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Fabiano Caruana vs Boris Gelfand
FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013), Elancourt FRA, rd 6, Sep-30
Sicilian Defense: Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack (B30)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Took a while to get there due to Gelf's tough defence, but a good win.
Sep-30-13  Conrad93: Ivanchuk had a win and made a stupid move.

He might lose this one.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Nicely played by Caruana. That was not an easy position to consolidate, and Gelfand found some interesting complications.
Sep-30-13  PinnedPiece: Wow...

now I know who writes's material!!!

Sep-30-13  Ulhumbrus: <Domdaniel: <Ulhumbrus> -- <...Be4> True, but with a new Queen ready to roll on d8, a slight material loss elsewhere isn't so important...> One way for White to lose by trying to keep the material loss slight is 45...Be4 46 d7-d8/Q Bxg2 47 Rg3?? Qh1 mate
Sep-30-13  Everett: Unlike many lines of the Sicilian, the Rossolimo and Canal still have lots of undiscovered territory; lots of real chess to be found here.

I'm not surprised Caruana has opted for the system, since he was not doing too well recently in the Open.

Sep-30-13  csmath: <I'm not surprised Caruana has opted for the system, since he was not doing too well recently in the Open.>

He is playing this repeatedly and with some success against Gelfand.

Sep-30-13  csmath: Rossolimo has been popularized lately by Carlsen and Caruana. More importantly it seems to be somewhat effective against Gelfand which is rather strange since Gelfand as a positional player should not have problem with this opening.

9. c4

[This natural move is a novelty]

12. ...e5?!

[This is a dubious move. While this would be standard move in Najdorf there we would have knight on f6 so the move is both to prevent e5 and to open diagonal for light-square bishop. However here black seems to be oblivious to white's intention to play b4. Black has a better counterintuitive move 12. ...c5! to counter white's intentions of seizing the space on the queenside.]

14. b4!

[as planned and allowed by black.]

15. ...Rac8?

["misterious" move that will cost a pawn soon while this rook will return to a8 thus losing two tempi besides the pawn]

16. b5!

[white is preparing d5 square for his knight and will open b-file as well for his rooks. It also threatens to take a7 pawn in case black plays 16. ...cxb5. White has seized queenside and is obviously better.]

In the sequel white takes a-pawn and moves his passer to a6.

28. f4!!

[brilliant and conterintutive move opening his own king but preparing a break onto the seventh rank. The main intention of the move is to remove the pawn support for knight on c5.]

28. ...exf4?!

[black is in difficult position and is hoping that his countergame on the kingside could help to turn the tables. It is hard to give good advice here.]

31. ...d5?

[Decisive error! Allowing decisive second passer in hope of opening 6th rank for attack on the white king. The damage of this move is much bigger than the benefit.]

In the sequel Caruana successfully and precisely repells the attack.


Why did Gelfand allow Caruana queenside space grab? And what tactical mirage he saw when he gave up second pawn?

I think Caruana played great chess here with brilliant 28. f4!! and then juggling with defence while pushing d-pawn into promotion. Fine technical game and meticulous execution.

Sep-30-13  csmath: I think this game identifies Caruana as a brilliant player of WC essence.

To play conterintuitive move like 28. f4!! and then to repell precisely the attack of desperate opponent with almost engine precision is a mark of superb chess talent. It will be very disappointing if he is not able to qualify for the next Candidates.

Oct-01-13  notyetagm: Caruana vs Gelfand, 2013

<csmath: <<<I think this game identifies Caruana as a brilliant player of WC essence.>>>

To play conterintuitive move like <<<28. f4!!>>> and then to repell precisely the attack of desperate opponent with almost engine precision is a mark of superb chess talent. It will be very disappointing if he is not able to qualify for the next Candidates.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pulo y Gata: Gelfand's position was difficult early on and his Bb6 already indicates this (it's not easy looking for a decent move), sacrificing the pawn provided allowed him to put some pressure on the Queenside. Unfortunately for him, Caruana consolidated his advantage with precise play (Bf1-Rb4(!), etc).

