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1st GRENKE Chess Classic Baden-Baden 2013 (3)

Caruana survives time scramble to beat Naiditsch in Baden-Baden Round 3

Caruana beat Naiditsch. Photo ©

Caruana beat Naiditsch. Photo © |

Fabiano Caruana leads the 1st GRENKE Chess Classic in Baden-Baden with 2.5/3 after defeating Arkadij Naiditsch in a very difficult Sicilian Najdorf where he was lost at one stage. Both Caruana and Naiditsch believed that black was substantially better out of the opening but World Champion Viswanathan Anand had no doubt that white was doing very well after an exchange sacrifice on move 23 and it may be that this is the correct judgement. The position remained fiendishly complicated and in mutual time trouble first Naiditsch and finally Caruana was winning. Viswanathan Anand played the Bogo-Indian as black in the hope of surprising Georg Meier and finding complications later on but the game fizzled out to a draw. Michael Adams got a comfortable position on the white side of a Catalan against Daniel Fridman who was under pressure in the double rook ending but winning was another matter and eventually Fridman found a way to equalise. Round 3 Standings: Caruana 2.5pts, Anand, Naiditsch, Fridman 1.5pts, Adams, Meier 1pt. Round 4 Pairings: Fridman-Anand, Naiditsch-Meier, Adams-Caruana.

Fabiano Caruana vs Daniel Fridman

Chess is a very difficult game and one of the most fascinating moments of the game was the contrast in opinion between Arkadij Naiditsch who was supremely confident he was much better in the game after the exchange sacrifice 22.Rxd4. Caruana also felt he was in trouble. Viswanathan Anand was asked about the position and he was equally certain that "it's just VERY pleasant for white". I think it is clear that Naiditsch overestimated his position but that wasn't a bad thing because he came quite close to winning. Having seen Anand play lots of exchange sacrifices I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have tried to justify the sacrifice but instead just continued playing, most probably on the queenside. I think Anand's judgement over years of experience in playing the white side of the Sicilian will probably turn out to be right. In the game it is likely that because Naiditsch thought he was better and Caruana thought he was worse the game ended up going in that direction. Once Naiditsch missed his winning chance Caruana played excellently and this caused Naiditsch to blunder decisively. A game worthy of study if you want to understand the Najdorf. Chess is still a difficult game.

Caruana,Fabiano (2757) - Naiditsch,Arkadij (2716) [B90]
1st GRENKE Chess Classic Baden-Baden GER (3.3), 09.02.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Qd2 Ng4

"I wasn't really familiar with this although I knew it was possible." - Caruana.

9.g3 0-0 10.0-0-0 a5

[10...Nxe3 1/2-1/2 Areshchenko,A (2673)-Wojtaszek,R (2608)/Budva MNE 2009/The Week in Chess 749 (108); 10...Nd7 1-0 Liu Guanchu (2233)-Kislik,E (2413)/Budapest HUN 2012/The Week in Chess 941 (36)]


"I was very surprised by Kb1. I think it's just a big positional mistake." - Naiditsch.

[11.a4 Na6 12.Nd5 Nxe3 13.Qxe3 Nb4 Caruana was unsure about this.]

11...a4 12.Nc1 a3 13.b3 Nxe3 14.Qxe3 Bg5

Arkadij Naiditsch


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 14...Bg5

"This is the idea I missed." - Caruana.

[14...Nc6 15.Nd5]

15.f4 Bh6

"Threatening to take on f4 and play Qf6 and my dark squares are extremely weak." - Caruana.

16.Nd3 Nc6 17.h4

Trying to prevent g6. "I think it's quite clear I'm having some advantage. Pawn on a3 I think it's a great position for black." - Naiditsch. "Bishop pair, dark squares, more I cannot get in a Najdorf. I think I'm just on max."

[17.Qe1 exf4 18.gxf4 g6 "and this looks very dangerous for white." - Caruana.]


