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Fabiano Caruana vs Teimour Radjabov
FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013), Zug SUI, rd 1, Apr-18
Spanish Game: Schliemann Defense (C63)  ·  1-0



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Fabiano Caruana vs Teimour Radjabov (2013)
Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich.

Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-18-13  ajile: Wow sad. The weak Black q-side pawns were just too much of a problem. Black must have better options in this opening than allowing tripled isolated pawns.
Apr-18-13  ajile: Also 10.Na4 may be a new move. database has only 10.Nd3.

Opening Explorer

Apr-18-13  fisayo123: Radjabov suffers the second defeat of his career in the Schielmann.

Does anyone know if Caruana played quickly in the opening? I am thinking he was fully prepared for this line if he played fast. And if 10.Na4! is a novelty, then even more impressive, because Teimour blunders with 11.Ne4?! which gives him terrible tripled pawns.

Apr-18-13  Monoceros: Whoops! Radjabov's use of the Schliemann Defence as a drawing line gets squashed.
Apr-18-13  ajile: <fisayo123:>

Indeed Black's mistake appears to be 11..Nxe4?

Rybka likes 11..Bg4 better for Black.

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 3 32-bit :

1. (0.33): 11...Bg4 12.Qe1 Bd4 13.c3 Bb6 14.Nxb6

2. (0.58): 11...Nxe4 12.Naxc5 Nxc5 13.Nxc5 dxc5 14.Re1 Be6 15.Qe2 Bf7 16.Qe3 Qxe3 17.Bxe3 c4 18.f3 Bg6 19.Re2 a5 20.Rae1 Rae8

Position in line #1 after 14.Nxb6 axb6:

click for larger view

Black is doing OK here with White only slightly better.

Analysis by Rybka 3 32-bit : 19 ply

1. (0.34): 15.f3 Be6 16.a3 Bc4 17.Qd1 Qe6
2. (0.34): 15.a3 Be6 16.f3 Bc4 17.Qd1 Qe6

Give credit to Caruana though for finding this new move that forces Black to play precisely.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Yeah, at the top levels <10.Na4> is new - in Carlsen vs Radjabov, 2007 & Anand vs Carlsen, 2008 <10.Nd3> Nd4 11.Ne2 Bb6 led to a draw. In the chessbase db there's a correspondence game from a few years ago where Na4 was played and which continued 10...Qe8 11.Nd3 Bg4 (instead of Nxe4) 12.Qe1 Bd4 13.c3 Bb6 14.Nxb6 axb6 15.f3 Be6 16.a3 Bc4 - Black got some strong counterplay and drew. At any rate, 11...Nxe4 does look like a serious mistake - even if improvements in Black's play can be suggested at some points throughout the rest of the game, it's hard to believe that in the long run the position can be saved with such an awful pawn structure.
Apr-18-13  ajile: The good news is this line doesn't bust the Schliemann and we can expect Radjabov to continue to use it with a better move selection.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Disastrous start for Radja after a horrific World Championship Candidates Tournament in London 2,5 weeks ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Yes, I hope that he does not get too down on himself. He was visibly discouraged during his post-game video conference after his 6th round loss to Aronian and managed to score only 1 points over the last 8 rounds, with no wins. On the other hand, now we'll get a chance to see what kind of fighting spirit he has. And losing to Caruana (currently ranked 6th in the world) with the Black pieces is not an apocalyptic event.
Apr-18-13  BadKnight: wow..surprising to see radjabov walking directly into tripled isolated pawn structure..this had to be part of radjabov's home preparation until around move 10. radjabov walked into gelfand's strong human move when he was still in his preparation. is this game similar in theme? too much computer may be...
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < fisayo123: And if 10.Na4! is a novelty, then even more impressive, because Teimour blunders with 11.Ne4?! which gives him terrible tripled pawns. >

10.Na4 IS an interesting novelty! But i would not be so quick to severely criticize 11. ..Nxe4 as a blunder. Yes, it was a risky strategy, but in the spirit of the Schliemann, some risk is usually involved. The position has to be evaluated dynamically. Black is playing for middle game complications and advantage. Consider that..

a) In spite of the pawn damage, the bishops of opposite color suggest that when the heavy artillary is exchanged off, black still has drawing chances, but in the ensuing game, the relative value of the bishops could mean the turning point of the game. AND..

b)Teimor DID in fact get some good dynamic middle game compensation for the pawn weakness in the form of considerable kingside pressure with some strong squares.. For example, note the position after 28..Rdf7 . black threatens a powerful rook sac on f3. Blacks pawn formation does constitute and end game disadvantage, but white has to GET to the end game! In the meantime he must still play cautiously, since breaking out against the A and rear C pawns could leave his king very vulnerable. AND..

c) it was not until move 39 that Fab began to break out his attack against the weak pawns. Before that, Fab had to try and exchange queens and possibly a pair of rooks to neutralize some threats before his K position could be considered safe enough. Fab's bishop maneuver Be5-c3-e1, revealing the weakness of the H pawn helped to induce the desired exchanges. So in retrospect, it was the combination of white's good defense of f3 and the bishop attack on ph4 that steared the game towards the ending where white could prove his pawn advantage.

SO, i think before condemning 11. ..Nxe4 we have to demonstrate black did not have a stronger continuation in the latter part of the middle game. Could he have avoided exchanges with a different strategy? Something like Qh6 and g7-g5 designed to defend h4 and keep the pressure on key dark squares? I don't know. I'm just throwing that out there. It could be a totally bad idea, and i have given it no serious thought. I'm just saying.. can black's middle game be strengthened? And if so, Nxe4 can be fully justified! Remember also that in these gambit style lines the whole point is to trade something.. not material, i mean POSITIONALLY. The old adage you have to give something to get something. If black was successful his Nxe4 would have been considered unorthodox and brilliant!

If it is demonstrated that black can NOT improve his play in the moves between 30-38, then of course the opening variation needs some serious consideration.

Apr-23-13  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 24...Rf5 is 24..Rfe8 taking control of the e file
Apr-28-13  MindCtrol9: I like Fabiano Caruana games,and I have no dout in my mind that he has the potential to become Champion of the World in the future.I said about Carlsen and he is now the challenger for the crown vs Anand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Tactics, that's what I want from chess. That's what I like about this game. All those bishop and queen maneuvering in some games spell just one thing: BORING. I am Gen. Patton and a lot of these GM's are Gen, Eisenhower. Tactics rule!

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