[Event "FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2022"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.07.04"] [Round "14"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2783"] [BlackElo "2793"] [Annotator "Rafael Leitao"] [PlyCount "126"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Nd7 7. O-O O-O 8. Nc4 f6 9. Kh1 (9. c3 {is the most popular move.}) 9... Rf7 {A new and natural move. The plan is to play Bf8 and then Nc5-e6.} 10. Nh4 Bf8 11. Nf5 (11. b3 { is possible:} Nc5 12. Bb2 Ne6 13. g3 $5 {with the idea of playing f2-f4 at some point.}) 11... Nc5 12. Qh5 Be6 (12... Ne6 $11) 13. b3 Qd7 14. Be3 Kh8 15. Nh4 Kg8 16. Qe2 {Refusing the repetition after 16.Nf5, but objectively White has nothing.} Re8 17. a4 b6 18. Rg1 {Possibly preparing the same plan Rapport tried in this round—the advance of the g-pawn.} a5 19. Nd2 (19. g4 $6 { is premature.} Bxc4 20. bxc4 Ne6) 19... f5 $6 {I was surprised by this move. It doesn't look natural to give away the bishop pair and worsen the pawn structure.} (19... g5 {Firouzja had a few nightmares with the advance of the g-pawn in the tournament.} 20. Nf5 $1 Bxf5 21. exf5 Qxf5 22. Bxc5 Bxc5 23. Ne4 Bd6 24. g4 $1 Qe6 25. Rg3 {with good compensation.}) (19... Na6 $1 {is best. Black plans Nb4 and then c5-Nc6-d4.}) 20. exf5 Bxf5 21. Nxf5 Qxf5 22. Bxc5 Bxc5 23. Ne4 {Now Caruana has some positional advantage with the monster e4-knight.} Bb4 24. Rgf1 (24. Raf1 {followed by f3 and g3 is also possible.}) 24... Qg6 25. Rad1 h5 26. g3 {This is not necessary.} (26. f3 {with a clear advantage. White can prepare f3-f4 or d3-d4 at the right moment.}) 26... Ref8 27. d4 {This seems premature, and it gives most of Caruana's advantage.} (27. f3) 27... exd4 28. Rxd4 h4 29. gxh4 $6 {Another mistake.} (29. f4 {is better, followed by Qf3. }) 29... Rf4 30. Qc4+ Kh8 31. Ng5 b5 $1 32. Qd3 $6 (32. Qe6 $1 {is the best chance to fight for equality.}) 32... Qxd3 33. Rxd3 bxa4 34. bxa4 $6 (34. Kg2) 34... Bd6 $1 35. Rc3 Rxa4 36. Rxc6 Rxh4 37. f4 (37. Ra6 {is the only chance.}) 37... Rhxf4 (37... Bxf4 $1 38. Nf3 (38. Rxc7 Ra8) 38... Rh6 39. Rxh6+ Bxh6 40. Kg2 a4 41. Ra1 Ra8 {and the endgame is easily winning.}) 38. Rxf4 Bxf4 39. Ne4 Ra8 40. Rc4 Be5 41. Ra4 {Time trouble is over. The endgame is winning. With the passed a-pawn and a bishop against Caruana's knight, the conversion shouldn't be particularly difficult.} Kg8 $1 {Always bring the king to the center in the endgame $1} 42. Kg2 Kf7 43. Nd2 Bc3 (43... Bd6 $1 {is more accurate.} 44. c3 (44. Nc4 Bb4) 44... Be5 $1) 44. Ne4 Bb4 45. Kf3 Ke6 46. c3 Be7 47. Ke3 c6 $6 (47... Kd5 48. Kd3 Kc6 49. Kc4 Kb6 $1 {followed by Rh8.}) 48. h3 {Now Caruana has good drawing chances.} Bd8 49. Nc5+ Kf5 50. Nb3 Bb6+ 51. Kf3 Ke5 52. h4 (52. Ke2 $1) 52... Kd5 53. h5 c5 $6 54. Nd2 $6 (54. Rg4 $1 { is close to a draw.}) 54... Bc7 55. Ke2 Rh8 56. Rg4 Rxh5 57. Rxg7 Kc6 $6 (57... Be5 58. Rd7+ Kc6 59. Rd3 Kb5 {with winning chances.}) 58. Kd3 (58. Nc4 { is also possible.}) 58... Be5 59. Rf7 (59. Rg6+ Kb5 60. Nb1 {and White should make a draw.}) 59... a4 60. Ne4 $4 {The final mistake. White has several good alternatives.} (60. Kc2) (60. Nf3) (60. Nb1) (60. Kc4) 60... Rh3+ 61. Kd2 (61. Kc4 Rh4 62. Kd3 c4+ 63. Ke3 a3 64. Ra7 Rh3+ 65. Ke2 Kd5 {wins.