Fabiano Caruana vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 2021 Tata Steel Masters

Greetings Chess Players. My name is Chris Torres and this is my daily chess musing for January 29, 2021. Today, I wanted to quickly review an instructional victory by Fabiano Caruana over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave from round 7 of the Tata Steel Masters played on January 23rd in Wijk aan Zee.

Fabiano 14 e6 is a subtle brilliance that permanently impairs MVL’s ability to develop his pieces. Also noteworthy, is Fabiano’s endgame technique in which he declines capturing on d6 and waits six more moves until the conditions are perfect to take the pawn. All in all, I found this game very educational and I hope you do as well. Enjoy…

I recommend visiting TataSteelChess.com for more information, player interviews and live broadcasts of this year’s tournament. 

Photos from © Jurriaan Hoefsmit – Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021

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[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.23”]
[Round “7.1”]
[White “Carlsen, Magnus”]
[Black “Harikrishna, Pentala”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2732”]
[BlackFideId “5007003”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “B47”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Sicilian”]
[Variation “Taimanov (Bastrikov) variation”]
[WhiteElo “2862”]
[WhiteFideId “1503014”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.f4 a6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 d5
9.O-O Nf6 10.Qe2 Be7 11.Bd2 c5 12.b3 Bb7 13.Rae1 c4 14.bxc4 dxe4 15.Nxe4 Nxe4
16.Bxe4 Bxe4 17.Qxe4 Rc8 18.f5 Qxc4 19.fxe6 f6 20.Qb7 Qc6 21.Rb1 Bc5+ 22.Kh1
Qxb7 23.Rxb7 O-O 24.Re1 Rfe8 25.g3 Rc6 26.e7 Kf7 27.c4 Bd6 28.Bb4 Bxb4
29.Rxb4 Rxe7 30.Rxe7+ Kxe7 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.23”]
[Round “7.2”]
[White “Anton Guijarro, David”]
[Black “Donchenko, Alexander”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “2668”]
[BlackFideId “24603295”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “B23”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Sicilian”]
[Variation “closed”]
[WhiteElo “2679”]
[WhiteFideId “2285525”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Nge2 Nf6 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 g6 6.d4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Nxd4 8.Qxd4
Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.a4 Be6 11.Qd1 Rc8 12.Nd5 Qd7 13.Re1 Rfe8 14.c3 Bh3 15.Bf3
Nxd5 16.exd5 a6 17.a5 h5 18.Be3 Bf6 19.Ra4 Kg7 20.Rb4 Rh8 21.Qd2 Bg4 22.Bxg4
hxg4 23.Qd1 Rh5 24.Bd4 Rch8 25.Bxf6+ exf6 26.Qxg4 Qxg4 27.Rxg4 Rxh2 28.Re7
Rh1+ 29.Kg2 R8h2+ 30.Kf3 Rf1 31.Re2 Rd1 32.Rd4 Rxd4 33.cxd4 Rh5 34.Ke4 Rh1
35.Kd3 1/2-1/2

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.23”]
[Round “7.3”]
[White “Tari, Aryan”]
[Black “Van Foreest, Jorden”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “2671”]
[BlackFideId “1039784”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “C70”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Ruy Lopez”]
[Variation “Classical defence deferred”]
[WhiteElo “2625”]
[WhiteFideId “1510045”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Bc5 5.O-O Nge7 6.c3 Ba7 7.d4 Ng6 8.Bg5 f6
9.Be3 O-O 10.d5 Nce7 11.Bxa7 Rxa7 12.d6 cxd6 13.Qxd6 b5 14.Bb3+ Kh8 15.a4 Rb7
16.axb5 Rb6 17.Qd1 axb5 18.Nbd2 Bb7 19.c4 f5 20.Bc2 $2 fxe4 21.Ng5 Nf5
22.Ngxe4 Nf4 23.Nf3 bxc4 24.Nxe5 Nd4 25.Re1 Nxc2 26.Qxc2 Re6 27.Qc3 Qe7
28.Ra5 d6 29.Ng5 { what is black’s best move? } 29…Rxe5 30.Raxe5 dxe5
31.Rxe5 Qf6 32.Qc2 Nd3 0-1

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.23”]
[Round “7.4”]
[White “Caruana, Fabiano”]
[Black “Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “2784”]
[BlackFideId “623539”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “B97”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Sicilian”]
[Variation “Najdorf, Poisoned pawn variation”]
[WhiteElo “2823”]
[WhiteFideId “2020009”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2
9.Rb1 Qa3 10.Be2 Nc6 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 exd5 14.e6 f6 15.Bh5+ Kd8
16.Bh4 d4 17.Bf2 Qc3 18.f5 Qxd2+ 19.Kxd2 c5 20.Bf3 Ra7 21.g4 g6 22.Bh4 Be7
23.Rb6 h5 24.h3 Ke8 25.Bg3 Rc7 26.Kd3 hxg4 27.hxg4 Rxh1 28.Bxh1 gxf5 29.gxf5
Bf8 30.Kc4 Rh7 31.Be4 Be7 32.Bxd6 Bxd6 33.Rxd6 Bb7 34.Bxb7 Rxb7 35.Rxa6 Rb2
36.Kxc5 Rxc2+ 37.Kxd4 1-0

