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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Jeremy Silman Explains An Intriguing Game

     My copy of Jeremy Silman's How To Reassess You Chess was purchased when it came out in 1993. That was back when malls had bookstores and one of the stores I frequented actually had a nice supply of chess books. Unfortunately Silman's widely acclaimed book came out too late to do me any good because by the time it appeared I was an old dog and was not interested in learning any new tricks. 
     While thumbing through the book the other day I was intrigued by one of the positions and without Silman's clear explanations a number of his moves are hard to understand. 
     Let's take a look at the game which appeared in the chapter on preventing counterplay. Silman's opponent was National Master Zaki Harari and the game was played in a tournament in memory of Charles Bagby (1903-1973). 
     Bagby, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, was a San Francisco lawyer and National Master whose victories included the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club championship in 1923, the Northern California Championship in 1949 and 1950 and the California championship in 1958. A member of the Mechanics’ Institute since 1938, he was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1940, and served longer than any Trustee in the history of the Institute.

Zaki Harari - Jeremy Silman

Result: 0-1

Site: San Francisco

Date: 1976

K-Indian Attack

[...] 1.e4 ♘f6 2.d3 e5 3.♘f3 ♘c6 4.g3 ♗c5 5.♗g2 O-O 6.O-O d5 7.♘bd2
7.exd5 ♘xd5 8.c3 ♗g4 9.h3 ♗h5 10.♘bd2 ♖e8 11.a4 a5 12.♕b3 is equal. Zvjaginsev,V (2662)-Bartel,M (2625)/Moscow 2016
7.♕e2 ♖e8 8.h3 h6 9.♔h2 ♗e6 10.♘bd2 ♕d7 11.♘b3 favors black. Burrows,B (2092)-Costello,A (2163)/Costa Mesa 2017
7...dxe4 Best as now black is slightly better.
7...♖e8 8.exd5 ♘xd5 9.♘e4 ♗f8 10.♗d2 ♗g4 with equality. Brankov,K (1904)-Janev,T (2297)/Plovdiv 2009
8.dxe4 ♗e6 9.c3 Black can meet 9.Ng5 with 9...Bg4 9...a5 10.♕e2 ♘d7 11.♘c4 f6 Silman explains: now that the center is firm he can concentrate on creating targets on the Q-side.
11...b5 Chasing the N away does not fit in with black's plan and after 12.♘e3 ♖b8 Safe and solid is 12...Bxe3 13.♖d1 b4 14.cxb4 ♖xb4 15.b3 ♖xe4 introduces unclear complications after 16.♘xe5 ♘d4 with equal chances.
12.♘e3 a4 Very good! Silman: If white leaves the P on a2 it will always be in need of defense. However, if he moves it to a3 then the b3-square will fall into black's hands. 13.♖d1 ♘a5 14.♘f5 ♖f7 Having made real gains on the Q-side, I now patiently shore up my K-side, knowing that if white's K-side attack fails, the game is mine. Silman. 15.♗h3 As Silman pointed out, if white wants to place the B on h3 then it was better to play 15 h4 first so it could join the attack by an eventual h4-h5-h6.
15.h4 and after 6 minutes Komodo comes up with 15...♕e8 16.h5 ♘b6 17.♘3h4 ♖d7 18.♖xd7 ♕xd7 19.♗e3 ♗xe3 20.♘xe3 ♘ac4 21.♖d1 ♕f7 22.♘ef5 with equal chances.
15...♕e8 Getting the queen off the d-file and giving the B on e6 some support. Silman. This move with its simple explanation is the kind of move that often escapes amateurs who think every move has to be part of a tatical sequences or a long winded strategic plan.
