Adams Starts Strong in London

After days filled with rapid and blitz action the London Classics treats us with the main dish.
I decided to annotate the only decisive game for you.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "6th London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2014.12.10"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C90"]
[WhiteElo "2745"]
[BlackElo "2829"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "145"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 {Michael Adams is one of the few top players who sticks to this
aggressive move mainly.} e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 {Good news. Fabiano Caruana
prefers play with more pieces on the board. This decision might be influenced
by the fact that Adams was revealed as Carlsen's secret weapon in Sochi, where
there were plenty of Berlins. Decisive Berlins actually.} 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7
6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. d3 {The Anti Marshall is another good sign for the
viewers. Both the sides keep their options wide open, even though there is no
immediate central clash.} d6 9. c3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. Nbd2 Nc6 12. Nf1 h6 {
[%csl Rd5,Yf6,Rg5,Gh6][%cal Gh7h6,Ge7f8,Gf8e8,Yc1g5] A small subtlety. Fabiano
excludes the option Bc1-g5xf6 after which the white knight from f1 will go to
d5 in great comfort (Nf1-e3-d5). Then White will get a chance to dominate on
the light squares, although I know a lot of people who have no fear of this.}
13. Ne3 ({A more common way is to develop the knight on g3. Here is one recent
example} 13. h3 Re8 14. Ng3 Be6 15. Bb3 Bf8 16. d4 cxd4 17. cxd4 Bxb3 18. axb3
d5 $1 $132 {Vallejo Pons,F (2698)-Zhang,Z (2611) Tromsoe 2014}) 13... Re8 {
Black's plan is to regroup with Be7-f8, and eventually to fianchettoe it later
after g7-g6. The main idea is to carry out the freeing central blow d6-d5.} 14.
a4 Be6 15. h3 Bf8 16. Nh2 {The idea is to once more weaken the control on the
d5 square with Nh2-g4. Mickey can also go for the kingside attack with Qd1-f3
and Ne3-f5.} b4 $146 {[%cal Ga8b8,Gb8b1,Ya1a4] Diagram [#] Fabiano comes out
with a novelty first. I have the feeling though that the principled move
remains d6-d5, for example} (16... d5 17. axb5 (17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Nxd5 Qxd5)
17... axb5 18. Rxa8 Qxa8 19. exd5 Nxd5 20. Neg4 (20. Nxd5 {might be better}
Bxd5 21. Ng4 {and Black cannot easily expand in the center} f5 {because of} 22.
Ne3 Be6 23. d4 $1) 20... Nf4 21. Nf3 Ng6 $11 {Spraggett,K (2568)-Sargissian,G
(2671) Linares 2013}) 17. Bb3 {[%csl Ga2,Gb3,Gc4,Gd5,Ge6,Gf7] Very logical.
Adams takes care of the light squares.} Rb8 18. Bc4 ({Naturally not} 18. Bxe6
fxe6 {which will support the weak d5 and f5 squares and kill all the white
play.}) 18... bxc3 {Fabiano also playes logically and opens the b file for his
rook. Next comes an excellent resource.} 19. bxc3 d5 $1 {[%csl Rc5,Rd5,Re5]
The same old central approach. This time it is tactically supported by the
lose position of the c3 pawn.} ({Weak is} 19... a5 $2 20. Bb5 $16 {when Black
will suffer on the ight squares till teh end of the game.}) 20. Bxa6 ({A
curious line runs after} 20. exd5 Nxd5 21. Nxd5 Bxd5 22. Bxa6 Qa5 23. Bb5 {
best as} (23. Bc4 $6 {leads to clear edge for Black after} Bxc4 24. dxc4 Qxc3
$17) 23... Rxb5 24. c4 Rbb8 25. cxd5 Nb4 $11 {This was White's best choice.})
20... Qa5 21. c4 (21. exd5 Nxd5 22. Nxd5 Bxd5 {will transpose to the line from
above}) ({While the immedaite} 21. Bb5 Rxb5 22. axb5 Qxa1 23. bxc6 Qxc3 {
favors Black who owes the bishop pair and the future.}) 21... Qxa6 {Safe and
strong.} ({Another possibility was} 21... d4 22. Bb5 Rxb5 (22... dxe3 {is good
for White after} 23. Bxc6 exf2+ 24. Kxf2 Red8 25. Bd5) 23. cxb5 dxe3 24. bxc6
exf2+ 25. Kxf2 c4 {with a mess.}) 22. exd5 Bxd5 23. cxd5 Nb4 $15 {[%csl Ya4,
Gb4,Yd3,Yd5] The outcome of the central break is positive for Fabiano. He
shattered Mickey's central control and now enjoys clear play against the white
and d PP.} 24. Ra3 Nfxd5 25. Neg4 f6 26. Nf1 $1 {White reroutes his pieces to
their optimal squares.} Rbd8 {So does Black. The idea is to pile against the d
pawn and capture it at the end.} (26... Red8 {might be more accurate.}) 27. Ng3
