In another side story… "Aries2" of the ICC said that the entire line beginning with 9…c4 is dubious and that white should continue with 11. f4! Nxe5 12. fxe5 Ne4 13. Bxe7 Nxc3 14. bxc3 Qxe7 15. e4! He cited Kasparov-Hjorth, 1980!
Muhammad continued with 16.Bxc4 dxc4 17.a3!? (17.e4 was played in GM Lugovoi - Bluvshtein - 3 April 2003 - and ended in a draw). Black certainly couldn't play 17…Bxa3?? because of 18.Qa2! winning a piece, so the bishop sauntered back to e7. It appeared that Muhammad's attempt at the initative backfired after 22…Rxd5! (22…f5 would be met by 23.d6!) and after a series of moves, black's c-pawn was looking quite dangerous.
Bluvshtein abandoned the pawn to place two rooks on the 7th with 30…Rf5. This allowed Muhammad to counter with 31.f4! and reclaim the initiative. After this, Muhammad started to harass black's bishop with 33.g4! and after 36.f5 and 37.f6, established a deadly pawn wedge giving rise to mating possibilities. Black position grew in disrepair as white invaded black's weakened position, won two pawns and closed out the win with flawless endgame technique. Nice comeback by Muhammad!
Paschall-Perelshteyn, 0-1. Another disheartening loss for Paschall. Both he and Akobian have probably had the hardest "luck" of any of the players. Paschall burst out the opening attacking Perelshteyn's Accelerated Dragon and seem to be winning after 16.Bg7! Paschall missed 18.Qxa7! (recommended by ICC spectators) and allowed black to consolidate into a position with a superior pawn structure. Even so, the result would normally be a draw. Fritz 8 still evaluated white as slightly better before 31.Re5? Black would win the c-pawn and eventually grind out a win as his connected pawns would eventually steamroll up the board. Tough loss for Paschall! Not a good result when one is about to face a Grandmaster.
Round Four Games (playable and downloadable)
All Games (PGN download)
Standings: Krush, Perelshteyn, 3½; Christiansen, 3; Simutowe, Ehlvest, Bluvshtein, Yudasin, 2; Muhammad, 1; Paschall, Akobian, ½.