The irrepressible Fabiano Caruana has added to his laurels by sharing first prize in the Baku Grand Prix, which finished earlier this month. The surprise was that in the process of doing so he lost two games. Caruana had started to seem invincible after a run of wins, yet the fact that he only participated in first prize in Baku has in some way lessened the myth of his being unbeatable. The top scores in Baku were as follows: Caruana and Gelfand 6½/11; Tomashevsky, Nakamura, Grischuk, Karjakin and Svidler 6.
Caruana’s fellow laureate was Boris Gelfand. Gelfand tends to be underestimated because of his normally conservative style, but his record at the top spanning several decades is impressive. On occasion, he can also turn up the heat, as can be seen from his dramatic win in this week’s puzzle.
Dominguez-Caruana: Baku 2014
White has some pressure on the queenside to counteract Black’s central superiority. However, his next two moves only help Black. 25 fxe5 fxe5 26 Rxf8+ Rxf8 27 a5 bxa5 28 Qxa5 Nc6 29 Qe1 e4 Now White’s pieces (especially the b5-rook) are badly misplaced and Black crashes through. 30 Nb4 Ne5 31 dxe4 d3 32 Bd1 Qd4+ 33 Kg2 d2 34 Qe2 Nxe4 White resigns
Karjakin-Dominguez: Baku 2014
White has the advantage thanks to the powerful pin along the d-file. 34 Bg4 Ke8 35 h5 Nf5 He had to pass with 35 ... Rd6. 36 Rxd7 Rxd7 37 Rxd7 Kxd7 38 Bxf5 exf5 39 h6 Ke8 40 Bc5! The key move. If now 40 ... Kd7 41 Bf8 and Bg7 or 40 ... Bd8 41 Bd4 and h7. 40 ... Bh8 41 Kh4 Black resigns
Kasimdzhanov-Grischuk: Baku 2014
Black has a strong build-up on the kingside and cleverly uses this to undermine the base of White’s pawn chain on f2. 21 ... g4 22 Ng1 h4 23 Ne2 Rhg8 24 a3 g3 25 fxg3 Nc4 26 Bxc7+ Qxc7 27 gxh4 Nxe3 28 Ndf4 Nxd1 29 Rxd1 Nd6 30 Ka2 Nc4 31 Rd3 Rxg2 32 Nxg2 Rxe2 33 Ne3 Qh2 White resigns