Perfect Play

Wesley So's slow start in Dortmund prevented him to play for the highest spot in the event. Despite the fact that he was the only player to defeat the future winner Fabiano Caruana he struggled to find his optimal play, but towards the end of the event he showed what he is capable of. His game against Vladimir Kramnik was one of the jewels in the event.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.07.05"]
[Round "7.2"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2778"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "151"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:26:58"]
[BlackClock "0:02:17"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {Diagram [#] Some years ago when Vladimir
Kramnik prepared the Berlin for his historical match with Garry Kasparov there
was a popular story in the chess circles. Kramnik's second and guiding light
in the line was GM Aleksej Aleksandrov of Belarus. His friends would regularly
ask him "Aleksej, what will happen after Garry tears your Berlin into small
pieces? You will be left with no Black opening?" To which he will reply "I am
not even sure that the move 1.e4 will exist after the match."} 4. O-O Nxe4 5.
d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Ne7 10. Nc3 Bd7 ({A recent
example goes} 10... h6 11. Ne4 b6 12. b3 Bd7 13. Bb2 Kc8 14. Rad1 a5 {Caruana,
F (2772)-Carlsen,M (2843) Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012}) ({While Kramnik previously
preferred} 10... Ng6) 11. Ng5 $146 {Diagram [#] Wesley So tries to prove that
it still exists.} ({In comparison, one of Aleksandrov's games saw} 11. Ne4 Ng6
12. Nfg5 Ke8 13. f4 Nh4 14. Kf2 Be7 15. Be3 h6 16. Nf3 Bf5 {Zhigalko,A (2600)
-Aleksandrov,A (2617) Minsk 2010}) 11... Ke8 12. e6 {The point behind White's
play. The typical pawn sacrifice opens the road for the white rooks.} Bxe6 ({
Better than} 12... fxe6 13. Re1 {when White regains the pawn at once.}) 13.
Nxe6 fxe6 14. Re1 Kf7 {[%csl Yc6,Yc7,Ye6][%cal Ge1e8,Gd1d8] Diagram [#] For
the pawn White has obvious compensation, but it is much more difficult to
regain it than it seems at a glance.} 15. Ne4 h6 16. Rd1 e5 {Black develops in
an active way.} (16... Ke8 $2 {drops the pawn after} 17. Nc5) ({There was
another possibility} 16... Nd5 {when} 17. c4 Nf6 18. Nxf6 Kxf6 19. Bd2 {is
compensation for a pawn without much risk for White.} (19. Rd7 Bd6)) 17. Rd7
Rc8 18. Bd2 b6 ({Once more} 18... Ke6 $2 19. Nc5+ {is bad for Black.}) ({And}
18... Ke8 19. Rd3 Rd8 20. Rxd8+ Kxd8 {was possible with approximate equality
after both} 21. Bc3 ({Or} 21. Nc5 Kc8 22. Re1 Ng6 23. Nd3 Bd6 24. Bc3 Re8)
21... Ng6 22. Rd1+ Kc8) 19. Re1 {In the following stage of the game both
players find optimal moves. White develops naturally and puts pressure in the
center, Black carefully finishes the development of his troops.} Ke6 20. Rd3 c5
21. f4 Nc6 22. Rg3 Re8 {[%csl Ge8][%cal Ge8e6,Ge6e5] Diagram [#] An excellent
defensive move.} 23. fxe5 ({The point of Black's maneuver is revealed in the
line} 23. Rg6+ Kd7 24. Rd1 Re6) 23... g5 $5 {Kramnik sacrifices the pawn back
and takes the initiative. This is better than} (23... Nxe5 24. Bc3 ({Similar is
} 24. Nf2 Kd7 25. Bc3 Nc6 26. Rxe8 Kxe8 27. Bxg7 Bxg7 28. Rxg7) 24... Kd7 25.
Nd2 Nc6 26. Rxe8 Kxe8 27. Bxg7 Bxg7 (27... Rg8 28. Re3+) 28. Rxg7 Kd8 {and
White is better in the arising endgame.}) 24. h4 Bg7 25. hxg5 Bxe5 26. Rf3 hxg5
27. Bxg5 ({Simlar to the game is} 27. Nxg5+ Kd7) ({While the computer suggest
the curious} 27. Nf6 $5 {to take away the d7 and d5 squares of the black king,
and thus win time to stop Be5-d4 check. The game is about even after} Re7 28.
c3) 27... Bd4+ 28. Nf2+ Kd5 {[%csl Yg1][%cal Ge8e1,Gh8h1,Rd4g1] Diagram [#]
Now Black enjoys some pressure although there is nothing concrete yet.} 29. Rd1
Rhg8 {If Black wants, he can force a draw with} (29... Ne5 30. Rf5 Rhf8 31.
Rxf8 Rxf8 32. c3 Rxf2 33. cxd4 Ng4 34. dxc5+ Kxc5 35. Rd2 $11) 30. Bf4 Re2 {
Kramnik sacrifices a piece. Instead:} (30... Kc4 31. c3 Bxf2+ 32. Kxf2 Ne5 33.