}) 61... Kd5 62. Nf2 Rxc3 63. Rf5 Rg3 (63... Rg3 64. Nd3 Rxd3+ $1 65. Kxd3 a3 66. Rf2 c4+ 67. Ke3 Bd4+) 0-1 [Event "Chess.com"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.07.04"] [Round "14"] [White "Rapport, Richard"] [Black "Radjabov, Teimour"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2764"] [BlackElo "2753"] [Annotator "Rafael Leitao"] [PlyCount "66"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 {A popular variation during the Candidates Tournament.} dxc6 6. Nbd2 Be6 7. O-O Bd6 8. Nb3 c5 (8... Qe7 9. Na5 {was played in the game Caruana-Nakamura in the first round.}) 9. Na5 Qc8 10. b3 O-O $6 (10... b5 $5 {is my computer's suggestion, avoiding Na5-c4.}) ( 10... b6 11. Nc4 Bxc4 12. bxc4 Qe6 {with a slight edge for White.}) 11. Bb2 Bg4 (11... Nd7 12. Ng5 Re8 13. Nxe6 Rxe6 14. Nc4 {and White has a comfortable advantage. The plan is to play f2-f4 at some point.}) 12. Nc4 Re8 13. a4 Bh5 14. Qe2 Nd7 15. Qe3 {The computer is very happy with White's position.} Qd8 16. Kh1 (16. Nfd2 {is another possible plan, but it's not very convincing after:} f6 17. Nxd6 cxd6 18. f4 exf4 19. Qxf4 Ne5 20. Nc4 {Black's position is very solid.}) 16... f6 17. Rg1 $5 {Going for an assault with the pawns. It's an interesting and aggressive plan, but Rapport could have played the more natural } (17. Nh4 $1 {Preparing g3 followed by f4, with a better position.}) 17... Bf7 18. g4 h6 (18... g5 $5 19. h4 h6 20. Qe2 $1 {Preparing Ne3.} Bxc4 $1 21. dxc4 Nf8 22. Ne1 $1 Ne6 23. Ng2 {Followed by Ne3-f5 and White is better.}) 19. g5 $6 {This is too much creativity. A good piece of advice for most chess players is to never go for complications if you have good control of the position.} (19. h4 Nf8 20. g5 hxg5 21. hxg5 Ng6 {with complicated play.}) (19. Nh4 $1 Nf8 20. Nf5 {with a clear advantage.}) 19... fxg5 $6 (19... hxg5 $1 20. h4 Bxc4 $1 ( 20... g4 $2 21. Rxg4 Bh5 22. Rg2 {with a strong attack.}) 21. dxc4 Kf7 $1 ( 21... gxh4 $2 22. Qh6) 22. hxg5 Rh8+ 23. Kg2 Nf8 24. Rh1 Ne6 25. Rxh8 Qxh8 26. Rh1 Nf4+ 27. Kg1 Qc8 28. Rh4 Ng6 {and Black is fine.}) 20. Nxg5 $2 {I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this move. There was no need for this sacrifice.} ( 20. h4 $1 {gives White a better position.} g4 {Maybe Rapport didn't want to allow this move, but he is nearly winning after} 21. Rxg4 Bh5 22. Rg2 Qf6 23. Nh2 $1 {followed by f2-f4.}) 20... hxg5 $2 {As natural as it is, this move is a mistake.} (20... Bxc4 $1 21. bxc4 hxg5 22. Rxg5 Be7 {followed by Bf6 and the attack is insufficient.}) 21. Rxg5 Qf6 (21... Bxc4 22. Rag1 $1 {That's why it was important to capture on c4 on move 20.} Bf8 (22... Bf7 23. Rxg7+ Kf8 24. Qh6 Qf6 25. R7g6+ Ke7 26. Rxf6 Nxf6 {with a roughly equal position.}) 23. bxc4 {and White has some compensation in this crazy position.}) 22. Rag1 Bf8 23. Rf5 $2 (23. Qh3 $1 Be6 24. Qg2 Bxc4 25. bxc4 {and anything can happen in this position. White can try to push the f-pawn and has some compensation for the piece.}) 23... Qh4 24. Nd2 $2 (24. Nxe5 {is better.} Nxe5 25. Bxe5 (25. Rxe5 $6 Rxe5 26. Bxe5 Re8 27. Bxc7 Re6 {and the piece is much better than the three pawns.}) 25... Rxe5 $1 26. Rxe5 Bd6 27. Qg5 Qh7 28. f4 Bxe5 29. Qxe5 {and White is still fighting.}) 24... Re6 $1 {Now it's over.} 25. f4 Rg6 26. Nf3 Qh3 27. fxe5 Rxg1+ 28. Qxg1 Bh5 29. Ng5 Qg4 30. Qe3 Be7 31. e6 Rf8 $1 32. Nf7 (32. exd7 Rxf5 33. exf5 Bxg5 {winning.} (33... Qxg5 $4 34. Qxg5 Bxg5 35. f6 $1 { is a sad way to lose.