- Rebel Century - GM Ruslan Scherbakov -

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Rebel Century - GM R. Sherbakov      Monthly GM Challenge


Before the game we decided to go for 1. e4! No more quiet, positional

chess, just open positions and play. Ruslan Sherbakov plays the Sicilian

Defence, the Richter Rauzer variation in particular. Recently I have 

filled Rebel's opening book with lots of ideas in this variation, coming

from Peter Wells's excellent book 'The complete Richter Rauzer'. We were

not disappointed!

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7

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


13. Qxe5! (An excellent choice. Everybody plays 13 fxe5, which is 

objectively stronger. But that move leads to a slightly better ending for

White, and quite dull positions. 

Rebel's choice might be less strong from a theoretical point of view, but 

for a computer the resulting position is much easier to play. Furthermore,

the queens stay on the board, leaving a lot to play for) 

13. ... Qb6 14. Qe2 Qc7?! (A very strange move. I don't know if this has 

been played before, but in the afore mentioned book by Peter Wells 14 ... 

Rad8 is given, leading to equal play. A game between Karpov and Kamsky - 

Buenos Aires 1994 - continued 15 Ne4 Nd5! and Black got excellent 

compensation for the sacrificed pawn. 

Besides, 15 f5? would be bad on account of 15 .... Qc5! Was Sherbakov 

afraid of shedding a pawn against a computer? Maybe.... But his move 

is clearly wrong, since now Rebel can continue....)

15. f5!  (... as 15 ... Qc5 is now impossible: 16 Bxf6 wins a piece)  

15. ...  h6? (And this is already a big mistake)  

16. Rxd7!  (Whoops! Clearly not the way to handle a computer....)  

16. ... Qxd7 17. fxe6 Qc7 18. Bxf6 Bxf6 19. Nd5 Bg5+ 20. Kb1 Qd6 

21. exf7+ Kh8 

22. h4  (White has two pawns for the exchange, a wonderful bishop on 

c4, a passed pawn on f7, a giant knight on d5 and also the black pieces 

are not cooperating very well. It is clear who has the advantage here!)

22. ... b5 23. hxg5 bxc4 

24. gxh6!!  (Fantastic! Rebel sacrifices a knight, in order to get at 

the black king) 

24. ... Qxd5?  (The only way to keep on playing was to try 24 ... g6 

25 Qf3)

25. hxg7+ Kxg7 26. Qg4+ Kf6 27. Rf1+ Ke7 

28. Rf5!  (This quiet move is the big point of the knight sac. The rook

joins the attack with decisive effect) 

28. ... Qe6 29. Qh4+ Kd7 30. Qd4+  Kc7 31. Qc5+ Kb7

32. Qb4+!  (A wonderful queen manoeuvre, after which black is unable to 

avoid the loss of his queen) 

32. ... Kc7 33. Rc5+ Qc6  (Even worse is Kd7 34 Qb7+)   

34. Qxc4 Qxc5 35. Qxc5+   

(The rest is easy. Rebel mops it up without any trouble)

35. ... Kd7 36. c4 Ke6 37. Qd5+ Kf6 38. Qb7 Kg7 39. c5 Rad8 40. Qxa7 Rxf7

41. Qa4 Rd2 42. Qg4+ Kf8 43. a4 Rff2 44. Qb4 Ke8 45. g4 Rd1+ 46. Ka2 Rff1

47. c6 Ra1+ 48. Kb3 Rf3+ 49. Kc2 Rf2+ 50. Kd3  and Sherbakov resigned.

1  -  0

Congrats to Ed and especially Rebel - of course - for this great 

performance. A wonderful game, which I enjoyed very much. And I was 

pleased to see that the preparation for this match worked so well. 

Until next time!

Jeroen Noomen