Best of 2017 poll results ‘+’ Games Download cbase

Best of 2017 poll results

– The results are in! Find out how ChessBase readers rated our nominations for Player of the Year, Female Player of the Year, Game of the Year, Endgame of the Year and Move of the Year. From Anand to Zhongyi, we look back at the highlights of 2017, as selected by ChessBase editors and voted on by members!
 
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[Event "Grenke Chess Classic 4th"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.04.20"] [Round "5"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A13"] [WhiteElo "2774"] [BlackElo "2702"] [Annotator "Aronian,L"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2017.04.15"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "7"] [EventCountry "GER"] [EventCategory "20"] [SourceTitle "CBM 178"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2017.05.14"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2017.05.14"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. c4 e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 Nf6 ({The continuation} 3... dxc4 { also makes sense, as e.g. the inventive Hungarian Berkes showed in his game against Fressinet. After the rather "normal" moves} 4. Qa4+ Nd7 5. Qxc4 c5 6. Qc2 { there then came the extravagant} Ne7 {followed by ... Nc6 and g6!}) 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. O-O ({A more popular move is} 5. Qa4+ {, as I too have played several times. As a whole gambits with the "Catalan" bishop have become more and more popular in recent years - e.g. in the Reti Opening after 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.c4 or in the Slav Defence after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3. After many years Romanishin's bold ideas are at last gaining more and more followers among the strongest players - absolutely well deservedly!}) 5... Nbd7 {One of the most logical continuations.} ({The main reason for White's confidence concerning the recovery of the c4-pawn consists in the fact that after} 5... a6 6. Qc2 b5 {he has at his disposition the interesting move} 7. Ne1 {with the intention of counting on his compensation after d2-d3, c4xd3, Ne1xd3 on account of the excellent position of the knight on d3 and his good development. }) 6. Qc2 c5 {A solid option.} ({The most aggressive is} 6... Nb6 {with which Black holds on to his extra pawn. Both after the following} 7. Na3 {and also in the event of 7.Rd1 Play is very complicated. White can exchange the c4-pawn by means of b2-b3 or d2-d3 and then try to exploit the activity of his pieces.} (7. Rd1)) ({ Another move which is not bad is} 6... a6 7. a4 Nc5 8. Qxc4 Qd5 9. Qa2 Qxa2 10. Rxa2 e5 11. Nxe5 Be6 12. b3 O-O-O {- as an old Soviet joke used to say: "Children, you cannot understand that, you simply have to learn it by heart".}) 7. Na3 {The queen is perfectly placed on c2, so the task of eliminating the c4-pawn is delegated to the knight.} Nd5 {Not a good idea. Instead of dealing with the mobilisation of his pieces, Black makes a second move with one piece which is already developed.} ({There was an acceptable game after} 7... b6) ({or} 7... Rb8 {intending in the event of} 8. Nxc4 {to continue development by means of} b5 9. Nce5 Bb7 { .}) 8. Nxc4 {Natural and strong.} b5 9. Ne3 {Of course you should swap off the one of the opposing knights which has made more moves.} Bb7 $6 {This is an almost decisive mistake!} ({As I also thought during the game, here} 9... Nb4 { was the strongest continuation. Although even then after any queen retreat White would be better, he would not have been able to dominate the centre so easily on account of the sub-optimal position of the Ne3.}) ({On} 9... Nxe3 {White's best reply is} 10. dxe3 ({the move I had planned} 10. fxe3 {is not so strong, because after } Bb7 11. Ne5 Nxe5 12. Bxb7 Rb8 {Black has consolidated his position.}) 10... Bb7 11. Rd1 {with a more pleasant position for White: after b2-b3 with further development he has not only active pieces but also a slight target to attack - the c5-pawn "which is hanging in mid air"}) 10. Nxd5 Bxd5 ({In the event of} 10... exd5 {then} 11. b4 {would be really strong - with rapid development and a very dangerous initiative.} ({I was intending} 11. Nh4 {, which was also okay,})) 11. e4 {One day I heard that the chess philosopher Evgeniy Sveshnikov said the following: "If White gets the opportunity to occupy the centre with his pawns, as a rule this leads to problems for Black." I am in complete agreement with this.} Bb7 12. d4 cxd4 ( {The move in the game is forced, because after Der Partiezug ist erzwungen, weil nach} 12... Be7 13. d5 exd5 14. exd5 O-O 15. d6 Bf6 16. Ng5 Bxg5 17. Bxb7 Rb8 18. Bxg5 Qxg5 19. Bc6 {the d-pawn will probably decide the outcome of the struggle.}) 13. Nxd4 { White has a significant lead in development and roughly about this point I thought that the win would now not be long in coming.} Rc8 {From a practical point of view this is an inaccuracy.} ({ In my opinion there was a more stubborn continuation in} 13... Qb6 14. Rd1 Rc8 15. Qe2 b4 {with a bad, but at least an active, position.}) 14. Qe2 a6 15. Rd1 Bc5 ({On} 15... Be7 {then ist} 16. Bh3 {is very unpleasant - Black has problens fending off the threats Nd4xe6 or Bh3xe6. }) 16. Nb3 {After seven minutes deep in thought I decided to follow my intuition. At the same time I hoped I would manage to drive my opponent into time trouble.} Be7 ({In the event of} 16... Bb6 17. Bf4 O-O 18. Rd2 {Black has no satisfactory way of escaping the threat of Rad1.}) (16... O-O {would lose on the spot on account of} 17. Nxc5 Rxc5 18. Qd3) 17. Rd3 {After this strong move, play goes into the conversion phase of White's advantage.} Qc7 {Not the continuation which puts up the greatest resistance, but it is not clear what Black should do here.} ({The "normal"} 17... O-O {loses on account of} 18. Qd1 Bc6 19. Nd4 {and White wins material.}) ({But other moves too, such as} 17... Bc6 { do not raise much hope.}) 18. Bf4 Ne5 19. Rc3 ({ There was a simpler win with} 19. Rc1 Qb8 20. Rxc8+ Bxc8 21. Na5 {, but a surplus of good options led to me relaxing my vigilance.}) 19... Qb8 20. Qh5 Bd6 {At that point I had not yet discovered the idea linked to this move.} ({After Nach} 20... Bf6 {on account of} 21. Rxc8+ Bxc8 22. Rc1 g6 23. Bxe5 Bxe5 24. Rxc8+ { Black would go down with all hands.}) ({The same is the case for the variation} 20... Rxc3 21. Bxe5 Rc7 22. Bxg7) 21. Rxc8+ ({When a few moves earlier I had this position in my mind's eye I was planning to play here} 21. Nc5 {Later I realised there was a brilliant defence:} Rxc5 22. Rxc5 Bxc5 23. Bxe5 g6 24. Qg5 Be7 25. Qf4 g5 {and Black has only a "lost" ending. If I had known that in the future course of the game I would have to use every shred of my knowledge in order to almost manage to draw the game, I would probably rather have gone into the easily won endgame mentioned above with an extra pawn. }) 21... Bxc8 22. Rd1 Bc7 23. Na5 {I thought that brought everything to a conclusion. But in reality things get exciting again.