1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 g6 4. Nc3 d6 5. e4 Bg7 6. Nf3 O-O 7. Be2 e5 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Qc7 10. Nd2 Nh7 11. f3 a6 The big question is what are the best plans in this position? Along with the plan of pawns storm on kingside there is another interesting idea: b4 break. Everyone knows that when center is blocked the game is played on flanks. So one idea for white is to play b4. But why b4? What is the reason of playing b4? First of all it's clear that white needs to open some files on queenside and the easiest one to open is b file, thanks to black's pawn on c5. So white's main plan is a3, b4, Rb1, 0-0 and maybe double rooks on b file and use it in his advantage. On the other hand, white must be ready to defend against a kingside attack which can start with f7-f5 later on. But let's see how Polugaevsky treated this position.
12. a3 f5 13. b4 Nd7 14. Rb1 b6 15. Qa4 Since the c6 square is weakened after b7-b6, white is trying to place a queen there later on.
15... Bf6 16. Bf2 Bd8 As I said in my first lesson about this topic, black must not hurry with taking on e4 or playing f4. He has to wait for white to make a castle and after that to choose the best way to attack.
17. O-O Ndf6 18. Qc6! A good move! It is obvious that black cannot exchange queens with 7Qxc6 8. dxc6 since that would be a serious strategical error. Why? First of all because white will have a strong passer on c6, second white will rule over semi-open d file and will put pressure on weak d6 pawn and third because d5 square will become an important outpost for white pieces, especially a knight. Armed with this knowledge we can understand why black refused the exchange and played:
18... Rb8 19. Qxc7 Bxc7 Without queens on board, black's kingside attack is almost non-existent!
20. Rb2! White is following the plan! He doesn't want to open b file right away because he will not be able to use it yet. That's why he prepares to double on b file first and after that he will open it.
20... Ng5 21. h4 Nf7 22. Rfb1 Ra8 23. Bd1 Bd8 24. a4! This is one interesting moment. With his last move 13. a4 white wants to use a well known plan in this position. He wants to push his pawn to a5 and to create some weaknesses together with opening the b file in his favor. Idea behind a5 is that if black captures with bxa5, then white will capture on c5 with huge advantage since the base of both pawn chains(d6-e5 and d6-c5) at d6 will fall and white will have a strong passer on d file.
24... Nh5 25. g3 f4 26. g4 Ng3 27. a5! White goes on with his plan. He doesn't worry too much that he will lose the pawn on h4, he is more concerned to create some counter-chances on queenside.
27... cxb4 28. Rxb4 bxa5 29. R4b2 Bxh4 30. Ba4! Let's stop and analyze this position. At first glance we see that white is two pawns down. But is this enough for black to win the game? Does white have any compensation for those two pawns? I will try to answer these questions with emphasis on some important aspects of the position: a) indeed white is two pawns down but let's examine black's pawns structure. First we notice double pawns on a file which can be easily attacked. So one idea for white will be just to play Nb3 and to try to recapture the pawn a5. After that, it is clear that white can use some nice spots on b6 and c6 for his pieces and to prepare assault on pawns a6 and d6. b) let's take a look at pawns chain d6-e5-f4. The base is at d6 which can be attacked easily with c5!! It is clear that after white plays c5 and after the exchange either on d6, either on c5, white will have a strong passer on d file and also strong c4 spot for his knight!! That knight will attack both e5 and a5 pawns keeping black pieces tight up for defense. Moreover, after d6 pawn is gone, white can infiltrate a rook on sixth rank that will attack the pawns a6 and g6! c) let's compare white's pieces with black ones. The bishops on f2 and a4 are very active compared with their black colleagues. Black's knight on f7 is rather passive while white knights will get active in few moves after c5 break. More..white owns the only file open - b file! d) white threatens in next move 20 Bc6 winning an exchange. So we can see that even with two pawns up, black's position is hard to defend because of too many weaknesses (a5, a6, d6, g6 etc.) and inactive pieces, that's why I would asses this position as favorabletowhite!
30... Ng5 31. Kg2?? An incredible mistake, which complicates matters. Probably white was too happy with his position and thought black's counter-play is far enough. In fact, he missed next move of black that seems so logical: 20Bxg4! It is obvious that black can't play passive since white will slowly crush him on queenside. A better movewas
31. Bc6 and after 31... Nh3+ 32. Kg2 Nxf2 33. Bxa8 h5 34. Na4! white stands better.
31... Bxg4 32. fxg4 f3+ 33. Kh2 Ne2 Now the game gets very tactical and sharp with unclear chances. But we will stop here since our topic for today's lesson in this game is finished.