[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.16"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Gelfand, Boris"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B35"]
[WhiteElo "2796"]
[BlackElo "2719"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 {Gelfand often reverts to the Accelerated Dragon
in case that his opponent adopts the Anti-Sveshnikov move order. By doing so
he avoids the Maroczy Bind formation.} 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4
O-O 8. Bb3 d5 {This is how the Israeli GM likes to play, lately.} (8... d6 {
reverts the game back into the normal Dragon where Vachier-Lagrave has a lot
of experience. One example is the following blitz game} 9. f3 Bd7 10. Qd2 Rc8
11. h4 h5 12. O-O-O Ne5 13. Kb1 Nc4 14. Bxc4 Rxc4 15. Nde2 {and the theory had
not yet begun, Vachier-Lagrave,M (2796)-Grischuk,A (2761) Paris 2017}) ({
The genuine Accelerated Dragon players may also choose the line} 8... a5 9. O-O
a4 10. Nxa4 Nxe4 11. Nb5 Rxa4 12. Bxa4 Bxb2 {as in Karjakin,S (2694)-Jones,G
(2567) Heraklion 2007}) 9. exd5 Na5 10. O-O ({An alternative for White is} 10.
Qf3 Nxb3 11. axb3 Bg4 12. Qg3 Bh5 13. d6 exd6 14. O-O {when the weak pawn on
d6 is compensated by the bishop pair by Black, Wei,Y (2753)-Li,C (2744)
Huocheng County 2017}) 10... Nxb3 11. Nxb3 b6 12. d6 {The pawn cannot be
defended on d5 and White hurries to cause some damage to the opponent's
position.} e6 {In return Black postpones the capture hoping that he will have
a better opportunity for that.} ({Apparently, Gelfand was not too excited
repeating the endgame he had an year ago after} 12... Qxd6 13. Qxd6 exd6 14.
Rfe1 Bf5 15. Nd4 Bd7 16. h3 {as in Oparin,G (2616)-Gelfand,B (2725) Moscow 2016
}) 13. Qf3 Rb8 14. Rfd1 $146 {A logical novelty. The question which rook has
always been more difficult than one could imagine. Here the the placement of
the rooks on c1 and d1 has one obvious advantage: they both support the
advance of the pawns. The less obvious plus is that the rook on f1 may fall
victim to a bishop skewer on the a6-f1 diagonal.} ({The only predecessor is a
game of Gelfand himself. He managed to survive after:} 14. Rad1 Bb7 15. Qh3 Nd5
16. Nxd5 Bxd5 17. Bd4 Bxd4 18. Rxd4 Rc8 (18... b5 $5 19. Qh6) 19. Qh6 (19. Qd3
$1 b5 20. Qxb5 ({One disadvantage of the queenside rook sorie is revealed after
} 20. c3 Bc4 {skewering some meat on the diagonal.}) 20... Rxc2) 19... Qf6 20.
Rc1 {although this might have been pleasant to repeat as White, Adhiban,B
(2670)-Gelfand,B (2737) Douglas 2017}) 14... Bb7 15. Qh3 {Gelfand sank into
thought.} Rc8 ({The less obvious advantage of the move Rf1-d1 becomes clear in
the line} 15... Nd5 16. Nxd5 Bxd5 17. Bd4 Bxd4 18. Rxd4 Rc8 19. Qd3 $1 (19. Qh6
Qf6) 19... b5 20. c3 Bc4 {and this bishop attacks only the queen, which moves
away:} (20... Qxd6 21. Qxb5) 21. Qg3 {with advantage for White. Small details
like these form the opening theory for years to come.}) 16. Bd4 Nd5 (16... Rc6
{would be well met with} 17. Qf3 $1) 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. Rac1 $1 {
Here is the second advantage in action. The white pieces are placed (almost)
ideally to help the passers run. Vachier-Lagrave's novelty worked out quite
well.} b5 (19... Qxd6 $4 {drops a piece after} 20. c4) ({In case of} 19... Rc6
{White has a choice between the sharp} 20. c4 $5 ({And the calm} 20. Qg3) 20...
Bxc4 21. Qg3 {with advantage for White in both cases. But this was perhaps the
lesser evil in comparison to the game.}) 20. Qg3 Qf6 ({Or} 20... Rc6 21. Nd4
Rxd6 (21... Rb6 22. b3 b4 23. Nf5+ $5 Kh8 24. Ne3) 22. Nxb5 {with a solid
extra pawn.}) 21. Nd4 b4 {Trying to keep the pawns blocked. However} 22. c4 $1
{is still very strong.} bxc3 ({If} 22... Rxc4 23. Rxc4 Bxc4 24. Nc6 Bd5 25.
Nxb4 {keeps the extra material.}) (22... Bxc4 $2 {is even worse for Black after
} 23. d7 Rc5 24. b3) 23. Rxc3 Rxc3 $6 {This makes things easier for White. The
two passers are massive.} ({The most resilient way was} 23... Rb8 24. b3 Rfd8 {
although White's advantage is indusputable here as well.}) 24. bxc3 Rd8 ({If}
24... Rc8 25. d7 Rd8 26. Qd6 {and the pawns will resume their motion shortly.})
25. h4 {Another nice touch. One idea is to trade the queens in the proper
moment. The other is to have air for the king in case of any back rank checks.}
e5 26. Nf5+ Qxf5 27. Rxd5 Qe4 ({You have already noticed that} 27... Qb1+ {
is not mate and White should win after} 28. Kh2 Qxa2 29. Qxe5+) 28. c4 {
Keeping the passers together is the best.} (28. Rxe5 $6 Qb1+ 29. Kh2 Rxd6 {
is not that great for White.}) 28... f6 ({The white passer is unstoppable after
} 28... Qxc4 29. Qxe5+ Kg8 30. d7 Qxh4 31. Rb5) 29. Qc3 Qb1+ 30. Kh2 Qxa2 31.
Rd2 {Calm play. MVL knows that the pawns are unstoppable.} ({There was also
the flashy win after} 31. Rxe5 fxe5 ({But why to allow any checks after} 31...
Qxf2 32. Re7+ Kg8 33. c5) 32. Qxe5+ Kg8 33. Qe6+ Kg7 34. Qe7+) 31... Qa4 32. g3
Qc6 33. c5 Rd7 34. Qc4 {Once that the blockade is lifted nobody can stop the
passers.} (34. Qc4 {A possible finish would have been} Kf8 35. Qd5 Qxd5 36.
Rxd5 Ke8 37. c6 Rg7 38. d7+ Kd8 39. c7+) 1-0
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.16"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Inarkiev, Ernesto"]
[Black "Li, Chao"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D85"]
[WhiteElo "2683"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:10:12"]
[BlackClock "0:00:42"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Qa4+ Nd7 8.
Nf3 O-O 9. Be2 Nb6 (9... c5 10. O-O cxd4 11. cxd4 Nc5 12. dxc5 Bxa1 13. e5 Bd7
14. Qh4 Bc6 {Yilmaz,M (2630)-Duda,J (2697) Khanty-Mansiysk 2017}) 10. Qb4 $146
(10. Qa3 Bg4 11. O-O e5 12. dxe5 Bxf3 13. gxf3 Bxe5 14. f4 Bg7 15. Be3 Qh4 {
Bluebaum,M (2580)-Bok,B (2586) Khanty-Mansiysk 2015}) 10... Qd6 11. O-O Bg4 12.
Qb3 c6 13. Rd1 Qc7 14. Ba3 Nc8 15. Rac1 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Rd8 17. e5 e6 18. c4 Rb8
19. Be4 c5 20. Bxc5 f6 21. Bb4 fxe5 22. d5 b6 23. dxe6 Ne7 24. Rd7 $1 {The
strongest, although several moves led to a winning advantage.} Rxd7 25. exd7
Qxd7 26. c5+ Kh8 27. c6 Rc8 28. Qf7 Qd4 29. Bxe7 (29. Bxe7 Qxe4 30. Bf6 $1 {
is killing.}) 1-0
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.16"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Rapport, Richard"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A40"]
[WhiteElo "2762"]
[BlackElo "2692"]
[PlyCount "123"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:56:27"]
[BlackClock "0:59:47"]
1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. a3 Bb7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bf4 (5. Nc3 Ne4 6. Qc2 Nxc3 7. Qxc3
Be7 8. e3 O-O 9. Bd3 c5 10. d5 d6 {Li,C (2744)-Rapport,R (2675) Tbilisi 2017})
5... Nc6 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. h3 Nf5 8. d5 Bd6 9. Qd2 exd5 10. cxd5 O-O 11. O-O-O Re8
12. e3 Bxf4 13. exf4 Ne7 14. Bc4 b5 15. Bb3 a5 16. Nxb5 a4 17. Bc2 Nexd5 18.
Rhe1 d6 19. Nfd4 Rxe1 20. Rxe1 Nb6 21. Nf5 Qd7 22. Nc3 Re8 23. g4 Rxe1+ 24.
Qxe1 g6 25. Ng3 Nfd5 26. f5 Nxc3 27. Qxc3 Qd8 28. Kb1 Bg2 29. f4 d5 30. fxg6
hxg6 31. f5 d4 32. Qd2 d3 33. Qxg2 Qd4 34. Bd1 Nc4 35. fxg6 fxg6 36. Qb7 Nd2+
37. Ka2 Qc4+ 38. b3 Qc1 39. Qd5+ Kg7 40. Qd7+ Kf8 41. Qd8+ Kg7 42. Qd7+ Kf8 43.
Qxd3 Qxd1 44. bxa4 c5 45. Ne4 Nxe4 46. Qxd1 Nc3+ 47. Kb3 Nxd1 48. a5 Ne3 49. a6
c4+ 50. Kc3 Nd5+ 51. Kxc4 Nc7 52. a7 g5 53. Kc5 Ke7 54. Kc6 Na8 55. Kd5 $1 (55.
Kb7 $2 Kd7 {would be a draw and} 56. Kxa8 $4 Kc8 {would even lose:} 57. a4 Kc7
58. a5 Kc8 59. a6 Kc7 60. h4 gxh4 61. g5 h3 62. g6 h2 63. g7 h1=Q#) 55... Kf6
56. Kd6 Kf7 57. Ke5 Kg6 58. Ke6 Nb6 59. a4 Na8 60. a5 Kg7 ({The problem is
that after} 60... Nc7+ 61. Kd7 Na8 62. Kc6 {the black king is too far away.})
61. Kf5 Kh6 62. Kf6 (62. Kf6 Nc7 63. Ke7 Kg7 64. Kd7 {again wins a tempo,
leaving the enemy king too far behind.}) 1-0
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.16"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Rapport, Richard"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2762"]
[BlackElo "2692"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "5k2/8/6p1/2p5/P5P1/P2Q2NP/K2n4/3q4 w - - 0 45"]
[PlyCount "35"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
{There were many ways to skin that cat, but Giri found the prettiest solution.
} 45. Ne4 $1 Nxe4 46. Qxd1 Nc3+ 47. Kb3 ({Even} 47. Ka1 Nxd1 48. a5 Nc3 49. a6
Nb5 50. a4 Na7 51. h4 $1 {is a win, illustrating how useless a knight can be
when it comes to dealing with rook pawns.}) 47... Nxd1 48. a5 Ne3 49. a6 c4+
50. Kc3 Nd5+ 51. Kxc4 Nc7 52. a7 g5 {An important move.} 53. Kc5 Ke7 54. Kc6
Na8 {[#] It may seem that Black may survive, but it's only an illusion.} 55.
Kd5 $1 (55. Kb7 $2 Kd7 $11 56. Kxa8 $4 Kc7 {and White loses! After he runs out
of the second a-pawn moves, he would have to commit suicide with h3-h4.}) 55...
Kf6 56. Kd6 Kf7 57. Ke5 Kg6 58. Ke6 Nb6 59. a4 Na8 60. a5 {This little soldier
plays his part by taking away the b5-square.} Kg7 {Black was in Zugzwang} ({as
} 60... Nc7+ {gives White a key tempo in the kings race to the Q-side.} 61. Kd7
) 61. Kf5 Kh6 62. Kf6 {Nice!} 1-0
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.16"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Inarkiev, Ernesto"]
[Black "Li, Chao b"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2683"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Qa4+ Nd7 ({
Personally, I have always preferred} 7... Qd7 8. Qb3 O-O 9. Nf3 c5 {but recent
developments after a new (to me) move} 10. d5 {leave me worried. For example,}
e6 11. Be3 exd5 12. exd5 b6 {and here} 13. Bb5 $5 {was Nakamura-Vachier
Lagrave, Chess.com Blitz 2016. I wonder what's going on after} Bxc3+ 14. Kd1 (
14. Ke2 $4 Qxb5+ 15. Qxb5 Ba6 $19) 14... Bxa1 15. Bxd7 Nxd7 {isn't Black
supposed to be more than OK here?}) 8. Nf3 O-O 9. Be2 Nb6 $6 {I know I'm not
supposed to treat a 2740 player like a schoolboy, but has Li Chao ever heard
the famous Dr. Tarrasch dictum "Nb6 always stands badly"?} ({Databases contain
hundreds of games with a standard} 9... c5 {and White's results show not more
than a normal few percentage points edge.}) 10. Qb4 Qd6 11. O-O Bg4 $6 {
What is the point of parting with a bishop when Black isn't attacking d4? More
questions that only Li Chao can answer.} (11... Qxb4 12. cxb4 Bg4 {would make
more sense.}) 12. Qb3 $1 c6 $6 {To me, an old Grunfeld hand, this move always
signifies Black's failure to follow through on this great opening's ideas.} ({
No matter what} 12... c5 13. Ba3 Qc6 {had to be tried.}) 13. Rd1 Qc7 14. Ba3
Nc8 15. Rac1 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Rd8 {[#] Just like that White has obtained a
sizeable advantage without breaking a drop of sweat.} 17. e5 $1 e6 18. c4 Rb8
19. Be4 c5 $6 {A desperate attempt to break out that is doomed to fail.} 20.
Bxc5 f6 21. Bb4 (21. Qh3 {also looked mighty good}) 21... fxe5 22. d5 $1 b6 23.
dxe6 Ne7 {[#]Now the simple, yet elegant finish.} 24. Rd7 $1 Rxd7 25. exd7 Qxd7
26. c5+ Kh8 27. c6 Rc8 28. Qf7 Qd4 29. Bxe7 1-0
[Event "Palma De Mallorca GP 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Date "2017.11.17"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Inarkiev, Ernesto"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2801"]
[BlackElo "2683"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2017.11.16"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Qc2
Nc6 9. Rd1 Qa5 10. a3 Re8 11. Nd2 e5 12. Bg5 Nd4 {A topical line.} 13. Qb1 (13.
Qc1 Bf5 14. Bxf6 Nc2+ 15. Ke2 Nd4+ 16. Ke1 Nc2+ 17. Ke2 Nd4+ 18. Ke1 Nc2+ {
½-½ Carlsen,M (2827)-Nakamura,H (2781) Douglas 2017}) (13. Qa4 Qxa4 14. Nxa4
Nc2+ 15. Ke2 Nd4+ 16. Ke1 Nc2+ 17. Ke2 Nd4+ 18. Ke1 Nc2+ {1/2-1/2 (18)
Karjakin,S (2773)-Nakamura,H (2787) Bilbao ESP 2016}) 13... Bf5 14. Bd3 Bxd3 $1
{This was Zumsande's novelty from two years ago.} ({In the stem game,
Kortchnoi refuted Black's play over the board and won in 60 moves vs Karpov.}
14... e4 15. Bc2 Nxc2+ 16. Qxc2 Qa6 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. Nb3 Bd6 {Kortschnoj,V
(2665)-Karpov,A (2725) Baguio City 1978}) 15. Qxd3 Ne4 16. Nxd5 $146 {And this
is Aronian's novelty!} (16. Ncxe4 dxe4 17. Qxe4 Qb6 18. Qb1 Ne6 19. Bh4 Bxe3
20. fxe3 Qxe3+ 21. Kf1 Qf4+ 22. Bf2 Rad8 23. g3 Qh6 24. Ne4 Qh3+ 25. Kg1 Nf4 {
0-1 Tarjan,J (2479)-Zumsande,M (2422) Douglas ENG 2015}) (16. cxd5 Nxc3 17.
bxc3 Nb5 18. Ne4 Nd6 19. Nxd6 Bxd6 20. e4 Rec8 {Le,Q (2726)-Yu,Y (2753)
Danzhou 2017}) 16... Nxg5 17. b4 Qa6 18. bxc5 Rad8 19. Nb4 Qa4 20. Qb1 a5 $6 ({
It looks like Inarkiev is the first to have trouble remembering the
preparation. Better is} 20... Nc6 21. Qb3 Qa5) 21. Nd5 Nc2+ 22. Ke2 Ne4 23.
Nxe4 Qxc4+ 24. Kf3 Rxd5 25. g4 f5 26. gxf5 Rf8 27. Qxb7 Rxf5+ 28. Kg3 Rxd1 29.
Rxd1 Nd4 30. exd4 Rf7 31. Qb1 Rf4 32. f3 Qe6 33. Ng5 Qh6 34. Qb8+ (34. Qb8+ {
And resigns because White will both pick up the black queen and checkmate
right after:} Rf8 35. Qb3+ Kh8 36. Nf7+ Kg8 37. Nxh6+ Kh8 38. Qg8+ Rxg8 39.
Nf7#) 1-0
[Event "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Date "2017.11.17"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B96"]
[WhiteElo "2762"]
[BlackElo "2796"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2017.11.16"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 h6 8. Bh4
Qb6 9. a3 Be7 10. Bf2 (10. Qd3 Nbd7 11. O-O-O g5 12. fxg5 Ne5 13. Qd2 Nh7 14.
Nf3 hxg5 15. Bf2 Qc7 {Caruana,F (2807)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2791) Saint Louis
2017}) 10... Qc7 11. Qf3 Nbd7 12. O-O-O b5 13. g4 Bb7 (13... g5 14. h4 gxf4 15.
Be2 Rg8 {Giri,A (2790)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2788) Stavanger NOR 2016 and now} 16.
g5 $1 {is good for White.}) 14. h4 Nc5 15. Bd3 h5 16. g5 Ng4 17. Rhg1 $146 (17.
f5 Nxd3+ 18. cxd3 e5 19. Nc2 Rc8 20. Kb1 d5 21. Rc1 d4 22. Nd5 Bxd5 23. exd5
Qd7 {Konguvel,P (2388)-Niekras,D (2291) Warsaw 2017}) 17... g6 18. Rxg4 hxg4
19. Qxg4 e5 20. Nf3 Rc8 21. fxe5 dxe5 22. Kb1 Rd8 23. Nd5 Bxd5 24. exd5 Nxd3
25. Rxd3 O-O 26. h5 (26. Bg3 Rc8 27. c3 Bd6 28. Nd2 $1 {and the knight goes to
e4.}) 26... Qc4 27. Qh3 Qc8 28. Qxc8 Rxc8 29. Nxe5 Bxg5 30. d6 Bf4 31. d7
1/2-1/2
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.17"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"]
[Black "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E73"]
[WhiteElo "2705"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 ({Later in the annotations this
game will be mentioned:} 5. f3 O-O 6. Be3 e5 7. d5 c5 8. Bd3 Nh5 9. Nge2 f5 10.
exf5 gxf5 11. Qc2 {and now the key move} e4 $1 12. fxe4 f4 $1 13. Bf2 Nd7 14.
Ng1 Qg5 15. Bf1 Ne5 16. Nf3 Qe7 17. Nxe5 Qxe5 18. O-O-O Nf6 19. h3 Bd7 20. Bd3
a6 21. Nb1 f3 22. gxf3 Nh5 23. Nd2 Nf4 24. Bf1 b5 25. h4 Kh8 26. Rg1 Bf6 27.
Nb3 Rab8 28. Be1 b4 29. Kb1 Ra8 30. Bg3 Rg8 31. Qh2 Rxg3 32. Rxg3 Ne2 33. Qxe2
Qxg3 34. Nc1 a5 35. Nd3 Bd4 36. h5 Qh4 37. Bg2 Rg8 38. Rh1 Qg3 39. Bf1 a4 40.
Kc2 a3 41. b3 {1/2-1/2 Kotov,A-Gligoric,S Zurich 1953}) 5... O-O 6. Be3 {
A look in the database reveals that Radjabov had never faced this move before,
while Vallejo had never even developed the light-squared bishop to e2 on the
previous move.} ({In the Averbakh System White often tries to lure the pawn to
h6 before stepping on e3 with} 6. Bg5 h6 7. Be3) 6... e5 7. d5 a5 8. g4 Na6 9.
h4 {Not really and attack, but more of a defensive prophylaxis. White wants to
control the kingside.} Nc5 10. f3 h5 11. g5 Nh7 ({Very often this knight is
rerouted to the queenside with} 11... Nfd7 12. Nh3 Nb6 {as in Debashis,D (2472)
-Firouzja,A (2456) Doha 2016}) 12. Kd2 $146 {A novelty. The king is often safe
behind the blocked center in these lines.} ({The "normal" way to play it is}
12. Qd2 f6 13. gxf6 {In a recent game from the ETCC White was better after} ({
Or} 13. O-O-O fxg5 14. hxg5 Bd7 15. Nh3 Qe7 16. Kb1 Rf7 17. Nf2 Raf8 18. Rdg1
Rf4 {1/2-1/2 Riazantsev,A (2646)-Amonatov,F (2592) St Petersburg 2015}) 13...
Rxf6 ({However} 13... Bxf6 {seems more natural to play.}) 14. O-O-O Bd7 15. Nh3
{Rodshtein,M (2699)-Kovalev,V (2636) Heraklio 2017}) ({Another option for
White is} 12. Nh3 {for example} Bxh3 {I do not like this...} 13. Rxh3 f6 14.
gxf6 (14. Qd2 $5) 14... Rxf6 15. Qd2 {which looks good for White, Debashis,D
(2472) -Karthikeyan,M (2578) Moscow 2017}) 12... Bd7 {Radjabov proceeds with
the normal development and prepares the opening of the center.} 13. Nh3 c6 14.
Nf2 cxd5 15. exd5 {Vallejo's point. His knights get an access to the wonderful
e4 spot.} ({Or} 15. cxd5 a4 {followed by Qd8-a5 and b7-b5 with strong play on
the queenside.}) 15... f5 ({The computer recommends} 15... b6 {but no real KID
player will allow} 16. Nfe4 {that easily.}) 16. gxf6 Nxf6 17. Bxc5 $6 {A
contraversial decision. The knights will make it to the e4 square, but the
bishop on g7 remains without an opponent.} dxc5 18. Kc2 ({Some of the problems
due to the lack of the white bishop are revealed in the line} 18. Nfe4 Nxe4+
19. Nxe4 Rf4 {when the pawn on h4 becomes vulnerable. After} 20. Qe1 Qb6 21.
Kc2 Bf5 {Black is better.}) 18... a4 (18... e4 $5 {was already interesting,
but before breaking through Radjabov wants to soften the long diagonal.}) 19.