} Bd7 ({ Apart from this continuation which I considered to be a losing move, Black had the possibility by means of} 23... O-O 24. Bxe5 Bxe5 25. Nc6 Qc7 26. Nxe5 g6 {to buy peace for his king at the cost of a pawn. Naturally in this case too the white position would be winning, but as Boris Gelfand appositely remarks in such cases, play would move into the "one-mistake-zone".}) 24. Bxe5 {This was the key point of my calculation.} Bxe5 25. Rxd7 Kxd7 26. Qxf7+ Kd6 27. Bh3 {The last moves up to here have been forced.} Re8 {Here my astonishment was great - in my calcualtions I had assumed that this move loses on the spot on account of 28. f4.} ({After} 27... Qe8 {the move} 28. Qa7 {is decisive - Black cannot manage to ward off the threat of Na5-b7+ without losing the a6- and b5-pawns.}) 28. Nb7+ ({It was only now that I understood that in the event of} 28. f4 {even after the simple} Bxb2 {there was no way even in my dreams that I could mate the black king. This was a sobering discovery for me, but as things turned out, not totally.}) 28... Kc6 29. b4 $1 {This plan B brought back my belief in the correctness of my 24th move.} Rf8 {In my previous cogitations, I had underestimated this strong continuation.} 30. Qe7 $2 {This continuation is bound up with a mistake in calculation.} ({My previous "refined" actions could justify the continuation} 30. Na5+ Kb6 31. Qe7 {Moreover, in order to go into this variation you have to see that after} Qc8 {White has at his disposition the nice reply} 32. Nc6 $3 Kxc6 33. Bxe6 {Black is mated or will lose a lot of material. Otherwise White recovers the exchange — the positions which might then arise, are similar to the situation which later comes about in the game.}) 30... Bd6 $2 {After this move Black's position is once again lost.} ({Although the situation of Black appeared to be hopeless, he had available to him a wonderful save with the help of a tactical coup:} 30... Bc7 31. Nc5 Qd8 32. Qxg7 {and here} Rxf2 $1 {I must admit that from time to time I overlook rook sacrifices with subsequent perpetual check.} ) 31. Na5+ {Next comes a further series of forced moves.} Kb6 32. Qxe6 Re8 (32... Rf6 {is bad on account of} 33. Qb3 {, after which the situation of the black king is absolutely not an enviable one.}) 33. Qd7 Bxb4 34. Nc6 Qd6 35. Qxe8 (35. Nxb4 {would be a mistake on account of} Qxd7 36. Bxd7 Rxe4 {with a dangerous endgame for White.}) 35... Qxc6 {The position has calmed down and now is the correct time to draw a conclusion. Because White is a pawn up and his passed e-pawn can be supported in its advance, the first player has good chances of a win.} 36. Qb8+ { I felt that the rook ending had to be won, but thought that this check could not hurt. In the final analysis Black's situation is in any case very difficult.} ({I had almost played} 36. Bd7 {like lightning and without my head taking any part in the decision. But then I took some time and after ten minutes thought convinced myself that I did not need to fear an exchange of queens — which later turned out to be correct.}) 36... Qb7 ({On} 36... Ka5 {I intended to bring the queen home by means of} 37. Qd8+ Ka4 38. Qd1+ {and after} Ka5 39. e5 {transfer to the main plan.}) 37. Qxb7+ {A committal decision, but from the objective point of view the correct one. It is highly likely that Black will not get enough time to swap off the a2-pawn.} Kxb7 38. f4 {The white plan is simple: force h7-h6, achieve the pawn structure h5-g4-f4-e5, hold up Black's queenside pawns on a5-b4 and push forward g4-g5. Although some strong players were of the opinion that Black could hold on here, i would gladly get this position again because of late I have had less and less belief in fortresses.} Kc6 39. Kf2 a5 40. Kf3 a4 {This leads to further problems and hastens the end.} 41. Bf5 {An important move: now Black must fix the position of his pawns on the kingside.} h6 (41... g6 {does not save him on account of} 42. Be6 Bc3 43. e5 b4 44. Ke4 h5 { (or else by means of g3-g4 and f4-f5 White creates a pair of passed pawns)} 45. Kd3 { followed Be6-f7 and the collection of the pawns.}) 42. Bg6 {The bsihop is aiming for e8, from where it would hold all together.} Kd7 43. e5 Bc5 44. Bd3 Kc6 45. Bc2 {White is in no hurry.} Kd5 ({Although after} 45... Bg1 46. h4 Kd5 47. h5 Bd4 48. Bg6 b4 49. Bf7+ Kc5 50. Ke4 {Black manages to exchange his a- and b-pawns for the a2-pawn, he does not succeed in bring his king back to e7 in time.}) 46. Be4+ {This decides everything because the white king gets to e4 and pushes its pawns forward.} Kc4 47. Bc6 {The further moves need no comment and were played quickly by both contestants.} Bg1 48. h4 Kc5 49. Be8 Bd4 50. h5 Bc3 51. Ke4 Be1 52. g4 Bd2 53. Kf5 a3 54. g5 b4 55. Ba4 Kd5 56. gxh6 gxh6 57. Bb3+ Kc5 58. Ke4 1-0 [Event "CHN-chT"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.11.04"] [Round "18.1"] [White "Bai, Jinshi"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E21"] [WhiteElo "2585"] [BlackElo "2759"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2017.04.18"] [EventType "team-tourn"] [EventRounds "22"] [EventCountry "CHN"] [SourceTitle "CB47_2017"] [SourceDate "2017.10.11"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2017.10.11"] [SourceQuality "1"] [WhiteTeam "Hangzhou"] [BlackTeam "Zhejiang"] [WhiteTeamCountry "CHN"] [BlackTeamCountry "CHN"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 O-O 5. Bg5 c5 6. e3 cxd4 7. Qxd4 Nc6 8. Qd3 h6 9. Bh4 d5 10. Rd1 g5 11. Bg3 Ne4 12. Nd2 Nc5 13. Qc2 d4 14. Nf3 e5 15. Nxe5 dxc3 16. Rxd8 cxb2+ 17. Ke2 Rxd8 18. Qxb2 Na4 19. Qc2 Nc3+ 20. Kf3 Rd4 21. h3 h5 22. Bh2 g4+ 23. Kg3 Rd2 24. Qb3 Ne4+ 25. Kh4 Be7+ 26. Kxh5 Kg7 27. Bf4 Bf5 28. Bh6+ Kh7 29. Qxb7 Rxf2 30. Bg5 Rh8 31. Nxf7 Bg6+ 32. Kxg4 Ne5+ 0-1 [Event "chess.com IoM Masters"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.09.30"] [Round "8"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C78"] [WhiteElo "2799"] [BlackElo "2827"] [Annotator "Nielsen,PH"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2017.09.23"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "ENG"] [SourceTitle "CBM 181"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2017.11.10"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2017.11.10"] [SourceQuality "1"] {While many players had planned their "exit-strategy" from the World Cup with the Isle of Man's organisers in advance, Magnus after the unexpected loss in round 3 to Bu, wanted to quickly wash a way the defeat, and an open tournament with most of the worlds elite present seemed like an excellent opportunity. The early rounds had the expected scares with risktaking and unusual openings in the end Magnus was rewarded with a half point lead before this game in the penultimate round:} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 {Magnus played the Moeller in the crucial game 9 of the match in New York, and had to pull of a spectacular save after getting into troubles out of the opening, and thus had parked the line until this game:} 7. c3 d6 8. a4 Rb8 9. d4 Bb6 10. a5 Ba7 11. h3 O-O 12. Be3 Ra8 13. Re1 h6 14. Nbd2 {Caruana had this exact position the day before also with the white pieces against Gawain Jones, who preferred 14...exd4.