The Clash of the Top Seed

Round three of the Gashimov Memorial saw the long-awaited clash of the world's top players. The Stonewall suited Carlsen well again after his memorable win against Vishy Anand in Baden-Baden earlier this year. Caruana's time trouble prevented him from splitting the point, which would not been that difficult otherwise.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Shamkir Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.19"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2802"]
[BlackElo "2863"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "104"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:43:20"]
[BlackClock "1:02:50"]

{This was the third encounter between the former number two and the world
champion after the incredible Sinquefield tournament this summer. After the
memorable string of seven wins plenty of people hurried to claim that Fabiano
Caruana is the main threat for the world champion. Magnus Carlsen is obviously
well stimulated by these statements and wants to prove that there is no
rivalry at the moment.} 1. d4 {In the last two games Caruana chose 1.e4 but
did not get much out of the opening.} f5 {The Dutch is a recent addition to
Carlsen's repertoire which show his real intentions. No slow, boring positions
but real battle.} 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 c6 {Carlsen also used the
Stonewall to defeat his great predecessor in February.} 5. Nf3 (5. Nh3 {
remains a viable option for White.} 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 {Diagram [#] To stop
Bc1-a3 with favourable trade of the dark-squared bishops.} 8. Bb2 {Caruana
decided to play solid.} (8. Ne5 {was Anand's choice and after} O-O 9. Nd2 a5 {
[%csl Yb4][%cal Ga5a4]} 10. Bb2 Nbd7 11. Qc2 a4 12. Ndf3 Ne4 {Anand came up
with a novelty} 13. e3 {which however did not yield White much, Anand,V (2797)
-Carlsen,M (2865) Baden-Baden 2015}) ({Another solid plan is the bishop trade
after} 8. a4 O-O 9. Ba3 Bxa3 10. Nxa3 b6 11. Qc1 Bb7 12. Nc2 a5 $11 {Vachier
Lagrave,M (2745)-Radjabov,T (2713) Beijing 2013}) 8... b6 9. Ne5 Bb7 10. Nd2
O-O 11. Rc1 a5 {The same move as in the game with Anand.} 12. e3 Na6 13. Nb1 ({
Also possible is} 13. Qe2 a4 14. bxa4 Bxe5 15. dxe5 Nd7 16. a5 Nac5 17. Bc3 {
when instead of} bxa5 {Possible improvements would be} (17... Ba6 $1) ({Or}
17... Na4 $5) 18. Nb3 Nxb3 19. axb3 $14 {So,W (2656)-Reinderman,D (2573) Wijk
aan Zee 2010}) 13... Bxe5 14. dxe5 Ne4 15. Qe2 {Diagram [#]} a4 $146 {
Carlsen's novelty. It is funny how similar his ideas are so far in comparison
to the game with Anand.} ({Previously only} 15... Nc7 {has been seen} 16. f3
Ng5 {but this does not look active enough and White is somewhat better after}
17. Nc3 ({Instead of} 17. h4 Nf7 18. e4 fxe4 19. fxe4 dxc4 20. Qxc4 c5 21. Rfd1
{with a draw, Komarov,D (2575)-Gleizerov,E (2540) Leeuwarden 1995})) 16. Nc3
axb3 17. axb3 Qb4 $132 {Black generated enough counter play on the queenside.}
18. Nxe4 {This more or less should have forced a draw. the next moves are very
logical and push the game towards the logical outcome.} dxe4 (18... fxe4 {
would weaken the c8-h3 diagonal and will be favourable for White after} 19. Bh3
Nc5 20. Bd4 $14) 19. Qc2 Nc5 20. Bc3 Qxb3 21. Qxb3 Nxb3 22. Rb1 Nc5 23. Rxb6
Na4 {[%csl Yb6,Yc3] Diagram [#] The bishop pair is taken off the board and
Black has a strong knight versus a relatively passive bishop. This however
should not be for very long and White has an active rook as compensation. One
problem for Caruana was that he was getting low on time.} 24. Rxb7 Nxc3 25. Re7
Rfe8 26. Rxe8+ {An easier draw would have been} (26. Rc7 Rec8 27. Re7 Re8 28.
Rc7 {as if the other rook attacks} Rac8 {it will no longer has an open file}
29. Ra7 $11) 26... Rxe8 27. Ra1 (27. f3 {"was an immediate draw. I was very
surprised the way that the things have happened". (Carlsen)}) 27... Rd8 28. Bf1
c5 {[%csl Gc3,Yf1] Diagram [#] "I thought that the position was a draw no
matter what I play and then I somehow drifted. The next idea was a disaster"
(Caruana)} 29. Ra3 (29. Ra5 {should draw indeed in the line that both the
players showed at the press conference} Rd1 ({Caruana was more concerned about
} 29... Rd2 {but Carlsen did not think he has anything after} 30. Rxc5 Nd1 31.
Rc8+ Kf7 32. Rc7+ Kf8 33. Rc8+ Ke7 34. Rc7+ Kd8 35. Rxg7 Nxf2 36. c5 Ng4 37.
Bb5 $11) 30. Rxc5 Nb1 31. Rc6 (31. Rc8+ Kf7 32. Kg2 Nd2 33. Rd8 {was also
equal.}) 31... Nd2 32. Rd6 Rxf1+ 33. Kg2 Rd1 34. c5 Rc1 35. Rxd2 Rxc5 $11 {"I
could not see anything better" (Carlsen)}) 29... Nb1 30. Ra1 Nd2 {Now White is
in trouble and the lack of time does not contribute to solving his problems.}
31. Be2 ({Or else White loses a pawn after} 31. Kg2 Nf3 32. Ra5 Rc8) 31... Nf3+
32. Bxf3 (32. Kg2 Nxe5) 32... exf3 {The endgame is difficult for White and the
world champion plays very neatly.} 33. h3 h5 $1 {[%csl Yg1][%cal Rh5g4,Rf5g4]
Diagram [#] It is important to keep the white king in a box.} 34. g4 (34. Ra5
Rd1+ 35. Kh2 Rf1 36. Rxc5 Rxf2+ 37. Kh1 (37. Kg1 Rg2+) 37... Rf1+ 38. Kh2 Rc1 {
and the f pawn promotes.}) 34... fxg4 35. hxg4 h4 $1 {Now the king is trapped
forever.} 36. Kh2 ({There is no way out} 36. g5 Kh7 37. Kh2 Kg6 38. Kh3 Kh5 $1)
36... Rd2 37. Kh3 g5 38. e4 Rd4 {Carlsen avoids the rampant rook idea possible
after} (38... Rxf2 $4 39. Ra8+ Kg7 40. Ra7+ Kg6 {Diagram [#]} 41. Rg7+ $1 Kh6
42. Rh7+ Kxh7 {and stalemate.}) 39. Ra8+ Kf7 40. Ra3 ({The players also
discussed the line after} 40. Ra7+ {but cme to the conclusion that Black is
winning anyway.}) 40... Rxc4 41. Rxf3+ Ke7 42. Re3 Rd4 {The rest is a matter
of technique for the world champion.} 43. f3 c4 44. Ra3 Rd3 45. Ra7+ Kd8 46.
Kg2 c3 47. Ra4 c2 48. Rc4 Rd2+ 49. Kh3 Kd7 50. Rc5 Rf2 51. f4 (51. Rc3 Rxf3+)
51... Rf3+ 52. Kh2 Rxf4 {Diagram [#] A somewhat misterious win by the world
champion.} 0-1


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