Qd2 a3 20. b3 e4 $1 {Every KID players knows ;-) This idea, reminiscent of the
glorious game Kotov-Gligoric from the Interzonal tournament Zurich 1953, is
the main weapon of every KID player. The Beast on g7 is released and things do
not look rosy for Vallejo at all. To make things worse, he was getting very
low on time.} 21. fxe4 ({Worse was} 21. Nfxe4 Nxe4 22. fxe4 Rf2 {and Black
breaks into the opponent's camp.}) 21... Ng4 22. Nxg4 (22. Nd3 {is too
artifical to be true. After} Bh6 23. Qe1 Ne3+ 24. Kb1 Qe7 {Black develops a
strong attack on the dark squares.}) 22... hxg4 {I could not believe my eyes
when I saw the computer evaluation here (0.00)... Black's play is very easy
and strong. The queen will come out on either f6 or e7, then on the long
diagonal, rooks want to get into the scond file, there's a strong passer on g3.
..} ({Of course not} 22... Bxg4 23. Bxg4 hxg4 {which will make White's defense
easier.}) 23. h5 ({Or} 23. Raf1 Rxf1 24. Bxf1 Qf6 {and the black pieces
dominate the board.}) 23... Rf2 24. h6 ({In case of} 24. hxg6 {Black will
simply ignore the g6 pawn and proceed with his plan:} Qe7 25. Rh7 ({Even the
endgame is bad for White after} 25. d6 Qe5 26. Qd5+ Qxd5 27. cxd5 g3 $1 ({
No need to complicate thing with} 27... Bxc3 {when a curious line that leads
to a draw runs after} 28. Kxc3 Rxe2 29. Rh7 Be8 30. Rah1 g3 31. d7 g2 32. Rh8+
Kg7 33. R1h7+ Kxg6 34. Rh6+ Kg5 35. Rh5+ Bxh5 36. Rxa8 Re3+ 37. Kd2 Re2+))
25... g3 {with big advantage for the second player.}) 24... Be5 25. Raf1 g3 26.
Rxf2 ({Or} 26. Qe3 Rh2 $1 (26... Qf6 27. Nd1 Rxf1 28. Rxf1 Qe7 {looks less
convincing.})) 26... gxf2 27. Nd1 Qf6 28. Rf1 Bd4 29. Nxf2 {Vallejo
understands that the positon is hopeless strategically and tries tactics. But
this only speeds up his defeat.} (29. Bd3 Rf8 30. h7+ Kxh7 31. Rh1+ Kg8 32. Qh6
Rf7 {leads White nowehere neither.}) 29... Bxf2 30. e5 Qxe5 31. Rxf2 Bf5+ 32.
Kd1 (32. Rxf5 Qxf5+ {is hopeless as well.}) 32... Qa1+ {Not the only wy to win
the game, but convincing enough.} 33. Qc1 Qxa2 34. Rxf5 Qxb3+ ({Surely} 34...
gxf5 $4 {would give the win to White after} 35. Qg5+ Kf7 36. Qg7+ Ke8 37. h7)
35. Kd2 Qa2+ {Radjabov repeats the moves once.} (35... a2 {would have won after
} 36. Qa1 Qb4+ 37. Kc2 Qb1+ 38. Qxb1 axb1=Q+ 39. Kxb1 gxf5) 36. Ke1 {Vallejo
deviates, but there is no salvation anyways.} (36. Kd1 Qb3+ {would force
Radjabov to use the winning line from above.}) 36... Qb2 37. Qf4 Qb1+ 0-1
[Event "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Date "2017.11.18"]
[Round "3.5"]
[White "Hammer, Jon Ludvig"]
[Black "Svidler, Peter"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B51"]
[WhiteElo "2629"]
[BlackElo "2763"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "2017.11.16"]
[EventType "swiss"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 {This move reveals aggressive intentions. In
the Moscow line both knight moves (3...Nb8-c6) have fighting reputation, while
the bishop cover enjoys the label "safe."} 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7
7. Nc3 e5 {An accurate move.} ({The main thing that Black needs to avoid in
the line is the premature development of his knight:} 7... Nf6 {as the
Boleslavsky pawn structure that arises after} 8. Bg5 Rc8 9. O-O-O h6 10. Bxf6
gxf6 11. Nd5 {favours White, Georgiev,K (2443)-Bernadskiy,V (2559) Sunny Beach
2014}) 8. Qd3 Rc8 ({The other way to play it is} 8... h6 {as in the blitz game
between two living legends} 9. Nd2 Be6 10. Nc4 Rc8 11. Ne3 Nf6 12. O-O Be7 13.
Rd1 O-O {White achieved almost everything he wanted and still has no advantage,
Anand,V (2783)-Kasparov,G (2812) Saint Louis 2017}) 9. Nd2 {The knight is
shifted towards the d5 spot.} Be6 10. Nf1 Be7 11. Ne3 Nf6 {Only now when the
pin Bc1-g5 is not possible does Svidler develop the knight.} 12. O-O Qc7 $146 {
A very interesting novelty backed up by a sound plan.} ({Interestingly, Black
did great in the only predecessor after:} 12... O-O 13. a4 Qc7 14. Bd2 h6 15.
b3 Rfd8 16. Rfd1 d5 $1 {Fernandez Garcia,J (2457)-Alonso Bouza,J (2266) Havana
2009}) 13. a4 Qc5 14. Rd1 O-O {It is not very clear how can White develop
further.} 15. Bd2 ({After} 15. a5 h6 {the ball is back into White's court.}) ({
White's main problem is that the knight jumps on d5 are just bad at the moment
as they both will lead to the sealing of the d5 square and better pawn
structure for Black after} 15. Ncd5 $2 Nxd5 16. exd5 Bd7) ({Or} 15. Ned5 $2
Nxd5 16. exd5 Bd7) 15... Bd8 {The point behind Black's novelty. Svidler brings
the dark-squared bishop to an active position.} 16. Nf5 $2 {A horrible move.} (
{The only chance was in the complications arising after} 16. a5 $1 Bxa5 17.
Ncd5 Bd8 ({Or} 17... Bxd2 18. Nxf6+ gxf6 19. Qxd2 Rfd8 20. Qe2 {with some
compensation for a pawn.}) 18. Bb4 {Now Black has a choice between the sharp}
Qc6 ({And the solid} 18... Qd4 19. Bxd6 (19. Qxd4 exd4 20. Rxd4 Bxd5 21. exd5
Bb6 {favors Black.}) 19... Qxd3 20. Rxd3 {with approximate equality.}) 19. Bxd6
Bxd5 20. Bxf8 Bxe4 21. Qxd8 Rxd8 22. Rxd8 {It's messy.}) ({Black is better
after} 16. Be1 Ba5 17. Qxd6 Qxd6 18. Rxd6 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Nxe4) 16... Bxf5 17.
exf5 d5 {Hammer's opening became a disaster. Svidler has a strong center, good
pieces and there is a weakness on f5.} 18. Rac1 ({There is not enough
compensation after} 18. Bg5 d4 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Ne4 Qxc2 21. Nxf6+ gxf6 22.
Qf3 Qxb2) 18... Bb6 19. Qe2 h6 {A neat move that secures the center.} 20. a5 ({
After} 20. Qxe5 Qxf2+ 21. Kh1 Ng4 {White may easily get mated:} 22. Qxd5 $2 ({
The lesser evil is to give up the exchange} 22. Qg3 Qxg3 23. hxg3 Nf2+ {
but this is also hopeless.}) 22... Qg1+ 23. Rxg1 Nf2#) 20... Ba7 ({Even better
than} 20... Bxa5 21. Qxe5 Rfe8 22. Qf4 {although Black has the upper hand here
as well.}) 21. Na4 Qc6 22. b3 Rfe8 {The central pawns get ready to rock.} 23.
Kh1 Qd7 24. g4 {The only way to create some threats, but with a weak center
those should never work.} d4 25. Qf3 ({Or} 25. h4 Qd5+ 26. Kg1 e4) 25... e4 26.
Qg2 Qc6 27. g5 hxg5 28. Bxg5 e3 {As usual, the central play refutes the flank
attack.} 29. f3 ({If} 29. fxe3 Ne4 $1 (29... dxe3 {should also do.}) 30. Bh4
Qh6 31. Rg1 dxe3 {leaves White completely helpless.}) 29... Re5 30. Qh3 e2 31.
Rg1 d3 $1 {The decisive break.} 32. Nb6 ({White is getting checkmated after}
32. cxd3 Qxc1 33. Rxc1 ({Or loses a piece in case of} 33. Bxc1 Bxg1 34. Bd2
e1=Q 35. Bxe1 Rxe1) 33... e1=Q+ 34. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 35. Kg2 Rg1#) 32... Bxb6 33.
axb6 Rce8 {Possible because of Black's next move.} 34. Bh6 ({Once more the
capture} 34. cxd3 {does not safe White due to} Qxc1 35. Rxc1 ({Or} 35. Bxc1
e1=Q 36. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 37. Kg2 R8e2+ 38. Kg3 Rxc1 {and Black wins.}) 35... e1=Q+
36. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 37. Kg2 R8e2+ 38. Kg3 Rg1+ 39. Kh4 Nd5 {With complete
domination which will sooner or later end with the queen gain. Say} 40. Bd8 Nf4
) 34... Ng4 35. Rxg4 {Now it is a forced mate.} ({While} 35. Qxg4 Qxh6 {
would be an extra rook for Black at least.}) 35... e1=Q+ 36. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 37. Kg2
R8e2+ 38. Kg3 Rg1+ 39. Kh4 Qxh6# 0-1
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.18"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Hammer, Jon Ludvig"]
[Black "Svidler, Peter"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2629"]
[BlackElo "2763"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ {The latest
practice has shown that White has nothing after the trade.} ({I played an
interesting game, Yermolinsky-Sandipan, Hainan 2016} 6. Be2 Ngf6 7. O-O g6 8.
Nc3 Bg7 9. Rd1 O-O 10. e5 $1 {Later this whole thing was repeated in
Artemiev-Can, Eurpean Championship 2017, but the ownership of the idea belongs
to Laurent Fressinet.}) 6... Bxd7 7. Nc3 e5 8. Qd3 Rc8 9. Nd2 ({On} 9. O-O {
the correct reply is} h6 $1 {Adams-Giri, 2016} ({preventing a possible pin}
9... Nf6 10. Bg5) 10. Nd2 Qc7 11. Rd1 Bg4 12. f3 Be6 13. Nf1 Nf6 14. Ne3 Be7 {
leading to a similar position as in the game. Still it makes sense for White
to force Black to lose a tempo on h7-h6.}) 9... Be6 10. Nf1 Be7 11. Ne3 Nf6 12.
O-O Qc7 13. a4 Qc5 14. Rd1 O-O 15. Bd2 {[#] It is instructive to watch Svidler
generating chances in this stable pawn structure.} Bd8 $1 {Activating the
bishop was a great idea, and it provoked Hammer's overreaction.} 16. Nf5 $4 {
I don't get this at all.} Bxf5 17. exf5 d5 $17 18. Rac1 (18. Bg5 d4 19. Bxf6
Bxf6 20. Ne4 Qxc2 21. f4 {was the only way to generate some play, but I
wouldn't bet on White making it work.}) 18... Bb6 19. Qe2 h6 20. a5 Ba7 21. Na4
Qc6 22. b3 ({The only redeeming value of Na4 would be to shut down the bishop,
but} 22. Nb6 Bxb6 23. axb6 Rfe8 24. c3 Qxb6 25. Be3 Qb3 {looks like a
technical task for somebody like Peter Svidler.}) 22... Rfe8 23. Kh1 Qd7 24. g4
d4 25. Qf3 e4 $1 $19 26. Qg2 Qc6 {Followed is Jon-Ludwig's desperate attempt
to make something happen in his own time trouble.} 27. g5 hxg5 28. Bxg5 e3 29.
f3 Re5 30. Qh3 e2 31. Rg1 d3 $1 {Stylish.} 32. Nb6 (32. cxd3 Qxc1 33. Bxc1 Bxg1
34. Bd2 e1=Q 35. Bxe1 Rxe1 {and White will get mated soon.}) 32... Bxb6 33.
axb6 Rce8 34. Bh6 (34. Rce1 Nd5 35. cxd3 Nb4 36. Bh6 g6) 34... Ng4 35. Rxg4
e1=Q+ 36. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 37. Kg2 R8e2+ 38. Kg3 Rg1+ 39. Kh4 Qxh6# 0-1
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.18"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Rapport, Richard"]
[Black "Li, Chao b"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2692"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "1r2k3/1p1Rnp2/p5p1/8/5P1K/1P5B/1P5P/8 b - - 0 39"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
{[#]} 39... f6 $2 {A time trouble error, allowing the white bishop to reign
supreme.} (39... b5 40. Kg5 Rb6 {is nothing special for White.}) 40. Be6 $1 a5
41. Kg4 Kf8 42. h4 b5 43. h5 gxh5+ 44. Kxh5 a4 45. b4 (45. Kh6 $1 {would cut
down on Black's counterplay:} axb3 46. Bxb3 Ke8 47. Be6 Rb6 48. f5 $16) 45...
Ke8 46. f5 Nc6 47. Rh7 Rd8 48. Kg6 Rd2 49. Kxf6 Kd8 50. Rb7 Nxb4 {[#]} 51. Rxb5
({The win wasn't that close, but still within Richard's reach had he found} 51.
Kg7 $1 Na6 (51... Rg2+ 52. Kf8 Rxb2 53. Rd7+) 52. f6 Nc5 53. Rb8+ Kc7 54. Rc8+
Kb6 {and now the study-like idea} 55. Bf5 $1 (55. Bh3 Rxb2 56. f7 Rf2 57. f8=Q
Rxf8 58. Kxf8 a3 59. Ra8 b4 60. Ke7 Ne4 {is likely going to be a draw.}) 55...
Rf2 56. Kg6 Rg2+ 57. Kh5 Rf2 58. Kg5 Rg2+ 59. Kf4 Rf2+ 60. Ke5 Re2+ 61. Kd4 {
getting the king in the middle of action.}) 51... Rxb2 52. Ra5 (52. Rb7 a3 53.
Rd7+ Kc8 $1 (53... Ke8 54. Rd6 $18) 54. Ra7+ Kb8 55. Rxa3 {would lead to the
same thing.}) 52... Nc6 53. Rxa4 {Rapport put in a great effort here, but the
position is objectively drawn, and he couldn't overcome the stubborn
resistance by Li Chao.} Rb4 54. Ra3 Kc7 55. Kf7 Ne5+ 56. Ke7 Nc6+ 57. Kf7 Ne5+
58. Kg7 Rg4+ 59. Kf8 Rf4 60. Ke7 Nc6+ 61. Kf7 Rf2 62. Ra1 Rf4 63. Ra2 Kd6 64.
Ra6 Kc7 65. f6 Ne5+ 66. Kg7 Rf1 67. Bh3 Rf3 68. Be6 Rf1 69. Ra7+ Kd6 70. Bh3
Rg1+ 71. Kf8 Rg3 72. Bc8 Rc3 73. Ra6+ Kc7 74. Re6 Re3 75. f7 Kxc8 76. Ke8 Nxf7
77. Rxe3 Nd6+ 78. Ke7 Nf5+ 1/2-1/2
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.18"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2702"]
[BlackElo "2780"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2rq1rk1/5pbp/p2ppnp1/3n4/3N4/PP2P1P1/3BRPBP/RQ4K1 b - - 0 20"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
{[#] Here Hikaru surprised his fans by a strange-looking move.} 20... Nd7 $6 ({
Black has no problems after} 20... Qb6) ({but he'd better avoid} 20... Nc3 $6
21. Bxc3 Rxc3 22. Rc2 Rxc2 23. Qxc2 $14) 21. Bxd5 exd5 {White's structural
advantage can be countered by active play, but Nakamura wasn't able to find
anything concrete.} 22. Qd1 Qb6 (22... Nc5 23. Rc1 Ne4) 23. Rc1 h5 24. Bc3 Bxd4
$5 {One of Hikaru's strengths is his ability to accept worse positions when he
has to.} 25. Qxd4 Qxd4 26. exd4 Nb8 $1 {Great defense, as usual.} 27. Rec2 Rc6
$1 28. Bb4 Rfc8 29. Rxc6 Rxc6 {[#]} 30. Rxc6 $4 {I could not believe my eyes.
For a high-class player like Tomashevsky, trading the last pair of rooks in
such positions is criminal.} ({Mind you, I am questioning Tomashevsky's heart,
not his chess ability. Anybody who bothers to go to chess tournaments must try
to keep the game going. Actually, White's chances after} 30. Re1 $1 {shouldn't
be underestimated:} Kf8 31. Kf1 Nd7 32. Ke2 Nf6 (32... Rc2+ 33. Kf3 Nf6 34.
Bxd6+ Kg8 35. Re2 Rc3+ 36. Kf4 Rxb3 37. Rc2 $16) 33. f3 Rc2+ 34. Kd3 Rxh2 35.
Bxd6+ Kg8 36. Re7 Rb2 37. Rb7 $14) 30... Nxc6 {Nothing to see here, move along.
} 31. Bc3 Kf8 32. f3 f5 33. Kf2 Ke7 34. Ke3 Nd8 35. Kd3 Kd7 36. Bd2 Ne6 37. h4
Kc6 38. Be3 Nc7 39. a4 Ne6 40. Bd2 Kc7 41. Kc3 Kd7 1/2-1/2
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.18"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Vachier Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2796"]
[BlackElo "2801"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[PlyCount "92"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a3
O-O 9. Nc3 Na5 10. Ba2 Be6 11. b4 Bxa2 12. Rxa2 Nc6 13. Bg5 Nd7 14. Bd2 Nf6 15.
Re1 {MVL must be analyzing his own games very deeply. He likes to repeat them,
and can always be counted on for new ideas.} ({Their previous encounter in
this line, World Cup (game 8), saw Maxime embarking on a somewhat artificial
queen manuever} 15. Qb1 {Levon reacted quickly,} d5 16. Bg5 dxe4 17. dxe4 Qd6
18. Qb3 {and took the initiative after} Nd4 {although the game was eventually
drawn.}) 15... Qd7 ({I wonder if} 15... d5 {was possible here.}) 16. Nd5 $5 {
A radical way of stopping Black's ambitions in the center.} Nxd5 17. exd5 {[#]}
Nd8 $2 {An unexpected retreat.} ({It's hard to tell what Levon didn't like
about the natural} 17... Nd4 {Black puts his bishop on f6 and prepares c7-c6.
Say, White can try} 18. c4 {but then} Nxf3+ 19. Qxf3 bxc4 20. dxc4 f5 {seems
playable.}) 18. a4 $1 {The bad position of Nd8 makes White's queenside
offensive much more dangerous.} Rb8 19. c4 bxc4 20. dxc4 f5 21. b5 {There was
no rush to do this.} Ra8 22. Bc3 Nb7 23. Qc2 Bf6 24. Nd2 axb5 $6 {I sensed
some nervousness in Aronian's play around these parts.} ({seemed better. If
White goes for a better pawn structure with} 24... Nc5 25. Bb4 e4 26. Bxc5 dxc5
27. Nb3 {Black will pick up some counterplay after} Qd6 28. Na5 axb5 29. axb5
Be5 30. g3 Qf6 31. Nc6 Rxa2 32. Qxa2 f4 {Importantly, White has no passed
pawns, which wasn't the case in the game's continuation.}) 25. cxb5 Qf7 26.
Qxf5 Qxd5 27. Qc2 Nc5 {[#]} 28. Ne4 $1 {Maxime executes a simple plan of
taking the game into the endgame where his a-pawn will become a major factor.}
Bh4 29. g3 Nxe4 30. Rxe4 Bd8 31. Bb4 Rf3 32. Ra3 $1 {The more trades the
better.} Rf7 $5 33. Qc4 Qxc4 34. Rxc4 d5 $5 {Levon seeks counterplay} ({
rather than defend passively:} 34... Kf8 35. a5 Ke7 36. a6 Kd7) 35. Rc2 d4 36.
Rc5 $6 {I don't understand the rationale behind MVL's desire to trade bishops.}
(36. a5 Rd7 37. Bd2 Kf7 38. Rc6 {looked like a good, solid plan of further
campaigning.}) 36... Be7 37. Rc4 {[#]} Bxb4 ({Engines bring attention to the
risky-looking} 37... c5 $5 38. bxc6 (38. Bd2 Bd6 {is actually quite good for
Black, because White cannot advance his pawns:} 39. a5 Rb7 40. Rb3 {while the
black king is marching toward the commanding post on d5.} Kf7) 38... Bxb4 39.
Rxb4 Rc7 40. Rb5 ({Also, in the line} 40. Rc4 Kf7 41. Rb3 Ke6 42. Rb7 Rac8 {
the black king's presence in the center of action makes White's pawn advantage
short-lived.}) 40... Rxc6 41. Rxe5 Rd6 {Black is hoping to achieve a trade of
passed pawns, but he may not be able to force it yet after} 42. Kf1 $1 d3 43.
Ke1 d2+ 44. Kd1 Rc8 45. Ra1 $16) 38. Rxb4 Rd7 39. Kg2 $2 ({Just as in the
previous note, the white king has to blockade the d-pawn for White to have any
winning chances, e.g.} 39. Kf1 Kf7 40. Ke2 Ke6 41. a5 Kd5 42. b6 cxb6 43. Rxb6
e4 44. a6 $14) 39... d3 40. Ra1 d2 41. Rd1 Rd4 42. Rxd4 exd4 43. Rxd2 Rxa4 {
It is funny to see the engines still cheering White on, while any 2000+ human
player knows it's a dead draw.} 44. Rc2 Ra5 45. Rxc7 Rxb5 {Maxime didn't even
bother trying to win the d4-pawn.} 46. Rc8+ Kf7 1/2-1/2
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.18"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"]
[Black "Gelfand, Boris"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2705"]
[BlackElo "2719"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/1r1bRp2/3p1kp1/3P3p/prP3P1/5P1P/BP6/2K1R3 w - - 0 26"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
{[#] Gelfand played another one of his Accelarated Dragon lines, once again
setting himself up for a fruitless task of defending a pawn down.} 26. R1e4 $6
({Here Paco missed the near-crushing} 26. c5 $1 dxc5 27. d6 c4 28. R1e4 $1 {
Perhaps, this move escaped his attention.} Be6 (28... Rxb2 29. Rxd7) 29. Bxc4
$1 Bxc4 (29... Rxe7 30. g5+ $1) 30. d7 Rb8 31. Re8 {Black can put up further
resistance with} a3 $1 {but White is on top after} 32. bxa3 Rb1+ 33. Kc2 R1b2+
34. Kc3 Be6 35. Rb4 {which is even stronger than queening the pawn right away.}
) 26... h4 27. f4 Kg7 28. Re2 Kf8 29. R7e3 Rb8 30. Re4 Kg7 31. Re7 R8b7 32.
R7e3 Rb8 33. Ra3 Kf6 34. Rc3 Kg7 35. Rf3 Kf6 36. Rd3 Kg7 37. Rd1 Kf6 38. Rdd2
Kg7 39. Re7 R8b7 40. Re3 Rb8 41. Ree2 Kf6 42. Rc2 R8b7 43. Kd1 Rb8 44. Ke1 R4b6
45. Kf2 Rb4 46. Kf3 Kg7 47. Ke4 {[#] White didn't seem to be going anywhere in
particular until Boris miscalculated his counterplay attempt.} f5+ 48. Kd3 fxg4
$2 (48... Kf8 49. g5 $14) 49. Re7+ Kh6 50. Rxd7 gxh3 {It looked good, but
there followed} 51. Rxd6 $1 Rxb2 52. Re6 $1 h2 53. Re1 Rxc2 54. Kxc2 Re8 55.
