This game against Rublevsky was played in the Championship
of Russia with 2 rounds to go (it was round 10 out of 11). That victory
allowed Morozevich to win the Championship after drawing in the last round.
One of Alex's fans said that there should be some drama in
every game. I think that was a good point.
Morozevich, Alexander (2625) - Rublevsky, Sergei (2685) [B40]
RUS-ch51/St. Petersburg (10) 1998 [Morozevich/Baburin]
8. Ng5 White plans f2-f4, while Black has also keep in mind the possibility of e4-e5 now.
Be7 This came as a surprise to me. I expected mostly 9...h6 10.Nh3 Nc6.
10. f4 Here White could consider 10.Nf4, but the position after 10...e5 11.Nfe6 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qd7 13.Nxg7+ Kd8 is absolutely unclear. Bearing in mind the importance of this game, I decided not to force the game so early.
Nc6 More elastic was 12...Nb6 13.c3 a5.
Rb8 After 15...Ba6 White had 16.f5! exf5 17.Nf4 Rb8! 18.Rxb8 Ndxb8 19.Re1 0-0 20.h4 with a very good compensation for a pawn.
Bc8? [Black had to play 16...exf5 17.Bf4 (17.Nf4? Bc8 18.Rxb8 Ndxb8) 17...Bc8 18.e6 fxe6 19.Bxb8 Ndxb8 20.Nf4 0-0 21.Re1 Qd6 22.c4 and White's chances are only slightly better.
17. Rxb8 Ndxb8
21. Bf4? Having received a generous gift (16... Bc8?) I relexad and got the idea that the position would play itself. Having received a generous gift (16...Bc8?) I relaxed and got the idea that the position would play itself. I saw the line 21.Qa4! Qd7 22.Qg4!, but failed to recognise that after further Bf4 and Rb1 or h2-h4-h5 White's position would become overwhelming.
Rb8 23...Nxe5? loses after 24.Qxd7 Nxd7 25.Rb7 Rd8 26.Ra7.
26. c4 White clears the diagonal for his light-squared bishop.
28. Qb1? This 'deep' move allows Black's queen to get active. Much better was 28.Qb3 dxc4 (28...a4? loses in view of 29.Bxe6+! Kxe6 30.cxd5+) 29.dxc4 Nd7 30.Qd3 Nf8 31.Bxe6+! I failed to see the blow, while considering my 28th move. Now after 31...Nxe6 (or 31...Kxe6 32.Qd5+ Kf5 33.e6+ Kg6 34.g4+-) 32.Qf5+ Bf6 33.exf6 Qxc4 34.Ng5+! Nxg5 35.fxg7+ Kxg7 36.Qxg5+ Kf7 37.Qh5+ White wins.
29. dxc4 29.d4 could be a good try, taking into consideration that both players were rather short of time - Black's defence might not be easy. But after 29...Nxd4 30.Nxd4 cxd4 31.Qxb8 d3 32.Bg4 Qc6 33. h4 c3 34.Qh8! Qb6+ 35.Kg2 Qb2+ 36.Kh3 Black has the fantastic 36...Qe2!!, with a draw after 37.Qxh7 Qf1+.
Nd4? Black had to play 30...Qxa2 when it's hard for White to prove any advantage.
31. Qh5+? We both missed 31.Bg4!, after which Black would be in a critical situation.
Kf8? Black had to evacuate his king to d7. 31...g6 32.Qh7+ Ke8 33.Nd2 Qxa2 34.Qxg6+ Kd7.
32. Bf1? White could have won with 32.Nd2 Qc1+ 33.Kg2 Nd7 34.Bg4.
34. Qxd5 Also worth considering was 34.Bg2!?, with a clear advantage after 34...Qxf3 35.Bxf3 Nd7 36.h4.
Bd8?? Black had to play 36...Kf7 37.Bxa5 Ke6, with great chances for a draw.
37. e6! Now it all over as the unfortunate b8-knight finally loses all its mobility.