Very Unusual Endgame

Round eight of the Tbilisi Grand Prix witnessed a highly unusual endgame. Three light pieces were fighting a rook. According to my Megabase, there are only eight predecessors of this endgame!The tournament leader Evgeny Tomashevsky extended his lead after a demonstration of an excellent technique.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix - Tbilisi"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.02.23"]
[Round "8.4"]
[White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2716"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "182"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:33:16"]
[BlackClock "0:03:19"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O {
Evgeny Tomashevsky is a very solid player who solves the opening problems in a
somewhat unusual way. His white color remains true to his styyle, while with
the black pieces he prefers to go for sharp opening lines where the situation
is clarified as soon as possible. The Marshall line in the Ruy Lopez have
served him well for many years.} 8. a4 {Vachier does not want to test his
opponent in the main lines.} Bb7 9. d3 d6 ({The immediate} 9... b4 {can be met
with} 10. Nbd2 {when the knight enjoys the c4 square.}) 10. Bd2 {A modern move.
White has a wide choice in the position.} (10. Nbd2 Na5 11. Ba2 c5 12. Nf1 bxa4
{is Caruana,F (2844)-Tomashevsky,E (2701) Baku 2014}) (10. Nc3 {used to be the
main line, but Black scored well. One example-} Na5 11. Ba2 b4 12. Ne2 c5 13.
Bd2 Rb8 14. Ng3 Bc8 $1 15. h3 Ne8 16. Nh2 Bg5 17. Nf3 Bf6 18. Nh2 g6 19. Ng4
Bg5 {with very nice play for Black in Caruana,F (2492)-Adams,M (2735)
Gibraltar 2007}) 10... b4 {Now that the bishop had occupied the d2 square for
the knight this is strong.} 11. c3 Rb8 {A common temporary pawn sacrifice.} ({
Another plan is} 11... a5 12. d4 exd4 13. cxd4 d5 14. e5 Ne4 {as in Ducarmon,Q
(2487)-Fedoseev,V (2661) Pune 2014}) 12. cxb4 Bc8 $146 {Evgeny comes well
prepared for the game. The bishop is moving to a better position.} ({
Previously only} 12... Ba8 {was seen, but the bishop is not as effective as on
the other diagonal} 13. b5 axb5 14. a5 (14. axb5 Rxb5 15. Nc3 Rb8) 14... Nd4
15. Nxd4 exd4 16. Bf4 {Rogulj,B (2427)-Rogic,D (2505) Austria 2000}) 13. b5
axb5 14. axb5 Rxb5 15. Ra8 ({White can hardly hope for an advantage after} 15.
Nc3 Rb8 16. h3) 15... Rb8 16. Rxb8 Nxb8 17. d4 $1 {[%csl Rd4,Rd5,Re4,Re5]
Diagram [#] Maxime occupies some central squares with his knights.} exd4 18.
Nxd4 c5 $1 {Tomashevsky replies in adequate way. Next he wants to carry out
the freeing d6-d5 advance which will level the game completely.} 19. Nf3 ({Or}
19. Nb5 Qb6 20. N1c3 Nc6 21. Bf4 Nd4 22. Nxd4 (22. Bc4 Bd7 23. Nxd6 Bxd6 24.
Bxd6 Qxd6 25. e5 Qb6 26. exf6 Qxf6 $11) 22... cxd4 23. Nd5 Nxd5 $11) 19... Nc6
20. Bc3 ({In case of} 20. Nc3 Bg4 $1 {creates the nasty Nc6-d4 threat.}) 20...
Be6 21. Nbd2 {This allows the central break, but the French GM obviously had
the intresting complications on his mind.} ({More precise is} 21. Na3 {at
least for a moment stopping} d5 $2 22. Bxf6 Bxf6 23. exd5) 21... d5 $1 22. Ng5
Bg4 $1 23. Qc2 {[%csl Yh7][%cal Re4e5] Consequent and...wrong. Vachier missed
some detail in his calculations.} ({Black has plenty of play for the pawn after
} 23. f3 d4 24. fxg4 dxc3 25. bxc3 Ne5 26. h3 {but this was preferrable to
what happened in the game.}) 23... c4 $1 {Very strong! The bishop is becoming
too vulnerable.} ({Most likely Maxime spent most of his time calculating the
consequences of the sharp continuation} 23... d4 24. e5) 24. Nxc4 ({The bishop
is vulnerable after} 24. Ba2 h6 25. exd5 Nb4 26. Bxb4 Bxb4 27. Ngf3 Bxf3 28.
gxf3 Qa5) ({Or} 24. Ba4 Nb4 25. Bxb4 Bxb4 26. e5 Ne4 $1 27. Ndxe4 dxe4 {when
both the rook and the knight are hanging} 28. Qxe4 Qxg5) ({Alas, there is no
time for} 24. e5 $2 cxb3) 24... dxc4 25. Bxc4 Nd7 26. Nxf7 $1 {The best
practical chance!} ({The retreat is absolutely hopeless} 26. Nf3 Bxf3 27. gxf3
Nde5) 26... Rxf7 27. Bxf7+ Kxf7 28. Bxg7 Kxg7 29. Qxc6 {[%csl Yb2,Gd7,Ye1,Ye4,
Ge7,Yf2,Yg2,Gg4] Diagram [#] After the forces moves the game reached a highly
unusual distribution of forces. White has a rook and four pawns versus three
light pieces. I have never seen anything like that before. How can we asses
the situation? Well, obviously the pawns can become dangerous in an endgame if
there is time to advance them. If not, they will be targets. The three light
pieces can easily unite their efforts attacking any of the pawns and it will
be lost as the rook cannot separate itself into pieces. The general rule is
that the smaller parts should be better than the major piece as long as they
are united. This is the case here, the pieces are clearly better. One more
thing that helps is that two of them are bishops!} Ne5 30. Qc3 Bf6 31. Qg3 h5
32. h3 ({Or} 32. f4 h4 33. Qe3 Nd3 {[%cal Rf6d4] with the threat Bf6-d4.})
32... h4 33. Qe3 Be6 {Black consolidated his forces and starts attacking the
pawns.} 34. b4 Qd3 {True to his solid style, Evgeny removes the queen from the
board as well as the possibility of a perpetual.} 35. Kh2 ({Or} 35. Qf4 Qd4) ({
Similar to the game is} 35. f4 Qxe3+ 36. Rxe3 Nc6 37. Kh2 (37. e5 Be7 38. g3
Bxb4 39. Rd3) 37... Nxb4 38. g3) 35... Be7 36. f4 Qxe3 37. Rxe3 Nc4 38. Re2 {
Diagram [#] At a glance it seems as White should be OK, but the reality is
that he is about to lose all his pawns one by one...} ({One of the pawns is
lost anyway} 38. Rb3 Nd2) ({But} 38. Rd3 Bxb4 39. g3 {seems more accurate.})
38... Bxb4 {One down, more to go.} 39. g3 ({The passive defense would not help.
After} 39. Rf2 Nd2 40. e5 Kg6 {Black will bring the king on f5, the bishop on
e3 and chop the pawns off.}) 39... Nd2 40. gxh4 {Trades the last black pawn,
but there are too many pieces!} ({Naturally, White wants to keep his pawns
together, but after} 40. g4 Bd6 41. e5 Bb4 42. f5 Bc4 43. Rf2 Bd5 {Black can
suddenly create mating threats with his pieces.}) 40... Bc4 41. Rg2+ Kh6 42.
Kg3 {The king leaves the danger zone} (42. e5 Nf1+ 43. Kg1 Bc5+ 44. Kh1 Bd5 $19
) 42... Bf1 ({Also good is} 42... Nxe4+ 43. Kf3 Bd5) 43. Rh2 Bd3 44. Kg4 (44.
e5 $2 Nf1+) 44... Nxe4 {Two down.} 45. Kf5 ({Nothing changes} 45. Kf3 Kh5)
45... Bd6 46. Rg2 Kh5 47. Rg8 Ng5+ 48. Kf6 Nh7+ 49. Kg7 Bxf4 {Three.} 50. Ra8 (
50. Rh8 Be5+ {loses on the spot.}) 50... Be5+ 51. Kf7 Kxh4 {Four.} 52. Ra4+ Kh5
(52... Kxh3 53. Ra3) 53. h4 Bb2 54. Rf4 Bc3 55. Ke6 Be1 56. Rf3 Bg6 57. Rf1 Bb4
(57... Bxh4 {was OK as well.}) 58. Rf4 Nf8+ 59. Kd5 Be7 60. Rf1 Bc2 61. Rg1
Bb3+ 62. Ke4 Ng6 63. Kf5 Bd8 (63... Nxh4+) 64. Ke4 Be6 65. Rd1 Be7 66. Ra1 Bc8
67. Ra5+ Kxh4 {Diagram [#] Five! Evgeny swiped all the pawns off. This is a
theoretically won position.} 68. Ra1 Kg5 69. Rg1+ Bg4 70. Rg2 Bc5 71. Rg3 Nf4
72. Ke5 Bf2 73. Ra3 Bh3 74. Ra5 Bg2 {[%cal Gf2a7,Gg2a8] The bishops are
cutting the king along the diagonals an dthe knight assists them to push it
towards the back rank.} 75. Ra3 Ne2 76. Ra5 ({Or} 76. Ra2 Bg3+ 77. Ke6 Nd4+ 78.
Ke7 Bh3) 76... Bg3+ 77. Ke6+ Kg6 78. Ra6 Nd4+ 79. Ke7+ Kg7 80. Ra1 Bh3 81. Rh1
({If} 81. Rg1 Nf5+ 82. Ke6 Ne3+ 83. Ke7 Ng2 84. Rh1 Nf4 85. Rg1 Ng6+ {the king
will be forced on the eight rank anyway.}) 81... Bg4 82. Rg1 Ne2 83. Rf1 Bf4
84. Rd1 Nc3 85. Rd3 Ne4 86. Kd8 Nc5 87. Rd5 Ne4 88. Rd3 Ng5 89. Ke7 Nf7 90. Rd4
Bg5+ 91. Ke8 Ne5 {Picturesque domination. The threat Bg4-h5 can be stopped
only at the expense of the rook. Black resigned and Tomashevsky is getting
very close to the overall tournament victory!} 0-1



