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Caruana-Ivanchuk Annotated by GM Naiditsch

User Rating: / 4
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 03 October 2013

By GM Arkadij Naiditsch, #1 German chess player, FIDE 2724

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Before the game it was clear that this game was going to be very interesting. Caruana needs to win the Grand Prix to take the qualification place for the Candidates and with Ivanchuk, as we all know all too well, anything can happen.

Replay the game

Caruana,Fabiano (2779) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2731) [C11]

FIDE GP Paris Elancourt FRA (6.5), 28.09.2013

[Arkadij Naiditsch]

1.e4 e6 Before the game it is really very hard to predict which opening Ivanchuk is going to choose as he plays almost everything.
2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5
The main move. Another option is to play 4.Bg5.
4...Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3
And we are in the main line.
A rather rare move. Not so long ago in the game Caruana-Meier from Dortmund 2013, Black continued with 7...a6 and got quite good play, but Black's position was looking really dangerous at some moment, so Caruana was clearly ready with some nice improvement there.
The best reply. White is getting clearly better play in my opinion.
8...Qa5+ 9.c3 c4
This is still theory, but I would personally not advice anyone to go for this position with Black. It looks like it is simply better for White.

10.b4! Another important move. Black wanted to play b5 next.
[10...cxb3 11.axb3 would of course lead to a much better position for White.]
11.Be2 [11.g3 followed by Bh3 next was also possible. The idea is not to give Black the option to play f6 or f5 next, because White would have immediate pressure on the e6 pawn.]
11...Be7 12.00 00 13.Qc2
Now Black has to decide what to do next. White's plan is easy, to block everything on the queenside and start his play on the kingside, where White has much more space.
13...b5?! looks like a wrong decision to me. Now White is going to be better in any case. [13...f5!? would probably have been an interesting try for Black. 14.exf6 Nxf6 15.Ne5 And of course White's position looks better, but maybe Black could try to play against the bad position of the white knight on a4. 15...b6! And the game is quite open.]
Of course to c5, not to b2!
14...Nxc5 15.dxc5 15.bxc5 was of course not looking good for White, as Black would have kept the idea of playing b4 in the future.
15...a5 16.a3 Bd7 17.Nd4 Nxd4 18.Bxd4 I think that by now it is clear that White has gained quite an opening edge. The c5 pawn can became very strong in the future and Black doesn't really have a plan. White's ideas stay the same, to play f5 at some good moment.

Another strange move by Black. [At least Black should have tried to win the a-file: 18...Ra6 19.Qb2 Rfa8 And of course White's position is better, but Black could have the plan of playing Bc6 followed by Qa7 next and winning the a-file.]
19.axb4 Rxa1 20.Rxa1 Black has no space and no counterplay, which makes it very difficult for him to defend this position. 20...Qb7 21.Qa2 White is provoking Black into playing Bc6 to draw the bishop's attention away from the f5 square.
21...Bc6 22.Qb1
White wants to play f5 or maybe Bd1Bc2 first and then g4 followed by f5.
22...f5 Black is looking for some play, but there is simply none.
23.exf6 Bxf6

Black's position is not improving. The bishop on c6 is just horrible, White is controlling the a-file and all endgames should be very close to lost for Black.
24...Ra8 25.Rxa8+ Qxa8 26.Bg4
White is not looking for an immediate win, and there is of course no reason for that. Caruana is aiming for the endgame.
26...Bd7 27.h3
With this move, White is avoiding all future e5 pushes, which might work by accident at some point. 27...Qe8 28.Qd2 Again White does not hurry!
28...Qf7 29.Qe3 Now White just wants to play Be5 next, followed by Qd4.
29...Bxd4 30.Qxd4 Qf6 Black tries to cover the dark squares, but it does not help.
31.Qxf6 gxf6 32.Kf2 The white king is going to d4.

It is slightly surprising that Black already resigned here, but of course White's position should be winning. The idea is quite simple, to put the king to d4, play Bf3 and start moving the pawns g4h4 and g5, winning control over the e5 square and the game. A very nice technical win by Caruana and a big step in view of a qualification for the Candidates.


More annotated games, tactics & endgame puzzles, surprise section/study can be found in the weekly Chess Evolution newsletter.  25 pages total. Subscribe!

Related materials:
Ushenina-Yifan annotated by GM Naiditsch
Naiditsch-Vallejo annotated by GM Naiditsch
Kramnik-Andreikin annotated by GM Naiditsch
Andreikin-Sivlder annotated by GM Naiditsch
Ivanchuk-Kramnik annotated by Chess Evolution GM Team
Kamsky-Mamedyarov annotated by GM Naiditsch

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 October 2013 )
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