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Sergey Karjakin vs Teimour Radjabov
Norway Chess (2013), Sandnes NOR, rd 1, May-08
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. General (B30)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-08-13  hellopolgar: Looks like Teimour Radjabov 's rating slide continues. I feel sorry for him. Once upon a time, I felt that he could over-take Magnus Carlsen . Silly me.
May-08-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bishoprick: Could still happen. . . Slumps have occurred before.
May-08-13  dumbgai: And it's not like there's just one area of his game that's the problem. He's losing in a variety of different ways. In this game he plays a somewhat unconventional but acceptable opening, although I'm generally skeptical of the "Maroczy Bind for black" setup. His real problems occur in the middlegame, where he allows a strong passed pawn on d5. From there he gets outplayed and ends up with a useless bishop against a powerful knight.
May-08-13  master of defence: Why not the simple 9...cxb4 10.axb4 Nxb4?
May-08-13  paavoh: Karjakin said at press conf that already at move 10.bxc5 he enjoyed "a comfortable advantage", after getting 9.b4 "for free".
May-08-13  dumbgai: I think 11. Ba3 gives white a strong attack for the pawn. Black probably has to retreat with Nbc6, when white threatens Nd5.
May-08-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Why not the simple 9...cxb4 10.axb4 Nxb4?> Because Black has a very bad position after 11.Ba3, e.g. 11...Nbc6 12.Bd6.

Regardless of Radjabov's problems, it looks like a very good strategic game by Karjakin. Black probably had better chances to hold with 27...Rb8 (instead of Rc8) with the idea 28.Rb5 Rec8 29.Reb1 Rxc6 30.c5 e4! and now after 31.dxe4 fxe4 32.Nxe4 Re8! the rook attacks the knight while getting out of the pin. Alternatively, 28.f4 Rec8 29.fxe5 Rxc6 also looks better for Black than in the game.

Also 37...Kf8 instead of Kf7 gives better chances of resistance (I think by then Radjabov was in serious time trouble) - the tactical point is that in case of 38.Ke3 Bb2 39.Rxd3 Rxc4 there's no knight fork on d6. White should probably keep the passer instead by 39.Rd8+ Ke7 40.Rb8 Bc1+ 41.Kxd3 Bxf4, but at the very least he has to work harder to win.

May-08-13  Ezzy: Karjakin,Sergey (2767) - Radjabov,Teimour (2745)
Norway Chess 2013 Stavanger (1), 08.05.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bb5 Bg7 5.00 e5 6.d3 Nge7 7.Bc4 h6 <7...00 is usually played.> 8.a3 < 8 a3 Novelty. 8 Be3 and 8 Ne1 have been played before >8...00 9.b4 d6< [9...cxb4 10.axb4 Nxb4 11.Ba3 Nbc6 12.Bd6 With a strong initiative.]> 10.bxc5 dxc5 11.Re1 Kh7 12.Nd5 Be6 13.Nxe7 Qxe7 14.Bd5 Nd4 15.Nd2 Bxd5 16.exd5 Rad8 17.c3 Nb5?< Radjabov spent less than a minute on this, and it seems to be the move that creates strong play on the queenside for Karjakin. [17...Nf5 18.c4 b5! 19.Rb1 bxc4 20.dxc4 Rb8 This seems better for black because white doesn't develop an initiative on the queenside as he does in the game line.] >18.c4 Nd4 19.a4 Qd7 20.Rb1 b6 21.Bb2 Rfe8 22.a5 Qc7 <Using the queen as a defender seems a bit desperate. Perhaps 22...Rb8 is slightly better, although his position is starting to go down hill anyway.> 23.Qa4 f5 <This attempt at kingside counterplay has no affect. Karjakin's got too much momentum on the queenside.> 24.axb6 axb6 25.Bxd4 cxd4< [25...exd4?? 26.Rxe8 Rxe8 27.Qxe8]> 26.Qc6 Qxc6 27.dxc6 Rc8? <[27...Rb8 28.Rb5 (28.f4 Rec8 29.fxe5 Rxc6 30.Nf3 Black is still in trouble having to defend his weak pawns on b6 and d4) 28...Rec8 29.Reb1 Rxc6 30.c5 e4 31.dxe4 fxe4 32.Rxb6 Rcxb6 33.Rxb6 Was black's best chance of making the draw]> 28.Rxb6 Re6 29.f4< This is easily winning in the hands of most Masters.> 29...e4 30.dxe4 fxe4 31.Rxe4 Rexc6 32.Rxc6 Rxc6 33.Re7 Kg8 34.Rd7 Bf8 35.Ne4 d3 36.Kf2 Ba3< [36...Bb4 37.Rd4 Kf7 38.Ke3 d2 39.Ke2 White will still be 2 pawns up.] >37.Rd4 Kf7 38.Ke3 Bc1+ 39.Nd2 Bxd2+ 40.Kxd2 Ra6 41.c5 10

Radjabov's misery continues. I can't comprehend how the guy must be feeling. This is probably the worst spell of chess in his career so far.

