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Peter Heine Nielsen: The Semi-Slav - A Grandmaster’s Guide for the tournament player

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 17/07/2016

He is the second of World Champion Magnus Carlsen and the former second of Ex-champion Vishy Anand. He is considered one of the greatest opening experts of our time. On this new ChessBase DVD, GM Peter Heine Nielsen invites club and tournament players to try one of the richest opening systems in modern chess: the Semi-Slav. It is an opening that has fascinated countless top players. Peter Heine guides you through the often dauntingly complex systems and offers detailed analyses of the critical lines. Don't miss it!

Peter Heine Nielsen: The Semi-Slav - A Grandmaster’s Guide for the tournament player

2008 was a historic year for Anand. He had already become the unified world champion in a 2007 tournament, but Kramnik retained a right to challenge Anand for the title that was to be decided by a classical match.

 

The match took place in Bonn, Germany, and the first two games were drawn. The third game saw Anand defend the black pieces, and the opening he chose to play in this all-important clash was the Semi-Slav.

Just before the third game

Anand defends with the Semi-Slav, Meran Variation

Kramnik faced a well prepared Anand, who was playing actively with his Semi-Slav

V. Kramnik-V. Anand, Game 03, WCC 2008 (Notes by Vishy Anand)

[Event "World Championship"] [Site "Bonn"] [Date "2008.10.17"] [Round "3"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D49"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2783"] [Annotator "Anand,V"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2008.10.14"] [EventType "match"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "GER"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2008.11.13"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 a6 $5 9. e4 c5 10. e5 cxd4 11. Nxb5 axb5 12. exf6 gxf6 13. O-O Qb6 14. Qe2 (14. Be4 Bb7 15. Bxb7 Qxb7 16. Nxd4 Rg8 $132) 14... Bb7 $5 15. Bxb5 $1 Bd6 $5 16. Rd1 (16. Nxd4 $5 Qxd4 (16... Rg8 17. g3 $1 {is the computer improvement on the above-mentioned game.}) 17. Rd1 Bxh2+ $1 (17... Qc5 $2 18. Be3 Qc7 19. Rac1 Qb8 20. Bxd7+ Kxd7 21. Qb5+ Ke7 22. Rxd6 $1 {wins immediately.}) 18. Kxh2 Qh4+ 19. Kg1 Bxg2 $1 20. Bxd7+ Ke7 21. Kxg2 Rhg8+ {usually black just mates in such scenarios, here black has to find a perpetual.} 22. Kf3 Qh5+ 23. Ke3 Qc5+ 24. Kd2 Rad8 $1 25. Rf1 (25. Qf1 Rxd7+ 26. Ke1 Rxd1+ 27. Kxd1 Qh5+ 28. Ke1 Qh2) 25... Rxd7+ 26. Ke1 Rc8 $1 27. Qe3 Qa5+ 28. Bd2 Rxd2 29. Qxd2 Qe5+ 30. Qe2 Qa5+ $11) 16... Rg8 17. g3 $1 Rg4 $1 18. Bf4 (18. Nd2 Ke7 $3 19. Bxd7 (19. Qxg4 Qxb5 {is just bad for white.