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Alexander Grischuk vs Fabiano Caruana
Norway Chess (2014), Stavanger NOR, rd 1, Jun-03
Benoni Defense: Fianchetto Variation (A62)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  WinKing: This should be interesting. Grishuk's 5 pawns vs. Fab's 4...but Fab has the outside passer. And of course Grishuk is in a bit of time trouble. Nothing new there.
Jun-03-14  MountainMatt: Ha, yes!! 0-1! I called it!
Jun-03-14  RedShield: Time trouble was mentioned. How long did Sasha have left?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Grischuk fell to a sucker punch at the end, in his typical time trouble: 38.Qa1 looks good enough to hold.
Jun-03-14  csmath: 3. g3 Bg7
4. Bg2 d5

[Grischuk is trying to avoid Grunfeld as Caruana is an expert in the opening. Caruana obliged with Benoni.]

13. ...a5!?

The result of the opening is equal game with chances for both. This cannot be considered as a success for white.

18. ...Nf6!

[Excellent positional move, self-binding that is surprising but white cannot take advantage of.]

20. Qe3?!
[White responds with self-binding of his own but without any effect as 21. ...h6 cannot be stopped.]

23. Qxh6 Rxb3?!
[23. ...Bg7! 24. Qe3 Rb4 25. Nd2 Qxe3 26. fxe3 27. a4! and black is better.]

click for larger view

24. Nxc5 Rb5

[24. ...dxc5?! 25. d6 Qa7 26. Bd5! gives white compensation for the piece with wild game. Caruana plays more solid and more logical chess.]

27. ...a3

click for larger view

Critical position, more in the venue of Grunfeld anyway.]

28. Rxa3!

[Excellent decision where white eliminates his weaknesses and the game seems to be heading for a draw.]

34. Qd1!?

[34. Qf4 Bh6 35. Qd4 Bg7 and draw by repetition which would have been fair outcome and the next move of black confirms that Caruana would have expected that.]

35. Kg2

[This move is easier to understand but it is indeed hard to see what is white trying to accomplish in this restricted position. Black now gets small initiative.]

38. Qa3?

[Final blunder. Grischuk still has the option for repetition with 38. Qa1 Ra3 39. Qb1 Rb3 but it seems he wants something more.]

38. Rxd3! exd3
39. Rb2

[Two-move combination that decides the game instantly.]


Achieving nothing in the opening but resolving the game into equal position Grischuk committed suicide allowing 2-move combination that instantly decided the game.

Caruana is hard to beat and Grischuk just learned that.

High quality game decided by blunder.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <perf> I agree - he should have been able to draw. As for that sucker punch: yes, quite. I know I've walked into similar things in time trouble, but one somehow expects better of these GM guys.
Jun-03-14  cunctatorg: Wow!! At last a Benoni at top level chess!!
Jun-03-14  RookFile: Black's rook was an all star in this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <cunctatorg> And not just a Benoni ... but a Black win.
Jun-03-14  1971: Very nice opening play from Black. Strong prep can beautiful as well imo.
Jun-04-14  Strongest Force: Fab was as cool as a Wall Street financial advisor riding the 3 train to work during rush hour.
Jun-04-14  tonsillolith: Black's <38. Rxd3> would make a good puzzle early in the week.
Jun-04-14  Eusebius: Beautiful game.
Jun-04-14  csmath: I do not know whether Fabiano has any vices but the way he present himself in public he seems like an ideal child to any parent. Well, at least in my view. :-)
Jun-04-14  Robyn Hode: 9 a4 seems premature as a6 has not been played. Wasn't 8 Bf4 better?
Jun-04-14  Chuckles: Is there any kind of fortress possible at the end, if white goes

40. Qxb2 Qxb2 41. Re1 ... 42. Re2


Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <csmath> What vices does an 'ideal child' have? Rampant heterosexuality? Pyromania? Tirosemiophilia? A heroin habit?

Just asking.

A tirosemiophile, btw, collects the labels on cheese boxes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Dom> One such vice might be the self-binding referred to by <csmath> in his light notes above.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <perf> I see, yes, self-binding. For a moment I thought it was 'self-blinding', popularly thought to be the result of certain vices.
Jun-05-14  Lupara: <Domdaniel> Are you referring to the incestuous vice from the Greek tragedy "Oedipus Rex" on the self-blinding or that other vice, as told in old wives' tales?

Ahh yes, it could be both since you used the plural "vices." :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Lupara> Quite. As somebody said, "Oedipus Shmoedipus, what does it matter as long as he loves his mother?"

Master P Bates is there too, of course.

Jun-06-14  Bartacus: I'm not convinced 28 Rxa3 was necessary. Can't White simply play Rb1? He is a pawn up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: What an awesome double threat by Caruana to clinch it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson:

click for larger view

The two move trick is the secret of chess. Master the art of spotting them and you will fear nobody.

That position will one day be a Monday 'Black to play and win' puzzle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Bartacus: I'm not convinced 28 Rxa3 was necessary. Can't White simply play Rb1? He is a pawn up. >

I'd have to give the position some thought. Maybe he had a difficult time coming up with a plan after 28. Rb1 Bd7 since he can't exchange rooks with 29. Rxb5 Bxb5 as now black threatens to trap the rook, for example 30. Qb3(?) Bxd3 31. Qxd3 Bb2 and if he moves the knight away on move 30 black still has Bb2. So what plan has white after 28. Rb1 Bd7 ?

The position seems not so easy for white. Maybe he was feeling desperate so went in for the exchange sac for the initiative. The material count would be even, down exchange up 2 pawns. Thats the kind of thing we find out during after-game commentary by the players.

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