The main story of the 11th round is heroic survival of Levon Aronian in the game against Rustam Kasimdzhanov. A lot of work and a bit of luck brought the desired result that allowed Levon to maintain his first place.
Resurrection of Ivanchuk is another headline. Today he disappointed Grischuk. Give Vassily ten more rounds, and he will get closer to the leaders...
time troubles of Grischuk had to work against the player; Ivanchuk’s
creative play required some reward. This is exactly what happened in
Grischuk handled well the first part of the
game. I think the exchange sacrifice 17.Qxf4 does not give White a real
advantage. Black could quickly create good counterplay by, for
The decisive events occurred in the time trouble.
Grischuk’s sharp 29…Nxc6 could be justified if Alexander found 31…Qd7!
– in this case it would be everyone’s game. Taking on g4 was a clear
mistake. Ivanchuk cynically captured everything he was offered, easily
parried all the one-move threats and launched the decisive
opening was a very original Hedgehog with the bishop on d3. White’s
standard kingside attack was adequately met by a good novelty 14…Rae8!?
Simplifying exchanges started after 15…exf5. Later Kamsky had many
chances to secure the equality, however, it seems he really wanted to
play for a win! And... he overpressed. Evgeny defended accurately, and
after the reckless 35…Nf5? simply took the pawn.
To be honest, I
have no clue about the rest of the game. Why Alekseev refused to play
for a win and forced the move repetition? He could play 41.h4, put the
pawn to h5, remove the knight from g3 and start looking for a
Apparently, they both are extremely tired.
seems Karjakin experiences chronic problems in his favorite Najdorf
Sicilian. A hopeless loss from Akopian was followed by an even more
hopeless and depressing one. Maybe Karjakin had practical chances to
survive in the endgame after 36…e5! (instead of the losing 36…a3?), but
this does not excurse the preceding torture.
Black made a new move
16…Bf5, but failed to equalize. He had the inferior structure and
absolutely no counterplay. White’s advantage grew steadily while Bacrot
was making all the natural moves and increased pressure on the c6-pawn.
Maybe he could win without giving the opponent any chances, but let us
not ask for too much. He won the game – well done!
game does not inspire the commentator. A very quiet line of the Ruy
Lopez led to a symmetrical pawn structure. Black completely equalized
by the timely 14…a5!, after which White no longer had any targets. Soon
the game was drawn officially.
every tournament someone loses a drawn rook ending. Even simple
positions are often difficult to defend, when the player is tired and
experiences time trouble.
Mamedyarov defended well for quite a
while, but then began to lose ground. His defense method 48…Rb3+ was
too creative. A draw could be reached by the simple 48…Kxe5 49.Rxg7
Rb3+ 50.Kd2 (50.Ke2 Rc3!) 50…Kd5 51.Rxh7 Kxc5 52.Rf7 Kd4!
move allowed the opponent to keep the passed pawns. However, then it
was Boris’ turn to err! Instead of 53.c6 he could win by 53.Rxg7 Rxh2
And yet, the last man to make a mistake was Mamedyarov. Black
could survive by 53…Rc2+! 54.Kb5 g5! – the passed f-pawn distracts the
After he missed this chance, Gelfand finished the
game by 56.Kb3! It turned out that taking the c7-pawn gets Black to a
lost pawn ending.
a fashionable line of the Meran (9...Bd6) the grandmasters opened the
center, and White got better chances due to the fact that Black’s minor
pieces were restricted by the e4-pawn. I didn’t like Eljanov’s 19.Qc2 –
I think 19.Nf5! Qc5 20.Qe3 would give him dangerous initiative in the
endgame. Perhaps Pavel wanted to get the same kind of position with the
queens on the board, but Peter cleverly used the tempi he was granted.
After the knight was transferred to c5, Black played 23…f6! and solved
Eljanov continued to play for a win and at some
point overstepped the limit of risk. After 33.Nd5? Leko could win a
pawn by 33…Bxg4!, but somehow missed this simple tactics. Self-pinning
by 36.Qc5 (it was better to bring the knight to d4) was also a brave
decision. In order to survive, the Ukrainian grandmaster had to find a
number of strong moves – 37.e5!, 39.Kh1! – which he did and eventually
achieved the desired draw.
leader survived the epic battle! Kasimdzhanov played an impressive game
and was very close to a victory, but finding the solution even in the
analysis was not an easy task.
In a well-known and deeply analyzed
line of the Anti-Meran Rustam employed a very tricky queen maneuver
14.Qd3! exd4 17.Qxd4 Be7 18.Qf4!, transposing to the endgame that
looked harmless for Black – but was actually very poisonous. Black
could complete the development only by making serious positional
Needling moves of Kasimdzhanov 27.a4! and 29.a5!
created dangerous threats. The a5-pawn was extremely powerful. At this
point Aronian’s situation looked critical. The survival operation began
with 29…b4! and continued by 31…h5! However, I am not sure whether
Black could survive if White found 36.Ra7! He could sacrifice the
f4-pawn in many lines, and it would be difficult for Black to simplify
After the exchange of the minor pieces Levon saved his skin without much trouble.