MatoJelic: Game Analysis by NM Stewart
White opens with 1. d4 and MatoJelic responds with the ultra-sharp ALekhine Variation of the Slav Defense, starting with 3. …dxc4 and 4. …b5. Black obtains a very reasonable position from the opening due to his extremely active piece-play, although white manages to create a long-term weakness on e6 as well as win the bishop pair. Black is further compensated by white’s knight on a2 that is totally out of play, leading to a very interesting, dynamically imbalanced position after 30. …Qxc5+. Black has good winning chances due to white’s pawn weaknesses on the queenside, however white is compensated by better coordination and black’s weak pawn on e6. MatoJelic actually had a winning line after 41. Qe5? by playing 42. Rb8! – however in time pressure he played 42. …b2 that allowed 43. Rb5. After a mass exchange of pawns, white came out with a clear advantage however black would have retained excellent drawing chances with 46. …Rg6 – simultaneously attacking the g3 pawn and defending black’s g7 pawn. After 46. …Rf1+ the position is lost for black. This game was a fantastic demonstration of the power of the initiative and after a well-played opening MatoJelic was unfortunate to make a few small errors in time-trouble towards the end.
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