28.10.14

Caruana Scores First Win

Fabiano Caruana scored his first win today at the Tashkent Grand Prix. His opponent Boris Gelfand blundered badly in a position which was seemingly equal:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "Tashkent FIDE GP"]
[Site "Tashkent UZB"]
[Date "2014.10.28"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Caruana, F."]
[Black "Gelfand, B."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E35"]
[WhiteElo "2844"]
[BlackElo "2748"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[EventDate "2014.10.20"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 {
Caruana explained at the press conference that he could not remember the
theory after the principled 7.Bh4 move and decided to play it simple. A quick
look in the Megabase reveals that 7.Bxf6 is played more often.} Qxf6 8. e3 ({
As teh bishop is going to capture on c3 anyway White decided to skip the a2-a3
move. One important example of this approach is the following game} 8. a3 Bxc3+
9. Qxc3 O-O 10. e3 Bf5 11. Nf3 Nd7 12. Be2 Rfc8 13. O-O c5 $132 {Radjabov,T
(2793)-Grischuk,A (2764) London 2013}) 8... O-O 9. a3 Bf5 {The trade of the
light-squared bishop is very good for Black.} 10. Bd3 Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Bxd3 {
Simple play.} ({Both the players saw that in the line} 11... Qg6 $2 12. Bxf5 $1
Qxg2 13. f3 Qxh1 14. O-O-O {the black queen will be trapped. For instance} g6
15. Qf2 gxf5 16. Ne2 Qxd1+ 17. Kxd1 {and White is winning as the black king is
too exposed.}) ({Caruana also mentioned the interesting} 11... Bg6 {move with
good play for Black.}) 12. Qxd3 $11 {The outcome of the opening is cheerful
for the second player. Gelfand managed to trade three light pieces and has
plenty of space for the remaining ones.} c5 $146 {[%csl Yc3,Gc5][%cal Gc7c5]
Diagram [#] A logical novelty. Boris plays on the flank where he is stronger.}
({Also good is the immediate} 12... Nd7 13. Nf3 c5 $11) ({Previously Black
preferred not to advance the pawns on the queenside} 12... Qg5 13. g3 Qg4 14.
Ne2 Nd7 {Jaracz,P (2502)-Jakubowski,K (2532) Czechia 2013}) 13. Ne2 {The
knight looks more flexible on e2 and might attack the d5 pawn in the future
from f4.} ({In case of} 13. dxc5 Rc8 14. Ne2 Rxc5 {both sides will have weak
pawns and the black knight can occupy the excellent outposts on e4 and c4.} 15.
Nd4 Nd7 {[%cal Gd7e5,Ge5c4] followed by Nd7-e5-c4.}) 13... Nd7 14. O-O Qc6 {A
flexible move. Gelfand keeps all his options on the c file.} ({If} 14... c4 15.
Qc2 b5 16. a4 {and White has some pressure on the queen's wing.}) 15. a4 Rfc8 (
{Fabiano also mentioned the move} 15... c4 {in the press conference. Since
Black had traded three sets of light pieces this is indeed a very good idea.
The attack with e3-e4 is not going to be that effective for the first player
and Black can hope to advance on the queen's flank.}) 16. Rfb1 Rc7 {Both the
sides maneuver and do all the useful moves.} 17. a5 Rac8 18. h3 Nf6 19. Ng3 Qe6
$6 {This leads to some trouble for Black.} ({It was easier not to allow the
knight to f5 with the simple} 19... g6 $11) 20. dxc5 {"Now from completely
unclear the positions becomes slightly pressing for me." Caruana} Ne4 ({At the
press conference the players briefly discussed the line} 20... Qe7 21. Qd4 ({
However} 21. a6 bxa6 22. Rxa6 Qxc5 23. Rb3 {gives White a pull in this line.})
21... Rxc5 22. Nf5 Qe6 23. g4 $5 {This was Fabiano's intention, but then Boris
can react with the sharp} Rc4 $5 24. Qxa7 Nxg4 25. hxg4 Rxg4+ 26. Ng3 h5 {with
plenty of joy and an attack. The least he can do here I suppose is perpetual.})
21. Nxe4 dxe4 22. Qd6 Qf5 23. Ra4 Rxc5 $1 {Simple and strong.} ({Black has
still some problems in case of} 23... Rd7 24. g4 Rxd6 25. gxf5 Rxc5 26. Rxb7
Rxf5 27. Rxe4 {although Black should survive after} Ra6 28. Re8+ Kh7 29. Ree7 (
29. e4 $5 {to spoil Black's regrouping seems interesting.}) 29... Raf6 30. f4
Rxa5 (30... a6) 31. Rxa7 Raf5 32. Kg2 g5 $1) 24. Rxb7 {The critical moment of
the game. Gelfand needed to chose how to force the draw. He made the wrong
choice.} Rxa5 $2 {A blunder.} ({Correct was} 24... Rxc3 25. Qf4 Qxf4 26. exf4 {
which was called "unpleasant" by Gelfand, but with active play he can force a
draw} Rc1+ ({They both saw} 26... R3c7 27. Rxc7 Rxc7 28. Rxe4 Rc5 29. Re5 $1
$16 {although this should also be holdable for Black.}) 27. Kh2 R8c2 $1 {
Activity above all! The two rooks on the second rank guarantee the half point.}
28. Rxe4 (28. Kg3 Rf1 29. Rxa7 Rfxf2) 28... Rxf2 29. Re8+ Kh7 30. Rxf7 Rcc2 $11
{[%csl Gc2,Gf2]}) 25. Rxa5 Qxa5 {[%csl Gb7,Rc8,Gd6,Yg8][%cal Gb7h7] Diagram [#]
} 26. Rxf7 $1 {This was missed by Gelfand who looked very frustrated after the
game.} Qxc3 (26... Kxf7 27. Qd7+ Kg6 28. Qxc8 {leaves Black no chances as his
king is exposed and the c pawn runs fast.}) 27. Rxa7 Kh8 ({One more nice line
was given by the two players} 27... Rf8 28. Ra8 $1 {[%csl Re4][%cal Rd6d5,
Rd5a8,Rd5e4] and Black cannot win the pawn back} Qe1+ ({Or else Black loses
another pawn} 28... Rxa8 29. Qd5+ Kf8 30. Qxa8+ Kf7 31. Qxe4) 29. Kh2 Qxf2 30.
Rxf8+ Qxf8 31. Qxf8+ Kxf8 32. Kg3 g5 33. Kg4 {as the pawn endgame is easily
won for White.}) 28. Rf7 {An extra pawn and active pieces leave no chances to
Black.} Re8 29. g4 $1 {With the threat Rf7-f8 to win the e4 pawn.} ({Caruana
avoids the line} 29. Rf8+ Rxf8 30. Qxf8+ Kh7 31. Qf5+ Kh8 32. Qxe4 Qe1+ 33. Kh2
Qxf2 {where Black will survive.}) 29... Kh7 30. Qd7 Rb8 31. Qf5+ Kg8 32. Ra7
Qb2 ({The pawn cannot be saved.} 32... Qc4 33. Rxg7+) 33. Qxe4 Rf8 34. Qd5+ Kh7
35. Rf7 {Not the kind of play we are expecting from the world's number two but
Caruana took his chance and brought the point back home.} 1-0



Sergey Karjakin moved back to 50 % after defeating Anish Giri. Nothing changes on the top- Andreikin and Nakamura remain joint leaders.

