Kindred’s Peek at GM Strategy

There are more qualified than I rating-wise to examine GM play.  I feel an amateur view is worth a look so I decided to try my hand at it, picking the game Fabiano Caruana versus Hikaru Nakamura, Moscow 2016 Candidates Tournament.

1. e4  e5  2. Nf3 Nc6  3. Bb5  Nf6  4. d3  Bc5  This is a Berlin Defense variation of the Ruy Lopez.  5. B:c6  d:c6  6. Nbd2  White weakens the black pawn structure and in exchange Black now has the two Bishops and half-open d-file versus two Knights. Thus, the opening stage sets in motion both a strategic and tactical give and take with an imbalanced structure.

6. …O-O  7. Qe2  Re8  8. Nc4 To open line for the Bishop and increases square count. 8…Nd7  9. Bd2  Bd6 10. O-O-O!  Usually castles is a neutral type move but here with Kings castled on opposite sides suggests a Kingside pawn roll up of sorts is in the future.  Black has to remedy this by strengthening his King-side via perhaps Nf8.  HN likes sharp positions so seeks to attack the Queen-wing.

10. …b5  11. Ne3  a5  12. Nf5  a4 13. Bg5  This reminds me of Capablanca and my idea for square count from examining his games and those of Alekhine.  13. …f6  Pawn moves around the King position can be dangerous because in this  type position with White have a King-side pawn storm, exchanges will aid the breakup of the pawn attack/defense by igniting exchanges opening up for the heavy pieces on the attack.

14. Be3!  Nc5 15. g4! On our merry way!  Be6 16. Kb1  Square count wise I would have ventured with 16…Qd7 now just to connect Rooks, pressure f5 and have the Queen mobile along the 7th rank. A possible …Qf7 might aim some help for Black to continue with Q-side assault.  Black’s choice seems okay but a bit slow.  16…b4 17. g5  b3  18. Rhg1!  And square count strikes again with the sharpest move.  18. … b:a2+?  I don’t know if this is a blunder because in effect what it does is to use the black pawn as a defensive cover for the King.

19. Ka1!  B:f5  20. e:f5  a3  21. b3  Na6 22. c3  Bf8 23. Nd2  Now this pesky Knight is aiming at the e4 square.  23…f:g5  24. R:g5  Nc5  25. Rg3  A mystery like Rook sortie. The Rook power will cover the 3rd rank. 25. … e4  26. B:c5  B:c5  27. N:e4  What happens after 27…B:f2 28.Q:f2 R:e4 which HN rejected in favor of 27….Bd6 28. Rh3 Be5  29. d4 Bf6  30. Rg1 Rb8 31.K:a2  Bh4 32. Rg4  Qd5  33. c4  Resigns.

An interesting battle between two young lions.



One Response to “Kindred’s Peek at GM Strategy”

  1. gapawa Says:

    Hey there! Just trying to connect with the other chess people on WordPress:)

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