Arkadij Naiditsch


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 17...Nd4

"Looks inaccurate to me." - Caruana. "I think after that I'm just winning." - Naiditsch.

[17...f5; 17...Qa5]

18.Nb4 Bg4 19.Rd2

[19.Rxd4 exd4 20.Qxd4 g6 21.Ncd5 Bg7 22.Qd3 with Bh3 to follow but Anand liked Rd2 waiting for a better opportunity.]

19...Rc8 20.Nbd5 f5

Arkadij Naiditsch


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 20...f5

"f5 seems to me an admission that black's position is strategically very tough." - Anand. Naiditsch thought he had a huge position but maybe with accurate play he's just wrong. Caruana also believed the position was tough for white.

21.Bc4 Kh8

Both players thought black was doing well here and Naiditsch thought he had everything. Anand thought white was much better after the exchange sacrifice. The truth probably lies somewhere in between but if white is to prove anything he has to be more precise than in the game. Caruana made the sacrifice more for lack of anything else to do rather than thinking it particularly strong.

[21...Rxc4 was a possibility according the Naiditsch but Caruana thought this would be good for white. 22.bxc4 and eventually the a-pawn will drop. 22...Nf3 23.Rf2 exf4 24.gxf4 which Naidtisch thought promising but it looks strong for white.]


Arkadij Naiditsch


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 22.Rxd4

Anand had no hesitation in saying - "I would just rather be white here. My hand is itching just to take on d4 and it's just VERY pleasant for white. Black's pieces look very uncoordinated, that's a very bad bishop on h6, essentially after Rxd4 I don't see what black is doing." Caruana said "It seemed like I was struggling after that [the sacrifice]." Naiditsch said "I thought I am better."

22...exd4 23.Qxd4 Bf3

Arkadij Naiditsch


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 23...Bf3

[23...fxe4 24.Rf1 Bf3]


This looks like the wrong try.

[24.Rc1 The computer likes this. Maybe the idea is to play on the queenside with the bishop out of play on h6. 24...fxe4 25.Nxe4 Re8 26.Nd2 Bh5 27.Bd3; 24.Rf1 also.]


[24...Bxe4 25.Nxe4 fxe4 26.c3]


Maybe a step in the wrong direction.

[25.Be2 Re8; 25.Bb5 Rc6 26.b4 Re8 27.Ne3; 25.Be2 Ra8 26.Nxe4 Bxe4 27.Qxe4 Re8 28.Qf3]

25...Rc6 26.c3?! Qd7 27.Nxa3 Qh3

Arkadij Naiditsch


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 27...Qh3



28...Qh2 29.Nb5 Ra8

[29...e3 30.Qxe3 Ra8 31.Nb4 Be4+ 32.Ka1 d5]

30.a3 e3 31.Re1 e2 32.Qe3

Arkadij Naiditsch


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 32.Qe3. Mutural time trouble here.


[32...Qxg3 leads to a large advantage for black but hard to calculate in time pressure. 33.Rxe2 Qg6+ 34.Bd3 Qh5 35.Ndc7 Bxe2 36.Bxe2 Qg6+ 37.Bd3 Bxf4]]

33.Nd4 Rxc4 34.bxc4 Bh5 35.Nxe2 Re8

[35...Bg6+ 36.Kb2 Re8 37.Ne7]


Arkadij Naiditsch


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 36.Ne7


[36...g6 and black's game remains very playable. 37.Qe6 (37.Nd4 Bf8 38.Qe6 Rxe7 39.Qf6+ Kg8 and black is equal after 40.Rxe7 Bxe7 41.Qxe7 Qf1+ 42.Kb2 Qg2+ 43.Nc2 (43.Kb3 Bd1+ 44.Kb4 Qb2+ 45.Ka5 Qxc3+) 43...Bd1) 37...Qf2 38.Nd4 Qxg3]

37.fxg5 Bf8 38.Nf4!

