The problem of exchanging (20-26 August, №34)


“Exchanging” is a wide-ranging concept. Even if we talk only about chess it’s the swapping of dynamic factors, the “trading” of positional advantages, as well as the usual “buying and selling” of pieces and pawns…

And in a game, as in a noisy oriental bazaar: if you let “a good price” slip you’ll soon end up playing an “inflated” price…

Read on

Author: Alexey Kuzmin

The problem of exchanging

Fressinet,L (2714) - Bauer,Ch (2682)

Ch-FRA Pau FRA, 21.08.2012

28...Bxb3! White’s knights seem to be pretty passive, but Bauer takes his decision without any prejudices!

29.Qxb3 Bxe1! 30.Rxe1 Qe7 Black has achieved the balance of minor pieces he was looking for – a knight against a bishop! True, all the heavy pieces remain on the board…

31.Bf3 Rab8 32.Qe3 Rb4 33.Rec1 Rd8 34.h4 Qc7 35.Ra6 Rb6 36.Ra5 Rb3 37.Qxb3 Qxa5 38.Kg2 g6 39.Rb1 Kg7 40.Qb5 Qc7 41.Qa6 Rd6 42.Qa8 Rd2

The potential for an attack on the f2-point in the near future scared Fressinet into offering to exchange the last pair of rooks.

43.Rd1? And in vain! On the board now is a classic situation where with a bishop against a knight it’s better to exchange queens but leave the rooks on the board.

43...Rxd1 44.Bxd1 Qd6! 45.Be2 Qd2 46.Bf3 Qd4 47.Qa2

47...Ne8! There’s no-one to defend the white pawns.

48.Be2 Qxe4+ 49.Bf3 Qd4 It’s not easy, but Black has a won position. However, Bauer needed another almost forty moves in order to convert his edge. 0–1

I liked another of Christian's games from the last rounds of the French Championship.

“I'll swap a rook for a bishop!”

Bauer,Ch (2682) - Lagarde,M (2505)

Ch-FRA, Pau FRA, 20.08.2012

A series of adventures has meant that this pawn structure arising from the Sicilian Defence has taken on “French” features. Bauer switched his rook along the third rank, unambiguously displaying his aggressive intentions. However, his opponent was ready for such a course of events, assuming that he’d be able, at least temporarily, to drive away his enemy’s forces.

18.Rxg7! Exchanging a rook for a bishop with the dark squares included in the bargain...

18...Kf8 19.Rg3 Bxg3 20.fxg3 Rxc3 21.Bd2 There aren’t yet any concrete threats, but the uninhibited white bishop controlling the dark squares is significantly stronger than the enemy rook.

21...Rc8 22.g4 Nc4 23.Bb4+ Kg7 24.gxh5 Defending in such positions is always more difficult than attacking. It’s no surprise that Lagarde couldn’t withstand it and stumbled.

24... Qg5? The queen should have gone one square further - 24...Qh4.

25.Rb3! While White’s first rook completed the manoeuvre along the third rank in order to demolish his opponent’s lines of defence, the second repeats the route to finish things off.

25... a5 26.Qe1! Black’s defenceless. 26... axb4 27.Rg3 Rxh5 28.Rxg5+ Rxg5 29.Qh4 Rf5 30.Bd3 Nb2 31.Bxf5 exf5 32.Qf6+ Kf8 33.Nf3 1–0

In the next example a bishop again turned out to be stronger than a rook, although the exchange sacrifice didn’t destroy the king’s cover.

Zvjaginsev,V (2671) - Rozum,I (2500)

Botvinnik Memorial St Petersburg, 27.08.2012

17.Rxe6! fxe6 18.Nc4

Here for a rook White got the “bargain” of a bishop and the right to freely attack his opponent’s pawn weaknesses. Not a bad deal!

