01 September 2013

Commentary - Tromso 2013 FIDE World Cup round 5.3

In the last game of round 5 of the ongoing 2013 FIDE World Cup in Tromso, Norway, Dmitri Andreikin had to hold a draw against Peter Svidler and chose to enter the line of the Caro-Kann Advance (3...c5) where Black sacrifices a pawn early in exchange for positional compensation.  This is the only line of the Caro-Kann to feature what amounts to a gambit by Black and the game is well worth studying, including the key point at move 8 where Black deliberately scorns regaining the pawn in favor of furthering his development.  Black could have continued in hopes of a win, but forced a draw by repetition to seal his advancement to the next round.

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2013"] [Site "Tromso NOR"] [Date "2013.08.25"] [Round "5.4"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Andreikin, Dmitry"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2746"] [BlackElo "2716"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2013.08.11"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 {a pawn sacrifice by Black that gets away from the the standard, heavily analyzed ...Bf5 lines and intends to nullify White's active play.} 4. dxc5 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. c3 {Bb5 is by far the most popular continuation, but the text move is second and also trendy. Its function is to immediately restrain the Black d-pawn and postpone committing the light-squared bishop.} e6 7. Be3 {White decides to hold on to the c-pawn; b4 would be the alternative method of doing this. Following is an interestingly unbalanced example of how Andreikin treated that approach in a high-level game: } (7. b4 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 Nxe5 9. Bb5+ Nc6 10. Bb2 Be7 11. c4 Nf6 12. Nc3 O-O 13. O-O-O d4 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. Qxc6 dxc3 16. Rxd8 cxb2+ 17. Kxb2 Raxd8 18. Kc2 a5 19. a3 axb4 20. axb4 Ra8 21. Rb1 Rfd8 22. Qf3 Ne8 23. Rb3 Ra2+ 24. Rb2 Rd2+ 25. Kxd2 Rxb2+ 26. Kc3 Bf6+ 27. Qxf6 Nxf6 28. Kxb2 Kf8 29. f3 Ke7 30. Kc3 e5 31. b5 Kd7 32. Kd3 Kc7 33. c6 Kd6 34. h4 Ne8 35. f4 exf4 36. Kd4 Nf6 37. c5+ Kc7 38. Ke5 h6 39. Kxf4 Nd5+ 40. Ke5 Nc3 41. b6+ Kxc6 42. b7 Kxb7 43. Kd6 g5 44. Ke7 gxh4 45. Kxf7 Nd5 46. Kg6 Ne3 47. Kh5 Nf5 48. Kg6 Ne3 49. Kh5 Nxg2 50. Kg4 Kc6 51. Kh3 Nf4+ 52. Kxh4 Kd5 53. c6 Ke5 54. c7 Ng6+ 55. Kh5 {1/2-1/2 (55) Nepomniachtchi,I (2704)-Andreikin,D (2718) Moscow 2012}) 7... Bxf3 {the preferred database choice; the main alternative ...Nge7 scores highly (over 80 percent) for White.} 8. Qxf3 Nge7 {Black with this move favors solid development and avoids giving White any targets, instead forcing White to focus on covering his own weaknesses.} (8... Nxe5 {is what one would expect here and is played much more often, but with less success; White scores 62 percent. A top proponent of the Caro-Kann, Igor Khenkin, prefers the text move, which continues the spirit of the initial gambit. There are only a handful (4) of games in the database, of which 3 are Khenkin's, but Black scores an impressive 75 percent in them.}) 9. Bb5 a6 10. Ba4 Qa5 {a common move in this variation once Bb5 is played, as it hits the bishop and c5 at the same time.