Rh1 Re2+ 56. Kc3 {and the white pawns decided the outcome.} Rxa2 57. c5 Ra3+
58. Kb4 Rf3 59. c6 Rxf4+ 60. Kb5 Rd4 61. c7 Rxd5+ 62. Kb4 Rd4+ 63. Kc3 1-0
[Event "Palma De Mallorca GP 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Date "2017.11.18"]
[Round "3.9"]
[White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"]
[Black "Gelfand, Boris"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B35"]
[WhiteElo "2705"]
[BlackElo "2719"]
[PlyCount "125"]
[EventDate "2017.11.16"]
[EventType "swiss"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 O-O 8.
Bb3 d6 ({Apparently Gelfand didn't have time yet to fix the problems MVL set
him in round one after} 8... d5 9. exd5 Na5 10. O-O Nxb3 11. Nxb3 b6 12. d6 e6
13. Qf3 Rb8 14. Rfd1 Bb7 15. Qh3 Rc8 16. Bd4 Nd5 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. Bxg7 Kxg7
19. Rac1 b5 20. Qg3 {Vachier-Lagrave,M (2796)-Gelfand,B (2719) Palma de
Mallorca 2017}) 9. f3 Bd7 10. Qd2 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 b5 12. Nd5 Nxd5 13. Bxg7 (13.
exd5 Bxd4 14. Qxd4 a5 15. a3 Qc7 16. O-O-O Rfc8 17. Rd2 Bf5 18. Qf2 a4 19. Ba2
b4 20. g4 b3 21. Bxb3 Bxg4 22. fxg4 axb3 23. c3 Ra4 {Naiditsch,A (2697)
-Jakovenko,D (2760) Dortmund 2009}) 13... Kxg7 14. exd5 a5 15. a3 Qb6 16. O-O-O
Rfc8 17. g4 h5 $146 (17... Ra7 18. h4 f6 19. Rde1 Be8 20. h5 Rac7 {Ramaswamy,A
(2249)-Rajlich,I (2375) Athens 2001}) 18. h3 ({It's essential to keep the
black bishop away from f5.} 18. gxh5 a4 19. Ba2 Rxc2+ $1 20. Qxc2 (20. Kxc2
Bf5+ 21. Kc1 Rc8+) 20... Rc8 21. Qxc8 Bxc8 {is very good for Black.}) 18...
Rab8 19. Rhe1 a4 20. Ba2 b4 21. Qxb4 Qxb4 22. axb4 Rxb4 23. Rxe7 Rc7 24. c4 Kf6
25. Rde1 Rcb7 26. R1e4 h4 27. f4 Kg7 28. Re2 Kf8 29. R7e3 Rb8 30. Re4 Kg7 31.
Re7 R8b7 32. R7e3 Rb8 33. Ra3 Kf6 34. Rc3 Kg7 35. Rf3 Kf6 36. Rd3 Kg7 37. Rd1
Kf6 38. Rdd2 Kg7 39. Re7 R8b7 40. Re3 Rb8 41. Ree2 Kf6 42. Rc2 R8b7 43. Kd1 Rb8
44. Ke1 R4b6 45. Kf2 Rb4 46. Kf3 ({White goes via e4 because he wants to avoid
} 46. Ke3 a3 47. b3 (47. bxa3 Ra4 48. Rc3 Rba8) 47... Rxb3+ 48. Bxb3 Rxb3+ 49.
Kd4 Rxh3 {(Vallejo)}) 46... Kg7 47. Ke4 f5+ 48. Kd3 fxg4 49. Re7+ Kh6 50. Rxd7
gxh3 51. Rxd6 Rxb2 52. Re6 h2 53. Re1 Rxc2 54. Kxc2 Re8 55. Rh1 Re2+ 56. Kc3
Rxa2 57. c5 Ra3+ 58. Kb4 Rf3 59. c6 Rxf4+ 60. Kb5 Rd4 61. c7 Rxd5+ 62. Kb4 Rd4+
63. Kc3 1-0
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.19"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B30"]
[WhiteElo "2780"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 {Radjabov is known for his mastery in the
Sveshnikov/Kalshnikov lines. Thus the choice of Nakamura makes a lot of sense.}
({Even though the American GM managed to win an important game four years ago
in the line:} 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 d6 6. N1c3 a6 7. Na3 b5 8. Nd5 Nf6
9. c4 $5 {Nakamura,H (2775)-Radjabov,T (2745) Stavanger 2013}) 3... e6 4. O-O
Nge7 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Ng6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Be2 O-O 9. Nc3 ({The alternative was
} 9. c4 Nxd4 10. Bxd4 b6 11. Re1 Bb7 12. Nc3 Bc6 {with solid position for the
seond player in Nepomniachtchi,I (2733)-Lenic,L (2650) Heraklio 2017}) 9... Qc7
10. f4 {This was Nakamura's idea. He drags the opponent into an unfamiliar
position - a Scheveningen type. There is an important difference though: The
black kingside knight is placed on g6 rather than on f6. Who will profit from
that?} Nxd4 $146 ({A predecessor ended quickly in a draw after:} 10... a6 11.
Nxc6 bxc6 12. e5 d6 13. exd6 Bxd6 14. Qd2 Rd8 15. Bd3 Rb8 16. b3 Qa5 17. Ne4
Qxd2 18. Bxd2 Bc7 19. Be3 {1/2-1/2 (19) Kulish,I (2280)-Shumiakina,T (2407)
Moscow 1999}) 11. Qxd4 b6 {The most convincing way to finish the development.}
12. Qd2 ({The computer suggestion} 12. Qc4 Qxc4 13. Bxc4 Bb7 {is harmless for
Black.}) 12... Bb7 13. Rad1 Bc6 (13... Rad8 $5 {intending Be7-c5 also makes
sense.}) 14. a3 Bf6 {Radjabov provokes the advance of the white pawns. Other
options were also possible:} (14... Rad8) (14... Rfd8) (14... d6) 15. g3 {
Nakamura is not advancing the central pawn yet.} ({Indeed} 15. e5 Be7 16. Nb5
Bxb5 17. Bxb5 Rfd8 18. Qf2 d6 {looks OK for Black.}) 15... Rac8 16. e5 {
Only now.} Be7 17. h4 {Grabbing more space. The only piece that does not fit
well in Black's solid construction is the knight. But this might be a minor
concern in case Radjabov manages to free himself with a timely d7-d6 advance
as the steed will get access to the game via the d7 square.} Rfd8 18. h5 ({Or}
18. Ba6 Bb7 19. Nb5 Qb8 20. Bxb7 Qxb7 21. h5 Nf8 22. Qe2) 18... Nf8 19. Ba6 {
The rook should be kicked away from the half-open file.} ({If} 19. Nb5 Bxb5 20.
Bxb5 Qxc2) 19... Rb8 (19... Bb7 {would be answered} 20. Nb5 Qb8 21. Bxb7 Qxb7
22. Qe2 {followed by Nb7-d6 when the Black pieces will start to suffocate soon.
}) 20. Qd6 $1 {What? Nakamura gives a free queen??} ({Apparently White saw
that in the line} 20. Nb5 Bxb5 21. Bxb5 Bc5 ({However, this whole line is not
mandatory and Radjabov can still level the chances with} 21... d6 $1 22. exd6
Bxd6 23. Qe2 Bc5 {with equality.}) 22. b4 $1 Bxe3+ 23. Qxe3 {He would be
clearly better as the pawn is poisoned-} Qxc2 24. Rc1 Qa2 (24... Qf5 25. Qf3 {
is not appealing neither.}) 25. Bc4 Qb2 26. Rf2 {and the queen is trapped.})
20... Bxd6 21. exd6 {It's OK, now the Black queen is trapped. So what was the
exclam for? The beauty? This one too, but it is mainly for the psychology
behind the move. If Radjabov has missed the move he might had become less
confident and eventhough the position remains close to equal this could matter
for his future decision-making.} Qc8 22. Bxc8 Rbxc8 23. a4 {Attacking the
queenside pawns. Black is practically down a piece there (you did not forget
the knight on f8, did you?) and this is what Nakamura will try to exploit.} h6
24. Ra1 (24. a5 {does not yield much after} Rb8 25. Ra1 Nh7) 24... Ba8 {
Not yet a mistake, but this looks very artificial.} ({Radjabov needed to get
the knight out as soon as possible-} 24... Nh7 $1 25. a5 Rb8 26. axb6 ({Or} 26.
Bd4 Nf6 27. axb6 axb6 28. Bxf6 gxf6) 26... axb6 27. Bd4 Nf6 28. Bxf6 gxf6 {
would have led to approximately equal positions.}) 25. a5 Rc6 26. Rfd1 b5 {
This is really wrong. Black must have miscalculated something.} ({Correct was}
26... bxa5 $1 27. Rxa5 ({Or} 27. Bxa7 Ra6 28. Bc5 Bf3 29. Rd3 Bxh5 30. b4 Bg6
31. Rd2 Rc8 $1) 27... a6 28. Rda1 Bb7 {as long as the queenside is safe Black
will have the desired time to bring the kngiht out.}) 27. a6 $1 {This pawn
will cost Black dearly. Now both the black queenside pawns are separated and
will be soon lost.} b4 28. Nb5 Rxc2 29. Rd2 ({Maybe Radjabov was hoping for
some counter-play like this-} 29. Bxa7 e5 $1 30. fxe5 Ne6 31. Bb6 Ng5 $1 32.
Bxd8 Nf3+ 33. Kf1 Nh2+ {with perpetual. Here the knight would be the hero.})
29... Rdc8 30. Nc7 $1 {Perhaps this is what Black missed.} (30. Nxa7 {is not
as clear after} Rxd2 31. Bxd2 Rc2 32. Bxb4 Rxb2 33. Bc5 e5 34. fxe5 Ne6 {
and Black is pretty much alive and kicking.}) 30... Rxd2 31. Bxd2 Bc6 ({
Probably the last chance was} 31... e5 32. fxe5 Ne6 33. Nxa8 Rxa8 34. Be3 {
although then too White should be capable of winning after bringing his rook
out via Ra1-a4(a5)-b4(b5).}) 32. Be3 Nh7 33. Bxa7 Nf6 34. Bc5 Ne4 (34... Nxh5 {
would be similar to the game after} 35. a7 Nxg3 36. Ra6 $1 Be4 37. Rb6) 35.
Bxb4 Nxg3 {The kngith is finally out but still not where it is needed...} 36.
a7 Ne2+ 37. Kh2 Nxf4 38. Ra6 $1 ({No rush to cashout-} 38. a8=Q Bxa8 39. Rxa8
Rxa8 40. Nxa8 Nxh5 {will requre some technical work by the first player.})
38... Be4 39. Rb6 {Now it is easy. The queenside passers decide the game-} Nxh5
40. Rb8 Rf8 41. Bd2 Nf6 42. b4 1-0
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.19"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Giri, Anish"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A16"]
[WhiteElo "2801"]
[BlackElo "2762"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 {The Anti-Gruenfeld was to be expected against Giri.
} d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. d3 ({The endgame arising after} 5. e4 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Qxd1+
7. Kxd1 {is very popular of lately, So,W (2812)-Mamedyarov,S (2800) Paris 2017}
) ({But Aronian himself prefers to keep the queens on the board as in a game
against the same opponent an year ago:} 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Ba3 O-O 8. d4
b6 9. Bc4 {Aronian, L (2792)-Giri,A (2782) Leuven 2016}) 5... Bg7 6. Bd2 O-O 7.
g3 c5 8. h4 $146 {A novelty. I have noticed that the creative attacking
players have passion for this move. Before Aronian, there was Larsen.} ({
The standart way of attacking the kingside is} 8. Bg2 Nc6 9. O-O e6 10. Qc1 b6
11. Bh6 Bb7 12. Bxg7 Kxg7 13. Rd1 Rc8 {But this does not yield White much,
Bischoff,K (2504)-Li,C (2711) Germany 2014}) 8... Nc6 {Solid central play by
Giri.} ({We are all curious to see what did the Armenian wizard prepare after}
8... h5) 9. h5 Nxc3 10. bxc3 c4 $1 {This is a must as otherwise White would do
whatever he likes on the kingside.} 11. hxg6 hxg6 12. Qa4 {Swinging over the
queen onto the kingside along the fourth.} Na5 ({Aronian believed that the
strongest move was} 12... Qd5 $1 13. dxc4 ({with the key idea to swap the
queens off after} 13. Qxc4 Qxc4 14. dxc4) ({However, there is the super-sharp
line} 13. e4 Qc5 14. d4 Nxd4 15. cxd4 Bxd4 {which one should enter only after
a week spent with oyur silicon friend.}) 13... Qa5 {chasing the white queen
and in order to trade it.}) (12... cxd3 {looks dangerous at least after} 13.
Qh4 f6 14. Bh6) 13. d4 b6 14. Bg2 Bb7 15. Qc2 {Now White's plan is more than
obvious -- to mate along the open h-file. What Black is doing remains a
mystery.} Qd5 16. Nh4 Qd7 17. e4 e5 {Fighting for the center again.} (17... Bc6
18. Qc1) 18. d5 $1 {No brainer. The center should remain blocked.} Bc8 ({
Similar would be} 18... Ba6 19. f4 {With the idea to meet} (19. Nf3 $5) 19...
Qg4 {with} 20. Bf3 $3 Qxg3+ 21. Ke2 {The queen is trapped and even the tricky}
Nb3 {does not help after} 22. Rag1 Nd4+ 23. cxd4 c3+ 24. Kd1 Qf2 25. Bxc3 {
with a win for White.}) 19. f4 Qe7 ({Once again} 19... Qg4 {is met with} 20.
Bf3 $1 Qxg3+ 21. Ke2) ({While} 19... exf4 20. gxf4 Nb7 21. Be3 {leaves Black
poorly coordinated and centerless....}) 20. f5 $1 {The pawns open the games
for the heavy pieces.} g5 (20... gxf5 {would have led to a disaster after} 21.
Bh3 fxe4 22. Bxc8 Raxc8 23. Nf5 {Black is completely helpless against the
knight on f5. A sample line-} Qd7 24. Qxe4 Rfe8 25. Nxg7 Kxg7 26. Qh7+ Kf6 27.
Rh6+ Ke7 28. Bg5+ Kf8 29. Qh8#) ({But maybe} 20... Qd6 {was more stubborn.})
21. Qd1 $3 {Aronian in action! Guess what is my sissy computer is suggesting?}
({Yeah, it is the retreat} 21. Nf3) 21... gxh4 22. Rxh4 Rd8 ({The defensive
set-up after} 22... f6 {is breached with} 23. Qh5 Rf7 24. Qh7+ Kf8 25. Bf3 $1
Qc5 26. Kf1 $1 {To stop any checks and the rest is clear-} Nb7 27. Rg4 Nd6 28.
Rxg7 Rxg7 29. Qh8+ Kf7 30. Bh5+) ({The king cannot stay on the flank-} 22...
Re8 23. Qg4 Kf8 24. Rh8+ $1 Bxh8 25. Bh6+ Bg7 26. Qxg7#) 23. Qh5 Kf8 ({If}
23... f6 24. Qh7+ Kf8 25. Rg4 $1 {destroys the last defender after} Nb7 26.
Rxg7 Qxg7 27. Bh6) 24. Rg4 Bf6 {This loses on the spot.} ({The last try was}
24... Qd6 $1 {In that case I suspect that Aronian wanted to play} 25. Rxg7 $1
Kxg7 26. Qg5+ Kf8 27. Kf2 $1 ({Not on} 27. Ke2 {since in the line} Ke8 28. Qg7
({Or} 28. Rh1 Kd7 29. Rh6 Qf8 {and Black seems to organize his defense.}) 28...
Qf8 29. Qxe5+ Qe7 30. Qg7 f6 $1 ({Or even} 30... Bxf5 {the king on e2 disturbs
the attack.})) 27... Ke8 28. Qg7 {White's atatck is still very strong. For
example} Kd7 ({Here} 28... Qf8 29. Qxe5+ Qe7 30. Qg7 f6 31. Qg6+ Qf7 32. Rh1 $1
{suprisingly leads to a won endgame down a rook for White!} Qxg6 33. fxg6 Ke7
34. e5 {and Black is helpless.}) 29. Qxf7+ Qe7 30. Qxe7+ $1 {One again White
does not mind trading the queens.} Kxe7 31. Bg5+ Kd7 32. Bxd8 Kxd8 33. Rh1 {
and thanks to the strong pieces and advanced passers White should win.}) 25.
Bh6+ Ke8 26. Rg8+ Kd7 27. d6 $1 {The queen is trapped and Black loses at least
a rook.} (27. d6 Qxd6 (27... Kxd6 28. Rd1+ Kc7 29. Rgxd8) 28. Rd1 Qxd1+ 29.
Qxd1+) 1-0
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.19"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Giri, Anish"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2801"]
[BlackElo "2762"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 {These days White is having a nice
streak of success in the Anti-Grunfeld setups.} 5. d3 ({Also, the immediate} 5.
h4 {has been seen a lot lately.}) 5... Bg7 6. Bd2 O-O 7. g3 c5 {I'm not a big
fan of this move here. For one thing, this is not a developing move. If you
look at the similar position with reversed colors, Black is doing quite well
with this Bd7 and Qc8 thing, and here with an extra tempo White can really
cause problems for the black king.} ({Both} 7... Nc6 8. Bg2 Nb6) ({and} 7... e5
8. Bg2 Ne7 {seem more suitable to meet White's h2-h4 offensive.}) 8. h4 $1 {
[#] Officially, a novelty. I mentioned in my previous reports how Aronian's
opening preparation blends with his style of play. Levon seems to be getting
his kind of positions nearly every time he has White.} Nc6 ({Surrendering the
g5-square is unpleasant:} 8... h5 9. Bg2 Nc6 10. Ng5 Nc7 {and now White can
even try} 11. Bxc6 $5) (8... h6 {on the other hand, gives White a tempo} 9. Qc1
Kh7 10. h5 g5 11. Bg2 {and how does Black protect his c5-pawn now?}) (8... Bg4
$5 9. Bg2 Nc6 10. Qa4 Nf6 {may be Black's best option. At least, he's well
mobilized, as seen from a sample line} 11. Be3 Rc8 $1 12. Bxc5 Bxf3 13. Bxf3
Ne5) 9. h5 Nxc3 ({I wonder if Black can get away with} 9... b6 10. hxg6 hxg6
11. Bg2 (11. Qa4 Nd4) 11... Bb7 12. Ne4 Nd4 13. Nxd4 cxd4 {or some such play.})
10. bxc3 c4 $1 {An interesting concept from Anish. Too bad he didn't follow
through on his ideas a couple of moves later.} 11. hxg6 hxg6 12. Qa4 {Aronian
is very good in setting his opponents up with positional riddles.} ({The
immediate} 12. d4 {allows Black to strike in the center with} e5 {and there's
d4-d5 in reply to it.}) 12... Na5 $2 {That's exactly what Levon hoped to see.}
({The principled reply} 12... cxd3 {was most likely turned down because of} 13.
Qh4 {Indeed, this had to be the idea behind White's previous move. It takes a
lot of nerve to dismiss the other guy's ideas when he happens to be the
World's #2. Still,} f6 $1 {[#] was fully playable. Nevermind the danger to the
king: we're destroying White's center! The most direct attacking line,} 14. Bh6
(14. exd3 {meets with} Kf7 $1 {and Black is ready to intrercept the h-file,
while his light-squared bishop covers the king from e6. You know what? White
may be worse here.}) 14... Qa5 15. Qc4+ Rf7 16. Bxg7 {is countered by a nice
shot} Be6 $1 ({Anyway, from the theoretical point of view even} 16... Kxg7 17.
Rh7+ Kxh7 18. Qxf7+ Kh6 {is good enough, because White is forced to give a
perpetual.}) 17. Bxf6 $5 exf6 18. Qxd3 Bf5 19. Qd2 Rd8 20. Qb2 Re7 {It looks
like Black has a lot of compensation for a pawn.}) 13. d4 $1 {Now, as the
black knight moved away from the center, Aronian stakes his claim in the
middle of the board.} b6 14. Bg2 Bb7 15. Qc2 {If Black could only have his
c-pawn back on c5, he would have had a normal Grunfeld. As it is, he has no
counterplay to speak of.} Qd5 16. Nh4 Qd7 17. e4 e5 18. d5 Bc8 {Giri just
cleared the b7-square for his knight, but he won't be given the time to
complete his maneuvering.} 19. f4 $1 Qe7 (19... exf4 20. gxf4 Nb7 21. Be3 $1
Nc5 22. Bxc5 bxc5 23. Bf3 {followed by e4-e5 and, of course, Qh2 is decisive.})
({or} 19... Nb7 20. Be3 Qd6 21. Nf3 exf4 22. gxf4 Nc5 23. e5 Bf5 24. Qxf5 gxf5
25. exd6 Bxc3+ 26. Ke2 Bxa1 27. Rxa1 Rfe8 28. Ne5 $18) 20. f5 $1 {[#] The most
energetic.} g5 21. Qd1 $3 {Levon is in the zone!} gxh4 22. Rxh4 Rd8 (22... f6
23. Qh5 Rf7 24. Qg6 {and White only needs to bring the other rook to the
h-file to force resignation.}) 23. Qh5 Kf8 (23... Qd6 24. Qh7+ Kf8 25. Bh6 Bxh6
26. Rxh6 $18) 24. Rg4 $6 {This is the one and only slip-up from Aronian in
this brilliant game.} ({The somewhat counter-intuitive} 24. Qg4 $1 {would wrap
it up soon:} Bf6 25. Rh7 Ke8 26. Bh6 Nb7 (26... Kd7 27. Qh5) 27. Qg8+ Kd7 28.
Qxf7 Qxf7 29. Rxf7+ Be7 30. f6 {etc.}) 24... Bf6 $2 {Very unfortunate.} ({
Anish had a chance to put up stiff resistance:} 24... Qd6 $1 {I can only
assume Levon planned to sacrifice more:} 25. Rxg7 Kxg7 26. Qg5+ Kf8 27. Kf2 Ke8
28. Qg7 {White's attack is formidable, but it's by no means over for Black.})
25. Bh6+ Ke8 26. Rg8+ Kd7 27. d6 1-0
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.19"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2780"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e6 4. O-O Nge7 5. d4 $1 {An intriguing line.
Usually, White doesn't combine the Rossolimo with an Open Sicilian, but here
the black knight is on e7.} cxd4 6. Nxd4 Ng6 (6... a6 7. Be2 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Nc6
9. Qc3 $1 {is the key line. The active queen is interfering with Black's
development.}) 7. Be3 Be7 8. Be2 O-O 9. Nc3 Qc7 10. f4 {In this normal
Sicilian pattern White moved his light-squared bishop twice, but it also took
two moves for the black knight to arrive to g6, which arguably is an inferior
position to the usual f6.} Nxd4 11. Qxd4 b6 $1 12. Qd2 {Hikaru easily
sidesteps a trap.} (12. Rad1 $2 Bc5 13. Qd2 Nxf4) ({but he could have done the
same with} 12. g3) 12... Bb7 13. Rad1 Bc6 {Black has emerged with a playable
position. Of course, when playing Nakamura one has to expect a long, tough
game regardless of how successful your opening turned out to be.} 14. a3 Bf6 $5
{Teimour's idea was to provoke e4-e5.} ({There seemed to be nothing wrong with
} 14... Rad8 15. g3 d5) 15. g3 Rac8 16. e5 Be7 17. h4 $1 Rfd8 18. h5 Nf8 19.