}) 19... Rag8 $1 20. Bb5 (20. Qb5 Qc7 {just intensifies the pressure against g3.}) 20... d3 $5 {The most solid.} 21. Qxd3 Rxg3+ 22. hxg3 Rxg3+ 23. Kf1 Rxd3 24. Bxd3 Qd4 $1 25. Nc4 Bb4 26. a3 Bg2+ $1 27. Kxg2 Qg4+ {forcing perpetual.}) 18... Bxf4 19. Nxd4 $5 (19. Rxd4 {is also very complicated.}) 19... h5 (19... Rg6 $5 20. a4 $5 {Maybe this cool computer-move is what Kramnik was planning on?} (20. Bxd7+ $6 Kxd7 21. Nxe6+ Bd6 $1 22. Nf4 Rg5) (20. Nxe6 fxe6 21. Rxd7 Kf8 22. Bd3 Be5 23. Bxg6 hxg6 24. Qc4 Ke8 25. Rh7 Bd4 $1 26. Rxb7 Bxf2+ 27. Kf1 Qxb7 28. Qxe6+ Kf8 29. Qxf6+ Kg8 30. Qxg6+ Kh8 31. Qf6+ Kg8 32. Qg5+ Kh8 33. Qe5+ Kh7 34. Kxf2 Rf8+ 35. Kg1 Qb6+ 36. Kg2 Rf2+ 37. Kh3 Qh6+ 38. Kg4 Qg6+ {with perpetual.})) 20. Nxe6 fxe6 21. Rxd7 Kf8 22. Qd3 Rg7 $5 (22... Bc8 $2 23. Rh7 $18) (22... f5 $2 23. Qc3 $18) (22... Bxg3 $5 {This seems to be just a forced draw} 23. hxg3 h4 $1 24. Rd6 (24. Kf1 $2 hxg3 25. fxg3 Rg5 $1 {wins for black.}) 24... Qc5 25. b4 Qe5 26. Rd8+ Rxd8 27. Qxd8+ Kg7 28. Qe7+ Kh6 29. Qf8+ Rg7 30. Qh8+ Rh7 31. Qf8+ {with a perpetual.}) 23. Rxg7 Kxg7 24. gxf4 Rd8 $1 (24... Kh6 25. a4 Rg8+ 26. Kf1 Bg2+ (26... Rg2 27. Qd2 Rxh2 28. Ra3 $14) 27. Ke2 $16) 25. Qe2 (25. Qc4 $2 Rd4 $19) (25. Qb3 $5 Kh6 26. a4 (26. Kf1 $2 Bd5 27. Bc4 Bxc4+ 28. Qxc4 Rd2 {and f2 collapses.}) 26... Rg8+ 27. Kf1 Rg2 28. Qe3 Qxe3 29. fxe3 Rxh2 $11) 25... Kh6 26. Kf1 Rg8 27. a4 $1 (27. f5 $2 Bg2+ $1 28. Ke1 Bc6 $1 29. Qd2+ Kh7 30. Bxc6 Qxc6 31. Ke2 Qb5+ 32. Kf3 Rg4 33. Re1 Qc6+ 34. Ke2 Qc4+ 35. Kf3 (35. Kd1 Rd4 36. fxe6 Rxd2+ 37. Kxd2 Qb4+ 38. Kd1 Qd4+ $19) 35... Rd4 $19) 27... Bg2+ 28. Ke1 Bh3 $1 (28... Bc6 {is enough for a draw.}) 29. Ra3 $2 (29. Rd1 $1 Bf5 $5 {An amazing move. White is ok, but would you be able to calmly play Qf1 or h3?} (29... Rg1+ 30. Kd2 Rg2 31. Qe3 $1 (31. Ke1 $2 Bg4 $1 32. Qf1 Rxh2 {and whites position collapses.}) 31... Rxf2+ 32. Be2 Rxe2+ $5 (32... Qa5+ 33. Kc1 Qc7+ 34. Kb1 Bf5+ 35. Bd3 $1 Bxd3+ 36. Qxd3 {also fails short.}) 33. Qxe2 Bg4 34. Qd3 Qxb2+ 35. Qc2 Qd4+ 36. Kc1 Bxd1 37. Qxd1 $11) (29... Bg4 $2 30. Qe3 $1 Qxe3+ 31. fxe3 Bxd1 32. Kxd1) 30. Qe3 $2 Rg1+ 31. Bf1 Qa6 $1) 29... Rg1+ 30. Kd2 Qd4+ 31. Kc2 Bg4 $2 { Despite being 75 minutes ahead on the clock, by now I had caught up. I wanted to provoke f3} (31... Bf5+ $1 32. Rd3 $1 (32. Kb3 Rc1 $1 33. a5 (33. Ra2 Bc2+ $1 34. Qxc2 Rxc2 35. Kxc2 Qxf2+ 36. Kb3 Qe3+ 37. Kc2 Qxf4 38. a5 Qxh2+ $19) 33... Qd5+ $1 {This move wins, but there are a lot of incredibly difficult moves in the winning line.