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Kassis,Antoine (2219) – Hussein,HA (2366)

Kassis,Antoine (2219) – Hussein,HA (2366)

Our hero today is Antoine Kassis. In preparation for this article, I was hesitated if I should presented one of the couple of draws that Kassis made against the strong Grand Masters Korneev and Nikolov during the recent Istanboul Olympiad. Then I decided to present to our readers his win in his game with the Iraqi International Master Hussein Hussein, which was played during the Arab Inter-Club championship in Amman 2008. In the end, a win is a win!  


1.e4 e6

2.d4 d5

3.Nc3 dxe4

4.Nxe4 Nd7

5.Nf3 Be7 6.g3

A rare move. Most common is 6. Bd3 or 6. Bc4. Kassis knows how to put his opponent out of his (book).


7.Nxf6+ Bxf6

8.Bg2 0–0

9.0–0 c5


 A thematic advance, typical in the French Defense. The pawn is putting some pressure on the d4 pawn, and clearing the a5-d8 diagonal for the black queen. Still, the c8-bishop remains undeveloped, keeping the rook on a8 in a passive status, feeling the heat of the laser the g2-bishop is emitting.  


10.c3 cxd4

11.Nxd4 Nc5

12.Be3 Qe7


[12...Bxd4?! 13.Bxd4 Qc7 14.Qh5 Nd7 15.Rfe1 shows that Black's position remains difficult, as his development problems remain, and White is enjoying the 2 bishops , smoother activities with potential for a kingside attack.  Black wishes that the e6 pawn can be thrown away (earlier) from the board, as it blocks the way of his c8-bishop, and can't profit from the d5 square in order to release some pressure.]

13.b4 Na6



Do you feel the pressure? I think the Black is starting hating his position.


15.Rad1 Nc7



 A plausible move from Kassis. I think he was enjoying his position to a certain  extend that he doesn’t want to change anything. It was better to play 16. Nb3, offering the exchange of the d8-rook, then take contol of that unique open file with a perfect domination.  



16. …a5 was more energetic; at least it could give the a8-rook some air, plus a bonus: pressure on the b-pawn.


17.c4 Nxe3

18.Qxe3 a5?!


 Black missed the opportunity to play 18…Qd7! After 19.Nb5, he could exchange his queen for the 2 white rooks, and nearly all his problems were solved. Psychologically, it is very difficult to block by your own hand the exit of the c8-bishop.

 19.c5 axb4


 [Now, on  19...Qd7 Tony will play 20.c6! with a clear advantage.]


20.axb4 e5



A strong outpost on d6 was created for the knight, engraving the domination of the white pieces on the light squares.



22.Rxd1 Bg4


Freedom !! but …

23.Re1 Qd7

24.Nd6 Ra4



 [25.Bxb7 Rxb4 26.Bc8!! I like this esthetic move very much. 26...Qc6 27.Bxg4 Rxg4 28.Rb1 h6 29.Rb8+ Kh7 30.Qd3+ e4 31.Qe2 Rg5 32.Rc8 or immediately 32. Qxe4 was quicker to collect the point. ]



26.c6 Qc7

27.Qa3 Be7

28.Qa8+ Bf8

29.Qe8 Rb5



 Give me back my d-file please.


31.Rd1 Rb1

32.Rxb1 Bxb1

33.Bd5 Bg6



The final position deserves a diagram. After a mass of exchanges on f7, a new white queen will appear on c8.A nice positional game by Kassis.


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