[Event "Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.06"] [Round "1.5"] [White "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2785"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "144"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "France"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "FRA"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:01:39"] [BlackClock "0:01:08"] {[%evp 0,144,28,19,19,19,13,11,11,3,3,-2,28,21,35,30,29,-10,26,14,-5,-7,3,-5,0,3,0,-13,-7,-11,-15,9,9,3,3,29,28,6,-18,2,-8,12,12,12,4,0,12,-13,7,10,10,0,10,-19,10,10,2,20,14,-12,-13,-2,0,6,5,11,11,11,11,11,1,0,0,0,0,-12,-14,-47,-50,-51,-61,-64,-30,-112,-106,-138,-132,-124,-158,-164,-162,-141,-91,-91,-91,-103,-94,-116,-116,-116,-116,-198,-205,-205,-99,-107,-120,-120,-120,-121,-68,-147,-128,-120,-169,-231,-253,-256,-185,-267,-229,-223,-96,-237,-237,-254,-254,-275,-290,-307,-307,-338,-363,-459,-585,-617,-617,-721,-771,-899,-454,-648,-662,-751,-753,-753,-774]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 d6 5. c3 Bb6 {\"Fabiano [Caruana] made this move popular. He played it in Paris two years ago.\" (So). Black keeps his kingside knight undeveloped for the time being in order to avoid the pin with Bc1-g5.} ({Relevant:} 5... Nf6 6. O-O a6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Re1 h6 9. Nbd2 g5 10. Nf1 g4 11. N3d2 h5 12. b4 h4 $15 {Aronian,L (2745)-Grischuk,A (2745) Astana 2023} 13. Nb3 Ne7 14. Be3 Bxe3 15. Nxe3 Ng6 16. d4 Rh5 17. Qc2 Kf8 18. Rad1 Bd7 19. a5 Qe8 20. dxe5 Qxe5 21. Nd5 Kg7 22. Nd4 Nxd5 23. Bxd5 c6 24. Bb3 Qf6 25. f4 Qxf4 26. Rf1 Qe3+ 27. Kh1 Ne5 28. Ne2 Qh6 29. Nf4 Rg5 30. Qd2 Re8 31. Qxd6 Qxd6 32. Rxd6 Bc8 33. Kg1 h3 34. Rd2 f6 35. Bd1 hxg2 36. Nxg2 Be6 37. Ne3 Re7 38. Kg2 Nc4 39. Nxc4 Bxc4 40. Rf4 Be6 41. Kg3 c5 42. Be2 cxb4 43. cxb4 Kf7 44. Rd6 Kg7 45. Rb6 Rg6 46. Bd3 Rg5 47. Bc2 Rc7 48. Bd1 Re7 49. Bc2 Rc7 50. Bd1 Re7 51. Be2 Rg6 52. b5 axb5 53. Rxb5 Rg5 54. e5 Rxe5 55. Rxe5 fxe5 56. Rb4 Kf6 57. Rb6 Kg5 58. Rb5 Bf5 59. Rc5 Rh7 60. Rxe5 Rh3+ 61. Kg2 Kf4 62. Re7 Ra3 63. Kf2 Rxa5 {1/2 Aronian,L (2745)-Grischuk,A (2745) Astana Satty Zhuldyz Rapid 2023 (3)}) 6. O-O h6 7. Nbd2 {There is no need to invent anything extraordinary. The normal development is a good way to face Black's idea.} ({So also faced} 7. a4 Nf6 8. b4 a5 9. b5 Ne7 10. Be3 Bxe3 11. fxe3 O-O 12. Nbd2 Ng6 13. Qe1 c6 14. Nh4 d5 $36 {and Black was doing just fine in Adhiban,B (2660)-So,W (2772) chess24.com INT 2021.}) 7... Nf6 8. Bb3 a5 $5 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A rare move. Black wants to preserve his dark-squared bishop. Why this pawn stands better here than on a6 is somewhat of a mystery.} ({However, the conventional} 8... a6 9. Nc4 Ba7 {enters a famous position in which it is normally Black to move (he does not lose a tempo on …Bc5-b6-a7 in the normal lines.)}) 9. Re1 ({Here it is $1 In case of} 9. Nc4 Ba7 10. Be3 b5 {the black a5-pawn actually stands pretty well.}) 9... O-O 10. h3 {\"I thought I was slightly worse out of the opening, but nothing special.\" (So)} Be6 {\"I like this move.\" (So)} 11. Bxe6 fxe6 12. Nc4 Ba7 13. Be3 $146 {The bishop is too annoying to be tolerated.} ({The predecessor was an email game:} 13. a4 Rf7 14. Be3 Bxe3 15. Rxe3 Qd7 16. Nh4 Rd8 17. Ng6 b6 18. Nd2 Qe8 $11 {Achilles,E (2434)-Susedenko,V (2443) ICCF email 2017}) 13... Bxe3 14. Rxe3 a4 15. d4 {Until here Firouzja played very quickly and confidently. This was an important moment in the game, and an important decision was taken. As it often happens, the immediate attempt to seize the center leads to relieving trades for the second player.} ({So suggested instead to keep the pressure for the time being with} 15. Rc1 $5 {[%c_effect c1;square;c1;type;Interesting;persistent;true]}) 15... exd4 16. cxd4 d5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] \"I equalized quickly after this.\" (So)} 17. exd5 exd5 18. Ncd2 ({More trades can hardly scare Black.} 18. Nce5 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 Ne4 $11) 18... Qd6 19. a3 $1 {[%c_effect a3;square;a3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Fixes a weakness. Now White has something to play for.} Qf4 {Somewhere around here So starts to hesitate and shuffles his queen around without clear aim.} ({More purposeful is} 19... Nh5 $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] initiating counterplay on his own on the kingside.}) 20. Nb1 $1 {[%c_effect b1;square;b1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Firouzja intends to aim two pawns at the same time.} Ne4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Which of course cannot be allowed.} 21. Nc3 Nxc3 22. Rxc3 Qd6 {Admitting that the queen was more of a scarecrow.} 23. Rac1 {Whereas White brings his rooks out of slumber.} Rf7 24. R1c2 Rf4 {So, too, searches for sore points in the enemy position.} 25. Re3 {Now both players start a little dance around the opponent's weaknesses.} Qf6 26. Rd3 Re8 27. Rc5 Qd6 {A small tactical defense.} 28. Rcc3 (28. Qxa4 $4 {[%csl Gc5,Gd4,Rf4][%CAl Rf4a4,Rd6c5] [%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Qxc5 $19) 28... Rfe4 29. g3 {Finally White is ready to capture the pawn.} ({Still not} 29. Qxa4 $4 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Re1+ 30. Nxe1 Rxe1#) 29... Re2 {But Black is again in time to generate counter-threats.} 30. Rd2 (30. Qxa4 Rxb2 $11) 30... Rxd2 31. Qxd2 Qg6 {Surprisingly, this active move allows White a chance.} ({Safer was} 31... Qe6 $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 32. Kg2 Qe2 {and the a4-pawn is out of any danger.}) 32. Kg2 ({Firouzja missed his chance to hit the weakness once more with} 32. Qd1 $1 {[%c_effect d1;square;d1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Now that the active black pieces are no longer around, White is really threatening the weakness, and a passive defense like} Ra8 {would not work due to} 33. b4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} axb3 34. Qxb3 {[%csl Rb3,Gd5][%CAl Rb3d5,Rb3g8,Gc3c5,Rc5d5] when White is winning a pawn.}) 32... Qb1 {Now it is back to balanced.} 33. Rc1 Qf5 34. Rc3 Qb1 35. h4 $11 {Firouzja wants more than a draw, but as we shall see, this move is not without issues of its own.} Re7 36. Rc1 Qf5 37. Qd1 $6 (37. Rc5 $1 {was stronger and safer.}) 37... g5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] \"I am pretty sure he missed this move. He had little time.\" (So) The drawback of the h-push is now evident and White's position becomes too loose.} 38. hxg5 hxg5 39. Qd2 g4 {Suddenly, both the d4-pawn and the white king are in danger. Firouzja needs to switch to the defense.} 40. Nh4 ({The machine holds somehow after} 40. Ne5 Nxe5 41. dxe5 Rxe5 (41... Qxe5 42. Qb4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 42. Qa5 $3 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;Brilliant;persistent;true]} ({Whereas the human move} 42. Rxc7 {with the idea to announce a perpetual check after} Qf3+ ({actually loses to the neat} 42... Qe4+ $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The queen needs to cover the b1-h7 diagonal.} 43. Kg1 Rh5 44. Rc8+ Kh7 45. Rc7+ Kg6 $19 {and the checks are over.}) 43. Kg1 Rh5 44. Rc8+ Kg7 45. Rc7+)) 40... Qe4+ 41. Kh2 {This turns out to be a mistake.} ({Apparently, the king needed to defend the f2-pawn, thus} 41. Kg1 $1 {[%c_effect g1;square;g1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] would have been more stubborn when} Qxd4 ({Although here, too, Black can play for more with} 41... Nxd4 42. Rd1 Ne2+ 43. Kh2 Re5 $15) 42. Qg5+ Rg7 43. Qh5 $11 {[%CAl Gh5e8] provides White enough counterplay due to the Nh4-f5 inclusion.}) 41... Qxd4 42. Qg5+ Rg7 43. Qf5 (43. Qh5 Qxf2+ {is out of the question.}) 43... Rf7 44. Qg5+ Kf8 $1 {[%c_effect f8;square;f8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] So kept an extra pawn and got his favorite extra-material type of position.} 45. Kh1 Qe4+ 46. Kg1 Ke8 {Out of the checking zone.} 47. Qd2 Re7 48. Rd1 d4 49. Qg5 Ne5 {The powerful centralization secures Black of any perpetual checks.} 50. Qd2 d3 (50... c5 $5 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] looked more solid.}) 51. Qf4 Qxf4 {This turned out to be enough for the full point.} ({But there was an even more convincing continuation} 51... Qe2 $1 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 52. Rd2 Nf3+ $3 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;Brilliant;persistent;true]} 53. Nxf3 gxf3 $1 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] when the pawns would be unstoppable.}) 52. gxf4 Nc4 53. Rxd3 Nxb2 54. Rc3 Rd7 55. Kg2 {Missing his last chance.} ({Redeploying the knight with} 55. Ng2 $1 {[%c_effect g2;square;g2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] was more resilient.}) 55... Nd3 $1 {[%c_effect d3;square;d3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Now Black is optimally positioned to run his passers.} 56. Kg3 c5 57. Kxg4 b5 58. Nf5 Kf7 59. Kg5 Rd5 60. Rc2 Ne1 {Extra cautious play by So in the opponent's time-trouble $1} (60... b4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] would have been stronger as there is no perpetual after} 61. axb4 cxb4 62. Rc7+ Ke8) 61. Rc3 Nd3 62. Rc2 b4 {Time to roll the pawns.} 63. axb4 cxb4 64. Rc7+ Ke8 65. Kf6 Kd8 66. Ra7 b3 67. Ne3 Rd6+ 68. Kf5 b2 69. Rb7 Rd4 70. Nc2 Rxf4+ 71. Kg5 Rxf2 72. Na3 Rf1 0-1 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.06"] [Round "1"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C08"] [WhiteElo "2795"] [BlackElo "2745"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,83,19,31,41,46,51,28,46,46,32,19,45,17,24,26,23,2,1,9,29,14,26,26,26,-2,26,20,30,46,47,50,45,29,31,-36,11,-2,8,23,36,21,20,21,46,39,46,16,33,36,50,-22,5,14,-7,-41,-20,-42,-31,-21,16,8,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,-14,0,-32,-28,-28,-30,-28,-22,-22,-22,-22,-22,-22,-22,-22,-22,-22]} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 Nc6 5. exd5 exd5 6. Bb5 cxd4 7. Qe2+ Qe7 8. Nb3 Qxe2+ 9. Bxe2 Bb4+ 10. Bd2 Bxd2+ 11. Kxd2 Nf6 12. Nfxd4 Bd7 13. f3 Ne5 14. Rhe1 O-O-O 15. Nc5 Rhe8 16. b3 ({The engine recommends a bold attempt to create play with a temporary pawn sacrifice to open lines on the queenside:} 16. a4 a5 17. b4 axb4 18. Reb1 Nc4+ 19. Ke1 $14 {but it's easy to see why a human competitor would assess this as more risky than necessary as it pulls resources away from the center and self-pins the d2-bishop.}) 16... Nc6 17. Kc3 Nxd4 18. Kxd4 {A picturesque centralized king, hiding behind Black's isolated queen pawn, despite a significant amount of material still left on the board. Though it's unusually adventurously placed, it doesn't seem to accomplish all that much. Black's pieces are able to keep the center well-defended.} Bc6 19. a4 a5 20. Nd3 Kc7 21. Ne5 Re7 22. Bd3 Rde8 23. g3 Nd7 24. f4 Nf8 25. Rf1 Ne6+ {With his doubled rooks on the e-file and sturdy isolated d-pawn, Rapport has equalized comfortably.} 26. Kc3 Nc5 27. Rad1 Nxd3 28. Rxd3 f6 29. Nf3 Re2 30. h4 R8e3 31. Nd4 Rxd3+ 32. Kxd3 Rg2 33. Rf3 Bd7 34. Re3 Kd6 35. Kc3 g6 36. Kb2 Kc5 37. Rd3 b6 38. Kc1 Rg1+ 39. Kd2 Rg2+ 40. Kc1 Rg1+ 41. Kd2 Rg2+ 42. Kc1 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.06"] [Round "1"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D27"] [WhiteElo "2788"] [BlackElo "2741"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,67,29,34,28,-20,25,32,43,44,41,57,52,50,58,38,33,22,49,41,20,19,52,60,58,58,51,34,38,20,48,33,46,39,110,27,26,26,16,20,10,10,15,15,15,-28,-22,-17,-17,-38,-35,-31,-31,-31,0,0,0,0,-6,0,0,0,6,11,10,0,0,0,14,0]} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O a6 7. b3 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Be7 9. Bb2 O-O 10. Be2 b5 11. a4 bxa4 12. Rxa4 Bb7 13. Nd2 Nbd7 14. Qa1 {An enticing maneuver. From the corner, the queen teams up with both the a4-rook and b2-bishop to increase their power down the file and diagonal.} Nc5 15. Ra5 h6 16. Rc1 Rc8 17. b4 {Intentionally heading into a multitude of exchanges on the queenside. Ding admitted after the game: \"Here, I decided to make a quick draw.\"} Ncd7 18. Rxc8 Qxc8 19. Bxa6 Bxa6 20. Rxa6 Bxb4 21. Nc6 Qb7 22. Bxf6 Nxf6 23. Nxb4 Qxb4 24. Nf1 Rb8 25. Ra8 Rxa8 26. Qxa8+ Qf8 27. Qxf8+ Kxf8 28. f3 Nd7 29. Kf2 Ke7 30. e4 Nc5 31. Ke3 Nd7 32. Kf2 Nc5 33. Ke3 Nd7 34. Kf2 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.06"] [Round "1"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Deac, Bogdan-Daniel"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E21"] [WhiteElo "2764"] [BlackElo "2700"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,98,31,16,26,-11,0,-3,4,33,31,7,21,-22,-6,-3,-11,-31,1,-19,3,-9,5,5,-2,24,41,9,47,18,21,1,37,19,38,11,42,27,13,50,50,8,18,34,45,6,12,9,25,15,41,6,23,9,20,11,11,22,42,37,50,30,44,56,54,50,44,6,79,46,43,33,35,15,57,56,88,73,77,26,37,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 O-O 5. Bg5 c5 6. Rc1 cxd4 7. Nxd4 h6 8. Bh4 d5 9. cxd5 Bxc3+ 10. Rxc3 g5 11. Bg3 Qxd5 12. f3 e5 13. Nc2 Qxd1+ 14. Kxd1 Rd8+ 15. Ke1 Nd5 16. Rd3 Nc6 17. e4 Nf4 18. Rxd8+ Nxd8 19. Bf2 Be6 20. b3 a5 21. g3 Nh5 22. Kd2 a4 23. Kc3 axb3 24. axb3 g4 25. fxg4 Nf6 26. Bd3 Bxg4 27. Nb4 Rc8+ 28. Kb2 Bf3 29. Re1 Nc6 30. Bc5 Nd7 31. Bd6 Nxb4 32. Bxb4 Nc5 33. Bc4 Bh5 34. Rc1 $6 {[%c_effect c1;square;c1;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (34. Bxc5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Eliminating any source of counterplay for Black to leave White with both the superior bishop and rook.} Rxc5 35. Bd5 b6 (35... Bg4 36. Bxb7 Be6 37. Bd5 Bxd5 38. b4 Rb5 39. exd5 Rxd5 40. Kc3 $16) 36. g4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Highlighting the problematic placement of Black's bishop.} Bg6 (36... Bxg4 $4 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 37. Rg1) 37. h4 h5 38. g5 Kh7 39. Rf1 Kh8 40. Rf6 (40. Bxf7 $2 {[%c_effect f7;square;f7;type;Mistake;persistent;true] lets Black's bishop back into the game with} Bxe4) 40... Rb5 41. Kc3 $18 {when Black's pieces are tied up in knots on both sides.}) 34... b6 35. Bd2 Kg7 36. Be3 Bg4 {Returning the bishop to its safer and more influencial post.} 37. b4 Nd7 38. Kb3 h5 39. Ra1 Bf3 $5 {[%c_effect f3;square;f3;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A pawn sacrifice that demonstrates a clear understanding of the arising material down ending.} 40. Bxf7 Kxf7 41. Rf1 b5 42. Rxf3+ Ke6 43. Bg5 Rc4 44. Re3 Nf6 {With White's king locked in a box on the queenside and Black's pressure on the isolated e4-pawn, there is no way to make progress.} 45. Bxf6 Kxf6 46. Rf3+ Ke6 47. Re3 Kf6 48. Rf3+ Ke6 49. Re3 Kf6 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.07"] [Round "2"] [White "Deac, Bogdan-Daniel"] [Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2700"] [BlackElo "2794"] [Annotator "Rafael"] [PlyCount "88"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 {In the earliest days of the Queen's Gambit Declined, the bishop was almost always developed to g5. For some time now, however, elite grandmasters have favored this move and it has become the main line.} O-O 6. e3 c5 {The classical way of playing. 6...Nbd7 is very popular nowadays, but Nepomniachtchi is clearly using his world championship preparation.} 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. a3 Nc6 9. Qc2 Qa5 10. Rd1 (10. O-O-O {was played a lot in the past and there are some Kasparov games with it. But Black has already found the correct way to equalize.}) 10... h6 $5 {[%CAl Gh6g5] A very rare move, but one that was used by Caruana last year. Black takes prophylactic measures while waiting for White to develop the f1-bishop.} (10... Be7 {is the main line.}) (10... Ne4 $5 $132 {To better understand the merits of the move played in the game, it's important to examine this more natural choice.} 11. cxd5 Nxc3 12. bxc3 exd5 13. Rxd5 Qxa3 14. Ng5 $1 {[%csl Gh7][%CAl Rc2h7] [%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] with a promising position for White. Now we can see one of the reasons the pawn on h6 is useful.}) (10... Re8 {[%CAl Ge6e5] was played in the famous Korchnoi-Karpov 1978 world championship match and led to a brilliant win for White. Nakamura, in modern times, popularized this move again.} 11. Nd2 e5 12. Bg5 Nd4 13. Qb1 Bf5 14. Bd3 e4 15. Bc2 Nxc2+ 16. Qxc2 Qa6 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. Nb3 Bd6 19. Rxd5 Re5 20. Nd4 Rc8 21. Rxe5 Qxe5 22. Nxf5 Qxf5 23. O-O Rxc4 24. Rd1 Qe5 25. g3 a6 26. Qb3 b5 27. a4 Rb4 28. Qd5 Qxd5 29. Rxd5 Bf8 30. axb5 a5 31. Rd8 Rxb2 32. Ra8 f5 33. Rxa5 Bb4 34. Ra8+ Kf7 35. Na4 Rb1+ 36. Kg2 Bd6 37. Ra7+ Kf6 38. b6 Bb8 39. Ra8 Be5 40. Nc5 Bd6 41. b7 Ke7 42. Rg8 Be5 43. f4 exf3+ 44. Kxf3 Kf7 45. Rc8 Ke7 46. h3 h5 47. Rg8 Kf7 48. Rd8 g5 49. g4 hxg4+ 50. hxg4 Ke7 51. Rg8 fxg4+ 52. Kxg4 Kf7 53. Rc8 Bd6 54. e4 Rg1+ 55. Kf5 g4 56. e5 Rf1+ 57. Ke4 Re1+ 58. Kd5 Rd1+ 59. Nd3 Rxd3+ 60. Kc4 {1-0 Kortschnoj,V (2665)-Karpov,A (2725) World-ch28 Karpov-Kortschnoj +6-5=21 Baguio City 1978 (21)}) 11. Be2 {[%CAl Ge1g1]} (11. b4 $2 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Nxb4 12. axb4 Bxb4 {[%csl Ra5,Rb4,Gc3,Ge1][%CAl Ra5e1] with a strong attack.}) (11. Bd3 d4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 12. exd4 Nxd4 13. Nxd4 Bxd4 14. Bh7+ Nxh7 15. Rxd4 e5 16. Rd5 Qa6 17. Rxe5 Qxc4 $11 {was equal in Sulskis-Ssegwanyi, Batumi (ol) 2018.}) (11. Nd2 $5 {is an important move and no doubt Nepomniachtchi, his team, and his supercomputers have something to show here.} e5) 11... Ne4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Now is the time.} (11... Be7 {[%CAl Gf8d8] was played by Caruana on April 9, 2022, a Saturday. A week later, he improved his game and tried the move that must have inspired Nepomniachtchi. Following in Caruana's opening footsteps is hardly a bad idea.} 12. O-O dxc4 13. Bxc4 Nh5 14. Ba2 Nxf4 15. exf4 $36 {with the initiative for White in Le-Caruana, Chess.com (rapid) 2022.}) 12. cxd5 {Vidit-Caruana, Chess.com (rapid) 2022, ended in a draw here.} exd5 {Officially a novelty, but there could have been a transposition if White chose a different capture on c3 later on.} (12... Nxc3 13. bxc3 (13. Qxc3 {An important point is that this move now forces the exchange of queens, something that will be avoided in the game.}) 13... exd5 14. Rxd5 {I ask the reader to commit this position to memory, as it will soon be the subject of a philosophical inquiry. Certainly it has been carefully studied by the Nepomniachtchi team.} Qxa3 15. O-O Rd8 16. Rh5 Bg4 17. Rh4 Bxf3 18. Bxf3 Bf8 {Gozzoli-Fressinet, FRA-ch 2022.}) 13. Rxd5 Nxc3 14. Qxc3 {Note that if White had captured with the pawn here, then we have the position of Gozzoli-Fressinet again. I ask the philosophical reader: who really made the novelty, Black with 12...Nxc3 or White with 14.Qxc3 $2 The question is not easy to answer, as 12...Nxc3 is a precise move order, which gives Black one more option.} Bb4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A tactical detail that wins the exchange, although White has compensation. The computer evaluates the position as equality, but I prefer an even position an exchange up than an exchange down.} (14... Qxc3+ {is also possible. After} 15. bxc3 Bxa3 16. Nd4 {White can fight for a small advantage in this endgame, but my machine is not too worried.}) 15. axb4 ({Stockfish dev-20230412-acb0d204:} 15. Rxa5 $2 Bxc3+ 16. bxc3 Nxa5 17. Nd4 Bd7 18. f3 Rfc8 19. Kd2 Rc5 20. Bd6 Nc4+ 21. Bxc4 Rxc4 22. Rb1 b6 23. e4 Rac8 $17 {[%eval -118,0]}) ({Stockfish dev-20230412-acb0d204:} 15. Qxb4 $2 Qxd5 16. Qb5 Rd8 17. O-O Bf5 18. h3 Be4 19. Qxd5 Bxd5 20. Bc7 Re8 21. Bg3 Rac8 22. b4 Red8 $17 {[%eval -132,0]}) 15... Qxd5 16. b5 Ne7 17. O-O Be6 18. Nd4 {The knight on d4 and the pair of bishops provide compensation for White.} Nf5 $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Forcing the exchange of the Pegasus.