WACy - thomas1712, ChessWorld.net 2017, Sicilian Defence 1-0
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Early in 2006, a relatively unknown GM from Russia, Vadim Zvjaginsev, shocked the chess world when he knocked off GM Ruslan Ponomariov, a former FIDE World Champion. Earlier he had also knocked off the very strong GM Khalifman and easily drew the even stronger GM Dreev all in the same opening. However it was not just the usual 'David vs Goliath' story that so intrigued the chess community but rather it was how it happened. GM Zvjaginsev responded to GM Ponomariov's Sicilian with 2. Na3, was already much better by move 16 and cruised to an easy win. Suitably inspired, yours truly defeated two of Canada's most promising Juniors at the 2006 Canadian Open in Kitchener with the cheeky 2nd move. It is now 11 years later and 'Zvajginsev's Legacy' is still doing business. For some reason, it seems that 2. Na3 unsettles some Sicilian players. Perhaps it is the chess equivalent of 'waving the flag in front of the bull'. My previous opponents all reacted extremely aggressively and seemed to play below their normal strength. It was if they were insulted by the move and wanted to crush it! In contrast, my opponent in this game seemed confused by the thing, reacted extremely passively and fell to a miniature.

[Event "Online Game"] [Site "ChessWorld.net"] [Date "2017.06.26"] [Round "?"] [White "WACy"] [Black "thomas1712"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B20"] [Opening "Sicilian defence"] 1. e4 c5 2. Na3 d6 {Playable, of course, but most players prefer the main line 2... Nc6. After the text, the game soon begins to resemble Coppin - Munro, Queens U/KCC Match 2006, 1-0 in 20 moves!} 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. d3 g6 {Perhaps the more aggressive 5... b5 is a better test of White's play. I intended 6. c3 and a recycling of the peripatetic Critter via c2. Black would have no pieces developed in supported of his queenside space while White would be nicely positioned to either get in an appropriately timed d4 or perhaps keep going to e3 eying d5 and a potential kingside expansion with f4 and f5.} 6. f4 Bg7 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. c3 Nf6 9. O-O O-O {The opening phase is more or less over and the pawn structure dictates that White use his greater kingside space to attack there while Black should be aggressively seeking to use his queenside potential to counter attack there. However, the reluctance of Black to play ... b5 earlier suggests that White is more likely to 'get there first with the most'. In any case, White's plan here is more or less text book: try to get the Queen to h4, the Bishop to h6, the Knight to g5, swap off the dark squared Bees and mate. It does not go quite as smoothly as that, due to Black's passive play but that was the idea.} 10. Qe1 Qg4 {It is hard to say why Black is playing on the kingside since White has much more potential firepower there. If he had hoped to prevent Qh4, he soon realizes that was an imprudent idea.} 11. h3 Qd7 12. Qh4 Rab8 {The right idea ... but almost surely too late already. In fact, White now brazenly invites Black to play ... b5 with tempo! The catch is that the Knight is headed for e3 anyway when suddenly White will have some serious firepower already deployed in support of direct attacking ideas against the Black King.} 13. Nc4 b5 14. Ne3 e6 {Far too slow. Black's best hope was to try 14... b4, open up lines on the queenside and try to survive by trading punches. At this point, I thought for a long time - 6 days! The obvious moves to be considered were the sacrifice f5 and the attempt to eliminate the Nf6 with Ng4 (also unveiling that sleeping Bc1). However Black's passive play was strongly suggesting that I had all the time in the world to prepare a breakthrough. His queenside expansion was still stalled, my kingside space was an attacker's dream come true and his pieces just seemed all dressed up with nothing to do. In the end, given Black's clear signals that he would be trying to defend rather than counterattack, I decided to build up the position just a little more before bringing the kitchen sink. It turned out to be the right psychological choice.} 15. g4 Ne7 {Bonus! Any concerns that I may have had about a queenside counter were now off the table for good. There was even time for a Rook lift at this point. My instincts were telling me that this game was not going to last much longer. And so it was.} 16. Rf2 Ne8 {I confess to having spent a full evening looking at 16... c4!? but 17. e5 looked crushing no matter how Black wiggled. The move that Black played caught me completely (but pleasantly!) by surprise. Now that long planned f5 break was practically begging to be played. When your pieces start yelling at you, it pays to listen.} 17. f5 exf5 18. gxf5 Nf6 19. Ng4 Nxg4 20. hxg4 {All the thematic ideas that I had been considering earlier are now rolling out as if on an assembly line. One annotator (maybe Tal?) said that at moments like this, one does not have to decide where to move the pieces... you just watch as they play themselves.} 20... f6 21. Rh2 g5 22. Qxh7+ Kf7 23. Qh5+ Kg8 24. Bxg5 {You had to know that a sacrifice somewhere was inevitable. I played this one without even worrying if it was the best. Once the lines open up there will be no place to hide.} 24... fxg5 25. Nxg5 Rf6 26. Qh7+ Kf8 27. Ne6+ {Black tossed in the towel. Material is dropping everywhere, the Black King is running for his life and the heavy boys are about to join the party.} 1-0

