giovedì 7 giugno 2018

A Line in the Ice

Viswanathan Anand – Fabiano Caruana
6th Altibox Norway Chess; Stavanger, June 6, 2018
French Defence C01

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d3 Nf6 6. d4 d5. In fact transposing into a French Defence Exchange Variation. 7. Bd3 Bd6 8. 0-0 0-0 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bh4 Nc6 11. c3 g5 12. Bg3 Ne4. An old try is 12. ... Bg4 13. Nbd2 Ne7 14. Qc2 Nh5 15. Rae1 Qd7 16. Ne5 Bxe5 17. Rxe5 f6 18. Ree1 Ng7 19. f3 Bh5 20. Re3 Rae8 21. Rfe1 Nef5 22. Rxe8 Rxe8 23. Rxe8+ Bxe8 24. Nf1 c6 25. Bf2 Nd6 26. Bg3 Ngf5 27. Bxd6 Nxd6 28. Ng3 Qe7 29. Kf2 h5 30. Nf5 Nxf5 31. Bxf5 Kg7 32. Qe2 Kf8 33. Qd3 Kg7 34. Qe3 Kf8 35. Qd3 Qc7 36. h3 h4 37. Bg6 Bd7 38. Bf5 Be8 39. Bg6 Bd7 40. Bf5 Be8 41. Bg6 ½ : ½ Metger – Blackburne, 5th DSB Congress, Frankfurt 1887. 13. Bxd6 cxd6!? 14. Nfd2. “I find this game strategically fascinating. 14. Qb3 looks critical. Or 14.Ne1 f5 15.f4!?”, Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson tweeted. 14. ... f5 15. Na3 Be6 16. Nc2. “Also a transition possibility of 16. Bxe4!? dxe4 17. Nxe4 fxe4 18. d5. More generally White has to do something or Black just gains space and attacks on the Kingside”, Rowson said. 16. ... Nxd2 17. Qxd2 f4 18. Rae1 Qf6 19. f3 Rf7 20. Re2 Raf8 21. Ne1 Ne7 22. Bc2 a5 23. Bb3 Rg7 24. Qd3 Bd7 25. a4 Kh8 26. Qd2 h5 27. Nd3. Anand ended up in a very difficult situation and decides to try his luck by an Exchange sacrifice. 27. ... Nf5 28. Bxd5 Ne3 29. Rxe3 fxe3 30. Qxe3 Bxa4 31. Ra1 Re7 32. Qd2 Bb5 33. Rxa5 Bxd3 34. Qxd3 Re1+ 35. Kf2 Rfe8. With the obvious threat of ... Qf6-f4. 36. Ra8. Anand suddenly realises he can’t parry it, for after 36. g3 Qf5!! Black wins at least a Rook!


36. ... Qf4 37. Rxe8+ Rxe8 38. Qd1 Qxh2 39. Qd2 Qh4+ 40. Kf1 Qh1+. It is Black’s 40th move and Caruana repeats moves to reach the time control. However, Black could play 40. ... Kg7! followed by ... g5-g4 with a mating breakthrough. 41. Kf2 Qh4+ 42. Kf1 Ra8. And this is Caruana’s only error, which could have costed him the win. 42. ... Kg7! (followed by ... g5-g4) was by now an unprocrastinable must. 43. Ke2 Ra1 44. Kd3 b5 45. c4. 45. Bc6! seems very unclear and quite drawish as well. 45. ... bxc4+ 46. Kxc4 Qf4 47. Qe2. After the game, Caruana said he expected Anand to exchange Queens, forcing an endgame that undoubtedly would have presented more technical difficulties than those actually occurred in the game. For instance: 47. Qxf4 gxf4 48. Be6 Kg7! 49. Kd5 Kf6 eventually followed by ... Kf6-e7 – further and deeper analysis seems necessary. 47. ... Qc1+ 48. Kb5 Qc8. The only move to win (Δ ... Qc8-a6+). 49. Kb6 Qb8+ 50. Kc6 Rc1+ 0 : 1.

Fabiano Caruana (right) vs. Viswanathan Anand (left). Photo: Lennart Ootes/Altibox Norway Chess.

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