Ba6 Rb8 {[#]} 20. Qd6 $5 {Often, queen sacrifices produce more excitement from
spectators than deserved. Here it is a cute way to take the game into an
ending with opposite color bishops.} ({Apparently, HIkaru was not fully
satisfied with} 20. Qe2 d6 21. Qc4 d5 22. Qe2 Bc5) 20... Bxd6 21. exd6 Qc8 22.
Bxc8 Rbxc8 {Black's game isn't that cramped by the presence of the white pawn
on the 6th rank, yet there's the typical lack of communication lines between
the flanks. Nakamura has to be very quick with his play on the Q-side.} 23. a4
$1 {Doing just that!} h6 24. Ra1 Ba8 ({Sharper was} 24... Nh7 25. Nb5 Be4 26.
c3 Nf6 27. Nxa7 Rb8 $13) 25. a5 Rc6 26. Rfd1 {[#]} b5 $2 {Leaving White's
a-pawn alive was a big mistake that ultimately cost Radjabov the game.} ({
Instead,} 26... bxa5 27. Bxa7 (27. Rxa5 a6) 27... Ra6 28. Be3 Rb8 29. b3 Bf3
30. Rd2 Nh7 31. Na4 Nf6 32. Nc5 Raa8 {looks about even.}) 27. a6 $1 b4 28. Nb5
Rxc2 29. Rd2 Rdc8 (29... b3 30. Rxc2 bxc2 31. Bxa7 e5 32. Rc1 Be4 33. Nc3 Bd3
34. Bb6 Ra8 35. a7 {brings no relief.}) 30. Nc7 Rxd2 31. Bxd2 Bc6 32. Be3 Nh7 (
{There was a defensive idea} 32... e5 {to force a knight swap, but the
resulting opposite-colored bishop endgame with rooks present would be very
tough for Black, whose king is late coming to help.}) 33. Bxa7 Nf6 34. Bc5 Ne4
{Whatever gains Black may achieve on the kingside are absolutely irrelevant in
the face of White's advantage on the other side of the board. As expected,
Nakamura wrapped the game up in the most efficient manner.} 35. Bxb4 Nxg3 36.
a7 Ne2+ 37. Kh2 Nxf4 38. Ra6 Be4 39. Rb6 Nxh5 40. Rb8 Rf8 41. Bd2 Nf6 42. b4
1-0
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.19"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Rapport, Richard"]
[Black "Hammer, Jon Ludvig"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2692"]
[BlackElo "2629"]
[Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 c6 7. Qc2 Nbd7 8.
Nf3 h6 {Black is more open to try this move these days.} ({The classical
approach} 8... O-O 9. Bd3 Re8 {is still there, but decades of tournament
practice have made it rather unattractive.}) 9. Bf4 $5 (9. Bh4 Nh5 10. Bxe7
Qxe7 11. O-O-O Nb6 {Rodstein-Trent, 2016.} 12. Bd3 Bg4 13. Kb1 Nf6 {
transposing to Aronian-Carlsen, Grenke 2015.}) 9... Nh5 10. O-O-O Nxf4 11. exf4
{[#] Rapport is not averse to unusual pawn structures. Here White has agreed
to double his pawns and leave the d4-pawn lonely and unprotected. In return,
Richard plans a dangerous build-up on the kingside.} g5 $6 {Oh, I don't know
about this. Black is not going to be able to castle long, so his king is in
for far too much excitement.} (11... O-O 12. Bd3 Nf6 13. Ne5) 12. Bd3 $1 {
Development first, nevermind the pawn.} gxf4 13. Rhe1 Kf8 14. Bf5 (14. Ne2 {
seemed more to the point. White can sac the exchange:} Bb4 (14... Bd6 15. g3)
15. Nxf4 Bxe1 16. Rxe1 Nf6 17. Ne5 {reaching near complete domination over
Black's Bc8. He can even afford to play some quiet moves, such as Kb1 and f3,
while various shots against f7 are always in the air.}) 14... Bb4 15. a3 Bxc3
16. Qxc3 Nb6 {Just as it seemed Hammer was able to relieve the pressure by
trading pieces, Rapport finds a way to sustain his intiative.} 17. g4 $1 Bxf5
$2 {Opening the g-file is suicidal.} ({Black had no choice, but} 17... fxg3 18.
Bxc8 Nxc8 19. fxg3 Nd6 20. Ne5 Kg7 {Who knows, maybe Hammer would have
survived this.}) 18. Qc5+ Kg7 19. gxf5 Qf6 20. Re7 Rhe8 21. Rg1+ Kh7 22. Rge1
Rxe7 23. Qxe7 {[#]} Qxf5 {Understandable.} (23... Qxe7 24. Rxe7 Kg8 25. Ne5 Rf8
26. Rxb7 {is a nighmare scenario Jon Ludwig didn't care to see.}) 24. Nh4 $1
Qd7 25. Qf6 Rg8 26. Re7 Qg4 27. Nf5 Qg1+ 28. Kc2 Qxf2+ 29. Kb3 {Black runs out
of checks, so it's over.} 1-0
[Event "Palma De Mallorca GP 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Date "2017.11.20"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Ding, Liren"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D38"]
[WhiteElo "2774"]
[BlackElo "2801"]
[PlyCount "39"]
[EventDate "2017.11.16"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 O-O 7. e3 Bf5 8.
Qb3 Bxc3+ 9. Qxc3 h6 {Played once before by Aronian against Nakamura.} 10. Bh4
(10. Bxf6 Qxf6 11. Bd3 (11. Qxc7 {Ding said he knew this game with Nakamura
and thought White should perhaps take the pawn, but also thought that Aronian
had something ready, hence the decision to retreat with 10. Bh4!}) 11... c6 12.
Bxf5 Qxf5 13. Qb3 Qc8 14. O-O Nd7 {And a draw in 60 moves from Altibox Norway
2017.}) 10... g5 {"Not a popular move, people generally develop the [queen's]
knight." Nakamura said. "it's not easy to understand all the subtleties over
the board if you're not familiar with it."} 11. Bg3 Ne4 {Ding said he realized
that Aronian wants to give the c-pawn anyway!} 12. Qxc7 Nc6 {"You have to take
some risks!" Aronian said about the nature of chess today.} 13. Qxd8 Rfxd8 14.
Be2 Rac8 15. O-O h5 16. h4 g4 17. Ne5 Nb4 18. Bf4 f6 19. Nd3 Nc3 20. bxc3
1/2-1/2
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.19"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Black "Harikrishna, P."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A09"]
[WhiteElo "2741"]
[BlackElo "2738"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 {According to my Megabase Radjabov used this move order only
twice in official games.} d4 3. g3 ({Previously the Azerbaijani GM tested the
line} 3. b4 f6 4. d3 e5 5. b5 a6 6. bxa6 Nxa6 7. g3 Bb4+ 8. Bd2 {Radjabov,T
(2781)-Naiditsch,A (2712) Porto Carras 2011}) 3... c5 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. O-O e5 6.
d3 Nf6 7. e3 Be7 8. exd4 cxd4 {Now it is a reversed Benoni.} ({The other
capture is also possible-} 8... exd4 9. Bf4 O-O 10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. Bxe5 Bd6 12.
Bxf6 Qxf6 13. Nd2 {as in Movsesian,S (2680)-Buhmann,R (2596) Minsk 2017}) 9.
Re1 Nd7 10. Na3 {The influence of Vugar Gashimov on the Azerbaijani chess is
so strong that almost all his teammembers have tried the Benoni with either
color.} O-O (10... Bxa3 $6 11. bxa3 {would definitely make White happy with
the play along the b-file and the long diagonal.}) 11. Nc2 {Carefully
preparing the b2-b4 advance.} a5 12. b3 f6 {Harikrishna chose the very solid
Saemish set-up.} 13. Nd2 Nc5 14. Ne4 Bf5 $146 {A normal developing move and a
novelty.} ({An email game saw previously:} 14... Ne6 15. Nd2 Kh8 16. Qe2 Ra6 {
with approximate eqaulity, Egelhof,H (2016)-Tauber,H (2207) GER email 2012})
15. Nxc5 Bxc5 16. a3 Rb8 {The rook overprotects the b7 pawn in advance.} 17.
Rb1 Qd6 18. Qf3 Bg6 ({If} 18... Be6 19. Qe2 Bf5 {White would be a tempo up. It
is another question if he can use it effectively.}) 19. h4 {Typical play for
the Benoni on both flanks.} h5 {Again, solid choice by Harikrishna.} ({A much
sharper option was:} 19... Rfe8 20. h5 e4 $5 {With the idea to get sufficient
compensation for the pawn after} 21. dxe4 Ne5 22. Qd1 Bxh5 $1 23. Qxh5 d3 24.
Ne3 d2 25. Bxd2 Qxd2 {The most likely scenario in this case would be} 26. Qe2
Qxe2 27. Rxe2 Bxa3 {with equality.}) 20. Rd1 {Apparently Radjabov understood
the danger behind the e5-e4 advance and decided to overprotect the d-file.}
Rfe8 ({Although} 20... e4 $5 {was still very interesting, for example} 21. dxe4
Ne5 22. Qf4 d3 23. Ne3 Bxa3 ({Or} 23... b5 $5 {with compensation for the pawn.}
)) 21. b4 {Now White gets a little bit of an initiative.} axb4 22. Qd5+ Qxd5
23. Bxd5+ Kh7 24. axb4 Bf8 25. Kf1 ({Since in case of the immediate} 25. b5 {
the black knight will be nicely re-routed to c5 after} Nd8 26. Ra1 Ne6) 25...
Rec8 26. b5 {Now is good time.} Na5 {This move creates the flashy Na5xc4
threat, but is somewhat inaccurate.} (26... Ne7 {was more precise. Then if} 27.
Bf3 ({Better would be} 27. Be6 Re8 28. Ba3 Nc8 29. Bxf8 Rxe6 {with equal
endgame.}) 27... Rxc4 $1 {works and Black wins a pawn.} 28. dxc4 Bxc2) 27. Rb2
e4 28. Bxe4 {Resigning to the draw.} ({The only chance to play for the
advantage was} 28. Bf4 $1 exd3 29. Ne1 Ra8 30. Ra2 Nb3 31. Rxa8 Rxa8 32. Bxb7
Ra2 {Now} 33. Nf3 {is maybe a little bit better for White, but not much after
either} ({Most likely Radjabov saw the line} 33. Nxd3 Bxd3+ 34. Rxd3 Nc5 35.
Rxd4 Nxb7 {and did not like it.}) 33... Bc5 ({Or} 33... Nc5)) 28... Bxe4 29.
dxe4 Nxc4 30. Ra2 Nd6 31. Nxd4 {The resources of the battle are exhausted.} (
31. Nxd4 Nxe4) 1/2-1/2
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.20"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Ding, Liren"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2774"]
[BlackElo "2801"]
[Annotator "AlexYermo"]
[PlyCount "39"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 {This opening, commonly referred to as
the Ragozin, has gained massively in polularity in recent years. Black
combines various ideas of the Nimzo-Indian with the solid structure of the
Queen's Gambit Declined. I learned the Ragozin first from my own experiences
on the white side of it after being unable to make any headway against Gregory
Serper in our battles in the late 1990's. Then I figured, if you can't beat
them, join them, and started playing the Ragozin myself! I don't have many
wins to show for it, but I did make a lot of draws against quality opposition,
such as Onischuk, Epishin and Gulko. Of course, it all happened a long time
ago, and now there are new ideas for Black.} 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 O-O (6... h6 {
is what Serper and I always played.}) 7. e3 {[#]} (7. Qc2 {transposes to a
Nimzo-Indian 4.Qc2. One example is So-Carlsen, Grand Chess Tour Blitz, Paris,
2017:} h6 8. Bh4 c5 9. dxc5 Nbd7 10. e3 Qa5 11. Bd3 Ne4 12. O-O Bxc3 13. bxc3
Ndxc5 14. Nd4 Nxd3 15. Qxd3 {Magnus wisely continued with} Re8 ({rejecting the
pawn offer,} 15... Qxc3 16. Qxc3 Nxc3 17. Rfc1 Ne4 18. f3 Nd2 19. Rc7 {where
White would have had a lot of compensation, and possibly more.}) 16. Rfc1 Bd7
17. c4 dxc4 18. Rxc4 Qd5 {and equalized comfortably.}) 7... Bf5 $5 {It's a
different ballgame here, as Black has just developed his light-squared bishop
on a great diagonal, an opportunity usually denied to him by White.} ({There
were a lot of games by Carlsen games some ten years ago when the young Magnus
played} 7... c5 {As we know now, White's best reply is} 8. dxc5 $1 (8. Bd3 c4
9. Bc2 Nbd7 {is another transposition to a theoretical line, where Black's
delay of Nbd7 allowed him to avoid the more dangerous lines with the white
bishop on f5.}) 8... Nbd7 9. Rc1 Qa5 10. a3 $1 Bxc3+ 11. Rxc3 Ne4 12. b4 Nxc3
13. Qa1 {A great invention by Topalov, used for the first time against Carlsen
in their 2007 game in Wijk aan Zee. Since then many games followed that trend,
including a fairly recent Aronian(!)-Nakamura, GCT Rapid, Leuven 2016.
Obviously, all top players are very familiar with that line.}) ({In the
meantime, not so good is} 7... c6 $6 {What we have here is a standard Exchange
Variation pawn structure from the QGD with the black bishop clearly misplaced
on b4.}) 8. Qb3 {appears to be the only attempt to bother Black.} (8. Be2 Nbd7
9. O-O c6 10. Qb3 Qb6 11. Na4 Qa5 $11) 8... Bxc3+ 9. Qxc3 h6 {This is Levon's
preferred move order, while some people try to throw in ...h6 some moves
earlier.} 10. Bh4 {[#] Ding's novelty, but it just transposes to a known
position.} ({Nakamura-Aronian, Norway Chess 2017 went} 10. Bxf6 Qxf6 {and here
Hikaru thought better of capturing the pawn} 11. Qxc7 {What's the deal here?
Black will likely continue with} ({instead, he chose the rather meek} 11. Bd3 {
and was forced to defend a slightly worse position until finally reaching a
draw on move 60.}) 11... Nc6 12. Be2 Rfc8 13. Qf4 Nb4 14. O-O Rc2 {This is the
moment when White should take a close look at} 15. Nh4 $5 {Further practical
tests are in order.}) 10... g5 $5 {This is a true innovation by Levon Aronian.}
(10... Nbd7 11. Nd2 Rc8 12. Be2 c5 13. O-O Qb6 {Karjakin-Harikrishna, 2017})
11. Bg3 Ne4 {Once again, the c7-pawn is on the sacrificial altar.} 12. Qxc7 Nc6
$1 13. Qxd8 Rfxd8 14. Be2 Rac8 15. O-O h5 $1 {Nothing works for Black without
this key move. Another excellent piece of opening preparation by Levon. What's
amazing is that he isn't holding the novelties back until the Candidates.
Generosity worthy of a king.} ({The immediate} 15... Nb4 {leads Black nowhere
after} 16. a3) 16. h4 g4 17. Ne5 (17. Ng5 $2 Nxg3 18. fxg3 Bg6 {would leave
the white knight in great danger.}) 17... Nb4 18. Bf4 ({The secret would be
revealed after} 18. a3 Nc2 19. Rac1 Nxe3 $1) 18... f6 19. Nd3 {Nowhere else to
go with that knight.} Nc3 20. bxc3 {Draw was agreed here,} ({in view of} 20.
bxc3 Nxd3 21. Bg3 Rxc3) 1/2-1/2
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.19"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Black "Harikrishna, P."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2741"]
[BlackElo "2738"]
[Annotator "AlexYermo"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 d4 3. g3 c5 4. Bg2 ({The reverse Benko} 4. b4 {might be a more
challenging attempt, but, of course, there would be more risk involved.}) 4...
Nc6 5. O-O e5 6. d3 Nf6 7. e3 Be7 8. exd4 {[#]} cxd4 {Hari prefers a more
combative continuation.} ({Usually Black just replies with} 8... exd4 {In this
symmetrical Benoni structure White has hardly anything better than} 9. Bf4 O-O
10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. Bxe5 {but} Ng4 {equalizes:} 12. Bf4 (12. Re1 Nxe5 13. Rxe5 Bd6
14. Re1 Bf5 $11 {Caruana-Anand, Champions Showdown 2016}) 12... Bd6 {
Kramnik-Anand, Blitz 2013.}) 9. Re1 Nd7 10. Na3 ({Another option is the old
Fischer plan,} 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. g4 a5 12. Ne4 {Of course, all this is lifted
from regular Modern Benoni games. Here White is a tempo ahead, but it remains
to be seen how important it will turn out to be,}) 10... O-O 11. Nc2 a5 12. b3
f6 13. Nd2 Nc5 {It's generally believed that in Benoni structures Black (in
this case White) benefits form a trade of one pair of knights.} ({Therefore,
more challenging is} 13... Kh8 $5 {Later in the game we will seee how
important it is for the king to step away from checks on that diagonal.}) 14.
Ne4 Bf5 15. Nxc5 Bxc5 16. a3 Rb8 17. Rb1 Qd6 18. Qf3 Bg6 19. h4 h5 20. Rd1 {[#]
} Rfe8 ({The most principled line was} 20... e4 $5 21. dxe4 Ne5 22. Qf4 b5 $1 {
A great shot, which Harikrishna must have missed.} (22... d3 23. Ne1 Rbd8 {
is answered by} 24. b4 $1 axb4 25. axb4 {where} Bxb4 $2 26. Nxd3 Nxd3 27. Qxd6
Rxd6 28. Rxb4 {leaves White well on top}) 23. b4 {and only now Black plays} d3
$1 24. Ne1 (24. bxc5 $4 dxc2 {and Black will get a new queen while going up a
whole rook}) 24... axb4 25. axb4 Bxb4 {and there's no} 26. Nxd3 {on account of}
bxc4 $19 {It's impossible to foresee all possible lines, but the breakthrough
in the center is thematic in all Benoni variations.}) 21. b4 $1 {Now Radjabov
is in time to diffuse the situation} axb4 22. Qd5+ {That check we talked about
in the note to Black's 13th move sure comes in handy.} Qxd5 23. Bxd5+ Kh7 24.
axb4 Bf8 25. Kf1 Rec8 26. b5 Na5 27. Rb2 e4 $1 {Otherwise Black can get worse.}
28. Bxe4 Bxe4 29. dxe4 Nxc4 30. Ra2 Nd6 31. Nxd4 1/2-1/2
[Event "Grand Prix 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.22"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"]
[Black "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B08"]
[WhiteElo "2702"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Bojov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "115"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 {In a must-win situation Radjabov tries to pull out
Tomashevsky from his comfort zone and opts for the Pirc.} 3. Nc3 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7
5. Be2 O-O 6. O-O c6 7. a4 Nbd7 {Allowing the white pawn to a5 is considered
risky.} ({More common moves are} 7... Qc7 8. Bf4 Nbd7 9. e5 Nh5 10. Bg5) ({Or}
7... a5 {followed by Nb8-a6-b4.}) 8. a5 Qc7 ({One of the dangers behind the
pawn on a5 are demonstrated by the lines after} 8... e5 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. a6 Qc7
(10... b6 11. Qd6 c5) (10... bxa6 11. Qd6 Qb6 12. Bc4 {]} (12. b3 {]})) 11.
axb7 Bxb7 12. Be3 {In all of them the timely a5-a6 caused confusion in Black's
army.}) 9. Be3 e5 ({Maybe more promising is} 9... Rb8 10. d5 Nc5 11. Nd2 b6 12.
axb6 axb6 13. Bf3 {as in Yilmaz,M (2531)-Kokarev,D (2635) Moscow 2013}) 10. h3
{Other options for White are} (10. d5 {with the positional threat a5-a6 to
destroy the queenside pawn structure.}) ({Or} 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Nd2 {followed
by Nd2-c4-d6, or Qd1-b1-a2 and pressure along the a2-g8 diagonal.}) 10... exd4
11. Bxd4 Re8 12. Bc4 Nf8 13. Re1 Be6 14. Bf1 $146 {A logical novelty. White
does not want to trade the pieces but rather leave them step on each other's
toes.} ({An email game saw Black doing well after} 14. e5 Bxc4 15. exf6 Bh8 16.
b3 Rxe1+ 17. Qxe1 Be6 {Yepez Gutierrez,J (2187)-Martins Mesquita,U (2458)
CADAP email 2004}) 14... N8d7 15. Ng5 {If anything White will take the bishop
pair.} a6 16. Qd2 c5 17. Be3 Ne5 18. Bf4 Rad8 (18... Bd7 {is not good because
of} 19. Red1) 19. Nxe6 fxe6 {Tomashevsky won the bishop pair but Radjabov can
be satisfied with his position. The strong bishop on g7 remained and both
knights have good perspectives. All in all it is equal.} 20. Na4 ({After} 20.
Bxe5 dxe5 21. Qe3 Rd4 {the black pawns are an asset rather than weakness.})
20... Nf7 ({An interesting idea is to atatck on the kingside with} 20... Nh5 $5
21. Bg5 Bf6 22. Be2 Bxg5 23. Qxg5 Kh8 $5 {Trying to open as many files as
possible. After} 24. Bxh5 gxh5 25. Qxh5 ({However, White can spoil the fun
with an endgame-} 25. Qf6+ Qg7 26. Qxg7+ Kxg7 27. Rad1 {where he is slightly
better.}) 25... Rg8 {Black has compensation for the pawn.}) 21. Rad1 Nh5 22.
Be3 {A silent draw offer.} ({Similar was} 22. Bh2 Bh6 23. Qc3 Bg7) 22... Nf6
23. Bf4 Qc6 {Repetition rejected. Radjabov needs to win.} 24. Nc3 Kh8 25. b3 h6
26. Bd3 g5 {Objectively however this only weakens Black's position.} 27. Bh2
Nd7 28. Ne2 {White shifts all his pieces onto the kingside.} ({It also made
sense to send the bishop on the kingside with} 28. Be2 $5 Be5 29. Bh5 Rf8 30.
h4 {with nice atatcking prospects for the first player.}) 28... Nfe5 29. f4 $1
gxf4 30. Nxf4 Bf6 31. Kh1 {Both players were rather low on time.} (31. Be2 $1 {
was even stronger here. For example} Qxe4 {drops the exchange due to} ({And if
} 31... Nf8 32. Bh5 (32. Bg3) 32... Re7 33. Rf1 {with White's attack.}) 32. Bh5
) 31... Kh7 32. Rf1 Bg5 33. Qe2 {Now the queen enjoys the hospitable light
squares.} Nf6 34. Nh5 Rf8 {Radjabov is holding narrowly.} ({Worse was} 34...
