Games
[Event "5th GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Karlsruhe"] [Date "2018.03.31"] [Round "1"] [White "Bluebaum, Matthias"] [Black "Vitiugov, Nikita"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2616"] [BlackElo "2735"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "50"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg6 7. Bd2 Nbd7 8. Nxg6 hxg6 9. c5 e5 10. b4 {[#]} Be7 {Quite provocative.} ({The inclusion of the moves} 10... a6 11. a4 {would have protected Black from the immediate attack on the c6-pawn, but after} Be7 12. b5 O-O 13. bxc6 bxc6 14. Be2 Re8 15. O-O { White manages to get his king out of the center.}) 11. b5 O-O 12. Qa4 $6 { That's what Nikita counted on.} Re8 $1 13. bxc6 bxc6 14. Be2 exd4 15. exd4 Nxc5 $1 {The point.} 16. dxc5 d4 17. O-O dxc3 18. Bxc3 Bxc5 19. Bf3 Rc8 20. Bxc6 { [#] Seemingly Matthias had found a way out, but the activity of the black pieces leaves White with no time to enjoy his bishop pair.} Re2 $1 21. Bf3 (21. Be1 {would have been a very sad choice, although White may be able to hold.}) 21... Rxf2 22. Rxf2 Bxf2+ 23. Kxf2 Rxc3 24. Qxa7 Ne4+ $1 {[#] Another energetic move from Vitiugov.} 25. Kg1 $4 ({Bluebaum had to go for} 25. Bxe4 Rc7 (25... Qh4+ 26. Kg1 Qxe4 27. Rf1 f6 28. Qb8+ Kh7 29. Qf4 {is easily defensible for White.}) 26. Qa8 Rc8 27. Qxc8 Qxc8 28. Re1 Qc7 29. g3 Qa7+ 30. Kf3 Qxa2 31. Re2 Qc4 32. Kf2 {and hang in there fighting for a draw. I understand nobody wants a position like this to come out of the opening with White, but sometimes tough choices have to be made.}) 25... Ra3 $1 {It is embarrassing to fall victim to a basic smothered mate pattern, but I hope Matthias doesn't let it bother him too long. We all blunder, if it's any consolation.} 0-1 [Event "5th GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Karlsruhe"] [Date "2018.03.31"] [Round "1"] [White "Meier, Georg"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2636"] [BlackElo "2767"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5 8. Rxe5 O-O 9. Nc3 Ne8 10. Nd5 Bd6 11. Re2 c6 12. Ne3 Be7 13. Nf5 Bf6 14. Qe1 d5 15. Ne7+ Kh8 16. Nxc8 Rxc8 17. d3 (17. g3 {Nakamura-Aronian,2014}) 17... Nd6 18. Qb4 a5 19. Qg4 b5 20. c3 d4 $5 {Very energetic play.} 21. cxd4 b4 22. d5 { A reasonable decision from Georg, otherwise White my end up worse.} cxd5 23. Bf4 g6 24. Be5 Bxe5 25. Rxe5 Qf6 26. Qd4 Rc2 27. Rb1 {[#]} Rfc8 ({Levon must have rejected the logical} 27... Nb5 28. Qe3 d4 {on account of} 29. Qh6 { but then} (29. Qe1 Nd6 30. Re2 Rfc8) 29... Qxf2+ 30. Kh1 Kg8 31. Rxb5 Rxb2 32. Rd1 Rxa2 {and Black may actually be even somewhat better.}) 28. Rxd5 Qxd4 29. Rxd4 Nf5 30. Rc4 {Now it all boils down to an ending where White has no chance to convert his extra pawn because of Black's piece activity.} R8xc4 31. dxc4 Nd4 32. Rd1 Ne6 33. Rd5 a4 34. Ra5 Rxb2 35. Rxa4 Kg7 {There it is.} 36. Ra5 Kf6 37. h4 Nd4 38. c5 Rc2 39. Ra6+ Ke5 40. Rb6 Rxa2 41. Rxb4 Ra1 42. g3 1/2-1/2 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.03.31"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E61"] [WhiteElo "2784"] [BlackElo "2843"] [Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 {An Anti-Gruenfeld line.} Bg7 ({White scores well after} 3... d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 {One recent example saw} 7. h3 O-O 8. Be3 Nc6 9. Bb5 f5 10. Qb3+ Kh8 11. Rd1 {Le,Q (2739)-Maghsoodloo,P (2569) Ashkhabad 2017}) 4. e3 O-O 5. Be2 d6 6. Nc3 {This position, which was tried a few times by Alexander Grischuk, is more commonly seen with reversed colors, known as the KIA (King's Indian Attack). A side-weapon against the 2...e6 Sicilian and the French.} Nc6 {Provoking White's next.} ({The typical plan for Black was tried previously by Caruana (!). It runs:} 6... Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. Qc2 Re8 9. Rd1 e4 10. Nd2 Qe7 11. b4 Nf8 12. Bb2 h5 13. Rac1 Bf5 {when Black attacks on the kingside and White tries to breakthrough on the other wing, Grischuk,A (2785)-Caruana,F (2779) Elancourt 2013}) 7. d5 ({White can also proceed with the development:} 7. O-O e5 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4 a5 10. bxa5 Rxa5 11. Nd2 Nd7 12. Nb3 Ra8 13. a4 {as in Kuzubov,Y (2638) -Onischuk,V (2614) Lvov 2016 }) 7... Nb4 8. a3 ({One of the earliest GM games saw instead:} 8. O-O a5 9. e4 e6 10. h3 Re8 11. dxe6 Bxe6 12. Re1 Bd7 13. Bd3 a4 14. a3 Nxd3 15. Qxd3 Be6 16. Nd5 {with approximate equality, Lobron,E (2485)-Romanishin,O (2560) Reggio Emilia 1986}) 8... Na6 9. Nd4 ({Apparently, there is no time for:} 9. b4 $2 Nxd5) 9... e5 10. dxe6 $146 {A novelty.} ({Black did great in the predecessor: } 10. Nc2 Nc5 11. b4 Nb3 12. Rb1 Nxc1 13. Rxc1 Nd7 14. O-O f5 15. Na4 a5 { and was already better in Breutigam,M (2340) -Brendel,O (2375) Germany 1996}) 10... fxe6 11. O-O ({It made sense to postpone the castling in order to put pressure along the d-file with:} 11. Nb3 $5 {Now the game plan by the world champion will not be as effective.} e5 12. e4 c6 13. Be3 Nc7 14. Qd2 Ne6 15. Rd1 {and the pressure along the central file is annoying.}) 11... e5 (11... Nc5 $5) 12. Nb3 c6 {With the obvious intention of d6-d5.} 13. e4 {Caruana stops this but weakens the d4 outpost in the process.} Nc7 {This is where Carlsen's knight is heading to.} 14. f4 {One more move and the knight will never see the d4 light, but it makes it just in time.} ({Here the pressure along the d-file comes a move short-} 14. Qd3 Ne6 15. Rd1 {due to the tactical defense} Qb6 $1 16. Na4 Qc7 {And if} 17. Qxd6 $2 Qxd6 18. Rxd6 Nxe4 {wins material for Black.}) 14... Ne6 15. f5 Nd4 {The knight had made quite a career. Carlsen comfortably solved all his opening problems and can even think about taking over the initiative.} 16. Be3 ({Tactics seem to work again well for Black:} 16. Nxd4 exd4 17. Qxd4 Ng4 18. Qd2 Qb6+ {Now the tricky:} 19. c5 $5 ({Not} 19. Kh1 Nf2+ 20. Rxf2 (20. Kg1 $4 Nh3+ 21. Kh1 Qg1+ 22. Rxg1 Nf2#) 20... Qxf2 {with solid extra exchange for Black.}) 19... Qxc5+ 20. Kh1 {will be refuted with the calm} gxf5 $1 {when Black is better.} ({White's idea is revealed in the line:} 20... Nf2+ $4 21. Rxf2 Qxf2 22. Bc4+ {the c4 pawn freed this square.})) 16... Nxe2+ $1 {After such a march, this? However, the knight is given for a superior cause. Black gets better control of the center in addition to the bishop pair, and the position becomes asymmetrical and this further increases the value of the long-ranged bishops.} ({In comparison the obvious} 16... c5 17. g4 { leaves the black knight defended, but without any support. Or we should better call it decorative?}) 17. Qxe2 gxf5 $1 18. exf5 d5 {Now a more or less forcing line follows.} 19. cxd5 ({Worse is} 19. Rad1 d4 20. Bg5 Qb6) 19... cxd5 20. Rad1 d4 21. Bg5 Qb6 22. Qc4+ Rf7 23. Na4 Qc7 24. Qxc7 Rxc7 {The bishops got even better in the endgame. Black is clealy better.} 25. Nac5 b6 26. Bxf6 ({ Nothing changes} 26. Nd3 Ba6 {with large advantage for Black.}) 26... bxc5 $1 { Another excellent decision. Carlsen removes the blockaders and gets ready to push his central passers.} (26... Bxf6 27. Ne4 Bg7 28. g4 {will give a chance to Caruana to organize his defenses.}) 27. Bxg7 Kxg7 28. Nd2 Bb7 29. f6+ Kf8 $1 ({Avoiding} 29... Kf7 30. Rde1 Re8 31. Nc4 $1) 30. Rde1 Re8 31. Ne4 Bxe4 32. Rxe4 c4 {Black has all the play in the rook endgame as his pawns are more advanced and better supported.} 33. g4 $1 {Caruana finds the only counter-play. } ({Worse is} 33. Rf5 Rb8 34. Rfxe5 Rxb2 35. Rxd4 c3 {when Black should win.}) 33... Rb8 34. Rxe5 ({Not} 34. Rf2 $2 Rcb7) 34... Rxb2 35. Rd5 c3 36. Rd8+ $1 { It is mandatory to bring the white passers into motion.} (36. Rxd4 {would lose after} c2 37. Rd8+ Kf7 38. Rh8 c1=Q) 36... Kf7 37. Rh8 Rbb7 ({Carlsen misses a study-like win:} 37... Rcb7 38. Rxh7+ Kg6 39. f7 Rb8 40. Rh5 (40. f8=Q Rxf8 41. Rxf8 Kxh7 {leaves White no chances at all.}) 40... c2 41. h4 $1 (41. Rc5 d3 { is easy win for the second player.}) 41... R2b6 $3 {Now there is no more perpetual in the line:} (41... Rb1 42. f8=Q $1 Rxf8 43. Rg5+ {is perpetual.}) 42. f8=Q Rxf8 43. Rg5+ Kh7 44. Rh5+ Rh6 {and Black should win.}) 38. Rxh7+ Kg6 ({Here the world champion believed that he had missed an instant win with:} 38... Kg8 39. Rxc7 Rxc7 40. Kf2 Rd7 {But things are far away from clear after:} 41. g5 (41. Ke1 d3 $2) 41... Kf7 (41... d3 $6 42. g6 d2 $2 {even loses to} 43. Ke2 c2 44. f7+ Kf8 45. g7+) 42. h4 d3 43. h5 d2 44. g6+ $1 Kxf6 45. Ke2+ Kg5 46. Rg1+ {and the draw is the most likely result.}) 39. Rxc7 Rxc7 40. Kf2 { The white king makes it to the black pawns and it gets harder for Black, although the win is still there.} c2 41. Rc1 d3 42. Ke3 Rd7 43. Kd2 Kxf6 44. h4 Ke5 ({Carlsen was also trying to make} 44... Kg6 {work, but White defends after } 45. Re1 Kg7 46. g5) 45. Rf1 ({Not} 45. g5 Kd4 46. Rg1 (46. Rf1 Rb7 47. Rf3 Rb3 $1) 46... Rb7 $1 {"is game over" (Caruana)}) 45... Kd4 46. h5 (46. g5 Rb7 $1 {again wins for Black.}) 46... Re7 47. Rf4+ Kd5 48. Rf1 Kc4 49. Rf4+ Kd5 50. Rf1 Kc4 51. Rf4+ Kb3 52. Rb4+ Kxa3 53. Rc4 Kb3 54. Rc8 a5 {Carlsen had already resigned to the draw.} ({Otherwise he would have most likely found the extremely difficult win with} 54... Rh7 $3 {This move stops the white pawns and leaves the first player helpless against the march of the a-passer. The point is that the checks do not help:} 55. Rb8+ Ka2 56. Rc8 a5 {and} 57. Kxd3 { is met with} Kb1 $1 {(which both players missed.)}) 55. h6 {And since the white passers became too dangerous Carlsen forces a draw:} Re2+ 56. Kxd3 Rh2 57. g5 Rh3+ 58. Kd2 Rh2+ 59. Kd3 1/2-1/2 [Event "Karlsruhe"] [Site "Karlsruhe"] [Date "2018.03.31"] [Round "1.5"] [White "Bluebaum, Matthias"] [Black "Vitiugov, Nikita"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2631"] [BlackElo "2735"] [PlyCount "50"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Germany"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "GER"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] [WhiteClock "0:21:23"] [BlackClock "0:13:01"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg6 7. Bd2 (7. Nxg6 hxg6 8. h3 Nbd7 9. Bd3 Bd6 10. O-O Qe7 11. e4 dxe4 12. Bxe4 O-O {Kramnik,V (2808)-Giri,A (2771) Leuven 2017}) 7... Nbd7 8. Nxg6 hxg6 9. c5 e5 10. b4 Be7 11. b5 O-O $146 (11... exd4 12. exd4 Nf8 13. bxc6 bxc6 14. Qa4 Qd7 15. Ba6 Ne6 16. Rb1 O-O {Baumgartner,U (2381)-Mauro,L (2325) corr. 2016}) 12. Qa4 $2 (12. bxc6 bxc6 13. Be2) 12... Re8 ({Also promising was the immediate} 12... exd4 13. exd4 Bxc5 $1 14. dxc5 Nxc5 15. Qd4 Re8+ 16. Be2 Ne6 17. Qa4 d4) 13. bxc6 bxc6 14. Be2 (14. Qxc6 $2 Rc8 15. Qa4 exd4 {would be too much.}) 14... exd4 15. exd4 Nxc5 $1 {It also works here.} 16. dxc5 d4 17. O-O dxc3 18. Bxc3 Bxc5 19. Bf3 Rc8 {Black has more or less equalized.} 20. Bxc6 $6 {A second sign of Bluebaum lacking some sense of danger.} Re2 21. Bf3 $6 ({The ugly} 21. Be1 {might have been better.}) 21... Rxf2 $1 22. Rxf2 Bxf2+ 23. Kxf2 Rxc3 24. Qxa7 $6 {For the third time, grabbing a pawn is bad but here Bluebaum can hardly be blamed. Otherwise he would be technically lost anyway, and the refutation is impossible to see.} Ne4+ $3 {Played after almost 22 minutes. A brilliant combination.} 25. Kg1 ({The main point was} 25. Bxe4 Rc7 $3 26. Qa8 Rc8 27. Qa6 Qd4+ 28. Kg3 Rc3+ 29. Bf3 g5 ({also good is} 29... Rc4) 30. h3 Qe5+ 31. Kf2 Rc2+ {and the rook on a1 hangs.}) 25... Ra3 $1 {A pretty final move.} (25... Ra3 26. Qxa3 Qd4+) 0-1 [Event "Karlsruhe GER"] [Site "Karlsruhe GER"] [Date "2018.04.01"] [Round "2"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2776"] [Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2018.03.31"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qf3 ({ In Wijk aan Zee, the world champion chose instead:} 7. Qd2 Nf6 8. f4 Bb4 9. Bd3 Na5 10. a3 Bxc3 11. Qxc3 Qxc3+ 12. bxc3 d5 13. exd5 exd5 14. Nb3 {Carlsen,M (2834) -Matlakov,M (2718) Wijk aan Zee 2018}) 7... Nf6 8. O-O-O Ne5 9. Qg3 b5 10. a3 Bb7 {Anand managed to surprise his opponent. But it turned out that he walked into home-preparation anyway!} 11. Bxb5 $1 {Played confidently and quickly. The sacrifices on b5 in the Sicilian are as common as those on the d5 square.} Rc8 $146 {The former world champion replied with a novelty.} ({ A predecessor saw:} 11... Bxa3 12. Bf4 ({Vachier-Lagrave planned instead} 12. Nde2 {and then Be3-f4.}) 12... Bd6 13. Nxe6 $1 fxe6 14. Rxd6 $1 Qxd6 15. Bxe5 { with a large advantage for White, Frolyanov,D (2534)-Khanin,S (2434) Kazan 2017 }) ({Apparently, the bishop has reasons to be bold-} 11... axb5 12. Ndxb5 Qb8 13. Bb6 Nc4 14. Bc7 $1 {this is even better than} (14. Nc7+ {which also looks great for White after} Ke7 15. Bc5+ Kd8 16. Bxf8 Rxf8 17. Nxa8 Qxg3 18. hxg3 Bxa8 19. f3) 14... Qc8 15. Rd4 {with complete domination of the white pieces.