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Aleksandr Lenderman vs Fabiano Caruana
US Chess Championship (2016), St. Louis, MO USA, rd 9, Apr-23
Queen's Gambit Declined: Charousek (Petrosian) Variation (D31)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-23-16  ndg2: Did not think greatly about black's position after 10...f5 but Caru gradually consolidated and Lenderman gradually worsened his position.

Satisfyibg finish!

Apr-23-16  whiteshark: The last move should indicate mate (#)
Apr-23-16  RookFile: Was white in time trouble? You usually don't see a guy get his king mated on the open board.
Apr-23-16  coolconundrum: It's kind of bewildering how the QGD is such a great fighting opening these days.
Apr-23-16  Steve.Patzer: Perhaps Lenderman sought to avoid the agonizing Kd5 or Kd6?
Apr-23-16  Shams: Caruana on <10...f5>: "A long time ago I looked at it, like two years ago. And then I kind of stopped playing this variation. It's not a great idea, doesn't give Black anything special, just a slightly worse position. White can play h5, f3, Bd3, Ne2.

...I had a feeling that the position would be complicated enough that I wouldn't have so much to worry about. And it's very difficult for White to keep control *and* improve his position. In my old analysis with Rustam Kasimdhanov we decided Black should be able to defend. And if White gets ambitious, which I thought he might, then Black gets chances to win.

...I had noticed that a few times in these closed maneuvering positions, [Lenderman] sometimes struggles. Just a thought."

Quoted at length because I think it's revealing. From a tournament strategy standpoint it obviously paid off hugely because Lenderman (who admitted he has had problems with the transition from the opening to the middlegame) went badly wrong just nine moves later. (around 3:44:00 mark)

Apr-23-16  suenteus po 147: <Shams> Thank you for posting this for posterity. I was watching the interview and found it fascinating. Caruana was a little cagey when GM Ashley asked him why he would play an opening move "that left black a little bit worse" and it's understandable that he's revealing a method of preparation by explaining his rationale. However, it's insight that's extremely fascinating to all of us who follow chess and get caught up in the conflict from a spectating standpoint.
Apr-24-16  1971: <Shams> Thanks for posting that. It's amazing how systematically Caruana played this double edged position.
Apr-24-16  ndg2: <Shams>Thank you for this fascinating insight into GM preparation! I followed the live game and I was quite puzzled whether Fabiano felt uncomfortable about g6 and his own f5 or not. I certainly would have, since white can cement this "rusty nail" (g6) with h5. The alternative would have been Ngf6, the engines consider that as roughly equal.

Turns out that Caru thinks black <is> slightly worse, but played it nevertheless, because of his perception that his opponent would not find the best moves.

So grandmasters <do> sometimes play inferior moves deliberately out of psychological reasons. i think we all suspected that but now it's confirmed :-)

They play the man and not just the pieces.

Apr-24-16  Sokrates: <ndg2: ... They play the man and not just the pieces.> Amen! Lasker's wisdom is forever, when it comes to practical play.

Also my thanks to <Shams> for this interesting insight in Caruana's thoughts.

Apr-24-16  thegoodanarchist: <Shams: ...

Quoted at length because I think it's revealing>

Yes, as other posters have said, thanks for this!

Apr-24-16  Strongest Force: Looks like Lenderman wanted to die. I hope he didn't learn this from Washington Square Park:)
Apr-24-16  sudoplatov: It might also be that in the QGD, Black is usually "slightly worse." In this case, the position is dynamic so Black has lots of chances. Chess strategy consists of setting a series of puzzles for your opponent while solving those set for you correctly. More puzzles means more opportunity.

Some years ago when designing an opening book for a chess computer, I looked at the win-draw-loss for various lines (unfortunately, the databases didn't exist so I didn't do as well as I had wished.) Positions with WLD (for White) of 5-93-2 were slightly worse for Black, but 88% drawish. A position of 35-33-32 also slightly worse for Black, but a better choice in general if going for a win.

Apr-25-16  Ulhumbrus: White's g pawn becomes eventually a target instead of a weapon, and White's king with it
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Long ago (1978), I recall playing the Black side of this in one game, then towards the end of my career, having a go at the other side in correspondence.

The variation always seemed to me objectively okay for White, but Caruana elucidates a most interesting point: it is indeed far from easy for White to keep control while maintaining his spatial edge.

In that long-ago game, I was facing a stronger opponent who was much enamoured of play in fixed structures with a spatial advantage (eg, Exchange Spanish) and my (admittedly hazy) recollection is that once play became fluid, he lost the thread. In the latter game, matters did not go so well for your humble narrator.

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