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Fabiano Caruana vs Vassily Ivanchuk
FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013), Elancourt FRA, rd 6, Sep-28
French Defense: Steinitz. Boleslavsky Variation (C11)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-28-13  waustad: If the chessbomb clocks were right (a big if) Ivanchuk spent very little time on this game. What a volatile player.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: So, Ivanchuk went to an inferior-bishop ending on purpose and than just decided why bother to fight it out?
Sep-28-13  notyetagm: Caruana vs Ivanchuk, 2013

<Gypsy: So, Ivanchuk went to an inferior-bishop ending on purpose and than just decided why bother to fight it out?>

Wow, I bet you Mamedyarov is *livid* right about now: this gift to Caruana might cost Shark a spot in the Candidates Tournament.

Sep-28-13  haydn20: After 15...a5 Black has equality but nothing more. He made a mistake (or didn't give a damn) with 18...axb4: the plan with Ra6 and Rfa8 gives him first say on the a-file, but now White has it. In the end position, White will play Kd4, Bd1 and g4. Given Black's hemmed-in B and the two targets e6 and h7, Black has a long grim defensive task. Perhaps disspirited by the previous loss, "Chuky" just gives up, it seems, in a position he could probably draw.
Sep-28-13  haydn20: This kind of childish petulance gives Ivanchuk part of his charm, but when it intrudes into the adult world then, as <notyetagm> notes, he loses all this charm.
Sep-28-13  SirRuthless: <gypsy>Yes he did. Something about his fingers slipping in the early middlegame or some-such. That being said give credit to Fab for figuring out how to cash in on the inaccuracies. He created a climate where mistakes could be capitalized on and then took the full point. I will not be upset to see him make it to candidates. He is still a US citizen and I will support him based on that alone.
Sep-28-13  csmath: They are following game Luther-Atalik from 1991 that ended in draw, for the first 15 moves. This game is not in database.

Ivanchuk 16. ...Bd7 is the first new move.
18. ...axb4?!
19. ...Rxa1?!
22. ...f5?

Ivanchuk is opening a-file that he can barely oppose with the idea of exchanging rooks and to block central pawn position (which is not going to be possible).

Just one look at the position and it is obvious that white has a passer and that central black pawns are all weak after 22. ...f5?

This is yet another anti-positional game by Ivanchuk from completely equal position into serious trouble after just 4 moves.

The ending is lost and even though Ivanchuk resigned prematurely he would have lost it anyway.

White plan is easy -put king on d4 and push pawn majority f-g-h and create passer on g-file. When black get forced to chase g-pawn scoop all his pawns in center and on the queenside.

I do not see any reasonable defence from this.

This game is the same as yesterday - awful anti-positional play with pawns by a player that should never play like that.

Sep-28-13  csmath: By the way, this is a typical Ivanchuk's collapse that benefited Grischuk and Caruana.

That does not mean he cannot come tomorrow and play fantastic game. His tournament play is completely irrational and unreliable. God forbid to have him in Candidates as he would be able to decide tournament in somebody's favor with this kind of play. It almost helped Aronian last time.

This is amazing to some who do not know Ivanchuk. He plays theoretical opening and then in a original position he starts playing like 1800-level player. It is not that he makes a blunder but he plays obvious anti-positional game. You know that he knows the stuff yet he makes it look like there is a complete amateur. Except that obviously he knows the opening well.

He exchanges all the heavy pieces and keeps white colored bishops while all his pawns are on white squares and he makes a pawn chain that is really easy to break. Just plain amazing amateur play.

Sep-28-13  DrAttitude: The pressure of top level chess is immense. GM Vassily Ivanchuk has had problems that are greater than most. I wish there was some way he could resolve them. This game was not loss at the stage he resigned. I watched his interview (2:20) < > round six, board 2. GM Vassily Ivanchuk was still affected by his loss the day before.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <csmath>:<White plan is easy -put king on d4 and push pawn majority f-g-h and create passer on g-file. When black get forced to chase g-pawn scoop all his pawns in center and on the queenside.

I do not see any reasonable defence from this.>

And nor could Ivanchuk evidently. But it is interesting that <csmath>, and both these GMs could easily see what Houdini could not. The big H needs losts of help before it figures it out.

Fine game by Caruana, IMO.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: pgn showing the win for Caruana is here:

FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013)

Sep-28-13  asiduodiego: Not the best game for Ivanchuk, but I think the resignation was somewhat premature. White has a good strategic edge, but at least, he should have forced Caruana to demonstrate how to win the endgame. Perhaps, as many have said, he was affected for yesterday's loss.
Sep-29-13  csmath: Ivanchuk did not committ any "blunders" here but he played anti-positional chess which is a "blunder" by itself.

The position in the ending is completely lost regardless of what Houdini says.

The features of this game are a complete violation of positional chess by black.

A. He has a pawn chain on white squares and he opted to exchange everything except white colored bishops! That is a complete suicide positionally.

B. He allowed white to create supported passer which he can block only with bishop that shoots his own pawns while doing that. That is clear violation of positional principles since it creates weak bishop.

C. He exchanges last good piece (queen) while fixing his own pawn weaknesses. That surely does not look like a elite GM play to me.

I am very appreciative of Caruana as I think he is absolutely exceptional talent. However this game is not won by any particular skill by Fabiano but rather by self-destruction of Chucky. In some regard Fabiano played textbook positional chess as usual. He prefers advance in both French and Scotch and he did exactly that here. Nothing surprising in terms of how he plays.