})) 32... Bxf7 33. exd7 Be6 0-1 [Event "Madrid"] [Site "Madrid"] [Date "2022.07.04"] [Round "14"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D40"] [WhiteElo "2806"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "Sam Shankland"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c5 {The Semi-Tarrasch is becoming more common nowadays, particularly now that people have found that the 5...cxd4 line is pretty good at forcing a draw.} 5. e3 {This move is well known to be what White plays when he is trying to avoid theory and just get a game, but Hikaru was clearly well prepared.} (5. cxd5 {This is the main move. Now, both cxd4 and Nxd5 are playable for Black.}) 5... Nc6 6. a3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 a6 8. Bd3 { This is uncommon.} (8. O-O {This is the main move. After} b5 {There are some sharp lines, but as far as I know, Black is supposed to be okay.}) 8... b5 ( 8... cxd4 $5 {Now that the bishop has voluntarily left the a2-g8 diagonal, playing an IQP position should be pretty reasonable for Black. After} 9. exd4 Be7 10. O-O O-O {He will never need to fear the d4-d5 advance and can complete his development with b7-b5 and Bc8-b7. He looks fine to me.}) 9. dxc5 {The computer seems to think White has a little pull here. I don't really buy it. Normally, for White to be better in this symmetrical structure, he should have better coordination (i.e. a knight on d2 vs. a knight on c6, for example). Even then, it tends to be pretty thin. With all the pieces on the same squares as well as all the pawns, it is hard to believe Black is not totally fine.} Bxc5 10. b4 Be7 11. O-O Bb7 12. Bb2 O-O 13. Ne4 {According to the machine, this move is best. But this is a very bad sign for White- it leads to mass exchanges in a symmetrical position.} Nxe4 14. Bxe4 f5 (14... Na5 $5 {This was a decent way to trade even more pieces.}) 15. Bb1 Qxd1 16. Rxd1 Rfd8 17. Ba2 Kf7 {This was the position on the board when I woke up and first checked the games, and I thought it was already all but over. Somehow it is hard to imagine it not ending in a draw, and particularly hard to imagine someone as strong as Hikaru losing, but credit goes to Ding for finding ways to create little imbalances and putting Black's position under some pressure.} 18. h4 h6 19. Rdc1 $1 {Now, all of a sudden, Rxc6 is a threat and Nd4 would be an idea as well.} Bd6 $6 {The first step in the wrong direction.} (19... Bf6 $1 { This was the most obvious move, and there was nothing wrong with it.} 20. Nd4 Nxd4 $1 21. Rc7+ Kg6 22. Bxd4 Bxd4 23. exd4 Bd5 $11 {After some brief fireworks, Black should be totally fine here.}) 20. Rc2 $1 {With the not-so-subtle intention of Rac1 coming next, when the pressure on the c-file is a bit annoying. The bishop on d6 is not a great piece and should have been exchanged for its superior counterpart on b2.} Ne7 (20... a5 $1 {This was the cleanest route to equality. Now, I suspect Hikaru disliked} 21. Rac1 $5 axb4 22. Rxc6 Bxc6 23. Rxc6 bxa3 24. Be5 {When it seems like the position is getting messy and Black is rapidly losing control, but after the computer's cold blooded} Bxe5 $1 25. Nxe5+ Kg8 $1 26. Bxe6+ Kf8 {White doesn't have anything more than a draw. However, this looks scary to a human $1}) 21. Nd4 $1 Bd5 22. Bxd5 Nxd5 23. Rac1 {Now, the open d-file is clogged and not wildly useful, and White has full control of the open c-file. This should be holdable for Black, but it is definitely a bit unpleasant.} Rd7 (23... Ne7 $5 {Getting ready for a rook to c8 next $2}) 24. Nb3 $1 Be7 {Black aims to trade off the dark-squared bishops, correcting his earlier error, but it's a little too late for that. The weakened c5-square beckons.