Humans Too

The last tournament from the Grand Prix series is in progress in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13) Fabiano Caruana is leading before the free day with 3/4, but it could have been different if Evgeny Tomashevsky had won his game in round two. This game proved that the top GM are also human beings, tending to make mistakes.

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix - Khanty-Mansiysk"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.05.15"]
[Round "2.5"]
[White "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"]
[Black "Grischuk, Alexander"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2749"]
[BlackElo "2780"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "147"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:03:00"]
[BlackClock "0:11:03"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 {The Bagirov's is
Tomashevsky's beloved weapon against the KID.} e5 7. d5 Nh5 8. g3 {Diagram [#]
Tomashevsky's pet move. He is the guiding force behind the whole line and the
creator of the theory here.} (8. Nh2 {is considered to be the main line.}) 8...
Qe7 {Quite an unusual move by Grischuk that forced his opponent into some
thought. However, I doubt that it will attract any followers.} ({If you have
missed the last issue of the Master bulletin, then you missed a lot! GM
Abhijeet Gupta annotated extensively the topical theory after} 8... f5 9. exf5
gxf5 10. Nh4 Nf4 (10... Nf6 {is the other option.}) 11. Bd2 Qe7 12. Qc2 Na6 13.
a3 Bd7 14. O-O-O {Tomashevsky,E (2716)-Kasimdzhanov,R (2705) Tbilisi GEO 2015})
({The other main move is also covered there} 8... a5 9. Be2 Na6 10. Nh2 Nf6 11.
Ng4 {Ipatov,A (2592)-Bacrot,E (2711) Jerusalem ISR 2015}) 9. Nh2 Na6 $146 {
This is a novelty.} ({The only predecessor saw the illogical} 9... Nf6 10. Bg5
h6 11. Be3 Kh7 $16 {Stromer,A (2272)-Bremond,E (2300) Etang Sale 2001}) 10. Be3
{Tomashevsky proceeds with development.} (10. Be2 Nf6 {looks less convincing.})
10... Nc5 11. h4 $1 {[%csl Yf7][%cal Gg3g4,Gh4h5] Diagram [#] White's idea is
to gain space on the kingside and to basically kill any counterplay there. A
very mean strategy!} (11. Be2 {leads White nowhere after} Nf6 12. f3 Nh5 $1)
11... a5 12. Be2 Nf6 13. Qc2 c6 14. g4 {This is the position that White is
heading for. He is now better on both flanks. In comparison to some lines of
the Averbakh sistem Black did not have time to push the b pawn, or at least
bring his queen on a5.} Na6 ({If} 14... cxd5 {White can simply recapture} 15.
cxd5 ({but there is an even more decent option} 15. Bxc5 $1 dxc5 16. g5 Ne8 17.
Nxd5 {followed by Be2-g4 and total domination.})) (14... Bd7 15. g5 Ne8 16. h5
{is also great for White.}) 15. g5 Ne8 (15... Nd7 16. h5 $16) 16. h5 Nb4 17.
Qd2 cxd5 18. cxd5 Bd7 19. O-O-O {[%csl Yd7][%cal Gc1b1,Yd1c1,Yc1c2,Yh1c1,Ya2a3,
Re2b5] Diagram [#] White finished his development and intends to strengthen
the position with Kc1-b1, doubling of the rooks along the c file and of
course- trade of the light squared bishop via b5 whenever possible.} f5 {
Grischuk tries to counter attack.} 20. Kb1 b5 (20... f4 21. Bb6 {would leave
Black completely paralized.}) 21. hxg6 {White completely ignores the
opponent's provocations on the other wing.} ({Instead} 21. Bxb5 $2 Bxb5 22.
Nxb5 f4 23. Bb6 Qb7 {would drop a piece for White.}) ({And} 21. Nxb5 $6 Rb8 22.
Nc3 f4 {would work well for Black as well.}) 21... hxg6 22. f3 Nc7 23. Rc1 {
The kingside is stable, it is time to take care of his "own" one.} Nba6 24. Bd3
b4 25. Ne2 Nb5 {Grischuk need one more more to play Rf8-c8 and things would
not be that clear but...} 26. Rc6 $1 {[%csl Gc6][%cal Rb3g8,Rh1h8] Diagram [#]
Splendid!} Rfb8 ({The rook is not delicious} 26... Bxc6 27. dxc6 Nbc7 28. Bc4+
Ne6 {would lead to a completely helpless position for Black, e.g.} 29. Rd1 {
(not the only winnning move)} Kh8 (29... Rfd8 30. Bb6) 30. Qxd6 Qxd6 31. Rxd6 {
and White wins.}) 27. Rhc1 f4 (27... Bxc6 28. dxc6 d5 29. exf5 {is again bad
for Black.}) 28. Bf2 Bf8 (28... Qxg5 29. Bxb5 Rxb5 30. Rxd6 $18) 29. Ng4 {The
game is practically over. However, at the stage appears his Majesty, the
Time-Trouble.} Qxg5 30. Rh1 Qe7 ({Please note that the rook always invincible
due to the weakness of the light squares} 30... Bxc6 31. dxc6 Be7 32. Bc4+ Kg7
33. Qd5 {and in order to save the checkmate Black will have to give up the
knight on b5.}) 31. Bxb5 Rxb5 {Diagram [#]} 32. Nxf4 $1 {So far so good,
Tomashevsky acurately calculated the win.} Bxg4 ({The choice is decisive
attack for White after} 32... exf4 33. Bd4 Bg7 34. Nh6+ Kf8 (34... Bxh6 35.
Rxh6) 35. Qxf4+ Ke8 36. Bxg7 Qxg7 37. Qxd6 $18) 33. Nxg6 Qf6 34. Nxf8 Rxf8 35.
Rg1 {With seconds on the clock White plays it safe.} ({A more spectacular win
would have been} 35. Rxd6 Qxd6 36. Qg5+ Kf7 37. Rh7+ Ke8 38. Qxg4 Rb8 39. Qh5+
Kd8 40. Bh4+ Kc8 41. Qg4+) 35... Qxf3 36. Qg5+ Kf7 37. Rxg4 Ke8 (37... Qxf2 38.
Qg7+ Ke8 39. Rc8#) 38. Qg6+ Qf7 {Two more moves and the time trouble will be
over. Almost everything wins for White. Tomashevsky fevereshly calculates the
capture on d6 but at the last moment looks at the clock and realizes that
there are only four seconds left. He grabs the first available piece instead...
} 39. Qxf7+ {Which also wins.} (39. Qxd6 {is forced mate instead} Rb8 (39...
Qxf2 40. Rc8+ Kf7 41. Rxf8#) 40. Qxe5+) 39... Rxf7 {Diagram [#]} 40. Be3 $4 {
If the previous move had thrown away the mate, this one throws away the win!} (
{One more check would have done the job} 40. Rg8+ Kd7 41. Rxa6 {as the knight
is invincible} Rxf2 42. Ra7+ Rb7 43. Rxb7#) 40... Nc5 $2 {And Grischuk returns
the favour! Needless to say, he was also in time trouble.} (40... Rf1+ $1 {
would be a draw instead} 41. Rc1 {Best or else Black might get better.} (41.
Bc1 $2 Rc5 {is very good for Black.}) (41. Kc2 {fails to} b3+ 42. axb3 $2 Nb4+)
41... Rxc1+ 42. Bxc1 b3 $11) 41. Rg8+ {The time trouble is over, both players
have time to take breath and reasses the situation. Tomashevsky is still
winning, but miracles are not yet over...} Kd7 42. Ra8 Rb7 43. Bxc5 (43. Bg5 $1
{would have been better! The only way to stop the checkmate is} Rf1+ 44. Kc2
Rf2+ 45. Kd1 Ne6 {when White wins a piece and the game after} 46. dxe6+ Kxc6
47. e7 Rxe7 48. Bxe7 Rxb2 49. Rxa5 b3 50. a3 $1) 43... dxc5 44. Rxc5 {Diagram
[#] The wrong pawn!} (44. Rxa5 $1 {was still good enough for the full point as}
Rf4 45. Rh6 $1 {leaves Black no time to capture the pawn} Rxe4 46. Rh7+ Kc8 47.
Ra8+ Rb8 48. Rh8+) 44... Rf1+ 45. Rc1 Rxc1+ 46. Kxc1 b3 $1 {Grischuk creates
counterplay! We all know that "the rooks endgame are always draw".} 47. a3 Rc7+
48. Kd2 Rc2+ 49. Kd3 Rxb2 50. Rxa5 Rh2 51. Rb5 Rh3+ 52. Kd2 Kd6 $1 {Black
activated all his pieces and managed to hold the draw later.} 53. a4 Rh2+ 54.
Kc3 Rh3+ 55. Kd2 (55. Kb2 Re3 56. Rb4 Kc5 $11) 55... Rh2+ 56. Kc3 Rh3+ 57. Kc4
Re3 58. Rb6+ Kc7 59. Rxb3 Rxe4+ 60. Kc5 Rxa4 61. d6+ Kd7 62. Rb7+ Ke6 63. Re7+
Kf5 64. d7 {Diagram [#]} Rd4 65. Kc6 e4 66. Re8 Kf4 67. d8=Q Rxd8 68. Rxd8 e3
69. Kd5 e2 70. Re8 Kf3 71. Kd4 Kf2 72. Kd3 e1=Q 73. Rxe1 Kxe1 74. Kd4 {A
delightful conclusion- the top Grandmasters are human beings too!} 1/2-1/2



