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Sergey Karjakin vs Alexander Grischuk
Norway Chess (2014), Sandnes NOR, rd 4, Jun-07
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-07-14  ajile: Too many White pawns.
Jun-07-14  offramp: Thanks, chessgames! You transferred us over but you could not have known that this game would last only 30 more seconds!
Jun-07-14  DcGentle: The game is interesting, I just went over it. It looks like Black fell for a positional trap of White, when taking the rook at move 21. The consequence was, that this rook was buried at h1 long enough to be missed elsewhere on the board. This made the difference in the end. Was this a home preparation? Could well be.
Jun-07-14  john barleycorn: Karjakin is getting serious now.
Jun-07-14  chessdgc2: Man Grishchuk loses another game? This is the first time I've ever seen him lose more than one in an event. Maybe he deserves it since he was laughing at Kramnik in the Candidates' match :)
Jun-07-14  marcwordsmith: Grischuk LAUGHED at Kramnik??? Really??
Jun-07-14  chessdgc2: Yes, I didn't see it, but there were guys talking about during the Candidate's tournament earlier this was a game Kramnik played absolutely terrible in and Grischuk thought it was funny and made no secret of it as was stated in the Kibitzing posts
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: What an upset for Grischuk considering that he was an Xchange up at move 21.
Jun-07-14  Ulhumbrus: After 24 Ne1!! Black has a rook for a knight and pawn but his rook is trapped on White's king side and can't get out and in the meanwhile White's central pawns and remaining pieces including his king gain the advantage.

Houdini has suggested that 17...Qxd2 does not give Black as much advantage as 17...c3. However the computer can sometimes be poor at showing foresight and if the winning of the exchange after 17...c3 passes eventually the advantage to White this suggests that it is better for Black to settle for less advantage with 17...Qxd2+

Jun-07-14  1d410: Not a draw or a loss!!!!
Jun-07-14  Refused: I don't think it was a positional trap, dcg.

I think Grischuk was actually better at move 21. But it was a really complicated position and Grischuk did not find the right ideas to proceed. After a few suboptimal moves his position became worse and worse.

I am looking forward for csmath's analysis. I assume he will look over it, because it was a really interesting game, and I enjoy his posts immensely.

Jun-07-14  csmath: 12. h3
[All well known variation ->Sakaev]

13. Bd3!?
[Aggressive but this is not attractive move to me. Perhaps Karjakin knows better!]

16. Bd4N
[This is a surprising move novelty with the idea of building a strong dynamic center after 16. ...Bxd4 17 cxd4!?.]

What follows is probably well analyzed and I wonder what Karjakin has to say about this.

23. Rb3
[The dust has settled and the character of the position is something that smells like Karjakin's home analysis. Or is it just a dubious position he got in the spur of the moment?]

24. Ne1

[Yet another surprising but logical move with clear positional goal - misplacing the black rook on h1.]

24. ...a5
[24. ...Rf1!? 25. Ke2 Rh1 26. Ra3 b4 27. Rxa7 Bb5+ and it is hard to see why would black be worse though he still has to worry about white center.]

31. Rb7
[And now it is clear that white has compensation for exchange and black will have to be very careful if he wishes to stop white's pawn center.]

click for larger view

31. ...Ra8

[Active defense exploiting bad back rank of white.]

37. ...Rb2?!

[Wasting tempo. Black must stop the passers and 37. ...Re1! 38. d6 Red1 does the job as black has no tempo to spare. For example if 39. d5 Kf8 40. Kc3 Rxg2 41. Ra7! and if black grabs a bishop then d7 and d6 is decisive. In either case this looks like a position black can hold easily.]

click for larger view

38. d6 Kf8
39. Bd3 Rd2
40. Bf1!

[Yet another surprising move. Black keep on chasing bishop instead of dealing with pawns.]

41. ...Ra3?!

[Realizing predicament Grischuk make change of gears but 41. ...Re1 42. Kc2 Rdd1 43. Bb5 Rc1 44. Kb4 Red1 (not to allow king forward) 45. d5 Rc8 46. Rc7! and it is going to be hard to save the game but black is keeping his hopes alive.]

click for larger view

41. Kb4! Ra1

[41. ...Ra8 42. Bc4! Rxd4 43. Rxh7 Ra6 44. Rf7+! Ke8 45. d7 Kd8 46. Kc5 is decisive.]

click for larger view

41. Bc4! (going for d5) Rc1

[41. ...Rxd4 42. Rxh7 and black cannot stop pawn without material loss.]

45. Kc5
[Adding mate threat as well.]

46. ...Rcd1
[46. ...Rdc2 47. d8Q Kxd8 48. Kd6 Kc8 49. Bd5 Kb8 50. Rb7 and black position is hopeless.]

47. d5

and here the game is over. With decisive advantage white is poised to gobble up black pawns while threatening mate.


Absolutely stunning and surprising ending. The whole game would be a shock to me if I were black. I can only imagine how Grischuk feels.

Jun-07-14  csmath: Very original play by Karjakin, perhaps he was just forced into in because he missed something in the opening or perhaps he had this all analyzed and designed at home.

In either case he deserves utmost praise for the game. To me this is one of two the best games of tournament so far (the other being Caruana's win over Svidler) because of its originality.