No Jokes in the Poisoned Pawn

Round six of the Tbilisi Grand Prix was exciting as usual with Teimour Radjabov convincingly winning a short, but important game in the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf Sicilian.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix - Tbilisi"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.02.21"]
[Round "6.3"]
[White "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Black "Grischuk, Alexander"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2731"]
[BlackElo "2810"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:20:04"]
[BlackClock "0:04:11"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 {A small surprise.
In his younger days Teimour liked to play very sharp in the opening. However,
he did not play the Main line since 2011.} e6 7. f4 Qb6 {Diagram [#] The
Poisoned Pawn variation has its ups and downs. Of lately it seems as the
interest towards it is rising again. White waits until the second player gets
the deceptive feeling that all is good in this line for him and stops checking
the forced lines. And then White strikes! At least this is the way I explain
the fashionable trends in the line :)} ({In their previous encounter Alexander
chose a different plan} 7... Qc7 8. Bxf6 gxf6 9. f5 Nc6 10. fxe6 fxe6 11. Bc4
Nxd4 12. Qxd4 Rg8 {Radjabov,T (2744)-Grischuk,A (2728) Sochi 2008}) 8. Qd2 Qxb2
9. Rb1 Qa3 10. e5 h6 11. Bh4 dxe5 12. fxe5 g5 {This particular line dates
since the distant...2007 year!} 13. Bg3 ({Another line was tested by two
promising young players of lately} 13. exf6 gxh4 14. Be2 Nd7 15. O-O Qa5 16.
Kh1 Qg5 {Yu,Y (2697)-Robson,R (2628) Las Vegas 2014}) 13... Nh5 14. Ne4 Nd7 {
Black bought some time to develop a piece with his last moves, but created too
many weaknesses in his camp.} 15. Rb3 Qxa2 16. Be2 {[%csl Ya2,Gb3,Gd2,Gd4,Rd6,
Yd7,Ge2,Ge4,Rf6,Gg3,Yh5] Diagram [#] A very typical picture for the Poisoned
Pawn variation had arisen. Black has two extra pawns and White-three extra
pieces in the attack. It can hardly be sharper than that. Both the sides have
to be extremely precise in what they are doing. Grischuk came up with a novelty
} Nc5 $2 $146 {Which I personally doubt will attract many followers.} ({It was
mandatory to start with a check} 16... Qa1+ 17. Bd1 {and only then go for} ({
One point behind the check is that Black meets the witty} 17. Kf2 $6 {Not with
the natural capture} Qxh1 $2 ({But with the cunning} 17... Nxg3 $1 18. Nxg3 {
[%csl Rf2] Diagram [#]} (18. Rxa1 Nxe4+) 18... Qxd4+ $1 19. Qxd4 Bc5 {and
White is too many pawns down}) 18. Nxe6 fxe6 19. Bxh5+ Kd8 20. Qa5+ b6 21. Rxb6
) 17... Nc5 {This has been tested in three correspondence games with good
results for Black that far. One example} 18. Re3 Nxe4 19. Rxe4 Nxg3 20. hxg3
Qa3 21. O-O Bg7 22. Bh5 O-O {and Black seems in a good shape, Hervet,G (2352)
-Matei,C (2527) ICCF email 2009}) ({Black can also investigate the
consequences of the move} 16... Nxg3 17. hxg3 Bc5) 17. Nc3 $1 {A strong reply.
The knight moves away with a tempo.} (17. Bxh5 $6 Nxe4) (17. Nxc5 $6 Nxg3)
17... Nxb3 {Forced or else Black loses a piece after} (17... Qa1+ 18. Rb1 Qa5
19. Bxh5) 18. Nxb3 Bb4 ({Objectively speaking, Black's best try was} 18... Nxg3
19. Nxa2 Nxh1 {but since the knight is trapped after} 20. Kf1 Be7 21. Kg1 O-O {
White's chances are much better.}) 19. Bxh5 Qb2 {The vulnerable position of
the queen allows White decisive attack after} (19... Bxc3 20. Qxc3 Qb1+ (20...
O-O 21. O-O {with the threat Rf1-a1}) 21. Bd1 Bd7 22. O-O Rc8 23. Qf3 O-O 24.
Nd2 $1 {[%csl Yb1,Rg8][%cal Rd2e4,Re4f6] Diagram [#] and the knight is heading
for the juicy f6 square} Qb6+ 25. Bf2 Qb4 26. Ne4 {Once that this knight goes
to f6 it is all over.}) 20. O-O Qxc3 {Alas the king is not getting any peace
on the kingside as well} (20... O-O 21. Qf2 Qxc3 22. Bxf7+ Kh7 23. Qf6 Qxc2 24.
h4 $1 Qd3 25. h5 $1 {[%csl Yd3,Yh7] Diagram [#] and White wins.}) 21. Bxf7+ Ke7
22. Qf2 {The king stayed in the middle and the rest is a piece of cake for
Radjabov.} Kd7 ({Or} 22... Rf8 23. Qf6+ Kd7 24. Be1 Qc4 25. Bxb4 Qxb4 26. Bxe6+
Ke8 27. Bf7+ Kd7 28. c3 $1 Qa3 29. Ra1 {and the queen is deflected from the d6
square.}) 23. Qb6 Rf8 24. Be1 {One mistake in a sharp position proved one too
many for Grischuk. It is good to see Radjabov back in sharp battle!} 1-0



In the Spirit of the Old Masters

Georgia's capital Tbilisi is hosting the third tournament from the FIDE Grand Prix series. Half of the event have already passed and the best player so far is the former European champion Evgeny Tomashevsky from Russia. However, we cannot miss a game between two of the most artistic performers. It took place in round five:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix - Tbilisi"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.02.20"]
[Round "5.6"]
[White "Jobava, Baadur"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2696"]
[BlackElo "2759"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "54"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:02:21"]
[BlackClock "0:51:07"]

1. b3 {The Nimzowitch-Larsen opening can nowadays be named after Baadur who is
commonly using it and keeps on finding fresh ideas.} Nf6 2. Bb2 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7
4. d4 {[%csl Yb2][%cal Gb2d4] Diagram [#] Georgian's favorite move. It seems
illogical to close the bishop that had just occupied the long diagonal, but
Jobava has an opinion of his own.} c5 5. e3 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. Qd2 Nc6 8. O-O-O
({One very fresh example of Baadur's saw} 8. f3 h5 {Perhaps this is what
inspired Shakh for what he did later in the game.} 9. Bb5 Qd6 10. Nge2 Bh6 11.
Qd1 Bf5 {and Black already very comfortable in Jobava,B (2727)-Carlsen,M (2862)
Wijk aan Zee 2015}) 8... Qa5 $146 ({A novelty upon a game these two played
earlier. That game saw} 8... O-O 9. f3 h5 10. Kb1 Bf5 11. a3 Rc8 {with
double-edged game in Jobava,B (2711)-Mamedyarov,S (2764) Beijing 2012}) 9. f3
h5 10. Kb1 Bf5 11. Bd3 $1 {[%csl Yd4][%cal Re1e8,Rd1d8] Diagram [#] This
enterprising pawn sacrifice is practically forced.} ({The normal development}
11. Nge2 $2 {is just bad as Black has concrete threats} Nb4 12. Rc1 Nxa2 $1) ({
While a waiting move like} 11. a3 {allows all the joy for Black after either}
Rc8 ({Or} 11... a6)) 11... Nxd4 $1 {Shakh goes for it! He could have easily
kept the balance after} (11... Bxd3 12. Qxd3 e6 {but he decided that the risk
is worth it.}) 12. Nge2 Nxe2 ({Worse is} 12... Bxd3 13. Nxd4 Ba6 14. Rhe1 {
when Black cannot easily evacuate the king from the center. For example} e6 15.
Nxe6 $1 fxe6 16. Rxe6+ Kf7 17. Nxd5 Qxd2 18. Re7+ Kf8 19. Rxd2 {and the attack
continues in the endgame.}) 13. Qxe2 Bd7 $1 {Correct decision. Generally,
Black would be happy to trade pieces. The problem with the move} (13... Bxd3 {
however is that it brings the white attackers too quick} 14. Rxd3 Rd8 (14... e6
$2 15. Nxd5 $1 {is a nice tactical shot.}) 15. Rhd1 {when Black is once again
losing the central pawn} e6 16. Nxd5 Rxd5 17. Rxd5 Nxd5 18. Bxg7 {with clear
advantage for White} Nc3+ 19. Bxc3 Qxc3 20. Qb5+ Qc6 21. Qxc6+ bxc6 22. Rd6)
14. Rhe1 e6 {For the pawn Baadur managed to bring his rooks in the center, but
what comes next? One more move and the black king will escape from the
dangerous zone and Shakh will start converting the extra pawn.} 15. Bxg6 $5 {
[%csl Ye8] Diagram [#] ! Nope, the king will stay in the center. Jobava
follows the classical rule. If the opponent's king is in the center, open
files to reach it.} fxg6 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 ({There is no time to escape} 16... O-O
17. Nxf6+ Bxf6 18. Rxd7) 17. Bxg7 Rg8 $5 {Mamedyarov rejects the draw after} (
17... Nc3+ 18. Bxc3 Qxc3 19. Rxd7 $1 Kxd7 20. Qxe6+ Kc7 21. Qf7+ Kc8 {The king
has to stay on the back rank as going up may lead to a big fall down} (21...
Kc6 $2 22. Re6+ Kc5 23. Qc7+ {and mate after} Kb4 24. Qxb7+ Kc5 25. Qc6+ Kb4
26. a3+ Kxa3 27. Qa4#) 22. Re8+ Rxe8 23. Qxe8+ Kc7 24. Qxa8 {White regains the
piece and is even a piece up, but the presense of their Majesties on the board
with the kings wide open will sooner or later lead to a perpetual after} Qe1+
25. Kb2 Qe5+ 26. c3 Qxh2 27. Qxa7 Qxg2+ $11) ({However, it seems as that the
best defense was the subtle} 17... Rh7 $1 18. Qe5 (18. Bb2 $5 Nc3+ 19. Bxc3
Qxc3 20. Rd6 O-O-O {brings the king into safety.}) 18... Kf7 19. c4 ({The
difference with the game continuation becomes apparent after} 19. Rxd5 Qxd5 20.
Qf6+ Kg8 $1) 19... Rxg7 20. cxd5 Kg8 21. dxe6 Qxe5 22. Rxe5 {White has two
pawns for the piece, but this is not enough here.}) 18. Qe5 Rxg7 $6 {[%csl Yd5]
Diagram [#] Tempting! When under attack it makes sense to annihilate as many
many active pieces as possible, even if we give back part of the material.
This however has a nice refutation.} ({White's attack is very strong in case of
} 18... Kf7 19. Rxd5 Qxd5 20. Qf6+ Ke8 21. Qxg6+ Kd8 22. Qf7 Kc7 23. Re3) ({But
} 18... Qc7 {looked like the best defense with the idea} 19. Qxd5 (19. Qb2
O-O-O) 19... Rxg7 20. Rxe6+ $6 ({Instead} 20. Qd4 $1 Kf8 21. g4 {keeps the
game unclear as the king is still vulnerable.}) 20... Bxe6 21. Qxe6+ Qe7 {and
Black holds and wins.}) 19. Rxd5 $1 {The knight is a very important defender.
Now the attack on the open files is furious!} Qb4 20. Rd6 Kf8 ({Once more
there is no time to saveguard the king} 20... O-O-O $2 21. Re4 Qa3 22. Rc4+ Bc6
23. Rxd8+ Kxd8 24. Qxg7) 21. Red1 Bc6 $2 {This loses instantly, but
objectively speaking Black was already in bad shape. True, after the most
resilent} (21... Be8 22. Rxe6 Bf7 23. Rd7 Kg8 {[%csl Rg8] Diagram [#] Baadur
had to find the following amazing resource} 24. Rxf7 $3 Kxf7 (24... Rxf7 {is
easier for White after} 25. Rxg6+ Kf8 26. Rh6) 25. Qd5 $3 {Ambush.} Kf8 26. Re4
$3 {A truly remarkable position! The two white heavy pieces dominate the three
black. Spirit rules material. White wins the queen at least. For example} Qa3 (
26... Qc3 27. Rf4+ Ke8 28. Qb5+ Kd8 29. Re4 Rc8 30. Qe8+ Kc7 31. Rc4+ Qxc4 32.
Qe5+) 27. Rf4+ Ke8 28. Ra4 Qf8 29. Re4+ Re7 30. Qb5+ Kf7 31. Rf4+) 22. R1d4 {
Not bad, but there was an instant win.} ({It seems as both the players missed
the important deflection after} 22. Rd8+ Rxd8 23. Rxd8+ Kf7 (23... Be8 24. Qf6+
Rf7 25. Qh8+) (23... Ke7 24. Rd4) 24. a3 $3 {when the queen has to abandon the
f4 square and thus lose the game} (24. c3 {should also do}) 24... Qe7 ({Or
mate after} 24... Qxa3 25. Qf4+ Ke7 26. Qf8#) 25. Qf4+ Qf6 26. Rf8+ $1 Kxf8 27.
Qxf6+ {and White wins.}) 22... Qb5 23. Rd8+ $2 {Lets the win slip away.} (23.
Qxe6 $1 {kept tremendous attack, say} Qg5 24. h4 Qe7 25. Qc4) 23... Rxd8 24.
Rxd8+ Ke7 25. Qd6+ Kf6 26. Qd4+ {Diagram [#]} Kf7 $4 {The culmination of the
battle and the last mistake. Shakh became once more overambitious and
blundered checkmate.} (26... Ke7 $1 {was mandatory when White can repeat the
moves} 27. Qd6+ ({Or try} 27. a4 {which should also lead to some perpetual
after} Qf5 28. Qd6+ Kf6 29. Rf8+ Rf7 30. Qd8+ Kg7 31. Rg8+ Kh6 32. Rh8+ Kg7 ({
But not} 32... Rh7 33. h4 $3 {when the black king is once again surrounded} Qf7
34. Rg8 $1 Rg7 35. Rf8 {Oh wait, was that the queen?}) 33. Rg8+ $11)) 27. Qf4+
Ke7 {An epic battle of two of the most creative players of our time!} ({And
not waiting to see the mate, Shakh resigned.} 27... Ke7 28. Qf8#) 1-0



