Chelyabinsk variation

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Шахматная доска Sicilian defence. Cheliabinsk variation [...] 1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 ¤f6 5.¤c3 e5 This move was first employed by de la Bourdonnais in his famous match against MacDonnel (1834),
later Em.Lasker would play so during his match against Schlechter. But those were only episodical attempts. In the light of W.Steinitz positional theory the e7-e5-development looked anti-positional, as it served to create a backward d6-pawn and a weak d5-square in his own camp. Main ideas of e7-e5 advance in Sicilian defence were formulated during 1940s by I.Boleslavsky who used to play this way successfully after 1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 d6 3.d4 cd 4.¤d4 ¤f6 5.¤c3 ¤c6 6.¥e2 e5! It turns out that in return for his pawn structure defects Black is presented with an opportunity to deploy his pieces actively and to chase the white d4-knight away from center.
Similar motives can be seen in Cheliabisk variation that has now become one of the most popular openings in the tournaments of any category. The 1970s undertakings of Cheliabinsk GMs E. Sveshnikov and G.Timoscenko were successfully carried on in modern practice by M.Krasenkow, V.Kramnik, A. Shirov, P.Leko, J.Lautier, G.Kasparov, T.Radjabov and many others.
Below we will examine the following branches of this popular opening:
6.¤db5 d6 7.¥g5 a6 8.¤a3 b5 9.¥xf6
(9.¤d5 ¥e7 (9...£a5!? 10.¥d2 £d8) 10.¥xf6 ¥xf6 11.c3)
9...gxf6 10.¤d5 f5 11.¥d3 (11.¤xb5!? axb5 12.¥xb5) (11.¥xb5!? axb5 12.¤xb5) (11.c3 ¥g7 12.exf5 ¥xf5 13.¤c2) 11...¥e6 12.£h5 (12.O-O ¥xd5!? 13.exd5 ¤e7) 12...¥g7 (12...¦g8!?) 13.O-O f4
Шахматная доска [...] 1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 ¤f6 5.¤c3 e5 6.¤db5 d6 7.¥g5 As distinct from the Boleslavsky System, in the Cheliabinsk Variation White manages to exchange his dark-squared bishop for the f6-knight immediately, and this strengthens his control over the key d5-square. Black's dynamic compensation for this concession is the fact that white knight has to leave for a3
7...a6 8.¤a3 b5 9.¤d5 £a5 Before examining the mainline move 9...¥e7 it should be noted that the queen check to a5 turns out to be quite poisonous for White
10.¥d2 £d8 Black idea has clarified - his opponent is hard put to hold the knight d5-outpost
11.c4 A sharp continuation. White cedes his central e4-pawn, but demolishes the opponent's Q-side
(To repeat position in order to draw 11.¥g5 £a5 12.¥d2 £d8 13.¥g5 £a5 would certainly be a moral compromise for White)
11...¤xe4 12.cxb5 ¥e6 13.¥c4 ¤e7 Energically struggling against the opponent's centralized pieces
(To an obvious white advantage leads 13...axb5? 14.¤xb5 £h4 15.¥e3 ¤xf2 16.¤bc7 ¢d8 17.¤xe6 fxe6 18.¥b6 ¢e8 19.¤c7 ¢e7 20.¥xf2 £xc4 21.¤xa8 , Beliavsky Alexander G (SLO) 2620 - Van Der Wiel John T H (NED) 2520, Moscow (Russia) 1982)
14.¥e3 £a5 15.¢e2 Threatening to catch the enemy queen by means of ¥e3-b6
(Less precise is 15.¢f1 in view of 15...¦c8 16.¥b6 £d2 17.¤c7? ¦xc7!)
15...¦c8! Black despsrately struggles for the initiative, aiming his blows at the opponent's key pieces
16.¦c1?!
(On 16.¥b6 an effective refutation is prepared 16...£xa3!! 17.bxa3 ¦xc4! 18.¤e3 (18.¤xe7 ¤c3°) 18...¤c3 19.¢d3 e4 !°20.¢d2 ¤xd1 21.¤xc4 ¥xc4 22.¦hxd1 axb5°)
(Later it will be established that the strongest continuation for White is 16.¤b6! d5! (16...¦xc4 17.¤axc4 £xb5 18.£d3ќ) (16...£xa3 17.bxa3 ¤c3 18.¢d2ќ)
(16...¦d8 17.bxa6 ¥xc4 18.¤axc4 £xa6 19.£d3ќ)
(16...¥xc4 17.¤axc4 £xb5 18.a4 £b4 (18...£c6 19.¦c1) 19.£c2±)
17.¤xc8 ¤xc8 18.¥xd5 ¥xa3 19.¥xe4 £xb5 20.¥d3 £xb2 21.£c2!
