27.1.15

Vachier Lagrave with Positional Masterpiece

Tata Steel ended as nicely as it started. Traditionally, more than half of the last round game proved decisive and one of them was an excellent effort by the second player, Maxime Vachier Lagrave of France:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.01.25"]
[Round "13.2"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2820"]
[BlackElo "2757"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "70"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:08"]
[BlackClock "0:34:33"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 {Maxime is one of the
greatest speacialist in the Najdorf.} 6. h3 {Fabiano deviates from the
discussion they both had a couple of months ago after} (6. f3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8.
Be3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. Rg1 {Caruana,F (2844)-Vachier
Lagrave,M (2757) Tashkent 2014}) 6... e5 7. Nde2 h5 {Since White wants to
fianchettoe the bishop with g2-g4 this restricting move makes a lot of Black
actually wnats to lay on the kingside in most of the cases in this line and
the h5-h4 resourse is useful for both attacking and strategical aims (to
weaken the dark squares for example).} 8. g3 ({A very original idea was
introduced recently} 8. Ng1 $5 b5 9. Nf3 Bb7 10. Ng5 {[%csl Gg5] and White was
trying to prove that h7-h5 had somewhat weakened the kingside in
Nepomniachtchi,I (2714)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2758) Beijing 2014 Still, the loss
of so many tempos in the opening can hardly be great.}) 8... Be6 9. Bg2 Nbd7
10. a4 Be7 11. O-O Rc8 12. Be3 Nb6 $146 {A novelty! Maxime came well prepared
for the game and uncorked a nice positional sacrifice of a pawn.} ({All of
this have been seen already and Black was always reacting with} 12... O-O {for
example} 13. a5 Re8 14. Qd2 Rc7 15. f4 Bc4 16. Rfd1 Qc8 {with long maneuvering
game, Riccio,E (2477)-Kotlyanskiy,E (2565) FICGS email 2010}) 13. b3 {Blocks
the Nb6-c4 maneuver.} (13. a5 Nc4 {which would be very good for Black.}) {But
allows the main idea} 13... d5 $1 {Diagram [#] The d6-d5 break is the key
theme in all the Sicilians. In this case Maxime's sacrifice is justified for
two reasons: 1) He removes the strong e4 pawn which gives him pawn majority
on the kingside and great attacking chances. 2) Domination on the dark
squares.} 14. Bxb6 {Practically forced.} ({Both} 14. a5 d4 $1) ({and} 14. exd5
Nbxd5 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. Bd2 O-O {are excellent for Black.}) 14... Qxb6 15. Nxd5
{Perhaps the other capture} (15. exd5 {is a better version for White as Black
now have more difficulties when attacking on the kingside (too many pieces on
the f file). Still, Vachier will have rich compensation after} Bf5 16. a5 Qd6)
15... Nxd5 16. exd5 Bd7 $1 {The optimal square for the bishop.} (16... Bf5 {
looks more active but the bishop will stay on the road of his own f pawn.} 17.
c4) 17. c4 Qd6 ({Black does not show his intentions yet. Another perspective
option is} 17... h4 18. g4 f5 19. gxf5 Bxf5 20. Nc3 Bc5 21. Ne4) 18. a5 {The
fire cannot be stopped with fuel. After} (18. h4 {Black can start the attack
with} g5 $1 19. hxg5 Bxg5 20. Nc3 f5 21. Re1 Kf7) 18... f5 19. Qd3 ({Once again
} 19. h4 {is dangerous for White only} g5 20. hxg5 Bxg5 21. f4 Bf6 22. fxe5
Bxe5) 19... h4 $1 {[%csl Ga3,Yb3,Gb4,Yc4,Gc5,Yd5,Rf2,Rg3][%cal Rd6c5,Rc5g1,
Rh4g3,Rh8h1] Diagram [#] This softens the black squares. Black's play is very
easy and natural, he simply advances the pawns on the kingside and creates
weaknesses along the dark squares. Fabiano will be happy to play b3-b4
followed by c4-c5 but this is impossible due to the blockade.} 20. g4 {This
looks like the best defense. White can also stay still with} (20. Rab1 {but
then Black might consider even entering an endgame sometimes} e4 21. Qd2 hxg3
22. fxg3 O-O {Even} (22... Qb4 {is good for Black} 23. Qxb4 Bxb4 24. Ra1 Bc5+
25. Kh2 Ke7 {foolowed by g7-g5.}) 23. Rfc1 Qb4 24. Qxb4 Bxb4 25. Ra1 g5) 20...
O-O ({Maxime dismisses the pawn regain} 20... fxg4 21. Nc3 $1 gxh3 22. Bxh3 {
Indeed the blockade on the lihgt squares will be favourable for White.}) 21.
Nc3 $6 {But this is wrong. Allowing e5-e4 leads to further problems along the
b8-h2 diagonal. Corerct was} (21. gxf5 {to fight for the e4 square} Bxf5 22.
Qd2 Qg6 (22... e4 {can be now answered} 23. Nd4 $1 Bd8 24. Nxf5 Rxf5 25. Bxe4
Bc7 26. f4) 23. Kh1 {Black still has plenty of compensation but nothing
decisive yet} Be4 24. f3 ({But not} 24. Bxe4 $6 Qxe4+ 25. Kh2 Rf3)) 21... e4 $1
22. Qe3 {Diagram [#]} Bd8 $1 {[%csl Rh2][%cal Gd8c7,Rc7h2] Nice regrouping.
Black hits where it hurts.} 23. Bxe4 {Desperation Fabiano figured that the
alternatives are even worse} (23. Rfe1 Bc7 24. gxf5 Qh2+ 25. Kf1 Bf4 26. Qxe4
Bxf5 27. Qe7 Bxh3 {already wins the white queen.}) (23. f4 exf3 24. Rxf3 Bc7
25. g5 (25. gxf5 Qh2+ 26. Kf1 Bxf5 {is decisive attack on the open files and
diagonals.}) 25... Rfe8 26. Qf2 Qh2+ 27. Kf1 Bd6 {[%cal Gd6c5] followd by
Bd6-c5 is also grim for White.}) 23... fxe4 24. Nxe4 Qf4 25. Qxf4 Rxf4 26. f3
Be7 {In the endgame the value of the pawns increases and normally 3 pawns
should be good enough to fight the bishop. However, in this particular
situation the bishop pair and the many useful half open files speak of the
undisputable advantage for Black.} 27. Kf2 Rcf8 28. Ke3 $6 {Caruana's desire
to activate the king is understandable but the rooks and bishops can now
create tactical headache.} ({Correct was to stay still with} 28. Kg2) 28... Be8
{Another nice regroupment. The threat is Be8-g6.} 29. c5 {It is hard to
critice White for his decisions as the position is most likely lost anyway} (
29. Rad1 {does not help neither} Bb4 (29... Bg6 30. d6) 30. Ng5 Bd7 31. Ne6
Bxe6 32. dxe6 R4f6) ({After} 29. d6 Bd8 {the light-squared bishop will pop up
on c6.}) 29... Bb5 30. b4 $1 {The last chance. In the line} (30. Rf2 {Diagram
[#]} Rxe4+ $1 {Black wins by force} 31. Kxe4 Bxc5 32. Rd2 Re8+ 33. Kf5 (33. Kf4
Be3+ 34. Kf5 Bd7+ 35. Kg6 Re5 36. f4 Be8#) 33... Bd7+ 34. Kg5 Be3+ (34... Be7+)
) 30... Rxe4+ $1 {Maxime is alert!} ({Things are not clear in the line} 30...
Bxf1 31. Rxf1 Bd8 32. Rf2 {due to the blocked character of the position.}) 31.
Kxe4 Re8 $1 {A nice ambush which wraps up the game.} 32. Kf4 ({Or} 32. Rfe1
Bxc5+ 33. Kf4 Rf8+ 34. Kg5 Bxb4 35. Re4 Bc3 36. Ra3 Bf6+ 37. Kg6 Be8+) 32...
g5+ 33. Kf5 Kf7 $1 {Once again ignores the bishop and concentrates on the king.
Checkmate is near.} 34. Rfe1 {Now it is proper mate, or else it would be a
prosaic win} (34. Rad1 Bd7+ 35. Ke4 Bxc5+ 36. Kd3 Bb5+) 34... Bd3+ 35. Re4 Bf6
{Diagram [#] A beautiful finish of a nice positional game. Mate is inevitable.
This was not Fabiano's best tournament, but Maxime had fantastic performance
with shared second place, just half point away from the winner. This game in
particular was a potional masterpiece!} (35... Bf6 36. Rae1 Re5#) 0-1



It is not big news that Magnus Carlsen won the event outright but the fact that no less than four players finished just half a point away from him speaks about the intensive battles we witnessed. The presence of the Chinese prodigy Wei Yi in the next edition of the tournament will certainly add favour to the event. Full report.