Bxe5 Rxe5 $11 {was a draw.}) 31. c3 Rxb2 32. cxd4 Nxd4 33. Be3 Rxa2 34. Rf4 Ra4
{For the piece Black has three pawns and this is usually more valuable in the
endgames. Any of the three can become a queen, something that the knight is
obviously not capable of. On the other hand White's forces are very active
and the pawns too far from the promotional squares.} 35. Ne4 {[%csl Yd5][%cal
Rd1d5,Rf4d4,Rf4a4] Diagram [#] The pin is annoying, which means that Black may
part with one of his pawns.} Kc6 36. Nc3 Ra3 37. Bxd4 cxd4 38. Ne2 d3 {This
one went too far from the supporting team and will be soon off-board.} 39. Rf3
Ra2 40. Nf4 d2 41. Kf2 b5 42. Rc3+ Kb7 43. Nd5 Rg7 44. Rb3 a6 45. Nb4 Ra4 46.
Rxd2 {[%csl Ga6,Gb5,Gc7] Diagram [#] White won one of the pawns but the
remaining started moving.} c5 47. Nd5 Rd7 ({Also good is} 47... Rag4 48. Ne3
Rf7+ 49. Ke2 (49. Kg1 Re4) 49... Re4 $11) 48. Rf3 {So finds a very nice way to
activate his pieces.} Re4 ({In the line} 48... Rd4 49. Rxd4 cxd4 50. Rf5 {the
d pawn gets separated fro the remaining pawns. We already know what happens in
similar situations.}) 49. Rf6 $1 {Creates a strong hidden threat.} Ka7 $1 {
Which Kramnik avoids.} ({For example, the natural} 49... c4 50. Rb6+ Ka7 51.
Ra2 $1 {[%csl Ra7] Diagram [#] will lead to mate.}) 50. Rd3 $1 {One more great
maneuver to improve the second rook and saev it from the pin.} c4 ({The rook
is defended in the line} 50... Re5 51. Nb4 Rxd3 52. Nxd3 Rd5 53. Nf4) 51. Rh3
$1 Rd4 ({Thanks to the active rook, the knight is untouchable} 51... Rxd5 $4
52. Rh7+ Kb8 53. Rf8+ {Diagram [#]}) 52. Nb4 R4d6 53. Rhh6 Rxf6+ 54. Rxf6 {
White did great and forced his opponent into defense.} Rd2+ 55. Kf3 {Diagram
[#] So's play in the endgame is perfect and his opponent starts to experience
problems. But Black's resources are not over yet.} a5 ({One way to defend the
position was} 55... Kb7 $5 {with the idea} 56. Nxa6 (56. Rxa6 $6 {will still
lead to a draw but it will be White who has to find it after} Rb2 57. Nd3 cxd3
58. Rd6 d2 59. Ke2 $11) 56... c3 57. Nc5+ Kc7 58. Nb3 c2 $11) 56. Ra6+ Kb7 57.
Rxa5 {A second pawn disappears from the pawn and nevertheless, Black is still
not losing.} Kb6 58. Ra2 Rd7 59. Ra8 Kc5 {It is only after this move that we
can say definitely that Black is in trouble. Instead Kramnik should have opted
for} (59... Rf7+ $1 {[%csl Gb5,Gc4,Yf3,Rg2][%cal Gf3e3,Gf3g3,Gc4c3,Gb5b4]
Diagram [#] In order to force the white king to make a decision. Since it is
needed for both kingside support and to help in the fight against the passers
the game should stay undecided. For example} 60. Ke3 Rg7 $1 61. Nd5+ ({Or} 61.
Kf2 Rf7+ 62. Kg1 Kc5 {and in comparison to the game the white king is far away.
}) 61... Kc5 62. Nf4 Re7+ 63. Kd2 Rd7+ 64. Kc2 b4 {Now the white king does not
help the g pawn and Black should be able to capture it in return for his two
pawns at some moment.}) 60. Nc2 $1 {White achieved the perfect queenside
set-up.} Rc7 61. Rf8 c3 (61... b4 62. Rf5+ {drops the pawn at once.}) 62. Rf5+
Kb6 ({Or} 62... Kc4 63. Ne3+ Kb3 (63... Kb4 $2 64. Nd5+) 64. Rxb5+) 63. g4 {
Diagram [#] The black pawns are stopped and the white one is faster.} Ka5 64.
g5 Ka4 65. Ke3 Rd7 {Nothing changes} (65... Re7+ 66. Kd3 Rd7+ 67. Nd4 c2 68.
