22 September 2013

Annotated Game #105: The Caro-Kann - a dull, positional opening (?)

This final-round Slow Chess League tournament game featured an imbalanced Caro-Kann, where Black staked everything on an audacious kingside attack after the dubious decision to sacrifice two pawns coming out of the opening.  Essentially I overreacted to White's 10. Qb3, an excellent move which nonetheless could have been neutralized with a little more thought.  However, it being a Friday night after a long week of work and a glass or so of wine, I had something of a devil-may-care attitude and felt like playing actively, rather than defending a potentially worse position with objectively best moves.

White, perhaps seeking to consolidate his advantage rather than press it, soon afterwards missed the powerful 16. Ng5! which while not winning immediately would give him an overwhelming advantage.  I was then able to continue with my attacking plans, although missing the much stronger 21...Bxh2+ continuation.  (Thanks to nate23 for raising this in the post-game analysis chat.)  White's king is eventually chased across the board and material loss ensues.

Black's ability to fight for the initiative and then put together a winning attack helps illustrate the practical power of active, aggressive play.  I constantly searched for threats to make against my opponent and for ways to improve my piece positions for attacking purposes, which increased the pressure on White.  Annotated Game #104 saw a broadly similar game trajectory, in which I was able to pull out a victory after being under pressure and down material.  While the point of post-game analysis is to help avoid putting oneself in that kind of a hole during future games, it's also worthwhile to understand on a broader level what kind of play can be most effective in terms of results.  I'll share some related thoughts on chess performance vs. chess skills in a subsequent post.

[Event "Slow Swiss #8"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2013.09.20"] [Round "5"] [White "TheIronFly"] [Black "ChessAdmin_01"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B13"] [WhiteElo "1421"] [BlackElo "1550"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [TimeControl "45"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nf3 $5 (5. Nc3 {would enter the Panov variation.}) 5... Bg4 {I thought for a while here and decided to be experimental, rather than almost certainly enter the main Panov line with ... e6, which would transpose back after 6. Nc3. To me this was the best way to challenge the difference in move-order. Its drawback is that the bishop is away from the queenside; the effects will be seen in several moves.} 6. Nc3 e6 (6... Nc6 {would be better here for several reasons, developing the piece, freeing the Ra8 and and blocking the a4-e8 diagonal.}) 7. cxd5 (7. Qb3 { now looks pretty strong.}) 7... Nxd5 8. Be2 Be7 (8... Bb4 $5) 9. O-O O-O { played with almost no thought. I was still on automatic pilot in the opening, which is dangerous when the opening has varied from the standard.} (9... a6 { would have been the easiest way to avoid annoying threats to the b-pawn.}) 10. Qb3 {the most challenging move (and annoying for Black). I thought a good deal here and came up with several plausible options, in fact Houdini's top 3 choices (.. .Nc6, ...Nxc3 and ...Nb6) . I ended up not seeing any of their results clearly enough, however, and played an inferior move.} Nd7 $2 {Black is not going to have enough compensation for the sacrificed material.} (10... Nxc3 11. bxc3 Qc7 $11 {seems simplest. During the game I over-valued the idea of keeping the d-pawn isolated in my calculations.}) 11. Nxd5 exd5 12. Qxd5 Be6 $6 {rather than play a game where I am down a pawn and struggling the whole time, I decide to sacrifice another pawn for activity and a possible kingside attack. Did I mention I had been drinking wine prior to the game?} (12... Qb6 { would be a solid move that limits the damage.}) 13. Qxb7 Nb6 14. Qe4 $16 Re8 15. Be3 Bd6 $2 {Black abandons the defense of the diagonal in hopes of increasing his attacking potential, but this gave White a missed opportunity.} (15... Bd5) 16. Rac1 $2 {this gave Black a pawn back for free, essentially.} ( 16. Ng5 {this was pointed out in the post-game analysis by nate23.} f5 17. Qf3 Qd7 18. Nxe6 Qxe6 19. Rac1 {is one possible continuation. White's two bishops, extra two pawns and the passed central pawn, along with Black's weakened kingside, give White an overwhelming advantage.}) 16... Bxa2 $14 17. Qd3 Bd5 18. Ne5 {I thought this was a bit of a time-waster, although it does provoke a weakness on the g8-a2 diagonal which bears watching.} f6 19. Nc6 {the knight is further from the coming kingside action here, as well as being exposed to threats against it, so I was happy to see this.} Qd7 20. Na5 Re4 {perhaps not objectively best, but it seemed a good way to disrupt things and attempt to wrest the initiative away from White. The rook of course is headed for h4.} 21. Bf3 $2 {this looks superficially good but allows Black to execute the attack, even though I missed the best continuation.} (21. h3 Rh4 22. Bd2 Re8 $14) 21... Rh4 $15 (21... Bxh2+ $1 {was also pointed out by nate23 in the post-game chat. On most other moves I looked at the bishop sacrifice possibilities, but did not here, because I was fixated on the ...Rh4 idea. The general idea behind the rook move is correct, but the intermediate sacrifice gives it much more strength.} 22. Kxh2 $2 (22. Kh1 $19) 22... Rh4+ 23. Kg1 Bxf3 {and White cannot avoid mate, since the Black queen cannot be kept out of h3.}) 22. Bxd5+ Nxd5 23. f4 {this seemed like a mistake at the time, but Houdini assesses other moves as worse. White simply has no good choices.} (23. h3 Rxh3 24. gxh3 Qxh3 $17) 23... Nxf4 {I wondered here if the bishop capture would be better (Houdini says it is) but after looking at the knight capture I decided it looked fine and I did not want to take the time to work through the other variation. Lazy, or practical?} (23... Bxf4 24. Bxf4 Nxf4 25. Qb3+ {forcing Black to have to worry about his back rank} Kh8 26. Qf3 Re8 $15) 24. Bxf4 $6 ( 24. Qc4+ {I had considered this to be White's most effect move here.} Kh8 25. g3 Nh3+ 26. Kg2 Qg4 $11) 24... Bxf4 25. Rc4 $2 {I was expecting g3 here. The move is a creative attempt to hold the position together, but after Black's next move, White cannot avoid losing material while his king gets chased to the other side of the board.} (25. g3 Bxc1 26. gxh4 Bh6 27. d5 Rb8 $15 { is one probable continuation.}) 25... Bxh2+ 26. Kf2 Rf4+ 27. Ke2 Re8+ 28. Kd2 Rxf1 {this seemed the most sure way to victory, although there were better options.} (28... Qd5 $5 {forks the Na5 and g2, for example.}) 29. Qxf1 Qb5 30. b4 Bd6 {I had calculated this far before move 28 and did not see any way for White to hold out.} 31. Nc6 Bf4+ {a useful example of how my thinking process was working well by this point in the game. This non-obvious move works because of the deflection tactic. If the king moves, then Black's rook and queen penetrate with mate threats.} 32. Qxf4 Qxc4 0-1