15...♗xf5 eliminating the well placed N would be bad on account of 16.♗xf5 ♗d6 17.b4 axb3 18.axb3 ♘f8 The threat was Be6 19.b4 ♘c6 20.♗e3 and black has been beaten back on the Q-side which is where he plans to operate.
16.♘3h4 ♘f8 17.♗f1 White didn't play the attack with the necessary finesse and now he's reacheda dead end. Silman. 17...♔h8 18.♕f3 ♖d7 Everything is safe, so now black turns his attention to the open d-file. SIlman 19.♖xd7 ♕xd7 20.♘e3 This P offer is not correct, but even after the best move black would be better.
20.♗e3 ♗xe3 21.♘xe3 (21.♕xe3 is met strongly by 21...♘c4) 21...♕d2 22.♕e2 ♕xe2 23.♗xe2 ♘d7 24.♘d5 ♗xd5 25.exd5 ♘b6 26.c4 g6 black's position is preferable.
20...♖d8 Silman wrote that he was moving quickly here because he knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish adding that he missed the strong 20...Bxa2. Still, after 20..Rd8 he felt that he was strategically winning with a risk-free position, and even knowing that 20...Bxa2 was playable he stil prefers 20...Rd8
20...♗xa2 21.♖xa2 ♘b3 and there is no way to protect the B. After 22.♘d5 ♘xc1 23.♖a1 ♘b3 24.♖d1 ♕f7 25.♗c4 Black is better, but white has a more active position than he gets in the game.
21.♘hf5 c6 Taking away d5 from the N. 22.h4 ♕f7 After endless preparation, black finally targets a2 and white is completely lost according to Silman. Komodo puts his advantage a one P. However, in a Shootout using Stockfish white scored +0 -0 =5 after 23.h5. 23.♘g4
23.h5 h6 24.♘g2 ♘h7 25.♘gh4 ♘g5 26.♗xg5 hxg5 27.♘g6+ ♔h7 28.♔g2 b5 29.♖d1 ♖xd1 30.♕xd1 ♕e8 31.♗e2 ♗xa2 32.♗g4 ♗e6 33.♕h1 ♗f8 34.♕h3 ♘c4 35.♘fe7 ♗xg4 36.♕xg4 ♗xe7 37.♕e6 ♘d6 38.♘xe7 ♘f7 39.♕f5+ ♔h8 40.♕e6 draw
23...♘d7 24.♗h3 After this his position quickly deriorates even further.
24.♗e3 was relatively best. 24...♗xe3 25.♘gxe3 ♘c5 26.h5 ♗xa2 and now white can complicate the issue with 27.♘xg7 ♔xg7 28.h6+ ♔f8 29.♖xa2 ♘ab3 (29...♕xa2 loses to 30.♕xf6+ ♔e8 31.♘f5 ♕e6 32.♘g7+) 30.♕f5 Black is better, but white can still put up some resistance.
24...♗f8 Before undertaking final action Silman takes the precaution of protecting f6 and g7 just to make sure white to reduced to complete helplessness. 25.♗e3 ♗xa2 The culmination of the strategy initiated by 12...a4 26.h5 White prepares one final assault against the black. Silman
26.b3 With a P in the bank, all black has to do is protect his pieces and make sure he can never use the d-file. Silman
26...♗b3 27.h6 g6 28.♘g7 b5 One of many winning moves. Though 28...Bxg7 is fine, Silman decided to retain his dark-square B. 29.♔g2 ♘b7 Black intends to exchange Ns knowing that his material and positional advantages guarantees him an easy technical win. Silman
29...♘c4 was also very strong. 30.♗c1 ♘c5 31.♗g5 ♗e7 32.♔h2 (32.♗xf6 ♖d3 33.♕e2 ♗xf6) 32...♖d3 is crushing.
30.♖e1 ♘d6 31.♔h2 At this point it doesn't really matter what white plays! 31...♘e8
31...f5 was stronger, but Silman elected not to allow any complication. 32.exf5 ♗d5 33.♕e2 gxf5 and the N has no retreat.
32.♘xe8 ♖xe8 33.♖e2 A blunder, but the game is lost in any case 33...♗d1 The rest of the moves are unkown, but white soon resigned.
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