Dennis M's Chess Site

This is a blog for chess fans by a chess fan. I enjoy winning as much as anyone else, and I've had a reasonable amount of success as a competitor, but what keeps me coming back to the game is its beauty. And that, primarily, is what this site will be about! All material copyrighted.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Linares: Round 5 Recap

In a dramatic change from previous rounds, each featuring 1 win and 2 draws, today's just-completed round featured 2 draws and 1 win. Oh, wait a moment...

Okay, it's not really that bad. Sure, it would be nice to have more blood on the board, but all three games went 40 moves or more, and at least two of the games had some real fight.

The least interesting game and the first to finish was Vallejo Pons-Anand. After getting nothing from the opening, Vallejo decided simply to restrict Anand's possibilities - successfully. If his tournament had been going more successfully, my guess is that he'd have played with more ambition. After two straight losses, though, a quick time-out against the number 2 seed was probably a wise move.

Vallejo Pons,F (2686) - Anand,V (2786) [E15]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (5), 27.02.2005

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qa4 Bb7 6.Bg2 c5 7.dxc5 bxc5 8.0-0 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Rd1 d6 11.Bf4 Qb6 12.Qb3 Rd8 13.Qxb6 axb6 14.Nb5 Ne8 15.a3 h6 16.Rac1 Nc6 17.Ne1 Na5 18.Bd2 Bxg2 19.Kxg2 Nc6 20.e4 Na7 21.Nc3 Nc7 22.a4 Nc6 23.b3 Bf6 24.Nc2 Kf8 25.h4 h5 26.Rb1 Ke7 27.Re1 Nd4 28.Nxd4 Bxd4 29.Ne2 e5 30.f4 f6 31.Rh1 g6 32.Rbf1 Ne6 33.g4 exf4 34.Nxf4 Nxf4+ 35.Bxf4 hxg4 36.Kg3 Rh8 37.Kxg4 Rh5 38.Rh3 Rah8 39.Rfh1 Ke6 40.Bd2 Be5 41.Be3 R8h7 1/2-1/2

Next to finish was Kasimdzhanov-Topalov, a King's Indian in which the players took turns having very small advantages, culminating in a position where, fittingly enough, White could force perpetual check or allow Black to. In short, a nice, clean game with some fight.

Kasimdzhanov,R (2678) - Topalov,V (2757) [E94]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (5), 27.02.2005

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Na6 8.Re1 Qe8 9.Bf1 Bg4 10.d5 Nb4 11.Be2 a5 12.Rb1 Na6 13.Bg5 Bd7 14.Nd2 Kh8 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Bg4 Bg5 17.Bxd7 Qxd7 18.Nf3 Bh6 19.a3 Nc5 20.b4 axb4 21.axb4 Na4 22.Qd3 Nxc3 23.Qxc3 f5 24.c5 Qb5 25.h4 fxe4 26.Rxe4 Ra2 27.Rbe1 Qa4 28.cxd6 cxd6 29.Qc7 Qc2 30.Qb6 Bg7 31.Qe3 b5 32.Rc1 Qb2 33.Rf1 Ra1 34.Rxa1 Qxa1+ 35.Kh2 Qb1 36.Qe2 h6 37.Rg4 h5 38.Re4 Bh6 39.Ng5 Bxg5 40.hxg5 Rxf2 [40...Rxf2 41.Qxf2 Qxe4 42.Qf8+ Kh7 43.Qf7+= (43.Qxd6 Qh4+ 44.Kg1 Qe1+=) ] 1/2-1/2

Finally, there's the Kasparov-Adams game. Despite Kasparov's relative inactivity, book and DVD projects, political engagements, age (41 - from 6.5 years older than Anand to 19 years older than Vallejo Pons), family responsibilities and high blood pressure (See New in Chess 2004/3, p. 14), he is still quite possibly the hardest working player at the board on the super-GM circuit.

Adams tried his 7...e5 line again against the 4.Qc2 Nimzo (see Topalov-Adams from my round 1 recap), but unsurprisingly, Kasparov was ready with an improvement. Unlike Topalov, Kasparov was able to successfully solve the king-safety problem, after which White could start to utilize the advantage of the bishop pair. Accordingly, Adams opened up the position with 15...f5, hoping to generate some initiative before White finished his kingside development, but this only led to a position where Kasparov had an extra pawn in a queen and rook ending.

This ending, starting on move 23, showed Kasparov's chess and fighting qualities in their best light. Such an ending isn't easy for either side, because heavy pieces on an open board have virtually unlimited scope. That makes it very difficult - and exhausting - to keep calculating move after move after move. Difficult or not, Kasparov was up to the job, and won an ending which, I suspect, will repay careful study.