Sep-29-13  Hesam7: <csmath: The position in the ending is completely lost regardless of what Houdini says.>

So Houdini thinks Black can hold? That is surprising, I don't have Houdini but on my 3 year old laptop Stockfish 4 got to +2.84 @ depth 43 from the final position in a few minutes ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <Hesam7> The eval is not really the point, you need to look at the variations. Houdini's eval gets to about 0.8 and stops there for at least 20 minutes (27-ply). Houdini 0.8 is about equivalent to stockfish 2.0, I've heard. And Houdini 27-ply is at least equal to stockfish's depth 43. Neither of them actually does a thorough search, of course, at the "depth" they advertise.

Looking at the end of the variations, against black's 5 highest rated 33 moves, white appears to have made a little progress in them after about 20 moves (which should be enough to be clearly won), but this seems to have happened as a result of random moves, some of which are pawn advances. Most of the time white shuffles his bishop, and black shuffles his. This is typical of engine behavior in endgames.

Of course, Houdini does quite well when you slide forward, and would probably win this one for sure. But many endings are lost or drawn after one false step, and engines often fail there.

Sep-29-13  asiduodiego: To understand why white is better, is a matter of principles. Black has the bad bishop and White's Kingside pawn chain should be able to get a passed pawn. Let's take a simple naive line to highlight White's advantage.

33 ... f5
34 Bh5+ Ke7
(with the idea of trading the bad bishop)
35 Kd4 Be8
36 Bxe8 Kxe8
37 Ke5 Ke7
(The Black King can't move)
38 c6 h5
39 c7 Kd7
40 h4 Kxc7
41 Kxe6

And White wins.

Of course, Black doesn't have to trade the bishop or play f4 to give e6 to the White King. But then again, it's hard to spot any other way to defend. Ivanchuk is clearly worse here, but I think he should have forced at least a couple of moves to Caruana, as when players, in a dead drawn game, force the other to "show him" how to draw the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <SCUBA diver: Ivanchuk resigned yesterday much too early in my opinion. Does anybody share the same view?> I posted the following on page 13 of the tournament page shortly after that game ended:

<Peligroso Patzer: Wow! <1-0> is being reported as the result in Caruana vs. Ivanchuk after <33. Ke3>.

Although Black's defense looked unenviable, resignation seems premature to this patzer's eyes. Maybe it really is a dead lost ending to the GM understanding; or is this Chuky being Chuky?>

… but after subsequently analyzing the final position, I reached the conclusion that Black’s defense really was hopeless. Black’s inferior Bishop and White’s dominance of the central dark squares (especially after an eventual g2-g4-g5) left Black without even the simulacrum of a plausible defensive plan.

Many GMs probably would not have resigned so soon, but playing on really would have been just “going through the motions” of a defense. (The mantra of The Borg in Star Trek: Next Generation [“Resistance is futile.”] is called to mind by the Black position after <33. Ke3>.)

The final position in that game was:

click for larger view

One final observation: If Black's King were already on e7 in the final position (so that he could play < 33. ... e6-e5> without hanging the Bishop), the defense would have remained difficult, but would have been worth continuing. But since White can respond to <33. ... Ke7> with <34. Kd4>, there is no way for Black no neutralize White's grip on the central dark squares.

Sep-29-13  Refused: <One final observation: If Black's King were already on e7 in the final position (so that he could play < 33. ... e6-e5> without hanging the Bishop), the defense would have remained difficult, but would have been worth continuing. But since White can respond to <33. ... Ke7> with <34. Kd4>, there is no way for Black no neutralize White's grip on the central dark squares.>

Even if the Black King was on e7 and e5 would not drop a piece, it would still be lost, if I am not mistaken.

34.Bxd7 Kxd7 35.fxe5 fxe5
And white would simply play 36.g4 and create another passed pawn on the g-file. The Black King can't stop both c6 and the soon to be created passer on the g-file.

Feel free to test it against Fritz/Houdini/Rybka.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Yes, I think you are correct, <Refused>. The line you give is simply < >.

When I called the defense of the resulting position "difficult ... but ... worth continuing", I probably wrote too casually and optimistically. White's (1) passer on c5 plus (2) pawn majority on the K-side wing leave the Black defense of the pawn ending quite hopeless. (No need for silicon confirmation.) What it basically comes down to is that, even with the "improved" position of the Black King (thus creating the possibility to challenge White on the central dark squares), any attempt to do so transitions to a position in which White's vastly superior pawn structure becomes decisive.

Sep-29-13  latvalatvian: Probably all the world class players read carefully all the commentary that we make on this site. Probably all their play is an attempt to make our analyses wrong. Of course, there is no need for them to do this because the analyses is probably wrong anyway. With a 1200 rating, it doesn't take any time to miss something.
Sep-29-13  haydn20: I've reconsidered this too. I played the final position thru a few times vs my computer and with one or two takebacks was able to get the g Pawn to pass. If I can do this, I suspect any master, much less a top GM, can do it with ease. I can better understand how Ivanchuk would have no heart to continue. The question remains, for me, why 18...Bxa4?!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Natalia Pogonina: This game annotated by super GM Naiditsch:

Feb-03-14  engineerX: This was the third game Caruana - Ivanchuk in 2013, and the third win in a row for Caruana! Ivanchuk himself acknowledged that Caruana was a problematic opponent for him recently, when asked "is there a player against whom you usually have problems?" during the Gibraltar 2014 tournament.

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