} Re8 {Curiously Magnus prefers the move Caruana himself played against Karjakin in 2013! That game continued with the pawn sacrifice 15.Nf1, but the American had prepared an even more cunning idea:} ( 14... exd4 15. cxd4 Nb4 {From a positional point of view Black is doing well, but Fabiano launched a well prepared attack with} 16. e5 $1 Nfd5 17. Ne4 Nxe3 18. Rxe3 Bb7 19. e6 Nd5 20. exf7+ Kh8 21. Re1 Rxf7 22. Rc1 Rc8 23. Nfg5 $1 { winning excellently. The depth of White's play is shown after} Re7 $1 (23... Rf5 $2 {was the game}) 24. Qg4 Qe8 25. Kh2 $1 Rd8 26. Qf5 $1 g6 27. Qg4 $1 { when the computer shows White has a very promising attack.}) 15. g4 $5 { The idea of attacking a pawn on h6 with g4 is not exactly new but, ideally White would prefer a rook and not his king on g1! Here however White's control of the centre means that it is difficult for Black to launch an attack against White's now somewhat weakened king, and more pressingly it's not easy to see how White develops next. There is no point in hiding that the move took the World Champion by surprise, as he now thought for more than half an hour coming up with a common sense reply:} Qe7 $6 {The computer indicates two ways for Black:} (15... exd4 16. cxd4 Nb4 {in the style of Jones is logical, now however with the rook on e8,} 17. Bxf7+ (17. g5 $5 {also deserves attention with wild tactics emerging after} c5 $1 18. e5 $5 Nfd5 19. Ne4 {with a complete mess, where Caruana certainly would be prepared.}) 17... Kxf7 18. Qb3+ {is possible, allthough} Nbd5 19. exd5 Bb7 20. Qd3 Qd7 $1 {as indicated by the computers seems to hold.}) (15... Qd7 $5 {is very interesting, combining defending the knight on c6 (and thus threatening 16...exd4 17.cxd4 Nxe4 18. Nxe4 Rxe4 as 19.Bd5 does not threaten on c6.) with ...Nxg4 motives cropping up. White can play it slow with} 16. Qc2 {but then} ({White can try and force events with} 16. g5 $5 {but Black can still play} exd4 17. cxd4 Nxe4 18. Nxe4 Rxe4 19. Bd5 {and while now} Re8 {loses to both 20.gxh6 or 20.g6,} (19... Qxh3 $1 {forces a draw, as} 20. Bxe4 Qg4+ {both 21.Kf1 and 21.Kh1 leave White's king exposed after 21...Qxe4 and} 21. Kh2 Qh5+ {is a perpetual.})) 16... Nd8 { is a good way to regroup.}) 16. Nf1 $1 {A very strong move, leaving Black in a strategically very difficult position.} Nd8 ({Tactically the problem is that} 16... exd4 17. cxd4 Nxe4 {loses a piece to} 18. d5 $1 Bxe3 19. Rxe3 Ne5 20. Nxe5 Qxe5 21. f3 {which means that Black has to play it slow.}) 17. Ng3 c5 18. Qd2 c4 19. Bc2 Nh7 20. b4 {An interesting moment. The computers at first indicate that 20.b3! is the move, and 20.b4 somewhat lets Black off the hook, but obviously both players seemed to think that sealing off the queenside is to White's advantage, and after a while the machine somewhat agrees with that after 20...Qf6!? 21.Kg2 Ne6 22.h4! still means White has a considerable advantage as Black's intended 22...Nhg5 is prevented.} cxb3 (20... Qf6 $5 21. Kg2 Ne6 22. h4 $1) 21. Bxb3 Be6 {Till here Caruana has turned in a powerful performance, but things are about to take a dramatic shift.} 22. Bc2 $2 ({After } 22. Nf5 $1 Qc7 {maybe at first it looks like White has made no progress, but} 23. Bd5 $1 {leaves White close to strategically winning:} Bxd5 (23... Rc8 24. Rac1 {also leaves Black stuck for moves, and biting the bullet and taking on f5, e.g. already in move 22 means White has a basically unstoppable attack down the g-file.}) 24. exd5 f6 {loses tactically to} 25. Bxh6 {as White's attack is unstoppable after} gxh6 26. Qxh6 Kh8 27. g5 fxg5 28. Nxd6 $18) 22... Rc8 23. Bd3 Nb7 24. Rec1 {Not managing to follow through on his aggressive intentions, Caruana has shifted to a defensive setup keeping a5 and c3 protected, and planning d5 and c4 should Black place his queen on the obvious square c7, but Black does have another way of pressurising the a-pawn:} Qd8 $1 {Short of time, White now collapses.} 25. Qb2 (25. d5 $1 {still was the best move, as after} Bxe3 26. Qxe3 Bd7 27. c4 $1 Nxa5 28. cxb5 Rxc1+ 29. Rxc1 axb5 30. Qa7 $1 {it seems like Black's best is} Nb3 {when White gets the pawn back with} 31. Rb1 Nc5 32. Bxb5 {and should be able to save the draw. In time pressure, however, Caruana goes astray.}) 25... Nxa5 26. Nd2 d5 $1 {Not only is Black a pawn up, but also the white centre is collapsing.} 27. Re1 Bb8 28. exd5 Bxd5 29. Bf5 Rc6 30. Qa3 Nb7 31. Rad1 exd4 32. Bxd4 Ng5 33. c4 Rxe1+ 34. Rxe1 Be6 35. Qe3 Bf4 $1 {The bishop, who White went to great length excluding from the game has returned efficiently and fittingly delivers the final blow. And as 36.Qxf4 loses to 36...Nxh3+ and 36.Qe2 Bxd2 37.Qxd2 to 37...Nf3+ Caruana resigned. Another American however kept the pase, meaning Magnus had a half point lead over Nakamura and a full point over the remaining field. Playing Hikaru as White the World Champion found inspiration from the French Championship, copying a recent game and effectively forcing a draw to clinch tournament victory.} 0-1 [Event "Gashimov Memorial 4th"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.04.24"] [Round "4"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Harikrishna, Penteala"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C77"] [WhiteElo "2811"] [BlackElo "2755"] [Annotator "Hillarp-Persson,T"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2017.04.21"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [EventCategory "21"] [SourceTitle "CBM 178"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2017.05.14"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2017.05.14"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 {As far as I can see, this is the first time Kramnik has entered the Ruy Lopez from the white side in a very long time.} (3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. Re1 d6 7. c3 Na5 8. Bb5 a6 9. Ba4 b5 10. Bc2 c5 {Why give this line? Explanation follows after 8.c3 in the game.}) 3... a6 $1 { Harikrishna also has the Berlin Defence in his repertoire, but to play it against Kramnik? I don't think so.