Nxh5 35. Qxh5 Rf8 36. Bxe5 dxe5 37. Rf7+) 35. Bxe5 dxe5 36. Nxf6+ Bxf6 ({
Similar was} 36... Rxf6 37. Rxf6 Bxf6 38. Rf1 Rf8 39. Bc4) 37. Bc4 Qe8 38. Qg4
Rxd1 39. Rxd1 Rg8 40. Qxe6 {The last move before the time control. With few
seconds left on the clock Tomashevsky takes the practical decision to play an
engame up a pawn.} ({However, objectively speaking White's chances are
connected with the queens as the black king is weak. Correct was} 40. Qf3 $1
Qe7 41. Rd3 {With the idea Qf3-d1 and eventually Rd3-d7. If} Rd8 42. Rxd8 Qxd8
43. Bxe6 {would be already won as White has crushing attack.}) 40... Qxe6 41.
Bxe6 Rd8 42. Bd5 {Another practical decision.} ({Winning a second pawn in
return of the rooks will lead to a draw only:} 42. Rxd8 Bxd8 43. Bc8 Bxa5 44.
Bxb7 {Now an important move is} h5 $1 {in order to nullify White's extra pawn
on the kingside. After} 45. Bxa6 Be1 {The plan is to bring the king on the
queenside to block White's extra pawn and leave the bishop on the kingside to
hold the fort. Here is a possible continuation-} 46. Kg1 Kg6 47. Kf1 Bg3 48.
Ke2 Kf6 49. Kd3 Ke6 50. Kc4 Kd6 51. c3 h4 52. b4 cxb4 53. cxb4 Kc7 {and a draw.
}) 42... Kg7 43. g3 Rd7 44. h4 Bd8 45. Ra1 Kf6 {White kept the rooks but Black
managed to regroup and defend the queenside. Objectively speaking it should
end in a draw. ..} 46. Kg2 Kg6 47. Kf3 Rg7 48. c3 h5 49. Ra2 Kf6 50. Kg2 Kg6
51. Kf2 Kf6 52. Kf3 Kg6 53. b4 cxb4 54. cxb4 Kh6 55. Rc2 Be7 (55... Rc7 $2 56.
Rxc7 Bxc7 57. Bxb7 Bd6 58. b5 $1 (58. Bxa6 Bxb4) 58... axb5 59. a6) 56. Rb2 Bd8
57. Rb3 b6 $4 {A tragical oversight. Radjabov thought that he forces the draw
at once. Alas.. .} ({Instead something like} 57... Rc7 $5 {would have most
likely ended in a draw after say} 58. b5 axb5 59. Rxb5 Rc3+ 60. Kg2 Ra3 61.
Rxb7 Bxa5) ({Or even the semi-waiting move} 57... Kh7 {should have held for
Black.}) 58. b5 $1 {A nasty surprise. The pawn break wins instantly.} (58. b5 {
The pawn is unstoppable after} bxa5 ({And the rook is trapped after} 58... axb5
59. a6 Ra7 60. Bb7) 59. b6) ({Instead} 58. axb6 Bxb6 59. Ra3 Ra7 {followed by
a6-a5 would have been indeed a draw.}) 1-0
[Event "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Date "2017.11.22"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Svidler, Peter"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2801"]
[BlackElo "2763"]
[Annotator "A. Silver"]
[PlyCount "48"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 c5 4. d5 Bg7 5. e4 d6 6. Nc3 e6 7. Nge2 exd5 8. cxd5
a6 9. a4 Nbd7 10. Ng3 Nh5 11. Nxh5 gxh5 12. Bd3 $146 {Black's counter play
pretty much revolves around a ...b5 or ...f5 breakthrough, and since White's
light-squared bishop is the definition of a bad bishop, on d3 it prepares to
exchage itself in the event of ...f5.} ({Previously known was} 12. Be2 Bd4 13.
Bf4 Rg8 14. g3 Ne5 15. Qd2 Bh3 16. Bxe5 dxe5 {1/2-1/2 (40) Vitiugov,N (2721)
-Grischuk,A (2752) Novosibirsk 2016}) 12... O-O 13. O-O f5 14. exf5 Ne5 15. Bc2
Bxf5 16. Bxf5 Rxf5 17. Ne4 c4 18. Qc2 Qb6+ $2 ({The logical} 18... b5 {was the
principled continuation.}) 19. Kh1 $16 Rff8 20. Ng5 $2 {A mistake that throws
away White's advantage, After the game, Aronian admitted he was disappointed
to have played this, and that before the mistake he had been playing quickly
and well, and here had spent 25 minutes to unleash this howler.} (20. Bg5 $16 {
was the correct continuation as pointed out by Aronian and the engines.}) 20...
Nd3 $11 21. Ne6 Rae8 22. Nxg7 Nf2+ 23. Kg1 Nd3+ 24. Kh1 Nf2+ 1/2-1/2
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix 2017"]
[Site "Palma, Majorca"]
[Date "2017.11.22"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Tomashevsky, E."]
[Black "Radjabov, T."]
[Result "1-0"]
[Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi"]
[PlyCount "115"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
{A game between players in the middle of the crosstable could not be so
decisive unless one of them (Radjabov in this case) is trying to win GP points
in order to earn a spot in the Candidates tournament next year. In what seemed
to be a dull encounter, the Russian "professor" (Tomashevsky's nickname based
on an online blitz account!) managed to grind his small advantage and convert
it into a full point. Now, Radjabov's chances to qualify is substantially
reduced unless he manages to pull out a number of wins in the coming rounds!}
1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Be2 {Radjabov opts for Pirc defense!
} O-O 6. O-O c6 (6... Nc6 {is a fine playable move which has actually played
among my two favorite world champions!} 7. d5 (7. h3 {This line is very benign
indeed!} e5 8. Be3 Re8 9. Bb5 exd4 10. Nxd4 Bd7 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bd3 d5 13.
exd5 Nxd5 14. Nxd5 cxd5 15. c3 Rb8 16. Qd2 a5 17. Bg5 Qc8 18. Rfe1 Qb7 19.
Rxe8+ Rxe8 20. Bf1 c5 21. Re1 Rxe1 22. Qxe1 h6 23. Bc1 a4 24. Qe7 Qc6 25. Qd8+
Kh7 26. c4 d4 27. b3 Bf5 28. Qe7 axb3 29. axb3 Be6 30. Qa7 Qd6 31. Bd3 Qe5 32.
Bd2 Bf5 33. Bf1 Be6 34. Bd3 Qh5 35. Qa1 Bf5 36. Bf1 Bc2 37. b4 cxb4 38. Bxb4
Be4 39. Qe1 Qf5 40. Bd2 h5 41. f3 Bc6 42. Qe7 Qc2 43. Bf4 Qf5 44. Qg5 Qe6 45.
Bd3 Kg8 46. Qd8+ Kh7 47. Qg5 f5 48. Kh2 Qf6 49. Qg3 Qe7 50. Qf2 Bf6 51. Qc2 h4
52. Qf2 Kg7 53. Bd2 Be5+ 54. Kg1 Qa3 55. Qe2 Qd6 56. Bg5 Bf6 57. Bxf6+ Kxf6 58.
Kf1 Qf4 59. Qf2 Ke5 60. Qe1+ Qe3 61. Qa5+ Ke6 62. Qa3 Kf7 63. c5 Kf6 64. Qb3
Kg5 65. Bc2 Kf4 66. Qxe3+ Kxe3 67. Ke1 d3 68. Bb3 d2+ 69. Kd1 Bb5 70. Kc2 f4
71. Kc3 g5 72. Kb4 Be8 73. Ka5 Kf2 {0-1 (73) Harmon Vellotti,L (2454)-So,W
(2808) chess.com INT 2017}) 7... Nb8 8. Re1 e5 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Bf4 h6 11. Nd4
Bd7 12. Qd2 Kh7 13. e5 dxe5 14. Bxe5 Ne4 15. Nxe4 Bxe5 16. Nf3 Bg7 17. Rad1 Qc8
18. Bc4 Be8 19. Neg5+ hxg5 20. Nxg5+ Kg8 21. Qf4 Nd7 22. Rxd7 Bxd7 23. Bxf7+ {
1-0 (23) Tal,M (2560)-Petrosian,T (2640) Moscow 1974}) 7. a4 Nbd7 (7... b6 8.
h3 Bb7 9. e5 Ne8 10. Bf4 Nd7 11. Re1 c5 12. exd6 Nxd6 13. dxc5 Nxc5 14. Be5 a5
15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16. Qd4+ Kg8 17. Rad1 Qc7 18. Qe5 Rac8 19. Nd4 Rfd8 20. Bf3 Bxf3
21. Nxf3 e6 22. Rd4 Ne8 23. Qxc7 Nxc7 24. Red1 Rxd4 25. Rxd4 Kf8 26. Ne5 Ke7
27. Nc6+ Ke8 28. Nb5 Nxb5 29. axb5 Nb7 30. c4 Nd8 31. Ne5 Rc7 32. f4 f6 33. Ng4
Ke7 34. Nxf6 Kxf6 35. Rxd8 Rxc4 36. Rf8+ Ke7 37. Rb8 Rxf4 38. Rxb6 Rb4 39. Rb7+
Kd6 40. Rxh7 Rxb2 41. Ra7 Rxb5 42. Ra6+ Kc5 43. h4 Kb4 44. Rxe6 a4 45. Rxg6 a3
46. Ra6 Ra5 47. Rb6+ Ka4 48. Rb1 a2 49. Ra1 Kb3 50. Kf2 Kb2 51. Rh1 Rc5 {
0-1 (51) Horvath,A (2498)-Aronian,L (2795) Germany 2017}) 8. a5 Qc7 9. Be3 e5
10. h3 (10. dxe5 dxe5 11. h3 Rd8 12. Qb1 $1 Nf8 13. Qa2 Be6 14. Qa3 h6 $13 {
is a common tabiya of this line. Tomashevsky has more tricks up his sleeve to
test Radjabov.}) 10... exd4 11. Bxd4 Re8 12. Bc4 Nf8 (12... Nxe4 $4 13. Nxe4
Rxe4 14. Bxf7+ {and due to the fork on g5 black is losing!}) (12... Ne5 13.
Nxe5 dxe5 14. Be3 Be6 15. Qe2 Bf8 16. Bxe6 Rxe6 17. Qc4 {with a slight edge
for white but black is very solid!}) 13. Re1 Be6 {[#]} 14. Bf1 $1 {an
important retreat! Black lacks space and white avoids exchanging pieces!} N8d7
15. Ng5 a6 16. Qd2 c5 17. Be3 Ne5 18. Bf4 (18. Nxe6 fxe6 19. Bg5 {looks more
promising that what Tomashevsky played!}) 18... Rad8 19. Nxe6 fxe6 20. Na4 Nf7
(20... Nh5 {Not sure this active move is any better!} 21. Bh2 Nc6 22. Rad1 Be5
23. Bxe5 Nxe5 24. Nb6 {with unpleasant edge for white.}) 21. Rad1 Nh5 22. Be3
Nf6 23. Bf4 Qc6 $6 {Maybe Radjabov lost objectivity at this point. He could
repeat and see what Tomashevsky had up his sleevs.} 24. Nc3 Kh8 25. b3 h6 $6 {
A weakening move but obviously Radjabov is trying to get something out of this
position. Yet, his endeavors are only self-destructive as he ends up having a
losing position in only few moves!} 26. Bd3 g5 27. Bh2 Nd7 28. Ne2 Nfe5 (28...
Nde5 29. f4 c4 $1 {would have created a manageable mess for black!}) 29. f4 $1
gxf4 30. Nxf4 Bf6 $2 {The black king is not exposed and his pawn structure is
vulnerable. Tomashevsky does not play it like a machine but his technique is
good enough to beat Readjabov today!} 31. Kh1 (31. Be2 Nf8 32. Nd3 Kh7 33. Rf1
Bg7 34. Nxe5 {with simply winning position for white.}) 31... Kh7 32. Rf1 Bg5
33. Qe2 (33. Be2 Nf6 34. Qe1 $1 $18 {is also winning but only easy to evaluate
by engines!} Nfd7 35. Bh5 Re7 36. h4 Bf6 37. Qg3 $18) 33... Nf6 34. Nh5 Rf8 35.
Bxe5 dxe5 36. Nxf6+ Bxf6 37. Bc4 {It is true that there exists opposite
colored bishop on the board but given the fact that the black king is weak and
his pawn structure is fully undermined, White's winning chances are close to
decisive.} Qe8 38. Qg4 Rxd1 39. Rxd1 Rg8 {equivalent to resignation.} (39... h5
40. Qxe6 Qxe6 41. Bxe6 Rd8 42. Bd5 h4 {would have put up a much better
resistence.}) 40. Qxe6 Qxe6 41. Bxe6 Rd8 42. Bd5 Kg7 43. g3 Rd7 44. h4 Bd8 45.
Ra1 Kf6 46. Kg2 Kg6 47. Kf3 Rg7 48. c3 h5 49. Ra2 Kf6 50. Kg2 Kg6 51. Kf2 Kf6
52. Kf3 Kg6 53. b4 $1 {White is a pawn up and the pawn on b7 is a fixed target,
which Tomashevsky goes after gradually!} cxb4 54. cxb4 Kh6 55. Rc2 Be7 56. Rb2
Bd8 57. Rb3 {The position should be objectively lost but there is a long way
to resignation, however Radjabov either disgusted by the game or simply has
gotten tired, blunders right away!} b6 $4 58. b5 $1 (58. b5 bxa5 (58... axb5
59. a6 Ra7 60. Bb7 Be7 61. Rxb5 Bc5 62. g4 $18) 59. b6 $18) 1-0
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix 2017"]
[Site "Palma, Majorca"]
[Date "2017.11.22"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Riazantsev, A."]
[Black "Rapport, R."]
[Result "0-1"]
[Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi "]
[PlyCount "74"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 {In an encounter in which you easily could think that black (Richard
Rapport a usual member of 2700 club) played a what one can consider a
coffeehouse attack and got an inferior position against solid Alexader
Riazantsev. Nevertheless, the Russian went astray and the game was almost a
draw when he made another blunder and lost almost immediately. It was a hardly
seen blunder in top level tournament of this kind.} e6 2. c4 f5 {The time to
consider Dutch/ Stonewall Defense as dubious has passed! Nowadays thanks to
computers and practical implications almost any opening is playable.} 3. g3 Nf6
4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nf3 d5 6. O-O Ne4 $5 {Too original even for Dutch players. But
Rapport had played it in the past with mixed results!} 7. Nc3 {Riazantsev
follows Ipatov's path against Rapport!} (7. Ne5 Nd7 8. Nxd7 Bxd7 9. cxd5 exd5
10. Qb3 Bc6 11. Nd2 a5 12. Nf3 Bd6 13. Bf4 Bxf4 14. gxf4 Qd6 15. Qe3 O-O 16.
Ne5 a4 17. Rac1 Bb5 18. Rc2 c6 19. Qh3 Qe7 20. Re1 a3 21. b3 Rf6 22. Bxe4 fxe4
23. e3 Rh6 24. Qg3 Rf8 25. Kh1 Rf5 26. Rg1 Rfh5 27. f3 exf3 28. Rf2 Be2 29. Qg4
g6 30. f5 Qh4 31. Qxh4 Rxh4 32. Ng4 R6h5 33. Nf6+ Kg7 34. Nxh5+ Rxh5 35. fxg6
hxg6 36. Rc1 Kf6 37. Rc2 Ke6 38. Kg1 Rg5+ 39. Kh1 Rh5 40. Kg1 g5 41. b4 g4 42.
Rc3 Kf5 43. Rxa3 Rh8 44. Rc3 Ra8 45. a3 Ke4 46. Rb3 Rg8 47. a4 g3 48. hxg3
Rxg3+ 49. Kh2 Rg8 50. a5 Rf8 51. Kg3 Rh8 52. Rxe2 Rg8+ 53. Kf2 Rg2+ 54. Kf1
fxe2+ 55. Ke1 Rh2 56. Ra3 Kf3 57. e4+ Kxe4 58. a6 bxa6 59. Kd2 Kxd4 60. Rxa6
Rh6 61. Kxe2 Kc4 62. Rb6 d4 63. Rb8 d3+ {0-1 (63) Wojtaszek,R (2715)-Rapport,R
(2701) Budapest 2014}) 7... c6 8. Nd2 (8. Ne5 {This move by Ipatov seems sound
but despite white's long lasting advantage the game against Ipatov ended in
draw.} Nd7 9. Nxd7 Bxd7 10. Nxe4 fxe4 11. f3 (11. Bf4 O-O 12. e3 b5 13. c5 a5
14. f3 exf3 15. Bxf3 Be8 16. e4 Bg6 17. e5 Be4 18. Bh5 Qc7 19. Qd2 a4 20. Be3
Bf5 21. h4 Bh3 22. Rxf8+ Rxf8 23. Kh2 Bf5 24. Rf1 Qd8 25. Bg5 Bxg5 26. Qxg5
Qxg5 27. hxg5 a3 28. bxa3 Ra8 29. Rf2 g6 30. Bd1 Rxa3 31. g4 Bb1 32. Bb3 Kg7
33. Rf6 Bxa2 34. Bxa2 Rxa2+ 35. Kg3 Ra6 36. Rxe6 Kf7 37. Rf6+ Ke7 38. Kf4 b4
39. Ke3 Ra3+ 40. Kd2 Rg3 41. Rxc6 Rxg4 42. Kd3 Rxg5 43. Rc7+ Ke6 44. Rc6+ Ke7
45. Rc7+ Ke6 46. Rc6+ {1/2-1/2 (46) Ipatov,A (2625)-Rapport,R (2649) Germany
2015}) 11... exf3 12. Rxf3 dxc4 13. Qc2 Bf6 14. Qxc4 Qb6 15. Be3 Qxb2 16. Rff1
Qa3 17. Bd2 b5 18. Qc1 Bxd4+ 19. e3 Bb2 20. Qe1 Bxa1 21. Qxa1 Rf8 22. Rc1 Qd3
23. Bb4 Rf6 24. Kh1 Rd8 25. Qe5 Kf7 26. Qh5+ Kg8 27. Rd1 Qc2 28. Be7 Be8 29.
Rxd8 {1-0 (29) Schneider, I (2487)-Rapport,R (2718) Austria 2014}) 8... Nd6 $5
{The position looks very suspicious yet the game is practically very well
alive and an original position has just arisen!} 9. b3 Nd7 10. a4 h5 {if you
would have asked me 10 years ago, I would have told you that this move should
lose on spot but these days such moves could be played and you need deep and
thorough calcultion to refute it! If it is refutable at all!} 11. b4 h4 12. b5
hxg3 13. hxg3 Nf6 {Something has gone wrong for white as his developmental
advantage means nothing anymore.} 14. Qb3 Bd7 15. a5 a6 16. bxc6 bxc6 17. Ba3
Rb8 18. Qc2 Nfe4 19. Ncxe4 fxe4 20. Rfb1 Rxb1+ 21. Qxb1 {[#] it seems that
Rapport is in complete control of the position now. However his next moves
cause a lot of turbulence! It should be wrong objectively but it is Riazantsev
who lost his path through the maze of different lines!} e3 $2 (21... O-O 22.
Qb6 Qe8 23. e3 Bc8 $14) 22. Qg6+ Nf7 23. Bxe7 Qxe7 (23... exf2+ 24. Kxf2 Qxe7
25. Qxg7 Rf8 26. Ke1 $16 {Black would have been down a pawn without any
counter play.}) 24. fxe3 O-O 25. Qd3 $2 {A strange retreat!} (25. Rf1 Qa3 26.
Qd3 Qxa5 27. e4 {with tangible advantage for white!} Nh6 28. Nf3 Ng4 29. e5 $16
) 25... Qg5 26. e4 dxc4 $1 {Riazantsev must have missed this cheap tactic.} 27.
Nxc4 c5 $1 {White's extra pawn is becoming irrelavant but what happens in the
next few moves is beyond everyone's wildest imagination!} 28. Qe3 (28. d5 Bb5
29. dxe6 Bxc4 30. exf7+ Bxf7 31. Qxa6 c4 {should lead to a draw thanks to
Black's active pieces and passed c-pawn.} 32. Qc6 Qe5 33. Rf1 (33. Rd1 Qxa5)
33... Qxa5 34. Bh3 Qe5 35. Kg2 g6) 28... Qxe3+ 29. Nxe3 cxd4 30. Nc2 e5 {
Now Black has some slight edge!} 31. e3 Rc8 32. Nb4 dxe3 33. Bf1 $1 {This move
equalizes but only two moves later Riazantsev blunders!} Rb8 34. Nxa6 Rb2 35.
Nc5 $4 (35. Bc4 Bg4 36. Rf1 e2 37. Re1 Kf8 38. Nc5 Nd6 (38... Ng5 $4 39. a6
Nf3+ 40. Kf2 Nxe1 41. a7 {and White promotes.}) 39. Bd5 Rb5 40. Nd3 Rxa5 41.
Nxe5 Bh5 42. g4 Be8 43. Rxe2 Nxe4 $11) 35... Ng5 $1 {but now White is in a
mating net!} 36. Bg2 Bh3 37. Bxh3 Nf3+ {An important win for Rapport, which he
could not have attained if Riazantsev had not had one of his off days at the
office!} (37... Nf3+ 38. Kh1 (38. Kf1 Rf2#) 38... Rh2#) 0-1
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.19"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Giri, Anish"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A16"]
[WhiteElo "2801"]
[BlackElo "2762"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. d3 (5. e4 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Qxd1+ 7.
Kxd1 Nd7 8. Bf4 c6 9. Kc2 Nc5 10. Nd2 Bg7 11. Be3 Na4 12. Bc4 Nb6 13. Bb3 Nd7
14. a4 O-O 15. h4 h5 16. a5 Ne5 17. f3 {1/2-1/2 (48) So,W (2812)-Mamedyarov,S
(2800) Paris 2017}) (5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Ba3 O-O 8. d4 b6 9. Bc4 Nc6 10.
O-O Na5 11. Bd3 c5 12. dxc5 Qc7 13. Qe2 bxc5 14. Qe3 Bg4 15. Rfc1 Rfd8 16. Bf1
Rab8 17. Qxc5 {1-0 (57) Aronian,L (2792)-Giri,A (2782) Leuven 2016}) 5... Bg7
6. Bd2 {A16: English Opening: 1...Nf6 with ...d5} O-O 7. g3 c5 {LiveBook: 9
Games} 8. h4 $146 {The position is equal.} ({Predecessor:} 8. Bg2 Nc6 9. O-O e6
10. Qc1 b6 11. Bh6 Bb7 12. Bxg7 Kxg7 13. Rd1 Rc8 14. e3 Qf6 15. Ne4 Qe7 16. b3
Rfd8 17. Qb2+ e5 18. a3 Ba6 19. Rac1 f5 20. Nc3 Nxc3 21. Qxc3 {1/2-1/2 (43)
Bischoff,K (2504)-Li,C (2711) Germany 2014}) 8... Nc6 9. h5 Nxc3 10. bxc3 {[#]}
c4 $1 11. hxg6 (11. dxc4 Qd6) 11... hxg6 12. Qa4 Na5 (12... cxd3 $11 {remains
equal.} 13. Qh4 (13. exd3 Qd5 $11) 13... f6) 13. d4 $16 b6 14. Bg2 Bb7 15. Qc2
Qd5 16. Nh4 Qd7 17. e4 e5 (17... e6 $142) 18. d5 Bc8 19. f4 (19. Kf1 $16) 19...
