 $2 bxc3 19. Rh3 Qxe4 20. g6 h6 21. gxf7+ Rxf7
22. Qxh6 Bg5+ 23. Qxg5 Qxd4 $17) 18... exd5 $8 19. Rd3 (19. Qh6 $2 Qxc2+ $1 20.
Kxc2 Rfc8+ 21. Kb1 gxh6 $19) 19... Rfc8 20. c3 dxe4 (20... Kf8 21. Rf3 Ke8 22.
Rxf7 $1 Kd7 (22... Kd8 23. Qxh7 Qe8 24. Bb6+) 23. g6 h6 24. Qf5+ Kd8 25. Bxg7
$18) (20... bxc3 21. bxc3 dxe4 22. Rh3 Kf8 23. g6 fxg6 24. Qxh7 $18) 21. Rh3 Kf8 22. g6 $1 {Diagram [#] Without this key move, White's attack would collapse.} fxg6 (22... h6 23. gxf7 Bf6 24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Qg6 Ke7 26. Rxh6 d5 27. f8=Q+ Rxf8 28. Rh7+ Ke6 29. Qg4+
Kd6 30. Qg3+ Ke6 31. Qh3+ Kd6 32. Rgg7 $18) (22... Bf6 23. Bxf6 gxf6 24. gxf7
h6 25. Qg6 Ke7 26. Rxh6 $18) 23. Qxh7 Ke8 24. Rxg6 {Diagram [#] The funny
thing is, that Howell got this very position again, 7 years later. The man
was actually allowed to win the same game twice!} bxc3 (24... Kd7 25. Rxg7 Re8 26. Bf6 Qb5 27. c4
Qc6 28. Rxe7+ Rxe7 29. Qxe7+ Kc8 30. Rh7 {1-0 (30) Howell,J (2470)-Ragozin,E
(2510) Cannes 1993}) 25. Qg8+ Kd7 (25... Bf8 26. Re6+ Kd7 27. Qf7+ Kd8 28. Bb6+
Qxb6 29. Re8#) 26. Qe6+ Kd8 27. bxc3 Bf8 28. Qf7 $1 Be7 {Diagram [#]} 29. Qxe7+
$1 {That's not the only road to victory, since 29.Rxg7 also wins, but
sacrificing the queen surely adds to the artistic value of this splendid
performance.} Kxe7 30. Rxg7+ {Today I honestly regret, that I didn't let him
checkmate me.} (30. Rxg7+ Ke6 31. Rh6+ Kf5 32. Rf6#) 1-0

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