18...Qa7 19.Bd6 Nd5 20.Qg4 Qf7 21.Nxc5 Bf8 22.Ne4 Nf6 23.Nxf6+ Qxf6

24.Bc7! A small nuance: Zvjaginsev forces his opponent’s rook to a position where it’s threatened with the Nb6 fork. That wins him a tempo.

24...Rd7 25.Bg3 Raa7 26.Qe4 Rd5 27.Be2 h5 28.Bf3 Rc5 29.h4 e5

Now Vadim could have finished off a subtly handled game by tactical means - 30.b4! Nxb4 31.Bxe5 and so on. Instead there followed 30.Qe2 Bg7 31.Re1 and serious efforts were required to overcome the young St. Petersburg player’s resistance. 1–0

The last battle is the hardest!

The European Youth Chess Championship, with age categories ranging from 8 to 18, came to an end this week. The oldest group was won by Vadim Moiseenko. In order to do that he had to withstand a serious assault in the last round.

Kadric,D (2418) - Moiseenko,V (2454)

European Youth Chess Championship B18 Prague, 25.08.2012

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0–0 6.e5 Nfd7 7.Bc4 c5 8.e6 Nb6 9.exf7+ Kh8 10.h4!?


The principled move, and also a novelty! 10...Bg4?! 11.h5 gxh5 12.Be2! Qd7 13.Ng5± Velimirovic-Rajkovic/Skopje 1971

11.h5 Bf5 12.Ng5! cxd4

13.hxg6! h6 14.Ne6! The Bosnian player conducted the attack with great ingenuity! A nice end to the game would have been 14...dxc3? 15.Qd4!

14...Qc8 15.Rxh6+! A long series of forced operations begins.

15... Bxh6 16.Qxd4+ Ne5 17.fxe5 Qxe6 18.Bxh6 Nc6 19.Bxf8 Bxg6 20.Qh4+ Bh7 21.Bh6 Nxe5 22.0–0–0 Qxf7 The position has simplified. It’s interesting that after all the sacrifices, both accepted and rejected, material is again level.

23.Be3 Rg8

The passions have largely died down. The position is roughly equal. 25 moves later a draw was agreed and Vadim became the U18 European Champion.

Mating attack

Ganguly’s games usually appear in my reviews in the opening novelty section. And that’s understandable: for many years now the Indian grandmaster has been Anand’s assistant. This week, however, he suffered an unpleasant incident…

Hertneck,G (2521) - Ganguly,S (2629)

ZMDI Open A Dresden GER, 23.08.2012

13.Nxf7! Kxf7 14.Qh5+ Ke6 15.c4!

The black king’s retreat has been blocked. It seems Ganguly had missed this move. He clearly lost his cool, because due to the unexpected 15...dxc4! 16.bxc4 Qb2! 17.c5 Nxc5 it was still possible to put up resistance.

15... Rg8? 16.Qf5+ Kd6 17.Qxf4+ e5 18.c5+ Nxc5 19.Qxe5+ Kd7 20.Rf7+ Kd8 21.Qf6+ Ke8 22.Bg6 On account of mate in no less than four moves Black resigned.

New in the opening

The German grandmaster Georg Meier is well-known for having played the variation 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4! in a countless number of games. And not only for having played it. He’s also brilliantly analysed the system and surrounded it on all sides if not with a “Great Wall of China” then definitely with a “Mannerheim Line” of fortifications! But Georg’s opening investigations also stretch to other openings…

Meier,G (2648) - Olszewski,M (2521) [A16]

ZMDI Open A Dresden GER, 24.08.2012

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.h4 Bg7 6.h5 Nc6 7.d4 Bg4


In the games Nepomniachtchi-Rodshtein/Rogaska Slatina 2011 and Naiditsch-Volokitin/San Sebastian 2012 White played 8.h6, but derived no real benefits from that. At first glance the exchanges slightly devalue the march of the h-pawn, but in actual fact things aren’t so simple.

8...hxg6 9.Rxh8+ Bxh8 10.e4 Nb6 11.d5 Nd4 12.Be3 e5 More accurate was 12...c5, although in that case as well 13.Nb5 Nxb5 14.Bxb5+ would have made it possible to fight for the initiative.