Arkadij Naiditsch


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 38.Nf4

This winning move was overlooked by black.

[38.Qd4+ Bg7 and white is better but not crushing.]


Viswanthan Anand vs Georg Meier

Meier,Georg (2640) - Anand,Viswanathan (2780) [A40]
1st GRENKE Chess Classic Baden-Baden GER (3.1), 09.02.2013

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ 3.Bd2 c5 4.Bxb4 cxb4 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.g3 a5 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 d6 9.a3 Na6 10.axb4 Nxb4 11.Nc3 Qc7

[11...b6 1-0 Medvegy,Z (2512)-Chatalbashev,B (2605)/Zalakarosi HUN 2008/The Week in Chess 708 (47)]

12.Rc1 Bd7 13.Nd2 Rfd8

Imprecise from Anand if he wants to get an unbalanced position.


14.Nde4 Ne8

Trying to unbalance.



Viswanathan Anand


Georg Meier

Position after 15.b3


[15...e5 16.e3 f5 17.Ng5 Nf6 18.Nd5 Nbxd5 19.Bxd5+ Nxd5 20.cxd5 with Qh5 coming black is in terrible trouble. 20...Qb6 21.Qh5]

16.e3 d5

Before white gets the opportunity to play f4 Anand clears up the centre.

[16...Bc6 17.Qh5 h6 18.f4 d5 19.f5]

17.Nc5 Bc6 18.N5a4 Qc7 19.c5 Nf6 20.Re1 Nd7 21.Bf1

with the positional threat of Nb5.

[21.e4 is what white would like to play but it isn't clear he should be better. 21...dxe4 22.Nxe4 e5 (22...b6 23.cxb6 Nxb6 24.Ng5 N6d5 is equal.) 23.Nd6 Bxg2 24.Kxg2 Qc6+ 25.Kg1 exd4]

21...b6 22.cxb6 Nxb6 23.Nxb6 Qxb6 24.Na4 Bxa4 25.bxa4

Viswanathan Anand


Georg Meier

Position after 25.bxa4


[25...Rdc8 26.Qd2 g6 27.Rc3 Rxc3 28.Qxc3 Qd8 taking over the c-file would have been more elegant. 29.Qd2 (29.Rc1 Na2; 29.Qc5 Rc8 and the a-pawn is protected so this is bad.) 29...Rc8 Taking over the c-file although the game is more or less equal anyway. 30.Rc1 Kg7 31.Rc5 Rxc5 32.dxc5 e5 33.Qc1]

26.Qd2 Qd6

[26...g6 27.Rc3 Qb8 28.Rc5 Rxc5 29.dxc5 Anand didn't want to allow this.]


[27.Rc3 Qf8 28.Bb5]

27...g6 28.Bb5 h5 29.Red1 Qf8 30.Kg2 Kg7 31.Kg1 Kg8 32.Kg2 Kg7 33.Kg1 1/2-1/2

1st GRENKE Chess Classic Baden Baden GER (GER), 7-17 ii 2013 cat. XIX (2714)
1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2757 * * ½ . 1 . . . . . 1 . 2985
2. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2780 ½ . * * . . . . ½ . ½ . 2707
3. Naiditsch, Arkadij g GER 2716 0 . . . * * ½ . 1 . . . 2716
4. Fridman, Daniel g GER 2667 . . . . ½ . * * ½ . ½ . 2693
5. Adams, Michael g ENG 2725 . . ½ . 0 . ½ . * * . . 1 2596
6. Meier, Georg g GER 2640 0 . ½ . . . ½ . . . * * 1 2609
Round 3 (February 9, 2013)
Caruana, Fabiano - Naiditsch, Arkadij 1-0 38 B90 Sicilian Najdorf Variation
Adams, Michael - Fridman, Daniel ½-½ 58 E06 Catalan
Meier, Georg - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 33 A40 Unusual Replies to 1.d4

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