John Donaldson - Paul
Bartron Catalan E08
Collyer Memorial (3)
Spokane 2007
1.Nf3
Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 e6 4.0-0
Be7 5.d4 0-0 6.c4 c6 7.Qc2
b6 8.b3 Bb7
12.Nxe4
This is the natural looking
continuation and the most
commonly played move here,
but White probably has two
better choices:
(a) 12.Ng5! was the favorite
of the late Alex Wojtkiewicz,
who used it to win two
miniatures after 12... c5
13.dxc5 Bxc5 14.Bxe4! Qc7
15.Bxh7+ Kh8 16.Be4 and now:
(a1) 16...Ne5 17.Bf4 Nxe4
18.Ncxe4 f5 19.Qe2 Kg8
20.Nxc5 1-0
Wojtkiewicz-Becerra,
Marshall Masters, New York
2003.
(a2) 16...Nxe4 17.Ncxe4 f5
18.Qe2 g6 19.Bb2+ Kg8 20.Nd6
e5 21.Nxb7 1-0
Wojtkiewicz-Ziatdinov,
Philadelphia 1998.
Black's best is likely
12...h6 but after 13.Ngxe4
Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Nf6 15.c5 Nd5
16.a3 a5 17.Bf1 Qc7 18.Bd2
Rfd8 19.b4 axb4 20.Bxb4 Ra8
21.cxb6 Qxb6 22.Bxe7 Nxe7
23.Nc5 White had a big
advantage in
Beliavsky-Mitkov, Panormo
2001 ( via many
transpositions).
If 12.Ng5! is not to your
test another good move is
12.Ne5, played many times
with success by Dmitry
Gurevich and Alexander
Veingold.
12...c5
This move is necessary to
free Black's position.
Instead 12...Nxe4 13.Qxe4
Qc7 14.Bf4 Bd6 15.Bxd6 Qxd6
is strongly met by 16.c5!
White stops ...c5
permanently, grabs space,
gains control of d6 and
shuts in the Bishop on b7.
Black's access to d5 doesn't
provide enough compensation.
Note 16...bxc5 17.dxc5
Nxc5?? fails to 18.Qb4 Qe7
19.Rac1.
13.Nxf6+ Bxf6 14.Ng5 Bxg5
15.Bxb7 Rc7 16.dxc5
16.Be4 is also possible but
doesn't promise any
advantage against best play.
16... Bf6?!
16...Bxc1 17.Raxc1 Rxb7
18.c6 Rc7 19.Rxd7 Rxd7
20.cxd7 Qxd7 21.Rd1 Qe7
22.Qd3 g6 23.Qd6 Re8 24.Qd7
Kf8 25.Qa4 a5 26.Rd7 Qc5
27.Qb5 Qxb5 28.cxb5 Rc8
29.Rb7 a4 30.bxa4 Rc4
31.Rxb6 Rxa4 32.Ra6 1-0
Yusupov-Beitar, Thessaloniki
(ol) 1988 is the game that
sold me on 12.Nxe4 and
16.dxc5 but as GM Mihai
Marin points out in his
excellent CD for ChessBase
on the Catalan Black should
play 17...bxc5! 18.Bg2 Qe7
19.Rd2 Nf6 as in
Cvitan-Borgo, Porto San
Giorgio 1997 when White has
next to nothing.
17.Rb1
The question that White has
to decide is what ending
offers the most prospects:
with Queen's, Rook and
Bishop or Rook and Pawn? I
probably did not make the
right decision.
An important alternative
here is 17.Bb2 Bxb2 18.Qxb2
Rxb7 19.c6 Rc7 20.cxd7 Qe7
21.Rd2 Rd8 22.Rad1 Rcxd7
with a Queen ending soon to
arise.
17...Rxb7 18.c6 Rc7 19.cxd7
Rxd7 20.Be3
20.Ba3 was
played in Adamski-Petersen,
Copenhagen 1995, but I
thought the Bishop should
face Black's queenside
pawns.
20...g6?!
20...Rxd1+ 21.Rxd1 Qc7
22.Qe4 was only slightly
better for White in Minero
Pineda-Juan Jimenez, San
Jose 2001, yes this is our
Juan!
21.c5
bxc5 22.Bxc5 Rxd1+ 23.Qxd1
Re8 24.b4
I felt that after 24.Bxa7
Qa5 25.Be3 Qxa2 26.b4 Rd8
27.Qf1 Bd4 Black would have
adequate counterplay. For
example 28.Bxd4 Rxd4 29.b5
Rd2 30.b6 Rxf2 31.Qxf2 Qxb1+
32.Kg2 Qb5 and it is not
clear how White can make
progress.
24...Qxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Be7
26.Bxe7?!
Maybe 26.Bxa7! Bxb4 27.a4
was a more challenging
continuation. If 27... Ra8
then 28.Rd7 Kf8 29.Kf1 Ke8
30.Rb7 and The White King
comes to the queenside.
26...Rxe7 27.b5 e5?
This and Black's following
moves are an ill-advised
attempt to go for active
counterplay and things
rapidly go downhill from
here. It was better to be
patient and bring the King
to b7 to free the Rook.
After 27...Rc7 28.Rd6 Kf8
29.a4 Ke7 30.Ra6 Kd7 31.Kf1
Kc8 32.Ke2 Kb7 Black can
resist though after
33.Rd6.White is still
better.
28.Rd6
Ruling out any breakout
attempts with ...a6. White
plans to bring his King to
the queenside. The rest is
pretty straightforward,
28... f5 29.Kf1 Kg7 30.Ke2
Kh6 31.a4 Kh5 32.h3 Kg5
33.a5 Rb7 34.b6 axb6 35.axb6
f4 36.Kf3 Kf5 37.g4+ Kg5
38.Ke4 Kh4 39.Kxe5 Kxh3
40.Kxf4 Rf7+ 41.Kg5 Rxf2
42.Rd3+ Kg2 43.Rb3 Rf8 44.b7
Rb8 45.Kh6 1-0 |