Modern Chess 1

I am glad to present a new chess product, made of my good friends!
“Modern chess” is a magazine of educational type, publishing Grandmaster’s lectures concerning all the stages of the chess game – opening, middlegame and endgame. The articles are interrelated, each one of them being a part of a comprehensive course on a specific topic. Besides the opportunity to read the magazine in PDF, you are offered an interactive version, accessible from the web site.
Therefore, “Modern chess” is a digital educational platform, suitable for anyone who has the ambition to improve his knowledge on the chess game. For more information about Modern Chess Magazine, please visit: http://www.modern-chess.com/en/modern-chess-magazine
I am happy to publish a complete article by GM Gavrikov about the isolated pawn in four parts. Here are the first two games:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "URS-ch sf"]
[Site "Sverdlovsk"]
[Date "1957.??.??"]
[Round "15"]
[White "Polugaevsky, Lev"]
[Black "Lutikov, Anatoly S"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[Annotator "GM Viktor Gavrikov"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "1957.??.??"]
[EventRounds "19"]
[EventCountry "URS"]

{The attack with an isolated pawn - GM Viktor Gavrikov Dear chess friends,
this article marks the beginning of a training course designed to acquaint the
readers of the magazine "Modern Chess" with one of the most important type of
positions in middlegame - isolated pawn. The importance of this topic is
related to the fact that it can arise from a huge number of openings. Several
examples are Queen’s Gambit, Slav Defense, Tarrasch Defense, New Indian
Defense, Nimzowitsch Defense, Sicilian Defense and many other openings.
Therefore, good knowledge of these positions is necessary for any chess player,
regardless of his repertoire. Our magazine provides a full course of study on
the isolated pawn, which contains three logically linked articles. The first
two published materials focus on the methods of playing with an isolator. This
article will explain in depth the three most important attacking ideas for the
side playing with an isolator, which are - the transfer of the rook on third
horizontal, the movement of the isolated pawn and the sacrifice of the knight
on “f7”. No less important are the techniques, which will we discussed in
the second article of our series - the switch to a symmetric pawn structure
after the exchange on “d5”, the movement of “f” pawn and the movement
of “h” pawn. Once our readers are familiar with the offensive potential of
the isolated pawn, they can move forward to the closing article of the course,
which stresses the methods of playing against such a pawn. 1) The transfer of
the rook on third horizontal For a better understanding of this maneuver, it
is necessary to make some general clarifications. The main advantage of the
isolated pawn is that it provides spatial advantage. While the isolator
controls the “e5” and “c5” squares (respectively “e4” and “c4”)
, they can be perfect outpost for the knights. Another essential advantage is
the possession of the semi-opened line “e” which is often used as a
springboard for the development of an attack against the enemy’s king.
Taking into consideration the above-mentioned advantages, the side playing
with an isolated pawn should seek for attack on the kingside and avoid pieces
exchange. The readers should know that in endgame such a pawn is a weakness
rather than a strength. One of the classic methods of attack is the transfer
of the rook on the kingside. This is maneuver is possible, due to the spatial
advantage, provided by the isolated pawn. We can say that quite often the
isolator acts as a “screen”, behind which the regrouping of the pieces is
performed, aiming to play offensive against the king. A relevant example,
which fully illustrates the idea of the transfer of the rook on the third
horizontal, is the classical game between the two Russian Grandmasters, Lev
Polugaevsky and Anatoli Lutikov, played back in 1957.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3.
Nf3 c5 4. e3 Be7 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Bd3 ({Deserves attention move d4-d5, which
leads to Benoni’s pawn structure, favorable for white:} 6. d5 exd5 7. cxd5 d6
8. e4 $14 {The White’s advantage is due to the fact that the “e7” square
is not suitable for the bishop - in this types of structures the best place is
on the big diagonal.}) 6... d5 7. O-O dxc4 8. Bxc4 Nbd7 {[%cal Ga7a6,Gb7b5,
Gc8b7,Gd8b6,Ga8c8,Gf8d8] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] Very crucial moment! When
Black develops the knight on “d7”, they seek for harmonious development of
the queenside. Their plan includes moves а7-а6, b7-b5, Bb7, Qb6, Rac8 и
Rfd8. However, the early development of the knight on “d7” is premature,
because White can oppose a7-a6 with a2-a4. In that situation, the black knight
will be far from the weakened square “b4”.} ({Therefore, the modern theory
recommends starting with} 8... a6 {[%cal Gb7b5] which aims to cause a2-a4 and
thus weaken the square “b4”. The difference here is that the black knight
is still on “b8” and may move easily to “b4”, from where it does not
only control the “d5” square, but also prevents offensive ideas of white
queen - bishop battery on the “b1- h7” diagonal and the transfer of the
rook on the third line through “d3”.} 9. a4 Nc6 {[%csl Rb4][%cal Gc5d4,
Ge3d4,Gc6b4] Diagram [#] Diagram [#]}) 9. Qe2 {A typical move for queen’s
structure It is obvious that soon enough this will lead to a position with an
isolated pawn and White will start to place its pieces on the best places. The
queen occupied the “e” line, which will become semi-opened after the pawn
exchange, while the rook should be placed on “d1”, where it will create a
dangerous confrontation against black queen.} a6 10. a4 cxd4 11. exd4 Nb6 12.
Bb3 {the best place for the bishop in this kind of positions. The control of
the “d5” square is crucial, when the black knight is on “b6”.} Bd7 13.
Ne5 {Diagram [#]} Be8 $2 {[%csl Ye8,Rf8][%cal Rf8e8] Diagram [#] Very
instructive mistake. The bishop on “e8” disturbs the coordination between
the heavy black pieces and limits the movement of the rook from “f8”.} ({
Black should prefer the following option:} 13... Bc6 14. Nxc6 bxc6 {Diagram [#]
The position that occurred is very interesting and popular, but very often was
incorrectly evaluated. The “c6” + “e6” structure, against “d4” is
called “saw”. It is important to know that this type of structure is
favorable for Black, only if the light-squared bishop is not on “c8”,
otherwise it will become the prisoner of his own pawns. Black also possess the
semi-opened line “b”, which fully compensates white’s couple of bishops.
A very interesting and difficult game to follow.}) 14. Rd1 Nbd5 {Diagram [#]}
15. Rd3 $1 {[%cal Gd3g3,Gg3h3] Diagram [#] White chose the best moment to
transfer the rook on the kingside. It depends on the position where the rook
should be placed, on “g3” or “h3”.} Rc8 16. Rg3 $1 {An important
moment from a practical point of view. When we transfer the rook on the third
horizontal in positions with isolated pawn, it is necessary to choose the
square from which the rook confronts the black king. White threatens Bh6.} Kh8
17. Bg5 Nb4 18. Rd1 {After this move all white pieces are in play. Now it is
time to trigger an attack on the kingside.} Rc7 19. Rh3 $1 {Diagram [#] It is
good to pay attention that the white took is seeking for confrontation against
black king. A real storm will start soon on the kingside!} g6 {With his last
move, Black caused irreparable weaknesses around his king. However, it should
be noticed that it is not easy to find a better move.} ({Obviously,} 19... Kg8
{stumbles across a typical move for this type of position} 20. Ne4 {Diagram [#]
White’s idea is more than logical. He seeks for the exchange of Nf6, which
is the only defender on the kingside. Here is how it could develop:} Nbd5 21.
Nxf6+ Nxf6 22. Qd3 h6 $140 ({After} 22... g6 23. Bh6 {Black rook is blocked.})
23. Bxh6 $1 gxh6 24. Qe3 $18 {Diagram [#] Checkmate is inevitable.}) 20. Qf3 $1
{[%csl Rf6] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] White not only highlights the unstable
position of the knight on “f6”, but also prepares the breakthrough d4-d5.}
Rg8 $2 {A serious mistake in a very hard position.} ({Did not save} 20... Bc6 {
because of} 21. Qe3 {[%cal Gg5f6,Ge3h6] After the exchange on “f6”, the
white queen moves to the “h6” square.}) 21. Ne4 {Undoubtedly the most
natural move. White, however, miss the more elegant and quick win.} ({White
could choose also} 21. d5 $1 {Diagram [#]} exd5 22. Nxd5 Nbxd5 23. Rxd5 $1 Nxd5
$140 24. Rxh7+ $1 Kxh7 25. Qh3+ Kg7 26. Qh6# {Diagram [#] Diagram [#]
Picturesque position!}) 21... Nh5 {Black tries to close the “h” line, but
now the “f7” became exclusively weak.} (21... Nxe4 $2 22. Rxh7+ $1 Kxh7 23.
Qh3+ Kg7 24. Qh6#) 22. Qxf7 $1 {[%csl Rh8] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] The last
shot! Black’s position is falling apart. The rest does not need any comments.
} Bc6 (22... Bxf7 23. Nxf7+ Kg7 24. Nxd8 Rxd8 25. g4 Nf6 26. Bh6+ Kh8 27. Ng5
$18) (22... Bxg5 23. Nxg5 $18) 23. Qxe6 Rg7 24. d5 Bd7 25. Bxe7 Rxe7 26. Qd6
Qe8 27. Nf6 Nxf6 28. Qxf6+ Rg7 29. d6 {Diagram [#]} 1-0

