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Slav Defence D15. Variation 4...a6.

by Boris Schipkov

The last years the variation 4... a6 became popular in the Slav Defence (after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3). Especially it is pleasant to the lazy chessplayers. They should not study many variations after classical 4... dxc4.
Let's consider one of variations, in which White achieved successes in 2000.
Boris Gelfand demonstrated the strong plan for White for the first time in the Rubinstein Memorial 2000.

Gelfand, B. (2681) - Movsesian, S. (2666) [D15]
Rubinstein Mem, Polanica Zdroj (5) 2000

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 a6 5. c5 Nbd7 6. Bf4 Nh5 7. e3 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O f6 10. h3!
A new move. Now Black takes on f4, because he is afraid that the bishop could hide on h2.
10...Nxf4 11. exf4 e5
If 11... O-O, then 12. f5 gxf5 13. Bxf5 e5 14. Qc2 e4 15. Nh4.
12. f5!
A brilliant idea! White sacrifice a piece, receiving development advantage.
12...e4








   
13. Bxe4! dxe4 14. Nxe4 O-O
Also losing 14... Bf8 15. Qb3 Be7 16. Rfe1 Kf8 17. Re2 Kg7 (or 17... Rg8 18. Rae1 Rg7 19. Nd6 Rb8 (19... Bxd6 20. cxd6 gxf5 21. Re7 Ne5 22. dxe5 Rxe7 23. dxe7+ Qxe7 24. e6) 20. fxg6 hxg6 21. Nh4 with overwhelming advantage) 18. Rae1 Qg8 19. Qc3 Bf8 (19... Bd8 20. Nd6 Qd5 21. Re8 Rf8 22. Qe3) 20. Nd6 Bxd6 21. cxd6 Nb6 22. Re7+ Kh6 23. R1e4 g5 24. Rh4+! gxh4 25. Qe3+ Kh5 26. Qf4 with an inevitable checkmate.
15. Qb3+ Kh8 16. Nd6 Bh6 17. Rfe1 Kg7








   
18. Re4!
All White's pieces are in the attack.
18...Nxc5 19. dxc5 gxf5 20. Re8 Qxe8 21. Nxe8+ Rxe8 22. g3 a5 23. Re1 Rxe1+ 24. Nxe1 a4 25. Qb6 Bd2 26. Qc7+ Kg6 27. Nf3 Bc1 28. Nh4+ Kh6 29. Qf7
Black resigned. 1-0

The bright Gelfand's novelty has not remained without attention of other grandmasters. In the 1st round of the World Championship in the rapid game Sakaev - Volkov White could receive an advantage, but made mistakes and Black won.

Sakaev, K. (2627) - Volkov, S. (2554) [D15]
FIDE WCh /New Delhi IND (1.6) 2000

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. c5 Nbd7 6. Bf4 Nh5 7. e3 g6 8. Bd3
In the game Ikonnikov - Volkov, Samara 2000, White played 8. b4 Bg7 9. Rc1 f6 10. Bg3 Nxg3 11. hxg3 e5 12. dxe5 f5 13. Ne2 Qe7 14. Ned4 O-O 15. Be2 Nxe5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Qd2 Bd7 18. a4 Rfe8 19. O-O h5 20. b5 axb5 21. axb5 Ra3 22. bxc6 bxc6 23. Nf3 Bg7 24. Rc2 Rb8 25. Rfc1 Qd8 26. Ra2 Rxa2 27. Qxa2 Rb2 28. Qa6 Qc8 29. Qxc8+ Bxc8 30. Ra1 Bd7 31. Ra7 Be8 32. Ba6 Bf6 33. Bc8 Rb5 34. Ra8 Kf7 35. Ra7+ Kf8 36. Nd4 Bxd4 37. exd4 Rb1+ 38. Kh2 Rb4 39. Bd7 Bxd7 40. Rxd7 Rxd4 41. Rd6 Kf7 Draw. 1/2-1/2
Bg7 9. O-O f6 10. h3 e5
A novelty.
11. Bh2 e4 12. Bxe4 dxe4 13. Nxe4 O-O 14. Nd6 f5
Interesting is 13...Bf8 14. Qb3 Ng7 15. Rfe1 Be7 16. Rad1 with some initiative for White.









