19 December 2014

Commentary - Baku 2014 Grand Prix

The October 2014 Baku grand prix event featured two interesting Dutch Defense games.  In the first, American GM Hikaru Nakamura uses the Leningrad Dutch to take apart Dmitry Andreikin, finishing with a classic Dutch-style attack down the g-file requiring accurate calculation.  The second game sees Evgeny Tomashevsky as Black hold against eventual tournament co-winner Boris Gelfand with a Dutch Stonewall, in a game which illustrates a number of key Stonewall concepts.  Black calculates how best to open up the center and then with some clever tactics and in-between moves reaches a drawn rook ending.

Original ChessBase article and analysis for the first game, which took place in round 2.

Original ChessBase article and analysis for the second game, which occurred in round 5.

[Event "Baku FIDE Grand Prix 2014"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2014.10.03"] [Round "2"] [White "Andreikin, D."] [Black "Nakamura, H."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A81"] [WhiteElo "2722"] [BlackElo "2764"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 8"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2014.10.02"] 1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 {the Leningrad Dutch.} 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. c3 {White here probably wanted to avoid Nakamura's deep preparation against the standard continuation of c4.} d6 7. Qb3+ {the most popular idea as a follow-up. White takes advantage of the diagonal being clear.} e6 {this is something of a concession to White, as Black would prefer to be able to play e5, but on the positive side the move also reinforces d5, while e6 is no longer a weak point.} 8. Bg5 {Ng5 is popular here, opening up the long diagonal for the bishop, as well as the more prosaic Nbd2.} Qe8 $146 {the usual idea behind this move in the Leningrad is to support an advance of the e-pawn, as well as give the queen a path to the kingside after g6 is vacated.} (8... Nc6 $5 {scores the best for Black, albeit based on only a handful of games. The point is that the pawn advance d5 is not possible at this stage, unlike in the main line with a pawn on c4.}) 9. Nbd2 Nh5 {Black decides to leave the queenside undeveloped and start operations on the kingside immediately.} 10. Ne1 h6 11. Be3 g5 { continuing to ignore the queenside, despite the threat to the b-pawn.} 12. f4 { preempting the push of the f-pawn by Black.} (12. Bxb7 Bxb7 13. Qxb7 Nc6 { is OK for Black, who is threatening to push with ...f4 (trapping the bishop) or seize the b-file. For example} 14. f3 Rb8 15. Qa6 (15. Qxc7 $2 Rf7 16. Qxd6 Bf8 {and the queen is trapped.}) 15... f4 16. gxf4 gxf4 17. Bf2 Rxb2 $11) 12... gxf4 13. Bxf4 Kh8 14. Be3 Nc6 15. Nd3 b6 {it's interesting to see Black take the time now to secure the b-pawn, when he could continue pressing in the center.} (15... e5 $5 {would force the issue.} 16. dxe5 dxe5 $11) 16. g4 { White can do a variety of things here. This does not seem to be the most productive, however.} Nf6 {Black chooses to decline the sacrifice. Nakamura tends to be the one who prefers having initiative or other compensation for material, rather than the other way around.} (16... fxg4 17. Rxf8+ Bxf8 { is evaluated as equal by the engine. White has some play for the pawn on the kingside and down the f-file.}) 17. gxf5 exf5 {while Black's pawn structure is shattered on the kingside, White is no better. Black's pawn on f5 is also difficult to attack and he has prospects on the g-file.} 18. Bf2 Be6 19. Qc2 Bd5 20. Nf3 Be4 {after this lengthy bishop maneuver, Black has fully equalized and seems to have a clearer strategy to follow on the kingside.} 21. Qd2 Ne7 { with the Be4 covering the diagonal, the knight can now reposition itself without risk.} 22. Bh4 {White looks to exchange his "bad" bishop for one of Black's good knights, but this also will remove a key dark-square defender from the game.} Ng6 23. Bxf6 Rxf6 24. Rf2 c5 {this move highlights one of the interesting things about the Dutch, in that Black has to look at playing on all portions of the board to be most effective, and not just fixate on the kingside. Black now threatens to push ...c4 and would welcome the open d-file if the pawn were exchanged.} 25. Raf1 Qe6 26. a3 Rg8 $17 {Black can now build up pressure rather easily on the kingside and center (g- and e-files) and he has firmly taken over the initiative.} 27. Kh1 Kh7 28. Qe3 {this move highlights how White's pieces are awkwardly placed and not cooperating well, as well as the lack of constructive plans available to White.} Re8 29. Qd2 Rg8 30. Qe3 {a repetition sequence that no doubt helped with the time control.} c4 31. Nf4 $6 {this allows Black to solve the problem of what to do with the Ng6, as he now exchanges it off and places a much more effective rook on the square. } (31. Nde1 $5) 31... Nxf4 32. Qxf4 Rg6 33. h3 {this does not appear very helpful, but White is in serious difficulty anyway.} (33. Rg1 $5) 33... Bf6 34. Kh2 Be7 35. Bh1 {evidently the point of the earlier maneuvers on the h-file. Removing the bishop as a target does not rescue White from his predicament, however.} R8g7 {clearing the g8 square for the queen.} 36. Rg2 Bg5 $1 {the key move and the result of excellent calculation by Black.} 37. Qg3 (37. Nxg5+ hxg5 $19 {and both the Qf4 and Rg2 are attacked, so White loses material.}) 37... Bc1 $19 {White is now embarrassed on the g-file.} 38. Rxc1 {White cannot save the queen without giving a winning attack to Black. For example} (38. Qf2 Bf4+ 39. Kg1 Bg3 40. Qe3 f4 41. Qc1 (41. Qd2 Qxh3 42. e3 Bh2+) 41... Qxh3 $19) (38. Qh4 Rxg2+ 39. Bxg2 Qg6 40. Bh1 Be3 $19 {and White has no good moves, with mating possibilities for Black looming.}) 38... Rxg3 39. Rxg3 Bxf3 {Black decides to simplify down into a won endgame.} (39... Rxg3 {might be a more obvious way to do it for most Class players.} 40. Kxg3 f4+ 41. Kh2 Bf5 $19) 40. Rxg7+ Kxg7 41. Bxf3 Qe3 42. Rg1+ Kf6 43. Bh5 Qd2 {White's series of checks cannot harm the Black king and Black's queen in the end can simply pick off the remaining pawns, so White then resigns.} 44. Rg6+ Ke7 45. Rg7+ Kd8 46. Rg8+ Kc7 47. Rg7+ Kb8 48. Rg8+ Kb7 0-1