"Retired Old Man"

"The Battle of the Legends" took part in St. Louis at the end of April. Garry Kaparov and Nigel Short met again 22 years after their WWC match. The match consisted of ten games- two rapid and eight blitz. The first day was good for Kasparov who proved that he is still capable of producing great games. He won 3.5-1.5 that day but was not satisfied with the result as he missed a clear win in the first rapid game and lost on time in one of the blitz games. It seems as he wanted to prove who is the boss in the second day and it started with the following encounter:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Battle of the Legends: Kasparov vs. Sho"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.26"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Short, Nigel D"]
[Black "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2678"]
[BlackElo "2812"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "105"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:18"]
[BlackClock "0:00:20"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 {The Najdorf served Garry
Kimovich well all those glory years!} 6. g3 {Diagram [#] Short on his turn
opts for a quiet, maneuvering game.} e5 7. Nb3 Nbd7 8. a4 b6 9. Bg2 Bb7 10. O-O
Be7 11. Re1 {Overprotects the e4 square and prepares the maneuver of the
knight from b3 to...d5. This knight is often the main problem for White in the
positional set-ups and if it was closer to the d5 square the the Najdorf would
not be an appealing opening at all. But while it moves around Black now can
finish the development and create threats of his own.} ({White can start with
the trademark knight maneuver at once} 11. Nd2 Nc5 12. b4 Ne6 13. Nd5 Rc8 14.
c4 O-O 15. a5 b5 16. cxb5 axb5 $14 {Popov,I (2582)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2718)
Puerto Madryn 2009}) 11... Rc8 12. Nd2 h5 $146 {Diagram [#] Kasparov would not
be himself if he is not thoroughly prepared. Even for a friendly blitz match!
Here comes an important novelty which will be definitely explored in the next
tournaments to come.} ({Most of the predecessors saw the regroupment} 12... Rc5
13. Nf1 Qa8 {which is aimed against the natural Nf1-e3-d5 maneuver. White can
nevertheless go for it} 14. Ne3 Nxe4 15. Nxe4 Bxe4 16. f3 (16. Bxe4 {deserves
attention as well} Qxe4 17. b3 {with the idea Bc1-a3}) 16... Bg6 17. b4 Rc8 18.
c4 {with compensation for a pawn, Sedlak,N (2576)-Brkic,A (2560) Zadar 2009}) (
12... O-O) 13. Nf1 {Short reacts in a cool way and pretends as if nothing had
happened.} h4 14. Ne3 g6 {Kasparov developed his troops perfectly and is now
waiting for his opponent's move.} ({The typical exchange sacrifice is already
in the air} 14... Rxc3 15. bxc3 Nxe4 {but it is hardly good at the moment due
to} 16. Nd5 $1 ({Better than} 16. Nf5 {which allows the crazy complications
after} Nxf2 $5 17. Kxf2 hxg3+ 18. hxg3 Bxg2 {with the idea} 19. Kxg2 $2 Qa8+
20. Qf3 Rh2+ {and wins.})) 15. Re2 {[%cal Ye2c2,Gc3d5] Diagram [#] White
defends the pawn on c2 and is ready to jump finally at d5 with his knight.} ({
The immediate} 15. Ned5 {is possible though as long as White is willing to
part with a pawn after} Nxd5 16. Nxd5 Bxd5 17. Qxd5 $5 ({The pawn capture on
d5 is excellent for the second player. The hole on d5 disappears and the black
kingside pawns become mobile} 17. exd5 hxg3 18. hxg3 f5 {and this is at least
more pleasant for Black.}) 17... Rxc2 18. b4 {with compensation for the pawn
thanks to the light-square domination.}) ({Maybe White's best choice is the
semi-waiting} 15. Qe2 $5 {regrouping afterwards with Re1-d1 and Ne(c)3-d5. The
Black can use the situation of the queen with} Nc5 $5 {followed by Nc5-e6-d4
with a tempo with complexed game.} (15... Rc5 $5) (15... Kf8 $5)) 15... hxg3
16. hxg3 {Kasparov sank in some thought here although I had no doubts what is
he going to play next.} Rxc3 $1 {Diagram [#] This is the case in which Black
used his hand rather than brain when performing the sac. Kasparov has done it
so many times in the past, and he even have accused once Movsesian of "lack of
chess culture" for allowing the sacrifice. True, the situation there was
different as White had castled long.} 17. bxc3 Nxe4 {For the exchange Black
has a pawn and strong center, but his next moves are not optimal.} 18. Bb2 Ndf6
(18... f5 $1 {to get firm grip in the center was preferrable.}) 19. c4 Qc8 {
Also not optimal. Both} (19... Qa8) (19... Kf8 {are more reasonable.}) 20. Nd5
$1 Nxd5 21. cxd5 {Now Short got rid of one of the strong knights, undoubled
his pawns and strengthened his center. He can breeth freelier and his position
is easier to play. Although it still remains very tense.} Ng5 {Kasparov wants
to keep his attacking knight.} (21... Nc3 {instead is leading to slight
advantage for White without counterplay for his opponent after} 22. Bxc3 Qxc3
23. Rb1) 22. c4 {A solid move. Other options were} (22. Ra3 $5) (22. Qd3 $5) ({
But not the overaggressive} 22. f4 $2 Qc5+ 23. Kf1 Nh3 24. Bxh3 Rxh3 25. Kg2
Rh5 {and Black wins.}) 22... a5 {As always Kasparov pays attention at the
whole board. He rules out the a4-a5 possibility and improves his bishop.} 23.
Rc1 (23. Qb3 Ba6 24. Rc1 {would transpose to the game.}) 23... Ba6 24. Qb3 Qg4
25. Rcc2 {Diagram [#] Somewhere around here the players went under the five
minute mark and started the blitz. This naturally affected their play.} (25.
Re3 $5 {might be more precise to defend the third rank.}) 25... Bc8 26. f4 $1 {
Short shows teeth as well!} Nh3+ $6 {A natural check which puts the knight on
the rim and Kasparov on the verge of defeat.} ({It would be very difficlut to
choose the piece sacrifice even with hours on the clock} 26... Bf5 $1 27. fxg5
Bxc2 28. Qxc2 ({Or} 28. Rxc2 Qd1+ 29. Kf2 Bxg5 {with possible perpetual check
somewhere along the lines.}) 28... Qxg3 29. Qc3 Qh2+ 30. Kf1 Bxg5 {Black has
three pawns for the piece and the position is anything but clear.}) 27. Kf1 f6
28. Qf3 Qf5 ({The endgame with a knight on h3 is not Black's dream} 28... g5
29. fxe5 fxe5 30. Qxg4 Bxg4 31. Red2) ({Or} 28... Qxf3+ 29. Bxf3 {with clear
advantage for White in both cases.}) 29. Re4 {Solid move in time trouble.} ({
However, if Short had found} 29. Ba3 $1 {things might have not ended that well
for Kasparov. The threat Rc2-b2 is hard to parry and as the bishop on e7 needs
to protect d6 as well Black would be in trouble.}) 29... Kf7 (29... g5 $5) 30.
Rce2 Qg4 31. fxe5 (31. Ba3 $1 {was still strong.}) 31... Qxf3+ 32. Bxf3 dxe5 {
[%csl Yh3] Diagram [#] Short had reached the endgame that he was hoping for
but his next move spoiled all his previous efforts.} (32... fxe5 33. Bg4 {is
better for White.}) 33. Rh4 $2 {Allows the knight to escape and ruins the pawn
structure. Such moves are made by top players only under tremendous
time-pressure.} (33. Rh2 {instead was much better for White.}) 33... Rxh4 34.
gxh4 Nf4 {Now Black is clearly better thanks to his better pawn structure and
above all the lack of open files for the white rook. His position is easier to
play too, which means a lot in blitz.} 35. Rd2 Bc5 36. d6 {Loses but one can
hardly criticize White for this move.} (36. Rh2 Bh3+ 37. Ke1 Bb4+ 38. Kf2 $17)
36... Bh3+ 37. Ke1 Bb4 38. Kd1 {[%csl Ya4,Rd2] Diagram [#] And instead of
taking the rook Kasparov did} Bd7 $1 {without any hesitation.} ({He understood
that there might be technical issues after} 38... Bxd2 39. Kxd2 Bd7 40. Bd1 Ng2
41. Ba3 Nxh4 42. c5) 39. Rh2 Bxa4+ 40. Kc1 Bxd6 {Black is winning.} 41. Kb1 f5
42. Bc1 e4 $2 {A click that could have costed Kasparov the ful point. Now
Short gets his last chance to survive.} ({Both} 42... Nd3) ({and} 42... Bb3 {
would have won instead.}) 43. Bh1 $2 ({The chance was} 43. Bxe4 $1 {Diagram [#]
} fxe4 44. Bxf4 Bxf4 45. Rf2 Ke6 46. Rxf4 Ke5 47. Rg4 Be8 48. Kc2 {with a draw.
}) 43... Nd3 {Now it is all over.} 44. Re2 Bd1 45. Rd2 Bb3 46. Rxd3 exd3 47.
Bd5+ Kf6 48. Kb2 a4 49. Kc3 b5 50. Kxd3 Bxc4+ 51. Bxc4 bxc4+ 52. Kxc4 f4 53.
Kd4 {Diagram [#] After this game enthusiastic Kasparov won all the reaming
four blitz games to win the match with the incredible 8.5-1.5 result. Not too
bad for a retired chessplayer...} 0-1