} (33... Rc2 $6 34. Qxc2 $1 Bxc2+ 35. Kxc2 Qc5+ 36. Kb1 Qxb5 37. a6 Qd5 38. a7 Qa8 39. Ka1 $1 Qh1+ (39... Kg6 40. b4 $1) 40. Ka2 Qd5+ $11) (33... e5 $6 34. Ra4 $1 {I had come upto here in my calculations and didnt see a way forward} Be6+ (34... Qc5 $1 35. Bc4 Bc2+ 36. Qxc2 Rxc2 37. Kxc2 Qxf2+ {But this is a good version for white compared to earlier lines.}) 35. Bc4 {Oddly enough black dosent have a win:} Bg4 36. f3 Bf5 {Followed by Rd1 seem to secure counterplay for a draw.}) 34. Bc4 (34. Ka4 Bc2+ 35. Kb4 (35. b3 Bxb3+ 36. Rxb3 Qd4+ 37. Rb4 Qa1+ $19) 35... Qd6+ 36. Kc4 Bd1+ $19) (34. Kb4 Qc5+ 35. Ka4 (35. Kb3 Bc2+ 36. Ka2 Qd5+ 37. Bc4 Qh1 38. Qxc2 Rxc2 $19) 35... Bc2+ 36. b3 Bxb3+) 34... Qb7+ 35. Ka4 (35. Bb5 Bc2+ 36. Ka2 Qh1 {mates.}) 35... Rc2 $3 {This quite move is the point} 36. Ba6 Qd7+ 37. Qb5 Rc4+ 38. Kb3 Qd3+ 39. Ka2 Qb1+ 40. Kb3 Rc2 41. Ra2 $8 Be4 $3 42. Bb7 Qd1 43. Ka3 Bxb7 44. Qxb7 Rc4 45. b3 Qd6+ 46. Kb2 Qd2+ 47. Ka3 Qxa5+ 48. Kb2 Qc3+ 49. Ka3 Rc5 $19 { and finally all white resistance is broken.}) (32. Bd3 Rg2 $5 (32... Bg4 $5 33. f3 $8 Bh3 {transposes to the game.}) 33. Bxf5 Rxf2 34. Bd3 Rxe2+ 35. Bxe2 Qe4+ 36. Bd3 Qxf4 37. a5 Qxh2+ 38. Kb1 h4 39. a6 Qg1+ 40. Ka2 Qa7 $19 {and despite the mess, blacks pawns should prevail.}) 32... Rg4 $5 {This could be best} ( 32... Ra1 $6 {is preferred by the computers, but:} 33. Qe3 Bxd3+ 34. Qxd3 Qxf2+ 35. Qd2 {is the usual story, black cant swap queens due to whites passed pawns. }) 33. Kb3 Bxd3 34. Qxd3 Qxf2 {keeps winning chances for black.}) 32. f3 $2 { Returning the favour.} (32. Rd3 $1 {was a golden opportunity, as black has nothing more than:} Bf5 33. Kb3 Bxd3 34. Qxd3 Qxf2 (34... Qxf4 35. Qe3 { as usual cant be allowed.}) 35. Qd8 $1 {securing a perpetual.}) 32... Bf5+ 33. Bd3 Bh3 $6 {Played instantly since this was my reason for provoking f3, but there was a stronger move:} (33... Bxd3+ $1 {this wins the house instantly.} 34. Rxd3 (34. Qxd3 Rg2+) 34... Qc4+) 34. a5 (34. Qe4 Rg2+ 35. Kd1 Qg1+ 36. Qe1 Qxh2 $1 $19 {and Rg1 cant be stopped, winning instantly.}) (34. Qd2 Rg2 35. Be2 Bf5+ 36. Kc1 Qg1+ 37. Qd1 Qxh2 38. Kd2 {Here many moves win, but I will give the comp line because its funny} h4 $1 39. a5 Qxf4+ 40. Kc3 h3 41. a6 h2 42. a7 Rxe2 43. Qxe2 h1=Q 44. a8=Q Qc7+ $1 {This wins, but also the only move which doesnt lose!} 45. Kb4 Qb6+ 46. Ka4 Qh4+ $1 $19) 34... Rg2 35. a6 Rxe2+ 36. Bxe2 Bf5+ 37. Kb3 (37. Bd3 Bxd3+ 38. Rxd3 Qc4+) (37. Kc1 Qxf4+ 38. Kd1 Qd4+ 39. Kc1 Qe5 $1 $19) 37... Qe3+ 38. Ka2 Qxe2 39. a7 Qc4+ 40. Ka1 Qf1+ 41. Ka2 Bb1+ ( 41... Bb1+ 42. Kb3 Qxf3+ {is simple enough.}) 0-1 