27.10.14

Andreikin Joins the Nakamura in the Lead

Today's round in Tashkent was very interesting. Two games were decisive and I chose to annotate the sharper one for you.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "Tashkent FIDE GP"]
[Site "Tashkent UZB"]
[Date "2014.10.27"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Andreikin, D."]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A46"]
[WhiteElo "2722"]
[BlackElo "2767"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2014.10.20"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bg5 c5 4. Nc3 {Diagram [#] The choice of the opening
was quite a shock for me. It is not often that we see this position in a top
grandmaster game. I would not be surprised to see it in the game of FM Stuart
Fancy of Papua New Guinnea whom I coached at the last two Olympiads. Or in a
game of my former teammate FM Bonno Pel. They both love to start their games
with 1.Nb1-c3} cxd4 {There are plenty of continuations for both the sides that
might leave to different openings.} ({For instance} 4... d5 5. e4 dxe4 6. Nxe4
Nbd7 {will lead to the Rubinstein French and have been tested already.}) 5.
Qxd4 ({Now White could have chosen a Sicilian approach with} 5. Nxd4 Be7 6. e4
d6 {with a Scheveningen type of postion in Koneru,H (2600)-Hou,Y (2591)
Antakya 2010}) 5... Nc6 6. Qh4 Bb4 ({Another Sicilian position appeared after:
} 6... h6 7. e4 Rg8 8. Bxf6 gxf6 9. O-O-O a6 {in Gurgenidze,B (2461)-Kapengut,
A (2455) Moscow 1981}) ({Most of the people prefer the solid} 6... Be7 {I also
have the feeling that this was more in the spirit of the solid Karjakin.}) 7.
e4 Bxc3+ $146 {This is what the bishop came for on b4.} ({The only predecessor
saw} 7... d6 8. Bd3 e5 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 $14 {Ornstein,A (2440)-Schneider,L
(2425) Uppsala 1985}) 8. bxc3 h6 9. Bd3 ({The endgame is good for Black} 9.
Bxf6 Qxf6 10. Qxf6 gxf6 $11) 9... d6 {Black's plan is to build dark-squared
blockade.} 10. Rd1 {Andreikin brings the rook into the action and prepares
various disovered attacks.} Rg8 $1 {A very sensible choice by Karjakin. I
suspect that the memories of his last game were too fresh to allow the
following play:} (10... O-O 11. Bxh6 $5 {Diagram [#] Two days ago Sergey lost
thanks to the same sacrifice to Jobava (with reversed colors!)} gxh6 12. e5 {
with the idea} (12. Qxh6 {also interesting is} Ng4 (12... e5 13. Ng5) 13. Qh5
Nce5) 12... dxe5 13. Qxh6 $1 {This is much better than} (13. Bh7+ Nxh7 14. Rxd8
Rxd8 15. Qxh6 e4) 13... Qe7 14. Ng5 e4 (14... -- {The threat is} 15. Bh7+ Kh8
16. Be4+ Kg8 17. Rd3 $1 {and checkmate.}) 15. Bxe4 Ne5 16. Bh7+ Kh8 17. f3 $18
{this deprives the black knights of the g4 square and the attack is
unstoppable.}) 11. Be3 e5 {The outcome of the opening is an approximately
levelled game. White owes the bishop pair, but Black had developed his pieces
in accordance to Capablanca's principle- on the different color of the bishop
that he owes.} ({In fact, Karjakin could have equalized completely with the
move:} 11... g5 $5 12. Qxh6 ({The queen has no retreat square} 12. Qg3 $4 g4
13. Nd2 Nh5 $19 {[%csl Rg3][%cal Rh5g3]}) ({It is doubtful that the rook and
the pawns are better than the light pieces in the line} 12. Nxg5 hxg5 13. Bxg5
Rxg5 14. Qxg5 Bd7) 12... Rg6 13. Qh8+ Rg8 $11) 12. Bb5 Qc7 {Probably the first
inaccuracy in the game. Black could have played more aggressively with} (12...
Qa5 13. Bxc6+ bxc6 14. O-O (14. Rxd6 $2 {is bad to} Qxc3+ 15. Rd2 Ba6 $1) 14...
Ba6 ({Not} 14... Qxc3 15. Rxd6 $16) 15. Rfe1 Rd8 {Black is solid in the center
and Andreikin has to prove that his queen is doing something on the king's
side.}) 13. Nd2 Be6 14. f3 {To bring the queen in the game after Qh4-f2.} Qa5 (
{One more way to equalize is} 14... O-O-O $5 15. O-O ({The pawn is untouchable
} 15. Bxc6 Qxc6 16. Bxa7 $2 b6) 15... d5 $1 $11) 15. c4 {Diagram [#]} Ke7 $6 {
[%csl Ye7][%cal Rc4c5] It is true that sometimes Black can leave the king in
the center in the Sicilian, but probably this is not the case here. White will
be always threatening to open the king with c4-c5.} ({White has ample
compensation for the pawn in case of} 15... Qxa2 16. O-O Qxc2 17. c5 dxc5 18.
Rc1 Qa2 19. Ra1 Qb2 20. Rfb1 Qc3 21. Qf2) ({But} 15... a6 16. Bxc6+ bxc6 {was
to be preferred.}) (15... Rc8 {was also OK.}) 16. O-O g5 $2 {This is too much.
Now Dmitry will have a chance to attack both flanks. He will do it flawlessly!}
17. Qf2 Rgd8 {The c4-c5 breaks are already in the air:} (17... Nh5 18. Nb3 Qc7
19. c5 $1 $16) ({Or even worse for Black} 17... a6 18. Nb3 Qc7 19. Bb6 Qc8 20.
Bxc6 Qxc6 21. Na5 Qc8 22. c5 $1 $18) 18. h4 $1 {All of a sudden, the strike is
coming from the other side. But this is something taht the bishops enjoy-play
on two flanks.} Nh7 19. hxg5 hxg5 20. g4 $1 {[%cal Gg1g2,Gf1h1,Rh1h8,Rh8h1]
Consistent play on the flank. Andreikin prepares the next maneuver.} (20. a4 $5
{with the idea c4-c5 was also very good.}) 20... f6 21. Kg2 Nf8 {If the knight
could fly Black would have sealed the file with Nf8-g6-h4. Alas, he is one
tempo down.} 22. Rh1 Bf7 ({No human being will think about the pawn on a2 in
this situation} 22... Qxa2 23. c5 d5 24. exd5 Bxd5 25. c4 Be6 26. Ra1 Qc2 27.
Ba4 Qg6 28. Ne4 {with total control for White.}) ({After} 22... Ng6 {the
follow up might be} 23. Rh7+ Bf7 24. Nb3 Qxa2 25. Qd2 {with too many threats.
The main ones are Qd2-c3 and Rd1-a1 to trap the queen and the instant blowing
of the house with Be3xg5.}) 23. Nf1 $1 {[%csl Rf5] The bishop had covered the
king, but released the f5 square. This is where the knight is heading for!} Bg6
24. Bd2 {[%csl Rd5,Rf5]} Qb6 25. Ne3 {Or maybe for the d5 square?} Kf7 {
Diagram [#]} 26. Qe1 $1 {[%csl Ge1][%cal Ge1a5,Ge1h1,Gh1h8] Diagram [#]Grand
play! The queen is moving away from the trade, supports the bishop on d2 and
is ready to attack on both flanks.} Ne6 27. Nf5 Qc7 ({The utility of the white
queen becomes obvious in the line} 27... Ncd4 28. Nxd4 Nxd4 29. Ba5 $1 Nxc2 30.
Qd2 Ne3+ 31. Kg3 Qc5 32. Rde1 b6 (32... Nxc4 33. Bxc4+ Qxc4 34. Bxd8 Rxd8 35.
Rc1 Qe6 36. Rc7+ Rd7 37. Qa5 $18) 33. Bb4 Nxc4 34. Bxc5 Nxd2 35. Bb4 Nxe4+ 36.
fxe4 {White is close to winning but I suspect this was Sergey's best bet.}) 28.
c5 $1 {The beginning of the end. Black's position quickly detoriates on the
open diagonals.} dxc5 29. Bc4 b5 ({One of the threats for White is to trade on
e6 and bring the queen on c4-} 29... Rh8 30. Bxe6+ Kxe6 31. Qe2 Rxh1 32. Qc4+
Kd7 33. Qd5+ Kc8 34. Qe6+ Kb8 35. Rxh1 $18) 30. Bd5 {This move only
demonstrates how helpless Black is.} ({White could have won more forcefully
with} 30. Bxe6+ Kxe6 31. Rh6 Rg8 32. Ba5 $1 Qxa5 (32... Nxa5 33. Rd6+ Kf7 34.
Qd2 Rad8 35. Qd5+ {and mate in three.}) 33. Rd6+ Kf7 34. Qh1 $3 {with the
unstoppable Rh6-h7! or Rh6xg6!} Qb6 35. Rxg6 Rxg6 36. Qh7+ Kf8 37. Qxg6 {and
mate.}) 30... Rac8 31. Rh6 Ncd4 {Diagram [#]} 32. Ba5 $1 {[%csl Yc7,Yd8]
Beautiful finish!} Nxc2 ({Andreikin would not be interested in the exchange in
case of} 32... Qd7 {but in the king} 33. Qh1 Rf8 34. Rxg6 Kxg6 35. Qh5#) 33.
Qh1 Qxa5 34. Rh7+ {The moral of the game- if you have the advantage of the
bishop pair, try to attack on the color of the bishop that the opponent does
not have!} ({It is mate in three.} 34. Rh7+ Bxh7 35. Qxh7+ Kf8 36. Qe7+ Kg8 37.
Qg7#) 1-0



