[Event "FIDE Chess Grand Prix 3 All Pools 2022"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.27"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Esipenko, Andrey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E52"]
[WhiteElo "2785"]
[BlackElo "2723"]
[Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. e3 O-O 6. Bd2 b6 {A super-solid
line of the Nimzo-Indian Defense, is it not $2} 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. Qc2
{That is already rare—what does Aronian have on his mind $2} ({White also
did well recently in another top-GM game after:} 9. Rc1 a6 10. O-O Nbd7 11. Ne5
h6 12. f4 c5 13. Be1 Bxc3 14. bxc3 Ne4 15. Bxe4 dxe4 16. Nxd7 Qxd7 17. f5 f6
18. Qb3+ Bd5 19. c4 Bf7 20. Qxb6 cxd4 21. Qxd4 Qxd4 22. exd4 {with a solid
extra pawn for White in Maghsoodloo,P (2701)-Duda,J (2760) Warsaw 2021}) ({
In the majority of the games White was mainly castling here} 9. O-O {and later
applying Pilsbury's idea from the game from above.}) 9... Re8 10. a3 Bf8 11.
Ng5 $146 {That is the idea $1 He wants to first weaken the opponent's kingside,
provoking Black's next move.} ({In the predecesso,r White also launched a
serious attack, albeit losing a couple of tempi in the process after:} 11.
O-O-O Nbd7 12. Rhg1 {What is this for $2} Rc8 13. Ng5 g6 14. g4 c5 15. h4 c4
16. Be2 a6 17. h5 b5 18. hxg6 hxg6 19. Rh1 Bc6 20. Rh8+ Kg7 {Abbas,T (2007)
-Jabr,B Beirut 2011}) 11... g6 ({The other pawn push is pretty sad} 11... h6
12. Bh7+ Kh8 13. Nxf7#) 12. h4 $1 {And that is the idea $1 Aronian wants to
get to the opponent's king ASAP. No need to shift the rook as White did in the
predecessor on the g-file—just open a file for it, and mate.} c5 {Esipenko
was apparently feeling uneasy at this point. The Russian GM was lagging half
an hour on the clock, against an angry and well-prepared opponent, who on top
of that loves to attack. But how to slow down the attack $2} ({A move like}
12... h5 {was only pouring more gasoline in White's attacking engine and} 13.
g4 $1 {would have opened every single line against the black king. For instance
} hxg4 ({Or if:} 13... Nxg4 14. Bxg6 fxg6 15. Qxg6+ Bg7 16. Qf7+ Kh8 17. Qxh5+
{and it is immediately over.}) 14. O-O-O Bg7 15. f3 $1 gxf3 16. h5 $1 {and
White crashes through in the line} Nxh5 17. Nxf7 Kxf7 18. Bxg6+) ({In all
these lines, the key piece in the assault is the white bishop; therefore, it
makes sense to swap it off at once with} 12... Ba6 $1 13. h5 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 Bg7
15. hxg6 hxg6 {and even though Black's position is not sweet at all, he may
still try and survive somehow.}) 13. h5 $1 {Of course $1 No need even to think
about that.} h6 {After this, Esipenko loses practically by force $1} (13...
Nxh5 {does not even win the pawn due to} 14. Nxh7 $1) ({More resilient was}
13... Bg7 {when White can try to open up the king at once with} 14. hxg6 ({
Or first bring on the reserves with} 14. O-O-O {and wait for an even better
moment to sacrifice on the f7-square.}) 14... hxg6 15. Nxf7 Kxf7 16. Bxg6+ Kf8
17. O-O-O {with a strong attack in both cases.}) 14. hxg6 $1 {Did I mention
that Aronian was still blitzing $2} hxg5 15. gxf7+ Kxf7 16. Bg6+ Ke7 17. Qf5 {
The black king is heavily exposed and the threat of Rh1-h7+ is too strong $1}
Bg7 ({For instance} 17... Nc6 {leads to a beautiful mate after} 18. Rh7+ Nxh7
19. Qf7+ Kd6 20. Nb5#) ({Whereas} 17... Nbd7 {would be met in a similar way as
in the game with} 18. Nb5 Bg7 19. Rh7 Rg8 {and now} 20. e4 $1 dxe4 21. Bxg5 {
and the pins decide the outcome of the game.}) 18. e4 $3 {More and more files
and diagonals are opened.} Nc6 ({There is no place to hide} 18... dxe4 19. Bxg5
Nbd7 20. O-O-O Kf8 21. Bh6 $1 {would swap a key defender and expose the king
completely.}) 19. Bxe8 {That was not optimal but was nevertheless good enough.}
({Instead} 19. Bxg5 {would have finished the game neater, for example} Nxd4 ({
If} 19... Kf8 {then} 20. Bxe8) 20. Bxf6+ Bxf6 21. Rh7+ Kd6 {For a moment it
seems as if Black has found a safe shelter, but} 22. Nb5+ $3 {ruins his hopes
and leads to mate after} Nxb5 23. Bxe8 Bc6 24. Qf4+ Be5 25. Qf8+ Ke6 26. Qf7+
Kd6 27. Rh6+) 19... Qxe8 {Now it works perfectly well for Aronian.} ({But even
in the case of the most resilient} 19... Kxe8 $1 20. Bxg5 Qd7 $1 ({Rather than
} 20... Nxd4 21. Qg6+ Kf8 22. Rh7 $1 {and Black is helpless.}) 21. Bxf6 Qxf5
22. exf5 Bxf6 23. Nxd5 Bxd4 ({Worse is} 23... Bd8 24. Rh8+ Kd7 25. dxc5 bxc5
26. O-O-O {and White is winning.}) 24. Nc7+ Kf7 25. Nxa8 Bxa8 26. O-O-O {
the extra material should tell in the end, although White will still have to
sweat a bit.}) 20. Nxd5+ $1 {Opening the floodgates, with tempi.} Nxd5 ({Or}
20... Kf7 21. Nxf6 Bxf6 22. Bxg5 {with a deadly pin.}) 21. Bxg5+ Kd6 ({Nothing
helps.} 21... Nf6 {would have been met with} 22. Bxf6+ Bxf6 23. Rh7+ Kd8 24.
Qxf6+ Kc8 25. Qf5+ Kd8 ({Or mate after} 25... Kb8 26. Qf4+) 26. dxc5 {and the
second rook joins the fray decisively.}) 22. Qxd5+ Kc7 23. Rh7 {PLAY CHESS,
NOT WAR.} 1-0
[Event "Chess.com"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.22"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D20"]
[WhiteElo "2785"]
[BlackElo "2750"]
[Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"]
[PlyCount "129"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 b5 4. a4 c6 5. axb5 cxb5 6. Nc3 Qb6 {Nakamura did
not mind repeating a line which Aronian used at the first Grand Prix event
that took place in Berlin as well.} 7. Nd5 {The most aggressive move. It
should be noted that not only did the white pieces rapidly create threats
while developing, but they were moved in a very rapid speed by their commander
too.} Qb7 8. Bf4 e5 {A key resource, to bring the idle pieces out.} 9. Bxe5 Nd7
10. Bf4 Ngf6 {Black needs to sacrifice the exchange but at least is gaining
the initiative back.} 11. Nc7+ Kd8 12. Nxa8 Qxe4+ {Another important, subtle
move that destroys White's coordination.} 13. Ne2 Qxa8 14. Qd2 {It is, however,
Aronian who fires a novelty again. This move is obvious and logical: White
speeds up his development and makes sure he will castle properly this time.} ({
In the above-mentioned game Aronian also came up with a novelty after} 14. f3 {
White did not mind castling by hand. Then} Nd5 15. Bg5+ {That was brand new,
some weeks ago.} (15. Bd2 Bd6 16. Nc3 b4 17. Ne4 Re8 18. Be2 Bb8 19. O-O N7b6
20. Ra5 h6 {Nechaeva,M (2372)-Dev,S (2248) Chess.com 2022}) 15... f6 {An
obvious reply, but it costed Dominguez a precious (almost) half-an-hour on the
clock. As we shall witness today, Nakamura was also forced to spend serious
amount of time on the clock. This posiiton was already critical, with Black
having a bunch of interesting options at his disposal.} ({For example, Black
might have wanted to give a try to} 15... N7f6 $5) ({Or something wild like}
15... Be7 16. Bxe7+ Kxe7 17. Nc3 Re8 18. Kf2 Kf8 19. Nxb5 Qc6 20. Nc3 Nc5 $3)
16. Bd2 Bd6 17. Ng3 {Or perhaps Nakamura wanted to improve here.} Qb8 18. Kf2 {
White's plan is obvious: accomplish the development and castly by hand. After
some more thought Dominguez went for} Re8 ({Here it appears that the maneuver}
18... Bc7 $1 {intending Bc7-b6 is strong, when} 19. Ba5 {can be met with} ({
And if} 19. Be2 {then Black would have an extra choice in comparison to the
game in the line} Bb6 20. Ba5 Qf4 $5 21. Bxb6+ N7xb6 22. Rxa7 Re8 $1 {with
strong a initiative for the exchange.}) 19... Bxa5 20. Rxa5 Qb6 21. Ra1 Ne5 $1
{and another nice maneuver will be complete with Ne5-c6 $1}) 19. Be2 Bc7 $1 {
The same maneuver is still excellent, however Aronian managed to escape the
danger zone.} 20. Re1 Bb6 21. Kg1 {and White eventually won in Aronian,L (2772)
-Dominguez Perez,L (2752) Berlin 2022}) ({Previously White had tried to
develop with} 14. Nc3 {but did not get much after} Bb4 (14... a6 15. f3 Nd5 16.
Bg5+ f6 17. Bd2 Nxc3 18. bxc3 Bd6 19. Kf2 h5 20. Qc2 Qa7 {½-½ Skonieczna,B
(2361)-Karasova,E (2315) ICCF email 2011}) 15. f3 Re8+ 16. Be2 a5 17. O-O Qc6
18. Re1 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Nd5 20. Qd2 b4 {Fodor,B (2120)-Dev,S (2243) Budapest 2021
}) 14... Nd5 {Nakamura played his next obvious developing moves quickly.} 15.
Nc3 Bb4 16. Be2 Re8 17. Bg3 {However, from here on the American GM started
burning time, whereas Aronian kept blitzing, in a most-annoying (for the
opponent) manner.} N7f6 18. O-O Ne4 {All of this is pretty obvious, and at a
glance looks good for Black.} 19. Qc2 {But now what $2 To grab the pawn or to
develop even further $2} Bf5 {Nakamura opted for the second and created a
concrete threat. This, however, has a flaw....} ({The machine is a fan of the
position that arises after} 19... Ndxc3 20. bxc3 Bxc3 {but for a human being
it is clear that the black king will be permanently weak, after say} 21. Rab1)
20. Bh4+ $1 {It is essential to move the bishop from the knight's attack.} f6
21. Bf3 $1 {A nice move $1 White is not afraid of the discovered attacks as he
needs to untie the central knot.} Bxc3 ({The discovered blow from before} 21...
Ng3 {is now nicely refuted with} 22. Bxg3 $3 Bxc2 23. Nxd5 $1 {and Black will
have to part with at least another light piece.}) ({Whereas} 21... Nexc3 {
is plain bad due to} 22. Qxf5) 22. bxc3 g5 {The bishop is trapped, but Aronian
had something in mind.} ({Instead} 22... Ndxc3 {does not work due to} 23. Qxc3
Nxc3 24. Bxa8) ({White is clearly better after} 22... Qb8 23. Rfe1) 23. Rfe1 (
23. Qb2 $5 {also looks fine.}) 23... Nf4 ({More resilient seems} 23... Ndxc3 {
although after} 24. Bg3 b4 25. Qb2 Qb7 26. h4 $1 {Black's central construction
should not stand longterm.}) 24. Qa2 $3 {The queen makes it to the enemy king,
with tempo.} ({Amazingly, White could have even afforded} 24. Bg3 {as in the
line} Nxg3 25. Rxe8+ Kxe8 26. Qb2 $1 Nge2+ 27. Kh1 $1 {White creates a
double-attack, while standing still $1}) 24... Qb7 {A sad necessity for
Nakamura.} ({However, once the queen enters the battle} 24... gxh4 25. Qa5+ Kc8
26. Qxb5 {Black does not have much to play for, the most accurate win being}
Bd7 27. Qa6+ $1 Kd8 28. Qa5+ Kc8 29. Bxe4 Rxe4 30. Qc5+ Kd8 31. Qf8+ Re8 32.
Rxe8+ Bxe8 33. Qxf6+ {and everything falls apart.}) 25. Qxa7 {Simple and
strong. Aronian needs the enemy king on the back rank.} ({The machine claims
that} 25. Qa5+ $1 {was even more accurate on the account of} Kd7 (25... Kc8 26.
Bg3) 26. Qxa7 Qxa7 27. Rxa7+ Kc6 28. Ra6+ Kb7 29. Rxf6 $1) 25... Qxa7 26. Rxa7
Re6 ({Why White kept the enemy rook on the back rank is illustrated by the line
} 26... gxh4 27. Ra8+) 27. Bxe4 ({Not} 27. Bg3 Nxc3) 27... Rxe4 28. f3 Re2 29.
Bf2 {White's superb preparation and energetic middlegame play has netted him
an extra exchange.} b4 $1 {But Nakamura never resigns without a fight and
finds another chance.} 30. cxb4 c3 31. Rxe2 Nxe2+ 32. Kh1 (32. Kf1 $5) 32... c2
33. Be3 c1=R+ 34. Bxc1 Nxc1 {At least Black won some material back. It is
still lost for him though, as the rook and the pawns are dominating.} 35. b5
Kc8 36. b6 (36. Rf7 $1 {at once might have been even stronger.}) 36... Kb8 (
36... Nd3 $5) 37. d5 Nd3 38. g4 Bc8 39. Rf7 (39. Rxh7 Ne5) 39... Ba6 40. Rxf6
Kb7 41. Kg1 {Avoiding the knight fork.} ({Although} 41. Kg2 Nf4+ 42. Kg3 Nxd5
43. Rf5 {would have been faster.}) 41... Bb5 42. Rf5 Nf4 {At least
consolidating as much as he can.} 43. h4 $1 {But not for long...} Bd3 44. Rf6 (
44. Rf7+ Kxb6 45. hxg5 Nxd5 46. Kf2 {would have led to similar consequences.})
44... Bb1 45. hxg5 Nxd5 46. Rf8 Nxb6 47. f4 Kc6 48. Kf2 Nd7 49. Rf7 Nc5 (49...
Kd6 $5 {looks a bit more resilient.}) 50. Kg3 Bg6 51. Rf8 (51. Rf6+ Kd5 52. f5
{would have been faster.}) 51... Ne6 52. Rg8 {The opponent's time-trouble made
Aronian less attentive and this allowed Nakamura one last chance.} (52. Rh8 $5
Bb1 53. Rg8 {was the proper way to do the job.}) 52... Kd6 $1 {A trap $1} 53.
Ra8 {Fortunately for White, he spotted it and calmed down quickly.} (53. f5 $2
Bf7 54. Ra8 Nxg5 {would be a draw.}) 53... Bb1 54. Ra1 Be4 55. Rd1+ Bd5 (55...
Ke7 56. Re1) 56. Rd2 {Zugzwang.} Nc7 57. Kh4 {The king infiltrates and finally
Aronian managed to grind down his opponent.} Ne6 58. f5 Nc5 59. Kh5 Ke5 60. Kh6
Ne4 61. Rb2 Bc4 62. Rb4 Bd3 63. Rxe4+ Bxe4 $1 64. Kxh7 Kf4 65. Kh6 1-0
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.23"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Oparin, Grigoriy"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2785"]
[BlackElo "2674"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. c3 h6 7. Re1 O-O 8. Nbd2
Bb6 9. h3 Ne7 10. d4 $5 ({An interesting pawn sacrifice that has seen some
action in top events of late. In an online game, Oparin had previously faced}
10. a4 c6 11. d4 Ng6 12. Bf1 Re8 13. Qc2 Nh5 14. g3 Nf6 15. dxe5 Nxe5 16. Nxe5
dxe5 17. Nc4 {(White has a small advantage at this point.)} Bc7 18. Rd1 Qe7 19.
b3 Be6 20. Ba3 c5 21. b4 Bxc4 22. Bxc4 Bd6 23. b5 Bc7 24. Bc1 Ba5 25. Be3 Red8
26. Kg2 Rxd1 27. Rxd1 Rd8 28. Rxd8+ Qxd8 29. Ba2 Qc7 30. Qd3 Qd7 31. Qxd7 Nxd7
32. Bd5 b6 33. c4 Bc3 34. f4 Kf8 35. Kf3 Nf6 36. Bc6 Ke7 37. f5 Nh7 38. Ke2 Kf6
39. g4 g5 40. fxg6 Kxg6 41. Bd7 Kg7 42. Bf5 f6 43. h4 Nf8 44. g5 hxg5 45. hxg5
Ng6 46. Bxg6 Kxg6 47. gxf6 Kxf6 48. Kf3 Bd4 49. Bd2 Bg1 50. Kg4 Bf2 51. a5 Ke6
52. a6 Bd4 53. Ba5 {1-0 (53) So,W (2772)-Oparin,G (2681) Chess.com INT 2022})
10... Nc6 11. a4 ({In the FIDE Grand Swiss in Riga last year, from which
Oparin qualified to the Grand Prix series, he faced} 11. dxe5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5
dxe5 13. Qe2 Qe7 14. Nf3 Kh7 15. Be3 g6 16. Rad1 c6 17. a4 Nh5 18. Qd2 Bxe3 19.
Rxe3 Kg7 20. Qd6 Qxd6 21. Rxd6 {with a clear advantage for White, but Black
later turned it around and won a crucial game, Sevian,S (2668)-Oparin,G (2604)
Riga 2021.}) 11... a5 ({Mamedyarov captured with} 11... exd4 12. cxd4 {but
then went for} d5 13. exd5 Nxd5 14. b3 Be6 15. Ne4 Re8 16. Bb2 Na5 17. Ne5 {
(White has the better position at this point, but later blundered his good
position away.)} c6 18. Qf3 f6 19. Nd3 Bf7 20. Re2 Bc7 21. Rae1 b6 22. Bc1 Re6
23. Bd2 Nxc4 24. bxc4 Ne7 25. Bxh6 Qxd4 26. Qg4 f5 27. Bxg7 Qxg7 28. Qxg7+ Kxg7
29. Ng5 Rxe2 30. Rxe2 Ng6 31. Ne6+ Bxe6 32. Rxe6 Rd8 33. Rxc6 Bb8 34. Ne1 Ne5
35. Re6 Kf7 36. Rh6 Rd1 37. Kf1 Nxc4 38. Rh4 Ne3+ {0-1 (38) Vidit,S (2727)
-Mamedyarov,S (2767) Wijk aan Zee 2022}) 12. Ra3 ({In the last Candidates
tournament, Alekseenko instead tried} 12. Ba2 {against Caruana, which continued
} exd4 13. Nc4 dxc3 14. Nxb6 c2 15. Qxc2 cxb6 16. Bd2 Be6 17. Bxe6 fxe6 18. Qb3
Qe8 19. Qxb6 Nd7 20. Qe3 e5 21. Qd3 Qe6 22. Nh4 Nc5 23. Qg3 Kh7 24. Rad1 g5 25.
Nf3 Rf7 26. Bc1 Raf8 27. Qg4 Qxg4 28. hxg4 Rf6 29. Be3 Nxa4 30. Rd5 Nxb2 31.
Rc1 R8f7 32. Rc2 Na4 33. Rc4 Nb2 34. Rc2 Na4 35. Rc4 Nc5 36. Bxc5 dxc5 37.
Rcxc5 Re7 38. Nxe5 Nxe5 39. Rxe5 Rxe5 40. Rxe5 Ra6 41. Re7+ Kg6 42. Rxb7 a4 43.
f3 a3 44. Rb1 a2 45. Ra1 Kf6 46. Kf2 Ke5 47. Ke3 Ra8 48. Kd3 Kf4 49. Kc4 Kg3
50. e5 Kxg2 51. e6 Kxf3 52. Kd5 Kxg4 53. e7 Kf3 54. Rxa2 Re8 55. Ke6 g4 56. Kf7
Rxe7+ 57. Kxe7 g3 58. Kf6 g2 59. Rxg2 Kxg2 {1/2-1/2 (59) Alekseenko,K (2698)
-Caruana,F (2842) Ekaterinburg 2021}) 12... exd4 ({Or} 12... Re8 13. Ba2 exd4
14. cxd4 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 Bxd4 16. Rd3 Ba7 17. e5 {gave White the initiative in
the very recently played Grandelius,$146 (2672)-Howell,D (2646) London 2022.})
13. cxd4 Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Bxd4 15. Rd3 Be5 16. Nf3 Qe7 17. Nh4 Nd5 18. Qh5 Nf6 19.
Ng6 $1 ({Here,} 19. Qe2 Nd5 20. Qh5 Nf6 {could lead to a draw by repetition,
but Aronian had come to fight.}) 19... Nxh5 20. Nxe7+ Kh7 21. g4 Nf4 22. Bxf4
Bxf4 23. Nd5 Be6 $1 ({Not} 23... Be5 24. f4 Bxb2 25. Nxc7 Rb8 26. Rxd6 {
which is clearly better for White.}) 24. Nxf4 Bxc4 25. Rc3 b5 26. Rd1 Ra7 27.
b3 Be6 28. axb5 Rb8 29. e5 $5 {Not the only move, but this forces a drawn
ending on the board.} Rxb5 30. Nxe6 fxe6 31. exd6 cxd6 32. Rxd6 Rab7 33. Rdd3
e5 34. Kg2 e4 35. Re3 h5 36. gxh5 Rg5+ 37. Kf1 Rgb5 38. Ke2 Kh6 39. Rg3 Rxh5
40. Rc4 Re5 {1/2-1/2 (40) Aronian,L (2785)-Oparin,G (2674) Berlin 2022} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.25"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"]
[Black "Dubov, Daniil"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C55"]
[WhiteElo "2756"]
[BlackElo "2711"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "124"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,57,15,17,23,22,14,14,9,9,19,23,23,18,15,-7,3,12,19,8,4,10,4,-9,3,5,4,
-18,22,-16,-18,-23,-12,-21,-14,-13,-2,-4,-4,-4,-3,0,17,3,-6,0,-13,-35,-7,-50,0,
0,0,0,41,0,0,0,0,0]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Be7 5. Nc3 d6 6. a4
$5 {An unsual idea in this particular position.} O-O 7. O-O Be6 8. Nd5 $5 Bxd5
9. exd5 Nb4 10. d4 Nbxd5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Nxe5 {White has a small advantage
thanks to his bishop pair and somewhat more active pieces.} c6 13. Re1 Qc7 14.
g3 Rfe8 15. Nd3 Bd6 16. Rxe8+ Rxe8 17. Bd2 $6 ({It was more precise to play}
17. Qf3 $5 Qd7 18. Kg2 {, still claiming a small plus for White.}) 17... Ne4
18. Bxd5 cxd5 {White no longer has a bishop pair, but Black is now stuck with
an isolated d-pawn. Maybe you are unsure what problems that can cause for the
person dealing with such a problem, but I will refer you to Oparin-Esipenko
from the beginning of this article. That kind of demonstration can scar you
for life, wanting to avoid such isolated pawns. Here, however, Black's active
piece provide him decent compensation for the structural weakness.} 19. Be3 a5
20. c3 Qc4 21. Bd4 Ng5 22. Qg4 h6 23. f4 $2 {Dominguez thought this move was
forced but acknowledged afterward that the game slipped out of his control at
this point.} (23. Qd1 {was best.}) 23... Ne6 24. Re1 Re7 25. Be5 Bc5+ $2 ({
Black would have had a clear advantage after} 25... Bxe5 26. Nxe5 Qb3 {, when
White has problems with his queenside pawns.}) 26. Nxc5 Qxc5+ 27. Kg2 {Now
Dominguez Perez starts grinding again even if the position is more or less
equal.} Qc6 28. Kg1 Qb6+ 29. Kf1 Qa6+ 30. Kg1 h5 31. Qe2 Qb6+ 32. Kf1 Nc5 33.
Qxh5 Qa6+ 34. Qe2 Qe6 $6 (34... Qc6 $5 {was better.}) 35. Qb5 Ne4 $2 ({Another
inaccurate move. Here,} 35... b6 {was better.}) 36. Kg2 Nd2 37. Qd3 Nb3 38. Re3
$2 ({White could have claimed a clear advantage with} 38. Rd1 f6 39. Qb5 fxe5
40. Qxb3 {but he was very short on time.}) 38... Qc6 39. Qb5 Nc5 ({Or} 39...
Qxb5 40. axb5 Re6 {with good chances of holding the draw.}) 40. Qxc6 bxc6 41.
Bd4 Rxe3 42. Bxe3 {This endgame looks tricky for Black; knight vs. bishop
endings with pawns on both flanks are generally problematic, but here, Black
just about manage to keep his head above water.} Nxa4 43. b4 axb4 44. cxb4 Nc3
45. f5 f6 46. g4 Kf7 47. h4 Ne4 48. Kf3 Nd6 49. Kf4 Ne4 50. Kf3 Nd6 51. Bf4 Ne4
52. Ke3 Ke7 53. Kd4 Kf7 54. Bc1 Nf2 55. g5 fxg5 56. Bxg5 g6 57. fxg6+ Kxg6 58.
Be3 Ne4 59. Ke5 Nc3 60. Bd2 Na2 61. Kf4 Kh5 62. Kg3 d4 {½-½} *
[Event "Chess.com"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.23"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"]
[Black "Keymer, Vincent"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C78"]
[WhiteElo "2756"]
[BlackElo "2655"]
[Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"]
[PlyCount "159"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 {The Arkhangelsk Variation,
one of the favorite lines of the likes of Aronian, Caruana, Anand, and Shirov.}
6. c3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. d4 {The main direction.} ({The other direction is} 8. a4
{as in a couple of recent games of Aronian’s:} Bg4 (8... Bb7 9. d3 h6 10. Nh4
Rb8 $5 {Leaves trodden paths.} 11. axb5 axb5 12. Nd2 $146 ({The predecessor:}
12. Nf5 O-O 13. Qf3 Bc8 14. Nd2 Bxf5 15. Qxf5 Ne7 16. Qh3 b4 17. Bc4 bxc3 18.
bxc3 {½-½ (25) Grandelius,$146 (2670)-Aronian,L (2781) Meltwater 2021}) 12...
O-O 13. Ndf3 Ne7 14. h3 Bb6 15. Nh2 Kh8 16. Ng4 Nfg8 {Carlsen,M (2847)
-Aronian,L (2781) Meltwater 2021})) 8... Bb6 9. Be3 O-O 10. Nbd2 h6 11. h3 Re8
{All of this has been seen before with Black planning to put the opponent's
center under concrete pressure.} 12. Re1 exd4 {A very concrete approach,
typical for the line.} 13. cxd4 Nb4 {Keymer went into the think tank from here
and spent almost an hour on his next three moves.} 14. Qe2 {The first major
thought by White. Dominguez deviates from a known top-game.} ({That game went:
} 14. d5 Nd3 15. Re2 Nh5 16. Bxb6 cxb6 17. Re3 Nxb2 18. Qc2 Nc4 19. Bxc4 bxc4
20. Qxc4 b5 21. Qd4 {with some advantage for White, Caruana,F (2820)-Giri,A
(2780) Meltwater 2021}) 14... c5 {Now it gets very messy since Keymer has no
choice but to challenge the enemy center.} (14... Bb7 15. a3 Nc6 {is very
comfortable for White.}) 15. a3 c4 16. axb4 cxb3 17. Qd3 Nxe4 {A temporary
sacrifice and the center is at last ruined.} 18. Bxh6 $146 ({The email
predecessor witnessed the quick exhaustion of resources after} 18. Nxe4 Bf5 19.
Bxh6 gxh6 20. Nfd2 Bg6 21. Qc3 Rc8 22. Qxc8 Qxc8 23. Nf6+ Kg7 24. Nxe8+ Kh7 {
1/2-1/2 (24) Visigalli,C (2178)-Bailey,M (2246) ICCF email 2021}) 18... Bf5 19.