24.1.15

Positional Sacrifice

Anish Giri continued to play well at the end of the Tata Steel tournament and came in shared third place after a nice win against his compatriot Loek van Wely. The younger Dutchman played creatively and sacrificed twice to grind down his more experienced opponent.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.01.23"]
[Round "11.6"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Van Wely, Loek"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2784"]
[BlackElo "2667"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "103"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:43:17"]
[BlackClock "0:23:42"]

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 {The Pirc is a rare guest on top level. Since Kramnik is
missing in Wijk, one should normally expect it from Ivanchuk here, but it is
Van Wely who gives it a try.} 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 {The Austrian attack remains
White's most aggressive choice.} Bg7 5. Bd3 e5 {Not the most common move, but
one that was recently tested at the top level.} ({Black usually} 5... O-O {for
example} 6. Nf3 Na6 (6... Nc6 {seems like a good alternative} 7. e5 dxe5 8.
fxe5 Nh5 9. Be3 Bg4 10. Be2 f6 11. exf6 exf6 12. O-O Re8 {with playable
position for Black in Karjakin,S (2777)-Jones,G (2664) Bilbao 2014}) 7. O-O c5
8. d5 Rb8 9. a4 {when the position resembles the Benoni with the white pawn
shy of getting to c4, Polgar,J (2705)-Carlsen,M (2848) Mexico City 2012}) (5...
Nc6) 6. dxe5 dxe5 7. Nf3 exf4 8. Bxf4 O-O 9. Qd2 Nc6 10. O-O-O Ng4 $146 {
Diagram [#] Loek is trying to take control of the e5 square.} ({A novelty in
comparison to} 10... Be6 11. h3 Nd7 12. Bg5 (12. Bb5 $5) 12... Bf6 13. h4 h5
14. Qf4 Bxg5 15. hxg5 $1 {with strong pressure for White in Karjakin,S (2776)
-Wang,H (2752) Beijing 2013}) 11. Nd5 {You win something, you lose another.
The d5 square is no longer protected by the knight on f6. White's central
control secures him an edge.} Nce5 {The other move seems more natural} (11...
Nge5 {but is has its drawbacks as well. In particular in the line} 12. Bg5 (12.
Qe3 $5) 12... Qd6 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 $2 {is not good due to} 14. Be7) 12. h3 {Anish
is now fighting for the e5 square. He wants it all and now obviously.} Nxf3 ({
Perhaps the pawn sacrifice is interesting after} 12... c6 13. hxg4 Nxd3+ 14.
Qxd3 cxd5 15. g5 Bg4 16. exd5 Re8) 13. gxf3 Ne5 14. Be2 Be6 15. Bg5 {White
lures the pawn to the f6 square to lock the bsihop in prison. At least for a
while. Anish have taken down one of the knights. Now} (15. Qc3 $1 {to get rid
of the second one made a lot of sense. After} Nc6 16. Qe3 {seems as a fine
regroupment as now} Ne5 17. Bg5 {is way mre effective as in the game. In
particular} f6 {is hardly a move anymore...} 18. Nxf6+) 15... f6 ({Or else}
15... Qd7 16. f4) 16. Be3 c6 {Naturally, Black does not tolerate the knight in
the center.} 17. f4 $1 {An important idea. Giri plays extremely energetically
to hold the initiative.} (17. Nc3 Qa5 {would be great for Black.}) 17... Nf7
18. f5 $1 {Diagram [#]} gxf5 {Forced as the endgame is very bad for Black} (
18... Bxd5 19. exd5 Qxd5 (19... cxd5 20. Bf3 $16) 20. Qxd5 cxd5 21. Bf3 Rfe8 (
21... Bh6 22. Bxh6 Nxh6 23. Bxd5+) 22. Bf4 {the bishops rule, not King Loek.})
19. Nf4 $1 {Diagram [#] Completeting the idea. The knight is optimally placed
on f4 and the black pawns on f5 and f6 limit the scope of the black pieces.}
Qxd2+ 20. Bxd2 ({But not} 20. Rxd2 $2 Bh6 $1) 20... Rae8 {Alas, Black is
losing one of the bishops} (20... Bc8 {would be even worse for him} 21. Rhg1
Kh8 22. Bb4 Re8 23. Nh5 Bf8 24. Bc3) 21. Rhg1 $5 {This is tempting, but White
had solid alternative instead that would have given him the advantage without
any risk} (21. Nh5 $5 Kh8 22. Nxg7 Kxg7 23. Rhg1+ Kh8 24. Bh5 {with the threat
Bd2-c3} Rd8 ({Or else Black loses the exchange} 24... fxe4 25. Bc3 Ne5 26. Bxe8
Rxe8 27. Rdf1) 25. exf5 Bxf5 26. Rdf1 {The two bishops will soon shatter
Black's defense.}) 21... Kh8 {Diagram [#]} 22. Rxg7 $5 {This was Anish's point
but not Loek could have defended. The amazing profilaxys} (22. Kb1 $3 {would
have kept White in control as now Bg7-h6 is no longer a defenseive resourse.
Some lines:} Bh6 ({White wins the exchange after} 22... fxe4 23. Nxe6 Rxe6 24.
Bb4 Rfe8 25. Bc4) 23. Nxe6 Rxe6 24. Bb4 Rb8 25. Bc3 Ne5 26. exf5 $16 {with
clear advantage for White.}) 22... Kxg7 23. Nh5+ Kg6 $6 {Correct was} (23...
Kh8 $1 {Now in the line} 24. Bc3 ({But Van Wely saw ghosts in the line} 24.
Nxf6 Rd8 25. Bc3 Rxd1+ 26. Bxd1 Rd8 27. exf5 {it is extremely unpleasant for a
human being to play with the constat discovered threat in the air, but the cool
} Bc8 $1 {is a defense.} ({Rather than} 27... Bxf5 $2 28. Nd5+ Kg8 29. Ne7+ {
when White wins})) 24... Ne5 25. Nxf6 Rxf6 26. Bxe5 Kg7 27. Rg1+ Kf7 28. Bh5+
Rg6 29. Rf1 {White wins a pawn but Black should survive the OCB endgame after}
Kg8 30. exf5 Rf8 31. Bxg6 hxg6 32. f6 $14) 24. Rg1+ {The king is in danger,
White wins the knight.} Ng5 25. Nf4+ Kg7 26. h4 h6 27. Bh5 (27. Bc3 $5) 27...
Bf7 28. exf5 Bxh5 29. Nxh5+ Kf7 30. hxg5 fxg5 $6 {This gives White another
trump. Better was} (30... hxg5 31. Bc3 {with the idea} Re3 32. Bxf6 (32. Rd1 $1
{instead will keep White's chances higher.}) 32... Rh3 33. Rxg5 Rxh5 34. Rxh5
Kxf6) 31. Ng3 (31. Bb4 $1 {is more subtle.} Rg8 32. Bc3) 31... Rd8 32. Rh1 {
Diagram [#] In the endgame a R and a P are usually as good as the two light
pieces, and sometimes even better. However, this is not the case in the
actual position as the rooks are lacking open files and the balck pawns on the
kingside are weaknesses rather than passers. Giri converts his advantage with
an iron hand.} Rd4 ({The pawn cannot be saved} 32... Rh8 33. Bc3 Rh7 34. Ne4)
33. Rxh6 Rfd8 34. Rh7+ {Useful in between check to worsen the position of the
king.} (34. Rh2 Rg4) 34... Kg8 35. Rh2 Rg4 36. Ne2 Rd5 37. Rf2 Kf7 38. b3 {
White stabilized the situation.} b5 (38... Kf6 39. Bc3+ Kf7 40. Kb2) 39. b4 {
Fixes the pawns in order to attack them later with pieces.} c5 40. a3 cxb4 41.
axb4 a5 $1 {Loek correctly tries to trade as many pawns as possible.} 42. Nc3
Re5 43. bxa5 b4 44. Na2 Rxa5 45. Nxb4 Rg1+ ({Perhaps Black saw that in the line
} 45... Rb5 46. c3 Kf6 47. Kc2 {he cannot capture the pawn due to the trick}
Rxf5 $2 ({But instead} 47... Rg3 $1 {would have given him great drawing
chances.}) 48. Nd5+ $1 Ke5 49. Rxf5+ Kxf5 50. Ne3+) 46. Kb2 g4 47. Nd3 Rb5+ 48.
Kc3 g3 49. Rf3 Rb7 ({More stubborn was} 49... g2 50. Rg3 Rxf5 51. Be3 Ra1 52.
Rxg2) 50. Bf4 g2 51. Rg3 Re7 $2 {A blunder.} ({The game would have continued
after} 51... Kf6 52. Be3 Rc7+ 53. Kd2) 52. Ne5+ {A very creative and
intersteing game in which Anish Giri sacrificed first a pawn and then an
exchange to prove his advantage.} (52. Ne5+ {with the rook as} Ke8 53. Rg8# {
is a nice checkmate.}) 1-0




