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.
This time it was Svidler’s turn to deal with the underdog. He chose the Najdorf once again. When 6.Be3 appeared on the board he thought for a while and played e6. Georgiadis tried another brillant attack in the style of Tal, but this time he came up short. Svidler just played perfect moves and refuted it cold.
How do you play for a win with black if you are a huge Elo-favorite? The typical answer would be the Sicilian or even 1…g6. Instead Carlsen goes for the Winawer. Why the Winawer? Here is the reasoning: White cannot keep the symmetry, not even in the Exchange Variation. Since the position cannot be simplified white has to play for a refutation, because black has the better pawn structure. Georgiadis played the game of his life to earn the draw.
Carlsen usually plays soft lines against the Najdorf or even 3.Bb5, so Svidler decided to give it a try. Guess the surprise when the acid test 6.Bg5 arrived on the board. The most interesting moment occurred in the post game analysis though. When Svidler mentioned the line with 12. Ndb5 and 14…Qxe4, Carlsen looked up in the air for a second and came up with the amazing rook maneuver which had them both laughing hard. Spotting this in blindfold bullet style proves that this guy is not a normal person, he just looks like it.
Sutovsky seems to have tough luck with this line, regardless if he plays it with white or black. Unfortunately following the computer-mainline leads to disaster, but black seems to have an improvement.
Black has the two bishops and is a pawn up. If he somehow manages to activate his worst piece, the rook on h8, he is winning on the spot. Pushing Harry is simply a perfect solution. Once the engine spots it, you understand it immediately. White is lucky to have an escape.
Well, not so much. The longer I work on this project the more I am convinced that the basic draws are known and that many players on the highest level are using a counter strategy. Forced draws simply don’t occur in Carlsen’s games and even the more theoretical players like Kramnik are experimenting with the Torre-Attack these days. They simply have to protect their rating points against engines.
Lately there were a few rapid/blitz tournaments, but the only guy who made a few quick draws was Wesley So. It doesn’t make much sense for these guys to show their prep in short time controls.
From the seven games over 100 moves Caruana, Nakamura and Karjakin each took part in three. Naka even beat Fabi in two of them.
Play it safe!