Andreikin is now joint leader with Nakamura.

25.10.14

Exciting Draw in Round Four

All the games ended peacefully in round four of the Tashkent Grand Prix which does not necessarily mean that there was no show for the spectators.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "Tashkent FIDE GP"]
[Site "Tashkent UZB"]
[Date "2014.10.24"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Mamedyarov, S."]
[Black "Nakamura, Hi"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D31"]
[WhiteElo "2764"]
[BlackElo "2764"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2014.10.20"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 {Invention of Tigran Petrosian. He used this move
to avoid Botvinnik's plan with Ng1-e2, followed by f2-f3 and e3-e4 with strong
central play. The sixth world champion used this plan to defeat Paul Keres in
1952. After 3...Be7 Black usually expects 4.Nf3} 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 {However
White can also vary his play.} c6 6. e3 Bf5 {If White does not like the b1-d3
diagonal, Black will gladly occupy it.} 7. g4 {The most dangerous plan.} ({The
swap of the light-squared bishops is clearly favorable for Black as he has
most of his pawns on light squares.} 7. Bd3 Bxd3 8. Qxd3 $11) 7... Be6 {This
position was tested three times in the Botvinnik-Petrosian match. White tried
both 8.h2-h3 and 8.Bf1-h3. Mamedyarov chooses a third option} 8. h4 ({After} 8.
h3 $5 {White's plan is to play Bd3, Qc2, Nge2, 0-0-0.}) 8... Nd7 9. h5 Nh6 10.
Be2 Nb6 11. Nh3 g5 12. hxg6 hxg6 13. Be5 $5 $146 {[%csl Rf4][%cal Gh3f4,Ge5h8]
Diagram [#] A very sharp and unexpected move.} ({It is funny that Nakamura
used this line himself to defeat Levon Aronian three years ago. In this game
he made a novelty} 13. Bg3 $146 Qd7 ({which none else dared to repeat that far
as after} 13... Nxg4 $3 14. Bxg4 Qd7 {Black is actually better (suggested by
Romain Edouard).}) 14. Nf4 O-O-O 15. Nxe6 {Nakamura,H (2753)-Aronian,L (2807)
Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2011}) (13. f3 Bh4+ {[%cal Gg6g5,Gf7f5] followed by ...g5 and
...f5 is usually played.}) 13... f6 {Forced.} ({Bad is} 13... Rh7 14. Nf4 Nd7
15. Nxe6 fxe6 16. Bg3 $16) 14. Nf4 $1 {The point behind Mamedyarov's previous
move.} fxe5 15. Nxg6 Rg8 $6 {Taken by surprise Nakamura decided to sacrifice a
pawn.} (15... Rh7 {will be the critical test for the whole line.}) 16. Nxe7
Qxe7 17. Rxh6 e4 ({Black needs to close the center.} 17... exd4 $6 18. Qxd4 $16
{will add positional advantage to the extra pawn.}) 18. a4 {[%csl Ya7,Yb6,Yb7,
Re8] Diagram [#] Shakhriyar got tempted by a queenside attack.} ({The critical
point of the battle. White missed the nice regrouping} 18. Kd2 $1 O-O-O 19. Qg1
$1 {The queen is coming quickly in the game} Rg7 20. Qg3 Rdg8 21. Qe5 $16 {
[%csl Ge5,Gh6] with powerful centralization and clear edge for White.}) 18...
Nd7 {The knight is moving to a better square.} 19. Qb3 ({Black is also
gradually equalizing in case of} 19. a5 Nf6 ({Not} 19... O-O-O $2 20. a6 b6 21.
Qa4 $16) 20. a6 b6 21. Qa4 Bd7 22. O-O-O O-O-O ({It is too early to regain the
pawn} 22... Nxg4 $2 23. Bxg4 Rxg4 24. Rh8+) 23. Rg1 Rg5 {and after some
further preparation the pawn on g4 will disappear.}) 19... Nf6 20. Rc1 $5 {The
best practical chance.} Bxg4 {Once again Hikaru is very precise.} (20... O-O-O
$6 21. a5 Nxg4 22. Bxg4 Rxg4 23. Ne2 $5 ({or} 23. a6 b6 24. Qa4 Qe8 25. Ne2 {
will be definitely more pleasant for White to play.})) 21. Rxf6 $1 {[%csl Ya7,
Yb7] Diagram [#] This is what the previous play was all about.} Qxf6 22. Qxb7
Rd8 23. Qxa7 {For the exchange White has two pawns and some initiative. The
problem is that his king is not perfectly safe neither.} Rf8 24. Nd1 Bxe2 25.
Kxe2 Qd6 {Nakamura takes measures against the white pawns.} 26. Rc5 Rb8 27. Qa5
Kd7 28. Qc3 Ra8 29. a5 Rfb8 30. b4 Rb5 {Now that the pawns are stopped it is
time for some trades.} 31. Rxb5 cxb5 32. Qc5 {Diagram [#]} Rc8 $1 {Once that
the black pieces get freedom it is only White who needs to be careful.} ({
There is no need to allow another defended passer.} 32... Qxc5 $6 33. dxc5) 33.
Qxb5+ Ke6 34. a6 $1 {Mamedyarov forces a draw.} (34. Qb7 $2 {is playing with
fire} Rc2+ 35. Kf1 Qh2 36. Qa6+ Ke7 37. Ke1 Qc7 {with the idea Rc2-c1 and
Qc7-c3 leads to powerful attack for Black.}) 34... Ra8 (34... Rc2+ 35. Ke1 Qh2
36. Qe8+ {will force perpetual check.}) ({As will} 34... Ra8 35. a7 Rxa7 36.
Qe8+ $11) 1/2-1/2



