Svidler P. (2727)
Karjakin S. (2762)

FIDE World Chess Cup 2015 (7.1)
Baku, AZE, 2015

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 Svidler actually repeats Eljanov's approach in the rapids against Karjakin. In that match, Black's positions out of the opening seemed a little suspicious to say the least. Karjakin comes up with a different approach, going for a more classical and conservative set up than what he did against Eljanov. 3... e6 4. O-O Be7 5. d3 5. c4 5. d4 usually lead to the Catalan positions, though White has managed to side-step the new Bb4+ ideas, Black also is doing quite solidly well in the Open Catalan with an early dxc4, which was probably what Karjakin was going to do. 5... O-O 6. Nbd2 Everything indicates that Svidler is going to go for an early e4 and Re1, known as the King's Indian Attack set up. The computers hate these kind of positions for White, but they rarely understand just how dangerous this can be for Black's kingside. 6... c5 7. e4 Nc6 8. Re1 b5 9. exd5!? Actually rather rare, though playable. This move changes the character of the position. 9. e5 has been seen many times... including Svidler-Karjakin 2014 (!) and Karjakin-Dominguez from the first tiebreak game in their match this World Cup! 9... Nxd5 9... exd5 Is waht almost everyone plays (Topalov-Caruana 2014, Movsesian-Karjakin 2013, among others). Karjakin decides to take with the knight, which is also viable. 10. Ne4 Bb7 11. c3 a6 Black's position out of the opening seems to be good. He has decent development and his piece placement is not bad. 11... a5!? was also possible, trying to expand further in the queenside. 12. a4 After a nearly 20 minute think. It's honestly not so easy for either side to figure out a continuation path. Both Black and White have difficulties putting their pieces in optimal squares. Breaking the queenside is obvious, but allows b4 which weakens c3. 12... b4 13. Bg5 f6 This is not a move Karjakin wants to play, but its better than exchanging the dark squared bishops and leaving c5 weakened. 14. Bd2 e5 A Maroczy type of structure. 15. Rc1! Rf7?! 15... Qd7 16. d4 cxd4 17. cxd4 exd4 gives White compensation for the pawn, but still Black's position looks ok. 16. d4! This move is now very uncomfortable to deal with. It is known in chess that when one side spends resources to prevent a pawn break, and the opponent executes it successfully regardless, bad things can happen. 16... bxc3? in my eyes opening the b-file only helps White. 16... exd4 17. cxd4 cxd4 18. Bh3 Bc8! White retains some pressure, but this looks acceptable. 17. bxc3 cxd4 18. cxd4 Nxd4 19. Nxd4 exd4 20. Qb3 White is down a pawn, but his pieces are coordinating much better than Black's. All of Karjakin's pieces are a target now, and the potential pins on the d5 knight are difficult o deal with. Already Black has to be careful of not losing material, but honestly he might already be worse. 20... Rb8 20... Qd7 21. Ba5! Rc8 22. Rxc8+ Qxc8 23. Nxf6+ Bxf6 24. Bxd5 Bxd5 25. Qxd5 is very unpleasant for Black to say the least. 21. Rb1 Qd7 22. Rec1! Wonderful patience from Svidler. He is not in a rush to recover material, but simply improves his pieces. Black is completely tied down and his extra pawn is just for show. 22... Qe6? Losing a piece, though it was already hard to suggest a move. 22... f5 23. Nc5 (23. Ng5!?) 23... Bxc5 24. Rxc5 Nf6 25. Bf4 Rc8 26. Rxc8+ Bxc8 27. Qc4 Looks ugly. Rb8 is coming, among others. 23. Nc5 Bxc5 24. Rxc5 Rd8 25. Ba5 Rd6 26. Qc4 The threat is Rxb7 and Bxd5. Black has no answer at all against this. 26... Nc3 27. Rxb7 Other moves won as well. 27... Qe1+ 28. Bf1 The rook on b7 cannot be taken, so the game is over. 28... Ne2+ 29. Qxe2 29. Qxe2 Qxe2 30. Rb8+ Rf8 31. Rxf8+ Kxf8 32. Bxe2 is two extra bishops. 1-0 [Ramirez Alvarez A.]

Game(s) in PGN