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GM Onishuck – Andrew Rea; ACC Simul

[Result “1/2-1/2”] [ECO “BO1“]
[WhiteElo “2743“] [BlackElo “2083“]
[Annotator “Andrew Rea”]
[Event Date “2011.7.10”]

1.e4 d5 2.ed Nf6 3.c4

The Arlington Chess Club hosted a simultaneous exhibition by Grandmaster Alexander Onischuk early October, Friday evening October 7, attracting some 28 opponents! The ACC Argyles of the DC Chess League scored a number of draws including this game. My relatively recent games indicated a preference for 3.d4, with fighting chances for both sides. White tends to have better development, but Black is without serious structural flaws early on. As for the move chosen by the GM, as noted recently by Abby Marshall in a recent Chess Café article, there are other problems as Black gains advantages in development and White has problems on the d-file.


(Yes, 3…e6 is also playable, just less strong in my opinion.)

4.dc Nxc6 5.Nf3 e5

White will not have an easy time playing d2-d4, and soon has to be alert on defense. But White can take some pain with an extra pawn, and will assuredly not let d3 drop for free…

6.d3 Bc5 7.Nc3 Bf5 8.Be3

A direct challenge to Black, but the trade on e3 still leaves the pawn advance to d4 difficult for White.

8…Bxe3 9.fe Qe7

White is not interested in cheapshot chess with 10.Nh4 Bd7 as the Knight on the rim would be at risk while the White Kingside would remain underdeveloped.


Instead White defuses …e4 potential, but this leaves d4 and d3 under pressure. Part of the Black mission is accomplished, but it will be a tooth and nail struggle to see whether Black can score a full success.

10…Bg4 11.Be2 0-0 12.0-0

The White idea unfolds, and it is not to transpose to a Panov-Botvinnik Attack, that train was passed back around move 4. As played, White is safely castled, ready for Nf3-h4-f5 with pressure against the Black Kingside. The good news for Black is that this can be prevented without terrible repercussions!

12…Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Nd4 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.ed

White solves the problem of d3 while generating a 4v2 Queenside majority; this is not serious repercussion for Black? For now, the White Queenside is not mobile, unlike Black’s Kingside. ( It can be noted that would be less fearsome for White as Black still gains space via …f7-f5. ) Black still does not have full compensation for the pawn, but Black is able to pose interesting problems in a dangerous sector!


And now White is perhaps able to get away with the ugly 16.g4, but putting so many chips on such a move seemed improbable!

16.Qd2 f5 17.Rae1

Looks good, but 17.b4 could well be an improvement, as 17…e4 can be swatted by 18.Rae1. However, 17.b4 means Qd2 has guard duty, something White finds undesirable.

17…Rfe8 18.Qf2 b6

This limits the mobility of the White Queenside and protects a7, neither of which is to be underrated.

19.Bd1 Qf6

Here I gave consideration to …b5 with a subsequent …b4, but this does not seem to be ironclad solid. Rybka and its cohorts might think otherwise about this and other moves by both players, but of course neither of us have resort to the silicon beasts!

20.Qe3 Re7 21.b4 Rc8 22.Qg3 g5 23.Qf2 Kg7

Having f6 protected proves to be useful! Black has not been able to achieve much of late, but retaining solidity in view of the White pressure is hardly unreasonable! If some of the heavy pieces are exchanged, then it is helpful to the Black cause to be closer to the Queenside.

24.Re3 f4

White can play Re4 or Rh3, but not both, he has to declare. White decides that allowing …e4 is not in his best interest.

25.Re4 Nf5

White seems to be ready for 26.c5 now, but this would be premature, as 26.c5 bc 27.bc Nd4 is dangerous to the health of his Queenside.

26.Bf3 Rd8 27.Bg4 Nd6 28.Ree1 e4

Finally! 29.c5 e3 ef+ is awful for White, albeit not forced! 29.c5 e3 30.Rxe3 Rxe3 31.Qxe3 fe 32.Rxf6 Kxf6 (Kg7 proves to be useful!) Rxd6 34.Bf3 Ke5 35.Kf1 Kd4 36.Ke2 h5 37.h3 g4 38.hg hg 39.Be4 Rf7 40.a3 Rf2+ 41.Ke1 Ke5 leaves White shredded, also not happening!


White prefers offense! With an added bonus of being ready to pounce on 29…e3? With 30.Rxe3.

29…ed 30.c5 Nc4

White finds further advances to be problematic, Black has defenses set for swift reaction against immediate forays such as d5-d6.