Complete report.

24.10.14

Was the Initiative Enough?

Round three in Tashkent saw three decisive games. In the following one White sacrificed a pawn early in the opening. Was the sacrifice good enough for an advantage? Or at least for a level game?
Check out for yourselves:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "Tashkent FIDE GP"]
[Site "Tashkent UZB"]
[Date "2014.10.23"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Kasimdzhanov, R."]
[Black "Jobava, Ba"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C10"]
[WhiteElo "2706"]
[BlackElo "2717"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2014.10.20"]

1. e4 e6 {Baadur Jobava came to Tashkent immediately after the Unive
tournament in Netherlands. He replaced the Iranian GM Ghaem Maghami as the
Tehran withdraw from hosting one of the events at the very last moment. The
Iranian capital was replaced by the Georgian one as a host city and this
certainly added flavour to the current Grand Prix. Jobava is an extremely
original player.} 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bd7 5. Nf3 Bc6 6. Bd3 Nd7 7. O-O
Ngf6 8. Ng3 g6 {[%cal Gf8g7] Diagram [#] A very interesting idea of the
Swedish GM Hillarp Persson. It should not come as a surprise for Kasimdzhanov
as his opponent had already used it twice this year.} (8... Be7 {is the common
choice for the second player. Later he will capture on f3 and build a solid
wall with the move c7-c6. That position will be solid, but passive though and
it is not to everyone's liking.}) 9. c4 {White starts an immediate attack in
the center.} ({Probably the calmer development offers more-} 9. b3 Bg7 10. Ba3
Bxf3 11. Qxf3 c6 12. c4 {with some advantage for White in Solak,D (2632)
-Jobava,B (2713) Tromsoe 2014}) ({The stem game saw} 9. Qe2 Bg7 10. Ne5 Nxe5
11. dxe5 Qd5 12. f4 Ng4 13. h3 Qd4+ 14. Kh1 h5 15. c3 {1/2 (15) Hellers,F
(2652)-Hillarp Persson,T (2562) Sweden 2001}) 9... Bg7 10. d5 {The point.
White opens up the center and spoils the castling of the black king.} exd5 11.
Re1+ Kf8 {[%csl Yf8] Diagram [#]} 12. cxd5 $146 {This move is a novelty.
Jobava have previously faced:} (12. Nd4 Kg8 13. Qc2 Nf8 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. Qa4 {
White has a pair of bishops and light-square compensation for the pawn in
Karjakin,S (2772)-Jobava,B (2706) Loo 2014}) 12... Bxd5 ({Better than} 12...
Nxd5 13. Bg5 Bf6 14. Bh6+ Bg7 15. Qd2 {and the black pieces are stuck.}) 13.
Qc2 $5 {An interesting decision. Rustam is not afraid to spoil his pawn
structure in return for the mighty black bishop.} c6 $1 ({In case of} 13...
Bxf3 14. gxf3 c6 {White can start advancing the pawn on the king's side} 15. f4
Kg8 16. f5 $36) 14. Ng5 {Kasimdzhanov revealed at the press conference that he
thought at first that his position is easier to play but somewhere around this
point he understood that it might be the other way round. Indeed, Black
simply wants to finish the development, hide the king on h7 after h7-h6 and
Kf8-g8-h7 and then convert the extra pawn.} Kg8 {Sooner or later Jobava has to
play this. It makes no sense to target the knight on g5 which does not attack
anything anyway.} (14... h6 15. Nh3 {only pushes it to a better position, for
example} Kg8 16. Nf4 {and White is ready to sacrifice on g6} h5 17. Bxg6 $5
fxg6 18. Nxg6 Rh7 {with a pleasant to choice for White to force a draw with}
19. Ne7+ ({Or continue the attack} 19. Nf5 $5) 19... Kh8 (19... Kf7 $2 {loses
to} 20. Qg6+ Kf8 21. Nxd5 cxd5 22. Nf5 $18 {[%csl Re7,Rg7][%cal Re1e7,Rf5g7]
with the dual threat of Nf5xg7 and Re1-e7.}) 20. Ng6+ $11) 15. Bf4 (15. Bd2 {
was also an idea but Black was afraid of} Ng4 $5 16. h3 Nxf2 $1 17. Kxf2 Bd4+
18. Kf1 Qf6+ {with powerful attack.}) 15... Nf8 16. Rad1 Qa5 {Black wisely
finishes the development first. The rook is coming on d8 and this reinforces
the center.} ({Jobava did not like} 16... h6 17. N5e4 Ne6 18. Be5 Nxe4 19. Bxe4
Bxe5 20. Bxd5 cxd5 21. Rxe5 $11) 17. a3 $6 {[%csl Yb3] Only here did White
commit a mistake. The b3 square is very important in some lines.} ({Correct was
} 17. N3e4 $1 {[%csl Yf6][%cal Ge1e8,Gd1d8] Diagram [#] This knight is the
only white piece that can do better and it makes sense to trade it. White
also needed some air for his pieces to prove the compensation. After} Nxe4 ({
Jobava also considered the sudden retreat} 17... Ne8 {but then White is just
better after taking the bishop} 18. Nc3 $1 h6 19. Nxd5) 18. Bxe4 {and now} {
Which leaves the move} Rd8 {when White can force a draw with} (18... Bxe4 $2 {
is a mistake which leaves all the open files for White} 19. Qxe4 Qf5 20. Qf3
$16 ({and even the endgame is better for White} 20. Qxf5 gxf5 21. Re7)) (18...
h6 $6 {allows White to convert development advantage into something tangible}
19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Nf3 $14) 19. Bc7 $5 Qxc7 20. Bxd5 Bf6 21. Bxf7+ Kg7 22. Ne6+
Nxe6 23. Bxe6 $11) ({Also} 17. b3 Rd8 18. Be5 {was better than the move in the
game.}) 17... Rd8 18. Bd2 (18. Re7 Rd7 {is good for Black.}) ({But} 18. N3e4 $5
{was still possible} Nxe4 19. Nxe4 (19. Bxe4 {is weaker this time as Black has
enough central control} h6) 19... Ne6 20. Bg3 $44 {[%cal Ge4d6]}) 18... Qb6 $1
({Jobava does not allow the bishop a chance to occupy the long diagonal.} 18...
Qc7 19. Bc3 h6 20. N5e4 {is good for White.}) 19. Be3 ({White loses the
exchange after} 19. Bc3 Bb3 {and this is where we see why a2-a3 was inaccurate!
}) 19... Qc7 ({Rustam mentioned the pretty tactics} 19... Qb3 20. Bxg6 $1) 20.
h3 ({Unfortunately for White} 20. Bd4 Ne6 $1 21. Nxe6 Bxe6 22. Bc3 Nd5 {does
not bring the desired effect on the long diagonal as the black knight controls
the c3 square.}) 20... h6 21. N5e4 Ne6 22. Nxf6+ Bxf6 23. Be4 Kg7 $17 {Jobava
managed to consolidate his position and can now start converting his extra
pawn.} 24. Bxa7 $2 {A tactical oversight which eases Black's task. Rustam
thought that he forces a draw but missed a very strong in-between move.} ({Both
} 24. b4) ({or} 24. Rd2 {would have prolonged the game.}) 24... b6 25. Bxd5 ({
The engames after} 25. Rxd5 cxd5 26. Qxc7 Nxc7 {are hopeless for White} 27.
Bxb6 Rd7 ({or also} 27... dxe4 28. Bxc7 Rd7 29. Ba5 Bxb2) 28. Bxc7 Rxc7 29.
Bxd5 Bxb2 $19) 25... Nd4 $1 ({One draw is achieved after} 25... Rxd5 26. Rxd5
cxd5 27. Qxc7 Nxc7 28. Bxb6 $11) 26. Qa4 (26. Rxd4 Bxd4 27. Bb3 Qxg3 $19) 26...
Rxd5 27. Qa6 {[%csl Ya7][%cal Ra7b6,Ra6b6] Diagram [#]} Qd7 $3 {This is what
teh Uzbek GM missed! The threat Nd3-f3 forces a win for Black.} ({Kasimdzhanov
calculated the beautiful lines} 27... Ra8 28. Bxb6 Qb8 ({and the sweet draw
after} 28... Qxg3 29. Qxa8 Nf3+ 30. Kf1 Nh2+ $11) 29. Bc7 $1 {where White
escapes with a draw.}) 28. Rxd4 {The alternatives lose more material} (28. Bxb6
Nf3+ $19) (28. Kh1 Ra8 $19) 28... Bxd4 29. Bxb6 c5 30. Ba5 Bxb2 31. Qc4 Bd4 32.
Bc3 Ra8 33. Re3 Rxa3 {White started an early attack of the enemy king which
stayed in the center a bit longer than usual. This was worth the central pawn
but then Kasimdzhanov missed to open more room for his active pieces.
Whenever you have development advantage do try to open as many files and
diagonals as you can.} ({White resigned due to the line} 33... Rxa3 34. Bxd4+
Rxd4 35. Qxc5 Rxe3 36. fxe3 Rd1+ 37. Kh2 Qd6) 0-1