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Biel Interzonal"]
[Site "Biel"]
[Date "1976.08.04"]
[Round "18"]
[White "Portisch, Lajos"]
[Black "Sosonko, Gennadi"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E57"]
[WhiteElo "2625"]
[BlackElo "2505"]
[Annotator "GM Viktor Gavrikov"]
[PlyCount "49"]
[EventDate "1976.07.??"]
[EventRounds "19"]
[EventCountry "SUI"]
[EventCategory "12"]

{2) The movement of the isolated pawn Considering the spatial advantage and
the reference squares, the isolated pawn provides many other dynamic
possibilities, linked to the movement of the isolator. Here is crucial to ask
a basic question, the answer to which confuses even the experienced chess
players: In which circumstances is necessary to push the isolated pawn?
Although the answer to this question is not obvious, we will try to give a
general rule, easy to understand for everybody: The isolated pawn should be
moved forward, when the side playing with it has development advantage. This
rule is based on the fact that the player, whose pieces are better developed,
seeks to open the position and seize the initiative. Despite this, there are
positions in which the isolated pawn is a weakness and the side playing with
it tries to get rid of it, while pushing. This is usually happening in the
endgame. Now, we would like to give you an example of a game, played by one of
the greatest Hungarian theoretician Lajos Portish.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3
Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. Bg5
Bb7 11. Re1 Nc6 {Diagram [#] Diagram [#] This is one of the most popular
position in Rubinstein system in Nimzo-Indian defense. By placing the knight
on “c6”, Black seeks to place pressure on the isolated pawn. However, the
knight is not very well placed on “c6”, because the black’s
light-squared bishop cannot control the “d5” square. All these facts
contribute to the movement of the isolator.} ({Safer is to play:} 11... Bxc3
12. bxc3 Nbd7 {[%cal Gd8c7] followed by £c7. This is a different type of
middlegame position - a pair of isolated pawns “c3”+”d4”. We would
like to notice that this specific pawn structure will be subject to a separate
topic in our magazine.}) 12. a3 {A key move! White prepares to play Bd3, while
preventing Nb4. One the queen is on “d3”, White intends to play Rаd1, in
order to prepare the d4-d5 move or to build a battery on the diagonal
“b1-h7”, using Bа2 - b1 maneuver.} Be7 13. Qd3 {[%cal Ga1d1] Diagram [#]
Diagram [#]} Nh5 $6 {Black made a typical mistake for these positions. With
his last move, Black seeks to exchange the dark-squared bishops, as such 14.
Bxe7 14...Nxe7. As a result, the knight from “h5”, goes to “f6” and
Black totally controls the square “d5”. It should be also noted that the
exchange of the dark-squared bishops diminishes the white’s offensive
potential - as we know, the side playing against the isolated pawn seeks for
the exchange in order to get to the endgame. However, the move 13...Nh5 is
premature, because White is not obliged to the exchange the bishop, he can put
it on “d2”!} ({It was better to choose this order:} 13... h6 14. Bh4 Nh5
15. Bxe7 Nxe7 {[%cal Gh5f6,Ge7d5] followed by Nf6. Black has a full game ahead.
}) 14. Bd2 $1 {Here is the difference! Black not only failed to exchange the
dark-squared bishops, but also removed his horse from the center. “d4-d5”
threat begins to take real shape.} Nf6 ({The gain of the pawn also looked
attractive:} 14... Na5 15. Ba2 Bxf3 $2 16. Qxf3 $1 {[%cal Gf3h5,Gb2b4]} Qxd4 {
Diagram [#] The knight on “h5” is under attack, but black’s position is
still kept together by the unprotected bishop on “d2”. No matter how
strange this looks, but Black loses because of the limited mobility of the
other knight (Nа5).} 17. Rad1 {[%cal Gf3h5] Diagram [#]} Nf6 18. b4 $1 $18 {
Black is defenseless. The knight has nowhere to go - 18...Nс4 is followed by
19.Bf4}) 15. Rad1 Na5 $6 {The beginning of a wrong plan - Black neglects the
development of the heavy pieces, while helping White to implement his idea
(Ba2-b1). It is necessary to point out that by putting the horse on “a5”,
grandmaster Sosonko intended to strengthen the control over the strategically
important square “d5”. However, as we will see later, White has a very
convincing answer.} ({Better was} 15... Rc8) 16. Ba2 Nd5 $2 {Diagram [#] Black
continues to follow his wrong plan - in pursuing his strategical goals, he
forgets about the tactical resources of his opponent. The problem is that we
cannot block an isolated pawn with a piece.} ({Again it was better to play}
16... Rc8) 17. b4 $1 {This specific move escaped Sosonko’s attention.} Nxc3
$2 {Diagram [#] The third and last mistake. Now, the only passive white piece
(Bd2) reaches the big diagonal. White has a huge advantage in development and
he is ready to push d4-d5.} ({It was necessary to choose:} 17... Nc6 18. Nxd5
exd5 {The position has changed again form the structural point of view. On the
board we have the so-called “symmetrical pawn structure”, which will be
discussed in details in the next issue of our magazine. For now, we will say
that in this type of middlegames, the side that has a better development of
the pieces has also the advantage. In the position from the diagram, White has
a very typical attacking idea:} 19. h4 $5 {[%cal Ga2b1,Gg7g6,Gh4h5] Diagram [#]
White intends to play Bb1 and to confront g7-g6 with h4-h5. Of course, before
pushing the “h” pawn, it is advisable to point the weaknesses on the dark
squares on the kingside with ¥h6. Interesting is that the pawn cannot be
gained:} Bxh4 20. b5 Na5 21. Bb4 {Diagram [#]}) 18. Bxc3 Nc6 19. d5 $1 {
[%csl Rd5][%cal Gd1d8,Ge1e8,Gc3h8,Ga2g8] Diagram [#] Diagram [#] When there
are no better places to put your pieces, it is a sign that this is the moment
to push the isolated pawn! The Black’s position is falling apart.} exd5 20.
Bxd5 Qc7 (20... Bf6 21. Qc4 $18 {[%cal Gd5f7,Gd5c6]}) 21. b5 $1 Na5 22. Be5 $1
{Diagram [#] Last accurate move - now the black material losses are inevitable.
} Qc5 (22... Qc8 23. Bxg7 $18) (22... Qd8 23. Bxb7 Nxb7 (23... Qxd3 24. Rxd3
Nxb7 25. Rd7 $18) 24. Qd7 Nd6 25. Qg4 g6 26. Qf4 $18) 23. Bxb7 Nxb7 24. Qd7 Na5
25. Bd4 {Diagram [#]} 1-0

