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Gata Kamsky vs Ian Nepomniachtchi
World Cup (2011), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 3, Sep-03
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Classical Variation (D86)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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  perfidious: While I'm not an expert on this subvariation of the Gruenfeld, Nepo's play in this early middlegame seems not at all natural here.
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  Peligroso Patzer: <perfidious: *** Nepo's play in this early middlegame seems not at all natural here.> Not clear to me what you're referring to ... perhaps you could give examples of particular moves and why they seem anti-positional or otherwise not natural.

I am no sort of expert in the Gruenfeld at all, but the first move that struck me as a bit surprising was Kamsky's <13. Bd5>. Although White can benefit from neutralizing or lessening Black's piece pressure on the central dark squares, it seems unlikely that White will really want to play B(d5)xN(c6), and, indeed, the d5 Bishop ends up being exchanged for its counterpart, the Black LSB. So that move (<13. Bd5>) remains mysterious to me.

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  Peligroso Patzer: The endgame here is very interesting.

In the final position:

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... if the respective g-pawns are removed, tablebases (See: indicate Black (on move) has four moves that draw (although, in the hypothetical position -- i.e., sans g-pawns -- White to move wins with 1. Kg5).

To the best of my patzer's understanding of the final position, the reason Nepomniachtchi resigned was that White (whose Rook already controls the 5th rank) can play his Rook to g5, then push <h4-h5> and after < ... g6xh5> recapture with <Kg4xh5>, thus obtaining connected passers on the f- and g-files (an easy win).

(In the plan described in the preceding paragraph, if Black puts his Rook on the h-file, of course, White (after <h4-h5 g6xh5>) would have to recapture on h5 with the Rook, but if Black puts his Rook on the g-file, then Kg4xh5 would be the way to recapture, so the Rook on g5 can defend the pawn (which will need to have advanced <g2-g3> if Black has played his Rook to g1 or to the 2nd rank).

Sep-03-11  Marmot PFL: <So that move (<13. Bd5>) remains mysterious to me.>

No mystery, black wants to play 13...cd4 14 cd4 b5 and Bb7 with easy play so white prevents it.

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  perfidious: <Peligroso Patzer> The old main line (going back to the 1950s) continued 10....Bg4 11.f3 Na5 12.Bd3 cxd4 13.cxd4 Be6 14.d5 Bxa1 15.Qxa1 f6, but for a time in the 1970s, 12.Bd5 was played instead, before Karpov's 12.Bxf7+ took centre stage due to his games with Kasparov in the late eighties.

The play which I thought odd was Nepo's ....Be6, as I don't remember seeing even a weak player give White the chance to ruin his pawns thus.

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  FSR: I don't get 11.Rb1. In the olden days White played 11.Rc1. What happens if Black carries out his threat with 11...cxd4, intending 12.cxd4 Nxd4 13.Nxd4 Qxc4? Is Kamsky's idea 13.Bxf7+?

<perfidious: ... The play which I thought odd was Nepo's ....Be6, as I don't remember seeing even a weak player give White the chance to ruin his pawns thus.>

I agree. Sometimes Black does a similar thing in the Dragon Sicilian - although even there I don't like it - but at least he has a pawn on d6, so his pawn structure after the capture is pawns on d6, e6, and e7 rather than doubled isolated e-pawns.

<Peligroso Patzer> In the final position, White threatens 48.h5 gxh5+ 49.Rxh5. Black can only stop it momentarily with 47...Rb2 48.g3. Once White gets R + connected passed pawns v. R, it's an easy win.

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  perfidious: <FSR> Here's an example I remember from the Dragon, published in Levy's book on Fischer: Fischer vs Mednis, 1956.
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  FSR: <perfidious> I played something similar to that in the G/29 tournament I swept in January: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 Qb6! (Black scores over 50% with this) 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Bb3 Bg4!? N 9.f3 Be6!?
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