Short complained after the event of the jet lag. Report.


Rewind and Repeat

The good things in life and in chess do not only happen once. Check the game by Viswanathan Anand against Shakh Mamedyarov from round eight of the Gashimov memorial in Shamkir.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.25"]
[Round "8.4"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2791"]
[BlackElo "2754"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:43:44"]
[BlackClock "0:50:22"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 {Mamedyarov has been very successful in his lat six game
in the Petrov- 5.5/6! Who dares claiming that the opening can be borning after
that?} 3. Nc3 {Surprise! Anand has played the Four Knights back in 1992-96 via
a different move order though...} Nc6 4. Bb5 Bb4 ({Ruinstein's recipe is
sharper and more forceful. Ivanchuk has used it twice against the Indian} 4...
Nd4 5. Ba4 Bc5 6. Nxe5 O-O 7. Nd3 Bb6 8. e5 Ne8 9. Nd5 d6 {with compensation
for a pawn, Anand,V (2715)-Ivanchuk,V (2700) Monte Carlo 1995}) 5. O-O O-O 6.
d3 d6 7. Ne2 Ne7 8. c3 Ba5 9. Ng3 Ng6 {Diagram [#] Funnily enough, the
position now is similar to some lines of the Ruy Lopez. Yep, the Berlin ones.}
10. d4 Bb6 11. Re1 c6 12. Bd3 Re8 13. h3 h6 14. Be3 Be6 {Both sides developed
their pieces harmoniously and naturally.} 15. Qc2 ({Also possible is the
development of the queen on the c1-h6 diagonal.} 15. Qd2 Qc7 16. Nf5 Bxf5 17.
exf5 Nf8 {And now the typical Italian sacrifice with} 18. Bxh6 $2 {does not
work because of the cool} N8h7 $1 ({not because of} 18... gxh6 19. Qxh6 Qe7 20.
dxe5 dxe5 21. Nxe5 {and White should be winning}) 19. g4 e4 20. g5 Nh5 21. Bxe4
gxh6 {with advantage for Black, Adhiban,B (2481)-L'Ami,E (2593) Dieren 2009})
15... Qc7 16. a3 $146 {[%cal Gb2b4] Diagram [#] A novelty. White wants to
expans on the queenside.} ({A predecessor saw} 16. c4 exd4 17. Nxd4 Ne5 18. Be2
Ng6 19. Rad1 $14 {1-0 (43) Nguyen,A (2496)-Markus,R (2436) Budapest 2000})
16... a5 17. c4 a4 {It is not quite clear why the inserted moves a2-a3 and
a5-a4 should favour White. More likely they should favour Mamedyarov.} 18. Red1
{Anand moves the rook away from a possible tempo on a5.} ({However, the line
after} 18. Rad1 exd4 19. Bxd4 Ba5 $6 {leads to favourable complications for
White after} 20. Bxf6 $1 Bxe1 21. Nh5) 18... exd4 {Because of the annoying
threat of c4-c5 Black should do this sooner or later. Now the pawn structure
modifies to one which is similar to some lines of the Bogoljubov defense.} 19.
Bxd4 ({Black is OK after} 19. Nxd4 Bd7 20. Ndf5 Bxe3 21. Nxe3 Nf4 $11) 19...
Ne5 20. Be2 {Diagram [#] Mamedyarov more or less solved the opening problems.
If Anand has any advantage it is symbolic.} Bc5 ({Instead, one good away to
exploit the hole on b3 was} 20... Bxd4 $5 21. Nxd4 Ned7 {followed by Nd7-c5-b3
with equality.} ({But not} 21... Nfd7 $2 22. f4)) 21. Rd2 Nfd7 22. Rad1 Red8 $6
{Up to now Mamedyarov defended flawlessly, but this move is a mistake. In a
cramped position it is always good to trade some pieces.} (22... Nxf3+ {was
mandatory when Black is still good after} 23. Bxf3 Red8 ({Not} 23... Rad8 24.
Qxa4 Nb6 25. Qa5 $1 $16)) 23. Nh4 $1 {[%csl Ye5,Ye6,Rf5][%cal Gh4f5,Gg3f5,
Rf2f4,Rf4f5] Diagram [#] Now f2-f4-f5 is a constant threat and the knights are
eager to get closer to the enmy king with Nh4(g3)-f5.} Bxd4 24. Rxd4 c5 $5 {
The only chance of a counter play.} ({Or else Black loses a pawn after} 24...
Nc5 25. Nhf5 Bxf5 26. Nxf5) 25. Rxd6 Nc6 {The d4 square is usually good
compensation in these positions, but..} 26. Nhf5 $1 {Powerplay!} Nd4 27. Qd2 ({
Worse is} 27. R6xd4 cxd4 28. Nxd4 Nc5 $11) ({Or} 27. Nxd4 Qxd6 {and White does
not have any (good) discovered attack.}) 27... Ne5 {This was the position that
Mamedyarov was heading to. The black knight seem perfect on their outposts,
the active rook on d6 will be traded and the compensation is obvious. However,
Anand had foreseen something in advance...} ({Since otherwise Black is down a
pawn for nothing} 27... Nf6 28. Rxd8+ Rxd8 29. Nxd4 cxd4 (29... Rxd4 30. Qc2
$16) 30. Qb4) 28. Rd5 $1 {[%csl Gd5] Diagram [#] Deja vu! Like yesterday, the
former world champion sacrifices the exchange for a pawn and attack and wins!}
({Instead} 28. Rxd8+ $6 Rxd8 29. Nxd4 $6 cxd4 {would be dream come true for
Mamedyarov.}) 28... Bxd5 29. cxd5 Qb6 ({The trade of a knight pair multiplies
the attacking potential of the first player.} 29... Nxf5 30. Nxf5 Qa5 31. Qe3
Qb6 32. f4 Nd7 33. Qc3 {and Black should not survive.}) 30. f4 $1 {[%cal Ge4e5,
Gd5d6] Diagram [#] Anand has a clear plan. Advance the pawns in the center as
much as possible, disconnect the flanks, checkmate.} ({The endgame is also
great for White} 30. Nxd4 cxd4 31. Qxd4 Qxd4 32. Rxd4 {but why to get here
when there is mate instead?}) 30... Ng6 ({Or} 30... Nxe2+ 31. Qxe2 c4+ 32. Kh2
Nd3 33. Qg4 {which wins a second pawn for White.}) 31. Bc4 {Anotehr deja vu!
The Indian GM used the same diagonal to grind down Michael Adams yesterday..}
Qa5 32. Qf2 b5 {Black tries his inly chance to distract the opponent.} ({
Nothing can stop the pawns} 32... Nxf5 33. Nxf5 Re8 34. e5) 33. Nxd4 ({Also
good is} 33. Ba2 Nb3 34. Nh5) 33... cxd4 34. Ba2 b4 35. Nf5 bxa3 {Alas, after}
(35... b3 36. Bb1 {the bishop will work again on the other diagonal.}) 36. bxa3
Qc3 37. e5 {Perhaps the only slip in Anand's phenomenal play.} (37. d6 {was
more subtle, with transposition into the game after} Rab8 (37... Qxa3 $2 38.
Qxd4) 38. Rd2) 37... Rab8 ({Another transposition is} 37... Qxa3 38. d6 Rab8
39. Rd2) 38. Rd2 Qxa3 ({The computer suggests} 38... d3 {as a good defense,
but it is hard to believe that White is not mating after} 39. d6 Qxa3 {Diagram
[#]} 40. Bxf7+ $1 Kxf7 41. Qa7+ Ke6 42. Ne3 {For example} Rb1+ (42... Rd7 $2
43. Qxb8) 43. Kh2 Qb4 (43... Rd7 44. f5+ Kxe5 45. Qxd7 {and wins.}) 44. Rf2 $1
Qb7 45. Qd4 {and the analyzes can go for another twenty moves but I will leave
that to you. My feeling says that the attack should be sufficient.} ({Even
better than} 45. f5+ Kd7 46. Qxa4+ Qc6 47. Qa2 Qc5 (47... Rb7 48. Qe6#) 48. e6+
Kxd6 49. Qxb1 Qxe3 50. Rf3 Qe5+ 51. Kh1 {which Black some chances of survival
thanks to his passed pawn.} Kc6 52. fxg6 d2 53. Qc2+ Qc5 54. Qa4+ Qb5 55. Rc3+
Kb6 56. Qd1 {White is better, but not necessarily winning.})) 39. Nxd4 {Now
everything is under control.} Qc1+ 40. Kh2 Rbc8 41. d6 a3 42. Nf5 Rf8 43. d7 {
Diagram [#] One more jewel in Anand's rich collection of masterpieces!
Mamedyarov had had enough of it. After} (43. d7 Rcd8 44. Qd4 {the only way to
stop the checkmate (e5-e6) is to sacrifice a whole rook with} Qf1 45. e6 Qxf4+
46. Qxf4 Nxf4 47. e7) 1-0

The last round of the tournament on the next day was rather peaceful with only one game being decisive. The world champion Magnus Carlsen exploited a blunder by the birthday boy Rauf Mamedov to finish the tournament clear first a full point ahead of Vishy Anand.


The Exchange Sacrifice

Shamkir continues to please the chess lovers all over the world. Round seven saw an interesting battle between Vishy Anand and Mickey Adams. The Indian GM sacrificed the exchange and...
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.24"]
[Round "7.2"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2791"]
[BlackElo "2746"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "101"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:24:04"]
[BlackClock "0:30:18"]