I see 28.f4 as a logical continuation and one that I believe came from concrete calculation than intuition. I would have played 28...f6 for Black.

31...d5 is bad but one wouldn't expect Gelfand to sit and wait for the axe to just fall on his head. At least he posed some practical problems for White

I don't know how Gelfand could have improved earlier. I thought 11...Qc7 was passive and was looking at a5 instead.

Impressive game by Caruana.

Oct-01-13  csmath: If I was black on Gelfand side I would have been very surprised to see 28. f4!!. I can see that is engine's first choice but this move is very hard to play from human perspective. Yes, you want to unseat the black knight from c5 but it is really, really hard psychologically to open your own king so fully. I think this is a brilliant and brave move that reveals Caruana's fearless attitude toward concrete calculation. I would have not played this move OTB even if somebody points it out to me.

28. ...f6

is better move than

28. ...exf4?!

which is what Gelfand played but I think Gelfand was surprised with 28. f4!! in the same manner I was so he simply did not have enough time to calculate everything upon this surprise.

I am not surprised with Gelfand's choice, I think it is natural. The only real bad move that makes no sense to me and he played was 15. ...Rac8?

Since that move costed him a pawn it is obviously junk. He retreated that rook back to a8 meaning he simply realized later it was a junk move.

By the way both of these players play very intelligent chess in general and it is a pleasure to watch and analyze their games. This is a classical textbook stuff to learn from.

Oct-03-13  KingchecksQueen: FC is a potential world championship contender.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pulo y Gata: So is Gelfand.
Oct-03-13  MrQuinn: This game confirms Nakamura's lack of situational awareness. Cauruana approaches Gelfand pragmatically, avoiding well trodden lines without risking much. He is promptly rewarded and goes on to win. Nakamura, on the other hand, with the lead at stake, leaps into a theoretical discussion with a Sicilian specialist and stronger player (forget the rating hype, Gelfand is stronger than Nakamura)and is promptly whipped. The prudent choice would have been restraint against Gelfand and playing for the win against low-ender Giri if he needed to. The American is very talented, but frankly, clueless at times.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<forget the rating hype, Gelfand is stronger than Nakamura>>

Certainly Gelfand seems to have Nakamura's number, but I see no evidence that he is actually stronger than the American. And I will not forget the rating hype!

Oct-03-13  MrQuinn: You may not see any evidence of Gelfand's superiority, eggman, but it's rather hard to ignore Gelfand's results versus Nakamura's, or for that matter, Gelfand's almost total ownership of Nakamura. The streaky American gets these showy rating surges, but his choke rate is appalling--as against Gelfand today. When it counts he disappears, when it doesn't he laps up rating points only to puke them away under pressure. As mentioned, very poor situational awareness by Naka and he doesn't seem to be learning from it. That quality alone makes Gelfand, in purely practical terms, a better player. As for Caruana, he will surpass Nakamure very soon, if he isn't already stronger.
Oct-03-13  Shams: <MrQuinn> Yeah, Gelfand is +4 over Nakamura across their 19 games. If he's a better player, why has he scored worse than Nakamura in hundreds of games against mutual opponents?

Choke, puke, don't like Hikaru, fine. But strong language does not a persuasive argument make. Most players have at least one or two problem opponents. Nakamura has Carlsen and Gelfand, big deal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Shams>: You and <Eggman> are hopelessly delusional, same as myself-we have this misguided view that Nakamura is the stronger player of the two.

Tell you what: Geller was stronger than Fischer, just as Gulko was superior to Kasparov.

Oct-04-13  KingchecksQueen: <perfidious> You`re funny dude.
Oct-04-13  KingchecksQueen: That is not how to describe it. Stronger is an overstatement , I prefer "bete noire."
Oct-04-13  QueentakesKing: I agree.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Agreed-my statement was simply to point up the ludicrousness of this whole business.

No disputing that Gelfand has, indeed, been a bĂȘte noire for Nakamura.

Oct-05-13  John Abraham: Great play
Oct-11-13  Jack Bauer: Real men don't use <dude>.
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