Rf1) ({Nor} 65... Kb3 66. Kd3) 66. g6 b4 67. Rf4 Kb3 68. Nxb4 Re7+ 69. Re4 Rg7
{The pawn endgame is lost for one tempo} (69... Rxe4+ 70. Kxe4 Kxb4 71. Kd3 Kb3
72. g7 c2 73. g8=Q+ {check!}) 70. Rg4 Re7+ 71. Kf3 Rg7 72. Nc6 Rg8 73. g7 c2
74. Nd4+ Kc4 75. Nxc2+ Kd5 76. Rg6 {Diagram [#] A great achievement for Wesley
So who managed to outplay Vladimir Kramnik on his own territory!} 1-0



Untypical Miss

Vladimir Kramnik is famous for his great technique, but even the best can sometimes miss a chance. This is exactly what happened in his game against Liviu- Dieter Nisipeanu from round six of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "43rd GM 2015"]
[Site "Dortmund GER"]
[Date "2015.07.04"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Kramnik, V."]
[Black "Nisipeanu, LD."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A13"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2654"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Doggers"]
[PlyCount "165"]
[EventDate "2015.06.26"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. e3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. b3 c5 5. Bb2 Nc6 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bb5 Bd6 8. d4
{It is curious that so far Vladimir Kramnik follows a game of his great rival
Veselin Topalov.} cxd4 ({Nisipeanu deviates from this game, which went} 8...
O-O 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. O-O Bg4 11. Nc3 Rc8 12. Rc1 a6 {and here instead of} 13.
Be2 {that was played in the game, White had the strong shot} (13. Nxd5 $1 Qxd5
14. Qxd5 Nxd5 15. Rxc5 Ncb4 (15... axb5 16. Rxd5) 16. Rxc8 Rxc8 17. Bc4 {with
an extra pawn.}) 13... Ba7 14. h3 Bh5 15. Nh4 Bg6 16. Nxg6 hxg6 {Topalov,V
(2793)-Karjakin,S (2767) Stavanger 2013}) 9. Nxd4 O-O 10. O-O Qc7 11. h3 $146 {
[%csl Rg4][%cal Rh3g4] Diagram [#] A logical novelty which prevents the
possible pin of the Nf3. In comparison the stem game saw} (11. Nf3 $6 Bg4 $1
12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. Nc3 ({Or else White loses the exchange} 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Qxf3
Be5) 13... Bxh2+ 14. Kh1 Be5 15. Nxd5 Qd6 16. Nf4 Bxf4 17. exf4 Qxf4 18. Bxc6
bxc6 {when Black was on top, Agzamov,G (2485)-Geller,E (2545) Yerevan 1982})
11... Bh2+ 12. Kh1 Be5 13. Qc2 Bd7 14. Nf3 $1 {[%csl Yb2,Ye5] Diagram [#] The
trade of the dark-squred bishop is huge achievement for the side which plays
against the isolated d5 pawn. This significanlty lowers the attacking
potential of the black pieces and guarantees the strong d4 outpost for the
white pieces.} Bxb2 15. Qxb2 {Kramnik got the type of position he loves most.
Slight advantage without any risk. Now the inquisition begins.} Rac8 16. Rc1 {
An accurate move. In comparison, the immediate} (16. Nc3 $6 {allows
counterplay along the c file after} Ne5 $1 17. Nxe5 (17. Bxd7 $2 Nxf3 18. gxf3
Qxd7 19. Kg2 d4 $1 {will see White's position in flames.}) 17... Qxe5 18. Bxd7
Rxc3 19. Bb5 Rxe3 $1 (19... Rfc8 $5)) 16... Qd6 17. Nc3 Ne5 ({White is also
slightly better after} 17... Ne4 18. Bxc6 Bxc6 19. Nd4 $14) 18. Be2 Nxf3 19.
Bxf3 Qe5 20. Qd2 Be6 {[%csl Rd5,Ye6][%cal Ye6d5] Diagram [#]} ({It looks as
the c6 square is better for the bishop} 20... Bc6 21. Ne2 (21. Rd1 Ne4) 21...
Ne4 22. Bxe4 (22. Qe1 Rfe8) 22... dxe4 23. Rc3 Rfd8 {with chances for
counterplay along the open file. Black can also try to lift a rook along the
sixth rank.}) 21. Nb5 Bd7 22. Qd4 {Kramnik's play against the isolated pawn is
a classical exmple of what to do in these positions. First he trades a pair of
light pieces, then the queens, thus completely immobilizing the d pawn.} (22.
Nxa7 $4 {self-traps the knight} Ra8) 22... Qxd4 23. Nxd4 a5 ({Black could have
slowed down his opponent's plan with the move} 23... h5 $5) 24. g4 $1 {This
pawn is more than annoying as it always threatens to kick the black knight
away from the isolani.} h6 ({This is what can happen if Black does not pay
respect to the white pawn} 24... Rxc1+ 25. Rxc1 Rc8 26. Rxc8+ Bxc8 27. g5 Ne4
28. Bxe4 dxe4 29. Kh2 {followed by a king march to f4 and e4.}) 25. Kg2 Rxc1
26. Rxc1 Rc8 {[%csl Gc1,Gc8] Diagram [#]} 27. Rb1 $1 {The signature of a great
master. White needs the rook to pressurize the pawn on d5 and voluntarily
gives away the open file. Please, not though that there are no entry squares
for the black rook there.} Ra8 ({It made sense to bring the king to center as
soon as possible.} 27... Kf8 $5) 28. Ne2 {Bent Larsen once said that the
isolated pawns have to be taken, not blocked. This is one of those cases.} g5 {
Stops the knight from the f4 square, but there is another one.} 29. Nc3 Be6 30.
