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Fabiano Caruana vs Richard Rapport
Tata Steel Masters (2014), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 8, Jan-21
French Defense: Rubinstein Variation (C10)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-21-14  Ulhumbrus: It may be that after 7...e5 Black's pawn centre becomes a target instead of a weapon. If Black's f6 pawn is tied to the defence of the e5 pawn it canot advance to f5, so as to free the f7 pawn to advance. This suggests that it is more advisable to organize the advances ...f5 and ...f6 first.
Jan-21-14  Doniez: <Ulhumbrus> you are right. In the post post game analysis, Fabiano highlighted that Black centre was weak and he was taking control of the game. He also showed some lines he calculated during the game, all of them winning for White.
Jan-21-14  csmath: 3. ...dxe4

[Sideline in Paulsen. I think Rapport is simply afraid of testing Fabiano's preparations. Caruana has already achieved reputation of dangerous opening expert.]

5. ...gxf6?!

[Honestly I do not understand what is Rapport trying to achieve. He is striving for a tactical game but the way he is doing that provides white with more chances than black.]

13. ...a6

[It seems that direct move 13. ...Qh2, 14. Kd2 Qh3, 15. Qa4 leads to serious advantage for white.]

14. ...Ne7?

[wasting time, it is obvious that black needs to play long castling and probably try to get rid of of kingside pawn weaknesses he himself created. 14. ...h5 seems natural.]

18. Bd2

[Covering file to prepare castling and saving bishop pair. Typical positional move in style of Caruana. Black is already strategically lost.]

20. Bf4

[Yet another move typical of Caruana studious calculation. Now he sees opening of b-file as a tactical chance and switches his plan.]

21. ...Re8

[Loses but the only chance of playing against unsafe white king 21. ...h5, 22. b3 hxg4, 23. Rxg4! does not look much better.]

23. ...Bh6?

[Loses outright but 23. ...Qb5, 24. Kg1 Qxh5, 25. Qxh5 leads to a lost ending though black could try to resist for a while.]

29. Rg4!

[This lift decides the game since there is no defence from stranglehold with white bishop on c6 and various motives with white rooks and queenside pawns.]

Honestly this game looks like played between two players few master classes apart. Fabiano demonstrates in how dangerous he can be. His play is generally very sound but when he deviates from "sound" play that is always a consequence of solid calculations.

Jan-21-14  Pedro Fernandez: <<csmath>: Honestly this game looks like played between two players few master classes apart.> That's exactly what I was thinking before reading your post <csmath>. With all respect that Rapport deserves and also considering his youth, but he is a GM! and he is playing in Tata Steel. How does GM Rapport pretend to play this kind of game and vs a high level player as Caruana? Sincerely quite incomprehensible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Yes, I'm sure Rapport is capable of playing excellent chess, but he certainly didn't show it here. An embarrassment.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <csmath: 3. ...dxe4
[Sideline in Paulsen. I think Rapport is simply afraid of testing Fabiano's preparations.>

Doubtful the guy who played the
Budapest Gambit against Gelfand is interested in main lines.

<Pedro Fernandez: Sincerely quite incomprehensible.>

Its what happens when <"enterprising"> goes wrong.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Its what happens when <"enterprising"> goes wrong.> I agree wuth <diceman>. Rapport has played the 4...Nf6 line in the Rubinstein French before, and has won some nice games. But here he goes astray against a world-class opponent.

The choice of opening may have been misjudged, but that doesn't mean the line is unsound.

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