Annotated Game #12 from the 1998 New York Open

annotations by NM Steve Mayer

GM Smirin, Ilya  (2590) - GM Georgiev, Kiril  (2675)  [B92]

1998 New York Open (Round 6)    19.03.1998


The electricty of round five carries over to round six, as more ‘smash mouth’ fighting chess is seen from the grandmasters. There’s no longer any ‘need’ to hunt out the ‘highest’ quality games; just start at board one and work your way down. This round, Smirin goes ‘all out’ against Kiril Georgiev. The game doesn’t ‘quite’ reach the epic grandeur of Shabalov-Smirin from earlier in the tournament, but it’s refreshing to see a ‘multi-faceted’ player such as Smirin in action.


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 g6

Of course...but I explained all of this when I annotated David-Georgiev from round two.

7. g4 h6 8. h4 e5 9. Nb3 Be6

‘Play Najdorf, think Dragon, think Najdorf.’ Georgiev is coming up with some ideas in the Sicilian that anyone who’s at all interested in ‘creative chess’ should note.

10. f4 exf4 11. Nd4

This is the point of 10. f4. The ‘automatic recapture’ at f4 would leave Black with fine play on the dark squares.

11...Qb6

11_1.jpg (31279 bytes)

Wow! Georgiev ‘sacrifices’ the bishop pair and the light squares in return for development, intensification of his own dark square play and an alteration in the central pawn structure.

12. Nxe6

12 Nxe6 fxe6 is an ‘alternative’ but refer back to David-Georgiev for some additional insight into how Georgiev evaluates ‘such positions.’

12...fxe6 13. Bc4

‘No points for other moves.’

13...e5 14. Nd5

Which color complex is more important? Whose king is in more danger? Why ask me these questions?

14...Nxd5 15. Qxd5 Nc6 16. Qf7+ Kd8

Black’s king finds a home on the dark squares. Note the route it uses to get to safety.

17. c3 Be7 18. Qxg6 Kc7 19. Kf1

Pretend that rather than playing through this game with (admittedly light) annotations that instead you have just walked into the tournament hall and ambled up to the ‘game in progress." Would you have any idea what’s going on and who’s better?

It’s clear that White’s position is a mess and that even a player as imaginative as Smirin won’t be able to ‘keep afloat’ this sinking ship much longer.

19....Raf8 20. b4 Kb8

11_2.jpg (29991 bytes)

The game is practically over. Did you notice that the Black king used the dark squares to ‘make his escape?’ Pat yourself on the back if you did!

21. Qe6 d5

Crunch! Georgiev blows open the game on his undeveloped opponent. Of course, Smirin won’t just ‘drop his queen,’ but it wouldn’t do him much good roaming around on the h5-e8 diagonal, so he crosses his fingers, adjusts his game face and hopes for the best.

22. Bb3 dxe4 23. a4 e3 24. b5 axb5 25. axb5 Qxb5+ 26. Bc4 Rf6 0-1

What a terrific game! Georgiev is ‘going all out’ and has been all tournament. This must have been a disappointing game for Smirin, who’s a professional chess teacher at an American university, but I hope he didn’t ‘lose any sleep’ over his part in such an entertaining and instructive game.