My opponent did not come to play in the 8th round of Barbera Open, thus we directly will jump to the last round of the tournament.
Aroshidze (2535) – Bergez (2341) [B12]
Again Caro–Kann! I am already starting to love this opening!
2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5
This is the most aggressive but responsible move. Black immediately strikes in the center without finishing development of the kingside.
On the top level White often tries to get decisive advantage in a crazy complications after: 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.0–0 Qxb2 9.Qe1 cxd4 10.Bxd4 Nxd4 11.Nxd4 Bb4 12.Ndb5∞ and it is only the beginning of deep home analysis, but I wanted to avoid forced lines and just play chess.
This solid move is becoming quite popular for nowadays. I already played this line in Sunway Open Tournament of 2014. Now Black has numerous continuations, but I am not going to show all analytical work that was done by me and my students. I’ll just mention that position looks quite promising for white in order to fight for some initiative or to get slight positional advantage.
7… cxd4 8.Nxd4!
It is important to exchange this knight as white plans to attack on the kingside with f and g pawns.
Gomez Jurado played against me 8…Nge7 that also deserves highly serious attention. 9.Nxf5 Nxf5 10.Bd3
White wants to bring knight to f3 and bishop to f4. after that we can count on stable slight advantage. 10… d4!? (Black also tried 10…Bc5 11.Nd2 Nh4 12.Qe2 0–0 13.Kh1 f6 14.Nb3 Bb6 (Wei Yi 2649 – Yu Yangyi 2705, 2015)
and now white could continue 15.exf6 Qxf6 16.Be3+/= with a positional advantage as black pawns in the center are objects of pressure.)
11.c4 (In a strategic view this is correct idea, but there is no need to hurry. better was simply – 11.Qe2!?+/= and we may play c3-c4 later) 11…Be7 12.Re1 0–0 13.a3! a5 14.Nd2 Qd7 15.Nf3
my opponent played weak and white has huge positional advantage now. after: 15… f6? 16.g4! Nh6 17.exf6+- White’s position became technically winning. However, I managed to lose this game. Aroshidze 2537 – Gomez Jurado 2349, 2014.
9.cxd4 Ne7 10.Nc3
Directly 10…Nc6 is also possible. But white continues: 11.g4 Bg6 12.f4 and takes the initiative. 12… f5
Now we have 2 possibilities. Both of them offers better chances to white: 13.Bd3 (or the sharper: 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.f5 exf5 15.Nxd5 Qxd4+ 16.Be3 Qxd1 17.Raxd1 0–0–0 18.gxf5 Bf7
19.Bf3+/= Sjugirov 2643 – Zontakh 2540, 2014. )
13…Rc8 14.gxf5 Bxf5 15.Bxf5 exf5 16.Be3
Black still needs to work hard in order to equalize the position. 16… Bb4 (Kosteniuk 2527 – Guseva 2371, 2014) Now white lost the thread of the game and went to the wrong way: 17.Ne2?! (17. Na4 +/= was stronger) 0–0 18.Kh1 Qd7 19.Qa4 Ba5 and now Kosteniuk played terrible 20.Rg1??
which allows black to win the game with a nice combination. Can you find it?
11.f4 Nc6 12.Be3 Be7 13.g4! Bh7 14.f5↑
This is the decisive mistake. Black should not allow white to get mobile and dominating central pawns. Better was directly: 14…Bg5+/=
15.gxf5 Bg5 16.Qd2 Bxe3+ 17.Qxe3 Qg5+ 18.Qxg5 hxg5
This is the key move! after exchange on c6, white knight will dominate over the bad black bishop.
19… 0–0–0 20.Bxc6 bxc6 21.f6
I had some illusions that maybe one day black will play f7-f6 and fix my pawn on f5 as an object of the attack for bad h7 bishop. That’s why I hurried with f5-f6. Anyway, immediate 21.Rac1!? was even stronger and phantoms of f7-f6 idea never work: 21… f6 22.Nb5! fxe5 23.dxe5+-
Deserved attention 21…Rdg8 with an idea to concentrate the forces on the kingside and create some active counter play. However, white knight is so strong that it does not leave any real chances to black. For example, let’s check this possible long line: 22.Rac1 Kb7 23.fxg7 Rxg7 24.Rf6 Bg6 25.Na4 Rgh7 26.Rcxc6 Rxh2 27.Nc5+ Kb8 28.Na6+ Kb7 29.Rc7+ Ka8
30.Rc8+ Rxc8 31.Kxh2 Rc2+ 32.Kg3 Bh5 33.Rh6 Be2 34.Nc5 Rxb2 35.Rh8+ Rb8 36.Rh7 Rf8 37.Rg7 g4 38.Kf4 a5
39.Nd7 Rh8 40.Rxf7+-
22.fxg7 Rg8 23.Rf6 Rc7 24.Na4 Rxg7 25.Nc5+-
25… Kd8 26.Rc1 Rg6
If 26…Be4, then white just activates the rook via the 3rd rank: 27.Rc3 g4 28.Rb3+-
I decided to win the tempo and force black to go back with Rg7 as exchanging on f6 looked really nice to me.
An important move. Now black pieces are becoming extremely passive.
28… Rc8 29.Rf3!
Again this typical activation of the rook via the 3rd rank.
29… Bc2 30.Rc3 Bd1 31.Rh3 Bc2
32.Ra3 Rb8 33.Rxa7 Bg6 34.Rb7 1–0