Playing at home is not an advantage for the chess players. There are plenty of distractions and the audience cannot cheer you up. However I hope that Kasimdzhanov will be back in the tournament and show better play.

23.10.14

Who is Stronger in the Center?

The second round of the Tashkent Grand Prix tournament saw only one decisive game.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "Tashkent FIDE GP"]
[Site "Tashkent UZB"]
[Date "2014.10.22"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Vachier Lagrave, M."]
[Black "Kasimdzhanov, R."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2757"]
[BlackElo "2706"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2014.10.20"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {An invitation to a Berlin Defense.} 4. d3 {
Rejected. Black is doing too well here these days.} Bc5 5. Nbd2 {A rather
fresh line. According to my Megabase there are only 31 games played so far,
but the quality of the players who tried it as White is very high: Carlsen,
Aronian, Giri, Adams...} d6 6. O-O ({One of the ideas of the early knight
sortie is to maneuver in Steinitz style with} 6. Nf1 {However in that case the
simple} Ng4 {diverts the white knight from the g3 square and Black is very
solid.} 7. Ne3 O-O 8. O-O Nxe3 9. Bxe3 Bxe3 10. fxe3 Be6 {Inarkiev,E (2669)
-Ponomariov,R (2733) Astrakhan 2010}) 6... Bd7 {The most natural move turns
out to be a novelty. Kasimdzhanov does not want to allow the doubling of the
pawns on c6 and completes the development. This move cannot be bad.} 7. c3 O-O
8. Nc4 $5 {[%csl Rb6,Gc4,Yc5,Ye5][%cal Gb2b4,Ga2a4,Ga4a5,Rc4b6,Gc4e5,Gf3e5]
Diagram [#] A typical idea for the Italian game. These two are cousins though.
In the Italian positions the white light-squared bishop is placed on b3.} h6 {
Useful prophylaxys.} ({The position of the bishop on b5 gives an additional
idea to White:} 8... a6 9. Bxc6 Bxc6 10. Na5 {This will regain the bishop pair
and double the black pawns, as} Qd7 11. Bg5 {looks awkward for Black.}) 9. b4
Bb6 10. a4 {White wins the bishop pair but the second player is not quite
afraid of this. At least for the moment.} a5 $5 {This is a central attack
against the d4 square!} ({The other way to play the position is} 10... a6 11.
Nxb6 cxb6 12. Bc4 Ne7) 11. Nxb6 cxb6 12. bxa5 $1 {It seems quite
counter-intuitive for Vachier- Lagrave to undouble the black pawns and to
spoil his own structure.} ({However, the natural} 12. Bd2 {will be answered by}
axb4 13. cxb4 Bg4 $1 {with the idea Nc6-d4} 14. Bc3 d5 $1 {with active play in
the center.} (14... Rc8 $5) 15. Bxc6 bxc6 16. Bxe5 dxe4 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. dxe4
Rfd8 19. Qb3 (19. Qe2 $6 Rd4 $1) 19... c5) 12... Nxa5 ({Or else Black is not
going to conduct the freeing central advance.} 12... bxa5 13. Bc4) 13. h3 {
[%csl Yg4][%cal Gh3g4] Diagram [#]} d5 $1 {Sooner or later Rustam has to play
this. It seems as the moment was right.} ({He could have also tried it after}
13... Re8 14. Re1 ({but in this line White can stop d5 for good with} 14. c4 {
next he can play for the f2-f4 advance.}) 14... Bc6 15. Qc2 d5 16. exd5 Qxd5)
14. exd5 Bxb5 $6 {Only this move is inaccuracy. Black could have equalized with
} (14... Nxd5 {True, in some of the lines the pawn on e5 is taken with a tempo,
but it seems as Black is doing OK everywhere} 15. Bxd7 (15. Bd2 f6) 15... Qxd7
16. c4 (16. Nxe5 Qf5 17. d4 Nxc3) 16... Nf6 17. Qe2 ({Not} 17. Nxe5 $2 Qd4) ({
Nor} 17. Bb2 e4 18. Bxf6 $6 exf3) 17... e4 18. dxe4 Qe6 {with full
compensation for the sacrificed pawn.}) 15. axb5 Qxd5 16. c4 Qe6 {This forces
matters.} (16... Qd6 $2 {loses the exchange:} 17. Ba3) ({But probably} 16...
Qd8 {intending to meet} 17. Bb2 {with} e4 {made sense. From d8 the queen can
be also moved to c7 to defend the e5 pawn.}) 17. Bb2 e4 18. Re1 Rad8 ({Nothing
changes} 18... Rfd8 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. Rxe4 Rxd3 21. Qxd3 Qxa1+ 22. Kh2 Qf6 23.
Rd4 {- see the line below.}) 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. Rxe4 {[%csl Ra1,Rd3][%cal Rd8d3,
Rf6a1] Diagram [#] It is quite obvious that Kasimdzhanov calculated the whole
line with the intention to regain the pawn now with Rd8xd3. Then when the
position appeared on the board, he backed up.} Nb3 $2 {Now Black will be a
clear pawn down.} ({The other evil seems more bearable:} 20... Rxd3 21. Qxd3
Qxa1+ 22. Kh2 Qf6 {The knight on a5 is excluded from the game and temporarily
White has an extra piece on the kingside. He can then start improving slowly
his position there.} 23. Rd4 ({Or also} 23. g3 $5 {(this might be actually
better)} Rd8 24. Qe3 {next White can prepare kingside attack with Kh2-g2,
Re4-f4 and Nf3-e5. The pawns can get rolling too.}) 23... Re8 24. g3 {Next,
like the line from above, White prepares the kingside attack with his extra
knight. But is this lethal for Black? It's hard to say, I would bet a 50-50
chance for survival and loss. Especially if Black can trade the queens with}
Qg6 $1 25. Qxg6 fxg6 {Now the knight gets the b3 square and every chance to
escape.} 26. Kg2 Kf7 ({Not yet} 26... Nb3 27. Rd6) 27. Nd2 g5 {and since the
knight on d2 has to take care of the one on a5 things should be more or less
OK for Black. In any case this would have given more chances for the defender.}
) 21. Ra3 Nc5 22. Re3 Ne6 23. Qa1 Qe7 ({The blockade is useless:} 23... Qxa1+
24. Rxa1 Nd4 25. Nxd4 Rxd4 26. Kf1 {and then Kf1-e2 will set free the white
rooks.}) 24. d4 Qf6 25. Re4 $6 ({Better was} 25. d5 Qxa1+ 26. Rxa1 Nc5 27. Rae1
{as Black does not have any hint of counterplay.} Rd7 28. g4 Rc8 $2 29. Re8+
Rxe8 30. Rxe8+ Kh7 31. Ne5) 25... Rd6 26. d5 Qxa1+ 27. Rxa1 Nc5 28. Re3 (28.
Re7 $5 Rd7 29. Rae1) 28... Rc8 29. Nd2 Rd7 30. Kf1 Kf8 {The last curious
moment of the game. Rustam managed to build a strong blockade in the center.
Therefore Maxime offered a knight swap:} 31. Ne4 {[%csl Yc5,Ge4] Diagram [#]}
Rdc7 {which was rejected.} (31... Nxe4 32. Rxe4 f5 33. Rf4 Rf7 {with the idea
Kf8-e7-d6-c5 would have put stronger resistance instead.}) 32. Nd6 Rd8 33. Rae1
g6 34. Re8+ Rxe8 35. Rxe8+ Kg7 36. Ke2 {The center decided the outcome of the
game. Vachier-Lagrave was brave enough to spoil his pawn structure and
Kasimdzhanov needed a bit more energy to keep the balance. Maxime
Vachier-Lagrave rules the tournament after the initial rounds.} 1-0




The complete report of the round can be found here.

22.10.14

Maxime's Revenge

Starting from yesterday I will do regular analyzes on the most interesting event for chess.com
Currently the attention is focused on the Grand Prix tournament in Tashkent which gathers together some of the top players in the world.
The game that everyone expected was between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Fabiano Caruana. The French GM is showing constant progress in his play but was defeated twice recently by Caruana (in Saint Louis). Maxime also had a birthday that day and he obviously decided to take care of the present himself.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "Tashkent FIDE GP"]
[Site "Tashkent UZB"]
[Date "2014.10.21"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Caruana, F."]
[Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2844"]
[BlackElo "2757"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "102"]
[EventDate "2014.10.20"]

