Today’s game comes from the 19th Karpov International in the Siberian city of Poikovsky. It’s held to honor the still very much alive former world champion Anatoly Karpov. It’s a 10-player round-robin, with Russians Ian Nepomniachtchi and Dimitry Jakovenko the highest rated.

The promising young Indian Santosh Vidit met the veteran Moldavian player Viktor Bologan in the first round. In the game, Vidit gains an advantage out of the opening, and Bologan, facing the gathering storm clouds around his queen and king, panics, allowing Vidit an attractive exchange sacrifice leading to a winning attack.

2018 19th Karpov International, Poikovsky, RUS

Santosh Vidit (2707) — Victor Bologan (2610)


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 The Queen’s Indian. Black uses White’s slowness (3.Nf3 instead of 3.Nc3 aiming for an immediate e4) to put his bishop on a better square. 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0–0 0–0 7.Re1 Somewhat unusual but thematic, as White’s main plan is to get in e4. 7...Na6 7…d5 is the main line here. 8.Nc3 Ne4 9.Bf4 Nxc3 9…f5!? 10.bxc3 Nb8?! Black doesn’t have the time for this, as e4 is a threat. Necessary was 10...Be4, making it harder for White to play e4. 11.e4 d6 Not 11...d5 12.cxd5 exd5 13.exd5 Bxd5 14.Qd3 Bf6 15.Rad1 And White’s center will expand. 15...Bxa2 fails to 16.c4 b5 17.cxb5 Bd5 18.Rc1 and White is better 12.e5 dxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxg2 14.Kxg2 Bd6 14...Nd7 15.Nc6 Qe8 16.Nxe7+ Qxe7 17.Bxc7 Rac8 18.d5 Nf6 19.Be5 Rxc4 20.d6 Qb7+ 21.Kg1 Rd8 22.Bxf6 gxf6 23.Re3 Qc6 24.Rd3 Rxc3 is equal 15.Qf3 White has a nice spatial advantage and well-placed pieces, but Black has no weaknesses and should hold with correct play. But “correct play” is not always so easy. 15.Qg4 is the main idea of the some of the engines: 15...Qe7 16.a4 a5 17.Rab1 Nd7 18.Nc6 Qf6 19.Re4 Rfe8 20.c5 bxc5 21.Rb7 Qg6 22.Qxg6 hxg6 23.Bxd6 Nf6 24.Ne7+ Rxe7 25.Re1 Rd7 26.Bxc5 Nd5 with a slight advantage to White. 15...Nd7 15...c6 is an interesting idea as after the straightforward 16.Nxc6 Nxc6 17.Qxc6 Bxf4 18.gxf4 Rc8 19.Qb5 Qf6 20.Re4 Qg6+ 21.Kf3 Rc7 22.Rae1 Rfc8 Black is doing OK. 16.Rad1 Qe7?! On the surface it seems dubious to give White a tempo with Nc6. The computers suggest simplification with 16…Bxe5 17.Bxe5 Nxe5 18.Rxe5 Rc8 19.Rde1 c6 and White only has a slight advantage 17.Nc6 Qf6 18.Re4! So he can reposition  his queen to e2. 18...Kh8 18...Bxf4?! 19.Rxf4 Qh6 20.Ne7+ Kh8 21.Qc6 Nf6 22.Qxc7 is close to winning for White. 19.Qe2 Qg6 20.Bc1 Nf6 21.Rh4 Qf5 Right around here I got a little worried for Black’s queen, as she lacks squares, but she seems safe enough. 22.Rd3 Just love rook lifts! 22…g5? Desperation or just a terrible miscalculation, not sure, but Black is lost after this. Necessary was 22...a5 23.g4 Qg6 24.g5 Nd7 25.Rdh3 h6 26.Rg4 Qf5 27.gxh6 g6; or 22...Kg8 23.Bf4 Rae8 24.Be5 Qg6 25.Bxf6 Qxf6 26.c5 bxc5 27.dxc5 Bxc5 28.Ne5 Bd6 29.Nd7 Qd8 30.Nxf8 Rxf8 31.c4 when White is much better but Black is still playing. 23.Rf3 Qg6 24.Ne5! Qg7 Not 24...Bxe5 25.Qxe5 gxh4 26.Rxf6 Qg4 27.h3 Qg7 28.Bh6 is winning for White as 28...Qg8 29.Rxf7+ leads to mate 25.Rxf6! gxh4 25...Qxf6 26.Rh5 Rg8 27.Bxg5 Rxg5 28.Rxg5 26.Qf3 Bxe5 26...Be7 27.Rxf7 Rxf7 28.Nxf7+ Kg8 29.Nh6+ Kh8 30.Qxa8+ 27.dxe5 hxg3 28.Bh6 Qg8 29.hxg3 Rad8 30.Qf4 It’s not clear here whether Black lost on time or resigned, but in any case his position is hopeless: for an example: 30...c6 31.Qh4 Rd7 32.Rf5! (33.Qf6+ is the threat) f6 33.Bxf8 Qxf8 34.Rxf6 and White is a pawn up with an easy win; 1-0

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