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25 Dec 2017

C54 Giuoco Piano: 4.c3 Nf6, main lines with 5.d4 and 5.d3 (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.O-O Nf6 5.d3 h6 6.c3 O-O)

C54 Giuoco Piano: 4.c3 Nf6, main lines with 5.d4 and 5.d3 (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.O-O Nf6 5.d3 h6 6.c3 O-O)

This was played on the first round of a tournament that was played at Helsinki in January 2006. I started the tournament with a loss and continued losing for the next three rounds, only in the last game did I manage to win a game... This was the first tournament I played after sharing the win in group C in a tournament that was played at Turku in December on the previous year. Now I played in group B and only managed to get 1 out of the possible 5 points. I was second last in the final standings of group B. It did not take long for me to mess things up in this game, already on move 10 I played the horrible Nb8. One might say that my problems started a bit earlier with 7...d5, because that move enabled the game continuation where I lost a pawn. However, it might not have been that dangerous by itself, because I had some compensation for the pawn in view of faster development.

Or rather it would have been an adequate compensation, had I not retreated with my knight to b8 and given up the lead on development. My opponent took the free pawn and then I played the move 11...Bf6, which made my position even worse and at that moment I was already on a losing position. While neither player played the most accurate moves, there really never was any reasonable doubt about the winner of the game. I continued my fruitless efforts up to the move 47.Rh7, after which I decided it was time to resign.

[Event "KäpSK"] [Site "?"] [Date "2006.01.20"] [Round "1"] [White "Koivistoinen, Timo"] [Black "Vierjoki, Timo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "1884"] [BlackElo "1760"] [Annotator "Stockfish 8 64 POPCNT (30s)"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2006.01.20"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 h6 6. c3 O-O {C54 Giuoco Piano: 4.c3 Nf6, main lines with 5.d4 and 5.d3} 7. a4 d5 (7... a5 8. d4 exd4 9. cxd4 Bb6 10. e5 Ne8 11. d5 Ne7 12. Be3 d6 13. Bxb6 cxb6 14. Nc3 Bg4 15. exd6 Nxd6 16. Be2 Rc8 17. Ra3 Rc5 18. Qd4 Bf5 19. Rd1 Qc7 20. Bd3 Re8 21. Raa1 Bxd3 22. Qxd3 {Glud,J (2147)-Lehtovirta,V Finland 2002 1-0 (64)}) 8. exd5 Nxd5 {White has a cramped position} 9. b4 $146 {White threatens to win material: b4xc5} (9. Bb5 Bg4 10. Nbd2 a6 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Qc2 Re8 13. h3 Bh5 14. Re1 Bd6 15. Nh2 f5 16. c4 Nf6 17. Ndf1 c5 18. Ng3 Bg6 19. Bd2 e4 20. dxe4 fxe4 21. Be3 Bxg3 22. fxg3 Qd3 23. Qe2 {1/2-1/2 (23) Taragel,M (1366)-Zelnik,S (1208) Liptovsky Mikulas 2016}) (9. Re1 Re8 10. Nbd2 Nf4 11. Ne4 Bb6 12. b4 Qd7 13. Bxf4 exf4 14. a5 Bxf2+ 15. Kxf2 b6 16. axb6 cxb6 17. Qd2 Qf5 18. Nf6+ Qxf6 19. Rxe8+ Kh7 20. Rae1 Bb7 21. Rxa8 Bxa8 22. d4 Ne7 23. Bd3+ Ng6 {Smith,V-Babic,G Istanbul 2000 1-0 (32)}) 9... Be7 {Black has an active position} 10. b5 {White threatens to win material: b5xc6} Nb8 (10... Na5 $142 $5 $11 {looks like a viable alternative}) 11. Nxe5 $16 Bf6 $2 (11... c6 12. d4 $16) 12. d4 (12. Ba3 Bxe5 13. Bxf8 Bxh2+ 14. Kxh2 Qxf8 15. Bxd5 Qd6+ 16. Kg1 Qxd5 $18) 12... Bf5 $2 (12... Be6 $5 $16) 13. Ba3 (13. f4 $5 a6 14. Qh5 g6 $18) 13... Re8 14. Qf3 Be6 15. Re1 (15. Nd3 Be7 $18) 15... c6 (15... Nb6 16. Bd3 Bxe5 17. dxe5 $16) 16. Nd2 Qc7 (16... Bxe5 17. dxe5 Nd7 18. Bf1 $18) 17. Ng4 (17. Ne4 Nd7 18. Bd6 Qc8 $18) 17... Be7 $2 (17... Nd7 $142 $5 18. bxc6 bxc6 19. Nxf6+ N7xf6 $16) 18. Bxe7 Rxe7 19. Ne5 (19. Bxd5 $142 $5 Bxd5 20. Rxe7 Qxe7 $18) 19... Nd7 $16 20. bxc6 bxc6 21. Nb3 N7f6 (21... Rae8 $142 $5 $16) 22. Nc5 $18 Rd8 (22... Rae8 23. h3 $18) 23. Nxe6 (23. a5 Rde8 24. Nxe6 Rxe6 $18) 23... Rxe6 24. g3 (24. a5 Ne8 $18) 24... c5 $2 (24... a5 25. Rab1 $18) 25. Rac1 (25. Rab1 {might be the shorter path} a6 $18) 25... Qa5 $2 (25... Re7 26. h4 Nb6 27. Bb5 $18) 26. Bb5 ( 26. Rb1 {and White can already relax} a6 $18) 26... Qb6 (26... Qc7 27. Kg2 $18) 27. c4 Nc7 $4 {the final mistake, not that it matters anymore} (27... Nb4 28. d5 Re7 $18) 28. d5 Red6 (28... Rxe5 {doesn't change the outcome of the game} 29. Rxe5 a6 30. Bc6 $18) 29. Nc6 Rf8 30. a5 Qb7 31. Ne7+ Kh8 32. Nf5 (32. Bc6 $142 {seems even better} Qb4 33. Qf4 Rfd8 $18) 32... Nxb5 33. cxb5 Rxd5 (33... Qxd5 34. Qxd5 Rxd5 $18) 34. Rxc5 $1 {Deflection: d5.} Qd7 (34... Rxc5 35. Qxb7 {Deflection Pinning}) 35. Rxd5 Qxd5 36. Qxd5 Nxd5 37. Re5 Nc7 38. Nd6 Rb8 ( 38... Ne6 {a fruitless try to alter the course of the game} 39. b6 axb6 40. axb6 $18) 39. Nxf7+ (39. Rc5 $142 {nails it down} Nxb5 40. Rxb5 $18) 39... Kg8 (39... Kh7 {cannot change destiny} 40. Nd6 Rd8 41. Nf5 $18) 40. Nd6 Kf8 (40... Rd8 {there is nothing better in the position} 41. Rc5 Rd7 $18) 41. Rc5 Ke7 ( 41... Ne6 {otherwise it's curtains at once} 42. Rc8+ Rxc8 43. Nxc8 Ke8 $18) 42. Rxc7+ Kxd6 43. Rxa7 Rxb5 44. Rxg7 h5 45. a6 Ra5 46. a7 Ke6 47. Rh7 (47. Rh7 Kf6 48. Kg2 $18) 1-0