21 September 2013

Annotated Game #104: Queenside? check. Center? check. Kingside? fail

This round 4 game from a Slow Chess League tournament shows the swift punishment that can occur when the kingside is neglected, regardless of what else is happening on the board.  The English Four Knights opening allowed me (White) to establish strong central pressure and at the same time restrain Black effectively on the queenside.  However, my plan to establish a battery against Black's king to increase the pressure was too slow and an ill-advised queen maneuver allowed Black to quickly marshal what looked like a crushing attack.

Despite feeling a certain amount of despair at my predicament, I was determined to actively defend and not allow Black to achieve an easily winning position.  After a harrowing sequence, I emerged down two pawns but having avoided the mate threats.  Continuing to play as actively as possible and make threats with my queen in the initial queen and minor piece endgame, I was able to catch Black in a tactic and suddenly I had the only piece left on the board, a mighty dark-square bishop, which combined with my king was enough to sweep up all the Black pawns and force the queening of the last White one.

While the outcome was eventually positive, next time a bit of prophylaxis on the kingside would not hurt...

[Event "Slow Swiss #8"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2013.09.12"] [Round "4"] [White "ChessAdmin_01"] [Black "Yamaduta"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A28"] [WhiteElo "1504"] [BlackElo "1504"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "137"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [TimeControl "45"] {A28: English Opening: Four Knights Variation} 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e3 Be7 5. d4 exd4 6. Nxd4 Ne5 {this unusual move seemed to me to be most likely a prelude to ...c5, to kick the Nd4, but it never actually occurred in the game. The Ne5 looks nicely centralized, but it doesn't seem to do enough to warrant the tempo loss of moving the piece twice.} (6... Bb4 7. Nxc6 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 dxc6 9. Qc2 Qe7 10. f3 Be6 11. Rb1 b6 12. Qa4 Bd7 13. Be2 c5 14. Qc2 O-O 15. O-O Bc6 16. e4 Rad8 17. Bg5 h6 18. Bh4 g5 19. Bf2 {1/2-1/2 (19) Gulko, B (2560)-Ivanov,A (2555) St Martin 1992}) (6... O-O {followed by ...d5 is the main line and was used most famously by Karpov.}) 7. Be2 {White continues with standard development, as occurs in the main line.} (7. Nc2 {was played in the only master-level game in the database. The idea is to regroup White's pieces to exploit an eventual f4 advance.} d6 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 c6 10. O-O Re8 11. Kh1 Qc7 12. f4 Ned7 13. Bf3 Bf8 14. Re1 a5 15. b3 Nc5 16. Ba3 Ne6 17. Qd2 Nd7 18. Rad1 Nec5 19. g3 Rb8 20. Kg2 Ra8 21. h4 Rb8 {Suba,M (2487)-Voos,G Mallorca 2000 1-0 (36)}) 7... O-O 8. O-O d6 9. b3 {fortifying c4 and getting the bishop to the long diagonal.} b6 $6 {this weakens the light square complex on the queenside and I was not too concerned about the bishop on the long diagonal, believing that I could exchange it off via an eventual Bf3. Houdini points out the tactical exploitation I could have made of the light square weakness; unfortunately, I was not even considering the possibility of an f4 push (which otherwise would be antipositional). The vulnerability of the Ne5 combined with the light square weakness is what makes the tactic work.} 10. Bb2 (10. f4 Ng6 11. Bf3 {and Black loses material.