} 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 (6. Re1 { is still the main move, but after} b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 (8. a4 {is the most challenging move for those who prefer to avoid the gambit.}) 8... d5 {no-one above 2600 has lost with the black pieces in the last half year.}) 6... b5 7. Bb3 d6 (7... O-O {is played far less. Perhaps since} 8. a4 {is an option again. } (8. Nc3 d6 9. a3)) 8. a3 {White must save the light-squared bishop. And since the other options have been found to set Black few(er) problems, this seemingly meek move has become the latest fashion.} (8. Nc3 $6 Na5 $1) (8. a4 Bd7 $1 {is a neat point behind 7...d6. After} 9. c3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qb8 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. axb5 axb5 15. dxc5 dxc5 16. Qd5 Qc8 17. b4 Be6 18. Qxc5 Qxc5 19. bxc5 Kd7 $1 {Morozevich,A (2680)-Vitiugov,N (2715) 32nd ECC Open 2016, Black was doing very well and went on to win.}) (8. c3 O-O 9. Re1 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 {is a position that can also arise in the Prussian Defence (3.Bc4 Nf6).} ) 8... O-O (8... Be6 {is an idea that is usually better when White has already played h3. Then after} 9. Bxe6 fxe6 {Black can aim for Nf6-h5-f4 later on. When White's pawn is still on h2, White can just stop this with g2-g3; not worrying about any weaknesses around the king. I assume White ought to be a bit better here, although it is far from clear (to me) how.} 10. c3 O-O 11. Nbd2 Qd7 12. Re1 Rae8 (12... Nd8 $5) (12... Nh5) 13. a4 $14 {Pavlidis,A (2530) -Schwarz,D (2290) European Rapid 2016}) 9. Nc3 {There are few positions in chess where there are more than 4-5 decent moves, but in this position there are no less than 7 perfectly reasonable moves for Black! It is also notable that this position was reached 4 times in the last WCh match between Karjakin and Carlsen, with Magnus, as Black, scoring three draws and one win.} Nb8 $5 { The start of the Breyer-plan. Black is aiming for a harmonious setup with Nbd7 and Bb7, before continuing - usually - with Re8, Bf8, g6 and Bg7. For someone who has played the Pirc/Modern for many years, it gives rise to a kind of déjà vu; haven't I seen something similar somewhere?} (9... Be6 10. Be3 d5 11. Bg5 $1 {has scored well for White.}) (9... Na5 10. Ba2 Be6 {was played by Carlsen in two of the WCh games.} ({Playing Chigorin-style with} 10... c5 { , makes more sense when White has spent time on moves like c3 and h3. Here White is ready to fight for the d5-square immediately:} 11. b4 Nc6 12. Nd5 $36 {This is possibly the reason why Carlsen played Nb8, c5, Nc6 in an earlier game. Here it actually helps White to have the bishop kicked back to a2.}) 11. b4 (11. d4 Bxa2 12. Rxa2 Re8 13. Ra1 Nc4 14. Re1 Rc8 15. h3 h6 16. b3 Nb6 17. Bb2 Bf8 18. dxe5 dxe5 19. a4 c6 20. Qxd8 Rcxd8 21. axb5 axb5 22. Ne2 Bb4 23. Bc3 Bxc3 24. Nxc3 Nbd7 25. Ra6 Rc8 26. b4 Re6 27. Rb1 c5 28. Rxe6 fxe6 29. Nxb5 cxb4 30. Rxb4 Rxc2 31. Nd6 Rc1+ 32. Kh2 Rc2 33. Kg1 {1/2-1/2 (33) Karjakin,S (2770)-Carlsen,M (2850) WCh 2016}) 11... Nc6 12. Nd5 Nd4 13. Ng5 Bxd5 14. exd5 Nd7 15. Ne4 f5 16. Nd2 f4 17. c3 Nf5 18. Ne4 Qe8 19. Bb3 Qg6 20. f3 Bh4 21. a4 Nf6 22. Qe2 a5 23. axb5 axb4 24. Bd2 bxc3 25. Bxc3 Ne3 26. Rfc1 Rxa1 27. Rxa1 Qe8 28. Bc4 Kh8 29. Nxf6 Bxf6 30. Ra3 e4 31. dxe4 Bxc3 32. Rxc3 Qe5 33. Rc1 Ra8 34. h3 h6 35. Kh2 Qd4 36. Qe1 Qb2 37. Bf1 Ra2 38. Rxc7 Ra1 {0-1 (38) Karjakin, S (2770)-Carlsen,M (2850) WCh Rapid TB 2016}) 10. Ne2 {The start of the most famous manoeuvre known to chess. The terminus is g3, where the knight is bolstering e4, stopping ...Nh5, and making sure that a future ...Bg4 will be truly kicked away with h3; all this while not being in the way of any other pieces.} Nbd7 {Harikrishna is going for a more traditional interpretation of the Breyer setup.} ({Carlsen preferred} 10... c5 11. Ng3 Nc6 12. c3 Rb8 13. h3 a5 14. a4 b4 15. Re1 Be6 16. Bc4 h6 17. Be3 Qc8 18. Qe2 Rd8 19. Bxe6 fxe6 20. d4 bxc3 21. bxc3 cxd4 22. cxd4 exd4 23. Nxd4 Nxd4 24. Bxd4 Rb4 25. Rec1 Qd7 26. Bc3 Rxa4 27. Bxa5 Rxa1 28. Rxa1 Ra8 29. Bc3 Rxa1+ 30. Bxa1 Qc6 31. Kh2 Kf7 32. Bb2 Qc5 33. f4 Bd8 34. e5 dxe5 35. Bxe5 Bb6 36. Qd1 Qd5 37. Qxd5 Nxd5 {1/2-1/2 (37) Karjakin,S (2770)-Carlsen,M (2850) WCh Rapid TB 2016}) 11. c3 ({If Black is worried about the Nb6/c5-plan that Kovalev used against Kobalia (see next comment), it makes sense to play} 11. Ng3 {first.} Nb6 (11... Nc5 12. Ba2 Be6 { is probably the reason why Kramnik choose the move order with c3 first.}) 12. Bd2 c5 13. Ba5 $5) 11... Bb7 {This quite logical move seems new. If we compare the position with the classical Breyer System, then White has played d3 instead of d4, has added a3, avoided h3 and can play the knight to g3 without going Re1 first. Black should be ahead on tempi, but not having played d4 is something of an advantage for White, who is more flexible and doesn't have to worry about tactical operations revolving around a weak e4-pawn.} (11... Nb6 12. Ng3 c5 13. d4 Qc7 14. Re1 a5 15. h3 Bd7 16. Bd2 a4 17. Bc2 Nc4 18. Bc1 Rfc8 {Kobalia,M (2646)-Kovalev,V (2562) Gjakova 2016, led to a very complex fight.}) 12. Ng3 c5 13. Re1 Rc8 {Black would love to get a chance to force the exchange of the c-pawn for White's d-pawn.} 14. Nf5 $5 {This move changes the flow of the game and takes it into unclear waters.} ({I would only consider} 14. Ba2 { or}) (14. Bc2 {Both look quite reasonable.}) 14... c4 $1 15. dxc4 ({If} 15. Bc2 cxd3 16. Bxd3 Re8 17. Bc2 {, then} Nc5 18. Bg5 Bf8 {and Black's pieces are too harmonious for White even dream of an advantage.} 19. Nd2 g6 20. Ne3 Be7 21. Bxf6 Bxf6 22. a4 Bg5 $11) 15... Bxe4 ({Black can also consider} 15... bxc4 16. Bc2 Nc5 {, but after} 17. Bg5 Rc7 18. Bxf6 Bxf6 19. Qxd6 {Black doesn't have enough compensation for the pawn.}) 16. Nxe7+ (16. Nxd6 $2 Bxd6 17. Qxd6 Nc5 { leads to a total collapse on the light squares.}) 16... Qxe7 17. cxb5 axb5 18. Bg5 $1 {This must be played before Black gets to shut it out of the game with h6.} Nc5 19. Ba2 {Ambitious.} (19. Bc2 Bxc2 20. Qxc2 Ne6 {looks about balanced. }) 19... h6 20. Bh4 $5 {I might be overly pessimistic here, but to me this seems like burning bridges. The bishop will be terribly passive on g3, so the natural thing to do would be to go} (20. Bxf6 Qxf6 21. Re3 {Still, Black has no complaints here, so I guess Kramnik's choice was in harmony with the bishop retreat to a2. He is aiming for complications.}) 20... g5 $1 21. Bg3 Bh7 ({ Usually the bishop is better off at g6, from where it supports h5 and leaves the h7-square for other pieces:} 21... Bg6 {After} 22. Bb1 Nfe4 23. Nd2 d5 24. Nf3 f6 25. Qxd5+ Kg7 {Black has a nice initiative for the pawn.}) 22. Qe2 (22. Bb1 $5) 22... Kg7 $1 {Black's plan is to evacuate the knight from f6, play f6 in order to bury the bishop on g3, and then occupy the light squares. White needs to come up with an antidote to this scenario.