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Anish Giri vs Pentala Harikrishna
Norway Chess (2016), Stavanger NOR, rd 6, Apr-25
French Defense: Steinitz Variation (C11)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-25-16  sanju1996d: first! amazing game by hari. I hope he will carry anand's legacy and become torchbearer of Indian chess. go hari. beating the rock solid anish Giri and that too by playing so called passive French defense is truly admirable. hari has got the character and potential, some more wins and he will break into top 10. :)
Apr-25-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Kimberlie: anyone know why white doesn't play 15 f6?
Apr-25-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Kimberlie: anyone know why white doesn't play 15 f6?>

What do you see after 15....gxf6?

Apr-25-16  CountryGirl: Interesting delay of moving the queen's knight by black. The early b6 lines are looking nice for black in the classical French. Pentala seemed to effortlessly achieve queenside play. Anish posed few threats.
Apr-25-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi CountryGirl,

The delay in developing the b8 Knight is of course to play b6 and wait till White wastes a tempo moving the f1 Bishop then play Ba6.

A bit like how Black waits in the QGD for the f1 Bishop to go to d3 and then pays dxc4.

It's a common enough Black trick in the French and crops up in other variations. Last time I met it was in a Winawer.

Here is a recent game with the idea.

A S Rasmussen vs M Andersen, 2013

In that game White has just played 9.Be2


click for larger view

Black now played 9...Ba6.

I like my KB in the French. It's been faithful to me in this opening.

In the above position I'm pig-headed enough to seriously consider 10.Bd1 with Ne2 - c3 - Bc2 - 0-0 but it looks so clumsy and too slow.

After Black plays Nc6 and f6 the White centre hangs and White probably has to sac the exchange (after 0-0 then Ne2-g3 allowing Ba6xf1) for some kind of a wing and prayer attack that needs a lot of help and a cart load of luck.

But I do like my King's Bishop in the French. It's Shakespeare's Pen in this opening. Hence Black's plan to get it off the board ASAP with his QB. (Black's QB in this opening is Shakespeare's Eraser.)

Apr-26-16  CountryGirl: Thanks for that input, Sally S! Yeah, you're spot on about the tempo battle to get white's bishop wasting a move. That move 10...a4 seems a relatively recent improvement over what's mentioned by Negi in his whopper of a book on the French and Caro Kann. (He only quotes the immediate 10...Ba6. But black can afford to wait a bit!) GM Svane also seems to like 10...a4, and it has done fairly well in some other games played so far. One counter tried by GM Vovk was to play 10.c4, instead of 10.c3, and try to bust open the center on white's terms. (Vovk-Svane 2014, 1-0 in 28, was a real s@#$ fight, but white had good central control). I think that's what I'd try, rather than dance to black's tune...
Apr-27-16  kingfu: Hey Dom!

3...Nf6 is back on the menu! It probably needs more testing.

Do you prefer this or the Winawer?

Apr-27-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <kingfu> In the 1990s, I tried 3....Nf6 a few times, but never got to like it as much as the Winawer.
Apr-27-16  kingfu: This game might change my mind! I would always hope for 4. Bg5 PxP 5. NxP Be7 with a Morozevich coming up.
May-06-16  SueursFroides: Thank you Mr Harikrishna for this beautiful and deep game. It's good to see a very solid player like Giri having so much trouble against the french defense. Time for 2700 GMs to change sometimes their defense (and their Berlin defense)?
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