13.Nb5 Qe7?! After 13...c5 White has an array of interesting options. For example, 14.b4!?

14.Rc1 Nxb5 15.Bxb5+ c6?

Now Meier could have finished the game in spectacular style: 16.dxc6! Qb4+ 17.Rc3 Qxb5 18.cxb7 Rb8 19.Qd6!! Rxb7 20.Bh6! But he didn’t find that path and played16.Bc5 Qd7 17.dxc6 bxc6 18.Qxd7+ Kxd7 19.Be2 settling for only a positional edge... ½–½

The World University Championships also came to an end this week in the Portuguese city of Guimaraes. The top player in the individual standings was Bu Xiangzhi. As usual he mainly outplayed his opponents in what appeared to be calm positional struggles, but the Chinese grandmaster was also wonderfully prepared in the opening.

Bu Xiangzhi (2670) - Tomczak,J (2560) [D90]

12th World Uni Men Guimaraes POR, 22.08.2012

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qb3 Nb6 6.d4 Bg7 7.Bf4 Be6 8.Qa3 c5!? A fashionable gambit.


The games Papin-Nyback/Plovdiv 2012 and Le Quang Liem -Navara/Belfort FRA 2012 both saw 9.Qxc5. White won both encounters, but in each cause Black could be perfectly satisfied with the outcome of the opening.

9...cxd4 10.Nb5 0–0 11.Nc7 Nc6 12.Nxa8 Qxa8 13.Rc1

13...f5! After the new move 9.е4! both players acted “according to the first line” of Houdini. Either they play that strongly or they were that well prepared!

14.e5 Nd5 15.Bd2 Qb8 More accurate was 15...Bf7!? and only after 16.Be2 would you play 16...Qb8. But White had the resource 16.Ng5!? Nxe5 17.f4.

16.Bb5 Bxe5?! White’s chances are also greater after the better 16...Nxe5 17.Nxd4 Bf7 18.0–0.

17.0–0 Bf7 18.Bxc6

For 18...Bd6 Bu had prepared 19.Bxd5! Bxa3 20.Bxf7+ Kxf7 21.bxa3 e5 22.Rc5±. But in the game there followed the prosaic 18...bxc6 19.Nxe5 Qxe5 20.Rxc6 f4 21.Qd3 Re8 22.Re1 where White also had a big edge... 1–0

And finally a rook ending, again from one of Bu’s games.


Bu Xiangzhi (2670) - Perdomo,L (2391)

12th World Uni Men Guimaraes POR, 21.08.2012

Many, on getting such a position in their games, would start to think about peace negotiations. I’m convinced such a thought didn’t even occur to Bu! The endgame does indeed conceal a number of nuances. I really like the way the Chinese grandmaster exploited his opponent’s slight errors and managed to decide the outcome of the game in literally a few moves.

28...Re8?! Correct was not to try and “cut off” his opponent’s king but instead to try and activate his own rook 28...Rd8 29.Ke3 Rd1 29.h4 Re5?! The young Columbian master clearly underestimates the danger. The g3-g4 advance had to be prevented - 29...f5! 30.g4! a6 31.Rf4 hxg4?! Now 31...f5 would be the lesser evil, although it’s by no means certain that after 32.gxh5 gxh5 33.Rd4 Kc7 34.Kg3 Re2 35.a4 it would be possible to save the game. 32.fxg4 Re7 The best chance was 32...g5! 33.Kf3 [33.h5!] 33...Kc7 [33...g5!] 34.h5!

The outside passed pawn quickly decides matters.

34... gxh5 35.gxh5 Kd6 36.h6 Re6 37.h7 Rh6 38.Rxf7 b5 39.Kg4 Ke6 40.Kg5 Rh2 41.Ra7 Rg2+ 42.Kh6 Kd5 1–0

And that, it seems, is all…