Weekly PDF Magazine ChessVibes Openings mentioned knight sacrifice in the King’s Indian
by Peter Doggers
Editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com
History was written on Sunday, September 20th when 15-year-old Anish Giri became the youngest Dutch Champion ever. Giri, famous for being the youngest grandmaster in the world, was born in St. Petersburg, but a few years ago his family moved to The Netherlands. Giri decided to start playing under the Dutch flag, and since this year he is allowed to play in the national championship as well.
On Sunday Giri won the Dutch title with a quick draw against Reinderman, to reach a score of 6 out of 8. The tournament was plagued by the absence of no less than seven players from the top 10, and after the third round Sergei Tiviakov had withdrawn because of a conflict with the federation: he wanted to leave before the possible tiebreaks to be able to play in the Croation league on Monday, but the organizers couldn’t accept this breach of contract.
One of the crucial games of the championship was Giri’s encounter with White against the strong GM Friso Nijboer. The 15-year-old grandmaster had prepared the following, very topical line which involves a piece sacrifice: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Ne1 Nd7 10. Nd3 f5 11. Bd2 Nf6 12. f3 f4 13. c5 g5 14. Rc1 Ng6 15. Nb5!?
The latest of the latest. White players always used to take on d6 first before playing the knight, because only then Nb5-c7 is threatened.
Nijboer takes up the gauntlet. In his preparation, Giri had seen the game Meier-Bromberger, Zürich 2009 which went 15…Rf7 16. Ba5 b6 17. cxd6 cxd6 18. Be1 a6 19. Nc3 and due to his weakened queenside, Black was clearly worse.
This is the piece sacrifice we mentioned above, a big blow for King’s Indian fans.
16…axb5 17. dxc7
Nijboer deviates from the very recent game Berkes-Pavlovic, wich was played on September 5th in the Serbian team championship. That game continued 17…Qe8 18. Qb3 g4 19. Nc5 Nh4 20. fxg4! and White was clearly on top.
Nijboer decides that time is crucial, and more important than material.
But Giri doesn’t want to give up the strong bishop (and with it his dark squares) for the passive rook on f8.
19…Qxc7 20.Ne6 Qf7 21.Bxb5
White was clearly better and won the game (see below).
This encounter was theoretically highly important. The piece sacrifice had been mentioned in issue no. 36 of ChessVibes Openings, the weekly email PDF (+PGN) magazine on openings, published by ChessVibes, which was published only nine days before! Authors IM Merijn van Delft and IM Robert Ris wrote on September 9th:
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“Just when we started thinking the King’s Indian is in excellent shape, a very nasty line has cropped up. In CVO 33 we introduced Opening Expert Georg Meier with his win over Bromberger. The latter went for 15…Rf7 but after 16.Ba5! White has strong pressure. Quoting King’s Indian expert Joe Gallagher we suggested Black should accept the piece sacrifice and that’s just what Black did in Berkes-Pavlovic. A very critical position arises after 18. Qb3 and the computer is not a very big help in giving the right evaluation. There are positional piece sacrifices all over the place – some independent analyses can be of great value in this new King’s Indian battlefield. For the moment White’s position just looks very attractive. Who knows Black can go for the early deviation 11…fxe4!?. In the game Berkes missed a whole series of wins, before Pavlovic escaped with a draw. We’ll keep you updated on this explosive line!”
After his fine victory against Nijboer (see below), Anish Giri was asked whether he had seen this analysis of CVO #36. His answer was: “No, but perhaps I should!” If you’re interested in getting more information about the magazine, just like Dutch Champion Anish Giri, you’re invited to have a look at our special page on ChessVibes Openings.