Reports | April 24, 2009 16:08

Nalchik R8: Black is hot

Gelfand's great novelty blew Kasimdzhanov awayThe Grand Prix in Nalchik keeps on producing exciting chess. In the eighth round Black was in perfect shape by winning two games, while the remaining games ended in draw. Beyond dispute, man of the day was Boris Gelfand, who came up already on move nine with an surprising novelty and outplayed Rustam Kasimdzhanov in only 28 moves! Video added.

By IM Robert Ris

The day started peacefully with a quick draw in the game between Mamedyarov and Ivanchuk. The Ukrainian genius, who seems to be completely out of form, came up with the novelty 11…Na5 in a line where Black can’t do much wrong anyway. From a position where White possessed the bishop pair in return for the isolani, the game soon ended in a draw after a mass of exchanges. A rather disappointing game from both sides of view. Let’s hope that they can entertain the audience a bit more in the upcoming rounds!

In the game Leko-Bacrot the point was also split quite fast, after the opening hadn’t promised White anything. Curiously, Bacrot repeated 13…a6 in a Queen's Indian which he played already in the 4th round against Gelfand. After that game the Frenchman declared that 13..a6 was a bad move, allowing White to play the annoying ending with three pawns against the knight. The fact that Leko wasn’t eager to repeat Gelfand's innovation probably means that both seconds Gustafsson and Pelletier repaired the line for Black. Instead, Leko went for the classical approach with 14.Ng5 but failed to achieve anything after Bacrot’s strong novelty 15…e5!. The Hungarian decided to call it a day by a threefold repetition of moves. Although the game lasted a mere 23 moves, from a theoretical point of view it was an important contribution to the theory of this line.

The leader after seven rounds, Levon Aronian, tried to tackle Peter Svidler in a Chebanenko Slav again, since the Russian GM narrowly escaped in the first round against Alekseev in the same line. The modest 7.Bd2 has casued Black some practical problems recently and therefore Svidler’s new 11…exd4 was really needed to keep the line playable. White’s advantage was only optical and after Aronian played the slightly inaccurate 23.Nd3 the players could shake hands already.

Games round 8

Game of the Day was certainly the encounter between Kasimdzhanov and Gelfand. Where Gelfand yesterday deviated early from the traditional paths (he played against his training buddy Eljanov, and probably didn’t want show their own preparation), today the Israeli showed opening preparation of the highest order. His 9…Nbd7!? was a huge surprise for the former FIDE World Champion, who had to invest a lot of time to handle it. Kasim played quite correctly until move 19, but then under time pressure he made a few grave errors. An outstanding performance by Gelfand, who admitted that he had seen almost the whole game at home already!

As we mentioned in our last Chessvibes Openings magazine, the Ragozin has been extremely hot in recent times, mainly thanks to the efforts of Evgeny Alekseev. In his game against Akopian, the Russian was the first to improve on his own game with Wang Hao played in the Russian league prior to this tournament. The Russian’s strategy looked quite risky, advancing his pawns in front of his king, but the control over the d-file with the help of his knights assured him enough counterplay. After the exchange of rooks, there was not so much left to play for with White, and so Akopian allowed his opponent to force a perpetual check.

It’s always something special to see Karjakin playing on the White side of the Najdorf. As playing with Black, the Russian-to-be is a renowned expert on Kasparov’s favourite opening (let’s see what Karjakin will show us in the near future now he started working with the former second of The Boss!). Against Grischuk he deviated from an earlier game with the same opponent. Karjakin enjoyed a small but lasting advantage through the whole game, but Grischuk didn’t give in and defended stubbornly. After 75 fighting moves, Karjakin hadn’t made any progress and had to resign himself to a draw.

Eljanov beats Kamsky for the 5th time

Eljanov beats Kamsky with Black; their score is now 5-0 for the Ukrainian in classical games!

The last game in this eighth round was played between Kamsky and Eljanov. The American repeated the line which brought him a confident victory against Svidler earlier in the tournament. Eljanov chose for a different setup, by placing his bishop on the long diagonal. Personally, I always tend to prefer White in this kind of positions, but Black’s pieces are harmoniously placed and the kingside is not weakened at all. Around the first time-control Kamsky committed a serious error (32.Ba4?) which gave the Ukrainian an extra pawn. Eljanov brought the full point easily back home and so scored his second Black win a row.

Since we didn‚Äôt see many decisive results in the top of the ranking, Aronian is still leading with 5/8, chased by five players with 4¬?. Looking back at this round‚Äôs games we can only be positive towards the final rounds, expecting many bloody fights on the 64-squares arena!




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Robert Ris's picture
Author: Robert Ris

Robert Ris is an International Master, professional trainer and teaches in schools, clubs and individually. He is one of the editors of ChessVibes Openings and ChessVibes Training and from time to time also writes book reviews. Other interests: travelling, sports and Greek food.


Peter Doggers's picture

And, CAL|Daniel, perhaps you didn't know, but even this website needs to make money to stay alive. Pay us and we can stop promoting it. Or just switch to another channel.

Ruben Kuijper's picture

CAL|Daniel, have you ever said anything positive here? If you think everything is bad here then why do you read this article. And in my opinion "resign himself to a draw" is a great describtion of what had happend.

CAL|Daniel's picture

while technically correct... "had to resign himself to a draw. " you really shouldn't use resign and draw in the same context... awkward, ambiguous, confusing and just plain bad writing. Seriously need just go with the standard 'drew the game" or some such phrasing.

Oh and shameful promotion of your opening magazine.

Arne Moll's picture

CalDaniel, some would argue that the pun 'resign yourself to a draw' is actually quite creative, funny writing, and therefore not 'plain bad' at all. Articles would become rather dull if everyone adopted the same style over here.

By the way, don't you mean 'shameless'?

CAL|Daniel's picture

Ruben you've obviously never seen any other comment by me ever before or you wouldn't make such a comment. Almost everything I say is positive and respectful.

And no, 'shameful' is correct not 'shameless.' I agree with you the need for creative phrasing but it must be phrasing that is not horrendous such as the one depicted.

Castro's picture

(Obviously) not always, but this time I again agree with Arne. Even if I'm not a native of the language, I think "resign himself to a draw" is here much more creative and positive than "horrendous". Maybe one could even say about the opponent that he felt lucky and rejoiced getting that same draw! :-) It's normal-day chess, I think.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

In a few years, people will begin to understand that the black-white score will even out over time once theory catches up on the black side. The first move "advantage" is over-rated. As more games are amassed, we will approach larger samples and a smaller deviation in the scores. Unlike in the early days when the kill rate for white was probably 70-75%.

Oh... "resign himself to a draw" is only problematic if one doesn't read English well. "Drew the game" is not the same as highlighting the emotion of someone grudgingly accepting a draw.

CAL|Daniel's picture

I have no problem reading English. I stated it was technically correct just very awkward. No one who speaks and writes English natively would ever construct this awkward phrasing.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Well... CAL|Daniel, I suppose your point is that in chess "resign" has a special meaning, hence there may be the confusion. We understand the context... it is obviously different from "resign" as in quitting a chess game. No one here (including you) was confused. You were merely arguing style.

Jagadish Dube.'s picture

Standings after 9 rounds:(NALCHIK GRAND PRIX)

1. Alekseev, Evgeny g RUS 2716 5¬?
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2754 5¬?
3. Leko, Peter g HUN 2751 5
4. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2726 5
5. Bacrot, Etienne g FRA 2728 5
6. Karjakin, Sergey g UKR 2721 4¬?
7. Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2748 4¬?
8. Akopian, Vladimir g ARM 2696 4¬?
9. Eljanov, Pavel g UKR 2693 4¬?
10. Kamsky, Gata g USA 2720 4
11. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2733 4
12. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2725 4
13. Kasimdzhanov, Rustam g UZB 2695 4
14. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2746 3
Courtesey:- Susan Polgar.

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