Michael Adams - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Round 7
Corus A, Wijk aan Zee 2008
Wijk aan Zee


Adams and Mamedyarov drew three classical games so far, and exchanged wins in World Rapid Blitz. Mamedyarov might try Ruy Lopez or even Pirc defence, but probably not Sicilian Paulsen which brought him in trouble against Adams in the last Mtel Masters.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 As predicted, Mamedyarov trusts Ruy Lopez the best. Delayed Steinitz is his pet line.

5.c3 g6 6.d4 Bd7 7.Bg5 f6 8.Be3 Nh6 9.O-O (9.h3 is slightly more popular)

9... Bg7 10.Bb3 Rare move, Beliavsky and Chandler liked to continue with 10. h3, while changing the structure with 10. dxe5 was also possible.

10... Qe7 Keeping the option of castling long.

11.Re1 Nf7 12.Nbd2 O-O Castling long might be too dangerous, because black pieces are mostly grouped on the kingside and it would be hard to defend should Adams launch an attack. White will keep the tension in the center as long as his space advantage is allowing convenient pieces maneuvering.

13.Bd5! Adding more pressure on the black queenside.

13... Kh8 Black will have to get out of the pin sooner or later. One of the ideas might be Ng5.

14.Qb3 Ncd8! 14...Rb8 was also possible, but moving Knight is better. Mamedyarov wants to play c6 and chase away the annoying Bd5.

15.Rad1 Rb8 Obviously, Mamedyarov came up with something even better. He wants to exchange light-squared Bishops and continue with Ne6, that's why Rook has to defend b8 pawn.

16.Qa3 Be6 17.c4 exd4 18.Nxd4 c6 19.Bxe6 Nxe6 Adams could have been planning c4-c5 (one of the reasons behind Qa3), but this is not so efficient anymore as black Queen will be on e6. That is why Adams is switching the plans and wants to increase space advantage on the queenside. Black position is still very resisting though.

20.b4 (20.Nxe6 Qxe6 21.c5 dxc5 22.Bxc5 Rfe8)

20... Rbe8 21.Qc1 21...Nxd4 22. Bxd4 c5 is interesting

21... Ne5 This is more solid than Nxd4. Mamedyarov is still keeping his pawn structure flexible.

22.N2b3 f5 23.exf5 gxf5 24.Nxe6 (24.f4 might have been critical 24... Ng4 25.h3 (25.Nxe6 Qxe6 26.Bd4 Bxd4+ 27.Nxd4 Qf6 is equal) 25... Nxe3 26.Qxe3 Bxd4 27.Nxd4 Rf6 28.g4!?)

24... Qxe6 25.Bf4 Qg6 Black is perfectly fine now. (25... Qxc4? 26.Bxe5 wins piece for white...)

26.Re3 Re7 27.h3 (27.Rg3 with 28. c5 looks more promising...)

27... Rfe8 28.Kh1 Mickey Adams is known as master of prophylactics. When both players are in time trouble, he is playing solidifying moves, without making too much commitment to calculation.

28... Nf7 29.Red3 Re4! (29... Re2! even better)

30.Na5 (30.Bxd6 loses after nice geometry 30... Nxd6 31.Rxd6 Qxd6 32.Rxd6 Re1+ 33.Kh2 Rxc1 34.Nxc1 Be5+)

30... R8e7 31.b5! axb5 32.cxb5 c5 33.Nc4 Bd4 34.Be3 Bxe3 35.Rxe3 (35.Nxe3! with idea Nd5)

35... f4 36.Rxe4 Rxe4 37.Qc3+ Kg8 38.Qb3?! f3 Certainly annoying in time trouble, but even stronger was (38... d5! 39.Nd2 Rd4!)

39.Rg1 Rg4! 40.Ne3 (40.hxg4 Qh6#)

40... fxg2+ 41.Kh2! Now game is equal again. (41.Rxg2 Rxg2 42.Nxg2 Qe4 and centralized Queen is giving firm advantage to black.)

41... Rb4 42.Qa3 Ng5 Better was to avoid the check with Kg7. But 43. Nd5! looks even stronger!

43.Qa8+ (43.Nd5!? Ra4!? 44.Qg3 and Rxg2)

43... Kg7 44.Qxb7+ Qf7 (44... Kh6? 45.Rxg2 and next Ng4 is crushing)

45.Qxg2 (45.Nf5+!?)

45... h6 46.Nd5 ( Better was 46.Kh1 with idea Qd5 or Ng4)

46... Rb2! 47.Rf1 Kh7 48.Kh1 Rxa2 (48... Rd2! 49.Nc3 Qc4! and Qb5 after the Knight moves (49... Rd3 50.f4! Rxh3+ 51.Kg1))

49.Nc3 Rb2 50.Ne4 Rb3 51.Nxg5+ hxg5 52.f4 52...Rxb5 or 52...Qe6

52... Qf5 53.fxg5! Secures draw for Mickey

53... Qxh3+ 54.Qxh3+ Rxh3+ 55.Kg2 Rb3 56.Rd1 c4 57.Rxd6 Rxb5 58.g6+ Kg7 59.Rc6 c3 60.Rxc3 Rg5+ 61.Rg3 Nice humor at the end :))

61... Rxg3+ 62.Kxg3 Kxg6 Great fighting effort. Probably some opportunities were left behind in time troubles, but the overall impression is that both tried very hard. 1/2-1/2