} 25. h5 Bf6 26. Bd4 $2 (26. Bxf6 $5 Nxf6 27. Rc6 {With Nc5 coming next, Black's position is under a lot of pressure.}) 26... e5 $1 {A good choice from Hikaru. Black takes central space and after the obvious} 27. Bc5 {It becomes clear that the bishop on c5 is actually rather terrible. It clogs White's c-file, cannot get out of the way, and is depriving the knight of its best square. Black should surely be fine here.} Bd8 $6 {I don't know what this move was about—Na5 does not look that scary. I guess Hikaru was starting to feel ambitious and was hoping for Nf6 to scoop up the h5-pawn. The computer does not mind this move, but I would have preferred something simpler.} (27... Rc8 {How about putting a rook on the open file $2}) 28. Rd2 $1 Nf6 29. Rxd7+ Nxd7 30. Rd1 Nf6 31. Bd6 $1 {This is exactly the kind of position I would want to avoid. Black's rook is so passive. .. The machine still claims he is fine, but I would be worried.} Ng4 32. Bc5 Bh4 (32... Nf6 {I wonder why Hikaru did not repeat moves. I suspect he was scared of Rd6. I can't imagine he wanted to avoid a draw.}) 33. Rd7+ Kg8 34. g3 {Black is still fine here, but the position is starting to feel very shaky. The queenside is lacking defenders.} Bg5 (34... Rd8 $1 {Apparently, this was fine.} 35. Ra7 Bg5 36. Rxa6 Rd3 {Black has enough kingside counterplay.}) 35. Kf1 Bd8 $2 {Too passive.} (35... Rd8 $1 {This was the last chance.} 36. Rxd8+ Bxd8 37. Bd6 {Nc5 is coming, and this looks scary to a human with clocks dwindling down, but Black is fine. For example, after} Kf7 38. Nc5 Be7 $1 39. Bxe7 Kxe7 40. Nxa6 Kd6 {Black lost a queenside pawn but will not lose the second one. White is a long way from making a passer or any kind of trouble really, and Nf6 is coming next to equalize material.}) 36. Rb7 $1 {A very powerful move. White plays prophylaxis against Nf6. By getting the rook out of dodge, he will be ready with Bd6 in response.} f4 {Desparation. This is actually the best move, but Black will not be saved.} (36... Nf6 37. Bd6 $1 { Nice that the rook is not hanging $1 Black is done for.}) 37. gxf4 exf4 38. e4 (38. exf4 $5 $18 {The difference in activity should be decisive.}) 38... Bf6 $2 (38... f3 $1 {Good or bad, this had to be tried. White's king is shut out. After} 39. Nd4 Ne5 40. Kg1 {Kh2-g3 is coming. Black has a miserable position with a long defense ahead, but it might not be totally over just yet.}) 39. Nd4 Re8 40. Kg2 $1 {White plays a final good move to reach time control. The pawn on e4 is immune thanks to the fork with Kf3, and with the extra time on the clock, he should win.} Ne5 (40... Rxe4 41. Kf3 $18) (40... Bxd4 {The machine wants this one. I would be shocked if Hikaru even considered it.} 41. Bxd4 Nf6 42. Bxf6 gxf6 43. Kf3 Re5 {Black trades some pawns and should have some drawing chances, though I have to believe he should eventually lose after something like} 44. Kxf4 Rxh5 45. Rb6 $16) 41. Nf5 $1 f3+ 42. Kg3 {Black has too many weaknesses and is totally done for. White can scoop up a6 or f3 whenever he sees fit.} Nc4 43. Be7 $1 Bb2 44. Kxf3 Bxa3 45. Kg3 {Black can barely move, and the e-pawn is coming.} Ne5 (45... a5 46. Bc5 $1 {Black is about to collapse on g7.} Bb2 47. bxa5 Nxa5 48. Rxb5 Bc3 49. f3 $18 {White's technical task will not be hard.}) 46. Bc5 Nf7 47. f3 {A rather sadistic move. Black is basically stalemated.