Reports | April 28, 2009 16:19

Nalchik R11: Aronian still in the lead

r11Levon Aronian and runner-up Peter Leko both did their job by drawing their black games in the eleventh round in Nalchik and therefore nothing significantly changed in the standings. Because Ivanchuk and Gelfand won their games, the rest of the field has become very tight. With two rounds to go, Leko may want to try hard with White against Kasimdzhanov, since in the last round he has Black against Aronian. Video added.

By IM Merijn van Delft

It looks like Kasimdzhanov has found a way to make Black work hard for the draw in the Meran. Of course tournament leader Aronian proved to be equal to the defensive task and after 67 moves two naked kings remained. What the real novelty is, is a matter of definition. 14.Qd3! was new in tournament practice, 16.Qf4! was new if we include correspondence chess (this is the definition we tend to use at ChessVibes) and 18.Nd4! was the first move not mentioned in the Rybka 3 book (which includes many computer games). With the surprising 16.Qf4!, allowing doubled f-pawns, White exchanges queens at a for Black somewhat awkward moment, since he hasn't achieved the freeing c5 yet. With 21...Bd4! Black had to give up the bishop pair, with 29...b4!? he looked for counterplay and with 31...h5! he created luft for his king. Defending such positions and doing everything at the right moment is a very tricky business. I imagine Aronian was relieved when he reached the rook ending (unless the whole thing was home preparation). It looks like Black has some homework to do.

Eljanov-Leko was another Meran, in which White deviated with 12.e4 from Akopian-Leko played in the third round. The surprising bishop capture 14...Bxe5 may well be preparation. When Eljanov played 18.f3! killing the activity of the black pieces, the position looked unpleasant for Black on first view, as the opposite coloured bishops tend to give White attacking chances. As it was, Leko was in time regrouping his knight in the direction of d3. The basically balanced position became a bit messy again when White played 33.Nd5!?, either sacrificing or blundering the g4 pawn. With 36.Qc5 Eljanov may have pushed it a bit too much, since Black could have tried 40...Qd5 instead of taking the perpetual.

Games round 11

Ivanchuk may be at the bottom of the standings, but that doesn't mean that he gives up playing his usual imaginative chess. Against Grischuk's King's Indian he did play the fashionable Bayonet Attack, but followed up with the uncommon 10.c5. True King's Indian players may only know this move from the game Kamsky-Kasparov, New York 1994, which was naturally won by Black. Ivanchuk showed a whole rang of positional ideas, starting with the fascinating 14.h3!?. I am not sure I understand this move, but my guess is that a g6-g5 can be answered by Bg4! putting pressure on the white squares. The show continued with the positional exchange sacrifice 17.Qxf4! which forces Black to give up his pride: the black-squared bishop. Another one of my favorites is 27.a3! keeping all lines closed so the black rooks are doomed to passivity. It may be a trivial move, but I still like the look of it. In the final tactical phase before the time control White kept a cool head and won in style with 37.e5!.


Karjakin's Najdorf couldn't do it against Bacrot either

Karjakin would have had a fairly decent tournament if it wasn't for his disastrous 0 out of 3 with the Najdorf. Maybe he shouldn't have pushed his luck with the 6...Ng4 variation after he won the all-decisive last-round encounter against Dominguez in Wijk aan Zee. Here in Nalchik 6...Ng4 brings nothing but bad luck: in round six Akopian won a good game against Karjakin, in round eight Karjakin with White was close to beating Grischuk and now in round eleven things looked even more one-sided than before in Bacrot-Karjakin. If 16...Bf5 was to be the novelty repairing the line for Black, he might as well stop playing it. Black had structural weaknesses everywhere, his queenside was a disaster and the white c-pawn duely decided the game. A nice positional, model game by the Frenchman.


