Tata Steel Chess Tournament: Round 4
Karjakin, Sergey - Rapport, Richard
76th Tata Steel Masters 2014.01.15
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Qg4 f6
It is no longer a surprise that the young Rapport tries something original in the opening. The only question that remains is where and how he will! This time he chose a rare line in the French Winawer.
8.Nf3 ( 8.Bb5+ is the sharper approach, but Karjakin explained that he had not rechecked the line for years and decided to choose a solid alternative. The famous game Sutovsky-Dyachkov, Moscow 2007, continued8... Kf8 9.Nf3 c4 10.a4 a6 11.Ba3+ Ne7 12.Be8!! 12... Qd8 ( or12... Kxe8 13.Qxg7 Rg8 14.Qxh7 with a winning iniative.) 13.Bh5 Nbc6 14.exf6 gxf6 15.Ng5! 15... Qa5 (15... fxg5 16.Qxg5 leads to a quick mate.) 16.O-O f5 17.Qh4 and Black resigned. Just in time before mate.)
8... c4 9.h4 Nc6 10.Qg3 fxe5 11.Nxe5 Nf6 12.Bf4?!
Black's opening surprise already payed off, perhaps White should have considered either 9.Be2 or 9.Qg3, but after this move White really can't count on an opening advantage any longer.
( But not like this! Instead12... Nh5 13.Nxc6 ( 13.Qg5 Nxf4 14.Qxf4 Rf8 15.Qe3 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Qb6! is already better for Black because 17.Qxb6 axb6 18.g3 in order to counter 18...Rf5 with 19.f418... Rf3! wins a pawn.)13... Qxc6 (13... Nxf4 14.Ne5 Ng6 15.Nxg6 Qxg3 16.fxg3 hxg6 looks like a rather equal endgame.) 14.Qg5 Nxf4 15.Qxf4 Qa4 is completely fine for Black.)
13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bc7 Qa4 15.Kd1?
( White had to grab the bate! 15.Qxg7 Rf8 and here there are various attractive options but perhaps the most convincing one is 16.Be2 Qxc2 17.Qg3! protecting c3 and ready to meet17... Ne4 with 18.Bh5+!)
15... O-O 16.f3 ( 16.Be5!? made sense, so as to stop Black's next move. In any case,16... Rf7 17.f3 Nd7! 18.Bd6 Qb5! threatening Qb2 and... 19.Kd2 ...preparing19... c5! is looking very comfortable for Black.)
Giving the bishop on c8 a breath of fresh air. Black is confidently seizing the initiative.
17.Bxe5 Bf5 18.Ra2 ( The best way to defend the c2-pawn. Trying to do so with 18.Qf2 would be punished with18... Ng4! when 19.fxg4 Bxg4+ loses the queen.)
A multipurpose move. Black defends g7, thereby freeing the f6-knight and is ready to swing the rook over to b7 from where it may join the attack against the white king.
19.Be2 Nd7 20.Re1 Re8 21.f4
Reinforcing the bishop on e5. Black was ready to chop it off followed by c5 and d4 when the king on d1 would be feeling particularly uncomfortable.
21... Nf6 ( Very natural. Black tries to get his knight to the square that White just weakened: e4. Though, even now21... Nxe5 22.fxe5 c5! would have been a very serious test. For instance 23.Rf1 Qa5!? 24.Qe3 cxd4 25.cxd4 Rb8 26.Bf3 Bg4!? and Black has very serious play for the pawn.)
22.Bf3 ( White prepares to give his light-squared bishop for the knight. The bishop on e5 is too powerful and keeps the e-file closed. 22.Bxf6 Rxf6 23.Bf3 Rxe1+ 24.Qxe1 Re6 gives Black too much play.)
22... Ne4 23.Bxe4 Bxe4
A big transformation. A position with opposite coloured bishops has arrived in which Karjakin soon manages to take over the initiative. Black should have gone for one of the alternatives written above as now he lost the moment.
24.h5 ( 24.f5! is a surprising tactical stroke. The point is24... Bxf5 otherwise f6 will follow as well 25.Bxg7! 25... Rxe1+ 26.Kxe1 Rxg7 27.Qb8+ Kf7 28.Rb2! 28... c5 29.Rb7+ Bd7 30.Qd6 Kg8 31.Rb8+ Be8 32.dxc5 and Black is defenceless against c5-c6. An incredible combination that is almost impossible to find over the board.)
24... h6 25.Kd2 Qb5 26.a4 Qb7 27.a5 a6 28.Qg4 Qa7?
It feels strange to voluntarily give up the b-file.
29.Rb2 Bf5 30.Qg3 Qe7?!
31.Rb6 ( 31.Bd6!? 31... Qxe1+ 32.Qxe1 Rxe1 33.Rb8+ Kh7 34.Kxe1 is an ending that is easily won for White. He will pick up the a6-pawn when the passed pawn decides. Of course, with the game continuation Karjakin doesn't spoil anything and keeps total control.)
31... Rc8 32.Reb1 Qa3 33.Rb7?
( This almost costs White the win. As Karjakin admitted afterwards he made several miscalculations here and was just 'lucky' that it all worked out. An outright win is 33.R1b4! 33... Qa2 34.Rb2 Qa4 35.R6b4! 35... Qxa5 and only now 36.Rb7! with a winning attack. There is no counterplay on c2.)
Grabbing his last chance.
34.R1b2 Rxb7 35.Rxb7 Qxc2+ 36.Ke1 Qc1+ 37.Kf2 Qd2+ 38.Kf1!
( One would expect the White king to run out of the checks as fast as possible but the immediate 38.Kg1 Qd1+ 39.Kh2 Qxh5+ 40.Kg1 Qd1+ doesn't lead anywhere.)
( 39.Qxd3 cxd3 40.g4!
40... Be4 (40... Bxg4 41.Rxg7+! ) 41.f5 c5 42.Rxg7+ Kf8 43.f6 Rc6 44.Ke1
Black resigned. White easily restrains the d-pawn before playing the decisive breakthrough g4-g5, and after hxg5, h6-h7. An unfortunate turn of events for Rapport who had a very pleasant advantage right out of the opening. For Karjakin, the 2009-winner of Wijk aan Zee, it's an important win on his way back up in the rankings!