1. c4 {These days the top players try to mainly surprise their opponents in
the opening and to avoid the heavy home preparation. To get some psychological
advantage too. This aproach is quite unpleasant against a player who is not
doing well in the opening. And Anand chooses the English opening which he
plays very rarely.} e5 2. g3 c6 {Adams also replies with a surprise in return.
He had used the reversed Alapin in 2008 and for Anand this is already new.} 3.
Nf3 ({That only game of the Englishman went} 3. d4 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Bxd2+ 5. Qxd2 d6
6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Bg2 O-O 8. e3 Nbd7 $11 {Miezis,N (2540)-Adams,M (2735) Liverpool
2008}) 3... e4 4. Nd4 d5 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6. Nc2 Nf6 7. Nc3 Qh5 8. Ne3 {[%csl Ye4]
[%cal Gf1g2,Gg2e4,Gc3e4,Gd1c2,Gc2e4] Diagram [#] This position is already very
fresh and has been since only once in over-the-board game. White prepares to
pressurize the exposed e4 pawn and opens the road for the queen.} ({The
complications arising after} 8. d3 exd3 9. Qxd3 Na6 10. Bg2 Bh3 $5 11. Bf3 Qg6
12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Qxa6 Rd8 {are not everyone's cup of tea, Svidler,P (2753)
-Topalov,V (2772) Flor & Fjaere 2014}) (8. h3 {is another move.}) 8... Bc5 {A
solid reaction. In case of} (8... Bh3 9. Qb3 $1 b5 10. Qc2 Bxf1 11. Rxf1 Qe5
12. f3 exf3 13. Rxf3 $14 {Black's position has too many lose ends, Berkes,F
(2606)-Borisek,J (2508) Heraklio 2007}) (8... Na6 $5 {deserves attention in
order to torture the queen anytime it comes to c2.}) 9. Qc2 Bxe3 ({Or else
Black loses the pawn} 9... O-O 10. Nxe4) 10. fxe3 {[%csl Ye4,Rf6][%cal Gf1g2,
Gh1f1,Gf1f4,Gf4e4,Yf4f6] Diagram [#] Anand wants to use the half-open file to
possibly lift the rook on f4 and increase the pressure on e4. And for
something more...} Qe5 11. Bg2 Bf5 12. O-O O-O 13. b3 $146 {The novelty.} ({An
email game went} 13. b4 Nbd7 14. Bb2 Qe6 15. b5 Rac8 16. Qb3 Rfd8 17. Rac1 Nc5
18. Qxe6 Bxe6 19. Rc2 Bd7 20. bxc6 Bxc6 {and Black managed to solve the
problem of the e4 pawn, Littke,H (2254)-Kolek,P (2399) ICCF email 2011}) 13...
Nbd7 14. Bb2 Qe6 {One more move and Adams will cement his position for good
with Bf5-g6. But...} 15. Rxf5 $1 {Diagram [#] A nice positional sacrifice of
the exchange. White wins the cetral pawn for it and the bishop pair. It is
interesting that both players did not evaluate the position similarly. Adams
considered it perfectly OK, while Anand thought it is easier to play as White.}
Qxf5 16. Nxe4 Qg6 $1 {The best defense. Or else White will point his bishops
towards the kingside with} (16... Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Qh5 18. Rf1 {[%cal Gf1f4,Gf4h4,
Rc2h7,Rb2g7] followed by Rf4-h4 and attack (Anand).}) 17. Rf1 Rfe8 18. Bxf6 {
Tit for tat. White destroys the pawn structure in front of the enemy king.}
Nxf6 19. Nxf6+ gxf6 20. e4 Rad8 21. Rf4 {[%cal Gg2h3,Gh3f5,Rf4h4,Rh4h7,Yc2d2,
Yd2h6,Yd2d3] Diagram [#] Anand's plan is to bring the bishop on f5, play d2-d3,
bring teh rook to h4 and attack the kingside with Qd2-h6.} Qh5 $1 {Adams
hurries to escape from the danger zone.} 22. d3 Qe5 23. Bh3 Kg7 24. Kg2 h5 $5 {
An interesting pawn sacrifice. Black manages to temporary exclude the rook
from the game.} ({Something solid like} 24... Rh8 {was also possible.}) 25. Rf5
Qd4 26. Rxh5 {[%csl Yh5] Diagram [#]} Qe3 27. Rh4 ({One point behind the pawn
sacrifice is demonstrated by Anand. The rook cannot come back at once} 27. Rf5
$2 Rxe4 $1 {works well for Black with the idea} 28. dxe4 Rd2 29. Qc4 b5 30. Qc5
Rxe2+ 31. Kh1 Re1+ 32. Bf1 Rxf1+ 33. Kg2 Rf2+ 34. Kh3 Qh6+ {and Black wins.})
27... Re5 28. Rf4 {White's chances are connected with the kingside attack and
for this reason he should not allow any trades of the heavy pieces.} ({Another
problem is revealed by the line} 28. Bf5 Rh8 $1 29. Rf4 $2 ({Black would be
happy to trade the rooks and kill the attacking potential of his opponent} 29.
Rxh8 Kxh8 {when only Black can play for the win.}) 29... Rc5 30. Qb2 Rc1 {and
wins.}) 28... Rc5 29. Qb2 Rd6 30. Rf1 a5 {Adams placed his pieces in a very
good way and now improves the mobile pawns.} 31. Bf5 b5 32. h4 {Diagram [#]} ({
Anand also considered the pawn sacrifice} 32. b4 axb4 33. Rf3 Qd4 34. Qd2 {in
order to return to his original idea of kingside attack, but at the end
decided that it was too risky.}) 32... Rd8 $2 {"The decisive blunder" (Anand)
"Awful move" (Adams). The English GM missed a nice tactical regroupment.
Instead many moves lead to dinamic equality:} (32... b4 $5 $11) (32... a4 $5 {
In both case White cannot effectively use his queen in the attack due to the
weakness of the b3 and e2 pawns.}) ({They also considered} 32... Qd4 {good for
Black, but this is questionable as it allows the white queen a kingside sortie}
33. Qd2 Rd8 34. h5 {and White is definitely better.}) 33. a3 b4 34. axb4 axb4
35. Be6 $1 {[%csl Gc4,Rd8,Rf6,Yg7][%cal Ge6c4,Rb2f6,Rf6d8,Gb3c4,Gd3c4] Diagram
[#] The bishop is rerouted to the optimal c4 square from where it cements the
queenside while attacking the f7 pawn. Black's position immediately becomes
bad.} Rc3 ({The bishop is full of poison} 35... fxe6 36. Qxf6+ {is mate in
seven.}) ({Noweven the endgame is lost for Black as Anand explained} 35... Qd4
36. Qxd4 Rxd4 37. Bc4 {[%csl Ge3][%cal Gg3g4,Gg2f3,Gf3e3] followed by g3-g4,
Kg2-f3-e3, and later g4-g5 which will win the pawn on f7.}) 36. Bc4 {White
cemented the position and can get rid of the opponent's queen easily. After
that his queen comes into the game and the step-by-step attack is unstoppable.}
Ra8 37. Rf5 Ra7 38. Rf3 Qc5 (38... Qh6 $5 {was more stubborn.}) 39. Qd2 Qd6 40.
Qe3 {Diagram [#] The former world champion is not in a hurry.} (40. Rf5 {with
the threat Rf5-h5 was faster as if} Ra8 41. e5 $1 {destroys the barricades.})
40... Ra5 41. Rf2 Rc2 42. g4 Qd7 43. Qg3 Rc5 44. g5 $1 {The decisive break. It
is again the Bc4 to blame for Black's misery.} (44. e5 {would also do.}) 44...
fxg5 45. Rxf7+ Qxf7 46. Bxf7 Kxf7 47. Qf3+ Kg7 48. h5 {The rest is easy for
Anand.} Ra5 49. Kf2 Rb2 50. h6+ Kg6 51. h7 {Diagram [#] An inspired and
interesting battle!} ({Black resigned as he loses the rook} 51. h7 Kxh7 52.
Qf7+ Kh6 (52... Kh8) 53. Qf6+) 1-0