Rd1 Rd8 31. e4 $1 {[%csl Yd5] Diagram [#] Reveals the point behind the move 27.
Rb1! The isolated pawn cannot survive.} d4 32. Kg3 (32. Nb5 d3 {complicates
matters.}) ({But White can win the pawn with} 32. Rd3 {as well.}) 32... Rc8 ({
White has to be careful not to fall in a trap after the crafty} 32... Kg7 33.
Nb5 ({The automatic} 33. Rd3 $4 {will lead to a cold shower as} dxc3 34. Rxd8 {
is not coming with a check and Black promotes after} c2) 33... d3 34. e5 $1 {
with large advantage for White.}) 33. Nb5 Nd7 34. Nxd4 {White won a pawn and
the rest should be "a matter of technique."Indeed, the former world champion
plays flawlessly until a certain point.} Ne5 35. Be2 Rc3+ 36. f3 Kg7 37. Rd2
Kf6 38. Nf5 $1 {[%csl Ye6,Gf5] Diagram [#] It seems illogical to trade the
super-knight and to leave the bishop. However, 1) This destroys Black's
defensive central set-up. 2) There are not bad bishops as even the worst
bishop can be always traded for a knight (Kasparov).} Bxf5 (38... Kg6 39. Nd6)
39. exf5 Ke7 40. Rd5 Nc6 41. Bb5 b6 42. h4 f6 43. Bxc6 {There you go!} Rxc6 44.
hxg5 hxg5 45. a4 Rc3 46. Rb5 Rc6 47. f4 $1 Rc3+ 48. Kf2 gxf4 49. Rxb6 Kf7 {
After a fantastic endgame it's time to cash in, but from this point Kramnik
seems to be missing a few chances to win.} 50. b4 ({White could also play} 50.
Rb5 Kg7 51. Rxa5 Rxb3 52. Ra8 {[%cal Ga4a5,Ga5a6,Ga6a7,Yg4g5,Rf5f6,Rf6f7,Rf7f8]
Diagram [#] with the idea to put the pawn on a7 and then play g4-g5 to create
a (winning) f-pawn:} Ra3 53. a5 Kh7 54. a6 Kg7 ({a bit more complicated is}
54... Kh6 55. a7 Ra2+ 56. Ke1 Ra1+ 57. Kd2 Ra2+ 58. Kd1 Ra1+ 59. Kc2 Kg7 60.
Kd2 Ra2+ 61. Ke1 Ra1+ 62. Kf2 Ra2+ 63. Kf3 Ra3+ 64. Kxf4) 55. a7 Ra4 56. g5 $1
fxg5 57. f6+ $1 Kf7 {and now the standard trick that White was playing for all
along:} 58. Rh8 $1 Rxa7 59. Rh7+) 50... Rc2+ 51. Kf3 Rc3+ (51... Ra2 52. b5
Rxa4 53. Rb7+ Kf8 54. Ra7 Rb4 55. Rxa5 Kg7 56. Ra7+ Kh6 57. Ra8 $1 Kg7 (57...
Rxb5 58. Rg8) 58. Rb8 {and again White will create a free f-pawn.}) 52. Kf2 $6
({The win is} 52. Kxf4 Ra3 (52... Rc4+ 53. Kf3 {I suspect that Kramnik missed
in the line} axb4 (53... Rc3+ 54. Ke2 axb4 55. Rxb4 Ra3 56. Kd2) 54. a5 Rc3+
55. Ke4 $1 Ra3 56. a6 b3 {that he does not need to trade the pawns and has the
move} 57. Kd3 $1 {with the idea Rb6-b7+ followed by a6-a7 and wins.}) 53. g5 $1
{Diagram [#]} fxg5+ 54. Kxg5 Rxa4 (54... Rg3+ 55. Kh4 Ra3 56. b5 Rxa4+ 57. Kg5)
