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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Fabiano Caruana
GRENKE Chess Classic (2018), rd 7, Apr-07
English Opening: King's English. Four Knights Variation Fianchetto Lines (A29)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 10 OF 10 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Pedro Fernandez: An extraordinary challenging! It is well known that Caruana is an assassin like a good "Sicilian", lol! But Lagrave is also very aggressive. Hopefully this challenging be at death, like the young Galois at Paris. Incredible what this mathematician left to the humanity, practically all the group theory (and much more!) is due to this young mathematician who died at 21 years old!!>

I would much prefer to stay alive and leave no theory. "Group theory" sounds incredibly boring. Who cares about it except a few egg head spastics?...I knew about this fellow from reading the history of maths, but here, one could say, his logic was doubly flawed.

Apr-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jambow: MVL took a wrong turn and Caruana mugged him for it. Great game nah but certainly showing that if you give Fabiano something he will Maximize it... <csmath> said it better. Fabiano just looks very solid I hope it continues...
Apr-07-18  Whitehat1963: Stockfish thinks MVL’s difficulties began with 19. Rac1.
Apr-07-18  kardopov: Caruana would soon lose steam. Two strong tournaments 4 days apart will take its toll on him, with an even strong tournament, the US championship coming up next. Surely, he will experience burn out. Lucky for him, the wcc is still far away, which means sufficient time he can enjoy to brush aside exhaution and prime up himself to form before the november clash.
Apr-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  hoodrobin: It is impressive that Caruana did never move in a pure defensive manner.
Apr-07-18  The Kings Domain: Pretty poor play by MVL, he seems to have been off with this.
Apr-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Absentee: Now that Caruana has won, can we consider him a viable candidate for the WC?>

Maybe.

<....At least until the next game.>

One is, after all, only as good as one's last game. (rolls eyes)

Apr-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <offramp>, <thegoodanarchist> Yes, Caruana is playing great chess, and I did not expect that either. I think that's particularly noteworthy given his (relatively, of course) poor play in 2017. He started the year rated 2827 and ranked #2 behind you-know-who. Then his rating went into a nosedive and "bottomed" at 2794 in October (we should all have such "bottoms"!). He rebounded somewhat finishing equal 1st in London 2017 (6.0/9, +3) but then finished 10th in Tata Steel 2018 (5.0/13, -3) to see his rating drop to 2784, so I thought that London 2017 might have been an aberration. But he seems to have recovered his pre-2017 form, at least for now.

It remains to be seen how many tournaments he participates in between now and the WCC match (he's schedule to play in the 2018 Norway but I don't know what else) and whether he can maintain his current good form. If he can, then he will be a good opponent for Carlsen in November. But perhaps <perfidious> said it best = "Maybe".

Apr-07-18  csmath: <Stockfish thinks MVL’s difficulties began with 19. Rac1.>

Indeed. By prior to that from the practical standpoint it is easier to play black. Rac1 is not a bad move per se but MVL either overlooked g5 or did not consider it seriously. And this is where his cart started rolling downwards. He was just not in his element and could not defend passive position. You can see video where he was biting his nails. :-)

Not too many players can defend passive positions.

Again, I think this is one of those games when you make one mistake and there is just no (strategic) recovery from it. The opponent plays easy game while every move for you is difficult. This is what happened here.

Apr-07-18  csmath: You can also see that Caruana did not spot g5 in 18th move either. MVL was probably still playing for a win when he made that 19. Rc1. When Caruana played 19. ...g5 it was too late.

Else he could just bailed out for safety with

18. Bxe4 Rxe4, 19. Rd7 Rae8, 20. e3 which does not look good for white optically but it is a lot more solid to hold on and easier to play.

Apr-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Analysis by King. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_6...
Apr-07-18  csmath: I do not see this as a great game by either but Caruana is definitely having no problem in being resolute when he needs to. This was not his weakness in this game.

I think MVL's choice of opening was simply not good. Perhaps he had something in some line there that was not played but Caruana played nothing really surprising.

Apr-08-18  JPi: I mostly agree. Maxime opening choice wasn't that bad but his mind behind was. Did he want to surprise his opponent? Indeed Caruana was clearly more prepared to play it than Maxime. Then instead of going to exchange piece in almost equal position he tried to confuse his opponent going volontary in a inferior position but with counter chance. Maybe he supposed Caruana should be exhausted by his previous game or statically one can save two games without punishment. Caruana played correctly but Maxime setup of mind wasn't what he uses to show. I'm not impress by Caruana play which as good but nothing exceptional but I'm definitively disappointed by Maxime's. I hope he will recover his usual setup of mind: Playing only the board and show us again wonderful combinations.
Apr-08-18  sudoplatov: Seems to be a lot of g4's and g5's in this tournament. (And the previous one.)
Apr-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Instead of 19. Rc1? g5! ∓ (-1.13 @ 34 ply), Stockfish 9's analysis of move 19.? indicates 19. Qb5 = holds it level.
Apr-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: 19. Rac1 is a bad move, because it doesn't stop Qc5-f5

So 19. Qb5 is actually a defensive move.