} 19. Nxe6 Qxe6 20. h3 {The first thing my seven-year-old son does after castling is to advance the rook pawn so the king gets an air. I insist on telling him to think of more useful moves, but elite grandmasters complicate my life as a teacher.} (20. Bc4 $1 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is more accurate.}) 20... Rfd8 21. Bf3 Rac8 22. Qa5 b6 23. Qxa7 {Black surrenders a pawn on the queenside to displace the white queen and begin the invasion with the rooks.} g5 $5 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] Nepomniachtchi in his element: play with the initiative.} 24. Bh2 Nh4 $1 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 25. Bb7 {A bit of a sad square, but taking the bishop to c6 is not a good idea.} (25. Bc6 $2 {[%c_effect c6;square;c6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] loses to} Rxc6 26. bxc6 Qxc6 27. f3 Qc2) 25... Rc2 26. Qa4 Rc4 {A difficult move, since Black had plenty of options.} (26... Rxb2 27. Bc7 Rdd2 28. Qa8+ Kg7 {I would be terrified of having White in this position, but the computer insists that everything is fine after} 29. Bc6 {for instance:} Rxf2 30. Rxf2 Qxe3 31. Bg3 Qxg3 32. Rxf7+ Kxf7 33. Qe8+ Kf6 34. Qh8+ {with a draw.}) (26... Rdd2 27. Qe4 $5 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} Qxe4 28. Bxe4 Rxb2 29. Bc6 {with good drawing chances for White.}) 27. Qa6 (27. Qb3 $2 {[%c_effect b3;square;b3;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Rd7 $1 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] and suddenly it transpires that the b7-bishop is in trouble.}) (27. Qa2 {The machine likes this timid move and indicates equality.}) 27... Kg7 {A useful move, preventing checks on the eighth rank.} 28. b4 (28. b3 {is more accurate.} Rc2 29. Qa1+ f6 30. Qa4 {the queen can use the fourth rank.}) 28... Rc2 (28... Rxb4 $6 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} 29. Bc6 {Now the exchange sac on c6 is no longer available.}) 29. Qa1+ f6 30. Kh1 (30. e4 $5 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;Interesting;persistent;true] is a difficult and good move. The idea is that after} Rdd2 31. Bg3 {the knight cannot go to f5.}) 30... Rdd2 31. Bg3 $2 {[%c_effect g3;square;g3;type;Mistake;persistent;true] White is lost after this move.} (31. Qa7 $1 {[%c_effect a7;square;a7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is necessary.} Ra2 32. Qb8 {Surprisingly, White's position is acceptable, although the game remains very complicated and Black is certainly better in practical play.}) 31... Nf5 $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 32. Bc6 {The g3-bishop cannot move because the f2-pawn falls.} Ra2 33. Qb1 h5 34. Qe4 Qxe4 35. Bxe4 Nxg3+ 36. fxg3 Rab2 {The endgame is easily winning for Black.} 37. Bf3 Kh6 38. g4 h4 39. Bc6 Kg7 40. Kh2 Rxb4 41. Ra1 Re2 42. Kg1 Rbb2 43. Ra7+ Kf8 44. Ra8+ Ke7 {0-} 0-1 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.07"] [Round "2"] [White "Rapport, Richard"] [Black "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2745"] [BlackElo "2724"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,103,15,14,27,-10,49,24,34,43,46,23,57,57,57,64,106,77,74,57,56,57,47,-16,4,-12,27,17,14,12,9,-9,-6,-13,-5,-3,-12,-5,-6,-5,9,9,7,14,48,46,55,54,56,27,25,72,67,85,97,97,103,103,103,104,105,105,112,111,102,103,114,121,123,112,112,112,112,112,112,112,112,112,112,112,114,118,112,114,122,125,124,124,114,80,80,95,93,107,112,107,114,110,115,115,134,143,149,158,143,180]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nd7 3. d4 Nb6 4. Nc3 {Rapport's setup resembles a Chigorin on the queenside and a King's Indian Attack on the kingside.} Bf5 5. Nh4 {Nine games at master level have procured a 56\% win rate here for White.} e6 6. Nxf5 {Rapport wins the bishop pair early, but Duda's idea to lock the center stifles its power temporarily.} exf5 7. Qd3 g6 {The pawn structure here is typical to lines of the Trompowsky Attack where Black plays 2...d5 followed by White's 3.Bxf6. In these structures, White will work towards a slightly pawn endgame while Black will aim to plonk a knight on e4.} 8. Bg2 Nf6 (8... c6 {Should Black become complacent, White often has the chance to proceed with an h4 pawn push $1} 9. h4 $5 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} Bg7 10. h5 Nf6 11. h6 {While Stockfish dubs this position equal, Black will find the resulting position difficult.} Bf8) 9. Bg5 Bg7 10. Qe3+ {This kind of move should be expected from Rapport at this point. Black's king is forced to move as 10.Qe7 falls to Qxe7.} Kf8 (10... Qe7 11. Qxe7+ Kxe7 12. Bxd5 h6 13. Bxf6+ Bxf6 14. e3 {White has cleanly won a pawn.}) 11. Na4 {This is a clever idea dreamt up with the knowledge that a knight on c3 blocking the c-pawn can be a problem in the long run.} h6 (11... Nxa4 12. Qa3+ Qe7 13. Qxa4 c6 14. c4 {Trompowsky players like Rapport will relish in these kinds of positions despite Black having near-equality.}) 12. Qa3+ Qe7 13. Qxe7+ Kxe7 14. Nxb6 axb6 15. Bxf6+ Bxf6 {Rapport opts to trade into a two-result endgame. White's pawn structure is untouched while Black's is tainted.} 16. Bxd5 c6 17. Bb3 Bxd4 18. c3 Bf6 19. O-O-O {Castling either direction is safe however long castling is the most active move.} Rhd8 20. a4 $5 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;Interesting;persistent;true] This move is more important than many would give it credit. Rapport identified this as his \"last trick.\" The move is somewhat of a tickle in that it allows Duda to trade off the rooks.} (20. Rxd8 Rxd8 21. a4 g5 {A typical sequence of moves wouldn't have led to the same kind of structural weakness that was achieved in the game.}) 20... Rxd1+ 21. Rxd1 b5 {Just what Rapport was hoping for. To be fair, there is nothing wrong with Duda's move here but his follow-up was sub-optimal.} 22. axb5 Ra1+ (22... cxb5 {Immediately capturing back gave Duda the best holding chances thanks to} 23. Rd5 b4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The Polish GM still has a tough task ahead but liquidation of as many weak pawns as possible was the most principled approach.} 24. cxb4 Rc8+ 25. Kb1 Rc6 26. e3 Rb6 27. b5 Rd6 28. Rxd6 Kxd6 29. Bxf7 g5 {Interestingly, even down two pawn, Duda's chances of a draw have increased as there are few ways for Rapport to create drama.}) 23. Kd2 Rxd1+ 24. Bxd1 cxb5 25. b4 {The key difference here is that White has been able to fix Black's doubled-pawns. With a pawn break eternally available on c4 as well as pawns being stuck on light-squares for Black, Rapport begins to feel that he has winning chances.} g5 $2 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;Mistake;persistent;true] A testament to the difficulty of the position, Duda plays an inaccuracy out of nowhere.} (25... f4 {It is truly fascinating that engines want to give away a second pawn at every opportunity $1 The takeaway from this move is that taking away White's future pawn breaks, even if it means giving up pawns, is critical to holding a draw.} 26. gxf4 Bh4 27. f3 Kd7 28. Bb3 f6 29. Bd5 Kc7 30. e3 g5 31. fxg5 hxg5 32. Ke2 Kb6 {Amazingly, Black can sit idly as White cannot make progress. Should White's king attempt to infiltrate, the c3 and b4 pawns will lose their only defender.}) 26. f4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Another classy move from Rapport as he fixes Black's other weak pawns. White's bishop can now target four different isolated, doubled pawns.} gxf4 (26... Ke6 {A slightly muddier alternative.} 27. Bb3+ Ke7 28. Bd5 gxf4 29. gxf4 b6 30. e3) 27. gxf4 Bh4 28. Bc2 Ke6 29. Bd3 {Black simply cannot defend all of the weak pawns.} Bf2 30. e3 $1 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Precision from Rapport. In no rush to capture the b5-pawn, White can begin walking the king to the kingside and push around Black's bishop.} (30. Bxb5 {This is a less flexible option.} Bh4) 30... h5 31. Ke2 Bh4 32. Bxb5 Bf6 33. Bc4+ (33. Kd2 {The immediate king move gives White the option to play c4 if required.}) 33... Ke7 34. Kd3 h4 $2 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;Mistake;persistent;true] Opposite-colored bishops are a fickle thing. While on one hand we are told to be active in our defense and look for ways to make progress, in this position Duda worsens his position with h4.} (34... Bg7 {Black's best course of action was to wait for White to prove his position. Given that White cannot leave the c-pawn alone, White would have had to start moving up the queenside pawns.}) 35. Bd5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} b6 36. Bg2 $1 {[%c_effect g2;square;g2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Missing a potential opportunity $1} (36. Bb7 $5 {[%c_effect b7;square;b7;type;Interesting;persistent;true] The computer marks this as the best move but at higher depths finds ways to prevent White's threat of Bc8.} Kd8 37. h3 {White is not quick enough to attack the f5-pawn with the bishop.}) 36... Bg7 37. Kc4 Kd6 38. Bh3 Ke6 $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 39. Bf1 Ke7 40. Bg2 Kd6 $2 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] A heartbreaking inaccuracy.} (40... Ke6 {With the king on e6, Duda can sit and wait for White to play c4.} 41. Kb3 Bh8 42. c4 Bf6 43. Bd5+ Ke7 44. c5 bxc5 45. bxc5 Bg7 46. Kc4 Bb2 {Although White has made progress, a new set of problems arise. Despite the passed c-pawn, White's king cannot leave the e3 and f4-pawns without a defender $1}) 41. Kb3 $1 {[%c_effect b3;square;b3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This is the first sign that Rapport intends to play c4. With this being the only way to make progress, Duda needed to shut it down.} Ke7 42. c4 {Progress.} Bf6 43. Bh3 Ke6 44. e4 {Another clever move that wins a second pawn for White. Incredibly, the engine doesn't mind this for Black and continues to spout of lines leading to draws.} Bd4 45. Bxf5+ Kd6 $2 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] A gift $1 Duda gives Rapport a free tempo and throws the game away.} (45... Ke7 {Without the tempo, White will have to work hard to win.} 46. Ka4 Be3 47. Kb5 Kd6 48. Bg4 Kc7 49. f5 Bg1 50. h3 {This position has all the hallmarks of a classic opposite-colored bishop ending. Although White is up two pawns, Black has complete control over the dark squares.}) 46. e5+ $1 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Kc7 (46... Ke7 {A playable move but Black's position will crumble after} 47. Ka4 Be3 48. Kb5 Kd8 49. Kc6 b5 50. Kxb5 Kc7 51. e6 fxe6 52. Bxe6 Bxf4 53. h3 {White's two pawns can slowly inch up the board to victory.}) 47. e6 $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} fxe6 48. Bxe6 Kd6 49. Bg4 h3 50. Bxh3 Bg1 51. f5 Bxh2 52. f6 {Black position is helpless.} 1-0 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.07"] [Round "2"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E05"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2764"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "42"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,42,17,-8,0,-27,-28,-14,-18,-20,-5,-4,4,-5,8,-13,-8,0,0,-6,0,2,24,30,18,13,6,6,21,24,40,27,31,9,30,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0]} 1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 e6 3. Bg2 d5 4. Nf3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 {Caruana was \"not surprised\" to see the Catalan appear on the board. This is one of White's more solid lines.} a6 8. a4 Nc6 9. Qxc4 Na5 {Knights on the rim are normally grim however here Black uses this move to activate the queenside quickly.} 10. Qc2 b6 11. Ne5 Bb7 (11... Nd5 12. Bd2 {This is an imbalanced alternative for Black.}) 12. Bxb7 Nxb7 13. Nc6 Qd7 {A clever novelty by Caruana. Not only are the rooks connected but Nc5 is now a serious threat.} (13... Qe8 {This move has been played eight times at the master level with the idea of 14....Bc5 now a threat.} 14. Rd1 Bc5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 15. dxc5 (15. Ne5 Bd6 16. e4 {Caruana may have avoided this line due to White's spatial advantage.}) 15... Qxc6 {Black takes advantage of the pinned c-pawn.}) 14. Rd1 Rfc8 15. Bg5 h6 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. Ra3 {Ding looks to shift the rook towards the center but in turn, misses Black's reply.} Nc5 $3 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] Caruana spent 10 minutes on this idea which he felt Ding missed entirely.} 18. Nb4 (18. dxc5 Qxc6 {[%c_arrow c6c2;keyPressed;none;from;c6;opacity;0.8;to;c2;persistent;false] White once again finds his c-pawn pinned.}) 18... Nb7 19. Nc6 Nc5 $3 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;Brilliant;persistent;true]} 20. Nb4 (20. Ne5 {White's only alternate way forward is risky.} Bxe5 21. dxe5 Qe7 {Black's knight on c5 dominates the position and Black will soon contest the open d-file.}) 20... Nb7 21. Nc6 Nc5 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.07"] [Round "2"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2742"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,43,15,18,14,15,11,23,59,19,67,0,19,35,36,28,66,47,43,37,55,36,36,3,-6,-12,23,-31,-17,-36,13,-21,-46,-40,-22,-18,-28,-38,-37,-34,12,-33,-29,-18,-4,-18]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 d5 3. e3 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Nbd2 e6 6. c3 Nh5 {A classic idea against the London system. White now faces the prospect of losing the powerful dark-squared bishop or being forced to move it. h3 will often be played to combat this knight maneuver, giving the bishop a hiding spot.} 7. Bg5 f6 8. Bh4 g6 {Despite having a slight advantage according to Stockfish's evaluation, White has lost nine out of 10 games at master level from this position.} 9. Be2 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Ng7 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. e4 {It is visually apparant that Black's center is powerful. Vachier-Lagrave attempts to challenge this but to no avail.} Be7 13. f4 {If you're not planning a pawn break then you don't have a plan $1 Here, Vachier-Lagrave finds the only way to make meaningful progress.} (13. Qa4 {Is the engine's top recommendation however after} Bd7 14. O-O-O a5 {it will likely be Black attacking with some initiative.}) (13. O-O {Slower moves allow Black to begin bolstering the center.} O-O 14. Qc2 e5) 13... Qb6 14. Qb3 O-O (14... Qc7 {An alternative for Black that would've signalled ambitions to play for a win.} 15. O-O Rb8) 15. Qxb6 axb6 16. O-O Ba6 17. Bxa6 Rxa6 18. e5 Bc5+ 19. Bf2 Be7 20. Bh4 Bc5+ 21. Bf2 {If So wanted to play for a win he could have played} Be7 (21... fxe5 {which isolates White's pawn. The drawback is that after} 22. Bxc5 bxc5 {White has a passed a-pawn.} 23. fxe5) 22. Bh4 {The game seemed to end prematurely.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.07"] [Round "2"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D10"] [WhiteElo "2768"] [BlackElo "2785"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "72"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,72,14,14,23,0,31,17,41,22,33,27,28,30,17,21,58,35,40,30,35,35,30,31,42,39,41,-11,-8,-20,15,8,2,2,16,23,24,29,34,34,27,34,24,21,38,24,0,-2,-5,0,0,0,42,0,0,-3,30,21,30,28,29,26,24,29,28,19,25,21,22,20,26,20,20,20,20]} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Bf4 Nc6 6. e3 Bf5 7. Qb3 Na5 8. Qa4+ Bd7 9. Qc2 e6 10. Bd3 Rc8 11. Nf3 Bb4 12. O-O O-O 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bh4 a6 15. Ne5 {The Slav Defense: Exchange Variation yields one of the highest draw rates of any opening in chess at master level. After four moves, 67\% of games have been drawn $1 Here however, the players did both make choices that created asymmetry.} Bb5 {A great practical choice by Firouzja. Black takes on doubled pawns in exchange for the removal of his weakest minor piece.} 16. Bxb5 axb5 {White's position suddenly lacks potency without the light squared bishop and it is Black who can attack down the c-file.} 17. Bxf6 $2 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] An overreaction to lines including g5 and Ne4.} (17. Ng4 Be7 {Any move other than this allows White to attack.} (17... Nc4 18. Nxf6+ gxf6 19. Qe2 {White will pivot towards the kingside and Black's defense will not be simple.}) 18. Bxf6 Bxf6 19. Qe2 {White's best course of action was to focus on Black's biggest weakness, the doubled b-pawns.}) 17... gxf6 18. Nd3 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Nc4 20. a4 {Any other move is inviting Black to attack.} (20. Rfc1 Nd6 {The knight will aim for the e4 square where it can add an attacker to the c3-square.}) 20... bxa4 21. Rxa4 Nd6 22. Rb4 (22. Nc5 {The best move carries a devious plan with it.} b6 23. Nxe6 $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A draw is now inevitable.} fxe6 24. Qg6+ Kh8 25. Qxh6+ Kg8 26. Qg6+ Kh8 27. Qh6+) 22... Rc6 23. Nf4 Qc7 24. Rb3 Rc8 {It could be argued that Firouzja's position is slighter better here though Giri was well and truly up to the task of defending.} 25. Rc1 b5 26. g3 Ne4 (26... Rc4 {This is the most challenging move for White to deal with but also would have given Giri a chance to counterattack with} 27. Qd1 Qa5 28. Qg4+ Kf8 29. Nh5) 27. Ne2 b4 28. Rxb4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Initiating a trade into an equal endgame.} Nxc3 29. Nxc3 Rxc3 30. Qxc3 Qxc3 31. Rxc3 Rxc3 32. Kg2 Kg7 33. Rb5 Ra3 34. Rb4 Rc3 35. Rb5 Ra3 36. Rb4 Rc3 {The game was played with good intent but the players were just too solid.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.08"] [Round "3"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D35"] [WhiteElo "2794"] [BlackElo "2789"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,107,23,23,23,6,4,4,6,3,3,0,0,18,9,2,-12,-2,4,7,7,-6,14,14,32,33,43,30,51,53,52,57,89,95,115,102,102,115,105,72,102,63,71,62,62,86,86,103,103,96,96,66,60,59,57,57,65,56,73,54,54,54,54,54,61,62,57,64,64,74,79,78,82,73,95,41,28,31,32,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,-21,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,-1,-1,-1,-1,-1,0,0,0,0,0,0]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. Qf3 Bg6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Qxf6 gxf6 10. Nf3 a5 11. Nh4 a4 12. a3 Nd7 13. f4 Bc2 {The bishop evacuates the kingside to avoid being trapped.} 14. Rc1 Bb3 15. Nb1 $1 {[%c_effect b1;square;b1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White continues to chase after the wayward bishop. The knight re-routes to d2. If white is allowed to exchange minor pieces on b3, the leftover weak black pawn will be an easy target.} Ra5 16. Be2 {Making it possible to connect the rooks with Kf2 in some of the upcoming variations.} ({Also possible was} 16. Nd2 Ba2 17. Kf2 Nb6 18. Bd3 c5 19. dxc5 Bxc5 20. Nf5 $16) 16... c5 $5 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] Black has to act quickly to create counterplay and support his active, yet limited light-squared bishop.} 17. Nf5 {A juicy square for the knight with hopes of creating play in the center and kingside while allowing Black to close up the queenside at will with ...c4.} (17. dxc5 Rxc5 18. Kf2 Nb6 19. Nd2 $16) 17... Nb6 18. Nd2 $6 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] White spends two tempi to encourage Black to play ...c4, a move he was likely to play either way.} ({Better was} 18. Kf2 $5 {[%c_effect f2;square;f2;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} c4 19. Nc3 {when White is two tempi ahead compared to the game.}) 18... c4 19. Nb1 Na8 $1 {[%c_effect a8;square;a8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Ding counters with his own resourceful knight maneuver. The black knight is headed to c7 where it can support the d5-pawn while clearing the way for the b-pawn to dash forward and create counterplay on the queenside.} 20. Nc3 Nc7 21. Kf2 b5 22. e4 b4 23. axb4 Bxb4 24. Nxd5 Nxd5 25. exd5 Rxd5 ({Better was} 25... Kd7 26. Ne3 Rb8 27. Nxc4 Rxd5 {when Black's activity and pressure against White's isolated pawn neutralize Nepomniachtchi's extra material.}) 26. Bxc4 (26. g4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] securing the knight on the f5-outpost, which paralyzes much of Black's position, gives White's great chances for the full point.} Bd2 27. Bxc4 $16) 26... Rxf5 27. Bxb3 O-O (27... axb3 $4 {[%c_effect b3;square;b3;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 28. Rc8+) 28. Rc4 (28. Bxa4 {meets a clever tactical sequence to equalize:} Rxf4+ 29. Ke3 Bd2+ 30. Kxd2 Rxd4+ 31. Kc3 Rxa4) 28... Rxf4+ 29. Ke3 Bd2+ 30. Kxd2 axb3 31. Re1 Rd8 32. Kd3 {Despite missing earlier chances, Nepomniachtchi continues to press as he still has the better pawn structure.} f5 33. Rb4 h5 34. Re2 h4 35. h3 Kg7 36. Kc3 Re4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Ding's activity along with this exchange of a pair of rooks eliminates the last of White's winning chances.} 37. Kd3 Rxe2 38. Kxe2 Kf6 39. Kf3 Rg8 40. Rb6+ Ke7 41. Kf4 Rxg2 42. Rxb3 Ke6 43. Re3+ Kd5 44. Rf3 Rxb2 45. Kxf5 Kxd4 46. Rf4+ Ke3 47. Re4+ Kf3 48. Rxh4 Kg3 49. Rg4+ Kxh3 50. Rf4 Kg3 51. Rf1 Rf2+ 52. Rxf2 Kxf2 53. Kf6 Kf3 54. Kxf7 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.08"] [Round "3"] [White "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C42"] [WhiteElo "2785"] [BlackElo "2745"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,64,19,31,34,19,13,-6,28,40,37,40,35,35,42,11,7,-14,16,14,26,7,-8,-21,-17,-16,32,33,17,-10,6,7,3,3,7,4,4,4,1,5,-3,-1,0,-1,33,34,24,24,27,25,39,28,22,23,23,13,17,14,15,15,13,6,18,18,18,9,18]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2 Bf5 {A rare line that surprised Firouzja, causing him to forget his preparation.} 9. O-O-O Qd7 10. a3 O-O 11. h4 {Despite the Petroff's drawish reputation, White tries to get some combative play going.} Rfe8 12. Bc4 Bf8 13. Bf4 h6 {This move is often risky with the kings castled to opposite sides with a g4-g5 thrust calling out to White. However, with accurate play, Black has the resources to prevent this.} 14. Rhg1 Bg4 {The helpful bishop simply stands in the way of White's hopes of a vicious pawn seige on the kingside.} 15. Rde1 Rxe1+ 16. Rxe1 Re8 17. Rxe8 Qxe8 18. Bd5 b6 19. Nd4 Nxd4 20. cxd4 Qb5 21. c4 Qb3 {The pesky black queen breathes down the white king's position. Firouzja has to neutralize it, leaving no resources for creating his own attacking play.} 22. Qc2 Qxc2+ 23. Kxc2 Be7 24. g3 g5 25. hxg5 Bxg5 26. Bxg5 hxg5 27. c5 Kf8 28. cxd6 cxd6 29. Kd3 Ke7 30. Kd2 Kf8 31. Kd3 Ke7 32. Kd2 Kf8 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.08"] [Round "3"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E73"] [WhiteElo "2764"] [BlackElo "2742"] [Annotator "Rafael"] [PlyCount "45"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,45,24,23,24,1,35,2,2,0,11,13,12,5,27,25,50,50,50,57,57,50,55,40,39,43,43,47,63,65,43,40,92,85,114,122,177,177,177,177,173,173,220,152,281,241,322,294]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. h4 {As elite grandmasters show us in every tournament, it's possible to play anything in the opening these days, you just have to be well prepared. I guess I'm making this sound easier than it really is. The idea of this move is not so complex: White wants to play h5 at some point. This is mainly targeted against the Grunfeld Defence. I hope the reader is not offended by this spoiler, but it's curious that this pawn never managed to fulfill its destiny and stayed on h4 for the remainder of the game.} Bg7 4. Nc3 O-O {Vachier-Lagrave accepts to play a King's Indian. Can this be considered Caruana's first victory in this game, or am I exaggerating $2} (4... d5 5. h5 $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Here it is: the real point of the daring advance on move three.}) 5. e4 d6 6. Be2 $1 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The best way to make sense of the pawn on h4. Vachier-Lagrave himself has some experience on the white side of this position.} c5 (6... h5 {is logical, stopping the pawn once and for all. But then White can try to place either a knight or a bishop on the g5-square. There's a lot of theory on this position.}) (6... e5 {This was played by Carlsen.} 7. dxe5 $6 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] A strange choice, since 7.d5 is much more natural.} (7. d5) 7... dxe5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. h5 c6 {Vachier-Lagrave-Carlsen, Carlsen Inv Prelim (rapid) 2020.}) 7. d5 b5 $5 {[%c_effect b5;square;b5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] Black chooses an improved version of the Benko Gambit.} (7... e6 {Vachier-Lagrave has played this move before.} 8. h5 exd5 9. exd5 Re8 10. h6 Bh8 11. Bg5 Qb6 {with a complicated game in Grischuk-Vachier-Lagrave, Paris (rapid) 2019.}) 8. cxb5 a6 {As I was about to make fun of one more failed attempt of playing the Benko Gambit, I suddenly found out that I had played this position with Black myself. The past always comes back to haunt us. To be fair, I managed to get a pretty good position against a strong opponent.} 9. a4 (9. b6 $6 {[%c_effect b6;square;b6;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] The problem with the Benko Gambit is that it loses a pawn. Enough said.} Qxb6 10. Nh3 h5 $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 11. Ng5 Nbd7 12. O-O Ne5 13. Na4 Qc7 14. Bf4 Nh7 {I remember that I liked my position at this point. Vescovi-Leitao, Sao Paulo 2007.}) 9... axb5 10. Bxb5 Ba6 11. Bxa6 (11. Bd2 {Vachier-Lagrave used this move to beat Svidler in 2021.} Bxb5 12. axb5 Nbd7 13. Nf3 Rxa1 14. Qxa1 Qb6 15. O-O Rb8 16. Qa6 Ne8 {Black has a good position since the knight is going to c7 and the b5-pawn is about to be lost, but somehow White won the game in Vachier-Lagrave-Svidler, St. Louis 2021.}) 11... Nxa6 12. Nf3 {Here we have a much better version for Black of the traditional gambit, since the pawn on h4 leaves some weaknesses on White's position. Honestly, if this position is not playable for Black, then I have bad news for Benko Gambit lovers. The question is: what's the best way for Black to explore the lead in initiative and the weakened g4-square to fight for compensation $2} Qd7 {A novelty. Vachier-Lagrave aims his queen at the kingside, but his piece's only got a one-way ticket for its journey.} (12... Ng4 $6 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] is obviously premature, as it allows the advance of the pawn.} 13. h5 $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) (12... e6 $6 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} 13. dxe6 $1 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} fxe6 14. O-O d5 15. Bg5 {leads to a clear advantage for White.}) (12... h5 13. O-O Ng4 {was played in Boyer-Bailet, Vaujany op 2021.}) (12... Nb4 {is natural, but the queen probably will go to d7 anyway after} 13. O-O) 13. O-O Qg4 $6 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (13... Nb4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is more accurate, leaving all options open. Black can play with c5-c4, Qg4, or Ng4. The compensation for the pawn seems quite decent.}) 14. Re1 Nb4 15. Bg5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A very strong move by Caruana. It's the only move that gives White a clear edge, and it was probably missed by Black.} (15. e5 $6 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] is premature.} dxe5 16. Nxe5 Qxh4) 15... Nh5 $2 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;Mistake;persistent;true] This is based on a miscalculation. The initiative is not strong enough to compensate for the missing pawns.} (15... h6 {This is the critical try, but White has the advantage after some precise moves.} 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 (16... exf6 {is not as bad as it looks if Black manages to play f6-f5 one day, but White is in control after} 17. Nb5) 17. e5 $1 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} dxe5 18. Re4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (18. Nxe5 {is not so convincing after} Qxh4) 18... Qf5 19. Qe2 Rfd8 20. Rd1 {followed by 21.Nxe5 with a clear advantage.}) 16. Bxe7 Nf4 17. g3 Rfe8 (17... Nbd3 {is an interesting attempt, but it's refuted after} 18. Ng5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (18. Bxf8 $4 {[%c_effect f8;square;f8;type;Blunder;persistent;true] loses to} Qh3 $1 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 19. gxf4 Nxf4 {with inevitable mate.}) 18... Qxd1 19. Raxd1 Nxb2 20. Bxf8 {and White will be ahead after both players capture all the hanging pieces.}) 18. Bxd6 Nfd3 19. Re3 $1 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Nxb2 20. Qb3 N2d3 21. e5 {Black is left with a miserable position, but his agony will soon be over.} f5 {A desperate attempt to complicate the game.} (21... c4 22. Qd1 {with two pawns up and an easy win for White.}) 22. Nh2 Qh3 $6 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (22... Qd4 {is better. Caruana could choose to repeat moves with 23.Nf3 and play something else later, or play 23.Rd1.} 23. Rd1 (23. Nf3) 23... c4 24. Qxb4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Qxe3 25. fxe3 Nxb4 26. Bxb4 Bxe5 27. Kf2 {with an easily winning endgame.}) 23. Ne2 {Black's pieces are hanging, the queen is out of the game, and he is two pawns down. The game is over.} 1-0 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.08"] [Round "3"] [White "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Black "Deac, Bogdan-Daniel"] [Result "*"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2724"] [BlackElo "2700"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "114"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,114,23,16,66,39,58,24,74,50,43,-6,12,19,32,-5,18,0,15,2,15,5,40,31,47,30,30,17,29,-1,12,19,53,26,82,68,65,63,70,59,44,46,62,49,51,44,15,-13,-7,-17,13,-51,-12,-12,21,25,24,30,14,14,42,32,20,26,39,24,43,52,67,56,65,53,56,56,56,62,63,74,111,99,111,65,73,65,92,37,43,29,24,-10,-2,-16,-11,-11,2,8,7,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. c3 a6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. h3 Nf6 8. Re1 O-O 9. d4 cxd4 10. cxd4 Nd7 11. Nc3 b5 12. Bg5 Bb7 13. Qd2 c5 14. d5 Nb6 15. Rad1 Rc8 16. Bh6 Qc7 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. b3 Rcd8 19. Qg5 h6 20. Qe3 Rfe8 21. Rd2 (21. a4 $5 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} e6 22. d6 Rxd6 23. Rxd6 Qxd6 24. Rd1 Qc7 25. axb5) 21... b4 22. Ne2 e6 23. Rc1 exd5 24. Rxc5 Qe7 25. Nfd4 Qxe4 {Black's fresh isolated queen pawn now defines the battle. White has complete control over the key d4-square, fixing the d5-pawn in place. He will fight to prove that the pawn is weak while Black will attempt to generate enough activity that the d-pawn's central influence is a plus.} (25... dxe4 $4 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 26. Rh5 $3 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;Brilliant;persistent;true]} Rh8 (26... gxh5 27. Nf5+) 27. Ng3 Qc7 28. Rc2 Qb8 29. Ndf5+ gxf5 30. Qxb6 $18 {when Black's kingside is in tatters.}) 26. Qg3 Qe5 27. Qxe5+ Rxe5 28. Nc2 Rc8 29. Rxc8 Nxc8 30. Nxb4 a5 31. Nd3 Re7 32. Nc5 Nb6 33. f3 a4 34. Kf2 axb3 35. axb3 Bc8 36. Ra2 Rc7 37. Ra5 Nd7 38. Nd3 Rc2 39. Rxd5 {After wrestling for the better position for many moves, White finally gains an extra pawn.} Ra2 40. Ke3 Nf6 41. Re5 Be6 42. Ndc1 $2 {[%c_effect c1;square;c1;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (42. b4 Bc4 43. Rc5 Bxd3 44. Kxd3 Rb2 45. Rb5 Nd7 46. Nf4 g5 47. Kc3 Rf2 48. Nd3 Rxg2 49. Rb7 Nf6 50. Ne5 $16) 42... Rb2 {Just like that, Black can defend actively while White's pieces are too twisted up to make progress.} 43. g4 Nd5+ 44. Kf2 Nf4 45. Kg3 Nxe2+ 46. Rxe2 Rb1 47. Rc2 Bxb3 48. Nxb3 Rxb3 49. Rd2 g5 50. Rc2 Kg6 51. Rc6+ f6 52. Ra6 Rc3 53. Rb6 Ra3 54. Rc6 Rb3 55. Rd6 Ra3 56. Rc6 Rb3 57. Rd6 Ra3 * [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.08"] [Round "3"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2760"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "112"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,112,19,31,34,19,13,4,2,10,33,52,40,52,77,64,69,65,58,53,68,57,63,62,61,61,71,36,36,33,71,62,65,50,41,56,70,65,79,67,71,53,46,28,13,10,10,10,43,49,66,66,66,80,66,52,53,52,55,48,41,48,68,74,67,24,33,22,21,16,16,10,12,20,13,22,22,22,18,19,27,23,29,0,7,0,17,13,7,7,53,4,2,-7,-7,-11,18,-56,-56,-57,-50,-50,-50,-50,-50,-49,-49,-49,-49,-50,-50,-50,-50,-50,-50]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Ke8 10. Nc3 h5 11. Bf4 Bb4 {A less common square to develop the bishop, which usually goes to e7.} 12. Ne2 {A simple maneuver to prevent Black from weakening his pawn structure and re-route the knight to the center.} Be6 13. Ned4 Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Bd5 15. Rfd1 Rd8 16. a3 Be7 17. f3 g5 {Expanding on the kingside yet weakening the f5-square as a home for the white knight.} 18. Be3 Rg8 19. Nf5 b6 20. Kf2 Be6 21. Nxe7 Rxd1 22. Rxd1 Kxe7 {As more pieces leave the board, the players venture towards two of the hardest to win endings: opposite-colored bishops and rooks.} 23. g4 hxg4 24. hxg4 f5 25. exf6+ Kxf6 26. Rh1 Bf7 27. Bd4+ Kg6 28. Rh5 c5 29. Be5 c6 30. Kg3 Bd5 31. f4 gxf4+ 32. Bxf4 Be4 33. Re5 Bxc2 34. Re6+ Kf7 35. Rxc6 Re8 36. Bg5 Re1 37. Rc7+ Kg6 38. Bd2 Rg1+ 39. Kf4 Rf1+ 40. Ke5 Rf2 41. Bc3 Rf7 42. Rc8 Bd1 43. Rg8+ Kh7 44. Rg5 Rg7 45. Rxg7+ Kxg7 46. g5 Kg6 47. Kf4 a5 48. b4 cxb4 49. axb4 a4 50. Bb2 Be2 51. Ke3 Bc4 52. Kf4 b5 53. Bc1 Be2 54. Bb2 Bc4 55. Bc1 Be2 56. Bb2 Bc4 1/2-1/2 [Event "Position after 26...Nf4"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Deac"] [Black "Firouzja"] [Result "*"] [Annotator "3700"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rr1q2k1/5pp1/1np4p/p1N5/3QPb2/B7/P4PPP/2RR2K1 w - - 0 27"] [PlyCount "9"] 27. Qc3 $1 {[%c_effect c3;square;c3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Qc7 (27... Qg5 28. Rb1 Qe5 $14) 28. Bb2 Bxh2+ 29. Kh1 f6 30. Qh3 Bf4 31. Ne6 $18 * [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.09"] [Round "4"] [White "Deac, Bogdan-Daniel"] [Black "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Result "*"] [ECO "D12"] [WhiteElo "2700"] [BlackElo "2785"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,82,19,31,43,23,24,-16,26,18,60,21,21,-13,-3,4,9,2,-2,0,8,5,12,14,11,3,12,-21,-11,-24,-6,-11,-17,-14,-18,-25,-27,-42,-1,-49,-13,-60,-29,-30,5,16,16,-22,22,49,63,80,82,28,35,25,47,13,49,26,82,34,40,33,69,-19,-16,-123,-57,-170,-151,-131,-79,-204,-204,-154,-190,-190,-147,-478,-492,-511,-493,-493,-493]} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 h6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Bb4 {Limiting White's usual main pawn break, e4.} 10. Bd2 Ba5 11. b4 {Deac launches into an ambitious attempt to create play on the queenside.} Bc7 12. b5 Nb6 13. bxc6 dxc4 14. Qc2 bxc6 15. Na4 {For the pawn sacrifice, White has divided his opponent's queenside structure into isolated, doubled pawns. But Black can generate a lot of activity as White works to win back the pawn.} O-O 16. Rac1 Qd5 17. Bb4 Rfb8 18. Nb2 a5 19. Ba3 c3 {Black has been seeking not to keep the extra pawn but a way to create play as he returns it.} 20. Nd3 Ne4 21. Nc5 Nd2 22. Nxd2 cxd2 23. Qxd2 e5 24. e4 Qd8 25. Rfd1 exd4 26. Qxd4 Bf4 27. Rc2 ({Better was} 27. Qc3 Qc7 (27... Qg5 28. Rb1 Qe5 $16) 28. Bb2 Bxh2+ 29. Kh1 f6 30. Qh3 Bf4 31. Ne6 $18) 27... Qg5 {After White's less pressing move, Firouzja begins to take over the position.} 28. Rf1 Rd8 29. Qc3 Qh5 30. g3 Be5 31. Qb3 Nc8 32. Bc1 Rb8 {With each move, you can feel the rhythm of the game beating in Black's favor. Nearly every Black piece has been activated while White is mostly responding to his opponent's threats.} 33. Qa4 Rd1 34. Rd2 $6 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] At this point, Deac was playing on just the 30-second increment. It's so difficult to defend such a complex position with no time to calculate.} ({Surprisingly,} 34. Rxd1 {is best if White finds the most accurate follow-up, allowing Black's idea but generating enough counterplay:} Qxd1+ 35. Kg2 Rb1 36. Qxc6 $1 {[%c_effect c6;square;c6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Qxc2 (36... g6 $4 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 37. Qe8+ Kh7 38. Qxf7+ Bg7 39. Ne6) 37. Qxc8+ Kh7 38. Qf5+) 34... Rxf1+ 35. Kxf1 Nb6 36. Qxc6 $2 {[%c_effect c6;square;c6;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} ({Better was} 36. Qd1 Qxh2 37. Qf3 $17 {preventing ...Qh1 and solidifying the kingside gives White his best chance.}) 36... Qxh2 37. Nd3 (37. Nd7 Rc8 38. Qxb6 Rxc1+ 39. Ke2 Qh5+ $19) 37... Qh1+ 38. Ke2 Bd4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The key to breaking down the last of White's defenses. From this centralized square, the bishop guards the b6-knight, freeing up the black rook to join in the raging attack.} 39. Rd1 Qh5+ 40. Ke1 Rc8 41. Qb7 Qf3 (41... Qf3 42. Bb2 Bxf2+ 43. Nxf2 Rc2 44. Rd8+ Kh7 45. Rd2 Qe3+) * [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.09"] [Round "4"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D32"] [WhiteElo "2764"] [BlackElo "2794"] [Annotator "Rafael"] [PlyCount "139"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,139,15,27,27,20,29,12,8,6,34,12,16,6,9,-14,25,3,-11,5,5,2,-1,7,6,3,10,4,0,4,-4,-4,-6,9,42,2,14,7,4,5,14,8,27,8,8,0,5,0,8,3,25,3,23,5,15,10,16,16,8,9,9,17,27,27,14,22,25,25,17,22,29,25,36,32,29,29,20,21,16,16,31,10,53,41,49,34,41,47,47,69,83,83,77,77,83,91,80,80,84,83,142,134,128,147,149,142,149,148,148,148,148,150,156,159,159,157,213,210,202,205,248,215,235,274,266,290,273,123,123,123,134,128,225,186,183,192,290,318,642,665,721,423]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c5 5. e3 Nc6 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bb5 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bd7 9. O-O Bd6 10. Nf3 Be6 11. b3 a6 {Caruana probably didn't expect this move, since he had to take some time to think after seeing it.} (11... O-O {was played by Nepomniachtchi in 2022 in a Titled Tuesday game against Melkumyan.}) 12. Bd3 (12. Bxc6+ {It seems that the pressure on the hanging pawns is not enough to justify this exchange. Black is fine after} bxc6 13. Bb2 O-O 14. Rc1 c5) 12... Ne5 {All this was played fast by Nepomniachtchi. He must have studied this line during his world championship match preparation.} 13. Nxe5 Bxe5 14. Bb2 Rc8 (14... O-O {It's important to check this move as we can have a transposition to the game later on.} 15. h3 {A useful move to avoid a sacrifice on h2 or a piece going to g4.} Rc8 16. Rc1 Qa5 17. Qe1 Rfd8 $2 {[%c_effect d8;square;d8;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (17... Ne4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Forces an immediate draw.} 18. Nxe4 Qxe1 19. Rfxe1 Bxb2 (19... dxe4 20. Bxe5 exd3 {also equalizes.}) 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. Ng5 h6 22. Nxe6 fxe6 {with a drawn endgame.}) 18. f4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Bd6 19. Ne4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Qxe1 20. Nxf6+ gxf6 21. Rfxe1 {with a clear advantage for White in Niemann-Tari, FTX Road to Miami 2022.}) 15. Rc1 O-O 16. f4 {If we consider that 16.h3 leads to a known position, then this is the first new move of the game. It's reasonable to assume that both players were out of book at this point.} (16. h3 {Transposes to Niemann's game.}) 16... Bc7 {Black has many decent options.} (16... Bxc3 17. Bxc3 Ne4 18. Bd4 (18. Bb4 Qb6 $1 {[%c_effect b6;square;b6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 18... f6 {Despite White's bishop pair, the knight is very strong on e4 and the position is roughly equal.}) (16... Bb8 {This retreat seems more natural to me than the one played in the game.}) (16... Bd6 {is also possible.}) 17. Ne2 (17. Na4 $1 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This move is more dangerous for Black.}) 17... Bb6 18. Bd4 (18. Nd4 {It makes sense to preserve the bishops on the board, although the game remains balanced.} Re8) 18... Bxd4 19. Nxd4 Qa5 {If the f-pawn was on f2, and this is a big \"if,\" White would have a stable small advantage, although the position is totally defensible even then. With the pawn on f4, Black has good counterplay and no problems whatsoever. This, however, doesn't mean the position is drawn. The game continuation reminds me of one of the best Karpov games. Little by little, with patience, careful play, and never agreeing to a draw, Caruana gives a masterclass on endgame technique.} 20. Qe2 Rfe8 21. h3 $1 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A good prophylactic move.} Bd7 22. Rxc8 Rxc8 23. Qb2 Qc5 24. a4 a5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 25. Qd2 b6 26. Rb1 Qa3 27. Kh2 h6 28. Rb2 Qe7 29. Rc2 Rc5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Black has a comfortable position.} 30. Nf3 Rxc2 31. Bxc2 Qc5 32. Bd3 Kf8 33. Nd4 Kg8 34. Kg1 Kf8 {A tacit draw offer, refused by Caruana's next move.} 35. Kf2 Ke7 36. Qb2 Kf8 37. Nc2 {An important moment, as the character of the game now changes. White wants to bring the queen to e5.} Ne4+ {This is not necessary, and I think it makes the defense a bit more difficult.} (37... b5 $2 {[%c_effect b5;square;b5;type;Mistake;persistent;true] This is a logical move, but there's a pretty refutation.} 38. b4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} axb4 39. a5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The b4-pawn will be captured and suddenly White is winning.}) (37... Ne8 $5 {[%c_effect e8;square;e8;type;Interesting;persistent;true] This is a good move—the knight heads to d6.} 38. Qe5 Qd6 39. Qxd6+ Nxd6 40. Nd4 Ke7 {with a drawish endgame.}) (37... Qd6 38. Qd4 Ne8 {is also good—in this case the knight goes to c7 and then e6.}) 38. Bxe4 dxe4 39. Nd4 {White's knight is very strong, and his position is easier to play, but Black has an active queen and no weakness.} Bc6 40. Qe2 Qc3 41. Qa6 Qd2+ $6 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (41... Qb2+ $1 {[%c_effect b2;square;b2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This is the best move and leads to a draw by force after some interesting complications.} 42. Kg3 {The only winning attempt.} (42. Ne2 $2 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Qxb3) (42. Kf1 Qc1+) (42. Kg1 Qc1+) 42... Qd2 $1 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Forced, but enough.} 43. Nxc6 Qxe3+ 44. Kg4 (44. Kh2 $2 {[%c_effect h2;square;h2;type;Mistake;persistent;true] loses to} Qxf4+ 45. Kg1 Qc1+ {and the knight is captured.}) 44... g6 $1 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (44... h5+ {is also possible:} 45. Kxh5 g6+ 46. Kg4 Qf2 47. Qc8+ Kg7 48. f5 {Black can also achieve a draw here, but it's more difficult.}) 45. Qc8+ Kg7 46. Qc7 Qf2 $1 {[%c_effect f2;square;f2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 47. Qe5+ Kh7 48. g3 $1 {[%c_effect g3;square;g3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White's king is in danger, but there's nothing more than a draw, for instance:} f5+ 49. Kh4 Qe2 50. Qe7+ {with perpetual check.}) 42. Ne2 Qb4 (42... Qd8 {is more accurate.} 43. Nd4 Bd5 {with excellent drawing chances, although White can play forever.}) 43. Qc8+ Be8 44. Qc2 {Nepomniachtchi thought for a long time here, an indication that he was not feeling comfortable with the position. He will start making mistakes now.} Bd7 $2 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (44... f5 {It seems to me this is the best way. The bishop might go to f7.} 45. Nd4 g6) 45. Nd4 {The position is already very dangerous for Black. The computer suggests giving up the e4-pawn immediately. But the computer is a machine, and humans have hearts—it's not so easy to part with what is yours.} f5 $2 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (45... Kg8 $1 {[%c_effect g8;square;g8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 46. Qxe4 Be6 47. Qd3 Bd5 48. e4 Bb7 {Black has a long suffering ahead.}) 46. Qc7 $1 {[%c_effect c7;square;c7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White is winning. Strategists say that the queen and knight work well together. This is a textbook example.} Qd2+ (46... Ke8 47. Qb8+ Kf7 (47... Ke7 48. Qe5+ Kf7 49. Nxf5) 48. Qd8 Qd2+ 49. Ne2 {Black's position collapses.}) 47. Ne2 {The b-pawn is lost.} Be6 48. Qxb6 Kf7 49. Qd4 Qa2 50. Qa7+ Kg8 51. Qa8+ Kh7 52. Qxa5 Kh8 (52... Qxb3 53. Nd4 {wins easily.}) 53. Qd8+ Kh7 54. Qa5 Kh8 55. b4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Bc4 56. Qd8+ Kh7 57. Qd1 Bb3 58. Qd7 Be6 59. Qb5 Kh8 60. Qc5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The a-pawn is not necessary. What White needs is to get rid of the annoying pin on the knight.} g6 (60... Qxa4 61. Nd4) (60... Bc4 {loses to} 61. Qc8+ Kh7 62. Qxf5+ Kh8 (62... g6 63. Qd7+ Kh8 64. Qd1) 63. Qg4 Qxa4 64. Qc8+ Bg8 65. Qf8) 61. Ke1 Kg8 62. Qd6 Kf7 63. Qd2 {There are other ways to win, but Caruana's choice is safe and good. The b-pawn is enough.} Qxa4 64. Nd4 {Finally, the knight returns to its dream place.} Bc4 65. Kf2 h5 66. Kg3 Qa3 67. b5 Qd3 68. Qc1 $1 {[%c_effect c1;square;c1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Bxb5 69. Qc7+ Kf8 70. Qc5+ {A brilliant technical win by Caruana, a player who never ceases to amaze me.} 1-0 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.09"] [Round "4"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2742"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,78,19,31,34,19,13,21,11,5,7,4,4,7,0,0,-5,-5,5,5,7,-1,7,2,1,13,9,-17,4,17,5,22,11,22,16,18,7,-22,29,14,13,13,18,13,12,9,19,15,29,9,32,28,16,27,28,0,10,0,22,27,19,17,22,7,0,0,0,0,11,5,0,4,0,0,18,4,0,5,4,5,5]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. h4 {Securing the g5-square for his bishop.} d6 9. c4 Nb6 10. exd6 Qxe2+ 11. Bxe2 cxd6 {White's ability to rapidly develop and put pressure on the Black's hanging pawns give him a slight edge.} 12. Nc3 Be6 13. Bf3 Rc8 14. b3 Be7 15. Bg5 d5 $5 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] Giri breaks in the center before Vachier-Lagrave can strengthen his grip on the position.} 16. cxd5 Nxd5 17. Bxe7 Kxe7 18. Bxd5 Bxd5 19. O-O-O Rhd8 20. Rhe1+ Be6 21. Re4 Rxd1+ 22. Nxd1 Rc7 23. Ra4 Kd7 {The king heads to the queenside to stabilize his isolated a7-pawn.} 24. Nc3 {The knight heads to the appealing c5-outpost.} Kc8 25. Ne4 Bd5 26. Nc5 Re7 27. g3 Bf3 {Black's rook and bishop do an excellent job of defending the weak queenside pawns while exerting active influence on other parts of the board.} 28. Kd2 Re5 29. Nd3 Re7 30. Kc3 Kb7 31. Nc5+ Kb6 32. b4 Be2 33. Ra3 Re8 34. Nd7+ Kb7 35. Nc5+ Kb6 36. Rb3 Bg4 37. Ra3 Be2 38. Nd7+ Kb7 39. Nc5+ Kb6 1/2-1/2 [Event "Position if 15.Nc4?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Rapport"] [Black "So"] [Result "*"] [Annotator "3700"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r2r2k1/1pp2pp1/1bnqb2p/p3p3/P1N5/2BP2P1/1P2PPBP/2RQ1RK1 b - - 0 15"] [PlyCount "5"] 15... Bxc4 16. dxc4 Bxf2+ $1 {[%c_effect f2;square;f2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A bolt from the blue in such a seemingly calm position. If} 17. Rxf2 (17. Kxf2 Qc5+ 18. e3 Rxd1) 17... Qxd1+ * [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.09"] [Round "4"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2724"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,75,19,27,26,-27,-15,-10,16,14,10,22,25,0,21,6,9,26,47,41,36,40,40,29,33,28,32,32,32,32,25,42,41,40,43,38,50,55,56,45,69,43,46,39,77,49,57,52,56,49,63,60,43,34,40,38,37,30,30,25,27,26,27,16,14,20,27,27,5,6,6,6,6,6,6,6,6,0]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. d4 O-O 6. a3 b5 $5 {[%c_effect b5;square;b5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A novelty to prevent c4, White's main way of creating pressure on the queenside.} 7. Nc3 a6 8. Nd2 {Preparing e4 to break in the center.} Nbd7 9. e4 dxe4 10. Ndxe4 Rb8 11. Nxf6+ Nxf6 12. Re1 Bb7 13. Bxb7 Rxb7 14. Qf3 Rb6 15. Bf4 Qd7 16. Be5 Rd8 17. Rad1 Nd5 {A key moment. Though White is actively-placed and the c7-pawn is rather weak, Black's pieces are able to neutralize White's attempts to create pressure.} 18. Nxd5 exd5 19. Bf4 Bf8 20. Rd3 Rc6 {Combining defense of c7 with pressure of his own against the c2-pawn.} 21. Rc3 Re8 {Neutralizing White's control of the open file.} 22. Rxe8 Qxe8 23. Re3 Qd7 24. c3 Rf6 {The black rook has versatility in function along the sixth rank, playing an essential role in stablizing weak points and creating counter-pressure.} 25. Qe2 c6 26. b4 Re6 27. Rxe6 Qxe6 28. Qxe6 fxe6 {With Black king's so close to the backward e6-pawn and both sides unable to target any of the opposing weak pawns, the endgame is very level.} 29. Be5 Be7 30. Kg2 Kf7 31. f4 h5 32. Kf3 g6 33. h3 Bd8 34. h4 Be7 35. Ke3 Bd8 36. Kf3 Be7 37. Ke3 Bd8 38. Kf3 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "chess24.com"] [Date "2023.05.10"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2785"] [BlackElo "2789"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] {[%evp 0,103,19,31,34,19,13,4,25,30,22,-6,1,-15,15,19,27,1,17,5,-17,4,21,21,17,-32,3,-9,23,16,-23,-18,-10,-26,-27,-27,-3,-39,-20,-28,-40,-36,-9,-39,23,-118,-98,-39,-22,-8,-8,-62,-15,-66,-9,-66,-52,-53,-45,-51,5,-48,71,25,158,98,123,123,123,123,117,123,123,123,141,154,157,165,185,185,235,276,282,298,299,207,303,317,360,390,377,399,445,514,452,454,596,604,625,631,648,648,654,654,662,667]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d5 7. Nbd2 dxe4 8. dxe4 a5 9. Qc2 Qe7 10. a4 Nb8 {Kramnik tried this once, against Carlsen, and they are not the only world champions who have been here before.} 11. h3 {Yes, you guessed it right $1 So far both players followed a crucial game from the world championship match in Kazakhstan.} ({In Astana, Ding faced instead:} 11. Re1 Rd8 12. h3 h6 13. Nf1 c6 14. Bc4 Na6 15. Ng3 Qc7 16. Ba2 b5 17. Qe2 Rb8 18. Nh4 Bf8 19. Qf3 bxa4 20. Bxh6 {and managed to survive his opponent's fierce attack after} Nc5 {Nepomniachtchi,I (2795)-Ding,L (2788) Astana 2023}) 11... Rd8 12. Be2 Nbd7 13. Re1 Nf8 14. Nb3 Bb6 15. Nfd2 Be6 16. Nc4 {All of this seems very logical. White gains the bishop pair.} Bxc4 17. Bxc4 Ne6 18. g3 {[#]} h5 $5 $146 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A move that Firouzja did not like. He felt as if his opponent is weakening too much. On the other hand, Ding is working on the creation of some outposts around the opponent's king.} ({The predecessor saw:} 18... h6 19. Kg2 Rd7 20. Nd2 Qc5 21. Nf3 Qxc4 22. Nxe5 Qc5 23. Nxd7 Nxd7 24. Be3 Qc6 {Anand,V (2757) -Vidit,S (2722) Kolkata 2019}) ({Instead} 18... Nc5 {\"is just equal\" (Firouzja)}) 19. Kg2 {That is the correct approach.} (19. h4 $2 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;Mistake;persistent;true] allows the black knight too comfortable squares close to the king and after} Ng4 20. Rf1 Qf6 {Black has a strong attack.} ({Or even} 20... Nf4)) 19... h4 20. Qe2 g6 {\"A terrible move, weakens his king.\" (Firouzja)} ({Indeed, a move like} 20... Rd7 $5 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;Interesting;persistent;true] both overprotecting the vital f7-point, and preparing the counterplay along the d-file would have been in the spirit of the position. Then} 21. Nd2 Nc5 22. Nf3 Ncxe4 {would be a far inferior version of the game continuation for White and Black should do very well, say} 23. Nxh4 Bxf2 ({Or even} 23... Rad8)) 21. Nd2 $1 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A very strong idea by Firouzja. The light squares are the sore points in the black camp therefore he is quickly transferring his forces towards the objects.} Nc5 22. Nf3 hxg3 ({This time} 22... Ncxe4 {does not suffice due to} 23. g4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 23. fxg3 Ncxe4 24. Ng5 {All of this is very straightforward and logical, but based on a miscalculation.} ({Instead, in the studio White was very anxious about the super-idea} 24. Ba2 $3 {[%c_effect a2;square;a2;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] \"Prophylactical move, stops Ne4-d6 which was the whole problem for me during the game.\" (Firouzja), and indeed, White would be clearly on top then after, say,} Kg7 ({And if} 24... Rd7 {this time} 25. Qc2 $1 {[%c_effect c2;square;c2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] works.}) 25. Ng5) ({\"First I thought that I am winning with\"} 24. Qc2 {\"but then I saw\"} Qc5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] \"and that was the first cold shower. \" (Firouzja) Since} 25. Rxe4 Nxe4 26. Qxe4 Qf2+ 27. Kh1 Rd1+ {is mate.}) 24... Nd6 $1 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} ({Definitely not self-pinning with} 24... Nxg5 $2 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} 25. Bxg5 {when both bishops squeeze Black out.}) 25. Ba2 Re8 26. h4 ({Unfortunately for White, he thought that he does not have} 26. Bf4 $5 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} Nh5 27. Qxe5 {Due to the strong resource} (27. Rad1 $5 {[%c_effect d1;square;d1;type;Interesting;persistent;true] However, this move leaves the situation unclear, say} Nxf4+ 28. gxf4 Kg7 29. Qxe5+ Qf6) 27... Qd7 $1 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] (Firouzja)} 28. Qd5 Nxf4+ 29. gxf4 Kg7 {and Black is indeed better.}) 26... Kg7 27. Rf1 {\"I felt I should not be worse here with this strong bishop (Ba2). But perhaps my other bishop is bad\" (Firouzja)} Rad8 28. Bd2 e4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Ding is en route to proving his opponent wrong.} 29. Bf4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Sharpens up the game to the maximum in the forthcoming time trouble.} ({Rather than} 29. Rae1 e3 30. Bc1 Qe5 {which leaves White no practical chances at all.}) 29... e3 {This pawn could have been huge $1} 30. Rad1 Nfe4 {Alas, in the heat of the battle, and in the midst of the time trouble, the world champion errs and misses a brilliant win.} ({Ding saw the move} 30... Nde4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] but after} 31. Nxf7 {The Chinese GM missed the best continuation.} ({White does not have} 31. Bxf7 Rxd1 32. Rxd1 Nxg5 {Due to the same in-between crafty little check after both} 33. Bxe8 (33. hxg5 Qe4+ $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 34. Kg1 Rh8) 33... Qe4+ $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 31... Rxd1 $3 {[%c_effect d1;square;d1;type;Brilliant;keyPressed;undefined;persistent;true] A move which Firouza explained as a counterintuitive and difficult move for a human to find, as Black is giving away the open file. This is indeed true; however, it is the e-pawn that matters here and therefore the remaining black rook does a phenomenal job from where it stands. For example} (31... Rd2 {(Ding), \"but I don't think it is a good move. \" (Firouzja)} 32. Rxd2 Nxd2 33. Bh6+ Kh7 34. Rf4 Nh5 $2 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} ({Apparently} 34... Nde4 {is still unclear, at least according to the machine.}) 35. Ng5+ Kxh6 36. Rf7) 32. Rxd1 Nf2 33. Re1 ({The line} 33. Rf1 Qe4+ 34. Qf3 e2 $3 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] is particularly pretty} 35. Bh6+ Kh7 36. Ng5+ Kxh6 37. Nxe4 exf1=Q+ 38. Kxf1 N2xe4 {and Black wins.}) 33... Qe4+ 34. Qf3 Nd3 35. Re2 ({Or} 35. Bh6+ Kh7 36. Re2 Qxf3+ 37. Kxf3 Nc1 $1 {[%c_effect c1;square;c1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 35... Nxf4+ 36. gxf4 Nh5 $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] and White position burns down in flames.}) 31. Bxd6 $1 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Firouzja speculated that his opponent decided to force a draw in the coming time trouble.} Nxd6 32. Bxf7 Nxf7 33. Rxf7+ Qxf7 34. Nxf7 Rxd1 35. Qxd1 Kxf7 ({Or perhaps the world champion missed that in the line} 35... e2 36. Qd7 e1=Q 37. Ne5+ $1 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Is he getting mated $2 Say} Kh6 38. Ng4+ Kh5 39. Qh7+ Kxg4 40. Qxg6#) 36. Qe2 Ke7 {The last straw. \"He left the g6-pawn very weak.\" (Firouzja)} ({Instead Black had decent chances of holding on with} 36... Kg7 $1 {[%c_effect g7;square;g7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 37. Kf1 Bc5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] \"Activating the bishop.\" (Firouzja)}) 37. Kf1 $1 {[%c_effect f1;square;f1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White releases the queen.} Rf8+ 38. Ke1 Rf2 39. Qg4 Kf6 40. Qg5+ Kf7 41. Qd5+ Kf6 42. g4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] And once the pawns come to help, it is all over. The problem for Black is that the pawns are moving while creating mating nets.} Rxb2 43. g5+ Ke7 ({Or else} 43... Kg7 44. Qe5+ {would win the g6-pawn with check safter} Kg8 (44... Kf7 45. Qf6+) 45. Qe6+) 44. Qe5+ Kd7 45. Qg7+ Kd6 46. Qxg6+ {The rest was easy for Firouzja.} Ke5 47. Qe8+ Kf4 48. g6 Rb1+ 49. Ke2 Rb2+ 50. Kd3 Rd2+ 51. Kc4 Rg2 52. Qf7+ 1-0 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.10"] [Round "5"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B22"] [WhiteElo "2794"] [BlackElo "2742"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,116,13,13,71,22,15,-13,-12,-5,-12,4,20,40,32,35,14,10,22,21,18,29,22,29,22,23,30,34,42,12,17,10,25,24,24,24,32,31,30,36,42,42,51,26,46,30,24,28,56,40,36,33,33,33,28,27,52,53,59,59,63,60,65,60,61,44,50,42,38,16,8,19,23,-16,0,-50,-49,-66,-73,-73,-58,-106,-66,-66,-115,-82,-89,-85,-94,-94,-91,-78,-61,-77,0,0,-19,-106,-92,-112,-113,-135,-161,-169,-185,-177,-147,-226,-227,-230,-230,-207,-230,-282,-282,-271,-302,-593,-586]} 1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Na3 a6 7. Nc4 Nbd7 8. a4 b6 9. Be2 Bb7 10. O-O cxd4 11. Qxd4 Bc5 12. Qh4 Qe4 13. Qxe4 Nxe4 14. Nfd2 Nef6 15. Nb3 Be7 16. Bf4 Bd5 17. Rfd1 O-O 18. Nbd2 Rfc8 19. Ne3 Bc6 20. Ndc4 a5 21. Nd6 Bxd6 22. Bxd6 Nc5 23. Bb5 Nb7 24. Ba3 Rc7 25. f3 Rac8 26. Rd2 h6 27. Rad1 Bxb5 28. axb5 {With more space and full control of the d-file, White has a clear edge, but it's not so easy to reach Black's weaknesses.} Kh7 29. Kf2 g5 30. h4 Kg6 31. hxg5 {Nepomniachtchi begins to go off course here, not realizing what a resource the h-file will become for Vachier-Lagrave.} hxg5 32. g4 {Still not recognizing the potential danger on the kingside.} ({Better was} 32. Rd4 Rh8 33. Nc4 Nd5 34. Ne5+ Kf6 35. Ng4+ Kf5 36. Rxd5+ exd5 37. Rxd5+ Kg6 38. Ne5+ Kf6 39. Nd7+ Ke6 40. Nxb6 $16) 32... Rh8 33. Kg3 Rcc8 34. c4 Rh7 35. Bd6 ({A clever resource is} 35. Be7 Rch8 36. Bd8 Rh3+ 37. Kf2 Rh2+ 38. Ng2 Nxd8 39. Rxd8 R8h4 40. c5) 35... Nd7 (35... Rch8 $4 {[%c_effect h8;square;h8;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 36. Bc7 $18) 36. b3 ({Vachier-Lagrave was expecting} 36. Bc7 f6 37. Rxd7 Rxc7 38. Rxh7 Rxh7) 36... f6 37. Ba3 Ne5 {While White has not made any progress, Black is now ready to double on the h-file.} 38. Bb2 Rch8 39. Kf2 Nc5 {After a tense struggle, Black's pieces have found much better squares than their opposing counterparts.} 40. Bxe5 fxe5 41. Rd6 {Nepomniachtchi seems to underestimate Black's attacking ideas.} ({It's time to focus on defense with} 41. Nf1) 41... Rh2+ 42. Kg1 Rh1+ 43. Kf2 R1h2+ 44. Kg1 e4 {Eliminating the f3-pawn so that the black knight can soon join the springtime barbeque hosted at the white king's home.} 45. Nf1 Rb2 46. Rxb6 exf3 47. Rd2 Rb1 48. Rc6 Rxf1+ {Vachier-Lagrave breaks through White's remaining defenses with a nice tactic.} 49. Kxf1 Rh1+ 50. Kf2 Ne4+ 51. Kxf3 Nxd2+ 52. Ke3 Nxb3 53. b6 Rh3+ 54. Kf2 Rh8 55. Rxe6+ Kf7 56. Re5 a4 57. Rb5 Ke6 58. Ke3 a3 {0-} 0-1 [Event "Position after 23.Nxe5"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Duda"] [Black "Caruana"] [Result "*"] [Annotator "3700"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r1qr1k1/2p2ppp/p7/Pp2N3/1P2Rn2/2P4P/5PP1/R2Q2K1 b - - 0 23"] [PlyCount "13"] 23... Nxh3+ $1 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 24. gxh3 Qg5+ 25. Kh1 Rxe5 26. f4 {Always look out for further tactics at the end of combinations.} Qf5 27. Rxe5 Qxh3+ 28. Kg1 Qg3+ 29. Kh1 (29. Kf1 Qxf4+ $19) 29... Qh3+ {and the players drew by three-time-repetition.} * [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.10"] [Round "5"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C07"] [WhiteElo "2768"] [BlackElo "2745"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,97,22,12,41,47,42,33,29,19,8,8,51,-10,40,7,40,11,0,10,18,6,0,-1,32,18,23,11,-3,22,19,19,0,-21,-25,-20,-3,-4,-4,15,-7,-11,-24,0,0,0,-43,-72,-76,-81,-77,-129,-101,-108,-97,-108,-100,-96,-82,-82,-76,-79,-104,-101,-89,-73,-29,-41,-43,-50,-18,-38,25,20,36,18,53,14,30,18,-6,-25,-27,-32,-25,-17,-17,-15,-20,-12,-4,-3,0,-11,0,0,0,-11,0,0]} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. exd5 a6 7. N2f3 Qxd5 8. c4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Qa5 10. a3 Bxd2+ 11. Qxd2 Qc7 12. Qg5 (12. Be2 O-O 13. Qe3 Re8 14. Ne5 Nfd7 15. Ndf3) 12... O-O 13. Be2 Re8 14. Qe5 Qb6 15. b4 Ng4 16. Qg5 e5 17. c5 Qc7 18. Nf5 Bxf5 19. Qxf5 Nf6 20. O-O Nc6 {Black has achieved comfortable equality.} 21. Rfd1 Rad8 22. Bc4 {Though the bishop looks nice on this long diagonal, this allows Black to take command of the center.} h6 23. Ne1 Nd4 24. Qh3 e4 $17 25. Qg3 Qxg3 26. hxg3 Ng4 27. Bf1 Rd5 28. Bc4 Rdd8 29. Bf1 g5 30. Rab1 Kg7 31. a4 f5 $6 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (31... e3 $1 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 32. fxe3 Nxe3 33. Rd2 Rd5 34. Bd3 h5 35. Rdb2 g4 $17 {and Black keeps his considerable grip on the position.}) 32. b5 $5 {[%c_effect b5;square;b5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] Offered the chance to get his own play going, Giri doesn't hesitate.} axb5 33. Bxb5 Nxb5 34. axb5 Ne5 35. Nc2 Nd3 {The knight has found a beautiful outpost, but with White's queenside pawns stampeding towards the other side, Black's pieces don't have time to coordinate to create pressure on a weakness.} 36. c6 bxc6 37. bxc6 Rd6 38. Rb7+ Kg6 39. Nb4 Rc8 40. c7 Kf6 41. Kf1 Ke7 42. Nxd3 exd3 43. Rb3 Rxc7 44. Rbxd3 Rxd3 45. Rxd3 Rc6 46. Rd2 Rc7 47. Rd3 Rc6 48. Rd2 Rc7 49. Rd3 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2023"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.10"] [Round "5"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Deac, Bogdan-Daniel"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2760"] [BlackElo "2700"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "124"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,124,28,28,11,10,25,18,3,3,11,-5,-2,-10,-10,-6,-14,-6,0,-4,6,-16,3,11,13,10,-8,-4,-4,-23,7,6,16,-5,29,-1,17,20,39,14,27,0,25,31,34,32,38,12,44,62,59,42,58,63,66,21,73,77,77,83,99,103,113,100,99,98,114,129,124,115,129,65,101,82,86,66,61,49,66,60,63,82,103,114,124,90,90,90,84,77,68,74,75,75,61,60,60,54,60,60,60,60,60,60,60,60,60,60,60,59,59,16,21,21,21,21,17,17,17,17,17,17,17,17,12,12,12]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 d6 6. Nbd2 a5 7. O-O O-O 8. h3 h6 9. Bb5 Ba7 10. Re1 Ne7 11. d4 Ng6 12. Nf1 Bd7 13. Bd3 b5 14. a4 bxa4 15. Bc2 Re8 16. Ng3 Bb6 17. Bd2 Rb8 18. Bxa4 Bxa4 19. Rxa4 Qd7 20. b3 c6 21. Qc2 Rb7 22. Be3 Bc7 23. Rd1 Qe6 24. b4 Rb5 25. bxa5 Rxa5 26. Rxa5 Bxa5 27. c4 Bd8 28. Qa4 Be7 29. d5 cxd5 30. cxd5 Qd7 31. Qxd7 Nxd7 32. Nf5 {So's greater space and activity give him a lasting advantage that he can press for many moves.} Nf6 33. Nd2 Bf8 34. f3 Rc8 35. g3 Ne8 36. Kf2 Ne7 37. Nxe7+ Bxe7 38. Ke2 Rc3 39. Rb1 ({White could try:} 39. Ra1 Rc8 40. Kd3 Rb8 41. Ra6 f5 42. exf5 Nf6 43. Kc4 Rc8+ 44. Rc6) 39... Kf8 40. Rb8 h5 41. h4 ({Another possibility was} 41. Nb1 Rc2+ 42. Bd2 Rc7 43. Na3 f6 44. f4 g6 45. Nb5) 41... f6 42. Nb3 {The knight hopes to reach c6 via the a5-square, but Black has a tactical resource to prevent this.} Rc2+ 43. Bd2 Rb2 {The pin dashes the white knight's aspirations.} 44. Rb7 f5 $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Loosening White's center, so the black knight can create pressure.} 45. Na5 Rxb7 46. Nxb7 fxe4 47. fxe4 Nf6 48. Kd3 Ke8 49. Na5 Ng4 50. Nc4 Nf2+ 51. Ke3 Ng4+ 52. Ke2 Kd7 53. Ba5 Nf6 54. Kf3 Ng4 55. Ne3 Nxe3 56. Kxe3 Bd8 57. Bb4 Bb6+ 58. Ke2 g6 59. Kf3 Bd4 60. Ke2 Bb6 61. Kf3 Bd4 62. Ke2 Bb6 1/2-1/2 [Event "Position after 11...cxd4"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Caruana"] [Black "Firouzja"] [Result "*"] [Annotator "3700"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rn2k2r/pp2ppbp/5np1/q2b4/3p4/5NP1/PPQNPPBP/R1B2RK1 w kq - 0 12"] [PlyCount "3"] 12. b4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Qd8 (12... Qxb4 $4 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 13. Qc8#) 13. Bb2 * [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.11"] [Round "6"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A11"] [WhiteElo "2764"] [BlackElo "2785"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,89,16,-12,38,32,24,2,14,-8,11,0,14,-4,-10,-22,3,-28,-16,-28,3,3,26,39,39,-20,9,9,9,13,9,13,20,10,22,14,48,-6,66,106,57,51,51,55,73,56,34,34,32,38,59,54,50,47,52,55,48,44,53,59,83,104,108,111,106,88,103,106,110,107,85,108,100,87,94,91,91,97,103,106,95,84,95,4,8,10,16,16,12,6,7,7]} 1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 g6 4. Qa4 dxc4 5. Qxc4 Bg7 6. d4 Be6 7. Qa4 Bd5 8. Nbd2 Nf6 9. Qc2 Qa5 10. Bg2 c5 11. O-O cxd4 12. b4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Preparing to jumpstart his queenside development.} Qd8 ({The pawn is immune to capture:} 12... Qxb4 13. Qc8#) 13. Bb2 O-O 14. Bxd4 Nc6 15. Bc3 Rc8 16. Qb2 a5 17. bxa5 Nxa5 18. Rac1 Nh5 19. Bxg7 Nxg7 20. Rxc8 Qxc8 21. Rc1 Qd8 22. Ne5 Bxg2 23. Kxg2 Ne6 24. Ndf3 Qd5 25. Rc3 Ra8 26. Rd3 Qc5 27. Rd7 Re8 28. a4 Nc4 29. Nxc4 Qxc4 30. Qb5 Qxb5 31. axb5 Nc5 32. Rc7 b6 33. Ne5 f6 34. Nc4 Na4 35. Ne3 e6 36. Rb7 Rc8 37. Ng4 Rf8 38. Nh6+ Kh8 39. Nf7+ ({With the simple} 39. h4 $1 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Black can barely move:} Nc5 (39... Rc8 40. g4 Rf8 (40... Rc2 41. Rb8+ Kg7 42. g5 $18) 41. g5 fxg5 42. hxg5 e5 43. Ng4 {heading to f6 to create a powerful mating threat.}) (39... e5 40. g4) 40. Rxb6) 39... Kg8 40. Nd6 f5 41. Nc4 $4 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;Blunder;persistent;true] Giving Black the opportunity to force either a repetition or a trade of rooks that neutralizes all of White's advantage.} (41. Rc7 {maintains his edge:} Rd8 42. Rc6 Kg7 43. f4 h6 44. Nc4 $16) 41... Rf7 42. Rb8+ Rf8 43. Rb7 Rf7 44. Rb8+ Rf8 45. Rb7 1/2-1/2 [Event "Position after 25.Kf1"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Ding"] [Black "So"] [Result "*"] [Annotator "3700"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1br1bk1/pp3ppp/4n3/1Q1N4/4P1NP/P4Pq1/1P2B1P1/R4K1R b - - 0 25"] [PlyCount "17"] 25... Rxd5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Eliminating one of White's key active defenders. So considered this but overlooked the follow up on move 27.} 26. exd5 Nf4 27. Ne3 a6 $1 {[%c_effect a6;square;a6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] This subtle addition is easy to overlook. Once Black dislodges the white queen from its optimal square, the attack flows with ease.} 28. Qa5 Bd7 {Black's queenside pieces join in the game, creating an overwhelming force.} 29. Qc7 Re8 30. Qxd7 Rxe3 31. Qg4 {The white queen makes it to the kingside just in time to prevent the mating attack, but the ending strongly favors Black.} Qxg4 32. fxg4 Nxe2 33. Kf2 Bc5 $17 * [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.11"] [Round "6"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A22"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,79,23,-27,-14,-6,-28,-28,-15,-12,-19,6,-7,11,10,-36,-11,-6,7,-22,-3,4,-2,7,28,1,-13,-4,-13,-43,-35,-33,-40,-49,-49,-28,-6,3,0,0,0,-37,-37,-37,-41,-41,-12,-14,-14,-15,-20,-20,-10,-20,13,-58,-58,-58,-58,-106,-111,-107,-107,-107,-107,-110,-103,-101,-118,-110,-112,-127,-95,-95,-95,-87,-95,-95,-94,-95,-95,-102]} 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. e3 {It seems that Ding has an inexhaustible amount of little ideas in the English Opening.} Bb4 4. Nge2 {All very logical, and we've seen this in different forms before. White wants to play a3 and capture on c3 with a piece.} O-O 5. a3 Be7 (5... Bxc3 6. Nxc3 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 {This is also playable and So had this position with Black in a blitz game against Carlsen.}) 6. d4 exd4 7. Qxd4 (7. Nxd4 d5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Black equalizes easily.}) 7... Na6 $5 {[%c_effect a6;square;a6;type;Interesting;persistent;true] This rare move is probably the result of home preparation. The main question in this position is whether Black will be able to play the liberating d7-d5 move or not.} (7... Nc6 {is the main move.}) 8. Qd1 {The queen retreats as prophylaxis against Nc5. In case of} (8. Nf4 Nc5 9. Qd1 a5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Black is able to secure the knight's post before it is pushed back by b2-b4. At least, this is what I imagined before discovering that this has all been played before. See the next comment.}) 8... c6 $5 {[%c_effect c6;square;c6;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A new move in this position, but we will have a transposition later. The plan is to play Nc5 and then d7-d5.} (8... Nc5 9. b4 {I suppose this is the right way to use the earlier queen retreat.} (9. Nf4 a5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] transposes to the position I've just mentioned.} 10. b3 c6 11. Be2 d6 {with a good position for Black in Gasanov-Banusz, Zalakaro op 2017.}) 9... Nce4 10. Bb2 a5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] To be honest, this also doesn't seem very inspiring for White.}) 9. Nf4 Nc7 (9... Nc5 {is also good.} 10. b4 Ne6) 10. e4 {Ding wants to avoid the move d7-d5, which leads to easy equality.} (10. Be2 d5) 10... Re8 {The real novelty.} (10... d5 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. exd5 Bd6 13. Be2 Bxf4 14. Bxf4 Ncxd5 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. Bg3 {White has a small edge due to the bishop pair. Ponkratov-Khanin, Chelyabinsk (rapid) 2020.}) 11. Be2 $6 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (11. Bd3 $1 {[%c_effect d3;square;d3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is better. A possible variation is:} d5 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. O-O dxe4 14. Nxe4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Qxd1 16. Rxd1 Bxa3 $1 {[%c_effect a3;square;a3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Rxa3 {with an equal endgame.}) 11... Bf8 {Now White is in trouble. Surprisingly lackluster play by Ding in an opening he probably had studied for the world championship match.} 12. Qd3 (12. O-O Nxe4 13. Nxe4 Rxe4 {The compensation for the missing pawn is not enough.}) 12... Qe7 13. f3 Qe5 $1 {[%c_effect e5;square;e5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (13... d5 {also looks tempting, but the move played in the game is better.} 14. cxd5 cxd5 15. Ncxd5 Ncxd5 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 17. Qxd5 Be6 {with excellent compensation for Black, but White should make a draw with careful play.}) 14. Nh3 $2 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;Mistake;persistent;true] An ugly move born out of necessity.} (14. O-O {is a better way to fight for a draw.} d5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 15. cxd5 cxd5 16. Nfxd5 Ncxd5 17. f4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The best defense.} (17. exd5 Bf5 $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 18. Qd1 Nxd5 19. Qxd5 Qxd5 20. Nxd5 Rxe2 {This is an unpleasant endgame for White.}) 17... Qe6 18. exd5 Nxd5 19. Nxd5 Qxe2 20. Qxe2 Rxe2 21. Be3 $1 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] With good drawing chances for White, for instance:} Be6 22. Nc7 Rc8 23. Nxe6 Rxe3 24. Nxf8 Kxf8 25. Rf2) 14... d5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Is just a dream position for Black. White has fallen behind in development, the king is stuck in the center, and his pieces are badly placed.} 15. Bf4 Qe7 16. cxd5 cxd5 (16... Bxh3 $6 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} 17. d6 $1 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 17. Nf2 (17. exd5 $2 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Ncxd5 {with a decisive initiative.}) (17. Bxc7 $2 {[%c_effect c7;square;c7;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Bxh3 18. gxh3 Qxc7 19. Nxd5 Nxd5 20. exd5 Qf4 {with a totally winning position for Black.}) 17... Ne6 18. Be3 d4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] So plays all the best moves.} 19. Bxd4 Rd8 $1 {[%c_effect d8;square;d8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (19... Nf4 $2 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;Mistake;persistent;true] is not convincing after} 20. Qd2 Nxg2+ 21. Kf1) 20. Bxf6 Qxf6 21. Ng4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The best chance.} (21. Nd5 Qxb2 22. Rb1 (22. O-O Nf4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 22... Qxa3 {with a technically winning position.}) (21. Qc4 Nf4 22. O-O Be6 {Black's position plays by itself.}) 21... Qg5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 22. h4 (22. Qe3 Nf4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is unpleasant.}) 22... Qa5 23. Qb5 Qc7 24. Nd5 Qg3+ 25. Kf1 {After conducting a perfect game until this point, So hesitates.} Bd7 $2 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} (25... Rxd5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is a killer exchange sacrifice that decides the game. I imagine Kasparov would've never missed such a move, but maybe I'm just being nostalgic.} 26. exd5 Nf4 27. Ne3 a6 $1 {[%c_effect a6;square;a6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] An important little move that is necessary to complete the development of the c8-bishop.} 28. Qb6 (28. Qc4 Bd7 {with a deadly attack.}) (28. Qe8 $2 {[%c_effect e8;square;e8;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Bh3 $1 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 28... Bf5 $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Followed by Re8, with a devastating initiative.}) 26. Qa5 Nd4 27. Rd1 (27. Qe1 {is more stubborn.}) 27... Nxe2 28. Rh3 {The only justification of the previous move.} b6 $1 {[%c_effect b6;square;b6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 29. Qa6 Bxg4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 30. Rxg3 Nxg3+ 31. Ke1 (31. Kf2 {loses to} Nxe4+ 32. fxe4 Bxd1) 31... Be6 32. Qb7 Rdb8 33. Qc7 Nh5 34. g4 Nf6 35. Ne7+ Bxe7 36. Qxe7 Re8 37. Qb7 {Unbalanced positions are never easy to assess, but So surely knew that he was close to winning here. His decision to repeat moves and accept a draw makes no sense to me.} Reb8 (37... h5 {is the most natural way to continue.} 38. g5 Nh7 39. Kf2 Nf8 {Black is ahead in material and should win this position with no particular problem since White's king is too unsafe.}) 38. Qe7 Re8 39. Qb7 Reb8 40. Qe7 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.11"] [Round "6"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C18"] [WhiteElo "2742"] [BlackElo "2745"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,98,19,21,46,28,30,25,22,32,20,49,34,26,22,-6,2,-27,10,3,0,-33,-30,-22,0,7,19,14,26,18,19,11,22,19,25,7,22,-9,0,-10,10,-60,-38,-31,-33,-25,-21,-21,-11,-8,-7,-8,19,12,0,-30,-19,-36,-34,-59,-56,-56,-19,-10,-7,-9,0,-36,0,-12,-12,-2,9,0,-53,-15,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,-80,0,0,0,28,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0]} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. h4 Qc7 8. h5 h6 9. Rb1 Nbc6 10. f4 $5 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;Interesting;persistent;true] A novelty and a rare chance to see eight pawn moves out of the first 10 moves. White supports his center firmly and the closed nature of the position leaves him unworried about his lack of development.} Qa5 11. Bd2 c4 12. Qc1 b6 13. Nf3 Bd7 14. g4 O-O-O 15. Bh3 Qa4 16. Qb2 Rdf8 17. Be3 g6 {Interestingly, Black himself seeks out opening up the kingside despite White's vast space advantage there.} 18. Kd2 gxh5 19. gxh5 f5 {Blocking White's light-squared bishop while opening up the e8-h5 diagonal for his own.} 20. Rbg1 Be8 21. Bf1 Rfg8 22. Be2 Rxg1 23. Nxg1 Rg8 24. Bf3 Kc7 25. Ne2 a5 26. Rb1 Nc8 27. Qa1 Bd7 28. Kd1 {A curious maneuver aimed to steady the queenside before rerouting his major forces to the kingside.} N6a7 29. Bc1 {The undeveloped bishop offers support to the isolated d3-pawn, so the white queen is no longer tied down.} Nb5 30. Kd2 {For a moment, White's position seems particularly strange. His strongest pieces are locked in on a1 and b1. His king is centralized on d2. His dark-squared bishop is undeveloped on c1. But he's rearranging his pieces and will soon play Bb2 and Rg1, activating his rook and queen.} Rg7 31. Bb2 Ne7 32. Rg1 Rxg1 33. Nxg1 Be8 34. Nh3 Kd7 35. Nf2 Bf7 36. Qg1 {Finally, the queen leaves the corner for a more active role.} Nxa3 37. Bxa3 Qxa3 38. Qg7 {White gave up a3 but will win h6 to compensate.} Be8 39. Qxh6 b5 40. Qf8 b4 {The lively play on both flanks looks like fascinating madness, but calculation works it all out to a dynamic equilibrium.} 41. Nd1 b3 42. cxb3 Qa2+ 43. Ke1 Qh2 ({If Black goes for promotion, White has many resources to make mating threats and run his h-pawn down the board:} 43... cxb3 44. Be2 Qa4 (44... b2 45. Bb5+) 45. h6 Qc6 46. h7 $18) 44. bxc4 Qxf4 45. Be2 Qg3+ 46. Kd2 Qg5+ 47. Ke1 (47. Kc2 {going for the win also backfires for White:} Qg2 48. Kd2 Bxh5 $19) 47... Qg3+ 48. Kd2 Qg5+ 49. Ke1 Qg3+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.11"] [Round "6"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C42"] [WhiteElo "2794"] [BlackElo "2724"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,71,28,32,37,11,11,20,32,31,31,-11,12,-14,19,28,51,58,32,34,37,45,39,39,39,39,48,55,45,35,41,38,57,41,41,41,52,-4,29,35,28,18,30,34,19,23,15,13,9,0,17,4,19,14,17,9,12,10,13,10,14,11,14,11,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Bf5 7. O-O Be7 8. Re1 O-O 9. Nbd2 Nd6 10. Nf1 c6 11. Bf4 Bxd3 12. Qxd3 Na6 13. Qb3 Nc7 14. Ne3 Qc8 {Likely out of his preparation, Duda spends nearly half an hour on this move.} ({He likely rejected the simple} 14... Qd7 {because of} 15. Ne5 {but the knight looks good on this square but has no clear targets.} Qc8) 15. Bxd6 Bxd6 16. c4 Bf4 {After another nearly 30-minute think, Duda is now almost an hour behind on the clock. Luckily for him, the position doesn't get particularly complicated, and Nepomniachtchi doesn't seem to have great aspirations to play for the win today.} 17. cxd5 Bxe3 18. dxc6 Bxf2+ 19. Kxf2 bxc6 {When one side has an isolated pawn and the other doesn't, it dictates the nature of the game. The player with the isolated pawn tends to focus more on dynamics while the other tends to focus on getting the better endgame and stunting and hunting down the isolani. Here, since both players have an isolated pawn, their ideas are fairly similar to each other.} 20. Qc4 Ne6 21. Rac1 Qd8 22. Kg1 Rc8 23. Kh1 Qd6 24. b4 Rc7 25. a3 Rd8 26. Re5 h6 27. Rce1 Rcd7 28. R1e4 Qd5 29. Qc2 Qd6 30. Qc4 Qd5 31. Qc1 Qb3 32. Re3 Qa2 33. Re2 Qb3 34. R2e3 Qa2 35. Re2 Qb3 36. R2e3 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.11"] [Round "6"] [White "Deac, Bogdan-Daniel"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B92"] [WhiteElo "2700"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,68,19,21,72,53,85,77,58,45,45,27,68,40,47,46,44,32,41,41,27,7,35,9,26,24,23,17,20,26,17,-3,19,49,40,56,51,45,60,63,46,48,43,30,43,43,31,31,32,0,28,10,2,33,28,42,46,41,35,35,29,15,21,0,14,20,26,20,26,18,28]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Be3 Be6 10. Re1 h6 11. Bf3 a5 {Intending Na6 to secure a grip on the queenside and c5-square.} 12. a4 Na6 13. Re2 b6 14. Rd2 Qb8 15. Nc1 Nc7 16. N1e2 b5 17. axb5 Nxb5 18. Na4 Ra6 19. b3 ({Deac also considered going into a tense battle for the center:} 19. h3 Qb7 20. b3 (20. Ng3 $5 {[%c_effect g3;square;g3;type;Interesting;persistent;true]}) 20... Nxe4 21. c4 Nc7 22. Qc2 f5 23. Nec3 {but rejected this line because of} d5 $5 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;Interesting;persistent;true] when} 24. cxd5 $2 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Nxd2 25. dxe6 $4 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Nxf3+ $19) 19... Ng4 20. Bxg4 Bxg4 21. h3 Be6 22. c4 Nc7 23. Ng3 Qb7 24. Nf5 ({The Romanian number-two also considered:} 24. Rd3 Rb8 25. Qf3 {but didn't like} Ne8 {with ....Nf6 coming.}) 24... Bxf5 25. exf5 Rb8 26. Rb1 Qe4 27. g4 Qc6 28. Nc3 Bg5 29. Bxg5 hxg5 30. Ra2 f6 31. Rba1 Rab6 32. Rb1 Ra6 33. Rba1 Rab6 34. Rb1 Ra6 1/2-1/2 [Event "Position after 28...Qe2"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Firouzja"] [Black "Nepomniachtchi"] [Result "*"] [Annotator "3700"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r5k1/1p3pp1/4p2p/PP3n2/1Q6/4PP1P/1B2qP2/2R3K1 w - - 0 29"] [PlyCount "5"] 29. a6 $1 {[%c_effect a6;square;a6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] What do you do when your opponent is attacking your king $2 Firstly, see if you can ignore it and focus on your own plan.} Qxf3 30. Qg4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The white king keeps safe watch of all the kingside weak points, chases the Black queen away, and eyes the g7-pawn.} Qd5 31. e4 $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The black queen continues to be pushed around and the black knight will soon be lost because it is tied down to guarding against the potential checkmate on g7.} * [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.13"] [Round "7"] [White "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Result "*"] [ECO "D04"] [WhiteElo "2785"] [BlackElo "2794"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "113"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,113,19,31,14,30,28,12,55,34,20,24,9,-20,40,-5,-19,-15,-22,-13,0,8,27,33,31,42,42,29,40,33,25,10,18,-41,11,0,0,0,0,0,30,31,37,22,27,36,46,71,67,70,76,56,36,41,103,95,76,90,62,188,185,197,327,265,273,241,347,362,367,365,365,371,373,372,378,309,370,377,373,307,406,361,372,372,371,371,377,378,406,408,410,410,410,410,410,411,411,410,410,410,410,410,410,410,410,410,534,375,389,500,617,1000,1021,517,520,1016]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 c5 4. Be2 Nc6 5. O-O Bg4 6. h3 Bh5 7. dxc5 e6 8. a3 Bxc5 9. b4 Bd6 10. Nbd2 Qe7 11. Bb2 Rd8 12. c4 dxc4 13. Qa4 c3 14. Bxc3 O-O 15. Nc4 ({From here for the next few moves, Nepomniachtchi is offering Firouzja a pawn after} 15. b5 Ne5 16. Qxa7 {but has enough dynamic resources to hold the balance. For example,} Bb8 17. Qa4 Rxd2 18. Bxd2 Nxf3+ 19. Bxf3 Qc7 20. Rfd1 (20. g3 Bxf3) 20... Qh2+ 21. Kf1 Qh1+ 22. Ke2 Qxg2) 15... Ne4 16. Bb2 Ng5 {This leads to a slew of minor piece exchanges and the weakening of White's kingside structure.} 17. Nxd6 Bxf3 18. Bxf3 Nxf3+ 19. gxf3 Qxd6 20. Rfd1 Qc7 21. Rxd8 Rxd8 22. b5 {Firouzja finally decides to collect the sacrificed pawn.} Ne7 23. Qxa7 Nf5 ({interestingly,} 23... Ng6 {is actually the better square with access to e5 along with h4.}) 24. Rc1 Qd7 25. Qc5 h6 26. a4 Ra8 (26... Nh4 27. Qc4 g5 28. Bf6 Re8 29. Qg4 Qd5 {creates enough pressure to compensate for the pawn}) 27. Qb4 Qd3 28. a5 Qe2 $2 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Mistake;persistent;true] Black overestimates the strength of the queen on the kingside.} 29. a6 $1 {[%c_effect a6;square;a6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Firouzja carries on with his queenside play with a key resource in his pocket to help on the kingside.} Qxf3 30. Qg4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Qd5 31. e4 Qxb5 32. Ba1 (32. Rc2 $1 {[%c_effect c2;square;c2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the simpler win, eliminating any chance at Black creating a fortress:} Rxa6 33. exf5 $18) 32... Qxa6 33. exf5 Qxa1 $1 {[%c_effect a1;square;a1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Even with his position falling apart, Nepomniachtchi finds a creative resource to give him chances to hold.} 34. Rxa1 Rxa1+ 35. Kg2 exf5 36. Qxf5 Ra6 37. h4 g6 $2 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;Mistake;persistent;true] This eases Firouzja's task. The pawn is better on g7 where it helps hold the kingside together and defends f6 as a safe square for the rook, a key element of holding a fortress.} 38. Qc8+ Kg7 39. h5 $1 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White breaks up Black's structure, so he can use the holes later either for tactical means with his queen or for his king to weave through and add to the pressure.} g5 40. Qc4 Re6 41. Qc3+ Kh7 42. Qf3 Kg8 ({The b7-pawn can't be saved with} 42... Re7 {as the rook will have to return to the safety of the e6-square sooner or later:} 43. Qd3+ Kg7 44. Qd4+ Kh7 45. Qd8 Re6 46. Qc7 Kg7 47. Qxb7) 43. Qxb7 Kg7 44. Kg3 Kg8 45. Qd5 Kg7 46. Kg4 Ra6 47. Qc4 Rd6 48. Qc5 Re6 49. Qd4+ Kg8 ({If ever} 49... Rf6 $4 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 50. Qb2 {wins it by zugzwang.}) 50. Kf5 {The weaknesses of Black's pawn structure are now strongly felt.} Ra6 51. Qc4 Rd6 52. Qc5 Rd3 53. Kf6 Rf3+ 54. Ke7 Rf4 55. Qc8+ Kg7 56. Qf8+ Kh7 57. Qxf7+ ({The king and pawn ending is completely winning:} 57. Qxf7+ Rxf7+ 58. Kxf7 g4 59. Kf6 Kg8 60. Kg6) * [Event "Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "chess24.com"] [Date "2023.05.13"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2768"] [BlackElo "2789"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] {[%evp 0,71,30,21,5,24,23,25,8,21,8,12,32,-30,-18,-27,-19,-26,9,12,4,-1,-4,18,38,45,45,7,-41,0,42,8,21,-90,154,29,9,17,17,17,17,-173,-120,-89,-65,-76,-76,-76,1,15,34,12,25,31,31,31,58,52,73,60,179,281,297,256,265,338,381,547,580,604,604,533,741,447]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 {As we have witnessed earlier in Bucharest, Black may even postpone the development of this knight, in order to avoid the pin.} 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bg5 {White is happy to go for this modern line.} h6 6. Bh4 d6 7. c3 a5 8. Nbd2 {White is postponing his castling for the time being.} ({As Black wants to push king g-pawn, this seems reasonable, although there are people brave enough to go for it:} 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 g5 10. Bg3 Ba7 11. Nbd2 Nh7 12. d4 h5 13. h3 Qf6 14. dxe5 dxe5 15. Bb5 g4 16. hxg4 hxg4 17. Nh2 Qg5 {as in Erigaisi,A (2701)-So,W (2766) Chess.com INT 2023}) 8... Ba7 9. a4 ({Here too} 9. O-O {is inviting} g5 10. Bg3 O-O 11. a3 Nh7 12. h3 h5 13. d4 g4 14. hxg4 hxg4 15. Bh4 Qd7 16. Nh2 exd4 17. Be2 dxc3 18. Nc4 cxb2 19. Rb1 Ne5 20. Rxb2 Ng6 {and Ding had positive memories from this game, Praggnanandhaa,R (2612)-Ding,L (2799) chess24.com INT 2022}) 9... O-O $146 {Black castles first, but as we shall witness this might be too daring of a strategy against the pin.} ({The predecessor saw:} 9... Qe7 10. O-O O-O 11. Re1 Be6 12. Bb5 Rad8 13. Qc2 Nb8 14. d4 c6 15. Bf1 Nbd7 16. Rad1 Rfe8 {Prabhu $146 (2099)-Pang,B (1818) Dulles 2022}) ({The natural question was asked in the studio. Why not} 9... g5 {before castling. The answer is after} 10. Bg3 {\"but then Black has to reckon with h2-h4.) (Giri)}) 10. h3 g5 {Otherwise why did Black allow the pin $2 But now comes the forced, but good} 11. Nxg5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] \"I remembered that in this particular move order this sacrifice is strong.\" (Giri)} hxg5 12. Bxg5 Kg7 13. Qf3 {For the piece White has a couple of pawns and a long lasting, step-by-step kingside attack.} Be6 14. Nf1 Rh8 $1 {[%c_effect h8;square;h8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A crafty move $1} ({White knew the typical trick.} 14... Bxf2+ {and the best reply to it is} 15. Ke2 $3 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] \"I had this position in my prep in a slightly different version.\" (Giri) Now the pawn gain backfires, as the f-file is opened in White's favor and his attack is decisive after say} ({Instead} 15. Qxf2 $2 {[%c_effect f2;square;f2;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Nxe4 16. Bxd8 Nxf2 17. Kxf2 Nxd8 $1 {[%c_effect d8;square;d8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] leads to Black's advantage.}) ({Whereas} 15. Kxf2 $6 {[%c_effect f2;square;f2;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} Nxe4+ 16. dxe4 Qxg5 {is approximately equal.}) 15... Bb6 16. Ng3) 15. Ne3 $5 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} ({Giri spotted the danger. It appears that with his last move, the world champion had actually prepared the capture on f2, as in the line} 15. g4 Bxf2+ $1 {[%c_effect f2;square;f2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 16. Ke2 Bh4 $1 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] and it is Black who is on top $1}) ({However, there was also a strong argument about} 15. Ng3 Kg6 16. Nf5 {The knight is immune.} ({The Dutchman rejected this line as he spotted the nasty trick} 16. h4 Bg4 17. Bxf6 Qd7 $1 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] when the queen is trapped in the spirit of the Rubinstein French.}) 16... Kxg5 $4 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;Blunder;persistent;true] sends the king on a one-way journey to the moon after} 17. Qg3+ Kh5 18. Qg7 $1 {[%c_effect g7;square;g7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] and mate is inevitable.}) 15... Qe7 {Black's defense is very difficult. He also has a vast choice of ideas.} ({White was OK with} 15... Bxe3 16. fxe3 {\"is sort of a thing in these positions, so I was kind of going for this.\" (Giri) Then White seems to regain his material and attack for free, say} Rh6 (16... Bxc4 17. O-O ({Or equally good} 17. Rf1) 17... Rh6 18. Bxh6+ Kxh6 19. dxc4) 17. Bxh6+ Kxh6 18. Bxe6 fxe6 19. Rf1) ({Black correctly avoids} 15... Bxc4 16. Ng4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) ({And the immediate} 15... Nb8 16. Nf5+ Bxf5 17. Qxf5 Nbd7 {also leads to a strong white attack after} 18. h4 ({Or} 18. O-O-O)) 16. O-O-O {Another smart move, which eventually worked. Giri is preparing himself against the maneuver …Nc6-b8-d7, but misses a couple of ideas in the process.} ({However, his other idea} 16. Rf1 $1 {[%c_effect f1;square;f1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] would have been even better, as it appears that} Nb8 {does not suffice due to the computer's slow attack with} 17. Nf5+ ({But my feeling is that White missed the idea} 17. Bxe6 $5 {[%c_effect e6;square;e6;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} Qxe6 18. Qxf6+ Qxf6 19. Bxf6+ Kxf6 20. Nd5+ $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Kg7 21. Nxc7 {practically winning the exchange.}) 17... Bxf5 18. Qxf5 Nbd7 19. f4 exf4 20. Rxf4 Qe5 21. Kd2 $1 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] and Black still faces problems.}) 16... Rag8 {Whereas the world champion sees the Ne3-d5-xc7 danger and thus moves the rook out of the way.} ({White's idea would have worked in case of} 16... Nb8 17. d4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} exd4 18. cxd4 Nc6 19. e5 dxe5 20. d5) ({However} 16... Bxe3+ $1 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] might have been a more stubborn defense, when Giri intended} 17. fxe3 Nb8 18. Rhf1 Nbd7 19. Qg3 $2 {[%c_effect g3;square;g3;type;Mistake;persistent;true] But saw at the studio that this is only a dream and Black wins with} ({Instead} 19. Bd5 $1 {[%c_effect d5;square;d5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} c6 20. Qg3 Nh5 21. Bxe7+ Nxg3 22. Bxe6 fxe6 23. Rf3 {would have most likely been holdable for Black.}) 19... Nh5 20. Bf6+ Kh7 21. Qh4 Ndxf6 $19) 17. Rhf1 Nb8 18. d4 {The point behind White's play.} ({However, much better was} 18. Nf5+ $1 {[%c_effect f5;square;f5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Bxf5 19. Qxf5 Nbd7 20. Kb1 {preparing the nasty f2-f4.}) 18... exd4 19. cxd4 {Still, White's initiative is intimidating and the tired world champion soon messed things up.} Nbd7 ({White was more afraid of the idea} 19... Nc6 $1 {[%c_effect c6;square;c6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White is still calling the shots here though, after} 20. e5 dxe5 21. d5 Nd4 22. Rxd4 ({I see nothing wrong with the prosaic} 22. Qxf6+ Qxf6 23. Bxf6+ Kxf6 24. dxe6 fxe6 25. Ng4+ {with a clear edge for the first player.}) 22... Bxd4 23. dxe6 fxe6 24. Ng4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Rf8 ({If} 24... e4 25. Qf4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 25. Nxf6 Rxf6 26. Qxb7 {\"and I thought he might hold.\" (Giri) Even if this is the case, Black still needs to prove it.} ({But} 26. Bxf6+ Qxf6 27. Qxb7 {might be even better for White.})) 20. e5 {Breakthrough time.} dxe5 21. d5 Qb4 {Ding obviously counted on this aggressive idea to save the day. However} 22. Qe2 $3 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] A very nice idea $1} ({Giri avoids the line} 22. Kb1 Bxe3 ({But not} 22... Bd4 23. Rxd4 exd4 24. dxe6 fxe6 {(Giri) Due to} 25. Bxf6+ Nxf6 26. Ng4 $3 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] when the black king is too vulnerable.}) 23. fxe3 Qxc4 24. Bxf6+ Nxf6 25. Qxf6+ Kf8 26. dxe6 Qe4+ {\"a beautiful perpetual.\" (Giri)}) 22... Bxh3 23. gxh3 Kf8 24. h4 {Even better than the more solid option.} (24. Nc2 Qd6 25. h4 {although here, too, White should be significantly better.}) 24... Bd4 25. Rxd4 $1 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Black's position collapses. The rooks are doing little to nothing and the black knights would be soon separated.} (25. Bb5 $5 {[%c_effect b5;square;b5;type;Interesting;persistent;true]}) 25... exd4 26. Nf5 Rxg5 27. hxg5 Ne5 28. Bb5 $1 {[%c_effect b5;square;b5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Not only hitting the e8-square, but this bishop is preventing any perpetual checks, as pointed out by White.} Nfg4 29. Kb1 Kg8 ({Perhaps Ding should have tried his last chance} 29... Rh2 30. d6 cxd6 31. Rc1 Kg8 {Then White still had to find the nice ambush} 32. Bd3 $3 {[%c_effect d3;square;d3;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] with a win in the line} Rxf2 33. Rc8+ Kh7 34. Nh6+ f5 35. Bxf5+ Rxf5 36. Nxf5) 30. Nh6+ {Now it is easy, without the black knight the king cannot survive.} Nxh6 31. Qxe5 Ng4 32. Qxc7 Kg7 33. g6 Rf8 34. gxf7 d3 35. Rg1 Rxf7 36. Qc3+ 1-0 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.13"] [Round "7"] [White "Rapport, Richard"] [Black "Deac, Bogdan-Daniel"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D00"] [WhiteElo "2745"] [BlackElo "2700"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "125"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,125,28,28,28,-15,0,3,63,-6,16,4,14,16,4,13,0,8,6,-11,5,-9,3,-20,-4,0,-8,-29,-16,-16,-2,-22,-1,4,18,24,22,34,28,35,29,30,30,30,31,32,32,20,28,20,18,23,26,26,21,17,7,7,14,0,0,-8,8,19,21,0,4,4,4,4,4,11,22,5,15,12,0,0,0,0,0,-26,26,16,26,34,30,28,40,30,32,13,36,31,30,30,11,0,4,0,5,0,10,5,0,0,22,12,24,24,24,21,24,0,21,21,21,12,12,0,0,0,0,-31,0,-11,15,-14]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 3. e3 c5 4. Bxf6 gxf6 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Nxd7 7. Ne2 e6 8. O-O cxd4 9. exd4 f5 {Notice how Deac has wisely placed nearly all his pawns on the light-squares to maximize a key feature of his position: his dark-squared bishop, the only bishop left on the board.} 10. Nd2 Bh6 11. Nf3 Rc8 12. c3 O-O 13. Ne1 Kh8 14. Nd3 Rg8 15. Kh1 Nf6 16. Nef4 Ng4 17. g3 Bf8 18. Qd2 Bd6 19. f3 {Guarding e4 and g4 to limit the black knight.} Nf6 20. a4 Nd7 21. a5 {Gaining queenside space.} Nb8 22. Rfe1 Nc6 23. b4 $6 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] This move commits to being unable to defend c3 with a pawn for the rest of the game. After Deac aims considerable forces at the backward pawn, this greatly limits White's winning chances.} Nb8 24. Ne5 Bxe5 25. Rxe5 Rc4 26. Ree1 Nd7 27. a6 b6 28. b5 Qc7 29. Ra3 Rc8 30. Rc1 {With Black tripled against the c3-pawn, most of White's forces struggle to contribute to active play.} Qd6 31. Rb3 Nf8 32. Nd3 Ng6 33. Re1 Qc7 34. Qh6 Qd6 35. Rc1 R4c7 36. Rc2 Kg8 37. Qg5 Kg7 38. Nf4 Qe7 39. Nh5+ Kh8 40. Qh6 Qf8 {Despite the pressure that Rapport's queen and knight generate on the divided kingside pawns, it's not quite enough power. Black's queen holds everything together.} 41. Qe3 Qd6 42. Rb1 {Still determined to play for the win, Rapport thoughtfully arranges his rooks over the next several moves so they have more access to join the play on the kingside.} Rc4 43. Rbc1 Rb8 44. Rd2 Rbc8 45. Rdc2 Rb8 46. Rd2 Rbc8 47. Rd3 R4c7 48. Re1 {Rapport seems to have accomplished a lot with his small adjustments. One of the white rooks has been freed up while the d3-rook and queen are on posts that can be active while watching the c3-pawn. Deac dashes these hopes by reminding his opponent just how much attention the weak pawn requires.} Rc4 49. Qd2 Qa3 50. Rc1 Qd6 51. Rf1 Qa3 52. Rc1 Qd6 53. Ra1 {Again, Rapport refuses a draw, still looking for any chances left.} Rb8 54. Qg5 Qd8 {Since Black has an easier weak pawn to target, endgames favor him.} 55. Qh6 Qf8 56. Qg5 Qd8 57. Qc1 Qd6 58. Ra2 Rbc8 59. Re2 Qb4 60. Rc2 Qd6 61. Re2 Qb4 62. Rc2 Qd6 63. Re2 {Facing emerging time trouble, Rapport finally allows the draw.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.13"] [Round "7"] [White "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A09"] [WhiteElo "2724"] [BlackElo "2742"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "86"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,86,28,28,28,-21,53,53,41,41,61,50,65,30,21,-25,-36,-12,-29,-65,0,48,44,44,58,47,42,54,53,54,56,53,41,48,38,33,33,26,34,29,35,30,20,19,29,-3,-7,-16,-16,-14,16,-11,10,11,37,-26,-22,-30,-35,-31,-25,-41,-37,-46,-40,-44,-41,-52,-43,-31,-44,-25,-26,-25,-22,-22,-1,-11,-14,-15,-7,-6,45,-5,-5,-8,49,-8,-8]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bxc4 e6 5. O-O c5 6. Qe2 a6 7. Rd1 b5 8. Bb3 Bb7 {Both sides rely on pieces for control of the center instead of pawns.} 9. a4 {White aims to loosen the grip of the b5-pawn on the c4-square and create an outpost} Nbd7 10. axb5 axb5 11. Rxa8 Qxa8 12. Na3 b4 13. Nc4 {The queenside knight has reached its hoped-for post, increasing White's grip of the center.} Be7 14. d3 Bc6 15. Bd2 O-O 16. e4 Bb5 17. Be3 Qc6 18. Nfd2 Ra8 19. Rc1 Ne8 20. f4 Nd6 21. Bc2 Ba6 22. e5 Nf5 23. Bf2 Bb7 24. Ne4 {After much maneuvering of his forces, the other white knight has reached the artificial outpost of e4. While the knights look great, White doesn't have a target to press on, and Black has d4 as an outpost for one of his knights.} Nb6 25. Bb3 Nxc4 26. Bxc4 Qd7 27. h3 Nd4 28. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 29. Qf2 Rd8 30. Re1 Bh4 31. Qxd4 Rxd4 32. Re3 Bxe4 33. Rxe4 Rxe4 34. dxe4 {The tense setup in the center has been released into an equal opposite-color bishop ending.} Bg3 35. f5 Kf8 36. fxe6 fxe6 37. Bxe6 b3 38. Bxb3 Bxe5 39. Kf2 Bxb2 40. Ke3 Bc1+ 41. Kf2 Bb2 42. Ke3 Bc1+ 43. Kf2 Bb2 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic Romania"] [Site "Bucharest, Romania"] [Date "2023.05.13"] [Round "6.5"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A22"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "https://lichess.org/@/loepare"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] {[%evp 0,79,28,-11,-16,-22,0,-22,-20,-28,-28,-7,1,2,9,-46,-21,-20,2,0,29,19,24,4,36,3,23,-3,-11,-38,-37,-37,-12,-53,9,-70,-81,-8,13,13,3,7,16,25,17,-60,-12,-2,-3,-15,-32,-35,14,27,26,-4,-60,-58,-58,-128,-108,-117,-111,-119,-87,-111,-96,-109,-101,-104,-119,-119,-107,-102,-102,-102,-102,-87,-85,-79,-102,-87]} 1. c4 {[%eval 23,0]} Nf6 {[%eval 29,0]} 2. Nc3 {[%eval 3,0]} e5 {[%eval 32,0]} 3. e3 {[%eval 3,0]} Bb4 {[%eval 0,0]} 4. Nge2 {[%eval 6,0]} O-O {[%eval 1,0]} 5. a3 {[%eval 3,0]} Be7 {[%eval 13,0] Las negras no quieren dar la pareja si no pueden comprometer la estructura del rival.} 6. d4 {[%eval 16,0]} exd4 {[%eval 1,0]} 7. Qxd4 {[%eval 0,0]} Na6 {[%eval 0,0]} 8. Qd1 {[%eval 19,0]} (8. Ng3 $5 {[%CAl Gf1e2,Ge1g1] Aparentemente, este es un orden más preciso de jugadas.}) 8... c6 $1 {[%eval 2,0][%CAl Gd7d6,Gd6d5] Buena preparación de Wesley. La idea es no definir si jugará con d5 o d6.} 9. Nf4 {[%eval 4,0]} Nc7 {[%eval 0,0]} 10. e4 {[%eval 8,0] Ding quiere evitar d5 a toda costa, pero con esta jugada se sobreextiende.} (10. Qc2 d5 11. cxd5 cxd5 $1 {buscando d4 a la jugada siguiente, seguramente era la idea de Wesley.}) 10... Re8 {[%eval 4,0]} 11. Be2 $6 {[%eval 31,0] Pero esto ya es un error. Evitar d5 no era posible.} (11. Bd3 {para defender e4 era necesario.} d5 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. O-O {con posición igualada.}) 11... Bf8 $1 {[%eval 24,0][%csl Re4]} 12. Qd3 {[%eval 64,0] Sigue buscando evitar d5 a todas costa.} Qe7 {[%eval 72,0]} 13. f3 {[%eval 76,0]} Qe5 {[%eval 56,0][%CAl Gd7d5] De nuevo, d5 se viene.} 14. Nh3 $6 {[%eval -82,0] Pero esta jugada no tiene sentido. Tras una larga pensada, no tengo muy claro que pensó Ding.} (14. O-O d5 15. cxd5 cxd5 16. Nfxd5 Nfxd5 {Supongo que esto le molestaba mucho.} 17. exd5 Bf5 {y las negras están muy activas.}) 14... d5 $1 {[%eval -85,0]} 15. Bf4 {[%eval -65,0]} Qe7 {[%eval -73,0]} 16. cxd5 {[%eval -79,0]} cxd5 {[%eval -55,0]} 17. Nf2 {[%eval -72,0] Ahora las blancas se ponen a la defensiva. Wesley juega formidable la primera fase.} Ne6 {[%eval -59,0]} 18. Be3 {[%eval -64,0]} d4 $3 {[%eval -69,0] Fantástico. No se conforma con igualar. La clave de este sacrificio de peón es debilitar las casillas negras.} 19. Bxd4 {[%eval -58,0]} Rd8 {[%eval -55,0]} 20. Bxf6 {[%eval -41,0]} Qxf6 {[%eval -87,0]} 21. Ng4 {[%eval -37,0]} (21. Nd5 Qxb2) 21... Qg5 {[%eval -75,0]} 22. h4 {[%eval -93,0]} Qa5 {[%eval -7,0]} 23. Qb5 {[%eval -93,0]} Qc7 $1 {[%eval -43,0] Por supuesto, no hay cambio de damas.} 24. Nd5 {[%eval -5,0]} Qg3+ {[%eval -8,0]} 25. Kf1 {[%eval -23,0]} Bd7 $2 {[%eval 74,0] Aquí Wesley pierde su primera oportunidad.} (25... Rxd5 $3 {Esta jugada era muy difícil, estoy convencido de que Wesley la vio, pero aquí no encontró la jugada.} 26. exd5 Nf4 {[%CAl Gg3g2]} 27. Ne3 a6 $3 {la jugada simple. La idea es terminar el desarrollo con calma.} 28. Qa5 Bd7 29. Qe1 Qg6 $3 {[%CAl Ga8e8,Gf8c5] y las blnacas están perdidas posicionalmente.}) 26. Qa5 {[%eval 81,0]} Nd4 {[%eval 81,0]} 27. Rd1 {[%eval 9,0]} (27. Qe1 Nxe2 28. Qxe2 {era más segura.}) 27... Nxe2 {[%eval 77,0]} 28. Rh3 {[%eval 85,0]} b6 $1 {[%eval 72,0] una jugada intermedia muy fuerte.} 29. Qa6 {[%eval 78,0]} Bxg4 {[%eval 75,0]} 30. Rxg3 {[%eval -93,0]} Nxg3+ {[%eval -87,0]} 31. Ke1 {[%eval 83,0]} Be6 {[%eval 76,0] Y llegamos a una posición muy delicada para las blancas. Dos piezas y torre valen más que la dama.} 32. Qb7 {[%eval -77,0]} Rdb8 {[%eval -61,0]} 33. Qc7 {[%eval -42,0]} Nh5 {[%eval -67,0]} 34. g4 {[%eval -49,0]} Nf6 {[%eval -69,0]} 35. Ne7+ {[%eval -96,0]} Bxe7 {[%eval -53,0]} 36. Qxe7 {[%eval -49,0]} Re8 {[%eval -57,0]} 37. Qb7 {[%eval -46,0]} Reb8 {[%eval -35,0]} 38. Qe7 {[%eval -39,0]} Re8 {[%eval -54,0]} (38... b5 39. g5 (39. h5) 39... Nh5 40. Qc5) 39. Qb7 {[%eval -95,0]} Reb8 $2 {[%eval 0,0] y aquí hizo triple repetición, al no ver como continuar.} (39... h5 $3 {debilitando el flanco de rey.} 40. g5 Nh7 41. Kf2 Nf8 42. Kg3 g6 43. Rd3 Reb8 44. Qe7 a5 45. f4 Re8 46. Qb7 Rab8 47. Qc6 Bg4) 40. Qe7 {1/2-1/2 The game is a draw.} (40. Qxa8) 1/2-1/2 [Event "Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "chess24.com"] [Date "2023.05.14"] [Round "8.3"] [White "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Black "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D14"] [WhiteElo "2724"] [BlackElo "2785"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Poland"] [BlackTeam "France"] [WhiteTeamCountry "POL"] [BlackTeamCountry "FRA"] {[%evp 0,95,19,31,43,-23,33,17,37,29,27,29,36,41,18,13,13,15,28,-14,13,14,14,12,37,38,42,21,32,16,36,40,33,45,50,47,64,62,75,77,89,93,122,79,109,96,122,84,105,106,84,84,75,79,77,55,56,59,59,44,94,113,130,33,83,78,88,92,92,99,153,132,150,147,147,163,142,129,222,146,159,87,210,189,230,234,248,235,248,300,300,300,270,296,317,325,330,307]} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Bf4 Nc6 6. e3 Bf5 7. Nf3 e6 8. Qb3 Bb4 9. Bb5 {After the game, Duda revealed that he was not feeling quite well prior to the game and did not object the draw. This might have been the reason for his opening choice, a calm Exchanged Slav.} O-O 10. Bxc6 {Kramnik and Anand discussed this line at their WCC match in Bonn.} Bxc3+ 11. Qxc3 Ne4 {An ambitious move, which was played after a prolonged thought. Firouzja was clearly in a fighting mode.} ({Many strong players, including Anand, choose to defend instead with:} 11... Rc8 12. Ne5 Ng4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The point: Black does not want to have a backward pawn, but chooses to sacrifice it instead for activity.} 13. Nxg4 Bxg4 14. Qb4 Rxc6 15. Qxb7 Qc8 16. Qxc8 Rfxc8 17. O-O a5 {with compensation for the pawn thanks to the active rooks. The opposite-colored bishops also point toward the draw being the most likely result as in the recent game, Bok,B (2616)-Bacrot,E (2648) Chess.com INT 2022}) ({Instead, what White is hoping for is} 11... bxc6 12. O-O {which is favorable for White, as the black pawn structure has been compromised.}) 12. Qa3 bxc6 13. Rc1 {Now White has everything that he wants from the pawn structure. Both c6- and a7-pawns are weak and long-term targets. Black needs to find something concrete, right now.} g5 {And what can be more concrete than this $2} 14. Bg3 {Duda is also taking his time.[#]} ({He might have been tempted at the beginning by the idea} 14. Nxg5 $5 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} Nxg5 15. h4 Ne4 16. f3 {in order to regain the piece with} Nf6 ({However} 16... h5 {seems solid enough for Black here.}) 17. g4 Bg6 18. h5) 14... Rc8 $146 {A novelty and a bad sign for Black. Passive defense is the last thing he needs.} ({The predecessor saw:} 14... h5 15. h4 ({However, the immediate} 15. Nd2 $5 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;Interesting;persistent;true] looks better for White as well.}) 15... g4 16. Nd2 Nxg3 17. fxg3 Qc7 18. Kf2 e5 {which is more in the spirit of the position, Simon,H (2140)-Boehnke,M (2163) Germany 2018}) 15. Nd2 $1 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A strong move that sucks the energy away from the black pieces while further weakening the dark squares.} Nxg3 ({In case of} 15... Nxd2 16. Kxd2 f6 17. Rc5 {the white king is perfectly safe, whereas the same cannot be stated about the black queenside pawns.}) 16. hxg3 Kg7 17. Rc5 {That's the problem. There are too many convenient outposts on the dark squares.} Rh8 {The only way to get some play is to advance the h-pawn and open some files for a kingside activity.} 18. Ra5 Rc7 {A rook on the seventh rank is the last thing Firouzja wants to see; therefore, he swaps it before it becomes too dangerous.} ({If} 18... h5 19. Rxa7 h4 20. gxh4 gxh4 21. Nf3 {and it is White who attacks first after Nf3-e5 $1}) 19. Rxa7 Rxa7 20. Qxa7 h5 21. b3 ({Sending the knight towards the center at once might have been even more convincing for White} 21. Nf3 h4 22. Ne5 Bg6 23. gxh4 gxh4 24. Rh3 {with White's edge.}) 21... h4 ({For now, Black could deprive the knight of a central outpost with} 21... g4 $5 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;Interesting;persistent;true] Then} 22. Ke2 h4 23. Rxh4 Rxh4 24. gxh4 Qxh4 25. Qb8 Qh1 {leads to definite counterplay for Black.}) 22. gxh4 gxh4 23. Nf3 {Now Duda is in control, although the many open spaces always provide chances for a counterplay to the opponent.} Bg6 24. Rh3 ({Both} 24. a4 $5 {[%c_effect a4;square;a4;type;Interesting;persistent;true]}) ({And} 24. Kf1 $5 {[%c_effect f1;square;f1;type;Interesting;persistent;true] with the idea to meet} Qa8 {with} 25. Qxa8 Rxa8 26. a4 Rb8 27. Nd2 Bc2 28. Ke2 $1 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] seems more accurate for White.}) 24... Qa8 $1 {[%c_effect a8;square;a8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Now Firouzja manages to exploit the relative weakness of the white queenside just in time.} 25. Qxa8 Rxa8 26. a4 Bc2 {In order to defend the c6-pawn.} ({Instead} 26... Rb8 27. Ne5 Rxb3 28. Rxh4 Ra3 29. Nxc6 Rxa4 {leads Black to a gloomy position. Is this defendable or not $2}) 27. Rxh4 Bxb3 28. Rg4+ $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] A nasty in-between check.} Kf8 29. Rf4 Ra7 {A difficult decision and, objectively, not the best one.} ({A better chance would be} 29... Ke7 $1 {[%c_effect e7;square;e7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] with the idea to meet} 30. Ne5 f6 31. Ng4 Rxa4 32. Nxf6 {with} c5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) ({But not} 29... Bxa4 30. Ng5 $1 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] when White wins the most important e6-pawn.}) 30. a5 $1 {[%c_effect a5;square;a5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} ({The inclusion of the moves} 30. Ng5 Kg7 31. a5 Bc4 {does not help White.}) 30... Ba4 31. a6 ({Also good is} 31. Ne5 Kg7 32. a6 f6 33. Nd3 Bb5 34. Nc5 e5 35. Rg4+ Kh6 36. dxe5 fxe5 37. f3 {with decent winning chances for the first player.}) 31... Bb5 32. Ng5 Bxa6 {A sad necessity.} ({Or else Black is losing on the spot after} 32... Kg7 33. Rxf7+ $1 {[%c_effect f7;square;f7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} Rxf7 34. Nxf7 Kxf7 (34... Bxa6 35. Nd8) 35. a7) 33. Nxe6+ Ke7 34. Ng5 f6 ({The last try is to hold passively with} 34... Kf8 {although this should not be enough after something like} 35. Nf3) 35. Nh7 {Winning a second pawn, and the rest should have been easy for White, had not it been the time trouble.} f5 36. Rxf5 Bd3 37. Re5+ Kd6 38. Ng5 Ra2 39. Nh3 Bc4 40. g4 {A slip $1} (40. Nf4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] first would have deprived Black of the sudden chance.}) 40... Re2+ {The fatal 40th move $1} ({Firouzja missed the suddenly gifted chance.} 40... c5 $1 {[%c_effect c5;square;c5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] would put White's win in jeopardy; for example,} 41. f4 Re2+ 42. Kd1 cxd4 43. exd4 Rg2 44. g5 Rg3 45. Nf2 Rg1+ 46. Kd2 Rg2 {and nothing is clear yet $1}) 41. Kd1 Ra2 42. g5 {Now it is all over for Black.} c5 43. g6 Bb3+ 44. Ke1 Ra1+ 45. Ke2 Ra2+ 46. Kf3 c4 47. Re8 Ra7 48. Rd8+ 1-0 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.14"] [Round "8"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2764"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,51,37,12,45,-3,11,-18,14,14,14,-5,9,19,26,26,26,31,27,19,26,19,30,14,17,9,31,18,28,-11,0,-25,-7,-5,-13,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 d6 6. b4 Bb6 7. a4 a5 8. b5 {A classic \"pianissimo\" variation appears where White has accelerated the queenside pawn storm before castling. Black's defensive structure leaves him with less space, but opens the door for a central break or kingside pawn storm.} Ne7 9. O-O O-O 10. Nbd2 Ng6 {Black maneuvers pieces to the queenside. As Black has spent three moves on the g6-knight, Caruana sees this as the cue to lash out in the center.} 11. d4 h6 {This position has been reached 11 times with balanced results. Giri mentioned that this was part of his \"backup prep.\"} (11... exd4 {Black can choose to simplify the central tension and attack the e4-pawn.} 12. Nxd4 {Black has won the only master-level encounter where White played this move.} (12. cxd4 Re8 13. Qb3 {Optically, White appears to have things under control and will still cause problems for Black.})) 12. Re1 Re8 13. Ba3 {Tarlev-Gozzoli (2019) followed this sharp line which eventually ended in a draw. White's idea is to rapidly develop and squeeze Black, who has a distinct lack of space to work with.} exd4 14. Qb3 {At first glance it looks like White has given up a pawn but after} d5 (14... dxc3 15. Bxf7+ Kh8 16. Nc4 $1 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] White's fork of the rook and knight will give a winning edge.} (16. Bxe8 cxd2 $1 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Without precision, things can go horribly wrong for White here.} 17. Bxg6 dxe1=Q+ 18. Rxe1 {The use of the word horribly is, of course, relative as the position is close to equal.})) 15. exd5 dxc3 16. Rxe8+ {After this move, Giri paused and thought for over five minutes $1 One of the key considerations was whether or not he wanted to permit 17.Re1 with tempo after capturing with the queen.} Qxe8 {Giri, who spent the five minutes with his head in his hands, later jested that he was simply asleep.} (16... Nxe8 {This move is definitely possible but is underwhelming and doesn't match the energy of White's pieces in the position.}) 17. Re1 Qxe1+ $3 {[%c_effect e1;square;e1;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] Out of nowhere Giri finds a brilliancy. The idea behind this move is that White's king comes under attack immediately after the queen is captured.} (17... Qd8 {The alternative for Black is too passive.} 18. Qxc3 {A human's chances of coordinating effectively with Black here would be slim.}) 18. Nxe1 cxd2 {The use of forcing moves is what made calculating the queen sacrifice possible.} 19. Nf3 Ne4 20. d6 $1 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] According to Stockfish, this is Caruana's only move to hold equality.} (20. Bb2 {This ambitious move could have been countered with} Bxf2+ 21. Kf1 Bf5 {Black's pieces are almost all developed and the d-pawn looks increasingly ominous.}) 20... Nxf2 21. Bxf7+ Kh8 22. Nxd2 $1 {[%c_effect d2;square;d2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Caruana has no way to avoid a draw now and lets Giri complete the repetition in style.} Ne4+ $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 23. Kh1 (23. Kf1 $4 {[%c_effect f1;square;f1;type;Blunder;persistent;true] This is not possible due to} Nxd2+ {[%c_arrow d2b3;keyPressed;none;from;d2;opacity;0.8;to;b3;persistent;false,d2f1;keyPressed;none;from;d2;opacity;0.8;to;f1;persistent;false] forking the king and queen.}) 23... Nf2+ $1 {[%c_effect f2;square;f2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 24. Kg1 Ne4+ $1 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 25. Kh1 Nf2+ 26. Kg1 {Preparation meets world-class calculation. Both players showed their mettle in this round eight clash.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.14"] [Round "8"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2789"] [BlackElo "2745"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,60,38,14,14,14,14,13,25,9,36,36,41,4,2,7,-9,7,4,16,20,21,18,6,20,1,27,22,33,16,33,27,23,19,37,38,28,35,35,29,29,28,17,19,13,16,9,13,8,10,10,9,26,16,8,11,7,6,0,4,11,6,10]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5 8. Rxe5 O-O 9. d4 Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. c3 Rxe1 12. Qxe1 Ne8 13. Bf4 d5 14. Bd3 g6 15. Nd2 Ng7 16. Qe2 c6 17. Re1 Bf5 18. Bxf5 Nxf5 19. Nf3 {By the 19th move, very few features of this position are asymmetrical. Besides the battery on the e-file for White, neither player has serious chances of entering anything other than a completely balanced endgame.} Ng7 20. Be5 {This move is an indication of Ding's intentions. In order to play for a win, imbalance needs to be created and the only way to do so here would be something along the lines of} (20. Bh6 {Here, however, Black has the option to encourage repetition with} Nf5 {so White must try something else such as} 21. Bf4 Ng7 22. Qd2 {There is little risk in playing such a move though it must be noted that Black's bishop is better than its counterpart, courtesy of fixed White's fixed d-pawn that will remain on a dark square.}) 20... Bxe5 21. Nxe5 Qd6 22. Qf3 f6 23. Nd3 Re8 {Rapport finds the perfect way to deal with the open file. This game so far begs the question, did this line appear in Ding's world championship preparation $2} 24. Rxe8+ Nxe8 25. h4 {The first move of interest, threatening h5 and trying to open up Black's king.} Ng7 {The \"fianchettoed\" knight deals with everything here and now only a barbaric 26.g4 would give White outside chances of imbalance creation.} 26. g3 (26. g4 Qe7 {26.g4 is a double-edged move as it allows Black to take over the e-file.}) 26... Kf7 {An unusual move that allows a check on e5, but the idea is to offer a repetition.} 27. Ne5+ Ke7 28. Nd3 Kf7 29. Ne5+ Ke7 30. Nd3 Kf7 {Ding gratiously accepts Rapport's offer and gives his second a chance to win the tournament against Caruana in round nine.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.14"] [Round "8"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2794"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "28"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,28,28,14,14,14,14,11,20,18,41,26,70,-22,9,20,22,22,29,36,23,31,52,16,15,29,21,15,23,3,21]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. dxe5 Nxb5 7. a4 Nbd4 8. Nxd4 d5 9. exd6 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd6 11. Qe4+ Qe6 12. Qd4 Qd6 {Fascinatingly, White does actually have a diversion or two here that have accumulated decent results for the first mover. Overwhelmingly, however, GMs are typically already committed to the draw if the reach this point.} 13. Qe4+ (13. Qe3+ {In 48 master-level games White has won 25\%. The draw rate is still high at 63\% though it seems to turn things into a two-result encounter as Black only possesses a 12\% win rate.}) 13... Qe6 14. Qd4 Qd6 {Many consider this exact line to be the equivalent of a draw offer, which is not allowed in any Grand Chess Tour games. Of course, given that the position was reached via threefold repetition, this is a cheeky loophole.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.14"] [Round "8"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Deac, Bogdan-Daniel"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2742"] [BlackElo "2700"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "42"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,42,27,14,20,28,20,14,14,-5,-10,-4,26,24,69,-3,25,3,26,5,20,20,53,44,54,51,53,33,31,20,26,21,54,26,26,18,46,37,34,31,39,37,31,30,42]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. O-O a5 7. Re1 Ba7 8. Na3 h6 9. Nc2 O-O {This line is markedly similar to the start of the Caruana-Giri game except that instead of the early queenside storm, Vachier-Lagrave instead decides to manoeuvre his knight to c2.} 10. Be3 Ne7 (10... Bxe3 11. Nxe3 {This is completely playable for Black but White will fancy his chances with two knights jumping around in the center.}) 11. d4 {The point of White's knight landing on c2 is to support a d4 push and aid the bishops development to e3.} Ng6 {It appears that Giri and Deac both had the same plans today $1} 12. dxe5 {Like in Caruana-Giri, Vachier-Lagrave purposefully chooses the g6-knight's third move as the perfect time to open up the center. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, nothing was on offer afterwards bar liquidation.} dxe5 13. Qxd8 Rxd8 14. Rad1 Re8 15. Nd2 (15. Bxa7 {This move probably creates the most interesting position as Black now needs to navigate spending valuable tempo getting his rook back into the game.} Rxa7) 15... Nf8 16. f3 Bd7 {Deac's chief idea here is to play b5 and kick White's bishop. If this is achieved with tempo then he can consider pressing.} 17. Bf1 {Prophylaxis.