Report.

23.1.15

To Develop or not to Develop?

Chess have changed greatly in the past twenty years. It became much more concrete, thorough. The following game from the Tata Steel tournament is one good example.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.01.21"]
[Round "10.4"]
[White "Saric, Ivan"]
[Black "Giri, Anish"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2666"]
[BlackElo "2784"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "94"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:37:34"]
[BlackClock "1:13:44"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qf3 {Not a
very commong choice in the Taimanov. White wants to castle long as quick as
possible and to place the queen as agressive as he can on the other side where
he will attack. The normal developing moves are} (7. Bd3) (7. Be2) 7... Ne5 8.
Qg3 h5 {Anish played this already against Karjakin and described it then with
the words "the worst possible line..."} 9. f4 {Ivan does not want to discover
the opponent's preparation after} (9. f3 b5 10. O-O-O d6 11. f4 Ng4 12. e5 dxe5
({it was pointed out by some sources that} 12... Nxe3 13. Qxe3 d5 {might be
better}) 13. fxe5 Nxe3 14. Qxe3 Bd7 {Karjakin-Giri, Tashent GP 2014}) 9... h4 {
This was what the previous move was all about. Now White will have to place
the queen in a less active square.} 10. Qh3 (10. Qf2 $6 Ng4) 10... Nc4 11. Bxc4
Qxc4 {Diagram [#] Some years back Giri would have be stripped of his GM title
and possibly sent in jail (at least) for violating all the opening rules. He
had not developed any piece yet, beside the queen and advanced the pawns on
the kingside where he is about to get checkmated. Nowadays, this is
considered normal. Black has a lot of hidden trumps up his sleeve, namely the
powerful bishop pair and the fluid pawn structure. One more thing of a great
importance is that there are no pawn clashes yet and this means that the balck
king will be safe in the center. At least for a while.} 12. O-O-O b5 {No, he
does not develop yet, but watches carefully for the white maneuvers.} 13. f5 {
Ivan decided to open some files.} (13. e5 {would be met with} Bb7 {that stops
Nc3-e4 jump.}) 13... Bb7 (13... b4 {would be a bit too much and White can
start attacking the weakened dark squares after} 14. Na4 Qc7 15. Nb3) 14. Rhf1
({Black remains remarkably solid after} 14. fxe6 dxe6 15. e5 Rc8 {and he has
all the time in the world to bring his knight to g6 or f5 after Ng8-e7. It is
true that White have opened a file in this line but there is nothing to attack
there yet and his queen is somewhat misplaced.}) 14... e5 $146 {Logically
closes the center, but allows a direct play against the d5 square.} ({In case
of} 14... Rc8 {which Anish tried in round six against Radjabov White has the
strong} 15. Nf3 $1 {with the threat Nf3-e5xf7! no matter what, or if Black
retreats} ({Radjabov played} 15. fxe6 {against Giri in Wijk some rounds before}
dxe6 16. Rxf7 Kxf7 17. b3 Ba3+ 18. Kb1 Qxc3 19. Qxe6+ Kf8 20. Rf1+ Nf6 21.
Rxf6+ gxf6 22. Qxf6+ Kg8 23. Qg6+ Kf8 24. Qf6+ Kg8 25. Qg6+ Kf8 26. Qf6+ {
½-½ (26) Radjabov,T (2734)-Giri,A (2784) 2015}) 15... Qc7 16. Ng5 {and once
again Ng5xf7 is in the air. For example} e5 $2 17. Nxf7 $3 Kxf7 18. f6 $1 {
This is the moment that White cherishes and it would be soon over} Nxf6 19.
Rxd7+ Qxd7 20. Qxd7+) 15. Nb3 ({Once again} 15. Nf3 $5 {was interesting but
less convincing due to} d6 16. Ng5 b4 17. Nd5 Bxd5 {and White cannot capture
with a piece on d5, whcih means that his whole strategy is wrong.}) 15... Qc7
16. Bg5 $5 {Nice regroupment. Not only the pawn on h4 is in danger, but the
bishop is ready to swap off the black knight and secure the d5 point for the
knight.} Rc8 17. Rf2 $5 {Protects c2 pawn and prepares Nc3-d5. White looks
better now, he managed to turn the threats of a tactical blitzkrieg into
strategical concessions in the black camp.} ({However, I have the feeling that
he should have stuck to the initial plan of opening the game and checkmating
the king after} 17. f6 $5) 17... Be7 $1 {In a difficult situation Giri is
amazingly resourceful.} 18. Bxe7 Kxe7 $3 {Diagram [#] Anish defends greatly.
As he does not intend to castle into the attack ever, it makes little sense to
capture with the knight as it will be very badly placed afterwards} (18... Nxe7
19. Rfd2 Bc6 20. a3 {and Black has nothing better than} Ng8 {to which} 21. g4
$1 {with the idea} Nf6 22. Qe3 {and g4-g5 gives large edge to White.}) 19. Rfd2
Nf6 {Now the knight is optimally placed for both attack and defense.} 20. a3
Rh6 $1 {One more important move in Black's plan. Black is out of danger.} 21.
Qe3 ({Black's position is solid after} 21. g4 hxg3 22. Qxg3 Kf8 23. Rg1 Rh7 {
but this was superior version of what White had later in the game.}) 21... Kf8
22. Kb1 Kg8 {Funny it might seem but Giri castled at last.} 23. Rg1 {Ivan
prepares the second wave of the attack.} ({It was tempting to regroup the
knight as well after} 23. Nc1 Bc6 24. Nd3 {but} a5 $1 {comes just in time.})
23... Ng4 24. Qf3 Qb6 25. Re1 Nf6 {And Anish is actively opposing it.} 26. g4
hxg3 27. Qxg3 ({In the race for the d5 square Black seems faster} 27. hxg3 a5
28. g4 b4 29. Na4 Qc6 30. Nac5 a4 {with complications which tend to favour the
second player.}) 27... d6 28. Rg2 Rh7 {Diagram [#] Anish survived the attack
and can start thinking of activity himself. The risky strategy succeeded!} 29.
Qg5 $6 {The beginning of a wrong idea.} (29. Qd3 {was better.}) 29... Kf8 30.
Qd2 $6 Rxc3 $1 {Typical and strong. This is not even an exchange sacrifice!}
31. Qxc3 Nxe4 32. Qd3 $2 {This makes things worse.} (32. Qb4 $1 {was mandatory
when in the line} Nc3+ 33. bxc3 Bxg2 {White can win a central pawn back} 34.
Rxe5 Rxh2 35. Re2 {with chances of survival, say} Rh1+ 36. Kb2 Bd5 37. Qf4 {
The threat Qf4-g5 is annoying, to say at least.}) 32... Nc3+ 33. Qxc3 Bxg2 34.
Qc8+ Ke7 35. Qg8 {Diagram [#]} Qf2 $1 {A cold shower. The attack is over
before it began.} ({Ivan was obviously hoping for something like} 35... Rxh2
36. Qxg7 Bh3 37. Rxe5+ dxe5 38. Qxe5+ Kf8 39. Qxh2 Bxf5 {when White is
definitely not worse.}) 36. Rd1 (36. Rxe5+ dxe5 37. Qxh7 Kf6 {is hopeless for
White who cannot co-ordinate his pieces.}) 36... Be4 $1 {One more subtle move.}
37. Rd2 ({Ivan probably missed that in the line} 37. Qxh7 {Black is not forced
to capture on c2 with the queen, but can play} Bxc2+ $1 ({Rather than} 37...
Qxc2+ 38. Ka2 Qxd1 39. Qh4+ {that wns a piece for White.}) 38. Kc1 Bxf5 {and
wins.}) 37... Qg1+ 38. Ka2 Bxf5 {Giri stabilized the situation and went on to
convert the extra pawns.} 39. Qb8 Rh6 40. Rd5 Bd7 41. Qb7 Qg4 42. Na5 {Diagram
[#] The last chace for some tricks but...} Kf6 $1 {This brave king won the
game.} (42... Rxh2 43. Qc7 Rxc2 $1 44. Qxc2 Qe6 45. Qb3 Qxd5 $1 46. Qxd5 Be6 {
wins as well, but why to complicate things?!}) 43. b3 (43. Rxd6+ Be6+ 44. Nb3
Rxh2 {is equally hopeless.}) 43... Rxh2 44. Rxd6+ Be6 45. Kb2 Qf4 46. Nc6 Rh1
47. Qe7+ Kf5 {An excellent game by Anish who risked greatly but achieved an
important win!} 0-1