} 23. Rad1 {If Kramnik played this seeing what is coming next, then this is one of the greatest moves I have ever seen.} (23. Qxb5 $2 Nd3 {and the b-pawn falls.}) (23. Nd4 $5 Qd7 24. Nb3 Nce4 25. Nd2 Nc5 26. Bb1 {is another way to get some grip on the light squares. If Black is unable to move the central pawns forward, they could turn out to be weak in the end.}) 23... Nfe4 $1 24. Rd5 {!!!??!?} ({White doesn't have the time to play} 24. Qxb5 {, since} f5 $1 {leaves Bg3 in mortal danger, and} 25. h3 Rb8 26. Qe2 f4 27. Bh2 Na4 28. Rb1 Nec5 {is game over-ish.}) ({ To play something like} 24. h3 {, is paramount to resignation:} f5 25. Bh2 f4 26. Bb1 Qb7 27. Nd2 Nf6 {and Black has the most terrible domination.}) 24... f5 {This looks so natural and so strong. How to stop oneself from playing such a move?} ({I would have played} 24... f6 $1 {, just to realise that I don't have much choice after , so:} 25. Bb1 f5 {and we get a position similar to the one in the game. How is the sacrifice here? I would not be able to make a precise evaluation over the board.}) (24... Rfe8 {might be the most flexible move, planning on f5 while opening a slot for the king on f8. It seems to me (and the engine) that Black is just clearly better here.}) 25. Rxe5 $3 {Daring and genius in one move. I presume Kramnik realised he was sliding into a bad situation and decided to change the course of the game, whatever the price.} ({ This is much more tricky than} 25. Rxd6 $6 Nxd6 26. Qxe5+ Qxe5 27. Bxe5+ Rf6 $1 {when there is no obvious way for White to get full compensation. With no queens on the board, this would be far easier for a human to handle.}) 25... dxe5 26. Bxe5+ Nf6 $6 {Not a big, but a step in the wrong direction. Black should find a way to exchange one of the bishops, as fast as possible, with no delay. The best way to do that is:} (26... Kg6 $1 {avoids the pins and prepares for ...Bg8...} 27. Bd4 $1 Bg8 $1 {Now the price to avoid the exchange is too high:} 28. Bxg8 (28. Bb1 Kh7 29. Qxb5 Nb3) 28... Rxg8 29. g4 $5 (29. Qxb5 g4 30. Ne5+ Kh7 $19) 29... Rge8 30. gxf5+ Kh7 31. Qc2 Qb7 (31... Qd7 $5) 32. f6 Qd7 $17 {Even here there are still traps to watch out for, so from a practical point of view Kramnik's move was brilliant.}) 27. Qxb5 $1 {Picking up a pawn, so as to make the queenside mobile.} Nce4 28. Bd4 Rfd8 {What to do now?} 29. h3 $1 {What a cool move. It is still not clear what Black should do, so creating breathing space for the king cannot be wrong.} Rb8 30. Qe2 { There seem to be so many good moves for Black, but which one wins?} Bg8 $6 ( 30... Re8 {is what Karpov would have played. Over protecting the knight on e4, gives more freedom to the rest of the pieces.} 31. b4 Bg6 32. Qb2 Kh7 33. c4 Rbd8 {...Botvinnik would have liked this one.} 34. c5 {and finally, Black is ready for} g4 $1) 31. Bb1 Qb7 (31... Rb3 32. Ba2 $1) 32. b4 Re8 33. c4 { A few moves ago Black only had one problem; how to get out of the pin and get his pieces active. Now there is a second issue. The pawns are starting to look menacing.} Qc6 $2 {This move allows White to get fully coordinated. Last chance for an advantage was} (33... Qa6 $1 {, but things are still not as clear as the engine would like you to think:} 34. b5 $5 (34. Qb2 Bxc4 35. Rc1 Bd5 36. Rc7+ Kg8 37. Bxe4 fxe4 38. Nh2 Nh5 39. Ng4 Rb7 $17) 34... Qd6 (34... Qxa3 $6 35. Bxe4 Rxe4 36. Qd2 Rbe8 37. Ra1 $44) 35. Qb2 Bxc4 36. a4 Ra8 { (There might be something better here)} 37. Bxe4 Rxe4 38. Rxe4 fxe4 39. Ne5 Be6 (39... Rd8 40. Nc6) 40. b6 Rxa4 41. Nc6 Rxd4 42. Nxd4 Kf7 43. b7 Nd7 44. Nxe6 Kxe6 45. Qg7 {and White will probably get a draw.}) 34. Qb2 {Now White's initiative is terrific. Black would like retreat the knight from e4, but it is oh so hard. With this move Black's position goes from hard-to-handle to just worse.} Rbd8 $6 (34... Kh7 $1 {is a good chance for Black, but after} 35. c5 { , Black still needs to find a few exact moves:} (35. Be5 Rbd8 36. Nd4 Qxc4 37. Nxf5 Rd2 38. Nd6 Rxb2 39. Bxb2 Qb3 40. Bxf6 Qxb1 41. Rxb1 Nxd6 42. a4 $132) 35... Bf7 $1 (35... Nd7 $6 36. Nd2 Bd5 37. Nf1 $36 {[%cal Gf1e3]}) 36. Ne5 Qd5 37. Nxf7 Qxf7 38. f3 Ng3 39. Be5 Nfh5 40. Kh2 Qd5 41. Qc3 Nf1+ 42. Kg1 Nfg3 43. Bxb8 Qd4+ $1 44. Qxd4 Rxe1+ 45. Kf2 Re2+ 46. Kg1 Re1+ $11) 35. c5 (35. b5 Qd6 36. Rc1 Rc8 37. Bxe4 Rxe4 38. c5 Qe7 39. c6 {is even better. Black is balancing on the edge of the abyss.}) 35... Qe6 36. b5 $5 (36. Rc1 $1 g4 37. hxg4 fxg4 38. Bxe4 Rxd4 39. Qxd4 Qxe4 40. Qxe4 Rxe4 41. Nd2 Re2 42. Nf1 $14) 36... Kf8 $2 ({Black's last chance was} 36... Qb3 $1 37. Qa1 Kg6 $1 38. Bxf6 ( 38. b6 Nd7 39. Rc1 Rc8 40. c6 Nxb6 41. Bxe4 fxe4 42. Bh8 Qf7 43. Ne5+ Rxe5 44. Qxe5 Qe6 $11) 38... Nxf6 39. Rxe8 Rxe8 40. Bxf5+ Kg7 41. Nd4 {and this unbalanced position, to my surprise, seems to be in balance.}) 37. c6 g4 $2 { This accelerates the ending, but White's pawns were too advanced for a remedy to be found.} 38. hxg4 fxg4 39. Bxe4 $1 gxf3 ({Or} 39... Nxe4 40. Rxe4 Qxe4 41. Bg7+ Ke7 42. Qf6#) 40. Bxf6 Rd6 41. Bg7+ Kf7 42. Be5 {and Harikrishna resigned. A marvelous swindle by Kramnik!} 1-0 [Event "Biel GM 50th"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.07.31"] [Round "7"] [White "Morozevich, Alexander"] [Black "Ponomariov, Ruslan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D61"] [WhiteElo "2675"] [BlackElo "2699"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2017.07.24"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "SUI"] [EventCategory "16"] [SourceTitle "CB31_2017"] [SourceDate "2017.08.02"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2017.08.02"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 Nbd7 7. e3 Be7 8. Qc2 O-O 9. O-O-O dxc4 10. g4 b5 11. Rg1 Nd5 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. g5 h5 14. g6 f5 15. Ne5 Nxc3 16. Qxc3 Nf6 17. e4 Ng4 18. Qh3 Qg5+ 19. Kb1 Qh6 20. Qh4 Nf6 21. Rg5 Bd7 22. Nxd7 Nxd7 23. e5 c5 24. Be2 cxd4 25. Rxh5 Qxg6 26. Rh8+ Kf7 27. Bh5 Rxh8 28. Bxg6+ Kxg6 29. Qe7 1-0 [Event "Aeroflot Open A 2017"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2017.02.24"] [Round "4.18"] [White "Swiercz, Dariusz"] [Black "Sunilduth Lyna, Narayanan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2645"] [BlackElo "2524"] [Annotator "Reeh,Oliver"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3rr3/1pbq1p1k/p1p1n1pN/2P3Pp/PP1pPp1P/3P4/1Q3PK1/2BRR3 w - - 0 33"] [PlyCount "12"] [EventDate "2017.02.21"] 33. e5 {[%tqu "En","Black to play and win.","How could Black win if there weren't a white pawn on e5?","","f7f6","Ein Spitzenhebel! 34.gxf6 Kxh6 verliert eine Figur für Weiß. Und nach 34.exf6 hat die Diagonale seines Bc7 verlängert, wenngleich erst nur ein kleines Stück...",5,"De","Schwarz zieht und gewinnt.","Wie könnte Schwarz gewinnen, wenn kein weißer Bauer auf e5 stünde?","","f7f6","Ein Spitzenhebel! 