The Catalan by GM Magesh and GM Arun

The Catalan by GM Magesh and GM Arun‎

GM gmarunchess
23 | Opening Theory

The Catalan is one of the most difficult openings to play against in our opinion. With reasonable play, White can almost guarantee that he will not lose and in addition get a good chance of securing a small advantage that will allow him to push Black around forever. Having said that, there are plenty of experts who would disagree with us, as they dispatch the Catalan with ease and equalize without much of an effort.  This ability comes with great understanding of the position, tremendous defensive skills and plenty of patience. Today let us take a look at one such player, Vladimir Kramnik, who understands chess positions like we understand simple math!


This week we also have decided to change the format in which we have been studiying the openings from the previous articles. We will study one game in-depth with pauses for the readers to guess opening ideas, rather than studying three different games. Let us begin with Kramnik's game against the world's top ranked player, Magnus Carlsen, played a couple of days ago in the 2010 Corus Chess Classic. Kramnik himself described this game as one of the best chess games he has ever played.



So White has successfully regained the c4 pawn with a strong center and if Black does not get his resources organized in time to get the c5 break he might end up in big trouble. The semi-open 'c' file and the strong d4 central pawn gives him the edge for now. 


What do you think would be best move for black?
What do you think is the best move for black now?
Quite an interesting game, Kramnik sure did prove why he is one of the best at what he does. Though it is a straightforward idea for Black to shoot for the c5 break to achieve equality, White uses plenty of tricks to stop the it. In this game when Carlsen gave up his bishop on f6, but Kramnik refused to give up his grip on the c5 square and instead allowed doubled pawns in front of his king. Another important point to be noted in this game was how Kramnik was ready to give back the extra pawn and an exchange to initiate an attack. We hope our readers enjoyed the Catalan and gained some useful insight into it.

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