When it Rains...

It pours, some people say. This is exactly what happened in the game between Georg Meier and Fabiano Caruana from round three of the super-tournament in Dortmund.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "43rd GM 2015"]
[Site "Dortmund GER"]
[Date "2015.06.30"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Meier, Geo"]
[Black "Caruana, F."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A04"]
[WhiteElo "2654"]
[BlackElo "2805"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "102"]
[EventDate "2015.06.26"]

1. Nf3 d6 2. d4 g6 3. e4 Bg7 {The Modern Defense is becoming more and more
fashionable way to fight for the win with the black pieces when a higher-rated
player wants to avoid the beaten tracks and risk against a lower-rated one.
The results though are somewhat questionable.} 4. Be2 Nd7 5. c4 {Meier prefers
to steer the game into the KID.} e5 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. h4 h6 8. g4 {[%csl Yf5][%cal
Gh4h5,Gg4g5,Rf7f5,Re4f5,Rg4f5] Diagram [#] An idea by J. Piket, or more if we
have to be more exact to Y. Averbakh. This move can be called an aggressive
prophylaxis. It cardinally prevents the typical kingside play} ({possible after
} 8. Be3 f5 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. g3 fxe4 11. Nxe4 Nf5 {as in Akobian,V (2626)
-Mamedov,R (2645) Lubbock 2009}) 8... Nb6 {A new more for an over-the-board
game. Caruana forces his opponent to make a decision.} 9. g5 {Which is not bad
for White at all. In fact he is very happy to close the kingside and to
concentrate on the other wing where he is better by default.} hxg5 $146 {
Diagram [#] This is the actual novelty.} ({An email game saw} 9... Bg4 10. dxe5
(10. d5 {is in the spirit of the line.}) 10... Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Bxe5 12. Qd3 h5
13. Be3 Qd7 14. O-O-O Nc6 $14 {Ruggeri Laderchi,G-Goodman,C SEMI email 2000})
10. Bxg5 Bg4 {Black does not want to allow the closure of the center, but the
continuation} (10... exd4 11. Nxd4 {leaves him no reasonable moves.}) 11. d5 f6
{In case that Black tries to castle long with} (11... Qd7 $6 {he would lose a
pawn} 12. Nxe5 $1 Bxe2 13. Nxd7 Bxd1 14. Nxb6 axb6 15. Kxd1 $16) ({The pawn on
c4 is untouchable as well} 11... Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Nxc4 $2 13. Qa4+) 12. Be3 Bh6 {
Naturally, this bishop is weaker than the one on e3 and should be traded.} 13.
Qd3 Bh5 {Black can also castle long} (13... Bxf3 14. Bxf3 Bxe3 15. fxe3 Qd7 {
although White will keep pleasant edge thanks to the pressure on the half-open
"f" and "g" files.}) 14. O-O-O Kf7 15. Rdg1 Qd7 16. Bxh6 Rxh6 {Diagram [#] It
seems as Caruana did everything right, exchanged the bad bishop, put the
bishop on the nice h5 stand, connected the rooks and yet, his position is
quite unpleasant. Black lacks any realistic counterplay and the knight on b6
is very poor.} 17. Bf1 $1 {Transfers the bishop to an excellent position.} Rah8
$6 {A serious inaccuracy.} ({The computer recommends the brave} 17... Bxf3 18.
Qxf3 (18. Bh3 f5 {transposes}) 18... Rah8 19. Bh3 (19. Qg3 $5) 19... f5 {but a
human would be terrified to open his king that easily. Still, this was Black's
best chance.}) 18. Bh3 Qd8 19. Ne1 {[%csl Yd1,Ye2,Yf3,Yg4][%cal Yh5d1] Diagram
[#] Now the black bishop remains empty and because of it the rooks suffer. Add
to that the knight on b6 and you will understand how Caruana felt at this
moment of the game.} (19. Nd2 $5) 19... c6 20. b3 {Meier is not in a hurry and
slowly prepares the queenside assault.} (20. Kb1 $5) 20... Nd7 21. Qe3 cxd5 22.
