Archive for the ‘CHESS ANALYSIS’ Category

KAMSKY SHARES THE LEAD – ROUND 6 REGGIO EMILIA 2009/2010: Kamsky versus Brunello = MOVE by MOVE with Diagrams!

January 3, 2010

Gata Kamksy won another interesting “vision” and endgame battle today against Sabino Brunello – which is the topic of today’s posting!  Today’s round featured 5 outstanding games – 4 of which were played in the true spirit of competitiveness – where both players were willing and ready to fight for the full point.   Only one game was disappointing in this respect.  But 4 out of 5 isn’t bad at all!



It is not my intention to discuss the opening of this game as any database or opening book can be consulted.  Not that I am uninterested in the opening – the discussion of this phase of the game is just outside the scope of this posting.  Based upon the number of diagrams I have included in this posting means that any more would have been quite a bit too much on the eyes!  I am much more interested in the early middle game and the endgame phases of this extremely interesting battle.

[Event “52nd It”][Site “Reggio Emilia ITA”][Date “2010.01.03”]
[Round “6”][White “Brunello, S.”][Black “Kamsky, G.”]
[Result “0-1”][ECO “E60”][PlyCount “98”][EventDate “2009.12.28”]
[White Elo “2507”][Black Elo “2695”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nf3 c6 6. Nc3 d5 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. Ne5
e6 9. O-O Nfd7 10. f4 Nc6

(Board 1 : A well known position to fans of Anatoly Karpov.  These closed variations of the Grunfeld tend to be rather drawish – but not today!  Sabino Brunello deserves full credit for going “all in” against Kamsky in this highly instructive game from round 6 of Reggio Emilia 2009/2010.  Even if he was “outplayed” into it!)

11. Be3 Nb6 12. Bf2 Ne7 13. a4 a5 14. Rc1 Bd7 15. Nxd7 Qxd7

(Board 2: Kamsky has developed his forces much more efficiently during the opening negotiations of this game.  I would also rather have the “Knight pair” in such closed positions as well.  Compared to White’s Bishop pair I see a very bright future for Kamsky’s cavalry – unless of course the position becomes somewhat murky.)

16. Qb3 Nc4 17. Rfd1 Nf5 18. Ne4 Rac8 19. Nc5 Qe7 20. e3 b6

(The “big moment” of this game!  In true “Karpovian style” Gata has gripped the squares very nicely with his pieces – in particular notice how both Knight co-ordinate nicely now.  All of Kamsky’s pieces are posted really well – as opposed to their counter parts in the White army.  Sabino really has no choice here – he actually HAS to go all in with the exchange sacrifice or else he is just losing material and with it, more than likely in the long run, the game.  Get ready to hold onto your seats because you are in for the chess ride of your life now!  This is the starting point in the game where I would really like to begin taking a much deeper look at what is actually going on.)



Sabino tries to muddy the waters!

21. Rxc4

This is forced and I suppose that Sabino was thinking along these lines when he took this action – If I do not do this exchange sacrifice then I will just be squeezed to death by Kamsky’s better positioned pieces/troops.  If I do not do the exchange sac then I will be losing material and in the long run the game.

If I do the exchange sac I will have a very nicely posted Knight on c5, I will eliminate one of Kamsky’s most active pieces – the annoying Knight on c4, I will be able to open up the position by moving the central pawns and uncovering an attack against the Queenside – my Bishops will command an open board and I will have a passed pawn on the Queenside as well.  I will get some pawns while countering Kamksy – and his Bishop on g7* is out of play once I block off the a1-h8 diagonal with pawns.

ON THE FLIP SIDE : Kamsky will get open lines for his Rooks, His King is much safer and he will be able to activate his pieces much more quickly than his opponent – Brunello – because Sabino’s plan will take quite a while to carry out.  In the process of trying to open up the position for his, Sabino Brunello’s, Bishop Pair Kamsky will be able to create additional weaknesses in the enemy position.  Two of these weaknesses are going to be the long white a8 – h1 diagonal and the not so well defended 1st rank.

21. …dxc4

“In for a penny, in for a pound” – As the Brits would put it!

22. Qxb6

Quite the struggle now!

*Please note that BOTH dark squared Bishops are rather poorly placed!  Black’s on g7 will not strike down anything along it’s diagonal while the White dark squared Bishop is a big pawn!

22. …Rb8

Kamsky now activates his Rook along the b-file.  This will be a very important – his Rooks need to gain access to the weakened back rank.  This is actually an extremely important event during this game – as the effects will be rather long term.