Rxe4 $1 {Apparetly, an over-the-board novelty.} ({Black does not experience
any difficulties instead after} 19. Bg5 Nxd2 20. Qxf5 Nxf3+ 21. gxf3 Qc7) ({And
} 19. Nxe4 gxh6 {transposes to the email game from above.}) 19... Rxe4 $1 {
I think Keymer chose right $1 Now the forcing line continues further.} ({
In the line} 19... Bxe4 20. Nxe4 gxh6 21. g4 $1 {the black king is permanently
weak. Besides, let's be honest, which piece is worth more here: a white knight
on f5-square or a black rook in the corner $2}) 20. Nxe4 d5 (20... gxh6 21. Qe3
{favors White.}) 21. Bg5 Qd7 ({But not} 21... f6 $2 22. Nxf6+ Qxf6 23. Qxb3 {
when White wins.}) 22. Nc5 Bxc5 23. Qxb3 Bf8 {The end of the tactical skirmish.
White won a pawn, but Black has ample compensation thanks to his bishop pair.
Still, White can push, relatively risk-free and this is what he is doing.} 24.
Ne5 Qe6 25. Re1 {The correct approach. If White wants to play for a win, he
will need some major pieces alive.} ({Instead} 25. Rc1 Rc8 26. Rxc8 Qxc8 27. g4
Qc2 $1 {would be exactly what Black needs and is very close to a draw.}) 25...
Rc8 26. Bd2 Bc2 (26... Bd6 $5) 27. Qg3 Bd6 28. Qa3 $1 {A nasty transfer from
one side to another. It seems as if White managed to disrupt the harmony in
the enemy camp.} Be4 {But Keymer quickly consolidates.} 29. f3 (29. Qxa6 {
is too risky, say} Rc2 30. Bc3 $2 Qf5) 29... Bf5 30. Nc4 $1 {At least
depriving the opponent of the bishop pair.} ({Here} 30. Qxa6 Rc2 31. Bc3 $2
Bxh3 $1 {is even less appealing than before for White.}) 30... Qg6 31. Nxd6
Qxd6 32. Qe3 Qg6 33. g4 Bd7 34. Qf4 Re8 {Black swaps off one of the majors.}
35. Rxe8+ ({As} 35. Rc1 Qd3 {allows Black too much.}) 35... Bxe8 36. h4 {
That's the best that White can do: expand on the kingside and eventually break
open the black king.} Qe6 37. Be3 Kh7 38. h5 f5 $1 {A nice defensive touch by
the young German; the more pawns are swapped, the better the chances.} 39. Kh2
$1 {An accurate decision.} ({After} 39. gxf5 Qf7 40. h6 Bd7 41. hxg7 Qxg7+ 42.
Kf2 Qf6 {the draw will soon become inevitable.}) 39... fxg4 40. fxg4 Bd7 41.
Kg3 Kg8 42. Qf3 {Now, if White could only bring his bishop to the e5-outpost...
} Bc8 43. Kh3 Kh7 44. Bd2 ({Alas, there is no} 44. Bf4 {due to} Qe1) 44... Qf6
{But that change of the scenery seems like a mistake $1} ({Sitting put should
have been sufficient, like} 44... Bd7) ({Or} 44... Kg8) 45. Qxf6 gxf6 46. Kh4
Kg7 47. Kg3 Be6 48. Kf4 {Next, White will create an outside passer and will
win the a6-pawn—that is a certainty. The question is if Black will be able
to hold the zone.} Kf8 49. g5 {Dominguez wants to have a distant passer, as
distant as he can get. But he misses an important detail.} ({He could have
created, instead, a distant g-passer with} 49. Be1 $1 Kg7 50. Bh4 Kf7 51. h6
Kg6 52. h7 Kxh7 53. Bxf6 Kg6 54. g5 {Then, in comparison to the game, his pawn
would be further away from the center. This fact seems sufficient for the win.
As we know, White will win the a6-pawn first.} Bf7 55. Ke5 {Then let's assume
that Black defends as in the game} Bg8 56. Kd6 Bf7 57. Kc6 Kf5 58. Kb6 Be8 59.
Kxa6 Ke6 60. Kb6 Kd6 61. Be5+ Ke6 62. Kc5 Kf5 {Now, it is mandatory that White
captures the d5-pawn when his bishop is NOT on the e5-square, like this.} 63.
Bf6 $1 ({But not} 63. Kxd5 Kxg5 64. Ke6 Kg6 65. d5 Bf7+ 66. Kd6 Kf5 $1 {
and after Kf5-e4, Black is just in time.}) 63... Ke6 64. Bh8 $3 Kf5 {Finally}
65. Kxd5 $1 Kxg5 66. Ke6 Kg6 67. d5 Bf7+ 68. Kd6 {and White wins.}) 49... Kg7
50. Be1 Bf7 $3 {The key defense.} 51. Kg4 ({There is no way to break through
after} 51. g6 Be6 52. Bh4) 51... Be6+ 52. Kf4 Bf7 53. Bh4 Bxh5 54. gxf6+ Kf7 {
Now, in comparison to the line from above, the white kingside passer is closer
to the d5-pawn and the black king can keep in the zone.} 55. Ke5 Bf3 56. Kd6
Be4 57. Kc6 Ke6 58. Kb6 Bg6 59. Kxa6 Be8 (59... Bd3 {should work too.}) 60. Kb6
Kf7 61. Kc7 Ke6 {It is a fortress and Keymer proves that.} 62. Bg5 Bh5 63. Kd8
Bg6 64. Bh4 Bh5 65. Kc7 Be8 66. Kb7 Bh5 67. Kb6 Be8 68. Kc5 Bd7 69. Bg5 Be8 70.
Kb6 Kf7 71. Bh4 Ke6 72. Ka7 Bg6 73. Ka6 Be8 74. Kb6 Kf7 75. Kc5 Ke6 76. f7 Kxf7
77. Kd6 Kf8 78. Be7+ Kf7 79. Bg5 Kf8 80. Kxd5 {PLAY CHESS, NOT WAR.} (80. Kxd5
Bd7 81. Kd6 Ke8) 1/2-1/2
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.27"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C83"]
[WhiteElo "2756"]
[BlackElo "2776"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5
Be6 9. Be3 Be7 10. c3 Na5 ({As far as I can discern, this is the first time
this move has been played by Mamedyarov. Previously, he has tried all the main
line moves, which are} 10... Qd7 {,}) (10... O-O {,}) ({and} 10... Nc5 {.}) 11.
Nd4 O-O 12. Nd2 Nxd2 13. Qxd2 c5 $6 {The computer does not approve of this
move, although it has been played on quite a few occasions in the past.} 14.
Nxe6 fxe6 15. Bc2 Nc4 16. Qd3 g6 17. Bh6 Rf7 18. Qh3 $2 ({The computer
indicates that} 18. b3 $1 {is much better:} Na3 ({or} 18... Na5 19. h4 $1 Bxh4
20. Qh3 {with a large advantage for White.}) 19. Bd1 Qd7 (19... Qb6 20. h4 $1)
20. h4 $1 Bxh4 $2 21. Qh3 Bd8 22. Bg4 {and White is winning.}) 18... Bg5 19.
Bxg5 Qxg5 20. Qxe6 Qxe5 21. Qc6 Raf8 {Black has equalized.} 22. Qxc5 Nxb2 $2 ({
Black is equal chances after} 22... Rc7 23. Qb4 Nd2 24. Rfe1 Qg5 {.}) 23. Bb3 (
{According to the engine, White could gain a clear advantage with} 23. Rae1 Qg5
24. Re2 {.}) 23... Nc4 24. Rae1 Rc7 25. Rxe5 Rxc5 26. Bxc4 Rxc4 27. Rxd5 Rxc3 {
Neither side can reasonably expect to win this endgame.} 28. Rd2 Rfc8 29. g3
Rc2 30. Rfd1 Rxd2 31. Rxd2 Rc4 32. Rd3 Kf7 33. Kg2 Ke6 34. Ra3 Rc6 35. f4 Kd5
36. Kf3 h5 {½-½} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.22"]
[Round "1.4"]
[White "Dubov, Daniil"]
[Black "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E54"]
[WhiteElo "2711"]
[BlackElo "2756"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "104"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,51,25,25,20,22,22,19,27,30,41,18,18,32,14,14,26,28,53,54,39,24,15,10,
29,0,12,14,13,14,23,53,37,25,25,17,48,51,31,21,32,51,45,-8,13,7,29,10,9,-68,
-29,-35,0,-63]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 dxc4
7. Bxc4 c5 8. O-O cxd4 9. exd4 b6 10. Qe2 (10. Bg5 {is the main line.}) 10...
Bb7 11. Rd1 (11. Bg5 {is, once more, the most common move.}) 11... h6 $5 12. a3
Bxc3 13. bxc3 Nbd7 14. Bd3 Nd5 ({This knight move is a bit of a surprise.
Previously, in this particular line's only outing, Black instead tried} 14...
Rc8 15. c4 Qc7 16. Bb2 Ng4 17. h3 Bxf3 18. Qxf3 Qh2+ 19. Kf1 Ngf6 {with
chances to both sides in Hildebrand,G (2376)-Duchardt,A (2363) ICCF email 2019.
}) 15. Bd2 Qc7 16. Qe4 N5f6 17. Qh4 {Typically, Black wants to avoid White
getting his queen over here, but he is hoping that the weakness White takes on
will compensate for this inconvenience.} Bxf3 $6 ({In one sense, a perfectly
natural move, but in other ways, quite an indiscretion, willingly entering a
situation where he has two knights against White's pair of bishops. A possible
alternative was} 17... Rfc8 18. c4 (18. Re1 $5 Bxf3 19. gxf3 Nf8 {is an
alternative which also looks pleasant for White.}) 18... e5 {with excellent
chances of equalizing.}) 18. gxf3 Qc6 19. Qg3 $6 ({Somewhat careless. White
should have played} 19. Qh3 $1 {which would have given White a similar set-up
to the game but without allowing Black his defensive construction.}) 19... Nh5
$1 20. Qh3 Ndf6 $1 {This was the point behind Black's previous move: the
knights protect each other as well as shield the king from White's piece. In
addition, Black has hopes of laying claim to the f4-square at some point.} 21.
Kh1 $6 {Clearing the g-file for the rook, but this since the knights cover
everything, this idea is a non-starter.} Rfd8 22. Rg1 Kf8 $1 {The king is
perfectly safe here.} 23. Rae1 Rac8 24. Rg2 $2 ({Dubov insists on attacking on
the g-file, even though there is nothing to be gained from it. It was better
to play} 24. Re5 {when} Rd5 {would have kept the chances balanced.}) 24... g5
$1 {Boom $1 Now, Black is in control of the game. The only problem for Black
is that White had almost an hour more left on the clock, and the complications
are just about to begin...} 25. Rgg1 Ke7 26. Be4 Qd6 27. d5 $5 {Objectively
speaking, this move is an outright mistake, but considering the clock
situation, it is not a bad attempt at shaking things up. You can compare this
to putting the remainder of your money on red at the roulette table.} Kf8 $4 ({
The ball landed on red. The payoff from White's gamble is instant. Black
should have played} 27... Nxd5 28. Qxh5 ({or} 28. Bxd5 Qxd5 {and Black has a
large advantage.}) 28... Nf6 29. Bxg5 hxg5 30. Qxg5 Rg8 {and Black is well on
the way to winning the game.}) 28. dxe6 Qxd2 29. e7+ $1 {This was the
counterstrike that White had counted on when he played d4-d5 a few moves ago.}
Kxe7 30. Bf5+ Kf8 31. Bxc8 Kg7 {White is an exchange up, but his pieces are
poorly coordinated and the pawns look ridiculous, but the game is still going,
so White can hardly complain.} 32. Bg4 $4 ({No, no, no, no. What is Dubov
doing $2 For one thing, he is playing way too fast, still having more than an
hour left on the clock. It was better to play} 32. Ba6 {, leaving the
f5-square available to the queen if need be.}) 32... Nf4 33. Qf1 Qxc3 34. Re3
Qc2 {Black is competely dominating the position.} 35. h4 $5 {Another attempt
at swindling Black, who is completely winning at this point.} Rd2 $4 ({
Completely natural but a big mistake. Black should have played} 35... Rd4 $1 {
when Black would have been in complete control of the game.}) 36. Qc1 $1 {
White's pieces are now creeping back to life.} Nd3 $2 ({If} 36... Rxf2 $2 {then
} 37. Qxc2 Rxc2 38. hxg5 hxg5 39. Re5 {and White is fully back in the game.})
37. Qxc2 Nxf2+ 38. Kg2 Rxc2 39. Kg3 N2xg4 40. fxg4 Rc4 {Black has two pawns
for the exchange and still has some winning chances, but they are admittedly
rather small compared to the position he had just a few moves ago.} 41. hxg5
hxg5 42. Kh3 Nd5 43. Rf3 $4 ({White played this move almost instantly with a
full hour left on the clock, leaving the commentators in complete shock.
Particularly, Robert Hess expressed his bewilderment of Dubov throwing the
game away in this fashion, comparing it to Dubov's loss against Grandelius in
Wijk aan Zee earlier this year. After} 43. Re5 $1 Nf4+ 44. Kh2 Rc2+ 45. Kh1 {
, White should hold the draw.}) 43... Rc2 $3 {Boom $1 The move that Dubov had
overlooked. Black now threatens ...Nf4+ followed by ...Ne2+, winning the
exchange. White cannot move his rook from g1 as, for example, 44.Rb1 Nf4+ 45.
Kg3, allows 45...Rg2#. Game over.} 44. Kg3 Nf4 45. Rxf4 gxf4+ 46. Kxf4 Rc3 $1 {
A nice little precision move, forcing White's rook to the passive a1-square.}
47. Ra1 Rc4+ 48. Kg5 Ra4 49. Kh5 Ra5+ 50. Kh4 Kg6 {White is in zugzwang and
stands to lose another pawn.} 51. Rc1 Rxa3 52. Rc6+ f6 {0-1} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.27"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Dubov, Daniil"]
[Black "Keymer, Vincent"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C78"]
[WhiteElo "2711"]
[BlackElo "2655"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "116"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 6. c3 b5 7. Bc2 ({In the
second round, Dominguez played} 7. Bb3 d6 8. d4 Bb6 9. Be3 O-O 10. Nbd2 h6 11.
h3 Re8 12. Re1 exd4 13. cxd4 Nb4 14. Qe2 c5 15. a3 c4 16. axb4 cxb3 17. Qd3
Nxe4 18. Bxh6 Bf5 {with close to equal chances, although White could have won
the endgame much later, Dominguez Perez,L (2756)-Keymer,V (2655) Berlin 2022.})
7... d5 8. d4 dxe4 9. Nbd2 $5 ({An interesting piece sacrifice.} 9. Nxe5 {
is the main line.}) 9... exf3 10. Qxf3 Be7 11. Qxc6+ Bd7 12. Qf3 exd4 13. Ne4
O-O 14. Bg5 Re8 15. Rfe1 Rb8 $2 (15... Be6 {would have kept the balance. Now
Black is clearly worse.}) 16. Nxf6+ $5 ({As pointed out by Dubov after the
game,} 16. Rad1 $1 {was better.}) 16... Bxf6 17. Rxe8+ Bxe8 18. Qf5 d3 19. Bxd3
Bxg5 20. Qxh7+ Kf8 21. Re1 f5 22. Bxf5 Rb6 23. Qh8+ Kf7 24. Bc2 c5 25. Qh3 Rh6
26. Qf5+ Kg8 27. Qxc5 {White has three pawns for the piece, but Black is
beginning to get things under control and objectively has the better chances.}
Bg6 $6 (27... Bf7 {keeping the bishop pair was better.}) 28. Bxg6 Rxg6 29. g3
Rd6 (29... Qd7 $5) 30. a4 Be7 $2 (30... bxa4 {was best.}) 31. axb5 axb5 32.
Qxb5 {Now, it is four pawns for the piece and White is once more better.} g6
33. Qb7 Bf6 34. h4 Qd7 35. Qf3 Kg7 36. Kg2 Qf5 37. Re4 Qxf3+ 38. Kxf3 {This
endgame is very difficult to play accurately and the computer disagrees with
many of the moves by both players.} Rb6 39. Re2 Kf7 40. Kg4 Rd6 41. f4 Rd3 42.
Re4 Rd5 43. Rb4 Be7 44. Rb7 Ke6 45. Rb6+ Kf7 46. b4 Rd3 47. c4 Rc3 48. c5 Bf6 {
Now, Black has set up a robust defense and it seems unlikely that White can
make any progress.} 49. Kh3 Bd4 50. Kg2 Rc4 51. Kf3 Bc3 52. Rb7+ Kf6 53. g4
Bxb4 54. g5+ Ke6 55. Kg4 Bd2 56. Rb6+ Kf7 57. Rf6+ Kg7 58. c6 Be3 {and draw
agreed.} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.23"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Dubov, Daniil"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C50"]
[WhiteElo "2711"]
[BlackElo "2776"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "52"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. d3 h6 6. h3 d6 7. Na4 {This move
is the one way to try to inject some spice into the game.} Bb6 8. c3 (8. Nxb6 {
is more common but considered completely harmless.}) 8... O-O (8... Be6 9. Bxe6
fxe6 10. O-O O-O 11. b4 Ne7 12. Nb2 c6 13. a4 Ng6 14. a5 Bc7 {was about equal
in Giri,A (2768)-Anand,V (2793) London 2014.}) 9. O-O Re8 10. b4 Be6 11. Bxe6
Rxe6 12. Rb1 Ne7 13. c4 c6 14. c5 Bc7 15. cxd6 Bxd6 ({If Black recaptured with
the rook, White gains the advantage after} 15... Rxd6 16. Nc5 Qc8 17. Bb2 {
and Black will lose a pawn.}) 16. Nc5 Bxc5 17. bxc5 b5 18. Bb2 Ng6 19. Qc2 Qe8
20. Rfe1 Rd8 21. Re3 Re7 22. Bc3 ({An invitation to a draw by repetition.
White could have tried the more committal} 22. d4 $5 {but after} Red7 23. dxe5
Nh7 {followed by ...Ng5, Black will recover the e5-pawn with about equal
chances.}) 22... Red7 23. Ba5 Rc8 24. Bc3 Rcd8 25. Ba5 Rc8 26. Bc3 Rcd8 {½-½}
1/2-1/2
[Event "Chess.com"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.28"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Esipenko, Andrey"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C28"]
[WhiteElo "2723"]
[BlackElo "2750"]
[Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"]
[PlyCount "76"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nc3 {Quite a rare line in Esipenko's practice.
} Na5 5. Qf3 {\"A specialty of the Australian grandmaster Ian Rogers.\" (Emms)}
Nxc4 {That's too good of a bishop to be neglected $1} ({Another interesting
line is:} 5... Bc5 6. Nge2 d6 7. h3 h6 8. a3 Nxc4 9. dxc4 Be6 10. b3 a5 11. Be3
Nd7 12. Bxc5 Nxc5 13. O-O-O O-O 14. Kb2 a4 {and Black was already better in
Xiong, J (2687)-So,W (2772) Chess.com INT 2021}) ({Black can also postpone
this capture for a move, but after} 5... c6 6. a4 {Black still needs to
capture the bishop before it leaves} Nxc4 7. dxc4 d6 8. Nge2 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10.
h3 Be6 11. b3 a6 12. Rd1 Qc7 {with an equal game in Adhiban,B (2659)-Karjakin,
S (2752) Chess. com INT 2020}) ({Esipenko has faced} 5... h6 {in an earlier
games of his which went} 6. Nge2 Nxc4 7. dxc4 Bc5 8. h3 d6 9. O-O a6 10. b3 Be6
11. Ng3 Bd4 12. Rb1 {Esipenko,A (2682)-Belyakov,B (2481) Chess.com INT 2020})
6. dxc4 d6 7. Nge2 {Both sides make all the mandatory moves to finish the
development.} Be6 8. b3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. a4 Nd7 {Nakamura would be happy to
open up the position with either d6-d5 or (more likely) the f7-f5 break, and
those require preparation.} 11. a5 $146 {This is a novelty. White is
threatening to push this pawn even further; however, he risks ending up with a
queenside weakness.} ({So far, both players followed a top-level predecessor:}
11. Ng3 Bg5 12. Nf5 Bxc1 13. Raxc1 g6 14. Ne3 a5 15. Rcd1 Nc5 16. Qg3 Qf6 {
and Black was doing fine in Artemiev,V (2692)-Radjabov,T (2742) Tbilisi 2017})
11... a6 {Fixing the pawn.} 12. Ng3 {White needs to take measures against the
f7-f5 move.} ({The other way to do it was} 12. Nd5 $5 {indending to meet} g6 {
with} ({Worse is} 12... c6 13. Nxe7+ Qxe7 14. Ba3 {when the d6-point is
vulnerable.}) 13. Nxe7+ Qxe7 14. Qg3 f5 15. exf5 {which forces Black to
recapture on f5 with a piece} Bxf5) 12... Bg5 13. Nf5 Bxc1 14. Raxc1 g6 15. Ne3
c6 {Not just to cover the d5-square, but also to shield the b7-pawn.} ({
Although the pawn sacrifice} 15... f5 $5 16. exf5 gxf5 17. Qxb7 Nc5 18. Qf3 f4
19. Ned5 Bf5 {was quite interesting as well.}) 16. Ra1 Qe7 17. Qd1 {Preparing
for the inevitable.} ({The alternative was} 17. Qg3 Kh8 18. Rad1 {in order to
meet} f5 {with} 19. exf5 gxf5 20. f4 $1) 17... Rad8 {Played without much
hesitation. Nakamura obviously decided to postpone the f7-f5 advance.} ({
He could have obtained a good position, though, with} 17... f5 18. exf5 gxf5
19. f4 $1 {and now} exf4 $1 20. Rxf4 Ne5 {looking for active, dynamic kingside
play.}) 18. Qd2 Nf6 {Nf6-h5-f4 is on the agenda. Therefore} 19. f4 exf4 20.
Rxf4 Nh5 21. Rf3 (21. Rf2 $5) 21... Qg5 22. Raf1 $1 {A very creative idea by
the young Russian $1 He is ready to sacrifice a pawn in order to let his
knights get closer to the enemy king.} Qxa5 {And Nakamura accepts the
challenge $1} ({White's position looks more pleasant after} 22... f5 23. exf5
gxf5 24. Qf2) 23. g4 $1 {The final preparation.} Ng7 ({Not} 23... Qg5 24. h4 $1
) 24. Nf5 $1 {And the knights go wild $1} Qe5 $1 {The best defense. The queen
is needed close to the kingside.} ({Black risks to get mated in the line} 24...
gxf5 25. exf5 Bc8 ({Safer is} 25... f6 26. fxe6 Nxe6 {although White has full
compensation after} 27. Kh1 $1) 26. Qh6 f6 27. Rh3 Kf7 28. Qxh7 {and the
attack seems decisive.}) 25. Nh6+ Kh8 26. Nd5 $1 {The second knight jumps
through a defended square, ready to fly close to the black king.} g5 {And
Nakamura decided not to take it. Yet. But this is risky.} ({The line} 26...
cxd5 27. exd5 {leads to a situation in which Black cannot save the bishop, say
with} Bd7 ({However} 27... Bxd5 $1 {leads to an unclear situation where White
enjoys plenty of compensation for the pawn after} 28. cxd5 f5 29. Re1 Qb2 30.
g5) 28. Rxf7 Rfe8 29. Qf2 $1 {and the mating threat is too big to be ignored.})
27. Qf2 {Now it works for Black.} ({The stunning improvement} 27. c3 $3 {
was suggested by the machine. White keeps his queen on the optimal central
square for the time being. Then} Qxe4 ({Also bad for Black is} 27... cxd5 28.
exd5 Bxd5 29. cxd5) ({And, generally, it is difficult to offer him good advice
as} 27... f5 28. gxf5 Bxd5 29. exd5 Nh5 {also fails due to the simple} 30. Qxg5
) 28. Nf6 Qg6 29. Rh3 {is bad for the second player.}) ({Another good idea for
White would have been} 27. Nf6 $1 Ne8 28. Nh5) 27... f5 $5 {Vintage Nakamura
$1 He is complicating the position to the maximum in the approaching time
trouble.} ({Objectively better was} 27... cxd5 $1 {with a possible mass
exchange after} 28. exd5 Bxd5 29. cxd5 f5 30. Nxf5 Nxf5 31. Rxf5 (31. Qd2 $5)
31... Rxf5 32. Qxf5 Qxf5 33. Rxf5 {and a draw in the rook endgame.} Rc8 $1 34.
c4 b5) 28. gxf5 ({Black's idea is revealed in the line} 28. exf5 Bxd5 29. cxd5
Qf6 $1 {when the knight is suddenly trapped $1 Although this is still not
entirely clear after} 30. dxc6 Qxh6 31. cxb7) 28... Bxd5 29. exd5 Nh5 30. Re1 {
Now it is dynamically balanced as the black knight gets back in the game.} (30.
dxc6 $5 bxc6 31. Kh1 {is also interesting.}) 30... Qg7 31. Ng4 Nf4 32. f6 Qd7
33. Rxf4 $1 {No one can tolerate such a beast $1} gxf4 34. Qxf4 Rde8 ({Or}
34... Qf7 35. Re7 Qg6 36. h3 {and it is anyone's game.}) 35. Rf1 {White
abandons the only open file at the worst possible moment $1} ({It was time to
force a draw with the help of the spectacular line} 35. Rxe8 $1 Qxe8 (35...
Rxe8 $4 36. f7) 36. Qxd6 Rg8 37. h3 h5 38. Qe6 hxg4 39. f7 Qxe6 40. dxe6 gxh3+
41. Kh2 Kg7 42. fxg8=Q+ Kxg8 43. Kxh3 Kg7 44. Kg4 Kf6 45. Kf4 Kxe6 46. Ke4 {
and a draw $1}) 35... Qf7 {Nakamura quickly seizes the opportunity for an epic
comeback $1} 36. Kh1 ({Perhaps} 36. dxc6 bxc6 37. Qh6 Rg8 38. h3 {was worth a
try.}) 36... Qg6 (36... cxd5 $1) 37. Rg1 ({The last chance was} 37. c5 cxd5 38.
cxd6 Qe4+ 39. Qxe4 Rxe4 {although Black should be able to convert here too.})
37... h5 38. Ne3 Rxf6 {PLAY CHESS, NOT WAR.} 0-1
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.28"]
[Round "6.2"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Tabatabaei, M. Amin"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2771"]
[BlackElo "2623"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,60,17,-12,53,31,48,15,25,-17,20,-9,38,-5,-2,6,-2,-2,19,21,38,33,32,23,
58,30,49,-29,56,-10,13,-5,18,4,25,6,40,9,-2,-8,-5,35,18,-76,-76,-82,-15,-84,
-84,-168,-25,-135,95,60,60,57,57,48,89,89,61,-611,-166]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.
Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O O-O 6. Nbd2 d6 7. c3 a6 8. b4 Ba7 9. a4 Ne7 10. Re1
Ng6 11. d4 Re8 12. h3 h6 13. Bd3 c6 14. Ra3 {A new move.} Qc7 15. Bb2 Bd7 16.
Qc2 Rad8 17. Raa1 Nh5 18. Bf1 Nhf4 {This is the type of position Black is
aiming to get into in this line. Co-incidentally, just yesterday I was having
a first lesson with a new student, my younger brother who has started playing
chess again after a more than 30-year break, and we discussed this very idea
and how Black has excellent attacking potential, despite only one piece having
breached his third rank.} 19. h4 $2 ({A strange mistake by Giri. Black does
not have any problems but there is no reason to give him a large advantage. An
alternative was} 19. c4 c5 20. bxc5 exd4 21. c6 bxc6 22. Nxd4 {with equal
chances, which Giri acknowledged after the game probably was the direction he
should gone for.}) 19... d5 $1 {Now, Black is simply better.} 20. g3 Nh3+ 21.