   
15. g4?!
Better was 15. Qb3+ Kh8 16. Nf7+ Rxf7 17. Qxf7 Qg8 with a small advantage to White.
15...fxg4 16. hxg4 Nhf6 17. Ng5?
A counter-productive decision. Correct is 17. Qb3+ Nd5 18. e4 Qf6 19. Ne5 Qe6 20. exd5 cxd5 21. f3 Bxe5 (21... Nxe5 22. dxe5 Bd7) 22. dxe5 Nxc5 23. Qb6 Nd7 24. Qd4 with advantage to White.
17...Qe7 18. e4 Nd5! 19. f4 h6 20. Nh3?! Qh4
Now White is in trouble.
21. Rf3 N7f6 22. Nf2 Bxg4 23. Nxg4 Qxg4+ 24. Kh1 Nxe4 25. Nxe4 Nxf4 26. Rf2 Qh4 27. Qe1 Rae8 28. Rxf4 Rxf4 29. Nf6+ Bxf6 30. Qxe8+ Kg7 31. Qd7+ Be7 32. Rg1 Rf2 33. Rg2 Rf1+
White resigned. 0-1

In the first game of the 2nd round of the World Championship the variation has repeated in Yermolinsky - Xu Jun.

Yermolinsky, A. (2596) - Xu Jun (2668) [D15]
FIDE WCh /New Delhi IND (2.1) 2000

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 a6 5. c5 Nbd7 6. Bf4 Nh5 7. e3 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O f6 10. h3 e5 11. Bh2 e4 12. g4!
This move is even stronger!
12...exd3 13. gxh5 Nf8 14. e4!
White takes the initiative.
14...Bxh3 15. Re1









   
15...Kf7
Nothing changed 15... Be6 16. exd5 cxd5 17. Qb3 Qd7 18. Nxd5 Kf7 19. Rxe6 Nxe6 20. Nc7.
16. exd5 cxd5 17. Qb3 Qd7 18. Nxd5 Be6 19. Rxe6! Nxe6 20. Nc7 Rac8 21. Nxe6 Qxe6 22. Qxb7+ Qe7 23. Qb3+ Qe6 24. Qb7+ Qe7 25. Qxa6 Rhd8
White won and after 25... Bh6 26. Qxd3 gxh5 27. Qf5 Rhg8+ 28. Kh1 Kg7 29. b4.
26. Re1 Qd7 27. Qc4+ Qd5 28. hxg6+ hxg6 29. Qxd5+ Rxd5 30. Rd1 g5 31. Rxd3
In this endgame White should win, though accuracy is required.
31...g4 32. Ne1 f5 33. b4 Bxd4
If 33... Ra8, then 34. a3 Rxd4 35. Rxd4 Bxd4 36. Nc2 Bc3 37. b5 Ra5 38. b6 Rb5 39. a4 Rb2 40. Ne3 Ke6 41. Bd6 Be1 42. Nc4 Rb4 43. a5!.
34. Kg2 Ke6 35. a4 Ra8 36. a5 Bxc5 37. bxc5 Rxc5 38. Rd6+ Ke7 39. Rh6 Rcxa5 40. Nd3 R8a6 41. Rh7+ Ke8 42. Bc7 Rb5 43. Nf4 Rf6 44. Rh8+ Kf7 45. Ra8 Rc6 46. Bd8 Rbc5 47. Ra7+ Ke8 48. Be7 Re5 49. Bg5 Kf8 50. Kg3 Rb5 51. Re7 Rb3+ 52. Kg2 g3 53. f3 Kg8 54. Nd5 f4 55. Bxf4 Rb2+ 56. Kxg3 Rg6+ 57. Kh4 Rf2 58. Re3 Kf7 59. Re7+ Kf8 60. Re3 Rf1 61. Kh5 Rc6 62. Bg5 Kf7 63. f4 Re6 64. Ra3 Re4 65. Kg4 Ke6 66. Ne3 Rf2 67. Ra6+ Kd7 68. Nd5 Re6 69. Nf6+
Black resigned. 1-0

We see that the variation 9... f6 is dangerous for Black. Therefore Black should search for other ways. For example, it is possible to castle at once 9... 0-0 or to play 7... f6.