(21.£d2 e4! 22.¥xa6 (22.¥xe4 ¥c4 23.¢f3 £f6 24.¥f4 g5 Неясно) 22...£e5 Компенсация за материал Sisniega,M 2500 - Espinoza,R 2430 , Linares 1992)
21...e4 22.¥xe4 ¥c4 23.¢f3 £f6 24.¥f4 g5 25.£xc4 £xf4 26.¢e2 O-O 27.¥xh7 ¢xh7 28.£xf4 gxf4 29.¢f3 with an ending that is somewhat more favorable for Black - shown by M.Sisniega)
16...¤xd5 17.¥xd5 ¦xc1 18.¥xc1 £xa3!! The whole black play is based on this fine blow. White is unable to make use of his opponent's Q-side underdevelopment
19.¥c6 (19.bxa3 ¤c3 20.¢e3 ¤xd1 21.¦xd1 axb5µ) (19.¥xe4 ¥c4µ) 19...¥d7 20.£d5?! (20.bxa3 ¤c3µ) 20...£a4! 21.¥xd7 ¢xd7 22.£b7 ¢e6 23.£c8 ¢f6 24.bxa6 ¥e7 !!° A thematic rook sacrifice excluding white queen from play. Now the attack against the white king becomes irrefutable
25.£xh8 (25.£b7 £c2) 25...£c2 26.¢f3 (26.¢e3 d5! 27.¦f1 ¥c5 28.¢f3 £d3 29.¥e3 ¥xe3!) 26...£d3 27.¥e3 ¤d2 28.¢g3 (28.¢g4 £f5 29.¢h4 ¢e6) 28...£g6
Шахматная доска [...] 1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 ¤f6 5.¤c3 e6 6.¤db5 d6 7.¥f4 e5 8.¥g5 a6 9.¤a3 b5 10.¤d5 £a5 11.¥d2 £d8 12.c4 ¤xe4 13.cxb5 ¥e6 14.¥c4 ¤e7 15.O-O!? A fine idea of GM V.Kupreichik's. White energetically finishes his development, leaving his d5-knight under attack
15...¥xd5!
(In the original game there followed 15...¤xd5 16.¥xd5 ¥xd5 17.¥a5! £xa5 18.£xd5 ¦c8 19.£xe4±19...¥e7
(19...axb5 20.£b7 £c7 21.£xb5 £c6 22.¦fc1±)
20.£b7 £c7 21.£xc7! ¦xc7 22.bxa6 ¢d7 23.¤b5! ¦c2 24.¦fc1! ¦xb2
(24...¦hc8 25.¦xc2 ¦xc2 26.a7 ¦c8 27.¦d1ќ)
25.¦c7 ¢e6 26.¦b7 ¢f6 27.¤c7 ¦c8 28.¤d5 ¢e6 29.¦xb2 1-0, Kupreichik,V 2555 - Nikcevic,N 2350 , Cattolica 1992)
16.¥xd5
(16.¥a5 £xa5 17.¥xd5 ¦d8! 18.¥xe4 d5 19.¥c2 ¤g6 20.bxa6 ¥xa3µ)
16...¤xd5 17.¥a5! ¤dc3! This resource allows Black to consolidate his position
18.¥xc3 ¤xc3 19.bxc3 ¥e7?!