31.Re4 b5


White has the Queenside majority, but it is Black with the most dangerous pawn, well worth the pawn deficit! In other bad news for White, Be6 is less effective than he had envisioned; for example, 32.Rd4 Rxe6 is clearly unattractive.

32.Rd1 Ne3

And now White has only one move to stay in the game. It seems White had missed either 33.Rxd3 Qa1+ or 33.Rxe3 fe 34.Qxe3 Rxd5. Thus White has to lose a piece, but he gains mobility for his Queenside majority, darn!

33.Rc1 d2

(33…Nxd5 Bxd5 Rxd5 is not exactly awful for Black, and I used a pass to consider the options- and decided to win the piece.)

34.Qxd2 Rxe6 35.Rxe6 Qxe6 36.d6

I was glad to see Rxd2 37.e7 Rxg2+ 38.Kh1 Kf7 39.c6 f3 would be futile for White; for example 40.h3 Nd5 41.c7 Nxe7 42.c8Q Nxc8 43.Rxc8 Rxa2 is a winning R+P ending for Black. Of course White avoids the directly losing lines while ensuring Black has to deal with King safety and the passed Q-side pawns!

36…Nc4 37.Qd4+

Yes, 37.Qc3+ might have been more dangerous. At this stage of the simul, GM Onischuk has 4-5 players still playing, enough of a distraction to allow for less perfect play than usual. Meanwhile, he is getting to my board quicker than earlier in the simul, so I have less time for analyses, darn it again!

37…Kf7 38.Kh1 Ne5

I could not quite see how to quickly win with a forcing attack, but keeping the King relatively safe and still somewhat close to the Q-side seemed reasonable. Which it is, just likely not enough to win in this setting. But if not for the simul setting, would Black have such a good position against the Grandmaster? Likely not!

39.Qe4 Ng6 40.Qb7+ Qd7

And suddenly White has interesting play with 41.c6, especially if he is hellbent on victory, even at potential cost of defeat. Neither of us have much time for extensive analysis, but if the pawn is stopped White is lost. One example of the murk would be 41…Qxb7 42.cb Ne5 43.Rc8 Rxd6 44.Kg1 Ng4 45.Kf1 Nxh2+ 46.Ke2 Rb6 47.B8Q Rxb8 48.Rxb8 h5 49.Rxb5 Kg6, it would be White with all the winning chances. Perhaps White wanted to repeat this position and gain further time for additional analysis, as the position is unclear and one miss in the analysis would be fatal. And there is one other possibility for Black to go wrong in pursuit of the win!

41.Qd5+ Kf6 42.Qd4+ Kf7

No, Black is not anxious to run forward on the Kingside and allow the White Queen to get help from her team!

43.Qd5+ Kf6

And a draw is agreed, the only offer of this game!


Samuelson-Onischuk; Fairfax Open

[Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C28"]
[WhiteElo "2302"] [BlackElo "2743"]
[Annotator "Andrew Samuelson"]
[EventDate "2009.01.06"]

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Na5 5. Bb3 c6 6. f4 Nxb3 7. axb3 exf4 8. Bxf4 d5 9. Bg5 !?

It was also possible to play e5, for example ... (9. e5 d4 10. exf6 dxc3 11. Qe2+ Be6 12. bxc3 Qxf6 13. Be5)

9... dxe4

Black can also chase the bishop right away with h6. This also seems to lead to an unclear position, for example (9... h6 10. Bxf6 Qxf6 11. exd5 Bb4 12. Ra4 Bxc3+ 13. bxc3 cxd5 14. Ne2 O-O 15. Rf4 Qb6 16. d4 $13)

10. Nxe4 Be7 11. Qf3

I'm now threatening to damage Black's pawn structure by taking on f6, so he needs to move his knight. Another similar possibility was the line (11. Qe2 O-O 12. Nf3 Re8 13. O-O-O Be6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Nxf6+ Qxf6 16. Rhe1 $13)

11... Nxe4

Perhaps Nd5 was a better line for Black, exchanging the dark-squared bishops rather than the knights. (11... Nd5 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Ne2 a5 14. N4c3 Nb4 15. O-O-O O-O 16. Rde1 $13)

12. Qxe4 f6

This move is necessary if Black wants to keep the bishop pair.

