[Event "FIDE World Cup "] [White "Abasov,Nijat Azad"] [Black "Vidit,Santosh Gujrathi"] [Site ""] [Round ""] [Annotator "Abasov,Nijat"] [Result "1-0"] [Date "2023.08.16"] [WhiteElo "2632"] [BlackElo "2719"] [PlyCount "87"] {After a draw with Black pieces in the first encounter, I was aiming for a quiet and risk-free game with White.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Bf4 {The London System didn't come as a surprise for my opponent, as I played it against GM Salem AR Saleh the round before.} c5 ({In that game I faced} 3... g6 {and I'd say Salem solved all opening problems with ease.} )4. e3 Nc6 5. Nbd2 e6 6. c3 Be7 {Developing the bishop to e7, Black takes control over the g5-square and intends to play ...-Sh5 going after the f4-bishop.} ({After the most played} 6... Bd6 {White retreats the bishop to the safe square} 7. Bg3 )({In case of the immediate hunt on my dark-squared bishop} 6... Nh5 {I have the simple move} 7. Bg5 )7. h3 {Freeing up the h2-square.} ({After the most popular move in this position} 7. Bd3 {Black plays} Nh5 $11 {and I find Black's position quite comfortable.} )({A while back I had a nice game against the Polish GM Janik Igor, where I chose} 7. Ne5 {The game continued with} Nd7 8. Bd3 Qb6 9. Rb1 cxd4 10. Nxd7 Bxd7 11. exd4 $14 {...1-0, Abasov,N - Janik,I (Vrnjacka Banja, 2023)} )Bd6 $5 {One may consider it a waste of time. Black had just developed the bishop to e7 and now they move the same piece again, while White responds with a seemingly useful h3. However, the drawback of my move is that I no longer control the g3-square with the rook pawn, thus I no longer have Bg3 in case of Bd6!} (7... Nh5 $6 8. Bh2 $14 )8. dxc5 ({I cannot afford avoiding trades with} 8. Bg5 $2 {as it runs into} h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. dxc5 Bc7 $1 $15 {and White's in trouble now.} )Bxc5 {Step by step (f8-e7-d6-c5) Black's bishop reaches c5-square in three moves.} 9. Bd3 Bd6 {Within the last 4 moves, Black already moved their dark-squared Bishop four times, severely breaking the basic principle of not playing with the same piece twice in the opening. Did GMs forget how to play chess, you may wonder? No, in fact, they illustrate the new trends of modern chess at its finest. The moral of the story is that you should not look back on what moves have been played but instead look at each unique position with a fresh glance. After each move, we get a unique position that we didn't have before (unless there's a repetition), hence we need to adjust to the new demands of the position and play according to them. Let's take a look at what has happened within the last four moves, and try to figure out why Vidit's moves were the best continuation - each time. First, by playing 6...-Be7 he prepared ...-Nh5 and provoked me to play 7.h3. Once I've done so, I no longer had a Bg3 retreat in case of ...-Bd6. After 7... -Bd6, I had nothing better but to simplify the position in the center in order to keep my dark-squared Bishop alive. His third move in a row with the Bishop doesn't require much of an explanation as it was a simple recapture of a pawn. You may consider Black already reached their goal: by making so many moves they forced me to trade off my central pawn, but no! As the position remains closed, the overall situation on the board has not changed significantly, and on move 9 Black returns to their original strategy of trading off my strong f4-Bishop! Now everything sounds so logical!} ({or} 9... O-O 10. O-O Bd6 $11 )10. Bxd6 ({As I already mentioned above} 10. Bg5 {is met by} h6 {and I still can't save my Bishop.} )Qxd6 11. Qc2 ({I could also begin with the move order} 11. O-O {and after} O-O {transpose to umwandeln in} 12. Qc2 {but the text move keeps the flexibility. Not that I want to go for a long-castle, but at least it has to be considered by my opponent.} )Ne5 $6 {Maybe 12.Qc2 confused Vidit? His previous strategy of offering the bishop trade was legit. With that he also developed his queen to a good d6-square. But now, once the knights are swapped off, his queen comes to central e5-square where it potentially will run under Nf3 or Re1-e4.} ({Instead,} 11... O-O 12. O-O h6 { would lead to a normal game. I still would prefer White here, as my play is really simple. After bringing tooks towards the center, I plan to go for e4.} )12. Nxe5 {I cannot afford to give away the d3-bishop if I want to fight for the initiative.