Part 2 of the article will follow soon. I am also happy to announce that you can use the promo code dbojkov for 15 % discount on any of the products of "Modern Chess".


A Perfect Attack

Michael Adams's first win at the Tata Steel in round ten was a great achievement especially when his opponent was the ultra-solid Sergey Karjakin:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.27"]
[Round "10.5"]
[White "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2769"]
[BlackElo "2744"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:59"]
[BlackClock "0:11:57"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 d5 3. e3 e6 4. Nf3 c5 5. c3 {Diagram [#] The London system is
becoming more and more popular, even at a top level. White is playing the Slav
defense with an extra tempo.} Nc6 6. Nbd2 Bd6 7. Bg3 O-O 8. Bd3 b6 9. Ne5 {
This is one of the main ideas of the whole line. White wants to attack on the
kingside and therefore plays in a Stonewall way.} Bb7 10. f4 {The bishop on g3
is also seemingly well placed, ready to go to h4. It seems as White had won
some tempos on the development of that piece, but if we count carefully, we
shall see that it is all the same. In the Stonewall the bishop goes to h4 via
d2-e1-h4. Here Karjakin had lost the time while maneuvering Bf4-g3-h4.} Ne7 {
A nice defensive maneuver.} 11. Qf3 ({Funnily, Karjakin has some experience
with this line, but as Black:} 11. Qc2 c4 12. Be2 Nf5 13. Bf2 Be7 14. Ng4 Nxg4
15. Bxg4 Nd6 16. f5 exf5 17. Bxf5 Nxf5 18. Qxf5 Qc8 {Andreikin,D (2720)
-Karjakin,S (2762) Baku 2015}) (11. Bh4 Ne4 {is good for Black.}) 11... Nf5 12.
Bf2 Be7 13. g4 Nd6 {Petrosian loved to place his knights this same way against
the Stinewall and to crack jokes about the awesomeness of the Dutch defense.}
14. g5 Nfe4 15. O-O-O ({Perhaps it was better to postpone the castling for one
more move} 15. Qh3) 15... c4 $146 {[%cal Gc5c4,Gb6b5,Gb5b4,Ga7a5] Diagram [#]
A novelty in comparison to the email game:} ({Sodomski,A (2006)-Fedorov,S
(2399) ICCF email 2011, which saw} 15... cxd4 16. exd4 b5 17. h4 b4 18. cxb4 a5
{which also looks quite promising for Black.}) 16. Bc2 (16. Bxe4 $6 dxe4 17.
Qg2 b5 {[%cal Gb7d5,Ga7a5,Gb5b4] Diagram [#] followed by Bb7-d5 and advance of
the "a" and "b" pawns will lead to a dream position for the second player.})
16... b5 {Both sides attack on the opposite flanks and the Big question is-
"Who is opening the king first." Since the white pawn chain is somewhat more
exposed, Adams does it.} 17. Qh3 b4 18. Nxe4 ({Naturally, Karjakin does not
want to open any files with} 18. cxb4 a5 $1 {Diagram [#]} (18... c3 19. bxc3
Qc7 (19... Nxc3 20. Qxh7#)) 19. b5 c3 20. bxc3 Nxb5 {when Black is definitely
happy.}) 18... dxe4 19. Be1 Bd5 {Adams prepares b4-b3.} ({The other way to
attack is} 19... bxc3 20. Bxc3) 20. Rg1 $6 {Diagram [#] Which Karjakin ignores.
} ({In case of} 20. cxb4 a5 $1 21. bxa5 {The English GM was probably planning
the rich exchange sacrifice} Rxa5 $1 {when} 22. Bxa5 $2 {might lead to quick
mate after} ({But White had definitely more chances defending the position
after} 22. a3 {than the one in the game. On a second thought} Nb5 $1 {Looks
really scary for White.}) 22... Qxa5 23. Kb1 (23. Rd2 c3 24. bxc3 Qxc3 25. Kd1
Rb8 $19) 23... c3 {[%csl Rb1] Diagram [#] and the white king has no defenders.}
) 20... b3 21. axb3 (21. Bb1 {seems more stubborn although Black's attacking
chances are huge after} bxa2 22. Bxa2 a5 ({Or} 22... Rb8)) 21... cxb3 22. Bb1
f5 $1 {[%csl Rc1][%cal Gf8f1] Diagram [#] A very nice idea. Adams offers his
opponent a choice of two eveils. To close the kingside and basically to resign
on the other one. Or...} 23. gxf6 Bxf6 {To open the "f" file for the black
rook and activate his bishop.} 24. Rg4 Nf5 {With the intention to improve
calmly with a7-a5-a4-a3 or Ra8-c8 and Qd8-a5.} 25. Kd2 {White tries to escape
but the poor king gets surrounded.} Qa5 26. Ke2 Bxe5 27. dxe5 ({There is no
way back as the "f" file had been opened-} 27. fxe5 Bc4+ 28. Kd2 (28. Kf2 Nxd4+
) 28... Qa1 {[%csl Rd2][%cal Ra1b2]}) 27... Rad8 28. Kf2 {Or:} (28. Bd2 Bc4+
29. Ke1 Rxd2 $1 {[%csl Ye1] Diagram [#] and White's position falls apart.} 30.
Kxd2 (30. Rxd2 Qa1 31. Rd1 Qxb2) 30... Rd8+ 31. Kc1 Rxd1+ 32. Kxd1 Qa1 33. Kc1
Bd3) 28... Qa1 {It is over.} 29. Bd2 Bc4 30. Qh5 Qxb2 31. Ke1 Rxd2 $1 {[%csl
Re1][%cal Rb2c1,Rc1d2] Diagram [#]} (31... Rxd2 32. Rxd2 Qc1+ 33. Kf2 Qf1#) 0-1



