[Event "Chess.com"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.02.04"] [Round "1"] [White "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2686"] [BlackElo "2763"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. d4 e6 2. c4 Bb4+ 3. Bd2 a5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. g3 {Wojtaszek is one of the greatest experts of the Catalan in the world, and he is notorious for his quality opening preparation.} d5 6. Bg2 dxc4 7. Qc2 ({Apparently, Rapport was not intimidated by the hot line that the world champion had chosen to practically seal Tata Steel this year:} 7. O-O O-O 8. e3 Ra6 9. Qc2 b5 10. a4 c6 11. Nc3 Rb6 12. e4 Be7 13. e5 Nd5 14. axb5 cxb5 15. Nxd5 exd5 16. Bxa5 { Carlsen,M (2865)-Mamedyarov,S (2767) Wijk aan Zee 2022}) 7... c5 8. a3 Bxd2+ 9. Nbxd2 cxd4 10. Nxc4 O-O 11. Qd3 $5 $146 {Here comes the novelty $1 Wojtaszek makes sure that his queen will remain on the board, at least for the time being.} ({In the predecessor, Black managed to defend the endgame after:} 11. Rd1 Nc6 12. O-O Rb8 13. Rd2 Re8 14. Nfe5 Bd7 15. Rfd1 Qc7 16. Nxc6 Bxc6 17. Bxc6 Qxc6 18. Rxd4 b5 19. Ne3 Qxc2 20. Nxc2 Nd5 {Vidit,S (2711)-Melkumyan,H (2660) Douglas 2018}) 11... Nc6 12. O-O Ra6 {Rapport moves the rook off of the major diagonal, a pure human reaction.} ({Surprisingly, the seeming blunder} 12... b6 {was in fact playable with the point that after} 13. Nxd4 Qxd4 14. Qxd4 Nxd4 15. Bxa8 Ba6 16. Nxb6 Rb8 {Black somewhat manages to regain his material, for instance} 17. Rfd1 Nb3 18. Rab1 Bxe2 19. Bg2 Bxd1 20. Rxd1 { Nevertheless, White keeps better prospects even at the end of the line thanks to his Catalan bishop.}) 13. Rfd1 b5 14. Nce5 Bb7 15. Nxc6 Bxc6 16. Qxd4 { And White obtained a certain advantage.} Qa8 {More or less forced, but this means that White is in charge in the center.} ({The major point behind the Polish GM/^s prep: in his version, the trade of the queens.} 16... Qxd4 17. Nxd4 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Rb6 19. Rac1 {Keeps White in full control as he would soon establish a monstrous knight on the c6-square.}) 17. Rac1 h6 18. Bf1 $3 { A brilliant idea $1 White is going to slowly smother the black minor pieces.} ( {After} 18. Nh4 Bxg2 19. Nxg2 Rc6 {Black would be able to equalize.}) 18... Bd5 ({Or else after} 18... Bxf3 19. exf3 Qxf3 20. Bxb5 {the white bishop would dominate as already seen.}) 19. Ne5 Qb8 {Rapport is very resourceful in the defense and is about to set a devilish trap.} ({The machine finds an even more amazing defense in the spectacular line} 19... Ra7 $3 20. f3 Nd7 $1 {The first point is to self-pin $1} 21. e4 Nxe5 22. Qxe5 Bc4 $1 {And the second point is to give up a pawn.} 23. Bxc4 bxc4 24. Rxc4 Rd8 25. Rcd4 Rxd4 26. Qxd4 Rb7 $1 { And finally Black generates almost enough play for the sacrificed material.