Qe7 ({Better is} 19... Nb7 $14) 20. f5 g5 21. Qd1 {Strongly threatening Qh5.}
gxh4 22. Rxh4 {Black must now prevent Qh5.} Rd8 (22... f6 $16) 23. Qh5 $40 {
White has strong compensation. White goes for the king.} Kf8 24. Rg4 $2 {[#]} (
24. Qg4 $1 $16 {is necessary to keep the advantage. aiming for Rh7.} Bxf5 25.
Qxf5) 24... Bf6 $2 {[#]} (24... Qd6 $1 $17 25. Qh7 Bf6) 25. Bh6+ $1 {White is
clearly winning.} Ke8 26. Rg8+ Kd7 {[#]} 27. d6 $1 1-0
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.19"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Black "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A21"]
[WhiteElo "2738"]
[BlackElo "2705"]
[Annotator "Sagar,Shah"]
[PlyCount "65"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. c4 {[%emt 0:00:00]} e5 {64} 2. Nc3 {[%emt 0:00:00]} Bb4 {300} 3. Nd5 {74}
Na6 {[%emt 0:00:33]} (3... Bc5 {is the main move here. 1-0 (34) Aronian,L
(2793)-Anand,V (2786) Leuven 2017}) 4. Nxb4 {556} Nxb4 {[%emt 0:00:59]} 5. a3 {
[%emt 0:00:13]} Nc6 {70} 6. b4 {75 White has the bishop pair and the black
knight has moved twice in the opening. What can be the reason that Black would
be willing to do this? Well the answer is that Black has the centre and he
would like to rapidly complete his development with Nf6, 0-0 and then break
with d5.} d5 $5 {1351 With no knight coming to c3, it makes sense to play this
move. The queen will be safe on d5. Vallejo had already spent 22 minutes on
this move which meant he was out of his prep.} 7. e3 $146 {200} ({Predecessor:
} 7. b5 Na5 8. cxd5 Qxd5 9. Rb1 Qa2 10. Rb4 Be6 11. d3 {½-½ (64) Monte,E
(1713)-Paiva,L (1753) Fortaleza 2012}) 7... Nf6 {267} 8. Bb2 {673} d4 {527
This definitely seems very logical. The bishop is on b2 and the move d4 closes
its diagonal.} 9. Nf3 {361 Hari puts pressure on the centre and threatens b5.}
Bg4 {158} 10. h3 {139} Bxf3 {215} 11. gxf3 {33 Hari's position is
strategically quite dangerous. He has ruined his structure and his hoping that
the bishops will able to get some play going.} (11. Qxf3 {is interesting.} O-O
12. Be2 Re8 13. O-O Qe7 14. Bd1 $13) 11... O-O {257} 12. Qc2 {219} a5 {1001} (
12... Re8 $13 {I do not think Black can be worse here, but at the same time it
is a game filled with rich ideas and all three results are possible.}) 13. b5
$36 {50 White fights for an advantage.} Ne7 {[%emt 0:00:13]} 14. f4 $1 {
690 Hari takes his chance to bring down this e5-d4 structure.} dxe3 {359} (
14... exf4 15. Bxd4 $14) 15. O-O-O $1 {1059 Brilliant play by Harikrishna! All
that he wants is to open the position at all costs.} e2 {351} (15... exf2 16.
fxe5 $36) (15... exf4 16. dxe3 $16) 16. Bxe2 {[%emt 0:00:32]} exf4 {[%emt 0:00:
03]} 17. h4 {159} (17. Bxf6 gxf6 {was possible, but not something that Hari
would like to do if he doesn't see an immediate way of taking advantage. The
bishop on b2 is just too powerful.}) 17... Kh8 {612} ({Black should try} 17...
c6) 18. h5 $16 {414 White has strong compensation.} h6 {1 [#]} 19. Rdg1 $1 {251
} Qd6 {193 [#]} (19... Neg8 {stays solid, but White has all the time in the
world to improve his position, mainly by doubling the rooks on the g-file. So
he should be better.}) 20. c5 $2 {357} (20. Rxg7 $3 {This was a brilliant
sacrifice that Hari missed.} Kxg7 21. Rg1+ Kh8 22. c5 Qe6 23. Bc4 {And Black
has to give up his queen.} Rg8 24. Rxg8+ Rxg8 25. Bxe6 Rg1+ 26. Qd1 Rxd1+ 27.
Kxd1 Kg7 28. Bc4 $18 {It's a perennial pin down the diagonal.}) 20... Qd5 {104}
21. Rh4 {84 Threatening Rxg7 once again.} (21. Rxg7 Qxh1+ $19) 21... Rfe8 {346}
22. Rxf4 {269 White is clearly winning.} Neg8 {[%emt 0:00:24]} 23. Bf3 {
[%emt 0:00:37]} Qe6 {[%emt 0:00:28]} 24. Qc3 {122} Rad8 {337 [#]} 25. Rfg4 $1 {
88} Qf5 {13 Strongly threatening ...Rd3.} (25... Nxg4 26. Qxg7#) 26. Rxg7 {
[%emt 0:00:23]} Re1+ {[%emt 0:00:16]} 27. Rxe1 {138} Kxg7 {[%emt 0:00:04]} 28.
Bxb7 {74} Kf8 {75} 29. f3 {212} Nxh5 {[%emt 0:00:19]} 30. Qe5 {92} Qd7 {
[%emt 0:00:04]} (30... Qxe5 31. Bxe5 $18) 31. Bc3 {[%emt 0:00:53]} Ngf6 {76}
32. Bc6 {[%emt 0:00:26]} Qe6 {[%emt 0:00:53]} 33. Qxe6 {97 The a5 pawn falls,
and with it also the game. A fine display by Hari.} 1-0
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.23"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Riazantsev, Alexander"]
[Black "Gelfand, Boris"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2651"]
[BlackElo "2719"]
[Annotator "Tiger Hillarp Persson"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 {This is basically an anti-Queen's-Indian move order.}
Bb4+ (3... d5 4. Nf3 {Is traditionally met with Bd2, but lately there have
been many examples of strong players trying} Bb4+ 5. Nbd2 O-O 6. Bg2 {, which
is another way the game position after 6.Ngf3 can arise.}) 4. Nd2 {The knight
is not optimally placed here, which makes it worth it for Black to lose a
tempo with the bishop.} ({After} 4. Bd2 {Black can chose between the Bogo
Indian set-ups with a5, or Qe7, bt is also quite possible to play} Be7 {
, intending} 5. Bg2 d5 {with a typical Catalan.}) 4... O-O 5. Bg2 d5 6. Ngf3 b6
$5 (6... dxc4 7. a3 $5 Bxd2+ 8. Bxd2 Nc6 9. e3 Rb8 10. O-O b5 11. b3 $1 cxb3
12. Qxb3 Bb7 13. Rfc1 Ne7 14. Bb4 Re8 15. Ne5 {and White had a lot of pressure
for the pawn, in Grischuk,A (2750)-Nakamura,H (2785) Moscow Grand Prix 2017.})
({The usual remedy against Nbd2, is to play} 6... c5 {, since the d5-pawn will
be less of a target than if the knight had gone to c3. Here} 7. a3 Bxd2+ 8.
Qxd2 $1 {Also looks somewhat better for White. There is no direct way for
Black to take advantage of the slight weaness of the light squares.}) 7. O-O
Bb7 {More than 10% of all games with this position were played during the last
year, so it is something of a fashionable "tabiya". Now White has a wide
choice:} 8. a3 (8. Ne5 {looks most principled, but allows Black to force
exchanges.} Nbd7 9. Qa4 Bd6 10. Nxd7 (10. Nc6 $6 Qe8) 10... Qxd7 11. Qxd7 Nxd7
12. cxd5 Bxd5 (12... exd5 {is very equal indeed, and possibly that is why
Anand avoided.}) 13. e4 Bb7 14. Rd1 $14 {Lenderman,A (2565)-Anand, V (2790)
chess.com IoM Masters 2017}) (8. cxd5 exd5 9. Ne5 Re8 10. Ndf3 $6 Ne4 {and
White will soon have to retreat the knight from e5, while Ne4 will dominate
the game for a long time.}) (8. b3 {is a harmonious move that makes a lot of
sense. After} Qe7 9. Bb2 a5 10. a3 Bd6 11. Qc2 Na6 $6 (11... c5 $1 $132) 12.
Nh4 $1 c5 13. cxd5 Nxd5 14. Ne4 {White had Black exactly where he wanted him,
in Lenderman,A (2565)-Vallejo Pons,F (2715) chess.com IoM Masters 2017.}) 8...
Be7 ({After} 8... Bd6 9. b4 a5 10. c5 Be7 11. Bb2 Ba6 12. Ne5 Nfd7 {White is
slightly better, but Black usually fares well in these structures as long as
the light squared bishop does not get boxed in.}) 9. cxd5 exd5 10. b4 a5 $5 {
This move surprised me a lot, since it leads to a pawn structure that can only
be better for White. However, there is more to chess than pawn structures.} (
10... c6 {preparing ...a5, would be the standard reaction here. I cannot spot
a clear way for White to keep an advantage here, but perhaps the move in the
game is just more challenging?!}) 11. b5 (11. Rb1 $6 axb4 12. axb4 Nc6 $1 13.
b5 Nb4 {was already promising for Black, in Firat,B (2480)-Pap,M (2490) 5th
Pontevedra Open 2017.}) 11... c6 $1 12. bxc6 Nxc6 {A highly unusual position,
where White would be better if only Nd2 was on c3 instead. Intuitively I would
say that White is better if he can get control of the light squares on the
queenside (when White can continue with Bb2 and Ne5, tageting the d5-pawn),
but it is not that easy, at all.} 13. Bb2 (13. e3 b5 14. Ne5 Bd6 (14... a4 $5 {
looks more to the point.}) 15. Bb2 a4 16. Qb1 Rb8 17. Bc3 Ba8 18. Nxc6 Bxc6 {
and draw was agreed in Wei,Y (2728)-Yu, Y (2749) Beijing 2017, since White
cannot blockade the b-pawn:} 19. Bb4 Qe7 20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Nf3 b4 22. axb4 Rxb4
$132) (13. Rb1 {, stopping b6-b5 for the time being, is another possibility.
After} Ba6 14. Re1 b5 15. Ne5 Nxd4 16. e3 Ne6 17. Nc6 Qd7 18. Nxe7+ Qxe7 19.
Nb3 Ne4 20. Bb2 {White has some compensation for the pawn, but hardly enough
to claim an advantage.}) 13... a4 {Earlier champions of the Black side have
used a simple but effective game-plan; to push the a- and b-pawn, while using
the c4- and e4-square as outposts, but we will see Gelfand take a more
flexible stand, waiting for the right moment to push. White will try to
coordinate his forces and - hopefully - set up a blockade on b4. In order to
achieve the latter, Nc6 must be exchanged.} ({Gelfand improves on a much
earlier game:} 13... b5 {leaves White's knight with a route to c5.} 14. Ne5 {
...which is missed.} (14. Nb3 $5 Ne4 $1 15. Rc1 a4 $1 16. Nc5 Na5 17. Bc3 $1 (
17. Nxb7 Nxb7 18. Ne5 Na5 $36 (18... Nbd6 19. Bc3)) 17... Nxc5 18. dxc5 Nc4 19.
Qd4 Bf6 20. Qd3 {and I don't dare to make an objective statement about the
position. Unclear.}) 14... b4 15. axb4 Bxb4 16. Nd3 Qb6 17. Rb1 Ba6 $132 {
Danielian,V (2289)-Vlasov,E (2155) St Petersburg 1999.}) 14. Qb1 b5 15. Ne5 Qb6
({Instead} 15... b4 16. axb4 Bxb4 {, can get messy after} 17. Ndc4 {Gelfand
keeps the threat of b5-b4 for a moment when it is more awkward to meet.}) 16.
Nxc6 Bxc6 17. Bc3 {Hooray!! White has succeeded in blockading the b-pawn. That
seems like a success, especially if we think of the bishop on g2 as "good" and
the one on c6 as "bad". But, we shouldn't think of it that way. In fact, the
bishop on g2 is not yet in the game, while Bc6 has easy access to f5. In the
meanwhile White's knight looks really out of place. It is important for White
not to celebrate the blockade for too long and forget about the other guys.}
Rfc8 18. e3 $6 {A slow move that adds little to White's position. Why not play}
(18. Bb4 $1 {immediately? Black has two choices:} Ra7 $1 {is clearly the best}
(18... Qd8 19. Rc1 Bd7 20. Qb2 Qf8 21. Bxe7 Qxe7 22. e3 {, followed by
Nd2-f3-e1/e5-d3, is much better than the game for White.}) 19. Bh3 $1 Bxb4 $1 (
19... Bd7 20. Bxe7 Bxh3 21. Bc5 $14) 20. Qxb4 Bd7 21. Bxd7 Rxd7 22. Rac1 Rdc7
23. Rxc7 Rxc7 24. Rb1 {and now with} Rc2 {Black's activity is enough to keep
the balance.}) (18. Rc1 $6 Bd7 $1 {and it becomes hard to play Bb4.}) (18. Nf3
Be8 $1 19. Bb4 Bxb4 20. Qxb4 Rc4 $15) 18... Bd7 {Gelfand continues to play
purposeful moves.} 19. Bb4 Bxb4 20. Qxb4 {If only the knight was on d3.} Rc7 $5
(20... Qc6 $5 {looks too contrived, but}) (20... Rc2 {is a worthy alternative.
Perhaps Gelfand wanted to have the queen in front of the rook in case of
exchanges on the c-file?!}) 21. Nf3 {It looks like White is slowly succeding
in everything he'd dreamed of. Next the knight is going to d3 via e5, no?} ({
White is unable to challenge Black for control of the c-file:} 21. Rfc1 Rac8
22. Rxc7 Qxc7 23. Nf3 Qc3 {and we get the kind of position that Gelfand has
been aiming for all along. Perhaps White can keep this together, but the
defence looks difficult.}) 21... Rac8 22. Ne5 Bf5 $1 {That is painful for
White. The knight is unable to go to d3 and the rook cannot go to b1. What to
do?} 23. Ra2 {That looks sensible. The rook can attack b5 from b2.} Ne4 $1 24.
Rb2 Nc3 {Everything protected.} 25. Ra1 $2 {White squanders his last chance to
change the course of the game. If I was White I would do anything within my
power to avoid what went down:} (25. g4 $1 {suggests itself...} Bg6 $1 (25...
Be6 $6 26. h3 f6 27. Nd3 Rc4 28. Qe7 R4c7 29. Qb4 Rc4 $11) 26. Re1 (26. f3 f6
27. Nxg6 hxg6 28. Re1 Kf7 $17) 26... h5 $5 (26... f6 $6 27. Nxg6 hxg6 28. Bf1
$15) 27. gxh5 Bf5 28. f3 Qh6 29. Bf1 Qxh5 30. Rg2 {and although Black is still
better, it is less of a one sided affair.}) 25... f6 26. Nf3 Kf7 $1 {Covering
the e7-square with the least active piece and setting up the threat of ...Rc4.}
({I prefer Gelfand's move to} 26... Rc4 27. Qe7 Qb8 28. Nh4 Bg4 29. h3 Re8 {
which wins the queen, but is more prone to random upsets after} 30. Qxe8+ Qxe8
31. hxg4 Qc8 32. Kh2 $17) 27. Rd2 $2 ({It is understandable that White didn't
like} 27. Nd2 Bd3 28. Re1 Qe6 $17 {, but this is clearly the better of two
evils.}) 27... Rc4 28. Qb2 Ne4 ({Here} 28... b4 $1 29. axb4 Rxb4 30. Qc1 Ne2+
31. Rxe2 Rxc1+ 32. Rxc1 Rb1 {would win easily, but Gelfand knows that White is
beyond saving anyway.}) 29. Re2 ({Or} 29. Ne1 b4 30. Bxe4 Bxe4 31. axb4 Rxb4
32. Qa2 Qb5 {with complete domination. The idea Bb1, Rcc4 and Rb3 is
impossible to defend against.}) 29... b4 $1 30. Nh4 Bg4 31. h3 (31. f3 b3 32.
fxg4 Rc2 33. Rxc2 Rxc2 34. Qb1 b2 {doesn't end well either.}) 31... Bxe2 32.
Qxe2 g6 33. axb4 Qxb4 34. Qg4 Qb7 35. Bxe4 dxe4 36. Kg2 Rc2 37. d5 (37. Rf1 Rc1
) 37... Rxf2+ 38. Kg1 (38. Kxf2 Qb2+) 38... f5 39. Qd1 Rcc2 40. Qd4 Qb2 {
A haunting game that illustrates the power of a well drafted game-plan.} 0-1
[Event "Grand Prix 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.23"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Black "Li, Chao"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A10"]
[WhiteElo "2741"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "105"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. c4 g6 2. e4 e5 3. d4 Nf6 {Quite a rare line. Although some strong players,
including Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So have used it successfully (So with both
colors.)} 4. Nf3 {The main move.} (4. dxe5 Nxe4 5. Qd4 {is what Topalov chose
against Wesley So} Nc5) 4... exd4 ({Relevant:} 4... Bb4+ 5. Nc3 Nxe4 6. Qc2 f5
7. Nxe5 c5 {Jakovenko,D (2704)-Kokarev,D (2643) Khanty-Mansiysk 2016}) 5. e5
Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Qe7 7. Bxb4 Qxb4+ 8. Qd2 Qxd2+ 9. Nbxd2 Nh5 10. Nxd4 {An endgame
emerged by force. Black's knight on h5 does not seem particularly happy at the
moment, but White's central pawn may turn a bit overoptimistic.} Nc6 11. N2f3
$146 {And a novelty by Radjabov. The Azeri GM is determined to fight till the
last bullet.} ({The predecessor saw White spoiling the opponent's haircut with:
} 11. Nxc6 dxc6 12. O-O-O Bf5 13. g3 O-O-O 14. Be2 Ng7 {at the expense of the
development, Suba,M (2531)-Jansa,V (2477) Bad Zwischenahn 2008}) 11... b6 {
Now it is all about the e5 pawn. Will it survive or not?} ({Clearly worse for
Black is} 11... f6 12. Nb5 Kd8 13. g4) 12. Nb5 {Before anything the black king
should remain stuck in the middle.} Kd8 13. O-O-O Re8 14. g3 a6 ({So far so
good.} 14... Nxe5 {would be met with} 15. Nxe5 Rxe5 16. Bg2 Rb8 17. Nxa7 {
and the knight on a7 is surprisingly jolly.}) 15. Nbd4 Bb7 ({Here} 15... Nxe5
$4 {would be even worse} 16. Nxe5 Rxe5 17. Nc6+) 16. Nxc6+ Bxc6 17. Bh3 $1 {
A nice "disappearing" move. Before placing his bishop on the long diagonal
Radjabov wants to force the move f7-f5.} ({The immediate} 17. Bg2 {would be
strongly met with} f6 $1) 17... f5 ({Instead} 17... Bxf3 $2 {loses to} 18.
Rxd7+ Kc8 19. Rxf7+) ({If} 17... Kc8 18. Rd3 {would start the pre-programmed
doubling of the rooks on the half-open file and} Bxf3 $2 {would be still a bad
idea due to} 19. Rxf3 Re7 20. Rd1 {with large advantage for White.}) 18. Bg2 ({
Of course not} 18. exf6 $6 Nxf6 {when the black pieces enter the game.}) 18...
b5 19. Rhe1 bxc4 20. Nh4 Bxg2 21. Nxg2 {The central pawn survived and became
extremely valuable. It helps White comfortably maneuver with their rooks and
spoils the party for the black ones.} Rb8 22. Rd4 ({Also good was} 22. f4 Ng7
23. Ne3) 22... g5 ({In case of} 22... c3 {White would keep his pawns intact
with} 23. b3 $1) ({White is also comfortably better after} 22... Ng7 23. Red1
Re7 24. Ne3 Ne6 25. Rxc4) 23. Red1 Rxe5 {Li Chao decided to try the active
defense.} ({Objectively speaking} 23... Re7 {was more stubborn, although after}
24. Ne3 Ng7 25. f4 (25. Nxc4 Rb5) 25... gxf4 26. gxf4 Rf7 27. Rxc4 Ne6 {
White's advantage is undisputable.}) 24. Rxd7+ Kc8 25. Rxh7 Nf6 26. Rh8+ Kb7
27. Rxb8+ Kxb8 28. Ne3 {The superb opening preparation and fine middlegame
play netted White a pawn.} f4 ({Perhaps Black should have tried} 28... c3 29.
bxc3 ({Here} 29. b3 $6 f4 $1 {is not convincing at all.}) 29... f4 30. Nc4) 29.
Nxc4 Re2 30. Rd2 Re1+ 31. Kc2 {Next White activates everything that he has.}
Kb7 ({Similar is} 31... Rh1 32. gxf4 gxf4 33. f3 Rf1 34. Ne5) 32. Kd3 Rh1 33.
gxf4 gxf4 34. f3 Rf1 35. Ne5 Re1 36. Ng4 $1 {A nice regroupment. Radjabov
co-ordinates his pieces with the outside passer. He is winning now.} Nd5 ({
White is perfectly co-ordinated in the rook endgame as well} 36... Nxg4 37.
fxg4 Rg1 38. h3 Rg3+ 39. Ke4 Rxh3 40. Kxf4) 37. h4 c5 ({Anytime that the rook
is placed behind the pawn} 37... Rh1 {there comes} 38. Rh2) 38. h5 Nb4+ 39. Kc4
Rc1+ 40. Kb3 Nc6 41. h6 Nd4+ {Li Chao tries some final tricks.} ({The pawn was
unstopabble anyways-} 41... Rh1 42. Rh2) 42. Ka3 ({Or} 42. Ka4 Rc4+ 43. Ka3
Nb5+ 44. Kb3 Rb4+ 45. Kc2 {and wins.}) 42... Nxf3 43. h7 Nxd2 44. h8=Q Nc4+ 45.
Ka4 Nb6+ 46. Kb3 a5 ({The king escapes after} 46... c4+ 47. Kb4 Nd5+ 48. Kc5)
47. Qf6 a4+ 48. Ka3 Ka6 49. Qxf4 Nc4+ 50. Kxa4 Nxb2+ 51. Kb3 Nd3 52. Qd6+ Kb5
53. a4+ ({White could even fall into the trap with} 53. Qxd3+ c4+ 54. Kb2 cxd3
55. Kxc1) 1-0
[Event "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca ESP"]
[Date "2017.11.23"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Rapport, Richard"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A14"]
[WhiteElo "2692"]
[BlackElo "2801"]
[PlyCount "157"]
[EventDate "2017.11.16"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4
Bd7 9. Rd1 Bc6 10. Bg5 a5 11. Nbd2 Na6 12. Nxc4 Nb4 13. Qb3 Nd7 14. Bxe7 Qxe7
15. Qa3 Rfd8 16. Rac1 Nd5 17. Qa1 N5f6 18. b3 Qb4 19. Ncd2 Rac8 20. e3 Ne4 21.
Nc4 Nd6 22. Ne1 Bxg2 23. Kxg2 Nxc4 24. bxc4 Qe7 25. Nd3 c5 26. Qa3 Kf8 27. Qb3
b6 28. Qb5 cxd4 29. exd4 Qd6 30. Nf4 Qc6+ 31. Qxc6 Rxc6 32. d5 Rd6 33. dxe6 Nc5
34. e7+ Kxe7 35. Nd5+ Kf8 36. Ra1 Rc8 37. Rdb1 Nd7 38. Ne3 Ne5 39. Rc1 Rd2 40.
