Thursday, February 26, 2009


GM Wesley So - GM Anton Filippov

Round 1
Aeroflot 2009

The game starts at 13:00 CET, feel free to leave your thoughts about Aeroflot 2009 in the forum. GM Wesley So is coming for a convincing victory in the Corus C group. GM Filippov was at a series of tournaments in Asia, including the Arcapita open. There he participated with the Chessdom commentator GM Iotov, and finished 1 point behind the winner.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Ruy Lopez is on the board today

3... a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 This is the closed defence, alternative to the main line. Black now threatens to win a pawn with 6...b5 followed by 7...Nxe4, so White must respond. Usually White defends the e-pawn with 6.Re1 which in turn threatens Black with the loss of a pawn after 7.Bxc6 and 8.Nxe5. Black most commonly averts this threat by driving away the white bishop with 6...b5 7.Bb3, although it is also possible to defend the pawn with 6...d6.

6.Re1 b5 Delaying the ...d6 Averbakh Variation

7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 Be6 Very fast development for both players, still in well known theory. Playing 13. d5 could secure central pawn structure stability for white. Bd3 would provoke an exchange and very open game, where good knowledge of the position is required.

13.Nf1 Nc4 Immediate reply by Filippov, but was it the most precise? He could have exchanged pawns in the center, now b3 followed by d5, or a direct d5 by Wesley So gives white a permanent slight advantage and a very good position.

14.b3 Nb6 15.Be3 Wesley So prefers to secure the center in case of an exchange.

15... Rfc8 Preparing to open the c file

16.Rc1 do not forget Topalov and Kamsky begin their match in a few minutes, join us for live commentary. The two contenders have just entered the playing hall together with the FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov. And the game has started. Enjoy the opening moves, while Filippov considers between exchange of pawns (not likely) or a waiting move (probably Rab2)

16... Bd7 Filippov avoids Wesley's d5, thus not wasting a tempo

17.Ng3 Wesley So continues with his plan of slowly translating attacking power to the kingside.

17... a5 18.Bb1 inviting Filippov for a4, with the intention to bring his bishop to a2 in a few moves.

18... a4 19.Nh2 now if 19... axb3 20.Qxb3, then the knight can go to c4, a dangerous place in the center. Filippov can delay the exchange and position his rooks on the "a" file by playing first Re7, then exchanging pawns and then Rca8.

19... axb3 20.axb3 Qa7 Fillipov is implementing a plan similar to the one mentioned, bringing heavy power to the "a" file.

21.dxe5 dxe5 22.Nf5 Interesting! Wesley So is inviting Filippov for an exchange, aiming to have bishop vs knight endgame. The way to decline the idea could be 22... Bf8

22... Bf8 Time for Wesley's plan, Ng4! If black takes with the bishop they fall into disadvantage, so exchanging knights will be almost obligatory for Filippov. First results of the day Zhigalko - Bacrot draw, Andriasian - Amonatov draw, Yudin - Mamedov draw. A victory in round 1 could prove very valuable further in the competition.

23.Qf3 Be6 24.Qg3 Qc7 25.Nf3 The game is balanced at the moment, but black has to be very careful, as white is posing dangerous threats. With the coming time trouble this could prove decisive.

25... Nbd7 26.Ng5 Bxf5 27.exf5 Ra3 28.Bc2 Imprecision by Wesley So, allowing c4

28... c4 29.bxc4 Rxc3 and black is a clear pawn up. Activating the knight with Ne4 at this moment could be a good strategy for white in the difficult situation. In the mean time Mamedyarov and Bartel draw on the top board.

30.Ne4 Nxe4 31.Bxe4 Rxc1 32.Rxc1 bxc4 33.Bg5 After a forced series of exchanges the status quo is kept. Wesley So is a pawn down and his only hope is keeping the pair of bishops active.

33... Qd6 34.Qf3 Providing support for the d1 square

34... Nf6 35.Bxf6 Qxf6 36.Bd5 c3 37.Bb3 Qc6 38.Qg3 e4 39.Rc2 Qc5 40.f6 The position is still slightly better for Black who probably run out of time before making 40th move. 1-0

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