The Lethal Slav Attack

I would like to show you one of my most interesting games in my chess career. I say interesting, since then I used my own opening system in a serious tournament. That game was played in the “First International Chess Festival” in Varna in 2005. The tournament was 7 rounds long Swiss system, as there were a lot of strong grandmasters, winners of Olympiads, strong Bulgarian Opens and commonwealth championships as well as international masters participating.

At this time, I was still candidate master and a tournament of such rank was truly a good opportunity for me to show my potential and get some experience. At the beginning of the competition, I started generally well and after four rounds, I had three points, due to one loss to a strong international master. So, in the decisive fifth round I was paired to play with the strong master Hristo Ivelinov of Varna. Since the game was really important for my final performance, I had to use the advantage of being with white and to play for a win. Certainly, that was not going to be easy at all, since my opponent was supposed to be very well prepared and to do his best. Therefore, the evening before the decisive fifth round, in my preparation for the game I decided to choose one very interesting system for white against the Semi-Slav Defense, in which if black plays carelessly, white manages to conquer the central squares e4 and e5 and get an advantage. Since I was certain that my opponent could have happened to be unprepared against this system, I analyzed the variation of how the game may develop further, investigated some of the more important positions in the middlegame and eventually decided to try it in the real game.

Interesting! Black lost the game, because he chose the most reliable and logical moves! It is a rarity when а sequence of sound and logical moves in a balanced position lead to an inevitable loss. However, there are some evidence that this can happen in chess and the above game is a good example for this. With the win from this round, I got 5 out of 6 games and ensured good performance in the whole event. In the last round, I drew my game and got the prestigious sixth place among so many famous chess masters. I cannot express with words what my happiness was then after I won my game using completely my own opening system. As a result, I was once again persuaded in the rule that no matter what the popularity of a given variation is, if your opponent is playing without taking into account all the subtleties arising on the board, he is doomed to lose. Very often with strong play one can exploit the weaknesses in his opponent’s position successfully and get an advantage.