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Kaidanov, Gregory – Polgar, Judit [B33]

Sicilian theme match – South Carolina (game 1), 22.02.2010

(Some people are not giving Kaidanov a lot of chances to win this match. However, there are a few things I would like to point out:

1. He was ranked as the top U.S. player for many years.

2. He represented the U.S. in many Olympiads.

3. He has very deep understanding of chess and you just don’t lose this.

4. He won the Aeroflot Open clear first and this is the strongest Open Swiss tournament in the world.

Of course I am rooting for my sister but it will not be an easy match as some have predicted. I think it will be a very exciting match.

I will not comment much in the opening phase since this is a theme match and the players are very well prepared for these specific lines while I am not.)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 f5 11.Bd3 Be6 12.c3 Bg7 13.Nxb5 axb5 14.Bxb5 Bd7 15.exf5 Nb8 16.a4 0–0 17.0–0 Bxf5 18.Qf3 Be6 19.Ne7+ Qxe7 20.Qxa8 d5 21.a5 Nd7 += / = 22.Qa7 (I prefer 22.Qc6 not to allow Black to play Qd6 but 22.Qa7 is also fine.)

22…Qd6 (As predicted. Now the Black Queen is on a decent spot instead of a more passive e7 square. White now have several options: To push the a pawn to a6, to create chaos in the center with c4, or to put more pressure in the center with Rfd1.)

23.a6 (One idea for Black is to play Nc5 to limit the mobility of the White Queen to slow down the passed a pawn. This is a possibility: 23…Nc5 24. b4 Nb3 25. Ra3 d4 26. Rd1 e4 and I think Black’s position is fine.)

23…e4 (Perhaps with the threat of d4 then d3. If White captures the pawn then Bxd4 putting pressure on the White Queen. White could play 24. Qb7 to avoid that potential problem while clearing space for his a pawn.)

24.Bxd7 (I think White missed a golden opportunity with 24.Qb7. Now Black is back in the game.)

24…Bxd7 25.Qe3 (White has a Rook and 2 pawns for Black’s Bishop pair. Black now can park her Rook on a8 to stop the a passed pawn. = Black can also launch her own Kingside counter attack with f5.)

25…f5 26.Rfd1 Bc6 (There are more than 5,000 people are following the live commentary of this game right now.)

27.a7 (Black can just park her Bishop on a8 to stop the passed pawn then she can start to focus on a counter attack.)

27…Ba8 28.Qe2 Qc5 29.Qa6 (Black can play Re8 to stop the Qe6 threat. Black should also keep the Queens on the board to maintain various counter attack threats. Otherwise, White’s passed pawns may prove too lethal.)

29…f4 (Moving forward Judit style 🙂 Now comes an interesting line: 30. Ra5 Qe7 31. Rb5 e3 32. Rb8 exf2+ 33. Kf1 Qe4. Objectively, White is better. However, it is not easy dealing with pieces in front of your King. It will also be very interesting as the players are approaching time pressure.)

30.Ra5 Qe7 (According to MonRoi, White has about 10 minutes and Black has about 14 minutes.)

31.Raxd5 (It seems that Gregory wants to avoid complications. 31.Rb5 is objectively stronger but more dangerous as well.)

31…e3 (31…Bxd5 is probably more accurate but this complicates things further. Perhaps a good strategy in time pressure. Now White must play 31.Qc4 to maintain any advantage.)

32.Qd6 (Probably not the most accurate continuation obviously because of the time situation. Now Black has a cute trap set. 32…exf2+ and White MUST play 33.Kf1. If 33. Kxf2 Qe3+ 34. Kf1 f3 -+. Now after 33. Kf1 Qe4 and White MUST play 33.Rg5 to have a prayer =+.)

32…exf2+ 33.Kf1 Qe3 (Perhaps 33…Qe4 is a little more accurate but 33…Qe3 is fine. 34. R5d3 Qe4 [34…Qxa7 =] 35. Rf3 Qa4 36. Rfd3 Qe4 37. Rf3 Qa4 =)

34.Rfd3 Bxg2?! 35. Kxg2 f3+ 36. Kh3 (36…Qe2 37. a8=Q f1=Q+ 38. Rxf1 Qxf1+ 39. Kh4 Bf6+ 40. Qxf6 Qf2+ 41. Kg5 Qg2+ 42. Kf4 Qxh2+ 43. Kxf3 Rxa8 This is nearly impossible to calculate in severe time pressure.)

36…Qe2 37.a8(Q) f1(Q) 38.Rxf1 Qxf1+ 39.Kh4! (Now 39…Bf6+ is the only move to maintain the pressure to keep Judit in the game. She has only about a minute left on her clock.)

39…Qe1+?? This is a blunder. Now 40.Kh5 and Black is in serious trouble.)

40.Kh5 1-0

A very exciting game. Judit unfortunately blundered during time pressure. I am looking forward to seeing game 2. The final number is about 5,800 bloggers joined us for the LIVE commentary. Tomorrow will be game 2 with Judit having White.

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