1. e4 c5 {In Saint Louis Maxime tried to surprise Fabiano with the Caro-Kann.
This did not work very well and he quickly sank into the home analyzes of
Caruana. In this game the Frenchman returns to his beloved Najdorf.} 2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 {The English
Attack is Fabiano's main weapon.} Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12.
Rg1 {Diagram [#] Caruana deviates from a game that he played the last year.
Against Gelfand he tried the main line:} (12. g5 b4 13. Ne2 Ne8 14. f4 a5 15.
f5 a4 16. fxe6 {Here instead of the most common 16.Nbd4, he chose the second
most popular move:} axb3 17. cxb3 fxe6 18. Bh3 Rxa2 19. Bxe6+ Kh8 20. Ng3 Nc7
21. Bc4 Qa8 22. Rhf1 Rxf1 23. Rxf1 Ra1+ 24. Kc2 Rxf1 25. Bxf1 d5 {and produced
a novelty-} 26. h4 {which was correctly met by Gelfand with} d4 $1 {and Black
went on to win this game, Caruana,F (2774) -Gelfand,B (2755) Moscow 2013})
12... Nb6 {A reasonable move with the idea Nb6-c4.} ({The point behind the
move 12.Rg1 becomes clear in the line} 12... b4 13. Nd5 {and Black has to part
with his light-squared bishop as} Nxd5 $2 (13... Bxd5 14. exd5 a5 15. g5 Nh5
16. Kb1 a4 17. Nc1) 14. exd5 {leaves no way out of the black piece-the pawn is
still on g4.}) 13. Na5 {The knight is heading for the c6 square.} Rc8 (13...
Qc7 {is the other interesting move when White can, for instance, sacrifice a
pawn with:} 14. g5 Nh5 15. Nd5 $5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Nxd5 17. Qxd5 Qxa5 18. Kb1 Qc7
19. Rg4 {Jakovenko,D (2723)-Givon,A (2449) Yerevan 2014 The total control of
the light squares and the misplaced knight compensate White for the sacrificed
pawn with interest.}) 14. g5 Nh5 15. Kb1 Qc7 {Not yet a novelty but a very
rare move.} (15... Nf4 {was tested in Anand, V (2783)-Topalov,V (2793)
Stavanger 2013}) ({As Kr. Szabo indicates-} 15... b4 {is too early, as after:}
16. Nd5 $1 Nxd5 17. exd5 Qxa5 18. dxe6 fxe6 19. Bh3 {Black cannot protect the
e6 P.} Kf7 $2 20. g6+ $1 hxg6 21. Qg2 {and White wins.}) ({And:} 15... g6 {was
a tried by Karjakin}) 16. Nd5 {Diagram [#] Technically speaking, this most
obvious move turns out to be a novelty according to my Megabase. However, we
have already seen the idea above in the game Jakovenko-Givon.} (16. h4 $2 {is
quite unfortunate at the moment as:} d5 $1 17. Nxd5 Nxd5 (17... Bxd5 $1 18.
exd5 Nxd5 {was basically winning for Black as the knight is untouchable-} 19.
Qxd5 $2 Rfd8) 18. exd5 Bxd5 19. Qf2 Bxa2+ 20. Kxa2 Qxa5+ 21. Kb1 {1/2 (21)
Damjanovic,V (2320)-Arsovic,G (2330) Belgrade 1993}) ({While the natural:} 16.
Qf2 $2 {is also a mistake-} Na4 17. Nxa4 Qxa5 18. Nc3 Qb4 ({as Black could
have won on the spot with:} 18... Rxc3 $1 19. bxc3 Bxa2+ 20. Kb2 b4 21. cxb4
Qxb4+ 22. Kxa2 Rb8 {with mating attack.}) 19. Bb6 {1/2 (19) Chesterkine,
V-Elistratov,S Vung Tau 2008}) 16... Nxd5 17. exd5 Bxd5 {Maxime has no choice
but to accept the challenge.} (17... Bd7 18. Bd3 g6 19. Be4 {leads to a very
pleasant position for White without any risk.}) 18. Qxd5 Qxa5 19. Bd3 g6 {
Diagram [#]} 20. c4 $6 {This looks dubious as it allows too many open files
for the black pieces. Jakovenko treated the position is a more tranquil way.
He placed the rook on g4, then slowly improved the bishop with c2-c3,
Bd3-c2-b3. I suspect that this was the correct plan.} (20. Rg4 Qc7 21. c3 {
White can always meet the move:} Nf4 {with-} 22. Bxf4 exf4 23. h4) 20... Nf4 $1
{[%csl Yd3,Ge7] Diagram [#] Very strong! Black returns the pawn but gets the
INITIATIVE. This is the key word whenever you play with opposite-colored
bishops. The opposite castlings would not hurt neither!} ({In case of:} 20...
Rb8 21. cxb5 axb5 22. Rc1 {Black will keep the extra pawn but his opponent
will have all the remaining joy-files, diagonals, light squares...}) 21. Bxf4