55. Rb7+ Ke8 56. b5 Ra1 57. Ra7 Rb1 58. Rxa5 {is a theoretical win.}) 52...
Rc2+ 53. Ke1 Rc1+ 54. Kd2 f3 55. Ke3 Rc3+ 56. Kf2 axb4 57. Rxb4 Kg7 58. Kg3 $2
{After this superficial analysis the conclusion is that Kramnik only gave away
the win with this move.} (58. Rb8 $1 Rc4 (58... Ra3 59. Ra8 Kf7 60. a5 {can be
compared to the note to White's 50th move.}) 59. a5 Rxg4 60. Kxf3 Ra4 61. Rb5
Kf8 62. Ke3 Ke7 {and now} 63. Rd5 $1 {[%csl Ye7][%cal Ge3d3,Gd3c3,Gc3b3,Gb3b4,
Gb4b5,Rd1d8] Diagram [#] looks like a winning ending:} Rc4 64. Kd3 Rc1 65. Kd4
Rc6 66. Rb5 Ra6 67. Kc5) 58... Ra3 59. Rb7+ Kh6 60. Ra7 f2+ $1 {Diagram [#]}
61. Kxf2 Kg5 62. Ke2 Kxg4 63. Ra5 Kf4 64. Kd2 Ke4 65. Kc2 Kd4 66. Ra6 Rc3+ (
66... Ke5 67. Kb2 Rg3 68. Ra5+ Kd4 $11) 67. Kb2 Rc4 68. Ra5 Rb4+ 69. Ka3 Kc4 {
Diagram [#]} 70. Ra6 Rb3+ 71. Ka2 Rb4 72. Ra8 Kc5 73. Ka3 Rf4 74. Rb8 Rf1 75.
Rb5+ Kc4 76. Kb2 Rf2+ 77. Kb1 Kc3 78. a5 Kc4 79. Rb7 Rxf5 80. a6 Ra5 81. a7 Kc5
82. Rf7 Kb6 83. Kc2 {Diagram [#]} 1/2-1/2



Wesley and the Kingside

It is always a great day for chess when two creative players meet over the board. In Dortmund this happened at round five and the game in question was between Wesley So and Ian Nepomniachtchi:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "43rd GM 2015"]
[Site "Dortmund GER"]
[Date "2015.07.03"]
[Round "5"]
[White "So, W."]
[Black "Nepomniachtchi, I."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E60"]
[WhiteElo "2778"]
[BlackElo "2720"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2015.06.26"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 {This Anti-Gruenfeld line is extremely popular
nowadays.} e6 {Diagram [#] A very interesting way to get into another opening.}
4. e4 c5 ({Another Gruenfeld specialists has passion for the original} 4... d5
$5 {One recent example of his saw} 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Nc3 dxe4 7. fxe4 Bb4 8. Bd3
Nxe4 $1 9. Qe2 O-O 10. Bxe4 Re8 {with wild complications in Giri,A (2750)
-Vachier Lagrave,M (2766) Biel 2014}) 5. d5 d6 6. Nc3 {Now the game transposes
into the Benoni.} ({Bogdanovich played instead} 6. Ne2 {against Nepomniachtchi
but failed to impress with opening advantage} Bg7 7. Nec3 Nh5 8. Be3 exd5 9.
cxd5 f5 10. Bb5+ Nd7 11. exf5 gxf5 12. f4 Nhf6 $1 13. O-O Ng4 {and Black was
happy in Bogdanovich,S (2581)-Nepomniachtchi,I (2714) Moscow 2015}) 6... Bg7 7.
Nge2 exd5 8. cxd5 O-O 9. Ng3 a6 {Diagram [#]} ({I have the feeling that the
immediate} 9... h5 {is more accurate. But that is a matter of taste.}) 10. a4
h5 11. Be2 {Most commonly White prefers the move 11.Bg5 in this situation.} ({
One more recent example in this line goes} 11. Bg5 {seems unpleasant for Black,
but he can easily get rid of the bishop, with a tempo} Qc7 12. Be2 Nh7 13. Be3
h4 14. Nf1 f5 15. exf5 gxf5 16. f4 Nf6 17. Bf2 Re8 18. Bxh4 Ne4 19. Ra3 Qa5 {
1/2-1/2 (19) Aronian,L (2770)-Ding,L (2755) Tsaghkadzor 2015}) 11... Qe8 $146 {
Diagram [#] Nepomniachtchi played this novelty in a flash. The queen moves
away from the possible pin on g5.} ({Practically all previous games continued}
11... h4 {Right now, before the knight gets the h1 square! The knight on f1 is
somewhat misplaced while from h1 it easily gets to f2 to overprotect the e4
pawn. One example} 12. Nf1 Nbd7 13. Bg5 h3 14. gxh3 Rb8 15. Ng3 Qb6 {with
counterplay for Black in Ivanchuk,V (2733)-Bacrot,E (2730) Cap d'Agde 2013})
12. Bf4 $1 {So wants to prove that the queen sortie was premature.} ({A
natural reply would be} 12. O-O h4 13. Nh1 Nh5 14. Nf2 {with somewhat better
position for White.}) ({Black's idea is revealed in the line} 12. Bg5 Nh7 13.