Kasparov,G (2804) - Adams,Mi (2741) [E37]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (5), 27.02.2005

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 e5 8.cxd5 Qxd5 9.f3 Nd6 [9...Nf6 was played by...Kasparov(!), successfully, albeit in a blitz game - and no doubt he would have been well-prepared for his old weapon had Adams the temerity to try it. 10.e4 Qxd4 11.Qxc7 Nc6 12.Ne2 Qc5 13.b4 Nxb4 14.Qxc5 Nd3+ 15.Kd2 Nxc5 16.Rb1 0-0 17.Ke3 Be6 18.Bb2 Rfd8 19.Bxe5 Rd3+ 20.Kf2 Ncxe4+ 21.Kg1 Nd2 22.Ra1 Nxf1 23.Nf4 Rd2 24.Rxf1 Bc4 25.Rc1 Nd7 26.Bc3 Ra2 27.h4 b5 28.Rh3 f6 29.Rd1 Ne5 30.Rg3 Bf7 31.Rd6 Rxa3 32.Bd4 Ra4 33.h5 h6 34.Bxe5 fxe5 35.Nd3 Rd4 36.Rxd4 exd4 37.Rg4 a5 38.Rxd4 a4 39.Rb4 a3 40.Nc1 Bc4 41.Rb1 a2 0-1 Kramnik,V-Kasparov,G/Moscow 1998/CBM 067 ext] 10.dxe5 Qxe5 11.e4 Nc6 12.Ne2 Be6 13.Bf4 Qa5+ 14.Nc3 0-0-0 15.0-0-0

Unlike Topalov in round 1, Kasparov has found a secure location for his king, and the threat of 16.Bxd6 leaves White a comfortable edge here. 15...f5 [15...Nc4 looks obvious, with the goal of avoiding a sickly isolani on d6, but 16.Nd5! is practically winning. White's threatening to take on c4 and to take on c7, and Black has no good response. For example: 16...Bxd5 (16...Nd6 17.Bd2+- - oops!) 17.exd5 Nxa3 18.bxa3 Qxa3+ 19.Qb2 Qc5+ 20.Kb1 Rxd5 21.Rc1 Qa5 22.Bc4 Rhd8 23.Be3+/- and White's two bishops overmatch Black's knight and three pawns.] 16.Bxd6 Rxd6 17.Rxd6 cxd6 18.Bb5 Nd4 19.Qd3 Nxb5 20.Nxb5 fxe4 21.Qxd6 Qxb5 22.Qxe6+ Kb8 23.Qxe4+/-

23...Re8 24.Qf4+ Ka8 25.Kb1 g5 26.Qf7 h6 27.h4 a6 28.hxg5 hxg5 29.Qf6 Qd3+ 30.Ka1 Qd2 31.Qf7 Re5 32.Qc7 Re8 33.Qf7 Re5 34.Qf6 Re8 35.g4 Ka7 36.Qf5 Ka8 37.Kb1! An excellent idea whose point is to get the White rook into the action. 37...Rd8 38.Rc1 Rd5 39.Qe4 Ka7 40.Rc3 Qd1+ 41.Ka2 Qd2 42.Rc2 Qd3 43.Re2 Rd4 [43...Qxe4 44.fxe4 (44.Rxe4 Rd3 45.Re5 Rxf3 46.Rxg5 Rg3 isn't as clear.) 44...Re5 45.Kb3 Kb6 46.Kc4 Kc6 47.Kd4 Kd6 48.Rf2+-] 44.Qe3 a5 [44...Qxe3 45.Rxe3 Rf4 46.Kb3 Kb6 47.Kc3 Kc6 48.Kd3 Kd5 49.Ke2 Rf7 50.Kf2 followed by Kg3 and whatever else is needed to force f4 should be winning.] 45.Re1 [45.Qxg5?? Qc4+!-+ (45...Qxe2?? 46.Qc5++-) ] 45...Ka6 46.Qxg5 Qxf3 47.Qg6+ Ka7 48.Re5 Ra4 49.Qh5 b6 [49...Rxa3+ won't lead to a perpetual: 50.bxa3 Qf2+ 51.Kb3 Qf3+ 52.Kc4 Qc6+ 53.Kd3 Qf3+ 54.Re3 Qf1+ 55.Ke4 Qc4+ 56.Kf5 Qc5+ 57.Kf6 Qd6+ (57...Qxe3 58.Qxa5+ Kb8 59.Qe5++-) 58.Kg7 Qc7+ 59.Qf7 and it's over.] 50.Qe8 Rc4 51.g5 Rc7 52.Qe6 a4 53.Re4 Qd1 54.Rb4

Black is completely tied down now and the g-pawn is ready to keep advancing, so Adams resigned. Nevertheless, Black could have tried one last, neat little cheapo suggested by former FIDE World Champ Ruslan Ponomariov: [54.Rb4 Ka8!? 55.Qxb6?? (55.Qe4+ wins easily.) 55...Qa1+ (Unfortunately, just a normal checking sequence draws as well, which undermines the cheapo's "suckerability quotient". (SQ? SUQ? Have I created a monster!) 55...Qd5+ ) 56.Kxa1 Rc1+ 57.Ka2 Ra1+ 58.Kxa1 Stalemate!] 1-0

Current Standings:

Kasparov: 3/4
Anand: 2.5/4
Kasimdzhanov: 2.5/5
Leko, Topalov: 2/4
Adams: 2/5
Vallejo Pons: 1/4

Round 6 Pairings:

Anand-Kasparov (the big game!)
Topalov-Vallejo Pons
Adams - bye


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