Crushing the Berlin

Round nine of Tata Steel saw Magnus Carlsen firmly occupying the first place after a win against his second Michael Adams. The other big news were Wei Yi's first win in the event. And what a win that was:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.26"]
[Round "9.3"]
[White "Wei, Yi"]
[Black "Navara, David"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2706"]
[BlackElo "2730"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:38:08"]
[BlackClock "0:01:40"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 {The Anti-Berlin is getting more and more
popular of lately. It seems as White has not much there as well, but at least
the queens are still on the board!} Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 O-O {Diagram [#]}
({Another plan is} 6... Qe7 7. h3 O-O 8. Nc4 Nd7 9. Qe2 b5 10. Ne3 Nb6 {
as in Caruana,F (2787)-Nakamura,H (2793) London 2015}) 7. Nc4 Nd7 8. Qe2 Re8 9.
Bd2 Bd6 10. h4 $146 {[%csl Yg6][%cal Gh4h5,Gg2g4,Gg4g5] Diagram [#]} ({So far
all the games saw} 10. g4 {One fresh example goes} Nf8 11. Ne3 Ne6 12. Nf5 a5
$1 13. h4 a4 14. Ng5 a3 {when the Dutch GM managed to create serious
counter play in Anand,V (2803)-Giri,A (2798) Bilbao 2015}) 10... c5 {Navara
wants to occupy the d4 outpost with comfort.} ({The knight can come back to}
10... Nf6 {but it will hardly stop the white pawns there.}) ({On the other hand
} 10... Nf8 {can be met with} 11. h5 {attacking and depriving the black knight
of the g6 square and this might be the critical test for Wei's novelty after}
Ne6) 11. h5 h6 {[%csl Rh6] Diagram [#] This is dubious to say at least. In now
way should have Black allowed a hook on the kingside. Both} ({the immediate}
11... Nb8) ({Or} 11... Nf8 12. h6 g6 {were better.}) 12. O-O-O {The immediate}
(12. g4 {was also good for White, for example} Nf8 13. g5 hxg5 14. Bxg5 f6 15.
Bd2 b5 16. Nxd6 cxd6 17. Rg1 {with attack.}) 12... Nb8 13. Rdg1 {Wei is not in
a hurry.} ({Once again} 13. g4 {is possible as Black is not willing to capture
the pawn} Bxg4 $2 (13... f6 14. Nh4) 14. Rdg1 Bxf3 (14... Qd7 15. Rh4 Bxf3 16.
Qxf3) 15. Qxf3 {[%csl Yf7,Rh6][%cal Rf3f7,Rd2h6] Diagram [#] This is not even
winning a pawn as the h6 and f7 spots cannot be defended simultaneously.})
13... Nc6 14. g4 f6 {Navara was obviously counting on this move to seal the
kingside. However...} ({Or else the kingside will be badly opened.} 14... Nd4
15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. g5) 15. g5 $1 {[%csl Yf6,Yg7,Rg8,Yh6][%cal Gg1g8,Gh1h8]
Diagram [#] Wei blows the barricades at once!} (15. Nh4 {will be the
traditional way to play.}) 15... fxg5 16. Nxg5 Nd4 ({In case of the immediate}
16... hxg5 17. Bxg5 {White's attack is also very strong. For example} Be7 (
17... Qd7 18. Bf6 Bf8 19. h6 $18) ({There is no need to transpose into the
game after} 17... Nd4 18. Qe3) 18. Bxe7 (18. Be3 $5) 18... Qxe7 19. h6 g5 20.
Qh5 g4 (20... Kh8 21. Rxg5) 21. Ne3 Kh8 22. Nxg4 Bxg4 23. Rxg4 Rg8 24. Rg7 Qf6
{Diagram [#] with two pawns for the piece and strong threats.}) 17. Qd1 hxg5
18. Bxg5 Be7 {It seems as the attack will soon peter out, but Wei had foreseen
the amazing} ({The other move loses quickly} 18... Qd7 19. Bf6) 19. Be3 $3 {
[%csl Yg7,Yg8][%cal Gg5e3,Rg1g8] Diagram [#] Human beings have difficulties in
seeing backward moves when attacking, but not the Chinese GM. The threat h5-h6
forces Black to go} Bf6 (19... Bd6 20. h6 $18) {But} 20. h6 {is played anyway
and it becomes obvious that the two rooks will have a great party on the open
files.} Re7 ({Black cannot hide behind the pawns as the lines prove} 20... g5
21. Bxg5 $1 {Diagram [#]} (21. Qh5 g4 22. f4) 21... Bxg5+ 22. f4 exf4 23. Qh5
Ne2+ 24. Kd1 Nxg1 25. Qg6+ Kh8 26. Qg7#) (20... g6 21. Qh5 $1 $18) 21. hxg7
Rxg7 22. Qh5 {Now that the black king is opened everything finishes in just a
few moves. The black queenside pieces never took part in the battle.} Be6 23.
Bh6 {Diagram [#] The simplest win.} ({There was a dual} 23. Qh8+ Kf7 24. Rxg7+
Bxg7 25. Nxe5+ Bxe5 26. Rh7+ Kg6 27. Rh6+ Kf7 28. Qxe5 $18) 23... Bf7 24. Bxg7
Bxh5 25. Bxf6+ Kf8 26. Bxd8 Ne2+ 27. Kb1 Nxg1 28. Bxc7 {Diagram [#]} 1-0



