Trouble in the Najdorf

The traditional tournament in Dortmund gathered together some of the leading world players and the best German players. In the second round two of the rating favorites had an interesting clash.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.06.28"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2805"]
[BlackElo "2778"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "138"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:43"]
[BlackClock "0:30:15"]

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 {This line has
similarities with the Fianchettoe line, but White wants to be trickier than
there and win a tempo by advancing his pawn directly to g4.} e5 7. Nde2 b5 8.
g4 {Diagram [#] This is the what the line is all about. Another idea is} (8.
Ng3 Bb7 9. Bg5 Nbd7 10. a4 b4 11. Nd5 Bxd5 12. exd5 Be7 13. a5 {as in
Harikrishna,P (2729)-Shankland,S (2661) Tsaghkadzor. Normally, if the d5
square is occupied by a white pawn Black feels OK. In this particular position
though White can play for the advantage as the b4 pawn got separated from the
remaining pawns.}) 8... b4 9. Nd5 Nxd5 10. exd5 h5 $5 $146 {[%csl Rh1][%cal
Gh5g4] Diagram [#] Good preparation for So. Although this move is a novelty it
should not have come as surprise for Caruana. The h7-h5 advance is a very
common theme in the Najdorf. Check the recent match Short-Kasparov where the
former world champion used it successfully.} ({Two other games saw} 10... Be7 {
for example} 11. Bg2 (11. Ng3 {might be more subtle.}) 11... O-O 12. Ng3 a5 13.
O-O Na6 14. f4 {with double edged play, Yankelevich,L (2340)-Kvetny,M (2295)
Magdeburg 2014}) 11. gxh5 {Practically forced as} (11. Ng3 $2 hxg4 12. hxg4
Rxh1 13. Nxh1 Qh4 {looks grim for White.}) ({And} 11. g5 Be7 12. h4 Bg4 {is
anything but inspiring for the first player.}) 11... Rxh5 12. a3 {Diagram [#]
Caruana destroys the queenside in return and sharpens further the game.} bxa3
13. Rxa3 Nd7 14. Bg2 Nf6 15. O-O {Probably White should have delayed the
castling for one more move to see what is his opponent doing first. After all}
(15. f4 {is a mandatory move for him. Then in case of} Rb8 {like in the game,
he can chose} ({And} 15... Be7 $2 {will be simply wrong due to} 16. Ng3 Rh8 17.
fxe5 dxe5 18. d6 $1 {with material gain.}) 16. Ng3 Rh7 17. Qe2 {and castle
later.}) 15... Rb8 {Moves away the rook from the long diagonal.} 16. f4 Be7 17.
c4 Qb6+ {Black underlines the fact that the white king is not particularly
safe.} 18. Rf2 {[%cal Gf2a2,Rb6g1] Diagram [#] White not only covers the king
but prepares the future regroupment Ne2-g3, Bc1-e3 and possibly c4-c5. In this
line the rook defends the b2 pawn.} ({Or else White has to reckon with the
possible Nf6-g4 jump.} 18. Kh1 Ng4 $5 (18... Kf8 {to castle by hand makes
perfect sense too.})) 18... Rh4 {Moves the rook away from the tempo and
pressurizes on f4 and c4.} (18... Kf8 {was possible as well though} 19. Ng3 Rh4
20. Be3 Qb4 {with unclear play.}) 19. Rc3 {Caruana wants to support his c4
pawn, but the rook is vulnerable here.} (19. Qc2 {was a safer option.}) 19...
Bd7 $2 {Misses a tactical blow.} (19... Bxh3 $5 {was already possible and good
as in the lines} 20. Bxh3 (20. Rxh3 Ng4 21. Qf1 (21. Rhf3 e4) 21... Rxh3 22.
Bxh3 Nxf2 23. Qxf2 Qxf2+ 24. Kxf2 exf4) 20... Ne4 21. Qf1 Nxf2 22. Qxf2 Qxf2+
23. Kxf2 exf4 24. Nxf4 Bf6 25. Re3+ Kd8 {Black wins a second pawn in addition
to the RP he already has for the two light pieces.}) 20. b3 $2 {Caruana
returns the favour.} (20. c5 $1 {[%cal Rd5d6] Diagram [#] was very strong
instead} dxc5 {Or else the pawn will advance further to c6.} 21. fxe5 {The
white central duo is huge. For example} Ne4 22. Bxe4 Rxe4 23. d6 Bh4 24. Ng3
Rb4 (24... Rd4 25. Qh5) 25. Qh5 Be6 26. Rd3 {with serious threats against the
black king.}) 20... Bxh3 $1 {Now this is even stronger than in a move ago as
the b3 pawn drops at once.} 21. Bxh3 {The only move.} (21. Rxh3 Rxh3 22. Bxh3
Ne4 23. Qf1 Bh4 {loses material.}) 21... Ne4 22. Qe1 (22. Rcf3 Nxf2 23. Rxf2
