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Black’s Nimzovich Defense (1…Nc3) leads to a double-edged position with the kings castled on opposite wings, but White’s decision to trade on c6 then castle queenside leads to big problems. White has to give up a pawn for a piece on 15. Ng3 g5 16. Be5 (Be3 f5 is even scarier) f6 17. Ncxe4 0-0 18. h4 fxe5.

Ardaman could have cruised to an endgame victory, but gives the piece back for a more satisfying finale: 20, c4 Qf8! (Nb6 was good enough, but this is the more aesthetic option) 21. cxd5 cxd5 22. Nf6+ (see diagram; Black’s edge now would be minimal on 22…Bxf6? 23. exf6 Rxf6 24. f3) Rxf6! 23. exf6 Bxf6 (the fearsome array bearing down on White’s king can’t be stopped) 24. Qe3 (Rb1 Qxa3 is mate; Black also wins on 24. Ka2 Rxb2+ 25. Qxb2 Bxb2 26. Kxb2 Qxf2+) Rxb2 25. Nh5 Rd2+, and its mate in two after 26. Nf6+ Qxf6+ 27. Qc3 Qxc3 mate.

Ivanchuk-Kramnik, FIDE Candidates Tournament, London, April 2013

1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Be2 O-O 6. O-O a6 7. h3 Nc6 8. Bg5 b5 9. a3 h6 10. Be3 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qc1 Kh7 13. Bc5 Re8 14. Rd1 Bd7 15. b4 Qc8 16. Qe3 Nd8 17. a4 bxa4 18. Nxa4 Ne6 19. Bc4 Nh5 20. Nc3 Nhf4 21. Nd5 Bb5 22. Bb3 Bc6 23. Ra5 Qb7 24. g3 Nxh3+ 25. Kg2 Nhg5 26. Rh1 Kg8 27. Nxg5 Nxg5 28. f3 Bxd5 29. Bxd5 c6 30. Bc4 Qc8 31. Qb3 h5 32. Be3 Ne6 33. Rha1 h4 34. gxh4 Qd8 35. Rxa6 Rc8 36. Rh1 Rc7 37. Bxe6 Rxe6 38. b5 Rb7 39. b6 c5 40. Rb1 Bf8 41. Qd5 Qb8 42. Rba1 Rd6 43. Ra8 Rxd5 44. Rxb8 Rxb8 45. exd5 Bd6 46. Ra6 Rb7 47. Kf1 Black resigns.

Simpson-Ardaman, North Carolina Invitational, March 2013

1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. Bb5 dxe4 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bg5 Bg4 6. Qd2 a6 7. Bxc6+ bxc6 8. h3 Bf5 9. O-O-O Nd5 10. Nge2 h6 11. Bf4 e6 12. a3 Be7 13. Kb1 Rb8 14. Ka1 Bh7 15. Ng3 g5 16. Be5 f6 17. Ncxe4 O-O 18. h4 fxe5 19. dxe5 Rf4 20. c4 Qf8 21. cxd5 cxd5 22. Nf6+ Rxf6 23. exf6 Bxf6 24. Qe3 Rxb2 25. Nh5 Rd2+ White resigns.

• David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by email at dsands@washingtontimes.com.