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Eid,Fadi (2390) – Berg,Emanuel (2623)

Eid,Fadi (2390) – Berg,Emanuel (2623) [B90]

Dresden ol (Men) 38th Dresden (3), 15.11.2008


The present article is the start of a series ones through which I will focus on the top Lebanese players’ games. In this one, I will present to you a game played by the highest rated player of Lebanon, International Master Fadi Eid. The game was played during the third round of Dresden Olympiad, where Fadi was facing on the first board the Brazilian Grand Master Emanual Berg.


1.e4 Fadi’s favorite move. 1…c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6


Fadi is always happy to face the Sicilian Defence, as it gives him the opportunity to show his attacking style, supported by his artistic touch.

 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3

This is probably the most aggressive continuation for White when facing the famous Najdorf variation.

 7…Be6 8.Qd2

usually White plays here 8.f3, in order to secure the bishop on e3 from the knight leap to g4. The move played can lead to the standard formation of the English Attack by transposition of moves, though Fadi has other thing in his mind.

8…Nbd7 9.0–0–0 Be7 10.f4

 This is Fadi’s idea.

 Instead of Fadi’s move, 10 f3 reaches the mentioned formation. By avoiding it, White gives the position its own characteristic touch. The main threat is: 11 f5, gaining space and forcing the bishop to be exchanged for the knight on b3, securing the bishop pair for him, with an extra bonus: the juicy d5 square. And this can happen in case Black ignored that threat by castling.


10…0–0 11.f5 Bxb3 12.axb3 Nc5 13.Bd3 Though our deep engine friend  evaluates the position as equal,  this is far away from playing it live on the board. ;

Another plan for Black is to play: 10…b5 in order to secure the c4 square for the bishop. But after : 11.f5 Bc4 12.g4! Nxg4 13.Rg1 White can obtain a dangerous initiative on the king side.

One more option for Black is to exchange on f4, securing the e5 square as an outpost for his knight. From e5, he can control a lot of light squares which can fully compensate for the weakness of the backward d6 pawn.

11.g3 Nxe3 12.Qxe3

So, now it is Black who possesses the advantage of the bishop pair. But in order to use this advantage, Black needs to open the game in order to free his bishops, especially the e7 one, and to take care about his king.



Black has started his minority attack against the white’s castled side. Still 12….o-o is a better move, securing his king.



 While Fadi puts his majesty on a more secure square, protecting a2 and liberating the c1 square, just in case a danger arises on the c1–h6 diagonal.


Berg is offering the exchange of queens, which justifies his strategy in keeping his king in the centre.



 Of course, Fadi declines the offer, and clears the way for the rook on d1. Another goal of this move is the deeper idea of putting a heavy piece facing the uncastled Black king, though the e-file is occupied for the moment by a lot of pieces.

 14…b4 15.Nd5

The outpost is occupied in a classical way: by a knight, denying the move (castling) for  Black, as the bishop in e7 is hanging. Alexyi Kosikov, in his excellent book: Elements of Chess Strategy, talks about not only (Possessing the advantage of the Bishop pair), but also about (Possessing the advantage of the Knight pair)!! As we see, Fadi is forcing his high rated opponent to concede his advantage, leaving his with the inferior dark squares bishop.

15…Bxd5 16.exd5 0–0


Finally, but already White has the advantage, 17.Bh3 More light squares please.



Wow! Now e6 square is very weak and can serve as an outpost for a minor piece. How to increase the advantage?  




Fadi puts his finger on the weak spots in the Black camp: the unprotected e7 bishop. This shows another idea of Fadi’s 14th move!!

 It was possible also to play: 18. Rf1, forcing 18..e4, securing the d4 square for the white knight,as an extra bonus.

18…g6 19.g4


With this move, Fadi is sending a message for his opponent: Pushing the pawns cover of the king is a bad strategy and should be punished.

19…fxg4 20.Bxg4 Rxf4 21.Be6+ Kg7 22.Ne2


One advantage is converted to another, of higher value. Still, the winning side must always watch for any counter-play that arises after such a transition.

22…Nc5 23.Nxf4 exf4 24.Rd4 Rf8 25.Rf1


 also 25 Rxb4 or Qd2 can do the job.

 25…Bg5 26.Rxb4 Qd8 27.Qe2!


More control of light squares, à la Nimzowitsch. I like very much this move.

 27…a5 28.Rb5 a4 29.a3 Qf6 30.Qf3


I will not repeat myself.  




 As you noticed, after 30…Nxe6 31 dxe6 the e6 pawn is taboo due to the unprotected bishop on g5.The rook on the b-file is working splendidly. 


31.Rb4 Qe3 32.h4! Qxf3 33.Rxf3 Bxh4 34.Rbxf4 Rxf4 35.Rxf4

The endgame is of course winning for White, but it needs some precise moves, as the possibility of passed pawns on both sides can provoke some blunders to appear on the board. Now Fadi shows to us how to play a technical winning endgame.

 35…Bf6 36.Ka2 g5 37.Rc4 h5 38.Bf5 Bd8 39.b4 axb3+ 40.cxb3 Kf6 41.Bh3 g4 42.Bf1 Nd7 43.Rc8 Ke7 44.Rc2 h4 45.b4 Nf6 46.Rc4 h3 47.a4 Kd7

 Exercise: White to play and win.

 48.Rxg4!! Nxg4 49.Bxh3 Bh4 50.Kb3 Be1 51.Bxg4+ Kc7 52.a5 Bd2 53.Ka4 Kb7 54.b5 Bc3 55.b6 Ka6 56.Bc8#


Yes, it is mat on the board!! Some readers were expecting to see a wild and attacking game, resulting from the classical theme of castling on opposite side in the Siclian defence.  Fadi demonstrated that it was also possible to win by just dominating some critical squares, as all those attacks remained hidden in the background variations.

I like this game very much, as it contains a lot of doses of positional and strategic ideas.

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