Annotated Game #11 from the 1998 New York Open

annotations by NM Steve Mayer

GM Milov, Vadim  (2635) - GM Pigusov, Evgeny  (2575)  [D35]

1998 New York Open (Round 6)    19.03.1998


Rule One on the GM circuit: ‘Never give a sucker an even break’ Pigusov, who has done extensive work with Karpov, must have been thinking of Question One, which I gather is ‘Who’s the sucker?’ Milov must have been delighted to show off his ‘GM technique’ on board 5 of a ‘big money Swiss!’


1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. Qf3 Bg6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6
9. Qxf6 gxf6

10_1.jpg (30436 bytes)

Isn’t this position just, I dunno, hideous for Black? Yes, I know it’s opening theory; so did every player in the tournament.

Milov’s play through the rest of the game is extremely instructive...one might even say Karpovian.

10. Nf3 Nd7 11. Nh4

Is Milov ‘really’ going to swap at g6. ‘Not in a thousand years!’

11....Be7 12. g3 Nb6 13. f3 O-O 14. Kf2

So he hasn’t castled; that just means that his king is better placed than Pigusov’s.

14....Rfe8 15. Rd1 Nc8 16. Ng2

Very nice! This move can be categorized under the heading of ‘improve the placment of your worst placed piece.’

16....Nd6 17. h4 h5 18. Nf4

Offering Pigusov a ‘deal with the devil.’ Now 18...Bxf4 19 gxf4 is still terrific for White, so Pigusov replies ‘Better the devil I know...’

18...Bf8 19. Re1 Bh6 20. b3 Kg7 21. Bg2 Re7 22. Re2 Rae8 23. Rhe1 a5 24. e4

Conquering the center. Botvinnik and Petrosian must be beaming with pride...

24....dxe4 25. fxe4 Rd8 26. Bf3 Ne8 27. Rd1 Red7 28. d5

Yes, the white center pawns were ‘very pretty.’ Now his pieces gain in beauty as he prepares to savor his just desserts.

Note that Pigusov’s bishops weren’t invited to the banquet...they might have disrupted the festivities!

28...cxd5 29. Rxd5 Rxd5 30. Ncxd5 Nd6 31. e5

10_2.jpg (28857 bytes)

Wonderful! White’s pieces continue to grow in power as his pawn structure ‘deteriorates.’

By the way, how does one win a game of chess?

31.... fxe5 32. Rxe5 a4 33. bxa4 Rc8 34. Bxh5 Be4 35. Bd1 Rc5 36. Bb3 Bxf4 37. gxf4

10_3.jpg (28372 bytes)

What a thing of ‘ugliness’ the white pawns are! Nimzovich would have understood Milov’s play quite well, though those chessplayers who have only memorized Nimzovich’s ‘system’ without understanding Nimzovich the man will never realize this.

37...Rc1 38. Rg5+ Kf8 39. Nf6 Bc6 40. Nh7+ Ke7 41. Re5+ Kd8 42. Ng5 f6 43. Re6 Ne8
44. Nf3 Rh1 45. a5 Bxf3 46. Kxf3 Rxh4 47. Ba4 Nc7 48. Rd6+ Kc8 49. Rxf6 Nd5

One really has a narrow range of choices here as Black: resign or resign after a few more moves.

 50. Rf8+ Kc7 51. Bb3 Ne7 52. Rf7 Kd6 53. Rf6+ Kc7 54. a6 bxa6 55. Rxa6 Rh1 56. Re6 Nc6 57. Re4 Kd6 58. Kg4 Ne7 59. Rd4+ Kc6 60. Rd1 Rh2 61. Kg5 Nc8 62. Be6 Nd6 63. Rc1+ Kb5 64. Kf6 Re2 65. f5 Rf2 66. Ke5 Nxf5 1-0

Of course, Pigusov is a world class player, but even he would be at a loss to explain what he was ‘thinking’ in this game.