23. Qxa5

Brunello creates the passed a-pawn, something to try and distract Kamsky with.  It doesn’t quite work out that way in the game though.

23. …Rxb2 24. Bf1

The White pieces still seem awkwardly placed… but Sabino has to activate them and the only way to do this is to start using the diagonals on the Queen-side.  However this will create weaknesses as the King will now have diagonals that lead to him open up as well.  Kamsky will still be able to use the diagonals – he has his Queen and his dark squared “Indian” Bishop* – which needs to be activated ASAP.

24. …Nd6

Black moves the Knight to hold onto the c4-pawn while further enhancing his b-file options.  The e4-square is now contested as well.

25. Qc3

This move allows Sabino to attack the c4-pawn a second time while clearing the way for the a-pawn to run down the a-file.  The “Loose” Rook is also attacked.

25. …Rfb8

Kamsky now has a road down which his rooks may travel – job one will be to control the b-file and then to exchange off the lone White Rook thus weakening the back rank.  Remember – if you can double your Rooks on a file or Rank then you should do so.  The doubled Rooks are extremely powerful as they can protect each other.

26. e4

Several ideas behind this move – drive away the Black Knight on d6 and to shut down the a1-h8 diagonal.  Kamsky already has an idea about how to reactivate his dark squared Bishop.  Kamsky is looking at all of his options and while some of them are subtle Kamsky does an excellent job of making them readily apparent.

26. …Qa7

An interesting idea – putting the Queen into a pin to create counter threats!  If Sabino isn’t careful he could lose his Bishop on f2 and wind up getting checkmated in short order.  The Black Queen also exerts power along all lines which she looks down on that side of the board.

27. e5

Another charming feature of Kamsky’s last move is that it anticipated this e5 push.  The dark Squared Bishop is now going to be activated along the f8-a3 diagonal… despite Sabino’s best efforts to sideline this piece.

27. …Nf5

This Knight can dance back on over from f5 to e7 and will be able to reinforce control over the d5 square.

Sabino would not want to play the g4 pawn push – attacking the Knight on f5 – as this will further weaken the White King-side.  However this may have been a better strategy as the long term prospects on the Queen-side may not be enough to give serious counter chances.  Also in light of the fact that the diagonals leading to the White King will become extremely drafty in any event.



28. Bxc4

White’s trumps: Activated pieces and a passed white a-pawn.  It is also interesting to note that the material count is event – two pawns and a Knight for a Rook.

White’s problems: Weak back rank issues and diagonals that are opening up – for the Black Pieces.  Fixed pawns and drafty squares around the White King – a Monarch who will find no truly safe haven.  I would call these organic weaknesses.

28. …Bf8

Rerouting the Bishop along another diagonal – seeking more gainful employment else where on the chess board.

29. Nd3

While this move looks to save the extremely useful Knight it unfortunately helps Kamsky to invade down the b-file and to weaken the back rank by exchanging off the lone White Rook.  This Knight was the piece that was holding the White Position together – now that it has been threatened and has retreated the position begins to alter significantly.

29. …Rb1

No need for commentary – Gata Kamsky is just following his plan by playing the “only” move that makes sense in the position.

30. Rxb1

30. …Rxb1+

Now the 1st Rank is weakened.  What is Brunello to do?  The position around his King is drafty and his pieces do not co-ordinate effectively because of the pawn structure – the very same pawn structure that is now in the way of his pieces and that does not protect squares around the White Monarch.

31. Kg2 Qa8+ 32. d5 Ne7

Now the organic weaknesses in Brenello’s position are apparent.  The weak long diagonal and the weak back rank – all lines lead to a weakened area around the White King.  The attempt at blocking off the diagonal with the pawn push fails because of the additional attacker who jumps into the fray – our good Knight who hops from f5 to e7.

33. Nc5 Nxd5 34. Qf3 Bxc5 35. Bxc5 Qc6 36. Bxd5

Another interesting moment in the game.  Should Kamsky recapture the Bishop on c5 or the one on d5?  This is critical – which capture offers Kamsky the greatest chance of victory in this game.  To capture the White squared Bishop means that the a-pawn will fall quite quickly – but leaving the dark squared Bishop on means that the drafty dark squares around the Black Monarch may become targeted.



36. …Qxc5

Now it is time to take stock:

White still has his passed a-pawn but is down an exchange and has a very vulnerable and weak King.

