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Fabiano Caruana vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
"Maxime Overdrive" (game of the day Sep-18-2015)
Tata Steel Masters (2015), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 13, Jan-25
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Adams Attack (B90)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-25-15  bennyvsfischer: way the go MVL!!!!!!!
Jan-25-15  Fanques Fair: After 15-exd5,Rd8 , White could have considered 16-dxe6?!, Rxd1, 17-exf7+,Kxf7,18-Raxd1 , with rook, bishop and 2 pawn for the Queen.

But I guess Caruana´s main mistake was 20-g4 .

Jan-25-15  bennyvsfischer: wow what a great game!!!
Jan-25-15  Fanques Fair: Anyway, I also don´t like 10-a4. If White is going to play b3 anyway, to avoid Black´s kinght on c4, he doesn´t need to weaken still more the black squares on the queenside. As a result, he ended up being weakened on both sides.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Well, I don't understand what happened here. Not one little bit.
Jan-25-15  fisayo123: MVL, the best Sicilian Najdorf player in the world :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <keypusher: Well, I don't understand what happened here. Not one little bit.>

Agree. It seems like a prank game.

Jan-25-15  fisayo123: 13...d5!?, which in my database appears to be a novelty, is a pretty remarkable move in this sharp position by MVL. He seemingly gives up a pawn to uncramp his pieces and accelerate his development. I wonder if he saw the 18...f5! and 19...h4! pawn push when he sacrificed the pawn. I've said it time and time again that this guy is a creative genius.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Well that's gotta be a nice way to get revenge for the sweep at the Sinquefield Cup: back to back black wins against Caruana.
Jan-25-15  Fanques Fair: I like to play this line for White, have played that many times. In my humble opinion, White´s play must be mainly concentrated on the centre, with a timely Nd5, and on the kingside, specially if Black doesn´t castle, as in this game. That´s why 10-a4 is a positional mistake. And in the game, after Caruana had spent even more time with a5, it doesn´t get nowhere, because Vacheir Lagrave , after the excelent pawn sacrifice 13-...,d5! , starts threatening both the kingside and the centre.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Never would I have thought 13....d5 did anything but throw away a pawn.
Jan-25-15  zanzibar: I don't really like the "Adams Attack", 6.h3, but maybe that's just me. A little slow and off to the side. Named after Weaver Adams (and not Michael Adams) btw.

MVL must have really liked the delayed castling ("my work on the h-file is done" says the rook), through 20...fxg4 must have been considered.

<Fanques Fair>, who likes the Adams, sounds like he knows what he's talking about - 18.a5 seems to be a waste of time.

I really like the simple maneuver Black makes here:

(Black to move)

click for larger view

22...Bd8 threatening 23...Bc7, and White's weakness on the dsq is totally exposed.

(Maybe 23...Bc7 is even stronger than 23...fxe4)

Then, with B for 3P, Black returns the bishop to d7 with 26...Bd7, exposing White's dsq weakness again, this time on the Q-side. Very nice.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: Fatigue-induced chess-blink? With (protected-P + PP) for B, Caruana is surely calculating ways-to-win (and his danger-sense might be momentarily lax). <29.c5!? Bb5> is a bold exchange sac offer, maybe intending R+P for (eventually) BB. But <27.Kf2 28.Ke3> must have rung all your Letelier vs Fischer, 1960 bells:

click for larger view

Criss-crosses behind your K are always dangerous. That sinking feeling in your stomach: <oh no he's thinking, what does he see>

Jan-25-15  Ulhumbrus: If on 12 Be3 Black can play 12...Nb6 advantageously this suggests 12 a5.
Jan-25-15  suenteus po 147: The final position is diabolical! With the e4 rook pinned, the king has no space to escape to, and nothing can stop 36...Re5#
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Yeah, Lagrave can play some.


Jan-25-15  Rookiepawn: MVL is a genius. It would be impossible for me to guess this position is OK for B:

click for larger view

I think MVL's idea is that after the d-pawn sac, W's pawn structure on the Q side is jellyish and weak. It seems threatening but MVL got it controlled while triggering his own attack on the K side.

I also guess 18. a5 tries to stop B's a5, looking forward to play b4. But it never happens.

Is there a way for W to make use of that pawn mass?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MJCB: Re5 mate is threatened, and if f4, then BxR mate! Nice...
Jan-26-15  fisayo123: <zanzibar> It depends on how you play it. There are many sharp lines were white plays g4 and f4 and launches a kingside attack and so on.
Jan-27-15  Nf8: Caruana's rather horrendous score with White against the Najdorf since 2012: +2 -7 =5

Strange that no one thought of playing it against him in the Sinquefield Cup...

Jan-27-15  sevenseaman: 28...Be8 is priceless; it wrongfoots White into making a critical error!

30...Re4+!! It an exalting experience! MV-L feels no need to kill the individual pieces when he can garrote his opponent.

Jan-27-15  fisayo123: <Nf8> Thanks for the stats. I had a feeling he'd lost a huge amount of games vs the Najdorf recently, but I didn't know it was that bad.

He tends to play against the spirit of the Najdorf sometimes, playing it as if it were a Spanish or something. Too positional.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: I had an inkling Sinquefield was a one of a kind result.

It was simply too much of an expectation by fans to see Caruana replicating that success.

Many people want to see someone other than Carlsen making noise in World Chess, and that's understandable, but it may also be quite probable that it wont be Caruana who will be the guy to take Carlsen down.

That may take a good number of years before it happens.

Jan-27-15  Everett: <zanzibar> Mickey does play this line, however.

Regarding Najdorf Sicilian's in general, my thoughts as white were to not worry about ..a6 and ..b5. Just play a3. White has the development lead, black compounds it with two pawn moves to Whites one.

Focus on the center, ..d5 is much more important to control/prevent.

Jan-30-15  fisayo123: For me, the best game played in TATA steel A group. Pure intuition.
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