Catalan OpeningE00

Karapanos N. (2208)
Zoler D. (2472)

24th ICT Acropolis (1.30)
Chalkida, 2009


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 c5 5. Bxb4 cxb4 6. Bg2 O-O 7. Nf3 d6 8. O-O a5 9. a3 Na6 10. Nbd2 (D) # 10... Qc7 10... Re8 has been tried as well: 11. Ne1 e5 (11... Qb6 12. e3 e5 13. c5 dxc5 14. Nc4 Qc7 15. dxe5 Ng4 16. Nf3 Khenkin,I-Bogdanovski,V Kranevo 1996) 12. Nc2 Qb6 13. c5 dxc5 14. Nc4 Qc7 15. dxe5 Ng4 16. f4 Be6 17. Nd6 Khenkin,I-Drasko,M Tilburg 1994. 11. h3 Nikolaos' last novelty... White options are many in this position but the most notable are 11. Rc1 Bd7 (11... b6 12. e3 Bb7 13. Ne1 Bxg2 1/2-1/2 Jirovsky, P-Voloshin,L Czech Rep. 1999) 12. Ne1 e5 13. Nd3 Rfe8 14. axb4 e4 15. Nf4 Nxb4 16. e3 Rac8 17. Nh5 Nxh5 18. Qxh5 f5 19. Rc3 Qd8 20. f3 exf3 21. Nxf3 Qe7 22. Qh4 1/2-1/2 Dydyshko,V-Bogdanovski,V Yerevan 1996 and 11. Ne1 e5 12. dxe5 dxe5 13. Nd3 Bf5= Sumets,A-Moiseenko,A Alushta 2002. 11... Rd8 12. e4 12. Qc2 Bd7 13. Rfc1 was not bad. 12... e5 13. Qe2 b6 14. a4 An interesting idea. As White cannot fight for b4-square, he 'removes' it away from Black also. 14... Bb7 15. b3 Re8 16. Rad1?! 16. d5 Nc5 17. Ne1 Nfd7 18. Nd3 Nxd3 19. Qxd3 Nc5 20. Qe3 was unclear and should have been tried. 16... Rad8?! After the logical 16... exd4! 17. Nxd4 Nc5 Black would have the better chances. 17. Rfe1 White should have grabbed his chances and go for the previous analysed line starting with 17. d5 . 17... exd4! 18. Nxd4 Nc5 19. f3 19. Nb5 Qb8 20. f3 Ba6 . 19... Nh5?! 19... Ba6! 20. Nb5 Qb8 transposes to the previous line. 20. Nf1 d5 21. cxd5?! White had a nice alternative at his disposal: 21. f4! Nf6 22. e5 Nfe4 23. cxd5 Nc3 24. Qg4 Nxd1 25. Rxd1 . 21... Bxd5 (D) # 22. exd5?! Typical for Nikolaos style. He was a true optimist, loving the 'beauty' of chess. Unfortunately beauty and logical does not usually walk together... 22. f4 Nf6 23. e5 was logical... 22... Rxe2 23. Rxe2 g6?! 23... g5! 24. Nc6 Rd7 25. Ne5 Rd6 26. Nc4 Nxb3 27. Nxd6 Qxd6 would have stopped White's compensation for the sacrificed material. 24. f4 Nf6 25. Nc6 Rd7?! Black slightly slips again. He should have opt for 25... Nxb3 26. Ne3 . 26. Ne5?! Returning the favour. He should have gone for 26. Ne3 . 26... Rd8 27. Nc6 Rd7 28. Ne5 Nxb3! Black rightly avoids the repetition, as he can opt for more than the split of the point. 29. Nxd7 Nxd7? A tragic blunder. Black could have won with 29... Qxd7 30. d6 Qxa4 31. Ne3 Nc5 . 30. d6 Qc5+ 31. Kh2 Kg7? Black misses his road again. An unclear position would arise after 31... Qc3! 32. Re3! Qc2 33. Re8+ Kg7 34. Ne3 Qf2 35. Ng4 . 32. Re7 Now White is on the top due his strong d6-pawn and his active rooks. 32... Qc8 33. Ne3 Nf6 33... Nbc5 34. Bd5 b3 35. Bxf7 . 34. d7 Qd8 35. Ng4! Exchanging Black's main defensive piece which quarantines the win. 35... Kf8 35... Qxe7 36. d8=Q Qxd8 37. Rxd8 Nc5 38. Nxf6 Kxf6 39. Bc6 b3 40. Rb8 . 36. Ne5! 36. Nxf6? Kxe7! . 36... Nc5 (D) # 36... Nc5 At this point Nikolaos start to calculate a bit the easy-winning process: 37. Rxf7+ Kg8 38. Rxf6 but suddenly he felled down, starting another process: his passing to another world... His opponent (a doctor) tried to help him but in vain. An ambulance was called and the hospital doctors tried to do their best but the hope had flied already away. His opponent kindly resigned the game, giving Nikolaos one important but useless win. He could no more explain to all of us his win all night long, as it used to happen in the old days... 1-0 [Efstratios Grivas]