Levin-Koval, 1996 New Jersey Open

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. g3 c5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2

6...cxd4 7. O-O

The d-pawn will not run away. White avoids the possibility of simplification by ...Bb4+. Not that this would have been bad for White, but it's one fewer thing to have to think about.

7...Be7 8. Nxd4 Bd7

Black wishes to play 9...Nc6 without having to accept a weak pawn at c6 (after White exchanges knights on that square), but the text move has its downside.

9. Nf5! exf5 10. Bxd5 Bc6 11. Nc3 O-O 12. Qb3 Qb6 13. Qc2 g6 14. Be3 Bc5?

14...Qc7 avoids immediate catastrophe, although White would retain pressure after 15. Qb3. In retrospect, 6...cxd4 contributed to Black's difficulties by bringing White's knight to the center.

15. Na4! Bxa4 16. Qxc5

Threatening to win the exchange by 17. Qxf8+ followed by 18. Bxb6.


16...Qxc5 17. Bxc5 threatens 18. Bxf8 or 18. Bxb7 (which White could play even after 17...Rc8).

17. Bh6 Nd7 18. Qd4 Nf6

19. Bxb7! 1-0