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Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Sergey Karjakin
World Chess Championship Candidates (2014), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 12, Mar-27
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Kmoch Variation (E20)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-27-14  Ed Frank: Wild-looking draw, from a quick glance. It seems Shak likes this 4.f3 variation of the Nimzo-Indian, and Karjakin employs a Benoni-like response to it, with everything seen before until, at least according to the database I'm using, 8..exd5. In the continuation my database lists, 8...d6 is more common.

It seems the 4.f3 variation of the Nimzo produces active games. One notable idea: Karjakin's 27...Nc6, a rook sacrifice which is completely alien to me other than it seems to try and eliminate White's dark squared bishop in order to better use the a pawn and, overall, win another pawn from white. The sacrifice apparently could compensate by overrunning white's few pawns with black's numerous pawns had the sacrifice been accepted, but I am only speculating.

Mar-27-14  crchandler: Black would have loved for white to grab the Exchange with 28. Bxf8. If white's dark square bishop is eliminated black is out of any danger and looks to stand better, with no kingside dark-square weaknesses to worry about and the a- and c-pawns potentially strong.
Mar-27-14  Refused: Well, that b5 move is probably the most complicated and double edged set up the Nimzo-Indian has to offer. So nice game by both, and they both tried to get something going here. Too bad it did not bring a decissive result.

The structures are very similar to Benko gambit, when white responds with 5.f3 and black goes for the e6 push quite early. This results in really messy double edged positions.

Mar-27-14  csmath: 3. ...Bb4

[Karjakin is ready to challenge Mamedyarov's aggressive treatment of NID]

5. ...b5


13. ...Nc7
[New move with respect to game Ding Liren - Bacrot from Biel 2012 where Bacrot played 13. ...dxe5]

14. ...Bb7
[...Qxd4 15. Nxd4 Nxd5 16. Bf3 Nxc3 17. Nc6 perfectly good alternative.]

15. Bd2
[Qxc4 Nxd5 16. Bd2 Nxc3 17. bxc3 Bc5 and black has excellent compensation.]

16. bxc3?
[Mamedyarov makes error. 16. Bxc3 dxe5 17. fxe5 with equal game.]

17. ...Bxd5

White position is absolutely horrible.

click for larger view

Mamedyarov decides to give a pawn to complete development.

20. ...Ndc5?!
[Karjakin misses his chance:
20. ...a5! 21. Nd4 Nxd4 22. Nc5 Bd1 23. a4 or even 23. Bb2

and white's position looks extremely difficult.

click for larger view

One ought to add that black king looks shaky so further discussion is needed. ]

22. Bd1

[22. Rbd1!? a5 23. Ng5 Nxg5 24. Bxg5 a4 25. Rf4 with dangerous attack for example 25. ...Qb6?! 26. Kh1 a3 27. Bf6 Kh8 Bg4! .

click for larger view


Due to rather dangerous outlook for the black king white has achieved dynamic balance.

27. Bh6
[threatening mate with Qf6]

28. Rd1?!
[Qf6 Qxe5 29. Qxe5 Nxe5 30. Bxf8 with interesting ending and probably equal chances.]

30. Bg5 f6

[30. ...Qc5+ 31. Kh1 Bxh2+ 32. Kxg2 gxf5 33. Bf6 Ne5 34. Qh6 Qc6 35. Kg1 Qb6 36. Kf1 Qf2 37. Kxf2 Ng4 38. Kf3 Nxh6 39. Rg1 Ng4 40. Bxf5 h5 with interesting ending that is drawn.]

35. h4!

click for larger view

[Excellent feeling of the attacker. This is conceived: 35. ...gxh4 36. Ba6 Rf6 37. Rd7! Qe3+ 38. Qxe3 Rxe3 39. Bxc6 Rxc6 40. Rxa7 and due to the weakness of the last rank the draw is at hand for example: 40....Rce6 41. Rd8 Re8 42. Rdd7.]

35. Qe3+
[Karjakin had enough.]

The game reaches drawn ending with

45. Rd6

click for larger view

which is quite obvious in the final position where black king cannot make any progress short of being mated:

click for larger view

Very serious and complex game, played well by both. Black might have had better chances but the safety of his king was compromised so the outcome is fair.

Mar-27-14  csmath: I probably exaggerated after 17th move of black. Optically white position looks really bad but Mamedyarov has shown that he has certain dynamic in the position and after he sacrificed the pawn he got rather complex dynamic compensation against black castling which he used rather well against Karjakin.

I do have a feeling that Karjakin has missed something better along the way but because his king was in rather dangerous situation it was not easy to find some better plan.

I am impressed by Shark's cool head.

Mar-28-14  nalinw: Karjakin was in serious time trouble - something like 15 moves in 6 minutes - so it is not surprising he missed things.

The commentators found

32. .... Qe3+
33. Kh1 Qf4

apparently winning.

Mar-28-14  csmath: 32. ...Qe3+
33. Kh1 Qf4
34. Be4 Kh8

and there is nothing "apparently winning" here.

For example one line is that white can force ending similar to the one in the game:

35. Qc3 Qf6
36. Qxf6 Rxf6
37. Rxg5

and that is most likely a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Quite an impressive struggle; in the old days, both players would be up for a brilliancy prize.
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