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Street Smart Chess in action – Guest Post by GM Axel Smith

In Street Smart Chess, model players teach how to play against opponents of different strengths. The chapters do inevitably clash against each other. If one of the players want to create a tactical game and the other a boring game, both can’t succeed. The question is who manages best. A few days ago, David Navara mentioned that he will play Baskaran Adhiban in Mr. Dodgy Invitational. It was a test for both of them, as Navara’s chapter in Street Smart was beating lower rated opponents, and Adhiban’s was beating higher rated opponents. This time both could succeed with their intentions: winning games. After eleven games, they had played only one draw, with Navara winning 6,5–4,5. But did they follow their own advice? Let’s examine one win each.

David Navara (2697) – Baskaran Adhiban (2660)

MrDodgy Invitational 2 (1.7), 12.05.2021

Axel Smith

1.c4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.d4 Nf6 4.g3 0–0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0–0 Nc6 7.Nc3 Bd7 8.b3 e5 9.d5 Nb8 10.e4 a5 11.Ne1 Na6 12.Nd3 b6 13.Bg5 h6 14.Be3?!

Inviting Black’s next move.

14…Ng4 15.Bd2 f5

Adhiban first step in the ideal attacking game is to “strive for a pawn structure where it’s possible to throw pawns at the opponent’s king at a later stage.” King’s Indian is a good choice doing that.

16.f3 Nf6 17.Qc2 Nc5

Second step: “Invite all the pieces to the party – advice valuable for a beginner as well as for a super-GM”

18.a3 Nxd3 19.Qxd3


A pawn sacrifice, following Adhiban’s proverb: “Take the chance when it comes. You may only get one.”


20.gxf4 exf4 21.Bxf4 Nh5 gives Black almost winning compensation on the dark squares.

20…fxg3 21.hxg3 h5 22.c5 bxc5 23.bxc5 h4 24.gxh4?

Navara needed to deny the knight access to h5. However, also after 24.g4 Nh7 it looks like Black is faster on the kingside than White on the queenside.

24…Nh5 25.c6 Bc8 26.Bg5


Adhiban’s third step: “Remove the defenders – sometimes by sacrificing, but exchanges can do the job as well.”

27.Qd2 Nf4! 28.Ne2

It’s not too difficult to find Black’s easiest win, but I nevertheless give Adhiban’s final step: “Calculate well when it’s time to finish it off.”

28…Bxg5 29.hxg5 Nxe2+ 30.Qxe2 Ba6 31.Qe3 Bxf1 32.Rxf1

The rest is easy, as they say.

32…Rb8 33.Bh3 Rf4 34.Be6+ Kg7 35.Qf2 Qxg5+ 36.Qg2 Qh6 37.a4 Rh4 38.Qg3 Rh1+


David Navara (2697) – Baskaran Adhiban (2660)

MrDodgy Invitational 2 (1.11), 12.05.2021

Axel Smith

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4

In the end of Navara’s chapter, there is a toolkit with advice against lower rated opponents. One of the first: “Avoid long theoretical variations.” After 4.Qxd4, White keeps the option to go for a Maroczy-Bind (c2–c4) or a standard Sicilian position (Nc3).

4…Nf6 5.Be2 Nc6 6.Qe3 g6 7.0–0 Bg7 8.Rd1 0–0 9.h3 Qb6


Another advice given by Navara: “Don’t be afraid of exchanges if they favour your position”.

10…axb6 11.Nc3 Nb4 12.a3! Na6

The knight is trapped after 12…Nxc2 13.Rb1 Nd7 (threatening …Nxa3) 14.Nd5!

13.Be3 Nc5 14.e5 dxe5 15.Nxe5

The pawn structure is in White’s favour, but Black has some compensation with two active bishops.

15…Bf5 16.Rac1?!

Allows Black to fix his doubled pawn.

Better was to go for an exchange with 16.Nd3

16…Nfe4 17.Nxe4 Bxe5! 18.Nxc5

Forced, since the pawn on b2 was hanging.

18…bxc5 19.c3 b6 20.g4 Be6 21.f4 Bc7

White has no good way to make use of the d-file. Navara follows his own advice: “Be patient and just play on.”.

22.Kf2 f5 23.g5 Ra4 24.c4 h6 25.h4 Kg7?

Finally a mistake.

25…h5 looks slightly better for White as you can imagine the queenside get going later on. Maybe Rc3, Bc2, b2–b3, Ke3, Bb2, Rcd3. Black’s …e7–e5 only risks weakening the central files, where White’s rooks will be placed. However, Black should no double be able to defend – but Navara would have kept playing and playing.

26.gxh6+ Kxh6 27.h5

27.Rg1 was probably more exact.

27…gxh5 28.Rh1 Bf7 29.Rcg1 Rxc4?

29…Rg8! 30.Rxg8 Bxg8 31.Rxh5+ Kg6 32.Rg5+ Kh7 33.Bd3! e6 34.Bd2 with some initiative for White.

30.Bxh5 Bxh5 31.Rg5

Mate is inevitable.

31…Rxf4+ 32.Bxf4 Bxf4 33.Rhxh5#

Everything is easy with hindsight, and I chose the games where they managed to highlight their strength. It’s not as easy to copy their way of playing – when they succeed – but a good first step is to study how they do. Thanks for the lessons, Navara and Adhiban.

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