[Event "Tata Steel-A 74th"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2012.01.14"] [Round "1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Gashimov, Vugar"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A30"] [WhiteElo "2835"] [BlackElo "2761"] [Annotator "Carlsen,Magnus"] [PlyCount "133"] [EventDate "2012.01.14"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "NED"] [EventCategory "21"] [SourceTitle "CBM 147"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2012.03.16"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2012.03.16"] [SourceQuality "1"] {[%evp 0,133,32,32,33,-4,20,17,18,22,27,27,27,17,17,17,17,0,40,17,40,36,36,45, 48,41,41,41,55,55,55,56,65,50,73,70,82,63,108,69,62,53,80,53,59,53,56,37,84,65, 70,73,79,74,68,26,64,43,77,82,99,52,109,92,63,73,66,63,63,67,58,56,68,68,68,77, 92,72,79,75,97,91,94,85,97,93,93,113,112,103,88,87,80,98,120,133,139,130,117, 92,100,111,84,93,200,203,214,198,204,182,170,170,226,239,273,237,272,269,279, 184,133,218,181,181,181,218,224,172,174,170,198,205,206,200,200,200]} {I decided to annotate the game against Gashimov from the first round. The games against Aronian and Topalov that I won (I've yet to annotate a game I haven't won, for different reasons) were arguably more interesting, but I like this one better.} 1. Nf3 {I had asked my father to name a letter from a-h before the game, and since the other moves to the f-file are not particularily inviting, it had to be this one.} Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 e6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 d6 9. Bg5 {I had sort of expected him to go for the hegdehog, and I was curious to see what he would do against the good old Andersson-line, where White frequently manages to get a small but stable advantage.} a6 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. Qf4 O-O 12. Rfd1 Be7 13. Ne4 {This is the point, Black has to give up his light-squared bishop.} Bxe4 14. Qxe4 Ra7 15. Nd4 Rc7 16. Rd2 {This has all been seen many times before, but here I suddenly got the idea that I might be able to defer playing b3 until later. Probably, it shouldn't make a lot of difference, though.} Rc5 (16... Rxc4 17. Nxe6 Rxe4 18. Nxd8 Rc4 19. Nb7 {is obviously very good for White, as d6 is dropping.}) 17. Rad1 Qc7 18. b3 Kh8 (18... b5 {was a way to try and exploit the fact that White hasn't got in a4 yet} 19. cxb5 axb5 20. b4 Rc4 21. a3 d5 22. Qe3 { and thanks to some tactical tricks, most notably} Qb6 23. Bxd5 {White keeps the initative.}) 19. Qb1 {Now however, we get a typical position. White will try to expand on the queenside, and ideally put a knight on c6.} Nd7 20. e3 Qc8 21. Rc2 Rc7 22. a4 Rd8 23. Qa2 {Now White has completed his plan (which I would have been quite proud of finding incidentically, had it not been played by Andersson 30 years ago) , and if I could get in b4-b5 now, I would have a serious advantage.} Ne5 {Stopping b4, but nevertheless not solving his problems.} 24. h3 $6 (24. a5 {was quite strong here. I naturally considered this, but I thought that Black could reply} bxa5 25. Qxa5 d5 {with an excellent game. However, the simple} 26. Rdc1 {leaves White well on top, thanks to the trick} Rc5 27. cxd5 $1 {which is what I missed (after other moves Black is more than fine).}) 24... Bf6 {Now however, we resume the unhurried manoeuvring.} 25. Rcd2 Rc5 26. f4 {I was very uncertain about this one, but I thought it was worth chasing the knight to a bad square, even at the cost of weakening my own position slightly.} Ng6 (26... Nd7 {would be desirable, but fails to} 27. Nc6 Rxc6 28. Bxc6 Qxc6 29. Rxd6 Qf3 30. Qf2 Qb7 31. Qg2 Qc7 32. Qd2 {and the pin on the d-file is Black's downfall.}) 27. Rd3 { I thought the queen might find some useful work on the second rank.} h6 { Eventually, this led to an ugly weakening on the dark squares, but that was rather hard to foresee at this point, and the black king needs an escape hole, just in case.} 28. Qd2 e5 {Gashimov decided not to wait any longer, and try to free his game. This break is made possible by the fact that I have weakened my position with f4, giving Black some counterchances.} 29. Nc2 $1 {Much stronger than} (29. Ne2 b5 {with adequate counterplay for Black.}) 29... b5 30. axb5 axb5 31. Na3 {This is what I had been counting on, I reckoned that White would have a huge advantage with the knight coming to c4. However, around this point I realised that it wasn't all that simple.} bxc4 32. Nxc4 d5 {The point, otherwise the d6-pawn falls and Black has a miserable position.} 33. Bxd5 { After some thought I settled on this, which at least gives White a lasting advantage with no risk.} (33. Nb6 Qe6 {with the point of} 34. Nxd5 (34. Rxd5 Rcxd5 35. Nxd5 Ne7 {also leaves White with very few winning chances, as Black gets to exchange his bad knight}) 34... e4 {is what I had missed. Surprisingly, at least to me, Black wins material.