This game caught my attention for obvious reasons. Both players were ready to play a critical line of the French, except not exactly as expected. White was allowing a variation that I had previously considered to be safe and black was willing to play a move that I had previously claimed to be refuted. Maybe it is time to switch on the engine again. How about this time you do it?
It is quite remarkable that Mamedyarov’s preperation in the Semi-Tarrasch was checked three times in the same tournament. Adams and Navara both went down, but Ding finally managed to hold, although he had a bit of a shaky ride also.
In the Nc3-Petroff it seems that Caruana has finally joined Team Kingside-Castling, at least for now. Aronian didn’t manage to pose any problems and it looks like that he didn’t really try to do so.
There may be 960 different legal starting positions, but the definition of a terrible position never changes. Most of these 960 positions not only look bad, they are bad. The only reason why the engines are not showing excessive evaluations right from the start is that both sides are standing equally bad. This is really ugly chess.
Chess on the highest level is dead! Computers have solved the problems of opening theory and everyone has access to this information. The only way to get an advantage these days is to catch your opponent in a line where he has forgotten his notes. The so called solution to this dilemma is supposed to be Chess960.
Last night we had the chance to watch world class players slug it out in St. Louis. Frankly speaking I was not impressed. If that is chess, maybe I don’t like the game after all. On the other hand this whole experiment reminds me of the good old Animal Farm: Every starting position is equal, but one is more equal than all the others.
Can someone explain to me why Naka gives MC a protected passed pawn? The only explanation that I can come up with is arrogance. I am not claiming that white has an obvious win, but it was just simply totally unnecessary because even 4 vs. 3 is theoretically drawn. On club-level this is an easy draw, but a world class GM manages to lose. That is totally beyond me!
Aronian got lucky to beat Grischuk and MC certainly got lucky too. Let’s hope the tiebreak won’t be as boring as the classical games.
In the Candidates Tournament back in March Caruana lost in the Nc3-Petroff. Finally he got the chance to show his improvement. Aronian chose not to test it, blundered in an equal position and lost. Yes it was a blitz game, but these guys play better blitz than others play in classical games. Recalling your prep is not an issue in blitz.
Update: Shortly after Caruana repeated the line in a classical game.
Today in the game Svidler-Mamedyarov in Biel, another variation of the same structure appeared that I have already discussed before.
By going through the same process one should arrive at the same result. According to the Point-Count-Method black is slightly better. This time Stockfish agrees with this evaluation and gives Rc8 with a tiny advantage for black. In static positions point-count is reliable.
Play it safe!