Report by Peter Doggers here.

21.1.15

A Sudden OCB Attack

The Tata Steel tournament keeps on producing games of very high quality. The following encounter demonstrated excellent defensive skills by both the players. At least until a moment when Black erred. Then Radjabov finished the game in a great attacking style in the endgame,
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.01.18"]
[Round "8.7"]
[White "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Black "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2734"]
[BlackElo "2744"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "117"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:07"]
[BlackClock "0:03:23"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 {The main idea of
this line is to achieve an improved version of the Fianchettoe line with an
extra tempo for White (g2-g4 in one go instead of g2-g3 first).} e5 7. Nde2 b5
{Not the most common reaction for Black. But since Wojtaszek is one of the
leading specialist in the Najdorf this move is definitely worth a try!} ({Both
the developing moves} 7... Be7) (7... Be6) ({Or the restricting} 7... h5 {are
more popular than the text move.}) 8. Bg5 {Radjabov chooses a rare, but very
logical line in return. The d5 square is a magnet for the white pieces.} ({The
main move is} 8. g4 Bb7 9. Bg2 Nbd7 (9... h6 10. Be3 Nbd7 11. Qd2 {Mamedyarov,
S (2728)-Sadvakasov,D (2596) Astana 2006}) 10. a4 b4 11. Nd5 Nxd5 12. exd5 Qa5
{Inarkiev,E (2682)-Adly,A (2594) Dubai 2014}) 8... Nbd7 9. Nd5 {White is
willing to trade pretty much every single light piece except for the black
dark-squared bishop.} Bb7 10. Nec3 Rc8 {A cunning idea.} ({White is slightly
better after} 10... Be7 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. Nxf6+ Bxf6 13. a4 b4 14. Nd5 {when
both the positions with a knight versus a dark-squared bishop or pure opposite
colored bishops are favourable for him.}) 11. Nxf6+ ({Radek's idea becomes
clear in the line} 11. a4 b4 12. Bxf6 Nxf6 13. Nxf6+ Qxf6 14. Nd5 Qg6 $1 {
which looks awkward for the first player.}) 11... Nxf6 12. a4 $1 {It makes
sense to create some weaknesses before occupying the d5 square.} b4 13. Nd5 Be7
$1 {Black sacrifices a pawn. The alternatives are not appealing:} (13... Bxd5
$6 {leads to the above-mentioned opposite colored bishop position} 14. Bxf6
Qxf6 15. Qxd5 Rxc2 16. Qa8+ Qd8 17. Qxa6 Be7 18. Bb5+ Kf8 19. O-O {which White
would love to have.}) (13... a5 $2 {is simply bad due to} 14. Bb5+ Bc6 15. Bxf6
gxf6 16. O-O {with strategically won position for White- superior minor piece,
better pawn structure, bad king, etc...}) 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Nxb4 {Radjabov
accepts the challenge.} ({The line} 15. b3 O-O 16. Bc4 a5 17. O-O Bg5 {leads
to equality.}) 15... O-O ({Naturally, not} 15... Bxe4 16. Bxa6 Rc5 17. Bb5+)
16. c3 $146 {Diagram [#] I need to bitterly disappoint you. All of this have
been previously played and the pawn sacrifice is not original. The strong move
in the game though is a novelty.} ({An important improvement. White reacted
poorly in the predecessing game} 16. Bd3 $6 Qb6 17. Qd2 a5 18. Na2 Qxb2 (18...
d5 $1 {was even better}) 19. O-O Qd4 20. Qxa5 Bxe4 {with advantage for Black
in Milovanovic,R (2399)-Sadvakasov,D (2605) Minneapolis 2005}) 16... Bxe4 17.
Bxa6 Rc5 {There is no time to digest the g pawn} (17... Bxg2 $2 18. Rg1 Bxh3
19. Qf3 $1 Be6 20. Bxc8 Bxc8 {normally would be a nice sacrifice of an
exchange if it was not the loose position of the black bishop on f6} 21. Nc6
Bb7 22. Rg3 $1 {the queen is now hanging and Black has to part with his bishop
pair} (22. Nxd8 $2 Bxf3) 22... Bxc6 23. Qxc6 {White is much better.}) 18. O-O
Ba8 {As a result of the opening battle White won a pawn but Black has distinct
compensation for it- a hefty bishop pair and central majority.} (18... Qa8 {
was another way to search for compensation} 19. Qg4 Be7) 19. Re1 {Now both the
players skillfully maneuver. Wojtaszek tries to advance his pawns in the
center and on the kingside while Radjabov carefully prevents this plan.} d5 20.
Bf1 ({Also interesting is} 20. Bb5 e4 21. Nc2 Be5 22. Nd4) 20... e4 21. Nc2 Be5
22. Nd4 Bb8 {One idea is to create a battery, another to advance the f pawn.}
23. g3 $1 ({Or else Black may advance the f pawn} 23. Qd2 f5 24. Ne6 $4 Qd6)
23... Qb6 24. Qe2 $1 {Diagram [#] Once more excellent profilaxys!} ({Teimour
should never allow the f7-f5 advance, as then f5-f4 will immediately follow
and the white position will fall appart on the dark squares.} 24. Qd2 f5) 24...
Rcc8 {The consequences of the direct assault are of a paramount importance for
the evaluation of the position. After the critical} (24... f5 {White has} 25.
Qa6 Qxb2 {and the fantastic resource} 26. Red1 $3 ({But not the tempting} 26.
Ne6 Bxg3 $1 27. fxg3 Rc6 28. Qb5 Qxb5 29. axb5 Rxe6) (26. Qxa8 Bxg3 27. Qxf8+
Kxf8 28. fxg3 Rxc3 {if anyone is better here, it is not White.}) 26... f4 {The
other tries do not work neither} (26... e3 27. Qe6+ Kh8 28. Qxe3 f4 29. Qe7) (
26... Qxc3 $2 27. Rac1 Qxc1 28. Rxc1 Rxc1 29. Qxa8) (26... Rxc3 27. Qxa8) 27.
Rab1 Qxc3 28. Rb3 Qa5 29. Ne6 {in all these lines White has the upper hand.})
25. a5 Qg6 26. Qg4 $1 Qh6 27. h4 $1 {[%cal Gg4g5] Very well played. Radjabov
will soon trade the queens.} Kh8 28. Qg5 Qd6 29. Nf5 Qe5 30. f4 $1 h6 31. Qxh6+
gxh6 32. fxe5 Bxe5 33. Be2 {As a result of his excellent strategy, Teimour
managed to trade the queens and took away one of Black's trumps- the possible
kingside attack. However, converting the advantage is far from easy.} Rb8 34.
Ra2 (34. Reb1 Bc6) 34... Kh7 35. Rd1 (35. a6 $1 {was more precise} Rg8 36. a7
Rb7 37. Kf2 {with excellent winning chances.}) 35... Rb3 ({Black couls also
sacrifice a second pawn} 35... d4 36. cxd4 Bd5 37. Raa1 Bf6) 36. Kf2 Rfb8 37.
Rd2 Kg6 $1 38. Ne7+ Kf6 39. Nxd5+ Bxd5 40. Rxd5 Rxb2 41. Rxb2 Rxb2 42. Ke3 {It
was Wojtaszek's turn to defend and he did it greatly as usual. The Polish GM
is one of the best defenders in the world.} (42. c4 Rb3 43. g4 Ra3 {is most
likely a draw.}) 42... Bxg3 (42... Bxc3 43. a6) 43. a6 {Diagram [#]} Bh2 $2 {
BBut this is wrong. Black could have drawn with} (43... Rc2 $1 44. Bb5 (44. Bc4
Rxc3+) 44... Rxc3+ 45. Kxe4 Ra3 {in this case the white bishop will not reach
the a2-f7 diagonal. All Black will need is to trade the rooks and sacrifice
the bishop for the a pawn.}) 44. Bc4 $1 {Suddenly, Radjabov creates an attack
which is usually unstoppable in the opposite colored bishop endgames!} Rc2 45.
Kxe4 Rxc3 46. Rf5+ Kg7 47. Rxf7+ Kg6 48. Bd5 Bg1 49. Rf1 Bc5 50. Ke5 Ra3 51.
Rf6+ Kh5 52. Rf4 Kg6 {The pawn is poisoned} (52... Rxa6 53. Bf7+ Rg6 54. Kf5
Be3 55. Bxg6#) 53. Rg4+ Kh7 (53... Kh5 $4 54. Kf5 {is instant mate.}) 54. Be4+
Kh8 55. Rg6 h5 56. Rc6 Bf8 57. Kf6 {Diagram [#] Total domination! The light
squares are undefendable.} Kg8 58. Bd5+ Kh7 59. Kf7 {A game with plenty of
content in which both the players skillfully defended when needed. Wojtaszek
committed only one mistake in the endgame and this was enough for Radjabov to
create deadly attack. Never underestimate the opposite colored bishops!} (59.
Kf7 Ra5 (59... Bb4 60. Be4+ Kh8 61. Rh6#) 60. Be4+ Kh8 61. Rc8 (61. Kxf8 Rxa6
$1 62. Rxa6)) 1-0



