Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bacrot Comes Back

Gambit, the New York Times Chess Blog. reports that Etienne Bacrot tied for first last week in the French championship with 17 year-old Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and then won a two-game playoff. Bacrot had fallen upon hard times. As Gambit reported:
He won the national championships five times in a row from 1999 through 2003 and by 2005, when he was 22, he was ranked in the top 10 in the world. His future seemed extremely bright (Garry Kasparov, the former world champion, reportedly predicted that he would soon be in the top 5 in the world). But then he had some lackluster results and basically stopped playing for a year.
Many years ago a BDG World reader sent us a BDG played against Etienne Bacrot shortly after Bacrot had won the World Juniors under 10 championship. Here's the game, with the reader's notes. Barbaut,Michel (1940) - Bacrot,Etienne (1930) Ferrieres-las-Grande, France 1993 BDG Declined, Langeheinecke Defense [Notes by Barbaut, Game 2166 in BDG World 70 ] 1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.f3 e3
I don't think this system is an antidote to the BDG! 5.Bxe3 e6 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 Nf6 8.Nge2 8.Nh3 c6 (8...h6 9.Nf4 Nbd7 10.Ng6 fxg6 11.Qxg6+ Ke7 12.d5 c5 13.0–0–0) 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 h6 11.Nf2‚ 8...c6 9.Ng3 Bb4 10.0–0 Bxc3 11.bxc3 11.Qxc3 Nd5–+ 11...Nbd7 12.Ne4 0–0 13.Bg5 Qe7 13...h6 14.Bh4 g5 15.Bg3 seems dangerous for Black. 14.Rae1 Rfd8 15.f4 Qa3
Black counterattack on the Queenside. I didn't foresee this idea. 16.Nxf6+ Nxf6 17.Qg3 Kh8 18.Bxf6 18.Re3! a good move, preventing a Queen exchange. 18...Qxa2 19.Qh4 Qxc2 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Qxf6+ Kg8 22.Rg3+ Kf8 23.Rg7 Rd7 24.Qg5+- 18...gxf6 19.Qh4 Qe7 20.Rf3
I thought he couldn't avoid mate. I feel guilty. But 20.f5! is stronger. 20...Rg8 21.Rh3 with just a few seconds for both players. 21...Rg7 22.Re5 After the game Etienne suggested 22.f5!, but it's less strong than at move 20. 22.f5 Rag8 23.Re2 Qd8 22...Qa3
23.Re1 If 23. Rh5 then 23. ... Qc1, and at worst, Black has a draw. Play continued for another 20 moves or so, but it was too fast for me to remember anything. But... 0–1.