The Bilbaos 2014 – Round 3

The big fight I was expecting in the game Svidler-Caruana was a letdown – Caruana chose his trusted 8…b6 in the Fianchetto Grunfeld that he used to good effect to draw against Kramnik in Dortmund this year. The symbolic advantage white had meant nothing and Caruana professionally made an easy draw.

One blast of a game was Grischuk-Rodshtein. Even in a Reti there can be a scholarly example of an attack on the king stuck in the centre and a miniature in 22 moves! Usually we associate these kind of attacks with the open games, but here take a look at the e-pawn!

Grischuk-Rodshtein, final position

In the Masters, Anand played safe and drew with Aronian by holding a slight edge in the popular Spanish with a white knight on c3 (Alekhine used to play this occassionally, that’s how I got interested in the line, but he played with different ideas, he used the first opportunity to jump to d5).

The other game, Ponomariov-Vallejo was more interesting. In the popular Najdorf with 6 h3 white employed the idea that Svidler introduced in his game against me at the Olympiad. Over the board I didn’t manage to find the right way – it’s a very unpleasant idea for the black player: white plays Nce2 and c3 before black can take on d4, thus strengthening his centre and eliminating black’s counterplay on the queenside. In the stem game Svidler-Colovic the idea can be seen in its ideal form – I missed the moment to take on d4 and was left without counterplay. Ponomariov didn’t even allow black to have the chance to take on d4 – he played 9 Nce2 Nc6 10 c3! Black went wrong immediately, his 10…h5 was probably based on a miscalculation. The rook from h8 went to h5-c5-c3-c4, but after white’s 16 Ne6 it was all over.

Tomorrow is a free day at the Masters while the ECC continues. Last year’s winners Novy Bor play with last (and this) year’s big favourites SOCAR. Perhaps again a match for first place?

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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