Kg2 exd4 22. cxd4 Ngf4+ $1 {Boom $1 After the game, Tabatabaei speculated that
this was the move that Giri had overlooked when playing 19.h4 $2. Black's
attack crashes mercilessly through.} 23. gxf4 Qxf4 24. e5 ({This pawn advance
lets Black's light-squared bishop join the attack but nothing works for White,
for instance,} 24. Ra3 Qg4+ 25. Kh2 dxe4 26. Nxe4 Rxe4 27. Rxe4 Bb8+ 28. Kh1
Qxe4 29. Qxe4 Nxf2+ {and Black is winning.}) 24... Bf5 25. Qc3 Re6 {A nice
rook lift to join the party.} 26. Qe3 Rg6+ 27. Kh1 Qg4 28. Ra3 f6 $1 {Not the
only good move, but the one that hurts White the most. The simply threat is 29.
.. fxe5 and White's position collapses.} 29. exf6 gxf6 30. h5 Rg7 {and White
resigned.} 0-1
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.24"]
[Round "3.2"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Vitiugov, Nikita"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "B42"]
[WhiteElo "2771"]
[BlackElo "2726"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Bc5 6. Nb3 Ba7 7. Qe2 Ne7 8.
Be3 O-O ({Rather than this move, Black usually gives preference to} 8... Bxe3)
({or} 8... Nbc6 {.}) 9. Bxa7 ({More common is} 9. O-O {.}) 9... Rxa7 10. e5 ({
The only prior game I could find saw White continue} 10. O-O Nbc6 11. N1d2 d6
12. c3 e5 13. Rfd1 Be6 14. Bc4 b5 15. Bxe6 fxe6 16. a4 {with a small plus for
White, Demchenko,A (2654)-Dubov,D (2711) Chess.com INT 2022.}) 10... Nbc6 11.
Nc3 d6 12. exd6 Qxd6 {The sharpest and best option.} 13. O-O-O Qf4+ 14. Kb1 b5
{Opening a route for the rook on a7 to get out, preferably to c7, but it also
launches Black's intended counterplay on the queenside.} 15. g3 Qe5 16. Be4 Qc7
17. f4 Na5 18. Nxa5 Qxa5 19. Qh5 $6 ({The computer is not particularly
impressed with this logical move that forces a weakness on Black's kingside.
However, the engine's suggestion of} 19. a3 {does not look obvious either,
going against all principles that our coaches teach us, but first and foremost,
do not make weaknesses in front of where your opponent is about to attack you.
The engine line continues with} b4 20. Qe3 Rc7 21. axb4 Qxb4 22. Rd4 Qb8 23.
Rhd1 {and White has the better chances.}) 19... f5 ({An interesting choice,
which looks more logical than the engine's} 19... h6 20. a3 {(Again... my
scholastic chess teacher would have been unimpressed.)} Qc7 21. Rd4 {which has
to be better for White.}) 20. Bf3 $6 ({This square is the wrong square for the
bishop for tactical reasons. It should have been put on g2, although White's
advantage would be down to a bare minimum after} 20. Bg2 b4 ({but not} 20...
Rc7 {as in the game, because White can now play} 21. Rhe1 {without having to
worry about ...Rxc3.}) 21. Ne2 Qb6 22. Nd4 a5 {with more or less equal chances.
}) 20... Rc7 $1 {The first of several precise moves by Vitiugov.} 21. Ne2 ({If
} 21. Rhe1 {then} Rxc3 22. bxc3 Qxc3 {and here White has to deal with both
checks on the queenside and that the bishop is only guarded by the
awkwardly-placed queen on h5. A possible continuation could be} 23. Bg2 Qb4+
24. Kc1 Qa3+ 25. Kd2 Qxa2 {and Black is not worse.}) 21... e5 $1 {A brilliant
counterstrike, clearing the e6-square for the bishop so it can join the attack
against White's king.} 22. fxe5 Be6 23. Nc1 Rfc8 {Oh yeah, all the pieces are
joining in the attack.} 24. Nb3 $1 (24. c3 $2 b4 {would be a disaster for
White.}) 24... Bxb3 $1 {The only move, but it also is the beginning of a
combination that forces a draw by perpetual check.} 25. cxb3 Rc2 26. Qg5 Rxb2+
$1 {Boom $1 White's king's shelter is now cracked wide open.} 27. Kxb2 Qc3+ 28.
Kb1 Qc2+ 29. Ka1 Qc3+ 30. Kb1 Qc2+ {½-½} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.22"]
[Round "1.7"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Yu Yangyi"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C43"]
[WhiteElo "2771"]
[BlackElo "2713"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,23,27,28,43,11,56,18,18,44,43,46,51,30,13,-3,5,4,30,16,11,7,23,27,15,
-5]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. Nxe5 ({Vachier-Lagrave
instead played} 5. O-O {against Yu Yangyi in Belgrade:} d5 6. dxe5 Bg4 7. Nc3
Nxc3 8. bxc3 Bc5 9. Re1 O-O 10. h3 Bh5 11. Rb1 f6 12. e6 Qd6 13. Rxb7 Ne5 14.
Be2 Qxe6 15. Rb5 Qd6 16. Nxe5 Bxe2 17. Qxe2 fxe5 18. Be3 Bb6 19. Bxb6 axb6 20.
c4 c6 21. Rxb6 Qc5 22. Rb7 e4 23. cxd5 cxd5 24. c4 dxc4 25. Qc2 Rae8 26. Re3
Qd4 27. Rb4 Rc8 28. a4 Rfd8 29. Rb1 c3 30. Rc1 Rc4 31. a5 Rdc8 32. Rd1 Qc5 33.
Rxe4 Rxe4 34. Qxe4 c2 35. Rc1 h6 36. a6 Rc7 37. g3 Qc6 38. Qd3 Qc4 39. Qd2 Kh7
40. Kh2 Qxa6 41. Rxc2 Rxc2 42. Qxc2+ Kh8 43. h4 Qf1 44. Qc8+ Kh7 45. Qf5+ Kg8
46. g4 Qc4 47. Kg3 Qc3+ 48. Kg2 Qc4 49. Kg3 Qc3+ 50. Qf3 Qc7+ 51. Qf4 Qc3+ 52.
Qe3 Qc7+ 53. f4 Qf7 54. f5 Qc7+ 55. Kh3 Qd7 56. Qf3 Qd2 {1/2-1/2 (56) Vachier
Lagrave,M (2761)-Yu,Y (2713) Belgrade 2022}) 5... Nxe5 6. dxe5 Nc5 7. Bc4 d6 ({
Giri has previously faced} 7... c6 $6 {, but that move is likely not the best:}
8. O-O (8. Qh5 $1 {improves}) 8... d5 9. exd6 Bxd6 10. Re1+ Be6 11. Bxe6 Nxe6
12. Nd2 Qc7 13. Nf3 Rd8 14. Qe2 O-O 15. Be3 Qa5 {(the chances are about equal
at this point,)} 16. Qc4 Qb4 17. Qxb4 Bxb4 18. Re2 a6 19. g3 Ba5 20. c3 Rd5 21.
Rd2 Rxd2 22. Nxd2 Rd8 23. Nc4 Bc7 24. a4 Kf8 25. Kf1 Ke7 26. Ke2 Rd5 27. f4 g6
28. Nd2 h5 29. Nf3 a5 30. b4 axb4 31. cxb4 f6 32. Rb1 Bd6 33. Bd2 g5 34. fxg5
fxg5 35. Bc3 h4 36. Be1 h3 37. Bf2 g4 38. Ne1 Ng5 39. Rb3 Ne4 40. Nd3 Rf5 41.
Be1 Rf3 42. Rb1 Bxg3 43. Nc5 Bf4 44. Bh4+ Kf7 45. Nxe4 Re3+ 46. Kf2 Rxe4 47.
Bg3 Kg6 48. a5 Bxg3+ 49. Kxg3 Kg5 50. b5 Re2 {0-1 (50) Giri,A (2777)-Aronian,L
(2782) chess24.com INT 2021}) 8. Qf3 Ne6 9. Be3 $5 ({Essentially a novelty, as
it has only been played once before in a game between two players rated more
than a 1000 points below the combatants in the present game. In Belgrade, Yu
Yangyi faced} 9. exd6 {against Predke:} Bxd6 10. Be3 Bd7 11. Bd5 c6 12. Bc4 O-O
13. Nd2 b5 14. Bb3 a5 15. a3 Qc7 16. Ne4 Be5 17. O-O-O a4 18. Ba2 Rad8 19. Nc5
Bc8 20. Nxe6 Bxe6 21. Bxe6 fxe6 22. Qe4 Rd5 23. f4 Bxf4 24. Qxe6+ Qf7 25. Qxf7+
Rxf7 26. Bxf4 Rxd1+ 27. Kxd1 Rxf4 28. Ke2 Kf7 29. Ke3 Rc4 30. Kd3 Ke6 31. Re1+
Kd5 32. Re7 Rg4 33. g3 h5 34. b3 g6 35. Rg7 h4 {1/2-1/2 (35) Predke,A (2682)
-Yu,Y (2713) Belgrade 2022}) 9... dxe5 10. Nd2 Bd6 11. O-O-O {White has
sacrificed a pawn for a lead in development. He will almost certainly get the
pawn back sooner or later.} O-O 12. Ne4 Qe7 13. Rhe1 Bd7 $2 ({When Giri
prepared this line, he was undoubtedly attracted by the fact that this move,
which looks so natural, actually is an outright mistake. The only correct move
was the far from obvious} 13... Kh8 $1 14. h4 f6 {which gives Black a solid
position position with decent chances of equalizing.}) 14. Nxd6 cxd6 15. Qxb7
Rac8 16. Bd5 $6 ({White would have had a clear advantage after} 16. Bb3 a5 17.
Kb1 {with excellent control over the position to go with the bishop pair.})
16... a5 $6 ({Not the best; Black should have played} 16... Rc7 17. Qa6 Rfc8
18. Kb1 Bc6 19. Bb3 {with a small but obvious positional advantage for White.})
17. Qb6 a4 18. Be4 Qh4 19. f3 a3 $6 ({A natural move, designed to wreck
White's king shelter. However, the computer hates it, instead suggesting} 19...
Nc5 $5 20. Bxc5 dxc5 21. g3 Qh3 {when White is clearly better. It is hard to
fault Black for not wanting to enter this line which bears almost no risk for
White.}) 20. Qxd6 axb2+ 21. Kb1 Bb5 22. Qxe5 Bc4 23. Qa5 $5 ({White could also
consider} 23. Bb6 $5 {to take control over the d8-square and followed by Qd6
with a dominating position.}) 23... Rfe8 24. g3 Qe7 25. h4 (25. Bb6 $1 {
was once more excellent.}) 25... Rb8 26. h5 $4 ({This is the real blunder.
White would have had a decisive advantage after} 26. Bc6 $1 Red8 27. Qa4 $1 {
and White should win.} ({or} 27. Ba7 {forcing Black into some exchanges that
he would not otherwise be interested in making.})) 26... Rb5 $1 27. Qa4 Rc8 28.
Bd3 $2 Rb4 29. Qa3 Qb7 30. c3 $2 Bxd3+ 31. Rxd3 Rb5 32. h6 $6 {½-½} ({
Here, the players shook hands, agreeing on a draw. White's best option was} 32.
Qa7 Qc6 33. Qa4 Ra8 34. Rd6 Qxd6 35. Qxa8+ {which the computer generously
assesses as equal, but frankly, that is far from obvious.}) ({After the text
move, Black, on the other hand, has the better chances, for instance,} 32. h6
Qxf3 33. Qa4 Re5 34. Qd1 Qf6 35. hxg7 Qg6 36. Kxb2 Qxg3 {and while White my be
able to save himself, his king is not in his happy place.}) *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.28"]
[Round "6.2"]
[White "Keymer, Vincent"]
[Black "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D27"]
[WhiteElo "2655"]
[BlackElo "2756"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "91"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 a6 6. O-O c5 7. Be2 cxd4 8.
Nxd4 Bd7 9. Nd2 Nc6 10. N4f3 Be7 11. b3 O-O 12. Bb2 b5 13. Qb1 ({Or} 13. a3 Qb6
14. Rc1 Rac8 15. Rc2 Rfd8 16. Qb1 h6 17. Rfc1 Qb7 18. Qa1 Be8 19. h3 Bd7 {
and here a draw was agreed upon, despite White having achieved the desired
setup in Lingnau,C (2418)-Stevic,H (2570) Germany 2020.}) 13... h6 14. Rd1 Qb6
15. Ne4 Nd5 16. Ng3 $1 ({Or} 16. Nd4 Rfc8 17. Bf1 Nxd4 18. Bxd4 Qa5 19. Qb2 Bf8
{and White has perhaps a fractional edge, Martirosyan,H (2633)-Martinez
Alcantara,J (2598) Chess.com INT 2022.}) 16... Rfd8 17. Nh5 Bf8 ({Black should
have played the visually ugly} 17... g6 {when} 18. Ng3 {only is marginally
better for White.}) 18. Qe4 $1 Nce7 19. Qg4 Ng6 20. Ne5 Nxe5 $4 ({Black should
have played the ugly} 20... Be8 {when} 21. Bd4 Qc7 22. Nxg6 {would have given
White a solid advantage. I suspect that Dominguez had overlooked White's 22nd
move when capturing on e5.}) 21. Bxe5 Nxe3 22. Bd4 $1 {A brilliant
intermediary move that wins the exchange for White.} Nxg4 23. Bxb6 Ne5 24. Bxd8
Rxd8 25. Rac1 Rc8 26. Rxc8 Bxc8 {Black has a pawn for the exchange but it is
not enough in this position as White's pieces are more active than their black
counterparts.} 27. f4 (27. Rd8 Bb7 28. Nf4 {is also winning for White.}) 27...
Nc6 28. Kf1 Nb4 29. Bf3 {Threatening Rd8, trapping Black's c8-bishop.} e5 30.
Rd8 Be6 31. fxe5 Nxa2 {It could look like Black has been making progress, but
it actually White. A major issue for Black is the fact that he cannot get out
of the pin on the back rank because if he moves the g-pawn forward them the
knight will make landfall on f6, tying Black up even further because it the
bishop moves, Black will be checkmated on g8.} 32. Nf4 Bxb3 33. Bd5 Bxd5 34.
Nxd5 {Threatening Ne7+, winning the bishop.} g6 35. Nc7 ({White wants to
advance the e-pawn. He could also have played} 35. Nf6+ Kg7 36. Ne8+ Kg8 37.
Rd7 Ba3 38. Nf6+ Kg7 39. Ne4 {and White is winning.}) 35... Nb4 36. e6 Nc6 {
Black has two connected passed pawns on the queenside and White's e-pawn
cannot advance because the e7-square is blockaded by Black's minor pieces. So,
Black can be happy, right $2 Not so fast...} 37. Rc8 Ne7 38. Ra8 h5 39. Ke2 Nf5
40. Kd3 b4 41. h3 Kg7 42. Ne8+ Kg8 43. g4 hxg4 44. hxg4 Nh6 45. g5 Nf5 46. e7
$1 ({Black resigned on account of} 46. e7 Nxe7 ({or} 46... Bxe7 47. Nf6+ Kg7
48. Rg8#) 47. Nf6+ Kg7 48. Nd7 {, winning the f8-bishop.}) 1-0
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.25"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Black "Keymer, Vincent"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "A29"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2655"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "125"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,125,39,-2,-14,-24,-23,-13,-13,-28,-11,-11,-5,-2,5,-12,-4,-23,-4,-15,7,
-5,-4,-4,-4,2,0,0,-36,-9,131,134,156,132,164,164,164,141,99,124,124,142,142,
142,133,182,166,177,177,166,166,178,166,147,168,131,169,114,135,92,90,89,106,
103,88,66,178,161,169,173,174,178,181,185,181,195,185,178,209,186,203,194,210,
190,204,221,232,212,216,208,238,247,294,196,269,246,261,261,266,216,218,223,
235,244,235,245,265,235,257,283,290,262,282,301,389,319,334,341,361,372,388,
367,399,414,425,455,449,454]} 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 5. Bg2
O-O 6. O-O e4 7. Nh4 $5 ({When asked whether this move was home preparation
after the game, Mamedyarov said that the old books said to never try this move.
This may be true. In the book I wrote about 1.c4 e5 back in 1999, I did not
even mention the move, in part because I was unaware of anybody trying it. The
main lines are} 7. Ng5) ({and} 7. Ne1 {.}) 7... Bxc3 8. bxc3 d6 ({When looking
after this game, I only found one game with 7.Nh4 played before my book was
written, and after} 8... Re8 9. f3 exf3 10. Nxf3 {as seen in Ubilava,E (2515)
-Douven,R (2445) Almaty 1989, the play transposed into a well-known position
from the main lines.}) ({Another option was} 8... d5 9. cxd5 Qxd5 {, but} 10.
f3 Re8 11. fxe4 Nxe4 12. Qc2 {looks pleasant for White.}) 9. d4 h6 10. f3 g5 $2
({The young German grandmaster could not resist trying to win the knight on h4,
but it weakens too much, as he would very soon realize. It would have been
better to play} 10... exf3 11. Rxf3 Na5 12. Qd3 {when White has the slightly
better chances but not much more than that.}) 11. fxe4 $1 gxh4 12. Bxh6 Ng4 $4
(12... Nh7 {would have been better. Now things go from bad to worse.}) 13. Qd2
hxg3 14. h3 Qh4 15. Bxf8 Kxf8 16. Qf4 {At his point, it looked certain that
Keymer would go down in miniature style. But amazingly, he hug in there for a
while.} Qh7 17. Qxg3 Nh6 18. c5 $6 ({Premature. After} 18. Rf3 Ke8 19. c5 dxc5
20. d5 Ne7 21. Qxc7 {, Black would not survive for long.}) 18... Qg7 19. Qxg7+
$6 ({A somewhat curious decision. After} 19. Qh4 dxc5 20. Rf3 {with a decisive
advantage for White thanks to Black's vulnerable king and White's lead in
development.}) 19... Kxg7 20. cxd6 cxd6 21. Rab1 Na5 $2 ({Black should have
chosen a more passive setup with} 21... Nd8 $5 {, hanging on to his pawns.})
22. Rb5 {I don't know if Keymer had failed to properly account for this
manouevre, but now White wins rather easily once more.} Nc4 23. Rg5+ Kf8 24.
Rh5 Kg7 25. Rg5+ Kf8 26. Rf4 Ng8 27. Bf3 Bd7 28. Bh5 Be8 29. e5 dxe5 30. dxe5
Rc8 31. e6 Nd6 32. Rd5 Rc4 33. Rxc4 Nxc4 34. exf7 Bxf7 35. Bxf7 Kxf7 36. Rd7+
Ne7 37. Rxb7 {This endgame is easily winning. White's only challenge is to
avoid running into a knight fork with his king and rook. Mamedyarov converted
in convincing fashion.} a5 38. Rc7 Nd6 39. Ra7 Nc4 40. Rc7 Nd6 41. a4 Ne4 42.
Rc4 Ng5 43. h4 Ne6 44. Kf2 Nf5 45. h5 Nd6 46. Rg4 Nf5 47. Kf3 Kf6 48. Rg6+ Kf7
49. Ke4 Ne7 50. Rg4 Kf6 51. h6 Ng5+ 52. Kd3 Ng6 53. Kd4 Nf7 54. h7 Kg7 55. Kc5
Kxh7 56. Kb5 Nge5 57. Rg1 Nd6+ 58. Kxa5 Ne4 59. Kb4 Nc6+ 60. Kc4 Na5+ 61. Kb5
Nb3 62. Kb4 Nbc5 63. a5 {1-0} *
[Event "Chess.com"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.25"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2785"]
[Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 d5 {You can bet that Aronian
will go for this move as soon as possible, either in the Ruy Lopez, or the
Italian game.} ({Instead, the more solid} 5... O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. Bg5 a6 8. Ba4
h6 9. Bh4 d6 10. Re1 Ba7 11. Nbd2 g5 12. Bg3 b5 13. Bc2 Ne7 14. Nf1 Ng6 15. d4
{was discussed in Caruana,F (2781)-So,W (2778) Chess.com INT 2022}) 6. exd5
Qxd5 7. Bc4 Qd6 8. Nbd2 ({Nakamura deviates from an earlier game of the two
that went} 8. b4 Bb6 9. a4 O-O 10. Nbd2 Bf5 11. Ba3 {Looks very good for White,
but after a very forcing line} e4 12. dxe4 Nxe4 13. Nxe4 Bxe4 14. Qxd6 cxd6 15.
O-O-O Rac8 16. Bb3 Rfd8 17. Bxf7+ Kxf7 18. Ng5+ Kg6 19. Nxe4 d5 20. Nc5 Bxc5
21. bxc5 Na5 {Black managed to hold the endgame convincingly.} 22. Kc2 Nc4 23.
Kb3 Nxa3 24. Kxa3 Rxc5 25. Rd3 b5 26. a5 Rb8 27. Rb1 Rbc8 28. Kb3 Rb8 29. Ka3
Rbc8 30. Kb3 Rb8 31. Ka3 {1/2-1/2 (31) Nakamura,H (2745)-Aronian,L (2758)
Douglas 2019}) 8... O-O 9. b4 {Nevertheless, the bishop should be bothered
somehow.} Bb6 10. O-O Bf5 11. Qc2 Rad8 12. a4 a5 13. b5 Ne7 14. Qa2 {All of
this is very logical and has been tested before. Nakamura is blitzing his
moves.} Ng6 15. Ba3 Bc5 16. Bxc5 Qxc5 17. d4 Qd6 18. Rfe1 exd4 19. cxd4 {
A typical position with an IQP arose on the board. If Black can maneuver well
with his pieces and place them on the optimal squares, he would be greatly
enjoying the position. However, right now White has the initiative, both on
the board thanks to his more active pieces and better presence in the center
and on the clock as he keeps pressurizing his opponent by moving rapidly.
After some thought, Aronian came up with what seems to be an over-the-board
novelty.} Nd5 $146 ({Black did quite well in the predecessor after:} 19... Nf4
20. Rac1 N6d5 21. Qb3 Nb6 22. Bf1 Be6 23. Qc2 {And now came the strong} Bd5 $1
24. Qxc7 Qxc7 25. Rxc7 Ne6 {with ample compensation for the pawn for Black in
Caruana,F (2799)-Grischuk,A (2782) Saint Louis 2017}) 20. Bxd5 $1 {And after
more than twenty minutes of thought, Nakamura went for a concrete solution.} ({
Black is rerouting his knights to their optimal squares in case of} 20. Rac1
Ngf4 21. Qb3 Nb6) 20... Qxd5 21. Qxd5 Rxd5 22. Nc4 {The pawn on the a5-square
drops. The question is: how strong is Black's compensation $2} Bg4 ({Certainly
not} 22... b6 $2 23. Ne3) 23. Nxa5 b6 {The human choice that leaves White in
the driver's seat.} ({The machine is not afraid to go for the very concrete}
23... Bxf3 $1 24. gxf3 c6 25. Nxb7 cxb5 26. a5 Ra8 {line which seems so scary
for Black. However, thanks to the threats of Rd5xd4, Ng6-h4, and the fact that
the white knight is not stable enough, Black seems to hold.}) 24. Nc6 Bxf3 25.
gxf3 h6 {Air will be needed for the king.} ({Although this same machine
recommends to even lure the opponent to try and use the back rank with the move
} 25... Ra8 26. a5 bxa5 27. Rxa5 {when Black simply retreats.} Rc8) 26. Rac1 $1
{With a nice maneuver, the rook finds its optimal square.} Kh7 27. Rc4 {
Releasing the knight, which in turn will open up the c-file for some material
gains.} Rg5+ $1 {Black needs to show some activity ASAP.} 28. Kf1 (28. Kh1 {
is weaker due to} Nh4) 28... Rh5 29. Ne7 Rxh2 30. Re4 $1 {The second rook
finds an optimal square. White's position improved even aesthetically.} ({
Greed is a sin, at least here after} 30. Rxc7 $2 Rh1+ 31. Ke2 Rxe1+ 32. Kxe1
Re8) 30... Rh1+ 31. Kg2 (31. Ke2 Ra1 {promises Black more chances.}) 31... Ra1
({The other way to defend it was} 31... Rh5 32. Rxc7 Nxe7 33. Rexe7 Rg5+ 34.
Kf1) 32. Nxg6 {As we shall see, this is not optimal.} ({The knight was more
valuable than the opponent's one and could have helped White's attack after}
32. Nf5 $1) 32... fxg6 $1 {The only move. The f-file is opened for the second
rook for counterplay. True, the black king is getting exposed as well, but it
was far more important to have the rook out.} ({After} 32... Kxg6 33. Rxc7 Rxa4
34. Rc6+ Kf5 35. Rxb6 {White has both the pawn and the initiative.}) 33. Rxc7
Rxa4 {Aronian misses a great chance $1} ({Both players certainly calculated
the critical line} 33... Rf5 $3 34. Ree7 Rg5+ 35. Kh2 {and then likely
believed that the white king would escape the danger zone after} Rh5+ ({
However, the subtle} 35... Ra2 $1 {would have equalized the chances, as in the
line} 36. Rxg7+ Kh8 37. Rgf7 Rxf2+ 38. Kh3 Kg8) 36. Kg3 Rg5+ 37. Kf4 {and this
is indeed good for White.}) 34. d5 ({Or} 34. Ree7 Rg8 35. d5 Rd4) 34... Raa8 {
And now it becomes really bad for the second player.} ({The rook needed to
stand behind the passer, and therefore} 34... Ra3 $1 {was called for when
Black had all the chances to survive, e.g} 35. Ree7 (35. d6 Raxf3 {threatens
perpetual besides winning a pawn.}) (35. Re3 Ra4 36. d6 Rd4) 35... Rg8 36. d6
Rd3 {and it seems Black should hold.}) 35. Ree7 (35. d6 $1 {would have been
equally good} Rad8 36. Ree7 h5) 35... h5 ({The passive defense no longer works.
} 35... Rg8 36. d6 g5 37. d7 Rad8 38. Re6) 36. d6 Rf5 {Most likely based on a
miscalculation.} ({The last chance was to place again the a-rook behind the
pawn with} 36... Ra2 37. Rxg7+ Kh6 38. d7 Rd2 39. Re7 Kg5 40. Rc6 Rf6 {
although it is unlikely that Black survives here.}) 37. Rxg7+ Kh6 38. Rh7+ ({Or
} 38. d7 $1 Rd8 39. Re7) 38... Kg5 39. d7 Rd5 40. f4+ $3 {A nasty in-between
blow $1} ({Aronian was apparently hoping for the trick} 40. Rc8 Rxd7 $1) ({Or}
40. Re7 Rd8 {with chances to hold.}) 40... Kh4 ({Alas} 40... Kxf4 {does not
work, as now comes} 41. Rc8 $1 Rxd7 42. Rc4+ $1) (40... Kg4 41. Rg7 {is
equally hopeless for Black.}) 41. Rg7 Ra4 ({Or} 41... Rd8 42. Kf3) 42. Rc8 {
It's over; White wins all the most valuable pawns and quickly pushes his own
to become a queen.} Rad4 43. Rxg6 Rxd7 44. Rc1 $1 Rd1 45. Rxd1 Rxd1 46. Rxb6
Kg4 47. Rb8 $1 {All is calculated with precision.} Kxf4 48. b6 Rd7 49. Rf8+ $1
{Sending the rook behind the passer, Tarrasch should be listened to well $1} ({
But not} 49. b7 $4 Rf7 {and it is a draw as the black king slowly marches
towards the g7-square.}) 49... Ke4 50. Rf3 {PLAY CHESS, NOT WAR.} 1-0
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.23"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Esipenko, Andrey"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E51"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2723"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "127"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd2 d5 6. Nf3 b6 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Bd3
Re8 9. O-O Bb7 10. Ne5 Bf8 11. f4 c5 ({The text move is better than} 11... a6
$6 12. Qc2 (12. g4 $1 {is much stronger, giving White a strong intiative.})
12... c5 13. Be1 Nc6 $2 (13... cxd4 {would have been fine for Black, albeit
very sharp:} 14. Bh4 dxc3 15. Bxh7+ Nxh7 (15... Kh8 16. Nxf7#) 16. Bxd8 Rxd8
17. Nxf7 Kxf7 18. Qxh7 Nd7 19. Qh5+ Kg8 {with chances to both sides.}) 14. Bh4
$1 Nb4 15. Bxf6 gxf6 $4 (15... Nxc2 16. Bxd8 Nxa1 17. Bxb6 c4 18. Bf5 g6 19.