Report.

20.1.15

Drama

Not all the Grandmaster games are completely logical. Even those at the top level. GMs remain human beings no matter how high their ratings are and this sometimes prevents them from conducting the game to a logical outcome.
As in the following game from round seven of the Tata Steel tournament.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.01.17"]
[Round "7.2"]
[White "Ding, Liren"]
[Black "Van Wely, Loek"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2732"]
[BlackElo "2667"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "157"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:10:36"]
[BlackClock "0:01:17"]

1. c4 {White is playing the Sicilian Defense reversed.} c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3
Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nc7 7. O-O e5 {And Black does the Maroczy
bind on his turn.} 8. a3 {Since White has an extra tempo, he can afford more
things. Cncretely to attack the center with the move b2-b4!} Be7 ({A modern
way to prevent the b2-b4 advance is} 8... Rb8 {a move we discussed not long
time ago with Alex Yermolinsky at one of the chess.com TV shows. The idea is
that after} 9. b4 cxb4 10. axb4 Bxb4 {(a line in which once felt the Serbian
GM Bogosavljevic) Whie cannot win the pawn back with the typical trick} 11.
Nxe5 $2 Nxe5 12. Qa4+ Nc6 13. Bxc6+ bxc6 {[%csl Rb4][%cal Rb8b4] as the bishop
on b4 is defended.}) 9. b4 O-O {King's Loek concept is very simple and
effective. Finish the development and let White prove that they can actually
challenge the black center.} (9... cxb4 10. axb4 Bxb4 $2 {makes no sense now
due to} 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. Qa4+ Nc6 13. Bxc6+ bxc6 14. Qxb4 {with large
advantage for White.}) 10. Rb1 ({White can try} 10. bxc5 Bxc5 11. Bb2 {this
frees the center a bit, but allows time to Black to regroup conveniently with}
Re8 12. Rc1 Bf8 {and level the game, Kramnik,V (2781)-Timofeev,A (2665) Moscow
2011}) 10... cxb4 $146 {Diagram [#] This simple move is a novelty. Black had
only tested} (10... Bf5 {previously, obviously not willing to give up the
central control. After} 11. d3 c4 12. e4 {was tried by White} ({However, the
immediate} 12. b5 Na5 13. Qa4 Ne6 14. Nd5 $5 {might be stronger as pointed by
the engines, with the idea} Qxd5 15. Nh4 e4 16. dxc4 Qc5 17. Nxf5 Qxf5 18. Qxa5
{with a solid extra pawn for White.}) 12... Be6 13. b5 Na5 14. d4 {with
initiative for White in the game Lalic,B (2500)-Izeta Txabarri,F (2340) Palma
de Mallorca 1989}) 11. axb4 b5 {The point. Van Wely blocks the b4 pawn and
slowly builds his play around it. This is a typical idea for the hedgehog.} 12.
Bb2 ({The tricks favor Black} 12. Nxe5 $2 Nxe5 13. Bxa8 Nxa8) (12. d4 $2 exd4
13. Nxd4 Qxd4 14. Bxc6 $2 Qxc3 {and wins}) 12... Bf5 13. Rc1 {The threat is
Nc3xb5.} Rc8 {Overprotects the knight on c6 and lets the rook stay clear of
the fianchettoes bishop on g2. Black had comfortably levelled the chances.} 14.
d3 Qd7 15. Nb1 {A crafty idea.} ({The more active} 15. Ne4 {bocks the white
bishop and after} Ne6 16. Nc5 Nxc5 17. bxc5 Qe6 {the black pawns on the
queenside are obviously more mobile than the white ones in the center.}) 15...
Na6 $1 {Loek is alert.} ({The natural defense} 15... f6 $2 {suddenly loses to}
16. Rxc6 $1 Qxc6 17. Nd4 Qd7 18. Bc6 $1 {and if} Qd6 19. Nxf5 Qxc6 20. Nxe7+)
16. Bxe5 ({The line} 16. Nxe5 Nxe5 17. Bxe5 Nxb4 18. Nc3 {leaves the white
bishop exposed on e5.}) ({Most likely Ding should have opted for} 16. Nc3 Naxb4
17. Nxb5 Rb8 {with approximate equality.}) ({Or} 16. Na3) 16... Naxb4 17. Bb2
Rfd8 {A peculiar position. It seems as White's central superiority should
count more than Black's one on the queenside. However, since van Wely has
strong pressure along the half-open d file Ding Liren has no time to start
pushing the pawns.} 18. Nc3 (18. e4 $2 {creates a weakness on d3.} Bg6) ({While
} 18. d4 $2 {comically self-traps the white rook after} Na2) 18... a6 {In the
next moves Black confidently outplays his opponent.} 19. Ra1 Bh3 20. Bxh3 Qxh3
21. Qd2 Qf5 {The threat is Nb4xd3.} 22. Kg2 ({Say} 22. Rab1 $2 Nxd3 23. exd3
Qxf3) 22... a5 23. Ne4 Nd5 (23... a4 {looks also very nice for Black.}) 24.
Rfc1 a4 25. Kg1 h6 {The logical play gave Black large advantage. Ding Liren
further weakens his position with the next move.} 26. h4 $6 Bb4 27. Qd1 {
Diagram [#]} Bf8 {King Loek misses a good chance.} ({Strong was} 27... Qd7 {
with the threat f7-f5-f4! If} 28. Nc5 Qa7 29. Ne4 a3 {is strong} ({Or again}
29... f5 {In either case White is in trouble.})) 28. Rcb1 Nb6 (28... Qd7 $1)
29. Bc1 Nc4 30. Nc3 Bb4 31. Na2 Be7 32. Nc3 Bb4 33. Na2 Be7 34. Nc3 Nb4 {Van
Wely does not find a concrete plan but continues to play for a win.} 35. Kg2 (
35. Bf4 {was better although Black is much better here as well.}) 35... Na5 {
One more miss for Black.} ({After} 35... Ne5 $1 36. Nxe5 Qxe5 {the white
knight on c3 is trapped!} 37. Ne4 (37. Na2 Nxa2 38. Rxa2 Qd5+) (37. Bd2 Rxc3
38. Bxc3 Qxc3) 37... Qxe4+ 38. dxe4 Rxd1 {Black wins.}) 36. Bd2 Nb3 37. Rxb3
axb3 38. Rb1 {Black had won the exchange and is very close to the win.} Nc6 {
The third and last clear miss. The combo} (38... Nxd3 $1 39. exd3 Rxc3 40. Bxc3
Rxd3 41. Bd2 Rxf3 {would have wrapped the game home.}) 39. e4 Qh5 (39... Qc5 {
was better}) 40. Nd5 {Ding managed to stabilize the situation and Loek looks
for a way to retain the initiative.} Rxd5 41. exd5 Qxd5 42. Qxb3 Qxb3 43. Rxb3
b4 {Black is still better thanks to the outside passed pawn.} 44. Kf1 f6 45.
Rb1 Kf7 {Brings the king in the game.} 46. Ra1 Rb8 47. Be3 b3 48. Nd2 b2 ({A
more logical follow up was} 48... Ke6 49. Rb1 Na5 50. Ke2 Kd5) 49. Rb1 f5 50.
Nc4 Bf6 51. Bc5 Bc3 ({The last winning attempt was connected with the
computer-study idea} 51... Ra8 $5 {Very strong with the idea} 52. Nxb2 Rb8 53.
d4 {Diagram [#]} Rb3 $3 {when White has nothing to move.} 54. Kg2 (54. Ke2
Nxd4+ 55. Kd2 Nb5 56. Kc2 Rc3+ 57. Kd2 Rxc5) 54... Nb8 $1 {Try finding this
idea over the board!} 55. Kh3 Na6 56. Bd6 Nb4 57. Bc5 Nd3 58. Nxd3 Rxb1 {when
Black's chances for a win are quite resonable.}) 52. Ke2 Nb4 53. d4 Ke6 $4 {
Hallucination. Van Wely forgot that his king is not yet there.} (53... Nd5 54.
Kd3 Ke6 {would be equal.}) 54. Bxb4 Bxb4 ({Alas,} 54... Rxb4 55. Kd3 {traps
the bishop as} Be1 56. Rxe1+ {is taken with a check.}) 55. Rxb2 {Tables have
turned and it is White who has the advantage. The frustrated Loek van Wely
loses without much chances.} g5 56. h5 g4 57. Kd3 Bd6 58. Re2+ Kd7 59. Ne3 Rf8
60. Ra2 f4 (60... Ke6 61. Nc4 Bb8 (61... Rb8 62. Ra6) 62. Ra6+) 61. Nxg4 fxg3
62. fxg3 Bxg3 63. Nxh6 Rf4 64. Rg2 Bf2 65. Rg4 Rf3+ 66. Ke2 Rf8 67. Re4 Kd6 68.
Ng4 Bg1 69. Kd3 Rf3+ 70. Kc4 Ra3 71. h6 Ra4+ 72. Kc3 Ra3+ 73. Kb4 Rh3 74. Kc4
Rh4 75. d5 Be3 $2 76. Nf6 Rh3 (76... Rxe4+ 77. Nxe4+ Kd7 78. h7) 77. Re6+ Kc7
78. d6+ Kb7 79. d7 {Van Wely outplayed his strong opponent but was imprecise
in the detail when converting the advantage. The stubborness of the Chinese
star Ding Liren was rewarded by a ful point and he is now half point short of
the leaders.} 1-0



Report.

18.1.15

Revenge

In September Fabiano Caruana stole the show from the world champion in Saint Louis. He not only won the tournament, but he also defeated Magnus in their personal mini-match and created history with the unthinkable start 7/7.
The new year came though and Magnus Carlsen got the chance for a revenge in Wijk aan Zee.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.01.16"]
[Round "6.4"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2820"]
[BlackElo "2862"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:02"]
[BlackClock "0:20:17"]

