Lautier, Joel - Korchnoi, Viktor
Biel GM (Biel)

This game is a real thriller, a chess feast which I am sure made some opponents' hair turn gray. 1.d4 Sf6 2.c4 e6 3.Sc3 Lb4 Nimtzowitsch defense. 4.g3 c5 5.Sf3 Vadim Zviagintsev has bee successfully used this variation. Vladimir Kramnik also occasionally tested this line. cxd4 6.Sxd4 Se4 The main road in this line is
[6.O-O 7.Lg2 d5]
7.Dd3 Sc5 If my memory serves me right, Grigory Serper tried
[7.Lxc3+ 8.bxc3 Sc5 in this position. Black's plan is to disorginize White's pawn structure and then to play for exchanges.]
8.De3 d5 The line
[8.Sc6 and invariably lost. For example 9.Lg2 Sa4 10.O-O Lc5 11.Sxa4 Lxd4 12.Da3 De7 13.Dxe7+ Kxe7 14.Td1 the emerging complicated endgame favors White Farago,I-Meduna,E/Halle 1978/1-0 (61)]
[8.O-O 9.Sc2 Lxc3+ 10.Dxc3 brings about the exchange of the bishop for the knight which to White's benefit.]
9.Lg2! Right! Development is more important than a pawn. dxc4 10.O-O Scd7? Apparently Victor Lvovich had no desire to defend passively after
[10.O-O 11.Sc2 In this case a very good version of Catalan-like position, favorable for White, emerges]
11.Sd5! Lc5 and here comes 12.Sxe6!! # A brilliant blow a la great Tal! fxe6 Simply bad is
[12.Lxe3 13.Sdc7+! and White end up with an extra exchange at least.]
13.Dxe6+ Le7 I think more stubborn was
[13.Kf8 14.Le3 Sa6 15.Tad1 De8 The following sequence seems logical 16.Df5+ Df7 17.De4 Sf6 18.Lxc5+ Sxc5 19.De3 Sa6 20.Da3+ Ke8 21.Sxf6+ gxf6 22.Td6 etc. Black just has no time to complete development in all the lines.]
14.Lf3 Bearing this in mind, White should combine the attack with development by
[14.Td1! Kf8
(14.Sb6 15.Sf6+ gxf6 16.Txd8+ Kxd8 17.Df7)
15.Lf4! Sf6 16.Sxe7 For example Dxd1+ 17.Txd1 Lxe6 18.Td8+ Se8 19.Sd5 Kf7 20.Sc3! and Black perishes because of the pins on the eighth rank.]
14...Sf8 Black has returned the favor.
[14.Sf6! 15.Sxf6+ and here Black should coolly proceed with
(15.De5 Kf8!)
15...Kf8!! - it turns t that Black preserves his extra piece and repels the opponent's attack. 16.Sxh7+ Txh7 17.De4 Th8 18.Dxc4 - White has three pawns for a piece but harldly has any advantage.]
15.De5 On
[15.Lh5+ Black has a good defense Sg6!]
15...Se6 16.Lh5+ Kf8 17.Lh6! A well-aimed shot! Unlike the knights the bishops on the edge of the board are very powerful. Kg8 After
[17.Sc6 18.Df5+ Lf6 19.Sxf6 Scd4 20.Sxh7+ Ke7
(20.Kg8!? 21.Lf7#)
21.Lg5+ Kd6 22.Tad1 it is unbearable to watch Black's slaughter.]
18.Lg4! gxh6 19.Lxe6+ Lxe6 20.Dxe6+ Kf8 21.Tac1 From the aesthetic standpoint better was
21...Sc6 22.Dxh6+ Much stricter continuation was
[22.Txc4 Black can continue the battle with Kg7
(22.Lg5 23.h4)
23...Sxe7 but White close out the game with a precise
(23.Dxe7 24.Txc6!)
24.De5+! Black's h8-rook has no time to engage into the fight - Kg8 25.Tfc1 whereas White's heavy pieces roll into Black's camp.]
22...Kf7 23.Dh5+ Kg7 24.Dg4+ Again,
[24.Txc4 looks pretty strong here.]
24...Lg5 25.Sf4 Se5?! The computer found a subtle move
[25.h5! 26.Se6+ Kh6 27.Dxc4 De7 and Black has some chances to survive.]
26.Se6+?! White could have regained the piece by
[26.Dxg5+! Dxg5 27.Se6+ Kg6 28.Sxg5 Kxg5 29.f4+ transposing into a rook endgame with two extra pawns, which looks like sufficient advantage for the victory.]
26...Kf6! 27.Dh3 Dd7 28.Sxg5 Kxg5 29.Dh4+ On
[29.f4+ Black can coolly react with Kg6!]
29...Kg6 30.Tfd1 Understandably, White had no desire to expose his king in the time trouble. That is why the line
[30.f4 Sf7 31.f5+ Kg7 32.f6+! is easy to recommend after the game, but dreadfully uneasy to venture upon at the board. Both parties had better options on every move, but it is not the ground for carping at GMs who were in a terrible time scramble.]
30...Dc6?! After a more precise
[30.Dc7! Black could have held his c4 pawn for a while.]
31.De7! Sf7 32.Td4
[32.Td7 Thf8 33.Tc7 De8!]
32...Df6 33.De4+
[33.Tg4+ Sg5 34.Dxb7!?]
33...Kg7 34.Tcxc4 White emerged with three pawns for the knight. The Frenchman some advantage, but it is not that easy to convert. Thd8 35.Txd8 Txd8 36.Dxb7 De6 37.Tc7 Dxa2! Right! Black should restore status quo, otherwise all the possible endings will be very bad. 38.b3 Db1+ 39.Kg2 Df5 40.e4 Dg6 41.Te7 a6! Finally the time trouble is over. It looked that the fight was yet to come. 42.Dc7 In case of
[42.e5 Black proceeds with Kg8! holding the position.]
42...Td1? After a correct
[42.Td4! White's victory would have been open to question. Frankly speaking, I don't feel like analyzing this position. One way or another the audience would have been even more excited.]
43.De5+ Black resigned.
[43.De5+ The point is that with this simple tactical blow White is winning the knight: Kh6 or
(43.Df6 44.Txf7+! Kxf7 45.Dh5+)
44.Df4+ Kg7 45.Txf7+! Dxf7 46.Dg4+ Dg6 47.Dxd1 Dxe4+ 48.Df3 Black has no chances to save the game in this queen endgame, although he can make plenty of moves before resigning. All in all, this is a logical outcome. The veteran's risky opening strategy should not have remained unpunished.]