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.23”]
[Round “7.5”]
[White “Giri, Anish”]
[Black “Grandelius, Nils”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “2663”]
[BlackFideId “1710400”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “B90”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Sicilian”]
[Variation “Najdorf”]
[WhiteElo “2764”]
[WhiteFideId “24116068”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7
9.Qd2 h5 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.exd5 Bf5 12.Be2 a5 13.a4 O-O 14.O-O Nd7 15.f4 exf4
16.Bxf4 Rc8 17.c3 Nf6 18.Be3 Be4 19.Bd4 Nxd5 20.Bf3 Bg5 21.Qe2 Bxf3 22.Qxf3
Nf6 23.Qf5 Ng4 24.Qxa5 Re8 25.Qxd8 Bxd8 26.Rfe1 Ne5 27.Nd2 Re6 28.Red1 Kf8
29.b4 Nc6 30.Bf2 Ne5 31.a5 Rxc3 32.b5 Ng4 33.Bd4 Rd3 34.Nc4 Rxd4 35.Rxd4 Bf6
36.Rdd1 d5 37.Nb6 Ne3 38.Nd7+ Ke7 39.Nxf6 1-0

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.23”]
[Round “7.6”]
[White “Firouzja, Alireza”]
[Black “Duda, Jan-Krzysztof”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “2743”]
[BlackFideId “1170546”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “D02”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Queen’s bishop game”]
[WhiteElo “2749”]
[WhiteFideId “12573981”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 Bd6 5.Nbd2 O-O 6.Ne5 c5 7.c3 Qc7 8.Bd3 b6
9.h4 Ba6 10.Bxa6 Nxa6 11.h5 Nd7 12.Ndf3 f6 13.Nd3 cxd4 14.Nxd4 e5 15.Ne6 Qc4
16.Nxf8 Bxf8 17.Bg3 Ndc5 18.Nxc5 Nxc5 19.Rh4 e4 20.Qe2 Nd3+ 21.Kf1 f5 22.Kg1
Rc8 23.Rh1 Kf7 24.Kh2 Be7 25.a3 b5 26.Rad1 Ke6 27.Rxd3 Qxd3 28.Qxd3 exd3
29.Rd1 Bxa3 30.bxa3 Rxc3 31.Kg1 Rxa3 32.Kf1 b4 33.Ke1 b3 34.Kd2 b2 35.Rb1 Rb3
36.Bc7 d4 37.exd4 Kd5 38.f4 g6 39.h6 Kxd4 40.Be5+ Ke4 41.Bxb2 Rb7 42.Re1+
Kxf4 43.Be5+ Kg4 44.Kxd3 g5 45.Bd4 Rd7 46.Re6 Kg3 47.Rf6 Kg4 48.Ra6 f4 49.Ke4
Re7+ 50.Be5 Rb7 51.Bf6 Rb4+ 52.Bd4 Kh5 53.Rd6 Ra4 54.Kf5 Ra2 55.Bf6 Kxh6
56.Rd1 1-0

[Event “83rd Tata Steel Masters”]
[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]
[Date “2021.01.23”]
[Round “7.7”]
[White “Wojtaszek, Radoslaw”]
[Black “Esipenko, Andrey”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “2677”]
[BlackFideId “24175439”]
[BlackTitle “GM”]
[ECO “E20”]
[EventDate “2021.01.16”]
[Opening “Nimzo-Indian”]
[Variation “Kmoch variation”]
[WhiteElo “2705”]
[WhiteFideId “1118358”]
[WhiteTitle “GM”]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Be7 6.e4 dxc4 7.Be3 b5 8.Nxb5 Ba6
9.a4 c6 10.Na3 Bxa3 11.Rxa3 Nbd7 12.Ne2 Rb8 13.Ra2 O-O 14.Nc3 Qa5 15.Be2 Rfd8
16.Qc2 c5 17.O-O cxd4 18.Bxd4 Nc5 19.Nb5 Rxd4 20.Nxd4 Nb3 21.Nb5 Bxb5 22.axb5
Qxa2 23.Bxc4 Na1 24.Qc3 Qa4 25.b3 Nxb3 26.Qxb3 Qxb3 27.Bxb3 Rxb5 28.Rc1 g5
29.Rc3 Kg7 30.Kf2 h5 31.Ke3 h4 32.g3 h3 33.Bd1 Rb2 34.Be2 g4 35.fxg4 Nxe4
36.Ra3 Ng5 37.Rxa7 Rb3+ 38.Kd4 Rb1 39.Ke3 $2 Rh1 40.Ra5 Kf6 41.Bf3 Rxh2
42.Ra1 Rb2 0-1

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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