Caruana, Fabiano(2782) – Naiditsch, Arkadij(2718) [A05]

At this moment I was having the worst tournament of my chess career. Why? This I asked myself as well, maybe I am just getting older!? 🙂 Caruana was on the second place and it was clear to everybody that anything else than a full point would be a disappointment for the World Nr5. Well, sometimes life is funny. Last year I played Caruana 3 times, I had 3 winning positions and out of those I scored 0.5 points, whilenow, being in such horrible shape, I somehow managed to win quite a smooth game. How to explain it-no idea!

1.Nf3 Caruana’s main move is 1.e4 but I was expecting any opening given the tournament situation.

1…Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 So now I had to choose whether to play a Reti after 3…Bf5 or 3…Bg4 or 3…c6, to play the same as against Karjaking which would go into a Catalan after 3…e6 but somehow I thought these openings are too boring and decided to play something more funny.

3…g6 4.c4 The quick 4.c4 is quite a tricky move because of many move orders which are coming after it.

4…dxc4 A more or less rare continuation. [4…Bg7 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.O-O Nb6 would lead to the main KID with g3.]

5.Na3 A very logical move. The white knight will take a great position on c4.

5…Bg7 6.Nxc4 c5 I need to stop White from playing d4, a move after which Black would be a bit worse.

7.Nfe5?! Caruana made this move after thinking for quite a long time. Personally I don’t like it, it is just too early. I think White’s position should be a bit better after the simple 0-0,d3, Bd2, Rc1.

7…O-O8.d3Nd59. Qb3e610. O-OQc7 Now we can see why Nfe5 was a bit too early. It is difficult for White to keep the knigh to ne5 and to go back would just mean a loss of a tempo.

11.f4 White doesn’t have a choice.

11…Nd7 12.Bd2!? A little provocation.

12…b6 I just continue playing simple move. To develop the bishop on b7 can’t be a bad idea. [To go for the pawn would have been a bad decision: 12…Nxe5? 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.fxe5 Qxe5 15.Rf2 followed by e4 and I would probably be crushed on the dark squares.]

13.Nf3Bb714.e4 White needs to do something. I had an easy plan, to play Rac8-Rfd8 next with a very comfortable position.

14…Nb4 14…Ne7 was also possible, but somehow I thought the position of the knight on b4 is a bit more active and of course White cannot play Bxb4.

15.Bc3 White needs to exchange the black squared bishops. If I was in time for Nc6-Nd4 my position could even already be better. [Of course talking the pawn would have been a big mistake as after 15.Bxb4 15…cxb4 16.Qxb4 Nc5 the black pieces are just great!]

15…b5 During the game I was not sure if this was the right decision. My c5 pawn is getting a bit weak now, but on the other hand my pieces are getting a bit more active. [15…Rad8 would have been a solid move and I think the position is quite complicated.]

16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Qc3+ f6 Black’s position is looking a little strange with pawns on g6-f6-e6 but it is very solid.

18.Ncd2 [After 18.Ne3 18…Rad8 Black is fine as well.]

18…Qd6[Maybe 18…Qb6 would have been a better place for the queen, but it is hard to say.]

19.a3! The only move to keep the game in an unclear area. [During the game I thought that after 19.d4 19…Rac8 my position should be at least equal.]

19…Nc6 [Once again it would have been a mistake to take the pawn as after 19…Nxd3 20.e5! my whole position is falling apart. 20…b421.axb4cxb422.exd6bxc323.bxc3 With a clearly better endgame for White.]

20.Nb3 Rac8 21.Rac1 Ne7 So far all the moves were pretty logical. The position is very complicated. It is a pity for me that I never have the e5 move because of Bh3! but it is also difficult for White to create any concrete threats.

22.e5? This looks like a serious mistake to me. Now my knight is gaining a great square on d5. [It would have been better for White to play 22.Bh3 with a very complicated position.]

22…Qb6 23.exf6+ Rxf6 24.Kh1 In many lines I wanted to play c4 so Kh1 is almost forced.