}) 12. Ba4 Nxe4 13. Nxe4 Bxe4 14. Bf4 Qc4 15. Bxe5 Qxa4 16. Rd2 f6 17. Bd6 { Up to here the Frenchman was in his prep. On the surface it seems as Black should be doing fine with his strong center and active queenside pieces. A closer look reveals the fact that he will need some time to get his kingside troops into the game, and that the center will hardly ever move. Or as Vachier-Lagrave summarized Black's situation- "unplesant."} Kf7 18. Re1 Bg6 19. Bxf8 Rhxf8 20. Qd6 {There should be always a piece on this square to block the pawns.} Kg8 21. f4 Rfe8 22. Re3 Qc4 ({The French GM remembered that Black's idea was not to allow the white pawn on g4.Therefore he sugested} 22... h5 { as possible improvement for Black.}) 23. b3 Qc7 (23... Qc5 $5 {might have been a better try for Anand again.} 24. Qxc5 ({As} 24. Qxd7 $6 Rcd8 25. Qc6 Qxa3+ { is comfortable for Black.}) 24... Rxc5 {with chances to start the black pawns.} ) 24. Qxc7 Rxc7 25. Kb2 Rb8 26. g4 $1 {Not only blocking, but very often attacking the black pawn mass. Anand has the ungrateful destiny of watching his opponent improve his position for free.} Bf7 27. a4 Rc5 $6 {A blunder according to the players.} ({He should have chosen the passive defense instead with} 27... Kf8 28. Ka3 {when White will keep on improving with c2-c4, etc. but Black's position "might be holdable" (MVL)}) 28. Ne2 $1 {Missed by Anand.} ({Black was hoping for} 28. Nf3 Rc4 {which is indeed OK for him after} 29. Rxd7 Rxf4 30. h3 e5 {followed by h7-h5 with counter-play.} (30... Rxa4 31. Nd4 { leaves White the advantage.})) 28... Rc7 {A sad necessity.} ({Since} 28... d5 $2 29. Nd4 $1 {leads to collapse of Black's position. For example} Rb6 30. Rde2 Rc4 31. a5 $1) 29. Rd6 {This outpost again.} Ra7 30. Red3 Be8 {Desperation.} ({ The alternative} 30... Rbb7 31. Ng3 Kf8 32. f5 {looks also very depressing though. Next the white knight will come on e4 and the queenside pawns will start moving forward.}) 31. f5 exf5 ({Or} 31... Kf7 32. Nf4 e5 33. Nd5 { followed by a4-a6, Nd5-b6 and b- and c- pawns push.}) 32. gxf5 Rc8 33. Nc3 Rc5 34. R3d5 Rc6 35. Ne4 Kf7 36. Rd3 Rac7 37. c4 g6 {The last blunder which ends Black's suffering.} ({Anand wanted to avoid the appearence of a knight on d6-} 37... Ke7 38. R6d4 {followed by Ne4-d6 which is basically over.}) 38. fxg6+ { Black decided to put an end of his suffering.} hxg6 39. Nxf6 Ke7 {White has multiple winning choices:} 40. Re3+ (40. Ne4) (40. Kc3 Rxd6 41. Rxd6 Kxd6 42. Nxe8+) 40... Kxd6 41. Nxe8+ 1-0 [Event "Karlsruhe GER"] [Site "Karlsruhe GER"] [Date "2018.04.01"] [Round "2"] [White "Vitiugov, Nikita"] [Black "Meier, Georg"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C02"] [WhiteElo "2735"] [BlackElo "2648"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2018.03.31"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. a3 Nh6 7. b4 cxd4 8. b5 (8. cxd4 Nf5 9. Be3 Bd7 10. Bd3 Rc8 11. O-O Nxe3 12. fxe3 Be7 13. Qe1 f6 {McShane, L (2644)-Howell,D (2702) Llandudno 2017}) (8. Bxh6 gxh6 9. b5 Ne7 {Vitiugov}) 8... Na5 (8... Ne7 9. cxd4 {Vitiugov}) 9. Bxh6 $146 (9. Nxd4 Bc5 10. Be3 Nf5 11. Nxf5 exf5 12. Bd4 f4 13. Be2 Bf5 14. O-O O-O {Gregory,S (2173)-Buckley,S (2237) Torquay 2002}) 9... gxh6 10. cxd4 Bd7 11. Nbd2 Rc8 12. a4 Qc7 (12... Bb4 13. Bd3 Bc3 14. Rc1) 13. Bd3 Qc3 14. Ke2 Be7 15. Rc1 $6 (15. Ra2 $5 {Vitiugov}) (15. Qb1 Bg5 16. Ra2 Bxd2 17. Rc2 Qb4 {Vitiugov} 18. Rxc8+ $1 Bxc8 19. Qc2 Bc3 20. Rb1 Qa3 21. Qc1 $1 Qa2+ 22. Kf1 {is good for White.}) 15... Qxc1 16. Qxc1 Rxc1 17. Rxc1 {Vitiugov said he overestimated this endgame.} Bd8 18. Nf1 Bb6 { "Here I realized I had nothing." (Vitiugov)} 19. Rc3 Ke7 20. Ng3 (20. Ne3 h5 21. g3 a6) 20... a6 21. Ke3 axb5 22. axb5 Nc4+ $2 {"A miscalculation." (Meier) "I had missed this but it appeared as a good blunder." (Vitiugov)} ({Black is OK after both} 22... Ra8 {and}) (22... Rg8) 23. Bxc4 Rc8 24. Nd2 Ba5 25. Rc2 dxc4 26. Nge4 c3 27. Nb1 {Meier had forgotten that when the knight comes to d6, it wins a tempo because b7 will be hanging.} Rg8 $6 (27... Rc7 {Vitiugov} 28. Nbxc3 Bxb5 29. d5) (27... Rc4 $1 {Leko} 28. Nd6 Rb4 29. Nxc3 Rb3 30. Kd3 h5) 28. Nbxc3 Rxg2 29. Nd6 Rxh2 30. Nxb7 Bb6 31. Nc5 h5 32. Nxd7 Kxd7 33. Ne4 h4 34. Rc6 Bd8 35. Nc5+ Ke8 36. b6 Rh1 37. b7 h3 38. b8=Q h2 39. Rc8 1-0 [Event "Karlsruhe GER"] [Site "Karlsruhe GER"] [Date "2018.04.01"] [Round "2"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C24"] [WhiteElo "2843"] [BlackElo "2654"] [PlyCount "121"] [EventDate "2018.03.31"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Qe2 Be7 5. Nf3 (5. f4 d5 6. Bb3 dxe4 7. dxe4 exf4 8. Bxf4 O-O 9. Nf3 Na6 10. Nbd2 Nc5 {Amin,B (2663)-Xu,X (2503) Dubai 2017} ) 5... d6 6. c3 Nbd7 7. Bb3 O-O 8. O-O a5 9. d4 $146 (9. a4 b5 10. Bc2 Ba6 11. axb5 cxb5 12. Nbd2 Qc7 13. d4 a4 14. Bd3 Rfb8 {Polgar,J (2680)-Gelfand,B (2758) Khanty-Mansiysk 2009}) 9... a4 10. Bc2 Re8 11. Re1 Bf8 12. Qd1 b5 13. Nbd2 Qc7 14. Nf1 g6 15. Bg5 h6 16. Bd2 Bg7 17. Ng3 Nb6 {"A nice move." (Carlsen)} 18. b3 axb3 19. axb3 Rxa1 20. Qxa1 Bg4 21. Qc1 ({Carlsen considered} 21. Nh4 {for a moment.}) 21... Bxf3 22. gxf3 h5 (22... Kh7 23. f4 b4 (23... c5)) 23. Bh6 { "Here at least I had something to aim for. I saw this endgame and thought it was pretty nice." (Carlsen)} Qe7 (23... Nh7 $5 24. Kh1 h4 25. Nf5 Bf6 26. Rg1 Kh8 {Carlsen}) 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Qg5 Kh7 26. f4 {"Now I think I'm a little bit better." (Carlsen)} Nfd7 (26... Kg7) (26... Kh8) (26... exf4 27. Qxf4 Nbd5 28. Qf3 h4 29. Nf1 Kg8 ({not} 29... Nh5 {(Carlsen)} 30. Qxh5+ $1 {(Hou Yifan)})) 27. Qxe7 Rxe7 28. fxe5 dxe5 29. Rd1 $1 {Aimed against counterplay with ...exd4 and ...c5. Peter Leko was a big fan of this move.} Re8 30. dxe5 Nxe5 31. f4 Ng4 32. Rd6 Re6 ({Missing} 32... Ra8 $1 {(Leko)} 33. Rxc6 Ra2 34. Bd3 h4 35. Rxb6 { Carlsen had seen this and thought "this is probably not a perpetual" but it is: } hxg3 36. hxg3 Nh2 37. e5 Nf3+ 38. Kf1 Nh2+) 33. Rd8 Kg7 34. Nf1 (34. Ne2 $5) 34... Rf6 35. h3 Nh6 36. f5 gxf5 37. Ng3 Rg6 38. Kf2 fxe4 $2 {With little time on the clock, Hou Yifan makes the decisive mistake.} ({Carlsen had seen} 38... Rg5 $1 39. exf5 (39. Bd1 fxe4 40. Nxh5+ Kh7 41. Nf6+ Kg7 42. Nxe4 Rd5 {is also OK for Black}) 39... h4 40. f6+ Kxf6 {and thought} 41. Ne4+ {was winning here but later he noticed} Ke7 {"and there is nothing."}) 39. Nxh5+ Kh7 40. Bxe4 f5 41. Bg2 Nf7 42. Rf8 Ne5 43. Nf4 Rd6 44. Rxf5 Nbd7 45. Ke2 Kg7 46. h4 Nf7 47. Be4 Nde5 48. Nh5+ Kh6 49. Ng3 Re6 50. Ke3 Kg7 51. Rf1 Kf8 52. Nf5 Ng4+ 53. Kf4 Nf6 54. Bf3 Nd5+ 55. Bxd5 cxd5 56. Ra1 Kg8 57. Ra8+ Kh7 58. Ra7 Rf6 59. h5 Kg8 60. Rd7 b4 61. cxb4 1-0 [Event "Karlsruhe"] [Site "Karlsruhe"] [Date "2018.04.01"] [Round "2"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2843"] [BlackElo "2654"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "121"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Qe2 Be7 5. Nf3 d6 6. c3 Nbd7 7. Bb3 O-O 8. O-O a5 9. d4 a4 10. Bc2 Re8 11. Re1 Bf8 12. Qd1 b5 13. Nbd2 Qc7 14. Nf1 g6 15. Bg5 h6 16. Bd2 Bg7 17. Ng3 Nb6 18. b3 axb3 19. axb3 Rxa1 20. Qxa1 Bg4 {[#] A rather regular Beyer-like structure. One might think Black is equal, but Carlsen hasn't even started playing for real yet.} 21. Qc1 $5 {It's amazing how Magnus manages to turn a structural disadvantage to his advantage. A sign of a true mastery in positional chess.} ({Lesser beings would feel compelled to play} 21. Nh4) 21... Bxf3 22. gxf3 h5 23. Bh6 Qe7 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Qg5 Kh7 26. f4 {[#]} Nfd7 $2 {Trading down to a worse endgame is not the optimal strategy against Magnus Carlsen.} ({For better or worse Hou had to try} 26... exf4 27. Qxf4 Nbd5 28. Qg5 {Of course, then she would have to see} (28. Qd2 h4 29. Nf1 Nh5) 28... Qe6 $1 ({Not} 28... Nxc3 29. Re3 b4 30. e5 {with powerful attack.}) 29. c4 bxc4 30. bxc4 Nb4 31. Bb1 Kg8 32. e5 Nh7 33. Qd2 h4 $5 { which would keep Black afloat.}) 27. Qxe7 Rxe7 28. fxe5 dxe5 29. Rd1 (29. Ra1 $5) 29... Re8 $6 {Another concession.} (29... exd4 30. cxd4 Kg7 31. Bd3 c5 { represented her best chance to obtain counterplay.}) 30. dxe5 Nxe5 31. f4 Ng4 32. Rd6 Re6 33. Rd8 Kg7 34. Nf1 Rf6 {This meets with a tactical response.} ({ Better was} 34... Nf6 35. Nd2 h4 {aiming at Nh5.}) 35. h3 Nh6 36. f5 $1 gxf5 37. Ng3 Rg6 {[#]} 38. Kf2 $2 {Carlsen's only slip-up.} ({The correct} 38. Kh2 { would help White to deal with} Rg5 {by playing} 39. h4 Rg4 40. Kh3 $16) 38... fxe4 $2 ({In heavy time trouble Hou missed her last chance.} 38... Rg5 $1) 39. Nxh5+ Kh7 40. Bxe4 f5 41. Bg2 {[#] A classic Carlsen position. There's no man or woman alive on this planet who can escape Magnus' positional clutches in situations like this.} Nf7 42. Rf8 Ne5 43. Nf4 Rd6 44. Rxf5 Nbd7 45. Ke2 Kg7 46. h4 Nf7 47. Be4 Nde5 48. Nh5+ Kh6 49. Ng3 Re6 50. Ke3 Kg7 51. Rf1 Kf8 52. Nf5 Ng4+ 53. Kf4 Nf6 54. Bf3 Nd5+ 55. Bxd5 cxd5 56. Ra1 Kg8 57. Ra8+ Kh7 58. Ra7 Rf6 59. h5 Kg8 60. Rd7 b4 61. cxb4 1-0 [Event "5th GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Karlsruhe"] [Date "2018.04.01"] [Round "2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Bluebaum, Matthias"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2784"] [BlackElo "2631"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Be3 O-O { In the past Black stayed away from castling too soon, instead concentrating on developing his play on the Q-side.} 8. Qd2 {[#]} a6 $5 ({Previously, Matthias relied on} 8... b6 {His game with Vachier-Lagrave, TCh-France 2016 saw} 9. Nd1 a5 10. c3 Ba6 11. Bxa6 Nxa6 12. O-O b5 {I'm sure Caruana was well-prepared to face that.}) 9. Bd3 $5 ({White is not advised to allow} 9. O-O-O c4 {as Black's pawn storm will be frightening.}) ({Previously seen was} 9. Be2) 9... b5 10. Qf2 {Caruana is trying to provoke c5-c4, but Bluebaum is not in the mood to oblige.} Nc6 $5 11. dxc5 Qa5 ({Also interesting is} 11... f6 $5) 12. O-O b4 13. Ne2 Nxc5 14. Nfd4 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 Qc7 $1 (15... Bd7 16. Nb3 $1 Nxb3 17. axb3 {hits the a6-pawn.}) 16. Nb3 Nxb3 17. axb3 a5 18. Bb6 Qc6 19. Bd4 { It appears White has come out with a slight advantage.} Bd8 20. g4 {Fabiano launches a standard plan of K-side attack.} ({It's not clear what White gets out of} 20. c4 Bb7 21. Rac1 Be7) ({Perhaps,} 20. Rfc1 Bb7 21. c3 {was worth a look.}) 20... Ba6 21. f5 Bxd3 22. cxd3 {[#] So, it's going to be mate once White plays f5-f6, right?} f6 $1 {Not so fast.} 23. Rac1 (23. Rae1 fxe5 24. Rxe5 exf5 25. Rxf5 Be7 {and then what?}) 23... Qd7 24. fxe6 Qxe6 25. Qf5 Qxf5 26. Rxf5 fxe5 27. Rxf8+ Kxf8 28. Bxe5 Kf7 29. Kf2 Ra6 30. Kf3 Bf6 31. Rc7+ Kg6 32. d4 Re6 33. Kf4 Bg5+ 34. Kf3 Bf6 35. Kf4 Bg5+ 36. Kf3 1/2-1/2 [Event "5th GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Karlsruhe"] [Date "2018.04.01"] [Round "2"] [White "Vachier Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2776"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 {A somewhat surprising choice from Anand, who usually relies on his great expertise in the Najdorf.} 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qf3 Nf6 8. O-O-O Ne5 9. Qg3 b5 10. a3 $5 {[#]} ({White is beginning to lose faith in} 10. f4 Neg4 {after his debacles in Vachier Lagrave-Grischuk, Chess.com Blitz and, more importantly, Karjakin-Caruana, London Classic, both played late last year.}) 10... Bb7 ({The point of the modest pawn move is revealed after} 10... h5 11. Bf4 d6 12. Bxb5+ axb5 13. Bxe5 dxe5 14. Ncxb5 Qc5 15. b4 $1) ({It appears Black doesn't get enough out of} 10... Bxa3 11. Ncxb5 axb5 12. Nxb5 Bxb2+ 13. Kxb2 Ra2+ 14. Kxa2 Qxc2+ 15. Ka3 Qxd1 {where White has a pleasant choice:} 16. Nc7+ $5 ({or simply} 16. Qxe5 O-O 17. Qd4) 16... Kd8 17. Qxe5 d6 18. Qc3 {planning e4-e5.}) 11. Bxb5 {This has already been played, albeit not in high-profile games.} Rc8 $1 {Anand plays the best reply.} ({White dominates in case of} 11... axb5 12. Ndxb5 Qb8 13. Bb6 Nc4 14. Bc7 Qc8 15. Rd4) ({Black should stay away from} 11... Bxa3 12. Bf4 Bd6 13. Nxe6 fxe6 14. Rxd6 Qxd6 15. Bxe5 Qe7 16. Bd6 Qf7 17. Bd3 {with a great position for White in Admiraal-Leenhouts and Frolyanov-Khanin, both in 2017.}) 12. Ba4 {The bishop takes a modest job of protecting c2, while keeping an eye on d7.} Nxe4 13. Nxe4 Bxe4 14. Bf4 Qc4 15. Bxe5 Qxa4 16. Rd2 {[#] This position is easily reached by engine analysis. It is much harder, however, to evaluate it.} f6 (16... h5 $5 {was interesting. Black intends to develop his rook via the h-file.