In the 4ht round my opponent was Polish GM Heberla (FIDE elo 2558). He plays many different openings and it was difficult to prepare against everything. Especially when last night I had an online lesson with my student from USA. So, I just decided to refresh my memories in the main lines and rest.
Aroshidze (2535) – Heberla (2558) [B12]
If you think that Caro-Kann was one of the systems that I did not prepare, – you are right! My opponent had 2-3 games about this theme, but as his statistics were not so good, I decided that he would not repeat Caro-Kann.
2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.0–0 Bg6!?
Not the main line. Nowadays it is more popular 6… h6 or 6… Ne7
7.Nbd2 Nh6 8.Nb3 Nf5 9.Bd2 h5
My opponent was playing quickly. It was clear that he is still with his opening book and who knows when it will finish. I decided to switch from the main lines and force him to work at the board.
Rare move that actually is not a novelty. I remembered that there was a game Hovhannisyan (2600) – Heberla (2525), 2012, which continued: 10.c4 dxc4 11.Na5 and white even won, but I was not sure in this position. For example what I have to do after a logical improvement – 11…b5!N 12.Nxc6 Qb6? I think black is doing fine.
This is already a novelty. In 2009 Svidler continued 10…a6, but got in trouble after: 11.Rc1 b5 12.a4 Be7 13.Ra1 f6 14.Bf4± Sjugirov (2612) – Svidler (2754), 2009.
This strange move has quite healthy strategic idea. Matter is that black always tries to break the center by f7-f6. Now, f7-f6 and exchange on e5 may lead to creation of weak hole on g5 and generally Bg6+h5 pawn does not look very nice.
Maybe black should try 11…c5, but anyway, white’s chances look superior: 12.dxc5 Nxc5 (12…0–0 13.Ng5 Nxe5 14.Bxh5+/=) 13.Nxc5 Bxc5 14.Bb5+ Kf8 15.b4 Bb6 16.Kg2+/=
and now if 16… a5?! (16…Qc7 17.Bd3 Ne7 18.Rc1+/=) then white just plays for the initiative: 17.bxa5 Bxa5 18.Bxa5 Rxa5 19.Rb1 Rxa2 20.Bd3 Qc7 21.Ra1 Rxa1 22.Qxa1±
This move could cost the game. Does not give anything – 12…Nh6 13.c4 Ng4 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.exf6 gxf6 16.Rc1 Rc8 17.Rxc8 Qxc8 18.Qd2±;
But deserved attention 12…fxe5 13.dxe5 c5 14.c4 d4 (14…Nb6? is weaker due to: 15.cxd5 Nxd5 16.Bb5+±)
15.Nc1+/= And white still have things to prove. However, there are no doubts about white’s positional advantage.
In case of 13…fxe5, the best answer is: 14.Bxe5! keeping control over the weak e5 and g5 holes. For example: 14… 0–0 (14…Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Bd6 16.Re1± and black king can’t castle without loss of material) 15.Bf4 a5 16.a4±
14.exf6 gxf6 15.Qe2 Ng4 16.c4± is also good.
14…Ng4 15.Rfe1 Rg8
16.c4!? was a reasonable alternative. 16… dxc4 other moves also lead to the huge advantage of white: (16…Nf8 17.cxd5 Qxd5 18.Be4 Qd7 19.Qc2+-; or 16… Nc4 17. Bxc4 dxc4 18. Na5 Qd5 19. Qc3! +-) 17.Bxc4 fxe5
18.Ng5! exf4 19.Nxf7 Kxf7 20.Qxf4++- with unstoppable attack. For instance: 20… Ndf6 21.Rxe6 Kf8 22.Rae1 etc.
16…Rf8? is worse as rook occupies important f8 square and black knight can’t defend e6 pawn after: 17.exf6 gxf6 18.Bf5!+-
I could not evaluate the position correctly and time trouble was coming. That forced me to agree on move repetition. In truth, White was simply winning after: 17.exf6! gxf6 18.Bf5! Nf8 (18… exf5 Bd6 +-) 19.Nc5! Bxc5 20.dxc5 Kd7 21.Qb4 Kc8
22.Nd4! Ne5 (22… exf5 23. Nxf5+- entering on d6 or e7; 22…Qd7 23.Bd6+-) 23.Bh3+- During the game I could not imagine that I already should look for combinative solution to conclude the game. I thought it was still far away from the decisive advantage….
17…Rg8 18.Bh7 Rh8 19.Bd3 ½–½
To be honest, it was a bit shameful draw….