Stubborn Defense

Fabiano Caruana significantly improved his tournament situation in Shamkir after an important win with the Black pieces against the former world champion Vladimir Kramnik.The Italian GM had to survive at first the strong pressure that his opponent put on him. The moment in which Kramnik decided to open up the game was not chosen right and the tables have turned into Caruana's favour.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.23"]
[Round "6.5"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2802"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "108"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:10"]
[BlackClock "0:09:02"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 {Just like Carlsen the other day, Vladimir Kramnik also
decided to avoid the Gruenfeld.} g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. c3 O-O 5. Nbd2 d5 {This is
considered the most reliable move against teh Torre Attack.} 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2
c5 {Diagram [#] The Torre Attack represents in this case the reversed Slav
defense. To which Caruana replies with something like a reversed Catalan. My
tongue got reversed as well.} 8. O-O b6 9. a4 {A standard reaction to the
fianchettoe similar to the one that Carlsen used against the same Caruana in
round three.} a6 ({Alternatively} 9... a5 {weakens the light squares and the
pull for White} 10. Bb5 Ba6 11. Bxa6 Rxa6 12. Qe2 $14 {Petrosian,T (2649)
-Gopal,G (2522) Golden Sands 2013}) 10. b4 {White shows aggression on the
queen's flank but his plan is deeper than that. Kramnik wants to force his
opponent to close that side of the board in order to concentrate his forces in
the center and the kingside.} Bb7 11. a5 $146 {Diagram [#] A novelty, in the
spirit of the above-mentioned plan. Previously only} (11. bxc5 bxc5 12. Qb3 {
has been tried without much success for White} Bc6 13. Qa3 h6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15.
dxc5 e5 {with good compensation for a pawn in Bogdanovski,V (2435)-Mista,A
(2579) Paracin 2013}) 11... cxb4 {Now Caruana will have at least one open file
to keep his opponent busy .} 12. cxb4 b5 13. Rc1 Ne8 {Carlsen already proved
in his game with Mamedyarov earlier that the structure arising after} (13...
Ne4 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Nd2 {favours White.}) 14. Nb3 Nd6 {Both parties seek and
find the optimal squares for their pieces.} 15. Ne1 Nc4 16. Nd3 $14 {Diagram
[#] It becomes apparent that White has a lot of small advantages in comparison
to his opponent. To start with- the space advantage. The little pawn on a5
takes away the b6 square from the black Nd7 while the white knights are
feeling very comfortable. White's bishops are also more active and all of
this leads us to the conclusion that Kramnik succeeded with his opening
strategy. Now he starts slowly torturing his opponent. The grand plan is to
prepare and carry out the e3-e4 advance. Caruana's position lacks any
weaknesses, but is passive and it is overall quite unpleasant to play.} Ra7 (
16... Rc8 {is less precise as after} 17. Nbc5 Nxc5 18. Nxc5 {the pawn on a6
will hang.}) 17. Bh4 Ba8 18. Bf3 ({Also interesting is} 18. Re1 {intending
Be2-f1, f2-f3 and later e3-e4 but the former world champion prefers a more
aggressive set up.}) 18... Nf6 19. Qe2 Ne8 20. g4 $5 {[%cal Gh4g3,Gf3g2,Rf2f3,
Re3e4,Rf3f4] Diagram [#] Intending Bf3-g2, Bh4-g3 (the point behind g2-g4) and
further advance of the f and e pawns.} Ned6 21. Bg2 Qc8 22. Nbc5 Re8 23. Bg3
Qd8 {Caruana prepared his position as much as he could for the possible
assault.} 24. Rcd1 ({White could have also provoked a weakening with} 24. Be5
$5 {as} Nxe5 25. dxe5 Ne4 26. f4 {is good for him.}) 24... e6 25. f3 Qe7 26.
Kh1 Bh6 {Black does not want to change the pawn structure and play with
isolated pawn after} (26... e5 $5 {but this definitely interesting.}) 27. Nf4 {
The time trouble is approaching and Kramnik decided that this is a good moment
