GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko comments on the games of the 12th round

 Veselin Topalov – Peter Svidler

Sicilian Defense B49

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Be2 b5. The classical way of handling this position is 7…Nf6 8.0–0 Bb4 9.Na4 Be7 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Nb6 Rb8 12.Nxc8 Qxc8, and it is hard to White to prove his advnatage.

8.Nxc6 dxc6?! 8…Qxc6 is a more typical Sicilian idea and is way more popular. Here is one of the latest examples: 9.Bf3 Bb7 10.0–0 Qc7 11.Qd3 Ne7 12.a4 b4 13.Nd5 exd5 14.exd5 d6 15.Rfe1 Rc8 16.Bd4 with strong compensation for a sacrificed piece, Karjakin-Morozevich, Beijing 2012.

9.a4 b4 10.Nb1 Nf6 11.Nd2 c5.


12.f3. A sensible novelty – White creates a barrier on the h1-a8 diagonal against the b7-bishop, also restricting the black knight. Earlier White tried 12.Bf3 Bb7 13.Qe2 Be7 14.0–0 0–0 15.Bg5 Qe5 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nc4 Qc7 18.e5 Bxf3 19.gxf3 Be7 with a balanced game – White’s structural weaknesses are compensated by passive placement of the black bishop, Acher-Gofshtein, Cannes 1999.

12…Bb7 13.Nc4 Nd7?! (13…Rd8!? 14.Qc1 Be7 15.Bf4 Qc8 16.0–0 0–0 with the idea Nh5.) 14.Qc1 Be7 15.0–0 0–0 16.Bf4 e5 17.Bg3. Black did not equalize – his light squares are weak.

17…h6. Planning to develop the bishop to g5.

 18.c3 a5 19.Qc2 Ba6 20.Rfd1 Rfd8 21.b3 Bg5 22.Bf2 Nf8. Black prepares to transfer the knight to е6 and proceed by bxc3 and Nd4, so White must act quickly.



23…cxb4?! Probably 23…axb4 is stronger – 24.h4 Be7 25.Ne3 Bxe2 26.Qxe2 Ne6 27.Nd5 Qa7 28.Qc4 Nd4, and White has a small advantage.

24.Bb6! Forcing Black to trade on d1, thus seizing control over the d-file.

24…Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Qb8 26.Bf2 Qc7? 26…Bd8 is Black’s only option. After 27.Nd6 (27.Rd5 is not as strong due to 27…Ne6! 28.g3 (28.Nxe5? Bxe2 29.Qxe2 Nf4) 28…Bc7, and Black maintains material balance) 27…Bxe2 28.Qxe2 Bb6 29.Qb5 Bxf2+ 30.Kxf2 Qa7+ 31.Ke2 f6 Black’s position looks horrible due to numerous weaknesses, however, it is not easy to find a way to win for White.

27.Rd5! Targeting the а5- and е5-pawns, and also preparing to double the heavy pieces on the d-file in a right order.

27…Rc8. After 27…Ne6 28.Rxa5 Nd4 29.Bxd4 exd4 30.g3 Bb7 31.Rxa8+ Bxa8 32.Kg2 Black could defend for a long time, however, objectively White’s position is almost winning.

28.h4?! This move only creates a weaknesses on the kingside. Stronger is 28.Rc5 Qd8 (maybe Veselin was worried about 28…Qxc5 29.Bxc5 Rxc5, but here White should win by 30.Qd1 Be7 31.Kf2 g6 32.Ne3!) 29.Rxe5, winning a pawn and keeping all the advantages of his position.

28…Be7 29.Qd2.


29…Rd8? Black cannot tolerate the с4-knight for long, so he should have taken it now by 29…Bxc4. After 30.Bxc4 Rd8 Black at least disputes the d-file and keeps a plan of transferring the knight to d4 in his possession. White would have to work hard to win this game.

30.Bb6! With this pendulum bishop maneuver Black is forced to exchange rooks on the d-file, which allows White to win the a5-pawn.

