Bilbao ECC 2014 – Round 4
Speaking of Caruana (the man on fire lately) I noticed a peculiar motif that keeps repeating in his games – he sacrifices two pieces for a rook and a pawn (or two) quite often. Here’s today’s example:
And here’s the position from his game with Topalov in Stavanger, earlier this year:
And the theme from his game against Aronian in Saint Louis:
Now, to get things straight, today against Roiz and against Aronian the “sacrifice” was in fact the best move in the position, while against Topalov it was a result of the opening line – the reason I noted this was probably because I have always been wary of giving away the two pieces – either I underestimated the rook or I overestimated the pieces. I always find it curious to pinpoint such pecualiarities in my own thinking!
Back to the ECC, here’s a move I saw for the first time in a well-known theoretical position:
|8…Re8?!?! in Leko-Vitiugov
I checked and in fact the move has already been played by Zvjaginsev (the man with many peculiar ideas) in 2013. But a weird move nevertheless.
And I noted two excellent technical efforts. The first one from Grischuk, another man on fire – yesterday he destroyed Rodshtein in 22 moves, today he outplayed Dominguez from what looked like a dead-drawn position (I’m sure Dominguez was very surprised by Grischuk’s choice of the Sveshnikov Sicilian, but he could have been more circumspect by deviating from his recent game against Frolyanov):
|18..d5, Grischuk’s improvement over Frolyanov’s 18…Qb6
The improvement was good enough for a draw, but Dominguez must have been under pressure and managed to lose this:
Later on Grischuk demonstrated good technique by winning the rook endgame (which was already won for him – in the double-rook endgame white still had drawing chances on move 30, when he should have prevented black’s rook from penetrating on the second rank).
The other example I noted was the game Hammer-Ruck. A typical Maroczy endgame with white having the pair of bishops and the space advantage.
|An endgame worth studying!
Hammer showed great technique, which I’m sure he already had when he started working with Carlsen! When seeing this game I remembered the two classical endgames won by Polugaevsky at the same tournament in Belgrade 1969:
|Polugaevsky-Ostojic, Belgrade (14) 1969
|Polugaevsky-Ivkov, Belgrade (1) 1969
Tomorrow the Masters return so we’re having double action again. Always curious about Anand’s play, whether he’ll just sit on his lead or try for more – soon we’ll find out!