Kramnik sticks out his hand in resignation.

Anand took the white pieces in the fourth game — it was a draw. Before the fifth game began, it was a question whether Anand would resort to the Semi-Slav again. He did! Anand was the first to deviate from his own choice in the third game and unleashed a novelty on the fifteenth move!

 

It just shows how richly filled with possibilities and options this opening is. The game ended spectacularly.

Should White capture the pawn on d4? The point being that 29.Nxd4 Qxd4 30.Rd1, winning a piece after Nd7 and Bb7 falls.

Kramnik saw it fit for a capture, and took on d4. Anand had a nasty trick ready, waiting to pounce.

[Event "World Championship"] [Site "Bonn"] [Date "2008.10.20"] [Round "5"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D49"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2783"] [Annotator "Stohl,I"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/1b1nkp1p/4pq2/1B6/PP1p1pQ1/2r2N2/5PPP/4R1K1 w - - 0 29"] [PlyCount "14"] [EventDate "2008.10.14"] [EventType "match"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "GER"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2008.11.13"] 29. Nxd4 $2 {Black's forces already exert unpleasant pressure, but the text-move is an unforced and decisive tactical miscalculation.} (29. Bxd7 Kxd7 30. Nd2 Qg6 $15) (29. Nd2 $5 $13 {still leads to a murky position and the outcome of the game remains open.}) 29... Qxd4 30. Rd1 Nf6 $1 31. Rxd4 Nxg4 32. Rd7+ Kf6 33. Rxb7 Rc1+ 34. Bf1 Ne3 $1 $19 {A scorpion sting in the tail end of a combination!} 35. fxe3 (35. h3 Rxf1+ 36. Kh2 Rxf2 $19) 35... fxe3 (35... fxe3 {/\e2} 36. Rc7 $8 Rxc7 37. g3 Rc1 38. Kg2 Rc2+ 39. Kf3 Rf2+ $19 {a Black remains a whole R up.}) 0-1

 

 The key to Anand's 6.5-4.5 drubbing of Kramnik: his team of seconds. Note the tallest among them.

 

 That is GM Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark, the tallest grandmaster in the world and a shogi player.

The Semi-Slav was the opening that decided the World Championship in Anand's favour. And it has done so on more than one occasions. The Danish grandmaster was the key member for Anand in his campaign. He stood by Anand for many years until the Indian ace was facing Nielsen's student!

Magnus went on to challenge and defeat Anand since this picture was taken in 2007. Today, he seconds his former pupil, the current World Champion.

Now, Peter Heine Nielsen brings his expertise and work for you.

The Semi-Slav

The Semi-Slav (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6) can arise via various move orders and is one of Black’s most fascinating replies to 1 d4. The complexity and the many possibilities of the variation have intrigued World Champions and generations of strong players, but amateurs often find the lines too complex to handle.

Let Peter explain to you what he intends to teach you on this DVD.

Peter Heine Nielsen, opening expert, second of World Champion Magnus Carlsen, and author of this DVD says: 'I want to use my experience to guide you through the labyrinths of this line to help you explore a rich, aggressive, but basically sound opening that offers scope for creativity and allows Black to play for win. I try to improve your understanding of this position in particular and chess in general, and hope to inspire you to play the opening of champions!'

Details:

Video running time: 7 hours 6 min (English)

With interactive training including video feedback, an exclusive database with 50 model games.

Languages: English
ISBN: 978-3-86681-540-7

Delivery: Download, Post
Level: Advanced, Tournament player, Professional

Price: Rs. 999/-

Contents:

  • Meran Variation
  • Anti-Meran Variation
  • Moscow Variation
  • Ant-Moscow Variation
  • Alternatives
  • Interactive Test Positions

This DVD (soft copy) is available for just Rs. 999/- on the ChessBase India website for Indian residents. All you have to do is write an email to us at chessbaseindia@gmail.com.

 

These are original ChessBase products which are available at almost 60% discount to Indian residents because ChessBase India has tied up with the ChessBase headquarters in Hamburg. Soon our online shop will begin. Until then you can buy the products by writing to us at chessbaseindia@gmail.com.

 

Photos by Frederic Friedel