}) 17. Bd6 Kf7 18. Re1 Bg6 19. Bxf8 Rhxf8 20. Qd6 Kg8 21. f4 {[#] We have come a long way since the heyday of the Sicilian defense in the 1960's-1990's. Positions such as this one used to be considered good for Black purely based on the absence of immediate threats to the black king. The talk was about Black losing short games and winning long ones in the Sicilian. We just don't think this way anymore. In this particular case Black is hampered by the blockade on d6 and, therefore, is hard-pressed to develop some play against the white king.} Rfe8 ({One last chance to make something happen was} 21... Qc4 $1 22. Qxd7 Bf7 23. Nxe6 Qa2) 22. Re3 $1 {This is it. The white rook controls the c3-square, making b2-b3 possible. For the rest of the game Anand just drifts.} Qc4 23. b3 Qc7 24. Qxc7 Rxc7 25. Kb2 Rb8 26. g4 Bf7 27. a4 Rc5 28. Ne2 Rc7 29. Rd6 Ra7 30. Red3 Be8 31. f5 exf5 32. gxf5 Rc8 33. Nc3 Rc5 34. R3d5 Rc6 35. Ne4 Kf7 36. Rd3 Rac7 37. c4 g6 38. fxg6+ 1-0 [Event "5th GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Karlsruhe"] [Date "2018.04.01"] [Round "2"] [White "Vitiugov, Nikita"] [Black "Meier, Georg"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2735"] [BlackElo "2648"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. a3 Nh6 7. b4 cxd4 8. b5 $5 { A new concept. Some innovations should be expected from Vitiugov who wrote a critically acclaimed book on the French Defense.} (8. Bxh6 gxh6 9. cxd4 Bd7 10. Ra2 Rg8 11. g3 Rg4 {Grischuk-Caruana, Blitz 2014}) ({Nikita himself defended the black colors in the main line} 8. cxd4 Nf5 {although he lost to Savchenko in 2014.}) 8... Na5 9. Bxh6 gxh6 10. cxd4 Bd7 11. Nbd2 Rc8 12. a4 {[#]} Qc7 { Georg stays on a solid ground.} (12... Bb4 13. Bd3 Bc3 14. Rc1 Bxd4 15. Rxc8+ Bxc8 16. O-O Bc5 {is a somewhat risky proposition fro Black.}) 13. Bd3 Qc3 14. Ke2 Be7 15. Rc1 Qxc1 16. Qxc1 Rxc1 17. Rxc1 Bd8 {The main problem for Black is the future of his Na5} 18. Nf1 Bb6 19. Rc3 Ke7 20. Ng3 a6 $1 21. Ke3 axb5 22. axb5 {[#]} Nc4+ $2 {Too eager to begin his counterplay Meier gives Vitiugov a clear-cut plan of invading the d6-square.} (22... Ra8 23. Nd2 f6 24. exf6+ Kxf6 25. f4 {remains roughly balanced.}) 23. Bxc4 Rc8 (23... dxc4 24. Rxc4 Ra8 25. Rb4 Ra5 26. Ne4 Rxb5 27. Rxb5 Bxb5 28. Nd6 {wins the b7-pawn due to the threat of Nc8+}) 24. Nd2 Ba5 25. Rc2 dxc4 ({In case of} 25... Bxd2+ 26. Kxd2 Rxc4 ({ Unfortunately, no time for} 26... dxc4 {as then} 27. Ne4 {ruins the day for Black.}) 27. Rxc4 dxc4 {White has the key move} 28. b6 $1) 26. Nge4 c3 27. Nb1 {[#] It's amazing how White manages to keep control while going backward. In all lines Black's bishops are rather useless.} Rg8 $6 {A desperate attempt to generate counterplay.} (27... Rc4 28. Nbxc3 Bxb5 29. Nd6 Rxc3+ 30. Rxc3 Bxc3 31. Nxb5 Bb4 32. Kd3 h5 33. Kc4 {may have represented Meier's best chance of survival.}) ({Else, he could have tried} 27... Rc7 28. Nbxc3 Bxb5 29. Rb2 Bd7 30. Rb3 Bxc3 31. Nxc3 Bc6 32. Ne4) 28. Nbxc3 Rxg2 29. Nd6 ({Also,} 29. d5 Rxh2 30. d6+ Kd8 31. Nc5 {looked mighty good for White.}) 29... Rxh2 30. Nxb7 Bb6 31. Nc5 h5 32. Nxd7 $1 {Simple and strong. White queens his pawn first.} Kxd7 33. Ne4 h4 34. Rc6 Bd8 35. Nc5+ Ke8 36. b6 Rh1 37. b7 h3 38. b8=Q h2 39. Rc8 1-0 [Event "Classic"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.04.02"] [Round "3.5"] [White "Meier, Georg"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C68"] [WhiteElo "2648"] [BlackElo "2784"] [Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:01:28"] [BlackClock "0:02:19"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 {Meier understands and plays endgames well. For this reason the Exchange Ruy Lopez has always been part of his repertoire.} dxc6 5. O-O Qf6 {A very fighting move.} 6. d4 exd4 7. Bg5 Qd6 8. Nxd4 Be7 9. Be3 ({Black did not expect any real problems after:} 9. Bxe7 Nxe7 10. Nc3 Bd7 11. Nb3 O-O-O 12. Qf3 Ng6 13. Qe3 Kb8 14. Nc5 Bc8 15. Rad1 Qf4 16. Qxf4 Nxf4 17. f3 b6 {Solak,D (2626)-Eljanov,P (2720) Heraklio 2017}) 9... Nh6 10. Qd2 g5 $146 {"I prepared this idea four years ago for Arkadij [Naiditsch]. " (Caruana)} ({Apparently, Caruana has built his preparation on account of the following game:} 10... Qg6 11. f3 Bd7 12. Nc3 O-O-O 13. Qf2 f6 14. Nce2 { Naiditsch,A (2724)-Maiorov,N (2548) Bastia 2013}) 11. Nf3 ({According to Caruana critical are the moves:} 11. h3) ({Or} 11. f3 f5 {"with a mess" (Caruana)}) 11... Rg8 12. h4 {Meier tries to make use of the shaky knight on h6. But now his king gets opened and Caruana became "very ambitious."} ({ "Logical is"} 12. Qxd6 cxd6 13. Nc3 {"with equality" (Caruana)}) 12... Qg6 ({ Objectively better was perhaps:} 12... f6 {to which Meier intended} 13. e5 fxe5 14. Bxg5 {when} Bg4 $1 {is an important resource for Black, with unclear game after} 15. Nxe5 Bxg5 16. hxg5 O-O-O) 13. hxg5 Ng4 14. Nc3 $5 {Wastes a move.} ( {Black expected the immediate} 14. Bf4 h6 15. Bxc7 hxg5 ({Instead} 15... Be6 { was planned (Caruana), which might transpose into the game.}) 16. Nd4 Rh8 $6 ({ Or} 16... Qh7 17. f3 Nf6 18. Nc3 {which also looks good for White.}) 17. f3 { and Black did not like that his knight has to step on h2 now. If} Nf6 18. Nc3 { looks good for White.}) 14... h6 15. Bf4 ({"I spent a lot of time on"} 15. Rad1 {"before realizing that"} Be6 $1 {"is very strong" (Meier)} ({He was hoping for:} 15... hxg5 16. Bc5 $1)) 15... Be6 {Caruana liked the idea to exclude the white bishop from the game.} ({He did not like the straightforward attack} 15... hxg5 16. Bxc7 Rh8 17. Ne2 Qh6 18. Ng3 Nh2 19. Rfd1 Nxf3+ 20. gxf3 { as he could not find anything decisive. Still, Black's position is quite decent after} Be6 21. b3 (21. Qc3) 21... Bc5 $1) 16. Bxc7 Rc8 ({Worse is} 16... hxg5 17. Nd4 $1) 17. Bb6 ({Good for Black is} 17. Bd6 Rd8 18. e5 hxg5 { (Caruana)}) ({While} 17. Bg3 {takes away the important square from the white knight-} hxg5 18. Ne2 Rh8 $1) 17... hxg5 18. Ne2 c5 ({"I was dreaming for"} 18... Qxe4 19. Rfe1 {(Meier), when it is clear which king is weaker.}) 19. Ng3 (19. Ba5 $5 {to escape from the danger zone was interesting as well.}) 19... Rh8 20. Rfd1 ({Better was to centralize both the rooks with} 20. Rfe1 f6 21. Rad1 Kf7 {and now for instance} 22. Qa5 $1 ({Rather than} 22. Qc3 Rc6 { (Caruana)})) 20... Qh6 ({On} 20... f6 {"White suddenly get counter-play with"} 21. b4 $1 cxb4 (21... Qh6 $1) ({Or} 21... Qh7 $1 {are better with some advantage for Black.}) 22. Nd4 Bc4 23. Ndf5 {(Caruana). Indeed, it is White who is attacking now.}) 21. b4 {In the coming time-trouble Meier sacrificed the pawn in order to free his bishop. This was not needed though.} ({Instead} 21. b3 Bf6 ({Or} 21... f6 22. Ba5 Kf7 23. Bc3 {would lead to approximately levelled situation.})) 21... cxb4 22. Bd4 f6 23. c3 bxc3 {In order to play it safe in time-trouble, Caruana loses control.} ({Caruana spotted too late the winning line} 23... Nh2 24. Nxg5 Nf1 $3 25. Kxf1 Bc4+ 26. Ke1 Qh1+ 27. Nxh1 Rxh1#) ({Also good for him was another line that he was checking during the game:} 23... Bd6 24. e5 Bxe5 25. Bxe5 Nxe5 26. Nxe5 Qh2+ 27. Kf1 fxe5 28. Qxg5 Bc4+ 29. Ke1 Qg1+ 30. Kd2 Qxf2+ 31. Kc1 {Now} Be6 ({However, the simple} 31... Qf4+ 32. Qxf4 exf4 33. Ne4 Ke7 {leaves Blak excellent winning chances.}) 32. Ne4 {"is messing things up" (Caruana)}) 24. Bxc3 Kf7 25. Rac1 Rc4 ({Here} 25... Nh2 {is not that clear after} 26. Nxg5+ $1 fxg5 27. Bxh8 Rxh8 28. Rc7 Ng4 29. Qd6 Qf6 {(Caruana)}) 26. Bd4 ({Missing} 26. Bb2 $1 b5 27. Rxc4 {when} Bxc4 { is met with} ({Caruana planned the sad} 27... bxc4 {instead, but then the bishop is deprived of the c4 square and cannot bother the enemy king any more.} ) 28. Qd7 Nh2 ({Or} 28... Be6 29. Qc7 $1) 29. Qxe7+ $1 {(Caruana)}) 26... b5 27. Qa5 {"A losing move." (Caruana)} ({Instead} 27. Rxc4 {was correct and after } Bxc4 {White does not need to go for} 28. e5 ({But might choose instead} 28. Qc3) ({Or} 28. Rc1) 28... Nh2 29. Nxg5+ fxg5 30. e6+ Kg8 31. Bxh8 Ng4 { (Caruana) when Black seems on top again.}) 27... Nh2 28. Qxa6 {This is the really losing move.} (28. Ne1 $1 {was White's last hope.}) 28... Nxf3+ (28... g4 $1 {(Caruana) would had also won. Say} 29. Ng5+ (29. Ne1 Rxc1 30. Rxc1) 29... fxg5 30. Bxh8 Nf3+ 31. gxf3 gxf3 {with mate after Qh6-h3-g2.}) 29. gxf3 g4 {Caruana was not very happy with the finish of the game and felt that there was something better.} ({There is indeed:} 29... Qh2+ 30. Kf1 Rhc8 $1 {leads to mate after} 31. Rb1 Rxd4 32. Rxd4 Rc2) 30. f4 $1 Qxf4 31. Rxc4 bxc4 ({Since } 31... Bxc4 32. Be3 Qf3 33. Rd7 Be6 34. Rxe7+ $1 {leads only to a draw after} Kxe7 35. Qb7+ Kf8 36. Bc5+ Kg8 37. Qe7 Qd1+ 38. Kg2 Qf3+) 32. Be3 ({In time-trouble White missed the strong} 32. Qa5 {although it is questionable if he survives after} Qf3 33. Rd2 Kg6) 32... Qf3 33. Rd6 Rh3 $1 {Calculating everything till the end. The attack is unstoppable-} 34. Rxe6 Rxg3+ 35. fxg3 Qxe3+ 36. Kh2 (36. Kf1 Qf3+ 37. Kg1 (37. Ke1 Bb4#) 37... Bc5+ 38. Kh2 Qf2+ 39. Kh1 Qg1#) 36... Qf2+ 37. Kh1 Qf1+ 38. Kh2 Qh3+ 39. Kg1 Bc5# 0-1 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.04.02"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A04"] [WhiteElo "2654"] [BlackElo "2789"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:51:24"] [BlackClock "1:34:09"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. b3 Bg7 5. Bb2 b6 6. Bg2 Bb7 7. O-O O-O 8. d4 cxd4 9. Qxd4 Nc6 10. Qc3 Qc7 $146 (10... Rc8 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. Qe1 $1 {was more pleasant for White in Aronian,L (2780)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2783) Leuven 2017}) 11. Rd1 Rad8 12. Na3 a6 13. Rac1 Rfe8 14. Qe1 Qb8 (14... e5 $5 15. Nb5 (15. e4 Qb8 (15... Nd4 16. Nxd4 exd4 17. f3)) 15... axb5 16. cxb5 e4 17. Ne5 Rxe5 18. Bxe5 Qxe5 19. bxc6 {MVL} Bc8 $5) 15. Nc2 b5 16. c5 d5 17. cxd6 Rxd6 18. Rxd6 Qxd6 19. Nfd4 ({After} 19. Ne5 Nd5 20. Nxf7 Kxf7 21. Bxg7 Kxg7 22. Rd1 { Black has to play} Ne5 23. e4 Rc8 {and it's equal.}) 19... Nd5 20. Ba3 Qd7 21. Nxc6 Bxc6 22. e4 ({MVL expected} 22. Ne3 e6 {and thought it was equal but he, with commentators Jan Gustafsson and Peter Leko, were surprised that the computer likes White after} 23. Qa5) 22... Nc7 23. Nb4 Bb7 24. Rd1 Qc8 25. Qe3 a5 26. Nd3 (26. Nd5 {MVL}) 26... b4 27. Bb2 Bxb2 28. Nxb2 Nb5 29. Nc4 Nc3 30. Rd2 Rd8 31. Nxa5 Rxd2 32. Qxd2 Ba6 33. Bf1 $2 {"Loses on the spot." (MVL)} ({ White has to play} 33. Bf3 $1 Nxa2 34. Kg2 $1 {to hold.}) 33... Bxf1 34. Kxf1 Qa8 $1 {A winning double attack.} 35. Nc4 Qxe4 36. Kg1 (36. Qd8+ Kg7 37. Kg1 Ne2+ 38. Kf1 Nd4 39. Kg1 Nf3+ 40. Kf1 Nxh2+ 41. Kg1 Nf3+ 42. Kf1 Nd4 43. Kg1 e5 {is also completely over.}) 36... Ne2+ 37. Kf1 Nd4 38. f3 Qxf3+ 39. Qf2 Qh1+ 40. Qg1 Qe4 41. Qf2 f6 42. Ne3 Kf7 43. h4 Qh1+ 44. Qg1 Qxg1+ 45. Kxg1 Ne2+ 46. Kf2 Nc3 0-1 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.04.04"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A34"] [WhiteElo "2843"] [BlackElo "2789"] [Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 e4 {Vachier-Lagrave's pet line. It should not have come as surprise for Carlsen.} 6. d5 {This is considered to be White's best try for an advantage.} ({The Frenchman's latest game in the line saw} 6. Ne5 g6 7. Rb1 Bg7 8. Nxc6 dxc6 9. dxc5 Qxd1+ 10. Kxd1 O-O 11. h3 Re8 {Meier,G (2647)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2793) chess.com INT 2018}) 6... exf3 7. dxc6 fxg2 8. cxd7+ Bxd7 9. Bxg2 g6 (9... Qc7 {has been also played-} 10. Qb3 Bc6 11. Nd5 Bxd5 12. cxd5 Bd6 {Suba,M (2535)-Wedberg,T (2500) Dortmund 1983}) 10. b3 ({Nobody has dared to take the pawn yet} 10. Bxb7 {as after} Rb8 11. Bg2 Bg7 {White has problems with the development of his queenside.}) 10... Bg7 11. Qd6 ({Black held his own after} 11. Bb2 O-O 12. Qd2 Qc7 13. O-O-O Bg4 14. f3 Rad8 15. Qe2 Be6 16. f4 Qe7 17. Bf3 h5 18. Kb1 Bh6 19. a4 Rxd1+ 20. Rxd1 Rd8 21. Rxd8+ Qxd8 {Grischuk,A (2783)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2804) Tbilisi 2017}) 11... Qb6 {So far both blitzed, but here Carlsen paused, not sure why Vachier-Lagrave is entering the endgame.} 12. Qxb6 $146 {A novelty.} ({ Unsurprisingly, the predecessor is another game of MVL:} 12. Qe5+ Kf8 13. Bb2 Nh5 14. Qd5 Bc6 15. Qd6+ Kg8 16. Bxc6 Rd8 17. Qe7 bxc6 18. O-O Bf6 19. Qe4 Kg7 {and Black was doing fine at this stage of the game in Grischuk,A (2750) -Vachier Lagrave,M (2795) chess.com INT 2017}) 12... axb6 13. Bb2 Bc6 14. O-O ( 14. Nd5 {is the other way to play it, but less convincing after} Bxd5 15. cxd5 Nh5) 14... Ke7 {The king needs to stayin the center.