Rare Weapon against the Leningrad Dutch

GM Grigor Grigorov of Bulgaria was kind enough to send me the following interesting article, enjoy!
Hello dear reader!
I have the pleasure to introduce you in the extremely interesting Leningrad system in Dutch defense. The flexible pawn structure in this variation makes the arising positions very difficult to be analysed with a computer. One needs deep understanding in order to treat correctly such types of positions. That's why the Leningrad system is the favourite choice of creative players like Nakamura, Bartel and Malaniuk.
In the present article I would like to share with you my favourite weapon against this dangerous system. The variation that I am going to show you is not only positionally sound, but also it's less popular than the main lines. My practice shows that the majority of the players are not well prepared against this rare line. You can also seize the opportunity to cause nightmares to your opponents.
The main position arises after the moves:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Dutch Defense"]
[Black "7.Re1"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "A81"]
[Annotator "Grigor Grigorov"]
[PlyCount "33"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2000.11.22"]

1. Nf3 f5 2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. Nbd2 d6 7. Re1 {[%cal
Ge2e4] Diagram [#] We have reached the main crossroad of this rare line. By
his last move white prepares the advance e2-e4 after which the rook will be
able to excerce pressure along the semi-open "e" file. I would like also to
emphasize on the fact that white hasn't played yet the move c2-c4 and and he
has the possibility to restrict the "g7" bishop by means of c2-c3.} Ne4 {The
main move in this position. Black takes radical measures against the pawn
advance. He wants to open the "f" file for his rook after possible exchange of
the knights. Before we continue it's necessary to take a look at other
possible continuations.} (7... Nc6 {[%cal Ge7e5] Very interesting idea. Black
not only prepares the e7-e5 advance but also increases the pressure over the
"d4" pawn. The main drawback of this move is that the knight is placed in
front of the "c7" pawn. As a consequence, the "c" pawn can no longer
participate in the fight for the center by c7-c6. Furthermore, as it will
become clear later, in some cases whis could use the restricted mobility of
black's Queen In genearal, you must think twice before placing your knight in
front of the "c7" (c2) pawn!} 8. e4 $1 {In order to use the "bad" position of
the knight, white should play very eneretically.} {The move} e5 {Allows white
to obtain the favourable pawn structure which we have already discussed.} ({
After} 8... fxe4 9. Nxe4 Nxe4 (9... Bg4 10. c3 Qd7 11. Qb3+ Kh8 12. Nfg5 $36 {
1/2-1/2 Steinmacher,J-Denk,J/Forchtenberg 2003/EXT 2004 (12)}) 10. Rxe4 {
Diagram [#] We reach an extremely important postion where black has 3 options:
Bf5, d5 and e5. Let's analyse them separately.} e5 {Diagram [#]} (10... Bf5 11.
Re1 {The move} Bg4 {is almost always well met by} (11... e5 {This option leads
by force to highly favorable for white endgame.} 12. dxe5 dxe5 13. Qxd8 Raxd8
14. c3 {We have a typical position where black has problems due to the
weakness of the "e5" pawn and the restricted mobility of the black's
dark-squared bishop. In such positions, our plan include 3 main stages: 1)
blockade of the "e5" pawn by means of Ng5-e4 and Be3. 2) exchange a pair of
rooks along the "d" file. 3) Launch a queenside expansion ( b2-b4, a2-a4 )
which will be supported by the minor pieces.} e4 {Black couldn't afford
himself to wait anymore.} 15. Ng5 Ne5 16. Nxe4 Nd3 17. Rd1 $1 h6 {Not only
preventing the move Bg5 but also planning to double the rooks along the "d"
file. Fortunately, white finds an interesting way to undermine the stability
of black's knight.} 18. f4 $1 {[%cal Ge4f2] Planning Nf2 on the next move.} c5
{[%csl Rd3][%cal Gc5c4] Very interesting idea. Black tries to support their
knight at any price!} ({The move} 18... Rfe8 {Doesn't offer black enough
compensation. Play might continue:} 19. Nf2 Bf8 {[%cal Gf8c5]} 20. g4 $1 Nxc1
21. Raxc1 Bc8 22. Ne4 $16 {White is just pawn up}) 19. Nf2 c4 (19... Nxf2 $2
20. Rxd8 Rxd8 21. Kxf2 Rd1 22. Bxb7 $18 {[%cal Gb7f3] White threatens to play
Bf3 after which the game is over.}) 20. Nxd3 Bg4 $1 21. Rd2 cxd3 22. Be4 Bf5 (
22... Be2 23. Bxg6) 23. Bxb7 {White's plan is very simple - he wants to play
Rd1, Bd2 and Bf3 with completely winning position. Black's compensation for
the missing pawns doesn't seem to be sufficient. His only decent idea is to
transfer the dark-squared bishop on the "a7-g1" diagonal but white has enough
ressources to prevent this plan.} Rfe8 24. Kf2 Bf8 25. b4 $1 $18) (11... Qd7 {
Quite a typical idea in such structures. Black activates his queen and at the
same time wants to prepare e7-e5 advance by means of Rae8. Also in some cases
he could try to exchange the white-squared bishops by playing Bh3.} 12. c3 {
This move forces black to lose important tempo in order to parry the threat
Qb3+} Kh8 {Diagram [#]} 13. d5 $1 {Typical idea in such kind of structures.
White's play is now based on the backward pawn on "e7".} Ne5 14. Nxe5 Bxe5 15.
Be3 {[%cal Ge3d4] White's plan is fairly simple: After the exchange of the
dark-squared bishops he will seize the opportunity to build a tremendous
pressure against the "e7" pawn. Despite of the wide choice of moves, black is
doomed to passivity.} Bf6 {[%cal Ga8e8,Gb7b6,Ge7e5] Black tries to get rid of
their weakness on "e7" by playing e7-e5 as soon as possible. In order to
achieve this advance, he should remove his pieces from the long diagonal ( b6,
Rae8 and only then e7-e5). Although, white gains valuable time to organise his
invasion along the "e" file. For instance:} ({after} 15... Bh3 16. Bxh3 Qxh3
17. Bd4 Qf5 18. f4 $1 {White is almost winning.} Bf6 $2 {Loses on the spot.} (
18... Bxd4+ $142 {is somewhat better although white's advantage is still close
to decisive. For example:} 19. Qxd4+ Qf6 20. Rxe7 Qxd4+ 21. cxd4 $16) 19. Rxe7
Rae8 20. Bxf6+ Qxf6 21. Rxc7 $18 {1-0 Szekely,P-Simons,R/Rosmalen 1993/EXT
2002 (50)}) (15... c5 $6 {prevents the exchange of the bishops but allows nice
tactical trick.} 16. Bxc5 $1 Bxc3 17. Bd4+ Bxd4 18. Qxd4+ Kg8 {Now it's time
to make use of the awkward position of black's bishop.} 19. h3 $1 {[%csl Rf5]
[%cal Gg3g4] Preparing the advance g3-g4. The pawn on h3 is intouchable
because of the unprotected position of the "e7" pawn.} Qd8 (19... Bxh3 20. Bxh3
Qxh3 21. Rxe7 Rf7 22. Rxf7 Kxf7 23. Qf4+ {followed by Qd6}) 20. Re3 {[%csl Re7]
[%cal Ga1e1,Ge3e7,Gd4h4,Gh4e7]} Rf7 21. Rae1 a6 22. Qh4 Kf8 23. g4 Bc2 24. Rc3
Qa5 (24... Ba4 {doesn't help either.} 25. Rf3 $1 $18 {black couldn't defend
simultaneously "h7" and "e7" pawns.}) 25. Qh6+ Kg8 26. Qd2 {Black resigns in
view of the threat Rc8. 1-0 Bogdanovski,V-Nikac,P/Niksic 1994/EXT 98 (26)}) ({
After} 15... a6 16. Bd4 Bxd4 17. Qxd4+ Kg8 {White executes his typical plan
without facing any difficulties.} 18. Re3 $1 Rf7 19. Rae1 $16 {Diagram [#]
Despite of the fact that white's advantage is obvious, I would like to give
you some useful tips which will help you to convert your advantage in such
type of positions. As you could see, black has enough ressources to defend the
weakness on e7. That's why we should try to create a second weakness in
black's camp. In order to achieve that, we should take the following actions:
1) Exchange white-squared bishops by means of Be4 in order to make use of the
weakened "e6" square. 2) Place the rook on e6 while the queen should on e4.
3) Create second weakness on the kingside using h4-h5 pawn contact.}) 16. Bd4
Rae8 17. Re3 b6 18. Qd2 e5 $1 19. dxe6 Rxe6 20. Rae1 Rxe3 21. Qxe3 Qg7 22. Bxf6
Qxf6 23. Qe7 $1 $16 {1-0 Schulz,K-Zysk,R/Germany 1992/GER-chT (30)}) ({It
looks tempting to play} 11... Nb4 $2 {Diagram [#] but white has a powerfull
response at his disposal.} 12. Nh4 $1 Qd7 ({The "c2" pawn is untouchable:}
12... Nxc2 $2 13. Nxf5 Nxa1 14. Nxg7 Kxg7 15. Be3 $18) (12... Bxc2 $2 13. Qd2
$1 {[%cal Ga2a3] with the idea to attack the knight by a2-a3.} Nd3 14. Rf1 Nxc1
15. Qxc2 $18) 13. Nxf5 Qxf5 14. Re2 $1 {[%cal Gc2c3]} c6 15. c3 Nd5 16. Qb3
Rab8 17. Bd2 $16 {[%cal Ga1e1] The strong pair of bishops and the weakness on
"e7" gives white an obvious advantage. Now he is planning to play Re1}) 12. c3
{with the idea Qb3+ followed by Ng5} Kh8 {Allowing white to grab the bishop
pair but there are is nothing better.} (12... e6 $6 {Prepares the move Qf6
which allows black to make use of the weakened "f" file. Fortunately, that
idea doesn't work because white can use the unprotected position of the bishop
on g4 to transfer his rook on the kingside.} 13. Re4 $1 Bf5 14. Bg5 {[%cal
Ge4h4,Gd1d2,Gg5h6,Gf3g5] Typical for this variation intermediate move. White's
plan is quite logical - Rh4, Qd2, Bh6 followed by Ng5. For instance:} Qd7 15.
Rh4 Rae8 16. Qd2 {[%cal Gg5h6]} Qc8 17. Bh6 Re7 18. Re1 Bxh6 19. Qxh6 Nd8 20.
Ng5 $16 {1/2-1/2 Geisler,R-Jugelt,T/Germany 1994/GER-chT2 (35)}) (12... Qd7 $2