 30…Rxd5 31.Qxd5 Qb8 (31…Qd7 is quite hopeless – 32.Qxd7 (32.Bxa5!?+-) 32…Nxd7 33.Bxa5 f6 34.Kf1 Nc5 35.Bxb4 Nxb3 36.Bxe7 Nc1 37.Bd1 Bxc4+ 38.Kf2, and White should win) 32.Qxa5 Bxc4 33.Bxc4 Qd6 (33…Bxh4 34.Bc7 Qc8 35.Bxe5+-) 34.Bf2 Qd1+ 35.Kh2. Black resigns.


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – Sergey Karjakin

Nimzo-Indian Defense E20

 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 c5 5.d5 b5 6.e4 0–0 7.e5. Shakhriyar does not repeat his own game, which continued 7.Bg5 exd5 8.cxd5 Re8 9.Qd2 a6 10.Nge2 d6 11.Ng3 Nbd7 12.Be2 c4 13.0–0 Bc5+ 14.Kh1 h6 15.Be3 Bxe3 16.Qxe3 Nc5, and Black equalized easily, Mamedyarov-Fressinet, Ohrid 2009.

 7…Ne8 8.f4 exd5 9.cxd5 d6 10.Nf3 c4 11.a4.


11…Nd7. 11…Bg4 is not so successful: 12.axb5 Nd7 13.e6 fxe6 14.dxe6 Nb6 15.Be2 Nc7 16.0–0! (16.Ng5 Bxe2 17.Qxe2 d5 18.0–0 Qf6 19.f5 Rae8 20.Rxa7 Nxe6 21.Nxe6 Rxe6 22.Qf2 Qe5 23.g4 Rg6 24.Qg2 Rgf6 25.Bf4 Qd4+ 26.Qf2 Qxf2+ 27.Kxf2 d4 28.Ne4 R6f7 29.Rxf7 Rxf7 30.Ra1 h6 31.Be5 d3 32.Bd4 Rb7 33.h4 Bf8 34.Rc1 Nd5 35.Rxc4 Rxb5 36.Rc8 Kf7 37.g5 Ne7 38.Nd6+, 1–0, Shirov-Kramnik, Shanghai 2010) 16…Nxe6 17.h3 Bh5 18.f5 Nc7 19.Nd4!, and White’s chances in this complicated position look better.

 12.Be2 Qb6 13.axb5 Nc7. A novelty. Earlier Black tried 13…dxe5 14.fxe5 Bb7, and now 15.Bxc4 is interesting (Ding-Bacrot, Biel 2013 continued 15.Qd4 Nc7 16.Qxb6 Nxb6 17.d6 Nxb5 18.Bd2 Bxf3 19.Bxf3 Rae8 with equality) 15…Nc7 16.Ra4!?, and now, say, 16…Qc5 17.Rxb4 Qxb4 18.Qb3 with excellent compensation for an exchange.

14.Qd4!? Similar to the previous note, White could try 14.Ra4!?, to which Black should reply 14…a5 (14…Qc5 15.Ng5 dxe5 16.Nge4 Qxb5 17.d6 Ne6 18.0–0 is very unclear – White has dangerous initiative for a pawn) 15.Nd2 dxe5 16.Nxc4 Qc5 17.Be3 Qxd5 18.0–0 Bxc3 19.bxc3 Qxd1 20.Rxd1 Nxb5 21.Bd2 exf4 22.Rxa5 Rxa5 23.Nxa5 Nd6 24.Bxf4 Ne4 with approximate equality – black knights get very good outposts in the center, e. g., 25.Bf3 Re8 26.c4 f5=.

14…Bb7 15.Bd2. Less successful is 15.e6 fxe6 16.dxe6 Bc5! 17.Qxc4 d5 18.Qb3 Qxe6, and Black seizes the initiative.

15…Bxc3 16.bxc3 dxe5 17.fxe5 Bxd5 18.Be3 Qxb5 19.0–0 Ne6 20.Qh4. For a sacrificed pawn White has a bishop pair and certain attacking prospects.


20…Ndc5?! Pushing the passed pawn deserved attention: 20…a5!? 21.Ng5 Nxg5 22.Qxg5 a4!, and I don’t see any real threats for White, while the black pawn is now two steps closer to the queening square.