} ({If} 14... Bxg2 15. Kxg2 Ne4 16. Nxe4 Bxb2 17. Rad1 {is slightly better for White as Black's bishop is workless and} Rxa2 $2 {self-ins and destructs that same piece after} 18. Rd2) ( 14... Ne4 15. Bxe4 Bxe4 16. Nxe4 Bxb2 17. Rad1 {will transpose to the above-mentioned line.}) 15. Nd5+ {Picking up the bishop pair.} Bxd5 16. cxd5 Rhg8 (16... Nh5 $5 {is still an option.}) 17. d6+ Kxd6 18. Rad1+ Ke7 {This was the endgame that Carlsen anticipated. White owes the bishop pair, but Vachier-Lagrave believed he should hold with precise play. This is quite a standard opening situation, which GM Krasenkow once neatly explained the following way: "White has nothing, and Black has problems."} 19. Be5 Rgd8 20. Bxb7 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 Rd8 {What is interesting is that Black was still in his prep.} (21... Rxa2 {leads to "unnecessary complications" (MVL). For example:} 22. Bd6+ (22. Bc7 Nd7 23. Bc8 $2 {doe snot work to} (23. Kg2 Bc3 $1 {is OK for Black (MVL)}) (23. Rd3 Ra7 {also seems fine for the second player.}) 23... Ra1 $1) 22... Kd8 ({Or} 22... Kd7) 23. Bf8+ Kc7 24. Bxg7 Nh5 25. Be5+ Kxb7 26. Rd7+ Kc6 27. Rxf7 Ra3 {The knight on h5 is dominated and this might not be to Black's taste. Although he has enough counter-play on the other side.}) 22. Rxd8 Kxd8 23. Kf1 Ne8 24. Bg3 {The bishop pair is White's only advantage and he preserves it.} (24. Bxg7 Nxg7 {leads White nowhere.}) 24... Kd7 25. a4 ({On } 25. Ke2 {MVL planned} Bf8 26. e4 Nc7) 25... f5 26. f3 (26. Ke2 {was again possible although after} Ke6 {followed by Ne8-d6 or Bg7-e5 Black should be also able to hold.}) 26... Ke6 {"I just missed this idea and then Black is just OK" (Carlsen)} 27. Bc8+ Kd5 (27... Ke7 {followed by Ne8-d6 and then back with the king on e6 was also good for Black (MVL)}) 28. Bb7+ Ke6 29. Bc6 Nd6 30. Bf2 Be5 31. h4 f4 {Trading pawns.} 32. exf4 {Carlsen did not see anything better than this.} ({On} 32. e4 Bc3 $1 {would be strong in order to prevent b3-b4 break. Then} 33. h5 g5 $1 34. h6 Ke5 {with the key idea to meet} ({Or} 34... Kf6 {(Carlsen)}) 35. Bd5 {with} Nf5 $1 {would lead to a position where only Black can play for a win.}) 32... Bxf4 33. a5 bxa5 34. Bxc5 {Finally the bishops have more air to operate but there are almost no pawns left.} Nf5 35. Bb6 Bd2 36. Bd8 Nd4 37. Ba4 Kd6 (37... Nxf3 $4 38. Ke2) 38. Kg2 Ne6 39. Bb6 Nc5 {Forcing the draw.} 40. Bxc5+ Kxc5 1/2-1/2 [Event "Baden-Baden"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2843"] [BlackElo "2789"] [Annotator "KGBesenthal"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 4. e3 Nf6 {[#]} 5. d4 ({The players followed their own game from the Blitz World Championship 2017 in Riyadh, but there Carlsen avoided d4 and the game took a very different course, though also ended drawn.} 5. Be2 {gave MVL the opportunity to advance his own d-pawn} d5) 5... e4 6. d5 exf3 7. dxc6 fxg2 8. cxd7+ Bxd7 9. Bxg2 g6 10. b3 (10. Bxb7 Rb8 11. Bg2 {was quite playable - it it is not immediately clear what the compensation for the pawn is.}) 10... Bg7 11. Qd6 Qb6 {[#]} 12. Qxb6 ({ Alexander Grischuk played twice here against Vachier-Lagrave} 12. Qe5+) 12... axb6 13. Bb2 (13. Bxb7 $2 {would be very bad} Ra7 14. Bf3 Ne4) 13... Bc6 14. O-O Ke7 15. Nd5+ Bxd5 16. cxd5 Rhg8 17. d6+ Kxd6 18. Rad1+ Ke7 19. Be5 Rgd8 ( 19... Rxa2 20. Bd6+ Ke8 21. Bxb7 {would be similar.}) 20. Bxb7 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 Rd8 {Vachier-Lagrave plays it safe. Carlsen has a temporary initiative with his bishops but it quickly fades.} (21... Rxa2 22. Bd6+ Kd7 23. Bf8+ Kc7 24. Bxg7 Ne8 25. Be5+ Kxb7 26. Rd7+ Kc6 27. Rxf7 Nd6 {looks a bit crazy, but would have led to complete equality.}) 22. Rxd8 Kxd8 23. Kf1 {The players continue just long enough to reach move 40, required by the tournament rules.} Ne8 24. Bg3 Kd7 25. a4 f5 26. f3 Ke6 27. Bc8+ Kd5 28. Bb7+ Ke6 29. Bc6 Nd6 30. Bf2 Be5 31. h4 f4 32. exf4 Bxf4 33. a5 bxa5 34. Bxc5 Nf5 35. Bb6 Bd2 36. Bd8 Nd4 37. Ba4 Kd6 38. Kg2 Ne6 39. Bb6 Nc5 40. Bxc5+ Kxc5 1/2-1/2 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Karlsruhe/Baden Baden GER"] [Date "2018.04.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Caruana, F."] [Black "Naiditsch, A."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2784"] [BlackElo "2701"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2018.03.31"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. O-O Bd7 6. Re1 Be7 7. c3 O-O 8. h3 Re8 9. a4 Bf8 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bh4 g5 12. Bg3 Ne7 13. Bxd7 Qxd7 14. Nbd2 Ng6 15. Nc4 Rad8 16. Ne3 d5 17. exd5 Bg7 18. d4 exd4 19. cxd4 (19. Nxd4 Nxd5 20. Nxd5 Qxd5 21. Bxc7 Nh4 {and Caruana liked Black's compensation, especially if White has to bring the queen to f1.}) 19... Nxd5 20. Nxd5 Rxe1+ 21. Qxe1 Qxd5 22. Bxc7 Rc8 23. Rc1 {"When I played Rc1 I just kind of didn't realize Bd4 is possible!" -- Caruana.} (23. Bg3 f5 {didn't appeal to Caruana either.}) 23... Bxd4 (23... Nh4 24. Nxh4 gxh4 25. Be5 Rxc1 26. Qxc1 Bxe5 27. Qc8+ $1 Kg7 (27... Kh7 28. Qf5+) 28. Qg4+ Kf8 29. dxe5 Qxe5 30. Qxh4 {and Caruana admits it might still be a draw, but White is fighting for the win still.}) 24. Qd2 (24. Nxd4 Qxd4 {is "just nothing" for White according to Caruana, so he chose the text move, where he said, "at least the game isn't finishing immediately."}) 24... Qd7 25. Nxd4 Rxc7 26. Rxc7 Qxc7 27. Nf5 Kh7 28. g3 Ne5 {played after a long think, but Caruana wasn't a fan.} (28... Qc6) (28... Ne7 29. Nd6 {and "it's still not going away" Caruana said about his strong steed.}) 29. Qe3 Nc4 (29... f6 {and Caruana didn't see anything concrete, even though the move is not pretty.}) 30. Qc3 {Caruana saw until at least move 35 and determined that it was "very dangerous for Black."} Qe5 31. Qd3 (31. Qc2 Qxb2 32. Qxc4 Qb1+) 31... Nxb2 32. Qc2 Qe1+ 33. Kg2 (33. Kh2 Nxa4 34. Ne3+ Kg7 35. Qxa4 Qxf2+ 36. Ng2 { and Caruana said he didn't feel like he could ever get his pieces out.}) 33... Qd1 34. Qe4 Qxa4 $2 {A bridge too far.} (34... Qd3 35. Qe5 {mates}) (34... Qd7 {was the last chance to hold since} 35. Qe5 f6 $1 {and Black is hanging on! "Maybe it's not so easy." -- Caruana. It should be noted both players were low on time here.}) 35. Qxb7 Qa2 (35... Qc4 36. Ne3 {and the knight or f7 falls.} Qc3 37. Qxf7+ Qg7 38. Qf5+ Qg6 39. Qd7+ Qg7 40. Qc6 {And Black's knight is still flummoxed! Meanwhile Nf5 is returning.}) 36. Ne3 Kg7 37. Qb4 (37. Qb5 Na4 38. Qe5+ f6 {and Caruana again said Black's position looked awful but he couldn't find a win.}) 37... Qb1 (37... Na4 38. Qd4+ Kg6 (38... Kg8 39. Nf5) 39. Nd5) (37... a5 38. Qb6 {with Nf5 to follow.}) 38. g4 Kg8 39. Nf5 Qc2 40. Qb8+ Kh7 41. Qb7 Kh8 42. Qe7 1-0 [Event "Karlsruhe/Baden Baden GER"] [Site "Karlsruhe/Baden Baden GER"] [Date "2018.04.02"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2654"] [BlackElo "2789"] [Annotator "Albert Silver"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. b3 Bg7 5. Bb2 b6 6. Bg2 Bb7 7. O-O O-O 8. d4 cxd4 9. Qxd4 Nc6 10. Qc3 {Symmetrical English: Double Fianchetto and Hedgehog} Qc7 $146 {Though a novelty, tbhis isn't really that big a deal, since Qc7 is fairly standard and appears regulalry at this juncture or a move or two later. What matters is what follows.} ({Predecessor:} 10... Rc8 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. Qe1 Qb8 13. Nc3 Rfd8 14. Rac1 e6 15. Ng5 h6 16. Nge4 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Ne7 {1-0 (88) Aronian,L (2780)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2783) Leuven 2017}) 11. Rd1 Rad8 12. Na3 a6 13. Rac1 Rfe8 {[#] This is the real difference: if you compare with the Aronian game above, MVL had previously developed his rooks to c8 and d8. Here he chooses to place them on the central files. This is not at all obvious since the semi-open c-file for Black does seem to invite a rook.} 14. Qe1 (14. b4 $14 {was another possibility.}) 14... Qb8 15. Nc2 b5 16. c5 d5 {This is the idea. If White does not take en passant, Black hopes to create a powerful pawn center, with an excellent blockading knight on c6.} 17. cxd6 Rxd6 $11 18. Rxd6 Qxd6 19. Nfd4 Nd5 20. Ba3 Qd7 21. Nxc6 Bxc6 22. e4 Nc7 23. Nb4 (23. Rd1 $5 { was worth considering with the idea} Qc8 24. Ne3 $14 {and Black needs to think carefully as ...e6 would open the dark squares to White, notably the readily positioned Ba3.}) 23... Bb7 24. Rd1 Qc8 25. Qe3 a5 $1 26. Nd3 b4 27. Bb2 Bxb2 28. Nxb2 Nb5 29. Nc4 Nc3 30. Rd2 Rd8 31. Nxa5 Rxd2 32. Qxd2 Ba6 33. Bf1 $2 { In time trouble, the Chinese player blunders tragically.} (33. Bf3 $1 $11 { was the correct continuation.}) 33... Bxf1 $19 34. Kxf1 Qa8 ({And not} 34... Nxe4 35. Qxb4 Qc2 36. Qb8+ Kg7 37. Qe5+ f6 38. Qxe7+ Kh6 39. Qa7 $11) 35. Nc4 Qxe4 {[#] Threatening Qh1 mate.} 36. Kg1 Ne2+ 37. Kf1 Nd4 38. f3 Qxf3+ 39. Qf2 Qh1+ 40. Qg1 Qe4 41. Qf2 f6 42. Ne3 Kf7 43. h4 Qh1+ 44. Qg1 Qxg1+ 45. Kxg1 Ne2+ 46. Kf2 Nc3 0-1 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Karlsruhe/Baden Baden GER"] [Date "2018.04.02"] [Round "3.5"] [White "Meier, Georg"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2648"] [BlackElo "2784"] [Annotator "Albert Silver"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Qf6 6. d4 exd4 7. Bg5 Qd6 8. Nxd4 Be7 9. Be3 {This is hardly the first time Caruana plays the Ruy Lopez Exchange, and nor is it the first time he ekes out a win with it.} Nh6 (9... Nf6 10. f3 O-O 11. Nd2 c5 12. Nc4 Qd8 13. Ne2 Qe8 14. Bf4 b5 15. Ne3 c4 16. Kh1 Qc6 17. Nd4 Qb6 18. Ndf5 Bc5 19. Qe1 g6 20. Nh6+ Kg7 21. g4 Bb7 22. g5 Nh5 23. Be5+ f6 24. gxf6+ Nxf6 25. Neg4 Bd4 26. Bxd4 Qxd4 27. Rd1 Qxb2 28. Nxf6 Qxf6 29. Ng4 Qf4 30. Rd7+ Rf7 31. Qc3+ Kg8 32. Rxf7 Kxf7 33. Rd1 Rf8 34. Kg2 Bc8 35. h3 Kg8 36. e5 Qg5 37. Qd4 Bb7 38. Kh2 Bxf3 39. Nf6+ Kg7 40. Rg1 Qf5 41. Kg3 Bc6 42. h4 Rf7 43. Qe3 Re7 44. Ng4 h5 45. Qh6+ Kg8 46. Nf6+ Kf7 47. Qh7+ Ke6 48. Qg8+ Kxe5 49. Re1+ Kd4 {0-1 (49) Naiditsch,A (2716)-Caruana,F (2757) Baden-Baden 2013}) 10. Qd2 g5 (10... Qg6 11. f3 Bd7 12. Nc3 O-O-O 13. Qf2 f6 14. Nce2 Qe8 15. Ng3 Nf7 16. f4 g6 17. Rae1 c5 18. Nde2 b6 19. c4 f5 20. Nc3 Qf8 21. Nd5 Bh4 22. Qf3 Nd6 23. exf5 gxf5 24. Bf2 Kb8 25. Qb3 Bc6 26. Bxc5 Qf7 27. Bd4 Nxc4 28. Nb4 Bb5 29. Bxh8 Rxh8 30. a4 Bd7 31. Nxa6+ Kc8 32. Rc1 Be6 33. Qb5 Bf6 34. b3 Bd4+ 35. Kh1 Nd6 36. Qc6 Bc5 {1-0 (36) Naiditsch,A (2724) -Maiorov,N (2548) Bastia 2013}) 11. Nf3 Rg8 $11 {If you thought the Exchange variation was supposed to lead to peace and love positions, think again.} 12. h4 Qg6 13. hxg5 Ng4 14. Nc3 h6 15. Bf4 Be6 16. Bxc7 Rc8 17. Bb6 hxg5 18. Ne2 c5 19. Ng3 Rh8 {Black's king is still stuck in the center, but since White has zero pressure against it, and is trying to avoid being caught by the tsunami building up, there is no problem.} 20. Rfd1 Qh6 21. b4 (21. Qd3 $11 {keeps the balance.}) 21... cxb4 $17 22. Bd4 f6 $1 23. c3 bxc3 $2 ({Black should play} 23... Bd6 $19 24. e5 Bxe5 25. Bxe5 Nxe5 26. Nxe5 fxe5) 24. Bxc3 $11 Kf7 (24... Bc5 $15 25. Bd4 Bd6) 25. Rac1 $1 Rc4 26. Bd4 b5 27. Qa5 Nh2 28. Qxa6 $2 (28. Ne1 $1 $11 {and White was ok.}) 28... Nxf3+ $1 $19 {Finally!} 29. gxf3 {[#]} g4 $2 (29... Qh2+ $1 $19 {was even stronger.} 30. Kf1 Rhc8 31. Qxc8 Bxc8) 30. f4 $17 {[#]} Qxf4 (30... Qh2+ $142 $1 31. Kf1 Rhc8) 31. Rxc4 bxc4 32. Be3 Qf3 $36 33. Rd6 $2 Rh3 34. Rxe6 Rxg3+ $1 {Black mates.} 35. fxg3 Qxe3+ 36. Kh2 Qf2+ 37. Kh1 Qf1+ 0-1 [Event "5th GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Vitiugov, Nikita"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2735"] [BlackElo "2776"] [Annotator "KGBesenthal"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 {[#] Skeptics of the French Defence will surely figure this must be good for White, since it's playable even with black to move!} 5. Nf3 Bxc5 6. Bd3 Ne7 7. O-O Ng6 8. a3 O-O 9. Nbd2 Nc6 10. b4 Bb6 11. Bb2 Nf4 12. Nb3 a5 13. Qd2 Nxd3 14. cxd3 {[#]} d4 {This push must be calculated exactly. But everything works and it quickly becomes a fully balanced position.} 15. bxa5 Bxa5 16. Nxa5 Rxa5 17. Nxd4 Nxe5 18. Rfe1 Rd5 19. Rxe5 Rxe5 20. Nc6 bxc6 21. Bxe5 f6 22. Bc3 c5 {[#] The game is clearly headed for a draw.} 23. d4 cxd4 24. Qxd4 Qxd4 25. Bxd4 Rd8 26. Bb6 Rd6 27. Bc5 Rd5 28. Be3 Bd7 29. h3 Ba4 30. Rc1 Rd1+ 31. Rxd1 Bxd1 32. f3 e5 33. h4 h5 34. Kf2 Kf7 35. Ke1 Ba4 36. Kf2 {Essentially a draw offer.} Bd1 37. Ke1 Ba4 38. Kf2 1/2-1/2 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.04.05"] [Round "5.4"] [White "Meier, Georg"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E08"] [WhiteElo "2648"] [BlackElo "2843"] [Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 {Another pet opening by the German GM.} Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Qc2 c6 9. Bf4 Ne4 10. h4 {Prophylaxis.