C54 Saito, K.-Peters, Z., Giuoco Pianissimo

Saito, Kaita (1608) – Peters, Zachary (909)

C54 Giuoco Pianissimo, Tampa (R4), May 15, 2010  [Notes by Hoffer]

Kaita Alexander Saito had recently won the K-8 Florida State Championship in Miami. Zach boldly faced a player rated 700 points higher than him. Zach had some tough pairings in this event yet was still in the hunt for the cash in the last two rounds. He had his chances in this one!

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3

4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.Bg5 The Canal Variation, a favorite of Capablanca's, is stymied by 6…Na5!

4…Nf6 5.d3

Kaita chooses the Giuoco Pianissimo or "very quiet game". This is a passive system which gives Black easy equality – at least! The main line of the Giuoco Piano is far more enterprising:

5.d4 exd4! 6.cxd4

In my game against Chinese WGM Xiaobing Gu, she decided to avoid the main lines of the Giuoco with: 6.e5!? d5! 7.Bb5 Ne4 8.cxd4 Bb6 9.Nbd2 [9.Nc3 0–0 10.Be3 Bg4 11.Qc2 Bxf3 12.gxf3 Ng5 13.Bxc6 bxc6 14.Qa4?!  (14.0–0–0!? Nxf3 15.Qf5 Nh4 16.Qg4 Ng6 17.h4 f5 18.exf6 Qxf6 19.h5 Nf4 20.Rh4 Ne6³)  14...Nxf3+ 15.Ke2 f6!³ Sveshnikov,E (2560)-Balashov,Y (2515), Soviet Union 1985 1–0, 41] 9…Bd7!N 10.0–0 Nxd4 11.Nxe4 Bxb5 12.Bg5?  (12.Nxd4 Bxf1 13.Ng3 Ba6µ) 12…Nxf3+ 0–1 Gu,X (2630)-Hoffer,M (2554), Internet 2006 White is busted on either 13.gxf3   (or  13.Qxf3 dxe4 14.Qg3 Qd7 15.Rfd1 Bd3–+) 13…Qd7 14.Ng3  (14.Re1 dxe4–+) 14…Bxf1 15.Qxf1 Bd4–+.

6…Bb4+ with two very different continuations:

a) 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 d5! 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Qb3 Nce7!  (Black can get a draw with 10…Na5 11.Qa4+ Nc6 ½–½ Short,N (2660)-Karpov,A (2755), Skelleftea 1989) 11.0–0 0–0 12.Rfe1 c6! 13.Ne4 Qb6 14.Nc3 Qxb3 15.Bxb3 with counterplay for Black;

b) 7.Nc3 Kaita obviously chose to avoid the complications of the wild and woolly Möller Attack. 7…Nxe4 8.0–0 Bxc3 9.d5 Bf6! 10.Re1 Ne7 11.Rxe4 d6 12.Bg5 Bxg5 13.Nxg5 h6 14.Qe2 hxg5 15.Re1 Be6! 16.dxe6 f6 17.Re3 c6 18.Rb3 [18.Rh3 Rxh3 19.gxh3 g6 20.Qf3 Qa5! 21.Kf1  (21.Rd1 Qf5! Silver,A (2235)-Matsuura,E (2405), Vitoria, Brazil 1998 22.Qb3 0–0–0 23.Qa3 Qc5 24.Qb3 d5µ)  21...Qf5 22.Qg4 0–0–0 23.Qxf5 gxf5 24.h4 d5µ Sergeev,G (2412)-Novikov,M (2518), Tula 2006 0–1, 35] 18…Qc7 19.Bd3 d5 20.g3 g6 21.Qf3 f5 22.Qe3 g4 23.Qd4 0–0 24.Ra3 (24.Rc3!?) 24…c5 25.Rc3 c4 26.Bf1 b5 27.Bg2 Qb6 28.Rd1 Qxd4 29.Rxd4 Rfd8µ 30.Rc1 Rd6 31.a4 a6 32.Ra1 Rad8 33.axb5 axb5 34.Ra5 Rb6–+ Gonzalez Perez,A (2430)-Guerra Mendez,J (2399), Havana 2007 0–1, 44.

