Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The knight's outpost

In the Carlsen-Caruana game which we analyzed some time back, we saw how White's knight harassed the Black army from its outpost on d6, where it could not be chased away by enemy pieces. To have a better insight into the outpost theme, I shall share with y'all a game played in the early days of classical chess, with annotations provided by Aaron Nimzowitsch in his groundbreaking work "My System".

I have included Nimzowitsch's comments in the analysis below.

Von Haken vs Giese
Riga 1913


1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. exd5 exd5
4. Nf3 Bd6
5. Bd3 Nf6
6. h3 O-O
7. O-O h6

Nimzowitsch: "In the exchange variation of the French Defense with both King Knights developed on f3 and f6 respectively, the pinning moves by the Bishops Bg5 and ...Bg4 furnish for both sides one of the leading motives. Here, however, this motive is ruled out by the movement to h3 and h6 of the h-pawns. Except for a moment, we see and hear of, nothing but the e-file.

8. Nc3 c6
9. Ne2 Re8
10. Ng3 Ne4 (D)

Position after 10... Ne4

Nimzowitsch: "The outpost"

11. Nh5

An interesting alternative here is 11. Ne5 (White also has an outpost of his own!) Bxe5 12. dxe5 Nxg3 13. fxg3 and if Black grabs the pawn with 13... Rxe5, White gets compensation by exploiting the open file (14. Qf3!) to put pressure on Black's kingside. From there onwards, things become quite messy, and tactical opportunities abound especially with the exposed positions of both kings.

11... Nd7
12 c3

Possibly to release the f3 knight off his duty of guarding the d4 pawn. But this move also cedes the tempo to Black, and allows him to pile up his defenses on the e4 outpost. Not surprisingly, Fritz analyzes the position as much better for Black over here. The other variation proposed is 12. Bf4 Bxf4 13. Nxf4 Qb6 14. Rb1 Ndf6 15. c3 Bf5 16. Ne5 occupying his own outpost. White can now prepare f3 to chase away the enemy knight, but he must be cautious for this exposes his King, which is in the firing line of the enemy Queen!

12... Ndf6
13. Nh2 Qc7
14. Nxf6+ Nxf6
15. Nf3 Ne4
16. Bc2 Bf5! (D)

Position after 16... Bf5!

Nimzowitsch: "All pieces are directed towards the strategic point. This is also called emphasizing one's strength. Here we refer to the Knight on e4."

17. Nh4

Fritz proposes 17. Nd2 Re6 18. Nxe4 dxe4 (replacing the outpost knight with a pawn-- an important characteristic of the theme as we will see later) 19. Qh5 Bg6 20. Qe2 Rae8 whereas the battle now rages around the e4 pawn, which threatens to become a passed pawn.

17... Bh7
18. Be3

Now 18. f3 (attempting to dislodge the outpost knight) does not work; 18. f3? Bh2+! 19. Kh1 Ng3+ and White will eventually be an exchange down with his king dangerously exposed.

18...g5
19. Nf3 f5
20. Re1 Re7

Nimzowitsch: "The pressure in the file grows more acute move by move."

21. Nd2 f4
22. Nxe4 dxe4 (D)

Position after 22... dxe4

 Nimzowitsch: "The place of the outpost Knight is now worthily taken by a 'half-passed' pawn."

23. Bd2 Rae8
24. c4 c5
25. Bc3 Bg6!

Nimzowitsch: "In order to be able to play ...Kh7 and ...e3. A timely advance against the pawn h3 is also threatened by ...h5 followed by ...g4."