} Be6 {Instead of choosing} (17... b5 {Deac decides to play it safe.}) 18. Bc4 Bd7 19. Bf1 Be6 20. Bc4 (20. Nc4 {This is an option for Vachier-Lagrave but after} N8d7 {he cannot pick up a free pawn due to} 21. Nxa5 Bxe3+ $1 {[%c_effect e3;square;e3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true][%c_arrow a8a5;keyPressed;none;from;a8;opacity;0.8;to;a5;persistent;false] Unleashing a devastating discovered check that wins a piece.}) 20... Bd7 21. Bf1 Be6 1/2-1/2 [Event "Position if 18.Qxd7?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Rapport"] [Black "Caruana"] [Result "*"] [Annotator "3700"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r3rk1/pbpQ1ppp/4q3/b1P1P3/2P2B2/Pp6/1K3PPP/3R1B1R b - - 0 18"] [PlyCount "3"] 18... Bxg2 $3 {[%c_effect g2;square;g2;type;Brilliant;persistent;true] A bolt from the blue $1 The bishop launches into white's position, deflecting the f1-bishop from the defense of the queenside.} 19. Bxg2 Qxc4 {threatening ...Qc2+ with mate coming and ...Qxf4.} * [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.15"] [Round "9"] [White "Rapport, Richard"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A28"] [WhiteElo "2745"] [BlackElo "2764"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,60,19,-12,-27,-33,-27,-23,-23,-34,-7,6,21,26,23,49,49,36,1,1,32,-9,56,54,56,52,39,21,119,25,14,15,30,-98,-53,-127,-110,-149,-63,-36,-66,-41,64,65,59,10,72,60,67,68,74,66,74,74,66,65,65,74,66,65,65,68,68]} 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 Bc5 5. Nxe5 Nxe5 6. d4 Bb4 7. dxe5 Nxe4 8. Qf3 Nxc3 9. bxc3 Ba5 10. Bf4 {White can take the game to sharp, forcing territory, but Black has enough resources to hold the balance or better, especially with White's doubled isolated c-pawns.} (10. Qg3 Qe7 {Highlighting that the white queen is still tied down to the defense of c3.} 11. Be2 O-O 12. Bh6 f6 $15) (10. Ba3 {Trying to stop Black from castling but Black can use a temporary pawn sacrifice to find safety for his king:} d6 $5 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} 11. exd6 O-O 12. O-O-O Be6 13. h4 Re8 {when White should simply return the pawn with} 14. d7 (14. h5 h6 15. Kb2 cxd6 {allows Black to open the c-file, making the white c-pawns even more susceptible to attack.} 16. Rxd6 Qc7 $15) 14... Bxd7 15. Bd3) 10... O-O 11. O-O-O {As counter-initiative as it seems to bring the king to the ravaged queenside, this move aims to prevent Black's main idea of ...d6 and the king can lend some support to the weak pawns with Kb2.} Qe7 12. Kb2 Rb8 13. Qe3 ({Caruana has played this position before vs. GM Magnus Carlsen in 2019. In that game, the 16th world champion chose} 13. Bd3 {. The game continued:} b5 14. cxb5 Bb7 15. Qh3 g6 16. Qe3 Rfe8 17. Rhe1 Bc6 18. a4 a6 19. Bg5 {when Caruana spotted a bishop sacrifice to force a perpetual check:} Bxc3+ 20. Kxc3 Qa3+ 21. Kd2 Qb4+ 22. Ke2 Qg4+ 23. Kd2 (23. Kf1 $4 {[%c_effect f1;square;f1;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Bxg2+ 24. Kg1 Bf3+ 25. Kf1 Qg2#) 23... Qb4+ 24. Ke2 (24. Kc2 Qxa4+ {and the checks continue.}) (24. Kc1 Qa3+ 25. Kb1 $4 {[%c_effect b1;square;b1;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Qxa4 26. Bf6 Bxb5 $19) 24... Qg4+ 25. Kd2 Qb4+ {1/2-1/2}) 13... b5 14. c5 b4 15. c4 b3 16. a3 {Rapport's king clings to the enemy b-pawn for shelter from the black rook.} Bb7 17. Qd4 Qe6 18. Bg3 ({Caruana was hoping for} 18. Qxd7 $2 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;Mistake;persistent;true] when the light-squared bishop shakes White's position like a lightning bolt with} Bxg2 $1 {[%c_effect g2;square;g2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 19. Bxg2 Qxc4 $17 {threatening ...Qc2+ and Qxf4.}) 18... f6 19. Qxd7 Qxd7 20. Rxd7 {Despite White's active rook, extra pawn, and the hanging b3-pawn, Black has enough active play to fully compensate.} Rbd8 21. Rxd8 ({Trying to maintain the rook on the seventh rank goes awry for White:} 21. Re7 $4 {[%c_effect e7;square;e7;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Rd2+ 22. Kxb3 Bc6 $19 {when White's king is caught in a mating net. Black's rooks and bishops will hunt it down on the queenside while White's scattered pieces watch from the far stretches of the board.}) 21... Rxd8 22. Kxb3 Rd1 {White is two pawns ahead but unable to develop his kingside.} 23. f3 fxe5 24. Kc2 Ra1 25. Bxe5 Re1 26. Bg3 Ra1 27. Kb2 Rd1 28. Kc2 Ra1 29. Be5 Re1 30. Bg3 Ra1 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.15"] [Round "9"] [White "Deac, Bogdan-Daniel"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2700"] [BlackElo "2789"] [Annotator "rafael"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,96,27,27,32,-16,-17,-4,25,1,20,23,10,10,-22,-26,-18,-22,-13,-27,22,-32,-11,-8,-5,8,-18,-18,-6,-20,-3,-3,3,-11,-5,11,11,25,22,25,25,17,29,-2,-3,-18,-32,-39,-26,-48,-59,-72,-31,-55,-70,-62,-78,-68,-94,-114,-137,-136,-164,-167,-142,-163,-156,-164,-164,-172,-227,-227,-194,-227,-216,-283,-243,-217,-249,-249,-249,-247,-241,-246,-252,-228,-251,-273,-254,-271,-279,-253,-267,-279,-279,-315,-307,-309,-373]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 {The Queen's Indian Defense, for some reason, lost popularity among the elite. Some people say Alphazero is guilty of this, but I honestly don't know why. Anyway, this game proves that the rumors about the Queen's Indian's death have been greatly exaggerated.} 4. g3 Ba6 5. Qc2 {One of the critical modern lines, and the one where we see some of the famous QID defeats.} c5 {This is the principled move, otherwise 4...Ba6 makes no sense to me.} 6. d5 exd5 7. cxd5 Bb7 {The d5-pawn is lost, but White gets dangerous compensation.} 8. Bg2 (8. e4 Qe7 $1 {[%c_effect e7;square;e7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] wins a pawn anyway.}) 8... Nxd5 9. O-O Be7 10. Rd1 Nc6 11. Qf5 Nf6 12. e4 {A critical position for the theory of this line.} g6 $1 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} (12... d6 {was played by Carlsen, but it leads to a dangerous position for Black.} 13. e5 Qd7 14. Qxd7+ Nxd7 15. exd6 Bf6 16. Re1+ Kf8 17. Nc3 {Black must be very careful in this endgame, and White won a brilliant game in Giri-Carlsen, Tata Steel 2023.}) 13. Qf4 O-O 14. e5 Nh5 15. Qc4 (15. Qg4 {is also a popular move, but it's known that Black gets a good game after} Qb8 $1 {[%c_effect b8;square;b8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]}) 15... Qc7 {Black has other options, but this is the main move. Ding spent a long time on it.} 16. Bh6 Na5 17. Qe2 Rfe8 18. Nc3 Rad8 {Both players follow the most critical path. The position is still well-known to opening theory and has been debated in many correspondence games.} 19. Nd5 (19. Rac1 {is probably more dangerous for Black.}) 19... Bxd5 20. Rxd5 Ng7 21. Rad1 Ne6 22. h4 $6 {[%c_effect h4;square;h4;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] Finally, a new move. The somewhat mysterious} (22. a3 $5 {[%c_effect a3;square;a3;type;Interesting;persistent;true] is favored in correspondence games.} Nc6 23. Qc4 {The main idea of 22.a3 is, I guess, to avoid Nb4. If Black now plays the natural} d6 {then} 24. Bh3 $1 {[%c_effect h3;square;h3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is interesting, although the position is still balanced.} Ncd4 25. Nxd4 cxd4 (25... Nxd4 $4 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;Blunder;persistent;true] loses a piece to} 26. R1xd4)) 22... Nc6 23. h5 $6 {[%c_effect h5;square;h5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (23. Qc4 {White should probably play in a similar way to what we analyzed in the previous move.} d6 (23... Nb4 $5 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} 24. R5d2 d5 25. exd6 Rxd6 26. Rxd6 Bxd6 27. Ng5 {with enough compensation for equality.}) 24. Bh3) 23... d6 $1 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Now Black frees his pieces, and the knight lands on d4. Something went wrong with Deac's preparation for this game since he goes on the defensive as soon as the theory is over.} (23... Ncd4 $2 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;Mistake;persistent;true] is premature:} 24. Nxd4 Nxd4 25. Qg4 {with a strong attack.}) 24. exd6 (24. Bh3 {This is no longer dangerous:} Ned4 25. Nxd4 Nxd4 26. R5xd4 $5 {[%c_effect d4;square;d4;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} cxd4 27. e6 Bf6 $1 {[%c_effect f6;square;f6;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 28. Qf3 Qe7 {The compensation is not enough.}) 24... Bxd6 25. Qc4 Ne7 26. R5d3 Nf5 27. Bc1 Ned4 28. Nxd4 Nxd4 {As a famous chess philosopher once said, the problem with sacrificing a pawn is that you end up a pawn down. Black has good winning chances.} 29. a4 Qd7 $1 {[%c_effect d7;square;d7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] The queen heads to f5.} 30. Be3 (30. Bg5 $2 {[%c_effect g5;square;g5;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Qg4 $1 {[%c_effect g4;square;g4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 31. Bxd8 Ne2+ {and the queen on c4 is lost.}) 30... Be5 31. hxg6 $6 {[%c_effect g6;square;g6;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] Opening the h-file makes things even worse, as it's going to be demonstrated by Black.} hxg6 32. Kf1 (32. Bxd4 {White can consider going for an opposite-colored bishops position, but it should be an easy win for Black.} Bxd4) 32... Kg7 33. a5 Qf5 34. Bc1 {A sad move to play.} Rh8 (34... b5 $1 {[%c_effect b5;square;b5;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] wins on the spot:} 35. Qxc5 Rc8 $1 {[%c_effect c8;square;c8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 36. Qa3 (36. Qxa7 Qxd3+ $1 {[%c_effect d3;square;d3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 37. Rxd3 Rxc1+ 38. Rd1 Rxd1#) 36... b4 $1 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] removing the protection of d3.} 37. Qxb4 Rxc1 38. Rxc1 Qxd3+) 35. axb6 axb6 36. f4 Rh2 $1 {[%c_effect h2;square;h2;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 37. R3d2 (37. Kg1 Rxg2+ {The simplest.} 38. Kxg2 Qe4+ 39. Kg1 Rh8 {with a decisive attack.}) 37... Rdh8 38. Qd5 Bf6 39. Qxf5 Nxf5 40. Rd3 c4 41. Ra3 b5 42. g4 Rh1+ $1 {[%c_effect h1;square;h1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 43. Bxh1 Rxh1+ 44. Ke2 Nd4+ 45. Rxd4 (45. Kd2 Rh2+ 46. Ke1 (46. Ke3 Re2#) (46. Kc3 Nc2+ 47. Rd4 Bxd4#) 46... Bh4+ 47. Kf1 Rh1+ 48. Kg2 Rxd1) 45... Bxd4 46. Ra1 b4 47. Kf3 Re1 $1 {[%c_effect e1;square;e1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Preparing 48...Be3. White is paralyzed.} 48. f5 g5 {An easy win that comes as a relief to the World Champion at the end of a difficult tournament. 0-} 0-1 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.15"] [Round "9"] [White "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D27"] [WhiteElo "2785"] [BlackElo "2742"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,64,32,32,21,23,27,-4,25,41,53,42,44,57,50,-17,29,35,33,50,42,33,31,-21,-8,-26,-8,-36,-30,-4,-5,-5,-24,-18,10,12,2,-5,-5,-31,-20,-6,-38,-14,-4,-18,15,20,17,15,42,43,45,42,40,37,47,51,44,45,40,20,40,46,42,19,40]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 dxc4 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O a6 7. Re1 Be7 8. dxc5 {Despite being in a must-win position for chances to reach a playoff, Firouzja has chosen a quiet and rare line.} Bxc5 9. Qxd8+ Kxd8 10. Bf1 {This unusual retreat without provocation aims to clear the c4-square for a white knight.} Ke7 11. Nfd2 Bd7 12. a3 Bb5 13. Bxb5 axb5 14. Nb3 Nbd7 15. Nc3 b4 16. Nb5 Ra4 {Preventing a3-a4 to maintain the pressure on a3 and double rooks against it.} 17. Bd2 bxa3 18. bxa3 b6 19. f3 Ne5 20. Nxc5 bxc5 21. e4 Nc4 22. Bf4 Rha8 23. Red1 R4a5 (23... Nxa3 $4 {[%c_effect a3;square;a3;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 24. Bd6+ $18) 24. Rab1 Ne8 25. Rdc1 Nxa3 26. Nxa3 Rxa3 27. Rxc5 Ra1 28. Rxa1 Rxa1+ {With few pieces left, equal material, and pawns left on only one side of the board, the game very even.} 29. Kf2 Ra2+ 30. Kg1 Ra1+ 31. Kf2 Ra2+ 32. Kg1 Ra1+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.15"] [Round "9"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C42"] [WhiteElo "2760"] [BlackElo "2724"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,89,32,20,28,20,20,18,45,17,24,33,33,40,23,11,37,-6,3,12,24,37,43,36,35,26,60,49,51,31,26,17,26,23,9,-4,17,28,36,35,44,44,37,25,15,15,9,9,9,5,5,1,3,0,0,-18,-14,0,6,-7,2,0,0,0,21,14,14,5,4,3,2,6,34,34,34,34,34,34,34,29,31,31,38,13,38,11,8,5,34,18,5,11]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 Nd7 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O {Though the kings are castled to opposite sides, the players opt to play this position very calmly.} Nf6 10. Bd3 c5 11. Rhe1 Be6 12. Kb1 Qa5 13. c4 {Preventing checkmate while offering a trade of queens where White's pawn structure could give him a slight edge in the ending.} Qxd2 14. Rxd2 h6 15. Rde2 Rfe8 16. Bd2 Rad8 17. Bc3 Nd7 18. Nd2 Bf6 19. Ne4 Bxc3 20. Nxc3 Ne5 21. f4 Nxd3 22. cxd3 Bd7 23. Rxe8+ Bxe8 24. a3 Bc6 25. g3 Kf8 {Though many pieces have been traded away, White expands on the queenside, hoping to maintain some winning chances.} 26. b4 Re8 27. Rf1 a6 28. Kc2 b5 29. Kd2 Rb8 30. cxb5 axb5 31. Rc1 cxb4 32. axb4 Ra8 33. Rc2 Ke7 34. Ra2 Rxa2+ 35. Nxa2 {Since the white knight can pressure b5 while the black bishop cannot attack b4, White has a very small advantage.} f5 36. Nc3 Kf6 37. Ke3 Ke6 38. h3 Kf6 39. Kf2 h5 40. Nd1 Kf7 41. Ne3 Bd7 42. Kf3 Bc6+ {Duda keeps the white king back and prevents g4, limiting White's winning chances.} 43. Kf2 Bd7 44. Kf3 Bc6+ 45. Kf2 1/2-1/2 [Event "Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Chess Classic"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2023.05.15"] [Round "9"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2768"] [BlackElo "2794"] [Annotator "3700"] [PlyCount "135"] [EventDate "2023.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] {[%evp 0,135,32,28,63,68,42,28,26,40,40,33,50,31,33,8,14,-11,-11,9,5,-18,4,5,10,-3,5,5,-1,16,5,13,3,6,13,16,32,47,38,24,26,17,-1,23,39,6,53,60,53,60,41,-2,1,-17,-23,-26,-35,-65,-58,-111,0,-43,-32,-57,-36,-43,-53,-28,-36,-63,-59,-20,-24,-51,-2,0,-10,0,-12,0,-23,-56,-47,-148,-159,-60,-16,-24,-10,-30,-18,-18,-26,-73,-123,-152,-155,-162,-78,-80,-27,-27,-25,-20,-41,-35,-28,-51,-58,-51,-51,-36,-48,-48,-48,-48,-48,-48,0,-48,0,0,0,0,13,0,0,0,19,19,46,53,53,0,56,54,52,0]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bf4 e5 8. Bg5 a6 9. Na3 b5 10. Nab1 {An incredibly rare move. 10.Bd5 and 10.Bxf6, both directly aimed at using the d5-square as an outpost for a knight, are the main moves by far.} Be7 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. a4 b4 13. Nd5 Be6 14. Bc4 O-O 15. O-O Bg5 {A common idea in the Sveshnikov. As the only black minor piece that is unable to directly aim at the critical d5-square, the bishop aims at d2, ready to exchange itself as soon as the b1-knight re-develops?dashing white's hopes of the steed contributing to his grip on the light squares.} 16. Qd3 Kh8 17. Nd2 ({Black's queenside pawns are tactically safe:} 17. Bxa6 $2 {[%c_effect a6;square;a6;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Nd4 18. Nxb4 $2 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;Mistake;persistent;true]} Qb6 19. c3 Nb3 20. a5 Qa7 21. Ra3 Nc5 $17) 17... Bxd2 18. Qxd2 Qa5 ({Safer was} 18... a5 19. c3 bxc3 20. bxc3 Ne7 {neutralizing white's knight on the d5-outpost.}) 19. c3 Qc5 20. Ba2 bxc3 21. bxc3 Na5 {Aiming for control of the square in front of White's isolated c-pawn. Who's weak's pawn will turn out to be more of a liability: c3 or Black's d6-pawn $2} 22. Rab1 h6 ({Tactics prevent the black knight from hopping into the key c4-square} 22... Nc4 $4 {[%c_effect c4;square;c4;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 23. Bxc4 Qxc4 24. Nb6) 23. Rb4 $5 {[%c_effect b4;square;b4;type;Interesting;persistent;true]} Rab8 24. Qd3 $6 {[%c_effect d3;square;d3;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] A tempting move, aiming at the isolated a6-pawn, but this allows Nepomniachtchi's upcoming idea with tempo.} ({Better was} 24. h3 Qa7 (24... Rfd8 25. Qe2 Qa7 26. Rd1 $16) 25. Ne3 Nb7 26. Bd5 Nc5 27. a5 Kh7 28. Rfb1 $16) 24... Qa7 $1 {[%c_effect a7;square;a7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] Clearing the c5-square for Na5-b7-c5 where the knight will greatly influence events in the center from its new outpost.} 25. h3 Nb7 26. a5 Nc5 27. Qe2 Rb5 {White's time loss with Qd2-d3-e2 has given Black a couple moves to strengthen his position.} 28. Rxb5 axb5 29. Qxb5 Rb8 30. Qe2 Qxa5 31. Bc4 Qa3 32. Qf3 Kh7 33. Re1 Qb2 34. Rd1 Ra8 35. Ne3 Ra1 36. Bxe6 fxe6 37. Nc4 Rxd1+ 38. Qxd1 Qxc3 39. Nxd6 Nd3 {Though White has the better pawn structure, Black's queen and knight are very active. It's equal but Giri has to be careful.} 40. Ne8 Qd4 41. Qe2 $6 {[%c_effect e2;square;e2;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} Nf4 $1 {[%c_effect f4;square;f4;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 42. Qc2 Qa1+ $6 {[%c_effect a1;square;a1;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true] Nepomniachtchi is drawn to the mating ideas, but he could’ve won a pawn by force with a clever rerouting of his queen.} (42... Qd8 $1 {[%c_effect d8;square;d8;type;GreatFind;persistent;true]} 43. Nc7 Qg5 44. g3 Nxh3+ $17) 43. Kh2 Qf1 44. f3 h5 {Seeking to make more dangerous threats on the kingside by posting the pawn on h4 and then Ne2-g3, threatening Qh1#} (44... Ne2 45. Qc5) 45. Nd6 Qe1 46. Nb5 $6 {[%c_effect b5;square;b5;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} ({The cleanest way to hold the game is:} 46. Nf7 Qe3 47. h4) 46... h4 47. Nd6 $4 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} (47. Qb2 $4 {[%c_effect b2;square;b2;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Ne2 $19) (47. Nd6 $4 {[%c_effect d6;square;d6;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Ne2 48. Qc5 Qg3+ 49. Kh1 Qf4 {leaves the white forces in zugzwang:} 50. Qc2 {if the queen leaves the d6-knight undefended, it will be lost:} Ng3+ 51. Kh2 Nf5+ 52. Kh1 Nxd6) (47. Nc3 $4 {[%c_effect c3;square;c3;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} Kg6 {again leaves White's defenses in zugzwang:} 48. Qb2 {allows} (48. Nb5 Ne2 $19) 48... Nd3 49. Qb3 Nf2 $19) (47. Nc7 $1 {[%c_effect c7;square;c7;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] is the saving move:} Qe3 48. Qa2 Ne2 49. Qb1 $1 {[%c_effect b1;square;b1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] when} Qf4+ 50. Kh1 Ng3+ {doesn't win material because} 51. Kh2 {and there is nothing that Black can win with the discovered check.}) 47... Ne2 48. Qc5 Ng3 $6 {[%c_effect g3;square;g3;type;Inaccuracy;persistent;true]} (48... Qg3+ $1 {[%c_effect g3;square;g3;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] setting up a deadly discovered attack wins:} 49. Kh1 Qf4 50. Qc2 Ng3+ 51. Kh2 Nf5+) 49. Qg1 Nf1+ 50. Kh1 Qc1 51. Nb7 Ng3+ 52. Kh2 Qf4 {Neponmiachtchi sets up the discovered attack, but Giri has a key saving resource:} 53. Qb1 $1 {[%c_effect b1;square;b1;type;GreatFind;persistent;true] again nullifying the danger of the discovered check.} Kh6 (53... Nxe4+ $4 {[%c_effect e4;square;e4;type;Blunder;persistent;true]} 54. Kh1 {and the black knight is pinned and will be lost.}) 54. Kg1 Qd2 55. Kh2 Ne2 56. Qa1 Qf4+ 57. Kh1 Ng3+ 58. Kg1 Qe3+ 59. Kh2 Qb6 60. Qc1+ Kh7 61. Nc5 {The white queen continues to save the day in the nick of time.} Ne2 62. Qe1 Ng3 63. Nd3 {The wayward knight has finally made it home to help defend against any further mating ideas.} Qb5 64. Nf2 Nf1+ 65. Kg1 Ng3 66. Kh2 Nf1+ 67. Kg1 Ng3 {Since his tactical ideas have been stopped and trading queens into the knight ending favors White due to the better pawn structure, Nepomniachtchi finally allows the draw.} 68. Kh2 1/2-1/2
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