}) 10... Bb7 {White can proceed in a number of ways here. I chose to retreat the knight to block the long diagonal and then develop with Qc2.} 11. Nf3 Ng6 12. Qc2 {with this move, Black no longer controls e4 and White can connect the rooks.} d5 $6 {this gives White a big target and pressure on the d-file, I assume my opponent missed the pin idea and assumed the pawn would be immediately exchanged.} 13. Rfd1 c6 14. e4 { I thought for some time here and figured that increasing the pressure on d5 was best. Houdini is less impressed with the idea, preferring to use the tempo to begin shifting pieces to more effective squares. A problem with the text move is that it further boxes in the light-squared bishop.} (14. Bd3 $5 { this at first seems to obscure the pin, but in reality it makes it more dangerous, as the threat is Bxg6 with a discovered attack on the d-file, for example after .. .dxc4.} Re8 15. Rac1 Bd6 16. cxd5 cxd5 17. Bf5 $14 {is one possible continuation, leaving Black with the isolated queen's pawn.}) 14... Rc8 {I had thought that Black would do best to immediately move his queen away from the pin, but evidently he wanted to develop his rook and then have potential counterthreats on the c-file.} 15. Rd2 {not a very creative approach, albeit consistent, aiming to double rooks and further increase the pressure.} ( 15. Bd3 dxc4 16. bxc4 Qc7 17. e5 $14 {is an interesting idea from Houdini. I had given some thought during the game about the idea of the e5 thrust, but didn't find a way to make it meaningful. Here the Q+B battery adds some significance to the move.} Nd7 18. Bf5 {here the bishop is much more powerful than in the game continuation.}) 15... Qc7 16. Rad1 Rfd8 17. Qb1 $6 {the idea was to enable the exchanges on d5 without exposing the queen to tactics along the c-file. However, this was unnecessary and it potentially gives away the initiative to Black.} (17. e5 {here also, the idea of the pawn thrust could be useful.} Ng4 18. cxd5 cxd5 19. Nxd5 Qxc2 20. Nxe7+ Kf8 21. Rxc2 Rxc2 22. Rxd8+ Kxe7 23. Rd2 $14) (17. exd5 cxd5 18. cxd5 Bb4 19. Rd4 (19. Bc4 {would also be OK, with the idea of disrupting the c-file pressure.}) 19... Bxc3 20. Rc4) 17... Bc5 (17... Bb4 {I thought would have been more to the point, exploiting the inaccurate queen move.} 18. exd5 (18. a3 $2 {leads to problems for White.} Bxc3 19. Bxc3 Nxe4 20. Rc2 dxc4 21. Bxc4 c5 $17 {and now Black is a pawn up with the Bb7 a real monster.}) 18... cxd5 19. Qc2 {and White has accomplished little, other than handing the initiative to Black.}) 18. exd5 cxd5 19. cxd5 a6 {preventing Nb5, which is what I had in mind.} 20. a4 {employing some prophylaxis and taking control of the b5 square, as I was concerned about Black playing ... b5-b4 otherwise.} Qf4 {this seemed rather cheeky at the time (and objectively is so), but I react poorly and manage to ignore all of Black's threats in favor of following my own short-term plan of creating a Q+B battery.} (20... Bb4 $5) 21. Qa1 $2 (21. Bc4 {what a difference a tempo makes, as this played immediately would give White a fine game by shoring up d5, blocking tactics down the c-file against the Nc3, and laterally protecting f2 via the Rd2. The tempo wasted by the text move nearly sinks me.}) (21. h3 { is what I thought would have been the simplest way to prevent Black's next sequence, but in fact Black has other tactical resources. In practical terms, though, it would be difficult for someone to see the following sequence.} Bxf2+ 22. Kxf2 Rxc3 23. Bxc3 Ne4+ 24. Kg1 Nxc3 25. Qc2 Nxd1 26. Qxd1 Qd6 $15) 21... Ng4 22. Bc4 $2 {now this move should lose. As soon as I played it, I saw Black's next coming and despair started to set in.