Bd7 Nc2 20. Bxe8 Rxe8 21. Kf2 {is only slightly better for White.}) 16. Bxh7+
Kg7 17. Qf5 fxe5 18. fxe5 Qe7 19. Rf3 Kh8 20. Qh5 Bg7 21. Bg6+ Kg8 22. Bxf7+ {
1-0 (22) Frolyanov,D (2542)-Baches Garcia,G (2329) Chess.com INT 2020}) 12. Be1
({White could also consider} 12. g4 cxd4 13. exd4 Ne4 {as played in Pogorelov,
R (2383)-Barseghyan,H (2463) Barcelona 2020, when White here should have
continued with} 14. Be3 $1 Nc6 15. Nxe4 dxe4 16. Nxf7 $1 Kxf7 17. Bc4+ Ke7 18.
f5 {with a massive attack.}) 12... cxd4 13. exd4 Nc6 14. Bf2 a6 15. a3 b5 16.
Rc1 Qd6 17. Qf3 Rac8 18. Rfe1 Na5 19. b4 $2 ({White relinquishes the c4-square.
He should have played} 19. g4 $1 {with a strong initiative and better chances.}
) 19... Nc4 20. Bxc4 bxc4 21. Na4 Ne4 22. Nc5 Ba8 23. Qe2 a5 {Black has taken
the initiative.} 24. Qa2 axb4 25. axb4 Rb8 26. Nxe4 dxe4 27. Nxc4 Qe6 ({
Co-commentator Robert Hess gave preference to} 27... Qd5 {intending to meet}
28. Qa5 {with the devastating} e3 $1 {, winning material. However, White is,
of course, not obligated to play Qa5 $4. 28.Qe2 would have been a better
defensive move, keeping Black's advantage within control.}) 28. Qe2 Rxb4 29.
Be3 Bd5 30. Nd2 Rb2 31. Rb1 Reb8 32. Rxb2 Rxb2 {For the second day in a row,
the now-20-year old Russian grandmaster plays with a bishop pair vs. bishop
and knight. Black has a clear advantage, but finding a way through Nakamura's
barricades is no easy task.} 33. Rb1 Qb6 $2 ({Keeping the rooks on the board
with} 33... Rc2 $1 {would have been a better chance for Black. At this point,
most exchanges favor White.}) 34. Qf1 Qb4 35. Rxb2 Qxb2 36. Qb1 Qa3 37. Kf2 h6
38. Qb5 Qa8 39. f5 $6 ({The computer does not love this move, thinking that
White should just passively hold the fort with} 39. h3 {. However, Nakamura
possibly wanted to avoid facing Black playing ...f7-f5 after which he would
really have to sit passively and wait for Black to attempt to make progress.})
39... Be7 40. g3 Bf6 41. h4 Qa2 42. Qb8+ Kh7 43. Qb1 Qa8 {Black is shuffling
around his pieces, hoping to find a way in, possibly to attack White's
advanced f-pawn, but he has to keep both the e4-pawn and the bishop on d5
protected at all times. Also, he cannot allow the queens to be traded as the
e4-pawn then will become difficult to protect.} 44. Qb5 Kg8 45. Kg1 Kh8 46. Kg2
Qa2 47. Qc5 Kh7 48. Kf2 Bd8 49. Qf8 Bf6 50. Qc5 h5 51. Kg1 Bd8 52. Qf8 Bf6 53.
Qc5 Qa8 54. Qb5 {It is clear that Black is not making any particular progress,
but he carries on...} Kg8 55. Kf2 Bc6 56. Qc5 Bd5 57. Bg5 $3 {This move shows
Nakamura's class. Even though Black has made no inroads or headway in his
attempts to break through, Nakamura is not passively waiting for something to
happen. Here he demonstrates his alertness that he can take advantage of
Black's piece coordination to exchange another piece, eliminating a sizeable
chunk of Black's remaining advantage.} Qa2 58. Qc3 Qa4 59. Bxf6 gxf6 60. Qe3 {
Now Black has to acccept that a draw is inevitable.} Qc2 61. Qe2 Qc3 62. Qe3
Qc2 63. Qe2 Qc3 64. Qe3 {½-½.} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.27"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Oparin, Grigoriy"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E36"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2674"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 O-O 7. Nf3 dxc4 8.
Qxc4 b6 9. h4 $5 ({An idea that stems from Garry Kasparov.} 9. Bg5 {is the
main line.}) 9... Ba6 ({Two of the Kasparov games saw Black play} 9... Bb7 10.
Bg5 Qd5 (10... Nbd7 11. Ne5 h6 12. Nxd7 Qxd7 13. Bxf6 gxf6 14. Rh3 f5 15. Rd1
Kh7 16. Qc1 Bd5 17. Rc3 c6 {was played in Kasparov,G (2812)-Anand,V (2783)
Saint Louis 2017, and here} 18. Qf4 {would have been better for White.}) 11.
Rc1 Nbd7 12. Qxd5 Bxd5 13. Ne5 c5 14. Bxf6 Nxf6 15. dxc5 bxc5 16. f3 Rab8 17.
e4 Ba2 18. Rc2 Bb1 19. Rd2 {with a positionally won position for White,
Kasparov,G (2812)-Aronian,L (2799) Saint Louis 2017.}) (9... c5 10. dxc5 bxc5
11. h5 h6 12. g4 Qd5 13. Qxd5 Nxd5 14. g5 hxg5 15. Bxg5 {and White was much
better in Kasparov,G (2812)-Nakamura,H (2792) Saint Louis 2017.}) 10. Qc2 c5
11. dxc5 Nbd7 ({In the game against Ding Liren, Nakamura played} 11... bxc5 12.
Rh3 Nc6 13. Bg5 Nd4 14. Nxd4 cxd4 15. Rd1 e5 16. Rf3 {, Ding Liren (2791)
-Nakamura,H (2736) chess24.com INT 2020, and here} Rc8 17. Qf5 Rc6 {would have
given Black an excellent position.}) 12. c6 Rc8 13. Bg5 Bb7 14. Nd4 Ne5 15. Rd1
Qe7 16. Rh3 Nxc6 17. Nxc6 Rxc6 {Black has equalized} 18. Qa4 $5 {An attempt by
White to play for more.} h6 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. Qxa7 {White has won a pawn, but
obviously he is behind in development and the king is stuck in the middle.} Ba8
21. Rb3 Rd8 22. Rbd3 Rdc8 23. Rd4 e5 24. R4d2 Qxh4 $1 25. g3 Qh1 $6 ({Tempting,
but} 25... Qe4 $1 {is better, when Black holds the balance.}) 26. Qe7 (26. Rd8+
Rxd8 27. Rxd8+ Kh7 28. Qd7 ({but not} 28. Qxf7 $4 Qxf1+ 29. Kxf1 Rc1+ {with
mate.}) 28... Rc1+ 29. Kd2 {and White has a clear advantage as concluded by
the commentator team.}) 26... Rf6 27. Rd8+ Rxd8 28. Qxd8+ Kh7 29. f3 Be4 30.
Rd6 Rxd6 31. Qxd6 Qg1 $1 {A very strong move that impressed co-commentator
Robert Hess.} 32. Qxe5 ({White cannot take the piece} 32. fxe4 Qxg3+ 33. Kd1 (
33. Kd2 Qf4+) 33... Qg1 {and White will have to accept a repetition if he
doesn't to lose the bishop.}) 32... Bg6 33. g4 f6 34. Qf4 Qc5 35. Qd2 f5 36.
gxf5 Bxf5 {White has an extra pawn, but the win is by no means a certainty.}
37. e3 Qe5 38. f4 Qe7 39. Bg2 h5 40. Qd4 Qh4+ 41. Kf1 Qg4 42. Qd2 h4 43. Qe2 g5
$2 ({A mistake, Black should have avoided the exchange of queens with} 43...
Qg6 {when there is still a lot of work to be done by White.}) 44. Qxg4 Bxg4 45.
Bc6 ({The computer indicates} 45. a4 Bd1 46. Bc6 {as better, but this is
almost impossible to assess accurately at the board.}) 45... Kg6 46. b4 gxf4
47. exf4 Kf6 $4 ({The engine points out that this is the final mistake. Black
could have played} 47... Bc8 $1 {and after} 48. Kf2 {, Black has the
unbelievable} Kh5 $3 {intending ...Kg4-f5, which Nakamura declared \"too much
for humans $1\"}) 48. a4 Ke7 49. Be4 Kd6 50. f5 {Black cannot stop both the
f-pawn and the a-pawn.} Bd1 51. a5 bxa5 52. bxa5 Kc5 53. f6 Bb3 54. Bd3 Kd6 55.
a6 Bd5 56. a7 Kc7 57. a8=R {1-0} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.28"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Oparin, Grigoriy"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2674"]
[BlackElo "2785"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 c5 6. O-O Nc6 7. Qa4 Bd7 8. Qxc4
b5 9. Qd3 c4 10. Qd1 Rc8 11. Bf4 h6 ({A completely new move.} 11... Be7 12. Nc3
b4 13. Nb5 Qa5 14. Nd6+ Bxd6 15. Bxd6 Ne4 16. Bf4 c3 17. Qc2 f5 {led to
interesting play in Percze,J (2544)-Minelga,D (2516) ICCF email 2013.}) (11...
Nd5 {can also be considered.}) 12. a3 ({Aimed at preventing Black from playing
...b5-b4 when White puts the knight on c3. My computer also thinks that} 12. e4
Nxe4 13. Re1 {could be interesting, but that is obvious not the kind of move
you would play if you suspect that your opponent has actually prepared 11...h6.
}) 12... g5 $6 ({When you say 'A' you must say 'B'. Or must you $2 This move
looks a little wild, but it was possibly an attempt to play for a win at all
cost.} 12... Na5 {to put a knight on b3 looks appealing.}) 13. Bd2 Bg7 14. Nc3
a6 15. e3 (15. e4 $5 {could also be considered.}) 15... O-O 16. Ne5 $1 Nxe5 17.
dxe5 Ne8 18. f4 $1 {Now, White rips Black's kingside up without mercy.} f6 $2 {
Making matters worse.} 19. Ne4 fxe5 20. Ba5 $1 {Boom $1 Maybe Aronian had
failed to properly account for this move when he play ...f7-f6 a few moves ago.
Now, White is winning.} Qxa5 21. Qxd7 Nc7 22. fxg5 hxg5 23. Nxg5 Qb6 24. h4 {
Protecting the knight in case Black captures on e3 with a check.} Rcd8 ({After
} 24... Qxe3+ {, Black quickly loses, for instance,} 25. Kh2 Qc5 ({or} 25...
Qd3 26. Rxf8+) 26. Rf7 {and game over $1}) 25. Rxf8+ Rxf8 26. Kh2 e4 27. Rd1
Kh8 28. Rd6 Qb8 29. Rc6 Ne8 30. Nxe6 Rg8 31. Ng5 {and Black resigned. A
powerful demonstration by Oparin.} 1-0
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.25"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Oparin, Grigoriy"]
[Black "Esipenko, Andrey"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E48"]
[WhiteElo "2674"]
[BlackElo "2723"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "119"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. a3 Bd6 8. Qc2
c6 9. Nge2 Re8 10. Bd2 c5 $6 ({Indicated by Oparin as a mistake after the game.
Indeed, Black has several interesting alternatives:} 10... b6 11. O-O Ba6 12.
Kh1 c5 13. Rad1 g6 14. Qb1 Bb7 15. Nf4 Nbd7 {and Black had a pleasant position,
Aronian,L (2772)-Vidit,S (2727) Berlin 2022.}) (10... Na6 11. f3 c5 12. g4 $6
c4 13. Bf5 Bxf5 14. Qxf5 {was played in Predke,A (2682)-Firouzja,A (2804)
Warsaw 2021, when} g6 {would have given Black a pleasant position.}) (10...
Nbd7 11. f3 c5 12. h4 c4 ({or} 12... a6 13. O-O-O b5 14. g4 b4 15. axb4 cxb4
16. Na4 Bb7 17. Kb1 Rc8 {and Black is pressing, Predke,A (2682)-Petrosyan,M
(2620) Warsaw 2021.}) 13. Bf5 Nf8 14. g4 Rb8 15. h5 h6 16. O-O-O b5 17. Rdg1
N8h7 {was Predke,A (2682)-Donchenko,A (2636) Warsaw 2021, and now} 18. Bxc8
Qxc8 19. e4 {would have lead to interesting play.}) (10... a5 11. O-O Ng4 12.
h3 Nh2 13. Rfe1 {was played in Predke,A (2682)-Kantor,G (2575) Warsaw 2021,
and now} Qg5 {would have been best, e.g.,} 14. Bxh7+ ({or} 14. f4 Nf3+ 15. Kh1
Qh4 {and Black cannot be worse.}) 14... Kf8 15. Kh1 Nf3 16. Bd3 Bxh3 17. gxh3
Qh5 18. Ng1 Nxg1 19. Kxg1 Qxh3 {with a draw by perpetual check.}) 11. dxc5 Bxc5
12. Nb5 {The knight is heading to d4 to block the isolated d5-pawn.} Bb6 13.
Bc3 {Yes, that d5-pawn is going nowhere.} Nc6 14. O-O Ne5 15. Nf4 a6 16. Nd4
Nxd3 17. Qxd3 Ne4 18. Nde2 Nxc3 19. Qxc3 {Black has the bishop pair against
White's pair of knights, but pieces have been exchanged, highlighting the
problems with the d5-pawn.} Bg4 20. h3 Bxe2 21. Nxe2 Qd6 22. Rfd1 {Now, White
aims the heavy artillery against Black's isolated pawn.} Rad8 23. Rd3 Rd7 24.
Rad1 Qc6 25. Qb4 Red8 26. Nc3 Bc5 27. Qg4 Bb6 28. R1d2 Ba5 $2 ({Black's best
try was} 28... h5 $5 29. Qd1 (29. Qxh5 $6 d4 {gives Black decent chances of
survival.}) 29... d4 30. exd4 h4 31. d5 Qd6 {and while White is clearly better,
Black's bishop has come to life, so maybe he can hope to survive.}) 29. b4 Bb6
30. Qd1 d4 31. exd4 a5 32. d5 Qd6 33. Ne4 Qe7 34. Re2 axb4 35. d6 Qe6 36. Rd5 (
{Or} 36. axb4 Qc4 37. Qd2 {with a decisive advantage for White.}) 36... Qg6 37.
axb4 f5 38. Nc5 Rxd6 39. Rxd6 Rxd6 {It would be fair to wonder if White has
messed things up, but that is not the case; it is simply a matter of the
advantage having transformed into something different. White is still very
much winning, in part because of Black's very vulnerable king and White's much
better-coordinated pieces.} 40. Qb3+ Kh8 41. Nxb7 ({Natural and good, but the
computer indicates something even better:} 41. Nd3 Rc6 42. Re1 Bc7 43. b5 Rf6
44. Rc1 Bd8 45. Ne5 Qe8 46. Rc8 h6 47. Qd5 Rf8 48. Rxd8 Qxd8 49. Qxd8 Rxd8 50.
Nf7+ {and White is a piece up.}) 41... Rc6 42. Nc5 Bxc5 43. bxc5 h6 44. Qd5 Kh7
45. Re5 Rf6 46. Kh2 Qg5 47. Qd4 Qc1 48. Rd5 Rf7 49. Qe5 Qc2 50. f3 $1 {No
counterplay for you.} Qa4 51. Rd6 Qa5 52. f4 Qb5 53. Re6 Qc4 54. c6 Qc2 55. Rd6
Qa4 56. h4 h5 57. Qe3 Qc4 58. Qf3 g6 59. Qe3 Qa4 60. Qd4 {1-0 A beautiful and
convincing display by Oparin. Easily a game that will find its way into
manuals about positional play in the future.} *
[Event "Chess.com"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.24"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Oparin, Grigoriy"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E73"]
[WhiteElo "2674"]
[BlackElo "2750"]
[Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"]
[PlyCount "65"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 {After a poor start, Nakamura needs to
risk, and a KID should have been expected.} 5. Be2 O-O 6. h4 {A pet line of
Artemiev. One can try many things as long as he owns the center.} c5 7. d5 e6
8. h5 exd5 9. exd5 Re8 10. h6 {According to Megabase, this move now supersedes
10.hxg6.} ({However, Artemiev successfully used the capture in the following
two games} 10. hxg6 hxg6 11. Bh6 $5 Bxh6 12. Rxh6 Kg7 13. Qd2 Rh8 14. Rxh8 Qxh8
15. Qf4 Na6 $146 ({Predecessor:} 15... Qd8 16. O-O-O a6 17. Nf3 b5 18. Ng5 Qe7
19. Rh1 Nh5 20. Bxh5 gxh5 21. Nce4 {1-0 (21) Artemiev,V (2709)-Gascon del
Nogal,J (2425) Chess.com INT 2021}) 16. a3 Bf5 17. Qxd6 Re8 18. Qf4 Ne4 19.
Nxe4 Rxe4 20. Qg3 Qe8 21. Kf1 Rd4 22. Re1 Rd2 23. Qc3+ Rd4 24. Nf3 {1-0 (24)
Artemiev,V (2709)-Ivic,V (2581) Lichess.org INT 2021}) 10... Bh8 11. Bg5 {
Oparin's strategy is crystal-clear. He wants to smother the opponent's pieces.
Therefore, Nakamura launches counterplay with every single unit that is out
there.} Qb6 12. b3 Ne4 13. Nxe4 Rxe4 14. Kf1 $1 {Not just getting out of the
pin, Oparin wants to capitalize on his lead in the development and try to
seize the e-file himself.} ({White certainly did not play as aggressively only
to chicken out with} 14. Rb1 {which is a mistake due to} Qa5+) (14. Nf3 {
is not as appealing due to} Bg4) 14... Na6 $146 {A novelty, but a risky one.} (
{Black did not do badly in the predecessor after:} 14... Re8 15. Rc1 Nd7 16.
Bd2 Qd8 17. Nf3 Nf6 18. Ng5 Ne4 19. Nxe4 Rxe4 20. g3 Bd4 21. Bf3 Qf6 $5 22. Bg5
Qxg5 23. Bxe4 Bg4 {Bacrot,E (2658)-Jones,G (2684) Malmo 2021}) ({Needless to
say, Black cannot afford to snack on an exchange} 14... Bxa1 15. Qxa1 Rd4 16.
Nf3) 15. Bd3 $1 {Played after thorough investigation.} ({White certainly did
not like} 15. a3 Rd4) ({However,} 15. Bf3 $1 {is a reasonable alternative when
White is better as well. For instance, Black cannot play} Rd4 {Due to the
strong} ({Or} 15... Re5 16. Bd2 {with the Bd2-c3 idea.}) ({Or} 15... Re8 16. a3
{restricting the knight for long.}) 16. Qe1 $1 Bd7 17. Qe7 Qc7 18. Re1 {
and once the e-file gets occupied by the major white pieces, there is hardly
anything to play for.}) 15... Bg4 {A spoiler, Black wants the enemy pawn to
take away the square from the knight.} ({Here too} 15... Rd4 {is well met with}
16. Qe2 $1 Bd7 17. Re1 $1 {and White is already winning.}) ({Whereas} 15... Re8
16. a3 {is very gloomy for Black.}) 16. f3 ({Nakamura would have been happy to
see} 16. Qc1 Rd4) 16... Rd4 17. Qe2 $1 {The same idea as the lines from above
works beautifully for White.} Bd7 ({There is no time for} 17... Rxd3 18. Re1 $1
) 18. Re1 {Oparin got the open file, and now Black is in major danger.} Nb4 {
But Nakamura tries again to be aggressive and receives in return} 19. Bxg6 $3 {
What should have been a deadly blow.} Nxd5 $1 {A desperate try and a
psychological blow. Everything hangs in the air.} ({Black is quickly getting
mated after} 19... hxg6 20. h7+ Kg7 21. Qe7) ({The other capture also leads to
a mate, but after a very subtle and pretty play} 19... fxg6 20. Qe7 Rxd5 21.
Re6 $3 {Threatening to capture the g6-pawn and mate with h6-h7. Then} Be8 {
is the only temporary defense, but here comes} (21... Rd1+ 22. Ke2 Be8 23. Rf6
$1 {changes nothing.}) ({There is no salvation after} 21... Bxe6 22. Qxe6+ Kf8
23. Be7+ Ke8 24. Bf6+ Kf8 25. Bxh8) 22. Rf6 $1 Bxf6 23. Qe6+ $3 {The key point
$1 The bishop should be lured to the f7-square.} ({Black would defend after}
23. Qxf6 Qc7) 23... Kf8 ({Or} 23... Bf7 24. Qxf6 {which would lead to the same.
}) 24. Qxf6+ Bf7 25. Qh8+ Bg8 26. Qg7+ Ke8 27. Qe7# {It is pretty amusing that
White mates without his kingside pieces.}) 20. Bxh7+ {This is just too little
from the position $1 A pity for Oparin.} ({The nice deflection} 20. Bf5 $3 {
would have sealed the game after} Qc7 (20... Bxf5 21. Qe8+ Rxe8 22. Rxe8#) 21.
Bxd7 Qxd7 22. cxd5) 20... Kxh7 21. Qc2+ ({Surely not} 21. cxd5 $4 Bb5) 21... f5
22. cxd5 Be5 23. Ne2 {Now Nakamura escapes.} ({White would have still been
winning after} 23. f4 $1 Bb5+ 24. Ne2 Bd3 25. Qc1 Bh8 26. Kg1 Re4 27. Ng3 {
as he would have added an attack to his extra pawn.}) 23... Qa6 $1 {Black
squeezes the best out of his pieces.} 24. Kf2 Qd3 $1 {The endgame is what
Black should be looking for indeed $1} ({Instead} 24... Rxd5 {loses to} 25. f4
Bh8 26. Nc3) 25. Qxd3 {Oparin played the safest move, but this promised him
little.} ({It is, however, understandable why White avoided} 25. Qc1 $1 {
The line} Bb5 $1 26. Nxd4 ({But the cold-blooded machine points out that White
should be still in control with} 26. Kg1 $1) 26... Qxd4+ $1 27. Be3 {And now
the stunning} (27. Qe3 f4 $1) 27... f4 $3 {speaks for itself, and Black is
winning then} 28. Bxd4 Bxd4+ 29. Re3 Bxe3+ 30. Qxe3 fxe3+) 25... Rxd3 26. Rd1 (
{The last little hope is} 26. Nf4 $5 Rd2+ 27. Re2 Rxe2+ 28. Nxe2 {although the
bishops should still compensate Black enough for the pawn.}) 26... Rxd1 27.
Rxd1 a5 $1 {The rook is entering the game, and it all quickly peters out into
a draw.} 28. Rd3 a4 29. Re3 axb3 30. axb3 Ra2 31. Kg1 Ra1+ 32. Kf2 Ra2 33. Kg1
{PLAY CHESS, NOT WAR.} 1/2-1/2
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.27"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Predke, Alexandr"]
[Black "Shankland, Sam"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "A34"]
[WhiteElo "2682"]
[BlackElo "2704"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. b3 $6 ({A very odd-looking move.
The main lines are} 5. g3 {,}) (5. d4 {,}) (5. e4 {,}) ({and} 5. e3 {.}) 5...
Nc6 ({In the only game with 5.b3, Black played} 5... Nxc3 {, the move White
honestly is hoping for:} 6. dxc3 Qxd1+ $6 (6... Qc7 {is better}) 7. Kxd1 Bf5 8.
Nd2 Nd7 9. e4 {(Now White has the advantage)} Bg6 10. Be2 $6 (10. f3) 10...
O-O-O 11. Kc2 (11. h4 $5) 11... e6 12. f3 Bd6 (12... f5 $5) 13. Nc4 Bc7 14. Be3
f5 {and Black had just about equalized, Dragomarezkij,E (2325)-Baikov,V (2345)
Moscow 1989.}) 6. Nxd5 Qxd5 7. e3 Bf5 8. Bc4 Qd7 9. Bb2 {White has the
marginally better chances, but objectively, Black should be doing okay.} e6 10.
O-O Bd3 11. Bxd3 Qxd3 12. Rc1 Rd8 13. b4 $6 ({Predke wanted to shake up the
game a bit and chose this pawn sacrifice to do it. The safer and more solid
approach was} 13. Rc3 {although Black is then completely okay.}) 13... Qb5 ({
Let's have a look at what happens if Black captures the pawn directly:} 13...
Nxb4 $2 14. Ne5 Qd6 15. Qa4+ Nc6 16. d4 {and White has a strong initiative and
clear advantage.}) (13... cxb4 $5 14. Ne5 Qb5 15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. Qf3 c5 17. a3
b3 18. Rfd1 {and White has, more or less, sufficient compensation for the
sacrificed pawn, but certainly not more than that.}) 14. Ne5 cxb4 15. Nxc6 bxc6
16. Qc2 $6 (16. Qf3) 16... f6 17. d4 (17. Qxc6+ $2 Qxc6 18. Rxc6 Rxd2 {wins
for Black.}) 17... Rc8 18. Rfd1 $2 ({After this move, Black is simply a pawn
up and should be well on the way to winning. According to Shankland after the
game, White should have played} 18. e4 Be7 19. d5 exd5 ({or} 19... c5 20. Rfd1
{is a mess, according to Shankland.}) 20. Rfe1 d4 {and Black has the better
chances.}) 18... Be7 19. e4 Kf7 20. Qb3 Rhd8 21. Qh3 Qe2 {Now, Black wins
another pawn. The rest is desperation on White's part and he never got close
to even reducing Black's massive advantage.} 22. Qb3 Qxe4 23. Re1 Qd5 24. Qh3
h5 25. Re2 Qf5 26. Qb3 Qd5 27. Qh3 c5 28. Rce1 Rc6 29. f4 cxd4 30. f5 e5 31.
Qxh5+ Kg8 32. Re4 Rc2 33. Bxd4 exd4 34. Qh3 Rc3 35. g3 Bc5 36. Re8+ Rxe8 37.
Rxe8+ Bf8 {0-1} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.23"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Predke, Alexandr"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2682"]
[BlackElo "2778"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,62,21,14,14,12,21,20,13,6,10,10,19,15,32,32,36,15,19,16,24,22,35,22,
22,7,17,8,11,12,33,0,0,0,0,12,12,12,12,0,27,19,19,3,-7,35,30,31,31,0,12,20,64,
62,51,57,54,29,31,28,30,34,28,22,3]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6
5. d3 d6 6. c3 a6 ({In the first leg of the Grand Prix, So gave preference to
the more trendy} 6... a5 {and won a good game against Dominguez Perez:} 7. Re1
Ba7 8. Nbd2 O-O 9. h3 Be6 10. Bb5 Ne7 11. d4 Ng6 12. Ba4 Nh5 13. Nf1 Nhf4 14.
Ng3 exd4 15. Nxd4 Bxd4 16. cxd4 d5 17. Qf3 Qf6 18. Bd1 Qh4 19. Bd2 c6 20. Rc1
f5 21. exf5 Bxf5 22. Nxf5 Rxf5 23. Qg3 Qxg3 24. fxg3 Nd3 25. Bc2 Rf2 26. Bxd3
Rxd2 27. Bxg6 hxg6 28. Re7 Rxb2 29. Rce1 Rf8 30. Rd7 Rff2 31. Ree7 Rxg2+ 32.
Kf1 Kh7 33. h4 Kh6 34. Re5 Rbf2+ 35. Ke1 Rxa2 36. Kf1 Rh2 37. Kg1 Rag2+ 38. Kf1
Rb2 39. Kg1 Rhd2 {0-1 (39) Dominguez Perez,L (2752)-So,W (2772) Berlin 2022})
7. a4 O-O 8. h3 Ba7 9. Nbd2 Re8 10. b4 ({A new idea in grandmaster chess.