Bf4 (13. Be3 f5) 13... h4 14. Nf1 Qe7 {followed by f7-f5 and possibly g6-g5.})
12... Qe7 13. Bg5 Qe8 {Black lost a couple of tempoes, but he intends to take
back one of them with the mauver Nf6-h7. Creativeness is a good thing, but
tempoes are tempoes.} (13... Nbd7 14. Qd2 {is not what Black was hoping for.})
14. Qd2 Nbd7 15. Bh6 $6 {Possibly a bit premature. White had good alternatives
in his disposal. Both} (15. a5 $5) ({and} 15. O-O $5 {lead to slight advantage
to White.}) 15... Qe5 $1 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Bd3 $6 {So frees the e2 square for
the g3 knight and prevents the unpleasant check on d4. Still, this looks
rather slow.} ({In case of} 17. O-O Qd4+ $1 {[%csl Yc3] Diagram [#]} 18. Qxd4
cxd4 19. Na2 h4 {Black has no problems whatsoever.}) ({Thus} 17. Nf1 {although
as said before the knight is not extremely happy on f2.}) 17... Rb8 {Prepares
the standard b7-b5 break.} (17... h4 18. Nge2 {is also OK for Black.}) 18. Rd1
({Once again White cannot castle due to} 18. O-O Qd4+ 19. Rf2 Ne5 $17) 18...
Re8 19. Be2 {White admits his mistake.} (19. O-O $6 {[%csl Yd3][%cal Re5d4]
Diagram [#] leads to Black's advantage after} Qd4+ 20. Rf2 Ne5 21. Bc2 Qxd2 22.
Rfxd2 Nc4 (22... b5 $1 {might be even better.})) 19... h4 20. Nf1 h3 {
Nepomniachtchi can be happy with his opening idea. He had equalized at least.}
({Safer was} 20... Nh5 21. Ne3 Nf4 $11 {not pushing the "h" pawn too far.}) 21.
g4 b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. Ng3 b4 ({Another way to play the position is} 23... c4
$5 24. b4 ({Or} 24. f4 Qe7 25. g5 Nh7 26. O-O Nc5 27. e5 dxe5 28. d6 Qb7 {with
huge complications.}) 24... cxb3 {with counterplay.}) 24. Na4 {If anything,
White will get some time to finish his development.} Ra8 25. b3 Ba6 {And Black
is also happy to trade his light-squared bishop. All in all the position
remains balanced.} 26. Bxa6 Rxa6 27. O-O {[%cal Ge1g1] Diagram [#] White
catsles on move 27! His plan is to attack on the kingside, while Black should
look for a way to get counter-play on the other wing.} Rea8 28. f4 Qe7 $6 {The
first inaccuracy by Black in this game.} ({Strong was to get into an endgame
and to kill any kingside attack before it had even started} 28... Qd4+ $1 {
However in the line} 29. Qxd4 cxd4 30. g5 (30. Rxd4 Nxg4 $17) 30... Ng4 31.
Rxd4 Nc5 32. Nxc5 ({Safer is} 32. Rxb4 Nxb3 33. Rxb3 Rxa4 34. Rb2 Ra2 {
although here too Black has more than enough for the pawn and does not risk to
lose.}) {Black had to foresee the fantastic resource} 32... Ra2 $3 {[%csl Ra2,
Yg1][%cal Ra2g2,Rg2h2] Diagram [#] after which White has no salvation!} 33. Na4
Rg2+ 34. Kh1 Rxh2+ 35. Kg1 Rg2+ 36. Kh1 Rxg3 {with winning position for Black.}
) 29. Qe2 Nh7 30. Rf3 {So nicely regroups his forces and is ready to pick up
the h3 pawn.} (30. g5 $5 {not to allow the queen on h4 was perhaps better.})
30... Qh4 31. Kh1 $3 {[%csl Yg7,Yh4][%cal Rg1g7] Diagram [#] A crafty move
which White should have foreseen in advance. Black is in trouble and the lack
of time on his clock does not help him find the best moves.} c4 $2 {Not the
most optimal decision. So is happy to see the "g" file opened for his rooks.} (
{The pawn on g4 is poisoned} 31... Qxg4 32. Nf5+ $1 gxf5 33. Rg3 {as the queen
will be lost.}) ({If Black moves the king out of the check} 31... Kg8 {White
will simply continue with his attack} 32. Rg1 $1 {as} Qxg4 33. Nf5 $1 {is once
more crushing for him} Qh5 34. Qf1 $1 {and White wins.}) (31... Nb6 $1 {[%csl
Yd1][%cal Ra8a1] Diagram [#] was mandatory to open the "a" file asap and to
find counterplay along it. For example} 32. Nxb6 Rxb6 33. Rg1 Rba6 34. g5 Ra2
35. Qf1 Ra1 (35... Rc2) 36. Qxa1+ Rxa1 37. Rxa1 Qg4 {with counterplay.}) 32.
Qxc4 Qxg4 33. Qd3 Kf8 ({It is already late to open the file} 33... Nc5 34. Nxc5
({But not} 34. Qd4+ $2 Nf6 35. Nxc5 $4 Qxf3+ 36. Kg1 Qg2#) 34... dxc5 35. Rg1
Ra1 36. Nf1 $1 Qh4 37. e5 {is huge advantage for White.}) 34. Rg1 Rxa4 {
Desperation. Or else White will mount further pressure with} (34... Nhf6 35.
Qf1) 35. bxa4 Nc5 36. Qe3 Rxa4 37. Nf5 $1 {[%csl Yg4] Diagram [#] White wins
the queen and the game.} gxf5 ({The black queen is trapped after} 37... Qh5 38.
