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Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Fabiano Caruana
Gashimov Memorial (2014), Shamkir AZE, rd 5, Apr-24
Gruenfeld Defense: Three Knights Variation (D90)  ·  1-0



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sac: 62.Qxf7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-24-14  hachabarata: Great game by Mamedyarov!
Apr-24-14  KingPetrosian: Carauna lost numerous chances to drawn due to time pressure. That's a bummer.
Apr-24-14  1971: Taking that last pawn is crazy.
Apr-24-14  SirRuthless: Nothing to do with time pressure he comfortably made both time controls and at the time of his blunder he had 12 minutes to Mamedyarov's ~2 minutes. Plus he was getting increment at that point as well. He just miscalculated and blew it.
Apr-24-14  1971: 67...Qxc4 is crazy but it's baffling why a positional master like Caruana who understands how to control positions and kill counterplay plays the Gruenfeld. An opening where he loses so much and weaker players can face him with prep. f he were to switch to the Nimzo or Slav, something slower, and solidify his Black piece play, he would devastate.
Apr-24-14  SirRuthless: I think caruana is great at creating a grip on the board in a similar way to carlsen but he is just less consistent and relies more on good preparation and technique than creative play and visualization. When he is out of book in wild positions, he can be beaten quite severely in the ensuing battle of calculations. This is why he struggles vs Wang Hao, Nakamura and Mamedyarov(they haven't played much but he fits the profile), who are all tricky players who purposefully will choose the sharpest lines even if not optimal, and does well against more positional players who strive to always make the objectively best moves. He doesn't always check all the sidelines and sometimes gets stuck when surprised with a strange move and responds in the wrong way. He also struggles in short clock situations on a regular basis. I still think he is top 7 in the world at any given moment.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <SirGormless: I still think (Caruana) is top 7 in the world at any given moment.>

He would doubtless feel gratified to read these words from such a discerning judge of talent.

Apr-24-14  iqbalianpawn: Hi guys.. Does the 60th move by black make a 3 fold repetition and gives Black a chance to claim a draw.. Thanks
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: No as 57.Bd3 and 60.Bd3 is only twice and thus insufficient for 3 fold repetition.
Apr-24-14  parisattack: Very pretty game. Shak definitely is the master of the fluid pawn center. (6)1. e4, White to play and win.
Apr-24-14  iqbalianpawn: Thanks <Ketchuplover> for the response.. Kindly rectify me if wrong.. I had understanding that its the position which has to appear thrice and not the exact movement of a piece to call it a three fold repetition.. And the position after 55th white move, 57th white move and 60th black move is same.. The problem is that not every time its the same player to move.. Twice its after white's move and once after the Black move.. Is that the reason that its not considered three fold or am I totally wrong on the subject
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <iqbalianpawn> The same player must be on move on each occasion and the same dynamic possibilities present for a claim to be made.
Apr-24-14  iqbalianpawn: <Perfidious> Thanks.. That solves..
Apr-24-14  devere: 67...Qxc4?? was the losing move. 67...Qf3 is a draw.
Apr-24-14  SirRuthless: The room was well lit but Mamedyarov turned out the lights with 61.e4!? Fabiano had to feel his way around in the knife fight in the dark and 67...Qxc4? He lost his bearings and the stabbing commenced. he thrashed and thrashed but Mamedyarov had better night vision and the fatal wounds 77.e5! and 80. f5! were delivered. Mamedyarov was the last man standing in the darkness. He drank the blood of the fallen warrior.
Apr-25-14  Ulhumbrus: 6...Nxc3 moves a knight for a third time to exchange it for a knight moved once, making a loss of two tempi for development and it strengthens White's centre as well. This does not mean by itself that it has to be wrong, but if a player is going to make such a triple concession to the opponent he should have adequate justification for making it.

10...Bxf3 doubles White's f pawn but it concedes the bishop pair and strengthens White's centre. Once again this by itself does not mean that it must be wrong, but if you give the opponent so much, you should know why.

11 d5 gains some space but it obstructs White's king's bishop, releases control of e5 and removes an obstruction from the long diagonal for Black's king's bishop.

12...a6 moves a pawn in the opening, that is, before Black has completed his development. 12...Nd7 gets the knight out. Black plans to advance his b pawn to b5 but the b pawn becomes on b5 a target instead of a weapon.

After 17 Ke2 White has an extra pawn, the bishop pair, more space and central pawn superiority.

He has however against all these assets one main liability: his king has not reached safety yet.

This can be a serious liability indeed but only if Black can make it count. The result of the game will hang on whether Black can make this liability count.

That is not so easy because White has more space.

To make count White's king's lack of safety Black has to open lines against White's king.

To open lines against White's king Black' pawns have to make contact with White's pawns. How may Black arrange this?

One possible plan is to advance Black's e pawn to e6 so that Black's e pawn makes contact with White's d pawn. Another possible plan is to advance Black's g pawn to g4 so that Black's g pawn makes contact with White's f pawn

17...Ra7 makes no attempt to begin contact between Black's pawns and White's.

With 18 f4 White advances a pawn. One reason to not play a pawn advance such as 18 f4 is that if White advances a pawn he reduces the distance Black's pawns have to travel in order to make contact with his pawns. Now Black's g pawn needs only to advance to g5 to make contact with White's f pawn instead of to g4. Besides, Black's e pawn can make contact with White's f4 pawn by ...e5.

With 19...Nf6 Caruana makes no present attempt to initiate contact between White's f4 pawn and Black's e or g pawn. Only much later at move 33 does he do it by 33...g5. By then it is too late because White's king has managed to reach relative safety on the king side.