5…0–0

Or 5…d6 6.Bb3 a6 7.0–0 0–0 8.h3 Ba7 9.Nbd2 Be6 10.Bc2  (10.Re1 Bxb3 11.Qxb3 Rb8!? 12.Nf1 Qd7 13.Ng3 Rfe8 14.Bd2 h6 15.Rad1 Qe6 16.Be3 Bxe3 17.Rxe3 Qxb3 18.axb3 d5 19.Ree1 Rbd8 20.Kf1 a5 21.Nh2 h5 22.Nf3 g6 23.h4 Kg7 24.Ra1 dxe4 25.dxe4 Nd7 26.Rad1 Nc5 27.Rd5 b6 Black is clearly ahead due to his pawn structure. Bacrot,E (2695)-Aronian,L (2750), Mainz 2007 0–1, 45) 10…d5 11.Re1 dxe4 12.dxe4 Nh5 13.Nf1 Qxd1 14.Rxd1 Rad8 15.Be3 f6 16.Bxa7 Nxa7 17.Ne3 Nf4 18.h4! White held an edge. Karpov,A (2700)-Korchnoi,V (2695), Merano (m/8) 1981 ½–½, 84;

Black has not fared too well recently with 5…a6 6.0–0  [6.Bb3 0–0 7.0–0 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.h3 Nb6!? 10.Re1 h6 11.Nbd2 Qxd3 12.Nxe5 Qg3?!  (12...Nxe5 13.Rxe5=)  13.Qf3 Qxf3 14.Ndxf3 Ne7 15.Nd3 Bd6 16.Bf4 Ng6 17.Bxd6 cxd6 White has a clear advantage due to Black's isolated pawn. Kramnik,V (2807)-Krasenkow,M (2633), Wijk aan Zee 2003 1–0, 80] 6…Ba7 7.Re1 d6 8.Bb3 0–0 9.h3 Ne7 10.Nbd2 Ng6 11.Nf1 Nh5!? 12.d4 Nhf4 13.Ng3 h6 14.Be3 Qf6 15.Kh2!? Kh8 16.Qd2 Be6 17.Rad1 Kh7?!  (17…Rfd8=) 18.Bc2 Nh4 19.Bxf4 Nxf3+ 20.gxf3 Qxf4 21.Qxf4 exf4 22.Nh5 g5 23.e5+ Kh8 24.d5 Bd7 25.e6 fxe6 26.dxe6 Be8 27.e7 Bxh5 28.exf8Q+ Rxf8 29.Kg2± Vocaturo,D (2493)-Grandelius,N (2476), Wijk aan Zee 2010 1–0, 83

6.0–0 Re8?!

It makes more sense to develop the Bc8 before the Rook with 6…d6 with five continuations:

a) 7.a4 a6 8.Nbd2 Ba7 9.Re1 Ng4 Black is obviously determined to play …f5 come hell or high water! I kind of admire that! 10.Re2 Kh8 11.h3 Nh6 12.Nf1 f5 13.Bxh6 gxh6 This guy has guts! 14.exf5 Bxf5 I hate it when they don't let you get in …f4. So the question is: does Black's attack still work? 15.Bd5 Bg6 16.Qd2 Qf6 17.Ng3 Qf4 18.Qxf4 Rxf4= So much for the attack. Now we have dull equality. 19.Be4 Bf7 20.Bxc6 bxc6 21.d4 Apparently White thinks he has a winning endgame despite Black's two Bs. 21…Rg8 22.Kh2 exd4 23.Nxd4 Bxd4 24.cxd4 Bd5 25.Rd1 a5 26.f3 Rb8 27.Rdd2 Kg8 28.Re3 Kf8 29.Ne2 Rf7 30.Nc3 Bc4 31.g4 h5 32.Kg3 Rb4 33.f4 h4+ 34.Kf3 Bf1 35.Re1 Bc4  (NOT 35…Bxh3?? 36.Rh1 Bg2+ 37.Kxg2 Rxf4 38.Rxh4+-) 36.f5 Bb3 37.Kf4!? c5! 38.Kg5 (38.Re4!? d5 39.Re5 Rxd4+ 40.Rxd4 cxd4 41.Nxd5 h6 42.Kf3 d3 43.Nc3 Rd7 44.Rxa5 d2 45.Ke4 Bc2+ 46.Ke3 Rd3+ 47.Ke2 Rxc3 48.Kxd2 Rc6–+) 38…cxd4 39.Ne4??  (39.Nb5 d3 40.Rxd3 Bxa4 41.Nd4 Rxb2 is unclear) 39…Rb8  (39…Re7!–+) 40.Rxd4 Re8 41.Re2??  (41.Rc1) 41…Rfe7! 42.Re3 Bf7 43.Rc3 Rxe4 44.Rxe4 Rxe4 45.Rxc7 Re7 46.Rc8+ Be8 47.Kf6 d5–+ 48.g5 d4 49.g6 d3 50.Rd8 Rd7 51.g7+ Rxg7 52.Rxd3 Rg3 53.Rd4 Rxh3 54.Kg5 Rb3 55.Rxh4 0–1 Movsesian,S (2624)-Morozevich,A (2718), Prague 2002;