Rxh3) ({White the tricky} 37... Ra1 {is met by} 38. Rfg3 $1 (38. Rxa1 $4 Qg2#)
38... Rxg1+ 39. Rxg1 Qh5 40. Nxd6 {with a win.}) 38. Rxg4 fxg4 39. Rf1 Nf6 40.
e5 Nfe4 41. f5 $1 {Diagram [#] The time control is over and So energetically
wrpas up the game.} Ra2 (41... dxe5 42. Qh6+ Ke7 43. f6+ Kd6 44. Qf8+ Kxd5 45.
Qxf7+ $18) 42. e6 g3 43. hxg3 Ke8 44. g4 h2 45. Qh3 f6 46. g5 Nxg5 47. Qh8+ Ke7
48. Qg7+ Ke8 49. Qxf6 {Diagram [#]} 1-0



It Pours

Unfortunately for Georg Meier the game that he played against Fabiano Caruana in Dortmund was not the only one that he got into time trouble.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.07.01"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Meier, Georg"]
[Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2654"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "108"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:52"]
[BlackClock "0:09:37"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {Kramnik chooses a different approach in the
battle for the full point. He does not want to burn bridges like Caruana did
yesterday but remains true to his positional style.} 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6.
Nxe5 {Diagram [#] Meier's favorite line, which he last played in 2012. He also
likes to play for a win without much risk.} Be7 ({Most of Meier's game
featured the move} 6... Nxe5 {Here are couple of them} 7. Rxe5+ Be7 8. Bf1 O-O
9. Nc3 (9. d4 Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. c3 Rxe1 12. Qxe1 Nf5 13. Nd2 d5 14. Nf3 Nh4
15. Nxh4 {1/2-1/2 (15) Meier,G (2637)-Naiditsch,A (2698) Belfort 2012}) 9... c6
10. d4 Ne8 11. d5 $1 {Meier,G (2659)-Onischuk,A (2688) Lubbock 2010}) 7. Bf1
Nf5 8. Nf3 {White prefers to keep more pieces on the board. In case of} (8. c3
Nxe5 9. Rxe5 d6 10. Re1 O-O 11. d4 d5 12. Nd2 c6 {Black's defensive task is
easier, Inarkiev,E (2706)-Aronian,L (2770) Sochi 2015}) 8... d5 9. d4 O-O 10.
c3 Bd6 11. Bd3 Nce7 12. Nbd2 c6 13. Nf1 {A completely symmetrical position
arose which is a clear sign of equllibrum. If the players like then can bring
their heavy pieces along the "e" file and then outside the board, shake hands
and go watch Wimbledon.} g6 14. h3 $5 $146 {[%csl Yf5][%cal Gg2g4] Diagram [#]
A novelty. White wants to highlight the fact that the black knights and
light-squared bishop compete for the same good square on f5.} ({The only
predecessor saw:} 14. Ne3 Nxe3 15. Bxe3 Bf5 16. Bh6 Re8 17. Bg5 Bxd3 18. Qxd3
Qd7 19. Bf6 Qf5 20. Qxf5 Nxf5 21. Rxe8+ Rxe8 22. Re1 Rxe1+ 23. Nxe1 {with dead
equality in Kanmazalp,O (2416)-Petkov,V (2566) Cappelle la Grande 2014}) 14...
Kh8 {Prepares future regroupment of the black pieces. Kramnik is prominent
master of strategy in deep prophylactical maneuvers are quite characteristic
for his style.} 15. Bd2 f6 16. Qc2 Bd7 17. b3 Rc8 {Both sides finished
development. The last move is also prophylaxis against the possible c3-c4
advance (White would be very happy to grab space with c3-c4-c5 on the
queenside.) Black also prepares the c6-c5 advance himself.} 18. Re2 ({After}
18. c4 c5 $1 {is strong when the queen feels uncomfortable.}) 18... b6 19. g4 {
Diagram [#] This was the point behind the move h2-h3 but Black has enough
space to maneuver. It is double-edged decision as it opens the long diagonal.}
Ng7 20. Rae1 c5 21. dxc5 bxc5 22. Qc1 {In order to make use of the open "e"
file Meier needs entry squares. Thus, the swap of the dark-squared bishop is
his priority. For the time being White does not want to modify the pawn
structure as} (22. c4 d4 {looks good for the second player only.}) 22... Bc6
23. Bf4 Ng8 24. Bg3 {It is good to trade the bishops but without concessions.}
(24. Bxd6 Qxd6 {allows the black queen too much activity.}) 24... d4 {[%cal
Rc6h1] Diagram [#] Kramnik opens the game.} 25. N1h2 Bxg3 26. fxg3 g5 {With
the idea Qd8-d6 as} (26... Qd6 27. Qf4 {is OK for White.}) 27. Be4 Bxe4 28.