24…Nd5 I now have a really great knight on d5!

25.Qd2c4! Caruana was slowly getting into time trouble and I felt that c4 should be the right move. Anyhow it was too tempting for me not to transport my knight from d7 to d3, even if I destroy my own pawn structure.

26.dxc4 bxc4 27.Nbd4 Nc5 28.Rc2! A strong defensive move. Now the rook will defend the b2 pawn and at the same time protect the bishop on g2.

28…Nd329.b3Nb2! A very nice way to defend the c4 pawn. [I was calculating for a long time to play 29…N5xf4 30.gxf4 Nxf4 31.Rxc4 Rxc4 32.bxc4 e5 and I could really not evaluate this position. It is hard to say if I have enough power to really mate the white king. The position is very unclear.]

30.Ne5 c3 31.Qf2

31…Rd8! A good move. It is clear that White’s position is already very dangerous. I have a strong c3 pawn and the white king could also get in trouble if I could somehow get rid of the g2 bishop. My main enemy is the knight on d4 so it is time to get rid of him.

32.Re1? After this move the game is already over. [My opponent had to find the amazing 32.Qg1!! a move which is very hard to play during a practical game. 32…Nxf4 33.gxf4 Rxd4 34.Rxc3 It seems like Black has no direct win and the position remains very complicated.]

32…Nxf4 Now the game is over.

33.gxf4 Rxd4 34.Rxc3 Nd1! This is why the white queen should have been on g1.

35.Rc7+ Kg8 A lot of white pieces are hanging now.


36…Rdxf4! The most simple way of ending the game.

37.Rxb7 [37.Rxd1 37…Rf1+ 38.Rxf1 Rxf1#]



39.Kh1Rf1+ I was very happy to win such a game, although it just improved my mood a little bit. I don’t even want to imagine how Caruana felt after such a disaster in such an important 12th round. 0-1

Mista, Aleksander(2584) – Balogh, Csaba(2654)

Mista is a very dangerous attacking player and in this game he also tried to simply outrun the defence lines of your weekly commentator. But as a true Hungarian player, Csaba is very solid and good in defence, which makes him very hard to beat. In the game we are going to watch White sacrificed, Csaba took, White tried to be creative, but again Csaba was careful and ended up being a full piece up.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 A solid opening for a solid player. Csaba has already been playing the Berlin for many years and he shows very good results in it.

4.d3 This is probably the most fashionable move lately, because Carlsen plays it too.

4…Bc5 5.c3 This is also one of the main lines. The idea is simply to avoid Nd4 next. [Probably the main move sofar was 5.Bxc6 5…dxc6 and now White has a wide range of choices like 6.h3, 6.0-0, 6.Nc3, 6.Be3 and some more.; After 5.O-O 5…Nd4 6.Nxd4 Bxd4 the position is close to equal according to the current theory.]

5…O-O 6.O-ORe8 The funny thing is that Csaba scored 2 wins with this position in the current Bundesliga, one with White over Rene Stern and the one we are watching now. A true expert of the Anti-Berlin! 🙂

7.Re1 [Maybe 7.b4 7…Bb6 8.Bc4 d6 9.a4 a6 10.Qb3 Be6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.a5 Ba7 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.fxe3 is the right way to fight for an advantage?! Balogh-Stern, Bundesliga 2014]

7…a6 The idea of the line with 6…Re8 is not to hurry with the d6 move, because in a good moment Black might save a tempo and play d7-d5 at once.

8.Ba4 [After a move like 8.Bxc6 8…dxc6 White’s position can never be better because of the weak pawn on d3 and a move like d4 can usually only bring an advantage to Black.]

8…b5 9.Bb3 Another option is to play 9.Bc2, but usually White’s bishop is better placed on b3.

9…Bb6 Once again Black does not hurry with the d6 move but maybe it was already time to play it and Mista finds the right plan to make use of this. [9…d6 is the main continuation and has already often been played often on the top level.]