exf4 22. cxb5 {Consistent, or else Black can try something radical, like:} (22.
h4 Rc5 23. Qe4 Rb8 $5 24. Qxe7 bxc4 {with strong attack, for example:} 25. Be4
c3 26. Rg2 cxb2 27. Qxd6 Rc1+ 28. Rxc1 bxc1=Q+ 29. Kxc1 Qe1+ 30. Kc2 Rc8+ 31.
Bc6 Qe8 $17) 22... axb5 23. Qxb5 ({Naturally not} 23. Bxb5 $2 Rc5) 23... Qa7 $1
{[%csl Ra7][%cal Gb8b1,Gc8c1,Ga8a1] Diagram [#] Remember, activity! The
endgame is clearly better for White as he can bravely push the pawns:} (23...
Qxb5 24. Bxb5 Rc5 25. a4 Rxg5 26. Rxg5 Bxg5 27. a5) 24. Be4 {Fabiano decided
to get some control of the a and b files.} ({The line:} 24. h4 Rb8 25. Qa6 Qf2
26. b3 Ra8 {demostrates his point.}) 24... Rc7 25. Bd5 Qf2 {This wins a pawn.}
(25... Rb8 {was not bad neither. After:} 26. Qd3 Bf8 {the bishop will be very
happy on the long diagonal.}) 26. Qb3 ({Black's previous move created an
additional threat:} 26. h3 Bxg5 $1 {and the back rank is weak} 27. Rxg5 $4 Qc2+
28. Ka1 Qxd1#) 26... Qxh2 27. a4 Qf2 28. Rc1 {Caruana decided to take care of
the active rook.} ({Alas, with the queens on the board the pawns are not
moving easily-} 28. a5 $6 Qa7 29. Qb6 Rb8 $1 30. Qxa7 Rxa7) 28... Ra7 $1 {with
the idea Qf2-d4.} 29. Qb4 {White stops it, but Maxime regroups in a different
way.} ({I suspect that Fabiano did not like the fact that the black bishop is
getting active after-} 29. Qb5 Bd8 $5 (29... Qd4 30. a5 $1)) 29... Qe3 {with
the obvious threat Qe3-d3+} 30. Rcd1 ({Now:} 30. Qb5 $5 {was much more
tempting, for example:} Qe5 31. Rce1 Qf5+ 32. Be4 Qxb5 33. axb5 Rb8 34. Bc6 {
and this endgame should be OK for White.}) 30... Qe5 {and the not-so-obvious
attack against the g5 pawn. Black is mounting the pressure.} 31. Qb5 {A tricky
way to defend the pawn.} Kg7 ({The pawn is not yet tasty-} 31... Bxg5 $4 32.
Rxg5 Qxg5 33. Bxf7+) 32. Bc6 Rc8 33. Rg2 $2 {[%cal Yg1g2] Diagram [#] Caruana
blunders. Up to this moment he defended flawlessly and could have continued
doing this with:} (33. Rde1 Qd4 34. Rd1 Qf2 35. Rdf1 Qd2 36. Rd1 {Black is
still better, but most likely not winning.}) 33... d5 $1 {A nice tactical shot
that swaps off the excellent g5 pawn for the backward d6 one.} 34. Bxd5 (34.
Rxd5 {is no better-} Qe1+ 35. Ka2 (35. Kc2 $2 Rac7) 35... Qe6 36. Rc2 Bxg5) ({
However, I suspect that the best practical chance was to enter the endgame
with the rooks on the board. The active rooks!} 34. Qxd5 $5 Qxd5 35. Bxd5 Rxa4
36. Bb3 Ra5 {Now the pawn on g5 inevitably falls, but after:} 37. Rd7 Re5 38.
Rg1 Rf8 39. Rc1 Bxg5 40. Rcc7 Rf5 {White might have some practical chances
thanks to his active pieces.}) 34... Rc5 35. Qb3 Bxg5 (35... Rd7 $5 36. Be4
Rxd1+ 37. Qxd1 Bxg5) 36. Bc4 Bf6 37. Re2 Qf5+ ({Probably:} 37... Qg5 {is more
precise and then Black can push the h pawn.}) 38. Re4 {Black could have now
simply advanced the h pawn, but he chose a different way.} (38. Bd3 Qg5) 38...
Re5 39. Rde1 Rxe4 40. Rxe4 Re7 {MVL calculated that the endgame is won for him.
} 41. Bd3 Rxe4 42. Bxe4 Qd7 43. Qb5 Qxb5 44. axb5 Bd4 {[%csl Rb6][%cal Rd4b6,
Gd4g1,Gh7h5,Gg6g5,Gh5h4,Gh4h3,Gh3h2] Diagram [#] The best square for the
bishop. From here it both stops the b pawn and helps the king's side passers.}
45. Kc2 h5 46. b6 ({Nothing changes:} 46. Kd3 Be3 $1 ({Black should not be
greedy-} 46... Bxb2 $2 47. b6 Be5 48. Ke2 h4 49. Kf1 h3 50. b7 f5 51. Bd3 Kh6
52. Kg1 Kg5 53. Kh2 Kh4 54. Bc2) 47. Ke2 h4 48. Kf1 h3 49. Bc6 f5 50. Bd7 Kh6 {
with the idea Kh6-g5-h4-g3 and h3-h2.}) 46... Bxb6 47. Kd1 f5 48. Bc6 g5 ({The
plan from above is also possible-} 48... h4 49. Ke2 h3 50. Kf1 Kf6) 49. Bd7 Kf6
50. Ke2 g4 51. Kf1 Kg5 {The advance of the h pawn decides. A very convincing
win by the French GM against the world's number two! The main lesson from the
game: Whenever you have an opposite-colored bishops on the board, do always
prefer the initiative to the material!} 0-1