cxd5 ({There is absolutely no need to allow any counterplay} 22. exd5 f5 23.
Qxa7 Qc7) 22... Nc5 23. b4 {Meier went for the pawn.} ({White's position is so
good that he has a choice on which side to attack} 23. f4 $5 {for example} Qb6
{(with the threat Nxb3+)} 24. Rg3 Kg7 25. Rf1 {and after some prep- capture on
e5.}) 23... Nd7 24. Qxa7 Qc7 25. Qe3 {Diagram [#]} (25. Be6+ $5 {looked great
as well} Kg7 26. Rg3 Rc8 27. Nc2 $16) 25... Nb6 26. Kb1 Kg7 {Around this point
both players were very short of time.} ({Caruana avoided the possible endgame
after} 26... Nc4 27. Be6+ Kg7 28. Nb5 Nxe3 {presumably because in the line} (
28... Qd8 29. Qd3) 29. Nxc7 Nd1 30. Rg2 Nc3+ 31. Kb2 {Black cannot win the pawn
} Nxe4 $2 32. f3 {since the knight will be trapped.}) 27. Nb5 Qd8 28. f3 Rf8
29. Rg2 f5 $1 {[%cal Rf8f1] Diagram [#] A wise, practical decision. It is time
to go fishing while it is possible, or else Meier will make it to the time
control and will slowly finish the game.} 30. Rc2 {The deadly threat is
Nbb5-c7, but Rc2-c7 is painful enough.} Na8 31. Qa7 {White wins another pawn.
The end is getting close...} fxe4 32. fxe4 Rf4 33. Bg2 ({If White had some
extra minutes left he would have wrapped up the game with the stylish} 33. Qxb7
Rxe4 34. Nd3 Re3 35. Rc8 $1 {Diagram [#]}) 33... Bd1 34. Rd2 Bg4 35. Qxb7 Rf7
36. Qa6 {Only few seconds are left on the clock and White avoids any
discovered attack. After the cool} (36. Nd3 {game would be soon over as} Nf5
37. Qc6 {leads Black nowhere.}) 36... Nb6 37. Nd3 Nc4 38. Rc2 {It is hard to
put a question mark on this move but it misses a long move backwards. This is
happening quite often with experienced players (inexperienced too!)The reason-
the brain is looking forward when attacking rather than backward.} (38. Rf2 $1
{to trade the active rook was mandatory.}) 38... Bc8 $1 {All of a sudden, the
black pieces co-operate well. The black queen gets into the game along the
black squares and nothing is clear anymore.} 39. Qa8 $2 {Diagram [#] When it
rains, it pours. A very unfortunate square for the queen.} (39. Qa4 Ne3 40. Re2
Nxg2 41. Rxg2 Qb6 {is very unclear but way better than in the games the queen
will defend the b5 knight.}) 39... Ne3 40. Re2 Nxg2 41. Rxg2 Qb6 {The time
trouble is over and the devastated Georg Meier cannot adjust to the new
situation.} 42. a4 (42. Nc3 Ba6 {with the threat Rh6-h8 almost traps the
white queen.}) ({I can only speculate but it seems as White rejected the line}
42. Qa5 Qe3 43. Rd1 {because of the trick} Rf1 $5 (43... Qxe4 {might in fact
be better with a possible line} 44. Rgg1 Nf5 {when Black regains both pawns
and is more active, but there is still a lot of play.}) 44. Rxf1 Qxd3+ 45. Kb2
Qxf1 46. Rc2 {but this position is not clear at all.}) 42... Qe3 $1 {[%csl Yb1,
Yd3] Diagram [#] All of a sudden, White loses the knight!} 43. Rd1 (43. Kc2 {
does not help neither} Qxe4 44. Rhg1 Bf5 45. Rg3 Qc4+ 46. Kd2 Bxd3 47. Rxd3
Rxh4) 43... Rf1 ({The computer advocates instead} 43... Qxe4 44. Rc2 Qf3 45.
Rdd2 e4 46. Ne1 Qg3 {Diagram [#] and claims that Black is much better.}) 44.
Rxf1 Qxd3+ 45. Rc2 Qxf1+ 46. Kb2 Qe1 {The culmination of the game.} 47. Qa7 $2
{White blunders for the last time.} ({After} 47. Nc3 $1 {nothing would be
clear at all.}) 47... Qxb4+ 48. Ka2 Kf6 49. Rf2+ Nf5 50. exf5 Bxf5 51. Qa8 Rxh4
{Diagram [#] I suspect that Meier missed from far away that the balck king
escapes the checks after} (51... Rxh4 52. Qd8+ Kg7 53. Qe7+ Kh6 54. Qf8+ Kg5
55. Qe7+ Kg4 56. Rg2+ Kh3) 0-1


No comments: