Baden Baden R8: History repeats itself

2/18/2013 – Fabiano Caruana has taken a huge stride towards winning the GRENKE Chess Classic by once again defeating Arkadij Naiditsch from a lost position. Viswanathan Anand was unable to match the young Italian as he failed to convert an advantage against Georg Meier, while birthday boy Daniel Fridman was happy to stop the rot with a solid draw against Michael Adams. Round eight report.

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Baden-Baden GRENKE Chess Classic

Round eight: History repeats itself

8th round on 15 February 2013 at 15:00
Fridman Daniel 2667
½-½
Adams Michael 2725
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
0-1
Caruana Fabiano 2757
Anand Vishy 2780
½-½
Meier Georg 2640

Daniel Fridman had suffered two tough losses in rounds 6 and 7 and clearly had few Napoleonic plans for his game against Adams. Until move 12 they were following the game Gawain Jones played against Adams on top board in Round 4 of the recent tournament in Gibraltar. Jones tweeted, “Fridman using an old line against the Nimzo that I played against Mickey in Gibraltar. I managed an edge so Mickey deviated with 12...Qe5”. In that earlier game Adams had castled queenside immediately and ended up worse, though he eventually drew. The most curious moment of today’s game came on move 14.

[Event "1st GRENKE Chess Classic"] [Site "Baden-Baden GER"] [Date "2013.02.15"] [Round "8.3"] [White "Fridman, Daniel"] [Black "Adams, Michael"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E34"] [WhiteElo "2667"] [BlackElo "2725"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2013.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6. e3 c5 7. Bd2 Bxc3 8. Bxc3 cxd4 9. Bxd4 Nc6 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. Ne2 Bd7 12. a3 Qe5 13. Rd1 Ne7 14. Nd4 Bc6 $6 {Fridman was very puzzled: "The whole idea of this 11.Ne2, 14.Nd4 line is to prevent Bc6, which is why it was surprising that after 20 minutes Mickey played it anyway!" It certainly looked strange, but after queens were swapped off any outcome other than a draw looked improbable. Fridman wasn't complaining: "After two losses in a row you want such a position - not a big risk and if Black makes some inaccuracies..." IM Lawrence Trent offered to commentate in his underpants for Round 9 if the game ended decisively, but fortunately that was avoided (with meteors and asteroids the world has been shaken enough for one day!).} ({Kramnik and Gelfand are among those who've played} 14... Qa5+ {but Adams saw some ghosts after} 15. b4 $6) 15. Nxc6 Nxc6 16. Be2 Qa5+ 17. Qd2 Qxd2+ 18. Rxd2 Ke7 19. Bf3 Rac8 20. Ke2 Rhd8 21. Rhd1 Rxd2+ 22. Rxd2 Rc7 23. Kd1 Ne5 24. Be2 f5 25. h3 h6 26. Rd4 Rd7 27. Rxd7+ Nxd7 28. f4 Kd6 29. Bf3 b6 30. Kd2 Nc5 31. Kc3 Na6 32. b4 Nc7 33. Kc4 f6 34. Bb7 Ne8 35. Bf3 Nc7 36. Bb7 Ne8 37. Bf3 1/2-1/2

World Champion Viswanathan Anand was downhearted in today’s post-game press conference, lamenting that he’d “blown his game” and spoiled an ending that “must be technically winning, somehow”. In the end he’d been the one who had to find only moves to force a perpetual in a pawn race he described as “a mess – I had no idea what was going on”. It had all started off very differently. Meier’s pet 7…Nd5 line in the Rubinstein French had been dealt a powerful blow in his first round game against Caruana (GM Dmitry Kryakvin wrote a fine article about that in Russian for the Russian Chess Federation website), so he varied today with 7…Bd6. The opening seemed to go fine for the German except that the World Champion was obviously well-prepared.