13. Be3 O-O 14. Qc4+ Rf7 15. Nf3 Qc7 16. O-O b5 17. Qc3 a5 18. Nd4

It was also possible to exchange the dark-squared bishops with Bc5. However, I wanted to target the c6 and b5 pawns to try and break up his queenside. (18. Bc5 Bg4 19. Rae1 Bxc5+ 20. Qxc5 $13)

18... Qe5 19. Bf2

My first thought was to play Bf4, but after (19. Bf4 Qc5 20. Qxc5 Bxc5 21. Be3) I was worried about playing an endgame where he has the bishop pair and my queenside pawn majority is crippled by the doubled b-pawns.

19... Bb7 20. Rxa5 Rxa5 21. Qxa5 c5

This is more effective than the immediate Bd6. (21... Bd6 22. Nf3 $14)

22. Nf3

The only safe move. Around here, I was a bit worried about my king's safety. However, it seems I have enough defensive resources to hold. (22. Nxb5 $4 Qd5 $19) or (22. Qxb5 $4 Bd6 $19)

22... Qxb2 23. Qxb5

(23. Ne1 Qe5 24. Qxb5 Bd6 25. Bg3 Qd4+ 26. Bf2 Qe5 $11)

23... Bxf3 24. gxf3 Qxc2 25. Ra1 Bf8 26. Qc4

Forcing a queen trade in view of the threat of Ra7. The trade also improves my queenside pawn structure. (26. Kg2 g6 27. Qc4 Qxc4 28. dxc4 $13) (26. Ra8 Qc1+ 27. Kg2 Qg5+ 28. Bg3 g6 $13) This position is about equal but also more complicated than the game.

26... Qxc4 27. bxc4 Rd7 28. Ra3 Kf7 29. Kf1 Bd6 30. h3 Rb7 31. Ra6 Rb1+ 32. Kg2 Be7 33. Rc6

After this move I'm committed to trading bishops. Ra3 was also possible, although it probably isn't stronger.

33... Rd1 34. Bxc5 Bxc5 35. Rxc5 Rxd3

The rook ending seems to be about equal. White's extra queenside pawn is balanced by Black's better kingside pawn structure and active rook. There's no objective reason I should lose from here, but a few possibly inaccurate moves left me feeling I had some problems to solve.

36. Rc7+ Kg6 37. Kg3 Rd4 38. h4 Kh6 39. Rc6 Kh5 40. Rc7 Kg6 41. Rc5 Rd1 42. h5+ Kh6 43. Rd5 Rc1 44. c5 Rc4 45. Rf5 Rc2 46. Kf4

Now that my rook is at the side of the passed c-pawn, I try to bring my king over to support it.

46... g5+

This move creates a passed h-pawn for Black, giving him counterplay.

47. hxg6 Kxg6 48. Rd5 h5 49. Kg3 Rc3 50. Kf4 Rc4+ 51. Kg3 h4+ 52. Kh3 f5 53. Rd8 Kg5 54. Rd5

It was also possible to draw by playing (54. Rh8 Rxc5 55. Rxh4 f4 56. Rh8 $11)

54... Rc3 55. Kg2 Rc2+ 56. Kh3

This is necessary to keep Black's king from invading with the White king trapped on the back rank.

56... Kf4 57. Rd3 Rxc5 58. Kxh4

We've reached a tablebase draw. Black wins the f3-pawn but the resulting position with White's king in front of Black's remaining pawn is still drawn. However, it wasn't obvious to me at this point that I could get back in time, and I was starting to worry a bit about my position.

58... Rc2 59. Rd4+ Ke3 60. Ra4 Rg2

(60... Kxf3 61. Kg5 Rc5 62. Rf4+ Ke2 63. Rxf5 $11)

61. Ra3+ Kf4 62. Kh3 Re2 63. Rb3 Ra2 64. Rc3 Rf2 65. Rc5

I can't allow Rxf3 with my rook on the 3rd rank. Now he will have to take the f3-pawn with the rook instead of the king, allowing my king back in front of the f-pawn.

65... Rxf3+ 66. Kg2 Ra3 67. Rb5 Kg4 68. Rb8 Rc3 69. Ra8 Rd3 70. Kf2 Rc3 71. Rb8 Rd3 72. Ra8 Rh3 73. Kg2 Rh7 74. Rb8 Ra7 75. Kf2 Ra2+ 76. Kf1 f4 77. Rb3

Obtaining the basic Philidor drawn position with the rook on the 3rd rank. Now I just need to wait for him to play f3 before moving my rook back to the 8th rank.

77... Rc2 78. Ra3 f3 79. Ra8 Rc1+.