My Best Chess Games from the Reykjavik Open 2018 – GM Eugene Perelshteyn
At this year’s Reykjavik Open in March, GM Eugene Perelshteyn finished in fourth place! In this video, part one of a series, Eugene will be taking a look at his best chess games from the tournament. It’s a perfect opportunity to jump into the mind of a grandmaster and explore how the top players think when they are playing a game.
It’s important to bear your opponent in mind when playing – in open chess tournaments, lower-rated players can often play some unexpected line and pick up a win against a Grandmaster.
But not this time! Eugene manages to eke out an advantage from the opening. Then, he uses prophylactic thinking to shut down any counter play from the opponent. Patiently, Eugene then slowly improves his position, slowly choking his opponent out of the game. These sound principles we can all apply in our own play in order to create some of the best chess games we’ve played.
It’s a highly instructive game we can all learn from to improve our game. For example, we see how we can think longer-term in a game and formulate a decisive plan. Better to have a bad plan than no plan at all, as they say.
We also see that you should never play the opening moves on auto-pilot, but you should consider the moves your opponent is making. Some players find themselves rushing through their first five to ten pet moves they’ve memorized, only to realize it’s all gone horribly wrong at some point and they have got nothing to work with!
At the Reykjavik Open 2018, 15 players finished joint fourth with 6.5 points each. Some of these players included not only GM Eugene Perelshteyn, but Gata Kamsky, Pavel Eljanov, and Richard Rapport.
GM Perelshteyn’s Best Chess Games – Game 1
Perelshteyn, Eugene (2513) – Cumming, Rhys (2155)
To kick things off, Eugene looks at a game he played against a lower-rated player, around 2150 Elo at the time. Eugene played with the White pieces and started with 1. c4 Nf6 2. g3. What’s Eugene’s thinking here? It seems like a strange choice of opening.
Well, Eugene loves the Accelerated Dragon chess opening, but that is, of course, an opening for Black. In the Accelerated Dragon, Black plays …c5 and …g6. With c4 and g3, if Black plays …e5, White will have an Accelerated Dragon opening, but for White, and a tempo up! It’s important to play openings that give you positions you are comfortable with.
However, Black didn’t play …e5! He had plans of his own, and played 2…g6. The game continued 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nc3 c5, where we reach the position on the left.
…c5 indicates that Black is playing a rather symmetrical game with logical chess moves, stopping White from playing d4.
5. Nf3 0-0 6. 0-0. In these kinds of positions, it is important to keep an eye on the center, and after 6…Nc6, White can, and should, change the nature of the position. A move like 7. d3 is certainly playable, but it is a quiet move that doesn’t gain White any sort of real advantage out of the opening. That’s why Eugene played the more active move 7. d4!
After 7…cxd4 8. Nxd4 Nxd4 9. Qxd4, we reach the position on the right. White can claim some sort of advantage out of the opening here. For example, it is now difficult for Black to ever play …d5, because White has four pieces guarding that square.
At the same time, …e5 is hardly ever played in positions like this, where the bishops have fianchettoed. All of this means that White has some long-term chances in the game.
How did Eugene convert this advantage into a win? Be sure to watch the video to find out!
GM Perelshteyn’s Best Chess Games – Game 2
Doluhanova, Evgeniya (2275) – Perelshteyn, Eugene (2513)
In Round 5 of the Reykjavik Open, GM Eugene Perelshteyn was paired against the talented Ukrainian Woman Grandmaster Evgeniya Doluhanva. Although rated more than 200 Elo below him, Eugene had to take her really seriously.
In the previous round, WGM Doluhanova had beaten a 2600+ rated Grandmaster by launching a strong mating attack in the middlegame. That said, Eugene still managed to play one of his best chess games in this tournament this round.
This game is highly instructive for several reasons. First of all, Eugene went for a cool trick in the opening which he picked up from none other than World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Thus, GM Perelshteyn, playing Black, managed to catch WGM Doluhanova off-guard as early as move 3 in the Ruy Lopez.
The game started 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5. Here, almost every player either plays 3…Nf6, opting for the Berlin, or 3…a6, going for one of the main lines of the Ruy Lopez. However, GM Perelshteyn went for the interesting move 3…Bb4!? (see the diagram on the right).
This move is extremely rare and there are only a few Grandmaster games in which this move was played. At first glance, the move 3…Bb4 looks dubious. In most lines of the Ruy Lopez, White wants to play the move c2-c3 anyway. Now, White can play it with the gain of a tempo.