Rxe4 Qd6 29. Kg2 {The time trouble approaches and just like yesterday Kramnik
feels that Meier hesitates and opens the game.} f5 30. Re5 $1 {[%csl Ge5]
Diagram [#] Centralization is almost never wrong.} ({In comparison} 30. gxf5
Nxf5 31. Nf1 h6 {followed by Rc8-c7-f7 looks awkward for White.}) 30... h6 31.
Qd2 Rcd8 32. Qd3 ({Also good is} 32. cxd4 cxd4 33. Qd3 f4 34. Nf1) 32... f4 33.
Nf1 Qc6 34. cxd4 cxd4 {White repelled the aggressive black pieces and now
looks better. However, time-trouble comes to haunt Georg Meier again.} ({The
flashy} 34... Rxd4 {is refuted by the non-less flashy} 35. Rxc5 $1) 35. R1e4 {
Instead White could have gained the advantage with} (35. R5e4 $1 {Diagram [#]
with the point that} fxg3 $6 {can be answered} 36. Ne5 $1 Qb6 37. Nxg3 {with
clear edge for White thanks to the weak black king and pawn on d4.}) 35... fxg3
36. Nxg3 Nf6 37. Rxd4 Ne6 {A risky decision.} ({Instead, Kramnik could continue
} 37... Rxd4 38. Qxd4 Ne6 39. Qe3 Nd5 {with full compensation for a pawn. Say}
40. Qe4 Ndf4+ 41. Kh2 Qc1 {when sooner or later of of the sides will deliver
perpetual check.}) 38. Rxe6 {Meier misses golden chance. In the line} (38. Rxd8
$1 Nf4+ (38... Rxd8 $2 39. Rxe6 $1 {loses at once.}) 39. Kh2 Nxd3 40. Rxf8+ Kg7
{One can easily stop his calculation as both rooks are hanging (especially
with seconds on his clock). However here White had the nice move} 41. Nd4 $1 {
Diagram [#] That cements everything. After} Qa6 (41... Qd7 42. Ne6+) 42. Ne6+
Kg6 43. Re2 {Black has to prove equality.} ({Or} 43. Rf5)) 38... Rxd4 39. Qxd4
{An endgame would be easier} (39. Rxc6 Rxd3 40. Nf5 $11 {as} Kh7 {to defend
the pawn fails to} 41. Ne5 $1 Rd2+ 42. Kf3 {with the nasty threat Rc6-c7+!})
39... Qxe6 40. Qxa7 Rc8 {The time scramble is over and Black had won the
exchange. Still, it seems as White is very, very solid.} 41. Nf5 Qe2+ 42. Qf2
Qd3 $1 {[%csl Gc8,Gd3,Yg2] Diagram [#] Deep understanding of the position.
White's main problem is the king's safety. If the queens disappear, like the
computer suggests} (42... Qxf2+ 43. Kxf2 Rc2+ 44. Ke1 {Better than} (44. Ke3 $6
Kh7 45. a4 Rc3+) 44... Kh7 45. a4 Ne4 46. N5d4 {White's defensive task will
become easier. All he needs to do is to swap his 4 pawns for the remaining two
black ones.}) 43. Qd4 $1 {White insists.} Rc2+ 44. Kg1 Rc1+ {Of course not} (
44... Qxd4+ $6 45. N3xd4 Rxa2 46. Nxh6 Kh7 47. Nhf5 {with h3-h4 coming soon
and a draw.}) 45. Kg2 Qc2+ 46. Kg3 ({Not} 46. Qf2 $2 Ne4 $1) ({Maybe} 46. Nd2 {
is playable for a computer but you would hardly see a human being self-pinning.
}) 46... Qc7+ 47. Kg2 Rc2+ 48. Kg1 Rc6 {Diagram [#] The position that Kramnik
was heading to. Next he wants to move away the king from the pin and look for
a good moment to attack with everything that he has. White's position is more
than unpleasant and it is extremely funny to me to see the computer evaluation
0.00. To find a clear-cut draw is impossible. White does not have active
moves and is not sure where to hide king. On the top of that a second time
trouble started.} 49. Kf2 $6 {A step in the wrong direction.} ({The computer
suggests instead} 49. a4 Kh7 50. Kf1 {with the idea to meet} Rc1+ {with} 51.
Ke2 Qc2+ 52. Nd2 {Naturally, Black has other ways to play for the win.}) 49...
Kh7 50. Ke2 $2 {[%csl Re2] Diagram [#] And this is a serious mistake. The king
is not safe here!} Rc2+ 51. Ke3 {A desperate move.} ({Since} 51. Nd2 Qh2+ 52.
Kd1 Rxa2 {covers all the checks.}) 51... Rxa2 52. Qc4 Qb7 $1 53. Qe6 {The last
mistake, although I suspect that Black's position should be won anyway.} Nd5+
54. Kd4 Qb4+ {And since White loses the queen, he resigned.} (54... Qb4+ 55.
Kxd5 Qxb3+ 56. Ke5 (56. Kd6 Ra6+) 56... Re2+ {Diagram [#]}) 0-1



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



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.}