Akobian, Varuzhan (2610) – Perelshteyn, Eugene (2555)
2008 Spice Cup, Texas Tech University
Queen’s Gambit Declined [D38]


1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bb4

The Ragozin variation of the QGD is a relatively popular and attractive alternative to the more common 4…Be7.


More frequently seen is 5.cxd5 or 5.Bg5.


Luckily for Black, he blocks the check and protects the bishop on b4 at the same time.

6.e3 0–0 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Bd7

Threatening Nc6xd4 with a discovered attack, which explains White’s next move.

9.Qc2 Na5

A typical and good move.

10.cxd5 exd5 11.Bd3 Re8 12.a4 Nc4 13.0–0 Ne4

Now White takes the initiative.

14.Bxc4! dxc4 15.Ne5

Black has only one move to avoid losing material.

15…Nd6! 16.e4

White has clear superiority in the center.

16…Be6 17.Bf4

I would prefer either 17.Re1 or 17.Ba3. On the other hand, Black would be fine after 17.f4 f6 18.Nf3 f5 19.e5 Ne4.


Better would have been 17…Qh4! trying to force a weakening pawn move in front of White’s king.

18.Nf3 f5

An interesting pawn sacrifice, which White does better to not accept.

19.Bxd6 cxd6 20.Rfe1

The right choice. If 20.exf5, Black gets excellent compensation for the pawn after 20…Bd5 21.Nd2 Qg5 22.f3 Re2 23.Rf2 Qe3 24.Raf1 Rf8 with clear initiative for Black.

20…Qd7 21.Ng5 h6 22.Nxe6 Qxe6 23.e5 d5

Now White has a clear advantage, by having a protected passed pawn on e5, and weaknesses in Black’s camp on d5 and potentially b7 as well as f5.

24.Reb1 Re7 25.Rb5

A perfect square for the rook targeting two pawns at once.

25…Rf8 26.Rab1 Rff7 27.Qe2 f4 28.Qf3 Rd7 29.a5 g5

Threatening with g5-g4, followed by f4-f3; however, White can easily stop this and all Black will be left with is a weakened kingside.

30.h3 Kg7 31.R1b4 Rfe7 32.Rc5 Rd8 33.Rbb5 Red7

And the time has arrived to trade queens.

34.Qg4 Qxg4 35.hxg4 Kf7 36.f3 Ke6 37.a6!

This breaks Black’s seemingly solid defense.

37…Rb8 38.Kh2 Ke7 39.Rxd5

39.g3 was perhaps even more accurate.

39…Rxd5 40.Rxd5 b5

Upon 40…bxa6 41.Rc5 Kd8 42.Rxc4 Rc8 43.Ra4 Rxc3 44.Rxa6, White is winning.

41.Rc5 Kd7 42.d5 Rb6 43.g3

43.d6 was also good.

43…Rxa6 44.gxf4 gxf4 45.Rxb5 Ra2+ 46.Kh3 Rf2 47.g5!

A final cute finesse to activate the king.

47…hxg5 48.Kg4 Re2 49.Rb7+ Kc8 50.Re7 a5 51.Kxg5 a4 52.Kxf4 Kb8 53.d6 Rd2 54.Rc7 1–0

Click here to replay the game.

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