Apr-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Marmot PFL: Black's success in games like this probably explains the popularity of the Rossolimo for white (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5).>

But often that leads to draws. MLV on another day would do well with this. This line has been around a long time. Karpov did well with both sides of it. He also used to play Ne1. But I am not sure why MLV played Bf1 here.

Apr-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Not always draws. The Rossolimo is a useful opening. But while I think the Bb4 plan is good it is not that dangerous. It is or can be sharp though.
Apr-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson:


click for larger view

Caruanna really should have played 22..Bxf3 here.

It works in all lines due to the Doubled Rooks aiming at e2 and the unprotected Queen on b2.

I was off air when this position arose, (I gave up after MVL played Bf1 and watched the telly instead. coming back only when the adverts were on. )

If I had seen the above position I would have been screaming at the screen and posting faster than a apple running through a room full of vegans. (and no doubt picking up another 'you are posting too often warning..')

Black either gets mated or has to shed a load of material. I think MVL, who played as White like a doe-eyed deer caught in headlights would have resigned on the spot.

Danny 'I'm really such a nice guy' King comes up with all kinds of excuses as to why Caruana did not play it, basically he was playing safe.

Playing safe is not going cut it with Carlsen, Fabiano will have to jump into the deep end from time to time. (and this position is a shallow water combination. )

All in all a disappointing game,. White failed to show up and Caruana only peeked his head around the door once or twice preferring to shout out the moves through the letter box.

Apr-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier:


click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4: d 21 dpa

1. -+ (-1.49): 34.Kg1 a5 35.g5 hxg5 36.Qh5 Qg6 37.Qxg6+ fxg6 38.Rf6 Re1+ 39.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 40.Kf2 Rb1 41.Rxg6+ Kf7 42.Rxg5 a4 43.Rf5+ Ke7 44.Re5+ Kf6 45.Re8 Rb4 46.Ke3 Rxc4 47.Rf8+ Ke6 48.Re8+ Kd5 49.Rd8+ Ke5 50.Re8+ Kd5 51.Rd8+

2. -+ (-2.20): 34.Rd5 Re1 35.Rxe1 Qxe1+ 36.Kg2 Qe2+ 37.Qxe2 Rxe2+ 38.Kf3 Rxh2 39.g5 hxg5 40.Ke4 Re2+ 41.Kf5 g4 42.Rd7 a5 43.Ra7 Rc2 44.Ra6 Rxc4 45.Rxb6 a4 46.Ra6 Kg7 47.Ra7 Rb4 48.Ke5 Rb3 49.Rxa4 Rxg3 50.Kd5 Kg6 51.Kxc5 f5

Apr-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier:


click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4

30...Nxg4 31.Rcd1 Qc6 32.c5 Rxe4 33.Qf3 Qe6 34.cxb6 axb6 35.Bg1 c5 36.Ra1 Ne3 37.Rfe1 Nc4 38.Rxe4 Qxe4 39.Qxe4 Rxe4 40.Kg2 Kg7 41.h3 f5 42.Ra6 Re1 43.Bf2 Rd1 44.Ra4 Rc1 45.Ra7+ Kg6 46.Ra6 Rc2 47.Kf3 Kg5 48.Be1 -+ (-2.07) Depth: 21

Apr-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier:


click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4

30.Bxe5 Rxe5 31.c5 Rxe4 32.cxb6 cxb6 33.Qf6 Re2 34.Kg1 Qd5 35.Qf3 Qd4+ 36.Kh1 R8e7 37.Rcd1 Qe4 38.Kg1 Qxf3 39.Rxf3 Kg7 40.Rb1 Rd7 41.Rf2 Re6 42.Kg2 a5 43.Ra2 Rd3 44.Rf1 f6 45.Rf3 Red6 46.Rxd3 Rxd3 ∓ (-1.23) Depth: 20

Apr-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: 1) =0.00 (38 ply) 19.Qb5 Qxb5 20.axb5 Na5 21.Ra3 g5 22.Bc1 c5 23.bxc6 Bxc6 24.Rd6 Re6 25.Rd4 Bb5 26.c4 Nxc4 27.Rxa7 Na5 28.Rc7 Bxe2 29.Rb4 Rc6 30.Rxc6 Nxc6 31.Rxb6 Nd4 32.Rxh6 Nf3+ 33.Kg2 Ne1+ 34.Kg1 Nf3+

5.0 minute analysis by Stockfish 9

Apr-08-18  Justin796: The Frenchman got whacked by a Sicilian lol.
Apr-09-18  JPi: If Maxime had not tried to gain a slightly inferior position and simply exchange the pieces as he knows how to do on multiple critical occasions the game would have been equal. This defeat seems to me much more psychological than technical (Here according to their strengths Caruana play was normal; Maxime clearly not his usual average). Just an opinion perhaps his excess is the direct consequence of not having been able to participate in the Tournament of Candidates. He tried badly to prove he can beat Caruana even in a opening he is not enough prepared and instead of put matter in quiet water to draw when it was not going on his way, he tried to make thing more complex indeed for him.
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