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Fabiano Caruana vs Yifan Hou
GRENKE Chess Classic (2018), Baden-Baden GER, rd 6, Apr-06
Russian Game: Nimzowitsch Attack (C42)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: In a video at, Daniel King does an excellent analysis of the critical points near the end of this game.

King observes Hou missed the stunning, surprise winning move 64...Kd2!! -+ (-6.02 @ 24 ply, Stockfish 9 analysis of move 65.?). King's point about 64...Kd2!! is that 65. Bxa6 is met with 65...Nd3+! 66. cxd3 d4! -+ with an unstoppable c-pawn passer.

Apr-07-18  sudoplatov: Looks like the setup in the Petroff with Black having Pawns on d5 and c5 is pretty powerful. Caruana won with it against Grischuk and nearly lost against it against Hou Yifan.
Apr-07-18  starry2013: patzer2: <King observes Hou missed the stunning, surprise winning move 64...Kd2!!>

Though he does say he thinks she was planning Kd2 slightly earlier as she was moving the knight in. She delayed though with the threat of the pawn grabs when she needed to continue the attack.

Apr-07-18  bane77: WOW! First variation (cxd3) is like a study. But the other, main variation is very long and hard to calculate.
Apr-07-18  Clement Fraud: My goodness... I am playing in a club match this afternoon, and I seriously doubt that I will find a combination like the one that Yifan Hou missed here. Via the analysis of patzer2 and WorstPlayerEver (and also after playing around with the pieces), it would now seem that 64.Kc1 was necessary!?

I very much like the chess I am seeing from Yifan Hou.

Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: Hmm.. I am quite pleased that after SF suggested 64... Kd2 65. Bxa6 Nd3+ 66. Kb1 etc, I found -66. cxd3 d4 almost a tempo!

That said, it's nice weather here in A'dam, I think I go for a stroll :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Do not fret too much Clement.

W.P.E's diagram is at the wrong place and the double ?? on Caruana's 64th move is a bit unfair. These ?? are usually aimed at one move shocking blunders followed by immediate resignation.

Caruana obviously missed the whole idea prior to playing 64.Bc6-b7, as did Yifan and I expect every human watching the game without a computer.

click for larger view

Here, (Black to play) with a clock ticking you have to be willing to give up the a6 pawn and then the b5 pawn cannot be defended. That is usually enough to throw you off that path.

The path also includes that after you give up one precious pawn, you hang another, then sac a Knight and play d4 (which is a quiet non-checking move, these things are hard enough to spot when one move deep.)

So from the above diagram to here.

click for larger view

Extremely difficult to see OTB.

It's very possible Yifan saw the line after 64...a5 if White chases the b-pawn with 65.Ba6 then 65....Kd2 followed by Nd2 and Nxc3 has excellent winning chances. That will do. A quick blunder check and go that way.

The missed brilliancies often have a good plausible path that the player follows.

After 64...a5 Fabiano's sense of danger kicked in and he played 65.Kc1.

I wonder if during the game Fabiano was having a deja vu moment. Yifan beat him in the same tournament last year.

Yifan Hou vs Caruana, 2017

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: In fact, 64.Bb7 is not objectively worse than Kc1 and 65.Kc1 should still lose for White; there's another study-like win for Black in the position - 65... Ke2! (instead of Ne2) 66. Bc6 Ke1! 67. Bb7 b4! 68. axb4 axb4 69. cxb4 Nd3+!! 70. Kb1 Nxb4 71. c3 Kd2 72. Kb2 d4, while after 67. Bxb5 Ne2+ 68. Kb2 Kd2 followed by Nxc3 it's relatively simple for Black to win by advancing the pawns, since she's traded her b-pawn (rather than d-pawn) for c3.

So, if we go one move back, 64.Kc1 won't save White since Black can get the same construction with 64...a5!.

In the actual game, once Black allows White to trade c3 for d5 it appears that without those potential breaks with the d-pawn there's a fortress.

Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: <Eyal>

I can't follow what you write. 64. Kc1 (I guess, because you give no move indication) and then? I don't even see a move there!

-64. Kc1 Ne2+ 65. Kb2 Kd2 66. Bxd5 Nxc3 67. Bb7 Nd1+ 68. Kb1 Ne3 69. Be4 Kc3 70. Kc1 a5 71. Bg6 a4 72. Be4 Kd4 73. Bc6 Kc5 74. Bd7 c3 75. Kb1 Nc4 76. Ka2 Nd6 77. Kb1 Kd4 78. Kc1 Kc4 79. Kb1 Kc5 and Black doesn't come through afaiac

-64. Kc1 a5 65. Bb7 Ne2+ 66. Kb2 Kd2 67. Bxd5 Nxc3 68. Bc6 Nd1+ 69. Kb1 Ne3 70. Be4 c3 71. Bd3 ¡No pasarán!

-64. Kc1 Ke2 (another guess of mine) 65. Bb7 Nd3+ 66. Kb1 Nc5 67. Bxd5 Kd2 68. Bc6 Na4 69. Bb7 Nxc3+ 70. Kb2 Nd1+ 71. Kb1 Ne3 72. Be4 c3 73. Bg6 and again...

Omg what a blundorf!! I thought only rookies did this!

Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: Another one:

-64. Kc1 a5 65. Bb7 Ke2 66. Ba8

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <WorstPlayerEver> It's really not so difficult, I wrote that after 64.Kc1 "Black can get the same construction [as the one I was explaining in the previous paragraph] with 64...a5!", so obviously not 65. Bb7 Ne2+ but 65...Ke2!. To be more specific, if now 66.Ba8 black can play the 66...b4 break immediately, whereas if 66.Bc6 Black should first play 66...Ke1 to drive away the bishop from c6 and only then play the b4 break, since it's important that White won't have Ba4 to cover d1 in the sequence Nd3+ cxd3 cxd3.
Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: <Eyal>

Ah, thanks, I see

64. Kc1 a5 65. Bb7 Ke2 66. Ba8 b4 -+

-66. Bc6 Ke1 67. Ba8 b4 -+

Apr-07-18  csmath: Caruana got lucky multiple times here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: GM Daniel King on this endgame:
Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: PS I must say SF is completely... well.. useless in this position. So I had to come up with -only move- 66. Bc8

64. Kc1 a5 65. Bb7 Ke2 66. Bc8

So it's not sooo simple hehe

Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: <FSR>

I don't want to waste more time with know-it-alls.. did they find 64. Kc1 a5 65. Bb7 Ke2 66. Bc8 huh??

I'm pretty sure it's the best line so far, I spent more than an hour on it! And SF 24 useless fuel.

Apr-07-18  SuperPatzer77: <WorstPlayerEver: 64. Bb7?? Kd2!! 65. Bxa6 Nd3+!! 66. cxd3? d4!

Instead of 66. cxd3?, 66. Kb1 Ne1!, 67. Bxb5 Nxc2, 68. Bc6 Ne3, 69. a4 Kxc3, 70. a5 Kd2!, 71. a6 c3, 72. Ba4 Nc4, 73. a7 Nb6, 74. Ka2 c2, 75. Bxc2 Kxc2, 76. Ka3 Kc3 and Black wins!!

Oh, boy!! Hou Yifan missed winning moves 64...Kd2!! and then 65...Nd3+!!

<WorstPlayerEver > you’re doing just fine!! You’re not spamming. Hee Hee

Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: <SuperPatzer77>

Ok, thanks buddy. Thought I was hallucinating ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <WorstPlayerEver: <FSR>

I don't want to waste more time with know-it-alls.. did they find 64. Kc1 a5 65. Bb7 Ke2 66. Bc8 huh??

I'm pretty sure it's the best line so far, I spent more than an hour on it! And SF 24 useless fuel.>

66.Bc8 doesn't save White in this line, if that's what you mean - there's 66...Ke1! and now 67.Bb7 b4! (again) or 67.Ba6/d7 Ne2+ 68.Kb2 Kd2 and we get to that situation where Black trades his b5 pawn for c3, which leads to a rather straightforward win with the pawns advancing. What Black can't afford is to trade d5 for c3 (as in the game), that's why the "brilliancy" with the b4 break is needed when the bishop stays on the long diagonal.

Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: <Eyal>

Lol SF spent 15 min (60 fuel) to come up with 64. Kc1 a5 65. Bb7 Ke2 66. Bc8 Ke1

-67. Kb2 (-52.9) Kd2 68. Bb7 b4 69. axb4 axb4 70. cxb4 Nd3+ 71. Ka3 d4 72. b5 Kxc2 73. b6 Nc5 74. Bd5 c3 75. Kb4 Kd2 76.Kxc5 c2 77. b7 c1=Q+ 78. Kb6 Qb1+ 79. Kc7 Qh7+ 80. Kc6 Qh2 81. Kd7 Kc3 82. Kc6 Qe5 83. Bg2 d3 84. Kb6 Qd6+ 85. Ka7 Qc5+ 86. Kb8 d2 87. Ka8 d1=Q 88. b8=Q Qa1+ 89.Kb7 Qb2+ 90. Ka8 Qca3+ 91. Qa7 Qxg2+ 92. Kb8 Qxa7+ 93. Kxa7

Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: Position after 70. cxb4 Nd3 in the line above:

click for larger view

Apr-07-18  WorstPlayerEver: If -71. cxd3 c3!

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Found a game with a similar ending to how this one could have gone. Black is a piece down and manages, with a some help to run home the c-pawn with the help of the King.

This is much easier to spot and requires a plausible mistake to see it through.

Axel Husin -v- Caspar J Bates The full game is not on here.

It was played in Round 3 in Challengers 1 of the 2008 Gibtelecom Chess Festival..

Bates picked up £250 for the best unrated player's score of 3½ pts (tied).


Here Black to play.

click for larger view

52...b2+ 53.axb3

That is a mistake. White had to play 53.Kb1 when the game is then a draw and Bates does not pick up £250.00 (the 'if only he was Master ' joke has been done on other threads but I doubt if that will stop some wit here from repeating it. )

53...a2 (the idea White missed) 54. Kb2

click for larger view

54...c3+ 55. Kxa2 c2 56.Kb2 Kd2

click for larger view

Apr-15-18  WorstPlayerEver: <Eyal>

"64. Bb7?? Kd2 65. Bxa6 Nd3+!! 66. cxd3? d4!"

Frankly, I can say it was the first time I put excl/question marks in one of my comments. Member of this site since 01/2016

Because it is about move 66 I put 6 marks in 6 moves. !!!??? Unfortunately no one spotted the irony of it.

I did not know whether 66. Bb7 was wrong or not when I posted my comment. However, some comentators did question it. Then I remembered the true hopelessness behind ! and ?

In other words: I never put marks after moves, except when there is -might be- an alternative I put an * after that move ;)

May-11-18  djvanscoy: What happens if Hou plays 13...h6 instead of 13...Bd7? After the trade of pieces on e6, Black gets her knight to e4 with pressure along the f-file. This would appear to give Black an advantage (perhaps making White regret leaving his king on c1).
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