- Rebel Century - GM Ruslan Scherbakov -

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[Event "ICC 120 5"]

[Site "Internet Chess Club"]

[Date "1999.10.02"]

[Round "?"]

[White "Rebel Century"]

[Black "Scherbakov, Ruslan"]

[Result "1-0"]

[ECO "B65"]

[BlackElo "2541"]

[Annotator "R.Scherbakov"]

The game against Rebel was the highlight of the whole chess evening in our

city. I was just speaking some words for the public about forthcoming game

when the first move has appeared on the board...

1. e4

Everybody can see it on the big 72'' TV screen in the hall and spectators 

started laughing - it was exactly when I was talking how I was hoping to meet 

1. d4 which I've seen in a couple of Rebel's games because it's very dangerous

to play sharp Sicilian positions against computer...

1... c5 

Nevertheless I decided to play as usually but remarked for the public: "I 

am afraid Rebel prepared something special for me". Exactly to the point!

2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 

This system is more solid then 7... a6 8. O-O-O 8... Bd7 which I played 

many times. 

8. O-O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 O-O 10. f4 Qa5 11. Bc4 Bd7 12.e5 dxe5 

13. Qxe5!? 

Here it is! I remembered I was little worried about it when started to study 

this system but due to lack of time did not give more attention to this 

possibility. ( 13. fxe5 Bc6 14. Bd2 Nd7 15. Nd5 Qd8 16. Nxe7+

Qxe7 17. Rhe1 Rfd8 18. Qg4 18... Nf8 {is tabia of the system. White is known

to be slightly better here but Black has solid position here.) 

13... Qb6 

The only thing I was able to remember was sometimes Black played 13... Qb4

and only after 14. Rd4 retreated with 14... Qb6 but I failed to find what 

to do after.

14. Qe2 

Good move to avoid important resource Ng4.

14... Qc7?

Probably decisive mistake already!

Of course 14... Rad8 looks natural but I was worried about both 15. Ne4 

and immediate 15. f5 although here Black seems to be fine after 15... Qc5

after 15... Bc8 I did not like 16. Be3 Qa5 17. fxe6 Bxe6 18. Bxe6 fxe6 

and pawn e6 would be lost against computer very easy and after 15... Bc6 

as I revealed after the game, there was the game Karpov - Kamsky, Buenos

Aires 1994 where Black has achieved good counterplay having sacrificed a 

pawn by 15... Nd5 16. Bxd5 Bxg5 17. Nxg5 exd5 18. Rxd5 Bg4 19. Qe4 g6 

20. Rxd8 Rxd8 but it's probably the position where computer can find

something to prove material advantage.

16. Nxf6+ Bxf6 17. Bxf6 gxf6 arisen position is not only objectively better

for White but it's, in my opinion, one of the kind of positions where 

computer is very strong. Black's King does not feel safe but it would be 

no surprise that after someconsequtive threats on the kingside, not even 

looking dangerous, suddenly something (for example, pawn a7) will be lost

on the other side of the board.

Playing the text move I already saw the line till the move 22 but I was 

not quite sure Rebel will go for it as, firstly, material has to be 

sacrificed and secondly, there are an alternatives on the every move 

which have to be assessed as less promising, for example, White would win

a pawn instead. Also I was hoping arisen position will be still playable 

but I was wrong.

15. f5 h6 

15...e5 did not solve the problems as after 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. Nd5 Bg5+ 

18. Kb1 with next h4, g4 the attack seems to be very strong as White are 

dominating in centre and Black does not have real counter chances on the 

queenside. Maybe after 18... Qc5 immediate 19. f6!? is even stronger.

16. Rxd7!

Of course, nobody would like to play position after 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 

17.fxe6 Bxe6 18. Bxe6 Bxc3 19. bxc3 fxe6 20. Qxe6+ Kh8 and Black has 

nothing to worry about. 16. fxe6 Bxe6 17. Bxe6 hxg5 was also fine for 


16... Qxd7 17. fxe6 Qc7 18. Bxf6! 

18. exf7+ was much weaker as after 18... Kh8 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Nd5 is 

impossible because of 20... Qxf7

18... Bxf6 19. Nd5 Bg5+ 

Unfortunately 19... Qe5 was losing immediately: 

20. exf7+ Kh8 21. Qxe5 Bxe5 22. Ne7

20. Kb1 Qd6 

20... Qc5 was even worse as after 21. exf7+ Kh8 22. h4 Qc5 is not 

defending the King. 