Gelfand recovers as Mamedyarov slips in a rook ending

Gelfand deviated from Leko-Alekseev played in round six and tried to put Mamedyarov under pressure with 18.Nf3!?. White made some progress as he got a defended passed pawn on c5. More in the spirit of the position seemed to be 32...h5!?, but trading all the pieces into a single rook ending also looked defendable for Black. All two-against-one-on-the-kingside scenarios look fairly drawn. My analyses may be a bit sloppy, but my express view is that 48...Kxe5 would have been more natural and 51...Rg4! 52.c6 Kd5 53.c7 Rc4 would have been the last chance to safe the game. It wasn't instantly obvious to me why Black resigned in the final position and I refer to the gameviewer for the winning lines.

Alekseev-Kamsky was a fairly balanced game. White didn't follow Khalifman's clever recipe 9.Qe2! and soon ran out of big ideas. With 20...Bxf3! Black made sure all direct threats were eliminated. After most pieces were exchanged, Black's easiest way to a draw would have been the straightforward 35...Nxd3. In the final position it is not entirely clear why Alekseev didn't play on with 43.h4 instead of repeating moves.

Svidler choose a very quiet line of the Ruy Lopez against Akopian, in which he has experience with both colours. The typical 10...d5 break was the first new move. With both players very focused and not making any mistakes, the draw by move repetition was a logical outcome.




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milan kovacs's picture

Karjakin's comment about his game agains Ivanchuk is very silly :)
'I played this line against some Philippino guy'. I'm quite sure Wesley So will take a revenge on him :D

GG's picture

And what if Karjakin just forgot his name? English's not his native language, so he could say that w'out any intention to hurt So's feelings.

totoy bato's picture

thomas, what mockery part were you referring to? The disparity in their ratings was not meant to be a mockery. It was an observation.

shy_guest's picture

I don't see where to put this news so I'm putting it here. According to Chessbase

The courtcase won by Turkey against the European Chess Union board, has resulted in both the Men's & Women's European Championships 2009 being invalidated so Tomashevsky & Kosintseva are NOT European Champions & the players who thought they had qualified for the World Championship places have not.

The 2 championships must both be replayed !

What a shocker.

Grigoriy's picture

Those Turks, they manage to pollute everything which was created be4. These nomads live in other's land, destroying the native population of modern-day Turkey, Greeks and Armenians, destroying their cultural byzantine heritage, occupying Cyprus and stiring up troubles in Balkans. I wish this rogue country could be cancelled. Why on earth this islamistic state with undisguised Antisemitism, Armenophobia, Greekophobia must be considered European? Why on Earth a country, denying the Genocide of Armenians, the Genoide of Greeks, devastating the Greek Minor Asia and Western Armenia can impose it's decisions to the Western civilization. God damn these barbarians. God damn our political correctness, if we let them do all this.

Ricardo's picture

Thanks for the explanation :)

Thomas's picture

Lajos, I think you confuse Gustaffson (who had a solid eventless Grunfeld draw against Kramnik in Dortmund) with Naiditsch ... . Whether Naiditsch actually played a masterpiece [or successfully confused Kramnik with a one-game-novelty - but indeed played well in the following technical phase] is a matter of taste.

Concerning your second paragraph: Both Ivanchuk and Eljanov commented - see an earlier article here at Chessvibes for the full quotes. Briefly, Ivanchuk called it "Karjakin's personal decision", Eljanov seems to support him wishing him luck to become world champion.

Peter Doggers's picture

@ceann And using 'idiot' is not very polite, is it?

Lajos Arpad's picture

I wonder why Gelfand and Kasimdzhanov played the Pteroff against L?©k??. They oth knew that Gustaffson is the second of L?©k??, who has won a masterpiece game against Kramnik in Dortmund in the same opening. Anyway, i'm happy to see the Hungarian played excelent chess in this event.