GM Zvjaginsev's inspiring win over GM Ponomariov

[Event "Ch Russia"] [Site "Sochi (Russia)"] [Date "2006.4.20"] [Round "1"] [White "Zvjaginsev Vadim (RUS)"] [Black "Ponomariov Ruslan (UKR)"] [Result "1-0"] [Eco "B20"] 1.e4 c5 2.Na3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.c3 Bg7 5.d3 Nf6 6.f4 O-O 7.Nf3 d6 8.O-O Bd7 9.Qe1 e6 {?!} ( 9...Ng4 {!?} ) 10.Qh4 Nh5 11.g4 Qxh4 12.Nxh4 Bf6 13.Nxg6 hxg6 14.gxh5 gxh5 15.Ba4 d5 16.Bd1 c4 {?} ( 16...h4 17.Bf3 Ne7 18.Be3 b6 19.Kf2 Bg7 20.Rg1 Bc6 21.Rg2 ) 17.e5 Be7 18.dxc4 d4 19.Nc2 {?!} ( 19.cxd4 {!?} Nxd4 20.Bxh5 Nf5 21.Bf3 Bc6 22.Bxc6 bxc6 23.Rd1 Bc5+ 24.Kh1 Kh7 25.Rd7 Rad8 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Nc2 Rd1+ 28.Kg2 Kg6 ) dxc3 20.bxc3 {?!} ( 20.Bxh5 {!?} f6 21.exf6 Rxf6 22.bxc3 Na5 23.Rf3) Na5 21.Ba3 Bxa3 22.Nxa3 Rac8 {?!} ( 22...h4 {!?} ) 23.Be2 {?!} ( 23.Bxh5 {!?} Nxc4 24.Rad1 Nb6 25.Rd3 Kg7 26.Rfd1 Ba4) f6 24.Rad1 Be8 25.f5 fxe5 26.fxe6 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 Kg7 28.Bf3 b5 29.cxb5 {?!} ( 29.Nxb5 {!?} Nxc4 30.Bb7 Rc5 31.a4 a6 32.Bxa6 Rc6 33.Kf2 Nb2 34.a5 Rxa6 35.Nc7) Rxc3 30.Nb1 Rc5 31.Be2 e4 32.Kf2 e3+ {?!} ( 32...Bxb5 {!?} ) 33.Kxe3 Re5+ 34.Kf3 Bxb5 35.Bxb5 Rxb5 36.Re1 Rf5+ 37.Kg3 Kf8 38.Nd2 Ke7 39.Nf3 Rd5 40.Kh4 Nc4 41.Ng5 Rd2 42.Rc1 Nd6 43.h3 Ne8 44.Kxh5 Rxa2 45.Kg6 Ra4 46.Rb1 Nd6 47.Rb8 Rf4 48.Ra8 Rf6+ 49.Kh5 Nb5 50.h4 Rf4 51.Rh8 Nd6 52.Rh7+ Ke8 53.Rxa7 Nf5 54.Nh7 Nd4 55.Kg6 Nxe6 56.Nf6+ Kd8 57.Ra8+ Kc7 58.Nd5+ $20 1-0

