Amazing Calculation Karjakin-Navarra Shamkir 2018

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Let’s say you are Black and you are faced with this decision. White has just played 31.Rxd5. Do you take the rook or not?

Sure, you have three pawns for the piece, but if you take the rook you’ll have no pieces and your opponent will have a bishop.¬† Still, who wants no pieces when our opponent has one? No way we take the rook, right?

Let’s say our two candidate moves are 31…Rxd5 or 31…Rc3 – what would you do?

Navarra took the rook.

At a depth of 40 Stockfish 12 gives this position -0.15

At a depth of 40 Stockfish 12 gives this position 0.42

When I really think about this decision I realize it’s not one to be taken lightly. After all, if you don’t take the rook then how do you stop this¬† Rh5 idea which forces …h6, then swing the rook back to a5 to force …a6 and now Black’s pawns are getting weak.

So what I would think of as an “automatic” decision of not taking the rook turns out to be anything but automatic in the hands of a strong player.

Here is the entire game.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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