c4 {Caruana decided that the time had come to cash in the advantage. However,
from a hinsight this might not be the most optimal thing. He could have been
more cautious with} (27... Kh8 {when the similar attack would not lead to the
same} 28. Nf5 (28. Qf3 $2 Nc2) 28... Ne7 29. Ngxh6 gxh6 30. Nxh6 Bxh6 31. Bxh6
Qe6 {as White lacks the mighty knight.} 32. Qh5 Qf5 33. Qf7 Qg6) 28. Nxh6+ $1 {
[%csl Rg8] Diagram [#] Superb! Adams needs no second invitation! For the
sacrificed piece he will get two pawns and constant threats against the weak
black king.} (28. dxc4 Qxc4 29. Qb3 Qxb3 30. Rxb3 Ra8 $17) 28... gxh6 29. Qg4+
Kh8 ({Worse is} 29... Kf7 30. dxc4 Ne7 31. Qh5+ Ng6 32. Nf5 {with the threat
Ra3-g3} Nd3 33. Rxd3 $1 Rxd3 34. Nh4 f5 35. Qxf5+ Qf6 36. Qxd3 Qxh4 37. Be3 $16
) ({But} 29... Kh7 $1 {was probably better as in the line} 30. dxc4 Ne7 31. Qh5
{the king defends the pawn on h6 and Fabiano will have one tempo to bring the
defenders closer} Qe6 32. Ne4 Ng8 $13) 30. dxc4 Ne7 31. Qh5 Ng8 32. Nf5 ({
Adams also had the nice} 32. Bxh6 $1 {After which White wins third pawn and
continues the attack} Bxh6 33. Nf5 Kh7 $2 ({Best is} 33... Qe6 $1 34. Nxh6 Rd7
35. Nf7+ Kg7 36. Rg3+ Kf8 37. Nh8 $1 $16 {although White is clearly better
here as well.}) 34. Rg3 {with the threats Rg3-g7+ and Nf5xh6 both followed by
Qh5-g6} Qa7 (34... Rd7 35. Nxh6 Nxh6 36. Qg6+ Kh8 37. Qxe8+) 35. Nxh6 Nxh6 36.
Qg6+ Kh8 37. Qxh6+ Qh7 38. Qxf6+ Qg7 39. Qxg7#) 32... Qb7 33. Rg3 (33. Nh4 $5 {
is another way to attack.}) 33... Qh7 34. Nh4 {Ah! This slows down the attack.
Mickey was winning with the beautiful line:} (34. Re4 $1 Nc6 (34... Na2 35.
Reg4 Nxc1 36. Rxg8+ Qxg8 37. Rxg8+ Kxg8 38. Qg6+ Kh8 39. Nxh6 Bxh6 40. Qxh6+
Kg8 41. Qxc1 $18) 35. Reg4 Nce7 {Diagram [#]} 36. Nd6 $3 {[%csl Re8,Rf8,Rg8,
Yh8][%cal Rh5e8,Rg3g8,Re8f8]} Rxd6 37. Qxe8 Rd1+ 38. Kh2 h5 39. Rxg8+ Nxg8 40.
Qxf8 Rxc1 41. Rxg8+ Qxg8 42. Qh6+ $18 {Needless to say, I am using my computer
to find all of these moves.}) 34... Ne7 {Now Fabiano stabilizes the sitution
although it remains very delicate for both sides. Black always risks to
blunder some material or get checkmated, while White needs to skilfully mount
pressure or else he might end up losing slowly.} 35. Ba3 Nbc6 36. Kh2 Bg7 37.
Bxe7 Nxe7 38. Rd1 {Both the players are skilfully maneuvering. Instead of the
last move, White could have traded some pawns with} (38. f4 {this will both
open the black king further and will prepare successful defense in the edngame
in case that something goes wrong.}) 38... Qg8 39. Rb1 Rb8 40. Rd1 Red8 {Black
rejects the repetition of moves.} 41. c5 Rxd1 42. Qxd1 Rb4 $2 {without the
rook pair Black's position becomes more vulnerable. He has too many squares to
defend. The pawns too become stronger.} ({Instead of the move in the game}
42... Qc8 43. a5 f5 {was the better choice.}) 43. Qd7 Rxh4 44. Qxe7 Rd4 (44...
Rc4 45. a5 $16 {is still difficult for Black.}) (44... Rxa4 $2 {would be a
blunder after} 45. Rxg7 Qxg7 46. Qe8+ $18) 45. c6 Qf8 46. Qb7 Rb4 47. Qd7 Rd4
48. Qb7 Rb4 {Diagram [#]} 49. Rc3 $1 {[%cal Gc6c7,Gc7c8] It is Mickey's turn
to turn the repetition offer down! He risks nothing indeed.} f5 ({Bad is} 49...
Rxb7 50. cxb7 Qb4 51. Rc8+ Kh7 52. b8=Q $18) 50. Qd7 Rd4 51. Qe6 Rd6 $1 {
Diagram [#] Fabiano could not find satisfactory defense against the pawn
promoting plan and sacrifice the piece back for the c passer.} ({If} 51... Rd8
52. c7 Rc8 53. a5 {There is seemingly no defense against the march of the a
pawn all the way to a8 which will release the other one.}) 52. Qxd6 $1 Qxd6 53.
c7 e4+ 54. g3 Bxc3 55. c8=Q+ Kh7 56. Qxc3 f4 $1 {The best defense again.
Black's only chance is the perpetual check.} 57. gxf4 Qxf4+ 58. Qg3 Qd2 {[%csl
Ye4,Yh7] Diagram [#]} 59. Qc7+ $1 {Alas, this defense does not work to the
iron grip by Adams. He wins a second pawn by force.} Kg6 60. Qb6+ Kh7 (60...
Kh5 61. Qe3 $1) 61. Qb7+ $1 Kh8 62. Qa8+ $1 Kg7 63. Qxe4 Kf6 (63... Qxf2+ 64.
Qg2+ {was the point of the previous checks. Now White wins.}) 64. Qf3+ Kg6 65.
Kg2 Qa2 66. Qe4+ Kf6 67. Qf4+ Kg6 68. Qd6+ Kg7 69. Qe5+ Kh7 70. a5 Qg8+ 71. Kh2
Qf7 72. Qe4+ Kg7 73. a6 {An excellent start for Adams who proved once again
his perfect understanding of the Ruy Lopez!} 1-0

Complete report by Peter Doggers here.

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