After 3 weeks of World Cup, we finally have two finalists. There have been many surprises on the way and a few lucky wins, but, as it turns out, anything is possible in chess. Nevertheless, we watched some very interesting games and a lot of fighting chess.
For this week’s edition of the best games, we selected three wins that, in our opinion, are worth watching and learning from.
We are going to start with Eljanov’s recent win over top Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura in an Open Catalan where black chose a new plan (15… Bh7) against which white found a very interesting idea. True to his positional style, Eljanov started to play against this bishop, trying to keep it out of play and hinder black’s development. He later correctly took advantage of his chance by sacrificing two pieces for a rook and two pawns, leaving black’s pieces trapped.
Another interesting game was the one between Svidler and Topalov that ended in white’s favor. The game transitioned into a manoeuvring Hedgehog, where both players usually try to slowly improve their positions: white wants to limit black’s reactions and create some threats on the kingside, while black tries to create counterplay on the queenside. Svidler managed to win a pawn, although his opponent could have reacted better, and eventually went on to win the game.
For the last game we chose Mamedyarov’s win with the white pieces against Caruana where he took advantage of the few inexact moves his opponent played in order to get the initiative. It’s very instructive to watch the way he keeps building his attack on the kingside, first forcing black to close the center and only afterwards opening the g file for his rooks. He then exchanges the piece that defends the king and black’s position can no longer be held together.
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