{is losing immediately after the typical:} 13. Qb3+ Kh8 14. Ng5 {Because after}
Nd8 {[%csl Rg4] White make use of the restricted mobility of the black-squared
bishop.} 15. f3 $1 Bf5 16. g4 h6 17. gxf5 hxg5 18. Bxg5 Bf6 19. Bxf6+ Rxf6 {It
seems that black has parried all the threats but white has at his disposal the
following hidden rook transfer along the 3rd rank.} 20. Re3 $1 gxf5 21. f4 $1
$40 c6 22. Rh3+ Kg7 23. Rg3+ Rg6 24. Rxg6+ Kxg6 25. Qg8+ $18 {1-0 Szekely,
P-Theocharides,C/Athens 1997/EXT 2001 (29)}) 13. h3 Bxf3 {Otherwise white
plays d4-d5. After:} 14. Bxf3 e5 15. dxe5 Bxe5 16. Bg2 Qd7 17. Be3 Rae8 18. Qa4
$14 {[%csl Ge3,Gg2] We reach an open position where the potential of the
bishop pair is extremely high. Ѕ-Ѕ Schulz,K-Vokac,M/Prague 1987/EXT 97 (65)})
(10... d5 {Diagram [#]} 11. Rh4 $1 {Very important moment. The reader already
knows that the rook could be very well placed on h4 - from here it controls
the "g4" square and at the same time participates in the kingside attack.
That's exactly the move that I have chosen in my game against GM Michal
Krasenkow from Poland.} (11. Re1 {doesn't work here because of:} Bg4 12. c3 e5
$1 {and black is complitely fine.}) 11... Bf5 $1 {The best way to play this
position! Krasenkow wants to put his bishops on e4 and f6 and only there to
play e7-e5.} (11... Rf5 12. c3 e5 $2 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Rxe5 15. Bf4 $1 (
15. Be3 $2 c6 16. Bd4 Re8 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. Qd2 $14 {1/2-1/2 Lytchak,
A-Reinderman,D/Groningen 1996/EXT 98 (31)}) 15... Rf5 16. Be4 $1 $18) 12. c3
Bf6 13. Ng5 $1 $146 ({In the game I played:} 13. Bg5 {and after:} Be4 14. Bxf6
exf6 15. Nd2 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 {We have reached an equal position which I managed
to win after some inaccuracies made by my opponent. The strong knight jump was
found only in the analysis.}) {After:} 13... e6 {What has a forced way to
obtain a pair of bishops in slightly better endgame.} 14. Nxh7 Bxh4 15. Nxf8
Be7 16. g4 Qxf8 17. Qe2 $1 {It's good to activate the queen before we capture
the bishop. Now white is planning to play Qe3 and Bh3 after taking the bishop.}
Be4 18. f3 $14 {White a slight edge.}) 11. Bg5 $1 {Once again we have this
typical intermediate move. As I have mentionned in my comments to the move 7...
Nc6, black queen lacks good squares. White's pressure could be very dangerous.}
Qe8 12. dxe5 dxe5 $8 {Black is forced to accept the inferior pawn structure.}
13. Rh4 {White is willing to play c3 Qd5+ and Re1 after which his advantage is
undisputable. For instance:} Bf5 14. c3 e4 15. Qd5+ $1 Rf7 16. Re1 $1 {[%csl
Re4][%cal Re1e8,Gf3d2,Gd2e4]} Qf8 17. Nd2 h6 18. Be3 g5 19. Rxe4 $1 {This
quality sacrifice ensures total domination on the light squares.} Bxe4 20. Nxe4
$16 {1-0 Hoffmann,M-Hoang Thanh Trang/Budapest 1999/CBM 72 (34)}) (8... f4 {
Quite an original pawn sacrifice which couldn't be accepted immediately in
view of 9...Nh5. Black is planning to increase the pressure over "d4" pawn by
playing simple moves like Bg4, Nh5 and e5. White couldn't waste time!} 9. d5 $1
{The only way to fight for an advantage!} Nb8 {This solid move also fails to
equalize. White's plan is to tranfer the knight on d2 to d4.} ({After} 9... Nb4
{White makes use of the vulnerable position of black knight.} 10. gxf4 $1 Nh5
11. Nf1 Bg4 {It seems that black finally has sufficient counterplay bur white
is in time to execute the following blow:} (11... Nxf4 $4 {Is impossible due
to:} 12. Bxf4 Rxf4 13. Qd2 $18 {[%csl Rb4,Rf4][%cal Gd2f4,Gd2b4] Winning a
piece}) 12. f5 $1 Be5 {Diagram [#]} (12... gxf5 {doesnt work in view of:} 13.
h3 Bxf3 14. Bxf3 Nf6 15. exf5 $16 {With Ng3, Re6 and Bg5 to follow}) 13. Qd2 $1
{[%cal Gd2b4,Gd2g5] Very deep idea - white not only attacks the knight but
also is preparing a queen transfer to g5!} Bxf3 14. Bxf3 c5 15. Bxh5 gxh5 16.
c3 Na6 17. Qg5+ Kh8 18. Qxh5 $18 {The game is over. 1-0 Heinbuch,D-Gupta,M/
Germany 1992/GER-chT2 (24)}) (9... Ne5 {Creates defects in the pawn structure
which could be exploited in a very interesting way.} 10. Nxe5 dxe5 11. Nc4 Nh5
12. b3 $1 {[%csl Re5][%cal Gc1b2,Gb2e5,Gc4e5] It's already very difficult for
black to defend the "e5" pawn - Bb2 is coming.} b5 {Eliminates the threat but
weakens the queenside.} 13. Na5 {[%cal Ga5c6]} c5 ({After} 13... Bd7 {White
can make use of the weakness on c5} 14. Nb7 {[%cal Gb7c5] With the idea Nc5})
14. Nc6 Qd6 {Diagram [#] Black has defended everything and he intends to
continue with Bd7. Unfortunately for him white hasn't said yet his last word!
His plan is to open a line on the queenside.} 15. a4 $1 b4 16. c3 $1 Bd7 17.
cxb4 cxb4 18. Bb2 fxg3 19. hxg3 Rf7 20. Rc1 $16 {White's advantage is beyond
any doubt. By playing Qd2 he will force black to defend the b4 pawn by a7-a5.
Only then the queen will go to b6 square and the rooks will be doubled along
the "c" file. 1-0 Gruber,T-Effert,K/Zell 1991/GER (34)}) 10. Nb3 fxg3 11. hxg3
Ng4 12. Nbd4 c5 13. dxc6 Nxc6 14. c3 $14 {[%cal Gd1b3,Gd4e6] White retains an
edge due the space advantage and the weakened light squares in black's camp.
Moves like Qb3 followed by Ne6 are always in the air. 1-0 Franke,H-Borngaesser,
R/Bad Neuenahr 1987/CBM 04 (99)}) 9. exf5 Bxf5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. c3 {[%cal
Gf3g5,Gg5e4,Gd1e2,Gd2b3,Gb3c5,Gc1e3,Ga1d1,Gb2b4] The position on the board is
extremely difficult for black. As always white shoud block the e5 pawn by
Ng5-e4 and later prepare his queenside expansion by means of Qe2, Nb3-c5, Be3,
Rd1 and b4.}) (7... c6 {Diagram [#] Typical idea in Dutch defence. Black
ensures better control over the center and at the same time is planning to
prepare the advance e7-e5 by Qc7 or Qe8. The drawback of 7...c6 is that e7-e5
takes much more time while white is ready to break in the center.} 8. e4 fxe4
9. Nxe4 {Now black has huge problems caused by the weakened "e" file. White is
already threatening Neg5.} Nxe4 10. Rxe4 Bf5 11. Re1 {[%cal Gc2c3,Gd1b3,Gf3g5]
Black is almost helpless in front of the typical threat c3 followed by Qb3 and
Ng5. For example:} Nd7 12. c3 Kh8 13. Qb3 Rb8 14. Ng5 $1 Qe8 15. Ne6 Bxe6 16.
Qxe6 $16 {1-0 Szekely,P-Roy Chowdhury,S/Calcutta 1996/CBM 50 ext (52)}) (7...
Nh5 {Extremeley creative approach. Black is ready to meet e2-e4 advance by
f5-f4 and at the same time prepares e7-e5.} 8. h3 $1 {Very strong reaction
after which f4 is no longer possible due to g4. Now white is planning to play
e4.} Nc6 {Black prepares e7-e5 but doesn't control the "d5" square. As a rule,
in such kind of pawn structures white always tries to advance further his
central pawn when black is not controling the "d5" square.} ({The direct} 8...
e5 {fails to} 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. e4 {The e5 pawn is very weak. This variation
illustrates the rule that it's not advisible to break in the center while you
are behind in development.}) 9. d5 Nb4 10. e4 fxe4 11. Nxe4 {White's advantage
is tremendous. Now he wants to occupy the "e6" square by playing Neg5.} h6 12.
c3 Na6 13. Nd4 $16 {1-0 Huhndorf,A-Wolf,U/Germany 2002/EXT 2004 (28)}) ({
Another option for black is to play a Stonewall type of positions after} 7...
d5 8. c4 c6 9. b3 Nbd7 10. Bb2 $14 {We have reached highly unusual version of
the Stonewall system in Dutch defence. The main difference is that black's
black-squared bishop usually stands on d6 where not only controls the "e5"
square but also makes more difficult white's play on the queenside. In order
to use that drawback, white could play b4 as soon as possible. Later he may
chose the following plan: Rac1, Qb3, a4 and b5. Also it's important to
mention that due to the move g7-g6 black is no longer able to activate his
light-squared bishop using the route d7-e8-h5. Taking into consideration
these factors, we could conclude that white's position is better.}) 8. Nxe4
fxe4 9. Ng5 d5 10. f3 {White must attack the center before the development of
black's queenside.} Nc6 {The main move.} ({After} 10... exf3 11. exf3 {The "e"
file is too weak. White's immediate threat is Ne6. The play may continue:} Nc6
12. c3 Rf6 13. Nh3 {Now the knight will go to d3 via f4. Black's position is
strategically very difficult.} h6 14. Nf4 e6 15. Bh3 Qd6 16. Nd3 {Now} Qf8 {is
well met by the nice little trick} 17. Bf4 {with the idea:} g5 18. Bxc7 Rxf3
19. Nf4 $18) 11. c3 h6 12. Nh3 e5 13. dxe5 exf3 ({The move} 13... Nxe5 {
doesn't seem to promose enough compensation for the pawn.} 14. fxe4 c6 (14...
dxe4 15. Qxd8 Rxd8 16. Nf2 $16) 15. exd5 Qb6+ 16. Kh1 cxd5 17. Qxd5+ Be6 18.
Qd4 $1 Qa5 19. Nf4 Bf7 20. Qg1 $14 {With the idea Be3-d4. Ѕ-Ѕ Dydyshko,
V-Ibragimov,I/Azov 1991/CBM 25 (50)}) 14. exf3 Nxe5 15. Nf4 c6 16. Be3 Re8 17.
Bd4 $14 {I belive that white could claim a slight edge in this position. The
g6 pawn is weak and black knight is far from being stable. In the future
battle white will be trying to combine the threats against black's kingside
with pressure along the "d" file. 1-0 Schulz,K-Jahr,U/Porz 1989/EXT 97 (36)} *