26. Qg4 cxd4
27. Bxd4 Be5
28. Bxe5 Rxe5
29. Qd1

Nimzowitsch: "If 29. Rad1, then 29. e3 30. Bxg6 exf2+ 31. Kxf2 Qc5+ 32. Kf1 Qxc4+ 33. Kf2 Qc5+ 34. Kf1 Qb5+ 35. Kf2 Qxb2+ 36. Kf1 Qb5+ 37. Kf2 Qb6+ 38. Kf1 Qa6+ 39. Kf2 Qxa2+ 40. Kf1 Qa6+ 41. Kf2 Qb6+ 42. Kf1 followed by the double exchange on e1 and the capture of the Bg6. A fine example of the theme of winning a pawn with check."

An attempt at aggressive counterplay will be 29. h4, but it also falls in similar fashion to 29. Rad1: 29. h4?! Bf5 30. Qh5 e3 31. Bxf5 exf2+ 32. Kxf2 Qc5+ 33. Kf1 Qxc4+ and White's queenside pawns and his Bg6 will eventually be swept off the board. Black's kingside appears to be vulnerable, but White's is even more so!

29... Rd8
30. Qb1 Rd2

It is basically over now. With his central pawns eating up all the space and White's pieces in cramped and passive positions, Black sweeps in for the kill.

31. Rxe4 Qc5
32. Bd5+ Kg7
33. Qc1 Qxf2+
34. Kh1 Rexd5 (D)
0-1

Position after 34... Rexd5

White must remain a piece down or let himself get checkmated on g2.

We can see that although the outpost Knight was eventually traded off, it was replaced with a "passed" pawn that eventually led to White's downfall. This threat-- the formation of passed pawns after a trade on the outpost-- is what makes the outpost theme so threatening and worth learning.

Sources:
"My System, 21st Century Edition" by Aaron Nimzowitsch

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rook vs Lone Pawn: Part 3

Let us take a look at where we left off on on Tuesday:

Black to move, who wins?

If you're interested, this position is in fact a famous endgame study known as the Saavedra Position, named after the Spanish priest Rev. Fernando Saavedra (1849–1922), who spotted a win for Black in this position, which was previously thought to have been a draw.

Now some of you may be thinking: "But Black can obviously win over here, what's going on?". If that is the case, then well done for remembering what you have learned in Part 2! But now, the position of Black's king and pawn allows White to try an interesting drawing trick, which Black must know how to sidestep.


The position was first described by G.E. Barbier in 1895 (the original position had the colours flipped, so forgive me for referring to Black as the stronger side in this post!), where he claimed that the position would be a draw due to White's trick on the 6th move. We shall see how this works:

1... f2

Similar to our previous position in Part 2, White must resort to repeated checks to prevent promotion.

2. Re3+ Kg4

I hope you remember that 2... Kf4? doesn't work because of 3. Re8! threatening a skewer on the f-file should Black promote his pawn!

3. Re4+ Kg5
4. Re5+ Kg6
5. Re6+ Kf7

Guarding the f-file and preventing any nasty skewers from happening. But now, White uncorks his secret weapon:

6. Re5!

Position after 6. Re5!

And behind the screen I can already hear some of you shouting "OMG!". The threat here is that after 6... f1=Q? White forces a stalemate after 7. Rf5+! Rxf5. A truly ingenious move!

Because of this drawing threat, many believed that the position was a draw after it was published. But in the same year, Saavedra pointed out that Black could actually avoid the stalemate threat by using an underpromotion technique:

6... f1=R!

And now 7. Rf5+ Rxf5 leads to nothing for White, and the unfortunate position of White's king gives a checkmate threat on h1!

7. Rh5

Only way to prevent 7... Rh1#

7... Kg6
0-1

And White must lose his rook or face checkmate on f8.

...

In our final part for Rook vs Lone Pawn endgames, we will take a look at how conventions may change when the pawn in question becomes a rook pawn.

Links:
Part 1: http://nushsblackknights.blogspot.com/2014/05/rook-vs-lone-pawn-part-1.html
Part 2: http://nushsblackknights.blogspot.com/2014/05/rook-vs-lone-pawn-part-2.html

Sources:
"Rosen's Chess Endgame Training" by Bernd Rosen

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rook vs Lone Pawn: Part 2

In Part 1 we saw how a lone pawn can survive against a rook even when it is not so far advanced (i.e. on the 4th rank and before). If the pawn is on the 3rd rank and beyond, then suddenly the drawing chances for the weaker side go way up, and in certain scenarios he might even have chances for winning. Let's take a look at how this works.