34.gxf6 Kxh6 verliert eine Figur für Weiß. Und nach 34.exf6 hat die Diagonale seines Bc7 verlängert, wenngleich erst nur ein kleines Stück...",5]} f6 $3 {[%cal Gc7f4,Yg5f6,Gh7h6,Ye5f6] A lever of the very special kind. Ein Hebel der ganz besonderen Art.} 34. exf6 ( 34. gxf6 Kxh6) {[%tqu "En","Continuation?","","","f4f3","Damit ist die Diagonale des Bc7 zum Königsflügel endgültig offen! Sowohl nach 35.Kxf3 als auch 35.Kg1 gewinnt Schwarz mit demselben Zug. Sehen Sie welchem?",3,"De", "Fortsetzung?","","","f4f3","Damit ist die Diagonale des Bc7 zum Königsflügel endgültig offen! Sowohl nach 35.Kxf3 als auch 35.Kg1 gewinnt Schwarz mit demselben Zug. Sehen Sie welchem?",3]} 34... f3+ $1 {[%cal Gc7h2]} 35. Kg1 ( 35. Kxf3 {[%tqu "En","How does Black checkmate by force?","","","e6g5","Öffnet die e-Linie und räumt die Diagonale für die Dame d7 zum Königsflügel.",2,"De", "Wie setzt Schwarz forciert matt?","","","e6g5","Öffnet die e-Linie und räumt die Diagonale für die Dame d7 zum Königsflügel.",2]} Nxg5+ $1 {[%csl Gd7][%cal Gd7h3,Ge8e1]} 36. Bxg5 (36. Kg2 Qh3+ 37. Kg1 Nf3#) {[%tqu "En","Please finish the game.","","","d7h3","Schachmatt - der Bc7 und der Re8 kontrollieren alle Fluchtfelder für den König.",1,"De","Please finish the game.","","","d7h3", "Schachmatt - der Bc7 und der Re8 kontrollieren alle Fluchtfelder für den König.",1]} 36... Qh3# {[%csl Ge1,Gf3][%cal Gc7h2,Gh3f3,Ge8e1]}) {[%tqu "En", "Please play Black's winning knight move from the previous line.","","","e6g5", "Droht 36...Qh3 nebst 37...Qg2++ - Schwarz setzt matt.",1,"De","Bitte spielen Sie den Gewinnzug mit dem schwarzen Springer aus der vorigen Variante.","","", "e6g5","Droht 36...Qh3 nebst 37...Qg2++ - Schwarz setzt matt.",1]} 35... Nxg5 $1 {[%cal Gd7h3,Gh3g2] Threatening 36...Qh3 followed by 37...Qg2++ - Black checkmates. Droht 36...Qh3 nebst 37...Qg2++ - Schwarz setzt matt.} 36. Qa2 Qh3 {[%csl Gg2][%cal Gh3g2]} 37. Qg8+ Rxg8 38. Re7+ Kh8 (38... Kxh6 $4 39. Bxg5#) 0-1 [Event "Schachbundesliga"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.03.18"] [Round "9.7"] [White "Wagner, Dennis"] [Black "Nikolic, Predrag"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E20"] [WhiteElo "2543"] [BlackElo "2622"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 h6 7. cxd5 exd5 8. e3 Bf5 9. Ne2 O-O 10. g4 Bh7 11. h4 Ne8 12. Nf4 Nc6 13. g5 hxg5 14. hxg5 Qxg5 15. Ra2 Qd8 16. Rah2 Nf6 17. Qc2 g6 18. Rxh7 Nxh7 19. Qh2 Re8 20. Qxh7+ Kf8 21. Qh6+ Ke7 22. Qg5+ 1-0 [Event "USA-ch"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.04.07"] [Round "9"] [White "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E05"] [WhiteElo "2674"] [BlackElo "2822"] [Annotator "Yermolinsky,A"] [PlyCount "62"] [EventDate "2017.03.29"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "USA"] [EventCategory "18"] [SourceTitle "CBM 178"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2017.05.14"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2017.05.14"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 Bd7 9. Rd1 Bc6 10. Nc3 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Nc6 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Bg5 Rb8 14. e3 { Standard issue Catalan, one of those positions where White doesn't seem to be trying for much. Yet, "careful play" is required from Black, which in this day and age means computer-approved preparation.} c5 $5 {Wesley shows he'd done his homework.} (14... a5 {is considered automatic.}) 15. dxc5 Qe8 16. Rd4 (16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. Ne4 Be5 18. Rab1 Rb4 19. f4 f5 20. Nd2 Bf6 21. Nxc4 Rxa4 { is roughly balanced.}) 16... Nd7 $1 {An improvement over one long-forgotten game} ({which went} 16... Rb4 17. Na2 Qxa4 18. Nxb4 Qxa1+ 19. Kg2 Qa5 20. Nc6 Qxc5 $14 {Sjugirov-Smirnov, 2012}) 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. c6 {It's hard to tell if Jeffery was still looking for an advantage or was ready to bail out.} ({ An attempt to take away e5 from the black knight} 18. f4 {meets with} e5 19. Rxc4 exf4 20. exf4 Qe3+ 21. Kg2 Nf6 {White gets to keep his extra pawn, but his king is weak. Lines such as this give bad vibes and usually are declined as long as there are some other options.}) ({The next move to think of is} 18. Rf1 {anticipating} Ne5 19. f4 Nc6 20. Rxc4 {but then comes} Na5 21. Rd4 Qxc5 { and once again, having weakened his position with the f-pawn move, White finds himself on the defensive end of it.}) ({In the meantime, the "simple"} 18. Rxc4 Ne5 19. Re4 Qxc5 {is really awkward for White.}) 18... Ne5 19. Qe4 Qc5 20. Nd5 {A logical continuation of the previous move. Moves from both sides become forced.} Nd3 21. Nxc7 Nxf2 $1 {Wesley had to have seen this shot from afar. Did Jeff completely miss it?} 22. Kxf2 {A quick reply, but possibly, Xiong was bluffing.} ({Instead of playing mind games, he should have paid attention to the board. Maybe, then he would have found} 22. Nxa6 {which happens to be a good enough move to continue the game:} Qg5 {appears to be Black's best.} ( 22... Nxe4 23. Nxc5 Nxc5 24. Rxc4 {and White's pawns are more than enough to offset Black's extra knight.}) (22... Qh5 $4 23. Qc2 {and White even wins.}) 23. Qf3 $1 {A beautiful move that consolidates everything.} ({no need to flirt with disaster after} 23. Kxf2 Rxb2+ 24. Ke1) ({and} 23. Qc2 {is now bad on account of} Nd3) 23... Rxb2 24. c7 Nd3 (24... Nh3+ $145 $1 25. Kh1 h6 $3 26. Rxc4 (26. Rf1 Qa5 $3 $19) 26... Rf2 $1 27. Qb7 Qxe3 28. c8=Q Rxc8 29. Rxc8+ Kh7 $19) 25. Rf1 {Suddenly White has a threat of his own: Qxf7+!, his pieces are all participating and the c7-pawn is alive. Game on!}) 22... Rxb2+ 23. Kf1 Qh5 24. Qg4 Qxh2 25. Qf3 c3 $1 {Only this move made clear how difficult White's task is going to be.} 26. Rc1 e5 $1 {Wesley took about 20 minutes on this one. He just wanted to make sure.} 27. Rh4 $2 {Another error from Jeffery ends the game on the spot.} ({The right move was} 27. Rc4 {If anything, it would force Black to seek ways of getting his other rook involved. Without breathing space, calculating the resulting variations could be unnerving. Would So be up to the task?} Rfb8 {is the right move.} (27... Qd2 28. Rd1 Rd8 {same as in the game, but here White does have a miracle line} 29. Nd5 $3 (29. Rxd2 Rdxd2 30. Kg1 Rb1+ 31. Qf1 c2 32. Nxa6 {is not enough to save White:} Rxf1+ 33. Kxf1 Rd1+ 34. Ke2 c1=Q 35. Rxc1 Rxc1 36. Nb8 Rc5 37. Kd3 f5 $19) 29... Rxd5 30. Rxd2 Rdxd2 { and now} 31. Qe2 $3 Rxe2 32. c7 {forcing Black to take the perpetual.}) 28. Nd5 (28. Nxa6 Qd2 29. R4xc3 e4) 28... Rf2+ 29. Qxf2 Qh1+ 30. Qg1 (30. Ke2 Rb2+) 30... Qxd5 31. R4xc3 Rb2 $19) 27... Qd2 28. Rd1 Rd8 $1 29. Nd5 Rxd5 30. Rd4 Rxd4 (30... exd4 $4 31. c7 $18) 31. exd4 Qxd1+ {Fresh out of tactical tricks Xiong resigned.} 0-1