Previously, players like Vachier-Lagrave, Anand, Giri, and others, had given
preference to} 10. Re1 {.}) 10... Be6 ({Or} 10... Ne7 11. Qb3 Rf8 12. d4 Ng6
13. Re1 Nh5 14. Nf1 Nhf4 15. Ng3 {with a slightly better position for White,
Zhekov,Z (2326)-Pineda,J (2343) GER email 2017.}) 11. Bxe6 Rxe6 12. Qc2 h6 13.
Rd1 Qd7 14. Nf1 d5 {It looks like Black is close to equality, but White's
space advantage on the queenside always gives him some pressure.} 15. Bd2 Rd8
16. exd5 Nxd5 17. b5 {White starts his queenside expansion.} Nce7 18. c4 Nf6
19. Bc3 Ng6 20. d4 $1 {White needs to break in the center and this is the
right time to do so.} exd4 21. Bxd4 Bxd4 22. Nxd4 Rd6 23. Ne3 Qe8 ({Of course,
} 23... Rxd4 $4 24. Rxd4 Qxd4 25. Rd1 {is out of the question.}) 24. Nef5 R6d7
25. bxa6 $6 ({White could have played better in this position with} 25. c5 $1
axb5 26. Re1 Qf8 27. c6 $1 bxc6 28. Nxc6 Ra8 29. a5 $1 {and White has a
comfortable advantage; the steeds on c6 and f5 control a lot of important
squares, while Black's pieces are passively looking at White's much- better
coordinated pieces.}) 25... c5 $6 ({Black also had} 25... bxa6 26. Re1 Qf8 27.
Nc6 Re8 28. Rxe8 Qxe8 29. Rb1 Qe4 {with close to equal chances.}) 26. Re1 Qf8
27. Nf3 bxa6 28. Rab1 Rb8 29. Qc3 (29. Ne3 $5) 29... Rxb1 30. Rxb1 Qd8 31. Qe3
Rd1+ {½-½} ({and draw agreed; after} 31... Rd1+ 32. Rxd1 Qxd1+ 33. Kh2 Qxa4
34. Qxc5 Qd7 {, neither side is in danger of winning.}) *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.22"]
[Round "1.6"]
[White "Predke, Alexandr"]
[Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "A33"]
[WhiteElo "2682"]
[BlackElo "2761"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. g3 Qb6 7. Ndb5 Ne5 8.
Bf4 Nfg4 {Counterattack $1} 9. e3 a6 10. Qa4 ({Last year, Giri tried} 10. h3 {
against Vachier-Lagrave:} axb5 11. hxg4 Nxc4 12. Qb3 d5 13. Bxc4 dxc4 14. Qxb5+
Qxb5 15. Nxb5 Bb4+ 16. Ke2 Ke7 17. a3 Bc5 18. Rhd1 Bd7 19. Bd6+ Bxd6 20. Nxd6
b5 21. Nxf7 Rhc8 22. Ne5 Be8 23. Kd2 Rc5 24. f4 c3+ 25. bxc3 Rac8 26. Rdc1 h6
27. e4 Rd8+ 28. Ke3 Rdc8 29. Kd4 R5c7 30. c4 Rd8+ 31. Ke3 Rdc8 32. Rc3 bxc4 33.
Rb1 Ba4 34. Rb6 Bb3 35. f5 exf5 36. gxf5 Kf8 37. Kf4 Kg8 38. g4 Rc5 39. Ng6
R5c7 40. g5 hxg5+ 41. Kxg5 Bd1 42. e5 {1-0 (42) Giri,A (2776)-Vachier-Lagrave,
M (2749) Zagreb 2021}) 10... g5 $5 ({A very sharp option for Black. Two
alternatives were} 10... Rb8) ({and} 10... Ra7 {.}) 11. Bxe5 Nxe5 12. O-O-O Rb8
({Interestingly, Vachier-Lagrave had played this position 10 years ago in the
Istanbul Olympiad, but from the white side. In that game, Black continued}
12... Be7 13. Be2 O-O 14. Nd4 Qb4 ({or} 14... d6 15. f4 Nc6 16. Ne4 Bd7 17. Qb3
Qxb3 18. Nxb3 Nb4 {with equal chances in Timman,J (2607)-Duda,J (2553) Wijk
aan Zee 2014, even though White later won the game against the young Polish
grandmaster.}) 15. Qxb4 Bxb4 16. f4 gxf4 17. gxf4 Ng6 18. h4 {(White had a
clear advantage at this point.)} b6 19. h5 Ne7 20. Ne4 d5 21. Rhg1+ Kh8 22. Nf6
Bc5 23. h6 Ng8 24. Nxg8 Rxg8 25. Rxg8+ Kxg8 26. Rg1+ Kh8 27. Rg7 e5 28. fxe5
Be6 29. cxd5 Bxd5 30. Bd3 Bf8 31. Rxh7+ Kg8 32. e6 fxe6 33. Bg6 Rd8 34. Kc2 Rd6
35. Rc7 Bxh6 36. e4 Bxe4+ 37. Bxe4 Rxd4 38. Bd3 Bf4 39. Rc6 Rd6 40. Rxd6 Bxd6
41. Bxa6 {1/2-1/2 (41) Vachier Lagrave,M (2686)-Dominguez Perez,L (2725)
Istanbul 2012}) 13. Nd4 Bg7 ({A good alternative is} 13... Qb4 14. Qc2 Be7 $2 (
14... b6 15. a3 Qe7 {would have been fine for Black.}) 15. a3 Qa5 16. f4 Nc6
17. Nb3 {with a pleasant position for White, Rambaldi,F (2560)-Abdumalik,Z
(2390) Doha 2015.}) 14. Qc2 O-O $2 ({With a pawn on g5, castling seems like a
questionable choice at first glance, but I suspect that the French grandmaster
had overlooked or underestimated White's next move. If he instead had tried}
14... Qc7 $1 {, he seemed to be in good shape, for instance,} 15. Ne4 b6 16. f4
({or} 16. Nxg5 $2 Bb7 17. Rg1 Rc8 {and Black is clearly better.}) 16... Ng4 17.
Qe2 Nf6 18. Nxf6+ Bxf6 {with an incredibly complex position where both sides
have their share of the chances.}) 15. g4 $3 Nxg4 $2 ({The principled choice,
but also, it seems, the wrong choice. A better try for Black was} 15... d5 {
although} 16. h4 gxh4 17. Rxh4 Ng6 18. Rh1 dxc4 19. f4 {looks very good for
White.}) 16. h4 gxh4 17. Rxh4 f5 {Necessary and, while it is not entirely
clear yet on the board, the engines are thinking that White's position is
close to winning already.} 18. Be2 Nf6 19. e4 Nxe4 $2 ({Black should probably
have tried} 19... Qc5 {even if} 20. exf5 e5 21. Nf3 b5 22. Bd3 {would be much
better for White.}) 20. Nxe4 Bxd4 ({Black would, of course, not survive} 20...
fxe4 21. Qxe4 h6 22. Rg1 {with a crushing attack for White.}) 21. Rg1+ Kf7 22.
c5 Qb4 23. a3 ({Black resigned. Black loses material, for instance,} 23. a3
Qxb2+ ({or} 23... Qa5 24. Nd6+ Ke7 25. Rxd4) 24. Qxb2 Bxb2+ 25. Kxb2 fxe4 26.
Rf4+ Ke7 27. Rg7+ Ke8 28. Bh5+ {and the black rook on f8 would fall.}) *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.25"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Shankland, Sam"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D73"]
[WhiteElo "2778"]
[BlackElo "2704"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,60,25,25,29,15,41,22,22,16,16,13,18,8,18,-5,10,-9,9,0,28,-11,-7,-7,-6,
-27,12,12,37,28,22,8,5,14,29,8,15,9,9,19,33,26,13,-2,-27,-28,-16,-23,-23,-22,
-20,-20,-19,-25,-28,-20,-23,-16,-18,-14,-14,-16,-9]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3
c6 {An ultra-solid approach by Black.} 4. Bg2 d5 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Nf3
O-O 8. Ne5 {For the uninitiated, this knight move can look a little odd; you
move a knight for the second time and you do not threaten anything. The point
is to discourage Black from playing ...Nc6, as it will saddle Black with a
backward pawn on the open c-file.} Bf5 ({Despite what I explained above, Black
frequently still plays} 8... Nc6 {.}) ({The other main line is} 8... e6 {
, both are considered marginally better for White. Shankland's choice is less
common but, of course, perfectly playable.}) 9. Bf4 (9. O-O {is more common
but not considered a problem for Black.}) 9... Qb6 (9... Ne4 10. Qb3 Nc6 11.
Qxd5 Bxe5 12. Bxe5 Nxc3 13. Qxd8 Raxd8 14. Bxc6 Nxe2 15. Bxb7 Nxd4 16. Rd1 Nb5
17. O-O f6 18. a4 fxe5 19. axb5 Bd3 20. Rfe1 Bxb5 21. Rxd8 Rxd8 22. Rxe5 Rd1+
23. Kg2 Bf1+ 24. Kf3 Kf8 25. Rd5 Rb1 26. Rd2 Bc4 27. Be4 Ra1 28. h4 Be6 29. Ke3
Kf7 30. Bd5 {1/2-1/2 (30) Cheparinov,I (2681)-Mchedlishvili,M (2618) Kocaeli
2014}) 10. Qb3 (10. O-O Qxb2 11. Nxd5 Nxd5 12. Bxd5 Nc6 13. Bxc6 Bxe5 14. dxe5
bxc6 15. Re1 c5 16. Qc1 Qxc1 17. Rexc1 Rfc8 18. Be3 c4 19. Bd4 a6 20. f3 Rab8
21. g4 {1/2-1/2 (21) Mchedlishvili,M (2609)-Ragger,M (2658) Germany 2014})
10... Nc6 ({Or} 10... Qxb3 11. axb3 Nc6 12. Nxc6 (12. Ra4 $5) 12... bxc6 13.
Ra6 {with a marginal plus for White as he can attack the pawns on both a7 and
c6, whereas the pawns on the b-file are perfectly safe because of the bishop
on f4.}) 11. Qxb6 axb6 12. e3 Ra5 13. O-O h6 14. h4 {White has a small plus,
but it is a very small advantage.} Rfa8 15. Rac1 e6 16. Bf3 g5 $1 {A brilliant
defensive move by Shankland that forces White to let go of his stronghold in
the center.} 17. hxg5 hxg5 18. Nxc6 ({If} 18. Bxg5 {then} Nxe5 19. dxe5 Nd7 {
and it is actually Black who has the upper hand.}) 18... bxc6 19. Bxg5 c5 20.
dxc5 $6 {An odd decision as Black now takes over the initiative.} (20. a3 {
was better.}) 20... bxc5 21. Rfd1 Bg4 22. Kg2 Bxf3+ 23. Kxf3 Nd7 24. Be7 Bxc3
25. Rxc3 Rxa2 $6 (25... Rb5 $5 {would have maintained an edge for Black.}) 26.
Bxc5 Nxc5 27. Rxc5 Rxb2 28. Rcc1 Raa2 29. Rf1 Kg7 30. Rb1 Rxb1 {and having
reached move 30, the players agreed upon a draw.} 1/2-1/2
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.23"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Tabatabaei, M. Amin"]
[Black "Giri, Anish"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D13"]
[WhiteElo "2623"]
[BlackElo "2771"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Bf4 Nc6 7. e3 Bg4 8. h3
Bxf3 9. Qxf3 e6 10. Bd3 Bd6 ({Or} 10... h6 11. O-O Bd6 12. Na4 O-O 13. a3 b5
14. Bxd6 Qxd6 15. Nc5 e5 16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Qf4 Qxc5 18. Qxe5 {and White had a
comfortable edge in Tabatabaei,M (2629)-Sevian,S (2660) Chess.com INT 2020.})
11. Bg5 Nb4 ({Giri had previously played} 11... Be7 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. O-O O-O
14. Rac1 g6 15. a3 h5 {with equal chances in Firouzja,A (2759) -Giri,A (2776)
chess24.com INT 2021.}) 12. Bb1 Be7 13. O-O O-O 14. a3 (14. Rd1 Ne8 15. Bxe7
Qxe7 16. a3 Nc6 17. e4 dxe4 18. Bxe4 Nd6 19. Bxc6 bxc6 20. Qxc6 Rfc8 21. Qf3
Rab8 22. Qe2 Qb7 23. d5 e5 24. Qxe5 Nc4 25. Qd4 Nxb2 26. Rdb1 Qb3 27. Nd1 Qc4 {
1-0 (27) Aghamaliyev,C (2440) -Lukacs,P (2490) Szekszard 1994}) 14... Nc6 15.
Bd3 ({In an old classic, White tried} 15. Qe2 Ne8 (15... Rc8 16. Bd3 h6 17. Bf4
Na5 {would have been a better option.}) 16. Qd3 (16. Bf4 f5 17. Na4 $5) 16...
f5 17. Bf4 Nd6 18. Ba2 Rc8 {was played in Kamsky,G (2655)-Gelfand,B (2685)
Tilburg 1992, and here} 19. Na4 {would have promised White the somewhat better
chances.}) 15... Ne8 ({The first new move. Previously, Black had tried} 15...
h6 16. Bh4 Rc8 17. Rfc1 Na5 18. Qd1 Nd7 19. Bg3 Nb6 20. Rab1 {with a small
advantage for White, Tleptsok,R (2521) -Bogatov,$146 (2374) ICCF email 2015.})
(15... Rc8 16. Rfc1 Na5 17. Qd1 Nc4 18. Qe2 Qd7 19. Bh4 Rc6 20. e4 {and White
had some initiative in Karlsson,S-Smith,S IECG email 1994.}) 16. Bf4 Bd6 17.
Rac1 Qf6 18. Bxd6 Qxf3 19. gxf3 Nxd6 20. Na4 Rfd8 21. Rc3 g6 22. Rfc1 e5 23.
dxe5 $6 (23. Nb6 $1 Rab8 24. dxe5 Nxe5 25. Be2 {was a better try, offering
White a small but clear advantage.}) 23... Nxe5 24. Be2 d4 $5 25. Rc5 $6 ({
If White were playing for an advantage, he should have tried} 25. exd4 {
but after} Nd7 26. Rc7 Rab8 {, Black should be okay.}) 25... d3 26. Rxe5 dxe2
27. Nc3 Nc4 28. Re4 Nxb2 29. Nxe2 b5 {If anybody, Black is the side with the
better chances.} 30. Re7 Nc4 31. a4 Kf8 32. Rc7 Nd2 33. axb5 Nxf3+ 34. Kg2 Nh4+
35. Kf1 axb5 36. Nd4 Rdb8 37. Rb1 Rb6 38. Rc5 b4 39. Rc4 Ra4 40. Nc2 Nf3 41.
Rcxb4 Rbxb4 42. Rxb4 Ra2 43. Kg2 {½-½.} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.27"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Tabatabaei, M. Amin"]
[Black "Yu Yangyi"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D38"]
[WhiteElo "2623"]
[BlackElo "2713"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "138"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,37,14,14,17,-12,0,-3,23,23,35,6,-13,12,10,-23,-7,-5,30,30,78,82,70,63,
83,69,78,35,20,17,30,-100,-71,-35,-61,-26,-75,-97,-41,-41]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. a4 $5 ({A new move. The normal}
7. e3 O-O {has been played hundreds of times before.}) 7... Ne4 ({Aggressive
and ambitious. An alternative was} 7... O-O 8. Ba3 Qa5 9. Bxc5 Qxc3+ 10. Nd2
Re8 {with sharp play and chances to both sides.}) 8. e3 Nxc3 $6 {This move is
the beginning of an adventure Black should not have pursued.} (8... O-O {
was still an option.}) 9. Qc2 cxd4 $2 10. Nxd4 Ne4 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Bb5+ ({
White would have had a clear advantage after} 12. f3 Nd6 13. Ba3 O-O 14. Nb5 {
but the text move is also excellent.}) 12... Bd7 13. Ba3 Qa5+ 14. Ke2 Nc6 15.
Bxc6 $2 ({This capture, however, is a clear mistake. With} 15. f3 Nxd4+ 16.
exd4 Bxb5+ 17. axb5 Qxb5+ 18. Ke3 Ng5 19. Kf2 {, Black has massive problems
with his king and the two extra pawns will not bring him any joy.}) 15... bxc6
16. Rhc1 c5 17. Bxc5 $2 ({Now, White ends up in serious trouble. It was
necessary to play} 17. f3 {when} cxd4 18. fxe4 f6 19. exd4 Kf7 20. e5 {leads
to sharp play and chances to both sides. Neither king is as safe as he would
like to be.}) 17... Rc8 18. Nb3 Qa6+ 19. Ke1 Nxc5 20. Nxc5 Qd6 21. Qc3 O-O {
Black's king got to safety, but White's king is bopping around in the middle
with no real prospect of finding a place to chill.} 22. Qd4 Bf5 23. g3 {
An ugly necessity. The weakening of the light squares is not what White wants
and it will cause problems in the long run.} Rc6 24. Rc3 h5 25. Rac1 Rfc8 26.
a5 Bg4 27. Kd2 Qb8 $1 {Putting pressure on White; now, Black is threatening ...
Qb2+ in some lines.} 28. Nd3 Rc4 $1 {Another tricky move to deal with for
White.} 29. Qxd5 $4 ({White blunders. It was necessary to play} 29. Rxc4 dxc4
30. Rxc4 Rd8 31. Rb4 Qc7 32. Qc3 Qxa5 {when Black has the upper hand, but
White is still alive, even if his king is not a happy camper with a tent as
drafty as is the case here.}) 29... Rxc3 30. Rxc3 Rd8 31. Qb3 Qa8 $1 {Yes,
Black has not forgotten about those light squares. The reversed
Romeo-and-Juliet: the black queen wants to visit the white king.} 32. a6 Qh1
33. Rc5 Qf1 {The black queen is definitely making her presense known in the
bed chamber of the white king.} ({But} 33... Qf3 {was possibly even stronger
as White then would not be able to play Rd5 like in the game.}) 34. Rd5 Rc8 35.
Rc5 Rd8 36. Rd5 Rc8 37. Rc5 {Repetitions to get closer to the time control.}
Rxc5 38. Nxc5 Qxf2+ 39. Kd3 Qxh2 40. Qb8+ Kh7 41. Qxa7 Qe2+ 42. Kc3 Qxe3+ 43.
Kb4 Qe1+ 44. Kb5 Be2+ 45. Kc6 Bf3+ 46. Kb5 Qe2+ 47. Kb4 Qd2+ 48. Kb5 Qb2+ 49.
Kc4 Bc6 ({The computer favors} 49... Be2+ 50. Kd5 Bb5 {with a winning position
for Black.}) 50. Nb3 Qc2+ 51. Kb4 Bd5 52. Nd4 Qc4+ 53. Ka5 Qc3+ 54. Ka4 Qxg3 {
Black has two extra pawns and a long-range bishop. White has an advanced
a-pawn and a short-range knight. It should be a foregone conclusion...} 55. Qd7
Qg2 56. Kb5 h4 57. a7 h3 58. Qf5+ ({Note that} 58. Nc6 {loses after} Bxc6+ 59.
Qxc6 Qxc6+ 60. Kxc6 h2 61. a8=Q h1=Q+ {, picking up the queen on a8.}) 58... g6
59. Qf6 h2 $4 ({It is easy to be clever afterwards when you sit in the comfort
of your home with an engine running. When at the board, with the clock ticking
and an opponent sitting across of you, it is an entirely different matter. The
text move is a major mistake that makes the win far more complicated. He
should have played} 59... Qe4 {when} 60. a8=Q Bxa8 61. Qxf7+ Kh6 62. Qf6 Kh5 {
wins rather easily for Black. However, the text move also looked winning.}) 60.
a8=Q $1 Bxa8 $4 ({Black's last chance to win consisted of} 60... Qb2+ 61. Kc5
Bxa8 62. Qxf7+ Kh6 63. Qf4+ Kh5 64. Qe5+ Kg4 65. Qe6+ Kh4 {when only Black can
win, but with such an open king and little chance that the bishop on a8 and
queen on b2 will be of assistance any time soon, it is far from obvious. After
the text move, White forces the draw.}) 61. Qh4+ Kg8 62. Qd8+ Kh7 63. Qh4+ Kg7
64. Ne6+ $1 {Boom $1 Now, the black king will not be able to escape.} fxe6 65.
Qe7+ Kg8 66. Qe8+ Kh7 67. Qe7+ Kh6 68. Qh4+ Kg7 69. Qe7+ Kg8 {and like the
tragic ending in Romeo and Juliet; Black had to settle for a very
unsatisfactory outcome: ½-½} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.25"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Predke, Alexandr"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C92"]
[WhiteElo "2761"]
[BlackElo "2682"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,61,25,28,25,47,17,15,16,1,-4,9,11,-20,6,-3,12,-22,-16,-7,5,-12,-10,
-15,-14,1,3,3,10,12,21,8,8,4,15,3,12,1,23,32,67,5,57,9,41,-20,46,49,51,36,29,1,
11,8,27,12,26,16,21,31,69,25,49,23]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6
5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 $5 (7... O-O {, threatening to play a Marshall
Gambit after 8.c3 d5 seems to be the preferred move these days, but maybe
Predke does not care all that much about the Marshall or would rather play a
traditional main line Ruy Lopez than against one of the many Anti-Marshall
variations.}) 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Re8 10. d4 Bb7 {This is the main tabiya of the
Zaitsev Variation which was tested, it seemed endless amount of times, in the
world championship matches between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in the
late 1980s and early 1990s.} 11. a3 ({This pawn move is quite rare but has
several functions. First and foremost, the bishop retreats to a2 from where it
can support the advance of the c-pawn; secondly, if Black tries to clear the
center by breaking with ...c7-c6, the bishop all of a sudden springs back to
life applying pressure on the diagonal toward Black's king on g8. White's
light-squared bishop is often looking somewhat ugly, stuck behind a wedge of
pawns. But the Spanish bishop is an important piece and often plays a decisive
role later in the game. The main line is} 11. Nbd2 {which Predke has faced
several times, for instance,} Bf8 12. Bc2 ({In the Russian Championship
Superfinal, Maxim Matlakov went for} 12. a4 h6 13. Bc2 Rb8 14. Bb1 b4 15. a5
bxc3 16. bxc3 exd4 17. cxd4 Nb4 18. Ra3 d5 19. e5 Ne4 20. Nxe4 dxe4 21. Bxe4
Bxe4 22. Rxe4 Qd5 23. Qe2 Re6 24. Bd2 Rb5 25. Rc3 c6 26. Rc4 Qd8 27. Ne1 Qd5
28. Rg4 c5 29. Nf3 Rxa5 30. dxc5 Ra1+ 31. Kh2 Nc6 32. Bc3 Rc1 33. Bb2 Rb1 34.
Qc2 Rf1 35. Qe2 Rb1 36. Qc2 Rf1 37. Qe2 {, and draw agreed, ½-½, Matlakov,M
(2682)-Predke,A (2666) Ufa 2021.}) 12... Nb8 13. b3 Nbd7 14. d5 c6 15. c4 Nb6
16. Rb1 Qc7 17. Bd3 Nfd7 18. Ba3 Nc5 19. Bf1 Qd7 20. Rc1 {(At this point,
White had a clear advantage)} Rac8 21. Bxc5 dxc5 22. a4 b4 23. a5 Na8 24. h4
Nc7 25. g3 Rcd8 26. Bg2 Bc8 27. Nf1 cxd5 28. cxd5 Nb5 29. Ne3 Qc7 30. Ra1 g6
31. Qd3 $2 f5 32. h5 fxe4 33. Qxe4 Nd6 34. Qh4 Be7 35. Qh1 e4 36. Nd2 Bf6 37.
Rad1 Bc3 38. Re2 $2 Re5 39. hxg6 hxg6 40. Qh6 Qg7 41. Qh4 Rf8 42. Ndc4 Rh5 43.
Nxd6 Rxh4 44. gxh4 Bd7 45. Nxe4 Bd4 46. d6 Qh8 47. Nc2 Bg4 48. Nxd4 cxd4 49. f3
Bf5 50. Red2 Bxe4 51. fxe4 Qxh4 52. d7 Kg7 53. Rf1 Rxf1+ 54. Kxf1 Qf4+ 55. Ke1
Qd6 56. Bh3 d3 57. Bf1 Qg3+ 58. Kd1 Qf3+ 59. Ke1 Qxe4+ 60. Kf2 Qf4+ 61. Kg1
Qd4+ 62. Kg2 Qd5+ 63. Kg1 Qxd7 64. Rxd3 Qf5 65. Rg3 Qxa5 66. Bd3 g5 67. Kf2
Qc5+ 68. Ke2 a5 69. Rf3 Qe5+ 70. Kf2 Qd4+ 71. Kf1 g4 72. Rg3 Qf4+ 73. Kg2 Qd2+
74. Kg1 Kf6 75. Bf1 Qd4+ 76. Kg2 Qe4+ 77. Kf2 Qf4+ 78. Kg2 Kg5 79. Be2 Kh4 80.
Rd3 Qe5 81. Bf1 g3 82. Kg1 Qc5+ 83. Kh1 Qf2 {0-1 (83) Yu,Y (2713)-Predke,A
(2682) Belgrade 2022.}) 11... h6 12. Ba2 ({In their game in the second leg of
the Grand Prix, the French grandmaster instead went for} 12. Nbd2 Bf8 13. Bc2 (
{Another somewhat older game by Vachier-Lagrave saw} 13. d5 Nb8 14. Nh2 Nbd7
15. Qf3 c6 16. dxc6 Bxc6 17. Ng4 Qe7 18. Nf1 Nxg4 19. hxg4 Qf6 20. Ne3 Qxf3 21.
gxf3 Nb6 22. Rd1 Rac8 23. Nd5 Nxd5 24. Bxd5 Bxd5 25. Rxd5 Rc4 26. Be3 f6 27.
Kf1 Kf7 28. Ke2 Ke6 29. Kd3 g6 30. Rh1 Re7 31. f4 Rxe4 32. Rxd6+ Kxd6 33. Kxe4
exf4+ {1/2-1/2 (33) Vachier Lagrave,M (2754)-Svidler,P (2734) Khanty-Mansiysk
2015}) 13... Nb8 14. b3 Nbd7 15. Bb2 Rc8 16. a4 Rb8 17. axb5 axb5 18. Bd3 d5
19. dxe5 $4 dxe4 20. Nxe4 Nxe5 21. Nxe5 Rxe5 22. Qb1 Bxe4 23. Bxe4 Rxe4 24.
Rxe4 Nxe4 25. Qxe4 Qd2 {(Black was clearly better at this point in the game)}
26. Rb1 Bc5 27. Qf5 Be7 28. Ba1 Bf6 29. c4 Bxa1 30. Rxa1 bxc4 31. bxc4 Qc3 32.
Rd1 Qxc4 33. Rd7 Re8 34. Kh2 c6 35. Rc7 Qe6 36. Qxe6 Rxe6 37. f4 g6 38. g4 Kf8
39. Kg2 Re2+ 40. Kf3 Rc2 41. h4 Rc4 42. h5 Kg7 43. hxg6 Kxg6 44. Rd7 Rc1 45.
Rd6+ Kg7 46. Kg3 c5 47. Rc6 Rc3+ 48. Kh4 Rc4 49. Kg3 Rc1 50. Kh4 c4 51. g5
hxg5+ 52. Kxg5 c3 53. Kf5 c2 {1/2-1/2 (53) Vachier Lagrave,M (2761)-Predke,A
(2682) Belgrade 2022}) 12... Qd7 13. d5 Na7 14. b3 c6 15. c4 Nc8 16. Nc3 Bd8
17. Be3 Ne7 18. Rc1 cxd5 19. cxd5 {White has a small but comfortable advantage.
} Bc8 20. Nh4 Qb7 21. Qd2 Kh7 22. f4 $5 {Time to open the kingside.} Ng6 23.
Nxg6 fxg6 24. Bb1 Bb6 $6 ({It was better to play} 24... b4 25. axb4 exf4 26.
