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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Ian Nepomniachtchi
World Championship Candidates (2020), Yekaterinburg RUS, rd 7, Mar-25
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation (C18)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <vonKrolock: ...(the first French challenger since Chevalier de Saint-Amant !?)>

Alekhine.

Mar-25-20  Ulhumbrus: After 25 Rb5 Black's worst placed piece is his king's rook. This suggests bringing it into play by 25...Kf7 or else by 25...Kd8 followed by 26...Kc7.

25...Qa6? gives White a tempo for the important move 26 Bc1! beginning the unpleasant plan - unpleasant for Black, that is - of Ba3 followed by Bxe7 removing the N on e7 that guards the points f5 and g6 so that Black becomes exposed to the attack g4.

If the attack g4 leads to a win it counts as a threat and that means that in the position after 25 Rb5 the plan of Bc1 followed by Ba3 followed by Bxe7 counts as a threat, and 25...Qa6 loses a tempo towards answering the threat.

Can Black gain or save a tempo towards this by an alternative to the move 25...Qa6, then? One alternative is 25...Kf7 at once. Now let us try White's plan as in the game: 26 Bc1 Rhb8 27 Ba3 Nf8 28 Bxe7 Kxe7 29 g4 fxg4 and the N on f8 covers g6.

Another alternative is 25...Nb8 26 Bc1 Nb8-c6 27 Ba3 Kd7 so that on 28 Bxe7 Nxe7 29 g4 Black has f5 covered still by a N.

This suggests that Nepomniachtchi did not answer in time what was a threat on the part of Vachier-Lagrave and that this threat consisted of not a single move but a plan, the plan of preparing g4 by removing Black's N on e7 by means of the manoeuvre Bd1-c1-a3 followed by Bxe7.

Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Afternoon: Doesn't 25...Kf7 simply drop an entire Queen after 26.Rxa5?
Mar-25-20  jerseybob: <offramp: Also he has a ponytail> Please, it's a Man Bun
Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <offramp> And of course David Janowski (sorry, i should add <native> to be correct (but not politically)
Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Don’t disturb Ulhumbrus by pointing out that after Miove 25 Black’s queen is en prise.
Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  jith1207: <<offramp: Also he has a ponytail> Please, it's a Man Bun>

Look at <offramp> profile pic! You can't actually expect him to know the difference.

Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: <jith1207: <<offramp: Also he has a ponytail> Please, it's a Man Bun> Look at <offramp> profile pic! You can't actually expect him to know the difference>

Of course a man who spent 32 years as the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite's Southern Jurisdiction would know that! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alber...

Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  jith1207: That explains his hatred for Nepomnia(chtch)^‰i.
Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  OrangeTulip: Exciting tournament! And great game by MVL, chapeau!! Très heureux que je viens de changer mon opening from French to Pirc. That bloody Harry.
Mar-25-20  belgradegambit: Another great 7 h4 game is here D Vocaturo vs T Hillarp Persson, 2009 I love to see the French crushed.
Mar-25-20  savagerules: I always regretted that Fischer and Korchnoi didn't play a match, I imagine a lot of Winawers would have been played. Winawer Variation was a thorn in his side at times but he stubbornly played 3. Nc3 most of the time except for a few 3. d3 games.
Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: <belgradegambit>: you love to see the French crushed??? Just a luck it was a Frenchman who crushed this one, or maybe I would be a little angry, ha ha!
Mar-25-20  Rama: Win with the Winawer! I always played it as outlined by Alekhine in his 'Notes on Openings' appendix to NY24: 5. ... cxd4!

Nimzovitch taught that the French was about the battle for d4 square. Here it is won on move 5. Of course, I was just a club player...

Mar-25-20  Boomie: 18...c4 is one ugly move. Black's pressure on d4 is a strength. If black could get a knight to d3 then c4 would have one point at least. Notice that c4 is also a potential post for a knight. c4 can be played any time in the future if needed. To play it now makes no sense.
Mar-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <offramp: I knew Nepo wouldn't win this tournament. His name doesn't sound right as a challenger. It's like when you say "President McCain" or "President Goldwater" and they just don't sound right, they sound like they are from an Alistair McLean novel.>

That's just hindsight bias. I'm sure Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli sounded completely implausible until it happened.

Mar-25-20  sleepyirv: Dangerous to challenge someone you know is <Fluent in French>.

