Zurich blitz Tournament

Fri, 2014-01-31 21:08 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "Zurich CC Blitz 2014"]
[Site "Zurich SUI"]
[Date "2014.01.29"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B42"]
[WhiteElo "2872"]
[BlackElo "2782"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "70"]
[EventDate "2014.01.29"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{Hello everyone! For this week we'll have a look at the games from the blitz
part of the Zurich Chess Challenge! This blitz event was used to determine the
drawing of lots for the main classical event.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 (3. Be2
{avoids the Kan in light of} a6 4. c4 {followed by 0-0, Nc3 and d4.}) 3... cxd4
4. Nxd4 a6 {I've recently come to the conclusion that the Kan is the most
flexible of all the Sicilians. So in principle Black should not be worse in
this position.} 5. Bd3 Bc5 {Exploiting the main defect of 5.Bd3 - the
d4-knight is unprotected.} 6. c3 d6 7. Nd2 (7. O-O Nf6 8. Be3 O-O 9. Nd2 {is
another setup but I can't say I am impressed by it. What is White's plan?})
7... Nf6 8. O-O O-O 9. a4 (9. N2b3 Ba7 10. Be3 Nbd7 11. Qe2 Ne5 {also fails to
put Black's position under duress; actually Black is probably just better with
his central majority and more harmonious development.}) 9... e5 10. N4b3 Ba7
11. Nc4 Be6 12. Qe2 Nc6 {Black has an improved version of a Najdorf with his
dark-squared bishop much more active in comparison, whereas it is difficult to
make sense of White's piece configuration.} 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bh4 (14. Bxf6 Qxf6 {
doesn't allow White to play Ne3-d5 because of the hanging knight on b3.}) 14...
g5 (14... d5 15. Bxf6 Qxf6 16. exd5 Bxd5 {was one way to try and cash in
Black's positional advantages, though White does at least get a clear idea in}
17. Nbd2 {and Be4 - something White doesn't get in the game.}) 15. Bg3 Ne7 16.
Nbd2 Ng6 17. Rfe1 {This natural move to prevent ...d5 allows something much
worse.} (17. Ne3 Nf4 18. Bxf4 exf4 19. Nf5 Bxf5 20. exf5 d5 {is quite a bit
better for Black as Black has the far superior opposite-coloured bishop, which
matters quite a bit with the major pieces all on the board.}) 17... h5 18. h3
h4 19. Bh2 g4 {This attack is very strong and it's debatable that White can
survive.} 20. Kh1 (20. hxg4 Nxg4 21. Ne3 Nxh2 22. Kxh2 Nf4 23. Qf1 Kh7 {and ...
Rg8 is also quite horrible for White.}) 20... gxh3 (20... Nh5 21. hxg4 Nhf4 22.
Qf1 Bxf2 {overloading the f1-queen was apparently much better.}) 21. gxh3 Bxh3
22. Rg1 Kg7 (22... Be6 {seems more logical, ensuring all the pieces are
defended to stop White getting any tricks in.}) 23. Ne3 (23. f4 {looks
tempting until one sees} Bxg1 24. Rxg1 Rh8 25. fxe5 Nh5 {followed by ...Ng3,
and it is Black who triumphs on the kingside.}) (23. Rg5 {and Rag1 however was
an interesting way to build up the attack.}) 23... Bxe3 24. Qxe3 Ng4 {This is
Black's best response, but I think White's still OK if he finds the right
continuation here.} 25. Qf3 (25. Rxg4 Bxg4 26. Rg1 Be6 27. f4 {is a much
better version of the exchange sacrifice we looked at earlier as there's no ...
Nh5-g3 trick anymore, and no less importantly for blitz, White regains control
of the position. After} exf4 28. Bxf4 Rg8 29. Qd4+ Kh7 30. Bxd6 {I would be
very optimistic about White's practical chances.}) 25... Qf6 {Unfortunately
for White this is the end of the road. There's no good answer to the threat of
...Nxf2.} 26. Rxg4 Qxf3+ 27. Nxf3 Bxg4 28. Nxh4 Nxh4 29. Rg1 Nf3 30. Rxg4+ Kf6
31. Rg3 Nxh2 32. Kxh2 Rh8+ 33. Kg2 Rag8 34. Bc4 Rxg3+ 35. fxg3 a5 {I wouldn't
have resigned just yet, but admittedly the plan of ...Kg6 and ...f5 isn't that
hard to spot.} 0-1
[Event "Zurich CC Blitz 2014"]
[Site "Zurich SUI"]
[Date "2014.01.29"]
[Round "1.3"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A38"]
[WhiteElo "2812"]
[BlackElo "2773"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2014.01.29"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{I've included some brief notes on this game just to show how even a former
World Champion can struggle against the mighty English Opening.} 1. c4 c5 2.
Nf3 Nf6 (2... d6 3. Nc3 e5 4. g3 f5 5. d3 Nf6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O {is an
interesting option if you want a no-theory Symmetrical line. This is
effectively a Botvinnik formation where Black didn't misplace all his kingside
pieces.}) 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 (5... d5 {trying to beat White to the
punch fails to} 6. d4 $1 Bg7 7. dxc5 {and Black suffers a lot from being the
second to move in a symmetrical position.}) 6. d4 (6. O-O {gives Black the
chance to stop d4 with} Qb6 {but I don't think this is particularly good.})
6... cxd4 7. Nxd4 O-O 8. O-O Qa5 {Black probably played this because it is the
first choice of the computer, but I'm not impressed.} 9. Nb3 Qh5 10. c5 {A
very strong move, making it hard for Black to develop. I learned several years
ago that Black struggles in these positions when White gets in c5, unless
there's some immediate tactic.} b6 (10... d6 {is the more common way of
challenging the c5-pawn, but} 11. cxd6 Rd8 12. e4 Bg4 13. f3 {is then quite
good for White, as} Rxd6 {fails to} 14. Nd5 {threatening Nxe7.}) 11. e4 (11.
cxb6 axb6 12. e4 Ba6 13. Qxh5 Nxh5 14. Rd1 Bc4 15. Nd2 Be6 {with a very comfy
game for Black had been seen before.}) (11. Bf3 Qh3 12. e4 {is also not shabby.
