IM Ray Robson (2455) – GM Sharavdorj Dashzegve (2429)

SPICE Spring Invitational Lubbock (5), 19.03.2009 [C11]

1.e4 e6 2.Nf3

An unusual response to the French Defense instead of the customary 2.d4. However, the game will soon transpose to familiar territory.

2…d5 3.Nc3 Nf6

This move invites White to play into the line that begins with 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7. However, the big difference is that White no longer has the choice to play 5.f2-f4 as the knight is already on f3, blocking the advance of the f-pawn. Another attractive alternative would be 3…d4 4.Ne2 c5.

4.e5 Nfd7 5.d4 c5 6.dxc5 Nc6

As the c5-pawn cannot run anywhere, Black continues developing and attacks White’s e5-pawn first.

7.Bf4 Bxc5 8.Bd3 f6

The natural looking 8…0–0? would be an error, as it allows the typical bishop sacrifice 9.Bxh7+! Kxh7 10.Ng5+, when 10…Kg8 leads to a forced win for White: 11.Qh5 Re8 12.Qxf7+ Kh8 13.Qh5+ Kg8 14.Qh7+ Kf8 15.Qh8+ Ke7 16.Qxg7#. After the better 10…Kg6, White’s attack is also very strong: 11.Qd3+ f5 (11…Kh5? would result in a quick checkmate in two by 12.Qh3+ Kg6 13.Qh7#) 12.Nxe6 and Black faces serious difficulties.

9.exf6 Qxf6

An inaccuracy. Better and more often played is the recapture with the knight.

10.Bg3 h6

This move looks a bit strange as it unnecessarily weakens the light squares on the kingside. I would rather castle right away.


After 11.Nb5, Black could simply “castle away” from the fork threat of Nb5-c7+.

11…a6 12.Qe2

This move creates a pin over Black’s e6-pawn and directly threatens winning a pawn by Nc3xd5. At the same time, it also puts pressure on Black’s backward e6-pawn.

12…0–0 13.Rae1

Another attacker arrives to pressure Black’s weakness – the e6-pawn.


13…Re8 would protect the e6-pawn, but would step into a pin and allow 14.Nxd5.


A very typical move for such positions. It is essential that White blocks the advance of Black’s e6-pawn. In addition to the long term weakness of the e6-pawn, Black needs to deal with the passivity of the light-squared bishop on c8.

14…Nxe5 15.Bxe5 Qf7 16.Kh1

Getting out of the pin to enable f2-f4.

16…Nd7 17.f4 Nf6

Here White started a somewhat surprising attack that reminded me of my sister Judit’s brilliant attacking games from her early teenage years.


An elegant move that works beautifully in this case!

18…Bd7 19.g5 Bc6

Of course after the pawn exchange with 19…hxg5 20.fxg5, Black’s knight would be lost in the pin. Black’s position is also totally hopeless upon 19…Ne8 20.gxh6 gxh6 21.Rg1+.

20.gxf6 gxf6

White’s bishop on e5 is trapped, but there is no reason to panic. White has more tricks “up his sleeves.”

21.Qg4+ Kh8


A nice little combination, although 22.Qh4 was also powerful.

22…Qxf6 23.Rxe6 Qg7 24.Rg6 d4+ 25.Ne4

Even stronger was 25.Be4 Qh7 (or 25…dxc3 26.Bxc6 Qh7 27.Qh5) 26.Rxc6.

25…Qh7 26.Qh5 Rf6 27.Rxf6 Bxe4+ 28.Bxe4 Qxe4+ 29.Rf3

And the rest is easy.

29…Bf8 30.Kg1 Qe1+ 31.Kg2 Qe2+ 32.Kh3 Qxc2 33.Rg3

Here pretty much everything wins, but 33.Rxf8+! Rxf8 34.Qe5+ Kh7 35.Qe7+ Kg8 36.Rg3+ was more forceful.

33…Qc8+ 34.f5 Qc1 35.Qf7 Qf1+ 36.Kh4 Qf4+ 37.Kh5 Qxg3 38.hxg3 Bg7 39.Rxh6+ 1–0

This was truly an impressive game by the fourteen-year-old American star.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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