356. A Petronic Jewel

After 18…h7-h6?

After a decade of chess work in Singapore, the Serbian FIDE Senior Trainer &. International Master Jovan Petronic returns to Europe. A first-rate connoisseur of all things chess, IM Petronic’s professionalism was well-known in Singapore. To celebrate his work at the Equator, the legion of trainees he interacted with in various capacities can bear meaningful testimonies. In the space of this column, here’s some exquisite chess by the master himself: a 1996 jewel against Robert Ruck, who four years later became a Grandmaster. White’s magnificently fluid rook play makes chess look simple.

Jovan Petronic – Robert Ruck [C41]
1st Paks Atom Cup, 1996

1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.d4 Nbd7 4.Nf3 e5 5.Bc4 Be7 6.h3 0–0 7.Be3 c6 8.a4 b6 9.0–0 a6 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Qe2 Bb7 12.Rad1 Qc7 13.Nh4 b5 14.Nf5! Bb4 15.Ba2 Bxc3 16.bxc3 c5 17.Bd5 c4 18.Bg5 h6? [see diagram] 19.Bxh6!! gxh6 20.Qe3 Ne8 21.Qxh6 Ndf6 22.Rfe1! A wonderful rook lift. 22…Nh7 If 22…Nxd5 then 23.exd5 f6 24.Rd4!! Rf7 25.d6 Qd7 26.Rg4+ Rg7 27.Rxg7+ Nxg7 28.Ne7+ Kf7 29.Qg6+ and it’s all over. 23.Re3 Kh8 24.Rg3 Rg8 After 24…Qd7 White wins with 25.Rg4! f6 26.Nh4. 25.Rxg8+ Kxg8 26.Qg6+ Kh8 27.Bxf7 Nhf6 28.Rd6! Qd8 29.Rxf6! 1–0