1. e4 {The games between the actual number one and two in the world are always
epic battles. Fabiano Caruana is one of the most unpleasant opponents for
the current world champion and his outstanding performance at the Sinquefield
cup in September established him as Magnus Carlsen's main rival at the moment.
Quite understandably, the world champion would use every single opportunity to
prove who is the boss in his kingdom.} c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 {Fabiano decided
not to continue the theoretical dispute from their last game where the
Accelarated Dragon took place} (3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 d6 7. f3
Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Bg7 9. Be3 O-O 10. Qd2 {Caruana,F (2801)-Carlsen,M (2877) Saint
Louis 2014}) 3... g6 {Surprise! The last time Carlsen played this was back in
2005. The two big C's have tested another move in their personal encounter} (
3... Nf6 4. Nc3 e5 5. O-O d6 6. d3 Be7 7. Bg5 O-O 8. Bxf6 Bxf6 {Caruana,F
(2774)-Carlsen,M (2864) Moscow 2013}) 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d3 Bg7 6. h3 Nf6 7. Nc3
b6 {A slightly unusual move order. In most of the cases Black starts his
typical regrouping with the one of the following moves} (7... e5 {not fearing}
8. Nxe5 Nxe4) ({Or} 7... Nd7) 8. Be3 {One of the reasons why Black avoids the
early b7-b6 move is that White can go for the active} (8. Bf4 Nd7 9. Qd2 {Then
when Black plays} h6 {he might have trouble castling short at least for the
time being. I wonder how Carlsen would have answered this. Possibly} ({Now}
9... e5 {would be answered} 10. Bh6) 10. a3 (10. O-O {is another move}) 10...
e5 11. Be3 Qe7 {with the idea Nd7-f8-e6 as in Chadaev,N (2574)-Alekseev,E
(2691) Irkutsk 2010 Indeed, in this game Bc1-f4 did not prove dangerous at all
for Black.}) 8... e5 {Hmmm. Is this really happening?} 9. O-O {Yes, it is and
it seems as a moment have been missed here by Caruana! If in the previous line
the capture on e5 was innocuous, now with the extra moves Bc1-e3 and b7-b6
moves added it has much more venom inside} (9. Nxe5 $1 {Diagram [#] seems
strong and was tried by Macieja roughly twenty years ago} Nxe4 10. Qf3 {and now
} {Alternatively} Bxe5 (10... f5 {can be met with} 11. Bf4 ({And} 11. O-O-O {
deserves attention as well} Nxc3 12. Qxc6+ Bd7 13. Nxd7 Rc8 14. Qe6+ Qe7 15.
Qxe7+ Kxe7 16. bxc3 Kxd7 17. Kd2 {with solid extra pawn for White}) 11... Qe7
12. Nxc6 (12. dxe4 {might be even better} Bxe5 13. O-O-O) 12... Qe6 13. dxe4
Qxc6 14. Nd5 {with advantage for White in Macieja,B (2430)-Pyda,Z (2305)
Polanica Zdroj 1996}) 11. Qxe4 f6 12. f4 ({Or} 12. Bf4 O-O 13. Bxe5 Re8 14.
O-O-O Rxe5 15. Qxc6) 12... Bf5 13. Qxc6+ Bd7 14. Qd5 {also wins a pawn for
White. Did they both miss this opportunity, or there is something deep that I
do not see?}) 9... O-O 10. a3 Qe7 {Now we are back to a more conventional
position. White's chances are connected with the b2-b4 and f2-f4 advances,
while Black is trying to establish a knight on d4 after say Rf8-e8 followed by
Nf6-d7-f8-e6-d4. If the latter happens he will have indisputable advantage,
therefore White needs to hurry.} 11. Qb1 $146 {Diagram [#]} ({A novelty in
comparison to the game of my former teammate Valentin Fougerit where he placed
his queen under a tempo} 11. Qe2 $6 {and after} Nh5 12. Rfb1 Nf4 13. Qd2 Ne6 {
Black was better, Fougerit,V (2233)-Desbonnes,S (2332) France 2009}) 11... Nh5
12. b4 f5 $5 {Carlsen chooses a risky strategy and is ready to sacrifice his
queen's flank.} (12... Nf4 $5 {seems more solid when after} 13. bxc5 bxc5 14.
Qb3 Ne6 15. Qc4 Re8 $5 {Black seems to have good play. For example} ({Better
than the immediate} 15... Nd4 16. Bxd4 cxd4 17. Qxc6 Be6 18. Nd5 Bxd5 19. Qxd5
Rac8) 16. Na4 Nd4 17. Bxd4 cxd4 {with the idea} 18. Qxc6 Bd7 19. Qa6 Rec8 {
with obvious compensation for the pawn.}) 13. bxc5 {Caruana also chooses a
