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Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

Here is an interesting win in an early round of the Renova Grand Prix in Switzerland. It is Fabiano Caruana, of Italy and the US, vs. Teimour Radjabov, of Azerbaijan. At move six of this Schliemann variation of the Ruy Lopez, Radjabov voluntarily gave up a pawn. We might compare this move to the tale of biblical original sin. Radjabov accepted the risks of his decision, but never managed to recover, despite his creation of substantial complications. 

Renova FIDE Grand Prix, Zug, Switzerland.

Fabiano Caruana (2772)
vs. Teimour Radjabov (2793)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 Ah, the Schliemann-Jaenisch Defense. Something of a rarity in top flight chess. It’s thought somewhat dubious but has not been clearly refuted. It certainly does provide for entertaining chess. A game with it is Viswanathan Anand vs. Magnus Carlsen from Bilbao, 2008, where the world champ held on to a draw after blundering an exchange. 4. d3 A modest approach. If you want to try to refute the Schliemann, then 4. Nc3 is the way to go. 4. … fxe4 5. dxe4 Nf6 6. O-O Bc5 7. Bxc6 bxc6 8. Nxe5 O-O 9. Nc3 d6 10. Na4!? (Diagram) A theoretical novelty, or so it seems as I can’t find any other games with it. The usual continuation is 10. Nd3 (Black gets good play after 10. Nxc6 Qe8) followed by 10. …Bd4 11. Ne2 Bb6 where Black hopes that his pressure on the f2 and White's kingside, in general, will compensate him for the sacrificed pawn. With this novelty, White gives back the pawn but at the same time rids himself of that dangerous black squared bishop and badly damages Black’s pawns. 10. … Qe8 11. Nd3 Nxe4 12. Naxc5 Nxc5 13. Nxc5 dxc5 14. Be3 Qg6 15. Qd3! A good move in trying to get into a much better endgame. If now 15. … QxQ 16, cxQ Rd8 17. Rac1 Rxd 18. Rxc Bd7 and White is better.  17.Rac1 Rxd 18. Rxc Bd7 19. Re1 and again the  Bf5 16. Qc4+ Be6 17. Qe2 In this middle game with opposite colored bishops, Black has to show that his activity against White’s king compensates him for all his weak pawns. 17. …c4 Played to secure the bishop’s d5 square but it just seems to make the bishop worse. 18. f3 a6 19. Bd4 Rae8 20. Kh1 Bd5 21. Qd2 Re6 22. Bc3 h6 Seems that Black has run out of anything constructive to do. So, he just waits for White. 23. Rf2 White is being very careful not to allow Black any tricks on f3 or g2. 23. … Kh7 24. Raf1 Rf5 25. Re1 Rd6 26. Be5 Rd7 27. Qc3 Notice the difference between the two bishops: White’s is a monster; while, Black’s is really very limited. 17. … Qg5 28. Rfe2 Rdf7 29. Re3 h5 30. R1e2 Qg6 31. h3 Qg5 32. Kh2 h4 33. Qd4 Re7 34. Qg4 Looking for that winning endgame. Kg8 35. Bc3 Rxe3 36. Rxe3 Kf7 36. … QxR 37. Qxg2 mate 37. Be1 Qf4+ 38. Qxf4 Rxf4 39. Ra3 There goes the a-pawn and with it the game. 39. … Rd4 40. Rxa6 g5 41. Ra7 Rd1 42. Rxc7+ Ke6 43. Bb4 c3 44. Bxc3 Rc1 45. Rg7 Bxa2 If 45. … Kf5 then 46. Rxg5+ KxR 47. Bd2+ wins. 46. Rxg5 Rxc2 47. Rg6+ Kd7 48. Rg4 Bd5 49. Kg1 Rc1+ 50. Kf2 Rc2+ 51. Kf1 Be6 Soon to be three passed pawns down, Black gave up; 1-0.

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