Baden Baden R9: Anand catches Caruana

2/18/2013 – The script of the event had seemed to be carved in stone – a single decisive game a day, the World Champion struggling to win and Caruana surviving scares on his way to an inevitable first place. But in the penultimate round the script was tossed out: Caruana fell to defeat against Adams, Anand joined him in the lead by beating Fridman, and Naiditsch was tamed by Meier. Round nine report.

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Round nine: Anand catches Caruana

9th round on 16 February 2013 at 15:00
Anand Vishy 2780 1-0 Fridman Daniel 2667
Meier Georg 2640 1-0 Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
Caruana Fabiano 2757 0-1 Adams Michael 2725

The tiger from Madras has at times exhibited the frustration of a caged animal here in Baden-Baden, but he remains unbeaten and today chose the perfect moment to pounce. Although Anand was giving little away in the press conference, his victory over Daniel Fridman was obviously cooked up in his home laboratory. Fridman had out-prepared Fabiano Caruana in the fashionable 5.Nc3 line of the Petroff in Round 5, but this time it was Anand who sprang a surprise in the classical main line.

[Event "1st GRENKE Chess Classic"] [Site "Baden Baden GER"] [Date "2013.02.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Anand, V."] [Black "Fridman, D."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C42"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2667"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2013.02.07"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4 Nb4 9. Be2 O-O 10. Nc3 Bf5 11. a3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Nc6 13. Re1 Re8 14. cxd5 Qxd5 15. Bf4 Rac8 16. h3 h6 17. Nd2 Na5 18. Bf3 Qd7 19. Ne4 Rcd8 20. Ra2 {This was a deviation on a 2009 game between Vladimir Akopian and one of Anand's current seconds, Rustam Kasimdzhanov (who back then was seconded by Fridman himself!).} b6 21. Rae2 $146 Bxa3 $5 {Fridman took the bait, noting that capturing the pawn was the point of his 20...b6, so it was a little late to turn back now.} 22. Bg4 $3 {Vishy's venomous response, which Fridman said he'd "blundered", although GM Jan Gustafsson on the live commentary said such a quiet move was far from an obvious follow-up to the pawn sacrifice.} Rf8 {A decent human response.} ({The natural} 22... Bxg4 {loses instantly to} 23. Nf6+ $1) ({ Houdini recommends the madness of} 22... Be6 $1 23. Bxh6 $1 Bxg4 24. Nf6+ $1 { and at least initially claims a draw.}) 23. Bxf5 Qxf5 24. Bxc7 {Anand had re-established material equality while retaining an attack on Black's uncoordinated forces.} Rd7 25. Be5 f6 26. Ng3 Qe6 27. Qa4 {It was only after this that the outcome of the game was determined.} Nc4 $2 (27... fxe5 $1 { would have left Black only a pawn down.}) 28. Bd6 $1 ({Fridman was only expecting} 28. Bxf6) 28... b5 {Black is simply an exchange down, and things could have ended very quickly.} ({If} 28... Qxd6 29. Qxc4+ Kh7 {Black's problem is that} 30. Ra2 {(and countless other moves) win the homeless a3-bishop - yet another reason to regret taking the poisoned pawn!}) 29. Rxe6 bxa4 30. Bxf8 Kxf8 31. Ra1 Bb2 32. Rxa4 Nb6 33. Ra6 {Anand said his plan was just "to sit there and hold it tight," and he did, with Fridman eventually resigning on move 47.} ({Fridman turned interviewer in the post-game press conference: "My main question about the game is why didn't you just play} 33. Rxb6 axb6 34. Ne2 $1 {and resigns?" Anand had a good rejoinder - "I never know what's going to make my opponents resign," but then admitted he'd simply missed that trick to trap the bishop. It made precious little difference.}) 33... Bxc3 34. Nf5 Bb4 35. Re2 Kf7 36. Rea2 Nc8 37. g4 g6 38. Nxh6+ Kg7 39. g5 fxg5 40. Ng4 Rxd4 41. Rc2 Ne7 42. Rxa7 Bd6 43. Kg2 Kf7 44. Re2 Bb4 45. Re5 Bd6 46. Rxg5 Ke6 47. Ra6 1-0

Georg Meier probably wants this tournament to go on and on, as his play, and especially his preparation, is improving by the round. He said Naiditsch had wanted to surprise him, but he was ready with the novelty 11.b3 (improving on a game Le Quang Liem had won after playing 11.Qf4 against Mickey Adams at the 2012 Olympiad) and had prepared the position up to 12.Ne5. Visually it looked nothing much for White, but Meier afterwards kept emphasising his long-term pressure, adding, “Black doesn’t have a clear plan and I have a ton of moves to improve my position”.

