A Fight Till Death

Mwale, Joseph (2206) - Masiya, Mfundo (2132) D78

Boardwalk Pearson Open "Prestige", 14.03.2020

Fianchetto Grunfeld To view this game in PGN format: Today I’m analyzing one of my client’s games on Fiverr Mfundo, he's a strong player from SA and a friend as well, make sure you check his youtube channel (Mfundo Masiya) for fun and interesting chess content. If you want your game to be analyzed like this make sure to check my service:

The key points we're going to focus on in this game:-Counterplay in the center-Tactical inaccuracies-Activity over material

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 Black enters what is known as the fianchetto grunfeld, played in many high level recently

5.Nf3 Bg7 6.0–0 0–0 7.Qb3

7...dxc4 7...Qb6 is the main move on this position, line continues 8.Nc3 Rd8 9.Rd1 Bf5 (9...Be6!? is a new move played by Alireza, it gives black good counterplay 10.c5 Qxb3 11.axb3 Na6 0–1 (50) Hellers,F (2592)-Firouzja,A (2728) INT 2020 preventing b4/b5, black went on to win)

8.Qxc4 Be6 a decent move,though i'd prefer

8...Bf5; 8...Qa5!? 9.Nc3 Bf5 is also interesting as well

9.Qd3 both 9.Qa4; and 9.Qb4 were better alternatives, white gives black a tempo putting his bishop on f5, a better square for his bishop

9...Bf5 10.Qb3 10.Qd1 was better now having to deal with Qb6, although here already black achieved equality

10...Qb6 a good move, typical in this line

11.Nc3 Nbd7 a normal move, though black had a better alternative

11...Na6! this unusual move is actually very common in these types of position, especially when the light squared bishop is in f5 guarding the c2 square, also black can now meet 12.Qa3 with (12.Qxb6 axb6 is good for black opening the a file, black plans are Nb4 or if 13.a3 b5 /b4) 12...Qb4 (or 12...Nb4)

12.Qa3 Rfe8 13.h3 an interesting idea was 13.Be3!? Ng4 14.Bg5 Bxd4? (14...Ngf6 is better) 15.Nxd4 Qxd4 white has plenty of compensation for the pawn

13...a5 a typical idea, black is planning Qb4 to exchange queens and hopefully open the b-file

14.Re1 now is the first critical moment of the game, white wants to play e4 getting a big strong center

14...Qb4? black should react quickly to white's threat before exchanging

14...Ne4 is the thematic approach blocking the e4 square 15.g4 Nxc3 16.bxc3 Be4 white will eventually play e4 but in return black will exchange a few pieces making the center less powerful, black now wants to break white's center with either e5 or c5; a more active approach would be 14...e5 15.dxe5 (15.Nxe5 is met by 15...Qxd4) 15...Ne4 16.Nxe4 Bxe4

15.e4 Be6 16.Qa4 white threatens to move his queen away

a decent alternative was 16.Be3 white shouldn't be afraid of 16...Qxa3 17.bxa3 since now the b file will be open with good play on the queenside, white is definitely better here

16...Bc4? black had to exchange queens

16...Qxa4 17.Nxa4 b5 18.Nc3 Nb6 now the position is stable. white doesn't threat much and black can start coordinating his pieces, though white has the upper hand

17.Qc2 now both the queen and bishop on c4 are very loose, white will gain many tempi on them in the following moves. black's position is much worse

17...e5 other moves do not help

17...Rac8 18.b3 Ba6 19.e5 Nd5 20.Bd2 Qb6 21.Na4 Qa7 22.e6 fxe6 23.Rad1 with a terrible position for white; 17...c5 18.d5 is also bad; 17...Qb6 18.Bf4

18.Bd2? winning was 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.dxe5 Rxe5 20.Bd2 Qb6 21.b3 Ba6 22.Rad1

18...Qb6 black had to go for 18...exd4 19.Nd5! only move 19...Qb5 20.a4 Qb3 21.Qxb3 Bxb3 22.Nc7 d3 and black will have to suffer for a draw

19.b3 Ba6 20.Na4 easier was 20.dxe5 Nxe5 21.Nxe5 Rxe5 22.Rad1 with threats as Na4 and Be3 black's position is lost

20...Qd8 20...Qc7 was better not to put the queen on the rook's file

21.dxe5 Nxe5 22.Nxe5 Rxe5 23.Bc3 23.Rad1 Re8 24.Bf4 Qe7 25.Bd6 with Nb6 and e5 next, black is crushed

23...Re8 24.Rad1 Qc7

25.Qd2? a bad decision, white doesn't need to run after the pawn

activating his knight with 25.Nc5 was much better, white's position is clearly better

25...Rad8 26.Bxa5? throwing away all the advantage

white had to admit his mistake with 26.Qb2 though white is no longer winning

26...Rxd2 27.Bxc7 Rxa2 28.e5 Nh5? leaving the knight out of play

black should immediately leave the pawn with 28...Nd5 29.Bxd5 (29.Bd6 is better) 29...cxd5 30.Rxd5 and black has decent compensation for the pawn due to his bishops and the weak pawns on b3 and e5

29.Nc5 now white is again much better

29...Be2 30.Rd7? leaving the e5 pawn

30.Rd4 was better preventing 30...Bxe5 31.Re4!

