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Ian Nepomniachtchi vs Alireza Firouzja
FIDE Candidates (2022), Madrid ESP, rd 4, Jun-21
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B90)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Stockfish says 23...Nd6 was the first misstep.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: <Whitehat1963>. I see from the openings function here that the only other entity (a computer) who played 15...Bc4 lost as well. So that'd be a place to start. Don't ask me why though!

Falcon vs Toga, 2008

Jun-21-22  ILikeKeres: Nepo's queen maneuver from Qxb4 back to d1 reminds me of a famous Alekhine game.

Can anyone help me out with which Alekhine game it was?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chnebelgrind: Chess is still alive
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: And so are you <Chnebelgrind> !

Good to see you again.

Jun-21-22  fisayo123: Pretty bad quality game by Firouzja overall. He played slowly and poorly. He does have a tendency to have 1 or 2 really low quality games in him in a tournament. Comes with being only 18/19 years old.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < moronovich: And so are you <Chnebelgrind> ! Good to see you again.>

Indeed! I'm having a cow!

Jun-21-22  Fish55: I think that 15...Bc4 was prepared but Firouzja seemed to be unprepared at move 20 and played 20...Bxf1 which gives white attacking chances on the f-file. 20...Nd6 or Kh8 were better.
Jun-21-22  Ulhumbrus: 6 f3 is passive.

One alternative to 6...e5 is 6...e6 preparing the advance ..d5 as in the game Lombardy vs Fischer, 1960

An alternative to 9...0-0 is 9...Nc6
eg 10 0-0-0 Qc7 11 g4 0-0-0 castling on the same side as White as in the game Karpov vs Kasparov, 1984

One alternative to 10...Nbd7 is 10...Nc6 beginning the plan of ...a5, ...Nb4 and ...d5 as in the Boleslavsky system or else ...a4 eg 10...Nc6 11 g4 a5 12 g5 a4 13 gxf6 axb3 14 fxe7 bxa2 15 exd8=Q
15...a1=Q+ 16 Nb1 Rfxd8

The computer evaluations suggested - and the commentators probably indicated - that the moves 23...Nd6? and 24...Rac8? are both serious mistakes and each increase greatly White's slight advantage. They fail to answer White's threats on f6. In the case of the latter it is not obvious that 24 Qxb4 threatens Bb6!! displacing the black queen from her cover of d6 and f6 as well as causing her to block the square d7 for the use of the N on f6.

The sacrifice 36 Rxh7+! starts a winning mating attack. One of the many things that the commentators said was that if a player gave Nepomniachtchi the chance to make a combination Nepomniachtchi would take the chance and make the combination.

Jun-21-22  AlicesKnight: <ILikeKeres: Nepo's queen maneuver from Qxb4 back to d1 reminds me of a famous Alekhine game. Can anyone help me out with which Alekhine game it was?> perhaps, are you thinking of Bogoljubov vs Alekhine, 1922 - a fine game indeed?
Jun-21-22  ILikeKeres: <AlicesKnight> No, that is not the game.

I am pretty sure Alekhine made a similar maneuver to Nepo's Qb4 to Qe1, except it was Qa4 to Qd1 in a similarly winning fashion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <Indeed! I'm having a cow!>

It is the cow factor ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Embarrassing game.
Jun-21-22  ndg2: <whitehat1963><What was Firouzja's last chance to save a draw (or find a win)?>After 23..♘d6 24.♕xb4, the computer eval immediately springs from <1 to something like +6. It's that bad of a move. 23..♕c7 was needed, but I think, Alireza would have lost anyway today.
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Daniel King notes that at move 31 both players had 1:11 showing on the clock.

Nepomniachtchi had 1:11:00, and Firouzja had 0:01:11

Premium Chessgames Member


Just shows how Over Rated

Your chess players ARE today loike ..

Jun-22-22  boz: Firouzja is maybe a little too brave at this stage of his young career. To play such a position against Nepo! Admirable but reckless.
Jun-22-22  anjumskhan: bye bye Firouzja better next time
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: <Ulhumbrus: 6 f3 is passive>. I thought the sequence it initiates is one of the most active in these systems. You know, Be3, Qd2, 0-0-0, Kingside pawn push.