} (22. Rd4 {to my credit, I had in fact considered this exchange sacrifice as a defensive resource. Had I seen Black's 22nd move in the game, I probably would have played it.} Bxd4 23. Rxd4 Qf5 24. h3 Nf6 25. Bd3 Qd7 26. Qd1 {and White is OK.}) 22... Nh4 $1 $19 23. Ne4 {I thought for some time here and this seemed the best practical chance for the defense. Houdini agrees (although it's still losing).} Nxf3+ 24. gxf3 Qxh2+ 25. Kf1 Qh3+ {now Black fails to bring more pieces into the attack, which is what allows White to escape.} (25... Re8) 26. Kg1 Qxf3 27. Nxc5 Bxd5 $2 {this gives White an out by allowing him to eliminate the bishop. I took it too quickly in the game, however, not considering the intermediate move Houdini points out.} (27... Rxc5 $19 {and now Black can sacrifice on d5 to eventually deflect the Rd2 (a necessary defender of f2), which wins.} 28. Be5 Rcxd5 29. Bxd5 Rxd5 30. Rxd5 Qxf2+ $19) 28. Bxd5 (28. Ne4 Qxe4 29. Rxd5 Rxd5 30. Bxd5 Qf4 31. Bd4 {and the best Black can do is a perpetual check.} Qh2+ 32. Kf1 Rc2 33. Bg2 Qf4 34. Kg1 Qh2+) 28... Rxd5 29. Ne4 {a recurring active more for the defense.} Rxd2 30. Rxd2 {White remains tied to the defense of the f2 pawn.} Qxe4 31. Qd1 {White is still losing, down two pawns and with an open king position, but is no longer in imminent danger of being mated. Black now has to think about his own king position due to the back rank.} Re8 (31... h5 { immediately is what Houdini recommends, which would rid Black of his bank-rank weakness and see him start to leverage his kingside pawn majority.}) 32. Rd8 h5 33. Rxe8+ Qxe8 34. Qd4 {White's strategy here is to play as actively as possible with his queen and continue making threats, to try and keep Black from consolidating his advantage.} Qe1+ $6 (34... f6 {permanently blocks the mate threat.} 35. Qd5+ (35. Qxb6 $2 Qe1+ 36. Kg2 Qe4+ 37. Kg1 Qb1+ 38. Kg2 Qxb2 ) 35... Kh8 $19) 35. Kg2 $15 {White's king still looks precarious, but Black can do nothing further against it and now must deal with White's threats.} Nf6 36. Qd8+ Qe8 $2 {Black misses the next tactic, which turns the tables and gives White a winning game.} 37. Bxf6 Qxd8 38. Bxd8 $18 {in the bishop ending, White's strategy is to restrain the Black pawn majority, then penetrate and destroy it with the king, using the bishop for the necessary extra tempi to put Black in zugzwang.} b5 39. Kg3 g6 40. axb5 axb5 41. Kf4 Kg7 42. Kg5 { the Bd8 dominates the d8-h4 diagonal and effectively shackles Black's position, preventing him from driving away the king.} f5 43. Bb6 Kf7 44. b4 {White is in no hurry and places the pawn on a dark square, so it can be defended in the future by the bishop if necessary.} Kg7 45. Bd4+ Kf7 46. Bc5 Kg7 47. Bb6 { the bishop is moved for a tempo gain, forcing Black to allow White's king to penetrate.} Kf7 48. Kh6 h4 49. Bc7 {ensuring that the h-pawn has no future.} h3 50. Kg5 Kg7 51. Kh4 Kf6 52. Kxh3 g5 53. Kg3 g4 54. f3 {this will allow the liquidation of all kingside pawns, making White's task easier.} Ke6 55. fxg4 fxg4 56. Kxg4 Kd5 57. Bd8 Kd6 58. Kf4 Kd5 59. Be7 {with the White pawn immune from attack, White can repeat the zugzwang trick again, as Black's king cannot protect his b-pawn forever.} Kc6 60. Ke4 Kb6 61. Kd5 Ka6 62. Kc6 Ka7 63. Kxb5 Kb7 64. Bh4 {with the bishop present to provide a tempo to allow White to gain the opposition, it is an easy win.} Kb8 65. Kb6 Ka8 {playing for a stalemate chance.} 66. b5 Kb8 67. Bg5 Ka8 68. Kc7 Ka7 69. b6+ 1-0

09 September 2013

DVD completed - The Dutch Stonewall

This week I completed The Dutch Stonewall ChessBase fritztrainer DVD, which features Bulgarian FM (soon to be IM) Valeri Lilov.  The DVD format has a series of 10-12 minute segments that were evenly divided between Classical and Modern Stonewall variations, with two segments on early deviations for White, as well as an introduction and end summary.

I found that the DVD was a good complement to the Win with the Stonewall Dutch book, which is devoted solely to the Modern Stonewall and goes into a large number of variations and sample games as well as treating central ideas.  Having run through almost all of the book material line by line, I have to say that it made for an excellent and thorough exposure to the opening, but the quantity of games involved (a positive from a reference standpoint) perhaps obscured some of the central themes for me.

The presentation on the DVD was also built around key games but the more limited review material, along with the verbal and graphical explanations of key concepts, helped highlight them effectively.  The DVD was by no means oversimplified, however, with Lilov regularly pointing out key points of divergence.  Furthermore, after reviewing the Stonewall portion of Starting Out: The Dutch Defence, I noticed how much clearer and familiar its explanation of Stonewall concepts seemed after having absorbed the DVD material.  I'm sure part of this is due to the repetition effect, but having three different styles and methods of treating the Stonewall seems to have been more effective for my studies rather than less.

Another benefit of the DVD presentation is that Lilov is a practitioner of the defense and has gone through his own study and learning process with it.  His end summary segment mostly emphasizes the need to make the opening your own by studying master games, analyzing games for yourself, and playing it until you get a better feel for how the system works in practice.  He also explicitly cautions against memorizing lines without having a full grasp of the concepts involved and makes the practical point that you should initially expect to have worse results when playing a new opening, due to your lack of familiarity.  His recommendations parallel my preferred opening study methods, as Lilov does not promise any sort of magic formula by using the Stonewall and instead notes that work needs to be done on it, just like any other opening.  He closes by observing that after he got serious about studying top-level games in it from Kramnik and others, the opening came together for him as a player and he started beating master-level opposition using it.

There were a few things that detracted from the DVD.  Lilov in most segments misspeaks a few times, usually saying the last thing he was focusing on rather than what he intended to say, which is a common verbal error in unrehearsed presentations.  For example he will say queenside when he means kingside, or will incorrectly specify a square by saying d4 instead of d2.  Because of the graphical chessboard accompanying the lecture and the relative obviousness of what he meant to say, this is not an insurmountable problem, but could pose difficulties for someone less used to chess nomenclature or whose native language is not English.  The segments don't seem to have been reviewed for editing purposes, otherwise these errors would have been caught (either that or they were ignored).  In terms of chess content, I found the game selections and material to be well-selected, if not fully comprehensive.  The area least covered is probably White's early deviations, but Lilov presents some useful approaches against what are probably the majority of White's more common variations, including the Staunton Gambit.

I believe anyone who wishes to play the Dutch Stonewall, especially those interested in the less theoretically prominent Classical Stonewall where resources are harder to find, will get a lot out of the material on the DVD for instructional and reference purposes.  As cited above, I also think having instructional and reference material in DVD format serves to usefully complement other excellent book material on the opening.