[Event "1st GRENKE Chess Classic"] [Site "Baden-Baden GER"] [Date "2013.02.15"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Meier, Georg"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C10"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2640"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "2013.02.07"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. Be3 Bd6 8. Bd3 O-O 9. Qe2 b6 10. O-O-O Bb7 11. c4 c5 12. dxc5 bxc5 13. Ng5 h6 14. Nh7 Nxh7 15. Bxh7+ Kxh7 16. Qd3+ Kg8 {was flagged as an inaccuracy by Meier, who'd missed Anand's later zwischenzug 20.Qg3!} (16... f5 $5) 17. Qxd6 Qa5 18. Kb1 Be4+ 19. Ka1 Bc2 20. Qg3 $1 Kh7 21. Bd2 Qa4 22. b3 {White was on top, and there were flashes of the Anand of old as he moved quickly and confidently.} Qc6 23. Bc3 Bg6 24. Rd6 Qe4 25. Re1 Qc2 26. Rd2 Qf5 27. Qe5 f6 28. Qxf5 Bxf5 29. Ba5 {playing 29.Ba5 instantly and with a flourish. It was clear the champion felt it would just be a matter of time before he picked up one or more of Black's pawns and converted a full point. The curious thing for this observer, at least, was that Meier was also playing quickly, with the players reaching the time control with 30 minutes to spare each. He explained afterwards that it wasn't a case of confidence in his position but simply that it was relatively straightforward to play, and his one idea was to push his h-pawn as he did in the game.} Rf7 30. Red1 g5 31. Rd6 Rc8 32. Rd7 Rcf8 33. R1d6 Kg6 34. Bd2 e5 35. Rxf7 Rxf7 36. Be3 Rc7 37. Ra6 h5 38. Kb2 h4 39. Ra5 Rd7 40. Bxc5 {Anand regretted playing this, since it allowed Meier to play} ({it seems Meier was correct to point out that} 40. Kc1 {wouldn't be a huge improvement after} Be4 $1) 40... Rd1 $1 {and use his rook to harass White's kingside pawns.} 41. Ra6 Bc8 42. Rxa7 Rh1 43. Rc7 Bf5 44. h3 Rh2 45. a4 Rxg2 46. a5 g4 47. hxg4 Bxg4 {Despite Anand's disappointment it's not clear that either player went far wrong in the ending. When Adams and Fridman discussed the game in their press conference they realised it was White who had to be careful as the h-pawn couldn't be stopped. It looked daunting, but both players had seen the drawing lines.} 48. a6 h3 49. a7 Bf3 50. Rd7 h2 51. Rd5 $1 {ensured White also queened and Meier was unable to prevent the white queen and bishop from delivering perpetual check. All in all, despite the misgivings of the participants, it seems it was objectively a well-played game.} Bxd5 52. cxd5 h1=Q 53. a8=Q Rg1 54. Qg8+ Kf5 55. Qe6+ Kg6 56. Qg8+ 1/2-1/2

Not for the first time here in Baden-Baden it was Arkadij Naiditsch who ensured the spectators wouldn’t be deprived of spectacular attacking chess, though Fabiano Caruana is fast becoming his nemesis. First Naiditsch only managed to draw an overwhelming position against the Italian in last year’s Dortmund tournament, and now Caruana has twice actually won when all the odds have been stacked against him.