} ({ After:} 10. Nc3 {Black can expand on the kingside with} g5 11. Bc1 f5 12. b3 b6 13. Bb2 Bb7 14. Rad1 Qe8 {which will lead to a position typical for the Dutch Stonewall, Le,Q (2739)-Nakamura,H (2792) Saint Louis 2017}) 10... Ndf6 { "I knew this line is bad, but decided to play it." (Carlsen). Apparently, the world champion wanted to avoid dry positions even at the expense of some risk.} 11. Nbd2 $146 {Solid and a novelty.} ({The only predecessor was an email game which also saw White gaining advantage after:} 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. Qxc3 b6 13. Ne5 Bb7 14. b4 a5 15. c5 axb4 16. Qxb4 Ra6 17. Rfb1 Ba8 18. a4 bxc5 19. dxc5 Qa5 20. Qxa5 Rxa5 21. Bd2 {Ilonen,I (2228)-Jones,I (2256) ICCF email 2016}) 11... Nxd2 12. Nxd2 Nh5 {There is nothing else. Black needs to get something in return for the poor bishop on c8. Therefore- Stonewall set-up and central control.} 13. Be3 f5 14. Bf3 Qe8 (14... f4 $5 {was interesting, with the idea} 15. Bxh5 fxe3 16. fxe3 Qd6 17. Kg2 e5 {and compensation for the pawn.}) 15. Bg5 Nf6 16. e3 b6 17. Rac1 Ba6 ({Objectively correct and approximately equal was the way that Carlsen suggested-} 17... Ne4 18. Bxe7 Qxe7 19. Nxe4 fxe4 20. Be2 Bb7 {But then, how to fight for a win?}) 18. a3 Ne4 19. Bxe7 Qxe7 20. Be2 Bb7 21. b4 Rac8 {"This was ridiculous obviously, but I wanted to keep on fighting. " (Carlsen)} 22. c5 {Meier seizes the initiative on his flank, Carlsen nees to hurry with counterplay.} e5 23. dxe5 Qxe5 24. Nxe4 fxe4 25. Qc3 Qf5 26. a4 g5 { "A kind of complete bluff. It is very hard to evaluate with little time on the clock." (Carlsen)} (26... Qh3 {intending Rf8-f3xg3+ and perpetual was objectively best. "But I did not want a draw." (Carlsen). He almost succeeded.. .}) 27. hxg5 {Solid play by Meier.} ({On} 27. h5 {the world champion planned} g4 28. h6 Rc7 29. cxb6 axb6 30. Qd4 Rcf7 31. Qxb6 Ba8 {followed by Rf7-f6xh6, Qf5-h5 and mate. But this might not be as simple. Say:} 32. b5 Rf6 33. Qc7 Rxh6 34. Qf4 $1 {White defends the kingside and crashes through the other.}) ({ Surprisingly, there is even a move} 27. f4 $1 {Computer generated of course. Then} Qh3 $2 {which looks like refutation allows counter-attack} ({If} 27... gxh4 28. g4 {is much better for White.}) 28. Rf2 Qxg3+ 29. Rg2 Qxh4 30. Rxg5+ { and White wins.}) 27... Qxg5 28. Kg2 Rc7 29. Rh1 Rg7 {Black's initiative looks scary, especially in the approaching time-trouble.} 30. Rcg1 $1 {An important move according to Carlsen.} ({If} 30. Rcf1 {he planned} Bc8 {when} 31. Rh5 { loses to} ({Then Black saw} 31. cxb6 Bg4 32. Bxg4 Qxg4 33. Qxc6 ({Carlsen missed the defense} 33. Rh3 $1 {when White might be in fact better.}) 33... Qf3+ 34. Kh2 Rg5 35. Qe6+ Kh8 {with mate.} 36. Kg1 Rxg3+ 37. fxg3 Qxg3#) 31... Rxf2+ $1 32. Rxf2 Qxg3+ 33. Kf1 Qg1#) 30... Qf5 ({Here} 30... Bc8 {does not work due to} 31. Rh5 Qg6 32. Rh4 {(Carlsen)}) ({Carlsen also did not see anything for him after} 30... bxc5 31. Qxc5 Qf6 32. Rf1 Qb2 33. Re1 Rgf7 (33... Qe5 $1 {is actually strong, renewing the threat Rf8xf2!}) 34. Rhf1) 31. Rf1 { Now White is ready for b4-b5.} Ba6 {"I actually saw that this does not work, but played it anyway."(Carlsen)} 32. b5 ({Since if} 32. Rh5 {Black can sacrifice the queen} Bxe2 $1 33. Rxf5 Rxf5 34. Rh1 Bf3+ 35. Kg1 Bxh1 36. Kxh1 Rxf2 {with unclear consequences.}) 32... cxb5 33. Rh5 Qf7 34. Qe5 $1 {Another excellent defensive (or rather counter-attacking) move. The kingside is defended and Meier seizes the initiative. It was only the time-trouble which did not let him win the game.} Bb7 ({Objectively best, but rather sad was:} 34... bxc5 35. Qxd5 Qxd5 36. Rxd5 Bb7 37. Rxc5 bxa4 38. Ra1 Kh8 {(Carlsen)}) 35. cxb6 bxa4 36. bxa7 Ba8 37. Rg5 ({For the time trouble, Leko's suggestion was "more professional"} 37. Rh6 $1 {with the idea:} Qxa7 38. Bg4 Qe7 39. Be6+ Kh8 40. Rxh7+ Kxh7 41. Qh5#) 37... Qxa7 38. Bg4 $1 {Missed by Black. If this was move forty, Black would not escape, but there are two more moves to the time control...} Kh8 39. Ra1 {Missing the golden chance!} ({Carlsen thought that} 39. Rb1 {with the idea} Qe7 ({But there is a defense.} 39... Qc7) 40. Rb8 $1 {is very strong.}) (39. Rh5 {would be winning, but in a very difficult way} Qe7 40. Rxh7+ Kxh7 41. Rh1+ Kg8 (41... Kg6 42. Qh5+ Kf6 43. Qf5#) 42. Be6+ Rff7 43. Rh6 $3 Bc6 44. Qh5 Rh7 45. Rxh7 Qxe6 46. Rh6) ({The best was} 39. Rh1 Qe7 40. Rxh7+ Kxh7 41. Rh5+ {and now both players missed the mate after} Kg6 ({ Also difficult is the win after} 41... Kg8 42. Be6+ Rff7 43. Bxf7+ Kxf7 44. Qf4+ Kg8 45. Qb8+ Kf7 46. Qxa8 {but it is a win.}) 42. Rh6+ $3 Kf7 (42... Kxh6 43. Qh5#) 43. Qh5+ Rg6 44. Qxg6#) 39... Qe7 40. Qxg7+ Qxg7 41. Rxg7 Kxg7 42. Rxa4 Bc6 43. Rb4 1/2-1/2 [Event "Baden-Baden"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.05"] [Round "5"] [White "Meier, Georg"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2636"] [BlackElo "2843"] [Annotator "KGBesenthal"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Qc2 c6 9. Bf4 Ne4 10. h4 Ndf6 11. Nbd2 Nxd2 12. Nxd2 Nh5 13. Be3 f5 {[#] Carlsen has switched over to the Stonewall structure, which was already on the agenda on move 10. The World Champion has used the Dutch Stonewall successfully several times in the past.} 14. Bf3 Qe8 (14... f4 {was certainly critical:} 15. Bxh5 fxe3 16. fxe3 Qd6 17. Rxf8+ Bxf8 18. Kg2 e5 $44) 15. Bg5 Nf6 16. e3 b6 17. Rac1 Ba6 18. a3 Ne4 19. Bxe7 Qxe7 20. Be2 Bb7 21. b4 Rac8 22. c5 e5 23. dxe5 Qxe5 24. Nxe4 fxe4 25. Qc3 Qf5 26. a4 g5 27. hxg5 Qxg5 28. Kg2 Rc7 29. Rh1 Rg7 30. Rcg1 Qf5 31. Rf1 {[#]} Ba6 32. b5 $1 (32. Bxa6 $4 Qf3+ 33. Kh2 Rg6 {etc. would have led to mate.}) 32... cxb5 33. Rh5 Qf7 34. Qe5 { Meier has blunted the Carlsen attack and is even better now.} Bb7 35. cxb6 bxa4 {Carlsen wants to win...} ({...but} 35... axb6 36. axb5 Qf6 {looks more solid.} ) 36. bxa7 Ba8 37. Rg5 Qxa7 38. Bg4 Kh8 {[#] Black's position is hanging from a thread, and Meier had multiple winning moves!} 39. Ra1 {But after this move is all the advantage gone.} (39. Rf5) ({or} 39. Rh1 {would have won. The weak point in the black position is surprisingly h7. White knows this point can be easily attack twice. If Black then goes with the king to g8, Be6+ etc. is game over.}) 39... Qe7 40. Qxg7+ Qxg7 41. Rxg7 Kxg7 42. Rxa4 Bc6 43. Rb4 1/2-1/2 [Event "5th GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.05"] [Round "5"] [White "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Black "Bluebaum, Matthias"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2701"] [BlackElo "2616"] [Annotator "KGBesenthal"] [PlyCount "130"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. b3 Be7 5. Bb2 O-O 6. Nc3 dxc4 7. bxc4 c5 8. Rg1 Nc6 9. g4 {[#] The white attack attempt may look double-edged, but it is by no means easy for Black to handle it adequately. Incidentally, this has already been played in a blitz game between Grischuk and Kramnik, won by Grischuk.} e5 10. g5 Ne8 11. Qb1 f5 12. gxf6 Nxf6 13. Be2 Kh8 14. Ng5 h6 15. Nf3 Ne8 16. Nd5 Bf5 17. d3 Bd6 18. Bc3 Rb8 19. Qb2 {[#] Black had already spent a lot of time thinking about this. In fact, there was no clear remedy against the white attack on kingside - something like the proverbial "counter-attack in the center" wasn't available. So Black was dependent on piece play but his choice was rather drastic.} Bxd3 {He finds the counter-attack in the centre after all. The small combination wins a pawn, but the postion falls clearly in White's favour.} 20. Bxd3 Rxf3 21. Qe2 $1 Rf8 22. Qh5 Ne7 {[#] White has a winning position: All the pieces are well placed and ready to attack the black king position.} 23. Rxg7 (23. f4 {to open the c3-g7 diagonal of for the bishop looks more sustainable.}) 23... Kxg7 (23... Nxg7 24. Qxh6+ Kg8 25. Nxe7+ {wins. }) 24. O-O-O {The thing is now, despite the continued white advantage, matters are not so clear.} (24. f4 {was still good here too.}) 24... Rf7 $1 25. Rg1+ Kf8 26. Qxh6+ Rg7 27. Rxg7 Nxg7 28. Qf6+ Kg8 29. Bxe5 Nef5 30. Bxf5 Qxf6 31. Nxf6+ Kf7 32. Bxd6 Rd8 33. Bc7 Rh8 34. Be4 Kxf6 35. Bxb7 Nf5 36. Bf4 Rg8 37. a4 Rg1+ 38. Kd2 Rb1 39. Bc6 Rb2+ 40. Ke1 Rb4 {[#] The players reach time control. Rarely do you see that a player survives such a strong attack unscathed. Now Bluebaum manages to reach a draw step-by-step.} 41. a5 Rxc4 42. a6 Rb4 43. Bb7 Ke6 44. Bc8+ Kf6 45. Kd2 Rb2+ 46. Kd3 Rxf2 47. Ke4 Ra2 48. Be5+ Kg5 49. Bb8 Ra4+ 50. Ke5 c4 51. Bxf5 Ra5+ 52. Kd4 Kxf5 53. Bxa7 Rxa6 54. Bc5 Ra4 55. e4+ Ke6 56. Kc3 Ke5 57. Bb4 Ra2 58. Kxc4 Rxh2 59. Kd3 Rh3+ 60. Ke2 Kxe4 61. Kf2 Rb3 62. Bd6 Rb2+ 63. Kg3 Rc2 64. Bb8 Rc3+ 65. Kg2 Rb3 {This endgame is a draw - the simple rule to follow is that the king should head for the corner of the color opposite his bishop, as every grandmaster of course knows.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "5th GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.05"] [Round "5"] [White "Vachier Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2767"] [Annotator "KGBesenthal"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4 b4 9. a5 d6 10. d3 Be6 11. Bxe6 fxe6 12. h3 Qb8 13. c3 Qb5 14. c4 Qb7 15. Nbd2 Nd7 16. Nb3 Nd8 17. d4 exd4 18. Nbxd4 {[#] The game is completely equal - there are hardly any plans for either side to make any progress.} c5 {The beginning of an interesting sequence which, however, only leads to a draw.} ( 18... Bf6 {also came into question.}) 19. Nxe6 (19. Nb3 Nc6 20. Ng5 Nd8 21. Nf3 Nc6 {would have been another way to draw.}) 19... Nxe6 20. Qd5 Qxd5 21. exd5 { [#]} Rxf3 $1 {Best from black's point of view.} 22. gxf3 Ne5 23. Rxe5 dxe5 24. dxe6 Rd8 25. Be3 g5 26. Kf1 Kg7 27. Ke2 Kf6 {[#]} 28. Rd1 Rxd1 29. Kxd1 Kxe6 30. Kc2 Kf5 {Nothing works now.} (30... Kd6 {would be an attempt had been to win a pawn via Bd8 soon, but it would have allowed the white king to invade on f5.}) 31. Kd3 Bd6 32. b3 Be7 33. Bc1 Bd6 34. Be3 Be7 35. Bc1 Bd6 36. Be3 1/2-1/2 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Karlsruhe/Baden Baden GER"] [Date "2018.04.06"] [Round "6"] [White "Bluebaum, M."] [Black "Anand, V."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "2631"] [BlackElo "2776"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2018.03.31"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 dxc4 4. e3 b5 5. a4 b4 6. Bxc4 Nf6 7. a5 (7. O-O Be7 8. Qe2 O-O 9. b3 Bb7 10. Bb2 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 c5 {Bu,X (2730)-Inarkiev,E (2689) Riadh 2017}) 7... a6 8. Nbd2 Bb7 9. O-O c5 10. Nb3 Nbd7 11. dxc5 $146 (11. Qe2 Bd6 12. Rd1 Qc7 13. dxc5 Nxc5 14. Nxc5 Qxc5 {Alfaro,W (2181)-Quesada Perez,Y (2541) Managua 2017}) 11... Nxc5 12. Nxc5 Bxc5 13. Qa4+ Qd7 14. Qxd7+ Nxd7 15. Bd2 Ke7 16. Rac1 Rhc8 17. Nd4 Ne5 18. Be2 Bd6 19. Rfd1 Bd5 $2 {In a position that Bluebaum expected to be drawn soon, Anand goes for a direct but risky approach. he must have missed something in his calculations.} 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. Bxa6 Ra8 22. Bf1 Rxa5 23. Nb5 $1 {Strong.} Bc5 24. Rc1 Ra2 (24... Nd7 25. Rxc5 Nxc5 26. Bxb4 Ra1 27. Bxc5+ Kd7 28. Nd6 {Bluebaum}) 25. Rxc5 Rxb2 26. e4 $1 ( 26. Bc1 Rb1 {Bluebaum}) 26... Rxd2 27. exd5 exd5 28. Rc1 b3 29. Rb1 b2 (29... Nc4 $5 30. Nc3 Na5) 30. Nc3 Nc4 31. Nxd5+ Rxd5 32. Bxc4 Rc5 33. Re1+ Kf6 (33... Kd6 34. Ba2 $1 Rc1 35. Kf1 Kc5 36. Ke2 Kd4 37. Kd2 {Bluebaum}) 34. Bd3 Rd5 35. Bb1 h5 36. g3 g5 37. Kg2 g4 38. Re2 Rb5 39. Re8 Rd5 40. Re2 Rb5 41. h4 Kg7 42. Re7 Rd5 43. Rb7 Rd2 44. Ba2 Kh6 45. Bxf7 1-0 [Event "Karlsruhe/Baden Baden GER"] [Site "Karlsruhe/Baden Baden GER"] [Date "2018.04.06"] [Round "6"] [White "Carlsen, M."] [Black "Aronian, L."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A18"] [WhiteElo "2843"] [BlackElo "2794"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2018.03.31"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. e4 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. e5 Ne4 6. Nf3 Bf5 7. d3 Nxc3 8. bxc3 c5 9. d4 c4 $146 (9... Nc6 10. Bd3 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 Be7 12. dxc5 Bxc5 13. O-O Qd7 14. Re1 Be7 15. Be3 O-O 16. Rad1 Rad8 {Grischuk,A (2767)-Nakamura,H (2787) Moscow 2018}) 10. g3 Be7 11. Bg2 Bd3 12. Ng1 Qa5 13. Bd2 Nc6 14. Ne2 Ba3 15. O-O O-O 16. Re1 Rad8 {"A critical moment." (Carlsen)} 17. Bg5 (17. Nf4 Bb2 18. e6 Bxa1 19. Qxa1 Ne7 20. exf7+ Rxf7 21. Ne6 Re8 {Carlsen}) 17... Bb2 18. Bxd8 Rxd8 {"I remembered that I analyzed this position but I didn't remember what was my intention." (Aronian)} 19. Rc1 Bxe2 (19... Bxc1 20. Qxc1 Qxa2 21. Nf4 Qa5 22. e6 {Aronian}) 20. Qxe2 ({It took a while for the players to notice that after} 20. Rxe2 Bxc3 21. e6 Bxd4 (21... fxe6 22. Rxe6 Bb2 {White has} ( 22... Nxd4 23. Re7 Qa3 24. Re3) 23. Qe2 $1) 22. exf7+ Kxf7 23. Rb1 $1 b6 24. a4 $1 a6 25. Qc2) 20... Bxc1 ({Leko showed the line} 20... Bxc3 21. e6 Bxe1 22. exf7+ Kxf7 23. Rxe1 g6 24. Qe6+ Kg7 25. Rb1 Qc7 26. Bxd5 {and the players thought that his} Qd7 $1 {was very nice here. Black probably holds.