An Interesting Game Jakovenko-Harikrishna 1/2-1/2

The game Jakovenko-Harikrishna from a few days ago in Shenzhen was quite interesting to me for a couple of reasons.

Here’s one of them. In a Taimanov Sicilian this position is reached with Black to move:

Here the normal move is 8…Ne5. Instead, Harikrishna plays 8…Nxd4 9.Bxd4 Bc5 10.Bxc5 Qxc5 and now after 11.Na4 Qc7 White gets a Maroczy setup with 12.c4

So this is one part of the game that I found interesting. I’m not sure what Black gets out of this, although I suppose it’s equal and that’s what Black has been trying for.

Then down the road a piece this position is reached, this time with White to move:

One of the maxims that we are taught as post beginner’s is that when you’re queen is lined up on the same file as an enemy rook it’s a good idea to move it, but here Jakovanko plays 15.Qd4

OK, so it seems to me like if Black plays 15…e5 here, then White is doing OK since Black has given himself a backwards pawn. As Black I don’t think I’d play 15…e5. But…I’m not a super GM, because what does Harikrishna play? You guessed it…he plays 15…e5

Clearly there are some strategic themes I am not understanding.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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2 thoughts on “An Interesting Game Jakovenko-Harikrishna 1/2-1/2”

  1. Disclaimer: I’m an unrated amateur, but here’s my thoughts anyway.
    Disadvantages of ..e5:
    1.Backward pawn on d6, but white cannot attack it with any minor piece, and so black can just defend it with Ne8 should white triple on the e-file.
    2. the hole on d5. But black can just take the knight when it lands on d5, with either minor piece, also because its the light bishop black won’t end up with bad bishop vs good knight.
    1. closes the dangerous long diagonal
    2. the white queen is very active on d4(strongest piece on the board) eyeing g7 with many different attacking ideas, supporting both e5 and c5 breaks, stopping the black queen getting to b6, also protecting c4 and e4 pawns.
    3. stops white playing f4, e5(kick the defending knight away), the white pieces can now flood over the the kingside and both the white queen and rook(via f3) can double up on any of the f,g,h files. Further the white bishop can go to d2 and hit h7 or go to h5, the other white rook can swing over to f1. The g and/or h pawns can fly up the board. The knight can enter via e4 to g5/f6.

    Overall I would be scared of disadvantage 3 the most, should the black knight on f6 get kicked back to e8 then black will have a hard time getting his pieces over to defend the kingside. But as a low skill player I try to shut down any possibility of my king being attacked.

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