Sergey Karjakin vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Gruenfeld Defense, Exchange, Classical Variation (D86)
2018 Altibox Norway, Round 4, 06/02/18
Sergey and Maxime played a very theoretical line in the Gruenfeld. The variation with b6 is almost unknown on lower levels, but on super grandmaster level it’s well known and heavily analyzed. After reaching the end of the line, Karjakin had a slightly superior position, but nothing that could’ve been exploited any time soon. Maxime decided to risk and went for an f5-f4-f3 push, which almost worked. They reached a critical position in which Sergey could’ve won the exchange and given MVL a better position. He waited instead, positioned his queen perfectly, and made the same idea wuch more powerful.
Maxime misjudged the position and miscalculated the consequences of the exchange sacrifice. Karjakin took the rook and got a better position. What followed was a relatively quick and easy conversion in which one move needs to be highlighted; Nd3. That knight maneuver finished Maxime off.
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7
7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 O-O 10.O-O b6 11.dxc5 Qc7 12.Nd4 Ne5
13.Nb5 Qb8 14.Be2 bxc5 15.Rb1 a6 16.Na3 Qc7 17.f4 Rd8 18.Qc2
Ng4 19.Bxg4 Bxg4 20.f5 gxf5 21.Nc4 e6 22.h3 Bh5 23.exf5 exf5
24.Bg5 f4 25.Qf2 f3 26.Bxd8 Rxd8 27.Qh4 fxg2 28.Rfe1 Bf3
29.Re3 Bc6 30.Rbe1 Rf8 31.Ne5 Bd5 32.Rg3 f6 33.Nd3 Bxa2 34.c4
Qd6 35.Nf4 Qd4+ 36.Kh2 Bxc4 37.Qh6 f5 38.Nh5 1-0