From Anand to Zhongyi

To close the book on 2017, we review your picks for the most remarkable moves, endgames, games, and players of the year gone by. It was an incredibly full year of chess globally, and yet 2018 — featuring the Candidates tournament and the World Championship match, plus the Chess Olympiad in addition to the regular slate of annual tournaments — is shaping up to be even better! Now, on to the winners...

Move of the year

This category was very close, but ultimately the startling pawn sacrifice 33...f6 !! by Narayanan Sunilduth Lyna came out on top. A surprise clearance operation, followed by a mating attack, made this move and combination a wonder to behold.
Zug des Jahres 2017 / Move of the year 2017
Vera Nebolsina: 26.c5!! 51 18%
Boris Savchenko: 24...Nb3!! 10 3%
Gata Kamsy: 23...c4!! 22 8%
Naryanan Sunilduth Lyna: 33...f6!! 83 30%
Sabrina Vega Gutierrez: 28...Txg2!! 32 11%
Viswanathan Anand: 22.exf6!! 74 27%
[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2017"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2017.02.24"] [Round "4.18"] [White "Swiercz, Dariusz"] [Black "Sunilduth Lyna, Narayanan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2645"] [BlackElo "2524"] [Annotator "Reeh,Oliver"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3rr3/1pbq1p1k/p1p1n1pN/2P3Pp/PP1pPp1P/3P4/1Q3PK1/2BRR3 w - - 0 33"] [PlyCount "12"] [EventDate "2017.02.21"] 33. e5 {[%tqu "En","Black to play and win.","How could Black win if there weren't a white pawn on e5?","","f7f6","Ein Spitzenhebel! 34.gxf6 Kxh6 verliert eine Figur für Weiß. Und nach 34.exf6 hat die Diagonale seines Bc7 verlängert, wenngleich erst nur ein kleines Stück...",5,"De","Schwarz zieht und gewinnt.","Wie könnte Schwarz gewinnen, wenn kein weißer Bauer auf e5 stünde?","","f7f6","Ein Spitzenhebel! 34.gxf6 Kxh6 verliert eine Figur für Weiß. Und nach 34.exf6 hat die Diagonale seines Bc7 verlängert, wenngleich erst nur ein kleines Stück...",5]} f6 $3 {[%cal Gc7f4,Yg5f6,Gh7h6,Ye5f6] A lever of the very special kind. Ein Hebel der ganz besonderen Art.} 34. exf6 ( 34. gxf6 Kxh6) {[%tqu "En","Continuation?","","","f4f3","Damit ist die Diagonale des Bc7 zum Königsflügel endgültig offen! Sowohl nach 35.Kxf3 als auch 35.Kg1 gewinnt Schwarz mit demselben Zug. Sehen Sie welchem?",3,"De", "Fortsetzung?","","","f4f3","Damit ist die Diagonale des Bc7 zum Königsflügel endgültig offen! Sowohl nach 35.Kxf3 als auch 35.Kg1 gewinnt Schwarz mit demselben Zug. Sehen Sie welchem?",3]} 34... f3+ $1 {[%cal Gc7h2]} 35. Kg1 ( 35. Kxf3 {[%tqu "En","How does Black checkmate by force?","","","e6g5","Öffnet die e-Linie und räumt die Diagonale für die Dame d7 zum Königsflügel.",2,"De", "Wie setzt Schwarz forciert matt?","","","e6g5","Öffnet die e-Linie und räumt die Diagonale für die Dame d7 zum Königsflügel.",2]} Nxg5+ $1 {[%csl Gd7][%cal Gd7h3,Ge8e1]} 36. Bxg5 (36. Kg2 Qh3+ 37. Kg1 Nf3#) {[%tqu "En","Please finish the game.","","","d7h3","Schachmatt - der Bc7 und der Re8 kontrollieren alle Fluchtfelder für den König.",1,"De","Please finish the game.","","","d7h3", "Schachmatt - der Bc7 und der Re8 kontrollieren alle Fluchtfelder für den König.",1]} 36... Qh3# {[%csl Ge1,Gf3][%cal Gc7h2,Gh3f3,Ge8e1]}) {[%tqu "En", "Please play Black's winning knight move from the previous line.","","","e6g5", "Droht 36...Qh3 nebst 37...Qg2++ - Schwarz setzt matt.",1,"De","Bitte spielen Sie den Gewinnzug mit dem schwarzen Springer aus der vorigen Variante.","","", "e6g5","Droht 36...Qh3 nebst 37...Qg2++ - Schwarz setzt matt.",1]} 35... Nxg5 $1 {[%cal Gd7h3,Gh3g2] Threatening 36...Qh3 followed by 37...Qg2++ - Black checkmates. Droht 36...Qh3 nebst 37...Qg2++ - Schwarz setzt matt.} 36. Qa2 Qh3 {[%csl Gg2][%cal Gh3g2]} 37. Qg8+ Rxg8 38. Re7+ Kh8 (38... Kxh6 $4 39. Bxg5#) 0-1