21 Bxf6 relinquishes the bishop pair. Although the bishop may seem inactive and more so after Bh4 and Bg3 White may be able to bring into play after his king has reached h1 and greater safety.

Caruana lost mainly because he did not try to make count White's main liability - an unsafe king - by opening lines against White's king by initiating contact between his pawns and White's until after White's king reached relative safety, when it was too late

Apr-25-14  csmath: 6. Bg5
[Three Knights sideline not played on the top level.]

8. Rc1
[Typical Exchange Grunfeld position with only one difference, early placement of bishop on g5.]

8. ...Bg4?!
[Natural move although 8. 0-0 would have been more in the spirit.]

13. ...b5?!
[Critical moment of the game. Black has problem developing knight but this sacrifice seems ad hoc and ill prepared. 13. ...Rd8 14. h4 h6 15. Bf4 Qa5 16. Bc4 b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. Bxc3 19. Kf1 Bf6 20. Rxc5 Na6 21. Rc1 Rdb8! 22. Rb1 Nc7 is better.

click for larger view


15. ...Nd7
16. c4?!
[16. Bf4! Be5 17. Bxd7 Bxf4 18. Bc6 Rab8 19. Qc2 leaves white with a pawn (19. ...Bxh2?! is a bad idea as after 20. f4 black will need to sac the piece).]

16. ...Ne5
17. Ke2 Ra7
18. f4

click for larger view

[Second critical position of the game.]

18. ...Ng4?

[18. ...h6! is typical given the black bishop is now poorly placed. Possible continuation 19. fxe5? hxg5 20. e6 h4 21. g4 gives black serious advantage. White could also play 19. Bh4 Rfa8! 20. Bg3 Ra3 21. Qb1 Nd3 22. Rcd1 Qc8! 23. Rxd3 Ra1 with advantage for black:

click for larger view


There are moments in Grunfeld where black has to be creative and precise. Caruana missed this moment and now it is all downhill for him.

21. Bxf6
[Forced as black is planning Ra3.]

Mamedyarov will consolidate his position securing the king and keeping the pawn. This clearly spells trouble for black.

29. Rf1

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29. ...Rf6?!
[...g5! is more precise with the same idea of pressure on f2. After 30. f5 (what else) ...Qb8! planning Qe5 and black still has some compensation for the pawn. The move Caruana played commits rook on a dangerous square.]

30. Qb3

[This is exactly the consequence of bad 29th move of black. However this is not as dangerous as it looks.]

30. ...Rb7?
[30. ...Re2! 31. Qd3 Ra2 32. Rd2! and now f2 is secured.]

click for larger view

Here black is close to being strategically lost. He has no countergame and he is pawn down. However there is a long way to prove that white should win this as the position is still very much playable and black could hope.

35. ...Bh4
[...Rg6 leaving f6 square free for bishop is the same.]

42. Rb1
[Of course not 42. h4? Qg4.]

43. ...Rxg1?!
[...h6 44. Qh5 Bf6 seems more persistent at least if not better. Strong defender would surely do the best to annoy his opponent. Caruana seems to be resigned to play the ending.]

Now the remainder of the game is with a lot of manouvreing with black on the verge of defeat but the technical issues for white allow the black to contemplate half a point.

61. e4!

[Since white had no better plans he is trying to change the character of the position. This move is actually not winning but white cannot lose.]

61. ...Qc3
62. Qf7 [with mate threat.] Qxc3
63. Kg4 Qe2
64. Kf5 h5

click for larger view


Apr-25-14  csmath: 67. Qg6
[67. Qe8+ Kg7
68. Qg6+ Kf8 69. e5 Bb8 70. Qh6+ Ke8 71. Qh8+ Kd7 72. e6+ Kc7 73. d6+ Kb7 74. dxe7 Qg4+ 75. Kf6 Qxf4+ 76. Kg6 Qe4+ 77. Kf7 Qf5+ 78. Qf6 Qh7+ 79. Qg7 Qf5+ 80. Kg8 Qxe6+ 81. Qf7 Qg4+ 82. Kh7 Qe4+ 83. Kh6 Qe3+ 84. Kxh5 Qe2+ 85. Kh6 Qe3+ 86. Kg7 Qd4+ 87. Kg8 Qg4+ 88. Kf8 Bd6 89. Qd5+ Kc7 90. Qxd6+ Kxd6 91. e8=Q draws!

click for larger view


67. Qxc4?

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[Catastrophic error and the actual losing move. 67. ...Qf3 was the only move. Giving away h-pawn introduce another problem for black - h-pawn and since he is already barely hanging this is just too much.]

70. ...Qf1

[...Qd4 71. Qh5+ Kg8 72. Qf7+ Kh8 73. e5 Ke4 74. h5! loses as well.]

The rest of the game is easily realized as lost.


Caruana had a chance, lost it, got a difficult defence, survive while white was not able to find good plan and then threw everything away in 67th move albeit in the position quite difficult to play. This is Grunfeld!

Apr-25-14  csmath: The critical errors for black are

18. ...Ng4?

missing excellent chance for initiative and better game


67. ...Qxc4?

losing the game which is still in the realm of draw.

There are few other places where both played less than optiomal. This is a very rich game as it is usual in Grunfeld, very well played by both but with errors in some critical moments.

High quality game.

Apr-25-14  MamedyarovFan: <<parisattack>:(6)1. e4, White to play and win.> Nice. LOL!

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