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Fabiano Caruana vs Ian Nepomniachtchi
World Championship Candidates (2020), Yekaterinburg RUS, rd 4, Mar-21
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Spassky Variation (D87)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-21-20  W Westerlund: I'm wrong about the clock, sorry. If Black could play Qc3. Look at what can happen when White plays Qd4 now. The Black Queen is out of play.
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  JAMESROOK: thanks for the information guys. take care
Mar-21-20  Ulhumbrus: On the chess24 website ( here is a link: ) in a position with the black king on e7 ( eg after 31 Qd4 Ke7) Carlsen suggested the resource Qc4!! attacking the point c6 before the black king had gone to d7 and Svidler indicated that there was a threat, that of Bg5+. Lawrence Trent indicated at more than one point ( including this one) that both of the players showed their greatness.
Mar-21-20  W Westerlund: 31.Qf3?
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  vonKrolock: 33.g4 Qb1 and all quiet in all fronts
Mar-21-20  chessdgc2: Qf3 threw away too much opportunity
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  Pedro Fernandez: <<W Westerlund>: 31.Qf3?> Yes! Apparently Fabi didn't consider 31...f5! 31.Qd4 was the right move. Now Nepo has a big chance to make the draw.
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  auh2o: Fabi must wonder what just happened. Three or four moves ago he must have felt much better. Like MVL in the game with Sasha, things have changed quickly and silently.
Mar-21-20  W Westerlund: Pedro, it is most likely a draw now. Still complicated. Black could even sac the b-pawn to get his king to the Queen side. But this can't happen with the Bishops on the board. So, keep the Bishop and it a draw - I think.
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  Pedro Fernandez: That's correct <W Westerlund>! Exchange bishops is a suicide due the super-dangerous white h6-pawn.
Mar-21-20  BOSTER: It's not easy evaluate this pos. I'd play B e5.
Mar-21-20  chessdgc2: Caruana's clock has the coronavirus
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: Neo will have the distant passed, this can be an asset with or without the exchange of Bishops
Mar-21-20  BOSTER: White pawn d5 is weak.So e6 should be considered.
Mar-21-20  BOSTER: Read d6.
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  vonKrolock: ☆Nepo: a draw with Black against the top seed and Vice WC isn't a bad result...
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  OhioChessFan: We're sitting here, no running clock pressuring us, no Super GM across the table, no 10's of thousands of people ready to criticize our smallest inaccuracies, and really, most of us don't know what is going to happen. Games like this just remind me that these guys are <GOOD>
Mar-21-20  chessdgc2: Caruana could actually be in trouble! 46...Ba3!
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  offramp: <OhioChessFan:...Games like this just remind me that these guys are <GOOD>>

It's scary to think that from this drawish position, either of these players could beat 80% of the world's chess players.

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  OhioChessFan: Bd8+ caught me by surprise. Before that, I thought Black shuffles Kd7/c7 and fast draw.
Mar-21-20  chessdgc2: There's always a better chance to win with like bishops on, but there's no guarantee
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  OhioChessFan: Thanks for the live game.
Mar-21-20  fisayo123: Great defense by Nepo. Maybe in a normal supertournament he would have blitzed himself to a loss here but he seems to be 100% focused here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Charlie Durman: I'm not impressed by this game.

Slot this into the year 1958 and I wonder what a young Tal would think of this ???

Mar-22-20  DrGridlock: White to play at move 31 is the key moment in this game. As others have pointed out, 31 Qd4 (not played) is the key point in the game.

Queen, minor piece and pawn endings are really hard to play, because the queens can fly around the board and change things so quickly. White's advantage here is that black's queen is somewhat oddly placed on a5, and doesn't do a whole lot either offensively or defensively.

Fabiano Caruana - Ian Nepomniachtchi 1/2-1/2, World Championship Candidates 2020

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Important for white is to keep black's queen out of the game, while improving his own queen's offensive possibilities. From d4, the White queen threatens to check on a8 (which is why the black queen check on e1 doesn't work), while keeping the black queen out of c3 and b2.

In the game continuation after Qf3, black's queen rejoins the game, and white's pressure quickly disappears. Maybe we've been spoiled by Fabi's play in the last 2 years, but this is the kind of move he never used to miss. He's not hitting on all cylinders yet in the 2020 Candidates tournament, but there's still room for him to improve.

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