When the pawn is on the 3rd rank and escorted by his king, problems arise for the stronger side because the humble infantryman is barely two squares away from the queening and both enemy king and rook must catch him before he reaches his objective. In such cases, the stronger side's winning chances are the best when:

  1. His rook is behind the enemy passed pawn (Tarrasch's Rule)
  2. His king is close enough to catch the pawn

And this materializes in the following position:

White to move wins, Black to move draws

Black to move draws after 1... g2 2. Kd2 Kf2! (blocking the enemy king) and White is forced to take the draw (either by 3. Rxg2 Kxg2 or 3. Rf2+)

White to move wins after 1. Kd2 Kf2 2. Rf8+! (The rook check forces Black's king to temporarily step in front of his own pawn, giving White time to advance his king) 2... Kg1 (2... Kg2 leads to the same result) 3. Ke2 g2 4. Rg8 Kh2 5. Kf2 1-0


Notice the key move here is the rook check (2. Rf8+), which forces Black to cede the opposition and give White extra tempo to get his king closer to the pawn. This check is effective because White's rook has sufficient checking distance, and is placed comfortably behind the pawn. When the rook is in front of the pawn, things become less effective as shown below:

White to move wins, Black to move draws

White to move still wins after 1. Rf1+! Kg4 2. Ke3 g2 3. Rd1 Kg3 4. Rg1 Kh2 5. Kf2 +-, or the alternative variation 1. Ke1 Kg2 (1... g2 2. Ra3+ Kg4 3. Kf2 +-) 2. Ke2 Kh2 3. Kf3 g2 4. Kf2 reaching a similar winning position.

But when it is Black to move, he draws with 1... Kf2 or 1... g2, preventing the rook check. Notice that had the White rook been on a8 rather than a1, he could still have won after a timely 2. Rg8 followed by 3. Rf8+! winning tempo for his king.


...

Things start to get really interesting when the "stronger" side's rook is in an awkward position:

Whichever side to move wins


White to move wins in the usual manner: 1. Kf1 Kd2 (1... d2 2. Rg3+ Ke4 3. Ke2) 2. Rg2+ Kd1 3. Kf2 Kd2 4. Rg8 Kc3 5. Rd8! with the rook behind the pawn and the king close enough to help, the win for White should not be too difficult to see.

But if it were Black to move, then now he no longer seeks a draw; but thanks to the unfortunate position of the White pieces, he can now aim high and go for a win:


1... d2

White cannot play 2. Rg1 (because the White king is blocking!) or try to place his rook behind the pawn to stop the pawn in time, so he must pass time by checking the enemy.

2. Rg3+ Ke4!

The only move! The alternatives 2...Ke2? 3. Rg8 d1=Q 4. Re8+ Kd2 5. Rd8+ leads to a draw, while 2... Kd4? 3. Rg8! threatens to win with a skewer with 4. Rd8+ should Black play 3... d1=Q??

3. Rg4+ Ke5

Once again 3... Kd5 fails because of 4. Rg8, so Black must stay on the e file. The process repeats for a while:

4. Rg5+ Ke6
5. Rg6+ Kd7!

Now with the d8 square guarded Black need not worry about the skewer.

6. Rg7+ Kc6
7. Rg6+ Kc5
8. Rg5+ Kc4
9. Rg4+ Kc3
10. Rg3+ Kc2
0-1

Taking shelter from the rook checks. White can no longer prevent the queening of the pawn, so he must face a tough and losing Queen vs Rook endgame ahead of him. Notice that the position of the White king prevents a saving pin on g2.

...