to complete his idea. However, as he later confessed at the press-conference
he missed an important tactical detail.} ({He did not like} 27. Bf2 {due to} f5
{"and Black holds" (Kramnik), but White still has better position without any
risk after say} 28. Ne5 fxg4 29. Nxg4 Bg7 30. e4) 27... Nb7 28. Ncd3 {Or else
Black might take on c5 and put his bishop on c6.} Nd8 $1 {Strong maneuver
before the decisive central clash.} 29. e4 Nc6 $1 {Diagram [#] The point. Now
it is not clear who attacks more.} 30. exd5 (30. Qf2 {simply loses a pawn} Nxb4
) 30... Nxb4 31. dxe6 {Only here did Kramnik realize that he had missed a
strong queen sacrifice.} ({His original intention was} 31. d6 {but then he saw}
Nxd3 $5 ({Caruana on his turn thought that} 31... Qf6 {is also good for him.
Indeed after} 32. Nh5 gxh5 33. Nxb4 Bf4 34. Nd3 Bxd6 35. Be5 Bxe5 36. dxe5 Qg5
{Black seems in good shape.}) 32. dxe7 Nxf4 {[%csl Gc4,Ye2,Gf4] Diagram [#]
and Black in complete control.}) 31... Nxd3 32. Rxd3 {The black pieces came
into life and his position is stronger now.} fxe6 ({Even better was} 32... Qf6
33. Re1 Rae7 {with clear advantage for the second player.}) 33. Qe1 Qd8 {There
are too many weaknesses in White's camp and he tries to compensate with
kingside activity.} 34. h4 Rf7 ({Kramnik suggested a more simple alternative}
34... Bxf4 $1 35. Bxf4 Bd5 36. Qg3 Qxa5 37. h5 Rf7 {with clear edge for Black.}
) 35. g5 Bg7 36. Bh3 $6 {In time trouble Kramnik blunders for the second time.}
({However, his position is already difficult even after his analyzes suggestion
} 36. Rd1 Qxa5 37. Qe2 (37. Qxa5 Nxa5 38. Ra1)) 36... Rxf4 $1 {Diagram [#] A
powerful central blow. Caruana opens the archers.} 37. Bxf4 e5 38. Bg3 e4 39.
Rd1 Bd5 ({Not} 39... exf3 $2 40. Be6+ Kh8 41. d5 $16 {which they both saw.})
40. Be5 exf3 41. Qf2 (41. Kg1 $5 {was suggested by Black as a more tenacious
alternative, but Black is much better anyway.}) 41... Qxa5 42. Bg4 Rf8 {For
the exchange Black has two pawns and strong central grip.} 43. Rd3 ({Instead}
43. Rfe1 {allows "my most typical trick" (Caruana)} Nb2 $1 44. Rd2 Nd3 $1 45.
Rxd3 {Diagram [#] with the idea} Qxe1+ $1 46. Qxe1 f2+ {and wins.}) 43... Qb4
$1 {Kramnik spend a lot of time here calculating pretty much everything but
could not find salvation. Below are given some of the beutiful lines that the
opponents calculated during the game:} (43... Bxe5 $6 {may lead to a darw after
} 44. dxe5 Nxe5 45. Qd4 Qa2 46. Qxd5+ Qxd5 47. Rxd5 Nxg4) (43... Be4 $2 {loses
to} 44. Be6+ Kh8 45. Bxg7+ Kxg7 46. d5) (43... Nxe5 44. dxe5 Bc4 $6 {stumbles
on} 45. Rxf3 Rxf3 (45... Bd5 46. Be6+ $1) (45... Rd8 46. e6 $1) 46. Qxf3 Bxf1
$4 47. Be6+ Kh8 48. Qa8+ {and mate (Kramnik)}) 44. Bg3 {Some more lines by
Kramnik and Caruana:} (44. Bxg7 Kxg7 45. Bxf3 (45. Qg3 Qe7 $1 46. Bxf3 Qe2 $3 {
is especially cute.}) {and now the key move is} 45... Be4 $3 {Diagram [#]} ({
Rather than} 45... Rxf3 46. Rxf3 Nd2 47. Qe1 $1)) (44. Bxf3 {is answered in a
similar way} Rxf3 45. Rxf3 Bxe5 46. Qg2 Ne3 47. Rf8+ Qxf8 48. Rxf8+ Kxf8 $19) (
{Black also wins after} 44. Bf6 Bxf6 45. Bxf3 Bxf3+ 46. Rxf3 Bg7) 44... h5 $1
45. gxh6 Bxh6 {Now the knight gets a chance to come closer to the kingside
with Nc4-e3(d2). The end is getting closer.} 46. Kh2 {Nothing helps:} (46. Ra1
Nd2 $1) (46. Bxf3 {is simlar as above} Rxf3 47. Rxf3 Nd2 48. Qe1 Qf8 (48... Qb3
{also wins})) 46... Nd2 $1 47. Ra1 Ne4 {Diagram [#] Without the dark-squared
bishop White's position falls apart.} 48. Qc2 Nxg3 49. Rxa6 Be4 50. Bxf3 Qe1
51. Qb3+ Kh8 52. Bxe4 Rf2+ 53. Kh3 (53. Kxg3 Qg1+ 54. Kh3 Rh2#) 53... Qf1+ 54.
Kg4 Rf4+ {Kramnik resigned before the mate. Overall, he had the advantage,
led the game, but a couple of inaccuracies proved enough for Fabiano Caruana
to show his best qualities- stubborness in defense and iron nerves. I believe
that this was Black's first win in the event.} (54... Rf4+ 55. Kxg3 Qf2+ 56.
Kh3 Rxh4# {Diagram [#]}) 0-1



