Friday, 24 April 2009
Former outsiders rebelling! Akopian is already in the middle of the pack and tries to move forward. Eljanov won the second game in a row as Black – against Kamsky, who clearly lost the punch. Gelfand finally put up a solid performance, beating Kasimdzhanov brilliantly.
Talking about the leaders, Grischuk saved half a point in a heroic effort against Karjakin. Aronian still leads the race.
Another unsuccessful game by Kamsky. He is either too tired or just did not recover after the previous round loss.
In a quiet and maneuvering game Gata applied serious pressure on the opponent’s position, but chose the wrong time to start the attack. He certainly saw the simple 31.Rab1, which kept the advantage, however, instead of it the American forced the issues by 31.Bxc5?!, missing the unexpected 35…Nd4! The idea with a fork on e2 apparently surprised him, and the situation quickly changed in Black’s favor. Clearly disappointed, Kamsky was unable to defend tenaciously.
Eljanov proved that he is an experienced hunter – patient and lethal when the time is right.
epic struggle demonstrated that Gelfand is back! In the Anti-Moscow
Gambit of the Slav the Israeli created an excellent new setup starting
with 9…Nbd7!? Black sacrificed the с6-pawn, but got a couple of tempi
for development, which allowed him to get an equal game and take part
in a fight for the center.
Kasimdzhanov accepted the challenge, and
selected the most principled and aggressive continuations. However, the
fight was uneven. Gelfand followed his home analysis, obtained a decent
advantage and converted it in a very brutal manner (22…f5!, 26…c3!).
White’s play can be improved only after very serious analysis, so all I
can do now is assign exclamation marks to most Gelfand’s moves...
game was decided in the opening (the Chebanenko Slav). By 11…exd4!
Svidler improved his play against Alekseev. Despite arriving to Nalchik
without a second, Peter finds the time to move the opening theory
forward, scoring a few points in the meantime.
Aronian was unable to
come up with anything serious (his 13.g3 is anything but ambitious),
and Black got an excellent game. His knights were excellently placed in
the center, not being inferior to the White bishops. After logical
maneuvers and exchanges the players agreed to a draw in an equal
endgame with opposite-colored bishops.
the Queen’s Indian Defense Black defended according to the standard
scheme, and then launched a successful counterattack. The plan with
e6-e5 and Nb8-c6-d4 is known for many years. It is surprising how
easily Bacrot carried it out! Computer shows his novelty 15…e5! in a
second. Not sure what Leko missed in his preparation.
In the final
position the struggle around the d5-square (White wanted to place his
rook there, while his opponent objected) led to a draw by move
A very tense game.
flashed a new opening idea (11…Na5!?) in a well-known sharp line of the
Gruenfeld. He gave up a central pawn, but this was a Danae gift. White
accepted the sacrifice, and then had to use all his creativity to
survive. The crowd admired a number of tactical tricks by both players.
For instance, everyone was surprised by 15.Bf3! with the idea e2-e4.
White got rid of a nasty pin, but he didn’t have any advantage.
further simplifications could not alter the evaluation of the position
as being equal. The grandmasters ceased fire in a deadly drawn ending.
a fashionable line of the Queen’s Gambit White grabbed a pawn and
managed to place his pieces actively. Black regained the material only
by weakening his kingside (15…g5!?). Akopian, realizing that he must
play very energetically, carried out a spectacular blow 19.c4. Without
trying to criticize his choice, I will suggest an intermediate move:
19.Rad1!, intending to meet 19…h5 by 20.f3 Rxe3 21.Nb5! with strong
The text-move allowed Black to centralize all his
pieces. Alekseev managed to bring his knight to d3 and fortify it
there. White initiated exchanges by 32.Bxc5, but they only led to an
equal ending, in which Black forced the perpetual.
players are very fond of the Najdorf Sicilian, and in this game they
continued to explore their favorite lines. In my opinion, Black
successfully solved the opening problems. 15…g4! revealed that White’s
attack got stuck. Karjakin made a correct choice to enter a complicated
ending. Black had a few pawn weaknesses on the kingside, and White’s
bishop pair was a force to reckon with.
Grischuk rejected the
active 21…d4, which was probably wrong. Active piece counterplay would
give him an equal game, while after the exchange of the bishops he had
to defend passively. Black’s situation became worse when the opponent’s
king arrived at f4. Instead of 42.b4 White had a much stronger 42.a4!,
stretching Black’s defense. Karjakin missed this chance, but continued
to apply pressure. Grischuk was short on time, as usual, but on this
occasion he managed to hold, utilizing the opponent’s inaccuracy:
Sergey missed the refined 62.Ra6!, which could give him a big edge, and
after the meek 62.Ke4 Black improved the situation and survived.
Games resume by GM Sergey Shipov