Saturday, February 28, 2009


Wesley So - Zaven Andriasian

Round 9
Aeroflot 2009

Welcome to the final round of the Aeroflot chess tournament. Today games start a few hours earlier, so that there is time for the closing ceremony.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 One more time, the preffered opening of Wesley So is the Sicilian defence

3.Bb5 g6 Rossolimo Variation, also known as Nimzovich-Rossolimo attack

4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.O-O Bg7 6.Re1 Standart continuations for black are Nh6, Nf6, and e5. An interesting start of the game, but what is really amazing in this last round of Aeroflot is the number of quick draws. Van Wely - Onischuk, Ehlvest - Amonatov, Wen - Smirin, Dyachkov - Dreev, all finished in under 12 moves. Maybe it is time for tournaments to consider Sofia rule or a similar alternative?

6... Nf6 7.e5 Forcing Nd5. This line has statistically very good success for white.

7... Nd5 8.c4 Nc7 9.d4 cxd4 10.Qxd4 After this semi forced sequence of moves that keeps the balance on the board, black have to choose the continuation between O-O, d5, Ne6 or even d6 is possible

10... O-O 11. Qh4 is the top choice reply for white

11.Qh4 f6 f6 is statistically the best move for black. Rizantsev - Yudin and Zhigalko - Potkin join the draw party.

12.Nc3 g5 13.Qh5 d6 14.exf6 exf6 15.Be3 Wesley So invites Andriasian to debilitate the center by provoking 15...c5 or for an "a" pawn advance for black in order to free the rook

15... Qe8 16.Qxe8 Rxe8 17.Rad1 Bf8 Providing future bishop acticity while keeping the pawn structure on the kingside. 18. Nd4 will be another invitation to move things on the queenside, it will be met by Bd7.

18.Nd4 Bd7 19.f3 Kf7 Andriasian will look for an exchange of material or counterplay on the e file and later bishop pair activity.

20.Kf2 h6 with plans for f5-f4 advance. The idea is countered by h3.

21.h4 With a similar idea, but sacrificing temporarily a pawn in order to mess up even more black's pawn structure.

21... Rab8 22.b3 a5 23.Nde2 Be6 24.hxg5 hxg5 25.f4 is it time for counter play with 25... d5?

25... d5 Andriasian gives it a try. This will activate the bishop pair and will open up the queenside. The more open space, the stronger the bishops will be. Wesley So can still continue with his plan taking on g5.

26.fxg5 dxc4 27.Bf4 Rb7 28.Ne4 Dangerous attack by white, black have to defend carefully. The knight will have a stable position on f6, while a rook can enter the back ranks through a Re1-Rh1-Rh7 maneuver. It is a dynamic position where with precise play black have defence, brave decision by Wesley So to attack with the coming time trouble for him.

28... cxb3 29.Nxf6 Rc8 Escapes the threat and provides protection for the bishop.

30.axb3 Nd5 31.Nxd5 Bxd5 32.Nd4 Bc5 The players are blitzing in time trouble, with the activity of black pieces now it is impossible for white to achieve a full point, if Andriasian plays correctly he can turn things around.

33.Be3 Bxd4 However, he also goes for a probable draw, as opposite color bishops will stay on the board

34.Rxd4 Rb4 And a draw is agreed. Good game by both players where white played aggressively to explore the weaknesses in the pawn structure, while black patience was rewarded and he equalized the position. Thank you for following Aeroflot 2009 with, stay tuned for full report later tonight. 1/2-1/2

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