GM Grigor Grigorov


The Value of a Blunder

The fifth round of Grenke Classic was once again quite eventful. The most dramatic game turned to be this one:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "3rd GRENKE Chess Classic"]
[Site "Baden Baden GER"]
[Date "2015.02.07"]
[Round "5.4"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D38"]
[WhiteElo "2777"]
[BlackElo "2797"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2015.02.02"]

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 d5 4. d4 Bb4 {The Ragozin line. We are skipping the
opening phase as all of the moves have been played three weeks ago by Levon
with the back pieces in his game with Magnus Carlsen from Wijk aan Zee.} 5.
cxd5 exd5 6. Qa4+ Nc6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. e3 O-O 10. Be2 a6 11. O-O Be6
12. Rfc1 Bd6 13. a3 {Diagram [#] Levon came well prepared for the game. White
immediately starts the minority attack. This move is not as common as} (13. Qd1
{which was Carlsen's chose in Tata. Then after} Ne7 14. a3 Rfd8 15. b4 Nc8 {
was Levon's novelty from Wijk an Zee. It did not work with Magnus, but Anand
obviously thrusts this position and belives he can develop his pieces better
than in the abovementioned game. There are also early improvements for Black
in the position.} 16. Na4 {We will have to wait and see what Anand had in mind
when choosing this line. Was it an improvement earlier, or the one I suggested
in this position Now} b6 $6 {led to problems for Black in Carlsen,M (2862)
-Aronian,L (2797) Tata Steel Masters 2015} (16... b5 $5 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)) 13... Ne7 {The knight belongs to the kingside as Black will attack
there. Vishy also prepares his next move.} 14. b4 c6 {This somewhat slows the
attack, but White can regroup.} 15. Qb3 g5 ({A game by another Grenke Classic
participant saw White successfully conducting the Minority Attack after} 15...
h5 16. Na4 h4 17. Nc5 Rab8 18. Qd1 Bc7 19. a4 Bg4 20. Nd2 Bf5 21. b5 axb5 22.
axb5 Qd6 23. Nf1 $1 {White is solid on the kingside and is already creating
weaknesses on the other side in Bacrot,E (2723)-Grandadam,N (2286) Basel 2011})
16. Qb2 $1 $146 {[%csl Ye2,Yf2][%cal Gb2e2,Ge2f2] Diagram [#] A deep
profilactical novelty. White defends...the bishop on e2!} ({The only
predecessor saw} 16. g3 {but this weakens the kingside and after} g4 17. Ne1 h5
18. Qd1 Nf5 19. Ng2 Rae8 20. Na4 Kg7 21. Nc5 Bc8 22. Nd3 Rh8 23. Ndf4 Bxf4 24.
Nxf4 h4 {when Black had serious threats on the kingside, Mirzoev,A (2510)
-Peralta,F (2590) Navalmoral 2011}) ({White idea is revealed after careful
study of the most natural move} 16. Na4 {Then Black has this tricky idea in
his disposal} g4 $1 17. Nd2 (17. Ne1 Bxh2+ $1 18. Kxh2 Qxf2 19. Bd3 Nf5 {looks
scary for White, to say at least.}) 17... a5 $5 {with the idea} (17... Bxh2+ $6
{would be too early as the queen is trapped after} 18. Kxh2 Qxf2 19. Nf1 $1
Qxe2 $2 20. Ng3 Qb5 (20... Qf2 21. Rf1 $18) 21. Rc5 {and White wins.}) (17...
h5 {is also interesting for Black.}) 18. b5 Bxh2+ $1 19. Kxh2 Qxf2 20. Bd3 ({
Now} 20. Nf1 {does not work due to} Qxe2 21. Ng3 Qxb5) 20... cxb5 21. Bxb5 Nf5
{with strong attack for the piece.}) 16... Qg7 {Vishy regroups as} (16... g4
17. Nd2 Bxh2+ 18. Kxh2 Qxf2 19. Nf1 {is no longer appealing for Black.}) ({
Another possibility is} 16... h5 {but then} 17. Na4 Rae8 (17... Ng6 18. Nc5)
18. Nc5 Bc8 19. Ne5 {looks a bit better for White.}) ({Perhaps the immediate}
16... Rae8 $5 {is most accurate. First Black will secure the queenside} 17. Na4
Ng6 18. Nc5 Bc8 {and only then Black will decide which pawn he wants to
advance first.}) 17. Na4 Rae8 18. Nc5 Bc8 19. g3 ({In case of} 19. a4 {Black
gets counterplay with} f5 20. b5 axb5 21. axb5 f4 {but this was preferrable to
what happened in the game.}) 19... Nf5 {Not a bad move, but the
straightforward attack looks even better} (19... f5 20. Bf1 f4 21. exf4 gxf4
22. Bg2 h5 {and Black looks faster.}) 20. Bd3 Qf6 {With the threat Nf5xf3,
thus the next move for White.} 21. Rf1 h5 22. Rac1 h4 {Vishy played logically
and strong and his attack is growing fast. He now intends to open up the h
file and checkmate with his heavy pieces.} 23. Qd2 ({Perhaps White should have
defended with} 23. Ne1 {in order to recaptureon g3 with the f pawn} hxg3 24.
fxg3) 23... Nh6 $2 {[%csl Yg5] Diagram [#] So far Black had played logically
and strong and achieved extremely promising position. Now Anand chose a
tempting but tactically wrong idea. After the consistent} (23... hxg3 24. hxg3
Kg7 {Black has tremendous attack. For example} 25. Kg2 Rh8 26. Rh1 {[%csl Ye3,
Yf2,Rg2,Yg3] Diagram [#]} Nxe3+ $3 27. fxe3 Bh3+ $1 28. Rxh3 (28. Kf2 g4) 28...
Rxh3 29. Kxh3 Qxf3 {and mate along the h file.}) 24. e4 $1 {Very strong! Now
tables are turned into White's favor. Once that this pawn jumps to e5 Black
can no longer attack the kingside.} Bxc5 {One mistake often lead to another.
This makes things easier for White.} ({Anand probably missed} 24... Qxf3 25.
Qxg5+ Kh7 26. e5+ Bf5 (26... f5 27. exf6+ Bf5 28. Qg7#) 27. Bxf5+ Nxf5 {and
now the only but sufficient move for White} (27... Qxf5 28. Qxf5+ Nxf5 29. exd6
Nxd6 30. Nd7 $1) 28. Rc3 $1 {and if} Nxd4 29. Qxh4+ Kg7 30. Qxd4 Bxc5 31. bxc5
{with extra material for Aronian.}) ({The most resilent continuation is} 24...
Be7 {to defend the pawn although here too White should be better after} 25. Ne5
(25. e5 Qxf3) 25... dxe4 26. Nxe4 Qg7 27. Nc5) 25. e5 $1 Qg7 {Now it is over.}
({White is clearly better after} 25... Bxb4 26. axb4 Qg7 27. Nxg5 Bf5 {but
this was the most stubborn continuation.}) 26. bxc5 f6 27. exf6 Rxf6 28. Nxg5 {
Diagram [#] There is nothing left from Black's attack and he is a pawn down.
The rest is easy for Aronian.} Bf5 29. Rce1 Rff8 30. Rxe8 Rxe8 31. Nf3 Bxd3 32.
Qxd3 Re4 33. Re1 hxg3 34. hxg3 {A painful defeat for Vishy Anand who played
consistently and strong until he blundered badly in a very promising position.}