} (47. Ne7+ Kh7 48. f4 {Shoving the e-pawn would have won faster, but there was no need for Ding to calculate variations.}) 47... Bc1 48. Ra7 Bd2 49. Rxa6 {No rush. Black is totally stuck and can do nothing while White starts harvesting pawns.} Be1+ 50. Kg2 Bc3 51. Ra7 Ng5 52. Ne7+ Kh8 53. Ng6+ Kg8 54. Ne7+ Kh8 55. Nd5 Bb2 56. Ra2 Bc1 57. Rc2 Ba3 58. Be3 {Black's bishop is trapped on a3 and will be taken by Ra2 next. Hikaru could have resigned some moves before, but here there was really no reason to keep playing. I'd like to thank Chess.com for inviting me to do the daily annotations for this tournament. I did my best to bring the most high-quality, fair, and objective analyses I could, void of any of my own personal biases, and I hope I was able to shine some light on some very interesting games from the most important event of the year. That's all from me, until next time $1} 1-0 [Event "Chess.com"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.07.04"] [Round "14"] [White "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C43"] [WhiteElo "2750"] [BlackElo "2766"] [Annotator "Rafael Leitao"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 Nxe4 4. dxe5 d5 (4... Bc5 {leads to big complications after:} 5. Bc4 Nxf2 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7 7. Qd5+ Kg6 8. Qxc5 Nxh1 9. Nc3 h6) 5. Nbd2 Qd7 $5 {A popular move in some recent online tournaments.} 6. Bd3 Nc5 7. Be2 Ne6 8. O-O Be7 9. Re1 {A new move.} (9. c4 {Hector-Westerberg, Malmo 2018.}) 9... O-O 10. Nf1 c5 11. Bd3 $1 {The third bishop move in the opening, but a good one $1 The bishop eyes the opponent's king, and it might go to f5.} Rd8 12. Ng3 g6 {A necessary move.} 13. c3 Nc6 14. h4 c4 15. Bc2 a5 $5 {A surprising and sophisticated plan.} (15... d4 {is the natural reaction.} 16. Ne4 d3 17. Ba4 a6 18. Nf6+ $1 (18. Bxc6 Qxc6 19. Qd2 Nc5 $1 {is good for Black.}) 18... Bxf6 19. exf6 b5 20. Qd2 $1 {followed by Bd1 with a complicated game.}) 16. h5 Ra6 {This is the point of 16...a5. I have the impression that this plan is actually too sophisticated to be good.} 17. Be3 $6 {Not the best way to attack.} (17. hxg6 hxg6 18. Qd2 $1 Bf8 19. b3 $1 {is more dangerous.}) 17... d4 $1 18. cxd4 Ncxd4 (18... Nexd4 $1 {is better.}) 19. Ne4 $1 {With the knight on c6 this would not be so good.} Nxf3+ 20. Qxf3 Nd4 21. Bxd4 Qxd4 22. Rad1 $1 Qxb2 (22... Qxe5 $2 23. Nd6 $1 Qxe1+ (23... Qf6 24. Nxc8 Rxc8 25. Qxb7 {wins.}) 24. Rxe1 Bxd6 25. Be4 {and White is winning.}) 23. hxg6 {Now the advantage slips.} (23. Rxd8+ Bxd8 24. Rd1 $1 Be7 25. Nf6+ Rxf6 {Forced.} (25... Bxf6 26. exf6 Rxf6 27. Rd8+ Kg7 28. Qe3 $1 {wins. White is threatening h6 mate, and that's why it's so important to keep the h-pawn.}) 26. exf6 Bxf6 {White has the advantage, but it's not clear that this is enough for a win.} (26... Qxf6 27. Qxf6 Bxf6 28. Rd5 {with winning chances for White.})) 23... hxg6 24. Rxd8+ Bxd8 25. Nd6 Be6 26. Bxg6 $1 {A strong move and the justification of Duda's previous play.} fxg6 27. Qe4 {Threatening the g6-pawn and also 28.Rb1.} Kg7 $5 (27... Rxd6 28. Qxg6+ Kf8 {ends in a draw.} 29. Qh6+ Kf7 30. Qh7+ Kf8 31. Qh6+ (31. exd6 Bf7)) 28. Rb1 Bd5 $1 {Now the game reaches a drawn endgame.} 29. Rxb2 Bxe4 30. Nxe4 Rb6 31. Rxb6 Bxb6 32. Kf1 Bd4 33. Nd6 Bxe5 34. Nxc4 Bc7 35. Ke2 Kf6 36. Kd3 Ke6 37. Ke4 b5 38. Na3 b4 39. Nc4 a4 40. f4 b3 41. axb3 axb3 42. g4 Kf6 43. f5 gxf5+ 44. gxf5 Bb8 45. Kd3 Kxf5 46. Nd6+ Bxd6 47. Kc3 b2 48. Kxb2 {An interesting and well-played game.} 1/2-1/2