[Event "Baku FIDE Grand Prix 2014"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2014.10.07"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A84"] [WhiteElo "2748"] [BlackElo "2701"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Komodo 8"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2014.10.02"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. e3 f5 {this is a typical way master-level players reach the Dutch Stonewall, avoiding various sidelines that White could play after starting with 1...f5.} 5. Bd3 {normally in the man line White fianchettoes this bishop against the Stonewall. Here he's already played e3, so now g3 followed by Bg2 could be considered a waste of time, and create a positional weakness on the light squares.} Nf6 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 Qe7 {a standard response from Black; White otherwise can play Ba3, intending to exchange the Bd6 and leaving Black weak on the dark squares.} 8. Bb2 O-O 9. Nc3 Bd7 {this is played only a handful of times in the database, but is nevertheless considered "hot" because of recent high-level games, including this one. Black intends to follow the old Stonewall development plan with the light-square bishop, swinging it to the kingside. As we'll see later on, however, it never quite makes it there.} (9... Ne4 {is the overwhelming choice here.}) (9... Nbd7 {also looks reasonable.}) 10. Ne5 Be8 $146 11. Ne2 {this looks a little curious, but it lets the Bb2 add its support to e5, anticipating Black's next move.} Nbd7 12. f3 {taking away the e4 square from Black.} c5 {the Stonewall pawn formation is not intended to be a static structure for the whole game. Part of playing it well is knowing when to look for pawn breaks and exchanges in the center. By now Black has mostly finished his development and can support the text move.} 13. Rc1 Rd8 14. Qc2 dxc4 15. Bxc4 cxd4 16. exd4 Nb6 {Black now controls d5 and can blockade and pressure the isolated d-pawn. Envisioning this was part of the idea behind Black's earlier ...Rd8.} 17. Nf4 {targeting Black's weak e6 pawn in turn. Now Black could also defend by blocking on d5, which would transform the central pawn structure, but he prefers to keep White's pawn isolated on an open file.} Nxc4 (17... Nbd5 18. Nxd5 Nxd5 19. Bxd5 exd5 20. Rfe1 $14 {White's game is easier and Black will have to play somewhat defensively, but this appears to be at best only a slight plus for White.}) 18. Qxc4 (18. bxc4 $5 {is preferred by the engine. Black could then exchange on e5 immediately, for example} Bxe5 19. dxe5 Nd7 {and White's e- and c-pawns look like long-term weaknesses, which may have been what put off Gelfand. He would have some dynamic play in return, for example on the a3-f8 diagonal, and the initiative. Komodo 8 judges the position a clear (if small) plus for White.}) 18... Bd7 (18... Bf7 $5) 19. Nxd7 {otherwise Black has no troubles.} (19. Rfe1 {supporting the knight (or with Qe2) allows Black to exchange major pieces on the c-file and free up his game.} Rc8 20. Qd3 Rxc1 21. Bxc1 Rc8 $11) 19... Bxf4 {a key in-between move and not the only one of the sequence that is now triggered.} (19... Rxd7 20. Qxe6+ Qxe6 21. Nxe6 Re8 22. Nc5 Rde7 $14 {Black has compensation in the form of the e-file and better bishop, but a pawn is still a pawn.}) 20. Nxf8 Bxc1 21. Nxe6 Be3+ {another necessary in-between move.} 22. Kh1 b5 {a deflection tactic that essentially forces the queen trade.} 23. Qc7 Qxc7 24. Nxc7 b4 25. d5 {the pawn is still eventually doomed.} Bb6 26. Bxf6 gxf6 27. Rc1 a5 28. g3 Bxc7 29. Rxc7 Rxd5 {the players have now reached a drawn rook ending. Black's king can easily cover the weaknesses on the kingside and Black's rook is too active for White to make any progress.} 30. Rc2 Kf7 31. Kg2 1/2-1/2

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