b) 7.Re1 a6 8.Bb3 Ba7 9.h3 h6 10.Nbd2 Be6 11.Bc2 (11.Nf1 Re8 12.Be3 d5 13.Bxa7 Rxa7 14.exd5 Bxd5 15.Ba4 b5 16.Bc2 Ra8 17.Ne3 Be6 18.a4 Qd6 19.Nd2 Ne7 20.Ne4 ½–½ Kudrin,S (2543)-Benjamin,J (2576), New York 2007) 11…Re8 12.Nf1 d5 13.Qe2  (13.exd5!?) 13…Qd7 14.N3h2  [14.Ng3 Rad8 15.Nh4 Bxh3!? (15...dxe4 with counterplay) 16.gxh3 Qxh3 17.Nhf5 Ng4 18.Be3 Qh2+ 19.Kf1 Qh3+ 20.Kg1 ½–½ Sedlak,N (2590)-Predojevic,B (2628), Zlatibor 2007] 14…Ne7 15.Qf3 Nh7 16.Ng4 Ng6 17.Nfe3 c6 18.Nf5 f6 19.d4!? exd4 20.Nxd4 Bxd4 21.cxd4 dxe4! 22.Qg3 Bf7 23.Qc3?!  (23.h4!?) 23…Rad8µ 24.Be3 h5 25.Nh2 f5 26.Rad1 f4 27.Bc1 Nf6 28.Nf1 Re7 29.Nd2 Rde8 30.Nc4 Bxc4 31.Qxc4+ Nd5 32.f3?! exf3–+Areshchenko,A (2638)-Movsesian,S (2670), Kemer 2007 0–1, 45;

c) 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3  (9.Nxg5?! hxg5 10.Bxg5 Kg7 leads to a wild position 11.Qf3 Be6 12.Nd2 Rh8 13.h4 Qe7 14.Bd5 Nxd5!? 15.Bxe7 Ndxe7 16.b4 Bb6 17.b5 Na5 18.g3 Rag8 19.d4 Kf8 20.Kg2?! Ng6 21.Rh1 Nxh4+ 22.Rxh4 Rxh4 23.Qf6 Bh3+–+ 24.Kf3 Rh5 25.Ke3 Rg6 26.Qd8+ Kg7 27.Rh1 c5 28.Qe7 cxd4+ 29.Kd3 dxc3 30.Nf3 Bxf2 31.Kc2 Bxg3 32.Kxc3 Bf2 33.Kb4 b6 34.Ka4 Rg3 35.Nd2 Bc5 36.Nb3 Nc4 37.Rh2 Bg2 38.Nxc5 Nb2+ 0–1 Vajda,L (2511)-Sutovsky,E (2628), Turin 2006) 9…Bg4 10.Nbd2 Qd7 11.Bb3 a6 12.Nc4 Ba7 13.Ne3 Be6 14.Bc2= Dobrovolsky,L (2395)-Ernst,T (2525), Oberwart 1991;

d) 7.b4 Bb6 8.a4 a6 9.Be3  (9.a5 Ba7 10.Be3 Ne7 11.Bxa7 Rxa7 12.Nbd2 Ng6 13.d4 Qe7 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.Re1 Nf4 16.Qb3 Bg4= Velikhanli,F (2304)-Naumkin,I (2503), Moscow 2007 ½–½, 50) 9…Bxe3 10.fxe3 d5 11.exd5 Nxd5 12.Qd2 Be6 13.Na3 Qe7 14.e4 Nb6 15.Bxe6 Qxe6 16.Nc2 Rad8 17.Ne3 f6 18.a5 Nc8 19.Nd5 Qd7 20.Rad1 N6e7 21.Nxe7+ Qxe7 22.Qe3 Nd6 23.Rfe1 Nb5 24.d4 exd4 25.Nxd4 Nxd4 26.Rxd4 Rxd4 27.Qxd4 Rd8 ½–½ Yermolinsky,A (2660)-Anand,V (2770), Madrid 1998;