Now let us finish off with a challenge:

Black to move, who wins?

In the position above, we can easily tell that it will be a draw if White were to move; his king is too far away to stop the pawn once it has advanced to g2.

But if it were Black to move, then does he have chances of winning? Or will White successfully fight his way to a draw (or even a win if possible)?

I will leave that as a challenge for y'all to try out; we will go through this in Part 3. Have fun! (:

Links:
Part 1: http://nushsblackknights.blogspot.com/2014/05/rook-vs-lone-pawn-part-1.html

Sources:
"Silman's Complete Endgame Course" by Jeremy Silman
"Rosen's Chess Endgame Training" by Bernd Rosen
"A Guide to Chess Endings" by Max Euwe

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Rook vs Lone Pawn: Part 1

The very interesting thing about pawns is how much we tend to underestimate their power. True, the pawn starts off as a lowly private which gets into the way of the long-range pieces in the opening. Yet the further he plods down the battlefield, the more his presence on the board screams for attention, and many a brutal skirmish has been fought around a single (passed) pawn in the centre. And upon reaching the 7th rank, the infantryman has already gained so much attention that he can even tie down a mighty Queen to prevent his promotion (like what happens over here: http://nushsblackknights.blogspot.sg/2014/01/queen-vs-7th-rank-pawn.html)

"Alright boys, when the bugle sounds I want y'all to charge as though there's Heineken on the 8th rank."

But then since we're learning rook endgames over here, then why am I suddenly talking about pawns? Surely the rook is powerful enough to stop a lowly pawn in its tracks?

So let's say in a case of a rook versus a lone pawn in the endgame, you might think that the result will be a dead win for the mighty rook. If that is the case, perhaps you might be surprised to know that sometimes, the pawn is able to outsmart the rook and turn a losing position into a draw. Talk about David vs Goliath!

This needs a caption, like really

If you're not convinced, take a look at the following position:

Draw

Here, White cannot win because of the following reasons

  1. His king is too far away from the enemy pawn.
  2. Black's pawn is too far advanced to be stopped by the rook alone.
  3. Black's king is close enough to support the pawn's advance.


So let's say we gave White the move here. He has two variations to choose from, but both still lead to a draw:

Variation 1:

1. Rb8

Following Tarrasch's Rule of putting the rook behind the passed pawn. But Black simply marches his pawn forwards and supports it with his king.

1... Kc4
2. Rc8+ Kd3

Hiding from the checks with 2... Kb3?! 3. Kf6 is not advisable (though Black can still draw here) since it allows White's king to step closer to the action, which is not what Black wants.

3. Kf6

Since White wants a win here, repeated checks with his rook will not help him (Black can simply shuffle his king along the c and d files if that happens).

3... b3
4. Rd8+ Kc3
5. Ke5 b2
1/2-1/2

And the only way for White to avoid a embarassing Queen vs Rook endgame will be to draw with 6. Rb8 b8=Q 7. Rxb8 Kxb8


Variation 2

1. Rh4

White tries an interesting trick over here

1... b3
2. Rh3 Kb4

It is important to keep the pawn supported! The rash 2... b2?? loses immediately to 3. Rb3!

3. Rh1

Or 3. Kf6 b2 similar to our main line.

3... b2
4. Kf6 Ka3
5. Ke5 Ka2
1/2-1/2

And once again the queening of the pawn followed by an exchange is inevitable.

...

So it seems that in order for the weaker side to force a draw in this position, there are 3 conditions which have to be fulfilled, which I have already mentioned earlier on:

  1. The weaker side's king must be close enough to support the pawn
  2. The pawn must be well advanced (usually 4th rank and beyond)
  3. The stronger side's king must not be close to the main action

Now let's see what happens if any one of these 3 conditions are not met:


Condition 1

To break Condition 1 (the weaker side's king being close enough) we will shift the Black king back by 1 file:

White to move wins, Black to move draws

Now if it were Black to move he draws by playing 1... Kc5, reaching our first position. But if it were White to move, the Black king is now too far away from the pawn to provide effective support, and White wins by an interesting trick:

1. Rh5!

Cutting off the Black king from his pawn.

