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GM Ivanchuk - GM Grischuk annotated by GM Naiditsch

User Rating: / 12
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 11 October 2013

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

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We will see a strange game where White very quickly got into trouble and finally lost the game to a beautiful regrouping of the black pieces.

Vassily Ivanchuk. Photo:

Ivanchuk,Vassily (2731) - Grischuk,Alexander (2785) [D83]

FIDE GP Paris Elancourt FRA (5.6), 27.09.2013

[Arkadij Naiditsch]

View the game

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 At the moment the Gruenfeld is probably the most popular opening on the top level. Carlsen, Anand, Caruana, Grischuk, Gelfand, Vachier Lagrave are just some of the players who are playing it as one of their main openings. As we can see from the latest games, the White players don't manage to find some global line to get a nicer position, so they keep on trying many sidelines, trying to test Black's memory as well as preparing some small improvement which can be quite unpleasant to solve during the game.
Not the most ambitious line for White to try and reach something out of the opening.
4...Bg7 5.e3

[5...c5 is the other main line.]
[In case White tried to win the pawn, Black would quickly get equal play: 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Nxd5 Qxd5 8.Bxc7 And now the very strong 8...Na6! 9.Bxa6 Anything else leads to a very dangerous position for White. 9...Qxg2 10.Qf3 Qxf3 11.Nxf3 bxa6 With an equal endgame.]
6...Be6 We are still following the theory.
7.c5 Not a new move, but a rare one. It was played on the highest level for the first time by Wang Yue against Carlsen in 2009, but all in all it somehow does not look too scary for Black. White's idea is simple: to be solid on the kingside and try to get some play on the queenside, where he has a space advantage.
The most logical move. Black consolidates the center. He wants to play Nbd7 next and sometime in the future try to play e5.
8.b4 Nbd7 9.Bd3 [9.h3 would maybe have been a more careful move...]
9...Nh5! A very nice move. Without the black bishop I cannot imagine White having even a theoretical chance of being better. 10.Nge2

Another very logical and strong decision. Black brings the bishop to f7 to play e5 next.
11.h4?! This move looks very strange. White is weakening his pawn structure too much. [11.00 would have been the more normal continuation.]
11...Bf7 12.Bh2 White defends against the direct e5 move because of the strength of g4 next and the knight on h5 would be caught.
Well played! Black continues trying to play e5, as the h4 pawn would then be attacked.
This move is just shocking! White makes a pawn out of the bishop and he totally destroys his structure. Black is just much better now.
13...Nhf6 Black's idea is simple, to bring one knight to e4, the other one maybe to g4 and open the queenside by playing b6 and a5. He would then be getting great play because of his much better pieces and the bad white bishop on h2.
14.Bg3 Ng4 15.Qd2

Black is putting his knights to perfect positions.
16.Nd1 Ne4 17.Bxe4
White already doesn't have anything better, but now the black bishop on f7 is becoming a monster piece.
Black has all the white squares under control, so what is left is to open the a-file.
Ivanchuk is trying to have b5 after a5.
But Black is first opening the b-file. It seems like the game will not last too long, but White finds a little bit of counterplay.
Well, this move doesn't improve the position much, but a t least White is going to die with a smile. In case of some waiting move Black would just play bxc5 and Rb8 followed by doubling on the b-file.
Why not take a pawn if you can?!

Alexander Grischuk. Photo:

20.Bh4 Bf6?
I think this is a big mistake by Black. I don't understand why it was necessary to exchange these bishops. [20...Qd7 looks much more simple after 21.Nf2 Nf6 the knight will find a perfect position on d5!]
White helps Black to get the knight to d5, but there was no reason for it! [21.Nf2! It is very important for White to exchange the knights as soon as possible. 21...Bxh4 22.Rxh4 Nf6 23.b5 And maybe White is still more or less in the game.]
21...Nxf6 22.Nf2 Kh8
Black is also trying to be strong on the kingside, but I think there was no need for that, and Black should just have stuck to the plan of crushing on the queenside.
23.00 Rg8

White is looking for exchanges, which is correct. His only chance is to exchange as many pieces as possible. 24...Rc8 25.cxb6 Qxb6 26.a5 [Maybe a better practical try for White would have been to play 26.Rc5 cxb5 27.Rxb5 Qe6 and of course Black is better, but at least White has a strong rook on the 5th rank.]
A solid move, not falling into any traps.
27.bxc6 Rxc6 28.Rxc6 Qxc6 29.Rc1
It looks like White is not doing too bad, but in fact the game is almost lost! Black is a pawn up and the open g-file plus the possibility of having a monster knight on d5 make things very easy for him.

29...Qa6! A very nice move! Black is not only fixing the a-pawn, he also wants to play Nd5 followed by Qg6.
The last mistake in a very difficult position.
And the dream idea of Black is coming true... The g2 pawn is falling!
31.Nc3 Bf1 White cannot defend against Rxg2. All in all it was of course not the best game Ivanchuk ever played but it was quite interesting because of the pawn structures which we don't see too often...


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

Related materials:
Laznicka-Topalov annotated by GM Balogh
Caruana-Ivanchuk annotated by GM Naiditsch
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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