Rxh3) 22... Nxc3 23. Qxc3 Qxb3 24. Qxb3 Rxb3 $17 {Diagram [#] As a result of
the small combination So won material. Rook and two pawns are usually much
better than two light pieces in the endgame. The reasons- more room for the
rooks to operate and the higher value of the pawns.} 25. Bc8 e4 ({White was
hoping for the same pawn duo after} 25... a5 26. c5 $1 dxc5 27. fxe5) ({
Another reasonable way to play it was} 25... exf4 $5 26. Bxf4 Ra3 {with
advantage for Black.} (26... a5 27. Nd4 $1)) 26. Bxa6 ({White could have gone
for the more dangerous pawn on e4, but the position after} 26. Bf5 Bd8 (26...
e3 27. Rf3) 27. Kg2 Bb6 28. Rf1 g6 29. Bxe4 Rbh3 {looked too dangerous for him.
Perhaps he can survive it after} 30. f5 Rh2+ 31. Kf3 Rxe2 32. Kxe2 Rxe4+ 33.
Kd3 {Perhaps no.}) 26... Bd8 $1 {The last black piece gets activated to the
maximum.} 27. c5 $1 {The best defense. White cannot allow the black bishop an
access to the a7-g1 diagonal.} ({For example} 27. Kg2 Bb6 28. Rf1 Rg4+ 29. Kh2
f5 {with decisive attack along the "h" and "g" files.}) 27... dxc5 28. Rg2 g6 (
{If} 28... c4 {to open the diagonal again then} 29. Rg3 $1 {is strong.}) 29.
Rg3 {Diagram [#] As a rule, the trades favour the side with the rook, but
White needed to saveguard his king.} Rxg3+ 30. Nxg3 Rg4 31. Kh2 f5 32. Ne2 (32.
Bb5+ $5 {deserved attention, to advance the pawn a bit further} Kf7 (32... Ke7
33. Kh3 {intends to trap the rook with Bb5-e2.}) 33. d6 {with good chances for
survival.}) 32... Rh4+ 33. Kg2 Bc7 34. Bc8 $6 {Time-trouble inaccuracy. White
had to activate the other bishop instead} (34. Bb2 $1 {[%cal Gb2e5,Gd5d6]
Diagram [#] and then put it on e5 after} Ke7 35. Be5 Bd6 {when Black options
are more limitted in comparison to the game. In particular, the black rook
lacks the h8 square and cannot easily swing to the queenside.}) 34... Kd8 35.
Be6 Ke7 36. Be3 (36. Bb2 Bxf4) 36... Bd6 {Now Black has more freedom in
comparison to the position with white bishop on e5.} 37. Bf2 Rh8 38. Be1 c4 39.
Bc3 Ra8 40. Be5 {We know the saying: "better late then never". But stragely
enough, this is not optimal here. White should have opted for passive defense
with} (40. Kf2 Ra3 (40... Ra2 41. Ke1) 41. Ke1 {and Ke1-d2.}) 40... Ra2 41. Kf1
(41. Kf2 {loses to} Bxe5 42. fxe5 c3 43. Ke3 Rd2 {followed by Rd2-d1 and
c3-c2-c1.}) 41... Rd2 $1 {[%cal Gd2d3,Re4e3,Rc4c3] Diagram [#] The rook
manages to get to the optimal d3 square.} 42. Bc3 ({The white king cannot
approach} 42. Ke1 Bb4 $1) ({Black's idea is revealed in the line} 42. Bg8 Rd3
$1 43. Be6 Bxe5 44. fxe5 c3 {and pawns are unstoppable.}) 42... Rd3 43. Ba5 (
43. Be5 Bxe5 44. fxe5 c3 {transposes to the line above.}) 43... Ba3 (43... Ra3
$5 {with the idea} 44. Bc3 Rb3 {and Bd6-b4 to break the blockade made sense.})
44. Bg8 Bd6 45. Be6 Bc5 46. Ke1 {Finally, the white king made it to the center
but at a very high price.} Rb3 47. Kd2 Rb2+ 48. Kd1 Bb4 $1 {Diagram [#]} 49.
Bxb4+ Rxb4 {The trade of the bishop made White's defense much harder. Now the
white K+N have to stope the black R and pawns. Should be mission impossible.}
50. Kc2 Rb3 51. Nc3 e3 52. Bg8 Rb6 53. Ne2 Ra6 54. d6+ (54. Nc3 g5 {would be
similar to the game.} ({But Black has an additional choice} 54... Kd6 $5))
54... Rxd6 55. Bxc4 Kf6 {[%cal Gg6g5] Diagram [#] Next g6-g5 is coming.} 56.
Bd3 {Now the game is essentially over.} (56. Nc3 $1 {was White's last chance
to get the king in the defense as fast as possible} Rd2+ (56... g5 57. Nd5+ Kg7
58. Nxe3 $11) 57. Kc1 Rd4 58. Nd5+ Kg7 59. Nxe3 Rxf4 60. Kd2 {is this position
defendable is another story.}) 56... g5 57. fxg5+ Kxg5 58. Ng3 Rc6+ 59. Kd1 f4
60. Nf1 Rb6 61. Nh2 (61. Ke2 Rb2+ 62. Ke1 Kg4 {leads to a position similar to
the game.}) 61... Kh4 62. Ke1 Kg3 63. Nf1+ Kf3 64. Nh2+ Kg2 65. Nf1 Re6 {With
the threat f4-f3.} 66. Bc4 Re5 67. Ba6 Ra5 68. Bb7+ Kg1 69. Nxe3 Re5 {Diagram
[#] Fabiano Caruana still experience great difficulties against the Najdorf.}


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