[Event "1st GRENKE Chess Classic"] [Site "Baden-Baden GER"] [Date "2013.02.15"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "*"] [ECO "C69"] [WhiteElo "2716"] [BlackElo "2757"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2013.02.07"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 {Naiditsch started the game by playing the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez, which Caruana admitted he hadn't looked at despite having lost to Naiditsch in the same line back at the 2009 European Championship.} dxc6 5. O-O Qf6 6. d4 exd4 7. Bg5 Qd6 8. Nxd4 Be7 9. Be3 Nf6 10. f3 O-O 11. Nd2 c5 12. Nc4 Qd8 13. Ne2 Qe8 14. Bf4 b5 15. Ne3 c4 { The Italian knew he was in for a hard day when he realised that after} 16. Kh1 Qc6 ({his intended} 16... Bc5 {runs into} 17. Nd5 $1) 17. Nd4 $1 Qb6 18. Ndf5 $1 Bc5 19. Qe1 $1 {and Caruana could find nothing better than inviting the onslaught with} g6 $5 {though he had no illusions about the solidity of Black's position. Indeed, after} 20. Nh6+ Kg7 21. g4 Bb7 22. g5 Nh5 23. Be5+ f6 24. gxf6+ Nxf6 {it turned out White had a clear win.} 25. Neg4 (25. Rd1 $3 { leaving both white knights en prise, was the move. The main line is} Bxe3 26. Rd7+ $1 Kxh6 (26... Kh8 27. Ng4 $1) 27. Qh4+ Nh5 28. Bg7# {Adams commented that the rook move was something that might have been played on general principles, as it's obviously good to include another piece in the attack.}) 25... Bd4 26. Bxd4 Qxd4 27. Rd1 Qxb2 {After this the game was turned on its head.} 28. Nxf6 {Naiditsch gave this move five question marks.} ({After the game a dejected Naiditsch was asked about missed wins and exclaimed, "I think there were 10 - I counted 8, but maybe I missed some!" This was the moment when he felt at least two of them slipped.} 28. c3) 28... Qxf6 29. Ng4 Qf4 $1 { and it was Black who was in the driving seat. Naiditsch's best bet was perhaps to exchange off queens and try to survive an ending a pawn down, but he decided his best chances were in complications.} 30. Rd7+ Rf7 31. Qc3+ Kg8 32. Rxf7 Kxf7 33. Rd1 Rf8 34. Kg2 Bc8 35. h3 Kg8 36. e5 Qg5 ({Caruana didn't see everything - for instance} 36... Bxg4 $1 37. hxg4 b4 $1 {wins on the spot as White can't defend f3. But he saw enough.}) 37. Qd4 Bb7 38. Kh2 Bxf3 39. Nf6+ Kg7 40. Rg1 Qf5 $1 {The last truly tense moment came when Caruana had 30 seconds left to make the time control.} ({He saw the spectacular} 40... Rd8 $1 {though he was worried he'd missed something after} 41. Nd7 c5 {(he hadn't)}) ( {All his good work could have been undone with} 40... Qh6 $2) 41. Kg3 Bc6 42. h4 Rf7 43. Qe3 Re7 44. Ng4 h5 45. Qh6+ Kg8 46. Nf6+ Kf7 47. Qh7+ Ke6 48. Qg8+ Kxe5 49. Re1+ Kd4 {Caruana felt afterwards that he'd made things difficult for himself at the end, but not for the first time in this tournament when you check the moves with a computer it turns out he played with computer-like precision. He may be living dangerously, but don't believe anyone who suggests the Italian's success is down to luck.} *

So with only two rounds to go Fabiano Caruana now leads World Champion Viswanathan Anand by a full point. Anand will have to go all out to beat Fridman in Saturday’s Round 9 and hope that Caruana can’t beat Adams.

Report by Colin McGourty, photos Georgios Souleidis, videos Macauley Peterson

Video reports of the round

Schedule and results

1st round on 07 February 2013 at 15:00
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
½-½
Fridman Daniel 2667
Adams Michael 2725
½-½
Anand Vishy 2780
Caruana Fabiano 2757
1-0
Meier Georg 2640
2nd round on 08 February 2013 at 15:00
Fridman Daniel 2667
½-½
Meier Georg 2640
Anand Vishy 2780
½-½
Caruana Fabiano 2757
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
1-0
Adams Michael 2725
3rd round on 09 February 2013 at 15:00
Adams Michael 2725
½-½
Fridman Daniel 2667
Caruana Fabiano 2757
1-0
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
Meier Georg 2640
½-½
Anand Vishy 2780
4th round on 10 February 2013 at 15:00
Fridman Daniel 2667
½-½
Anand Vishy 2780
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
1-0
Meier Georg 2640
Adams Michael 2725
½-½
Caruana Fabiano 2757
5th round on 11 February 2013 at 15:00
Caruana Fabiano 2757
½-½
Fridman Daniel 2667
Meier Georg 2640
½-½
Adams Michael 2725
Anand Vishy 2780
1-0
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
6th round on 13 February 2013 at 15:00
Fridman Daniel 2667
0-1
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
Anand Vishy 2780
½-½
Adams Michael 2725
Meier Georg 2640
½-½
Caruana Fabiano 2757
7th round on 14 February 2013 at 15:00
Meier Georg 2640
1-0
Fridman Daniel 2667
Caruana Fabiano 2757
½-½
Anand Vishy 2780
Adams Michael 2725
½-½
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
8th round on 15 February 2013 at 15:00
Fridman Daniel 2667
½-½
Adams Michael 2725
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
0-1
Caruana Fabiano 2757
Anand Vishy 2780
½-½
Meier Georg 2640
9th round on 16 February 2013 at 15:00
Anand Vishy 2780   Fridman Daniel 2667
Meier Georg 2640   Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
Caruana Fabiano 2757   Adams Michael 2725
10th round on 17 February 2013 at 13:00
Fridman Daniel 2667   Caruana Fabiano 2757
Adams Michael 2725   Meier Georg 2640
Naiditsch Arkadij 2716   Anand Vishy 2780

Links

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Topics Baden Baden
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