Keeping the Promise

Magnus Carlsen stroke back after the painful loss in the third round of the Grenke Chess Classics. In the fourth the Norwegian faced his old rival Vishy Anand. With risky and aggressive play Carlsen put serious pressure on his opponent with the black pieces until he finally blundered. Thus, the World Champion kept his hidden promise of further wins after the third round.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2015"]
[Site "Baden-Baden"]
[Date "2015.02.06"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A90"]
[WhiteElo "2797"]
[BlackElo "2865"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 {The game betweent the world champion of now and his predecessor is
always a great show.} f5 {This was not quite a shock as Magnus had played like
that previously. His former coach S. Agdestein is a great aficionado of the
Dutch as well.} 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 c6 {But that is a surprise! The
Stonewall have never been seen in Magnus' games before.} 5. Nf3 {It was
generally considered that the best position for this knight is on h3. After} (
5. Nh3 {White intends to develop his knights in Petrosian's favourite way- the
one from h3 goes to f4 and d3, the one from b1- to d2 and f3. Then they both
have excellent view of the e5 spot. Petrosian claimed that this set up paid
his flat in Moscow... Leaving the nice sense of humour of the ninth world
champion aside I can only add that Black had found interesting ways to fight
against this set up, for example} d6 6. O-O Be7 7. b3 e5 {Zhou,J (2625)-Wang,Y
(2702) Xinghua 2012}) 5... d5 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 Qe7 {To stop Bc1-a3 with
favourable trade of the dark-squared bishops.} 8. Ne5 {Vishy takes control of
the strong outpost at once.} ({Another move is} 8. Bb2 {Then a game of Salo
Flohr saw the idea that Vishy performed in the game} O-O 9. Qc2 Bd7 10. Ne5 Na6
11. Nxd7 $1 {It seems weird to trade the excellent knight for the bad bishop
but the latter is an important defender of the light squares. After} Qxd7 12.
Nd2 g5 13. Nf3 Qg7 14. Qc1 g4 15. Ne5 Nb8 16. Ba3 Bxa3 17. Qxa3 {White is
ready to break the barricades on the light squares, Flohr,S-Goldberg,G Moscow
1949}) ({White can insist on swapping the bishops off with} 8. a4 O-O 9. Ba3
Bxa3 10. Nxa3 {Although now his knight is somewhat displaced (too far away
from the e5 square that is!)} b6 11. Qc1 Bb7 12. Nc2 a5 $11 {1/2-1/2 (43)
Vachier Lagrave,M (2745)-Radjabov,T (2713) Beijing 2013}) 8... O-O 9. Nd2 a5 {
[%csl Yb4][%cal Ga5a4] Diagram [#] Black grabs space on both flanks. This move
is usually an active defense, although the little pawn might have deeper
thoughts.} 10. Bb2 Nbd7 11. Qc2 a4 12. Ndf3 Ne4 13. e3 $146 {Diagram [#] A
solid move, which is also a novelty.} ({Previously only} 13. bxa4 {had been
seen. Looks ugly, but White wants to exert pressure along the b file} Bxe5 14.
dxe5 (14. Nxe5 $5 Nxe5 15. dxe5 {might be better}) 14... Nb6 $1 15. cxd5 exd5
16. Rab1 Nc4 {Black had an excellent position in Goganov,A (2550)-Sandipan,C
(2590) Moscow 2013}) 13... a3 ({A solid reply for Black is mentioned by Magnus
} 13... Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Bd7 {with an OK position for the second player.}) 14. Bc3
Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Bd7 {Black finishes the development. Magnus disliked} (15... Bxe5
16. dxe5 b5 (16... b6 {might be better}) 17. cxb5 cxb5 {because of the strong}
18. Rfc1 Ba6 (18... Nxc3 19. Qxc3 Bd7 {is a risk-free edge for White.}) 19. Be1
Rfc8 20. Qd3 {and Black cannot play b5-b4} b4 21. Rxc8+ {(Carlsen)}) 16. Nxd7 {
Flohr's idea from above. The bishop could become dangerous after Bd7-e8-h5.}
Qxd7 17. c5 Bc7 {Magnus confidently levelled the game.} 18. b4 {White's plan
is clear. Ra1-b1, b4-b5, open the queenside, penetrate on the seventh...} ({Or
} 18. Be1 e5 19. f3 Ng5 {with approximate equality.}) 18... h5 {In terurn
Black shows activity on the other wing.} 19. Be1 {[%csl Ge1,Gg2][%cal Rf2f3,
Re3e4] Diagram [#] Vishy plays for the win but this allows the freeing central
advance! In case of} (19. f3 {Black will need to trade the kngiht for the
bishop} Nxc3 20. Qxc3 h4 21. f4 g5 {"This should be sufficient counterplay."
(Carlsen) The presence of the light-squared bishops should be an indicator of
a likely draw.}) 19... e5 $1 {The threat is e5xd4 followed by f5-f4.} 20. dxe5
Bxe5 21. Rd1 {Now the knight on e4 is hanging.} Qe6 (21... h4 22. Bxe4 fxe4 23.
Qxe4) 22. f3 {The knight is unbearable and White also wants to open up the
game for the bishops.} Nf6 23. Bh3 g6 24. e4 $1 dxe4 25. fxe4 {All of this was
pretty logical and forced. Magnus had to make a decision- to play calm and
solid moves or to go for a risky line. He chose the latter!} Bb2 $5 {[%csl Ya2,
Ga3,Rg8][%cal Ye6a2,Ga3a2,Ga2a1] Diagram [#]} ({Black is doing fine after}
25... Ng4 26. exf5 Rxf5 27. Rxf5 gxf5) ({Naturally,} 25... Nxe4 $4 {is not
great} 26. Qxe4) 26. exf5 Qxa2 {"I might have overestimated my position" said
Magnus at the press conference. Indeed, the position of his king is scary, but
if he manages to trade the queens, his pawn will get promoted. The analyzes
showed that with correct play by both sides the game should have ended in a
draw.} 27. Bf2 ({Carlsen saw that the lines with the pawn capture are always
good for him} 27. Kh1 Rad8 28. fxg6 $4 (28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. fxg6 $2 Qd5+ 30. Bg2
Qd3) 28... Rxd1 29. Qxd1 Qd5+ {In both cases he trades the queens and promotes
a new one!}) 27... g5 28. Rfe1 $1 {Correctly centralizing his troops. Anand
needs to attack the enemy king to survive.} Qf7 29. Re6 {Now White threatens
to shift the bishop from h3 to c4. Magnus has to force matters.} (29. Bf1 $2 {
does not work yet due to} Nd5 {[%csl Yf5] and the f5 pawn falls.}) 29... Ng4 {
Opens further the king, but as Carlsen said at the press conference he could
not find anything decisive for White after thorough calculation.} (29... Rad8
$5 {was another interesting idea, but the world champion obviously does not
want to move the rook away from the a file. After} 30. Rxd8 Rxd8 31. Bf1 Nd5
32. Rg6+ Kf8 33. Bc4 Nxb4 $5 34. Qb3 Nd5 {the game remains unclear.}) 30. Bxg4
hxg4 31. Rg6+ Kh7 {[%csl Rh7][%cal Ga3a2] Diagram [#] The culmination of the
battle.} 32. Rd7 $4 {Anand blunders. Correct was} (32. Re6 {For example} Qxf5 {
leads to another perpetual} (32... Bf6 33. Rxf6 $1 {This leaves to perpetual} (
33. Qa2 $5 {(Carlsen)}) 33... Qxf6 34. Rd7+ Rf7 (34... Kg8 35. Bd4 a2 {is bad
due to} 36. Qc4+ Kh8 37. Bxf6+ Rxf6 38. Rd1 a1=Q 39. Rxa1 Rxa1+ 40. Kg2 {where
White should win.}) 35. Bd4 Qxd4+ 36. Rxd4 a2 37. Rd1 a1=Q 38. Rxa1 Rxa1+ 39.
Kg2 Re1 $11) (32... Rae8 $2 33. Rdd6) 33. Rd7+ Kg8 34. Rg6+ Kh8 35. Rh6+ ({The
spectacular} 35. Qxb2+ axb2 36. Bd4+ {fails to} Rf6 {as mentioned by Carlsen.})
) 32... Qxd7 33. f6 Qd1+ $1 {The neatest road to the win. The black king
easily escapes the checks and the little a pawn loudly presents itself to the
world!} 34. Qxd1 Kxg6 35. Qd3+ Kh6 36. h4 gxh3 {Carlsen is back into the
contest for the tournament win.} 0-1