Jun-07-14  Refused: Ramirez critised 22...b5 already.

Claiming that 22...b6 was more solid and that advancing the Q-side pawns simply weakens them.

So I guess there must be some better plan. 24...a5 was consistent with the idea to get the pawns moving, but probably not the best idea.

So do you think that the "sacrifice" was sound?

Jun-07-14  csmath: Who knows?

Moving black a-b pawns forward is a typical Grunfeld motif and nobody can blame Grischuk for going this route. I can see the engine does not like it at all but because of straightforward application of Grunfeld I cannot blame Grischuk here.

Whether this is a designed sacrifice or simply a play of the moment only Karjakin knows. To me this smells on home analysis and helplessness experienced by Grischuk in the ending is truly surprising.

Jun-07-14  vkk: very nice win for Karjakin breaking his draw streak
Jun-08-14  NeoIndian: <csmath> Nice analysis, as always. A question: In the pretty much forced sequence resulting after 16...Bxd4 c3 18.Rxc3; Ian Gustaffson and Lawrence thought that Karjakin may simply have missed the move 18...Nd3+; blundering the exchange in the process. White was clearly better after 22.Rb3. Only from here on out Grischuk somehow made it more complicated than necessary. What do you think?

<To me this smells on home analysis and helplessness experienced by Grischuk in the ending is truly surprising.>

Please don't forget Grischuk's usual time trouble! Before move 40, Grischuk had something like 45 seconds for 8 moves.

And after move 40, is there a desicive winning line for White, assuming Black plays optimally?

<[Realizing predicament Grischuk make change of gears but 41. ...Re1 42. Kc2<Kc3 :)> Rdd1 43. Bb5 Rc1 44. Kb4 Red1 (not to allow king forward) 45. d5 Rc8 46. Rc7! and it is going to be hard to save the game but black is keeping his hopes alive.]>

46. Rc7!

click for larger view

1.Bishop is of wrong colour for d-pawns,
2.White King is vulnerable to checks.Annoying.


a)47.Kc5 Rc1+ 46.Kd4 Rd1+ 47.Ke3 Re1+ 48.Kf2 Rb1 49.d7 Rd8 50.Rc8 Ke7 51.d6+ Kxd6 52.Rxd8 Rxb5 53.Rf8 Kxd7 54.Rxf6

click for larger view

And...the brilliant endgame specialist that I am - is this a win for White?

b)47.Kc4 (This might be slightly better, now the checking lines don't seem to work for black) Rb1 48.Bc6 Rc1+ 49.Kd3 Rd8...and what would you play as White now?

click for larger view

Here Stockfish sometimes wants to play Bd7!? maybe with the idea of anchoring the Bishop in the 8th rank like in the Karjakin-Agdestein game.

All in all, as always with computer analysis, perfectly logical once you look at it, but still feels strange. Computers can't help me with plans, and here the plan looked obvious- push the d- pawn! White never seemed to have found the time to use his biggest trump-the central passed pawns :(


Jun-08-14  NeoIndian: <White was clearly better after 22.Rb3.> Black, not White. Sorry.
Jun-08-14  NeoIndian: Nice analysis by Christoff (chessexplained) here:

Jun-08-14  Ulhumbrus: <csmath...Absolutely stunning and surprising ending. The whole game would be a shock to me if I were black. I can only imagine how Grischuk feels.> White was playing with an extra king
Jun-08-14  csmath: <And after move 40, is there a desicive winning line for White, assuming Black plays optimally?>

I do not see it but white is surely better.

40. ...Re1
41. Kc3 Rdd1
42. Bb5 Rc1+
43. Kb4 Red1
44. d5 Rc8
45. Rc7 Rb8
46. Kc5 Rc1+
47. Kd4 Rd1+
48. Ke3 Re1+
49. Kf2 Rb1

click for larger view

50. Bd7 [Houdini]

and this looks difficult to hold. Bishop is going to e6.

(a) 50. ...R8b2 is losing in more or less forced continuation.

(b) 50. ...Rd8, 50. ...R8b6, ...R1b6 or ...R1b2 with 51. Kg3 R2b6 are all losing (in my view as they all lead to a loss of all black pawns and more or less lost ending. I do not have complete analysis but that is my gut feeling. For example:

50. ...Rd8
51. Be6 Rxd6
52. Rxh7 Ke8
53. Rf7 Rb2+
54. Kg3 Re2
55. Rxf6 Rxe4
56. Rxg6

click for larger view

This looks lost to me.

Jun-08-14  csmath: There could be some trick in some sort of theoretical drawn ending possible (I do not see it) but more or less I believe Grischuk would have had little chances to find it.

By the way, Grischuk is not exactly known as a good ending player though in this particular ending one cannot blame him.

Jun-08-14  NeoIndian: <csmath> Thanks.

<50. Bd7 [Houdini]> This is the line Christoff also mentioned briefly. This looks much better.I didn't consider this move at many stages of the variation. I was trying to make d7 work instead, and was failing dramatically.

A fascinating endgame to to study.

Jun-08-14  OneArmedScissor: Definitely my favorite game of the tournament so far.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Here is GM Daniel King's video analysis:

This link from above still works too:

<Jun-08-14 NeoIndian: Nice analysis by Christoff (chessexplained) here:>

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