21. exf7+ Kh8 

22. h4! 

After 22. Qe4 Rxf7 23. Bd3 g6 24. h4 Bd8 Black can still hold on.

22... b5!? 

22... Bf6 23. Qe4 with ideas Bd3 or Nf4 was hopeless.

22... Bxh4 23. Rxh4 23... Rxf7 was also not very fun. 

23. hxg5! 

Of course, White was clearly better after 23. Bb3 23... Bd8 but Black 

is still fighting here.

23... bxc4 

24. gxh6!

Although I did not see forced mate after this move I had a strong 

feeling the game is over. Once again Rebel sacrifices material instead 

of collecting some pawns after possible 24. Qf3 Rad8 25. Qf5! Rxf7 

 (25... Qxd5 26. Rxh6+ gxh6 27. Qf6+ Kh7 28. g6#) 

 (25... Rd7 26. g6 with next Qg5!)

26. Qxf7 Qxd5 27. Qxd5 Rxd5 28. gxh6 and the endgame should be winning.

It seems like Rebel has already calculated everything till the end.

24... Qxd5

24... gxh6 25. Qe3 Kh7 26. Nf4 (26. Qe4+ Qg6 27. Nf6+ Kg7 28. Ne8+) 

26...Rad8 27. Ne6 Qd1+ 28. Qc1! 

24... g6 25. Qf3 was probably more tenacious but of course Black has 

little to hope for.


25. Qe3 was no mate after 25... Rad8! 

25... Kxg7 26. Qg4+ Kf6 

After 26... Kxf7 White was winning by 27. Rh7+ Kf6 (27... Ke8 28. Qe2+)

28. Qg7+ Kf5 29. Rh5+ Ke6 30. Qh6+! 

27. Rf1+ 

I did not like 27. Rh5 but probably Rebel has found it less precise.

27... Ke7

28. Rf5 Qe6

Black will lose one of his remaining pawns in the endgame after

28... Qxf5 29. Qxf5 Rac8 30. a4 but after some moves in the game 

I would be sorry not to go here. 

29. Qh4+!

29. Qg5+? Kd7 30. Rd5+ Kc6 31. Rc5+ Kd6

29... Kd7 30. Qd4+ Kc7 31. Qc5+ Kb7 

31... Qc6 32. Qe7+ Kb6 33. Rf6 was absolutely hopeless.


I was hoping for 32. Qb5+ Qb6 33. Qd7+ Ka6 34. Qa4+ Kb7 35. Rb5 

and after 35... Rac8! 36. Rxb6+ axb6 Black keeps all his pawns!

32... Kc7   

Only now I realized that 

33. Rc5+!

is winning easily.


Another good decision was resign here. I just wanted to see the 

way which Rebel will prefer.

After 33... Kd8 White wins with very beautiful Queen's manoeuvre which was

absolutely impossible to foresee: 34. Qd2+! Ke7 (34... Qd7 35. Qg5+ Qe7 

36. Rd5+) 35. Rc7+ Kf6 36. Qh6+! Ke5 37. Rc5+ Kd6 38. Rc6+!

34. Qxc4

I was curious if Rebel choose 34. Rxc6+ Kxc6 35. Qe7 keeping the King away 

from the pawn and the Rooks passive. G-pawn will be on g7 soon.

34... Qxc5 35. Qxc5+

35.. Kd7 36. c4 Ke6 37. Qd5+ Kf6 38. Qb7 Kg7

The only idea would be to provoke weakness of the second rank but after

38...Rac8 39. b3 is not neseccary: 39. Qxa7.

39. c5 Rad8 40. Qxa7 Rxf7 41. Qa4 Rd2 42. Qg4+ Kf8 

I still have drawish idea: to take g-pawn and when the King is closer to

c-pawn then to take on b2. It's a joke.

43. a4 Rff2 44. Qb4 Ke8 45. g4 Rd1+ 46. Ka2 Rff1 47. c6 Ra1+ 48. Kb3 Rf3+

49. Kc2 Rf2+ 50. Kd3

Finally Black resigned. 


Excellent performance by Rebel which playing style was very human-looking.

I think if the header of the game is not discovered one would hardly believe computer was playing.


And the last. I suppose such games help to clear up the weak points of chess programs. It looks like it was Rebel who showed me a weak point of my opening repertoir!

Thanks a lot!

Ruslan Scherbakov