Endgame Symphony

After Carlsen's quick draw against Karjakin in round eight of Tata Steel many believed that the co-leadership between the Norwegian and Fabiano Caruana will stay before the second free day. The American managed to equalize in the opening and seemed to hold on his own until David Navara started his endgame symphony:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.24"]
[Round "8.5"]
[White "Navara, David"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2730"]
[BlackElo "2787"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:07:41"]
[BlackClock "0:05:50"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 c5 6. dxc5 Na6 7. g3 Nxc5 8.
Bg2 Nce4 9. O-O Nxc3 10. bxc3 Be7 11. e4 d6 12. e5 dxe5 13. Nxe5 Qc7 14. Qe2 {
Diagram [#] Navara revealed that he had tried this line with a friend of his
in December in a couple of blitz games.} ({In one of them he committed a
mistake} 14. Bf4 $2 {After which Black went for} Nh5 {"and he was immediately
better"} (14... g5 {instead would have won a piece, but this is a blitz game,
remember?})) 14... Nd7 ({Another plan is} 14... Ne8 15. Bf4 Bd6 16. Rfd1 f6 17.
Nd3 Qxc4 18. Qb2 Rb8 19. Be3 {with initiative for the pawn in Dreev,A (2638)
-Ivanisevic,I (2662) Kragujevac 2015}) 15. Bf4 Nxe5 16. Bxe5 Bd6 17. Rfe1 Rb8 (
{"The principled continuation is"} 17... Bxe5 18. Qxe5 Qxc4 {when after say}
19. Red1 {[%csl Yc8][%cal Gd1d8,Gb1b8,Gg2a8] Diagram [#] "White has enough
compensation for the pawn, but not more" (Navara)}) 18. Rad1 Bxe5 19. Qxe5 Qxe5
20. Rxe5 b6 21. c5 f6 22. cxb6 axb6 23. Re2 $146 {[%csl Yb6][%cal Ge2b2,Gd1b1,
Gb1b6] Diagram [#] Navara was surprised to learn at the press conference that
he had made a novelty with his last move.} ({Two games saw instead} 23. Re3 b5
24. f4 Kf7 25. Red3 {one of them very fresh- Basso,P (2466)-Horvath,J (2533)
Spoleto 2016}) 23... Kf7 24. f4 {The only try to play for something, but this
idea is connected with a blunder . Instead} (24. Rb2 e5 25. Rdb1 Bf5 $11) ({And
} 24. Rd6 e5 25. Rb2 Be6 26. Rdxb6 Rxb6 27. Rxb6 Bxa2 {lead to equality.})
24... e5 25. fxe5 Bg4 26. e6+ Kg6 {Diagram [#] Ambitious play by Caruana. If
he wanted to draw, the move} (26... Bxe6 {would suffice. For example} 27. Rd6
Bc4 $11 ({But not} 27... Rfe8 $2 {To which Navara gave the study-like idea} 28.
Rdxe6 (28. Rexe6 $1 {is easier} Rxe6 29. Bd5 Rbe8 30. Rxb6 $18) 28... Rxe6 29.
Bd5 Rbe8 30. g4 h6 31. h4 g6 32. a4 f5 33. g5 {and Black is running out of
moves (Navara).})) 27. Be4+ ({White's original idea was to play} 27. Rdd2 Bxe2
28. Rxe2 {with the idea Bg2-d5 and c3-c4 with compensation, but he realized
that he had missed the simple} Rbc8 {after which teh whole plan does not work.}
) 27... f5 (27... Kh6 $1 {[%csl Yc3,Rd1,Re2,Ye6,Gh6][%cal Gg6h6] Diagram [#]
was stronger when the only one to play for the win will be Caruana. Although
Navara believed he should have enough compensation after} 28. Rdd2 Bxe2 29.
Rxe2 Rbc8 (29... Rfc8 $1 {is stronger though.}) 30. Bd5 {and White wins the
tempo to play c3-c4 due to the threat} Rxc3 $6 31. e7 Re8 32. Bf7) 28. e7 (28.
Rd6 Rf6 $11) 28... Bxe2 29. Rd6+ Kg5 {Navara's brilliant idea is seen in the
line} (29... Rf6 30. Rd8 Bb5 (30... Re6 31. Rxb8 Rxe7 32. Rxb6+ {just wins a
pawn for White.}) 31. Bd5 $3 {[%csl Yb5,Yb8,Gd5,Gd8,Ge7,Yf6,Yg6] Diagram [#]
with complete domination.}) 30. exf8=R Rxf8 31. Bd5 {White's initial thought
was to force a draw with} (31. Kf2 fxe4+ 32. Kxe2 {but then he realized he has
some chances for the win.}) 31... Rf6 32. Rd7 Kh6 33. Kf2 (33. c4 f4 $11) 33...
Bb5 34. Rc7 Rd6 {An inaccuracy. The Czech GM believed} (34... f4 {[%cal Rf4g3,
Rg3f4] Diagram [#] to be mandatory in order to activate the black pieces. The
position is indeed drawish after} 35. g4 Rd6 36. c4 Bd7 $11 (36... Rd7 37. Rc8
Kg5 $11)) 35. c4 Be8 36. Rc8 Bd7 {One more inaccuracy after which White's
chances get even higher.} (36... Ba4 {instead should be enough for counterplay
and equality} 37. Ke3 Kg5 38. Kd4 (38. Rc7 Rd7 39. Rxd7 Bxd7 $11) 38... Rh6 {
(Navara)}) 37. Rd8 Kg6 38. Ke3 Kf6 39. Kd4 {[%csl Yd6,Yd7][%cal Gd4e5] Diagram
[#] Now that the king is centralized White threatens to break in anytime.} (39.
Rf8+ {was worse} Ke5 40. Rf7 Be6 ({Or} 40... Bc6 {(Navara)})) 39... Ke7 40. Rg8
Rg6 41. Ke5 Rg5 ({One more study line by the Czech genius-} 41... h5 42. Rh8
Rg5 43. Bf3 Be8 44. Rxe8+ $1 Kxe8 45. Kf4 $1 {[%csl Rg5] Diagram [#] and White
wins the brilliancy price.}) 42. Rb8 {The first player is obviously dominating
but there is no direct way in.} ({White did not like the line} 42. Rh8 Rh5 43.
h4 Rh6 44. Rg8 Rg6 45. h5 Rg5 ({But not} 45... Rxg3 $2 46. h6 $1 {when White
reaches the h7 pawn.}) 46. Rb8 {with possible draw.}) 42... Rg6 43. Rh8 Rh6 44.
h4 Be6 ({The other defense was} 44... Rg6 45. Rxh7 Rxg3 46. h5 Kd8 47. Kd6 Be8
{but it is questionable if Black can survive this.}) 45. Ra8 $1 {No rook
endgames!} (45. Bxe6 Rxe6+ 46. Kxf5 Rc6 47. Rxh7 Kf7 $11 {(Navara)}) 45... Bd7
({Taking note on the above-mentioned Caruana could have tried his chances in
the rook endgame after} 45... Bxd5 46. cxd5 ({Better than} 46. Ra7+ Bb7) 46...
Rg6 47. Ra7+ Kd8 48. Ra3 Kd7 ({And not} 48... Rf6 $2 49. Ra8+ Ke7 50. Ra7+ Kf8
51. d6 $18 {(Navara)})) 46. Rh8 Be6 47. a4 Bd7 48. Ra8 ({Once more rejecting}
48. Rg8 Rg6 49. h5 Rg5 (49... Rxg3 $2 50. h6 $1 $18) 50. Rb8 Rxh5 51. Rxb6 f4+
52. Kxf4 Bxa4 {when Black should hold.}) 48... Rg6 49. Ra7 Rxg3 {Diagram [#]
This move loses.} (49... Kd8 50. h5 (50. c5 bxc5 51. a5 {is another winning
attempt.}) (50. a5 bxa5 51. c5 a4 $11 {(Navara)}) 50... Rh6 51. Bf3 Re6+ {
was the best defense and Navara was not sure if he has realistic winning
chances.} 52. Kf4 (52. Kxf5 Rf6+ 53. Ke4 Bc6+)) 50. a5 $1 {Thanks to the
newborn passer White tips the scales in his favour.} (50. Bc6 Rd3 $11) 50...
bxa5 51. c5 Kd8 52. h5 $1 {[%csl Gd6,Yg6][%cal Gh5g6,Ge5d6] Diagram [#]
Secures the d6 square for the king.} f4 53. Kd6 Bc8 54. c6 Rg5 ({The last
microscopic chance was} 54... Rd3 {but White wins after} 55. Rxg7 ({Navara saw
the trap though} 55. c7+ $2 Ke8 56. Ra8 Rxd5+ 57. Kxd5 Kd7 $11 {Diagram [#]}))
55. Bf7 {The combination of the white king, rook, bishop and pawn reminds me
of the famous game Alkhine-Teichman, Berlin 1921.} 1-0