} 11. Qd1 Nf5 12. b4 {now out of the database with the text move, which is the obvious way to challenge Black's queen. The only other game to continue this far was a win for Black:} (12. Bd4 Nfxd4 13. b4 Nf3+ 14. gxf3 Qc7 15. Qe2 g6 16. f4 Bh6 17. Qg4 O-O 18. h4 Kh8 19. Nd2 a5 20. Nf3 axb4 21. h5 Rxa4 22. hxg6 fxg6 23. Rxh6 bxc3 24. Nh4 Nxe5 25. Qg3 Re4+ {0-1 (25) Grekh,A (2355) -Chernyshov,K (2570) Odessa 2007}) 12... Nxe3 {see how the theme of using this knight for an in-between move after the queen is attacked is similar to the game in the previous note.} 13. fxe3 Qc7 $11 {Black now has a somewhat cramped but solid position, with ideas of undermining White on the queenside and also targeting the e5 pawn. Meanwhile White is a pawn up but, with notable weaknesses (especially the e-pawns) and faces developmental problems for his pieces.} 14. Qd4 {taking advantage of the pin on the Nc6 to protect the e5 pawn.} Be7 15. Nd2 O-O (15... a5 {immediately is what Houdini recommends instead of castling.} 16. Bxc6+ Qxc6 17. O-O axb4 {and compared with the game continuation, White would not be in a position to challenge Black on the a-file.; see the note to move 18.}) 16. Bxc6 Qxc6 17. O-O a5 18. Nf3 {White focuses on his own plans and ignores Black's.} (18. a3 {is Houdini's preference, which keeps the a-file closed or contested.}) 18... axb4 19. cxb4 Ra3 {excellent use of the a-file by Black, who now dominates the third rank as well.} 20. h3 {despite being a pawn up, White has no obvious way to make progress and several weaknesses to cover in his position. He can try to drum up something on the kingside - he certainly is in no position to play on the queenside currently, despite the 3-1 majority - but with only one minor piece on the board, is unlikely to have enough material for an attack.} h6 21. Kh1 Qa6 {significantly improving his queen placement, doubling pressure on the a-pawn and seizing the a6-f1 diagonal.} 22. Rf2 Rd3 {Black continues his active play, seizing the initiative and continuing to make threats.} 23. Qf4 Qa3 24. Re1 g5 (24... Rc3 {is the plan Houdini prefers, with the idea of rounding up the weak queenside pawns, for example} 25. Rd2 Rc4 26. Rd4 Qxb4 27. Rxc4 dxc4 $17) 25. Qg4 Rxe3 {finally regaining the pawn, under very favorable circumstances.} 26. Ref1 Qd3 27. a4 Qg6 $15 {Black chooses the solid defensive option. Houdini says he could get away with . ..Re4 to go after the queenside pawns and then weather the storm, but that would be uncomfortable for a while.} (27... Re4 28. Qh5 Rxb4 29. Qxh6 Qh7 30. Qxh7+ Kxh7 $17 {no doubt Andreikin saw this or a similar continuation and decided he didn't need to take the risk of having his king position weakened.}) 28. Qd4 Qe4 29. Qb2 $6 {White underestimates the danger on the kingside. This move protects e5 again, but leaves Black's queen in a threatening position. Perhaps exchanging queens would have been more prudent.} h5 $17 {Black seizes the opportunity and makes the correctly aggressive move, threatening to continue with ...g4.} 30. Nd2 { allows the next small tactic from Black} Rxh3+ 31. Kg1 Qg4 32. Rf3 Rh4 33. Rb3 Qe2 $19 {Houdini evalutes this as winning for Black.} 34. Qc3 Rg4 (34... Kg7 { is the curious-looking move found by Houdini that advances Black's attack. Black has a deflection tactic available that would allow him to make some progress.} 35. Rf2 Rh1+ 36. Kxh1 Qxf2 37. Qe3 Qf5 {is a possible continuation, with ...g4 to follow.}) 35. Rf2 Qe1+ {needing only a draw to advance, Black goes for the repetition.} 36. Rf1 Qe2 37. Rf2 Qe1+ 1/2-1/2

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