Baku Finals g2: Massive Blunders

by Alejandro Ramirez
10/2/2015 – It started out as a classical struggle between titans. Long things with calculations, backed by positional prowess. Karjakin played his typical 1.e4, while Svidler contended with the solid Breyer defense in the Spanish. Svidler was doing an excellent job of holding on, Karjakin couldn't find a way through. It all seemed headed to a draw... when Karjakin blundered horribly... twice!

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World Cup

10th September – 5th October

Baku, Azerbaijan


Watch it live on Playchess!

Finals - Game Two

Things went all kinds of wrong for Karjakin today

What a blow to Sergey Karjakin! Peter Svidler came in with his usual: a very solid Spanish defense (that is not a Berlin!). This time he chose the Breyer, a defense that has been reliable for black decades. It's so good the guy that got third/fourth place in this tournament made a brand new DVD on it!

Pavel Eljanov:
The Ruy Lopez Breyer Variation

The Spanish or Ruy Lopez is often called the "Queen of Openings". If you master it you understand a lot about chess.

One of the most popular systems in the Ruy Lopez is the Breyer Variation in which Black retreats his already developed knight from c6 to b8 to relocate it via d7 to better squares. The Hungarian chess master Gyula Breyer recommended this move in 1911, but was far ahead of his time with this idea. It took decades before the power of this move was understood, but now the Breyer variation, which begins with 9...Nb8, is part of the repertoire of many top players, among them the last four World Champions Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, and Carlsen.

On this DVD, Pavel Eljanov, one of the greatest experts of the Breyer Variation, shows all important lines of this system. In 14 video lectures he gives an overview of the current state of theory. Eljanov shows the moves and explains the ideas behind them while evaluating the arising positions from a black perspective and with a view to the coming middlegame.

  • Video running time: 5 hours 13 min (English)
  • With interactive training including video feedback
  • Training database with 50 essential games and analyses
  • ISBN 978-3-86681-493-6
  • Delivery: download, post
  • Price: €29.90; €25.13 without VAT (for customers outside the EU); $28.41

Karjakin couldn't crack the Breyer

Svider definitely knows about solid Spanish set ups. And about cricket.

[Event "FIDE World Chess Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku"] [Date "2015.10.02"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Svidler, Peter"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C95"] [WhiteElo "2762"] [BlackElo "2727"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "76"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d6 9. h3 Nb8 {The Breyer system. An ultra-solid defense where Black tries to create a position with no weaknesses and that is simply very difficult to penetrate. For a game in which a draw is an excellent result, the Breyer must always be considered.} 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. a4 (13. Nf1 { is the main line, but recently a4 has been getting plenty of attnetion. In this tournamnet Radjabov played Nf1 against Svidler, Saric against Radjabov while a4 was played by Dominguez against Adams.}) 13... Bf8 14. Bd3 c6 15. Qc2 (15. b3 {is the most popular move, and Qc2 is actually rather rare, but it is the move that is "trending" and Karjakin had used it before against Ponomariov. }) 15... Rc8 {Played after an eight minute think, perhas Svidler was trying to remember his preparation.} 16. axb5 axb5 17. b4 c5 $5 $146 (17... Qc7 18. Bb2 Ra8 {was Karjakin-Carlsen from Norway 2013. The World Champ (who wasn't the World Champ just yet back then) won that game.}) 18. bxc5 exd4 $1 (18... dxc5 19. Bxb5 cxd4 20. Bc4 $1 {gives Black just a slight headache with the f7 pawn and some sacrifice ideas on that square.}) 19. c6 (19. cxd4 dxc5 20. Qb1 c4 $1 (20... cxd4 21. e5 Nd5 22. Bxh7+ {starts to look dangerous.}) 21. Qxb5 $1 Bc6 22. Qxc4 Bxe4 23. Qb3 Nc5 24. dxc5 Qxd3 {and this looks close to a draw to me.} ) 19... dxc3 {Played after 30 minutes of thinking. Svidler had options, but this looks convincing.} (19... Bxc6 20. Nxd4 b4 $1 $11 {was the best alternative.}) 20. cxb7 cxd2 21. Qxd2 (21. bxc8=Q dxe1=Q+ 22. Nxe1 Qxc8 23. Bxb5 {is similar to the game, but with less pieces.} Qb8 $11 (23... Qxc2 $11)) 21... Rb8 22. Bxb5 Qb6 23. Rb1 (23. Bd3 Qxb7 {leads to the game.}) 23... Qxb7 24. Bd3 Qa8 25. Rxb8 Rxb8 26. Bb2 {White's pair of bishops and slightly better structure gives him a tiny edge, but with Black's active major pieces and the overly simplified character of the position, winning is going to be very difficult for Karjakin.} Qa2 27. Re2 h6 28. Qc1 Qb3 29. Bc4 Qb7 30. Qd1 (30. e5 dxe5 31. Nxe5 Nxe5 32. Bxe5 Qb1 $11 {seems like nothing to me, despite the computer evaluation of +0.6}) 30... Re8 31. Bxf6 Nxf6 32. e5 dxe5 33. Nxe5 { Trying to force some kind of attack on the f7 square, but Svidler has it covered.} Re7 34. Qd4 Nd7 35. Nxf7 {Anything else basically leads to a draw, but this also gives no chances.} Rxf7 36. Rb2 Qc6 {A high percentage of moves here simply lead to a draw, including most random rook moves, taking on f7, etc.} 37. Rb5 $4 {A bad blunder. It's not clear what Karjakin missed... it's also not clear what the purpose of this move is.} Kh8 $1 {Now White is down a piece since the bishop is overloaded.} 38. Rd5 $4 (38. Bxf7 Qxb5 39. Be8 (39. Qd5 $1 {Would make Black's task of winning very difficult. Any queen trade goes into an endgame I am not convinced is winning for Black, despite the extra piece (the opposite colored bishops help White in this case as it can cover penetration squares and keep the knight out). It would be an annoying defense, but Karjakin could still realistically hope to hold on.}) 39... Qb1+ 40. Kh2 Qb8+ $19) 38... Nb6 {Now White loses an exchange (at least) on top of the piece he is already down. Karjakin resigned since the position is completely hopeless.} 0-1

With this result Svidler only needs one draw from the next two games to crown himself World Cup 2015 Winner!

An empty stage considering how this tournament started with 128 people.
Svidler is only half a point away from being the last man standing.

Final results

Player Rtg
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 G10 G11
Peter Svidler (RUS) 2727
Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 2762

Photos and information from the official website and their Facebook page


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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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