More seriously, considering you're playing Black against an opponent one point behind you, I'm shocked Napo did not play something more straightforward (and drawish). Don't get me wrong, I prefer Napo and Caruana playing risky chess. I just did not expect it.

Mar-26-20  MordimerChess: Tried some variation with c4 but without exchanging light square bishop - which looks illogical but creates some sharp lines:

13...bxc5 14.Nf3 c4 15. Be2 Nbc6 16. Qf4 Qa5 17. Bd2 Qa4 with pressure on c2... it could potentially give some time to black to mobilize the rook. But d4 seems good for white knight - but accoring to the engine it's not easy to exploit it much.

More serious line
18...Rxb1 19. Qxb1 Qa6! 20. f3 Rh8 21. Kf2 Nc6 22. g4 Ke7 23. g5 Rb8 ∞ Probably the best for black.

And last Nepo chance: 26...g6 27. hxg6 Rg8 28. Kf2 Rxg6 29. Rxb6 Nxb6 30. Ba3 Nec8 31. Ng3 Qxa4 32. Qc1 ∞

I recorded the analysis on couple more interesting lines on youtube as well: https://youtu.be/pw5fTcgJcRY

It was pretty good, educational game.

Mar-26-20  Ulhumbrus: <An Englishman: Good Afternoon: Doesn't 25...Kf7 simply drop an entire Queen after 26.Rxa5?>

<beenthere240: Don’t disturb Ulhumbrus by pointing out that after Miove 25 Black’s queen is en prise.>

Blind as a bat.

It seems that Black can't try to answer White's threat at least at this moment.

In that case after 25...Qa6 26 Bc1 one alternative to 26...Kf7 is 26...Nd7-b8 27 Ba3 Nb8-c6 so that after 28 Bxe7 Nxe7 29 g4 Kf7 (or after 29...Kd7) the f5 pawn remains covered

Mar-26-20  JohnBoy: <Ulhumbrus: Blind as a bat.> - lmao! Been there ;-)
Mar-26-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Haven't we all. (laughs)
Mar-26-20  RandomVisitor: After 8.h5, 8...h6 should be good enough for an even game...


click for larger view

Stockfish_20032021_x64_modern:

<55/78 2:30:16 0.00 8...h6 9.Nf3 b6> 10.Bb5+ Bd7 11.Bd3 Ba4 12.0-0 c4 13.Be2 Nf5 14.Nh2 Nd7 15.Bg4 0-0-0 16.Rb1 Kb7 17.Rb4 Bc6 18.Re1 g6 19.Bxf5 gxf5 20.g3 Rdg8 21.Kg2 Qd8 22.Nf3 Qe7 23.Rb1 a5 24.Ra1 Ba4 25.Bf4 Qf8 26.Rh1 Qg7 27.Qd2 Qf8 28.Rac1 Qg7

Mar-27-20  RandomVisitor: After 9.Rb1 Stockfish likes the next 3 game moves:


click for larger view

Stockfish_20032021_x64_modern:

<60/91 4:38:17 0.00 9...b6 10.Qg4 Rg8> 11.Rh3 Ba6 12.dxc5 Bxf1 13.cxb6 axb6 14.Kxf1 Nd7 15.f4 Nc5 16.Qe2 f6 17.Nf3 Kf7 18.Be3 Rgb8 19.Nd4 Ne4 20.Nb5 Qd7 21.Kg1 f5 22.Rb3 Kg8 23.Nd6 b5 24.Kh2 Nc6 25.Bd4 Ra4 26.Rxb5 Rxb5 27.Qxb5 Rxa3 28.c4 Nxd6 29.exd6 Rxh3+ 30.Kxh3 Qxd6 31.Be5 Nxe5 32.fxe5 Qxe5 33.Qe8+ Kh7 34.Qg6+ Kg8

Apr-02-20  Ulhumbrus: After 22...Nc6 the exchange sacrifice 23 f4!! is worthy of Spassky. If it is sound this suggests looking for an alternative for Black eg 21...f6 22 exf6 Nxf6 making a target of the h5 pawn and hetting ready for ...Kf7. If it looks dangerous for Black that is preferable to losing the game.
Apr-03-20  Ulhumbrus: After 22...Nc6 the exchange sacrifice 23 f4!! is worthy of Spassky. If it is sound this suggests looking for an alternative for Black eg 21...f6 22 exf6 Nxf6 making a target of the h5 pawn and getting ready for ...Kf7. If it looks dangerous for Black that is preferable to losing the game.
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