}) 11... bxc5 ({Accepting a passive ending with} 11... Qxd1 12. Rxd1 Rb8 {
(avoiding the threat of e5) may have objectively been best.}) 12. Bf3 Qh3 ({or
} 12... Qe5 13. Bf4 Qe6 14. e5) 13. e5 {Black can't move the knight because of
Bg4 trapping the queen, so he is busted.} Nxe5 14. Bg2 Qf5 15. Bxa8 Ba6 16. Bg2
Bxf1 17. Qxf1 d6 18. Bf4 {Black is a piece down for nothing, and plays on
mainly because it's blitz.} Nd3 19. Bh3 Qh5 20. Qxd3 (20. g4 Nxg4 21. Qxd3 {
was more efficient.}) 20... Qxh3 21. Qe2 Re8 22. Re1 h6 23. Nd2 g5 24. Be3 Ng4
25. Nf1 Ne5 (25... Rb8 {gives Black some chances to hold according to the
engine, but I find it hard to believe that White isn't winning this position
with best play.}) 26. f4 gxf4 27. Bxf4 Rb8 28. b3 Qe6 29. Nd2 {This small slip
in concentration turns the tables.} (29. Ne3 {and Ncd5 would retain a winning
position.}) 29... Nd3 {Quite a neat trick, it has to be said.} 30. Qxd3 (30.
Qxe6 fxe6 31. Re3 Nxf4 32. gxf4 Bd4 {is also pretty neat for Black.}) 30...
Qxe1+ 31. Kg2 Rb4 (31... Bxc3 32. Qxc3 Qe2+ 33. Kg1 Kh7 {was quite promising
but naturally one is reluctant to exchange the only piece guarding the king in
blitz.}) 32. Ne2 Qa1 (32... e5 33. Be3 e4 34. Qa6 Kh7 {sees the central pawn
roller getting a move on. I'd be quite scared here as White.}) 33. Qc2 (33. Qa6
{was more active, but presumably both players were down to their final seconds
here.}) 33... a5 34. Nc4 {Unfortunately for White, a passive defence isn't
enough in such a sharp position.} a4 35. Bd2 (35. bxa4 d5 36. Nd2 c4 {makes
the central pawns too strong for White to cope with.}) 35... axb3 36. axb3 Rb8
37. Nf4 Ra8 38. Nh5 {With White having an already difficult position, he goes
for broke. Objectively this should lose much more quickly but at least it
gives Black a chance to go wrong. And he grabs this chance with open arms.} Qa2
(38... Ra2 39. Qf5 Qd1 {was the winning way, as Pandolfini would say.}) 39. Qe4
Qxb3 {An unfortunate blunder.} (39... Bc3 {would still hold a draw, apparently.
}) 40. Qxa8+ 1-0
[Event "Zurich CC Blitz 2014"]
[Site "Zurich SUI"]
[Date "2014.01.29"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A06"]
[WhiteElo "2872"]
[BlackElo "2773"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "41"]
[EventDate "2014.01.29"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

1. Nf3 ({Regular readers will know that the immediate} 1. b3 {is imprecise
because of} e5 {.}) 1... d5 2. b3 {It's nice to see Carlsen taking up one of
my favourite bullet variations on chess.com.} c5 3. e4 {This reversed Budapest
Gambit has hardly ever been played but it is quite interesting.} (3. e3 {
pretends to play the Nimzo/QID.}) 3... dxe4 4. Ng5 Nf6 (4... Bf5 {is probably
stronger, though} 5. g4 Bg6 6. Bg2 {does give White quite interesting play, as
in the normal Budapest.}) 5. Nc3 Nc6 (5... Bg4 6. Be2 Bf5 {would be
interesting, as the extra move Be2 actually stops White regaining the pawn
with Qe2.}) 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bb2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Ncxe4 Nxe4 10. Nxe4 e5 {This is
way too ambitious, in light of Carlsen's reply.} (10... b6 {and ...Bb7 is the
normal way to play these positions. White doesn't have a4/Ra3-h3 tricks so I
have to admit, it's not obvious how White builds up his kingside attack unless
he goes for} 11. Re1 {-e3-h3 or something.}) 11. f4 exf4 12. Qh5 ({The obvious
} 12. Rxf4 {would keep a very good position as} Na5 {fails to, among others,}
13. Bxf7+ Rxf7 14. Rxf7 Kxf7 15. Qh5+ Kg8 16. Rf1 {with a killing attack.})
12... Nd4 {Black blunders at the first sign of pressure.} (12... Be6 13. Bxe6
fxe6 14. Qg4 Nd4 {would make it hard for White to justify his Qh5 move.}) 13.
Rxf4 {Now White is coasting - Black has too many weak pawns to defend, and
sacrificing them all will probably lead to his king getting mated.} g6 14. Qe5
b6 15. Raf1 {The attack is crushing - White has all his pieces in play and
Black has at least three pieces sleeping in their cots.} Bf5 16. g4 Be6 17.
Bxe6 fxe6 18. Rxf8+ Bxf8 19. Nf6+ Kh8 20. c3 (20. Ne8+ Kg8 21. Qh8+ Kxh8 22.
Rxf8# {would have been a sexier finish.}) 20... Nc6 21. Ne8+ 1-0