Queen's IndianE16

Muhammad S. (2421)
Christiansen L. (2633)

World Open (7)
Philadelphia, PA, 2003

Overcoming Obstacles - The 2003 World Open was a big success for me. I tied for 1st place under 2450 in the Super-Tough Open section. In addition, I was able to overcome an obstacle in my quest for the title of Grand Master. I defeated the 2002 United States Chess Champion GM Larry Christiansen in the seventh round. I missed a GM norm at the U.S. championship because of a loss to him and suffered a crushing defeat by him at a GM invitational in New York. This victory was very satisfying and was my best game of the event.

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ This opening is known as the Bogolyubov Indian Defense, or the Bogo-Indian. It's related to the Nimzo-Indian and Queen's Indian. 4. Bd2 a5 I think this line is one of the more timid choices at black's disposal. Other trys are 4... Qe7 and 4... Bxd2+ 5. g3 b6 6. Bg2 Bb7 7. O-O O-O 8. Nc3 Bxc3?! One of the less successful continuations according to my database. A better way to continue from here is 8...d6 and 9...Qe7 with an eventual e5. 9. Bxc3 Be4 I decided to simply continue my development and deal with black's Bishop when the time was ripe. 10. Rc1 The game is now out of book according to my database. 10... d5 11. b3!? With this move, white ensures that the position will remain dynamic, which is essential for the advantage of the two Bishops to be realized. 11... Nc6 12. Bb2! The Bishop is placed where it will be more useful and out of harm's way. 12... Rc8?! A strange looking move indeed! Black is counting on the opening of the c-file. 12... a4 This move keeps the game level. 13. Qd2 Qd6 I felt my opponent was trying to entice me into playing c5. After a very short analysis, I realized that the move c5 would justify black's 12th move and decrease the activity of my dark-squared Bishop. 14. Rfd1 Sticking to my plan. 14... Rfd8?

The first mistake. Black underestimated to power of my next move. 15. Ne5! Bxg2?? 15... dxc4 16. Nxc4 Qe7 17. f3 Bd5 18. Ne3 Nb8 19. Nf1 With a nice plus for white. 16. c5! My opponent stared at the position for about 20 minutes and played: 16... bxc5 17. dxc5 Qxe5 Rather than face certain defeat after: 17... Qf8 18. Nxc6 Be4 19. Bxf6 gxf6 20. Nxd8 Qxd8 21. f3 Bg6 22. e4 my opponent chose a line where he could possibly setup a fortress. 18. Bxe5 Nxe5 19. Kxg2 Nc6 I felt a sense of urgency here. I knew that black would be able to setup a rock solid fortress if I didn't find a way into his position right away. 20. a3 Rb8 21. Rb1 Rb5 22. Qd3! 22. b4!? Rdb8 This makes white's task more difficult because the Rook's are now active. 22... Rdb8

23. a4! R5b7 24. Qa6 I'm in the house! 24... Nb4 25. Qxa5 Ne4 26. Rbc1 c6 Forced, else white would play 27. c6 with a very strong position. 27. Rd4! Preparing for the first exchange sacrifice. 27... h6 28. Rxb4 Rxb4 29. Qc7 Rxb3 30. Qxc6 The passers will paralyze the Rooks. 30... R3b7 31. a5 Ra7 32. a6 Rba8 33. Ra1 Nf6

34. Qb7!! Pacifying all the black pieces. 34... Ne8 35. c6 h5 36. Kf3 A head fake. It's way too early for any King strolls. 36... Kh7 37. h3 Nd6 38. Qb4! Nc4 39. Kg2 f5 40. Rc1?! Much stronger is: 40. Qc5 Rc7 41. a7 40... Rxa6 41. Rxc4 dxc4 42. Qxc4 Ra5?! Black may be able to hold after: 42... R6a7 43. Qxe6 Rc7 44. Qxf5+ g6 45. Qe5 Rac8 46. f4 Rxc6 43. Qxe6 R8a7 44. Kf3 The King is not joking this time! It will join the game with decisive effect. 44... g6 45. Kf4 Kh6 46. Qd6 Ra4+ 47. Ke5 Ra8 48. Kf6 R4a6 49. g4 49. Qf4+ Kh7 50. Qc7+ Kh6 51. Qg7# was more direct. 1-0 [Muhammad S.]

Game(s) in PGN