Rcb1 Nd3 41. Rf1 g6 42. Ra3 Rc6 43. Rb3 Nc5 44. Ra3 Ne4 45. Raa1 Rf6 46. Ng4
Rfd6 47. Ne3 Rf6 48. Ng4 Rf5 49. Rfd1 Rc5 50. Rxd2 Nxd2 51. Nf6 Ke7 52. Nd5+
Kd6 53. Rd1 Nxc4 54. Nxb6+ Kc6 55. Nd7 Rd5 56. Rc1 Rd4 57. Ne5+ Kc5 58. Nxf7
Kb4 59. Ng5 Nd2 60. Ne6 Rc4 61. Ra1 Kb3 62. f4 Kb2 63. Re1 Rxa4 64. Re5 {
It sure seems elementary for Black to motor his pawn down the board, but
Rapport shows tenacity in defense.} Kc3 65. f5 Nc4 66. Rc5 gxf5 67. Kh3 Ra2 68.
Rxf5 a4 69. Nc7 {From this square, the knight proves very annoying, toggling
between c7, b5, and c2.} Rd2 70. Rf8 Rd7 (70... Kb4 71. Rb8+ Kc5 {
paradoxically, the Black king may be better here, even though he's farther
from the being the pawn's helper. He can harass the White pieces, keep an eye
on b5, and is generally more out of the way of forks.}) 71. Nb5+ Kb4 72. Rb8
Kc5 {Notice before that if Black's king had reached c5 as on the note to move
71, then if 72. Nb5 Rb2 pins the knight.} 73. Nc3 a3 74. Rb5+ $1 {Forcing the
king to an undesirable square.} Kd4 75. Rb3 Ke5 (75... Ra7 76. Nb5+ {and
notice also that d5 is unavailable to Black's rook, otherwise he would be
happy to go there and sac the exchange after a Nb5+ since the pawn would queen.
Black's rook is uniquely badly positioned!}) 76. Rb5+ Kd4 77. Rb3 Ra7 78. Nb5+
Kc5 79. Rxa3 {Draw agreed since after 79...Rxa3 80. Nxa3 Nxa3 the White king
races up the board and snatches Black's final pawn.} 1/2-1/2
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.24"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Gelfand, Boris"]
[Black "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2719"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Tiger Hillarp Persson"]
[PlyCount "96"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 ({No one has been as persistent about playing} 2... g6 {
as Radjabov, at such a high level, but lately he has turned to more classical
openings. It is a mature decision. The dark squared openings are, generally
speaking, more powerful when your opponent has to spend some time preparing
against classical alternatives.}) 3. Nf3 b6 {This is already a small surprise
as Radjabov usually heads for a QGD-set-up.} 4. g3 Bb7 ({The most popular
continuation (and the main reason why so many try to avoid this opening) is}
4... Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Nc3 d5 8. cxd5 exd5 9. Bg2 O-O 10. O-O Re8 {
as in, for instance, Nakamura,H (2785)-Karjakin,S (2780) GCT Rapid Paris 2017.
b2-b3 makes it harder for White to put the rook on c1 without being harrassed,
which is the main reason Black is happy to (soon) lose a tempo with Bc8-a6-b7.
This would not be so much trouble for White if only the bishop could go to b2,
and there we have the reason for the other tempo-loss: Bf8-b4-e7.}) 5. Bg2 Be7
6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 {This is a well trafficked crossroad for Black.}
Nxd2 (8... Bf6 {is usually met with} 9. Rc1 (9. Be1 {is a promising
alternative:} c5 10. Qc2 $5) 9... Nxd2 10. Qxd2 d6 {with similar play to the
game.}) (8... f5 9. Ne5 Nxc3 10. Bxc3 Bxg2 11. Kxg2 Bf6 12. Qd3 d5 13. Rfd1 $14
{L'Ami,E (2596)-Tiviakov,S (2677) Wijk aan Zee 2012.}) (8... d5 {is the
traditional way, but after} 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Rc1 {White gets the kind of
position that the 4...Ba6-line (see above) is aimed at avoiding.}) 9. Qxd2 d6
10. Rad1 {I suspect there to be a deep reason why Gelfand prefers this move to
10.e4, but I cannot find it. Apart from e4/d5, it is hard to see a good plan
for White.} ({Beliavsky has experienced the position after} 10. e4 {from both
sides:} Nd7 11. Rfe1 a6 12. Qe2 (12. Rad1 b5 13. cxb5 axb5 14. a3 c6 15. d5 e5
16. dxc6 Bxc6 17. Nd5 {led to equality, in Huebner,R (2570)-Beliavsky,A (2605)
17th Puhajarve Rapid 2016.}) 12... c5 13. d5 e5 14. h4 $1 {I quite like
Beliavsky's plan here.} Rb8 15. a4 Nf6 16. Bh3 {White has played economically
and - compared to our game - has avoided both b3 and Rad1 (which are two moves
that seem less than optimal).} g6 17. Kg2 Kg7 18. Rh1 h5 {This set-up doesn't
turn out well for Black, so an improvement should be sought for around here.}
19. Ng5 Bc8 {A terrible concession for Black. White gets rid of his least
wanted minor piece and keeps a free hand on the kingside, while Black has no
real counterplay.} 20. Bxc8 Qxc8 21. Raf1 (21. f3 $1 Ne8 22. Nh3 Nc7 23. Nf2
$14 {looks more flexible.} b5 24. axb5 axb5 25. cxb5) 21... Rb7 22. f3 Ne8 23.
Rf2 (23. Nh3 Nc7) 23... Bxg5 24. hxg5 f6 {and Black had equalized although
White eventually won, in Beliavsky,A (2605)-Livaic,L (2435) 26th TCh-SLO 2016.}
) 10... Nd7 11. Rfe1 c5 {This is the only central break that comes into
consideration here.} (11... e5 $2 12. Nxe5 $1) (11... d5 $6 12. cxd5 exd5 13.
Qc2 {and White is perfectly coordinated to make life miserable for Black. Next,
after} Re8 14. e4 dxe4 15. Nxe4 {is even worse than it at first seems, for
Black. For instance} Nf6 16. Nxf6+ Bxf6 17. Rxe8+ Qxe8 18. Qxc7 {loses a pawn.}
) 12. e4 {White will soon have to play d4-d5, or run out of constructive moves.
e4 will help in all the structures that might possibly arise then.} a6 13. d5
e5 $1 {So, even though it started as a light-squared opening (Queen's Indian)
Radjabov has managed to get a typical dark-squared-opening pawn structure (Old
Benoni style). He is back on his home turf. It does not matter very much that
Black has the bishop pair here, but Be7 is quite well placed as it keeps Nf3
from accessing h4, from where it would make f5 very hard to achieve. Black is
not to happy about the placement of Bb7, which would be better placed on the
c8-h3 diagonal, but the rook is equally off track on e1.} 14. b3 {If White is
going to stop Black from playing b6-b5, then I see no reason not to play a2-a4
immediately.} (14. a4 $1) (14. Rf1 b5) 14... g6 $1 {Black has two possible
breaks: b6-b5 and f7-f5. The latter is no good unless Black can answer exf5
with gxf5. Ergo: Black's last move.} (14... f5 $4 15. exf5 Rxf5 16. Qe2 {
, followed by Bh3 and Black is completely lost. Radjabov spends a few moves
preparing f5 before taking the leap.}) 15. Rf1 (15. h4 $5 {is a logical move
here. The point is that the exchange of the h-pawns would benefit White
somewhat as f7-f5 would leave the Black king much more exposed than is the
case in the game.} h5 $6 16. a3 {and again it becomes hard for Black to play
f7-f5:} f5 $2 17. Qh6 $18) 15... Bc8 16. Ne1 {Gelfand is following a
traditional script on how to treat such a position. By re-routing the knight
to d3, White finds coordination and is prepared to meet f5 with f4 (aiming for
the e6-square).} Rb8 (16... b5 {After} 17. cxb5 axb5 18. Nxb5 Ba6 19. a4 Bxb5
20. axb5 Qb6 21. Qd3 Ra5 22. Nf3 Qxb5 23. Qxb5 Rxb5 24. Nd2 Nb6 25. h4 {
White seems to hold the balance comfortably. The engine comes up with the
surprising} g5 $1 26. h5 (26. hxg5 Bxg5 27. f4 (27. Nc4 Nxc4 28. bxc4 Rb4 $15))
26... g4 $1 27. Rfe1 Rb4 28. Bf1 f5 {when Black keeps some initiative. So,
perhaps this is the more challenging move.}) 17. a4 f5 $1 {There is no
convincing way for Black to prepare this break further, while it is not
obviously bad, so it should be played.} (17... Bg5 18. Qe2 {and b5 has become
out of the question.}) (17... Kh8 18. Nd3 (18. h4 $6 f5 19. h5 gxh5 $17) 18...
f5 19. f4 Bf6 20. Kh1 Qe7 21. exf5 gxf5 22. fxe5 Nxe5 23. Nf4 Ng4 $13) 18. f4 (
18. Nd3 Bg5 19. f4 exf4 20. gxf4 Bf6 {and White is struggling to keep Black's
activity under the lid. For instance:} 21. exf5 gxf5 22. Bh3 Bg7 23. Kh1 Qh4 {
backfires.}) (18. Nf3 $5 {is not an easy move to play when you just came that
way, but the f3-g5-idea makes it harder for Black to develp his initiative on
the kingside:} Rf7 19. Bh3 Nf8 $5 20. Ne1 {Ha! We don't mind going back again.}
Bd7 21. Nd3 $132) ({If White still had the dark squared bishop on the board,
then} 18. exf5 gxf5 19. f4 Bf6 20. Kh1 e4 {, would be good for him. Here,
however, Black's bishop is too strong and White can only hope for a successful
defence.}) ({The most direct way to fight for the light squares (yes, I mean
f5) is} 18. Bh3 Nf6 $1 19. Nc2 f4 (19... fxe4 20. Be6+ Bxe6 21. dxe6 Qc8 22.
Ne3 Qxe6 23. Qc2 $44) 20. Be6+ Bxe6 21. dxe6 Qc8 22. f3 Qxe6 23. gxf4 exf4 24.
Qxf4 Nh5 25. Qd2 {with a complex game.}) 18... exf4 19. gxf4 fxe4 20. Nxe4 b5 {
The game has opened up and the two most important factors in the position are
Black's activity on the b-file and the weak e6-square. A race to set the
opponent serious threats ensues.} 21. a5 {This move loses a tempo, which is
why I would be reluctant to play it. I'm guessing that Gelfand's reasons for
playing it were much more complex than my reasons for not to.} (21. axb5 axb5
22. Nf3 bxc4 23. bxc4 Nb6 $5 (23... Nf6 24. Nfg5 Nxe4 25. Bxe4 Bxg5 26. fxg5 {
looks pretty equal to me.}) 24. Rc1 Bf5 25. Neg5 Bxg5 26. Nxg5 Qf6 {and White
has some problems to solve in order not to end up in a really depressing
endgame.}) 21... bxc4 22. bxc4 Rb4 23. Rc1 Nf6 24. Ng5 Qxa5 ({Possibly more
precise is} 24... Ra4 $1 {, intending} 25. Nd3 (25. Qe3 $2 Ng4 $19) (25. Ne6
Bxe6 26. dxe6 Qxa5 {is a better version of the game for Black, as the e6-pawn
is well blockaded and rather obstructs White.}) 25... Ng4 $1 {which sets White
some serious problems.}) 25. Nd3 Ra4 26. Qe3 Qd8 ({Black loses important time
here, but the alternative} 26... Re8 27. Bh3 $1 Bf8 28. Be6+ Bxe6 29. Nxe6 {
is even better for White.}) 27. Rce1 {White has the worst behind him.} Bf5 {
Now the game gets very tense. The next few moves are very forcing and I
presume that Radjabov had planned it up to move 33...Ra2, at least.} 28. Bh3 $1
{White's life depends on whether he can tuck a knight in on e6 without it
being exchanged.} (28. Ne6 Qc8 $1 29. Bh3 Rxc4 30. Bxf5 Nxd5 $1 31. Nxf8 Qxf5
32. Qf3 {Yes, we are in sample-line-territory by now.} Kxf8 33. Ne5 Rd4 34. Nc6
Rxf4 35. Nxe7 {is about equal, but only leaves Black with winning chances.})
28... Nxd5 $3 {A splendid move, without which Black would be clearly worse.}
29. cxd5 Bxg5 30. Bxf5 Rxf5 31. Qe6+ Kg7 (31... Kh8 32. fxg5 Qxg5+ 33. Kh1 Ra2
34. Qe8+ Kg7 35. Qe7+ {leads to the game.}) 32. fxg5 Qxg5+ 33. Kh1 Ra2 {
This is the position that Radjabov must have evaluated before playing 28...
Nxd5 (and he must have spotted it at least a move before that, or Bf5 would
not have made much sense).} 34. Qe7+ ({If White is interested in a draw (and
has the time to look at the consequences) then} 34. Qe4 {is the safest bet:}
Qd2 35. Qe7+ Kg8 (35... Kh6 36. Qh4+ Rh5 37. Qf2 Qxf2 38. Nxf2 Rxd5 39. Ng4+
Kg5 40. Nf6 Rf5 41. Ne4+ $14) 36. Qe8+ $11) 34... Qxe7 35. Rxe7+ Kf8 36. Ree1
$1 Rxf1+ {From a human point of view it seems to minimize White's tactical
options to exchange a pair of rooks (and the human view is pretty much spot on
here).} ({After} 36... a5 37. Nf4 a4 38. Ne6+ Kg8 39. Rb1 {things get
complex-on-the-verge-of-out-of-hand:} a3 40. Rb8+ Kf7 41. Re1 Rb2 42. Rf8+ Ke7
43. Ra8 a2 44. Nd4+ Kf6 45. Nxf5 gxf5 {and White can - and should - force a
draw with} 46. Rg1 c4 47. Rg2 Rb1+ 48. Rg1) 37. Rxf1+ Ke7 38. Re1+ $6 {White
is definitely under pressure here and possibly worse. The main problem is that
the knight is awfully placed on d3. White's last move does nothing to remedy
the situation and suddenly Black's advantage becomes clear.} (38. Nf2 $1 Rd2 (
38... a5 39. Re1+ Kd7 40. Ne4 Ra4 41. Nf6+ Kc7 42. Re7+ Kb6 43. Re6 {looks as
dangerous for Black as it does for White.}) 39. Kg2 Rxd5 40. Ra1 {and White
should be able to draw.}) 38... Kd7 {Now, due to the miss in move order, White
is unable to get the knight to e4.} 39. Re3 $6 (39. Kg1 $1 a5 (39... Rd2 $1 40.
Nf2 Rxd5 41. Ra1 Kc6 42. Rxa6+ Kb5 43. Ra7 Rh5 $15) 40. Nf2 a4 41. Ne4 a3 {
and although Black is significantly faster than in the line after 38.Nf2,
White is still able to hold the balance:} 42. Nf6+ Kc7 (42... Kc8 43. Ne4 Kc7
44. Nc3) 43. Ne8+ Kb6 44. Nxd6 Rc2 45. Rb1+ Ka5 46. Ne4 a2 47. Ra1 Kb6 48. h4
h6 49. Kf1 $11) 39... a5 $1 {"Passed pawns should be pushed". ...especially if
they can not be blocked or caught.} 40. Rh3 h5 41. Nf4 (41. Kg1 a4 42. Kf1 Kc7
43. Nf2 a3 44. Ne4) 41... a4 42. Nxg6 a3 43. Rf3 $2 {This makes winning a
simple matter for Black, but it was already too late to save the game.} (43.
Rc3 c4 $1 44. Rxc4 Rb2 45. Ra4 a2 {also wins for Black.}) (43. Nf8+ Kc8 44. Rb3
c4 $1 {A distraction!} 45. Rc3 Kb7 $1 46. Rxc4 Rb2 47. Nd7 a2 48. Ra4 Rb1+ 49.
Kg2 a1=Q 50. Rxa1 Rxa1 51. Nf6 Kb6 {and with the demise of the d5-pawn Black
will win with ease.} 52. Nxh5 Kc5 53. Nf4 Kd4 $19) 43... c4 $1 44. Nf4 (44.
Rf7+ Kd8 45. Rf8+ Kc7 $19) 44... Ra1+ 45. Kg2 a2 $1 46. Ra3 c3 $1 47. Ne2 $6 ({
The fight could have continued a bit longer after} 47. Ra7+ Kc8 48. Nd3 Rd1 49.
Rxa2 (49. Nc1 Rxc1 50. Rxa2 c2) 49... Rxd3 50. Ra6 Kd7 51. Rc6 Ke7 52. Kf2 Kf6
$1 53. Rxd6+ (53. Ke2 Rh3 54. Rxd6+ Ke5 55. Rc6 Rxh2+ 56. Kd3 Kxd5 57. Rc8 c2
$19) 53... Ke5 54. Rd8 (54. Rc6 Kxd5) 54... Rd2+ 55. Ke3 Rxh2 $19) (47. Rxc3
Rg1+ $1) 47... c2 48. Kf2 Rh1 {Taking the pawn on a2 is met with Rxh2+ and
Rxe2, so White resigned.} 0-1
[Event "Grand Prix 2017"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.24"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Gelfand, Boris"]
[Black "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E18"]
[WhiteElo "2719"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "96"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 {In a do-or-die game Radjabov would definitely go for the sharp KID,
right?} 2. c4 e6 {Oh, OK, it should be the Benoni then?} 3. Nf3 b6 {Most
likely Gelfand expected the QGD, which Radjabov had played more or less
regularly. Nope, it is the other fianchetto! The QID, that Radjabov has tried
only once, but in a very fresh game.} 4. g3 ({The very fresh game that I
mentioned is from the just finished ETCC where the Azerbaijani players won the
gold. It went} 4. e3 Bb7 5. Bd3 d5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. O-O Bd6 {and later Radjabov
managed to outplay his opponent, Hamitevici,V (2519)-Radjabov,T (2741)
Heraklio 2017}) 4... Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 {Gelfand has played
six official game against this line.} 8. Bd2 Nxd2 {But none has ever captured
his bishop at this stage of the game.} ({The main moves are} 8... f5) ({And}
8... Bf6) 9. Qxd2 d6 10. Rad1 ({Another game at the same ETCC that took place
in Crete a couple of weeks ago saw} 10. Qc2 g6 11. b4 Bf6 12. Rfd1 Bg7 13. e3
Qe7 14. a4 c5 15. dxc5 dxc5 16. b5 a5 $1 {and Black was doing fine in Kuzubov,
Y (2690)-Sanal,V (2549) Heraklio 2017}) 10... Nd7 11. Rfe1 c5 12. e4 a6 13. d5
$146 {A novelty.} ({In comparison to} 13. e5 Bxf3 14. Bxf3 cxd4 15. Qxd4 Nxe5
16. Bxa8 Qxa8 17. Rxe5 dxe5 18. Qxb6 Qc8 {with approximate equality, Moroni,L
(2448)-Romanov,E (2636) Llucmajor 2017}) 13... e5 {Now an old QID pawn
structure arises. The question is who is going to attack the center first? Is
it going to be White with timely b2-b4 and/or f2-f4 or Black with the similar
pawn breaks?} 14. b3 g6 15. Rf1 {Prepares the next maneuver.} Bc8 ({If the
game was not that imporatnt for the qualification Black would have most likely
chosen} 15... b5 {with the possible line} 16. cxb5 axb5 17. Nxb5 Ba6 18. a4
Bxb5 19. axb5 Qa5 20. Qd3 Rfb8 {and eventual draw.}) 16. Ne1 Rb8 {Black still
wants to carry out b6-b5.} 17. a4 f5 {Or this one too.} 18. f4 {The situation
is heating up.} exf4 19. gxf4 fxe4 20. Nxe4 {More or less forced.} ({The other
capture passes the initiative into Black's hands:} 20. Bxe4 Nf6 21. Bg2 Nh5 22.
Nd3 Bf6 {followed by Bf6-d4+, Qd8-h4 and why not mate with Nh5-g3!}) 20... b5
21. a5 {Doubled-edged and correct pawn sacrifice!} ({Black takes over the
initiative after:} 21. axb5 axb5 22. Rc1 bxc4 23. bxc4 Rb3) 21... bxc4 22. bxc4
Rb4 {The pawn on a5 is doomed, but this will require the efforts of two of the
major black pieces. While away, they will leave the kingside opened...} 23. Rc1
Nf6 ({The immediate capture} 23... Qxa5 {seems less accuratedue to} 24. Nd3 Ra4
25. Qe3 Ra2 ({Now} 25... Qd8 {will be met with} 26. f5 $1 ({But not} 26. Nxd6
$4 Bxd6 27. Qe6+ Kg7 28. Qxd6 Rf6 {and the queen is trapped!}) 26... gxf5 27.
Nxd6 Bxd6 28. Qe6+ Kh8 29. Qxd6 {with strong initiative for the pawn.}) 26. f5
$1 {The same idea again. White needs the opponent's king opened. After} gxf5
27. Nc3 Ra3 28. Qxe7 Rxc3 29. Nf4 {the attack looks very dangerous.}) 24. Ng5
Qxa5 {Now is better.} 25. Nd3 Ra4 26. Qe3 {But White still has compensation
for the pawn. Mainly because he can use teh light squares for the atatck.} Qd8
({The computer suggests} 26... Re8 {instead but this makes little sense to the
human being who knows he needs more pieces into the defense.}) 27. Rce1 Bf5 $1
{Blocks the dangerous pawn and thus the f1 rook.} (27... Re8 {is too dangerous
due to} 28. f5 $1 gxf5 29. Ne6 Bxe6 30. Qxe6+ Kh8 31. Rxf5) 28. Bh3 $1 {
Gelfand understands that he needs to remove the key defender to be successful.}
({Instead} 28. Qxe7 $2 {woulds have most likely lost after} Qxe7 29. Rxe7 Bxd3
{White's chances are connected with the middlegame and mate.}) ({Also bad
would have been} 28. Ne6 $6 {when Radjabov would happily sacrifice the
exchange with} Qc8 $1 29. Nxf8 Bxf8 {In return for the attack. Now in order to
keep the fire of the assault White needs to go for extreme measures with} 30.
Ne5 $3 {With complete mess.} ({Calm play favors Black who has the bishop pair
and the safer king after} 30. Nb2 Rb4 31. Qe2 Rb3 ({Or} 31... Bg7)) 30... dxe5
31. fxe5 Ng4 32. Qg3 {With the idea} Rxc4 33. h3 Nh6 ({Black may also try to
take over the initiative with} 33... Rd4 $5 34. hxg4 Rxg4 35. Qc3 c4 36. d6 h5)
34. e6 $1) 28... Nxd5 $1 {A powerful defensive resource. Radjabov trades the
active white pieces.} (28... Bxh3 $2 {would have most likely lost after} 29.