In the game, GM Doluhanova continued with a very logical setup 4.c3 Ba5 5.0-0 (it should be noted that 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.Nxe5 is not a threat as Black can simply respond with 6…Qg5 with a double attack on e5 and g2.) 5…Nge7 6.d4 exd4 (see the diagram on the left).
Here, White made a surprising choice. Instead of playing the logical 7.cxd4, White went for 7.Nxd4!? Why didn’t White recapture on d4 with the knight?
Of course, GM Perelshteyn did not play this setup for Black without some serious home preparation. He analyzed this position before and knew that White’s center looks impressive, but Black can easily challenge it.
After 7.cxd4 d5! 8.exd5 Qxd5 9.Nc3 (attacking the queen on d5) 9…Bxc3 10.Bxc6 (forced – 10.bxc3? simply loses a piece after 10…Qxb5) 10…Nxc6 11.bxc3 0-0 (see the diagram on the right), Black has easy equality. In fact, this position occurred in a game between Georg Meier and Magnus Carlsen in the Chess Pro League. Magnus went on to win this game with Black.
7.Nxd4 was played in the game which continued 7…0-0 8.Bg5. However, due to the fact that the knight on is on e7 and not on f6, Black’s f-pawn is still mobile. Black went for 8…f6 9.Be3 Bb6 (see the position on the left).
The position is approximately equal and Black managed to solve all his opening problems with an interesting sideline in less than 10 ten moves. It is White who has to be careful in this position.
The pawn on c3 prevents the knight from b1 to move to its most natural square on c3. 10.Nd2 could be met by 10…d5! counterattacking in the center. Therefore, WGM Doluhanova decided to play 10.c4?!
With this move, White opts for a Maroczy Bind pawn structure. Usually, this tends to be a good pawn structure for White. In this position, however, the move 10.c4 is questionable.
How did Eugene react to White’s move? Is there a chance for Black to seize the initiative here? What would you play? Be sure to watch the exclusive free video to find out! GM Perelshteyn analyzes the whole game in detail, giving you the opportunity to jump into the mind of a grandmaster.
GM Perelshteyn’s Best Chess Games – Game 3
Perelshteyn, Eugene (2513) – Gledura, Benjamin (2632)
In Round 8 of the Reykjavik Open, GM Eugene Perelshteyn was paired against the strong Hungarian grandmaster, Benjamin Gledura. This is one of Eugene’s favorite games from the tournament, where he managed to surprise his opponent in the opening phase in order to build a winning advantage early on. The game is also a very good example of why it is important to prepare for your games when playing in a tournament.
Eugene knew that GM Benjamin Gledura usually replied to 1.e4 with the move 1…e5. Usually, play continues with 2. Nf3, with plenty of options available. For example, White can play the Ruy Lopez, or the Italian Opening, among others.
That’s why Eugene prepared a different chess opening, going for 2. Nc3, the Vienna game, instead! Being able to throw your opponent off early in a game can have a lasting effect, and can also be a psychological blow for the opponent who may not be prepared for alternate openings and sidelines.
The idea of Nc3 is to have the option to play f4 at some point, like a King’s Gambit. 2…Nf6 3. f4. See the position on the left.
Theory here says Black should challenge White’s center with 3…d5 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Qf3 Nxc3 6. bxc3 and we reach the position on the right.
We see that White has started to create an attacking pawn chain. After 6…Be7 7. d4, we see the pawn chain pointing towards the kingside, which is where White will attack. We see this pawn structure quite often in numerous chess openings, such as the French Defence Advanced Variation and the Caro-Kann Advanced.
The beauty of this pawn structure is that it points towards the kingside, and usually, we want to attack in the direction of the pawn chain. At the same time, Black’s knight is no longer on the board, it isn’t on f6 defending the kingside anymore, giving White good chances to build an attack. After a move like Bd3, both bishops are also lined up and poised to join the kingside attack.
Watch the video to see how the game continued, and for Eugene’s grandmaster-level thoughts and analysis!
Your Own Best Chess Games
Most people associate getting better at chess with 8 hour long sessions studying the intricacies of rook and pawn endings or frantic memorization of the latest trend in opening theory. Truth is, there are a number of “quick fixes” we can all apply to our game to avoid those painful defeats and start taking down even our toughest rivals. Now, GM Damian Lemos reveals his top tips for rapid chess improvement in a free email course. Click here to sign up for the chess masterclass today!
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