}) 21. Rxc1 Qa3 22. Qe3 b5 23. e6 f6 24. h4 Ne7 25. Rb1 a6 26. Qd2 Qd6 {Aronian didn't like this move but it's hard to think of a plan and avoid White's a2-a4.} ( 26... Nc6 {is "asking too much of the position." (Carlsen)}) 27. a4 bxa4 28. Qa2 a3 29. Rb4 h5 30. Qxa3 Nc6 ({Earlier Aronian had planned} 30... a5 { but here he noticed that it fails to} 31. Qxa5 $1 Nc6 32. Qxd5 (32. Qc5 Qxc5 33. dxc5 Nxb4 34. cxb4 Kf8 35. c6 c3) 32... Qxd5 ({the big trick was} 32... Nxb4 33. Qxc4 $1) 33. Bxd5 Rxd5 34. Rb6 Rd6 (34... Ne7 35. Rb8+ Kh7 36. Rb7 Ng6 37. e7 Nxe7 38. Rxe7 {is a winning rook ending}) 35. d5 Rxd5 36. Rxc6 Rd1+ 37. Kg2 Re1 38. Kf3 {with good winning chances.}) 31. Ra4 Qxa3 32. Rxa3 a5 33. e7 Nxe7 34. Rxa5 Rb8 35. Bxd5+ Nxd5 36. Rxd5 Rb3 37. Rxh5 Rxc3 38. Rc5 Rc1+ 39. Kg2 c3 40. Kf3 c2 41. Kf4 Rd1 42. Rxc2 Rxd4+ 43. Kf5 Kh7 44. f4 Ra4 45. Rc5 Kh6 46. Rd5 Ra6 47. g4 g6+ 48. Ke4 Ra4+ 49. Rd4 Ra5 50. Rd5 Ra4+ 51. Ke3 Ra3+ 52. Rd3 Ra6 1/2-1/2 [Event "Karlsruhe/Baden Baden GER"] [Site "Karlsruhe/Baden Baden GER"] [Date "2018.04.06"] [Round "6"] [White "Carlsen, M."] [Black "Aronian, L."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A18"] [WhiteElo "2843"] [BlackElo "2794"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2018.03.31"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. e4 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. e5 (5. exd5 Nxd5 6. d4) 5... Ne4 6. Nf3 Bf5 7. d3 Nxc3 8. bxc3 c5 9. d4 c4 $146 {A novelty. Black closes the center and stabilizes the position. The arising situation resembles the Ragozin defense.} ({Grischuk got an advantage against Nakamura after:} 9... Nc6 10. Bd3 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 Be7 12. dxc5 Bxc5 13. O-O Qd7 14. Re1 Be7 15. Be3 O-O 16. Rad1 Rad8 {Grischuk,A (2767)-Nakamura,H (2787) Moscow 2018}) 10. g3 {Obviously, White would be happy to attack the center as early as possible.} Be7 11. Bg2 Bd3 {But this is a problem.} 12. Ng1 Qa5 13. Bd2 ({An interesting option was:} 13. Ne2 $5 {with the idea to meet} Bxe2 {with} 14. Kxe2 Qxc3 15. Bxd5) 13... Nc6 14. Ne2 Ba3 {Aronian got out of the opening quite comfortably. He has good development and is even threatening to win the exchange.} 15. O-O O-O (15... Bb2 $2 {is asking for too much, too early. Black would lose to:} 16. Rb1 Bxb1 17. Qxb1 Qb6 (17... Ba3 18. Qxb7) 18. Bxd5) 16. Re1 Rad8 {"A critical moment." (Carlsen)} 17. Bg5 ({Carlsen's intuition was pushing him towards the line:} 17. Nf4 Bb2 18. e6 Bxa1 19. Qxa1 Ne7 20. exf7+ Rxf7 21. Ne6 Re8 {(Carlsen) and this might be better for him after} (21... Rd7 $5 {might be stronger, with a possible line} 22. Nc5 Rc7 23. Bh3 Bf5 24. Bxf5 Rxf5 ({Not} 24... Nxf5 $6 25. Re8+ Rf8 26. Qe1 {with dangerous attack for White.}) 25. Ne6 Rd7 26. Nc5 Rc7) 22. Nc5 Qb5 23. Re6 Bf5 24. a4 Qa5 25. Re5) 17... Bb2 {Aronian forces matters.} ({Since} 17... Rde8 {lets the white pieces out} 18. Qd2) 18. Bxd8 Rxd8 { "I remembered that I analyzed this position but I didn't remember what was my intention." (Aronian)} 19. Rc1 Bxe2 {Also safe play by Aronian.} ({Not} 19... Bxc1 20. Qxc1 Qxa2 21. Nf4 Qa5 22. e6 $1 {Aronian When White's attack is really devastating. For example:} fxe6 23. Nxe6 Re8 24. Nc5 Rxe1+ 25. Qxe1 Qd8 26. Qe6+ {and White wins.}) 20. Qxe2 ({It took a while for the players to notice that after} 20. Rxe2 Bxc3 21. e6 fxe6 (21... Bxd4 22. exf7+ Kxf7 23. Rb1 $1 b6 24. a4 $1 a6 25. Qc2) 22. Rxe6 Bb2 {White has} (22... Nxd4 23. Re7 Qa3 24. Re3) 23. Qe2 $1 {and Black is helpless. The main threat is mate:} Bxc1 ({ But the bishop is also hanging.} 23... h6 24. Qxb2) 24. Re8+ Rxe8 (24... Kf7 25. Qe6#) 25. Qxe8#) 20... Bxc1 ({Leko showed the line} 20... Bxc3 21. e6 Bxe1 22. exf7+ Kxf7 23. Rxe1 g6 24. Qe6+ Kg7 25. Rb1 Qc7 26. Bxd5 {and the players thought that his} Qd7 $1 {was very nice here. Black probably holds. Although he has to suffer in the endgame after:} 27. Bxc4 Qxe6 28. Bxe6 b6 29. Rc1 Nxd4 30. Rc7+ Kf6 31. Bh3 Nf3+ 32. Kg2 Ne5 33. Rxa7 Rd2) 21. Rxc1 Qa3 {The queen not only attacks the rook, it is ready to get back and help the king.} 22. Qe3 b5 23. e6 f6 24. h4 Ne7 25. Rb1 a6 26. Qd2 Qd6 {Aronian didn't like this move but it's hard to think of a plan and avoid White's a2-a4.} (26... Nc6 {is "asking too much of the position." (Carlsen) But most likely White needs to force a draw with say:} 27. Re1 Ne7 28. Rb1) 27. a4 $1 {Otherwise Black's queenside majority may become way too dangerous.} bxa4 28. Qa2 a3 29. Rb4 h5 ( 29... a5 30. Rb5 Ra8 {was probably safer.}) 30. Qxa3 Nc6 $1 ({Earlier Aronian had planned} 30... a5 {but here he noticed that it fails to} 31. Qxa5 $1 Nc6 32. Qxd5 $3 Qxd5 ({the big trick was} 32... Nxb4 33. Qxc4 $1 {and White wins thanks to the discovered check threat.}) 33. Bxd5 Rxd5 34. Rb6 Rd6 (34... Ne7 35. Rb8+ Kh7 36. Rb7 Ng6 37. e7 Nxe7 38. Rxe7 {is a winning rook ending}) 35. d5 Rxd5 36. Rxc6 Rd1+ 37. Kg2 Re1 38. Kf3 {with good winning chances.}) 31. Ra4 Qxa3 32. Rxa3 a5 33. e7 Nxe7 34. Rxa5 {Almost everything disappeared and next burst of activity practically seals the draw:} Rb8 35. Bxd5+ Nxd5 36. Rxd5 Rb3 37. Rxh5 Rxc3 38. Rc5 Rc1+ 39. Kg2 c3 40. Kf3 c2 41. Kf4 (41. d5 Rd1) 41... Rd1 42. Rxc2 Rxd4+ 43. Kf5 {White'sextra pawn does not mean much as the pawns are facing each other and will be swapped.} Kh7 44. f4 Ra4 45. Rc5 Kh6 46. Rd5 Ra6 47. g4 g6+ 48. Ke4 Ra4+ 49. Rd4 Ra5 50. Rd5 Ra4+ 51. Ke3 Ra3+ 52. Rd3 Ra6 1/2-1/2 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.04.06"] [Round "6.5"] [White "Bluebaum, Matthias"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D21"] [WhiteElo "2631"] [BlackElo "2776"] [Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 dxc4 4. e3 b5 5. a4 b4 6. Bxc4 Nf6 7. a5 (7. O-O Be7 8. Qe2 O-O 9. b3 Bb7 10. Bb2 Nbd7 {Bu,X (2730)-Inarkiev,E (2689) Riadh 2017}) 7... a6 8. Nbd2 Bb7 9. O-O c5 10. Nb3 Nbd7 11. dxc5 $146 (11. Qe2 Bd6 12. Rd1 Qc7 13. dxc5 Nxc5 14. Nxc5 Qxc5 {Alfaro,W (2181)-Quesada Perez, Y (2541) Managua 2017}) 11... Nxc5 12. Nxc5 Bxc5 13. Qa4+ Qd7 14. Qxd7+ Nxd7 15. Bd2 Ke7 16. Rac1 Rhc8 17. Nd4 Ne5 18. Be2 Bd6 19. Rfd1 Bd5 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. Bxa6 Ra8 22. Bf1 Rxa5 23. Nb5 Bc5 24. Rc1 Ra2 (24... Nd7 25. Rxc5 Nxc5 26. Bxb4 Ra1 27. Bxc5+ Kd7 28. Nd6 $1 (28. Na3 Be4 29. Nc4 Rxf1+ 30. Kxf1 Bd3+ 31. Ke1 Bxc4)) 25. Rxc5 Rxb2 26. e4 $1 (26. Bc1 Rb1) 26... Rxd2 27. exd5 exd5 28. Rc1 b3 29. Rb1 b2 30. Nc3 Nc4 31. Nxd5+ Rxd5 32. Bxc4 Rc5 33. Re1+ Kf6 (33... Kd6 34. Ba2 (34. Bd3 Rc1 35. Kf1 Kc5) 34... Rc1 35. Kf1 Kc5 36. Ke2 Kd4 37. Kd2) 34. Bd3 Rd5 35. Bb1 h5 36. g3 g5 37. Kg2 g4 38. Re2 Rb5 39. Re8 Rd5 40. Re2 Rb5 41. h4 Kg7 42. Re7 Rd5 43. Rb7 Rd2 44. Ba2 Kh6 45. Bxf7 1-0 [Event "Baden-Baden"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.07"] [Round "8"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2804"] [Annotator "DF"] [PlyCount "72"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 {Presumably, White was looking for the 'nonsense' with ...Bb4 3.Qb3 etc.} Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O e4 (6... Re8 {is my preference with Black, not 'forgiving' White for missing his chances to force the win of my bishop-pair.}) ({The recent fashion is} 6... d6 {: Black would like to revert to lines with the bishop on a7.} 7. d3 Re8 (7... h6 $5 {is okay despite its slow appearance.} 8. Bd2 a6 9. a3 (9. Nd5 Bxd2 10. Qxd2 Rb8 $11) 9... Bc5 10. b4 Ba7 11. e3 Rb8 12. Qc2 Bf5 13. Rab1 Qd7 $11 {Vidit,S-Gupta,A chess.com INT 2018}) 8. Rb1 $5 {An interesting innovation- it is not clear what Black's waiting move should be.} (8. Na4 d5 9. cxd5 Nxd5 10. Bg5 f6 11. Bd2 Bf8 12. Rc1 Be6 $132 {Dubov,D-Karjakin,S Moscow 2018}) (8. Nd5 Nxd5 9. cxd5 Ne7 10. a3 Ba5 11. b4 Bb6 12. Nd2 c6 13. dxc6 Nxc6 14. Bb2 a6 15. Rc1 Be6 16. e3 Qd7 $11 {Gelfand,B-Inarkiev,E Palma de Mallorca 2017}) 8... Bg4 $6 (8... Rb8 $5 $146 9. Bd2 Bf5 $132) 9. h3 Be6 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bxf6 Qxf6 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. cxd5 Nd4 14. Nxd4 exd4 15. Qb3 $14 {Eljanov,P-Kryvoruchko,Y Riadh 2017}) 7. Ng5 Bxc3 8. bxc3 Re8 9. Qc2 (9. d3 {was the move I prepared when learning the English from my then-coach (now a senior figure in chess politics) GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili.} exd3 10. exd3 {Here Black can play in all sorts of ways, but in general should not be worse, e.g.} h6 ({The creative} 10... b6 $5 {looks okay too}) 11. Ne4 d6 12. Rb1 Ne5 $5 13. f3 (13. Nxf6+ Qxf6 14. Bf4 Rb8 $11) 13... Rb8 14. Be3 b6 15. Qd2 Nh7 16. g4 f5 17. gxf5 Bxf5 18. Rbe1 Qd7 $132 { Danin,A-Gabrielian,A Voronezh 2012}) (9. f3 $5 {is original-looking and possibly underestimated.} exf3 (9... e3 $5 10. d3 d5 11. cxd5 Nxd5 12. Ne4 f5 13. Qb3 $1 $14) 10. Nxf3 {Here Black has many moves, but a good illustration of White's possibilities was given by... Caruana, from the other side of the board.} d5 11. d4 dxc4 12. Qc2 h6 13. Bf4 Ne4 14. Rad1 Bf5 15. Ne5 Nd6 (15... Nxg3 16. e4 Nxf1 17. exf5 Nxh2 18. Bxh2 $132) 16. e4 $1 $14 {Caruana,F-Anand,V Moscow 2016}) 9... d5 $6 {In my opinion, this opens the position too much.} ( 9... Qe7 {is probably better, because of the next note.} 10. d3 exd3 11. exd3 d6 $11) 10. cxd5 Qxd5 11. d3 Bf5 12. Bf4 (12. Rb1 {was fittingly played in a high-level game featuring yesterday's White player on the other side of the board, and I believe it gets something.} exd3 ({Following} 12... h6 13. Nxe4 Nxe4 14. c4 $1 Qe6 15. dxe4 Bxe4 16. Qxe4 Qxe4 17. Bxe4 Rxe4 18. Rxb7 $14 { White had acheived a little bit more than nothing, but was unable to make it count in the end.Van Wely,L-Vachier Lagrave,M Evry 2008}) (12... Rab8 13. Bf4 h6 14. Nxe4 Nxe4 15. Rfd1 $3 $14) 13. Bxd5 dxc2 14. Bxf7+ Kh8 15. Rxb7 Nd8 16. Rxc7 Rxe2 17. Bc4 Re8 18. f3 $14 {White has the usual size of advantage associated with the bishop pair- not more.}) 12... h6 13. Nxe4 Nxe4 14. Qb2 { Inevitably, White finds clever things to do rather than taking the e4-knight immediately!} b6 (14... Na5 $5 $11 {makes White be a bit careful not to end up worse.}) 15. Rfd1 Qc5 16. dxe4 Bxe4 17. Bf1 $6 {An ambitious move, and not necessarily a bad one, but it stems from a wrong evaluation of the position.} ( 17. Bxe4 Rxe4 18. Rd7 $11 {probably ends the adventures: two grandmasters of such caliber can surely find a way to tacitly agree that the better minor piece balances out the worse structure, and trade off most of the queenside, leaving rook and 3 each on the kingside.}) 17... Re7 18. a4 Rae8 19. Rac1 $6 ({ White needs to explain why he thinks he is better, and a reasonable start is} 19. Qb5 $5 Qxb5 20. axb5 Na5 21. h4 {when even though White's structure looks appalling, he has definite reason to hope that the bishop-pair can come to life in the near future.}) 19... g5 20. Bd2 Qf5 $1 $15 {Strongly suggesting White's next, on pain of ...Ne5-f3+.} 21. f3 Qc5+ (21... Bxf3 22. exf3 Qc5+ 23. Kh1 Qf2 $17 {is already possible, and White is in huge trouble.}) 22. Kh1 Bd5 23. Be1 $8 {White is obliged to defend the f2-square, but now he sheds a pawn.} (23. Qb5 $2 Qf2 $1 $19 {is terminal.}) 23... Bc4 24. e4 (24. Rd2 $2 g4 $19 { leads to a terrible tangle}) 24... Bxf1 25. Bf2 Qc4 26. Rxf1 Qxa4 {Black cashes out for a pawn. In what follows, White just drifts further and never looks like being able to reach a drawable rook endgame.} 27. c4 Ne5 28. Bd4 g4 29. fxg4 Qd7 30. Qc3 c5 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 32. Qf3 Rxe4 33. Rcd1 Qe6 34. g5 hxg5 35. Rd5 g4 36. Qc3 Re5 0-1 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.07"] [Round "7"] [White "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2701"] [BlackElo "2843"] [Annotator "DF"] [PlyCount "84"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 {Notwithstanding the increased playability of lots of openings these days, at the top the old rule 'Petroff/Berlin/Caro for a draw, Najdorf/Marshall for a win' is holding up reasonably well.} 6. g3 {I have to confess that as a Najdorf player I have never seen the appeal of this move. If White wants kingside expansion, surely 6.h3 is a better way to start? Nevertheless, it is fairly popular.} ({A related line which I have tried is:} 6. a4 e5 7. Nde2 $5 Nc6 (7... Be7 8. g3 Be6 9. Bg2 Nbd7 10. h3 Rc8 11. g4 h6 12. Ng3 g6 13. O-O Qc7 14. a5 Kf8 15. Be3 Kg7 16. f4 $132 {Kamsky,G-Lautier,J Monte Carlo 1996}) 8. g3 Be7 9. Bg2 Nb4 10. Bg5 Be6 {Here we have the game structure, but without Black having the possibility of ...b5.} 11. Qd2 Rc8 12. O-O O-O 13. a5 h6 $6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Ra4 Nc6 16. Nd5 $14 {Fernandez,D-Hamitevici,V England 2015}) 6... e5 (6... g6 7. Bg2 Bg7 8. O-O O-O {is another common approach for Black, reasoning that g3-systems are by no means the most critical for White against the Dragon, and that ...a6 is useful in almost any kind of Sicilian position. This has seen some high-level tests too, e.g.} 9. b3 Bd7 10. Bb2 Nc6 $6 (10... e6 $5 $11 { works tactically, and so on principle it should be played}) 11. Nd5 Re8 12. c4 Nxd5 13. exd5 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 b5 15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16. Qd4+ Kg8 17. Rfc1 $14 { Nakamura,H-Nepomniachtchi,I London 2017}) 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Be6 10. Re1 Nbd7 $1 {It is important to place the knight here, even though it might seem like the d5-square is in no particular danger.} (10... Nc6 11. Nd5 Rc8 12. c4 $14 {is surprisingly annoying.}) 11. Nd2 {Clearly, this knight is going to d5, but the problem is that Black can, without too much trouble, arrange for White's final recapture on d5 to be with a pawn, and then Black will get a good version of the standard Sveshnikov structure.} (11. a4 $11 {makes a fair amount of sense}) 11... b5 12. Nf1 Bg4 $5 {This move may not be the best, and Carlsen might well have known that during the game, but sometimes it is good to make the position 'strategically richer' against a weaker opponent.} ({ It is interesting, perhaps, to consider why Carlsen did not continue with the supremely consistent} 12... b4 $5 {The followup could be} 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 Bf5 15. a3 a5 $132 {and while White lacks a convincing way to immediately exploit the excessive airiness of Black's queenside, Black also lacks a way to push ...f5-f4, and hence also winning chances.}) (12... Nb6 {was possible immediately:} 13. Ne3 b4 14. Ncd5 Nfxd5 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Bd7 $11) 13. f3 (13. Qd2 b4 14. Nd5 Nxd5 15. exd5 a5 $132) 13... Be6 14. Ne3 Rc8 15. a3 (15. a4 b4 16. Ncd5 {leads to a better version of all the above lines in the event that Black takes, so I suspect Black's idea in this case was to keep the position closed.} a5 17. Nxe7+ (17. b3 Bxd5 18. exd5 g6 $11) 17... Qxe7 18. b3 Rfd8 19. Bb2 Nc5 $132) 15... Nb6 16. f4 $6 {Now White risks being worse.} (16. a4 {was still necessary, admitting to having made a mistake in the previous few moves.}) 16... Re8 17. Kh1 ({What Carlsen understood, and perhaps his opponent did not, was that the position-type after} 17. f5 $6 Bd7 {is of the make-or-break variety for White. Given just a few moves, Black will arrange either ...Bc6 and ...d5, or ...a5 and ...b4. Hence} 18. g4 {is the main idea, but after} h6 {there is no follow-up; the usual h4 runs into ...Nh7 and Black is close to winning.}) 17... Bf8 (17... exf4 $1 18. gxf4 Bf8 $15 {is apparently better, with the idea that White will find it surprisingly difficult to counter the simple ...Bd7-c6.}) 18. f5 Bd7 19. Qd3 (19. Ng4 $5 { suggests itself to me, even if there is still no chance of White being better after} Bc6 20. Nxf6+ Qxf6 21. Qd3 Qd8 $11) 19... h6 {Playing it slow because it is hard to think up active ideas for White.} 20. b3 Bc6 21. Bd2 Qc7 22. Rac1 Qb7 {Black is done with prophylaxis and now for tactical reasons he is able to start considering the move ...a5, or maybe ...Rcd8 and ...d5.} 23. Ned5 (23. Ncd5 $5 {might have been a better choice, since White can think about generating play with c4 if Black plays as in the game.} Bxd5 24. exd5 e4 25. Qd4 Re5 (25... Nbxd5 26. Nxd5 Qxd5 27. Qxd5 Nxd5 28. Rxe4 $11) 26. c4 bxc4 27. Nxc4 Nxc4 28. bxc4 $132) 23... Bxd5 24. exd5 Nbd7 25. Nd1 e4 (25... Be7 $5 $15 {gives Black an advantage; once this piece reaches the a7-g1 diagonal it will either be unopposable or force a very favourable exchange.}) 26. Qd4 Ne5 27. Nf2 $2 {Leaving d5 without crucial protection, but as this is a game between humans and not machines, there are more mistakes to follow.} (27. Bxe4 $2 Nxe4 28. Qxe4 Nc4 29. Qd4 Nxd2 30. Rxe8 Rxe8 31. Qxd2 Be7 $17 {is the idea; this position is well-nigh impossible to defend for White.}) (27. Nc3 $5 {is hard to play, but best.} Nf3 28. Bxf3 exf3 29. Rxe8 Rxe8 30. Qf4 {Black can sacrifice a pawn for sufficient compensation in various ways, but that is all.} ) 27... Nf3 28. Bxf3 exf3 29. c4 bxc4 30. bxc4 Re5 {The correct idea of doubling on the e-file, but a marginally inaccurate execution. Once again White was able to attack the weakest link in Black's construction- the f3-pawn. ..} (30... Re2 $1 {was the best way to try and grow the advantage.} 31. Rxe2 ( 31. Kg1 Rce8 32. Rxe2 Rxe2 33. Re1 Qb3 $17 {is painful to look at}) 31... fxe2 32. Kg2 (32. Qd3 Nxd5 33. Kg1 Nf6 34. Qxe2 d5 $17 {wins a pawn in a complicated way}) 32... Nxd5 33. Qe4 Qb2 $1 34. Qxe2 Nf6 35. Qd3 d5 $1 $17) 31. Re3 (31. Qd3 Rxe1+ 32. Rxe1 Qb2 33. Kg1 $15 {is similar, but without the back-rank 'tricks'. White has time to get organised (Bb4, etc) and can then immediately take on f3.}) 31... Rxe3 32. Qxe3 Qb2 33. Nd3 $2 {Possibly the decisive mistake, although the computer doesn't mind it, even after thought.} ( 33. Kg1 $1 Be7 34. Nd1 $1 $15 {still keeps Black's advantage within manageable proportions}) 33... Qxa3 34. Qxf3 Qa2 35. Bc3 Rxc4 36. Ra1 Qb3 37. Bxf6 gxf6 38. Kg2 (38. Qd1 $17 {is the best the machine can come up with, but it is utterly miserable.}) 38... Rc3 39. Rd1 (39. Qg4+ {is some kind of practical try, hoping for an endgame.} Kh8 40. Nf2 Qxd5+ 41. Qe4 Qc5 $1 (41... Qxe4+ 42. Nxe4 Rc6 43. Ra5 $15) 42. Rxa6 d5 43. Qf4 $17) 39... h5 40. Kh3 Bh6 41. Re1 $2 {In a lost position, White makes a sacrifice which can be refuted in a couple of ways, but some of the other plausible answers leave him with hope of stalemate ideas or other tricks.} Rxd3 42. Qxh5 Re3 $1 (42... Be3 {is also good enough.}) (42... Kg7 43. Re7 Qxd5 44. Rc7 $3 {miraculously draws; White removes his rook from the idea of ...Kf8 with tempo and will play Qg6 to pick up the h6-bishop next!}) 0-1 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.07"] [Round "7"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Vitiugov, Nikita"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2767"] [BlackElo "2735"] [Annotator "DF"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. c4 c6 2. g3 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg2 dxc4 {I didn't really get the raison d'etre of this move, since both ...Bf5 and ...Bg4 are more 'conventional' Slav choices, and both should equalise. So annotating this game and finding Black's equalising methods was a learning experience for me too.} 5. O-O Nbd7 (5... b5 {would be consistent, but likely not that great, e.g.} 6. a4 Bb7 7. b3 cxb3 8. Qxb3 a6 9. Ba3 $14 {Harika,D-Danielian,E Beijing 2011}) 6. Na3 Nb6 7. Qc2 g6 ( 7... Be6 {is the main 'consistent' way to play this system. Black typically cedes the bishop pair but keeps his pawn. Some brief theoretical notes follow, though I have not found any significant improvement on the main 'draw line'- these things tend to be rather thoroughly checked.} 8. Ng5 Bg4 $1 (8... Qd7 $6 9. Nxe6 Qxe6 10. b3 (10. e4 g6 11. b3 cxb3 12. axb3 Bg7 13. Bb2 $44 {is compensation, but not more}) 10... cxb3 11. axb3 g6 (11... Qxe2 12. Nc4 Nbd7 13. Ba3 $14 {and White has at least sufficient compensation for 2 pawns, which is always a worrying sign.}) 12. Nc4 Nxc4 13. bxc4 Bg7 14. d4 O-O 15. e3 $14 { Black faces an unenviable defence against the Catalan bishop and its colleague. }) 9. Nxc4 Bxe2 10. Ne5 Bh5 11. Re1 $1 (11. b4 {is 'independent' but White should not get anything this way.} Nfd7 (11... Nbd7 12. d4 h6 $6 13. Nh3 Nd5 14. b5 $1 $40 {Dranov,A-Van Kampen,R Germany 2012}) (11... e6 $5 12. b5 Bd6 13. Bb2 Bxe5 14. Bxe5 Bg6 15. Qb3 Rc8 16. bxc6 $11 {Nepomniachtchi,I-Karjakin,S Moscow 2018}) 12. Bf3 Nxe5 13. Bxh5 Qd5 $1 (13... g6 $6 14. Bb2 Bg7 15. f4 $14) 14. d4 $1 (14. f4 Qd4+ 15. Kg2 Qd5+ $11) 14... h6 $1 15. dxe5 hxg5 16. Qe2 g6 17. Bf3 Qc4 {White can choose between the pawn back or compensation but is not better in either case.}) 11... h6 (11... Nbd7 $6 {may be playable but is extremely risky if White works out the attack in detail, i.e.} 12. d4 e6 13. Nexf7 Bxf7 14. Nxe6 $14) 12. Ne4 e6 13. Nxf6+ (13. Nc5 $5 {could be an interesting route to look at:} Bxc5 14. Qxc5 Qe7 15. Qxe7+ Kxe7 16. b3 $44) 13... gxf6 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. Bxc6+ Nd7 16. Qf5 Bg6 17. Rxe6+ Be7 (17... fxe6 18. Qxg6+ Ke7 19. b3 {and White has a dangerous attack despite trailing by a whole rook and not having his own forces completely mobilised. It bears mentioning that playable for Black here is} Kd6 $5 20. Bg2 Ne5 $14) 18. Qxf6 Rg8 19. Re1 Kf8 20. Qf4 (20. Qc3 Rc8 21. d4 Kg7 $15 {is not really a way to try for anything}) 20... Rc8 21. Qxh6+ Rg7 {Of course, if White wants there is a repetition here for the taking, but it is also possible to play on with} 22. d4 Kg8 23. d5 $44 {when the position is dynamically level.}) 8. Nxc4 Nxc4 9. Qxc4 Bg7 10. d3 O-O 11. Bd2 {Initially, looking at this position I thought White must have something. However, then my inner Grunfeld fan got involved and I realised this was not so.} Nd5 ({Black's counterplay must be associated with either ...e5 or ...a5, so it makes sense to consider the immediate push} 11... a5 {. Here, White should save on Qc1 and play} 12. e4 a4 13. Bb4 $1 (13. a3 Be6 14. Qc2 Bb3 15. Qb1 Nd7 $15) (13. Bc3 a3 $1 14. b3 Be6 15. Qb4 b6 $36) 13... Ne8 14. d4 Nd6 15. Qd3 Bg4 $132 {White has his big, imposing centre, but Black has typical Grunfeld-like play against it, so he should not be that worried. There are ideas like ...f5 or ...b5/...Nc4 in the pipeline.}) 12. Qc1 a5 (12... e5 $5 13. Bh6 Re8 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. Rd1 Bg4 $11 {Srdjanov,S-Adzic,M Kragujevac 2010}) 13. Bh6 Bg4 (13... Nc7 14. d4 a4 15. e4 a3 $132 {could be a slightly more active strategy for Black}) 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. Ne5 Be6 16. d4 Nf6 (16... f6 {is playable, but gaining tempi is less important than keeping an essentially flawless pawn structure in most cases, especially when one is facing the Catalan bishop.}) 17. Rd1 Qb6 18. e4 Rfd8 19. Qc3 Kg8 20. Rd3 { Today being the day after producing my annotations to Mamedyarov-Ding from the Candidates, my respect for the Black construction in such positions is higher than normal!} Rd6 21. Rad1 Rad8 {There hasn't been much wrong with either side's play since move 15 but Black has drifted ever so slightly.} (21... Bxa2 $5 {is a move people only notice was playable retrospectively. During the game, the ghost of Fischer tends to be a strong enough deterrent.}) 22. b3 (22. a3 $5 {could be a better try, since Black's generally desirable reply ...a4 might eventually play badly with his bishop in an endgame.}) 22... Qb4 23. Qa1 (23. Qxb4 axb4 24. f4 {is probably harder for Black to play in spite of White's pawns being the more hampered.}) 23... a4 24. h3 ({Following the desirable} 24. a3 Qb5 25. b4 {Black is on time with} Nd7 $11) 24... axb3 25. axb3 Nd7 26. Nxd7 R6xd7 27. d5 {White realises that the static elements of the position favour Black, and takes action quickly.} cxd5 28. exd5 Bf5 29. Re3 ({Of course, one looks at ways to try and trap the f5-bishop starting with} 29. Rd4 {but they simply don't work out.} Qxb3 30. g4 Bc2 31. Rc1 Rc8 $1 $44) 29... Be6 30. Rde1 Bxd5 31. Bxd5 Rxd5 32. Rxe7 Qxe7 $1 {Clinching the draw. Now the players just have to wait for move 40.} 33. Rxe7 Rd1+ 34. Qxd1 Rxd1+ 35. Kg2 b6 36. Kf3 Rd3+ 37. Re3 Rd2 38. Re4 Rd3+ 39. Re3 Rd2 40. Re4 Rd3+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.07"] [Round "7"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Bluebaum, Matthias"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2657"] [BlackElo "2616"] [Annotator "DF"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. b3 Be7 5. Bb2 {It seems that after its use by the World Champion in a tiebreak game against Giri, this system is gaining traction among a number of top players. I shall try and avoid rehashing my comments to that game, but it deserves mention.} O-O 6. Nc3 c5 ({Black can delay ...c5, but after a few moves it transpires that the move is more indispensable to him than d4 is to White, and by extension, he must steel himself sooner or later to recapture on d5 with the knight.