}) 33... Qxh3 34. Qg2 Qxg2+ {Black has to exchange queens to save his f7-pawn.} 35. Kxg2 exf4 36. exf4 {Material is sharply reduced, and there are opposite-coloured bishops on the board, but as it's often been shown in practice, that doesn't always guarantee a draw. Here, White has some concrete advantages: His minor pieces are more much active than their black counterparts, and the passed b-pawn is potentially very dangerous. Additionally, the f7-pawn needs protection.} Rc7 37. Ne3 Rcd7 38. Ng4 {I was very happy to find this manoeuvre.} (38. b4 Ne7 39. b5 Rd6 {leads nowhere, as I don't want to move the bishop and exchange rooks.}) 38... Bb2 $2 {A serious inaccuracy.} (38... Bc3 {was much better. Paradoxically, the bishop is less exposed here than on b2, as is apparent in the game} 39. Nf2 f5 {and Black keeps excellent drawing chances, as is apparent in the line} 40. Be6 Rxd3 41. Rxd3 Rxd3 42. Nxd3 {and the bishop is not hanging, so that Black can safely protect the pawn with ...Ne7.}) (38... Ne7 {might be tempting, but leads to a very unfortunate transformation for Black} 39. Nxf6 gxf6 40. Bc4 Rxd3 41. Rxd3 Rxd3 42. Bxd3 {and with a passed pawn and the stronger miner piece, White should win despite material equality.}) 39. Nf2 f6 {An ugly move, but probably not a bad one.} (39... Rb8 40. Bc4 {also leaves Black with an unpleasant position.}) 40. Be4 Nf8 {Absolutely forced;} (40... Rxd3 41. Rxd3 Rxd3 42. Nxd3 {leaves two black pieces hanging.}) 41. b4 {Finally, the time has come to advance this pawn.} Rxd3 42. Nxd3 Bc3 43. Rc1 Bd4 (43... Rd4 44. Kf3 Bxb4 45. Nxb4 Rxb4 46. Rc8 {costs Black the knight on f8.}) 44. Nc5 Be3 {I was happy to see this one, as I was sure that the plan involving putting a rook on the second rank would lead nowhere.} (44... g6 {would also not have solved Black's problems, due to the clever} 45. Rd1 f5 46. Nb7 $1 (46. Bf3 Bf6 {is naturally harmless}) 46... Rd7 47. Bc6 Rc7 48. b5 Bb6 49. Nd6 {and, mainly due to the passive positions of his pieces, Black still has a very difficult position.}) 45. Rc3 Rd2+ 46. Kf3 Bd4 47. Rc4 g6 {Preparing to weave a mating net, but White has a simple answer.} 48. Nd3 {Now the threat is parried, and White can launch a counterattack.} Bg1 49. Rc8 $2 {A mistake, which seriously complicates my task.} (49. Rc1 {was correct, with the idea of forcing the black bishop to d4, a square the knight needs.} Bd4 50. f5 {I rejected this because of} gxf5 51. Bxf5 Ne6 {activating the black knight, and failing to spot the simple} 52. Ke4 Re2+ 53. Kd5 {and White wins a piece.}) 49... Kg7 50. Rc7+ Kg8 51. f5 {This was my point, as now Black cannot play ...gxf5 Bxf5 Ne6 due to the check on e6. However, Black has another trick, which I failed to spot.} g5 $2 {Now the black knight is left completely paralysed.} (51... h5 $3 {would most probably have saved the day} 52. fxg6 Ne6 53. Rd7 Nd4+ (53... Ng5+ 54. Kf4 {is simple; the white king does not get mated here}) 54. Kf4 {I finished calculating here, thinking that White is easily winning, but Black continues with} Ne2+ {This one escaped my line of vision. Now White has nothing better than} 55. Kf5 Nxg3+ 56. Kf4 Nxe4 57. Kxe4 h4 58. Kf5 h3 59. Kxf6 Bb6 {and miraculously, Black makes a draw.}) 52. g4 {A very important move, now the white king will never get in trouble, and I can now calmly go about converting my advantage.} Bh2 53. Rb7 Rc2 54. Nc5 Rc3+ 55. Ke2 h5 {Desperation, but what else to do? Bd5 followed by Ne6 is a threat, and the otherwise desirable} (55... Bd6 {runs into a nasty fork:} 56. Bd5+ Kh8 57. Ne4) 56. gxh5 g4 57. Ne6 Rc8 58. b5 {My first priority was to keep the black knight passive, and so winning a second pawn with} (58. Rg7+ Kh8 59. Rxg4 Nd7 {was not very tempting.}) 58... Rb8 {The best try, but the endgame is easily winning for White.} 59. Rxb8 Bxb8 60. Bd5 {Very accurate. Now ...Nd7 is naturally not possible due to Nc5+.} Ba7 {He needs to prevent b6, but now I can simply march with the king to g3 and pick up the pawn.} (60... Nxe6 61. fxe6 Kf8 62. h6 f5 63. h7 Be5 64. b6 {leaves Black with too many passed pawns to handle.}) 61. Kf1 Be3 62. Kg2 Kf7 63. Nxf8+ {The end of a long and interesting journey for this knight. Finally the time has come to exchange the unfortunate knight on f8. The two passed pawns are too far apart for Black to deal with both.} Kxf8 64. Kg3 Ke7 (64... Kg7 65. Kxg4 Kh6 66. Bf7 {followed by a king march to the queenside, is also quite elementary.}) 65. Kxg4 Kd6 66. Kf3 {Since Black has to let one of my pawns advance to the sixth rank, the game is over.} Bd2 67. b6 {My best game in Wijk aan Zee this year, and apart from the mistake on move 49, a game I'm quite proud of!} 1-0