21.Rab1 Nb3?! This knight gets stuck on the queenside for a long time, while the main action switches to the kingside. Black should have returned material by 21…Qc6 22.Bxc4 Bxc4 23.Qxc4 Qe4 with a very likely draw.

 22.Bd1! Qa5 23.Bc2 g6 24.Ng5! White sacrifices a second pawn, which should lead to his advantage.

24…Nxg5 25.Bxg5 Qxc3 26.Rf2. Even stronger is 26.Rbd1! Bc6 27.Rf2, and Black must give up an exchange by 27…Nc5 28.Be7 Qxe5 29.Bxf8 Rxf8 30.Qxc4. The resulting position is probably drawn, but White can play for a win without any risk.

26…Nd4. Returning the faraway knight to the kingside.

 27.Bh6 Nc6. After 27…Ne6?! 28.Qf6 Qa5 29.h4 White’s attack is likely to succeed, especially in a practical game.

28.Rd1 Qxe5.


29.Rf5!? Qe7?! Karjakin demonstrates his ambition! After 29…gxf5 30.Rxd5 the game ends in a move repetition – 30…Qa1+ 31.Rd1 Qe5 32.Rd5 Qa1+ 33.Rd1, because 33…Qc3? fails to 34.Qg5+ Kh8 35.Qxf5, and Black cannot defend against mate on h7.

 30.Bg5 f6. Forced, as after 30…Qc5+ 31.Kh1 gxf5 32.Bf6 Black cannot survive even with the computer move 32…Bxg2+ 33.Kxg2 Ne5 due to the following long but practically forced line: 34.Qh6 Qc6+ 35.Kg1 Qb6+ 36.Kf1 Qf2+ 37.Kxf2 Ng4+ 38.Kf3 Nxh6 39.Rg1+ Ng4 40.Bxf5 h5 41.h3 Rfb8 42.hxg4 h4 43.Rh1 Rb6 44.g5 Rxf6 45.gxf6 a5 46.Kf4!, and wins.


31.Rfxd5? Shakhriyar outsmarts himself! After the simple 31.Bxf6! Qe3+ (an exchange sacrifice 31…Rxf6 32.Rxf6 Qc5+ 33.Kh1 Ne5!? gives Black some chances to survive) 32.Rf2 is is hard for Black to defend. For example, the natural 32…Bf7 is refuted by 33.Be4! Rac8 34.Kh1!, and Black has no adequate defense against Bс3 and Qf6.

 31…fxg5 32.Qxc4 Qe6. White still has some compensation for sacrificed pawns, plus Karjakin runs extremely short on time…

 33.Bb3 Kh8 34.Qc5 Rae8 35.h4 Qe3+ 36.Qxe3 Rxe3 37.Ba4 Ne7 38.Rxg5 Nf5 39.h5 Kg7 40.hxg6 hxg6 41.Bc2. White transposes to a double-rook endgame with excellent drawing chances.

41…Kh6 42.Rg4 Re5 43.Bxf5 Rexf5.


44.Ra4. An easier way to a draw is 44.Rd6 R5f6 45.Rxf6 Rxf6 46.Ra4 a6 47.Ra5, and White reaches a safe heaven.

44…a5 45.Rd6 Rg5 46.Ra6 Rff5 47.Rh4+ Kg7 48.Ra7+ Rf7 49.Ra6 (49.Rh7+ Kxh7 50.Rxf7+ Kh6 51.Ra7=) 49…Rb7 50.Ra4 Rbb5 51.Ra3 Rb1+ 52.Kh2 Rh5+ 53.Kg3 Rbb5 54.Kf2 Kh6 55.Kg1 Rb1+ 56.Kf2 Rb2+ 57.Kg1 Rg5 58.Rh3+ Kg7 59.Ra7+ Kf6 60.Ra6+. Game drawn.


Levon Aronian – Vladimir Kramnik

Queen’s Gambit D36

 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 c6 6.Qc2 Be7 7.e3 Nbd7 8.h3. A rare move in this position, but it is well in the spirit of modern theory – White implies g2-g4.

8…Nh5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Nf3 Nb6 11.0–0–0. White signifies his aggression – after castling short Black will face a pawn storm.


11…Nf6. More often Black continues 11…g6. Kasparov-Smyslov, Moscow 1988 saw 12.g4 Ng7 13.Bd3 Be6 14.Ne2 0–0–0 15.Nf4 Kb8 16.Be2 Ne8 17.Nd2 Nd6 18.h4 Bc8 19.Nb3 Ne4 20.Bf3 f5 with a draw.

 12.Bd3 Be6 13.Kb1 0–0–0 14.Ka1 Kb8 15.Rc1 Ne8. Also possible is 15…g6 16.Rhd1 Rc8 17.Na4 Nxa4 18.Qxa4 Ne4 19.Qc2 Nd6 20.g4 f6 with a safe position for Black, Gustafsson-Kosanovic, Budapest 2001.

 16.Na4 Nd6. One could also consider 16…Nxa4 17.Qxa4 Nd6, but Kramnik prefers to keep more pieces on the board.

 17.Nc5 g6 18.h4. A novelty. Earlier White tried 18.g4, preventing the bishop trade on f5. Black replied poorly by 18…h5?! 19.Ne5 Ndc4 20.Bxc4 dxc4 21.Qe4 Qd6 22.Nxe6 Qxe6 23.Qf4 Kc8 24.Qxf7, and White eventually won in Ikonnikov-Barua, Dieren 2007.

 18…Bc8. Played with the same idea of avoiding exchanges. The thematic 18…Bf5 19.Bxf5 Nxf5 20.h5 Nd6 21.Ne5 Nbc4 is enough to equalize.



19…g5!? 20.Bxh7. One could fixate a weakness on h7 by 20.h6!? g4 21.Nh4 Qg5 22.g3 followed by the knight transfer to f4, however in this case Black has a positional queen sacrifice: 22…Qxh6!? 23.Ng6 hxg6 24.Rxh6 Rxh6, and White lacks resources to convert his minimal advantage.

 20…g4 21.Nh4 Qf6 22.g3 Nbc4 23.Bd3 Rxh5 24.Rhe1 Re8. Black equalized comfortably, but active ideas from both sides are very limited due to a rigid pawn structure.

 25.Re2 Reh8 26.Qb3 Qd8 27.e4?! It doesn’t spoil anything, but it can be a first step to a disaster. White probably didn’t want to keep maneuvering by 27.Qb4!?

27…b6 28.Na4? This silent offer could cost White a game. 28.exd5 cxd5 (28…Na5 29.Qc3 Rxd5 30.b4!? leads to an unclear game) 29.Bb1 followed by Kd3 is correct.


28…Ba6? Vladimir clearly lacks ambition, otherwise he would at least try calculating 28…Nb5! 29.exd5 Na5! – this intermediate move gives Black an advantage – 30.Qd1 Rxd5 31.Bxb5 cxb5 32.Nc3 Rxd4 33.Qe1 a6!, and White has to suffer for a draw.

29.Nc5. Levon correctly sees no reason to play for a win, however, bearing in mind the aforementioned idea, stronger is 29.Qb4!? dxe4 30.Bxc4 Nxc4 31.Rxe4, and White should hold, but not 31.Rxc4 c5!! 32.Qb3 cxd4!, and white cavalry looks pitiful – Black should win.

 29…Bc8 30.Na4? Ba6? 31.Nc5 Bc8, and a draw was agreed.


Viswanathan Anand – Dmitry Andreikin

Caro-Kann Defense B18

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 e6 8.Ne5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Nd7 11.f4 Bb4+ 12.c3 Be7 13.Bd2 Ngf6 14.0–0–0 0–0.


15.Qf3. Anand deviates from 15.Ne4 Nxe4 16.Qxe4 Nxe5 17.fxe5 Qd5 18.Qxd5 cxd5 19.h5 b5 20.Rh3 a5 21.Rf1 Rac8 22.Rg3 Kh7 23.Rgf3 Kg8 24.Rg3 Kh7 25.Rgf3 Kg8, draw, Anand-Carlsen, Chennai 2013.