1...b3

Any other king move and White will just walk his king towards the pawn, e.g. Kg6 followed by Rf5 (allowing the King to step behind the Rook so as to keep the Black king cut off) and Kg6.

2. Rh3!
1-0

The point! Now the Black king is too far away to support the hapless pawn, and 2... b2 falls to 3. Rb3


Condition 2

To break Condition 2 let us now move both the Black king and pawn back by 1 rank:

White to move wins, Black to move draws

Now, White has better winning chances because his king is closer to the pawn. Let's see what happens if White has the move:

1. Rh5 Kb6

1... b4 brings us to the 2nd position we analyzed earlier, which is a win for White

2. Kf6 Ka5

Black does some fancy maneuvering to try and advance his pawn without interference from the enemy rook. But now, the White king is close enough to catch the pawn!

3. Ke5 b4
4. Kd4+ Ka4
5. Kd3 b3
6. Kc3 Ka3
7. Rh2
1-0

And both White king and rook arrive in time to stop the pawn.

...

Now what if it were Black to move instead? Now it gets rather interesting, for the White king is close enough to cause Black some problems. Black draws by employing the tactic of direct opposition to prevent White's king from touching the pawn:


1... Kd5!

Preparing the opposition. On the other hand, the more intuitive 1... Kc5? allows the White king to infiltrate after 2. Kf6 b4 3. Ke5 b3 4. Rc8+! (forcing Black's king to step back) 4... Kb4 5. Kd4 Ka3 6. Kc3 Ka5 (6... b2? 7. Ra8#) 7. Rb8 1-0

2. Kf6 b4
3. Kf5 b3
4. Rd8+ Kc4
5. Ke4

The White king is not allowed to pass Black's defenses!

5... b2
1/2-1/2


Condition 3

Admittedly the earlier position already showed us how White has better winning chances when his king is closer to the pawn (once the pawn was shifted back), but let us ram that point home with another example:

White wins

Now White can win because his king is close enough to catch the pawn. A team effort between king and rook is necessary in this situation.

If it were White to move, things get easy after 1. Ke3 (the White king can catch the pawn in time because it is in the "square of the pawn") 1... Kc4 2. Kd2 outflanking the Black king, with 3. Rb8 to follow.

If it were Black to move, then White still wins after: 1... Kd4 (attempting to stop White's king from reaching the pawn) 2. Rh3! Kc4 3. Rh1 Kd4 4. Rb1 Kc3 5. Ke3 b3 6. Rc1+! (NOT 6. Ke2?? Kc2 with a draw) 6... Kb2 7. Kd2 Ka3 8. Rb1 Ka2 9. Kc1 1-0 with both king and rook arriving to stop the pawn in its tracks.

...


So once again here are the 3 conditions in order for the lone pawn to be able to outsmart the rook:

  1. The weaker side's king must be close enough to support the pawn
  2. The pawn must be well advanced (usually 4th rank and beyond)
  3. The stronger side's king must not be close to the main action

And we have see how breaking any of these 3 conditions will lead to better winning chances for the stronger side. But of course, one must remember not to take these 3 as absolute rules; as always, there will be exceptions and interesting deviations, of which we will take a deeper look into for Part 2.

Sources:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/01/113_58792.html
http://www.blogging4jobs.com/social-media/david-vs-goliath-someones-hijacking-my-twitter-stream/
"Silman's Complete Endgame Course" by Jeremy Silman
"Chess Endgame Training" by Bernd Rosen

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gashimov Memorial 2014 Round 10: Carlsen vs Caruana

Before we return to our journey into rook endgames I will perhaps ease the boredom a little by analyzing an interesting game here. The following game was played in the final round of the recently completed Gashimov Memorial 2014, and Carlsen defeated Caruana in a tricky middlegame to emerge as the clear winner of the tournament.