e) 7.Bb3 a6   (7…h6 8.Nbd2 a6 9.Re1 Ba7 10.Nf1 Be6 11.Ng3 Bxb3 12.Qxb3 Qd7 13.h3 Rfe8 14.Be3 Bxe3 15.fxe3 d5 16.exd5 Qxd5 17.Qxd5 Nxd5 18.Rad1 Rad8 19.Rd2 b6 20.Kf2 g6 21.e4 Nf4 22.Red1 Na5 23.Nf1 Nb7 24.Ke3 f6 25.Ng3 Nd6 26.Kf2 Kg7 27.Ne2 Ne6 28.Ng3 Nc5 29.Kf1 a5 30.Re1 a4 31.Rdd1 a3 32.d4 exd4 33.cxd4 Ncxe4 34.Nxe4 Rxe4 35.bxa3 Rxe1+ 36.Rxe1 Kf7 37.Rc1 Rd7 38.a4 Nf5 39.Ke2 Re7+ 40.Kf2 Nd6 41.d5 Ne4+  (41…Rd7!)  42.Kg1 Rd7 43.Rc6 h5 44.Nd4 h4 45.Kf1 Rxd5 46.Rxc7+ Ke8 47.Nf3 g5 48.Rc6 Rd6 49.Rc4 f5 50.Rb4 Ke7 51.Nd4 Kf6 52.Nf3 Nc3 53.Rc4 Ne4 54.Rb4 Rd1+ 55.Ke2 Nc3+ 56.Kf2 Rd6 57.Rc4 Ne4+ 58.Kf1 Nd2+  (58…Re6!?³)  59.Nxd2 Rxd2 60.Rc6+ Ke5 61.Rxb6 Rxa2 62.Rb4 ½–½ Anand,V (2725)-Kamsky,G (2735), Monte Carlo 1996) 8.Nbd2 Ba7 9.h3 Be6 10.Re1 Bxb3 11.Qxb3 Rb8!?  [transposes to the above listed game (after 5...0-0)]  Bacrot,E (2695)-Aronian,L (2750), Mainz 2007 0–1, 45

7.Bg5

7.Re1 Na5 8.Bb5 c6 9.Ba4 b5 10.Bc2 Qb6 11.Qe2 Ng4  (11…b4!?) 12.Rf1  (12.d4!?) 12…b4 13.h3 bxc3 14.Nxc3 Nf6 15.Na4 Qb5 16.Nxc5 Qxc5 17.a3 Qb6 18.b4± Kasparov,G (2851)-Borodavkin,A, New York 2000 1–0, 61

7…Na5?!

Had White played the Canal Variation of 4.Nc3 instead of 4.c3 (and if both players had not yet castled, and had Black played …d6 instead of …Re8) as White can't play b4, then …Na5 would be a great move! In fact …Na5 is the reason World Championship contestant GM Victor Korchnoi gave up the Giuoco Piano! In that variation, it is Black's best chance for activity when White passively chooses to play the very quiet game. This is likely what Zachary remembered when he played 7…Na5?! in a position where Kaita can sacrifice his Bishop at f7 & play b4. It is dangerous to allow unbreakable pins to linger on in front of your King. Zach should have kicked the Bg5 with 7…h6 8.Bh4 d6 9.b4 Bb6=.

8.Bb5

Kaita could've tried 8.Bxf7+! Kxf7 9.b4 d6 with an edge to White due to Black's uncastled King.

8…h6??

Zach misses his last chance to keep the game even with 8…a6 9.Ba4 Ba7=

9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.b4 a6 11.Ba4 Bxb4?

Zach's dark-squared Bishop (which White does not have) was one of his best pieces, so he should have hung onto it, but even on 11…b5 12.Bc2 Bb6 13.bxa5 Bxa5± White is comfortably up a piece for a pawn.

12.cxb4 Nc6 13.Nc3+- Nxb4 14.a3 Nc6

The rest is mop-up and technique.

15.Nd5 Qd8 16.Re1 b5 17.Bc2 Ne7 18.Nxe7+ Qxe7 19.d4 exd4 20.Nxd4 Bb7 21.Qd3 c5 22.e5 g6 23.Nf3 Qe6 24.Qe3 g5 25.h4 g4 26.Nh2 h5 27.Nf1 Re7 28.Ng3 Rae8 29.Nf5 Qd5 30.Qg5+ Kh8 31.Qg7# 1–0

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