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Ding Liren vs Fabiano Caruana
Tata Steel Masters (2015), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 1, Jan-10
Neo-Grünfeld Defense: Classical Variation. Original Defense (D78)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-11-15  steveh445: to luzhin: You move would be blunder. 33. ...QC5+?? 34. Nc5 f5 35. Nxe4 Bxc3 36. Nxc3 and white is winning. You always need to think of alternative moves at each variation.
Jan-11-15  Shams: <steveh445> White's Re1 falls at the end of your line and he is just busted. So, you're wrong and <luzhin> was right is what I'm saying.
Premium Chessgames Member
  yiotta: <steveh44> I thought that also, but 36...Rxe1 is unfortunate for White.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 34...Bf8 would have won the exchange a couple of moves earlier: 34. Rb5 Bc6 35. Ra5 Bb4.
Jan-11-15  Shams: <al wazir> True, but surely the DSB is worth a rook in this position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Ulhumbrus> -- <10 Qc1 instead of 10 Qb3 looks like an unjustified attempt to win>

Hmm. If you mean that White did not, in fact, win at once after 10.Qc1, then you're correct. If you mean, however, that White should not have been playing to win (on move 10, as <Phil Feeley> observes) then this is simply daft.

For the record, it's still the opening. Both 10.Qc1 and 10.Qb3 have been previously played in this position. Qb3 may be more drawish, but the result is far from clear.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: After 16.e5 Nd7 the position is probably dynamically equal, though structurally Black has good chances. Fritz, wrongly I think, awards White a tiny edge at this point.

The reason that Black is doing well will be familiar to anyone who plays the Alekhine or similar hypermodern defences, where White is encouraged to over-extend his pawn front. The position here is more like the Flohr-Mikenas variation of the English (1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 with e5 to follow) where White's pawns can become dangerously loose.

While White over-extends, Black has a compact and resilient position, ready to counter-punch.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Then again, maybe White should have extended just a little more with 17.c5, cramping Black and thus actually safeguarding the White position. After 17.Re1 c5! Black's counterpunch has begun.
Jan-11-15  notyetagm: Ding Liren vs Caruana, 2015

36 ... ?

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36 ... a7-a5!!

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Caruana's 36 ... a7-a5!! is like a genius move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <notyetagm> isn't there a rule of thumb ... "When your opponent plays h4, respond with ...a5" ...?!

Opposite wings, and all that.

But, yeah: 36...a5 is nice.

Jan-11-15  notyetagm: Ding Liren vs Caruana, 2015

Game Collection: DECOYS: ROOKS & DIAGONALS 36 ... a7-a5!! 37 Rc5xa5 Bg7-c3 forks the White a5-,e1-rooks

Jan-11-15  notyetagm: <Domdaniel: <notyetagm> isn't there a rule of thumb ... "When your opponent plays h4, respond with ...a5" ...?!>

Yes, gaining space on the other side of the board is very important.


Jan-11-15  notyetagm: Ding Liren vs Caruana, 2015

36 ... ?

click for larger view

36 ... a7-a5!!

click for larger view

37 ♖c5xa5 ♗g7-c3 <fork>

click for larger view

Jan-11-15  notyetagm: Ding Liren vs Caruana, 2015


Jan-12-15  visayanbraindoctor: Caruana crushes Ding's central advance, counter punching accurately until the end. The game is a classic example of what 1920s theoreticians would describe as 'hypermodern'. Fighting for the center indirectly with pieces from the flanks. Once White's central pawns are made to disappear (26. Ra1 f6 27. ef6 ef6), Black's pieces soon release their potential energy into the heart of White's position.

Ding's 31. f5 was obviously made to prevent Caruana from moving f5 himself thus releasing the potential of his fianchettoed bishop. But Caruana coolly takes the pawn with his Queen (31. f5 Qf5), moves his Queen back (33... Qd7), and then moves 34. f5 anyway. And it's curtains for White.

Jan-12-15  ossipossi: I also thought White was going to play <17.c5>, it was a strategic move, but what about tactics? -in words, what do machines say? Once (twice, should I say) a black pawn is in c5 yes, curtain.
Jan-12-15  goldenbear: Casually going over the game, I think 25.Ne4 looks promising. At least, it seems principled to me and I can't see how to refute it. In general, I disagree with the posters who prefer Black out of the opening. I would take White.
Jan-16-15  Boris Schipkov: This game with my commentary in
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: <goldenbear: 25.Ne4 looks promising. ...I can't see how to refute it.>

Ne4 abandons the c4 pawn and turns over the initiative to black.

Now, i'm not going to spend a lot of time doing deep analysis or run an engine to analyze the position, but just a quick look reveals that the position can quickly get very dangerous for white. For example:

25.Ne4 Bxc4 26.Rb2 Qc7 and black has tactics, like threatening ..Bd3 and ..c4 ) White must watch out for ideas like 27.Rd2 Bd3! 28.Rbb2? Nc4! , or 27.Qe3 Na4!? and if white plays 25.Ne4 Bxc4 26.Nxc5 Qc7 and now the knight is hanging and black threatens to win the exchange. 27.Nb7? (in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say) does not work since Rb8 28. Rb4 Bxa2 29. Ra1 Bd5 30. Bxd5 Nxd5 or 30.Na5 Qc5+ 31.Kh1 Rfc8 32.Bd2 Bxg2+ 33. Kxg2 Qd5+

So I guess what i'm saying is...
When you see a SuperGM (2700+) pass up what looks to lesser players as a good move, you need to take a very long and careful look because there's a snake in the grass somewhere. These guys are for the most part extremely accurate and powerful (as compared to us mere mortals.. experts and masters). And I'm not saying there isn't a defense. There may be, but I certainly wouldn't play that way against the Fab-ulous! The first sentence in my post is enough to cause me to look for another move.

Jan-17-15  goldenbear: <When you see a SuperGM (2700+) pass up what looks to lesser players as a good move, you need to take a very long and careful look because there's a snake in the grass somewhere.> The computer agrees with me that 25.Ne4 is superior to 25.Bf1. After Bxc4, you play Ra3 (I saw this), and it looks like White is holding on. However, the computer suggests the best was 25.Rb5!, with some advantage to White. At any rate, the computer thinks the mistake 25.Bf1? was a major turning point in the game, so your comment looks silly in the light of computer analysis.
Jan-22-15  stst: pgn4viewer :

1. not so nice looking
2. cannot flip board, so Black cannot go bottom

Jan-24-15  pilobolus: I don't understand
why not 31 Nxc5 and
attack with N blacks Q and B?
Jan-24-15  goldenbear: <pilobolus> If 31.Nxc5?, the reply 31.f5 is a problem...
Jan-26-15  TangoJoseph: Caruana played very strong, and Ding made a mistake by allowing 17...c5 , he should have played 17. c5 first and fixed the pawn on c6 :) 17. c5 attacks the Queen and gains a tempo to keep some initiative.

after 17 Re1 Black equalises easy and can start playing for the initiative.

Anyway it is a nice game, beyond my ability to understand everything :)

Jan-26-15  TangoJoseph: I agree with Pawnsac and goldenbear after 25.Bf1 Black appears to be so much better Bf4 attacks the rook with tempo 26,Ra1 what else ?, the f6 and Black takes the initiative,

Better may have been 25, Ne4?! or 25. Rb5?!.///

Great game by Fabuana Caruana

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