Sicilian Dragon Sicilian, B76

Õim, Tõnu
Taylor, William Desmond

CCOL13 prel3-01
corr ICCF, 1998

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O d5 10. Qe1 e6 11. h4 Qc7 12. h5 Nxh5 13. Ndb5

When Adams played Topalov in 1996, the game went

13. exd5 exd5 14. Ndb5 and Topalov equalised with 14... Qg3! The position in our game is essentially the same, and the queen has to go somewhere, so:

13... Qg3

White now transposes back into Adams-Topalov.

14. exd5 exd5 15. Nxd5

15. Bf2 was preferred by Adams but after 15... Qf4+ 16. Be3 Qg3 the game is even. In fact, Topalov played 16...Qf6?! Playing Tonu Oim, I would have played 16...Qg3 and been glad of the draw, if offered. He, however, had other ideas.

15... Be6

Here Topalov suggests 16 Nbc7 Bxd5! 17 Nxd5 Rfe8, but Oim played

16. Ndc7

This novelty prevents 16...Bxd5 and keeps the other knight on b5, threatening Black's queenside but neglecting the centre. [In Tallinn shortly after this game ended, the world champion told Tim Harding he would never had played this move had he owned a computer to check it.]

16... Rad8 17. Nxe6 fxe6 18. c3

This blocks the Dragon diagonal, but Black can now gain control of the d-file with the rook at present on f8.

18... Rxd1+ 19. Qxd1 Rd8 20. Qe2 Qe5

Played with the intention of ...Ng3.

21. Bd2

21. Bf2? Bh6+ 22. Kb1 Qf5+ 23. Ka1 Rd2

21... Ng3 22. Qxe5 Nxe5 23. Rg1

The white rook is now trapped, but how to attack it? A bishop on e3 would do the trick, so

23... Rxd2

Removing the only cover

23... Nxf1 24. Rxf1 Nd3+ 25. Kc2 Nxb2 26. Nxa7 Nc4 27. Bc1 Ra8 28. Nb5 Rxa2+ 29. Kb3 Nd2+ 30. Kxa2 Nxf1 with possible counterplay on the queenside in compensation for the pawn.

24. Kxd2 Bh6+ 25. Ke1 Be3 26. Nd6 Bxg1

White had expected to lose material with (23...Nxf1 line)

27. Nxb7 Nxf1

Black simplifies the endgame. Bishop and Knight against Knight should win, in spite of White's queenside pawn majority.

28. Kxf1 Bb6 29. Nd6 Kf8 30. b3 Ke7 31. Ne4 Nd3

Creating a square for the e pawn to advance to and intending an eventual ...Ke6. Also threatening, of course, 32...Nc1.

32. b4 e5 33. a3 Nb2

Fixing the white a- and c-pawns

34. Ke2

ED: White offered a draw here.

34... h6

It is essential in such an endgame to ensure that one's opponent has no counterplay. Now the black king can advance and White's move possibilities are restricted. In particular, there is no longer the threat of Ng5+ when the black king goes to e6.

35. Nd2 Ke6 36. c4 Bd4 37. c5 Kd5 38. Ne4 Nc4 39. a4 Ne3 40. Nf6+ Kc6 41. g4 Nd5 0-1 [Desmond Taylor]