giovedì 26 aprile 2018

Briefly Told

Fabiano Caruana – Varuzhan Eduardovich Akobian
62th U.S. Chess Championship; Saint Louis, April 25, 2018
French Defence C11

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2 b6 9. Bb5 Qc7 10. 0-0-0!? A novelty, but only to a certain extent. 10. h4 0-0 11. 0-0-0 a6 may eventually transpose into 12. Bd3 f5?! (12. ... cxd4 13. Nxd4 Nc5) 13. g4! c4 14. gxf5! cxd3 15. fxe6 Ndb8 (15. ... Ndxe5!? 16. Nxe5 Bxe6) 16. Nxd5 Qd8 17. Nxe7+ Nxe7 18. Ng5 h6 19. Qxd3! hxg5 20. hxg5 Bxe6 21. Qh7+ Kf7 22. d5 Bf5 (Kramnik – Buhmann, 44th Sparkassen Chess Meeting, Dortmund 2016) and now, according to the elaborate analysis of Alexei Yarovinsky, 23. g6+! gave White excellent prospects for a win. 10. ... a6 11. Bxc6 Qxc6 12. f5! Caruana is uncovering a great number of his “secret weapons”, and also Akobian gets entangled into the web of a short story. 12. ... c4


13. f6! This could be the point where a story teller must not ask computer what is real and what is makebelieve. So, while Stockfish is still absorbed into the analysis of 13. Bg5 Bb4 14. g4 h6 15. Bh4 b5, Caruana doesn’t hesitate to give up a Pawn just for the sake to open the f-file. 13. ... gxf6 14. exf6 Bxf6. Clearly not 14. ... Nxf6?? because of 15. Ne5 followed by Rh1-f1 and Be3-g5. 15. Rhf1 b5? Rather than worrying about his opponent’s threats, Akobian immediately launches himself into a counterattack on White’s castled King, thus giving Caruana’s intentions a complete fulfillment. Whether for the good or for the bad, Black ought to have played 15. ... Be7 16. Ne5 Nxe5 17. dxe5 Bd7 18. Qf2 0-0-0 19. Bxb6 Rdf8(!). 16. Qf2! Her Majesty takes over the f-file. 16. ... b4 17. Ne2! 17. Ne4! dxe4 18. Ne5! is also very strong, but not necessary. The text simply threatens Nf3-e5 with devastating effect. Black has no good moves, for if, for instance, 17. ... Bg7 then 18. Ng3! intending both Ng3-h5 and Nf3-e5, so Akobian tries a desperate gamble: 17. ... b3!? But, of course, White goes straight to the goal: 18. Ne5! Bxe5. No better is 18. ... bxa2 19. Nxc6 a1=Q+ 20. Kd2 Qxb2 21. Rb1 Qa3 22. Ne5! with an easy win. 19. Qxf7+ Kd8 20. dxe5 bxa2 21. Kd2 Rf8 22. Qxh7 Rxf1 23. Rxf1 d4 24. Qg8+ Kc7 25. Nxd4 Qd5 26. Qxe6 Qa5+ 27. c3 Nxe5 28. Rf7+! Nxf7 29. Bf4+ Kb7 30. Qxf7+ 1 : 0.

Fabiano Caruana (left) vs. Varuzhan Eduardovich Akobian (right). Photo: Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (@STLChessClub).

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