Kamsky has two pieces that can combine nicely against the White King – his Rook and Queen.  The passed a-pawn is going no where and the Black King is the much safer of the two Monarchs.  Kamsky can create threats easily with his Queen and Rook as the Queen can opperate along diagonals and Ranks.  Brunello’s Queen is tied to defense – of the Bishop and of the King.  This fact means that Kamsky can over work these pieces and create unstoppable threats against the vulnerable White King.



37. Be4

37. …Qg1+

That weak back rank – it never went away as an issue during this game!  It was there for the long term.

38. Kh3

As they say in the Yugoslav publication “CHESS INFORMANT”, BOX!  This means “only move” – and this is usually never a good sign if we are forced to play such moves during our games.  If our options are running thin then we are losing the game – remember Chess is about control of the squares or the space if you like – and if you have to play only moves then you have lost control on the board.

38. …Rb2

Threatening a not so subtle checkmate!  For example 39. a5?? Qxh2 + 40. Kg4 Qh5 + +

39. Qh1


Let us Keep the Queens on – as well as the pressure against the White Monarch!

39. …Qf2

40. Qg2

Hoping to exchange off the White Queen and then to post the Bishop on c6 thus protecting the far passed pawn.  This would still be a somewhat rather grim game but would offer greater cheapo chances.

40. …Qd4

41. Qf3


41. …Qxa4

That a4-pawn will not be distracting Kamsky from his objective now – going after the White King.

42. Qd3

White is running short of squares down which to run with his pieces.  That sort of thing will happen when you are always on the defensive and you have a material deficit.

42. …Qa5

Protecting the d8 square and getting ready to swing the Rook to d2 thus centralizing the tower.  Centralization is always desirable – we should aim for such control in our own games.

43. Bc6

Interesting piece the Bishop.  When trying to deliver a checkmate with Queen and Bishop it is usually the case that this is a somewhat clumsy partnership as the two pieces both operate along the diagonals.  They end up tripping over each other in that they have a move in common with each other.  Whereas having a Queen and Knight is typically – in most positions – a more desirable pairing allowing for easier checkmating possibilities.

Rooks can be and are sometimes rather clumsy pieces themselves but are an advantage in endgames when battling against our opponent’s Bishop.  Very often last rites are to be delivered to the side with the Bishop – with pawns being even.  As always we chess players have to watch out for those devilish details as positions do differ in their important features.

Because of the pawn structures in this game the Queen and Rook are far superior to the Queen and Bishop.  It is just a matter of time before the White King is executed.  Already here Kamsky begins to think about using the Rook and the Queen to continue controlling key Ranks and files but to also allow the Queen to a very important diagonal.  One which Sabino Brunello will be unable to defend forever.

43. …Rd2

The Rook is now officially centralized!

44. Qc4

I am sure that Sabino was hoping that Kamsky would allow some miracle save – perhaps his Queen and Bishop gaining access to the f7 square and allowing a cheapo checkmate.  This is no more realistic than hoping for a meteor to come crashing down on Gata’s head!

44. …Qb6

Controlling the d8 square still and again thinking about the f2 or g1 squares.

45. Bg2??

Clumsy piece that Bishop!  With the weakened King and nothing to attack this Bishop is just shifting back and forth dreaming of gainful employment.  Notice that both the Black Queen and the Black Rook are moving along the dark squares now!  The color of the squares are very important!!

45. …Qb2

The b2-square was also being eyed up by the Black Queen!  Now the Bishop is pinned to the h2 pawn and thus tied down for good.

46. Qe4

Nothing to be done but to wait for the inevitable!  Passive defense will always lose against an inventive attacker who pays attention to the squares.

46. …h5

Now the h-pawn joins in on the attack!  By controlling the g4 square this pawn ties down the White King and his loyal pawn subjects even further.  Less and less options for Sabino Brunello’s pieces and more control for Gata Kamsky.

47. Qa8+

Spite check time – equivalent to throwing in the towel.

47. …Kg7

Safe and sound.

48. Qe4

Back again to whence the Queen came from.

48. …Re2

Now it is ok for the Rook to move onto the White Squares!  The Rook attacks the White Queen driving her away from defense of the f5 square – which is a place the Black Queen would very much like to visit.  Also notice that the Bishop on g2 is still unable to move away as then Rxh2 will win the day for Kamsky.

49. Qa8

49. …Qc2 Brunello Resigned. 0-1

The threat of …Qf5 convinced Sabino Brunello to capitulate.  Attempting to avoid this threat only accelerates defeat but does not greatly delay the inevitable.  Both Rook and Queen control the square e4 thus allowing the Black Queen to jump up to f5 with devastating effects.