Bxf4 Qxb4 {with close to equal chances.}) 25. Kh2 (25. Ne2 $5) 25... Bxe3 26.
Qxe3 exf4 27. Qxf4 Re5 (27... Qe7 {followed by ...Bd7 was better, keeping the
e5-square accessible to force an exchange of queens if necessary.}) 28. Ne2 Bd7
29. Nd4 g5 30. Qf2 g4 31. h4 g3+ {Inviting the king to g3 and exposing some
weak light-squares on the kingside.} 32. Kxg3 {Pawn $2 Me like pawn. Like the
Cookie Monster in Sesame Street, this king does not mind going out of his way
for a tasty treat.} Rf8 33. Nf3 $6 (33. Qd2 {was more accurate.}) 33... Be8 $2
(33... Bg4 {would have fine for Black.}) 34. Rf1 (34. Nxe5 $4 Nh5+ {was, of
course, out of the question.}) 34... Bg6 35. Nxe5 $1 (35. Qd4 {was also
possible, but in mutual time trouble, Vachier-Lagrave decided that the text
move was the last chance to create winning chances before everything would
wind down after the time control.}) 35... Nh5+ 36. Kh2 Rxf2 37. Nxg6 Rb2 $2 ({
Or} 37... Rxf1 38. Rxf1 Nf6 (38... Kxg6 $4 39. e5#) 39. h5 {followed by e4-e5
at some point looks terrifying for Black, especially when you have no time
left on the clock.}) 38. Nf8+ Kg8 39. Ne6 Rxb1 $4 {Just before the time
control, Black commits the fatal, decisive error. However, as the commentators
discussed after the players had reached the time control, the best move for
Black is completely impossible to find.} (39... Kh7 {walking into the diagonal
of the bishop makes no sense but was the way to survive.}) 40. Rxb1 Qe7 41. Kh3
Qa7 42. Rf3 {No checks and no tricks for Black who now chose to resign. 1-0.} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.23"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Shankland, Sam"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2761"]
[BlackElo "2704"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5
8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Bd7 10. Rd1 Kc8 11. g4 Ne7 12. Ng5 Be8 13. f4 f5 ({A
relatively rare move. Vachier-Lagrave has previously faced both of the main
moves} 13... h6 14. Ne4 (14. Nf3 {1/2-1/2 (35) Vachier Lagrave,M (2763)
-Radjabov,T (2763) chess24.com INT 2021}) 14... c5 (14... h5 {1/2-1/2 (26)
Vachier Lagrave,M (2780)-Topalov,V (2737) Jerusalem 2019}) 15. Kf2 Nc6 16. Be3
b6 17. c4 h5 18. Kg3 Nd4 19. Bxd4 cxd4 20. Nbd2 {with an advantage for White
in Vachier Lagrave,M (2763)-Radjabov,T (2763) chess24.com INT 2021.}) ({and}
13... h5 {in Vachier Lagrave,M (2780)-Klein,D (2492) Chess.com INT 2019.}) 14.
exf6 gxf6 15. Ne6 Bd7 16. Nxf8 Rxf8 17. f5 h5 18. Kf2 c5 ({Caruana also faced}
18... Rg8 19. Rg1 b6 20. Nd2 Kb7 21. Ne4 {with a clear advantage for White,
Caruana,F (2839)-McShane,L (2671) London 2014.}) 19. Nc3 b6 $5 ({The
predecessor was} 19... Bc6 20. Re1 Rf7 21. Ne4 hxg4 22. hxg4 b6 23. b3 Kb7 24.
Bb2 {with a small but nagging advantage for White, Caruana,F (2839)-Howell,D
(2667) London 2014.}) 20. Bf4 ({It would have been a better idea to play} 20.
b3 hxg4 21. hxg4 {followed by Ne4 and Bb2, like in Caruana-Howell mentioned
above.}) 20... Rf7 21. Rd3 hxg4 22. hxg4 Rg7 $5 ({Shankland chooses to defend
actively. The computer prefers the passive defense with} 22... Bc6 23. Re3 Kb7
24. Rae1 Ng8 {after which it believes that Black is okay. This, however, is
not an easy position to play and Shankland's choice is more concrete and
understandable.}) 23. Rad1 Bc6 24. Rd8+ Kb7 25. Rxa8 Rxg4 $1 ({Well-played by
Shankland, choosing to sacrifice the exchange rather than playing the inferior
} 25... Kxa8 26. Rg1 {which would have given White an uncomfortable advantage
to work with.}) 26. Rdd8 Rxf4+ 27. Ke1 Nxf5 {Like Steinitz said \"the king is
a strong piece that can defend itself $1\" Here, however, the pawns and the
bishop help and the black king is perfectly safe.} 28. Rab8+ Ka6 29. Ne2 Re4
30. Kd2 Nd6 31. b3 Rh4 (31... Re7 $5) 32. Rh8 Rxh8 33. Rxh8 Kb7 34. Nf4 a5 35.
Rh7 Kc8 36. Rh8+ {and draw agreed.} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.27"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E20"]
[WhiteElo "2761"]
[BlackElo "2778"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "112"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,40,25,27,14,-6,-6,-6,30,-44,7,-11,25,25,69,-16,-29,-28,-38,-32,-19,
-63,3,-109,-27,-17,-33,-32,-75,-19,-17,0,-19,-22,-15,-13,-16,-16,-38,0,0,-39,
-51]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 c5 5. d5 b5 6. e4 d6 (6... O-O 7. e5
Ne8 8. f4 exd5 9. cxd5 d6 10. Nf3 c4 11. a4 Nd7 12. Be2 Qb6 13. Bd2 Nc7 14.
Nxb5 Nxd5 15. Bxb4 Nxb4 16. Nxd6 Ba6 17. Qd2 Nc5 18. a5 Qb8 19. O-O Nb3 20. Qe3
Nxa1 21. Ng5 h6 22. Nf5 Qc7 23. Ne4 f6 24. Qg3 Kh8 25. exf6 Rxf6 26. Nxf6 Qc5+
27. Kh1 Qxf5 28. Nh5 Qf7 29. f5 Nac2 30. f6 g5 31. Ng7 c3 32. Bxa6 cxb2 33. Be2
Rf8 34. Nh5 Nd4 35. Qc3 Nxe2 36. Qxb4 Kg8 37. Ng3 Nxg3+ 38. hxg3 Qh5+ 39. Kg1
Qe2 40. Qb3+ Rf7 41. Rb1 Qe5 42. Qxb2 Qxa5 43. Qd4 Qc7 44. Qe4 Rxf6 45. Rb7
Qxb7 46. Qxb7 Rf7 47. Qc6 Kg7 48. Kh2 Rf8 49. Kh3 Rf6 50. Qd7+ Rf7 51. Qd4+ Kg6
52. Qe4+ {1-0 (52) Firouzja,A (2759)-So,W (2772) chess24.com INT 2021}) 7. Nge2
({In a notable game in this year's Wijk aan Zee, San Shankland played} 7. Bd2 {
against Karjakin.} a6 8. a4 bxc4 9. Bxc4 Nbd7 10. dxe6 fxe6 11. Bxe6 Ne5 12.
Bxc8 Qxc8 13. Bf4 c4 14. Bxe5 dxe5 15. Nh3 Bc5 16. Qe2 Rb8 17. Nf2 Qb7 18. O-O
Qxb2 19. Qxc4 Bxf2+ 20. Kh1 Qb3 21. Qc7 Qb6 22. Qxe5+ Kf7 23. Nd5 Nxd5 24.
Qxd5+ Ke7 25. Qe5+ Kf7 26. Rac1 {1-0 (26) Shankland,S (2708)-Karjakin,S (2743)
Wijk aan Zee 2022}) 7... bxc4 8. Nf4 e5 9. Nfe2 Nbd7 10. g4 h5 11. Ng3 g6 $6 (
11... Nb6 $5) 12. Bxc4 $2 (12. h4 $1 {was much better. Co-commentator Robert
Hess thought that the mistake by White was due to inexperience in this type of
position. Now, Black takes over the initiative.}) 12... Bxc3+ 13. bxc3 Qa5 14.
Qd3 Nb6 15. Bb5+ Bd7 16. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 17. g5 $2 (17. O-O {was better.}) 17... h4
$1 {Now Black has a clear advantage; there are simply too many structural
weaknesses in White's position.} 18. Ne2 (18. gxf6 hxg3 {is completely out of
the question for White.}) 18... Nh5 $1 19. O-O Rb8 20. f4 $2 {This advance
looks like active counterplay, but it only serves to make matters worse.} Qa4
21. f5 gxf5 22. Rxf5 c4 23. Qe3 Qd1+ 24. Rf1 Qd3 $1 25. Qf2 (25. Qxd3 $2 cxd3 {
and the knight on e2 falls $1}) 25... Qxe4 $2 ({It was much more precise to
play} 25... f6 $1 {, for instance,} 26. Qg2 Nc5 27. gxf6 Kf7 {and Black is
easily winning.}) 26. Qxf7+ Kd8 27. Qf3 Qxf3 28. Rxf3 {Black is still clearly
better, but there is a lot more work to be done.} Rb5 29. Be3 Rxd5 30. Rb1 Ra5
31. Rb7 Ke7 32. Rxa7 Rxa7 33. Bxa7 Ra8 34. Bf2 Rxa2 35. Kf1 Nf8 36. Bxh4 Ng6
37. Bf2 Ke6 38. Bb6 $2 (38. Be3 {was a better defensive try to keep Black's
knights away from f4.}) 38... Ra1+ 39. Kf2 Nhf4 40. Nxf4+ exf4 41. Rh3 Kf5 42.
Rh7 Ne5 43. h4 Kg4 44. g6 Nxg6 45. Rg7 Kf5 46. h5 Ne5 47. h6 {It looks like
White still has a chance, but it is, in fact, easily winning for Black.} Rh1
48. h7 Kf6 49. Ra7 Kg6 50. Kg2 Rxh7 51. Rxh7 Kxh7 52. Bc7 Kg6 53. Bxd6 Kf5 54.
Bc5 Ke4 55. Bd4 Ng4 56. Kf1 Kd3 {0-1} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.22"]
[Round "1.8"]
[White "Vitiugov, Nikita"]
[Black "Tabatabaei, Amin"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C81"]
[WhiteElo "2726"]
[BlackElo "2623"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "127"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
{[%evp 0,23,35,23,11,17,17,4,17,4,6,11,16,0,17,9,18,18,18,-19,-16,-32,-28,-39,
0,24]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5
8. dxe5 Be6 9. Qe2 ({The normal move is} 9. Be3 {which was both what
Tabatabaei faced against Harikrishna in Belgrade and what Vitiugov has tried
in one of his encounters agains the Open Variation.} Be7 10. c3 O-O 11. Nbd2
Bg4 12. h3 (12. Nxe4 dxe4 13. Qd5 Qxd5 14. Bxd5 exf3 15. Bxc6 fxg2 16. Rfe1
Rad8 17. a4 b4 18. cxb4 Bxb4 19. Rec1 Bd2 20. Bxd2 Rxd2 21. b4 f6 22. b5 a5 23.
Bxg2 fxe5 24. Rxc7 Bf3 25. Bxf3 Rxf3 26. Rf1 Rf4 27. b6 Rb2 28. b7 Rf7 29. Rc8+
Rf8 30. Rxf8+ Kxf8 31. Re1 Rxb7 32. Rxe5 Rb4 33. Rxa5 Kf7 34. Kg2 h5 35. Kg3
Rg4+ 36. Kf3 Rh4 37. Kg3 Rg4+ 38. Kf3 Rh4 39. Kg3 {1/2-1/2 (39) Vitiugov,$146
(2747)-So,W (2765) Wijk aan Zee 2020}) 12... Nxd2 13. hxg4 Nxf1 14. Kxf1 Na5
15. Bxd5 c6 16. Be4 Qxd1+ 17. Rxd1 Nc4 18. Bc1 Rad8 19. Re1 c5 20. g3 Nb6 21.
Kg2 Rd7 22. Bf5 Rdd8 23. Be4 Rd7 24. Bc2 Re8 25. Bf5 Rdd8 26. Be4 Nd5 27. Bd2
c4 28. b3 b4 29. Bxd5 Rxd5 30. cxb4 Red8 31. Re2 Rc8 32. bxc4 Rxc4 33. Bf4 Rxb4
34. Rc2 Kf8 35. Rc8+ Rd8 36. Rc7 Ra4 37. Rc2 Ke8 38. g5 Rd5 39. Be3 Kd7 40. Bb6
Bd8 41. Be3 Rda5 42. Rc1 Rxa2 43. Rh1 Be7 44. Rxh7 Bf8 45. Bd4 Rd5 46. e6+ Kxe6
47. Bxg7 Bxg7 48. Rxg7 a5 49. g6 fxg6 50. Rxg6+ Kd7 51. g4 a4 52. Ra6 Kc7 53.
g5 Kb7 54. Re6 Rc2 55. Re3 Ra5 56. Ra3 Kc7 57. g6 Kd6 58. Nd4 Rg5+ 59. Kh3 Rc1
60. Kh2 Rc4 61. f4 Rxg6 62. Rd3 {0-1 (62) Harikrishna,P (2719)-Tabatabaei,M
(2623) Belgrade 2022}) ({Some other games by Vitiugov have seen him use the
other main line} 9. Nbd2 Be7 ({or} 9... Nc5 10. c3 d4 11. Bxe6 Nxe6 12. cxd4
Ncxd4 13. Nxd4 Qxd4 14. a4 Rd8 15. axb5 axb5 16. Qc2 Bc5 17. Nf3 Qd3 18. Qxd3
Rxd3 19. Ra8+ Rd8 20. Ra5 Rd5 21. Ra8+ Rd8 22. Ra5 Rd5 23. Ra8+ Rd8 {1/2-1/2
(23) Vitiugov,$146 (2731)-Jones,G (2665) London 2021}) 10. c3 O-O 11. Bc2 f5
12. Nb3 Qd7 13. Qe1 a5 14. a4 bxa4 15. Nbd4 Nxd4 16. Nxd4 Nc5 17. Ra2 Nb3 18.
Nxe6 Qxe6 19. Rxa4 Nxc1 20. Qxc1 Qxe5 21. Re1 Qf6 22. Qa1 Rad8 23. Rxa5 Kh8 24.
Qd1 c5 25. Qf3 g6 26. Ra7 Rf7 27. Rd1 Qb6 28. Ra2 Qe6 29. Bd3 c4 30. Bf1 Bf6
31. Ra5 Rfd7 {1/2-1/2 (31) Vitiugov,$146 (2726)-Vidit,S (2711) Batumi 2018})
9... Be7 10. Rd1 O-O 11. c3 Qd7 12. Nbd2 Nxd2 13. Qxd2 Rad8 14. a4 f6 15. axb5
axb5 16. exf6 Bxf6 17. Qe2 Rfe8 18. Bg5 d4 19. Qxb5 Bxg5 20. Bxe6+ Qxe6 21.
Nxg5 Qd5 22. Qxd5+ Rxd5 23. Nf3 d3 24. b4 Ne5 25. Nd2 Ng4 26. Nb3 Ne5 27. h3
Nc4 28. Nd2 Nxd2 29. Rxd2 Re6 30. Ra5 $2 (30. Rad1 Red6 31. f4 {seems like a
better attempt for White.}) 30... Rd7 $2 (30... Re1+ 31. Kh2 Rd7) 31. f3 Re1+
32. Kf2 Rc1 33. Rc5 Kf7 34. Rc4 g6 35. h4 h5 36. Rd4 Rxd4 37. cxd4 Rc4 38. Ke3
Rxb4 39. Kxd3 {With two weaknesses, on c7 and g6, to play against along with
an extra pawn, this should be a relatively trivial win for White. But rook
endings can be tricky...} Rb1 40. Rc2 Rh1 41. Rxc7+ Kf6 42. Rc6+ Kf7 43. Ke4
Rxh4+ 44. Ke5 Rh2 45. Rc7+ Ke8 46. g4 $6 (46. Ke6 $1 Kd8 47. Rc2 {is easier.})
46... Rg2 47. Kf4 Rd2 48. Rc4 Rd3 49. Ke4 Rd1 50. d5 h4 51. Rc7 Kf8 52. Rh7 Rh1
53. d6 Ke8 54. Ke5 Re1+ 55. Kf6 Rf1 56. Kxg6 Rxf3 57. Rxh4 Kd7 58. g5 Kxd6 59.
Re4 Rf1 60. Kg7 Rf2 61. g6 Rf1 62. Kg8 Rg1 63. g7 Kd5 64. Rh4 {1-0} *
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.23"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Vitiugov, Nikita"]
[Black "Yu Yangyi"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B52"]
[WhiteElo "2726"]
[BlackElo "2713"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "44"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. e4 c5 $5 {No Petroff this time. In his previous three games against 1.e4,
Yu Yangyi had opted for the Petroff each time.} 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+
Nxd7 5. O-O Ngf6 6. Qe2 (6. Re1 {is the other main line.}) 6... e6 7. b3 Be7 8.
Bb2 O-O 9. c4 Rc8 10. Rd1 (10. d4 {is the main move, but the move orders
usually transpose to the same thing.}) 10... a6 11. d4 cxd4 12. Nxd4 Qa5 (12...
Re8 13. Nc3 Qa5 14. Rac1 Bf8 15. Kh1 (15. Qd2 Qh5 16. h3 Qg6 17. Re1 Nc5 18.
Qe3 h5 19. Nf3 {and White had a clear advantage in Bacrot,E (2678)-Jumabayev,R
(2654) Chess.com INT 2020.}) 15... g6 16. Nc2 (16. f4 Bh6 17. Qf3 e5 18. Nde2
exf4 19. Nxf4 Qe5 20. Rf1 {with about equal chances in Zhang Zhong (2658)-Bu
Xiangzhi (2588) Yongchuan 2003.}) 16... Rc7 17. f4 Rb8 18. e5 dxe5 19. fxe5 Ne8
{was played in Kollars,D (2509)-Teplyi,I (2402) Aarhus 2018, where White} 20.
Na4 {could have secured a clear advantage.}) 13. Nc3 Rc7 {The first new move.}
14. Qd2 Qh5 15. Re1 Rfc8 16. Rad1 Bf8 17. h3 g6 18. Re2 Bg7 19. Nf3 $6 (19. f4
$5) 19... Rc6 20. Nd4 R6c7 21. Nf3 Rc6 22. Nd4 R6c7 {½-½} 1/2-1/2
[Event "Berlin"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "2022.03.25"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Yu Yangyi"]
[Black "Giri, Anish"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D97"]
[WhiteElo "2713"]
[BlackElo "2771"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2022.03.22"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 a6 8. e5
b5 9. Qb3 Nfd7 10. Ng5 $5 {Giri said after the game that he had forgotten
about this move in his preparations and could not quite remember the lines.} ({
The main lines for White are} 10. e6 {,}) (10. h4 {,}) (10. Be3 {,}) ({and} 10.
Be2 {, neither of which are considered particularly problematic for Black.})
10... Nb6 11. Be3 Nc6 12. Rd1 Na5 13. Qc2 ({Here, the main line is} 13. Qb4 {
after which both} Nac4 {and} (13... Nbc4 {seem to offer White a tiny edge.}))
13... Nac4 14. Bc1 $1 ({A new move and a clear improvement. Previously, White
had tried} 14. Bd3 $6 Bg4 15. Rc1 $2 c5 {and Black was already clearly better
in Lalith,B (2571)-Dourerassou,J (2476) Pardubice 2013.}) 14... f6 15. Nge4 $1
{Giri admitted after the game that he had underestimated White's 14th and 15th
moves, after which he felt that Black was clearly worse.} Bf5 16. Be2 Qc8 17.
f4 $1 {Very strong and missed by Giri during game. He had expected White to
castle. Now White has a clear advantage.} c5 18. dxc5 Qxc5 19. g4 Bxe4 20. Nxe4
Qc6 21. Bf3 Nxe5 22. Qb3+ Nec4 23. Nd6 $6 {Winning material but giving Black
plenty of counterplay.} Qc5 24. Bxa8 exd6 25. Bf3 f5 26. g5 Re8+ $2 (26... d5
27. Kf1 Rd8 {would have been a better option.}) 27. Kf1 Kf8 28. Kg2 Ne3+ 29.
Bxe3 Rxe3 30. Rd3 Nc4 31. Rxe3 Nxe3+ 32. Kg3 Nc4 33. Qd3 $2 (33. a4 $1 {
is almost winning for White, opening the position for White's pieces to attack
Black's vulnerable king. But in time trouble both sides struggled to find the
right moves.}) 33... Bxb2 (33... Nxb2 $1) 34. Qd5 $4 (34. Rd1 $1) 34... Qe3 {
Now Black has enough counterplay against White's king to be out of trouble.
White has nothing better than go for a perpetual check.} 35. Rd1 Bc3 36. Qa8+
Ke7 37. Qb7+ Kd8 38. Qb8+ Kd7 39. Qb7+ Kd8 40. Qb8+ {½-½} *
[Event "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Site "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.30"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C42"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2776"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
{[%evp 0,60,19,31,34,42,23,21,31,38,33,29,25,20,12,19,16,16,12,9,21,17,6,2,1,
-1,13,-13,-13,-25,-12,-9,-8,-21,-25,-22,-22,-40,-40,-54,-39,-40,-45,-36,-50,
-35,-39,-61,-48,-53,-60,-55,-53,-63,-14,-31,-29,-29,-13,-17,-13,-24,-18]} 1. e4
e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Qe2 {A somewhat surprising choice by
Nakamura. Even though it has been played by countless grandmasters, it is
considered completely harmless and a way to send the game in the direction of
a draw. Though, it should be said that former World Champion Boris Spassky
played it quite frequently, but he did have a reputation of being a quite
peaceful player at the end of his active career.} Qe7 6. d3 Nf6 7. Bg5 Qxe2+ 8.
Bxe2 Be7 9. O-O ({The young Mamedyarov faced} 9. Nc3 {a couple of times:} h6 (
9... c6 10. O-O-O Na6 11. Ne4 Nxe4 12. dxe4 Nc5 13. Rhe1 Bxg5+ 14. Nxg5 Ke7 15.
Nf3 Be6 16. e5 dxe5 17. Nxe5 Rad8 18. Rxd8 Rxd8 {with equal chances in
Dovliatov,S (2360)-Mamedyarov,S (2479) Baku 2001.}) 10. Bf4 Nc6 11. O-O-O Be6
12. d4 Nb4 13. a3 Nbd5 14. Nxd5 Nxd5 15. Bd2 O-O-O 16. Rhe1 Rhe8 17. h3 Nb6 18.
b3 Bd5 19. Be3 Be4 {with fairly equal chances, McShane,L (2643) -Mamedyarov,S
(2662) Lausanne 2004.}) 9... h6 10. Bd2 ({The best move. White has also tried}
10. Bh4 {but the bishop is misplaced on h4, allowing Black to gain the
initiative, for instance,} Nc6 11. Nc3 Be6 12. a3 g5 13. Bg3 O-O-O {and even
though the players soon agreed upon a draw, Black has the better chances at
this point, Bogut,Z (2460)-Savic,M (2542) Sarajevo 2008.}) 10... c5 {A novelty
by Mamedyarov, although it is nothing earthshattering.} ({Previously, Black
has given preference to} 10... O-O) ({and} 10... Nc6 {.}) 11. c4 {This looks
unambitious, basically saying: \"I intend no harm—let's be friends.\"} Nc6
12. Nc3 O-O 13. Rfe1 $6 (13. Rfd1 {intending to play d3-d4 seems like a better
choice.}) 13... Be6 14. Bd1 $1 d5 15. Ba4 Rfd8 ({Not} 15... dxc4 16. Bxc6 bxc6
17. dxc4 {which is slightly better for White.}) 16. cxd5 Nxd5 17. Nxd5 Rxd5 18.
Bxc6 bxc6 19. Ne5 Bf6 20. Bc3 Bxe5 21. Rxe5 Rxe5 22. Bxe5 {A draw is all but
certain at this point. Now the players just have to reach move 30 without
blundering any pieces. Unsurprisingly, the players managed this with no
incidents.} Rd8 23. f3 Rxd3 24. Bc3 f6 25. a3 Kf7 26. h4 g5 27. hxg5 hxg5 28.
Kf2 a6 29. Rh1 Kg7 30. Re1 Kf7 {½-½} 1/2-1/2
[Event "Chess.com"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.30"]
[Round "1"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Tabatabaei, M. Amin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D36"]
[WhiteElo "2778"]
[BlackElo "2623"]
[Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. Qc2 {The famous
Carlsbad pawn structure has been reached, named after the current town Karlovy
Vary in the Czech Republic.} h6 {A modern treatment of the position.} ({
The main move is, of course,} 6... Be7) 7. Bh4 Be6 ({The world champion
implemented a rare but quite logical plan instead recently:} 7... Be7 8. e3 O-O
9. Bd3 Ne8 $5 {Looks strange at a glance, as if Carlsen is setting back his
pieces for a new game. However, since in the Carlsbad the most optimal square
for the black knight is usually the d6-one, this plan makes perfect sense and
Black did well after} 10. Bg3 Nd6 11. Nge2 Re8 12. O-O Bf8 13. Bf4 Be6 14. f3
Nd7 {Grischuk,A (2764)-Carlsen,M (2856) Warsaw 2021}) 8. e3 Nbd7 9. f3 {
A flexible idea that can be attributed to Botvinnik. The great champion liked
to play aggressively in the center in this system, rather than following the
routine path of the minority attack.} Bd6 10. Bd3 c5 {Tabatabaei modifies the
pawn structure, using the drawback of the f2-f3 advance. Since the capture on
c5 is not desirable for White at the moment (e3-pawn being exposed) So has to
concede some queenside space to his opponent.} 11. Nge2 c4 12. Bf5 O-O 13. O-O
Qe8 14. Bxe6 fxe6 {The first moment about which one can argue. The black king
is getting exposed in the long run. Still, this is not yet relevant, at least
for the foreseeable future.} ({More solid is} 14... Qxe6 {when White would
have likely switched to central play with} 15. Bf2 Rfe8 16. Rae1) 15. a4 $146 {
A novelty that intends to keep the black pawns separated. So hopes to swap his
b-pawn for his opponent’s c4-one, thus exposing a potential weakness on the
b-file.} ({Predecessor:} 15. b3 Rc8 16. Bg3 Bxg3 17. Nxg3 Nb8 18. bxc4 Rxc4 19.
Qd2 Qf7 20. Nge2 Ne8 21. Nd1 Nd6 {Fekih,B (2296)-Ben Fredj,J (2317) ICCF email
2019}) 15... a6 16. b3 Rc8 17. Rab1 $1 {For the time being, neither of the
sides wants to make a concession and improve the opponent's rook.} ({Black is
doing fine after} 17. bxc4 Rxc4 18. a5 e5) 17... Bb4 ({Perhaps} 17... Nb6 $5 {
at once was even better.}) 18. Be1 Nb6 19. Qa2 {The first major thought by So,
who spent almost half an hour on his clock. It is indeed hard to suggest a
more useful move than the one in the game. The queen simply side-steps the pin,
protects the a4-pawn, and supports its further advance.} ({Black is perfectly
fine after} 19. bxc4 Rxc4 20. Qb3 Rf7) 19... Rf7 $5 {A solid move that
protects the b7-pawn and prepares the doubling of the rooks on the c-file.} ({
However, even better seemed} 19... Bxc3 $1 20. Nxc3 cxb3 21. Rxb3 (21. Qxb3 Nc4
) 21... Nc4 22. Ne2 b6 {with such a knight on c4, Black can never be worse.})
20. bxc4 Rxc4 21. a5 Bxc3 {And this is a serious inaccuracy.} ({The time had
come to transfer the knight a la Petrosian with} 21... Nc8 $1 22. Ne4 Bxe1 23.
Nxf6+ Rxf6 24. Rfxe1 Nd6 {just like Carlsen did in his game against Grischuk
from above. Black does not have to worry about a thing.}) 22. Nxc3 Na4 {
And that completes the wrong plan.} ({It was not too late for} 22... Nc8 $1 23.
Rb3 Nd6) 23. Nxa4 Rxa4 ({The endgame is also poor for Black} 23... Qxa4 24.
