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Fabiano Caruana vs Boris Gelfand
"Stealthy Gelfy" (game of the day Jun-24-2013)
Tal Memorial (2013), Moscow RUS, rd 2, Jun-14
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B90)  ·  0-1



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Given 13 times; par: 65 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: I agree. 32...Ne2 blows my mind. 3 different pieces can take it, but d3 is there to provide retribution if the Q takes, and otherwise, the black queen invades with Qxf2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Here's the Shredder approved ending:

42.bxc3 Qe2+ 43.Kb1 Qd1+ 44.Ka2 Qc2+ 45.Ka1 Qxc3+ 46.Ka2 Qxc5 47.Qd5 Qc2+ 48.Ka1 Qc3+ 49.Kb1 d2 50.Qa8+ Kg7 51.Qd5 Qc1+ 52.Ka2 Qc2+ 53.Ka1 d1(Q)+ 54.Qxd1 Qxd1+ 55.Kb2 Bc5 56.Ka2 Qc2+ 57.Ka1 Bd4#

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Jun-14-13  Eyal: A more elegant finish would have been 36...Nc3! with mate in 3 (37.Qxd3 Qd1+ 38.Ke3 Bxc5+ etc.); not that it makes any practical difference by this stage, as White is indeed dead lost after 32...Ne2!!.
Jun-14-13  Eyal: Looking at the chessbase database, it turns out there are quite a few correspondence games that reached as far as 25...d5, with 26.h4 – which indeed looks like a lemon – played in none of them (most popular is 26.Qf2).
Jun-14-13  Ezzy: Caruana,Fabiano (2774) - Gelfand,Boris (2755)
8th Tal Memorial Moscow (2), 14.06.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 9.Qd2 0–0 10.0–0–0 Nbd7 <Caruana v Topalov 0–1 Zug Grand Prix 2013 went 10...a5 >11.g4 b5< I think this is new for Gelfand who usually plays 11...Qc7> 12.g5 b4 13.Ne2 Ne8 14.f4 a5 15.f5 a4 16.fxe6 axb3 17.cxb3 fxe6 18.Bh3< there was a computer game in 2010 that played this. >18...Rxa2< After 42 minutes thinking, Gelfand plays the computer move.> 19.Bxe6+ Kh8 20.Ng3 Nc7< In the above mentioned computer game 20...Qa5 was played.> 21.Bc4 Qa8< Now white can't play 22 Nf5 because of 22...Qxe4 23 Nxe7 Ra1 Mate!! >22.Rhf1 Rxf1 23.Rxf1< Threatening 24 Rf7 winning material> 23...Ra1+ 24.Kc2 Rxf1 25.Bxf1 d5< Now the b4 pawn is protected> 26.h4?< Computers don't like this (allowing 26...d4) - They prefer 26 exd5 or 26 Qf2 with the idea 27 Qf7 or even 26 Nf5 followed by 27 exd5 >26...d4< Black gets a protected passed pawn for free, and condemns Caruana's black squared bishop to jail.>. 27.Bg1< Hmm, 13 minutes thought on whether to play 27 Bg1 or 27 Bf2. It's starting to dawn on Fabio that he's erred.> 27...Ne6 28.Qe2< I think Caruana has realised that he is starting to lose control of his position, and therefore sunk into deep thought for 48 minutes trying to find a decent plan.> 28...Ndc5 29.Qc4 Nf4 <Caruana's black squared bishop is a sad piece ever since he allowed 26...d4.> 30.Qf7 Qf8 31.Qc4? <31.Qxf8+ Bxf8 32.Bc4 g6 33.Nf1 d3+ 34.Kd1 Nxe4 35.Be3 Kg7 36.Bxf4 exf4 37.Bxd3 Nc5 38.Kc2 Bd6 39.Nd2 Be7 And black is still fighting ] >31...g6< [31...Ng6 Looks very strong .]> 32.Bf2?? <After 18 minutes thought, a blunder. Caruana's black squared bishop has had no play since Caruana allowed 26...d4 and to rub salt into his wounds, it makes the decisive mistake. [32.Qxb4 Was much better says the silicon beast.] >32...Ne2< Also [32...d3+ 33.Kb1 d2 34.Qc2 Ne2 35.Bxc5 Nxg3 36.Bg2 Bxc5 37.Qxd2 Qd6 Winning] >33.Nh1 d3+ 34.Kd1< [34.Kb1 Qf3 Attacking everything.]> 34...Qf3 35.Bxc5 Qxf1+ 36.Kd2 Nf4< [36...Nc3 37.Ng3 (37.Qxd3 Qd1+ 38.Ke3 Bxc5+ 39.Qd4 Bxd4#) 37...Nb1+ 38.Ke3 Qf4+ 39.Kxd3 Qd2#] >37.Ng3 Qg2+ 38.Kc1 Qxg3 39.Kb1 Ne2< Also [39...d2 40.Ka2 Qd3 41.Bxe7 Qxc4 42.bxc4 d1Q]> 40.Qf7 Qe1+ 41.Ka2 Nc3+ 0–1 <42.bxc3 Qd2+ 43.Kb1 Qc2+ 44.Ka1 Qxc3+ 45.Kb1 Qc2+ 46.Ka1 Qxc5 etc>

First of all, a very nice game by Gelfand and a punishing attack!

