(1) Kariakin - Movsesian [A00]
Wijk aan Zee 2009 Wijk aan Zee, 27.01.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6
The Scheveningen, Movsesian's favourite.

[Movssian's reputation goes before him. The move 6.g4 which was formerly considered extremely dangerous, now seems to be played less and less.]

6...Nc6 7.f3
The most popular system of attack, following the English Attack against the Najdorf. The pawn on f3 both defends the e4 pawn and supports the g2-g4 thrust.

7...Be7 8.Qd2 0-0
Black refuses to be frightened by White's attack. By distinction with the Najdorf, Black has not expended a tempo on pawn moves such as a7-a6. All of his moves are developing moves, and this gives him the possibility of a counterattack in the centre.

The standard idea. White drives away the knight from f6, which is a key player in the battle for the centre.

"Not one step backwards!" Mind you, it is all theory, of course...

10.g5 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Nh5
Black is not bothered by the loss of the d5 pawn. In the first place, the g5 pawn is hanging, and in the second, the centre will be opened, where the white king stands.

12.0-0-0 Bxg5 13.Kb1
Motylev's idea. White sacrifices a pawn and prepares an attack with everything he has got.

[Prophylaxis. After 13...Bxe3 14.Qxe3 Qf6 15.exd5 Nf4 16.d6 Bd7 17.Bb5 Bxb5 18.Nxb5 Nd5 19.Qe4 Rfd8 20.Nc7 Rac8 21.Nxd5 exd5 22.Rxd5 Rxd6 23.Rxd6 Qxd6 24.Qxb7 and White remained with an extra pawn and won (Motylev-Belozerov, Tomsk 2006)]

14.Bxg5 Qxg5 15.Rg1 Qf4
[Novelty. In the first round game Stellwagen-Movsesian, Sergey played 15...Qf6 16.Qb4 Bd7 17.exd5 exd5 18.Nxd5 Qxf3 19.Bg2 Qf5 20.Qxb7 Ba4 21.b3 Rac8 22.Rd2 a5 23.Qa7 Bc6 24.Ne7 Qg5 25.Bxc6 Qxd2 26.Nxc8 Rxc8 27.Qxf7 and White had an advantage that was close to decisive. Although Black managed to draw, it is clear that nobody in his right mind would choose to repeat that experience.]

A surprisingly quick reply. Evidently, it is all in the great computer. Threatening mate in one, a fairly serious matter. Black's lack of development has its say.


17.exd5 Nf6
Black coordinates his pieces, and has also restored material equality. But it is still too early to speak of his having equalized the chances. White retains the initiative. However, Black has one small plus - his pawn structure is superior. The split white pawns on f3 and h2 could come back to haunt him later on - if he does not manage to create an attack. [Pawn-grabbing would be extremely dangerous: 17...Qxh2 18.Bd3 and the white rooks will come into play on the h-file.]

[The best means of strengthe ing the pressure. If 18.d6 Bc6 Black manages to place his pieces favourably and exert pressure on the f3 pawn.]

[Play in Sicilian positions is highly concrete, and a move which was wrong on the last move can be the strongest now! Thus, 18...Qxh2 deserved attention, eg. 19.dxe6 fxe6! 20.Rh1 Qf4 The bishop on h3 just gets under the feet of its own rooks. I cannot evaluate the position definitively; all that is clear is that both sides have chances. ]

19.Bxd7 Nxd7 20.Qxd5
As often happens in this variation, a feint at a kingside attack creates chances of an attack on the queenside! The pawn on b7 is en prise.

[Worse is 20...Ne5?! when White can postpone his pawn-grabbing and direct his knight to d6: 21.Nb5! ]

White does not fear opening the b-file, because he can always defend by advancing b2-b3. Clearly, Black must respond in kind, by taking on h2. Putting the knight on f6 means that he should not have to fear the threats against h7.

21...Qxh2 22.Ne4
Kariakin clearly has the same thoughts, and hurrie sto remove the protector of h7. But the departure of the white knight gives him his own weaknesses, for example on c2.