The Black Cat Naiditsch

Arkadij Naiditsch turns into a very serious trouble to the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen. At least for the last two games. However, while at the last Olympiad Arkadij won from a suspect (to say at least) position yesterday he managed to convincingly outplay his rival at the the Grenke Classics.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2015"]
[Site "Baden-Baden"]
[Date "2015.02.04"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Naiditsch, Arkadij"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B06"]
[WhiteElo "2706"]
[BlackElo "2865"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "121"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

{A couple of years ago Arkadij revealed that his favourite player ever was
Magnus Carlsen. "I do not see how to beat him", added he with a smile. The
last two games between these two proved that things have changed. At least for
the second statement.} 1. e4 g6 {Carlsen did not use the Pirc since 2012 and
with a good reason as his results are not great here. It seems as he was ready
to risk more than usual in this game.} 2. d4 Bg7 ({The exotic} 2... Nf6 3. e5
Nh5 4. Be2 {did not anywhere in Adams,M (2728)-Carlsen,M (2826)
Khanty-Mansiysk 2010}) 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6 5. a4 Nf6 6. h3 O-O 7. g4 ({A
quiter plan is} 7. Nf3 e5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Qxd8 Rxd8 10. Bc4 Nc6 11. O-O {
although this did not provide anything significant to White, Jakovenko,D (2729)
-Kempinski,R (2610) Plovdiv 2012}) 7... e5 ({The great Pirc specialist Zurab
Azmaiparashvili prefers the move} 7... c5 {here and this might be the better
choice.}) 8. d5 c6 9. Nge2 $146 {A logical novelty. White wants to bring the
knight on g3 as quick as possible to kill any counterplay related with the
f7-f5 advance.} ({Previously only} 9. Bg2 Qa5 10. Nge2 cxd5 11. exd5 Nbd7 {was
seen in Nikolova,A (2341)-Tonel,G (2036) Rijeka 2014}) 9... cxd5 10. exd5 Bxg4
{Diagram [#] An unexpected move to say at least... "I was of course quite
shocked when he played this but maybe it is not such a bad practical chnce as
I was already threatening Ne2-g3". (Naiditsch)} ({After} 10... Nbd7 11. Ng3 {
[%csl Ge4][%cal Gg4g5,Gg3e4] "followed by g4-g5 and Ng3-e4 White has clear
positional advantage. Of course, one should be desperate to sacrifice on g4".
(Naiditsch)}) 11. hxg4 Nxg4 12. Qd2 {Not the best move according to the winner.
} ({Arkadij spend a lot of time calculating the following line} 12. Bd2 Qb6 13.
Ne4 f5 14. N2c3 h5 15. a5 Qa7 16. Bh3 (16. Qe2 {might be more subtle with the
idea} fxe4 17. Nxe4 Qd4 18. f3 Nf6 19. Bc3 Qxd5 20. Rd1 Qc6 21. Rxd6 Qc7 22.
Qc4+ Qxc4 23. Bxc4+ Kh8 24. Bd3 {where White is completely dominating.}) 16...
fxe4 17. Nxe4 Qd4 (17... Nxf2 $4 18. Be6+ Kh7 19. Rxh5+ gxh5 20. Qxh5+ Bh6 21.
Qxh6#) 18. Qe2 {"White's advantage is massive as he is checkmating" (Naiditsch)
.}) 12... Nd7 13. Ne4 {White is slowing dow the opponent's pawns in the center.
} (13. O-O-O {is also possible but for understandable reasons White does not
feel like doing it anytime soon.}) 13... f5 14. Bg5 Qb6 15. Bh3 Ndf6 16. Nxf6+
Nxf6 17. Nc3 {With the idea to castle long.} ({Naiditsch considered less
promising the continuation} 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. c3 Rac8) (17. O-O-O {at once is
not clear after} Ne4 18. Be3 Nxd2 19. Bxb6 Nc4 20. Be3 b5 {whe the black pawns
look scary.}) ({I have the feeling though that the white king is best placed
on the kingside} 17. Bg2 $5 Qxb2 18. O-O Rac8 19. Rfc1 Rc7 20. Rab1 Qa3 21. Qa5
{should be better for White.}) 17... Qxb2 18. Rb1 Qa3 19. Rxb7 ({Objectively
better was} 19. Rb3 Qc5 20. O-O {with slight advantage for White.}) 19... Rf7 {
Magnus was afraid of the line} (19... Rab8 20. Rxg7+ $5 ({Instead} 20. Rxb8
Rxb8 21. Bg2 Rc8 {should be still little better for White.}) 20... Kxg7 21.
Bxf5 gxf5 22. Bxf6+ Kxf6 {Diagram [#] which looks indeed horrifying for a
human being. The poor king lacks any defence and is attacked by both teh queen
and the rook. Still, the cold-blooded machine finds no more than a draw after
both} 23. Rxh7 ({Or} 23. Qh6+ Ke7 24. Qe6+ Kd8 25. Rxh7 Qxc3+ 26. Kf1 Qc4+ 27.
Kg2 Qg4+ 28. Kh2 Qf4+ $11) 23... f4 24. Qd3 Qc1+ 25. Ke2 Rf7 26. Rxf7+ Kxf7 27.
Qf5+ Kg8 28. Qg6+) 20. Rb3 Qc5 21. Qe3 $1 {The king will be safe without the
queens on the board.} Qc7 22. Qb6 e4 23. Qc6 $5 {Naiditsch lures the rook on
c8.} Rc8 {The only move as after} (23... Qxc6 24. dxc6 Rc8 25. Bxf6 Bxf6 26.
Nd5 Rxc6 {White has the nice trick} 27. Bxf5 $1 gxf5 28. Rg1+ Kf8 (28... Rg7
29. Nxf6+) 29. Rb8+ Bd8 30. Rxd8#) 24. O-O {Arkadij calculated that he wins
the pawn back. The trick} (24. Bxf6 Bxf6 25. Nxe4 $4 {fails to} Qa5+) 24...
Qxc6 25. dxc6 Rxc6 {"Endgame should be close to winning for White" (Naiditsch)}
26. Rfb1 h6 27. Bxf6 $1 {White is happy to have the rook on f7. Another
tempting continuation was} (27. Rb8+ Kh7 28. Bxf6 Bxf6 29. Nd5 {with the idea}
Rxc2 $4 ({But Black can defend after} 29... Be5) 30. Nxf6+ Rxf6 31. R1b7+ Rf7
32. Rxf7#) 27... Bxf6 {Diagram [#]} 28. Nxe4 $1 {[%csl Yf7,Yg8][%cal Gh3e6]
The point behind White's previous play! White regains the pawn and destroys
the black pawn chain.} Be5 (28... fxe4 {is hopeless after} 29. Be6 Kg7 30. Bxf7
Kxf7 31. Rb6 {as White wins both d6 and a6 pawns.}) 29. Nd2 Rxc2 30. Nf3 Ra2
31. Bg2 {A slip for which Arkadij was furous about. He could have won with} (
31. Nxe5 $1 dxe5 32. Rb4 $1 ({Rather than the sugegsted by many commentators}
32. Rb6 {which he also calculated but felt correctly should be a clear win
after} Rxa4 33. Rxg6+ Kh7 34. Rbb6 Rh4 35. Kg2 Rh5 $1 {White has only one gold
pawn left and is anything but sure of winning} 36. Rbf6 Rxf6 37. Rxf6 Kg7 38.
Rxf5 (38. Rxa6 {gives some practical chances but hardly a win.}) 38... Rxf5 39.
Bxf5 Kf6 {followed by Kf6-g5-f4 (Naiditsch)}) 32... a5 33. Rc4 {Next the
bishop comes to f1, White slowly improves and takes the a pawn and the game
home.}) 31... Bf6 32. Nh2 Kg7 {Now the game starts again. White is still
better but has to maneuver a lot to prove that.} 33. Bd5 Re7 34. Rb4 Rd2 35.
Bc4 a5 36. Rb7 Rd4 37. Rxe7+ Bxe7 38. Bb5 h5 39. Nf3 Rf4 40. Kg2 h4 ({Perhaps}
40... Bf6 41. Rd1 Rg4+ 42. Kf1 Rf4 43. Rd3 g5 {was a better defense.}) 41. Rd1
{Intending to swap off the rooks after Rd1-d4.} Rg4+ 42. Kf1 h3 43. Rd3 $1 {
[%csl Gf1,Yf3][%cal Gf1g1,Gg1h1,Yh2f1,Yf1e3,Ye3c4,Ye3d5,Yf3h2] A nice
regroupment. The white king goes to the h file to deal with the Black's
complex of a dangerous passer and rook behind it. The knight is set free for
greater deeds.} Bf6 44. Nh2 Rh4 45. Kg1 Bd4 46. Rf3 Kf6 47. Nf1 Be5 $6 ({A
much more resilent defense is} 47... Ke5 48. Nd2 d5 {trying to keep the knight
blocked. For example} ({Not} 48... g5 $2 49. Bd7) 49. Rg3 Kf6 50. Nf3 $2 Bxf2+
$1 51. Kxf2 h2 52. Nxh2 (52. Nxh4 h1=Q 53. Rxg6+ Kf7 54. Rh6 Qh2+ $11) 52...
Rxh2+ 53. Ke3 Rh4 {with a draw. Naturally, White can improve his play in this
line, but he will still have to work very hard to win (if this is even
possible).}) 48. Ne3 Kg5 49. Kh1 Kf6 $6 {The last chance for teh World
Champion was the line} (49... Rf4 50. Rxf4 (50. Rg3+ Kh4 51. Rxg6 Rxf2 52. Rh6+
Kg3 53. Nf1+ Kg4 $11) 50... Kxf4 51. Nc4 Bc3 52. Nxd6 Kf3 53. Be8 Bb4 {when it
is not yer certain if this is a win for White.}) 50. Nc4 g5 51. Nxa5 g4 52. Rd3
f4 53. Nc4 Rh7 54. Nxe5 $1 {[%cal Ra4a5,Ra5a6,Ra6a7,Ra7a8,Rb5c6,Rd3a3] Diagram
[#] Without the bishop on the board Black cannot stop the white passer. The
game is essentially over although some accuracy is still needed.} dxe5 55. a5
Rc7 56. Ra3 $1 {The last subtle move. Rook behind the pawnpromotes it
authomatically. It also kills the black counter-chances related with his
strong pawns. Worse is} (56. Rd1 Rc5 57. Rb1 g3 58. fxg3 fxg3 59. a6 Rc2 60.
Ra1 Rh2+ 61. Kg1 Rg2+ 62. Kf1 Rf2+ 63. Ke1 $4 (63. Kg1 $11) 63... e4 $1 {
(Gustafsson) when it is Black who wins!} 64. Bc6 e3 65. a7 g2) 56... Rc1+ 57.
Kh2 Rc2 58. a6 Rxf2+ 59. Kh1 g3 60. a7 Rd2 61. Ra1 {Arkadij Naiditsch won his
second game in a row against the World Champion Magnus Carlsen and can be
proud with the game that he had played!} 1-0

Report by Kostya Kavutskiy.


