20/7/2021 – GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has won his first match in the 3rd round of the World Cup 2021. However, he is defeated by GM Haik Martirosyan in the 2nd game to even the score. Now they are playing for tiebreak. I am fascinated by this game because it illustrated how small weakness can be a reason or it is enough to lose a game. You can never say it is a bluff move to scare a young GM (Martirosyan), to make positions complicated. But for a Karpov minded young chess GM, this will not work.
The Grunfeld Defense: Symmetrical Variation is a solid set-up vs. 1. d4. This type of opening is a wait and see play for both players to make weaknesses at both flanks. It is dependent on judgment if player wants to close or open the position to create an attack or just to hold grip not allowing each other to get the upper hand.
Grunfeld Defense: Symmetrical Variation (D79) Chess Opening Classification
GM Haik M Martirosyan vs. GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
(Event: 2021 World Cup- Russia – Round 3, Game 2)
1: d4 Nf6
2: c4 g6
3: Nf3 Bg7
4: g3 c6
5: Bg2 0-0
6. 0-0 d5
7. cd5 cd5
8. Nc3 Nc6 (The Grunfeld Defense: Symmetrical Variation)
9. Ne5 Bf5 (White’s Ne5 is a bold statement that white wants war).
10. Nc6 bc6
11. Bf4 Nh5 (Knight at h5 is akward)
12. Be3! c5 (Black has cracked not realizing white has set up a counter attack)
13. Nxd5 e6
14. Nf4 cxd4
15. Nh5 gxh5
I always tell my students to check pawn structures to detect weakness on opponents position using “Visualizing Endgame Outcome“ method.
16: Bd2 Rc8
17: Bb4 Re8
18: Rc1 Qb6
19: Qa4 d3 (Black tries to complicate the position).
20: exd3 Bxd3
21: Rfd1 Bb5
22: Qb3 Bd4
23: Be1 e5 (black has made a mistake here)
24: Bd5 Kg7
25: Bf7 Rf8
26: Rc8 Rc8
27: Bh5 Rf8 (White is 2 pawns up)
28: Bf3 Qa6
29: Rc1 (1-0) Analyze this position.