TCEC Season 17 League 2 Game 97 – Wasp-Minic
|Game||Season 17, League 2, Game 97|
|Links|| TCEC archive|
|Position after 8... b5|
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 Qc7
End of book into Sicilian defense, Paulsen variation. This position has been seen in thousands of masters games, including the highest level.
7. O-O Nf6 8. Be3 b5 (diagram)
The first uncommon move. The top grandmasters would play here Bb4 or Be7, instead. The key point to consider with b5 is that it takes away black's important response to f4. That is, d6 to discourage white pushing with e5.
|Position after 26... Rxb6|
9. Nxc6 dxc6
Attempt to keep d6 an option here would be dubious: 9... Qxc6 10. e5 Bb7 11. Bf3 Nd5 12. Nxd5 exd5 with compromised pawn structure and awkward and undeveloped bishops for black against two active white bishops for white.
10. f4 Be7 11. e5
It is important here to proceed slowly with the attack and block the b8-h2 diagonal. Further, pawn to e5 before f5 allows white to better control the break, since f5 after e5 creates immediately another threat: f6. This motive will be seen later in the game.
To illustrate the problem of the over-zealous f-pawn push: 11. f5 Bd6 12. h3 O-O 13. fxe6 Bxe6. Black's problems are solved and it would be white who is fighting for a draw with the isolated pawn. Notably, in this line, 12. g3 was not a move to consider because of the strong response 12... Bxg3 13. hxg3 Qxg3+ 14. Kh1 Qh3+ 15. Kg1 Qxe3+ and white would be practically lost.
11... Nd5 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Bd4 O-O 14. c3 Bd7 15. b4(N)
White enforces the queenside before proceeding on the kingside.
15... a5 16. a3 Ra6
Black is preparing for the queenside play. While seemingly logical, rather sooner than later, black should arguably consider preparing for white's eventual f5 break. This could be done with a move such as g6 or consider breaking himself with f6–or combine both ideas with f5.
17. Bd3 Rfa8
White evades with the rook to allow taking back with the a-pawn.
18. Rc1 Qc8 19. g4
Now concretely preparing for the f5 break.
19... Qe8 20. Rc2 axb4 21. axb4 Bd8 22. f5 Bb6
This was black's last chance to push the f-pawn to prevent white doing the same: 22... f6 23. fxe6 Rxe6 24. Bf5 Rea6 25. Rcf2 Bxf5 26. Rxf5. While the resulting endgame does not look very appealing for black, it might still be holdable.
23. f6 Qb8 24. Kg2 Qf8 25. Qd2 Rc8 26. Bxb6 Rxb6 (diagram) 27. Bxh7+
Very nice move to open black up. Arguably, this move was what Minic missed. The unstoppable idea is now simple: Rf1-f3-h3. This is a forced mate after 15 more moves.
|Position after 31... e5|
27... Kxh7 28. Rf3 gxf6 29. Rh3+ Kg8 30. exf6 Qg7
A computer move of desperation. Any other move was mate in 2 because of the 31. Qg5+ threat.
31. fxg7 e5 (diagram) 1-0.
White won by the TCEC win rule. The position is a forced mate. A plausible continuation would be 32. Qg5 (with the Rh8# threat) 32... Rg6 33. Qh5 Kxg7 34. Qxe5+ Rf6 35. Rf2 Rc6 36. Rxf6 Rxf6 37. g5 Bxh3+ 38. Kxh3 d4 39. gxf6+ Kg6 40. Kg4 d3 41. Qf5+ Kh6 42. Qh5#.