domenica 21 gennaio 2018

Space without Matter

侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán) – Fabiano Caruana
80th Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 21, 2018
Spanish Game C96

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 0-0 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Nd7. The Keres Variation. 12. d5. The alternative is 12. dxc5! dxc5 13. Nbd2 f6! (not 13. ... Qc7? because of 14. Nf1 Nb6 15. Ne3 Rd8 16. Qe2 Be6 17. Nd5! Nxd5 18. exd5 Bxd5 19. Nxe5± R. J. Fischer – Keres, Candidates Tournament, Willemstad 1962) 14. Nh4 Nb6 15. Nf5 Kf7 (R. J. Fischer – Ivkov, 4th Capablanca Memorial, Havana 1965) and now 16. Qg4! Kh8 17. h4! (intending h4-h5 followed by Nd2-f3-h4) should give White an edge (Fischer’s analysis). 12. ... Nb6 13. Nbd2. If 13. g4 then 13. ... h5! 14. Nh2 hxg4 15. hxg4 Bg5! 16. Nd2 g6 17. Ndf3 Bxc1 18. Qxc1 Kg7 with satisfactory play for Black, R. J. Fischer – Keres, Candidates Tournament, Willemstad 1962. 13. ... Bd7. If 13. ... f5 then 14. exf5 Bxf5 15. Bxf5 Rxf5 16. Ne4 with a very slight plus for White, Lékó – M. Adams, Miskolc 2005, match game 4. 14. Nf1 Nb7 15. b3 a5!? Caruana’s move is probably new. The old reference is 15. ... c4 16. b4(?) a5(!)= Kryvoruchko – J. Polgár, 40th Greek Team Chess Championship, Achaea 2012. 16. Rb1 c4 17. bxc4 Nxc4 18. a4 Qc7. Black sacrifices a Pawn in order to get active piece play. 19. axb5 Nb6 20. Be3 Rfc8 21. Bd3 Nc5 22. Re2 a4. Stockfish’s line 22. ... Nba4 23. Rc1 Nxd3 24. Qxd3 Qc4 25. Qxc4 Rxc4 would seem good enough to win back the Pawn and strive for equality. Instead, Caruana is even thinking about sacrificing a second Pawn in the hope to set up a blockade on the dark squares. 23. Ra2 Bd8 24. Bc2 Nc4 25. N3d2 Nxe3 26. Nxe3 Rcb8 27. c4 Qc8 28. Ra3. But as it is, White prefers not to take the second Pawn, focusing instead her attention on the Kingside. It just sounds a bit strange, since she concentrated her efforts above all on the Queenside, through a very static strategy. I guess that both Wilhelm Steinitz and Bobby Fischer would have taken the Pawn without thinking twice. 28. ... Ba5 29. Ndf1 Bb6 30. Ng3 Qd8. “[...] the engine says that White is better but just the sort of position where I’d play terribly as White. No obvious plan and Black has dangerous counterplay on the dark squares”, Grandmaster Daniel W. Gormally said. 31. Nef5 g6 32. Nh6+. “Hóu should be inspired by Magnus now and make a slightly dubious sac with 32. Nxd6!”, Gormally says. Indeed, it’s not clear at all what compensation White may claim after 32. Nxd6 Qf6, except for creating a brighter future for her suffering light-squared Bishop. 32. ... Kg7


33. Qd2? Probably best was 33. Rf3 Qh4! (33. ... Kxh6 34. Rxf7 is much unclear) 34. Rxf7+ Kh8 (not 34. ... Kxh6? on account of 35. Qc1+ g5 36. Rxd7!+−) 35. Qf3 Qxh6 36. Qf6+ Kg8 37. Nh5! (threatening 38. Rg7+ Kh8 39. Rxg6+ followed by mate) 37. ... Rf8! 38. Rg7+ Kh8 39. Rf7+ and draw by perpetual check. And, after all, White could even play 33. Ng4 which apparenly holds all without touching the status quo. 33. ... Qh4! 34. Ng4 Bxg4 35. hxg4 Qxg4 36. Kf1? 36. Qe2 Qh4! 37. Nf1 h5! would be hardly better, and in a way quite similar to the game. 36. ... Qh4 37. Ke2. The King has no peace. 37. ... h5! 38. Kf1 Rh8 39. Rba1 Qf6 40. Rf3 Qe7 41. Ne2 Nb3! 42. Bxb3 axb3 43. Ra6 Rxa6 44. bxa6 Ra8 45. Rxb3 Rxa6 46. g3 h4! 47. gxh4? This loses right off, but 47. Kg2 h3+ 41. Kxh3 Bxf2 was also quite hopeless. 47. ... Qxh4 48. Ng3 Bxf2! 49. Qxf2 Qh3+ 50. Ke2 Ra2+ 51. Ke1 Rxf2 52. Nf5+ Qxf5 53. exf5 Rxf5 54. Rb6 Rf4 55. Rc6 g5 56. Ke2 Rd4 57. Kf3 f6 58. Rxd6 Rxc4 0 : 1.

Artwork © Willum Morsch

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