I have adopted some of the comments from the post-game press conference and included them in the analysis below:

Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2014, Round 10
Carlsen, Magnus vs Caruana, Fabiano


1. d4 Nf6
2. Nf3 g6
3. g3 Bg7
4. Bg2 c5
5. c3

After 5. dxc5 Black simply wins back the pawn with 5... Qa5+

5... d5!?

The most commonly played moves in this line include 5... Qc7/5... Na6 to protect the pawn, or 5... O-O. Caruana's last move shows a clear sign that he, like Carlsen, is not afraid to play for a win in this position.

6. dxc5 O-O
7. O-O a5 (D)

Position after 7... a5

To prevent 8. b4 (and possible attack the c5 pawn later on with Na6). This move, however, opens up a hole on b5 that can be exploited by White with the maneuver Na3-Nb5, aiming for the outpost on d6.

8. Be3!?

Carlsen is clearly interested in holding on to the c5 pawn, possibly so that he can maintain the d6 outpost. Post game analysts suggested alternatives like 8. Na3 (aiming for Nb5), 8. Nd4 (as seen in the KnightVision viewer above), or even 8. c4(preparing Nc3 hitting d5).

Now, after 8. Be3, the move that comes to most players' mind will probably be 8... Ng4, putting the question to the newly developed bishop. Here the most direct line for White will simply be 9. Qd2 and after 9. Nxe3 Qxe3 White has activated his Queen and held on to his pawn at the same time. Another suggested variation is the counter-intuitive 9. Bc1!?, after which 9... Na6 10. Ne1 (uncovering an attack on d5) Nf6 11. Nd3 and White still maintains his extra pawn.

But instead of 8... Ng4, the game now continued:

8... Nc6
9. Na3 a4
10. Qc1 e5 (D)

Position after 10... e5

Notice how Black tries to get compensation for his pawn by exerting a greater influence over the centre. The primary weaknesses of his position, however, will be the weak square on d6 and the fact that his pawn centre is not yet fully supported. White does not hesitate to strike back at his opponent:

11. Rd1

Threatening 12. Nc4 aiming for both e5 and d6. Black cannot reply with 12... dxc4, for it will uncover an attack on his queen.

11... Qe7
12. Nb5 Be6
13. Ng5 Bg4
14. Nd6

And here we go. The knight settles comfortably into the sentry tower, where it will harass the enemy for the rest of the game.

14... h6

Carlsen was hoping for 14... Bxe2 15. Rxd5 h6 (15... Nxd5 16. Bxd5 and White's pressure on f7 gives enough compensation for the exchange) 16. Rd2 where White has a clear initiative.

15. Nf3 Kh7
16. h3?!

Carlsen criticized his move during the press conference: "Maybe inaccurate. I'm just weakening my position and forcing his bishop to a better square.". His fears are not unfounded; pushing the h3 pawn does make the f2 and g3 pawns weaker, and this will have some significant effects later on in the game. Better would have been to just strike out immediately on the queenside with 16. h4.

16... Be6
17. b4 axb3
18. axb3 Rxa1
19. Qxa1

White hopes to use his queenside pawn majority to his advantage. His problems, however, are that the queen is now decentralized and placed in the firing line of the g7 bishop, while his weaknesses on f2 and g3 become more vulnerable. Caruana now retaliates by hitting both these weaknesses and the d6 knight at the same time:

19... Ne4
20. Nd2  (D)

Position after 20. Nd2

White's inaccuracy on the 16th move has turned the game into a very unclear situation, with tactical opportunities for both sides. Now taking the knight will not be advantageous, for after 20... Nxd6?! 21. cxd6 Qxd6 22. Nc4 White has a clear initiative. Rather, post-game analysis shows that the best continuation for Black would have been 20... d4! 21. Bxe4 (21. cxd4 exd4 and Black has the threat of d3 with a discovered attack on the White Queen, while 21. Nxe4 dxe3 22. fxe3 f5 23. Nd6 allows Black to hit at the kingside weaknesses with 23... Qg5) 21... dxe3 22. fxe3 Bxh3 (D)

Position after 22... Bxh3

And White's weaknesses on his kingside stand out like blemishes on a face. While he still has his extra pawn and a queenside pawn majority, Black gets compensation with a better position and excellent opportunities for a kingside attack.

