[Event "Tata Steel Masters"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2021.01.17"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Donchenko, Alexander"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D12"] [WhiteElo "2668"] [BlackElo "2823"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Be4 7. f3 Bg6 8. Bd2 Be7 9. Nxg6 hxg6 {Caruana chose a very solid line that he tested last year at the (ongoing) Candidates.} 10. Qc2 Nbd7 ({Instead, Grischuk chose to put another pawn on a light square against Ding:} 10... a6 11. O-O-O b5 12. c5 Qc7 13. g4 Rxh2 14. Bd3 Rxh1 15. Rxh1 Qg3 16. Qd1 Nbd7 17. Qf1 Qc7 18. Rh8+ Nf8 { with compensation for the pawn in Ding,L (2791)-Grischuk,A (2777) Chess.com 2020}) 11. O-O-O {Donchenko castles under a pawn attack but hopes to open the center and make it to the enemy king first.} (11. cxd5 {is the other continuation.}) 11... a6 {Here a7-a6 is aiming for a quick queenside action.} ( {The American GM successfully defended the black color in his previous game after} 11... Nb6 12. c5 Nbd7 13. Kb1 Qb8 14. h4 g5 15. Be1 g4 16. e4 gxf3 17. gxf3 b6 18. exd5 exd5 19. cxb6 axb6 {in Giri,A (2763)-Caruana, F (2842) Ekaterinburg 2020}) 12. g4 {N A novelty, played after 10 minutes of thought. But since Donchenko blitzed his next moves, it might have been only to refresh his memory.} ({An earlier game ended well for White after} 12. Be1 b5 13. c5 Qc8 14. g4 Bd8 15. h4 Bc7 16. Bd3 Qb7 17. h5 gxh5 18. g5 Ng8 19. g6 f5 20. e4 fxe4 21. fxe4 Ngf6 22. exd5 exd5 23. Qe2+ {Adly,A (2637) -Ibrahimov,R (2518) Riadh 2017}) 12... dxc4 13. Bxc4 b5 {Obvious, and somewhat provocative.} 14. Be2 {White simply retreated.} ({The other retreat} 14. Bb3 {does not seem to pose problems for Black after either the immediate} c5 ({Or the more cunning} 14... Rc8 $5 {in order to preserve the d5-square in case of} 15. g5 Nd5) 15. g5 c4 16. Bxc4 bxc4 17. gxf6 Bxf6 18. Qa4 {with unclear play.}) ({However, the bishop sacrifice is very tempting:} 14. Bxe6 $5 fxe6 15. g5 {Then after both} Nh5 ({or} 15... Nd5 16. Qxg6+ Kf8 17. h4) 16. Qxg6+ Kf8 17. Qxe6 Bxg5 18. Kb1 { White has compensation for the piece due to the weakened black king. However, since Caruana was practically blitzing and knowing the high-level preparation of the American, there is little doubt that this was accurately checked at home.}) 14... c5 15. d5 $5 {The first real in-depth thought in the game (more than half an hour). As it was mentioned before White should logically try to get to the enemy king before the queenside explodes, and he is ready to part with a pawn for this aim.} ({Apparently Black does not experience any problems after} 15. dxc5 Nxc5 16. Kb1 Rc8) 15... Nxd5 {And almost the same amount of time spent by Black.} ({Definitely not} 15... exd5 16. g5) 16. Nxd5 exd5 17. f4 {The point behind the sacrifice. White is ready to seize the light squares after Be2-f3!} b4 {In order to secure the a5-square for the queen.} ({The engine likes} 17... Qb6 18. Bf3 c4 {and claims approximate equality.} ({Or} 18... Rd8)) 18. e4 {Another tough decision by the German GM.} ({However,} 18. Bf3 {would be nicely met with} Qa5 19. Bxd5 Rc8 {when the c5-c4 break cannot be easily blocked, e.g.:} 20. Kb1 ({Or} 20. Bc4 Nb6 21. Kb1 Nxc4 22. Qxc4 Qb5 $1 23. Rc1 Rd8 {with pleasant endgame for Black.}) 20... c4 $1 21. Bxc4 Nb6 22. b3 Nxc4 23. bxc4 {with a promising position for the second player after both} Qb6 ({or} 23... Qc5)) 18... d4 $1 {This pawn will play an important part in Caruana's counterattack.} ({After the simplistic} 18... dxe4 $2 19. h4 $1 { is very strong in order to meet the castling with a mating attack:} (19. Qxe4 { is not bad either.}) 19... O-O 20. h5) ({Caruana might have been also tempted by the lines after} 18... c4 19. exd5 {Here both pawn advances seem promising for Black:} c3 $1 ({or} 19... b3 $1 20. axb3 cxb3 21. Qd3 O-O 22. Kb1 {when the Bd2 covers the a5-square, thus stopping the mate for the time being.}) 20. Be3 cxb2+ 21. Kb1 Rc8 {with strong initiative for the second player. But in hindsight, this might have been the lesser evil for White.}) 19. e5 {With the idea of e5-e6!} ({In case of} 19. h4 {Black's attack runs by itself with} c4 20. Bxc4 Rc8 21. b3 Nb6 22. Qd3 Nxc4 23. bxc4 Qc7 24. Kb2 {Now Black may even reject the pawn and play for attack with} Qc5 ({Or cash in with} 24... Qxc4 25. Qxc4 Rxc4)) 19... Nb6 {Out of the tempo.} ({Although} 19... c4 {might have been equally good:} 20. Bxc4 ({There is no time for} 20. e6 d3 $1 21. exf7+ Kf8 22. Bxd3 cxd3 23. Qxd3 Nf6 {and Black should convert the piece.}) 20... Nb6 21. Kb1 Rc8 22. b3 {Here} Rh3 $1 {leads to an even better version of the attacking position from above.}) 20. e6 {Donchenko is opening the black king.} Qd5 $1 { But Caruana is as cold-blooded as he can be.} 21. exf7+ Kf8 $1 {The king is pretty safe here.} ({But not} 21... Kxf7 22. Bd3 Qxa2 23. Bxg6+ Kg8 24. Rde1 { when White has his chances.}) 22. h4 ({Maybe he should have tried to defend with} 22. b3 {although Black's attack is running by itself here as well with} a5) 22... Qxa2 23. Qxg6 b3 {Both the kings are exposed, but the black one is hiding nicely behind the opponent's own pawn.} 24. Be1 c4 $1 {An excellent inclusion of another piece in the attack. The dark-squared bishop is decisively reinforcing the queenside pressure.} ({The endgame does not promise as much:} 24... Qa1+ 25. Qb1 Qxb1+ 26. Kxb1 a5 27. g5) 25. Rxd4 ({Or else mate: } 25. h5 c3 26. bxc3 Ba3#) 25... Na4 26. Qb1 Ba3 $1 {The point. White is helpless.} 27. Qxa2 ({Or else Black mops up the white pieces:} 27. bxa3 b2+ 28. Kc2 Qb3+ 29. Kd2 Qc3+) 27... bxa2 28. Kc2 Rb8 {Caruana extracts the maximum out of the position.} ({He is not happy with the extra piece after} 28... a1=Q 29. Bb4+ Bxb4 30. Rxa1 Nb6) 29. Rd8+ ({Or else mate:} 29. bxa3 Rb2+ 30. Kd1 a1=Q#) 29... Rxd8 30. bxa3 c3 $1 {Black is winning another piece:} 31. Bg3 Rd2+ 32. Kb3 Nc5+ 0-1