risky strategy and allows the f5-f4 advance!} ({It is generally desirable to
trade the pawns first} 13. exf5 cxb4 (13... e4 $2 {does not even create a
threat} 14. dxe4 Bxc3 15. Qb3+) 14. axb4 Bxf5 15. Ng5 Nf4 16. Nge4 {but this
position seems easier for Black to play.}) 13... f4 14. Bd2 bxc5 15. Qb3+ ({
The other way of attacking the pawn allows the set up with Rb8-b5 after} 15.
Na4 Be6 ({But not} 15... c4 16. Bb4 $1) 16. Qb2 Rab8 ({Here} 16... Rac8 {would
be too slow} 17. Qc3 g5 18. Qxc5 Qf6 19. Bc3 {and Black's positon falls apart.}
) 17. Qc3 Rb5 {and it is difficult to make progress as White, for example} (
17... c4 $5) 18. Rab1 Bf6 {and if} 19. Rxb5 $2 cxb5 20. Nxc5 $2 Rc8 {traps the
knight.}) 15... Be6 16. Qa4 {Diagram [#] The plans of both sides are clear.
Fabiano will win the weak pawns on the queenside sooner or later, Magnus will
open up the white king on the other wing. The question is who is faster.} Rac8
(16... Qd7 {looks more frightening with the idea} 17. Ng5 ({However, White can
react with} 17. Kh2 $1 {which stops the sacrifice on h3 and now Black can no
longer advance on the kingside.}) 17... f3 $1 18. Nxf3 Rxf3 $1 19. gxf3 Rf8 {
and very strong attack.}) 17. Qa5 g5 ({The tempting} 17... c4 {weakens the
diagonal and White can play} 18. Na4 $1 {which stops} g5 ({Alternatively} 18...
c5 {allows} 19. Rab1 (19. Bc3) 19... g5 20. Qa6 g4 21. Rb7 {with initiative})
19. Bb4 $1) 18. Na4 g4 19. hxg4 ({Or} 19. Qxc5 Qf6 20. hxg4 Bxg4 {which
transposes into the game}) 19... Bxg4 20. Qxc5 Qf6 {Diagram [#] The
culmination of the battle. Fabiano won a pawn but has to stop the ferocious
attack of the world champion.} 21. Nh2 $6 {And the way that he does it is not
the most precise one.} ({Better was} 21. Rfe1 Qg6 (21... Bxf3 22. gxf3 {[%cal
Gf1e2,Gg1f1]}) 22. Kf1 {with the idea Kf1-e2 saveguarding the king. Then White
can continue his play on the queenside and this seems advantageous for him!})
21... f3 $1 {Magnus takes his chance.} 22. Nxg4 Qg6 23. Qe7 $1 {The only move.
White gets checkmated after} (23. Ne3 $2 Nf4 24. g3 {The alternatives are no
better} (24. Rfe1 Nxg2 25. Nf1 Nf4+ 26. Ng3 Qg4 $1) (24. Rfb1 Ne2+ 25. Kf1 Qh5
26. gxf3 Nd4 $19) 24... Ne2+ 25. Kh2 Qh5#) 23... fxg2 $1 ({White is OK after}
23... Qxg4 24. Qg5 Qxg5 25. Bxg5) 24. Rfb1 Qxg4 25. Qg5 $1 {Once more an only
move as otherwise the black queen will mate.} Qe2 26. Qe3 ({A small
demonstration of Black's attacking potential is the line} 26. Be3 Nf4 27. Bxf4
Rxf4 28. Qg3 Qh5 {and wins.}) 26... Qg4 27. Qg5 ({White cannot avoid repetition
} 27. Nc5 $4 Nf4 $1) 27... Qxg5 $1 {But Black can!} 28. Bxg5 Nf4 29. Bxf4 $2 {
It seems as White's trouble should be left behind with the queen swap, but
Carlsen finds strong attacking resources in the endgame too.} ({The most
resilent defense was} 29. Kh2 h6 30. Bh4 h5 31. Rg1 Bf6 32. Bg3 Kf7 {although
Black is calling the shots here as well.}) 29... exf4 30. Kxg2 {There is no
other way. After} (30. Ra2 $2 f3 {Black threatens to shift a rook on the h
file.}) (30. c3 $2 {is bad due} f3 31. d4 Rf4 32. Kh2 Rxe4) 30... f3+ 31. Kf1 (
{According to the computer the most resilent defense is} 31. Kh3 {but I doubt
that Caruana would have saved the game after} Bxa1 32. Rxa1) (31. Kg3 {is
worse in comparison to Kg2-h3 due to} Bxa1 32. Rxa1 Rc7 $1) 31... Rf4 $3 {
Diagram [#] A grand champion's move! Instead of trading the bishop for the
useless rook, Magnus creates decisve attack in the endgame.} (31... Bxa1 32.
Rxa1 h5 33. Ke1 {was what Fabiano was hoping for with serious chances for
survival.}) 32. c3 ({Or} 32. Ke1 Rd8 33. Ra2 Rh4 34. Kd2 ({Checkmate is
inevitable after} 34. Rb7 Bh6 $1) 34... Rxe4 {and Black wins}) 32... Rd8 33. d4
Bh6 (33... Rxe4 {should also do.}) 34. Ke1 Rxe4+ 35. Kd1 c5 $1 {It's over.
Black wins material and the game.} 36. Kc2 cxd4 37. Kd3 Re2 38. c4 Rxf2 39. Rd1
Re2 {A nice game by the world champion who risked but did not stop attacking
until the very end!} 0-1



Report.