Carlsen Speeds Up

The world champion woke from the slow start and starting his rally. In round seven of Tata Steel he won his third consecutive win:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.23"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Eljanov, Pavel"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2760"]
[BlackElo "2844"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:03:33"]
[BlackClock "0:10:36"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ {A fashionable Anti-Catalan reply in
Wijk.} 5. Bd2 Be7 {Diagram [#] In contrast to Mamedyarov yesterday Carlsen
drops the bishop back to e7.} 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Qc2 Ne4 {Playing in a
Stonewall fashion.} 9. Bf4 c6 10. Nc3 g5 {[%csl Yd4][%cal Gf7f5,Gg5g4] Diagram
[#] It makes sense to chase the bishop away from the active position. Plus,
Black wants to advance on the kingside anyway.} ({The immediate} 10... f5 {
is also possible although after} 11. Rad1 b6 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. Rc1 {White's
position seems preferable, Abasov,N (2492)-Kuderinov,K (2480) Baku 2013}) 11.
Be3 Nd6 $1 $146 {[%csl Rc4,Re3][%cal Rd6c4,Rd6f5,Rf5e3] Diagram [#] The world
champion uncorks strong novelty! Previously only the straightforward} (11... f5
{had been tested. One short example-} 12. Rad1 Nd6 13. b3 Nf7 {1/2-1/2 (13)
Nogueiras Santiago,J (2533)-Jobava,B (2637) Havana 2005}) 12. b3 {Eljanov
sacrifices a pawn for the initiative.} ({In case of} 12. cxd5 {Black will
recapture} exd5 {and the knight on d6 is perfectly placed for the Carlsbad
pawn structure.}) 12... Nf5 {The point of the novelty. Since the pawn on d4 is
hanging Black gets a chance to grab a gorgeous bishop.} ({Instead} 12... dxc4
13. Ne4 {will give a lot of central play for the sacrificed pawn.}) 13. g4 $5 {
[%csl Yf5][%cal Gg3g4] Diagram [#] A courageous decision!} ({As mentioned above
} 13. Bc1 g4 {wins the pawn on d4.}) ({While} 13. Qd3 g4 14. Ne1 Nxe3 15. Qxe3
Bg5 {looks very comfortable Stonewall for the second player.}) 13... Nxe3 14.
fxe3 $5 b5 {[%csl Rb5] Diagram [#] Carlsen sacrifices a pawn on his turn!} ({
Black could have also developed kingside initiative with} 14... h5 {and if} 15.
gxh5 g4 16. Ne1 Bg5) 15. e4 {But Eljanov does not take it and concentrates on
central play.} ({There was nothting wrong with} 15. cxb5 cxb5 16. Nxb5 Ba6 (
16... Qb6 17. Nc3 Ba6) 17. a4 Rc8 {when Black has enough initiative to
compensate the pawn.}) 15... b4 ({The computer advocates} 15... bxc4 {but this
seems wrong after} 16. bxc4 dxc4 17. e5 {[%csl Yc4,Yc6,Rg8][%cal Gc3e4]
Diagram [#] The white knight will jump on e4 and the pawns on the "c" file
will soon perish.}) 16. exd5 {A courageous decision! Both players have
sacrificed pawns for initiative that far. Eljanov beats Carlsen on the number
of sacrifices now.} ({Objectively better was} 16. Na4 {to which I suspect
Carlsen would have gone for} dxe4 (16... Bb7) 17. Qxe4 Nf6 {with the idea} 18.
Qxc6 (18. Qd3 {is correct to sacrifice a pawn again...}) 18... Rb8 {Black is
already much better and if} 19. h3 $2 Bb7 20. Qb5 Nxg4 $1 {[%csl Yb5][%cal
Ge7g5] Diagram [#]} 21. hxg4 Bxf3 22. Qe5 Bf6 {wins for Black.}) 16... bxc3 17.
dxc6 Nb8 18. Qe4 {[%csl Gc4,Gc6,Gd4,Ge2] Diagram [#] For the piece Eljanov has
two pawns and powerful pawn mass in the center.} ({Or} 18. Rad1 Nxc6 19. Nxg5
Bxg5 20. Bxc6 {when both} Rb8 ({and even} 20... Bd7 21. Bxa8 Be3+ 22. Kg2 Qxa8+
{lead to advantage for Black.})) 18... f5 $1 {Black has to play actively if he
wants not only to convert his advantage, but even to survive. For example:} (
18... Na6 19. Ne5 Nc7 $2 20. Nxf7 $1 {and all of a sudden Black is in trouble.
Say} Rxf7 $2 21. Rxf7 Kxf7 22. Qxh7+ Ke8 23. Qg6+ Kf8 24. Rf1+ {[%csl Rf8]
Diagram [#] and it is over.}) 19. gxf5 exf5 20. Qd5+ {Alas, White has to trade
queens.} (20. Qe3 Nxc6) 20... Qxd5 21. cxd5 Na6 {The problem with the pawn
massive is that it does not get anywhere. If the white pawn from e2 was on e5
instead, this would have been a different story. Now Black is clearly better.}
22. Rac1 ({Or} 22. Ne5 Nc7 23. Nc4 Rd8 24. e4 fxe4 25. Bxe4 Nxd5) 22... Nc7 23.
Ne5 f4 24. Nc4 Rd8 25. Rxc3 Nxd5 {Diagram [#] The most dangerous pawn is gone
and White hurries to get some material back.} 26. c7 Nxc7 $1 {The best.
Greediness is as usual punished after} (26... Rd7 27. Rcc1 Bb7 28. Ne5 Rd6 29.
Rc5 {and White is most likely better.}) 27. Bxa8 Nxa8 28. e3 Bb4 {[%csl Gb4,
Gc8] Diagram [#] Normally a rook and a pawn are at least as good as the two
light pieces in the endgame. But not if those are two bishops.} 29. Rc2 Bb7 30.
h4 {White is correctly trying to get rid of the pawns.} Be4 31. Rh2 {This
makes things easier for Carlsen. Better was} (31. Rcf2 Nb6 32. exf4 Nxc4 33.
bxc4 gxh4 {although here too, Black should have serious winning chances.})
31... Nb6 32. Ne5 {Nothing helps:} (32. Nxb6 axb6 33. exf4 g4 $1) (32. hxg5
Nxc4 33. bxc4 fxe3) (32. exf4 Bc3 $1) 32... fxe3 33. hxg5 Rxd4 34. Ng4 Nd5 {
Diagram [#] Once that Carlsen wins a game things get scary for everyone.} 0-1