I'm also curious what the Ukrainian people say about Karjakin's decision. In my opinion they are certainly not saying: "bravo, go Karjakin, you will have more success this way". By the way: Did Ivanchuk or Eljanov say something about this?

milan kovacs's picture

I completely agree with Thomas's April 28th, 2009 16.28 post.
soon there will be nobody saying 'that Philippino guy' if he keeps improving that fast :)

Thomas's picture

" HUGE [emphasis added] disparity 2730 vs. 2610 1/2-1/2 ... Right, he needs to train with better coaches."
Maybe I got you wrong and it wasn't meant to be mockery. But, repeating myself, the rating disparity isn't THAT huge that a draw in a single game would be considered failure or disaster ... . Wesley So simply defended well and _earned_ a draw. And if Karjakin has similar single-game results in the future, it doesn't mean that Dokhoian is a "bad" coach, not worthy of the hopes that Karjakin puts into him ... .
BTW, if Wesley So continues to "improve and impress", soon Karjakin and others will have no problems remembering his name. Somehow it would be really odd if any top GM talked about one of his previous games "against some young guy form Norway" :)

ceann's picture

Thomas, you are an idiot, keep your nonsense to yourself. Nobody is interested in what you have to say.

forest's picture

ceann, you're mistaken. I am!

Ricardo's picture


Can someone explain to me what is the number farthest to the right on the standings table. Not all the players have this number. Example: Alekseev,E has a 32.50


Thomas's picture

Ricardo, this is the tiebreak (Sonneborn-Berger?). Don't ask me the exact formula to calculate it - but generally, if you beat stronger opponents (those themselves scoring more points), you get a better tiebreak.
And it's only given to establish the ranking between otherwise equal players (same number of points). For example, in the upcoming round 12 report it will be indicated for Aronian and Leko (now tied for first with 7.5/12).

@ceann: I am also 'not impressed' by your posts, but won't ask YOU to shut up ... .

forest's picture

Ricardo, these are the Sonneborn-Berger points.

This is calculated by adding scores of the opponents who were beaten by a given player and half the scores of the opponents who he drew with. This has been adopted from round-robin tournaments and is usually used as a secondary method.

shy_guest's picture

Actually it was the court that decided.

Totoy Bato's picture

Thomas, right the disparity was NOT that huge after all.

Totoy Bato's picture

For Thomas: What then is a HUGE rating disparity? Can it be bolstered by statistics between two players compared? Or individual performances by said players? Does it have any statistical foundation? Will somebody galvanize this rational issue and give specific examples? Or does FIDE set a criteria? Or, to say the least, is this merely a matter of opinion?

Lajos Arpad's picture

"Lajos, I think you confuse Gustaffson (who had a solid eventless Grunfeld draw against Kramnik in Dortmund) with Naiditsch … ."

Thank you, Thomas, you are absolutely right here.

looks like black and sicilian doing bad in nalchik.

Thomas's picture

On "Turkey vs. European Chess Union": Lots of things could be said already, but rather little is known so far ... . Chessbase gives only the triumphant Turkish point of view (maybe mildly disagreeing in the introductory paragraph). The ECU has not yet reacted - understandably they first want to know the motivation of the court decision and decide on further steps? And independent editorial coverage here on Chessvibes may have to wait until Peter Doggers finished his job in Nalchik? So for the time being only three points from me:
1) Yesterday first I checked my watch if it is still 1st April, but apparently the whole thing is serious :(
2) I don't have a law background, but three things leave me puzzled:
- Why is the whole affair eligible for court decisions anyway? Does this mean that, in the future, any chess player can contest arbiter's decisions in court (based on this precedent)?
- Why does the decision come THAT late, AFTER the tournament has been played? The Turkish claim was filed October 3, 2007 !!?
- Why is the motivation for the decision not made public immediately? It is available to the ECU (at extra cost), but should be given to the general public or at least to the players concerned.
3) @Grigoriy: My impression is that the entire thing is a private war between Ali Nihat Yazici (Turkish Chess Federation president) and Boris Kutin (ECU president). So IMO it is quite far-fetched to accuse an entire country, people or even all Turkish chess players.
I am a bit surprised that Grigoriy's post passed the spam filter ... .

BTW, on another topic - fine with me that a post calling someone else an idiot went through. After all, it disqualifies the poster, not the other person !?

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