Qxa4 Rxa4 25. Rf2 {as the second knight would never enjoy the c4-outpost.} Ne8
26. Rb6 $1) 24. Qd2 $1 {A very neat move $1 So protects the a5-pawn in advance
and prepares the maneuver Be1-g3, after which his rooks would be soon doubled
on the b-file and his whole strategy would triumph.} ({The more logical-looking
} 24. Qb2 {allows Black a defense} Rc7 25. Bg3 Rcc4 26. Qxb7 Rxa5 {and White
is only a bit better.}) 24... Rc7 {Tabatabaei decided to sacrifice the ill
pawn at once.} ({The computer suggestion} 24... e5 25. dxe5 Qxe5 26. Bg3 {
leaves all the black weaknesses aboard while exposing the king.}) ({Whereas
the attempt to ruin White's plan with} 24... Nh5 {can be met with} 25. g4 $5
Nf6 26. Bg3) 25. Bg3 Rc6 ({Surely enough, Black did not play his previous move
only to lose a couple of tempi after} 25... Rd7 26. Rb6) 26. Rxb7 Qg6 {There
is a typical burst of energy once one sacrifices a pawn in Black's position,
but this would not last for long.} 27. Rc7 $1 {It is instructive how neat So
is when repelling the opponent's initiative.} Rxc7 28. Bxc7 Rc4 29. Rc1 $1 Qe8
30. Bg3 Qb5 31. Rxc4 dxc4 32. e4 Qb3 33. Be1 $1 {The initiative is gone, the
extra pawn remains, and the frustrated Tabatabaei quickly collapses under the
pressure.} Ne8 (33... Kf7 {would have been more stubborn.}) 34. d5 $1 {With
the activation of the white queen, all of Black's hopes quickly fade away.}
exd5 35. Qxd5+ Kh7 ({Nothing changes} 35... Kh8 36. Qd4) 36. Qf5+ Kg8 37. Qd5+
Kh7 38. Qf5+ {A practical decision to reach the time control.} Kg8 39. Qe6+ Kf8
40. h4 $1 ({Or equally good} 40. Kf2 $1 Qb2+ 41. Kg3 Qb1 42. Bd2) 40... Qd1 41.
Kf2 Qd4+ 42. Kg3 c3 43. Bf2 {PLAY CHESS, NOT WAR.} ({The only way to prevent
the mate is} 43. Bf2 Qb4 44. Qd5 Qd6+ 45. Qxd6+ Nxd6 {But then Black loses the
knight in the pin and White is just in time to stop the pawn.} 46. Bc5 Ke7 47.
e5 c2 48. Bxd6+ Ke6 49. Ba3) 1-0
[Event "FIDE Chess Grand Prix 3 2022 | Knockout"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.31"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Tabatabaei, M. Amin"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E24"]
[WhiteElo "2623"]
[BlackElo "2778"]
[Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 {The Nimzo-Indian is an essential part of almost
every top player's repertoire.} 4. Nf3 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. g3 ({
A recent online game witnessed a wild turn after:} 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 b6 9. e4 g5
10. Nxg5 Nxe4 11. Nf3 Qc7 12. Ne5 f5 13. Qh5 d6 {and the black king was too
exposed in Gormally,D (2479)-Rudd,J (2331) Lichess.org INT 2020}) 7... b6 8.
Bg2 Bb7 9. d5 {Tabatabaei occupies as much space as he can before his pawns
stall.} d6 {So is placing his pawns on the opposite color of the bishop he is
left with, a classical strategy in the Nimzo-Indian.} 10. O-O Qe7 11. Nh4 Nbd7
{All these logical developing moves have been seen before and Black now starts
to threaten concretely the more exposed of the doubled c-pawns.} 12. Re1 $5
$146 {Tabatabaei decided not to defend it, with a novelty!} ({In the
predecessor, White traded the annoying black knight with} 12. Bf4 Ne5 13. Bxe5
dxe5 {and then the first player tried to attack the kingside with} 14. e4 Rfd8
15. Re1 Qc7 16. g4 Ne8 17. g5 {but this whole concept seems somewhat
artificial, Kharmunova,N (2137)-Akhtariev,A (2008) Kazan 2017}) ({The other
way to obstruct the knight} 12. f4 {can be met with} b5 $5 13. e4 bxc4 14. Rb1
Nb6 {when White still has to solve the central problem.}) ({It is important to
mention that even though White wins a pawn in the line} 12. dxe6 Bxg2 13. exf7+
Qxf7 14. Nxg2 {Black should not experience even a hint of a problem after, say,
} Ne5) 12... Ne5 {So principally accepts the pawn.} ({The other way to attack
the center} 12... b5 {is not as effective here as White has} 13. dxe6 Bxg2 {
And now that the white rook is not hanging on the f1-square he can go for} 14.
exd7 Bc6 15. cxb5 Bxb5 16. e4 {with an edge to White.}) 13. e4 Nxc4 14. Bf1 Ne5
({White would be happy to see} 14... Na5 15. c4) 15. c4 {The center has been
Solidified and Tabatabaei is ready for the f2-f4 advance.} Ng6 $1 {Black is
correctly fighting the opponent’s active pieces.} ({The line} 15... Rad8 16.
f4 Ng6 17. Nf3 {favors White.}) 16. Ng2 $1 {More pieces mean more chances and
Tabatabaei is in a must-win situation.} ({Instead} 16. Nxg6 hxg6 17. a4 {
promises White compensation for the pawn as well, but it is less complex.})
16... b5 $1 {The center needs to be destroyed!} ({Or else White will be too
comfortable after} 16... Rfe8 17. Bb2 e5 18. f3 {followed by Ng2-e3-f5.}) 17.
cxb5 exd5 18. exd5 Qd7 19. Ne3 Rfe8 {A curious moment. So wants to regain the
pawn in the most comfortable way.} ({Simpler was} 19... Ne7 {when after} 20. a4
Nexd5 21. Nxd5 Nxd5 22. Bb2 {White has a lot for the sacrificed material
thanks to his bishop pair, but Black should not be worse after something like}
Nc7 {followed by Nc7-e6.}) 20. Bb2 {White insists on the pawn sacrifice!} ({
The weird-looking} 20. Re2 $5 {could have kept the pawn alive though, for
example} Ne7 21. Rd2 Ne4 22. Rd3 {and White should be somewhat better then.})
20... Nxd5 21. Nxd5 Rxe1 22. Qxe1 Bxd5 {Not only did So win the pawn back, but
he also opened a strong diagonal for his bishop. Still, Tabatabaei has plenty
for the material and brings his last piece into the game with} 23. Rd1 {
And just when So seemed to control the situation he blunders with} Nh4 ({Both}
23... Be6 $1 24. Qd2 Rd8) ({And} 23... Qe6 $1 {would have led to approximately
balanced positions.}) 24. Rd3 $1 {An only move, but one that not only defends
but wins!} ({Certainly} 24. gxh4 $4 Qg4+ 25. Bg2 Qxg2# {would not have
happened even in blitz.}) ({Nor} 24. Rxd5 $4 Nf3+) ({White is also losing after
} 24. Qc3 $2 Nf3+ 25. Kg2 Nd4+ 26. Kg1 Qg4) 24... Qg4 ({There is no} 24... Nf3+
25. Rxf3 $1 Bxf3 {due to the double-attack} 26. Qc3) 25. Qc3 $1 Be4 ({Perhaps
the American GM missed that in the line} 25... Nf3+ 26. Rxf3 Bxf3 27. h3 $1 {
his queen is overworked?}) 26. Be2 Qg5 27. Rxd6 ({Even faster was} 27. f4 Qg6
28. Rxd6) 27... Nf5 28. Qe5 Qe7 29. Qxe7 Nxe7 30. a4 {The material is equal,
but Tabatabaei's pieces dominate and he is about to start munching the black
pawns soon. Therefore, So resigned. PLAY CHESS, NOT WAR.} 1-0
[Event "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Site "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.03.31"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2750"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "101"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6 8. b4 (
8. Bd3 b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6 (10... h6 11. O-O Ba6 12. Bxa6 Rxa6 13. Qe2 Ra7
14. Rfc1 Qa8 15. Rab1 axb4 16. axb4 Qb7 {0-1 (45) Fedoseev,V (2678)-Nakamura,H
(2736) Chess.com INT 2020}) 11. O-O Qc8 (11... Bxd3 12. Qxd3 Qc8 13. Rfc1 Qb7
14. Qc2 axb4 15. axb4 b5 16. Rxa8 Rxa8 17. Rb1 Bd8 18. Ne1 Bc7 {0-1 (59)
Cheparinov,I (2650)-Mamedyarov,S (2746) Bastia 2011}) 12. h3 (12. Rb1 Bxd3 13.
Qxd3 axb4 14. axb4 Qb7 15. Rfc1 Ra3 16. b5 Rc8 17. bxc6 Rxc6 18. Qb5 Qa8 19.
cxb6 Rxb6 20. Qf1 Rxb1 21. Nxb1 Ra1 22. Bg5 h6 {1/2-1/2 (22) Grischuk,A (2777)
-Nakamura,H (2736) Lichess.org INT 2020}) 12... Qb7 13. Qc2 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 axb4
15. axb4 Rxa1 16. Rxa1 Ra8 17. Qb1 Rxa1 18. Qxa1 bxc5 19. bxc5 h6 20. Qb1 Qa8
21. Qa2 Qb7 22. Qb1 Qa8 23. Qa2 Qb7 24. Qb1 {1/2-1/2 (24) Mamedyarov,S (2801)
-Aronian, L (2767) Saint Louis 2018}) 8... b6 9. h4 (9. a3 a5 10. Qb1 Bb7 11.
Bd3 Qc8 12. g4 g6 13. h4 axb4 14. axb4 Rxa1 15. Qxa1 Nxg4 {and Black was
already better, Praggnanandhaa,R (2608)-Nakamura,H (2736) Chess.com INT 2021.})
9... a5 10. a3 Ng4 (10... Ne4 11. Nxe4 dxe4 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. Bxe5 Qd5 (13... f6
14. Bg3 Qd5 15. Be2 Ba6 16. O-O axb4 17. axb4 Bxe2 18. Qxe2 b5 19. Qb2 {
1/2 (39)-1/2 (39) Matlakov,M (2682)-Martirosyan,H (2624) Riga 2021}) 14. Be2
Ba6 15. Bxa6 (15. O-O Bxe2 16. Qxe2 axb4 17. axb4 bxc5 18. bxc5 Bxc5 19. Bxg7
Kxg7 20. dxc5 Qe5 {1-0 (47) Caruana,F (2835)-Nakamura,H (2736) chess24.com INT
2020}) 15... Rxa6 16. O-O Rfa8 17. cxb6 Rxb6 18. Bc7 Rba6 19. Bxa5 (19. bxa5
Bd8 20. Bxd8 Qxd8 21. Qg4 Qd5 22. Rfc1 Rxa5 23. Rc3 h5 24. Qf4 c5 {1/2 (45)-1/
2 (45) Cuenca Jimenez,J (2552)-Dvirnyy,D (2492) Warsaw 2021}) 19... Bxh4 20.
Rc1 Be7 21. Rc3 Bd6 22. Qc2 h5 23. Rc1 Rc8 24. Qe2 Rca8 {1/2 (42)-1/2 (42)
Caruana,F (2835)-Nakamura,H (2736) chess24.com INT 2020}) 11. Be2 h5 ({The
engine really does not like this move. A safer option was the standard} 11...
Ba6 12. Bxa6 Rxa6 13. O-O {, and now Black has several options to choose
between:} Ra8 (13... b5 {looks normal} 14. bxa5 Qxa5 15. Na2 e5 16. Bg3 Raa8 ({
Black cannot capture on a3:} 16... Qxa3 $4 17. Nb4 Qxa1 18. Qxa1 Rxa1 19. Rxa1
{and despite being a pawn down, White has a large advantage.}) 17. Nb4 Rfc8 18.
Ng5 {and White has pressure.}) (13... axb4 14. axb4 Rxa1 15. Qxa1 bxc5 16. bxc5
Bxh4 17. Nxh4 Qxh4 18. Qa4 Rc8 19. Qa6 {with an edge for White.}) 14. Qe2 Re8
15. Bg3 {and White has, at most, a tiny edge.}) 12. b5 Bb7 ({Black could not
capture on b5:} 12... cxb5 13. c6 Ndf6 14. c7 Qe8 15. Bxb5 Bd7 16. Bxd7 Qxd7
17. Qa4 {and White has something close to a decisive advantage.}) 13. cxb6 ({
White could also consider} 13. Ng5 Ngf6 14. cxb6 Nxb6 15. Qb1 {and White has
the upper hand.}) 13... Qxb6 14. O-O Rfc8 15. bxc6 ({White could gain an
advantage with} 15. Ng5 cxb5 16. Nxb5 Ndf6 17. Qb1 {and White has pressure.})
15... Bxc6 (15... Qxc6 $1) 16. Ng5 ({Here, White could have played} 16. a4 Ndf6
17. Ng5 Qd8 18. Nb5 {with a comfortable edge for White.}) 16... Nf8 17. Bd3 ({
White once more had the opportunity to play} 17. a4 Bb4 18. Nb5 {with a slight
advantage for White.}) 17... Be8 18. Rb1 Qd8 {Now Black is doing fine.} 19. Na4
Ra7 20. Qb3 Bd6 21. Bxd6 Qxd6 {Black is already in charge.} 22. Nf3 Rac7 23.
Nc5 $2 ({White could have played better with} 23. Qb6 Qxa3 24. Nc5 Nd7 25. Nxd7
Rxd7 26. Rb3 Qa4 27. Rbb1 {when Black should not be able to hang on to the
a-pawn.}) 23... Nd7 $1 24. Nxd7 Bxd7 25. a4 Rc3 26. Qd1 Bxa4 $2 ({Impatient!
Black could have improved on his position before attempting to win this pawn,
for instance,} 26... g6 27. Ra1 Qb4 {when White is tied up in a miserable
position with more or less no counterplay.}) 27. Qxa4 Rxd3 28. Qxa5 Rdc3 {
Black still has some pressure, but White should not have too much to fear.} 29.
Qa7 R3c6 30. Rb2 Rc1 31. Rb1 R1c6 32. Rb2 Ra6 33. Qb7 Raa8 34. Rfb1 Qc7 35.
Qxc7 Rxc7 36. Nh2 {Everything is equal. The only puzzling thing is that the
game carried on for another fifteen moves, but as Nakamura said after the game:
\"... nobody had anything special.\"} Nh6 37. Nf3 f6 38. Ne1 Ra3 39. g3 Rac3
40. Rb3 Rxb3 41. Rxb3 Rc1 42. Kf1 g5 43. Rb8+ Kg7 44. Rb7+ Kg6 45. hxg5 fxg5
46. Ke2 Ra1 47. Nd3 Ra2+ 48. Rb2 Rxb2+ 49. Nxb2 h4 50. gxh4 gxh4 51. Kf3 {½-½
} *
[Event "Chess.com"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.04.01"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D04"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2776"]
[Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. b3 d5 3. Bb2 c5 4. e3 {For the rapid, Nakamura chose to play the
Queen’s Indian Defense with an extra tempo.} Nc6 5. d4 Bg4 6. Be2 e6 7. Nbd2
cxd4 8. exd4 {It is quite tempting to follow a straightforward scheme as early
as possible in rapid and blitz and this position is indeed one of those
situations. White's plan is clearly to attack the kingside and his moves are
more or less the same. It is Mamedyrov who needs to choose a plan in most of
cases and this costs him time on the clock.} Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. a3 Rc8 11. h3
Bh5 12. Bd3 Bd6 13. Re1 ({Black did not have any problems after:} 13. Qe2 Bf4
14. Rad1 Qc7 15. Rfe1 Rfd8 16. b4 a5 17. b5 Ne7 18. Nb3 b6 {Ingebretsen,J
(2309)-Xiong,J (2686) Chess.com INT 2021}) 13... Re8 ({There is also} 13... Qc7
$5 {but then White can react as in the game with} 14. g4 Bg6 15. Bxg6 hxg6 16.
Ne5) 14. g4 {Kingside expansion. But White is also opening his king,
indefinitely.} Bg6 15. Bxg6 $146 {Only this obvious move is a novelty.} ({
Black did well in the predecessor after:} 15. Qe2 Bb8 16. Ne5 Nxe5 17. dxe5 Nd7
18. Rad1 Qh4 {Korkmaz,N (2101)-Musovic,A (2207) Chess.com INT 2020}) 15... hxg6
16. Ne5 g5 {Stopping f2-f4.} ({Mamedyarov had a couple of interesting
alternatives, like} 16... Qb6 $5 {and if} 17. Ndf3 Ne4) ({Or perhaps even
better} 16... b5 $5 {which obstructs White's next move. Then Black should not
fear} 17. f4 {due to} Qb6 18. Ndf3 Ne4 $1 {and the black knights are more
potent.}) 17. c4 Nd7 {One of the many good ideas. Black does not have to worry
about his position; in fact, he is the one who has more clear targets to
attack.} (17... Bb8 $5 {was OK too.}) ({And if Black wanted something simpler,
he could have swapped some things with} 17... dxc4 $5 18. bxc4 Bxe5 19. dxe5
Nd7) 18. Nd3 $1 {This knight is too good to be traded!} Nf8 $1 {And this one
is to become even better!} 19. c5 {Nakamura at least grabs some space on the
queenside.} Bb8 20. b4 Ng6 21. Nf3 f6 22. Qc2 Kf7 {Both kings are heavily
exposed now and one mistake might be the end of the game for either side.} 23.
Re2 Qc7 {Setting up a nice battery.} ({However} 23... a6 {might have been more
precise and after} 24. Rae1 Rh8 {the e6-pawn would be immune as} 25. Rxe6 $2
Rxh3 {is crushing.}) 24. Re3 {Stepping away from the knight fork.The position
is extremely tricky and both sides need to be extremely careful, but
aggressive too.} ({Nakamura most likely quickly calculated the move} 24. Nde5+
$5 {when Black has an only move} Ncxe5 ({The piece cannot be taken.} 24... fxe5
{loses to} 25. Nxg5+ Kf6 26. dxe5+ $1 Ncxe5 (26... Kxg5 $4 27. Bc1+ Kh4 28.
Qxg6 {is mate.}) 27. f4 $1 {and Black collapses.}) 25. dxe5 {Perhaps White did
not like} Nf4 $1 {here, but this is anything but clear after} 26. Re3 Nxh3+ 27.
Kf1 Nf4 28. exf6) 24... Rh8 {Now Mamedyarov is the first one to get to the
opponent's kingside.} 25. Rae1 Kf8 {Stepping away from the checks, but this
square is not optimal.} ({Not yet} 25... Rxh3 $4 26. Nxg5+) ({However} 25...
Kg8 $1 {would have been more accurate as Nakamura's idea from the game} 26. Qe2
$2 {would have failed to} (26. b5 {is better, although Black is still in
charge there.}) 26... Rxh3 27. Rxe6 Nh4 $1 28. Re8+ Kh7 $1) 26. Qe2 $1 {
A tricky resource!} Rxh3 {It is getting extremely messy.} (26... Nd8 $5) 27.
Rxe6 ({Not} 27. Nfe5 Rh6 $1) 27... Kg8 $1 {The only move.} ({This time} 27...
Nh4 $4 {loses to} 28. Re8+ Kf7 29. Qe6+ Kg6 30. Nde5+) 28. Re8+ Kh7 29. Re3 {
A one-move threat.} Kg8 30. Re8+ Kh7 31. Re3 {And a silent draw offer ...} Rh6
$5 {... which is rejected by Mamedyarov!} ({But there was an even stronger
square for the rook.} 31... Rh4 $1 {when} 32. Nxh4 $4 {is impossible due to
the mate} Qh2+ 33. Kf1 Qh1#) 32. b5 Na5 {Missing an almost instant win.} (32...
Qd7 $1 {would have won at least a pawn, as in the line} 33. Nd2 Na5 34. a4 $2 {
and the white king would be severely open on the diagonals with} Nc4 $1 35.
Nxc4 dxc4) 33. Re6 Rh3 (33... Nc4 $5 34. Bc1 Rh3 {might have been more
controlled.}) 34. Re3 ({Perhaps} 34. Qe3 $5 Rh6 35. Bc1 {was worth a try.})
34... Rh4 $1 {The second time Mamedyarov does not miss his chance and Nakamura
is suddenly in trouble!} 35. Qc2 ({As we know} 35. Nxh4 $4 Qh2+ 36. Kf1 Qh1#)
35... Rxg4+ 36. Kf1 {Down a pawn, and under attack, White needs to fight for
his life. But look what happens in the time trouble next...} Nc4 ({Once more}
36... Qd7 $1 {would have been fabulous, when Black should be winning, for
example after} 37. a4 Re4 38. Rxe4 Qh3+ $1) 37. Re6 $1 {The rook is eyeballing
Ng6, among other things.} Qd7 ({It appears that the best way to tame the
raging white pieces was} 37... Re4 $1 38. R1xe4 dxe4 39. Qxc4 (39. Rxe4 Qf7)
39... exf3 40. Ke1 {when it is anyone's game.}) 38. c6 $1 {A powerful blow
that frees an outpost for the knight!} bxc6 ({The last chance was} 38... Qf7 $1
39. Nc5 Kh8 {getting out of the pin as soon as possible.}) 39. Nc5 Qc7 ({Or}
39... Qf7 40. Bc1 $3 cxb5 41. Qf5 {and White fully dominates.}) 40. Bc1 $3 Kh6
41. Qf5 {and just like that, Nakamura's pieces magically gained superpowers
and trapped the enemy pieces! PLAY CHESS, NOT WAR.} 1-0
[Event "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Site "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.04.01"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A20"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2750"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 e5 3. Bg2 c6 4. d4 exd4 5. Qxd4 Na6 ({The main line is} 5... d5
{, but the text move has also been played numerous times.}) 6. Nc3 ({Usually,
White prefers} 6. Nf3 {.}) 6... Bc5 7. Qd1 O-O 8. Nf3 d6 $6 ({Here,} 8... d5 {
is considered completely fine for Black.}) 9. O-O Be6 10. b3 d5 11. cxd5 Nxd5
12. Ne4 Be7 13. Bb2 Nf6 14. Neg5 Qxd1 15. Raxd1 Bc8 $5 ({Nakamura must not
have liked} 15... Bf5 16. Nd4 Bg6 17. Ngf3 Rfe8 18. Nh4 {which is also better
for White.}) 16. Nd4 Re8 17. Nxc6 $1 bxc6 18. Bxc6 Bf5 19. e4 $1 Bg6 20. f3 $2
({A logical move, but unfortunately for Mamedyarov, far from the the best.
White should have played} 20. e5 Ng4 21. Bxa8 Rxa8 22. Nh3 Bc2 23. Rc1 Bf5 24.
Nf4 {with a serious advantage for White.}) 20... Ng4 21. Bc1 Bc5+ ({Also} 21...
Ne5 22. Bxa8 Rxa8 23. Bf4 f6 24. Ne6 {was about equal.}) 22. Kg2 Ne3+ 23. Bxe3
Bxe3 24. Nh3 Nb4 25. Bxe8 Rxe8 26. Nf4 Nxa2 27. Nd5 (27. Rd7 $1 {was better.})
27... Bc5 28. Ra1 Nb4 29. Nxb4 $6 ({White should have played} 29. Rfc1 {
although} Bd6 30. Nxb4 Bxb4 31. Rxa7 f5 {is no more than equal.}) 29... Bxb4
30. Rxa7 f5 $1 31. exf5 $2 Re2+ $1 32. Kh1 (32. Rf2 $4 Rxf2+ 33. Kxf2 Bc5+ {
is, of course, out of the question.}) 32... Bxf5 33. Rb7 Bh3 34. Rc1 Bc5 {
and, unable to avoid getting checkmated, White resigned.} 0-1
[Event "http://www.chessbomb.com"]
[Site "http://www.chessbomb.com"]
[Date "2022.04.01"]
[Round "4"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Tabatabaei, M. Amin"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E94"]
[WhiteElo "2778"]
[BlackElo "2623"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. Be3
c6 9. d5 c5 10. Nd2 Kh8 11. g4 $5 ({A novelty and an interesting choice, to
say the least. While this type of pawn advance with the g-pawn is not uncommon
in the King's Indian, it seems unnecessarily risky in a situation where Black
undoubtedly will launch a kingside attack in the near future. Previously,
White has given preference to} 11. a3 Ng8 12. b4 Bh6 13. Bxh6 Nxh6 14. Nb5 ({or
} 14. Nb3 b6 15. bxc5 bxc5 16. Nb5 Qb6 17. Rb1 a6 18. Nc3 Qd8 19. Qd2 Kg7 20.
Na4 f5 21. f3 Qh4 {with a sharp position and chances to both sides, Sunilduth
Lyna,N (2611)-Firouzja,A (2702) chess24.com INT 2020.}) 14... Qe7 15. Nb3 b6
16. bxc5 Nxc5 17. Nxc5 bxc5 18. Qd2 Ng8 19. f4 Bd7 20. fxe5 Qxe5 21. Qf4 Qxf4
22. Rxf4 Bxb5 23. cxb5 Kg7 {and the chances were about balanced in Gascon del
Nogal,J (2425)-Tabatabaei,M (2629) Chess.com INT 2021.}) 11... Ng8 12. Nf3 {
Played instantly. The idea is that if Black plays ...f7-f5, then White has Ng5
followed by Ne6.} Nb6 $5 {An ugly move, for sure. But the idea is to have the
bishop on c8 guard the e6-square and thus prepare ...f7-f5.} 13. h3 $6 ({
This cannot be right, but playing my computer's suggestion of} 13. g5 Bh3 14.
a4 Bxf1 15. Qxf1 {also seems like an acceptance of things not going as
intended. Nevertheless, this position was actually pleasant for White with
good positional compensation for the exchange. That being said, you should
always take computer evaluations in the King's Indian positions with a grain
of salt; they tend to throw some serious silicone shade on Black's chances.})
13... f5 14. gxf5 gxf5 15. exf5 Bxf5 {This looks terrible for White and Black
did not even have to sacrifice anything to make it happen.} 16. Ng5 Bh6 ({Or}
16... h6 17. Ne6 Qh4 {with a scary attack for Black.}) 17. Qd2 Qd7 18. Kh1 Bxg5
({If Black captures on h3, then White's position comes back to life:} 18...
Bxh3 19. Rg1 Bf5 20. Rg2 {followed by Rag1, and while Black may still be
better, it is less clear than before.}) 19. Bxg5 Bxh3 20. Rg1 Rxf2 21. Qe3 {
White has lost two pawns and is left without kingside pawns, yet the engine
claims that White is doing fine. This has something to do with the
ridiculous-looking knight on b6 and the absence of the dark-squared bishop.
But do not tell me it is not because the engine dislikes the King's
Indian—those creatures never forget.} Raf8 22. Ne4 $6 (22. b3 $1 {was
necessary.}) 22... Nxc4 $1 {Hello! Suddenly the dumb knight came to life, by
sacrificing itself to distract White's bishop on e2 from its other defensive
task: protecting the f3-square.} 23. Bxc4 R2f3 24. Bf6+ $4 ({A massive blunder
that could have allowed the young Iranian to win the game. White had to find
the absurd} 24. Bb5 $3 {to keep the chances balanced. For instance,} Qxb5 25.
Bf6+ R3xf6 ({or} 25... R8xf6 26. Nxf6 Rxf6 27. Qxh3 Qe2 {with \"equal\"
chances according to the engines.}) 26. Qxh3 Rf4 ({then} 26... Rh6 27. Rxg8+
Rxg8 28. Qxh6 {is fine for White.}) 27. Ng5 Nf6 28. Qh6 Qd7 {and the craziness
is not yet over.}) 24... R3xf6 25. Nxf6 Rxf6 26. Rg3 Bg4 $6 ({Not the best
even if it looks good. Tabatabaei should have played} 26... Bf5 27. Rf1 Rh6+
28. Kg2 Rg6 29. Rxg6 hxg6 {with a decisive advantage for Black.}) 27. Rf1 Rxf1+
$6 (27... Qg7 $1) 28. Bxf1 Nf6 $2 (28... h5 {would have kept an advantage.
