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I decided to do this update in memory of Maxim Sorokin. I knew Max almost all my life, since I was 10. We both studied at the chess school of GM Alexander Panchenko, became professional players and coaches, often played for the same team, played in the same tournaments, and shared the same room, and for a few years we were training together in India. The last time we worked together was in January 2007 at the Spassky Chess School session in my home town Satka, in the Cheliabinsk region and we were sure that there would be many more times...
Maxim was a very generous person, who was ready to help at any moment. We often prepared together, played the same openings, and always shared our ideas.
So here I would like to introduce some games in which Max demonstrated his excellent technique, opening erudition, deep chess understanding... We will always remember Maxim!

Download PGN of July '07 1 d4 d5 games

Baltic Defence [D06]

Sorokin - Shirov: This game started in a rather unusual way. Both players were very creative in the opening:

but the complications eventually led to an endgame in which White had some initiative but nothing more.

Queen's Gambit Accepted [D20-29]

Eljanov - Sorokin: In a rare line of the QGA White's position looked promising but Black solved the problems in a tricky way.

Sorokin - Sulskis: The line Black chose against the QGA here does not equalise and White maintained the advantage. Black's knight was locked on the edge of the board:

although he found some tricky tactics to gain counterplay, nevertheless, one inaccurate move led to problems. In this game I used many of Maxim's own comments, which he gave in January 2007 when showing this game to the students of Boris Spassky's chess school in my home town of Satka.

Dziuba - Sorokin: Here Maxim introduced an interesting idea to stop White's Q-side activity in a typical QGA endgame, solved all his problems and then outplayed his opponent.

The Slow Slav [D30]

Epishin - Sorokin: A transposition from a Slav Defence to some kind of Catalan may promise an advantage for White. Black has some options but the approach which Maxim Sorokin used to play is one of the most promising. A quick development of his Q-side pieces helps Black to stop the typical e2-e4 advance just in time and achieve good play.

Marshall Gambit [D31]

Crouch - Sorokin: theory of the Slav Gambit was not well-developed in the pre-computer era and White sometimes refused to sacrifice a pawn:

However, it couldn't promise any real advantage. In this game Black comfortably equalised and then convincingly outplayed his opponent in the endgame.

Maksimenko - Sorokin: This game was played in one of the crucial matches between Russia and the Ukraine in the Soviet Union junior team Championship. Maxim surprised his opponent with a rare continuation in a deep line of the Slav Gambit and scored a very important win with the black pieces.

Noteboom Variation [D31]

Khomyakov - Sorokin: Maxim Sorokin's efforts increased the popularity of the Noteboom variation. Here a tempting white move turned out to be a serious mistake, which is well-known nowadays, but to prove it Black had to sacrifice one of his K-side pawns with check, gaining huge positional pluses on the other side of the board.

Catalan Variation [E01-09]

Sorokin - Landa: With the white pieces Maxim often played slow, unambitious openings but his opponents never felt comfortable. He could skilfully maintain a small advantage but when given a chance he could finish the game with direct attack, as his opponent discovered in this game.

Sorokin - Yashtylov: One more example of Sorokin's successful play in the Catalan. One inaccuracy from the opponent was sufficient for White to create a very dangerous attack by a rather unexpected piece sacrifice...



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