So how did he lose? It seems to be little moves which don't seem to be a mistake, but with more care and attention it becomes apparent. In the game Radjabov didn't even spend a minute on 17...Nb5? After this move Karjakin got a strong initiative on the queenside which left black struggling. With a little more care he could have stopped that queenside play with 17...Nf5 18 c4 b5! undermining the c4 pawn (Protector of the d5 pawn)

27...Rb8 Gave chances for the draw, but when you're under pressure, the correct moves don't come easy. Especially with Radjabov's current 'mashed up mindset.'

Radjabov has lost that edge, that edge that gives you a sense of danger. After 17...Nb5? Karjakin just pounced, and seized the momentum on the queenside, and Radjabov could do nothing about it.

Nice game by sergey. When given the opportunity, he was merciless in his execution of his advantage.

May-08-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Also 37...Kf8 instead of Kf7 gives better chances of resistance (I think by then Radjabov was in serious time trouble) - the tactical point is that in case of 38.Ke3 Bb2 39.Rxd3 Rxc4 there's no knight fork on d6. White should probably keep the passer instead by 39.Rd8+ Ke7 40.Rb8 Bc1+ 41.Kxd3 Bxf4, but at the very least he has to work harder for the win.>

Actually, on move 37, Bb2 straightaway might be best for Black as a follow-up to 36...Ba3, which is really quite a nice resource (an immediate 36...Rxc4?? leads to mate, of course, with 37.Nf6+). After 37...Bb2 White can try 38.Rd8+ Kg7 (38...Kf7? again allows the fork tactics 39.Rxd3 Rxc4 40.Nd6+) 39.c5 Ba3 40.Rd5, but after 40...Bb4! followed by d2, it looks like in order to make any progress White would have to exchange his c-passer for Black's d-pawn and remain with 3 v 2 on the K-side.

May-08-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Ezzy: In the game Radjabov didn't even spend a minute on 17...Nb5? After this move Karjakin got a strong initiative on the queenside which left black struggling. With a little more care he could have stopped that queenside play with 17...Nf5 18 c4 b5! undermining the c4 pawn (Protector of the d5 pawn)>

According to what Karjakin said after the game, when Radjabov played 17...Nb5 he was counting on 18.c4 <e4> (opening the long diagonal to attack Ra1) - where 19.Rxe4 Qd7 is good for Black (20.Rb1/a2 Nc3 wins an exchange); missing, however, the relatively simple tactics 19.Nxe4 Bxa1 20.Ng5+ winning the queen.

On a related tactical note, it's interesting to see how 11.Re1! prepares the maneuver which ends with Bd5 a few moves later - after 14.Bd5, if Black plays 14...Bxd5 15.exd5 Nd4 16.c4 Nxf3+ 17.Qxf3:


click for larger view

with the white rook on f1, 17...e4! would be strong here, but now White can refute this idea simply by 18.Rxe4.

Later in the game, in case of 27...Rb8, Karjakin thought that 28.f4 Rec8 29.fxe5 Rxc6 30.Nf3 was very close to winning for White:


click for larger view

The computer, however, evaluates this position as not so terrible for Black after 30...Bf8! in order to bring the bishop to c5 and support both of Black's weak pawns (on b6 & d4); of course White can't take the d4 pawn immediately since he loses the knight (31.Nxd4?? Bc5).

May-08-13  Ezzy: <Eyal - missing, however, the relatively simple tactics 19.Nxe4 Bxa1 20.Ng5+ winning the queen.>

Yes, I can see how that unfortunate 20 Ng5+ is easy to miss in the minds eye after playing 17...Nb5

Radjabov's missing a lot lately though, and it's costing him dearly.

<The computer, however, evaluates this position as not so terrible for Black after 30...Bf8! in order to bring the bishop to c5 and support both of Black's weak pawns (on b6 & d4); of course White can't take the d4 pawn immediately since he loses the knight (31.Nxd4?? Bc5).>

Yes, black's definitely holding. I think whites position is easier to play though. Play down the 'a' file is a plan, hoping to infiltrate a rook to the 'd' file attacking the d4 pawn. I can't find a good concrete line though.

There's certainly more resources for black than I originally thought.

But credit to Karjakin for using his initiative and forcing Radjabov into mistakes through constant pressure.

May-08-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Radjy seems to be going through an inverted Fischer phase. Bob went 20-0 at one point, and Radjabov...
May-25-13  Karpova: This game was annotated by Csaba Balogh in chesscafe's "Chess Evolution" article <An Impressive Positional Performance> of May 25, 2013: http://www.chesscafe.com/text/evolu...
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