Qxh3 Re8 30. Qe6+ Kg7 31. Qf7+ Kh8 32. Ne6 {and wins.}) 29. cxd5 Bxg5 30. Bxf5
{Now it is all forced.} ({Safer was} 30. fxg5 Re4 31. Qg3 Rxe1 32. Nxe1 Bxh3
33. Rxf8+ Kxf8 34. Qxh3 Qxg5+ {when the draw should be the most likely result.
In comparison to the game Gelfand will have a queen instead of a rook, and the
queens are famous for delivering perpetual checks on their own.}) 30... Rxf5
31. Qe6+ Kg7 32. fxg5 Qxg5+ 33. Kh1 Ra2 {For the piece Black has three pawns.
He can hardly lose. But can he win?} 34. Qe7+ ({Attention!} 34. Rg1 $4 {
would be mate after} Rxh2+ 35. Kxh2 Qh4+ 36. Kg2 Qg4+ 37. Kh2 Rh5#) ({However,
keeping the queen on the board was once again best} 34. Qe4 $1 {when the game
should most likely end in a draw as active moves like} Qd2 {would allow
perpetual after} 35. Qe7+ Kh6 36. Qh4+) 34... Qxe7 35. Rxe7+ Kf8 $1 ({Not}
35... Kh6 $2 36. Rxf5 gxf5 37. Re6+ {and it is White who plays for the win.})
36. Ree1 ({Worse is} 36. Rxf5+ Kxe7) 36... Rxf1+ 37. Rxf1+ Ke7 38. Re1+ {
In time trouble Gelfand misses the best chance to co-ordinate his pieces.} ({
Strong was the sudden retreat} 38. Nf2 $1 {when White should safe the half
point after} Rd2 ({Or} 38... a5 39. Re1+ Kd7 40. Ne4 Rb2 41. Nf6+ Kc7 42. Ne8+
Kd7 43. Nf6+ {in this like the knight and the rook were perfectly co-ordinated.
}) 39. Kg2 Rxd5 40. Ra1 {without the a-pawn Black's winning chances are not
that great.}) 38... Kd7 39. Re3 a5 {This pawn is headache.} 40. Rh3 h5 41. Nf4
a4 42. Nxg6 a3 43. Rf3 {Now White loses.} ({the last chance was} 43. Nf8+ $1
Kc7 44. Rb3 c4 45. Ne6+ Kc8 46. Rc3 {with possible draw.}) 43... c4 $1 {
No rush!} (43... Ra1+ {would ahve let the win slip away-} 44. Kg2 a2 45. Rf7+
Kd8 46. Ra7 c4 47. Ne7 c3 48. Nc6+ Ke8 49. Nb4 Rb1 50. Nxa2 Ra1 51. Kf3 c2 52.
Rc7 Rxa2 53. Ke4 {and darw as teh black king does not participate into the
game.}) 44. Nf4 ({Here} 44. Rf7+ {does not help as the king escapes after} Kd8
45. Rf8+ Kc7) 44... Ra1+ 45. Kg2 a2 46. Ra3 c3 $1 {The pawns are unstoppable.}
47. Ne2 ({After} 47. Rxc3 Rg1+ 48. Kxg1 a1=Q+ {White loses also he rook.})
47... c2 48. Kf2 ({Or} 48. Kh3 Re1 49. Rxa2 Rxe2 50. Ra1 Kc7) 48... Rh1 {
An monstrous game by Radjabov! And an epic comeback!} (48... Rh1 {Gelfand
resigned due to the line:} 49. Rxa2 Rxh2+ 50. Kg3 {or anywhere else} Rxe2) 0-1
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.25"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Jakovenko, Dmitry"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2796"]
[BlackElo "2721"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "88"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 {The best way to play for a win is to avoid the
Berlin. At least for now...} Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. O-O d6 7. a4 {
Vachier-Lagrave used this line successfully in Tbilisi at the World Cup. It
helped him knock out Grischuk and to torture Svidler. Perhaps the former had
some influence on the Frenchman's opening choice as he was trying to surpass
exactly Grischuk in the Grand Prix overall standings.} Ba7 ({In Tbilisi the
Russian Grandmasters were choosing:} 7... h6 8. Re1 O-O 9. h3 a5 10. Nbd2 Be6
11. Bb5 Ne7 (11... Na7 12. d4 exd4 13. cxd4 Bb4 14. Bd3 d5 15. e5 {Vachier
Lagrave,M (2804)-Svidler,P (2751) Tbilisi 2017}) 12. d4 exd4 13. Nxd4 Ng6 14.
N2f3 {Vachier Lagrave,M (2804)-Grischuk,A (2783) Tbilisi 2017}) 8. Re1 O-O 9.
h3 h6 10. Nbd2 {White has the usual minimal advantage from the opening, but
will it be good enough for the win?} Re8 11. b4 Ne7 {Shifting the knight to
the kingside.} 12. Qb3 ({There is nobody to attack on the queenside now.} 12.
b5 $6 axb5 {Moreover, White has to be careful} 13. axb5 $2 Bxf2+) 12... Rf8 13.
d4 exd4 14. cxd4 d5 {One of the points behind the knight retreat on e7.} 15.
exd5 $146 {A novelty in comparion to:} ({The predecessor:} 15. Bd3 dxe4 16.
Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 c6 {Urbanik,L (1993)-Zsitva,N (1838) Namestovo 2017}) 15...
Nexd5 {Vachier-Lagrave isolated his central pawn but his pieces got access to
some juicy squares. However, Black can be optimistic as long as he can hold on
to the blockading d5 square.} 16. b5 ({The other idea was to try and lift the
central blockade with} 16. Ne4 {Now} Nxe4 ({However, after the solid} 16... Nb6
$1 17. Bd3 Be6 18. Qa3 Nxe4 19. Bxe4 Nd5 {Black manages to keep control the
situation.}) 17. Bxd5 Nf6 18. Bc4 {Looks good for White. For example very
risky is:} Bxd4 ({Or} 18... c6 19. b5 {when White definitely has pressure.})
19. Nxd4 Qxd4 20. Bb2 Qf4 21. Re3 {with strong kingside innitiative.}) 16...
Be6 ({More precise seems} 16... axb5 17. axb5 Be6 {the lesser pawns on the
queenside, the easier the draw.}) 17. bxa6 bxa6 18. Ba3 Re8 19. Ne5 {Vachier's
play is very aggressive and to the point where Jakovenko has to find only
moves.} Nf4 $1 ({Wrong was} 19... Bb6 20. a5 $1) ({Even worse is} 19... Bxd4 $2
20. Nc6) 20. Ndf3 {Very natural move. But was it the best?} ({It seems as} 20.
Nc6 $1 {was giving more chances. After} Qd7 21. Qf3 {Is a key move in White's
attack. Then} Bxc4 (21... Bxd4 {might transpose after} 22. Rad1 Bxc4 23. Nxc4
Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1) ({If} 21... N4d5 22. Nxa7 Rxa7 23. Nb3 {is serious advantage
for White.}) ({The other knight retreat also looks great for White-} 21... Ng6
22. Bxe6 fxe6 (22... Rxe6 $2 23. Ne7+ {drops the rook on a8.}) 23. Qc3) 22.
Nxc4 Bxd4 23. Rad1 Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 {leads to a position where besides the loose
pieces, the black rook does not have a move! The only chance is} Bxf2+ (24...
N4d5 {is impossible due to} 25. Nxd4) 25. Qxf2 Nxh3+ 26. gxh3 Qxc6 {with three
pawns for the piece, but Black still needs to prove the draw.}) 20... Bxc4 21.
Qxc4 Qd5 $1 {Jakovenko is known for his defensive skills. This move is once
again best. The endgame is unpleasant, but is Black's best try.} 22. Qxd5 (22.
Qxc7 $2 Bxd4 {lets the black pieces out.}) 22... N6xd5 23. Nc6 {As before the
wite pieces are more active but they are getting less and less.} ({Or the
immediate} 23. g3 {with the idea} Nxh3+ (23... Ne6 24. Nc6) ({Black would have
most likely reverted to the game with} 23... Ng6 24. Nc6) 24. Kg2 Ng5 25. Nxg5
hxg5 26. Nc6) 23... Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 a5 $1 {Another only move. The idea is to
secure the b6 square for the bishop, thus to allow the rook to come out.} (
24... Bb6 $2 {would be strongly met with} 25. a5) 25. g3 (25. Nxa5 $2 {fails to
} Bxd4) 25... Ng6 ({Much worse was} 25... Nxh3+ $2 26. Kg2 Ng5 27. Nxg5 hxg5
28. Re5 {when White should be winning.}) 26. Nxa7 Rxa7 27. Re8+ Kh7 28. h4 Rb7
29. Nd2 {Now the position completely dries.} ({The last slim chance to play
for the win was} 29. Bc5 {Although here too Black should survive either with}
Rb3 ({Or} 29... Nb6 30. Bxb6 cxb6 31. h5 Ne7) 30. Nd2 Rb2 31. Nc4 Ra2 32. h5
Nh8 {The knight is eagly but the pawn are few...} 33. Nxa5 Rxa4 34. Nc6 Nf6 35.
Re7 Nxh5 36. Rxc7 Nf6) 29... Nc3 30. h5 ({Or} 30. Nc4 Nxa4 31. Nxa5) 30... Nh8
31. Nc4 Nxa4 32. Ne5 (32. Nxa5 {is a draw again.}) 32... Nb6 33. Bc5 a4 {
I was not watching the game live and do not know what happened here. Perhaps
White lost on time? Or was his resignation a result of frustration? Or
something else? Our man there will clarify, thanks MIke!} (33... a4 {It should
be a draw after the forcing:} 34. Nc6 Nd7 35. Ra8 Nxc5 36. dxc5 Rb5 37. Ne5
Rxc5 38. Nd7 Rxh5 39. Nf8+) 34. d5 {[A note that the game did not end, but we
hardly blame our annotator -- the transmission blockages and in this case
errors have become well known in Agon-run events.]} f6 35. Nc6 Nd7 36. Bd4 Rb5
37. Nd8 $2 Rb8 {The pin is deadly. MVL flails about trying for something, but
there's nothing -- M.K.} 38. Bb2 Rxb2 39. Ne6 a3 40. Re7 Nf7 41. Rxf7 a2 42.
Rxg7+ Kh8 43. Rxd7 a1=Q+ 44. Kg2 Qe1 {There is no perpetual since the Black
king can slither via the light squares to safety, so it's time to call it a
day.} 0-1
[Event "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca"]
[Date "2017.11.25"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2780"]
[BlackElo "2801"]
[Annotator "A. Silver"]
[PlyCount "86"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3
d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. Re1 Bd6 13. d3 Bf5 14. Qf3 Qh4
15. g3 Qh3 16. Bxd5 {[#]} Bg4 $146 {The novelty. It is interesting this
zwischenzug had never been played before, at least no record exists in Mega
2018.} (16... cxd5 {was played in the 122 previous games in the database.} 17.
Qxd5 Rad8 18. Qg2 Qxg2+ (18... Qh5 19. Be3 Bh3 20. Qh1 f5 21. Bb6 Rd7 22. Qd5+
Kh8 23. Nd2 Bxg3 24. Qxd7 Bf4 25. Qc6 Bxd2 26. Bc5 Rg8 27. Qd5 Bf4 28. Re3 Bxe3
29. fxe3 Qe2 30. Bd4 h6 31. b3 Kh7 32. Qb7 Kg6 33. Qxa6+ Kh5 34. Qc6 Rc8 35.
Qb7 Re8 36. Qf7+ g6 {0-1 (36) Paravyan,D (2525)-Swiercz,D (2645) Moscow 2017})
19. Kxg2 Bxd3 20. Be3 Rfe8 21. Nd2 b4 22. Rad1 bxc3 23. bxc3 {1/2-1/2 (41)
Almasi,Z (2689)-Tomashevsky,E (2743) Reykjavik 2015}) 17. Qg2 cxd5 18. Qxh3
Bxh3 19. Be3 {Granted Black still has a development edge and pressure on the
White squares, but with no queens on board or mate threats, it is hard to
understand why Black would enter this line willingly.} Bf5 20. d4 Rfe8 ({
The back rank pressure isn't really serious, so why not play the minority
attack with} 20... Rfc8 {with the idea of ...b4?}) 21. Nd2 f6 22. Bf4 Bf8 23.
Nf1 Rxe1 24. Rxe1 Rc8 25. f3 Kf7 26. Bd2 h5 27. Ne3 Be6 28. f4 Bd6 29. f5 Bd7
30. Rf1 $36 {White has some pressure.} Re8 31. Rf2 Bc6 32. Ng2 b4 33. cxb4 Bb5
{Black is down two pawns now, but in exchange has a ton of activity. Even if
it is not quite enough compensation objectively, the practical problems for
White extricate himelf from it are not to be underestimated.} 34. Rf3 Re2 {[#]}
35. Bc3 $1 Ke8 36. Rf2 Kd7 37. Nh4 (37. a3 $16) ({Usually the wisdom is to
exchange pieces when ahead in pawns, but here after} 37. Rxe2 Bxe2 38. Kf2 Bd3
39. Ne3 Be4 {White had very little. Ex:} 40. h3 Kc6 41. g4 Kb5 42. gxh5 (42.
Nf1 Bb1 43. a3 hxg4 44. hxg4 Bc2 45. Kg2 Bf4 46. Ng3 Bh6) 42... Bf4 43. h4
Bxe3+ 44. Kxe3 Bxf5 {and White is cut off.} 45. Kf4 Bc2 46. h6 gxh6 47. Kg4
Bd1+ 48. Kf5 h5) 37... Kc6 38. a3 Re8 39. Kg2 Be2 40. Nf3 {White's only ace up
his sleeve is the trap threatening Ne5+! Aronian sees this easily and
sidesteps it.} Bd3 ({To illustrate, if Black played} 40... Re7 $2 {White would
have the winning trick} 41. Ne5+ $1 fxe5 42. dxe5 Bg4 43. exd6 Rf7 $18 {
and now those extra pawns are fatal.}) 41. Ne1 Be2 42. Nf3 {A last try.} Bd3 {
No dice so White accedes to the draw.} 43. Ne1 Be2 1/2-1/2
[Event "FIDE Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca"]
[Site "Palma de Mallorca, Spain"]
[Date "2017.11.22"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Vachier Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Jakovenko, Dmitry"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Annotator "GM Elshan Moradiabadi"]
[PlyCount "88"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
{In what was probably the most important game of MVL's career to this point,
he needed to beat the solid Jakovenko!} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3
Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. O-O d6 7. a4 Ba7 $5 {The Russian's approach to Anand's a4!} 8.
Re1 (8. Na3 {would have been my choice but proabably the two super GMs had
this prepared till the end so MVL chose a line that keeps more pieces on the
board and avoids early exchanges.} h6 9. Nc2 O-O 10. Be3 Bxe3 (10... Ne7 $6 11.
Bxa7 Rxa7 12. Ne3 c6 13. Qc2 $14) 11. Nxe3 Be6 12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. a5 (13. b4 Qe8
{does not seem to offer whole lot}) 13... d5 14. Qb3 Qd6 15. exd5 exd5 16. c4
Kh7 17. Nxd5 Rad8 18. Qxb7 Nxd5 19. cxd5 Qxd5 20. Rac1 Rd6 21. Nd2 Rg6 22. Ne4
Qxd3 23. Ng3 Nd4 24. Rc3 Ne2+ 25. Nxe2 Qxe2 26. Re3 Qd2 27. Qe4 Qxb2 28. Rg3
Rff6 29. Rxg6 Rxg6 30. g3 Qd4 31. Qf5 Qd5 32. Re1 Qxa5 33. Rxe5 Qa1+ 34. Kg2
Qc1 35. h4 Qc6+ 36. Kg1 Qf6 37. Qe4 Qc6 38. Qd3 Kh8 39. Qd8+ Kh7 40. Qd3 Kh8
41. Qd8+ Kh7 42. Qd3 {1/2-1/2 (42) Adams,M (2761)-Eljanov,P (2751) Shamkir 2017
}) 8... O-O 9. h3 (9. Nbd2 Ng4 10. Re2 Kh8 11. h3 f5 {would not be so much fun
at all! Especially when you are desperate for a win!} 12. exf5 Nxf2 13. Rxf2
Bxf2+ 14. Kxf2 d5 15. Bb3 Bxf5 16. Kg1 Bxd3 17. Ne1 Bg6 18. Ndf3 e4 19. Nh2 Ne7
20. Be3 Qd6 21. Nc2 Rad8 22. Qd2 c5 23. Rd1 h6 24. Ng4 Bh5 25. Ba2 a5 26. Qe1
Be8 27. b3 b6 28. Bf2 Bh5 29. Bh4 Rd7 30. b4 axb4 31. cxb4 d4 32. Nce3 Bxg4 33.
hxg4 Ng6 34. Bg3 Qf6 35. Nf5 e3 36. bxc5 bxc5 37. Qe2 Ne5 38. Bb1 Rfd8 39. Bxe5
Qxe5 40. Nh4 Qg5 41. Ng6+ Kg8 42. Qc4+ Rd5 43. Be4 Qxg4 44. Bxd5+ Kh7 45. Qd3 {
1-0 (45) Topalov,V (2761)-Nakamura,H (2787) Leuven 2016}) 9... h6 10. Nbd2 Re8
{The most solid line.} (10... Ne7 11. Nf1 (11. Bb3 {was played twice by MVL
himself.} Ng6 12. d4 Re8 13. Bc2 Bd7 14. a5 c6 15. dxe5 dxe5 16. Nc4 Qe7 17.
Qd6 Qxd6 18. Nxd6 Re6 19. Rd1 Rb8 20. Kf1 Re7 21. Nc4 Rbe8 22. b3 Be6 23. Nb6
Bxb6 24. axb6 Rd7 25. Be3 Rc8 26. c4 Rxd1+ 27. Rxd1 c5 28. Ne1 Nd7 29. Nd3 f6
30. Ra1 Ne7 31. Ke2 Kf7 32. Kd2 f5 33. f4 exf4 34. Nxf4 g5 35. Nxe6 Kxe6 36.
exf5+ Nxf5 37. Bg1 Nd4 38. Re1+ Kf6 39. Rf1+ Ke7 40. Re1+ Kd8 41. Be4 Nxb3+ 42.
Kc3 Nd4 43. Bh2 {1-0 (43) Vachier Lagrave,M (2791)-So,W (2810) Saint Louis 2017
}) 11... Ng6 12. Ba2 Re8 13. Ng3 Be6 14. Bxe6 Rxe6 15. d4 Qd7 16. Be3 Ree8 17.
dxe5 dxe5 18. Bxa7 Rxa7 19. Qxd7 Nxd7 20. Rad1 Nc5 21. a5 Raa8 22. b4 Na4 23.
Ne2 Rad8 24. Kf1 f6 25. g3 Ne7 26. Rd2 Rxd2 27. Nxd2 Rd8 28. Nc4 Rd3 29. Rc1
Nc8 30. Ke1 b5 31. axb6 cxb6 32. Rd1 Rxd1+ 33. Kxd1 Kf7 34. Kc2 Ke6 35. Ne3 Nd6
36. f3 b5 37. Nc1 Nc4 38. Nf5 Kf7 39. g4 Nab6 40. Nb3 Nd7 41. Kd3 Nb2+ 42. Kc2
Nc4 43. Kd3 Nb2+ 44. Kc2 Nc4 {1/2-1/2 (44) Giri,A (2782)-Caruana,F (2804)
Leuven 2016}) 11. b4 Ne7 $5 {An interesting idea.} 12. Qb3 {So Black loses a
tempo but how good is the queen on b3?} Rf8 13. d4 exd4 {the typical reaction.}
14. cxd4 d5 15. exd5 Nexd5 16. b5 Be6 $6 {A serious inaccuracy.} (16... axb5
17. axb5 Be6 {seems reasonably more solid! I do not know why Jakovenko chose
such a provocative move.}) 17. bxa6 bxa6 18. Ba3 Re8 19. Ne5 Nf4 {[#] Here
comes the moment of truth!} 20. Ndf3 $6 {A poor practical decision.} (20. Nc6
Qd7 21. Qf3 {is rather artificial but poses more problems.} Bxd4 22. Rad1 Bxc4
23. Nxc4 Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 {what else?} Bxf2+ 25. Qxf2 Nxh3+ 26. gxh3 Qxc6 27. Qg2
Qxg2+ 28. Kxg2 {Good or bad MVL should have gone for this endgame!}) (20. Ndf3
Bxc4 21. Qxc4 Qd5 22. Qxd5 N4xd5 23. a5 Nc3 24. Bb2 Nb5 25. Nc6 Nd5 26. Rac1
Rxe1+ 27. Nxe1 Re8 28. Kf1 Re6 29. g3 h5 30. Nf3 f6 31. Ne1 g5 32. Nd3 Rd6 33.
Kg2 Re6 34. Rc2 Rd6 35. h4 g4 36. Rc4 Re6 37. Kf1 Nd6 38. Rc1 Nb5 39. Nxa7 Nxa7
40. Nc5 Rd6) 20... Bxc4 21. Qxc4 Qd5 $1 {And Black equalizes easily. MVL tries
some tricks but the position remains close to equal until Jakovenko starts
making inaccuracies.} 22. Qxd5 N6xd5 23. Nc6 Rxe1+ (23... Re2 $1 {makes more
sense.} 24. Kf1 Rc2 25. Rac1 Rxc1 26. Rxc1 a5 $1 {equalizes.}) 24. Rxe1 a5 25.
g3 $1 {Now MVL has a tangible initiative. The e-file is very important and
Jakovenko has been neglecting it.} Ng6 26. Nxa7 Rxa7 27. Re8+ Kh7 28. h4 $1 {
Let's go to the Candidates! Just not yet!} Rb7 29. Nd2 $6 (29. Bc5 Rb3 30. Nd2
{would have posed a lot of difficulties for Black.}) 29... Nc3 30. h5 Nh8 {
an awkward square but the knight will come back to the game soon. Without the
a4-pawn White's hopes to win this game would be close to zero!} 31. Nc4 Nxa4
32. Ne5 Nb6 33. Bc5 a4 {It is time to make a draw but MVL goes all in. He has
never been this close to making it to the Candidates so his choice, regardless
of its incorrectness, is praiseworthy. Any great player would have tried this
regardless of the result!} 34. d5 $2 {Now the position is bad for White but
still manageable.} f6 35. Nc6 Nd7 $2 {gives back White some hope after he had
given up!} (35... Nxd5 36. Nd4 Nf7 37. Ra8 {is better for Black but still very
tenacious.}) 36. Bd4 Rb5 37. Nd8 $4 {A terrible blunder} (37. d6 cxd6 38. Re7
Ne5 39. Bxe5 dxe5 40. Ra7 {should still be a draw.}) 37... Rb8 $1 {A deadly
pin! The game and fate of the Candidates is sealed now.} 38. Bb2 Rxb2 39. Ne6
a3 40. Re7 Nf7 $1 {No miracle this time!} 41. Rxf7 a2 42. Rxg7+ Kh8 43. Rxd7
a1=Q+ 44. Kg2 Qe1 {There is no perpetual! White resigned. MVL fought hard but
a few misses prevented him from scoring the much needed win! I am sure we will
see MVL in the coming Candidates cycles soon! Just not this time!} 0-1