30...b6 30...Bxe5 was necessary taking away white's important pawn 31.Bxe5 Rxe5

31.e6 easier was 31.Bxb6 Bxe5 32.Bxc6 with a healthy extra pawn

31...fxe6 32.Bxb6? if white was going to take on b6 anyway, why e6 first?

32.Ne4! (See diagram) the knight on e4 is a beast, now all the black pieces are hanging, compare between it and the one on h5

32...Bc3 33.Rc1 Bd2 a good maneuver, now black's pieces are alive again

34.Rb1 Nf6 35.Rd6 Nd5 36.Bxd5 poor move, white should never exchange his light squared bishop

36.Rxc6 Bb5 37.Rd6 (37.Rxe6 looks tempting but after 37...Nc3 38.Rxe8+ Bxe8 39.Rf1 Bb5 white losses an exchange) 37...Bb4 with very good holding chances

36...exd5 36...cxd5 would more or less force a draw since after 37.Nxe6 (37.Rxe6 Rxe6 38.Nxe6 Bd3) 37...Bd3 38.Rd1 Be2 white can't get his rook out

37.Rxc6 Bf3?! 37...Rc2 pinning the knight 38.b4? is bad due to 38...Rc4 39.b5 Rb4!

38.Rf6 missing a good move

38.Nd7 was a very nice resource, with Nf6 and Bd4 being serious threats

38...Rf8 39.Re6 39.Nd7 Rxf6 40.Nxf6+ Kf7 41.Bd4

39...Rc8 40.g4 Rc2 41.b4 now an interesting position arises, white is hoping to push his b pawn while black is trying to generate an attack on the kingside

41...Kf7 42.Rd6 h5 such attack would never be possible if white didn't exchange his light squared bishop

43.Rd7+ a critical moment in the game

43...Kf6? surprisingly enough black enters what looks like a mating net

43...Kg8 was much safer, a nice line here is 44.Ne6 Rc1+ 45.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 46.Kh2 h4 47.Rd8+ Kf7 48.Rf8+ Kxe6 49.Rxf3 Bxb4 which leads to an equal position

44.Bd8+! Ke5 45.Rf7 hxg4? now black loses by force!

45...Rxd8 46.Rxf3 d4 was necessary although black's king makes his position difficult

46.Bf6+ Kd6 47.Be7+?? missing a winning chance

47.Bd4! is winning 47...Bxb4 (47...Rc7 48.Rf6+ Ke7 49.Rxg6 gxh3 50.Re6+ and losses the bishop; 47...Rc4 runs into mate after 48.Rd7+ Kc6 49.b5+ Kb6 50.Na4+) 48.Nb7+ Ke6 49.Rf6+ Kd7 50.Rxb4

47...Ke5 48.hxg4 48.Bf6+ leads to the same position, if 48...Kf5 49.Bh4+ Ke5 50.hxg4 Bxg4 51.Bg3+ Kd4 52.Nb3+ Kd3 53.b5 and the b pawn runs

48...Bxg4 49.Bf6+ Kd6 50.Be7+ now 50.Bd4 is ineffective due to 50...Rc4! and white cannot play Rd7+

50...Ke5 51.b5 Bf5 good move, hitting Rb1

52.b6 R2xc5

53.Rxf5+?? this losses straight away

53.Bxc5 better was 53...Bxb1 54.b7 Rb8 55.Ba7 Rxb7 56.Rxb7 with an unbalanced position, though black should be able to hold this quite easily

53...gxf5?? black returns the favor

53...Kxf5! was winning after 54.Bxc5 Rxc5 55.b7 Bf4 56.b8Q Bxb8 57.Rxb8 Ke4 and the passed d pawn decides the game

54.Bxc5 Ke6 55.b7 now black is lost

55...Rg8+ 56.Kf1 Bf4 57.Ke2 this gives black an escape, both sides don't see it until a couple moves later possibly due to time trouble

57.Ba7! wins immediately 57...Bb8 58.Bxb8 Rxb8 59.Ke2 black's rook is paralyzed guarding the b pawn, black is playing a rook down 59...Ke5 60.Kd3 Kf4 61.Kd4 Kf3 62.Rb2

57...Kd7 57...Bb8! and the black rook is free 58.Kd3 Rg4 cutting the march of the king to the 4th rank

58.Kf3 Bc7 again 58...Bb8 is draw

59.Ba7 white finally sees it, now the game is over

59...Bb8 60.Bxb8 Rxb8 61.Kf4 Kc6 62.Ke5 f4 63.f3 Kc7 64.Kxd5 Rxb7 65.Rxb7+ Kxb7 1–0

a very interesting game with many chances missed for both sides. I hope you enjoyed this game and that it was useful and meet you in other interesting games

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