Giri Back on Track

Round six of the Tata Steel Chess saw two of the rating favorites win comfortably their games. Magnus Carlsen won unexpectedly quickly against the reigning Russian champion Evegeny Tomashevsky. While the local hope produced the following game:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.22"]
[Round "6.2"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2798"]
[BlackElo "2747"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "131"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:17:45"]
[BlackClock "0:59:33"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. d4 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Bd6 {Diagram [#] A fashionable
line.} (5... Be7 {is also quite popular} 6. Bg2 c6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Qc2 O-O 9.
Rd1 b6 10. Ne5 Bb7 11. cxd5 cxd5 {as in Radjabov,T (2738)-Gelfand,B (2741)
Berlin 2015}) 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. b3 dxc4 $146 {[%csl Yc4,Yd4][%cal
Rc7c5] Diagram [#] A good novelty. In these positions Black is trying to free
himself in two ways. First and foremost he trades the c4 pawn and then goes
for either e6-e5 or c7(c6)-c5. The former plan was tested so far:} ({In two
games, which saw} 8... c6 9. Nc3 Re8 10. Qc2 dxc4 11. bxc4 e5 {Khairullin,I
(2658)-Ovetchkin,R (2529) Ekaterinburg 2013}) 9. bxc4 c5 {Instead Mamedyarov
goes for instant c7-c5 without the usual waste of a move (as in the Slav
defenses for example).} 10. e3 Qc7 11. Qc2 cxd4 ({The knight has nothing to do
on b6} 11... Nb6 12. Rc1) (11... a6 $5 {at once deserved attention as it is a
needed move. Black can chose the right moment for the central capture.}) 12.
Nxd4 a6 13. Rc1 Rd8 {In combination with Black's next move- a very unfortunate
decision. The development of the queenside bishop was priority.} ({Both} 13...
Rb8 $1 {[%cal Gb7b6,Gc8b7] Diagram [#]} 14. Nb3 b6 $11) ({And} 13... Nc5 $1 14.
Nb3 Rb8 {were comfortably levelling the game.}) 14. Nb3 Rb8 {Due to the skewer
threat it seems as this move is forced.} (14... Nc5 $2 15. Ba5 {drops the
exchange.}) ({However, the immediate} 14... Be5 {was Black's best after which
things are not as bad for him} 15. Ba5 ({Or} 15. c5 Bxa1 16. Ba5 b6 17. Bxa8
bxa5 18. Nxa1) 15... b6 16. Bxa8 Bxa1 17. Nxa1 bxa5 {[%csl Ya1,Ya5,Ya6,Yb1]
[%cal Gc8c1] Diagram [#] Black is not in a bad shape despite the doubled pawns.
}) 15. c5 Be5 16. Nd4 $1 {[%csl Gd4][%cal Gb1a3,Ga3c4,Rd2a5,Ya1b1] Diagram [#]
Probably Mamedyarov underestimated this retreat. Now the queenside is
paralyzed.} b6 {Pawns are usually not allowed on c6 from good live.} ({If}
16... Nf8 17. Na3 {White finishes development and will soon start concrete
threats} Bd7 (17... Ng6 18. Rab1) (17... Bxd4 18. exd4 Rxd4 19. Qb2 e5 20. Bc3
{loses material for Black.}) 18. Rab1 Ng6 19. Nc4 $1 Qxc5 20. Ba5 Rdc8 21. Qd2
{[%csl Yc5] Diagram [#] and the black pieces look awkward.}) 17. c6 Nf8 (17...
Nc5 18. Na3 {does not change much.}) 18. Nc3 $1 {Diagram [#] Giri is not
afraid to sacrifice a pawn. Threats like Nc3(d4)-b5 followed by c6-c7 are in
the air and Black still does not have much to move.} Ng6 ({Black will be
paralyzed after} 18... Bxd4 19. exd4 Rxd4 20. Be3 ({Or} 20. Bg5 $5) 20... Rd8
21. Rd1) 19. Rab1 Qe7 {Mamedyarov gives up the exchange.} ({Once again} 19...
Bxd4 20. exd4 Rxd4 21. Be3 Rd8 22. Rd1 {is not fun for Black.}) ({The threat
was} 19... h6 {(nothing move)} 20. Ncb5 $1 axb5 21. Nxb5 Qe7 22. Bb4 Qe8 23. c7
{with complete demolition.}) 20. c7 $1 {[%csl Rc6][%cal Rd4c6] Diagram [#]}
Qxc7 21. Nc6 Bb7 22. Nxd8 Bxg2 23. Kxg2 Rxd8 24. Na4 {Giri has too many open
files for the rooks thus his material advantage is decisive.} Qb7+ 25. f3 b5
26. Nc5 Qa8 27. Nd3 h5 28. Ba5 {Little by little the white pieces take
commanding positions.} Nd5 (28... Rd7 29. Qc8+) 29. Qe2 Re8 30. e4 Nde7 31. Bc3
{Diagram [#] Speculating with threats is one good way to get rid of the active
pieces.} Bb8 32. Qb2 f5 {Last chance to muddy the waters.} 33. Qb3 fxe4 (33...
Nf8 34. Nc5 $18) 34. Qxe6+ Kh7 35. Qxe4 Qd5 36. Rb2 {Giri could have exchanged
the queens already, but he correctly understands that this can be done anytime.
} (36. Qxd5 Nxd5 37. Re1 Rc8 38. Bd2 $18) 36... Qf7 37. Re2 h4 38. Qe6 Qxe6 39.
Rxe6 Rd8 40. Nf2 Nf5 41. Ne4 Rd5 42. Rxa6 hxg3 43. hxg3 Bxg3 $1 {Diagram [#]
Out of nothing Mamedyarov created some practical problems.} 44. Rh1+ $1 {
But Giri is alert.} (44. Nxg3 Nf4+ 45. Kh2 Nxg3 {would not be clear at all.})
44... Bh4 45. Bd2 Rd4 46. Bg5 Rb4 47. Rxg6 {[%csl Yh4][%cal Gg5h4] Diagram [#]
A small combination a' la Capablanca does the job.} Rb2+ 48. Kh3 Kxg6 49. Bxh4
Rxa2 50. Rg1+ Kf7 51. Bf2 Rb2 52. Kg4 {The rest was easy for the Dutch GM.} g6
53. Bc5 b4 54. Nd6+ Nxd6 55. Bxd6 Ke6 56. Bf8 Kf7 57. Bd6 Ke6 58. Bb8 b3 59.
Kf4 Kf7 60. Ke3 Rc2 61. Be5 Rc5 62. f4 {Diagram [#]} Rb5 63. Bb2 Rh5 64. Rg2
Rh1 65. Kf3 Rf1+ 66. Kg4 1-0