Endgame of the year:

Magnus Carlsen vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Sinquefield Cup, Round 4
By just a three point margin, ChessBase members selected this endgame from St. Louis over Nakamura vs. Giri in the first round of Norway Chess. Our round report dubbed Maxime "Vachier-Lagreat" for his win over the World Champion.
Endspiel des Jahres 2017 / Endgame of the year 2017
Yu-Zvjaginsev 26 17%
Carlsen-Vachier Lagrave 41 27%
Vachier Lagrave-So 11 7%
So-Jobava 9 6%
Carlsen-Aronian 25 16%
Nakamura-Giri 36 24%
[Event "5th Sinquefield Cup 2017"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2017.08.05"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Carlsen, M."] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A34"] [WhiteElo "2822"] [BlackElo "2791"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3r4/p4k2/Pp6/1Bpr1pBp/2N4P/2Pn1R2/KP6/5b2 b - - 0 48"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2017.08.02"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "USA"] [EventCategory "22"] [SourceTitle "CBM 180 Video Endspiele"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2016.11.12"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2016.11.12"] [SourceQuality "1"] 48... Be2 49. Bxd8 Bxf3 50. Bxb6 axb6 51. Bc6 Be4 52. a7 Rd8 53. Nd6+ Rxd6 54. Bxe4 Rd8 55. a8=Q Rxa8+ 56. Bxa8 Ne5 57. Kb3 f4 58. Kc2 Kg7 59. Kd2 Ng6 60. Kd3 Nxh4 61. Ke4 f3 62. Ke3 Kf6 63. b4 c4 64. Bd5 Kf5 65. Bxc4 Kg4 66. Kf2 Ng6 67. Be6+ Kf4 68. Bf7 Ne5 69. Bxh5 Nd3+ 70. Kf1 Kg3 71. Bf7 Nf2 0-1
 

Game of the year

Bai Junshi vs. Ding Liren, Chinese Team Championship, Round 18
We perhaps biased this one by highlighting this brilliancy when it was played in November, but still, few would protest the overwhelming reader's choice, which nearly tripled the next-closest vote tally.
Die Partie des Jahres 2017/ The best game of the year 2017
Wagner-Nikolic 33 12%
Rapport-Wei 7 2%
Xiong-So 11 4%
Aronian-Naiditsch 9 3%
Kramnik-Harikrishna 16 5%
Aronian-Carlsen 36 13%
Anand-Caruana 30 10%
Caruana-Carlsen 12 4%
Bai-Ding 105 38%
Morozevich-Ponomariov 14 5%
[Event "CHN-chT"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.11.04"] [Round "18.1"] [White "Bai, Jinshi"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E21"] [WhiteElo "2585"] [BlackElo "2759"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2017.04.18"] [EventType "team-tourn"] [EventRounds "22"] [EventCountry "CHN"] [SourceTitle "CB47_2017"] [SourceDate "2017.10.11"] [SourceVersion "1"] [SourceVersionDate "2017.10.11"] [SourceQuality "1"] [WhiteTeam "Hangzhou"] [BlackTeam "Zhejiang"] [WhiteTeamCountry "CHN"] [BlackTeamCountry "CHN"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 O-O 5. Bg5 c5 6. e3 cxd4 7. Qxd4 Nc6 8. Qd3 h6 9. Bh4 d5 10. Rd1 g5 11. Bg3 Ne4 12. Nd2 Nc5 13. Qc2 d4 14. Nf3 e5 15. Nxe5 dxc3 16. Rxd8 cxb2+ 17. Ke2 Rxd8 18. Qxb2 Na4 19. Qc2 Nc3+ 20. Kf3 Rd4 21. h3 h5 22. Bh2 g4+ 23. Kg3 Rd2 24. Qb3 Ne4+ 25. Kh4 Be7+ 26. Kxh5 Kg7 27. Bf4 Bf5 28. Bh6+ Kh7 29. Qxb7 Rxf2 30. Bg5 Rh8 31. Nxf7 Bg6+ 32. Kxg4 Ne5+ 0-1
 

Female player of the year: Hou Yifan

Yifan, who was also nominated in the overall "player of the year" poll, crushed her compatriot Ju Wenjun in your choice for female player of the year, despite the latter's strong finish in the World Blitz and Rapid Championships. Hou overcame the scandal surrounding her thrown game protest at the start of 2017 in Gibraltar, and won largely thanks to her standout performance in Biel. Anna Muzychuk was also a big vote-getter, with some calling our her principled stand against the awarding of the Blitz and Rapid Championships to Saudi Arabia.
Die Spielerin des Jahres 2017 / The Female Player of the year 2017
Tan Zhongyi 0 0%
Antonatea Stefanova 5 1%
Anna Muzychuk 60 22%
Lei Tingjie 5 1%
Alexandra Kosteniuk 10 3%
Ju Wenjun 33 12%
Hou Yifan 108 41%
Harika Dronavalli 8 3%
Aleksandra Goryachkina 11 4%
Zhansaya Abdumalik 21 8%

Players of the year | Photos: Pascal Simon

And finally...

Player of the year: Levon Aronian

The Armenian's strong 2017 results — winning Norway Chess, the Grenke Chess Classic, the World Cup and the Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca — propelled him to clear first place in our survey. The World Cup win meant that he will also be making a return to the Candidates Tournament, coming up in March in Berlin. And last but not least, he married his long-time fiancée Arianne Caoili, making 2017 a truly momentus year!
 
Spieler des Jahres / Player of the year
Viswanthan Anand 53 12%
Levon Aronian 174 42%
Magnus Carlsen 77 18%
Ding Liren 14 3%
Vladimir Fedoseev 14 3%
Hou Yifan 18 4%
Shakriyar Mamedyarov 25 6%
Praggnanandhaa R 20 4%
Richard Rapport 8 1%
Wei Yi 8 1%

Yes, he's player of the year...but only on the 64 squares | Photo: Champord.am

  en.chessbase Macauley Peterson
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