} Qxe5 13. O-O $14 {I wasn't sure how much better am I here, but with the mindset I had before the game - of playing safe chess, I was very happy with my position.} Bd7 14. e4 {I finally break the center open, also threatening to play f4-e5.} dxe4 (14... Qc7 15. Rfe1 dxe4 16. Nxe4 Bc6 $5 { Black keeps the balance in the position.} )15. Nxe4 Nd5 $6 ({Yet again, it was critical to play} 15... Bc6 $1 16. Nxf6+ gxf6 17. Rfe1 Qc7 $132 )16. Rfe1 Bc6 17. Rad1 {Rooks are brought into the central files.} O-O-O 18. Bf1 $1 {and now my position is much better. With the last move, I opened up the files for my rooks and secured the safety of my king even further.} Kb8 {The most time I spent on my move was here. After 13 minutes of thinking I played} 19. Qd2 $5 { I had a funny feeling when this move crossed my mind. I believed it should either be a totally foolish or a brilliant move. The idea in fact is quite simple. Whenever d5 knight jumps somewhere, I have Nd6.} ({In fact, I'm not sure why I didn't play the immediate} 19. Nc5 $40 {with a powerful play on the queenside.} )Qc7 {was the move that I also was considering for him.} (19... Nf4 20. Nd6 Qg5 21. Qe3 $18 )({After the game, I was asked by Peter Leko about} 19... Nf6 {on what I considered} 20. Nd6 {assuming that Nxf7 is my way out in case of any trouble. The following line illustrates that my calculation was accurate.} Ne4 21. Nxf7 (21. Nc4 $5 {was another option} )Qf6 22. Nxd8 Nxd2 23. Nxc6+ bxc6 24. Rxd2 $14 {Mathematically in a materially equal position, I find White's chances quite high as Black pawns are too weak. Yet it was the top choice of the engine.} )({Despite being only the second computer choice here, I believe the best practical continuation for Black was} 19... Qf4 $1 {Now White has nothing better than returning to c2.} 20. Qc2 {and now Black may even try to improve his position with} (20. Qe2 Qe5 $1 $11 )Qf5 ({whilst} 20... Qe5 {would just repeat the position for the second time.} ))20. Nc5 $1 {Getting my pieces closer to the black king!} h6 $6 {Also during the game, this move looked a bit slow to me. But it was already not easy to suggest a good move for Black.} (20... Ne7 {followed by bringing the knight to f5 was something I considered the most for Vidit.} 21. Qc2 {In case of} Bxg2 { I had prepared a nasty intermezzo} (21... Nf5 $132 )22. Na6+ $1 bxa6 23. Bxg2 $18 {and now it should be hard to guard the King.} )21. c4 $1 {Now my position "plays itself". I do nothing but advance my queenside pawns, generating powerful play on the opponent's king.} Ne7 22. Qc3 Nf5 23. b4 Rxd1 24. Rxd1 Rd8 {Black tries to simplify the position and weaken my attack.} 25. Rxd8+ $1 {But it's fine by me, as even with limited pieces I can create a strong attack on the queenside.} Qxd8 26. b5 {By advancing my pawns I also force the bishop back to a passive square.} Be8 27. a4 Kc8 ({On} 27... Qd4 {I would have played} 28. Qb4 )28. Nb3 ({I could of course continue pushing my pawns with} 28. a5 { but I felt like guarding d4-square and preparing c5 is more annoying for Black. } )f6 {I knew my advantage was close to decisive here, but I was hesitating about which pawn I should advance first. After about 6 minutes of thinking I realized} 29. a5 {is more interesting as I spotted my reply on} Qd1 {which is} 30. Qb4 $1 {Not only I defend the b5-pawn with this move, but also Qc5 and Qf8 are on the radar.} b6 31. axb6 {By swapping off the pawns Black's king gets even weaker.} ({It's never too late to spoil the advantage.} 31. c5 $2 bxa5 32. Nxa5 $2 Nd4 $17 {could turn situation upside down.} )axb6 32. c5 bxc5 33. Qxc5+ Kb8 34. Qb6+ {My second biggest amount of time spent over one move in the game was here. I tried to calculate lines to the win, and once I realised there's no immediate winner line, I chose to grab a pawn.} Kc8 35. Qxe6+ {Now, in addition to a weak black king and a strong b5-pawn, I'm also a pawn up.} ({On} 35. Nc5 {I would dislike} Nd4 {Black defends e6 and has Bxb5 or Ne2+ kind of moves that I should be careful about.} )Bd7 36. Qc4+ Kd8 37. b6 Qd6 38. Qg8+ Ke7 (38... Be8 39. Bb5 Qd1+ 40. Kh2 Nd6 41. b7 $18 )39. b7 Be8 40. Bb5 Qd1+ 41. Kh2 Qd6+ 42. g3 Bf7 43. b8=Q Bxg8 44. Qe8# {I appreciate Vidit's sportsmanship for letting me deliver a checkmate on the board. It's always heartbreaking to have a decisive game against a friend, I have to admit. But I also was happy to hear spectators applauding me after my last move. Definitely a moment to remember forever!} 1-0