26 August 2023

Commentary: 2022 U.S. Women's Championship, Round 7 (Tokhirjonova - Abrahamyan)

In this round 7 game, we see a straight-up Advance French opening, with Abrahamyan defending. Several thematic ideas pop up, including White's early h2-h4 pawn thrust, Black having to decide when to exchange pawns on d4, the 11...f6 pawn break, and the attacking move 22. Ng6!

As can be seen with many games when examined closely, both sides have opportunities and setbacks that are characteristic of the dynamic attack (White) and defend/counterattack (Black) roles in the opening, although Black essentially cannot recover after the 17...Nb4 inaccuracy. That particular move is worth examining in the different variations shown, and is an example of what often occurs in practice - an idea for a move that is good in theory proves not to work, but could have in a different sequence.

[Event "U.S. Women's Chess Championship 2022"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.10.12"] [Round "7"] [White "Tokhirjonova, Gulrukhbegim"] [Black "Abrahamyan, Tatev"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C02"] [WhiteElo "2336"] [BlackElo "2308"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Dragon 3.2"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 {the Advance variation.} c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. Be2 Nge7 7. Na3 {this looks funny, but is the most played in the database. The knight has to get in the game somehow.} Ng6 (7... cxd4 {immediately is more popular and scores slightly better in the database.}) 8. Nc2 (8. h4 $5 {is an attempt by White to take immediate advantage of the placement of the Ng6.} cxd4 9. cxd4 Be7 10. h5 Nh4 {and Black is all right, however.}) 8... Be7 9. g3 {the point of the move is to support the coming h-pawn thrust.} cxd4 10. cxd4 O-O 11. h4 f6 {a thematic French pawn break; the pawn chain is attacked at its head, the base having been shortened by the exchange on d4.} 12. h5 {the logical continuation of the h-pawn forward thrust.} Nh8 13. Bf4 {White maintains the strong point on e5, at least temporarily.} Nf7 14. Bd3 Rc8 {putting the rook where it belongs in the long-term.} (14... fxe5 $5 {immediately is perhaps better, if Black is going to play it anyway.}) 15. Qe2 {adding another piece to the e5 battle and developing the queen.} fxe5 {Black exchanges and releases the pent-up pressure, to her benefit.} 16. dxe5 Ng5 {reactivating the knight and looking to exchange, which will help further expand the scope of Black's pieces and un-cramp her position.} 17. Nh4 $6 {this goes too far in avoiding minor piece exchanges and puts the knight on the rim.} (17. Nd2 $11 Nb4 18. Nxb4 Bxb4 19. Kf1 {and now there are multiple roads to equality for Black, including ...h6 or exchanging on d2.}) 17... Nb4 $6 {an inaccurate response. The Nb4 idea appears in different variations, for example in the above one, but here White can take advantage of it.} (17... Ne4 $1 {immediately takes advantage of the Nh4's placement, while maintaining the Q+B battery against it.} 18. Nf3 (18. Bxe4 dxe4 19. Qxe4 {this looks like a simple win of material for White, but Black has a number of threats that can now be executed, for example after} Na5 $1 {Black has ...Rc4 and ...Bc6.}) 18... Bc5 19. O-O Rxf4 20. gxf4 Ng3 $17) 18. Nxb4 Bxb4+ 19. Kf1 Ne4 20. Kg2 $1 $16 {this solves White's problems and gives her a plus, as now she can bring over the Ra1 while keeping her other rook on the h-file for attacking purposes.} Bc5 $2 {Black evidently had ideas of targeting f2 similar to that in the above variation, but here the idea essentially loses.} (20... a6 $5 {unfortunately there is not much active that Black can do.}) 21. Raf1 {this simple move essentially seals Black's fate.} Be7 22. Ng6 $1 $18 {a thematic attacking move, as the knight cannot be taken safely.} Rf7 (22... hxg6 23. hxg6 Rf5 {defends the h5 square, but the White queen can still work her way to the h-file after} 24. Qg4 Bg5 25. Qh3 $18) 23. Qg4 {a little hasty - Nxe7 can be played immediately instead - as this leaves some space for counterplay after ...Qb6, although Black would still lose the exchange.} Nc5 (23... Qb6 24. h6 hxg6 25. Qxg6 Qxb2 26. h7+ Kh8 27. Qxf7 Qa3 $16) 24. Nxe7+ {an effective enough follow up.} (24. Bb1 $1 $18 {is pointed out by the engine, preserving the excellent attacking bishop.}) 24... Qxe7 25. Bg6 {the Rf7 must now be exchanged for the bishop.} Bc6 (25... hxg6 $4 26. hxg6 {and the queen then moves decisively to the open h-file.}) 26. Bxf7+ Qxf7 27. Rd1 {the rook is no longer needed to protect f2, so can get into the game via the d-file.} Rf8 {nothing is good for Black at this point, as White has no real weaknesses.} 28. Rd4 Kh8 29. f3 {this isn't necessary, but perhaps White wanted to have the pawn double-protected and block the a8-h1 diagonal her king is on.} Nd7 30. h6 {White gets rolling against the king position again.} g6 31. Re1 {as it is no longer of use on the closed h-file, White correctly redeploys the rook behind the e-pawn.} Qe8 32. Bd2 {now the bishop is free to move to a better diagonal.} Rf5 33. Rf4 {the threat to e5 can be safely ignored, thanks to the threat of a White pin on the long diagonal.} Rh5 (33... Nxe5 34. Rxe5 Rxe5 35. Bc3) (33... Rxe5 34. Rxe5 Nxe5 35. Bc3) 34. Rh1 {White would be happy to trade down, of course, with a material and space advantage and much stronger king position.} Nxe5 {in fact the best try, but everything loses at this point.} 35. Bc3 Kg8 36. Qxh5 {White was forced to find this to maintain her strong winning advantage, but now it's all over.} gxh5 37. Bxe5 1-0

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments and ideas on chess training and this site are welcomed.

Please note that moderation is turned on as an anti-spam measure; your comment will be published as soon as possible, if it is not spam.