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GM Mamedyarov - GM Svidler annotated by GM Naiditsch

User Rating: / 8
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 26 March 2014

By GM Arkadij Naiditsch, #1 German chess player
Best FIDE rating: 2737

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After a horrible start of 0.5/3, Mamedyarov made his come back into the tournament with his 2 White wins over Andreikin and Svidler. In the current game, I guess both players were quickly out of theory and the game got pretty messy, but in the complications Svidler made a terrible blunder with 24...h6, after which the game was practically lost.

View the game or check out the "text + diagrams" version below.

Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar (2757) - Svidler,Peter (2758) [A81]

FIDE Candidates 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (6.3), 19.03.2014

[Arkadij Naiditsch]

1.d4 f5 Wow, what a surprise. It is hard to say why Svidler chose to play the Dutch and especially the Leningrad variation, which he might want to call "St.Petersburg" because of his home town! :)

Surprise, surprise!
Photo from the
official website

2.g3 There are a lot of move orders which lead to the position in the game. Clearly the system with developing the bishop on g2 is the most popular one.
2...Nf6 3.Bg2 g6
As a Gruenfeld player, Svidler of course develops his bishop to g7.
4.Nf3 Bg7 5.00 00 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 So we are in the very main position of the Leningrad system.

7...Qe8 The most critical line.
A very rare move which has almost never been played on the top level and it seems to just give Black great play. [After the main move 8.Re1 Qf7 9.e4 fxe4 White has 2 options: 10.Nxe4 (10.Ng5 is another interesting option.) 10...Nc6 And we are in a sharp position. 11.Nc3!? This interesting move was played by Sargissian not so long ago and White might be doing better here.]
There is of course no need to wait with the e5 move as it is the main idea of the line.
9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Ba3
Now we can see Mamedyarov's plan: his idea is to quickly put big pressure on the queenside, letting Black get quite some play in the center.
Another very logical and good move. The white bishop on g2 is dead now.

Photo from the official website

11.Nd4 Rf7 Solid play, but it seems not to be the best Black could have done. [To me 11...Qf7! looks very strong. 12.Qb3 (After 12.b5 Rd8 the white queen is in a very unpleasant pin.) 12...Nc6! Black should not care about the pawn structure, the development of the bishop on e6 is much more important. 13.Nxc6 bxc6 followed by Be6. I personally like Black's position more here although things are of course still complicated.]
12.Qb3 Nc6
Of course Black needs to get rid of the white knight from d4.
13.Nxc6 Qxc6
[13...bxc6 was probably not the best already as after 14.Na4! the white knight is going to take a great place on c5 and the f3 move at some point might finally free the white bishop on g2.]
14.b5 Qe8

A very important move as White needs to free his bishop on g2. If Black was on time to develop with Be6Rd8Rd7 White's position might get pretty bad.
A logical move, but once again just second best. [The immediate 15...a6! looks very strong. Now after 16.bxa6 Black can simply take back with the rook and get an excellent position. 16.Rad1 axb5 17.Nxb5 Be6 Black's position still looks to be at least equal.]
16.Rad1 a6
Svidler finally plays a6, but now things are getting very messy.
A good move. The position is getting very forced now.
17...Rxa6 18.fxe4
White is going for the e-pawn.
18...fxe4 19.Nxe4 Nxe4 20.Bxe4 Rxf1+ 21.Rxf1

This was of course Svidler's idea before playing 16... a6. If Black was in time to play Bxc4 followed by Re6, his position would of course be a dream, but it is White's move...
Maybe not the best, but practically a very unpleasant move. [After 22.Bc5 Bxc4 23.Bd5+ Bxd5 24.Qxd5+ Re6 Black's position looks to be without any risk and because of the better pawn structure Svidler would clearly check Mamedyarov's defensive technique.]
22...bxc4? Svidler misses his chance. [22...Qd7! was very strong, but it is of course a hard move to play in a practical game. On the other hand it is also a big pity to miss such opportunities. 23.Bd5 (After 23.Bc5 Bxc4 Black's position already looks clearly better.) 23...bxc4! Could it be that Svidler missed this move?! 24.Rd1 Kh8 After this cool and very strong move, with the idea of playing Bg8 next, Black's position is clearly better.]
23.Bc5! A strong move. There is no direct threat, but White has a few unpleasant ideas, like playing Bd4 next, making the black king weaker etc...

23...Qc8?! Another unlucky decision... Svidler clearly lost his touch for the position. [Black had to hurry with bringing his rook to the 8th rank: 23...c6! 24.Rd1 Ra8 The position is probably still around equal here.]
Mamedyarov also misses his first chance. [The very strong 24.Rd1! with the idea of playing Qg5 next would have put huge problems to Black. The 8th rank is unprotected and the black rook on a6 is practically out of thegame.]
What a shocking move by Svidler... It is very hard to say what exactly he missed...

[After 24...Rxa2 25.h5 Ra1 White's position might be better, but Black's chances to survive are good.]
Mamedyarov says thank you...
[25...Bh3 of course also loses: 26.Bf7+ Kh8 27.Rf2]
26.h5 [26.Bf5 also looks very strong.]
26...Qd7 After this move the game is probably over. [There was still a chance left to fight after 26...Ra8 with the hope of playing Qh3 next, or at least finally gain control over the 8th rank, but of course Black's position is very bad.]
A very strong move. Without the bishop on g7 the only defender of the king will be gone...
It is hard to suggest anything better. The position is just lost.
28.Bf7+ White starts a winning combination.
28...Qxf7 29.Rxf7 Rxe3 30.Rxg7+ Kf8 Mamedyarov now finds a very nice move to end the game on the spot:

A nice finishing move of a fighting game with some mistakes on both sides. Now after 31...hxg5 32.Bxe3 White's passed h- and a-pawns guarantee an easy win. It is clear that Svidler must have been very disappointed with his own play if he just resigned on the spot. The mistery mistake 24...h6? still keeps a big question mark...


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

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 March 2014 )
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