Magnus Grabs the Lead

Round five of the Gashimov Memorial was crucial for the leaders. Wesley So suffered his first loss to the former world champion Vishy Anand who showed his best chess so far in Azerbaijan. In the meanwhile the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway produced a real masterpiece to take the sole lead. His opponent in this game Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France also appreciated the greatness of the game and did not look too disappointed at the end of it. Instead the two players spend a lot of time analyzing the game at a press-conference full of benevolence and positivness.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.21"]
[Round "5.3"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2863"]
[BlackElo "2762"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "107"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:15:45"]
[BlackClock "0:41:19"]

1. Nf3 {Magnus Carlsen managed to get his opponent away from his beloved
Gruenfeld early in the opening.} Nf6 2. g3 b5 3. Bg2 ({The two players spent a
lot of time analyzing some interesting possibilities after} 3. c3 e6 4. Qb3 {
an idea typical for the Sokolsky opening with colors reversed} a6 5. a4 Bb7 6.
axb5 Bd5 {an old trick, said Carlsen} 7. Qc2 (7. c4 $2 Bxc4 $1 {this is the
point} 8. Qxc4 axb5 $17) 7... axb5 8. Rxa8 Bxa8 9. Qb3 Bxf3 10. exf3 c6 {with
about equal position.}) 3... Bb7 4. Na3 {Diagram [#] A fresh position arose on
move number four!} a6 ({The immediate} 4... b4 {was also possible when after}
5. Nc4 a5 6. d3 {[%cal Ge2e4] "I liked my knight on c4" (Carlsen)}) 5. c4 b4 {
"I decided to play b5-b4 as in the QID the knight is not very well placed on
c2"(Vachier-Lagrave), "Yeah, but then you have to waste a lot of moves"
(Carlsen)} (5... e5 {was teh othe rmove that the two players analyzed. They
had a lot of fun in the arising original lines with Carlsen appologizing at
the end that they are wasting the time of the journalists.} 6. O-O e4 7. Nd4 (
7. Nh4 d5 8. cxd5 Qxd5 9. d3 g5 {Diagram [#]} 10. Nf3 $5) 7... d5 8. d3 (8.
cxb5) 8... c5 9. Nf5 g6 10. Ne3 d4 11. Nd5 Nxd5 12. Bxe4 Bg7 {with equality.})
6. Nc2 e6 ({It is somewhat surpring but this has already been seen before in a
total of 26 games. Here is a recent one} 6... c5 7. O-O e6 8. d4 cxd4 9. Ncxd4
$14 {Efimenko,Z (2648)-Moiseenko,A (2707) Dubai 2014}) 7. d4 a5 {The players
agreed that White is somewhat better after} (7... Be7 8. a3 bxa3 9. b3 $14) 8.
O-O Be7 9. d5 Na6 10. Nfd4 Nc5 11. Re1 $146 {[%cal Ge2e4] Diagram [#] Only
this is a novelty. White prepares e2-e4.} ({Another recent game saw} 11. dxe6
fxe6 12. Bxb7 Nxb7 13. Bf4 O-O 14. Nb5 Ne8 15. e4 {with slight edge for White,
Neiksans,A (2559)-Kulaots,K (2563) Wroclaw 2014}) 11... O-O {Carlsen was
surprised that his opponent allowed the move e2-e4 that easily and suggested
instead} (11... Nfe4 12. f3 (12. Nb3 Nxb3 13. axb3 Nc5 14. e4 e5) 12... Nd6 13.
e4 O-O (13... Nxc4) 14. b3 e5 {with a better version to what had happened in
the game later.}) 12. e4 e5 ({Maybe} 12... d6 13. dxe6 Nfxe4 {but this is what
I was unhappy about (Vachier)} 14. Qg4 Nf6 15. Qe2 $16) 13. Nf5 d6 14. Bg5 $1 {
[%csl Yg5][%cal Rf6d5] Diagram [#] A wonderful positional sacrifice of a pawn.}
({The immediate} 14. f4 {is also possible but less appealing to the world
champion} Nfd7 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. f5 c6 {"too many loose ends, should be OK
for Black" (Carlsen)}) 14... Nxd5 {Vachier decided to bite the bullet. "So
Magnus, you were considering this move?" asked the jounalist and WGM Elmira
Mirzoeva. "I am capable of missing it, but not today..."(Carlsen)} (14... Bc8
15. Nce3 h6 16. Bh4 {looks terrible for Black (Carlsen)}) 15. Bh6 $1 {The
point of White's sacrifice. In return for the pawn he will ruin the black
castle and cement the knight on the wonderful outpost on f5. He will also
dominate on the light squares.} gxh6 16. Qg4+ (16. cxd5 Kh8 17. Qh5 {also
looks fun for White.}) 16... Bg5 17. cxd5 Kh8 18. h4 $1 {[%csl Yg5][%cal Gg2h3,
Yg4f3,Gh3g4,Gg4h5,Gc2e3] Diagram [#] The beginning of a nice regroupment on
the light squares that clearifies the situation.} Bf6 19. Nce3 Bc8 20. Qf3 Bg7
21. Bh3 $1 Rg8 22. Bg4 Qf6 23. Bh5 {With the bishop coming out all the white
pieces stand nicely. Now he can think of including the rooks into the battle.}
Bxf5 24. Nxf5 c6 {"If you do not play this then you will lose at some moment
because of the rook coming on f3" (Carlsen). "Even rook on the g file and
g3-g4 I thought. And g4-g5 at some moment" (Vachier).} 25. dxc6 Rac8 26. Qd1
Rxc6 (26... Nxe4 {does not work due to} 27. Bg4 $1) 27. Qd5 Rgc8 28. Rad1 Bf8
29. Qxf7 (29. Bxf7 Na4 {did not appeal to the Norwegian although this also
looks close to winning for White.}) 29... Qxf7 30. Bxf7 {White won the pawn
back and kept the dominant position of his pieces. He owes everything- the
bread, the butter and the knife.} Na4 31. Re2 Rc1 32. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 33. Kg2 Nc5
34. b3 {[%csl Gb3] Diagram [#] "I was very happy to play this move and to stop
any counterplay" (Carlsen). "I am playing a bishop and a king down" (Vachier).}
Rc3 35. Kh3 Nd7 36. Be6 Nc5 37. Bd5 Nd7 38. Ne3 Nf6 39. Be6 Rc5 40. Nc4 Kg7 ({
Vachier was always looking for counter-play but it never worked. Here for
instance} 40... a4 {fails to} 41. bxa4 d5 42. Ne3 (42. Nxe5 {should do as well}
)) 41. f3 $1 {Even in such a great position the world champion does not lose
focus! He rejected his original plan} (41. Kg2 {after seeing the tactical
continuation} Nxe4 $1 42. Rxe4 Kf6 43. Bg8 d5 {Diagram [#] which would have
complicated matters.}) 41... Ne8 42. Rd2 Nc7 43. Bg4 {It is over, Black's
position falls appart.} a4 (43... Nb5 44. Nxa5 {drops a pawn.}) 44. Nxd6 Bxd6
45. Rxd6 a3 46. Bd7 ({Vachier Lagrave suggested an alternative win after} 46.
Rd7+ Kf8 47. Rxh7 Rc2 48. f4 exf4 49. gxf4 Nb5 50. e5 Rxa2 51. e6) 46... Rc2 {
The last chance for Black is connected with the sacrifice of the knight.} 47.
Bc6 Rxa2 48. Rd7+ Kf6 49. Rxc7 Rc2 50. Rxh7 Kg6 (50... Rxc6 51. Rxh6+) 51. Rc7
{Now White is waiting for the pawn to come on a2 to play Rc7-a7.} Kf6 52. h5 $1
{Finishes the game in style with checkmate.} Rc1 53. Rh7 a2 54. Bd5 {[%csl Rf6]
[%cal Gh7f7] Diagram [#] Vachier resigned due to the checkmate.} (54. Bd5 a1=Q
55. Rf7+ Kg5 56. Rf5# {What a game by the world champion!}) 1-0