Two example lines might run

1.) 49. Qa8 Qc2 50. g4 Re3 + 51. Bf3 Qf2 wins it all.

2.) 49. Qa8 Qc2 50. Qc6 Qf5+ 51. Kh4 Qg4 + +

I hope you all have enjoyed this game at least half as much as I have! – Coach Sean Tobin.


52nd Reggio Emilia Tournament: KAMSKY OFF TO A GOOD START!

December 29, 2009

Kamsky is off to a good start at the 52nd edition of Reggio Emilia with a win in round one.

*Fabiano Caruana – Although he grew up in the states he is actually representing Italy so the American flag by his name is actually not the correct flag to be attached to his name – my chessbase was using older “player data” when I made this table.  Once upon a time I got a draw against young Caruna in a World Open Side event – long ago – when he was a little kid rated almost 2000 USCF!

Interestingly enough all three decisive games were won by the player with the Black pieces – always a good sign for each of these players!  Now if they can just “cash in” their games with the White pieces…   Down below you will find the results from round one.

[Event “52nd It”][Site “Reggio Emilia ITA”][Date “2009.12.28”][Round “1”]
[White “Vocaturo, D.”][Black “Kamsky, G.”][Result “0-1”][ECO “B42”]
[White Elo “2500”][Black Elo “2695”][Ply Count “100”][Event Date “2009.12.28”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Ne7 {Paulsen variation of the Sicilian Defense – a more positional or strategical treatment as opposed to some other highly aggressive and tactical variation – like let us say the Najdorf Sicilian.} 6. O-O Ng6 7. Kh1 Bc5 8. Nb3 Ba7 9. f4 Nc6 10. Qe2 O-O 11. Be3 d6 12. N1d2 Re8 13. a4 Qc7 14. c3 Bd7 15. Bxa7 Nxa7 16. g3 Rad8 17. h4

Exchanging off the dark Squared Bishop seems a little off to me and White’s 17. h4 seems quite a bit too loosening.  Risky for sure against a solid player like Kamsky – who in this position has the safer King.

17.  …Nf8 18. Kh2 Nc8 19. a5 Re7 20. Nf3 e5 21. f5 d5 22. Nfd2 dxe4 23. Nxe4 f6 24. g4 Bc6 25. g5

The V-man has gone all in against Kamsky – so I give him full credit for his aggressive intentions.  However playing over this game leaves one with the impression that Kamsky saw many moves further ahead of his adversary.  Kamsky’s endgame is phenomenal too so you really do need to be able to see what will happen very far off in the “distance” against Gata.  Even after his long lay off this is one aspect of his game that has not gotten weak.  The only chink in Gata’s armor is his opening repertoire right now and the more he plays the tighter this facet of his game will become.

25. …Nd7 26. Rad1 Kh8 27. Rd2 Ree8 28. Rfd1 Ne7 29. Qg4 Nd5 30. Rg1 Rf8 31. Rg3 Nf4 32. Bc2 Bxe4 33. Bxe4 fxg5 34. hxg5 Nc5 35. Rxd8 Rxd8 36. Nxc5 Qxc5 37. Qf3 Qxa5 38. Rg1 Qb6 39. b4 Rd2+ 40. Kh1 Qd8 41. Bb1 Ne2 42. f6 Nxg1 43. fxg7+ Kxg7 44. Qf5 Nf3 45. Qxh7+ Kf8 46. Qh8+ Ke7 47. Qf6+ Kd7 48. Qxf3 Kc7 49. Be4 Qxg5 50. Bxb7 Qh4+ 0-1

Clearly a game all about “depth of calculation” – Kamsky just saw much further into the possibilities than did his opponent.  Of course this is only round one and the rest of the tournament yet remains.  The two players I would like to see battle it out for first in this event are Kamsky and Caruana.  I would prefer Kamsky over Caruana – not that I have anything against Fabiano.  It is just that I have been following Kamsky for quite a while now and would like to see him get back into the World Championship mix and a good result in this fine Italian tournament would be a good step forward, in that direction, for him.


Here lines like 51. Kg1 Qe1 + 52. Qf1 Qxf1 + 53. Kxf1 Kxb7 just leaves Kamsky up a whole Rook with a totally won endgame.  In such an overwhelming position checkmate does not loom far off so Mr. Vocaturo threw in the towel.

For excellent coverage of this event please visit:________________

_____or visit the organizers website at:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::——>

I don’t know about you but I am most certainly looking forward to round two!  Go Kamsky and Caruana!!

– Coach Sean Tobin.