Even short draws can be hard-fought

Last Updated 29 August 2015, 19:09 IST

The general perception in chess is that short draws are the very solid and dull with neither player taking any risk to play or most times a general understanding between top Masters to take a safe approach. However at times there are hard fought draws, even in games of short duration where players resort to technicalities like repetition of moves or perpetual checks.

In the game which follows, the Opening is rather sedate but things get interesting in a complex middle-game. White does appear to hold edge before a queen move steers the game towards a draw, albeit not a dull one by any standard.

White: Denis Yevseev (2539) – Black: Dmitry Kokarev (2370) Moscow ,1999
Queen Pawn Opening 1.d4  e6 2.g3 Slow and dull play by White from the start
2. ..f5 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.c4 c6
Another quiet move! This time by Black. Worth a look is 4. ..Bb4+
5.Nh3 Be7
If 5...d6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.0–0
6.0–0 0–0 7.d5
White played a novelty quite early in this game. If 7.Nd2 d6 8.b3 e5
7...Bc5 8.Nf4 Qe7
If 8...Qc7 9.Nc3 e5 10.Nd3 Bd4
This looks like the most logical move but White could have seriously looked at 9.Nd3 e5 (9...cxd5 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Bxd5 exd5 12.Nc3) 10.Nxc5 Qxc5 11.b3 and White gets distinct advantage
9...e5 10.Nd3 Bd4 11.Qb3 e4 12.Nf4 c5
Better appears  12...Na6 13.Rd1
White decides to sacrifice  the central pawn. If 13.Nb5 Be5  14.d6 Bxd6 15.Nxd6 Qxd6 16.Rd1 Qe7 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.Rxd5 b6  19.Bf4 Qf7 20.Rad1 Nc6 and black  does not have any problems
13...Qxd6 14.Nb5 Qb6 15.Nd5
If 15.Nxd4 cxd4 16.Qxb6 axb6 17.Rd1 Nc6 18.b3 and White is better and gets back the pawn
15...Nxd5 16.cxd5 Na6
If 16...d6 17.Nxd4 cxd4 18.Qxb6 axb6 19.Rd1 and White stands better
17.d6+ (discovered check)
If 17.Nxd4 cxd4 18.Qxb6 axb6 19.Bg5
If  19.Bf4 Nc5 And if 19.Rd1 Nb4;
17...Kh8 18.g4
Here 18.Bg5 appears better. If 18.Nxd4 cxd4 19.Qxb6 axb6 the light squared bishop of Black appears blocked but he can hold onto the position by manoeuvring his knight from b4 to c6, making progress difficult for White
If  20.Rd1 Nb4 (20...Nc5 21.b4 Nb3 22.Rb1 Nxc1 23.Rbxc1 Rxa2 24.Rxd4) 21.a3 Nc6
And if 20.Bd2 Rf6
18...Be5 19.Qd5
If 19.gxf5 Bxd6 20.Nxd6 Qxd6 21.Rd1 Qc6 22.Qc4 d5
19...Bxh2+ 20.Kxh2 Qxb5
Diagram 1
This move more or less ensures that the game will head towards a draw. If   21.gxf5 Qxe4  22.Qxe2 Qh5+  23.Kg1 Rb8 and White does appear to have advantage despite the deficit of two pawns and continues  24.Re1 b5 25.f6 gxf6 26.Qe7 Bb7 (26...Rf7 27.Qe8+ Kg7 28.Re3) 27.Bxb7 Nb4
21...Qxe2 22.Bh3
If 22.Bh6? Qxg4 23.Bh3 Qg6 24.Bf4 Nb4
22...fxg4. If 22...Qc4  23.Bh6 Qf7 24.gxf5 Qf6 25.Qxf6 Rxf6 26.Bf4 b6 and Black holds advantage
23.Bh6 g3+ 24.Kg1 gxf2+ 25.Kh2 Rg8 26.Rac1
If 26.Rad1 Nb4 27.Bxg7 And if 26.Bxg7+ Rxg7 27.Qe8 (27.Qe8+ Rg8 28.Qe5)
26...Nb4 27.Bxg7+ Rxg7 and the draw was agreed as28. Qe8+ Rg8 29.Qe5+ Rg7  30.Qe8+ and Black does not have any choice but to repeat the moves
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Nc6 Ke8
If 1...Rxb3 2.Rh8
2.Nxe5 and White wins

(Published 29 August 2015, 19:09 IST)

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