The Coppin - Munro miniature echoes the general attacking themes

[Event "K.C.C. vs Queen's U. Match"] [Site "Kingston, Canada"] [Date "2006.01.09"] [Round "?"] [White "Coppin W"] [Black "Munro, A"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B23"] 1. e4 {Notes by W. Coppin} 1... c5 2. Nc3 {Black is the highest rated Queen's player (2091) and thus would welcome an open tactical game. The time control was Game in 30 minutes. No increment or delay. The Closed variation of the Sicilian is objectively no better than the open lines but it does promise White an easy equality while minimizing the importance of home cooking. The psychological value is that Black may well push too hard seeking complications.} 2... d6 {The ...,d6 lines are apparently not as challenging theoretically but since I know very little real theory on the Closed it does not matter.} 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Qe2 {A rarely seen treatment. White can now consider a later e5 as well as the usual ideas featuring the f5 break. The move also has the psychological value of encouraging 6...,Nc6 when White intends to swap on c6 and play to limit the scope of Black's light squared Bee.} 6... Nc6 7. Bxc6 {7. O-O Nh6 is equal according to Fritz.} 7... Bxc6 8. d3 b5 {Fritz prefers 8... Nf6 9. O-O with equal chances} 9. O-O b4 {Black gets more space according to Fritz, particularly on the queenside dark squares. However, I question the value of that space. Unless Black can open the centre, his light squared Bee will remain a spectator. Further, Black is a long ways away from coordinating his pieces to profit from the queenside space advantage.} 10. Nd1 {White's critter will find plenty of play on either e3 or f2.} 10... Nf6 11. Nf2 {11. Ne3 O-O is equal according to Fritz. White selects f2 for the Critter since it would not be blocking the Bc1 while still preparing a thematic g4 push.} 11... Nd7 {?! Very dubious. Strangely enough, Fritz does not question this loss of time. Clearly Black wants to play ...,e5 or prevent White from playing e5 himself but abandoning the kingside defence cannot be correct. After 11...,0-0 12.g4 White would have a comfortable attack in any case.} 12. Ng4 O-O {We have reached the critical position. Concrete tactics aside, I believe that most humans would assess White as almost winning outright here. Black has staked out queenside space but his pieces remain a long ways from exploiting that space. His Bc6 is all dressed up with nowhere to go. His Nd7 is neither well placed to defend his King nor yet aggressively coordinated to exploit the queenside. White's Queenside Knight has spent 4 moves deploying from c1-g4 developing concrete attacking threats against the Black King. What does Black have for the tempi? Giving Fritz that question yielded the following possibilities which all seem to yield White an edge: 12... a5 13. f5 leads to positions similar to the game continuation. 12... e5 13. fxe5 and now: 13... dxe5 15. Bh6 O-O 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Qe3 clearly favours White 13... h5 14. Bg5! hxg4!? else Nf6+ is strong for White 15. Bxd8 gxf3 16. Qxf3 favours White 12... h5 13. Ne3 just makes White's intended f5 break even stronger In short, the computer seems to agree with White's over-the-board instincts.} 13. f5 gxf5 {Fritz suggests that Black is still in the game after 13... Qc7 but human beings know that 14. Bh6 subjects Black to a nasty thematic direct attack.} 14. Nh6+ {! Of course. White's attack now plays itself.} 14... Kh8 15. Nxf5 Be5 {Black hopes to build a fortress and then drive out White's monster on f5 but the plan is tactically flawed.} 16. Bh6 Rg8 {? Fritz labels this a poor move but 16... Re8? 17. Ng5 is also crushing and 16... Bf6?! 17. Bxf8 Qxf8 gives insufficient compensation for the exchange according to the silicon brain.} 17. Ng5 Rxg5 {Forced. The threat of 18.Qh5 is too strong. Black must pitch an Ex. because of the threat to f7.} 18. Bxg5 f6 19. Bh6 e6 {or 19... Nf8 20. Bg7+ Kg8 21. Qg4 Ng6 22. h4 +-} 20. Qg4 1-0

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