This is it! Judit has made this as exciting as can be with a win yesterday. She needs one more and Sofia and I are rooting for her big time! Can she do it?

Bareev – J. Polgar [A46]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b5 (Surprise! I don’t think Bareev expects this.)

4.Bg2 Bb7 5.0–0 c5 6.c3 Na6 (6…Be7 is the most popular move. 6…cxd4, 6…d5, 6…Qb6, 6…Nc6 and more have been played. The most popular response here for White is 7.Bg5)

7.Bg5 Be7 8.Nbd2 0-0 (This position is equal)

9.Qb3 (More popular choices are 8.e3 or 8.Re1. But 8.Qb3 is also fine.)

9…Qb6 (Off the top of my head, I am not sure if this move has ever been played.)

10.a4 b4 (The position is equal. However, it is important for Judit that the position is unbalanced and opened. She would have a better chance to score in positions like this.)

11.Nc4 (The only 2 playable moves are 10…Qc7 and 10…Qd8. I prefer 10…Qc7 but both are fine.)

11…Qd8 12.dxc5 Nxc5 13.Qxb4 (He accepted the pawn sac. This is not a good line for Bareev. 14…Rb8 would give Black an advantage. Sorry I mistyped 14…from another line.)

13…Rb8 (14.Qa5 is almost forced here. Anything else would give Black a big advantage and borderline winning. 14.Qa5 Bd5 15.Qxd8 Rfxd8 16.Nfd2 Bxc4 17.Nxc4 d5 18.b4 dxc4 19.bxc5 Bxc5 =)

14.Qa5 (14…Qxa5 15. Nxa5 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Rxb2 Black is better but not enough to win.)

14…Qxa5 15.Nxa5 Bxf3 16.Bxf3 Rxb2 17.Rfd1 Rc8 (White has a Bishop pair but horrible pawn on c3. Black also has a Rook on the 7th rank. Black is better. The question is: Is it enough to win? One thing for certain, Bareev will have to work hard to earn it as she cannot afford to take a draw.)

18.Be3 (18…d5 here is good. It will block the mobility of the White Bishop while controlling the center.)

18…Kf8 19.Bd4 Rc2 =+ 20.Nb7 Nb3 21.Rab1 Nxd4 22.cxd4 d5 (This is not an easy position for Judit to win but she has excellent chances. Bareev has to work very hard to hold this and he is very low on time. This is very exciting! Black will try to work on White’s a pawn.)

23.a5 g5 24.h3 (A safe move in time pressure.)

24…h5 (Judit is working on her pawn structure while there is no need to rush in other areas of the board.)

25.g4 hxg4 26.hxg4 (Now the pawn on g4 will be another target for Black.)

26…R8c4 27.e3 Nd7 28.Kf1 Ra4 29.Rdc1 (The more pieces off the board, the easier for White to draw this game. The position is equal.)

29…Rb4 30.a6 (Bareev has played perfectly so far in time pressure to hold the position.)

30…Nb6 31.Be2 Rxc1+32.Rxc1 Nc4 33.Bxc4 dxc4 34.Na5 Ra4 (Unfortunately, I see Judit’s chances of winning diminished.)

35.Nxc4 Rxa6 = 36.Ne5 Bd6 37.Rc8+ Ke7 38.Nc4 (Positionally speaking, White is doing fine and may even be a little better. The only hope now for Black is if White plays too passively. Bareev is too experienced and too good to blow this.)

38…Bb4 39.Rc7+ Ke8 40.Rb7 Be7 (Unfortunately, White is now better. I don’t see any chance for Judit to win this game. And she may even lose if she pushes too hard. 41.Ne5 gives White an excellent position.)

41.Ke2 Ra2+ 42.Kd3 Rxf2 43.Rb8+ += (The problem for Black is the King position.)

43…Kd7 44.Rb7+ Ke8 45.Rb8+ Kd7 46.Rb7+ Ke8 1/2

Good fight Judit! Good job by Bareev! Congratulations to him! He will face Peter Leko next.
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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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