 15…Qc7 16.c4 a5 17.Kb1 Rad8 18.Bc1 a4. A novelty, and probably an unsuccessful one. Topalov-Dreev, New Delhi/Teheran 2000 continued 18…Rfe8 19.Ne2 c5 20.g4 cxd4 21.g5 Nxe5 22.fxe5 Nh7 23.gxh6 Qxe5 24.hxg7, and White won in the subsequent sharp game.

 19.Rhe1 a3 20.b3 Bb4 21.Re3 c5. The computer approves Black’s play, but it looks very suspect for a human eye – Black voluntarily cuts off his bishop from the kingside.


22.d5! exd5 23.cxd5. 23.Nf5!? looks very strong, and White’s concentration near the black king becomes critical: 23…dxc4?! (after 23…d4 White can continue by 24.Re2 – he basically has an extra piece in the attack, because Black’s dark-squared bishop is restricted by his own pawns) 24.Rxd7! Rxd7 25.Qg3 Ne8 26.Nxc4! f6 27.Qg6!, and Black is in terrible shape.

23…Nb6 24.Red3 Qc8? After this move White’s advantage is already decisive. Black needed to play 24…Nbxd5 25.Rxd5 Nxd5 26.Rxd5 Rxd5 27.Qxd5 Rd8 28.Qc4 Rd1, and converting an advantage is hard for White due to numerous weaknesses around his king.

25.d6 Rfe8.


26.Nh5! Re6? Giving White a chance to win immediately. After the most tenacious 26…Qe6 27.Nxf6+ Qxf6 28.Qxb7 c4 29.Qxb6 Rb8 30.Nd7! Qf5 31.Nxb8 cxd3 32.g4! White wins anyway, though.

27.Nxf6+. The strongest is 27.d7! Qc7 28.f5!, and White gains material while continuing his attack: 28…Qxe5 (28…Rxe5 29.Nxf6+ gxf6 30.Bxh6) 29.Re3! Qxe3 30.Bxe3 Rc6 31.Nxf6+ Rxf6 32.Qxb7+-.

27…Rxf6 28.d7. And here 28.Ng4 is stronger, and Black must keep the rook under attack, because 28…Re6 is unsatisfactory: 29.f5 Ree8 30.Nf6+ gxf6 31.Bxh6+-.

28…Qc7 29.Qg4! c4 30.Rg3 g6 31.h5! cxb3 32.Rxb3! So far Vishy is up to the task – his latest moves are not only the strongest, but also the only ones to keep an advantage.

 32…Na4 33.hxg6 fxg6 34.Rxb4 Nc3+ 35.Kc2! 35.Ka1 Nxd1 36.Rc4! Qd6 is totally unclear, for instance, 37.Qf3 Qxe5+! 38.fxe5 Rxf3 39.gxf3 Rxd7, and Black solves his problems.


35…b5! Dmitry complicates the opponent’s task as much as possible.

36.Kb3! The most practical solution – White reaches the time control and gains an extra hour to calculate the winning line. It is hard to dare playing 36.Rc4!? bxc4 37.Kxc3 Qa5+ 38.Kxc4! under the time pressure.

 36…Na4 37.Qf3. This move was clearly planned in advance and it cannot be criticized. However, White could win by 37.Bd2 Nc5+ 38.Kxa3, and he just has an extra piece.

37…Nc5+ 38.Kc2. Now 38.Kxa3 runs into 38…Qa5+, and White loses a rook, but Vishy did not have enough time to realize that his position after 39.Kb2 Qxb4+ 40.Ka1 is still much better: 40…Ra6 41.Qd5+ Ne6 42.Bb2!±.

38…Na4+ 39.Kb3 Nc5+ 40.Kc2 Na4+.


The control is passed, and Vishy started thinking. It looked like he should find a win, but after a 10-minute thought he played 41.Kb3?, drawing the game by a threefold repetition.

At the press-conference Anand said he didn’t want to take risks after 41.Kd2 Qd6+ 42.Nd3, but he missed an unexpected resource 41.Rc4!, and after 41…bxc4 White has many ways to win the game. The most convincing is 42.Ng4 Qb6 (42…Rd6 43.Qe4+-) 43.Qxa3 Re6 44.Qxa4 b7 45.Ne5 Qxg2+ 46.Kb1, and White wins.