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GM Alexander Grischuk 2763 (Black pieces) — IM Munoz Santana 2428 (White pieces)
In the opening round of the 2012 World Chess Olympiad being played in Istanbul Turkey, my “Game of the Day” was the Board One encounter where former World Champion Semi-Finalist super GM Grischuk played the black pieces in the “Hippopotamus”! White lined up the Q+B battery — 5.Be3, 6.Qd2 and fired in with 7.Bh6 to exchange of the key black defender on g7. Instead of the prudent 9.h3 controlling the g4 square and preserving a slight edge, White embarked on 9.Nd5 and 11.Qc3 looking to whip up a kingside attack. White’s ambitious play was rewarded when Black eschewed solid equality (11…Bxf3 12.gxf3 Qd7!) and played instead 11…Nxd5, 12…Bxf3. After 13…Nb8, all the black pieces (except his king) were on the back rank and white had excellent prospects along the h and g-files as well as the d3-g6 diagonal. With 14…Nd6, 15…Nb6 and 17…Nxd5, Black managed to snag a central pawn. White for his part began fumbling the ball with 18.Be4 and 19.Rh3. On either move the obvious mobilization with Rd-g1 offered White tremendous pressure against the g6 point and full compensation for his pawn. White’s maneuver 20.Bxd5, 21.Qf4 and 22.Qh2 prepared tripling on the h-file, but was calmly met by 22…g5! Closing the h-file. After 23…Kf8 the storm had passed for the black king. With 24…Rg8, 25…g4, 26…Qf6 and 27…Rg6 we can see the initiative had clearly passed over to the black forces. White valiantly tried to confuse the issue with 30.Qa3 and 31.Rxd6, but the deft 31…Kg7 secured the black king. When White tried to recoup a pawn with 32.Rxa6, he ran into the brilliant queen sacrifice 32…Qxd4!! – which exploited the white back rank. The powerful pin break 34…Rg6! was followed by the final body blow 36…g3! — exploiting the pin on the d4-g1 diagonal and the still weak white back rank!
[Event “Chess Olympiad”]
[Site “Istanbul TUR”]
[White “Munoz Santana, Jose Lisandro”]
[Black “Alexander Grischuk”]
1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Be3 a6 6. Qd2 b5 7. Bh6 O-O 8. Bd3
Nc6 9. Nd5 Bg4 10. Bxg7 Kxg7 11. Qc3 Nxd5 12. exd5 Bxf3 13. gxf3 Nb8 14. h4 Nd7
15. h5 Nb6 16. Qd2 Rh8 17. O-O-O Nxd5 18. Be4 c6 19. Rh3 e6 20. Bxd5 cxd5 21.
Qf4 Qe7 22. Qh2 g5 23. h6+ Kf8 24. Kb1 Rg8 25. f4 g4 26. Rg3 Qf6 27. Rc3 Rg6 28.
Qg3 Qf5 29. Rc6 Rxh6 30. Qa3 Qxf4 31. Rxd6 Kg7 32. Rxa6 Qxd4 33. Rg1 b4 34. Qf3
Rg6 35. Qe2 Rxa6 36. Qxa6 g3 0-1
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