Great chess games

Mista, Aleksander(2584) – Balogh, Csaba(2654)

Mista is a very dangerous attacking player and in this game he also tried to simply outrun the defence lines of your weekly commentator. But as a true Hungarian player, Csaba is very solid and good in defence, which makes him very hard to beat. In the game we are going to watch White sacrificed, Csaba took, White tried to be creative, but again Csaba was careful and ended up being a full piece up.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 A solid opening for a solid player. Csaba has already been playing the Berlin for many years and he shows very good results in it.

4.d3 This is probably the most fashionable move lately, because Carlsen plays it too.

4…Bc5 5.c3 This is also one of the main lines. The idea is simply to avoid Nd4 next. [Probably the main move sofar was 5.Bxc6 5…dxc6 and now White has a wide range of choices like 6.h3, 6.0-0, 6.Nc3, 6.Be3 and some more.; After 5.O-O 5…Nd4 6.Nxd4 Bxd4 the position is close to equal according to the current theory.]

5…O-O 6.O-ORe8 The funny thing is that Csaba scored 2 wins with this position in the current Bundesliga, one with White over Rene Stern and the one we are watching now. A true expert of the Anti-Berlin! 🙂

7.Re1 [Maybe 7.b4 7…Bb6 8.Bc4 d6 9.a4 a6 10.Qb3 Be6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.a5 Ba7 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.fxe3 is the right way to fight for an advantage?! Balogh-Stern, Bundesliga 2014]

7…a6 The idea of the line with 6…Re8 is not to hurry with the d6 move, because in a good moment Black might save a tempo and play d7-d5 at once.

8.Ba4 [After a move like 8.Bxc6 8…dxc6 White’s position can never be better because of the weak pawn on d3 and a move like d4 can usually only bring an advantage to Black.]

8…b5 9.Bb3 Another option is to play 9.Bc2, but usually White’s bishop is better placed on b3.

9…Bb6 Once again Black does not hurry with the d6 move but maybe it was already time to play it and Mista finds the right plan to make use of this. [9…d6 is the main continuation and has already often been played often on the top level.]

10.a4! Mista chooses what is probably the best plan against Csaba’s Berlin. The black b5 pawn is a little weakness now.

10…Bb7 11.Bg5 I think this move might be a bit premature. [An interesting option for White could have been 11.Na3!? White doesn’t attack b5 directly, but now a move like Bg5 could already be a threat. 11…d6 (After a waiting move like 11…h6 12.Bd2 would put Black into quite an unpleasant situation as axb5 is now a threat and it is hard for Black to find a good way of defending the b5 pawn.; 11…d5 is probably not the best option either.

12.exd5 Na5 (12…Nxd5 13.Bg5! A very strong “zwischenzug”! 13…f6 14.Bd2 and White should be better.) 13.Bc2 Qxd5 14.b4 Nc6 And once again after the unpleasant 15.Bg5 White is better.) 12.Bg5 b4 Playing this move is not so nice, but what else to do?! 13.Nc4 bxc3 14.bxc3 Bc5 I think White should be better here, maybe not much but a small and stable plus.]

11…h6 To include h6 is always a good idea.

12.Bh4 d6 Black does not hurry with the g5 move as it has time, but maybe right now the d6 move was not the best option either. [12…Na5!? 13.Bc2 c5 would have been an interesting option for Black, to have Bc6 after Na3.]

13.Bd5? White clearly miscalculates his chances. [13.Na3! would again have caused quite some problems to Black. 13…b4 (After 13…g5 14.Nxg5 (14.Bg3 leads to unclear play because of the misplaced bishop on g3.) 14…hxg5 15.Bxg5 Kg7 it seems like Black doesn’t have anything better than

Kg7. 16.axb5 axb5 17.Qf3 Rh8 18.Nxb5 Rxa1

19.Rxa1 White has 3 pawns for the piece and quite an unpleasant pin with the bishop on g5. I think White should be clearly better here.) 14.Nc4 bxc3 15.bxc3 Ba7 16.Ne3 And once again White should be the one who dominates the game.]

13…g5! Csaba evaluates the complications totally correctly.

14.Nxg5 There is no way back for White as after 14. Bg3 Nxd5 his position would be horrible.

14…Nxd5 15.exd5 [15.Nf3 15…Nf6 and Black is just a piece up.]


16.Qg4?! This move is already losing a piece. [16.dxc6 was probably better and after 16…Bxc6 17.Qg4 f6 Black is of course much better as he has the bishop pair and a great pawn structure, but maybe White could defend a bit more tenaciously here.]

16…Bc8! Maybe this is the move that Mista missed. Black is forcing the white queen to take away the last square of the h4 bishop.

17.Qg3 f6 Such a move is too easy to miss for Csaba. The white bishop on h4 is lost now.

18.dxc6 Kf7 Black is just a piece up and the great bishop on b6 even gives Black some attacking chances on the kingside. The game is basically over.

19.Bxg5 Rg8 Csaba continues playing the most precise moves. After19…fxg520. axb5 White would at least have some little compensation.

20.h4 White has no choice, as allowing Black to play Rxg5 is not an option.

20…fxg5 21.h5 Qf6 Black is threatening with the very unpleasant Qf4 next.

22.d4 [After 22.axb5 22…Qf4! 23.Qxf4+ gxf4 White can just resign.]

22…Qf4 23.Qd3

23…Bf5 Csaba develops his last piece with tempo.

24.Qd1 exd4 The game is totally over but White decides to check Black’s conversion powers.

25.Qb3+ Kf6 The king is taking a very safe position on f6.

26.g3 Qf3 27.Nd2 Qxh5 Cool and strong. Now Black is already threatening to mate by playing Rh8 next.

28.Ne4+ Kg6 29.Nxd6 cxd6 Thank you for the piece.

30.Qd5 Raf8 This was a very interesting opening and White probably twice missed the Na3 idea after which Black would have to solve quite some difficult problems. 0-1