17.1.15

Carlsen back in Business

The fifth round of Tata Steel tournament saw one of the main clashes in the event. The world champion Magnus Carlsen managed to outplay the former world's second rated player Levon Aronian in a game which was not quite typical for this level.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.01.15"]
[Round "5.6"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2862"]
[BlackElo "2797"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:54:10"]
[BlackClock "0:50:55"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 {The Ragozin line should not have been
a surprise for either of the players as they have already tested it twice in
Stavanger last year.} 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 {In both their previous
games Carlsen chose} (7. Bh4 {when the blitz saw} g5 ({While in the classical
game the Norwegian uncorked a very interesting novelty after} 7... Nbd7 8. e3
g5 9. Bg3 Ne4 10. Nd2 Nxg3 11. fxg3 $5 $146 {Carlsen,M (2881)-Aronian,L (2815)
Stavanger 2014}) 8. Bg3 Ne4 9. Nd2 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Bxc3 11. Rc1 Bb2 12. Rxc7 Na6
13. Rc2 Bxd4 {with compensation for the sacrificed pawn, Carlsen,M (2881)
-Aronian,L (2815) Flor & Fjaere 2014}) 7... Qxf6 8. Qa4+ Nc6 9. e3 O-O 10. Be2
Be6 11. O-O a6 12. Rfc1 Bd6 13. Qd1 {Diagram [#] A typical Carlsbad pawn
structure had arosen where the plans of both sides are crystal clear. White
will conduct the minority attack on the queenside and Black should try and
checkmate on the opposite wing.} Ne7 14. a3 ({White can start maneuvering with
the knight at once with} 14. Na4 b6 15. b4 g5 16. Nb2 Ng6 17. Nd3 {but if you
have noticed Black already has some play on the kingside, which proved enough
to hold the balance after} a5 18. b5 Rfe8 19. Rc3 h5 {in the game Roiz,M (2668)
-Tomashevsky,E (2710) Saratov 2011}) 14... Rfd8 15. b4 Nc8 $146 {The novelty.
Black often likes to transfer the knight on c4 in the Carlsbad. By doing this,
he blocks the half open c file thus protecting the c pawn itself. If White
ttrades on c4, then Black will have a good defended passeron that square.} ({
Black can also proceed with the kingside play instead} 15... Bf5 16. Na4 a5 17.
b5 g5 {as Tomashevsky did in the game above, Pogorelov,R (2459)-Garcia Vicente,
N (2214) Balaguer 2008}) 16. Na4 b6 $6 {Levon stopped on the half-way. He
probably disliked the position after} (16... b5 17. Nc5 Nb6 18. a4 ({In case of
} 18. Nb7 Rdb8 19. Nxd6 cxd6 {the doubled pawn on d6 will cover the vital e5
and c5 points.}) 18... Nxa4 19. Nxa4 bxa4 20. Rxa4 Rab8 21. Ne1 Bxb4 22. Nd3 {
Indeed, there is a strategical risk that Black loses the c pawn and the game
and it is yet hard to asses if this will happen in the next 10-20 moves. But
then, what was the move 15...Nc8 for?!}) 17. Nb2 $1 Ne7 18. Nd3 {White is some
tempoes ahead in comarison to Roiz-Tomashevsky and as Carlsen explained in the
press conferense Black's attempts to create counter play will create too many
weaknesses in his camp. he white knight is optimally placed on d3 both
threatening to occupy the e5 square and supporting the b pawn advance.} Ng6 19.
a4 {With the threat of a4-a5 that will also fix a weakness on c7 but will as
well make the a6 pawn a target. Levon chooses the lesser evil.} a5 20. b5 {But
now the c7 pawn is a permanent pain. This position is very unpleasant for
Black. The bishop pair is not particulary strong, on the contrary-in the semi
closed positions it is much better to have knights. The pawn on c7 clues the
bishop on the d6 square, thus turning the d5 pawn into a weakness.} Re8 21. Rc3
Bf5 22. Rac1 Rad8 {Diagram [#] Magnus suggested the more subtle} (22... Re7 23.
Nd2 Rae8 {which would have saved Black some tempi.}) 23. Nd2 {Magnus wants to
play g2-g3 to kill all the black play on the kingside and bring the bishop on
f3. However, the immediate} (23. g3 {has a tactical flaw} Bg4 {and if} 24. Nd2
$2 Bxe2 25. Qxe2 Qxd4 $1 {wins a pawn for the second player (Carlsen).}) 23...
Rd7 ({The opposite colored bishops will not bring Black any relief. After}
23... Bxd3 24. Bxd3 Nf8 {or else While will chop this knight off the board.}
25. g3 {Whihte will mount pressure by bringing the bishop on the long diagonal,
the rook on c6 and the knight eventually on c3.}) 24. g3 (24. Bg4 {was already
interesting.}) 24... Nf8 25. Bg4 $1 {The trades are favorable for White who
will get an easier access to the d5 pawn.} Nh7 26. Bxf5 Qxf5 27. Qf3 Qg5 ({In
the endgame after} 27... Qxf3 28. Nxf3 {White can put the rook on c6, one of
the knights on c3 and the other on f4. Any time Black swaps off the bishop,
the c7 pawn will be lost.}) 28. h4 Qe7 29. Rc6 {Magnus calmly improves his
position.} ({The capture is no good yet} 29. Qxd5 Ba3) 29... Nf6 30. Nf4 $6 {
Levon tries to bail out with tactics but as often happens this makes things
even worse. Still, it is very hard to suggest something constructive for Black.
} g6 {Diagram [#]} 31. h5 $1 ({As Carlsen pointed out at the press conference,
the pawn is not yet yummie} 31. Nxd5 $6 Nxd5 32. Qxd5 Ba3 33. Rxg6+ Kh7 34.
Rxh6+ $6 ({Better is} 34. Rxc7 Rxd5 35. Rxe7 Bxe7 36. Rxb6 {with absolutely
crazy position.}) 34... Kxh6 35. Rc6+ Rd6 $17) 31... Kg7 ({In case of} 31... g5
32. Nxd5 $1 {things work well for White!} Nxd5 33. Qxd5 {The main line runs}
Ba3 ({Or} 33... Bxg3 34. Qf3 ({There is no need to allow any tactics} 34. Qf5
Bxf2+ 35. Qxf2 Qxe3 36. Qxe3 Rxe3 {although White should be better here as
well.}) 34... Bd6 35. Nc4 {with strategically won position for White.}) 34. Qf5
Bxc1 35. Rxh6 $1 {and White checkmates (Carlsen)} Qd8 (35... Ba3 36. Qh7+ Kf8
37. Qh8#) (35... Qb4 36. Qxg5+ Kf8 37. Rh8#) (35... f6 36. Qg6+ Qg7 37. Qxe8+)
36. Qh7+ Kf8 37. Qh8+ Ke7 38. Qe5+ Kf8 39. Rh8#) (31... Bxf4 {does not help
neither due to} 32. Qxf4 Nxh5 33. Qxh6 {[%cal Gd2f3,Gf3e5] with Nd2-f3-e5 to
follow (Carlsen)}) 32. hxg6 fxg6 33. Nxd5 Nxd5 34. Qxd5 Bxg3 ({Once more
tactics helps strategy in the line} 34... Ba3 35. Qxd7 $1 Qxd7 36. Rxc7 {
(Carlsen)}) 35. Qg2 Bd6 36. Nc4 {Diagram [#] The knight got an access to the
c4 square. Next, Magnus will trade it for the bishop and one of the pawns on
c7 or b6 will fall and with it the Black position.} Rf8 {This makes things
easier for White.} 37. Ne5 $1 Bxe5 38. Qxg6+ Kh8 39. Qxh6+ Kg8 40. dxe5 Qxe5
41. Rg6+ Kf7 42. Rc4 Qa1+ 43. Kg2 Rh8 44. Rf4+ Ke8 45. Re6+ Re7 46. Rxe7+ Kxe7
47. Re4+ {Diagram [#] Some of Aronian's decisions in this game are hard to
explain but Carlsen's play to prove him wrong was perfect.} ({Levon resigned
due to the lines} 47. Re4+ Kd8 (47... Kd7 48. Rd4+ Qxd4 49. Qc6+) 48. Rd4+ Qxd4
49. Qg5+) 1-0



Aronian keep struggling with himself. Full report.