Chinese Perfection-Part 2

After Hou Yifan's inspired win Wijk an Zee witnessed another Chinese precision in round five. Thanks to this win, Ding Liren moved to a shared first place:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Tata Steel Chess - Masters"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.01.21"]
[Round "5.5"]
[White "Ding, Liren"]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2766"]
[BlackElo "2769"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:55:52"]
[BlackClock "0:42:34"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 {Diagram [#] Karjakin repertoire is a solid
Nimtzo-Queen's Indian openings.} 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Nc3 c6 8.
e4 d5 9. Bd3 ({Grischuk's fabulous idea to sacrifice four pawns in a flash:} 9.
exd5 exd5 10. Bg2 dxc4 11. O-O cxb3 12. Re1 bxa2 13. Ne5 Bb7 14. d5 cxd5 {
did not find followers yet, Grischuk,A (2771)-Fedoseev,V (2659) Baku 2015})
9... dxe4 10. Nxe4 Bb7 11. Qe2 Nbd7 {Black is very solid and intends to swap
off a pair of knights on e4, free his position a bit and prepare c6-c5 for
ultimate leveling of the chances.} 12. O-O-O $146 {[%csl Yc1,Ye8][%cal Gg3g4,
Gh3h4] Diagram [#] But Ding ruins Black's plan for a slow, sleepy game.} ({
Normal play will be} 12. Nxf6+ Nxf6 13. O-O c5 {when Topalov found a way to
complicate matters with} 14. d5 exd5 15. Rfe1 dxc4 16. Bxc4 O-O 17. Rad1 Qd7
18. Ng5 {for the pawn White has plenty of play, Topalov,V (2767)-Leko,P (2737)
Beijing 2013}) 12... Nxe4 13. Bxe4 Nf6 14. Bc2 a5 {The king on the queenside
requires actions.} 15. Rhe1 b5 {[%csl Yc1] Diagram [#] Karjakin tries to
create counter play before castling.} ({There was nothing wrong with} 15... O-O)
16. c5 {The only move. It gives a lot of squares to the black pieces (d5 and
c3 in particular) but at the same time provides stability on the flank. Bad was
} (16. cxb5 a4 $1 {when Black opens too many files against the white king.})
16... b4 17. g4 Ba6 ({White is not even sacrificing the pawn after} 17... Nxg4
18. Rg1) 18. Qe5 O-O ({White is not forced to trade queens after} 18... Qd5 $6
19. Qf4) 19. g5 Nh5 $1 {Diagram [#] Karjakin correctly sacifices a pawn.
White's attack is too strong after} (19... Nd5 20. Qe4 {To force a weakening
move.} g6 21. h4 Bb5 22. h5 {Followed by a timely capture on g6 and doubling
of the heavy piecs along the "h" file and mate. Say} Nc3 23. Bxc3 bxc3 24. hxg6
hxg6 25. Qh4 {[%csl Yg8][%cal Rh1h8] Diagram [#] and it is over.}) 20. Qe4 g6
21. Qxc6 Ra7 22. Be4 {Prepares the d4-d5 advance. From a hinsight better was
the immediate} (22. Qb6 Qxb6 ({White was probably worried about his queen
safety in after} 22... Qa8 $5) 23. cxb6 Rb7 24. Be3 {White's advantage is
clear, for example} Rxb6 (24... Bd8 25. Be4 Rxb6 26. d5 exd5 27. Bxd5 Rb8 28.
Ne5 {[%csl Gd5,Yd8,Ge3,Ge5,Yf8,Yh5] Diagram [#] with huge difference in the
activity of the pieces.}) 25. d5 Rd6 26. Bc5) ({If Ding starts to retreat
Black will get what he wants-} 22. Qe4 Bb7 23. c6 Ba8) 22... Bb7 23. Qb6 $1 {
The only move. Queens should leave the board as if} (23. Qb5 Bxe4 24. Rxe4 a4
$1 {Black will get strong attack along the "a" and "b" files.}) 23... Qxb6 24.
cxb6 Bxe4 25. Rxe4 (25. bxa7 $2 Bxf3) 25... Rb7 26. Be3 Rc8+ $2 {[%cal Gf8f2,
Yc8c1] Diagram [#] It is tempting to put the rook on the open file with a
tempo but this might be the losing mistake! It did great where it was as
proven by the line} (26... Bd8 27. d5 exd5 28. Rxd5 Bxb6 29. Bxb6 Rxb6 30. Rxa5
f6 {[%csl Rf2,Rf3] Diagram [#] and the rook is ready for the harvest on the
"f" file. In this line the most probably outcome would be a draw.}) 27. Kb1
Rxb6 28. d5 $1 Rd6 29. Rd2 Kf8 30. dxe6 Rxe6 31. Rxe6 fxe6 {The result of the
forced play is a cheerless endgame for Karjakin. The main problem is not the
isolated e6 pawn, but the pair of black queenside pawns which are blocked on
the color of their own bishop.} 32. Rc2 $1 {[%csl Ya5,Yb4][%cal Gb1c2,Gc2d3,
Gd3c4,Gc4b5,Gb5a5] Diagram [#] Excellent technique by Ding. The rook is ready
for the decisive penetration.} Rd8 ({Or} 32... Rxc2 33. Kxc2 {followed by a
triumphal king march all the way to b5.}) 33. Nd4 Ng7 (33... Kf7 {would lose
faster to} 34. Rc7) 34. Nc6 Rd1+ 35. Rc1 {Once more White speculates with the
threat of a rook swap to win the decisive tempo.} Rd5 36. Nxe7 $1 {[%csl Ya5,
Yb4,Ge3,Yg7] Diagram [#] Such moves are harder to make than it seems. The
knight was clearly superior to the bishop but the latter was Black's best
defender. Once that it is gone none can save the queenside pawns.} Kxe7 37.
Rc7+ {A small check but once more excellent technique. The king is driven back.
} Kf8 38. Rc5 $1 {Wins the "a" pawn.} Ke7 39. Rxd5 exd5 40. Bb6 Kd6 {A better
try was} (40... Ne6 41. Bxa5 Nxg5 42. Bxb4+ Kd7 43. a4 Nf3 44. h3 Ng1 {Diagram
[#] when Black regains the pawn. The bishop is still clearly superior to the
knight but thanks to the reduced number of pawns left on the board and the
light color of the a8 square Black has decent drawing chances.}) 41. Bxa5 Kc5
42. Bd8 Nf5 {It seems as this is a fortress but with subtle maneuvering Ding
breaks in.} 43. Kc2 Nd4+ 44. Kd3 Nf5 45. Bc7 Kc6 46. Bf4 Kc5 47. Be3+ Kb5 48.
Ke2 $1 {[%csl Yd5,Yg6,Yh7][%cal Ge2f3,Gf3f4,Gf4e5,Ge5f6,Ge5d5] Diagram [#]
Intending Ke2-f3-f4-e5.} Nh4 49. Bd2 Nf5 50. Kf3 Nd4+ 51. Kf4 Nc6 {The last
stand.} 52. Be3 Ka6 53. Bc5 Kb5 54. Bd6 Ka5 $2 {And it is over in just one
move.} ({After} 54... Kb6 55. Ke3 Kb7 56. f4 Kc8 {White still need to prove
his win, which I suspect he can do with either} 57. f5 ({Or} 57. a3 bxa3 58.
Bxa3) 57... gxf5) 55. Ke3 {Karjaking resigned due to} (55. Ke3 Kb5 56. f4 Ka6
57. f5 $1 {Diagram [#]}) 1-0