26 h4? was a terrible strategic mistake, allowing 26...d4 giving Gelfand a protected passed pawn, AND condemning Caruana's black squared bishop to complete passivity. After 31 Qc4? any chance of a draw had disappeared. He should have exchanged queens. Then that horrible dark squared bishop ironically puts the nail in whites coffin by making the decisive mistake 32 Bf2??

So, after a great start by Caruana, beating the World Champion with the black pieces, he's brought 'back down to earth' by the World Championship finalist losing with the white pieces.

Jun-14-13  SimonWebbsTiger: The entire variation (up to move 26) is covered in "the Cutting Edge 2: Sicilian Najdorf 6. Be3" by Milos Pavlovic, Quality Chess 2011. (pp.166-167.)
Jun-14-13  Eyal: Btw, for those who wonder why on move 18 White plays Bh3 and doesn't bother to defend the pawn on a2 - 18.Kb1 doesn't really defend it, because Black plays 18...Rxa2(!!) anyway and 19.Kxa2 (Bh3 is considered better) is met by 19...Qa8+ 20.Kb1 Qxe4+ winning the rook on h1...
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: young'un gets schooled.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Danny ♔ on it:
Jun-14-13  Fish55: 26.Qf2 has been played in a number of games and appears to be the strongest move in this position. How could Caruana not know that?
Jun-14-13  JoergWalter: <Fish55> the worse if he didn't. Maybe he forgot, thought he found a better move, his computer told him differently etc. etc.. Well deserved win by Gelfand.
Jun-14-13  SugarDom: "brought down to earth" precisely. After the victory from Anand, Caruana was probably feeling invincible...
Premium Chessgames Member
  devere: Instead of 26.h4? simply 26.e4xd5 would leave white with an edge due to his grip on the white squares.

32...Ne2!! is a brilliancy prize move. Nice game by Gelfand.

Jun-16-13  Strongest Force: This game is a example why anyone who plays 1.e4 against Gelfand must be booked-up like Bobby Fischer against the oncoming sicilian.
Jun-16-13  Eyal: It's interesting that in the earlier stages of the game Caruana actually played much faster than Gelfand - who spent about 40 minutes on move 18; maybe it actually helped Gelfand that he had to make an effort to remember or "rediscover" theory as they went along. Caruana collapsed rather quickly between moves 26 and 32 - 26.exd5 leads to a position which is far from clear (opening up the position might be quite dangerous for White, with his more exposed king), but apparently either that or Qf2 are necessary. It's rather peculiar that nearly all the existing games in the chessbase database that reached the position after 25...d5 are either between computers or correspondence.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 35...Nc3+ also wins.
Jun-24-13  lemaire90: What a masterpiece.
Jun-24-13  Eyal: <35...Nc3+ also wins> Black's advantage is so overwhelming by this stage that many moves are winning, but 35...Nc3+ is actually somewhat less efficient than what Gelfand played after 36.Ke1. As was already mentioned in previous posts, <36...Nc3!> (a move later) leads to an immediate forced mate: 37.Qxd3 Qd1+ 38.Ke3 Bxc5+, or 37.Ng3 Nb1+! (that's the difference compared to Nf4, as played by Gelfand in the actual game) 38.Ke3 Qf4+ 39.Kxd3 Qd2#.
Jun-24-13  Eyal: Caruana's last hope was 40...Bxc5?? and then the black king gets caught in perpetual check after 41.Qf6+ (or Qe8+).
Jun-24-13  morfishine: Great game

"Stealthy Gelfy"???

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black's control of the black-squares will prevent a perpetual.
Jun-24-13  chesssalamander: Great game by Gelfand! It is nice to see him conduct an aggressive and successful counterattack!
Jun-24-13  thendcomes: Gelfand really played spectacularly this whole tournament, playing with surgical precision after his opponents' mistakes.

Chessexplained video annotates this game in his Tal Memorial series (link: It's excellent and I recommend watching any of his videos, but if you don't have the time, I'll summarize the interesting insight he shared:

As stated above, the game through move 25 was all preparation. As crazy as it is, it's all been played before. Caruana even blitzed out the moves through move 25, having more time on the clock then when he started.

The bizarre thing is that he then thinks for 10 minutes on move 26 and comes up with 26. h4?, leaving him with an untenable position after ...d4!.

The question being, of course, why would he deliberately enter that line just to throw out a lemon and be worse?

Jun-24-13  Ezzy: <thendcomes: - The bizarre thing is that he then thinks for 10 minutes on move 26 and comes up with 26. h4?, leaving him with an untenable position after ...d4!.

The question being, of course, why would he deliberately enter that line just to throw out a lemon and be worse?>

It's certainly puzzling.

Jun-24-13  Eyal: <Caruana even blitzed out the moves through move 25, having more time on the clock then when he started.>

And on the other hand, Gelfand already thought for about 40 minutes before making his 18th move... But Gelfand has such huge experience in the Najdorf (230 games with Black listed in this database, the earliest of them dating back from thirty years ago, when he was 15) that he can probably reconstruct or "rediscover" a lot of theory by himself otb, even if he happens not to remember all of it in a certain variation.

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