Karposh Open 2014 Round 5

Today I was black against the young and talented IM Irina Bulmaga. In the topical English Attack of the Najdorf she somewhat naively repeated her game with Sebag from the European Team Championship in Warsaw last year. I introduced a completely different concept in the chosen line, my move 13…Qc7 had been played only once before, but in that game the players agreed to a draw in a few more moves, so the main idea wasn’t shown.

Usually black played 13…Nbd7 (or 13…d5, as Sebag played) and obtained good positions (this was known ever since the Leko-Svidler game from 2007), but then white’s knight on d2 gets the e4 square and white has an easy and safe game. My idea was completely different, by not playing d5 I left the knight on d2 lacking good squares and leaving white’s position disorganised. It was uncomfortable for white and when she put the hapless knight on f1 it was dominated by my pawn on f4. I also liked my move 16…Ra5, covering d5 one more time, even though the comp says it may not have been the most precise. White had problems to solve and by move 20 I was practically winning, with all my pieces in the attack. She kept posing me some problems and I didn’t choose the most efficient way on move 26, giving her a chance to put up a stiffer resistance, but she missed her chance in time-trouble with 30 Re2 after which white loses an exchange and is lost.

An interesting game, quite important for the theory of the 11 Qe1 line in the English Attack, after which I believe white should start looking elsewhere for an acceptable game.

The majority of the top boards drew, so with 4/5 I’m half a point behind the leaders. Tomorrow will be another tough game!

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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