Annotated Game #3 from the 1998 New York Open

annotations by NM Steve Mayer

David, Alberto  (2525) - GM Georgiev, Kiril (2675) [B93]

1998 New York Open (Round 2) (Bd 2),   16.03.1998


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6

There was a time when Georgiev was well-known as the staunchest defender of the Dragon at the "Super GM" level. Now it is rarely seen in his games through a ‘direct’ move order. Is that because he awoke ‘from a long dream’ and acknowledged that he had been wrong for so many years? Of course not; the Dragon still frames much of his thinking as Black against 1.e4 but he now keeps the fianchetto as his ace in the hole rather than ‘uncovering’ ...g6 as quickly as possible.

6. f4

This is a fine move objectively, but if Kiril Georgiev (or Julian Hodgson, for that matter) plays a Najdorf, one must remember that he is also ‘thinking’ of how to get the game into a favorable Dragon.

6…Nbd7

6...g6 is also known, but Georgiev wants to see how far David will stray from the way he would typically play against the Dragon before changing the pawn structure.

7. Be2 g6 8. g4

The sort of move that ‘thrills’ everyone who sees it. I believe that Georgiev would always play the Dragon without the ‘transpositional trick’ of the Najdorf if only he could be certain that his opponents would play in this manner.

By the way, what is White attacking here?

8…h6

3_1.jpg (31637 bytes)

A wonderful move! Does it ‘win by force,’ as the rest of this game might suggest? Of course not, but David proves unable to solve the problems it poses at the board and for the rest of the game it’s as if he were trying to break down a wall by slamming his head against it.

9. f5

David must have known how awful this move is, but perhaps he ‘consoled’ himself with the thought that the inclusion of g4 and h6 changed the ‘laws’ of Steinitz.

9…Ne5

Yep. There’s not a true Sicilian player in the tournament who wouldn’t have loved to have had the Black position against a GM. Can White still ‘recover’ and go on to win? Of course, but he didn’t in this game.

10. Be3 Bd7 11. h3

And this addresses the weakness of e5 by doing...?

What?

11…b5 12. O-O e6

Covering d5 and threatening to gain even more squares with 13...b4. Don’t confuse the words ‘unmoved’ and ‘undeveloped.’

13. a3 Rc8 14. Nf3 gxf5

3_2.jpg (28600 bytes)

Yah! Now we see whose king is in more danger.

15. exf5 exf5 16. Bd4

‘Think like a grandmaster.’ That means don’t just sit back and get mated without a fight.

16…fxg4 17. Nxe5 dxe5 18. Bxe5 Qb6+ 19. Kh2 Qe6  20. Bg3 Be7 21. Rxf6 Qxf6 22. Nd5 Qxb2 23. c3 Be6 24. Nxe7 Rd8 0-1

David must have been very discouraged after this gam, though it is hard to get too upset when your opponent plays such a fine game.