Here are some reference games that have reached the position after 6...O-O. I have taken them from a database that contains over 6.8 million games at the moment and I have only included games where both players had ratings 2500 or over. Only three games were found and all were drawn.

[Event "Moscow Tal Memorial Blitz"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2008.08.30"] [Round "33"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2720"] [BlackElo "2716"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2008.08.29"] [EventType "tourn (blitz)"] [EventRounds "34"] [EventCountry "RUS"] [EventCategory "20"] [SourceTitle "CBM 126 Extra"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2008.11.05"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O h6 7. d4 Bb6 8. dxe5 Nxe4 9. Bd5 Nc5 10. Bf4 Ne7 11. Bc4 Ne6 12. Bc1 d5 13. exd6 cxd6 14. Na3 d5 15. Be2 Ng6 16. Nc2 Nef4 17. Nfd4 Nxe2+ 18. Qxe2 Re8 19. Qf3 Ne5 20. Qg3 Kh8 21. Bf4 Nc6 22. Nb5 Qf6 23. Be3 Ba5 24. Nc7 Bxc7 25. Qxc7 Bf5 26. Nd4 Nxd4 27. Bxd4 Qe7 28. Qf4 Qg5 29. Qxg5 hxg5 30. Be3 f6 31. Rfd1 Be6 32. Rd4 Kg8 33. Rb4 Re7 34. a4 a6 35. a5 Kf7 36. h4 gxh4 37. Rxh4 Bd7 38. Rd1 Bc6 39. Kf1 Rae8 40. Ke2 Re4 41. Rxe4 1/2-1/2 [Event "Sinquefield Cup 4th"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2016.08.07"] [Round "3"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C53"] [WhiteElo "2771"] [BlackElo "2792"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2016.08.05"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "USA"] [EventCategory "22"] [SourceTitle "Mega2016 Update 46"] [Source "Chessbase"] [SourceDate "2016.08.18"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O h6 7. d4 Bb6 8. dxe5 Nxe4 9. Bd5 Nxf2 10. Rxf2 d6 11. exd6 Qxd6 12. Bb3 Bxf2+ 13. Kxf2 Qf6 14. Qd2 g5 15. Kg1 Bg4 16. Qf2 Rfe8 17. Be3 Bxf3 18. Nd2 Rxe3 19. Qxe3 Bh5 20. Qh3 Be2 21. Re1 Re8 22. Bc4 Qd8 23. Qxh6 Bxc4 24. Rxe8+ Qxe8 25. Qxg5+ Kf8 26. Qc5+ Kg8 27. Qg5+ Kf8 28. Qh6+ Kg8 29. Qg5+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "Subic Bay op"] [Site "Subic Bay"] [Date "2016.12.09"] [Round "6"] [White "Kovalev, Vladislav"] [Black "Gagunashvili, Merab"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2595"] [BlackElo "2588"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2016.12.06"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "PHI"] [SourceTitle "Mega2016 Update 63"] [Source "Chessbase"] [SourceDate "2016.12.18"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O h6 7. d4 Bb6 8. dxe5 Nxe4 9. Bd5 Nxf2 10. Rxf2 d6 11. exd6 Qxd6 12. Bb3 Bxf2+ 13. Kxf2 Qf6 14. Be3 Be6 15. Nbd2 Rad8 16. Qf1 Rfe8 17. Re1 Bxb3 18. Nxb3 Re7 19. Bc5 Rxe1 20. Qxe1 b6 21. Bd4 Nxd4 22. cxd4 a5 23. Qc3 Rd7 24. Nbd2 Re7 25. Nc4 Re6 26. Qd3 Re7 27. Qc3 Qe6 28. Qd3 Qd5 29. b3 Re8 30. Ne3 Qd6 31. Nc4 Qd5 32. Ne3 Qd6 33. a4 Qa3 34. Qc2 Qe7 35. Qd3 Qa3 36. g4 Qd6 37. h3 Qf4 38. Nd5 Qd6 39. Ne3 Qf4 40. Nd5 Qd6 1/2-1/2