Chess 5.10.2024

May 8—By Alan Kantor

National Master

\White: GM Marc Andria Maurizzi (2605)

Black: GM Vincent Keymer (2726)

28th Sigeman & Co (2024) (1), Malmo, Sweden, Apr-27-2024

Semi-Slav Defense: General (D43)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6

The Semi-Slav Defense is a variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined chess opening defined by the position reached after the moves: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6. The position may readily be reached by a number of different move orders. Black's supporting pawns resemble a mixture of the Orthodox Queen's Gambit Declined, e6, and the Slav Defense, c6. White's idea is to start out on the queenside with Black trying to get a stranglehold in the center.

5. Bg5

This move is thematic which develops a piece at the same time "pinning" a piece which prevents the knight from moving as the queen is behind the knight.

5. ... h6

As Black doesn't want to be restricted, he decides to chase the enemy piece away.

6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. a3

Limiting the squares where the undeveloped black pieces go as well as preparing to expand on the queenside.

7. ... dxc4 8. e3 b5

With the black pawn attacked on c4, Black decides to hold on to the pawn controlling space on the queenside.

9. Ne5

While Black is doing that, White grabs a central outpost square where he can keep an eye on several squares like the c6-square.

9. ... Bd6 10. Ne4

Instead of the usual 10. f4, White drags the other knight to the center.

10. ... Qe7 11. Qh5

Bringing the lady to help with a possible attack and defending the knight to avoid doubled e-pawns which can be a weakness. However, it is always risky to move the queen too early as she is exposed to an attack.

11. ... Bc7

Preventing an attack on f7 with a threat to the bishop taking a defender (the queen) away as it will have to keep an eye on the d6-square.

12. f4

With White trying to get an attack going on the f-file he is opening up the kingside.

12. ... Bb7

Black readies the bishops.

13. Nc5 Bd6

White grabs another outpost Black returns to the d6-square to look to threaten the central knights.

14. Ne4 0-0

Black gets the king to safety and has another piece to defend the f7-pawn.

15. g4

Black goes all-out for a kingside attack ...

15. ... c5

... however, Black finds the time to make use of the two bishops as they are staring at the kingside.

16. Bg2

White knew his bishop can cover up but with the next move, Black proceeds to open the position more.

16. ... cxd4 17. g5

There is no stopping White to push forward.

17. ... Bxe5

Trading one bishop was time to remove the central knight lighten the attack by White.

18. gxh6

White takes a can opener to Black's position.

18. ... Nd7

Black calls for more defense.

19. fxe5 g6

With White's center getting wrecked, Black does not allow the kingside to be open using White's h-pawn as a shield as he takes the defense away from the weak e-pawn.

20. Qh3 Nxe5 21. 0-0 Bxe4

The timing of using the bishop to capture the knight was perfect as Black's kingside is safe and Black readies himself for a queenside attack.

22. Bxe4 Qg5+ 23. Kh1 Rad8 24. Rg1 Qxe3

As White readies the rooks to participate in the action, Black picks off the weak pawns and White really can't trade queens even if he gives Black an isolated pawn.

25. Qh4 Kh7 26. Raf1 Qxh6 27. Qe7 Qg7 28. Rg5 f5

Black cuts off the bishop from enjoying possible fun.

29. Qxe6 Rde8 0-1

As White grabs a pawn back, Black takes the opportunity to use his rooks to control the e- and f-files as the queen and bishop are under attack so White decides to give up.

Solution from SOLVE IT #63: White discovers something very nice: 1. Bxh7+ Kxh7 2. Rxd4 Bxd4 3. Qxd4.

Send your chess questions to