Carlsen Takes Early Lean in Baden-Baden

The world champion Magnus Carlsen took an early lead at the Grenke Super tournament after defeating Michael Adams in a typical, positional style. Mickey was Magnus'second at the recent WC match in Sochi, which did not prevent the Norwegian from surprising him in the opening. The novelty promised Carlsen slight, but durable positional advantage:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2015"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.02.03"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2865"]
[BlackElo "2738"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "127"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:37:54"]
[BlackClock "0:28:40"]

1. c4 e5 {The reversed Sicilian that is.} 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 {The
reversed Rossolimo line.} 5. Nd5 (5. Bg2 {is considered the main line but the
move in the game scoes better for White, at least by percentage.}) 5... Bc5 6.
Bg2 d6 7. O-O O-O 8. d3 ({Adams has experience in this line. A couple years
ago he drew comfortably against the current number three in the world after} 8.
e3 a6 9. d3 Ba7 10. Nxf6+ Qxf6 11. Bd2 Qg6 {Grischuk,A (2785)-Adams,M (2752)
Warsaw 2013}) 8... Nxd5 9. cxd5 Nd4 {Mickey trades the second knight, thus
freeing his position a bit.} (9... Ne7 {is the other option.}) 10. Nxd4 exd4 {
The idea is to create counter play against the backward pawn on e2.} ({The
other capture is also possible} 10... Bxd4 11. e3 Bb6 {Next both the sides are
trying to grab space on the kingside with f2-f4-f5 for White and f7-f5-f4 for
Black!} 12. Kh1 Bd7 13. Bd2 Qe8 14. a4 a5 15. f4 f5 16. Re1 Qf7 {and
approximate equality in Grachev,B (2705)-Mchedlishvili,M (2626) Tashkent 2012})
11. Bd2 {Magnus wants to expand on the queenside, but Black is alert.} a5 12.
e4 {Naturally, the World Champion does not want to wait and see the black
heavy pieces piled towards his pawn.} dxe3 13. fxe3 Qg5 14. Rf4 $146 {A
novelty, technically speaking. All of this has been seen previously with White
continuing} (14. d4 {first and only after} Bb6 15. Rf4 {After} Bd7 16. Qc2 a4
17. Raf1 Qe7 {Black seemed very stable in Kiselev,V (2505)-Garakov,M (2412)
Lugansk 2007}) 14... Bd7 ({Perhaps it made sense for Black to avoid the game
continuation with} 14... a4 $5 15. Qc2 Bd7 {which would most likely transpose
into the previously played game after} 16. d4 Bb6) 15. a4 $1 {Diagram [#] In
fact this is the actual novelty in comparison to the game Kiselev-Garakov from
above. Magnus' idea is to fix the pawn on a5 and attack the queenside later
with b2-b4.} Rae8 ({Looking into the future it made sense for Adams to keep
the queenside rook where it was to anticipate White's play there} 15... Rfe8 $5
) 16. d4 Bb6 17. Qb3 $1 ({The immediate} 17. b4 {does not give much after} Ra8
(17... axb4 18. a5) 18. Qb3 Qe7 19. bxa5 (19. Qc4 $2 axb4 20. Qxb4 Ba5 $15)
19... Bxa5 20. Bxa5 Rxa5 {as White does not have time to win the pawn} 21. Qxb7
Qxe3+) 17... Qd8 18. Qc4 {[%cal Gd1b3,Gb3c4,Rb2b4] The point behind Carlsen's
maneuver. The queen is optimally placed and actively supports the queenside
attack.} Re7 ({The queen is not as good a defender as the rook} 18... Qa8 19.
b4 axb4 20. a5 Bxa5 21. Bxb4 b6 22. Qxc7 {is advantageous for White.}) 19. b4
axb4 ({White also has a pull after} 19... Qa8 20. Qc3 axb4 21. Qxb4 $14) 20. a5
Ba7 21. Qxb4 $14 {[%csl Ga5,Gd5][%cal Ga5b6,Gd5c6] The opening strategy of the
World Champion succeeded. The advanced pawns on a5 and d5 squeeze the black
forces and White has annoying pressure on the queenside. Mickey tries to free
himself at once.} c5 $1 (21... Bc8 22. Rc1 {looks grim for Black.}) 22. dxc6
Bxc6 23. Qb3 Bxg2 24. Kxg2 Qd7 {[%csl Ya5,Yb7,Yd6,Ye3,Gf1,Gf4][%cal Gd2a5,
Gd2e3,Ga1f1,Gf1f7,Gb1b7] The situation had changed. The doubled d pawn is gone
and the black b and d pawns were separated, thus they became clear targets. On
the other hand, the white bishop is seemingly not the greatest piece ever, but
so is his counterpart. White keeps pressure thanks to the fact that his
heavy pieces are more active and exert pressure. They are actively assisted by
the "poor" bishop that effectively shuts both the a and e semi-open files for
Black.} (24... d5 $4 {is positionally sound but tactically wrong} 25. Bb4) 25.
Raf1 Rc8 26. Rf5 {This prevents d6-d5 and prepares rook transfer along the
fifth rank.} h6 {Adams did not feel the danger. Correct was} (26... g6 27. Rb5
(27. Rf6 d5) 27... h5 {which would have stopped White's activity on the
kingside. The pawn weaknesses on b7 and d6 are very close to each other and
can be defended relatively easily.}) 27. R1f2 Bb8 28. Bb4 Qc6+ 29. R2f3 {The
queen swap will lead to a draw after} (29. Qd5 Qxd5+ 30. Rxd5 Rxe3 31. Bxd6 Rd8
32. Bf4 Rxd5 33. Bxe3 Rxa5 34. Rb2 b5 35. Kf3 $11) 29... Rcc7 30. Be1 Qe8 {It
was not too late to go for} (30... g6 $1 31. Rd5 h5 $11) 31. g4 $1 {Diagram [#]
Now the bishop can be actively used on the h4-d8 diagonal. Magnus also intends
to further advance the pawns on the kingside and open the game there. Thus, he
will create one more weakness- the black king and thanks to the extra space he
can be much more effective in maneuvering on both sides of the board.} Re4 32.
h3 Rce7 33. Bf2 R4e6 $2 {A blunder. However, White was making progress after
both} (33... Rc7 34. Rb5 Ree7 35. Rb6 Red7 36. Qd5 $16) ({Perhaps,} 33... Ba7 {
was the lesser evil} 34. Rb5 Qc8 35. Qd5 $14 {Although White is better here as
well.}) 34. Rb5 Bc7 {The pawn cannot be saved} (34... Qc8 35. a6) (34... Qc6 $4
35. d5) 35. Rxb7 Qa8 {Adams decided that this is the lesser evil in comparison
to the absolute pin after} (35... Bxa5 36. Rb8 Bd8 37. Bh4 Rd7 38. Qb5 {[%csl
Rd7][%cal Rb5d7]} f6 39. Qd5) 36. Rb5 $16 {Diagram [#] The long grinding was
effective as usual with Magnus. He won a pawn and now starts converting it.}
Re8 37. Qd5 Qxd5 38. Rxd5 Rb8 39. Bg3 g6 40. h4 Ra8 41. Be1 Re4 42. g5 h5 {A
strange decision. The defender should trade pawns as a rule} (42... hxg5 43.
hxg5) 43. Rb5 Ra7 44. Kf1 Re8 45. Ke2 Rea8 46. Rf6 Ra6 (46... Bxa5 47. Rxa5
Rxa5 48. Bxa5 Rxa5 49. Rxd6 {leads to the same.}) 47. Bb4 {Magnus correctly
evaluated the rook endgame as won.} Bxa5 48. Rxa5 Rxa5 49. Bxa5 Rxa5 50. Rxd6
Kf8 51. Rf6 Ra3 52. Kf3 Ke7 53. Ke4 Ra5 ({Or} 53... Ke8 54. Rf4 ({Worse is} 54.
d5 Ra4+ 55. Ke5 Rxh4) 54... Ke7 55. d5 Kd6 56. Rf6+ $1 Ke7 57. Rb6 Ra4+ 58. Ke5
Rxh4 59. d6+ Kd7 60. Rb7+ Ke8 61. Re7+ Kf8 62. Kf6 $18) 54. Rf4 $1 {[%cal
Gd4d5,Ge4e5] Diagram [#] The rook defends the fourth rank and enables the
further reinforcement of the position with d4-d5 and Ke4-e5. The game is
decided.} Rb5 55. d5 Rb3 56. Kd4 Ra3 57. e4 Rb3 58. Ke5 Rd3 59. Rf1 $1 Rh3 60.
Ra1 Rxh4 61. d6+ Kd7 62. Ra7+ Ke8 63. Ra8+ Kd7 64. Rf8 {A nice positional win
for the World Champion who takes the sole lead.} 1-0