Returning to the game after 20. Nd2:

20... f5
21. N2xe4 dxe4

"White is much better." (Carlsen)

22. Qb1 f4

Black's pawns roll down the kingside, but White finds an interesting way to neutralize the attack.

23. Bd2 e3
24. Be1 Bf5

If the pawns are exchanged (24... exf2+ 25. Bxf2 fxg3 26. Bxg3) White's bishops now protect the king and control key squares in the centre.

25. Qc1 h5
26. fxe3 fxg3
27. Bxg3 Qg5

Or 27... e4 28. Nxf5 Rxf5 29. Qc2 Qg5 (or 29... Qxc5) 30. Bf4 but now Black doesn't really have a follow-up attack.

28. e4

Now trading queens will be disadvantageous for Black because of his weak b7 pawn and White's queenside pawn majority, so he chooses to continue with:

28... Qxg3
29. Rd3!

Caruana had "forgotten" about this move (he was probably hoping that after 29. exf5 Bh6 he could get extra tempo, but now after 29. Rd3 Black cannot play Bh6 or he will end up dropping a piece) which effectively drives back his queen from the attack. Now, both players agree that Black is basically lost over here.

29...Qh4
30. exf5 gxf5
31. e4 fxe4
32. Bxe4+ Kh8
33. Qe3 (D)

Position after 33. Qe3

Compare the position of both sides: Black's king is vulnerable, and his b7 pawn is weak. To top it off, his e5 pawn has been blockaded, depriving his bishop and knight of key squares in the centre. On the other hand, White enjoys a centralized queen, an unshakeable outpost on d6, and a pawn majority on the queenside which he will use later to his advantage. It is not difficult to tell that White is simply winning over here.

33... Rf4
34. Bg2 Qe7
35. Qe2 Qh4

Black is tied down to defending the h5 pawn, and now Carlsen rolls down on the queenside.

36. b4 e4

Desperate for counterplay, Caruana sacrifices his e5 pawn

37. Nxe4 Ne5
38. Rd5

No chance! Black's pieces are still tied down, leaving White's queenside operations continue in zest.

38... Kg8
39. b5 Rf5
40. c6 bxc6
41. bxc6 Qe7
42. Nd6 Rg5

It's basically over now; there isn't anything substantial which Black can do to save himself.

43. Nb5 Qe6
44. Rd8+ Kh7
45. Qe4+ Rg6
46. c7 Qa6
47. c8=Q Qa1+

Caruana's last card: After 48. Kh2?? Nf3+! 49. Qxf3 Be5+ Black will mate on the next move!

48. Kf2 Qb2+
49. Ke1 (D)
1-0

Position after 49. Ke1

After 49... Qa1+ 50. Rd1 Black has no more counterplay. And with this victory, Carlsen manages to bounce back from his two losses in Rounds 4 and 5 to emerge as the champion of the Gashimov Memorial. Once again, he shows to the world that he, indeed, is worthy of being a World Champion.

Sources:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XHKtUKxqNM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhRkvm6UeLM
http://www.chess.com/news/carlsen-beats-caruana-in-final-round-wins-shamkir-chess-2014-6681

Friday, May 9, 2014

Post-exam present!

Now in case any of you are too drunk after the exams, here's a good present to sober y'all up:


Mansfield, Comins
Good Companion, Dec 1916
2nd Prize
White to move and mate in 2


Have fun! (: