Annotated Game #17 from the 1998 New York Open

annotations by NM Steve Mayer

GM Minasian, Artashes (2570) -  GM  Georgiev, Kiril (2675)  [B20]

1998 New York Open (Round 9) (Board 1)   22.03.1998

1. e4 c5 2. d3

A very good idea; Minasian will 'just play chess' with Georgiev. The text is an extremely flexible method of entering a variety of Sicilians of the 'closed' nature.

2…Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. f4 d6 6. Nf3 Nf6

Okay, start the search for improvements here, folks. Georgiev 'knows' that this method of developing the knight sets up Black for just the kind of mechanical attack that he faces the rest of the game.

7. O-O O-O 8. h3 Rb8 9. g4 b5 10. f5 b4

17_1.jpg (32412 bytes)

Look at the knight at b1. Hasn't it moved twice? Didn't it play out to c3, get attacked by …b4 and then retreat to b1? It didn't, of course, so Minasian has three 'consecutive' moves 'coming to him.' (He's on move and he's economized on two tempi.)

11. Qe1 Nd7 12. Qh4 e6 13. Bg5

Georgiev must have regretted not offering a draw earlier, but he still wished to win the tournament. By the way, it's 'my understanding' that Kiril Georgiev's unofficial FIDE rating after the New York Open is 2700! Congratulations, sir.


Georgiev hopes to set-up a 'firewall' of pawns across the third rank. Minasian decides that the party is a BYOFT affair and is especially generous with the number of flame throwers he brings to the attack.

14. Be3 Nde5 15. Nxe5

Clearing the f-file and swapping off a piece that wasn't likely to be so useful in White's attack.

15…Nxe5 16. Nd2 a5 17. Nc4 Nf7

17_2.jpg (31712 bytes)

Defending the Black king position and not getting 'tricked' by nominalism. Instead, the swap at c4 would have left the d-pawn exposed to attack on the d- file. Further, Minasian's advantage would have been such that he would, in practice, have 'little to fear' in the way of 'losing chances.'

18. Qg3 Rb7 19. Rf2 Re7 20. Raf1

Yep. Minasian shows great restraint in the way that he tenses the bow of the attack.

20…a4 21. g5

And now it's time for the better-developed side to make his attempt to crash through. White's rooks and Bg2 are especially pleased with the way things are going.

21…exf5 22.exf5 fxg5

Georgiev needs complications and counterplay if he is to retain any realistic chances of winning the tournament. At this point, he probably needs them simply to maximize his drawing chances.

23. f6 Rxe3 24. Nxe3 Bh6 25. Bd5

Not quite the 'end of the story,' but Minasian has a material advantage and a greater collection of positional advantages, particularly in the area of piece activity.

25…Re8 26. Nc4 Be6 27. Qg2 Bf8 28. Re1 Bxd5 29. Rxe8 Qxe8 30. Qxd5

17_3.jpg (29883 bytes)

If you wish to improve your ability to 'win won games'- and who doesn't?- then you could do worse than to spend an hour or two on the positions from moves 24-30.

30…Qc8 31. Kg2 g4 32. h4

Georgiev hoped that Minasian's king would decide to go 'au natural.' Instead, the emperor dons concrete clothes (the pawns at g4 and h4), the better in which to participate in the looming awards ceremony.

32…Qe8 33. Qe4 Qd7 34. Re2 a3 35. bxa3 bxa3 36. Qd5 Qd8 37. Re6 Qb8 38. Ne3
Qb2 39. Qa8 h5 40. Re8

Game over. There is no perpetual, no 'swindle' and Minasian can now 'always win' by taking 'everything off' at f8 and letting his stallion eat its fill.

40…Qxf6 41.Rxf8+ Kg7 42. Qe8 Qf3+ 43. Kg1 1-0

A very nice 'money game' by Minasian. Boxing fans might recall the first Holyfield-Tyson fight. (The work of art, not the low comedy that followed in HT II.) Like Holyfield, Minasian contained a very dangerous opponent and demonstrated his 'reach advantage' (half point lead and having White) as he pushed Georgiev out of the center, braced him against the side of the square and unleashed a series of venomously precise head shots. (As they say in boxing, "Kill the head and the body dies." As 'they' also say in chess, "Checkmate.")