Heard of the Semi-Slav Moscow variation in chess? (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 h6) That’s the one that was employed in the Boris Gelfand-Rustam Kasimdzhanov game in the last round of the London Chess Grand Prix on Wednesday. (Full report on Chess Blog.) Black sacrificed a pawn with 12. …c5, but couldn’t regain the compensation. White also sacrificed an exchange to build connected passer-pawns down the b- and c-file. We pick up the game with the position on the left. Black has just taken the pawn 40….Nxc7! Of course, it’s all won for White. Understanding that the players were tired, Boris Gelfand played 41.Nxc7 and eventually won the game a few moves down. But, can you spot a real fun way/much stronger move to win the position at the 41st move for White?

Did you spot 41.Nc8 Check the Houdini analysis in the Chess King applet below.

Gelfand Boris – Kasimdzhanov Rustam

Result: 1-0
Site: FIDE Grand Prix
Date: 2012.10.03
[…] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.¤c3 ¤f6 4.¤f3 e6 5.¥g5 h6 6.¥xf6 £xf6 7.e3 g6 8.¥e2 ¥g7 9.e4 dxe4 10.¤xe4 £f4 11.£c2 O-O 12.O-O c5 13.dxc5 ¥d7 14.b4 ¥xa1 15.¦xa1 ¥c6 16.¤d6 ¤d7 17.£c1 £f6 18.¦b1 g5 19.£e3 ¦ad8 20.¤d4 a6 21.¦e1 ¤e5 22.h3 ¥a4 23.£a3 ¤c6 24.¤f3 ¥c2 25.b5 axb5 26.cxb5 ¦a8 27.£c1 ¤b4 28.£d2 £f4 29.£xf4 gxf4 30.¤xb7 ¦xa2 31.c6 ¦fa8 32.¤d6 ¥d3 33.¥xd3 ¤xd3 34.¦f1 ¦c2 35.¤d4 ¦c5 36.b6 ¤b4 37.c7 ¦f8 38.¦b1 ¤a6 39.¤4b5 ¦c6 40.b7 ¤xc7 41.¤xc7
(41.¤c8 ¤xb5 42.¤e7+ ¢g7 43.¤xc6 ¤d6 44.b8=£ ¦xb8 45.¦xb8 f6 46.¦b6 ¤f5 47.¤b8 ¤d4 48.¦d6 ¤e2+ 49.¢f1 f3 50.g3 ¢f7 51.¦d3 e5 52.¦xf3 ¤d4 53.¦c3 ¢e6 54.¢g2 h5 55.¤c6 ¢d5 56.¤b4+ ¢e4 57.f3+ ¢f5 (0:01:32) 40…Naxc7)
41…¦xd6 42.b8=£ ¦xb8 43.¦xb8+ ¢h7 44.¦b4 ¦d1+ 45.¢h2 e5 46.¤e8 f5 47.¦b7+ ¢g6 48.¦g7+
Black resigns because that’s a forced checkmate! 48. …Kh5 49.Nf6 Kh4 50.g3 fxg3 51.fxg3# Of course, Black would have held on longer with 47….Kg8.