[He could gain a tempo by attacking c2: 22...Rac8 and if 23.Nxf6? Qxc2+ 24.Ka1 Rb8 winning.]

23.Qxe4 Rad8 24.a4
[I find it hard to explain why kariakin avoided the strong move 24.Qe7! It seems that in this case, Black would have to give up his last queenside pawn. Admittedly, in many lines he gets to devour the f3 pawn, but even so, the tempi are not on his side.]

[Movsesian plays very carefully, keeping everything protected. It seems to me that he could have considered guerrilla tactics: 24...Qf2 ]

[Advancing the pawns at once is out of place: 25.b4?! Qc3! White must not forget about the safety of his king.]

25...Rxd8 26.Rg5
[An original manoeuvre - maybe the rook will later come to b5 and b7. Black has no trouble after 26.Rh1 g6 ; nor after 26.f4 Kg8 27.f5 Qd6! ]

Black in turn makes luft, and also prepares to advance his pawns. He is probably going to set his hopes on the outside passed pawn.

The logical continuation of the rook manoeuvre. But Black has a defence.

[A subtle moment. I ask the question: why bring the white king forwardr? Later in the ending, this could favour White. The immediate 27...Rd7 was more solid.]

28.Ka2 Rd7
Black takes control of the seventh rank. White strengthens his position on the queenside. His chances are preferable in this position.

29.c4 Kg7
Black has to waste a tempo to bring his own king closer to the action. I think White should push his c-pawn now The variations are quite cmplicated - believe it or not, in my analysis, I currently have a position with four queens on the board!

Exatcly the move! The Ukrainian GM is clearly thinking along the same lines as me. Now Black must play very accurately - several plausible-looking moves lead to a very nasty position for him.

30...a6 31.c6 axb5 32.cxd7 Qxd7 33.Qe5+
White wins the b5 pawn and obtains two passed pawns. Black will soon push his h-pawn. The promised four queens position is not far away.

[No, Sergey does not risk it. THis was my line: 33...f6 34.Qxb5 Qe6+ 35.b3 h5 36.a5 h4 37.a6 h3 38.a7 h2 39.a8Q h1Q 40.Qbb7+ Qf7 41.Qxf7+ Kxf7 42.Qd5+ Ke7 43.b4 Qh2+ 44.Kb3 Qd6! and Black holds.]

[Obviously, 34.Qxb5?? would be a terrible mistake, because after 34...Qxb5 35.axb5 Ke7 the black king is in the square of the b-pawn.]

34...h5 35.Kb3
[Now we see the consequences of the unfortunate check on d1. The white king is able to come into the game. It would be premature to play 35.b6? Qa4+ 36.Kb1 Qd1+ with perpetual.]

[A difficult decision. The king moves further away from the b-pawn. It appears contrary to all laws of the endgame, but the idea is obvious - to hide from checks. Movsesian has cleary calculated that his h-pawn will queen at the same time as the white b-pawn. We will see.... I saw looking at the queen exchange: 35...Qe8 36.Qc5+ Qe7 37.Kb4 Ke8 38.Qxe7+ Kxe7 39.Ka5 h4 40.b6 h3 41.b7 h2 42.b8Q h1Q and draws.; But not 35...Qe7?? 36.Qh8# ]

36.b6 h4 37.Qc7
The queen has t leave its idea centralised position, else the pawn cannot get to b7.

37...Qd1+ 38.Kb4
The wite king tries to shelter from the checks on a7, although there is also the option of bringing the queen back to defend on c3 or c4. Cam Black take on f3? I suspect the tempo is more impoirtant than the material.

[Analysis shows that 38...Qxf3? loses by force: 39.b7 Qe4+ 40.Ka3 Qe3+ 41.Ka4 Qd4+ 42.b4 Qd1+ 43.Kb5 Qd3+ 44.Qc4 Qf5+ 45.Qc5 Qd7+ 46.Kb6 Qe6+ 47.Kc7 and the checks run out.; If 38...Qd2+ 39.Ka4 Qd1+ White plays 40.b3! ]

39.Kb5 Qe2+
[I think 39...Qf1+! was more accurate, with the idea of 40.Ka5 (or 40.Kc6 Qxf3+ ) 40...Qa1+ ]

Kariakin offers the b2-pawn.Actually, Black should take it, but who can decide on such a big step on the last move of the time control?

