This game was suspended on move 1. The reason was Short's protest that his opponent did not comply a recommendation of the Presidential Board of FIDE, still awaiting approval from the FIDE Congress. The Appeals Committee ruled out that after written apology by Cheparinov is submitted, the game should be played today. This encounter already accumulated significant emotional charge, so we may expect an uncompromising fight.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.Be3 Be6 10.Nd5 Nbd7 11.Qd3 Bxd5 12.exd5 Rc8 13.c4 After an initial delay, the game finally is resumed.
13... a5 Both opponents played rapidly the opening moves. Najdorf variation in Sicilan Defense which we've seen on several occasions in this tournament in Topalov's games with similar positions.
14.Kh1 A new move, as far as I know. (14.Rac1) took place in most of the games in this line.
14... Re8 Standard setup with Bishop going to 'f8' in order to potentially take control of the 'e' file.
15.Rad1 Bf8 It is hard to distinguish the last two moves of Short as a part of some plan. More likely he is not quite familiar with the position, hence his cautious approach.
16.Nd2 g6 Having prevented White's activity on the Queen-side, Cheparinov improves the position of his Bishop.
17.b3 After (17.Qa3 Bg7 18.Qxd6 Bf8) the Queen is trapped.
17... Bg7 18.a3 Short is clearly provoking Black to play 'e4'.
18... h5 After 18...e4 19.Qb1 Qe7 20.Rfe1 Black pieces lack coordination, so Cheparinov attempts to create some weaknesses near the White King before changing the central pawn structure.
19.f3 b6 20.b4 axb4 21.axb4 e4 As Short was already prepared to mount his Knight on 'e4', Black sacrificed a pawn to activate all his pieces.
22.fxe4 Ne5 23.Qb3 Neg4 24.Bg5 pinning the 'Nf6' seems best.
24.Bg5 Qd7 After 25.h3?! Nxe4 26.Nxe4 Rxe4 27.Bf3 Re5 28.Bf4 Bf8 Black is fine.
25.Qb1 Ra8 26.h3 Nh7 27.Bf4 Ne5 28.c5 bxc5 29.bxc5 Reb8 After a forced variation started by 26.h3 Short consolidated and is a healthy pawn up. (29... dxc5 30.Bb5)
30.Qc2 dxc5 31.Qxc5 Rc8 32.Qe3 (32.Qb5) to trade the Queens had its merits as well.
32... Nf8 33.Qg3 Qe8 34.Bb5 Unblocks the 'e5' square in case of 34...Qxb5.
34... Qe7 35.Nf3 Nxf3 36.Qxf3 Rc3 37.Rd3 Raa3 38.e5 Before Black reestablishes the blockade.
38... Rxd3 39.Bxd3 Nd7 40.e6 fxe6 41.Qe2 The time control is passed and Short has winning advantage.
41... Nf8 42.Bc4 Rc3 43.dxe6 Rxc4 44.Qxc4 Qxe6 45.Qxe6+ Nxe6 46.Be3 The exchange sacrifice was Cheparinov's best chance to save the game.
46... Nd4 47.Kg1 Nf5 48.Bc5 Bishop v. Rook in this structure is draw, while Knight v. Rook is easily lost.
48... Be5 49.Re1 Bc3 50.Re4 Kf7 51.Kf2 Bf6 52.Ra4 Ke6 53.Ke2 Kf7 54.Bf2 Short attempts to secure his King a route to a more central position.
54... Ke6 55.Kd3 Kf7 56.Ra7+ Ke6 57.Ra6+ Kf7 58.Ke4 Bb2 59.Rc6 In order to win, Short has to figure out how to transfer his Bishop to 'e5'
59... Bg7 60.Be1 Bf6 61.Bc3 Bh4 62.Be5 Bg5 63.Ra6 Bh4 64.Bf4 Bf6 (64... Be1 65.Ra7+ Ke6 66.g4 hxg4 67.hxg4 Ne7 68.Bg5 Bb4 69.Ra6+) Now after 65.g4 hxg4 66.hxg4 Nh4 67.Kd5 White gets to the 'g6' pawn.
65.g4 hxg4 66.hxg4 Ng7 67.Be5 Be7 68.Kd5 (68.Bd6 Bf6 69.Kd5) +-
68... Ne8 69.Ra7 Nf6+ 70.Bf6 Kf6 71.g5+ Kf7 72.Re7+ Very good game by Nigel Short, where he got an early advantage and in the end finished nicely a difficult endgame. See you tomorrow with the games of round 9 of Corus 2008 live on Chessdom! 1-0