(An energetic 20...¥xa3 practically allows to solve the opening problems in full 20.£b3! (20.bxa6 £a5!µ) (20.¤c2 axb5 21.¤e3 ¥c5 22.¤xd5 O-O=) 20...¥xa3 21.£xa3 axb5 (21...£e7!?=) 22.£c5! ¦c8 23.£xb5 £d7 24.£b4 Неясно)
20.£b3 ¦b8
(20...O-O 21.c4 axb5 22.¤xb5 £d7 23.¦fd1² gives White an opportunity to blockade light squares in the center)
21.c4 d5!? Black revives his e7-bishop before it's too late
(21...O-O 22.¦fd1²) 22.cxd5 O-O
(22...£a5? 23.d6! ¥xd6 24.¤c4 £b4 25.¦fd1±)
23.¦fd1 ¥xa3 (23...¥d6!?) 24.£xa3 ¦xb5 25.d6² In spite of considerable simplifications White maintains the initiative due to his strong central passed pawn
25...£a5 26.£f3 ¦d8 27.d7 ¦c5 28.¦ab1 h6
(The weakness of the 8th rank is felt in the variation 28...£xa2? 29.£a8! £a5 30.¦b8ќ)
(28...¦c7 29.¦b7 ¦xb7 30.£xb7±) 29.h3 ¦c4 30.¦d5 £c7
(30...£xa2? 31.¦b8! ¦c1 32.¢h2 ¦xb8 33.d8=£ ¦xd8 34.¦xd8 ¢h7 35.£f5 g6 36.£f6ќ)
31.¦bd1 ¦c1 32.g3
(32.¦xc1 £xc1 33.¢h2 (33.¦d1 £c7 34.£d5 ¢f8!=) 33...£f4 34.£xf4 exf4=)
32...£c6 33.¦xc1 £xc1 34.¢h2 £c2 35.a3 £c6 36.£d3 £b6 37.¢g1 £e6 38.h4 e4 39.£d4 ¢h7 40.a4! Having paralized the opponent's pieces with blockade of the passed pawn, White seizes the space on the Q-side, creates the strong point on b6 for his major pieces and fixes the a6-weakness
40...¢g8 41.a5 ¢h7 42.¢h2 g6 43.¦d6! £f5 (43...£e7 44.h5! gxh5 45.£d5±) 44.¦f6! £xd7 Black has eliminated the d7-pawn, but this does not make life much easier for him. Weakness of the a6-pawn and insecure position of the black king give White fine chances for a win
(White wins an instructive rook ending after 44...¦xd7 45.¦xf5 ¦xd4 46.¦xf7 ¢g8 47.¦f6 ¢g7 48.¦xa6 ¦d2 (48...e3 49.fxe3 ¦e4 50.¦b6 ¦xe3 51.a6ќ) 49.¢g1 ¦a2 50.¦a7 ¢f6 51.a6 h5 52.¦a8 ¢g7 53.a7 ¢h7 54.¢f1 ¢g7 55.¢e1 ¢h7 56.¢d1 ¢g7 57.¢c1 ¢h7 58.¢b1 ¦a4 59.¢c2 ¦a3 60.¢b2 ¦a6 61.¢b3 ¢g7 62.¢c4 ¦a1 63.¢d4 ¦a4 64.¢d5 ¢h7 65.¢c6 ¦a1
(65...¢g7 66.¢b6 ¦b4 67.¢a5 ¦b1 68.¦g8ќ)
66.¦d8! ¦xa7 67.¦d7 ¦xd7 68.¢xd7 ¢g7 69.¢e6ќ)
45.£xe4 h5 (45...£a7 46.h5 ¦g8 47.¢g1 £d7 48.£f3ќ) 46.¦xa6 £d5 47.£f4 ¢g8 48.¦f6! ¢g7
(More stubborn is 48...£xa5 49.¦xf7 £d5 50.¦f6 ¢g7±)
49.a6 ¦d7 50.£f3 £c5 51.¦c6 £d4 52.£c3 £xc3 53.¦xc3 ¦d2 54.¦a3
Шахматная доска [...] 1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 ¤f6 5.¤c3 e5 6.¤db5 d6 7.¥g5 a6 8.¤a3 b5 9.¤d5 £a5 10.¥d2 £d8 11.¥d3!? This continuation is rather popular now. White fortifies his e4-pawn, and only then intends to undermine the opponent's position on the Q-side by way of c2-c4
11...¤xd5
(In case of §11...¥e7 12.c4 ¤xd5 White has an opportunity to choose another quite promicing pawn structure:
13.cxd5!? ¤d4 14.O-O O-O 15.¥e3 ¥d7 16.£d2 ¦c8 17.¥xd4! exd4 18.¤c2 £b6 19.h3 ¥f6 20.f4 ¦fe8 21.¢h2 g6 22.¤e1! ¥g7 23.¤f3 b4 24.¦fe1 a5 25.¦ad1 a4 26.¥b1 ¦c4 27.e5 with an obvious white advantage in the center, Bacrot Etienne 2664 - Mochalov Evgeny V 2407 , Rethymnon 2003 Cup European Club (final))
12.exd5 ¤e7 13.c4 g6 Black leaves his Q-side pawns to the mercy of fate and seeks to finish the kingside development quickly. After that he hopes to compensate his small material losses by activating his pawn structure in the center
(A primitive 13...bxc4 14.¤xc4 serves only to mobilize white forces and makes the situation critical for Black in view of the threats 14.¥a5 and 14.£a4
14...¤xd5? 15.¥e4)
14.cxb5 ¥g7 15.O-O O-O 16.¥b4!? An innovation by the Ukrainian GM. White protects the d5-pawn in an indirect way and binds his opponent with defence of the b6-square