[As predicted, he decides against. On the final move of the time control, it was practically impossible to calculate the line 40...Qxb2 41.b7 Qa3+ 42.Kb6 Qb4+ 43.Ka7 Qa3+ 44.Kb8 h3 45.Qc8+ Kg7 46.Qxh3 Qd6+ 47.Kc8 Qc5+ with perpetual check.]

So you don't want my pawn? So be it, now it will play its role! While you, dear readers, have been putting the kettle on for your post-time control cuppa, I have been studying this variation quite deeply. Black can still draw, but he has to find a number of "only" moves. So Movsesian faces a difficult task, especially as he does not have a computer in his head.

41...Qa2+ 42.Kb5 Qe2+ 43.Qc4 Qe8+ 44.Qc6 Qe2+
Rather than merely repeating moves, White has actually transferred is queen from c8 to the more useful square c6, with tempo. On c6, the queen controls more squares and so makes it harder for the opponent to give perpetual.

45.Kc5 Qf2+
[A surprise, and maybe also an inaccuracy. I saw looking at 45...Qe3+ 46.Kd6 Qf4+ 47.Kd7 h3 48.b7 h2 49.Qc8+ Kg7 50.b8Q Qd4+ (50...Qxb8 51.Qxb8 h1Q 52.Qf4 is less convincing.) 51.Qd6 Qxd6+ 52.Kxd6 h1Q It is impossible to analyse the variation to the end. White has a dangerous initiative, but I am not sure there is a defiite win.]

46.Kd6 Qg3+ 47.Kd7 h3
[The checks run out. If 47...Qh3+? 48.Ke7 ]

48.b7 h2 49.Qc8+ Kg7
[As already pointed out, 49...Kh7 leads to a difficult position after 50.b8Q Qxb8 51.Qxb8 h1Q 52.Qf4 ]

50.b8Q Qxb8
[Further checks do not improve the situation: 50...Qh3+ 51.Kc7 Qg3+ 52.Kb6 Qf2+ 53.Qc5! ]

51.Qxb8 h1Q
So the extra ueens disappear. White retains the initiative, since he has a strong passed pawn, and Black does not. Possession of the move is also important, and it is White who has it.

52.Qe5+ Kg8 53.Qd5!
A very strong move. The white king is exellently protected by such a centralised queen on d5.

53...Qh3+ 54.Kc7 Qh2+ 55.Kb7 Qh5
[If 55...Qf4 56.b5 g5 57.b6 g4 58.fxg4 Qxg4 we enter the realm of the six-figure tablebases. And White wins! In fact, he mates in 36, starting with 59.Qe5!! ]

56.Kc6 Qh3
[56...Qxd5+? 57.Kxd5 Kf8 58.Kd6 Ke8 59.Kc7 and the b-pawn queens.]

[Sergey repats moves to gain time on the clock. I did not find a draw for Black after 57.b5! ]

Aha, he was not just repeating! Sergey has obviously seen my commentary and wants to make a fool of me...

58.Qc6 Kg7 59.b5 Qe5 60.b6 g5
Even pretend activity is better than nothing.

61.Kc8 Qf5+ 62.Kd8 Qa5
[62...Qd3+ 63.Kc7! ]

Excellently played. This latest quiet move by the white queen creates the ideal position for the advance of the pawn.

[A quick demise results from 63...f5 64.Qc7+ Kg6 65.b7 Qd5+ 66.Ke7 Qf7+ 67.Kd6 Qf6+ 68.Kd5! ]

64.Kc7 Qxf3
[Desperation. After 64...Qa5 the simplest is 65.Kb8! followed by b6-b7.]

65.b7 Qc3+ 66.Kd7 Qh3+ 67.Kd8 Qh8+ 68.Kc7!
An excellent game and a well-deserved victory for Kariakin. He very subtly exploited some small inaccuracies by his opponent, and has regained the tournament lead. Bravo! 1-0