Move
   

Gelfand, Boris (2681) - Movsesian, Sergei (2666) [D15]
Rubinstein Memorial 37th/Polanica Zdroj (5) 2000

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 a6 5. c5 Nbd7 6. Bf4 Nh5 7. e3 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O f6 10. h3 Nxf4 11. exf4 e5 12. f5 e4 13. Bxe4 dxe4 14. Nxe4 O-O 15. Qb3+ Kh8 16. Nd6 Bh6 17. Rfe1 Kg7 18. Re4 Nxc5 19. dxc5 gxf5 20. Re8 Qxe8 21. Nxe8+ Rxe8 22. g3 a5 23. Re1 Rxe1+ 24. Nxe1 a4 25. Qb6 Bd2 26. Qc7+ Kg6 27. Nf3 Bc1 28. Nh4+ Kh6 29. Qf7 1-0











Move
   

Sakaev, Konstantin (2627) - Volkov, Sergey (2554) [D15]
FIDE-Wch k.o./New Delhi/Teheran (1.6) 2000

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. c5 Nbd7 6. Bf4 Nh5 7. e3 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O f6 10. h3 e5 11. Bh2 e4 12. Bxe4 dxe4 13. Nxe4 O-O 14. Nd6 f5 15. g4 fxg4 16. hxg4 Nhf6 17. Ng5 Qe7 18. e4 Nd5 19. f4 h6 20. Nh3 Qh4 21. Rf3 N7f6 22. Nf2 Bxg4 23. Nxg4 Qxg4+ 24. Kh1 Nxe4 25. Nxe4 Nxf4 26. Rf2 Qh4 27. Qe1 Rae8 28. Rxf4 Rxf4 29. Nf6+ Bxf6 30. Qxe8+ Kg7 31. Qd7+ Be7 32. Rg1 Rf2 33. Rg2 Rf1+ 0-1











Move
   

Yermolinsky, Alex (2596) - Xu Jun (2668) [D15]
FIDE-Wch k.o./New Delhi/Teheran (2.1) 2000

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 a6 5. c5 Nbd7 6. Bf4 Nh5 7. e3 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O f6 10. h3 e5 11. Bh2 e4 12. g4 exd3 13. gxh5 Nf8 14. e4 Bxh3 15. Re1 Kf7 16. exd5 cxd5 17. Qb3 Qd7 18. Nxd5 Be6 19. Rxe6 Nxe6 20. Nc7 Rac8 21. Nxe6 Qxe6 22. Qxb7+ Qe7 23. Qb3+ Qe6 24. Qb7+ Qe7 25. Qxa6 Rhd8 26. Re1 Qd7 27. Qc4+ Qd5 28. hxg6+ hxg6 29. Qxd5+ Rxd5 30. Rd1 g5 31. Rxd3 g4 32. Ne1 f5 33. b4 Bxd4 34. Kg2 Ke6 35. a4 Ra8 36. a5 Bxc5 37. bxc5 Rxc5 38. Rd6+ Ke7 39. Rh6 Rcxa5 40. Nd3 R8a6 41. Rh7+ Ke8 42. Bc7 Rb5 43. Nf4 Rf6 44. Rh8+ Kf7 45. Ra8 Rc6 46. Bd8 Rbc5 47. Ra7+ Ke8 48. Be7 Re5 49. Bg5 Kf8 50. Kg3 Rb5 51. Re7 Rb3+ 52. Kg2 g3 53. f3 Kg8 54. Nd5 f4 55. Bxf4 Rb2+ 56. Kxg3 Rg6+ 57. Kh4 Rf2 58. Re3 Kf7 59. Re7+ Kf8 60. Re3 Rf1 61. Kh5 Rc6 62. Bg5 Kf7 63. f4 Re6 64. Ra3 Re4 65. Kg4 Ke6 66. Ne3 Rf2 67. Ra6+ Kd7 68. Nd5 Re6 69. Nf6+ 1-0


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