}) 20. f3 $1 {This is what the Bg2-f1 maneuver was all about $1 The pawn wedge on e4-f3 will completely deprive both the black bishop and knight of any reasonable squares—while opening the d-file for the major white pieces $1} Rd6 $1 {The trap $1} 21. Qc5 $1 {Is rejected $1} ({The neat point would have been seen in the line} 21. e4 Rdd8 $3) 21... Ra6 {Sad, but best.} ({Black would suffocate badly after} 21... Rfd8 22. e4 Ba8 23. Rxd6 Rxd6 24. Qc8+ Rd8 25. Qxb8 Rxb8 26. Rc7 {and White wins.}) 22. Qc7 Bc4 $1 {Here too, the sacrifice of a pawn is Black's best try.} 23. Qxb8 Rxb8 24. e4 $1 {And this restriction remains White's best as well. White wants to keep his dominant knight alive, and this would net him the pawn no mater what Black does.} ({ After} 24. Nxc4 bxc4 25. Rxc4 Rab6 $1 {Black would be suddenly alright $1} ({ Rather than} 25... Rxb2 $2 26. Rd8+ Kh7 27. Rc7)) 24... Rab6 ({Black is suffering in case of} 24... Bxf1 25. Kxf1) 25. Rd2 {Wojtaszek knows that his opponent has nowhere to go.} (25. Rd4 $5 {looked good as well.}) ({That is why White is not in a rush to cash in the pawn with} 25. Bxc4 bxc4 26. Nxc4 Rb3 27. Kf2 {Then Black would have likely sought counterplay with} g5 {anyway.}) 25... g5 $1 {The nasty pawn pair in the center needs to get unpaired $1} 26. g4 ({ Since} 26. Bxc4 bxc4 27. Nxc4 Rb3 28. Kf2 (28. Nxa5 Rxf3) 28... g4 { complicates matter for White, to put it mildly.}) 26... Kg7 27. Bxc4 bxc4 28. Nxc4 {White won a pawn and kept control on both the open files. And still, it is not over.} Rb3 29. Kf2 a4 30. Rcc2 h5 31. h3 hxg4 {Surprisingly, this makes White's task easier.} ({Stronger was to fix some weaknesses on the kingside with} 31... h4 $1 32. Ne5 R3b5 33. Nd3 Nd7 34. Rc7 Ne5 35. Nxe5 Rxe5 36. Rdd7 Rf8 {And despite the pawn deficit, and the passive rook, Black still holds on $1}) 32. hxg4 Rh8 33. Ne5 Rb5 ({The computer-generated} 33... Rh2+ 34. Kf1 Rxd2 35. Rxd2 Nh7 {would hardly occur to any human brain.}) 34. Nd3 Rh2+ {Now, after some trades in time trouble...} 35. Kf1 Rxd2 36. Rxd2 Nd7 37. Ke2 Kf6 38. Rc2 Rb8 39. Rc4 Ne5 40. Rb4 Rxb4 41. Nxb4 {White reaches a position which should be technically won. After all, as Botvinnik summarized, knight endgames are pawn endgames in disguise...} Nc4 (41... Ke7 {was more stubborn.}) 42. Nd3 ({For now, White missed a study-like win} 42. Nc6 $3 Nxb2 43. e5+ $1 Kg6 44. Na5 $1 {trapping the black knight $1}) 42... Ke7 43. Kd1 Kd6 {This is just hopeless.} ({The last chance was related to the massive pawn trades—as in the line} 43... f5 $1 44. exf5 exf5 45. gxf5 Kf6 46. Kc2 Ne3+ 47. Kc3 Nxf5 48. Kb4 Nd4 {and it is not yet clear if White wins.}) 44. Kc2 Kc6 45. Kc3 Kb5 46. Kd4 $1 {Centralization cannot be bad.} ({The alternative was} 46. b3 $1 Nxa3 47. bxa4+ Kxa4 48. Ne5 $1 {winning as well.}) 46... f6 47. e5 $1 {Wojtaszek is breaking through and the rest is pure technique.} f5 48. gxf5 exf5 49. e6 g4 50. e7 Nd6 51. Kd5 Ne8 52. f4 g3 53. Ne1 Ng7 54. Ng2 Kb6 55. Kd6 Kb5 56. Ne3 Kb6 57. Kd7 Kc5 58. e8=Q (58. e8=Q Nxe8 59. Kxe8 Kd4 60. Nxf5+) 1-0
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