Learn From The Masters: Caruana's Conversion

Learn From The Masters: Caruana's Conversion

Apr 13, 2018, 11:34 AM |

What's up, guys and gals?

Fabiano Caruana has been playing some very inspiring chess... you can't really doubt that after winning the grueling Candidates tournament, followed by an epic Grenke chess victory!

I decided to use this post to display one of Fabiano's games. It may not be the game you would have chosen. In fact, to the amateur, it probably looks like a boring win by Caruana. However, I, at least, noticed that he was able to virtually squeeze water out of rock... a skill he will need if he wants to beat Carsen in London.

Anyway, if you have not seen my first "Learn From The Masters" post, feel free to do so. We will first look at the game with no notes or annotations, then we will break the game up, and dive into the critical moments and decisions of these chess pros. All aboard!

Move 11 by Black is the first moment that strikes as interesting for me:


As beginners, we are taught not to move the pawns sheltering our King. Why does Grandmaster Arkadij Naidistch still pursue such a move? Black is clearly ambitious for space on the Kingside. It is worth noting that an attack on the flank is best met by a strike in the center, which White does not really have a good way to do so. He could play pawn to d4, but that's pretty much it... Black remains solid. Just something to keep in mind.

Let's skip to move 18. In the game, Caruana played 18. d4, though we will look at what if Caruana tries to defend the pawn with c4.

A pawn structure on d3, c4, and d5 will generally have a hard time surviving. We shall look at one more middlegame variation before we dive into the grind of the endgame:
Let's take a look at how Fabi was able to win the endgame:
Can you believe Fabiano Caruana (White) was able to win this position? 
Looks like a dead draw, right? White might have a slight advantage, though I wouldn't have been too surprised to see the players shake hands in this position. Let's take a look at how Fabiano Caruana incrementally improves his position and provokes Black to stumble:
From this moment forward, White is majorly going to be on Black's head. Now it's your turn! Try to play like Caruana and win this endgame!
I hope you enjoyed attempting to emulate Caruana, and let us know how you did in the comments section!
But most of all, I hope you enjoyed this post, and I look forward to many more in the future!