You can read the complete article by Peter Doggers here.

20.10.14

Know How in the Pawn Endgames (3)

Let us see now how know-how will help us win points:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "Snowdrops vs Oldhands"]
[Site "Podebrady CZE"]
[Date "2012.12.13"]
[Round "5.3"]
[White "Uhlmann, Wolfgang"]
[Black "Tania, Sachdev"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A29"]
[WhiteElo "2319"]
[BlackElo "2400"]
[Annotator "www.chesstoday.net"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/8/p3k2p/P1p2p1P/3p1K2/3P4/4PP2/8 w - - 0 47"]
[PlyCount "6"]
[EventDate "2012.12.08"]
[EventType "schev"]
[EventRounds "8"]
[EventCountry "CZE"]
[Source "Chess Today"]
[SourceDate "2012.12.16"]

{Diagram [#]} {The legendary German player Wolfgang Uhlmann won the East
German championships eleven times and was a world championship contender in
his best years. At the time that this game is played though he is 77 (!)
years old. This is the main reason why in a very complex position he
blundered with:} 47. e3 $4 {This allowed a break-through:} c4 $1 48. dxc4 d3
49. Kf3 Ke5 {And White resigned due to the zugzwang-} (49... Ke5 50. e4 f4 51.
c5 Ke6 $19) 0-1



As it was pointed out in Chess Today, Uhlmann missed a win.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "Snowdrops vs Oldhands"]
[Site "Podebrady CZE"]
[Date "2012.12.13"]
[Round "5.3"]
[White "Uhlmann, Wolfgang"]
[Black "Tania, Sachdev"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A29"]
[WhiteElo "2319"]
[BlackElo "2400"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/8/p3k2p/P1p2p1P/3p1K2/3P4/4PP2/8 w - - 0 47"]
[PlyCount "33"]
[EventDate "2012.12.08"]
[EventType "schev"]
[EventRounds "8"]
[EventCountry "CZE"]
[Source "Chess Today"]
[SourceDate "2012.12.16"]

{Diagram [#]} {Things should have ended differently:} 47. e4 $1 dxe3 (47... c4
48. dxc4) 48. fxe3 Kf6 49. e4 $1 {[%cal Gh4h5,Ga4a5] White wants to trade the
central pawns to reach a theoretically won endgame.} fxe4 50. dxe4 c4 51. e5+
Ke6 52. Ke4 c3 53. Kd3 Kxe5 ({Nothing changes:} 53... Kf5 54. Kxc3 Kxe5 55. Kc4
Kd6 56. Kd4 $18) 54. Kxc3 $1 {[%cal Rh4h5,Ra4a5] Diagram [#] Yet another case
of a bishop opposition! The space advantage and the geometry of the board
work in White's favour and he wins no matter which pawn Black will go for-} Kd5
(54... Kf5 55. Kc4 Kg5 56. Kc5 Kxh5 57. Kb6 Kg4 58. Kxa6 h5 59. Kb6 h4 60. a6
h3 61. a7 h2 62. a8=Q $18 {[%csl Rh1][%cal Ra8h1]}) 55. Kd3 Kc5 56. Ke4 Kb5 57.
Kf5 Kxa5 58. Kg6 Kb4 59. Kxh6 a5 60. Kg6 a4 61. h6 a3 62. h7 a2 63. h8=Q $18
1-0



How could Uhlmann calculate that deep during the game? He did not have to. All he needed to do was to remember the following study:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1927.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Grigoriev"]
[Black "Space, geometry"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Annotator ",bojkov"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/8/p6p/P3k2P/8/8/2K5/8 w - - 0 0"]
[PlyCount "19"]
[Source "Chess Today"]
[SourceDate "2009.03.11"]

{[%csl Ra5,Ya6,Rh5,Yh6] Diagram [#]} 1. Kc3 $1 {[%csl Rc3,Re5][%cal Re5d4,
Rc3d4]} (1. Kd3 $2 Kd5 $11 {[%cal Rd5e4,Rd5d4,Rd5c4]}) 1... Kd5 (1... Kf5 2.
Kc4 Kg5 3. Kc5 Kxh5 4. Kb6 Kg4 5. Kxa6 h5 6. Kb6 h4 7. a6 h3 8. a7 h2 9. a8=Q
$18 {[%csl Rh1][%cal Ra8h1]}) (1... Ke6 2. Kc4 {[%csl Ra6,Rc4,Re6][%cal Rc4d5,
Re6d5,Rc4c5,Rc5b6,Rb6a6]}) 2. Kd3 Kc5 3. Ke4 Kb5 4. Kf5 Kxa5 5. Kg6 Kb4 6. Kxh6
a5 7. Kg6 a4 8. h6 a3 9. h7 a2 10. h8=Q {[%csl Ra1][%cal Rh8a1]} 1-0



The solution of the problem would be the proper equipment with a base of knowledge. You do not need to know every single endgame by heart. It is hardly possible (except perhaps for a genius like Ivanchuk) but more importantly it is not worth memorizing countless endgames which are very unlikely to happen.
On the other hand each player should owe an existence minimum of exact positions in every major endgame (pawns above all but also knight/bishop/rook/queen) endgames. This will help the players a chance to orientate in most of the situations, will suggest them which pieces to trade and which to keep and naturally will support the calculation.
Best of luck in building your own memory library!
You can also check the complete article on the FIDE Trainer's site.