Firouzja seems to have thought it was passive and launched an active challenge to it. In this occasion that didn't work well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LRLeighton: 6 f3 is just a transposition and any GM playing either side of the Najdorf would be familiar with it. It is certainly not passive. Up until 15...Bc4, this is arguably the main line of the English Attack in the Najdorf. The normal move in this position is 15...a4 (see for example, Anand's beautiful, multiple-sacrifice win with black against Karjakin from Corus, 2006). "Book" on this line goes out to 20+ moves. The machine views the resulting positions as equal, but in the last 7 or 8 years, the results have been overwhelmingly in white's favour. Perhaps this is why Firouzja introduced the novelty 15...Bc4. It would be troubling if he played this line because of a lack of preparation. Does anyone have a game-score that shows how much time was spent on this move? I personally don't think that this move is so terrible, but as others have pointed out, 20...Bxf1 is strategically dubious, and 23...Nd6? just blunders a pawn with no compensation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Dropping pawns is like having to hold up your britches with both hands while playing an action sport! It's difficult to do while on the move.

GM Ben Finegold Recap:

Jozarov explains a hundred different captures:

This should be GM Daniel King:

More than four hours of Round 4 coverage:

Five hours of round 4? These presentations are starting to run together in my mind.

Come well rested, relaxed, prepared. Play by the rules. Play naturally. Don't beat yourself. Don't help the other guy. Make it difficult for the other guy. Don't over think it. Don't try to be tricky dick nixon and trick yourself. Stop and think, don't rush. Make sound moves. Be great at all the basic fundamentals and typical strategies. Don't beat yourself. Let the other guy screw up first. When you have the better of it, KEEP PUNCHING! When you have the worst of it, KEEP PUNCHING! Don't expose your king. Avoid pawn weaknesses. Don't tie down your pieces. Coddle your pawns. Time trouble increases the likelihood of making more bad moves. All of this is easy to say, not easy to do. Be a good sport afterward too. Call your papa later -- he's a big fan but he tries not to get emotional over it because emotions and excuses aren't helpful. Stay calm, focused, and calculated; follow your plan. Your plan should logical, reasonable, have a good chance of success -- it doesn't have to be ingenious. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Go with what you know. Bounce back tomorrow -- be grateful for the opportunity. Put yesterday behind you. Win, lose, or draw -- learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them. These are good times! Enjoy the action! Competition is a roller coaster ride -- you won't catch all the breaks. Roll w/the punches! Be resilient! Overcome failure! Try, try, try again! Don't pout or be a jerk. Have a poker face, remain level-headed. How you act, how you play the game matters. Consistency adds up.

FIDE article:

Jun-23-22  Whitehat1963: Thank you to everyone who helped clarify what was going on here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: <boz: Firouzja is maybe a little too brave at this stage of his young career. To play such a position against Nepo! Admirable but reckless.>

<fisayo123: Pretty bad quality game by Firouzja overall. He played slowly and poorly. He does have a tendency to have 1 or 2 really low quality games in him in a tournament. Comes with being only 18/19 years old.>

<thebully99: Firouzja isn't ready for prime time yet>

These comments bring up an interesting question.

What should Firouzja's goal be in this tournament? Should he play for his best result right now, or should he play in a manner most likely to help his play over the coming years, even if it results in a few more losses today?

He is barely 19 years old, and appears to have a brilliant career ahead of him. Maybe he can view this tournament as a learning experience, playing dynamic games rather than simply attempting to avoid losses.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Today Firo is going down vs Caruana. Looked like he underestimated the counterblow 22. - f5 (!).
Jun-27-22  jerseybob: <LRLeighton: 6 f3 is just a transposition and any GM playing either side of the Najdorf would be familiar with it. It is certainly not passive.> I agree that it's not passive, and comparisons with Lombardy-Fischer don't work for me. MCO-10(which I've lost) mentions the f3 idea in a footnote in the 6.Bc4 section. Then 6.f3 straightaway came into vogue. The English Attack can also be played against non-Najdorf lines, as in round 25 of the Fischer-Spassky 1992 match. Too bad the idea wasn't popular during Bobby's heyday!
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