An Excellent Technique

Just like Magnus Carlsen in the second round Wesley So demonstrated great technique against Rauf Mamedov. Round four saw the Philippine-born American Grandmaster take the lead in Shamkir with remarkable start- 3.5/4!
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.20"]
[Round "4.4"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Mamedov, Rauf"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2788"]
[BlackElo "2651"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:04:30"]
[BlackClock "1:00:27"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 {The Accelerated Dragon has a
reputation of a solid but passive opening. The main reason for this is White's
next move.} 5. c4 {Which leads to the Maroczy bind.} Nf6 6. Nc3 d6 7. f3 ({A
game of Mamedov's coach recently went} 7. Be2 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Bg7 9. Be3 O-O 10.
Qd2 a5 11. O-O a4 12. f3 Qa5 {and transposed into one of the main lines, Van
Wely,L (2665)-Khalifman,A (2613) Jurmala 2015}) 7... Bg7 8. Be3 O-O 9. Be2 Nh5
{Mamedov decided to weaken the kingside before trading the knights.} ({It
makes sense to trade a pair of knights at once with} 9... Nxd4 {Then after} 10.
Bxd4 Be6 11. Rc1 Qa5 12. Qd2 Rfc8 13. b3 a6 14. Be3 b5 15. Nd5 {The things
have developed more or less normally with White enjoying his usual slight
space advantage until Black came up with the spectacular} Nxd5 $1 16. Qxa5 Nxe3
17. Kf2 Bd4 {and White could not prove advantage in Negi,P (2633)-Istratescu,A
(2671) Graz 2014}) 10. g3 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 {Diagram [#]} Be6 $146 {I suspect an
over-the-board novelty and a very logical move.} ({Previously only the
immediate} 11... Qa5 12. O-O Bh3 {has been tried in an email game. After} 13.
Re1 (13. Rf2 $5 $14) 13... Qg5 {Black did well in Huzita,S (1865)-Hassim,U
(2308) ICCF email 2011}) ({The move} 11... Bh3 {looks suspicious as the bishop
can easily can get trapped there, say} 12. Bxg7 Kxg7 13. Qd4+ Nf6 14. g4) 12.
f4 Nf6 13. O-O Rc8 14. b3 Qa5 $6 {[%csl Ra5,Ye6][%cal Gf4f5] Diagram [#] The
beginning of Black's problems. The next move should not have been allowed.} ({
Instead} 14... Bh3 15. Rf2 {and only then} Qa5 {is somewhat better for White,
but playble for the second player.}) ({Normally Black wants to trade the
dark-squared bishop but here the straightforward attempt simply loses} 14...
Nd7 $4 15. f5) 15. f5 $1 {Now White grabs a lot of space and slowly squeezes
his opponent.} Bd7 ({The pawn is poisoned} 15... gxf5 $2 16. exf5 Bxf5 17. b4
Qxb4 18. Rxf5 {wins a piece for White.}) 16. a3 e6 {Black has to defend
passively as any pawn push creates weaknesses in his camp.} ({For example}
16... e5 17. b4 Qc7 18. Be3 {with a huge hole on d5.}) ({And if} 16... b5 17.
b4 Qc7 (17... Qd8 18. Nxb5) 18. Bxf6 $1 Bxf6 19. Nd5 Qd8 20. Nxf6+ exf6 21.
cxb5 {will clear edge for White.}) 17. b4 Qd8 ({In case of} 17... Qc7 {White
can continue in a similar way as in the game} 18. fxe6 fxe6 19. e5 dxe5 20. Bc5
Rf7 21. Bd6 {with advantage.}) 18. fxg6 fxg6 ({White is also much better after
} 18... hxg6 19. e5 dxe5 20. Bxe5) 19. e5 $1 {[%csl Ga3,Ya7,Gb4,Yb7,Gc4,Ye6]
Diagram [#] Wesley So modifies the pawn structure into his favour with the
last two moves. Now he will have a queenside majority, which is always useful
whenever the game approaches the endgame. Mamedov on his turn will have a weak
pawn on e6.} dxe5 20. Bxe5 {White wants to further improve his position with
Qd1-b3, Ra1-d1(e1), c4-c5. His play is very simple and obvious and Black
decided to try his luck in the edngame.} Bc6 21. b5 Ne4 22. Qxd8 Rcxd8 {"I
think this was a mistake" said So at the press-conference. meaning that this
was the mistake in the game. He suggested instead} (22... Rfxd8 {as best. But
as we shall see from the analyzes, White has a strong continuation which both
the players missed.} {White indeed has nothing in case of} 23. Bxg7 ({But after
} 23. bxc6 Nxc3 {[%csl Yb7,Yc3,Yg7][%cal Rc6b7,Re5g7,Re5c3] Diagram [#] White
is not obliged to take the pawn on b7 as they both thought} 24. Bxc3 {as this
indeed leads White nowhere after} ({White has however a clear road to the
advantage with} 24. cxb7 $1 Nxe2+ 25. Kg2 Rb8 ({Or else Black loses one of the
light pieces with} 25... Bxe5 26. bxc8=Q Rxc8 27. Rae1) 26. Bxb8 Rxb8 27. Rad1
{This is more precise than} (27. Rab1 Nc3 28. Rb3 Na4 {with chances for a draw.
}) 27... Nd4 ({The back rank is weak after} 27... Rxb7 $2 28. Rd8+) 28. Rb1 {
A rook and a pawn are usually much better than the two light pieces in the
endgame. Especially when the rook is assisted by a pawn on the seventh rank!})
24... Bxc3 25. cxb7 Bxa1 26. Rxa1 (26. bxc8=Q Bd4+ 27. Kg2 Rxc8 {is equal
instead.}) 26... Rc7 27. Rb1 Rb8 28. Bf3 Rxc4 {when only Black can be better.})
23... Kxg7 24. Nxe4 ({Or} 24. Na4 Be8 25. Rad1) 24... Bxe4 25. Rad1 {(So)}) 23.
Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Rc1 Nxc3 26. Rxc3 Bd7 {[%csl Ga3,Ya7,Gb5,Yb7,Gc4]
Diagram [#]} ({The bishop cannot stay active on the long diagonal due to the
pawn loss after} 26... Be4 27. Re3 Bf5 28. g4) 27. c5 {White achieved his
dream endgame with well advanced queenside pawn majority and active pieces. As
his king is easily entering the play the game is practically decided.} Rc8 28.
a4 Kf6 29. Kf2 Ke5 30. Ke3 Be8 31. Bf3 Rc7 32. Kd3 $1 {[%cal Gd3c4] Diagram [#]
Excellent technique! Before advancing the pawns So activates his pieces to the
maximum.} g5 33. Kc4 h5 34. a5 g4 35. b6 axb6 36. axb6 Rd7 37. Re3+ Kf6 38. c6
bxc6 39. Bxc6 Rd8 40. Bxe8 Rxe8 41. b7 {Diagram [#] Next Re3-b3 will follow
and march of the white king to c7. Just like in the second round Magnus
Carlsen needed only one mistake to defeat his opponent, Wesley So won a nice
positional game to grab the sole lead!} 1-0