After the text move, White is past the worst.}) 29. Kg1 Qf5 30. Qh6 $2 (30. b4
$1 {was fine for White. Now it is bad again.}) 30... Ne4 $1 31. Rg2 Qf6 32.
Qxf6+ Nxf6 33. Rg3 h5 $4 {Black cannot be worse at this point, but knight and
bishop are not a happy couple when having to work together in the endgame.
White's first task is to get the rook more active, preferably getting behind
Black's pawns. This does not seem possible because Black seems to have the
ability to erect a wall, barring it from entering. However, \"seems\" is the
operating word. So finds a way.} ({However, Black could have obtained a
winning position with} 33... Kg7 $1 34. Bh3 ({if White continues as in the game
} 34. Ra3 a6 35. Rb3 b5 36. Ra3 Bc8 {, then White is without the tactic that
allowed his rook to come alive because Black's king is no longer on the back
rank.}) 34... h5 35. Bxg4 hxg4 36. Ra3 a6 37. Rb3 Nxd5 38. Rxb7+ Kf6 {and
while it looks messy, Black has serious advantage.}) 34. Ra3 a6 35. Rb3 b5 36.
Ra3 Bc8 37. Bxb5 $1 {Boom! Down goes the wall. Black is not lost on the board
yet, but combined with a serious deficit on the clock, So had more than four
minutes left vs. Tabatabaei's less than one minute, things become impossible
very quickly.} axb5 38. Ra8 Kg7 39. Rxc8 Kf7 40. Rb8 b4 (40... Nxd5 {According
to the computer, Black could also play} 41. Rxb5 Ke6 42. a4 Kd7 {but how do
you assess this position when you don't have time to think?}) 41. a4 bxa3 42.
bxa3 Nxd5 43. a4 Ke7 $2 ({The wrong square for the king. Black could have
saved the endgame with} 43... Nb4 44. a5 Ke6 45. Rb6 Nd5 46. Rb7 Nb4 {and
neither side has anything better than a repetition. Obviously, Tabatabaei
could not use a draw for anything, but the text move does not contribute with
anything in terms of winning chances to Black's position.}) 44. a5 Nb4 45. Rb6
Kd7 ({Now} 45... Nd5 $4 {is simply met with} 46. Rb7+ {which is why the king
had to be on e6.}) 46. a6 Nd5 ({Black had to sacrifice the knight for the
a-pawn, although} 46... Nxa6 47. Rxa6 Ke6 48. Kf2 {wins for White.}) 47. Rb8 {
1-0} *
[Event "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Site "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.04.01"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Tabatabaei, M. Amin"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D00"]
[WhiteElo "2623"]
[BlackElo "2778"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "126"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bf4 c5 4. e4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 Nc6 6. Bb5 {The computer do
not like this move, but it has been played in several online events by strong
players with good results. So, obviously, it can prove to be dangerous for
Black.} ({The computer-approved} 6. Qa4 {leads to about equal chances after}
Nxe4 7. Nxe4 dxe4 8. Bb5 Bd7 9. O-O-O {.}) 6... a6 ({In the previously
mentioned games, Black gave preference to} 6... Bd7 {which may also be the
best move. However, the text move also has its points. First and foremost, it
forces White's light-squared bishop off the board.}) 7. Bxc6+ bxc6 8. e5 Ng8 $6
({Or} 8... Nd7 $5 9. Nf3 (9. e6 fxe6 {should not be anything special for White.
}) 9... e6 {when Black should not be worse.}) 9. O-O-O e6 10. Ne4 $1 Bd7 11.
Nd6+ Bxd6 12. exd6 f6 ({Black hints at playing ...e6-e5 at some point, but
more importantly, it also takes the e5-square away from White's pieces. A
solid alternative was} 12... Nf6 13. Nf3 O-O 14. Bg5 h6 15. Bh4 Rc8 {with more
or less even chances.}) 13. Nf3 $1 Rb8 ({Solid and logical, putting the rook
on the open file. By contrast, it would have been extremely risky to play}
13... e5 {when the king is still stuck in the center and Black being miles
behind in development. For instance,} 14. Rhe1 Kf8 15. Nxe5 ({also} 15. Bxe5
fxe5 16. Nxe5 Nf6 17. Rd3 Kg8 18. Rg3 {is scary for Black.}) 15... fxe5 16.
Bxe5 Qg5+ ({if} 16... Nf6 {then} 17. Rd3 $1 {gives White an attack that Black
will likely not survive.}) 17. Kb1 Nf6 18. h4 {with a strong ongoing
initiative and attack for White. Not something you want to risk in the first
game of anything, let alone a rapid-play tiebreaker for a spot in the final.})
14. Rhe1 Qb6 15. Qxb6 Rxb6 16. Be3 Rb8 17. c4 ({It is logical to attack the
center in this fashion and to keep the pawn push c4-c5 in reserve to support
the lone ranger on d6. But another option was} 17. Nd4 e5 18. Nb3 Kf7 19. f4 e4
20. Nc5 Rd8 21. h3 Bc8 22. Bd2 Rxd6 23. Bb4 Re6 ({if} 23... Rd8 {then} 24. Nxe4
{is clearly better for White: a lead in development as well as much
better-placed pieces.}) 24. Nxe6 Bxe6 25. c4 {and White has an advantage.})
17... Kf7 18. Rd3 (18. Nd2 $5) 18... Nh6 19. Ra3 ({White could also consider}
19. Bxh6 gxh6 20. Nd2 ({This knight move is better than} 20. c5 e5 21. Nd2 Rb5
{and Black has solved all of his problems.}) 20... e5 21. f4 e4 22. Ra3 Rhg8
23. g3 {with a fascinating position where White seems to have the upper hand.})
19... Nf5 20. Bc5 h5 ({A good practical decision for Black. If Black instead
decided to defend passively with} 20... Ra8 {when} 21. g4 Nh6 22. h3 {with an
edge for White.}) 21. Rxa6 Ra8 22. Rxa8 Rxa8 23. Kb1 e5 24. h3 $6 ({This seems
like an odd move, allowing his g- and h-pawns to be fixed on light squares,
the color of Black's bishop. It was better to play} 24. Nd2 Ke6 25. b3 Nxd6 26.
a4 Nb7 27. Ba3 g5 28. f3 {when all results are still possible.}) 24... h4 25.
b3 Ke6 26. Kb2 g5 27. Re2 $6 Be8 28. a4 $2 ({A better option was} 28. Nd2 Nxd6
29. a4 Ra6 30. Re1 Bg6 {when Black may have an edge, but it is not anything
special.}) 28... dxc4 29. Rd2 cxb3 30. Kxb3 Kd7 $1 31. Bb6 $4 ({A dreadful
mistake. White should have tried} 31. Ka3 Bf7 32. Nh2 Bd5 33. Ng4 Rf8 34. Ne3
Nxe3 35. fxe3 Rb8 36. Bb4 f5 {when Black is better and might win, but there is
a long way to go.}) 31... Nxd6 32. a5 $6 ({White could also have tried} 32. Bc5
{but after} Bf7+ 33. Ka3 Bd5 {, Black is winning.}) 32... Bf7+ 33. Kb4 Bd5 $1
34. Rc2 Nc8 $1 {The first move in a sequence that stops all of White's
counterplay and ultimately wins the a-pawn.} 35. Rb2 Nxb6 $1 36. axb6 Ra6 $1 ({
Precise play by Wesley So. Combined with the next move, this idea ensures a
decisive advantage for Black. By contrast,} 36... Rb8 37. Kc5 Kc8 38. Ne1 Kb7
39. Kd6 {would have provided White with some counterplay although Black still
should have the better chances.}) 37. Kc3 (37. Kc5 $4 Ra5+ {wins on the spot
for Black.}) 37... Kc8 $1 {Now Black is winning. He never lets the advantage
slide, not even a little bit.} 38. Nh2 f5 39. Nf1 Kb7 40. Ne3 Be6 41. Rd2 Rxb6
42. Rd8 Kc7 43. Rf8 f4 44. Nc2 Rb3+ 45. Kd2 Kd6 46. Rf6 Ke7 47. Rh6 c5 48. Rh7+
Bf7 49. Ne1 Rb2+ 50. Kc3 Rxf2 51. Nd3 Re2 52. Nxc5 Kf6 53. Nd7+ Ke6 54. Nc5+
Kd5 55. Nd7 Be6 56. Nf6+ Kc6 57. Re7 Bf5 58. Ne8 Rc2+ 59. Kb4 Rxg2 60. Rc7+ Kd5
61. Rc5+ Kd4 62. Rc4+ Ke3 63. Nf6 Bd3 0-1
[Event "http://www.chessbomb.com"]
[Site "http://www.chessbomb.com"]
[Date "2022.04.02"]
[Round "5"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "2778"]
[BlackElo "2750"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. e4 d5 6. e5 Ne4 7. Bd3 c5 8. Nf3
cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nd7 10. Bf4 Qh4 11. g3 Qh5 12. O-O g5 13. cxd5 Bxc3 ({Another try
for Black is} 13... gxf4 {which So faced in an online game:} 14. Bxe4 Nxe5 15.
dxe6 Bxe6 16. Nce2 Ng4 17. Nf3 fxg3 18. hxg3 Rac8 19. Qa4 Bd6 20. Rac1 Rxc1 21.
Rxc1 Ne5 22. Rc3 {and draw agreed, ½-½, So,W (2770)-Grischuk,A (2777)
Lichess.org INT 2020.}) 14. bxc3 exd5 15. Be3 ({An earlier encounter between
So and Nakamura in this line explored} 15. e6 {and now:} gxf4 16. exd7 Bxd7 17.
Bxe4 dxe4 18. Qxe4 fxg3 19. fxg3 b6 ({or} 19... Rae8 20. Qxb7 Bh3 21. Qf3 Qg5
22. Qf4 Qd5 23. Rf2 Re4 24. Qh6 {with an unpleasant position for Black, Xiong,
J (2709)-Nakamura,H (2736) Chess.com INT 2020.}) 20. Nf5 ({also} 20. Qe7 {
has been tried} Bh3 21. Rf4 Rae8 22. Qh4 Qxh4 23. Rxh4 Bc8 24. Kf2 Re5 {
and Black has the somewhat better chances on account of the weak light squares
in White's position, Sarana,A (2654)-Nakamura,H (2736) Chess.com INT 2020})
20... Rae8 21. Qd5 Bxf5 22. Rxf5 Qe2 23. Raf1 Qe3+ 24. R1f2 Qe1+ 25. Kg2 ({or}
25. Rf1 Qe3+ 26. R1f2 Qe1+ 27. Rf1 Qe3+ {½-½ So,W (2770)-Nakamura,H (2736)
chess24.com INT 2020.}) 25... Qe4+ 26. Qxe4 ({or} 26. Kh3 Qxd5 27. Rxd5 Re7 28.
Rg5+ Kh8 29. a4 Re3 30. Rgf5 Kg7 {and draw agreed, ½-½, So,W (2786)-Nakamura,
H (2787) St. Louis 2018.}) 26... Rxe4 27. Rg5+ Kh8 28. Rgf5 Kg8 29. Rg5+ Kh8
30. Rgf5 Kg8 {with a draw by repetition, ½-½, So,W (2770)-Nakamura,H (2736)
Lichess.org INT 2020.}) 15... Nxe5 16. f3 Nc5 ({Wesley had tried} 16... Nxd3 {
on a few occasions as Black:} 17. Qxd3 Nd6 18. g4 Qg6 19. Qxg6+ hxg6 20. Bxg5
f6 21. Bf4 Nc4 22. Nb5 ({or} 22. h4 Bd7 23. Kf2 Kf7 24. Rh1 Rac8 25. Rac1 Nb2
26. Rc2 Nd3+ 27. Ke3 Ne5 28. Kf2 Nd3+ 29. Ke3 Ne5 30. Kf2 Nd3+ {with a draw by
repetition, ½-½, Mamedyarov,S (2772)-So,W (2760) Bucharest 2019.}) 22... Bd7
23. Nc7 Rac8 24. Nxd5 Rc5 25. Rad1 Be6 26. Nb4 g5 27. Rfe1 Bxg4 28. fxg4 gxf4
29. Nd3 Ra5 30. Nxf4 Rxa2 {that the computer assesses as equal, but White's
position seems easier to play, although, in the end, the game ended in a draw,
Vachier Lagrave,M (2778)-So,W (2770) Lichess.org INT 2020.}) 17. Bf5 Ne6 18.
Rae1 ({So has also tried} 18. g4 {but did not achieve an advantage:} Qh6 19.
Rae1 Nxd4 20. Bxd4 Nc6 21. Bc5 Rd8 22. Be7 Nxe7 23. Rxe7 Bxf5 24. Qxf5 Qg6 25.
Qxg6+ hxg6 {with equal chances in the endgame, So,W (2770)-Ding,L (2791)
chess24.com INT 2020.}) 18... Nxd4 19. Bxd4 Nc6 20. f4 $5 ({The text move
seems to be White's best chance for an advantage. White has tried other things
in this position:} 20. Bc5 Bxf5 21. Qxf5 Rfe8 22. Rxe8+ Rxe8 23. Qd7 Re2 24.
Qc8+ Kg7 25. Qf8+ Kg6 26. Qg8+ Kf6 27. Qh8+ Kg6 28. Qg8+ Kf6 29. Qh8+ Kg6 30.
Qg8+ {with a draw by perpetual check, ½-½, Mamedyarov,S (2767)-Navara,D
(2717) Batumi 2019.}) (20. Be3 Re8 21. g4 Bxf5 22. Qxf5 Qg6 23. Qxg5 Re5 24.
Qxg6+ fxg6 {with perhaps a smudgeon of an edge for White, Dardha,D (2532)
-Ganguly,S (2627) Wijk aan Zee 2022.}) 20... Nxd4 21. cxd4 gxf4 22. Rxf4 Bxf5
23. Rxf5 Qh6 $6 ({This queen move seems inaccurate. After} 23... Qg4 24. Rf4
Qd7 25. Re5 f6 26. Ref5 Rae8 {, Black should be doing fine despite White's
active-looking pieces.}) 24. Qc7 Rac8 25. Qe5 f6 26. Qxd5+ Kh8 27. Qxb7 $6 ({
I believe this is a mistake. White seems able to obtain an annoying edge with}
27. Qe4 $1 Rc1 ({or} 27... Rcd8 28. d5 Qd2 29. Rh5 f5 30. Qe7 {with excellent
chances for White.}) 28. Kg2 Rxe1 29. Qxe1 Qg7 30. Qe6 {and White has both
pressure and the initiative, but in the post-game interview, neither player
thought that this would prevent Black from holding a draw.}) ({Previously,
White had tried} 27. Rf2 $5 Rc1 28. Qe6 Rd8 29. d5 Rxd5 30. Kg2 Rxe1 31. Qc8+
Kg7 32. Qxb7+ Kg6 33. Qxd5 Re7 {which looks unpleasant for Black, but is more
or less equal, Xiong,J (2700)-So,W (2778) Saint Louis 2021.}) 27... Rc2 {
Now, Black has solved his problems.} 28. Rf2 Rxf2 29. Kxf2 Qxh2+ 30. Qg2 Qh5 {
½-½} *
[Event "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Site "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.04.03"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2778"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "28"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
{[%evp 0,28,31,10,45,25,50,17,27,-43,7,-16,26,-9,-36,-36,19,19,28,14,47,47,12,
33,40,33,40,40,40,28,20]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O (4. d3 Bc5 {
has also been played in a bunch of games between Nakamura and So.}) 4... Nxe4
5. d4 Nd6 {When I was out on my morning run and saw the first five moves from
the game on my phone, I must admit, my first thought was: oh no, we are going
to have a 14-move draw.} 6. dxe5 Nxb5 7. a4 Nbd4 8. Nxd4 d5 ({Or} 8... Nxd4 9.
Qxd4 d5 10. exd6 Qxd6 {has also been used between Nakamura and So with both
colors, against other opponents, and by countless top grandmasters.}) 9. exd6
Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd6 11. Qe4+ ({If White is ambitious, then} 11. Qe3+ {is an
option, although} Be6 12. Nc3 Qc6 13. Nb5 Bc5 14. Qg3 O-O-O 15. Be3 a6 16. Bxc5
Qxc5 {with a clear advantage for Black in Abdusattorov,N (2627)-So,W (2770)
Chess.com INT 2020, did not work too well for White. Stick the hand in the
lion's mouth and you may get bitten.}) 11... Qe6 ({For those insisting on
avoiding the repetition draw, an attempt for Black is} 11... Be7 12. Bf4 Qe6
13. Nc3 Qxe4 14. Nxe4 O-O {although it is doubtful that this would change the
outcome of the game.}) 12. Qd4 Qd6 13. Qe4+ Qe6 14. Qd4 Qd6 {and predictably:
a draw by repetition, as seen well more than 1,100 games in my database.}
1/2-1/2
[Event "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Site "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.04.04"]
[Round "17"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C27"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2778"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "112"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 c6 5. Qe2 ({A rare but not new move.
Previously, Nakamura had played} 5. Bb3 d5 6. Qe2 O-O 7. Nf3 Re8 8. h3 a5 9. a3
Bb6 10. g4 Bd4 11. Bg5 Nbd7 12. exd5 Bxc3+ 13. bxc3 cxd5 14. O-O Qc7 {with
somewhat better chances for Black in Nakamura,H (2736)-Ding,L (2799) Chess.com
INT 2021.}) ({The main options for White are:} 5. Nf3 {,}) (5. Bg5 {,}) ({and}
5. f4 {.}) 5... O-O ({Another option is} 5... b5 6. Bb3 a5 7. a3 d6 8. f4 Bg4
9. Nf3 Nbd7 10. fxe5 dxe5 {with close to equal chances, Epishin,V (2558)
-Meister,J (2413) Germany 2018.} ({but} 10... Nxe5 $1 {is better for Black.}))
6. Nf3 ({Or} 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 Re8 8. Nf3 d6 9. h3 Be6 10. Bxe6 Rxe6 {was about
equal in Zvjaginsev,V (2659)-Kosteniuk,A (2516) Mainz 2005.}) 6... b5 7. Bb3 d6
8. O-O Nbd7 {As co-commentator IM David Pruess pointed out, the position on
the board strongly resembles an Italian Game with the colors reversed but
where White has used his bonus move on the not-particularly-useful Qe2.} 9. Bg5
$6 ({This bishop move does not seem best. It was probably a better choice to
develop the bishop directly to e3 with} 9. Be3 {after which the chances are
about even.}) 9... a5 10. a4 b4 11. Nd1 h6 12. Be3 ({Also} 12. Bh4 Re8 {
gives Black a pleasant game.}) 12... Re8 13. c3 $6 ({These little c-pawn moves
proved to be problematic for Nakamura today. Here, it was better to play the
ultra-solid} 13. Nd2 d5 14. Bxc5 Nxc5 15. f3 Qd6 {when Black has a pleasant
position, but White is still firmly in the game, even if with a rather passive
position.}) 13... Ba6 $1 14. Qc2 bxc3 ({Or} 14... d5 $5 {with a good game for
Black.}) 15. bxc3 Rb8 16. Re1 d5 ({Co-commentator Keti Tsatsalashvili liked}
16... Rxb3 $5 17. Qxb3 Bxd3 18. Nb2 Bxe4 {for Black and it is hard to argue
the fact that Black has an overwhelming advantage.}) 17. Ba2 Bxe3 18. Nxe3 Nc5
19. Red1 dxe4 20. dxe4 Bd3 $1 21. Qc1 Qb6 22. Nd2 Qa7 $1 ({It can seem
tempting to capture on e4, but as the commentators demonstrated in the
broadcast, Black's advantage is considerably smaller than the game
continuation after} 22... Nfxe4 23. Nxe4 Bxe4 24. Nc4 Qa7 25. Qe3 {and White
can still fight despite his missing pawn because his pieces have come alive.})
23. Ndc4 Nfxe4 24. f3 {An ugly move and truly not one that Nakamura would have
wanted to play unless he had to.} Nf6 25. Nd6 Rf8 ({Also} 25... Re7 $5 {
was good.}) 26. Kh1 Be2 $2 ({After} 26... Qc7 27. Nef5 Rbd8 {, Black would
have had a near-decisive advantage.}) 27. Rd2 Ba6 $6 ({Or} 27... Bd3 28. Qg1
Rbd8 29. Ng4 Nxg4 30. Rxd3 e4 {with a clear advantage for Black.}) 28. Nef5 Nb3
$2 (28... Bd3 29. Qe1 Rbd8 30. Qxe5 Bxf5 31. Qxf5) 29. Bxb3 Rxb3 30. Qe1 $5 ({
White could also have played} 30. Nxg7 $1 {directly, for instance,} Kxg7 31.
Nf5+ Kg8 32. Qe1 Kh7 33. Qxe5 Rg8 34. Qxf6 {and White should win.}) 30... Kh7
31. Nxg7 $1 ({Co-commentator Pruess felt that} 31. Qg3 $1 Rg8 32. Qxe5 {
would have been horrible for Black, and he is absolutely right. White is
winning.}) ({Also,} 31. Qxe5 Qb8 32. Rdd1 {was an option for White, albeit
less flashy.}) 31... Kxg7 32. Qxe5 $4 ({Here, White misses his best chance of
the game in} 32. Nf5+ Kg6 ({or} 32... Kh7 33. Rd6) 33. Qh4 ({also,} 33. Rd6 Qb8
34. g4 {and White is winning}) 33... Qb7 ({if} 33... Kxf5 {then} 34. Rd6 {
decides}) 34. Qxh6+ Kxf5 35. Rad1 Rb1 36. g4+ Nxg4 ({or} 36... Ke6 37. Rd6+ Ke7
38. Qxf6+ Ke8 39. Rd8#) 37. Qh5+ Ke6 38. Qxg4+ Ke7 39. Qh4+ f6 40. Qh7+ Rf7 41.
Qxb1 {and White is winning.}) 32... Qb8 $1 {The first of several amazing
defensive moves by So to stay in the game.} 33. h4 ({Or} 33. Rg1 Rb1 34. h4 Rd8
35. Qe7 ({White can force a draw with} 35. Nf5+ Kg6 36. Ne7+ Kg7) 35... Rxg1+
36. Kxg1 Nd5 37. Rxd5 cxd5 38. Qxf7+ Kh8 {and White has nothing better than a
perpetual check.}) 33... Rb1+ 34. Rxb1 Qxb1+ 35. Kh2 Qg6 $1 ({Note that} 35...
Bd3 $4 36. h5 $1 {is much better for White.}) 36. Nf5+ Kh7 37. Rd6 Rg8 $1 {
Forcing White's pawn forward.} 38. g3 Re8 $1 {Now, Black can make this move
because the white king is sufficiently vulnerable to allow Black enough
counterplay to save the game.} 39. Qxf6 Re2+ 40. Kh3 Bc8 $1 41. g4 Bxf5 42.
Qxf5 Qxf5 43. gxf5 c5 $1 {Again, precision by So. The endgame should now end
in a draw without further ado.} 44. Ra6 Re3 45. Kg4 Rxc3 46. Rxa5 Rc4+ 47. Kg3
Rb4 48. h5 c4 49. Ra7 Kg7 50. Ra6 c3 51. f6+ Kh7 52. Rc6 Rxa4 53. Rc7 Kg8 54.
Rc8+ Kh7 55. Rc7 Kg8 56. Rc8+ Kh7 {and draw agreed.} 1/2-1/2
[Event "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Site "http://www.Chess.com"]
[Date "2022.04.04"]
[Round "18"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2778"]
[BlackElo "2750"]
[Annotator "cahan"]
[PlyCount "130"]
[EventDate "2022.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5
8. Rxe5 O-O 9. d4 Ne8 ({A line that Nakamura has played many times as Black.
The combatants had previously tested} 9... Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. Rxe8+ Nxe8 12.
d5 b6 13. Nd2 Bb7 14. Ne4 Be7 15. c3 Nd6 16. Ng3 Bg5 17. c4 Rc8 18. b3 Qf6 19.
Bxg5 Qxg5 20. Qd4 Re8 21. Rd1 Nf5 22. Nxf5 Qxf5 23. Bd3 Qe5 {and although
White seems to have an edge, a draw was here agreed upon,½-½, So,W (2765)
-Nakamura,H (2746) Kolkata 2018.}) 10. d5 Bc5 11. Re1 d6 ({This is a move that
has been played several times by Aronian as well as Carlsen, but not Nakamura.
He had previously tried} 11... h6 12. Nc3 Nf6 13. h3 Re8 14. Rxe8+ Nxe8 15. Ne4
Bf8 16. Qf3 {which was better for White in Grandelius,N (2670)-Nakamura,H
(2736) chess24.com INT 2021.}) 12. Nc3 Bf5 13. Bd3 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 Nf6 15. h3 ({
Or} 15. Na4 Re8 16. Bd2 Rxe1+ 17. Rxe1 Qd7 18. Nxc5 dxc5 19. c4 {with a small
but clear advantage for White, Karjakin,S (2782)-Carlsen,M (2864) Moscow 2013.}
) 15... h6 16. Bd2 Qd7 17. Qf3 ({The first new move. Previously, White had
tried} 17. Ne4 Nxe4 18. Rxe4 Rae8 19. Rae1 Rxe4 20. Qxe4 c6 21. c4 {with a
tiny plus for White, Miron,L (2490)-Georgescu,T (2508) Mamaia 2019.}) 17... Bd4
18. Rad1 Rae8 19. Rxe8 Nxe8 (19... Rxe8 {was also an option, e.g.,} 20. Bxh6
Bxc3 21. bxc3 Qa4 22. Qg3 Nh5 23. Qg5 Re5 24. Qd8+ Re8 25. Qg5 {with a draw by
repetition.}) 20. Qd3 Bb6 21. Re1 Nf6 22. Ne4 Qf5 23. g4 Qg6 {White has more
space, but Black's pieces are well-placed and the position is solid.} 24. Bc3
Nd7 25. Ng3 Qxd3 26. cxd3 g6 {Black had to avoid the knight jumping to f5, but
weakening the dark squares in this fashion is obviously not ideal either.
White has a small but clear advantage.} 27. Kg2 Ne5 28. Rd1 Re8 $2 (28... Nd7
29. f4 Re8 {should be defendable for Black.}) 29. Ne4 Kf8 30. Nf6 Re7 $2 (30...
Rd8 31. a4 {is also unpleasant for Black.}) 31. a4 $1 a5 $2 {Making things
worse.} ({If Black wanted to play ...c7-c6, it should have been here, although
} 31... c6 32. h4 cxd5 33. Nxd5 Re6 34. g5 {is clearly better for White.}) 32.
h4 c6 $4 ({A bad blunder that loses material on the spot. Black should have
opted for} 32... Nd7 33. Nxd7+ Rxd7 34. h5 {and White has a serious advantage
in the endgame.}) 33. Bxe5 dxe5 ({Or} 33... Rxe5 34. Nd7+ {and White wins a
piece.}) 34. d6 Re6 35. Nd7+ Kg7 36. Nxb6 Rxd6 37. Nc4 {The game is in essence
over, but Nakamura had to play to see if something would happen from nerves or
shortage of time. But So conducts the rest of the game with a steady hand.} Rd4
38. f3 Kf6 39. b3 b5 40. axb5 cxb5 41. Nxa5 h5 42. gxh5 gxh5 43. Kg3 Rd6 44. b4
Kf5 45. Nb3 Rg6+ 46. Kf2 Ra6 47. Na5 Rd6 48. Ke3 Rd4 49. Nc6 Rxh4 50. d4 exd4+
51. Rxd4 Rh1 52. Rd5+ Kg6 53. Rxb5 h4 54. Ne5+ Kg7 55. Kf4 Rg1 56. Ng4 h3 57.
Rg5+ Kf8 58. Rh5 Kg7 59. b5 Rb1 60. Rg5+ Kh7 61. Nf6+ Kh6 62. Ng4+ Kh7 63. Kg3
Rb3 64. Rf5 Kg6 65. Rf6+ Kg5 {and Black resigned at the same time.} 1-0