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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Anish Giri
Biel (2014), Biel SUI, rd 5, Jul-18
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Rio Gambit Accepted (C67)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-18-14  1d410: MVL does have a nice method of play.
Jul-18-14  zoren: Anyone have any insight into 11.Re2? They made a fuss over it in the interview and it is way over my head.
Jul-18-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zoren: Anyone have any insight into 11.Re2? They made a fuss over it in the interview and it is way over my head.>

You aren't the only one--don't see what is so special about it either.

Jul-18-14  Marmot PFL: What I don't get is why black played d4 and b4 when he has a black sq bishop.
Jul-18-14  ralph46: i did not see the interview but Re2 blocks in both bishop and queen. Giris downfall according to my understanding was his inability to find a decent plan to place his knight well he lost lots of time shuffling it back and forth without an aim
Jul-18-14  jphamlore: It's as if this variation of the Berlin Ruy Lopez is what MVL needs to send back in time to Kasparov back when Kasparov was butting his head against a wall in his World Championship match versus Kramnik. Queens NOT exchanged early, White gets the bishop pair not Black -- it's hard to see a better outcome for White out of the opening.

It also seems to me the ending of Q+B+B versus Q+B+N was going to always go badly for Black with advanced kingside pawns since his King isn't even safe, allowing all sorts of tactics as the one that finished the game.

Jul-19-14  Ulhumbrus: 15 Nxc8 gains the bishop pair and a permanent advantage. This suggests 9...c6 instead of 9...Ne8
Jul-20-14  1d410: <zoren> What I admire in MVL's play here is that there are actually no truly "special" moves, rather, each move fits together into a grand tapestry of originality.
Jul-20-14  Strelets: <1d410> A very Karpovian game. Vachier-Lagrave's queen patiently maneuvers on the a-file, gets to the center with forks and pins, and is then finally traded off to create a passed e-pawn that costs Black his knight. One is reminded not only of Karpov but of Fischer, particularly his ferocious skill in minor piece endgames.
Nov-14-16  Lovuschka: Possibly a predecessor to today's 10. Re2 in the world championship game 3, according to the commentator team. MVL originally made a misclick when playing against the Magnus app while trying to play 11.Re1, then analysed the move and used it against Giri here.
Nov-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: <Lovuschka: MVL originally made a misclick when playing against the Magnus app while trying to play 11.Re1, then analysed the move and used it against Giri here.> Brilliant!! The accidental TN!

<11.Re2> looks odd because it "blocks" both B and Q. But this matters only if White intends Bc4-Q(f3/h5) or similar. Given White's long-term plan of Bg2 regardless, "blocking" the f1-a6 diagonal is not really a minus. (IIRC, Rxe5-Re2 is a viable defense vs. Marshall Attack, where White also plans g3-Qf1, so it's not completely novel.)

One small plus of Re2 is to maintain the threat of Qe1 owning e. Note that <9.Ne8 10.Bd6> self-blocks both e8 and d6, hence Black has already ceded both the usual Re8 challenge and the Bg4 pin threat. (Corollary: perhaps <11.Re2> is viable only in this case?) A second possible plus is that, even if Black did play Re8-Rxe2, White's recapture occurs on e2 instead of e1, and the extra Q mobility might be annoying enough to discourage Black from initiating that trade.

Finally, Re2 counts as a free rook lift, with a distant threat of Qf1-Rae1 doubling (and White actually does do a permutation of it). If White had continued 11.Re1 and later played Re2, then Ulhumbrus <would> have written: <11.Re1 __.Re2 moves this rook twice. This suggests 11.Re2> :)

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