07 September 2013

Commentary games database

In addition to the main PGN annotated games database, there is now a separate commentary games database available for download, also listed on the sidebar.  Originally I had planned solely to focus on my own games for analysis, but periodically some major chess events have provided some excellent grist for the analytic mill, such as the U.S. Championships and the FIDE World Cup.

As an admin note, one of the commentary games, "Nakamura Plays the Slav", was included in the primary database and I'm going to leave it in there so the database numbering matches up with the "Annotated Game" post title numbering for the blog, although it is also included in the commentary games PGN database.

04 September 2013

FT: Games we play make us better at work

Many would argue that chess is the ultimate contest for those seeking mental stimulation. The only element of chance is whether one is black or white. It is an ancient and international sport of war: like business, it consists of judging a rival’s strengths and weaknesses, and weighing short-term tactics against longer-term strategy. Yet so often players lose by letting their emotions rule their heads. As AA Milne wrote: “It is impossible to win gracefully at chess. No man has yet said ‘Mate!’ in a voice which failed to sound to his opponent bitter, boastful and malicious.”

01 September 2013

Commentary - Tromso 2013 FIDE World Cup round 5.3

In the last game of round 5 of the ongoing 2013 FIDE World Cup in Tromso, Norway, Dmitri Andreikin had to hold a draw against Peter Svidler and chose to enter the line of the Caro-Kann Advance (3...c5) where Black sacrifices a pawn early in exchange for positional compensation.  This is the only line of the Caro-Kann to feature what amounts to a gambit by Black and the game is well worth studying, including the key point at move 8 where Black deliberately scorns regaining the pawn in favor of furthering his development.  Black could have continued in hopes of a win, but forced a draw by repetition to seal his advancement to the next round.