[Event "1st GRENKE Chess Classic"] [Site "Baden Baden GER"] [Date "2013.02.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Meier, Geo"] [Black "Naiditsch, A."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E11"] [WhiteElo "2640"] [BlackElo "2716"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2013.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Bxd2+ 5. Qxd2 d5 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 Nbd7 8. O-O dxc4 9. Rc1 Qe7 10. Rxc4 c6 11. b3 Re8 12. Ne5 Nd5 13. Qb2 f6 14. Nxd7 Bxd7 15. Nd2 e5 16. dxe5 Qxe5 17. Qxe5 Rxe5 18. Ne4 Nb6 19. Rd4 Be6 20. Rad1 Bd5 21. Nc3 Bxg2 22. Kxg2 Rae8 23. e3 Kf7 24. a4 R8e7 25. b4 {The crisis came after} Na8 $6 {White was finally able to play} 26. e4 $1 {and Naiditsch lashed out with} g5 $5 {(a move he manages to make in most of his games with Black!), although here it was born of desperation. Meier explained there was little else Black could do about White advancing his f-pawn. Naiditsch's brief flurry of activity on the kingside only resulted in his having to sacrifice an exchange to avoid positional strangulation. Meier summed it up: "I got everything I could dream of and just had to calculate a straightforward win."} 27. f4 gxf4 28. gxf4 Rh5 29. Ne2 Rh4 30. Kg3 Rh5 31. Kg2 Rh4 32. Ng3 Rxf4 33. Nf5 Rxf5 34. exf5 Nb6 35. Rh4 Kg7 36. Rg4+ Kf7 37. Rh4 Kg7 38. Rg1 Nxa4 39. Kf3+ Kf8 40. Rhg4 Rf7 41. Rg8+ Ke7 {The finishing touch to Meier's strategic triumph came just after the time control with} 42. Rd1 $1 {White threatens mate after either white rook goes to d8, and Naiditsch could only avoid the mate by entering a trivially lost rook vs. knight ending.} Nb6 43. Rb8 Nd7 44. Rxb7 Ke8 45. Kf4 Ne5 46. Rxf7 Kxf7 47. Ke4 {Meier was of course happy to claim his second win, but he had some slight regrets: "I'm a little bit sad - I'd prefer to take points off Fabiano than off my friends."} 1-0

The last game to finish was a fiendishly complex Catalan battle between Fabiano Caruana and Michael Adams. In terms of the tournament standings the young tournament leader really only needed a draw. When he avoided a possible repetition guest commentator Jan Gustafsson joked, “there’s something in the code of a 2750 GM forbidding early repetitions with the white pieces”. As the game went on it became clear Fabiano wanted to win, and his 25.g4!? was already double-edged.

[Event "1st GRENKE Chess Classic"] [Site "Baden Baden GER"] [Date "2013.02.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Caruana, F."] [Black "Adams, Mi"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E00"] [WhiteElo "2757"] [BlackElo "2725"] [PlyCount "108"] [EventDate "2013.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Nf3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 c6 7. Qc2 Nbd7 8. O-O b6 9. Rd1 O-O 10. Bf4 Bb7 11. Ne5 Nh5 12. Bd2 Nhf6 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Nc6 Bxc6 15. Qxc6 Rc8 16. Qb5 Ne8 17. Qd3 Nd6 18. b3 f5 19. f3 Nb8 20. Nc3 Nc6 21. e3 Bf6 22. Ne2 Qd7 23. Rac1 Rc7 24. Be1 Rfc8 25. g4 a5 26. a3 a4 27. bxa4 Nc4 28. gxf5 exf5 29. Rb1 Ne7 30. Bb4 Kh8 31. f4 $6 {Mickey Adams said afterwards that this was a strategic error. He felt Caruana was hoping to win the d5-pawn but had underestimated} Qe6 $1 {when the focus switches to the e3-pawn and it's White on the defensive.} 32. Bd2 Bh4 33. Rb5 Rc6 34. Rdb1 h6 35. Kh1 Bf2 { Adams later played Bf6-h4-f2 to up the pressure.} 36. R5b3 Ng8 37. Rf1 Bh4 38. Be1 Bxe1 39. Rxe1 Nf6 40. Ng3 Ne4 41. Nxe4 {Although Caruana managed to hold things together until the time control his draw offer here was a little optimistic. Adams saw that he was running no risks by continuing} dxe4 42. Qd1 Qf7 $1 {A multi-purpose move that stops Qh5, hits b3 and prevents d5.} 43. Rg1 Kh7 {Adams played this move because, in his words, "it's very hard for White to make a move that doesn't lose material." Sure enough, Caruana went wrong immediately with} 44. Qe1 $2 {It was a tense moment for the audience watching both in the hall and on-line, but Adams had actually been contemplating the winning} Ne5 $1 {for a few moves now. White's position collapsed like a house of cards:} 45. Qb1 Ng4 46. h3 Nf2+ 47. Kh2 Qh5 48. Kg3 {Black had all kinds of ways to take home the full point, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with Adams'} Nxh3 $1 {As he said after the game: "After so many rounds without a win I was very happy when I saw a safe continuation."} 49. Bxh3 Rg6+ 50. Kh2 Rxg1 51. Kxg1 Qxh3 52. d5 Rd8 53. Qf1 Qg4+ 54. Kh2 Rxd5 0-1

Round 9 wreaked havoc on the tournament situation. Not only are Anand and Caruana now locked together on 5.5 points, but the only other players with a chance of catching them on the final day are Adams and Meier – something you would have given long odds against just a round or two ago

As you can see, Naiditsch and Fridman have no winning chances, but they still have an absolutely crucial role to play. Fridman, known for his solidity, has the white pieces against Caruana, while Naiditsch, whose fighting chess has made him the man of the tournament, has white against the World Champion. In case of a tie for first place a play-off will be held.

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

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 1-0 Fridman Daniel 2667
Meier Georg 2640 1-0 Naiditsch Arkadij 2716
Caruana Fabiano 2757 0-1 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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