} 6... b6 7. Be2 Bb7 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Rc1 {and ...c5 must be one of Black's next three moves, or else he is just being silly. Meanwhile, White can try Qc2-b1-a1, Rfd1, etc.}) 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qc2 (8. Nxd5 {was Carlsen's choice. A number of ways for Black to in principle equalise the game have been suggested, and he should probably memorise one or more of them, because without pre-existing knowledge, the hanging pawn or isolated pawn structure that must result is difficult for Black to play.} exd5 9. d4 Qa5+ 10. Qd2 Qxd2+ 11. Kxd2 Nc6 (11... cxd4 $146 { "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly." This is a remarkable line from Shakespeare's Macbeth that not only provides the most confusing multiple subjunctive in the history of the language, but also neatly encapsulates Black's strategic decision here.} 12. Nxd4 Nc6 13. Nxc6 ( 13. Be2 Bd7 14. a3 Rac8 $11 {should lead to nothing}) 13... bxc6 14. Rc1 Bb4+ 15. Kd1 Bd7 $132 {Black has a reasonable amount of activity to compensate for his worse structure.}) 12. dxc5 Bxc5 13. Bb5 Bb4+ 14. Ke2 $14 {Carlsen,M-Giri, A Wijk aan Zee 2018}) 8... Nb4 (8... b6 $11 {is also possible immediately; this seems like a slightly less adventurous way of equalising.}) (8... Nc6 { was most played in the preceding games that reached this point: notable was the } 9. h4 $5 h6 10. g4 $40 {of Carlsen,M-Ganguly,S Doha 2016; the World Champion was later outplayed but managed to extricate himself and draw.}) 9. Qb1 b6 10. a3 (10. h4 $5 {might be playable here too, but here there is} Ba6 $1 $132 { and this might be the point of Black's 8th.}) 10... Nd5 11. Nxd5 (11. h4 $5 { can again be tried, but the follow-up} Nf6 12. Rg1 Bb7 13. Be2 Nc6 14. g4 Na5 { indicates another possible point of Black's 8th.} (14... Nd4 $5 $14)) 11... exd5 12. d4 Nc6 13. Bb5 Bd7 14. O-O {White has no opening edge and this move admits that.} Nxd4 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. Bxd7 Qxd7 17. Bxd4 {Reaching a simplified position in which Black has one weakness, but is compensating for it well enough with activity. I don't suppose either player was seriously anticipating anything but a draw here. As we know, this kind of thinking can lead to complacency...} Rfc8 18. Rd1 Rc6 19. Qb2 $6 {Now White has to be slightly more careful than Black.} (19. Qd3 $11) 19... Qf5 {Threatening ...Rc2.} 20. Qe2 (20. Bxg7 Rc2 $19) 20... Rc2 21. Qf3 (21. Rd2 Rac8 22. b4 $11 {is the way the computer suggests to grovel, and Black seems to have nothing concrete.}) 21... Qxf3 22. gxf3 Bh4 23. e4 (23. Rf1 Rac8 24. a4 Re2 $36 {is equally unpleasant}) 23... dxe4 24. fxe4 Bg5 25. a4 Bd2 $15 {Black has managed to liquidate his only weakness, and what is left is his slight advantage in piece activity.} 26. Rab1 Rac8 27. Rb2 Rxb2 28. Bxb2 Rc2 29. Bd4 f6 30. Kg2 {Pointing out that Black needs a plan here too.} (30. e5 f5 31. e6 Kf8 32. e7+ Kxe7 33. Bxg7 Ke6 $15) 30... Kf7 31. Kf3 Ke6 32. h3 h5 {There follows some 'messing around to reach the time control'.} 33. Ke2 Bf4+ 34. Kf3 Bd2 35. Ke2 Bf4+ 36. Kf3 g5 37. Rd3 Bd2 38. Ke2 Bf4+ 39. Kf3 Be5 40. Be3 (40. Bxe5 Kxe5 41. a5 Ke6 42. axb6 axb6 43. Kg2 Rb2 $15 {fails to solve White's problems}) 40... Rb2 (40... Bd6 $5 {deserved consideration, trying seriously to take the bishops off, the better to emphasise the slightly greater activity of Black's other two pieces compared to their White counterparts.} 41. Kg2 Bc5 42. Bxc5 Rxc5 $15 {and White still has a little suffering ahead}) 41. a5 $1 {Liquidating down to something which is impossible to try and win.} bxa5 42. Bxa7 f5 43. exf5+ Kxf5 44. Kg2 g4 45. hxg4+ hxg4 46. Rd5 Rxb3 1/2-1/2 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2018"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2018.04.07"] [Round "7"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Meier, Georg"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2776"] [BlackElo "2636"] [Annotator "DF"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. g3 {White makes a passable effort to turn a French into something resembling a Catalan (a description that could also be applied to a certain well-known grandmaster!) It goes without saying that 5.Nf3 is the main move.} Be7 6. Nf3 Ngf6 7. Qe2 Nxe4 8. Qxe4 Rb8 $1 { Very Catalan.} ({We have already almost left the realm of praxis; the only precedent continued} 8... Nf6 9. Qe2 b6 10. Bg2 Bb7 11. c3 O-O 12. O-O Qc8 13. Re1 c5 14. Be3 c4 15. Ng5 $6 {and was promptly agreed drawn in Rigo,J-Somlai,L Hungary 1994; the main problem with this is that Black has an extremely good structure after} Bxg2 16. Kxg2 b5 $15) 9. Bg2 b5 10. O-O O-O 11. Rd1 Bb7 12. Qe2 {Development is more or less complete the way it was destined to be after White's 5th move.} Nf6 {Black now drifts just a tiny bit.} (12... Bd5 13. c3 Qc8 $11 {was more economical: Black wants to play ...c5 within the next few moves. Possibly ...Qb7, ...a6, ...Rbc8, ...c5.}) 13. c3 a6 14. a4 Bd5 (14... b4 15. c4 $14 {is awkward since Black has no means of arranging ...c5; as an inveterate player of 1.d4 b5 as Black I have a better-than-average understanding of these positions!}) 15. Ne5 {One of several ways to cement an advantage.} (15. axb5 axb5 16. Bg5 {was a perfect Catalan solution; White wants Bxf6 and b4, with a significant advantage.} h6 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. b4 $14 { Black lacks any sort of play and must wait patiently for White pieces to begin crawling into his weak dark squares.}) (15. Bf4 Bb3 16. Re1 $14 {is simple and good.}) 15... Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Qd5+ 17. Qf3 Qxf3+ 18. Kxf3 Bd6 19. axb5 $6 (19. Be3 $5 {seems more accurate to me (though not the engine): the idea is that Black will probably need to take on e5 anyway, so we should pick the best route for our bishop in the aftermath of that.} Bxe5 (19... Rfe8 20. Nc6 Rb7 21. axb5 axb5 22. Ra6 Nd5 23. Rda1 $14 {looks even more uncomfortable}) 20. dxe5 Nd5 21. axb5 Rxb5 (21... axb5 22. Ra6 $14) 22. Rxa6 Rxb2 23. c4 (23. Rc6 $5 $14) 23... Nb6 24. Bxb6 cxb6 25. Rd7 $14 {There is still work to be done because White has more active rooks.}) 19... axb5 20. Bg5 Bxe5 21. dxe5 Nd5 $1 $11 {Now Black wants both ...c5 and ...Ra8, and White can't really stop both.} 22. Ra6 c5 23. Be3 Rfc8 24. Rda1 h5 25. Ra7 c4 26. Rd7 b4 $1 {Black uses the White king position to make time for his counterplay.} 27. Bd4 (27. Raa7 bxc3 28. bxc3 Nxc3 29. Rxf7 Rf8 $1 $11 {is the point, and White could easily find himself worse soon.}) 27... bxc3 28. bxc3 Rb3 (28... Rd8 $11 {was possible if Black had anticipated what was about to happen...}) 29. Rxd5 $5 {An ambitious sacrifice, and one which impressed me quite a lot.} exd5 30. Kf4 Rbb8 31. Kg5 ( 31. Ra5 $1 Rd8 32. Ra7 $44 {seems called for; Black's rooks can't easily get in, so he has to resort to harassing the White rook in order to maintain the balance.}) 31... Ra8 32. Re1 Rc6 33. f4 $6 {Now Black gets in, and only he can be better.} (33. Rb1 $1 $44 {was still interesting}) 33... Ra2 34. h3 Rd2 35. f5 Rd3 36. Kf4 h4 37. e6 Kf8 38. gxh4 fxe6 39. Ra1 exf5 40. Kxf5 Rxh3 (40... Kg8 $5 $17 {is not a bad try, but it could be a hard move 40 to make.}) 41. Ra8+ Ke7 42. Ra7+ Ke8 43. Ke5 Rxh4 44. Kxd5 Rg6 45. Bxg7 {White forces a draw. A shame, because his concept was a bold one. Nevertheless, in essence this was a typical modern game of chess, played on small margins, outside the realm of opening theory.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.04.07"] [Round "7.3"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A29"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2784"] [Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"] [PlyCount "72"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 {"I felt that he was very unfamiliar with the opening" (Caruana)} 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O e4 7. Ng5 Bxc3 8. bxc3 Re8 9. Qc2 {Quite a rare line.} ({The big theory is:} 9. d3) ({Or} 9. f3) 9... d5 ({ The battle of the legends saw:} 9... Qe7 10. d3 exd3 11. exd3 b6 12. Bd2 Bb7 13. Rfe1 Qa3 14. Bf4 Na5 15. Be5 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Ng4 17. d4 g6 18. Qe4 Nxe5 19. dxe5 h6 20. Nf3 Qc5 {with approximate equality, Ljubojevic,L (2571)-Karpov,A (2626) Platja d'Aro 2017}) 10. cxd5 Qxd5 11. d3 Bf5 12. Bf4 h6 13. Nxe4 ({ "I just made sure that after"} 13. dxe4 Nxe4 14. c4 ({Therefore Black expected: } 14. Nxe4 Bxe4 15. Bxe4 Qxe4 16. Qxe4 Rxe4 17. Bxc7 Rxe2 {where he is "a little better, but it should be a draw"(Caruana)}) 14... Qd4 15. Rad1 Qc3 { "and here I thought I am already much better" (Caruana)}) 13... Nxe4 14. Qb2 ( 14. c4 Qe6 15. dxe4 Bxe4 16. Qxe4 Qxe4 17. Bxe4 Rxe4 18. Bxc7 Rxe2 {is similar to the assesment above.}) 14... b6 15. Rfd1 ({Black expected that his opponent will grab the pawn:} 15. Bxc7 Rac8 16. Bf4 Na5 17. Rad1 Qe6 18. Bxe4 Bxe4 19. dxe4 Qxe4 {but then he will have "very good compensation" (Caruana) for it. Indeed, the weak queenside pawns and the superior light piece provide enough for the material deficit.}) 15... Qc5 16. dxe4 Bxe4 17. Bf1 $146 {"This was a little bit of surprise" (Caruana)} ({The predecessor saw:} 17. Bxe4 Rxe4 18. Rd7 ({Caruana expected} 18. Bxc7 Na5 19. Bf4 Rae8 {and indeed this does not seem good for White. For example:} 20. e3 Nc4 21. Qc2 g5 $1) 18... Ne5 19. Bxe5 Qxe5 20. e3 Rc4 {Stulrajter,M (1821)-Blasko,A (1900) Slovakia 1998}) 17... Re7 ({Caruana rejected:} 17... Na5 18. Qb4 Qc6 19. f3 Bd5 20. e4 Bc4 21. Bh3 Be6 { with possible repetition as he felt he may play for more.}) 18. a4 ({Or} 18. Rd2 Rae8 19. Rad1 g5 20. Be3 Qf5 {"when the doubling of the white rooks along the d-file looks pointless" (Caruana)}) 18... Rae8 {Now the position resembles the Nimzo-Indian defense. White's bishop pair is not an advantage at all, as the bishops do not occupy commanding squares. The weakness of the white queenside pawns determines the evaluation into Black's favor instead.} 19. Rac1 $6 {"This whole concept of a2-a4 followed by Ra1-c1 feels wrong." (Caruana)} ({ The American GM expected instead:} 19. Qb5 Qxb5 ({Not} 19... Qxc3 20. Rac1 Qf6 21. f3 Nd4 22. Qc4 c5 23. fxe4 (23. Rxd4 cxd4 24. fxe4 Rxe4 25. Qd3) 23... Rxe4 {with unclear position (Caruana)}) 20. axb5 Na5 {and now Black believed he is better thanks to the weak white pawns.}) (19. Qa3 {Another possibility was:} Qf5 20. f3 Bc2 21. e4 (21. Rd2 g5) 21... Qf6 22. Rd2 g5 {which looks good for Black. (Caruana)}) 19... g5 20. Bd2 (20. Be3 Qf5 {followed by Nc6-e5 is excellent for Black.}) 20... Qf5 21. f3 ({Or} 21. c4 Ne5 22. Rc3 c5 {followed by Be4-c6 (Caruana)}) 21... Qc5+ 22. Kh1 ({Caruana speculated that MVL missed the tactics after:} 22. Kg2 Bxf3+ $1 23. exf3 ({On} 23. Kxf3 {Black planned:} Ne5+ ({Even easier is:} 23... Qg1 $1 24. Bh3 Re3+ 25. Bxe3 Rxe3+ 26. Kg4 Qxh2 { with inevitable mate.}) 24. Kg2 Nc4 {with a win.}) 23... Re2+ 24. Bxe2 Rxe2+ 25. Kh1 Qf2 {and mate cannot be stopped.}) 22... Bd5 ({Here Caruana was not that sure about:} 22... Bxf3+ 23. exf3 Qf2 24. Bg2 Re2 (24... Rd8) 25. Rg1 Rxd2 26. Qb5 Qc5 27. f4) ({Neither about:} 22... Bg6 23. Be1) 23. Be1 {A sad defense, but:} (23. c4 $2 {loses to the same} Rxe2 ({Or} 23... Qf2) 24. Bxe2 Rxe2 25. Rf1 Bxf3+ 26. Rxf3 Ne5) ({So does:} 23. e4 Rxe4 $1 24. Qb5 (24. fxe4 Bxe4+ 25. Bg2 Bxg2+ 26. Kxg2 Re2+ 27. Kh1 Qd5+ 28. Kg1 Qg2#) 24... Qf2 { (Caruana)}) 23... Bc4 24. e4 (24. Rc2 Ne5 {wins prosaically for Black.}) 24... Bxf1 25. Bf2 Qc4 26. Rxf1 Qxa4 {Save and reliable. Black is up a pawn, and has the more active pieces.} ({He had to avoid though:} 26... Ne5 27. Bd4 Nd3 28. Qe2 {(Caruana)}) ({Or} 26... g4 27. Qd2) 27. c4 (27. Bd4 Qc4 $1) 27... Ne5 28. Bd4 g4 {Very energetic way of converting the advantage. Black plays for the attack.} (28... Nd3 {After the game Caruana regretted that he did not go for the "more technical"} 29. Qa1 Qxa1 30. Rxa1 Rd7) 29. fxg4 ({Or} 29. f4 Nf3 30. Bh8 f5 31. exf5 Qc6 {and Black mates first (Caruana)}) 29... Qd7 ({Black should also win after:} 29... Qc6 30. Qe2 Ng6 31. Qf3 Qxe4 32. Bf6 Qxf3+ 33. Rxf3 Re4) ({Only not} 29... Nd3 $2 30. Qd2 Nxc1 31. Qxh6) 30. Qc3 c5 $1 { "I was very happy to get rid of the bishop, as I am collecting all the pawns now." (Caruana)} ({Black aslo felt that} 30... Qxg4 31. Rf4 Qg6 32. Rcf1 Nd7 { sould be winning, but it was way more complicated.}) 31. Bxe5 (31. Be3 Nxg4 { wins for Black easily.}) 31... Rxe5 32. Qf3 Rxe4 33. Rcd1 Qe6 34. g5 hxg5 35. Rd5 g4 36. Qc3 Re5 0-1