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2013"] [Site "Tromso NOR"] [Date "2013.08.25"] [Round "5.4"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Andreikin, Dmitry"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2746"] [BlackElo "2716"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2013.08.11"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 {a pawn sacrifice by Black that gets away from the the standard, heavily analyzed ...Bf5 lines and intends to nullify White's active play.} 4. dxc5 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. c3 {Bb5 is by far the most popular continuation, but the text move is second and also trendy. Its function is to immediately restrain the Black d-pawn and postpone committing the light-squared bishop.} e6 7. Be3 {White decides to hold on to the c-pawn; b4 would be the alternative method of doing this. Following is an interestingly unbalanced example of how Andreikin treated that approach in a high-level game: } (7. b4 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 Nxe5 9. Bb5+ Nc6 10. Bb2 Be7 11. c4 Nf6 12. Nc3 O-O 13. O-O-O d4 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. Qxc6 dxc3 16. Rxd8 cxb2+ 17. Kxb2 Raxd8 18. Kc2 a5 19. a3 axb4 20. axb4 Ra8 21. Rb1 Rfd8 22. Qf3 Ne8 23. Rb3 Ra2+ 24. Rb2 Rd2+ 25. Kxd2 Rxb2+ 26. Kc3 Bf6+ 27. Qxf6 Nxf6 28. Kxb2 Kf8 29. f3 Ke7 30. Kc3 e5 31. b5 Kd7 32. Kd3 Kc7 33. c6 Kd6 34. h4 Ne8 35. f4 exf4 36. Kd4 Nf6 37. c5+ Kc7 38. Ke5 h6 39. Kxf4 Nd5+ 40. Ke5 Nc3 41. b6+ Kxc6 42. b7 Kxb7 43. Kd6 g5 44. Ke7 gxh4 45. Kxf7 Nd5 46. Kg6 Ne3 47. Kh5 Nf5 48. Kg6 Ne3 49. Kh5 Nxg2 50. Kg4 Kc6 51. Kh3 Nf4+ 52. Kxh4 Kd5 53. c6 Ke5 54. c7 Ng6+ 55. Kh5 {1/2-1/2 (55) Nepomniachtchi,I (2704)-Andreikin,D (2718) Moscow 2012}) 7... Bxf3 {the preferred database choice; the main alternative ...Nge7 scores highly (over 80 percent) for White.} 8. Qxf3 Nge7 {Black with this move favors solid development and avoids giving White any targets, instead forcing White to focus on covering his own weaknesses.} (8... Nxe5 {is what one would expect here and is played much more often, but with less success; White scores 62 percent. A top proponent of the Caro-Kann, Igor Khenkin, prefers the text move, which continues the spirit of the initial gambit. There are only a handful (4) of games in the database, of which 3 are Khenkin's, but Black scores an impressive 75 percent in them.}) 9. Bb5 a6 10. Ba4 Qa5 {a common move in this variation once Bb5 is played, as it hits the bishop and c5 at the same time.} 11. Qd1 Nf5 12. b4 {now out of the database with the text move, which is the obvious way to challenge Black's queen. The only other game to continue this far was a win for Black:} (12. Bd4 Nfxd4 13. b4 Nf3+ 14. gxf3 Qc7 15. Qe2 g6 16. f4 Bh6 17. Qg4 O-O 18. h4 Kh8 19. Nd2 a5 20. Nf3 axb4 21. h5 Rxa4 22. hxg6 fxg6 23. Rxh6 bxc3 24. Nh4 Nxe5 25. Qg3 Re4+ {0-1 (25) Grekh,A (2355) -Chernyshov,K (2570) Odessa 2007}) 12... Nxe3 {see how the theme of using this knight for an in-between move after the queen is attacked is similar to the game in the previous note.} 13. fxe3 Qc7 $11 {Black now has a somewhat cramped but solid position, with ideas of undermining White on the queenside and also targeting the e5 pawn. Meanwhile White is a pawn up but, with notable weaknesses (especially the e-pawns) and faces developmental problems for his pieces.} 14. Qd4 {taking advantage of the pin on the Nc6 to protect the e5 pawn.} Be7 15. Nd2 O-O (15... a5 {immediately is what Houdini recommends instead of castling.} 16. Bxc6+ Qxc6 17. O-O axb4 {and compared with the game continuation, White would not be in a position to challenge Black on the a-file.; see the note to move 18.}) 16. Bxc6 Qxc6 17. O-O a5 18. Nf3 {White focuses on his own plans and ignores Black's.} (18. a3 {is Houdini's preference, which keeps the a-file closed or contested.}) 18... axb4 19. cxb4 Ra3 {excellent use of the a-file by Black, who now dominates the third rank as well.} 20. h3 {despite being a pawn up, White has no obvious way to make progress and several weaknesses to cover in his position. He can try to drum up something on the kingside - he certainly is in no position to play on the queenside currently, despite the 3-1 majority - but with only one minor piece on the board, is unlikely to have enough material for an attack.} h6 21. Kh1 Qa6 {significantly improving his queen placement, doubling pressure on the a-pawn and seizing the a6-f1 diagonal.} 22. Rf2 Rd3 {Black continues his active play, seizing the initiative and continuing to make threats.} 23. Qf4 Qa3 24. Re1 g5 (24... Rc3 {is the plan Houdini prefers, with the idea of rounding up the weak queenside pawns, for example} 25. Rd2 Rc4 26. Rd4 Qxb4 27. Rxc4 dxc4 $17) 25. Qg4 Rxe3 {finally regaining the pawn, under very favorable circumstances.} 26. Ref1 Qd3 27. a4 Qg6 $15 {Black chooses the solid defensive option. Houdini says he could get away with . ..Re4 to go after the queenside pawns and then weather the storm, but that would be uncomfortable for a while.} (27... Re4 28. Qh5 Rxb4 29. Qxh6 Qh7 30. Qxh7+ Kxh7 $17 {no doubt Andreikin saw this or a similar continuation and decided he didn't need to take the risk of having his king position weakened.}) 28. Qd4 Qe4 29. Qb2 $6 {White underestimates the danger on the kingside. This move protects e5 again, but leaves Black's queen in a threatening position. Perhaps exchanging queens would have been more prudent.} h5 $17 {Black seizes the opportunity and makes the correctly aggressive move, threatening to continue with ...g4.} 30. Nd2 { allows the next small tactic from Black} Rxh3+ 31. Kg1 Qg4 32. Rf3 Rh4 33. Rb3 Qe2 $19 {Houdini evalutes this as winning for Black.} 34. Qc3 Rg4 (34... Kg7 { is the curious-looking move found by Houdini that advances Black's attack. Black has a deflection tactic available that would allow him to make some progress.} 35. Rf2 Rh1+ 36. Kxh1 Qxf2 37. Qe3 Qf5 {is a possible continuation, with ...g4 to follow.}) 35. Rf2 Qe1+ {needing only a draw to advance, Black goes for the repetition.} 36. Rf1 Qe2 37. Rf2 Qe1+ 1/2-1/2