(Earlier there also occured 16.bxa6 ¥xa6 17.¥g5 (17.¥xa6 ¦xa6 18.¥g5 f6 19.¥e3 £a8³) 17...¥b7 Компенсация за материал)
(or 16.¥c4 e4 17.¦b1 (17.¥c3 ¥xc3 18.bxc3 £a5 Компенсация за материал) 17...¤f5 Компенсация за материал that lead to situations where Black has positional compensation for his sacrificed pawn in the spirit of the Volga Gambit conceptions)
16...a5? Black chases the annoying white bishop away from b4 but relieves the pressure on the b5-square, and this makes his chances for counterplay dramatically lower
(Favorable for White is 16...e4 17.¥xe4 ¥xb2 18.¦b1 ¥xa3 19.¥xa3 axb5 20.¦b3)
(A sacrifice of an exchange 16...¤xd5!? 17.¥e4 ¤xb4 18.¥xa8 ¥e6 19.£d2 a5 20.¥c6 d5 is worth practical testing)
17.¥c3 ¤xd5 18.£f3 ¤b6 19.¤c4! An important tactical nuance that refutes black play
19...¥e6 20.¥xa5 ¥xc4 21.¥xb6 £xb6 22.¥xc4 ¦ac8 23.£b3 A middle game with bishops of opposite color is favorable for White due to his powerful passed pawns on the Q-side
23...e4 24.a4 ¥d4 25.a5 £c5 26.¥d5 ¦ce8 27.£c4 £xc4 28.¥xc4 ¦e5 29.b6 ¦c5 30.¦a4 d5 31.¥e2 ¥e5 32.a6 ¦c2 33.a7
Шахматная доска [...] 1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 ¤f6 5.¤c3 e5 6.¤db5 d6 7.¥g5 a6 8.¤a3 b5 9.¤d5 ¥e7 After this move the game follows the main line of the variation
10.¥xf6 ¥xf6 11.c3 Having achieved the exchange of the black f6-knight, White takes hold of the important d5-square. Now his top priority task is to improve the a3-knight position
11...O-O 12.¤c2 ¦b8 The choice of this move can be explained by a desire to counteract the ramming a2-a4 advance
13.¥e2 ¥g5 14.O-O ¥e6 15.£d3 A fine square for the queen. Either of two white rooks is ready to go to d1, and the queen can be transferred to g3, disturbing the opponent on the K-side
15...£d7 (15...¤e7 16.¤cb4²) 16.£g3 f6? An unfortunate decision. The f7-f6 advance leads to weakening of light squares in the Black camp and to exclusion of the g5-bishop from play
(More flexible appears the retreat 16...¥d8 with a prospect of d8-bishop entering the game via the b6-square)
17.¦fd1 a5 18.¤a3! Black has deprived the c2-knight of a transit b4-square, but it finds a chance to enter the game in another way
18...¤a7 (18...b4 19.¤b5±) 19.h3! A standard tactical method associated with preparing the exchange of the light-squared bishops on g4-square
19...¢h8 (19...b4 20.¤c4 bxc3 21.bxc3 ¤c6±) 20.¥g4 ¦fc8 21.¥xe6 Stressing the fact that black e6-bishop is now deprived of the f7-pawn's support
21...£xe6 22.£d3 White advantage is clear now. He has crucial d5-square securely in his possession, and Black is left with a bad bishop
22...¦c5 23.¤c2 g6 24.b4! White begins active operations on the Q-side in order to open up the files for his major pieces on this area of the board and to join their efforts with the ones of the powerful centralized d5-knight
24...axb4 25.¤cxb4 ¦b7 26.a4! bxa4 27.¦xa4 f5 28.¦a6 ¤c8 29.¦a8 ¢g7 30.£e2 fxe4 (30...¤e7 31.¤xe7 ¥xe7 32.¤d5±) 31.£xe4 £f5 32.£e2 ¦f7 33.c4 ¥h4 34.¦f1 ¤e7 35.¦a6 £d7 36.£e4 ¤xd5 37.¤xd5 ¥e7 38.¦fa1 ¥f8 39.£e2 ¦c6 40.¦6a3! A nice transfer of the rook to f3 that allows to provoke the f7-rook exchange and to weaken the black rear even more
40...¦c5 41.¦f3 ¦xf3 42.£xf3 £f7
(42...¦xc4? 43.£f6 ¢g8 44.¦a8 ¦c8 45.¤b6ќ)
43.£g4 h5 44.£e4 ¦c8 45.¦a3 £f5 46.¦a7 ¢h6 47.£e3 g5 48.£e2 ¦b8 49.g4! hxg4 50.hxg4 £b1 51.¢g2 ¦b7 52.¦xb7 £xb7 53.£f3 £c8 54.£f6 ¢h7 55.£f7

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