10.a4! Mista chooses what is probably the best plan against Csaba’s Berlin. The black b5 pawn is a little weakness now.

10…Bb7 11.Bg5 I think this move might be a bit premature. [An interesting option for White could have been 11.Na3!? White doesn’t attack b5 directly, but now a move like Bg5 could already be a threat. 11…d6 (After a waiting move like 11…h6 12.Bd2 would put Black into quite an unpleasant situation as axb5 is now a threat and it is hard for Black to find a good way of defending the b5 pawn.; 11…d5 is probably not the best option either.

12.exd5 Na5 (12…Nxd5 13.Bg5! A very strong “zwischenzug”! 13…f6 14.Bd2 and White should be better.) 13.Bc2 Qxd5 14.b4 Nc6 And once again after the unpleasant 15.Bg5 White is better.) 12.Bg5 b4 Playing this move is not so nice, but what else to do?! 13.Nc4 bxc3 14.bxc3 Bc5 I think White should be better here, maybe not much but a small and stable plus.]

11…h6 To include h6 is always a good idea.

12.Bh4 d6 Black does not hurry with the g5 move as it has time, but maybe right now the d6 move was not the best option either. [12…Na5!? 13.Bc2 c5 would have been an interesting option for Black, to have Bc6 after Na3.]

13.Bd5? White clearly miscalculates his chances. [13.Na3! would again have caused quite some problems to Black. 13…b4 (After 13…g5 14.Nxg5 (14.Bg3 leads to unclear play because of the misplaced bishop on g3.) 14…hxg5 15.Bxg5 Kg7 it seems like Black doesn’t have anything better than

Kg7. 16.axb5 axb5 17.Qf3 Rh8 18.Nxb5 Rxa1

19.Rxa1 White has 3 pawns for the piece and quite an unpleasant pin with the bishop on g5. I think White should be clearly better here.) 14.Nc4 bxc3 15.bxc3 Ba7 16.Ne3 And once again White should be the one who dominates the game.]

13…g5! Csaba evaluates the complications totally correctly.

14.Nxg5 There is no way back for White as after 14. Bg3 Nxd5 his position would be horrible.

14…Nxd5 15.exd5 [15.Nf3 15…Nf6 and Black is just a piece up.]


16.Qg4?! This move is already losing a piece. [16.dxc6 was probably better and after 16…Bxc6 17.Qg4 f6 Black is of course much better as he has the bishop pair and a great pawn structure, but maybe White could defend a bit more tenaciously here.]

16…Bc8! Maybe this is the move that Mista missed. Black is forcing the white queen to take away the last square of the h4 bishop.

17.Qg3 f6 Such a move is too easy to miss for Csaba. The white bishop on h4 is lost now.

18.dxc6 Kf7 Black is just a piece up and the great bishop on b6 even gives Black some attacking chances on the kingside. The game is basically over.

19.Bxg5 Rg8 Csaba continues playing the most precise moves. After19…fxg520. axb5 White would at least have some little compensation.

20.h4 White has no choice, as allowing Black to play Rxg5 is not an option.

20…fxg5 21.h5 Qf6 Black is threatening with the very unpleasant Qf4 next.

22.d4 [After 22.axb5 22…Qf4! 23.Qxf4+ gxf4 White can just resign.]

22…Qf4 23.Qd3

23…Bf5 Csaba develops his last piece with tempo.

24.Qd1 exd4 The game is totally over but White decides to check Black’s conversion powers.

25.Qb3+ Kf6 The king is taking a very safe position on f6.

26.g3 Qf3 27.Nd2 Qxh5 Cool and strong. Now Black is already threatening to mate by playing Rh8 next.

28.Ne4+ Kg6 29.Nxd6 cxd6 Thank you for the piece.

30.Qd5 Raf8 This was a very interesting opening and White probably twice missed the Na3 idea after which Black would have to solve quite some difficult problems. 0-1