IM Maurice Ashley (2445)
GM Robert Kempinski (2530)

Bayern-chI Bank Hofmann (6)
Bad Wiessee, 1997

Some of the following comments are taken from the audio lesson from on which Maurice Ashley gave audio commentary on this game. This was Ashley's quest for his second GM norm and he has set to play Robert Kempinski of Poland. Both players had 5/5 and were leading a tournament of 21 Grandmasters. Ashley didn't know the Polish GM, but by studying his database, knew that Kempinski played the Najdorf. Ashley decided to play a prepared side line. A good part of a chess battle is knowing your opponent!

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ This was the move that Ashley prepared. 3... Nd7 3... Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 Bd7 6. Bxc6 Bxc6 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. Bg5 e6 9. O-O-O Be7 is another possibility. The famous Polgar-Shirov game went 10. Qd3 O-O 11. Nd4 Qa5 12. f4 Rfc8 13. f5 b5 14. fxe6 fxe6 15. Nxe6 b4 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. Nd5 Be5 18. Kb1 Bb5 19. Ne7+ Kf7 20. Qd5 Kxe7 21. Ng5 Re8 22. Rhf1 Bxf1 23. Qxa5 Be2 24. Rd2 Bg4 25. h3 Rf8 26. a4 Rf1+ 27. Ka2 Bd7 28. Rd5 Kf6 29. Nxh7+ Kg6 30. Rxe5 dxe5 31. Qa6+ Kxh7 32. Qxf1 Bxa4 33. Qf5+ Kh8 34. Qh5+ Kg8 35. Qxe5 1-0; Las Palmas, 1994. The Qxd4 line has also been used by GM Viswanathan Anand. 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 White has a better version of the above Qxd4 line because the black Knight is on d7 instead of c6. 5... Ngf6 6. Bg5 a6 7. Bxd7+ Ashley mentioned that trading this Bishop is not an easy decision, but decided that a speedy initiative was more important than the Bishop. 7... Nxd7 7... Bxd7 8. Nc3 e6 9. O-O-O Be7 10. e5 dxe5 11. Nxe5 Bc6= 8. Nc3 Qb6?!

Trying to challenging white's central position, but black blocks his own queenside development. 8... f6!? was played in Ansell-Short, 0-1 (39), 2001 BCF-ChT. 9. Qd2 Ashley had questioned whether he should have traded Queens. He offered 9. Nd5!? Qxd4 10. Nxd4 Kd8 as an alternative. However, Ashley wanted to keep the Queens on for the attack. 9... e6 Ashley had no fear of 9... Qxb2 because he felt that with such a lead in development, black would have serious problems after 10. O-O He stated that a high levels of chess, time, space and force are the interlocking principles that must be understood. Thus, in this case, it was instinctive for him to sack the b2-pawn... gaining time and space was needed to exert more force! 10. O-O-O Ashley had no reason to fear queenside counterplay here. 10... Qa5 11. Qe1! After a lengthy thought, Ashley played this "unnatural" move. The idea is to hold the black King in the center and to set up shots like Nd5! Ashley actually stated that his real motivation was opening up the d2-square for the Bishop on g5 which will inevitably be attacked. Most players would examine natural lines such as 11. Nd4 h6 12. Be3 (12. Bh4 b5 13. Nb3 Qc7 14. Bg3 Ne5!?) 12... Be7 13. f4 O-O 14. Kb1 15. Nd5! 11... Nb6 12. b3!? Appears to be an ugly move, but stops Knight from going to c4 for a two-piece attack after a possible Qb4. 12... h6 13. Bd2 Qc5 14. Be3 Qc7 15. Bd4!

Ashley has moved his Bishop three times in a row. He says he is "breaking principles so the opponent can't obey principles." 15.Bd4 continues to stifle black's kingside development. In the meantime, the black King remains in the center opposed to the white Queen. The other beauty of this positional move is the fact that the Bishop in on two long diagonals and could possible help protect the King. 15... Nd7 16. Qe3 Continuing to mobilize. 16... Qa5 Threatening to win a piece with 17...e5. 17. Nd5! An intuitive sacrifice. Ashley told the story about something FM Ronald Simpson told him about sacrifice by "verification." This concept states that if one sacrifices a piece with such a lead in development, black has to VERIFY that they are up that piece. Notice that four black's pieces have not moved. Ashley also recounted a similar lesson by the late World Champion Tigran Petrosian. Petrosian, who was a famous positional player, stated that when inexperienced players sacrifice a piece, they play as if they are losing and hurry to get the material back. The point is that material is not of the greatest important when pursuing the initiative and the attack. Ashley demonstrates this in grand style. 17... exd5 18. exd5+ Kd8 18... Ne5 19. Nxe5 dxe5 20. Qxe5+ Kd8 (20... Be7 21. Rhe1) 21. Qe3 Qxa2 22. Bb6+ Kd7 23. Qh3+! Ke7 (23... Ke8 24. Rhe1+) 24. Qc3 19. Rhe1 Kc7 20. Rd3 Kb8 21. Qe8 Nc5 22. Rc3 Ka7 23. Qxf7 Bg4

Ashley said Kempinski ripped off this move quickly! "He was a happy man." Of course, Ashley is still a piece down and maybe black is trying to wiggle away with 23... Bg4 and the planned 24... Bxf3 Ashley had seen this sequence and prepared a refutation. 24. b4! Qa4 24... Qxb4?? 25. Rb3 25. bxc5 dxc5 26. Ne5 Both players are in a lot of time trouble, but Ashley has 3 minutes left to get to the 40th move. He stated that 26.Ne5 was his last long think... all other moves were played instinctively and quickly. 26... Bd7 This "sacrifice" is designed to disrupt the harmony of white's pieces, but better is 26... cxd4 27. Rb3 Ba3+ 28. Kb1 according to Ashley. 27. Be3 27. Qxd7 Qxd7 28. Rxc5! Qd6 (28... Bxc5 29. Bxc5+ b6 30. Nxd7 bxc5 31. Nxc5) 29. Rc6+ Kb8 30. Rxd6 Bxd6 31. c4 is winning, but Ashley wanted to avoid trades since black has more weaknesses to exploit. 27... Qa5 Black could have set up more tricks with 27... Rd8! 28. Ng6 Qa5 29. Bd2 Qxa2 30. Rb3 c4! 28. Bd2 Qxa2 29. Rb3 The key move... attacks and defends. 29... Qa1+ 30. Rb1 Qa3+ 31. Kd1 Rd8 32. Nxd7 Qa2

33. Rxb7+!! Ashley calculated mate here and suggested it wasn't a hard move to find. It "plays itself." 33... Kxb7 34. Nxc5+ Kb6 35. Qb7+ Kxc5 36. Bb4+ Faster was 36. Qc6+ Kd4 37. Bc3# 36... Kd4 37. Qb6+ Kc4 38. Re4+ Kxd5 39. Qe6# There was a crowd around the board during the game and Ashley's flag was hanging. After this game, Ashley said he was tingling, but was glad to have played such a game. He went on to get his 2nd GM norm, but had to fight a last round 79-move battle against GM Viktor Garivkov to clinch the norm. The key lesson learned in this analysis was piece placement and coordination. 1-0 [Shabazz D.]