Risky play Safarli pays off
Eltaj Safarli won a completely crazy game today. He took some big risks in the opening, a kind of Reversed London System, 'because that's what you have to do when you want to win.' He thought the Indian's 8.b3 was too slow, and went for the sharpest way to get counterplay. Safarli sacrificed a piece to keep White's king in the middle, and the following mind-boggling position came on the board:
Now White can oppose on e3 with the rook. Better was 23...Nxe5! 24.Bh3 Qd6 with complete control.
24.Re3 Qe7 25.Rxe5
He should probably have swapped while he had the chance: 25.Bxd4 cxd4 (25...Nxd4 26.Rxe5 Qxe5 27.Bd3) 26.Rxf3 Rxf3 27.Nxf3 Re3 28.c5! and Black's compensation starts to dwindle. 25...Nxe5 26.Qe3 Qf6 27.Bd3
Now after 27.Bxd4 cxd4 the queen has to return and it's totally unclear again. But moves like 27.Bh3 or 27.b4 were better.
27...f2 28.Rf1 h6
Good was 29.Bb1! to meet 29...Ng4?? with 30.Qe8+.
29...Ng4 30.Bd5+ Kf8 31.Qg3 ?! Qe5 32.Bxd4 Qxd4
Black is taking over now. Even stronger was 32...cxd4 as then after 33.Kc1, 33...Qe3! is devastating.
33...Qe3! - the Azeri GM likes his queen too much, who has done such a great job for him in this game.
Finally losing. White could save himself with 35.Rxf4+ Nxf4 36.Qf3, when he wins back the pawn. Even 35.Rf3!!, keeping all options open, was an equalizer. Now Black keeps the extra pawn and the pressure. Seven moves later Karthikeyan resigned.