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.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Linares: Round 10 Recap

There's nothing new under the sun.

See if the following comments sound familiar:

1. Today's round had one decisive result and two draws.
2. Kasparov won.
3. Kasimdzhanov had a miserable position, but fought bravely to hold the draw.

Let's first dispense with today's non-game between Anand and Leko:

Anand,V (2786) - Leko,P (2749) [B33]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (10), 05.03.2005

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Nxe7 Nxe7 11.Qd3 d5 12.exd5 Bf5 13.Qb3 Qxd5 14.Qxd5 Nexd5 15.c4 bxc4 16.Bxc4 0-0 17.0-0 Nb4 18.Rfe1 Rfe8 19.Rad1 Ne4 20.Be3 Rac8 21.f3 Nf6 22.Re2 Be6 23.b3 e4 24.Rdd2 1/2-1/2

Still awake? Good, because the next two games are more interesting. Kasimdzhanov broke Adams' heart in Tripoli last year, beating him in the finals of the FIDE knockout championship in a big upset. Kasimdzhanov needed overtime to win, and was very fortunate that Adams missed a title-clinching win in the last regulation game. And so it was today, as Adams was winning or nearly winning throughout, but couldn't bring home the full point.

Adams,Mi (2741) - Kasimdzhanov,R (2678) [C88]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (10), 05.03.2005

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.Nf1 Bc8 14.c3 Be6 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.b4N [16.Ng3 has been played in a number of high-level games, all concluding in draws.] 16...Nh5 17.N1h2 Nf4 18.Bxf4 Rxf4 19.Qb3 Qd7 20.a4 bxa4 21.Rxa4 cxb4 22.cxb4 Rb8 23.Rea1 Rb7 24.Rxa6 Nxb4 25.Ra8+ Rf8 26.Rxf8+ Bxf8 27.Rb1 Rb8 28.Qc4 It might not seem like much has happened the last 12 moves or so, but suddenly White seems to have a clear advantage - Black's e6 pawn is weak (unless Black plays ...d5, in which case it will be the e5 pawn that's the weakness) and the Bf8 isn't particularly talented either. 28...d5 29.Qc3 [29.exd5 exd5 30.Nxe5 dxc4 31.Nxd7 Rc8 32.dxc4 Rxc4 33.Nf3+/- leaves White a pawn up, but perhaps Adams didn't want to head for an endgame with all the pawns on one side without trying other options first.] 29...Rc8 30.Qb3 Rc2 31.Ng4 [31.Nxe5 Qa7 32.Rf1 Qa2 33.Qxa2 Nxa2 34.Nhf3 dxe4 35.dxe4 Nc3 36.Ng5 h6 37.Nxe6 Bd6 38.Nf3 Nxe4 looks like a better version (from Black's perspective) of the ending-type seen in the note to White's 29th move.] 31...Qa7 32.exd5 [32.Nfxe5 looks like a reasonably safe pawn grab to me.] 32...exd5 33.Ne3 [33.Nfxe5 Qd4 (33...Bc5 34.d4 Bxd4 35.Qxb4 Bxe5 is an attempt to maintain material equality by tricky means, but as often happens when the side that's positionally worse tries to be clever, it boomerangs: 36.Qe1!+- and Black can call it a day: the bishop can't be protected on e5, while if it retreats anywhere by d6, 37.Qe8 is mate. That leaves 36...Bd6 , bu then the obvious 37.Qe6+ wins the bishop and the game.) 34.Nd7 Bd6 and Black has sufficient compensation for the pawn - possibly more.] 33...Re2 34.d4 exd4 35.Nxd5 Nxd5 36.Qxd5+ Qf7 37.Qxd4

Taking stock, this position should give White excellent winning chances as he's a clean pawn ahead and better centralized. One drawback for White is that all the pawns are on the same side of the board, which always tends to increase the weaker side's drawing chances, but in another way it favors White as well, by magnifying his knight relative to Black's bishop. Bishops are long-range pieces, so when all the pawns are on one side of the board, its advantages relative to the knight are greatly lessened. 37...h6 38.Rb8 Re8 39.Ne5 Qe6 40.Rxe8 Qxe8 At this point, a pure queen ending or a pure minor piece ending would be drawn, but because the queen and knight work well together, White still has good winning chances. White would like to have pawns on g4 and h5 now, to completely immobilize the Black kingside, put the knight on g6, etc. Black, on the other hand, would like to put his pawns on g6 and h5, so that their defensive use isn't redundant to the bishop's. So the question is, can White prevent g6? 41.Qd5+ Kh7 42.g3 [42.Ng4 looks like the only way to even try to stop it, but it doesn't seem too impressive - the knight is awkwardly placed on this square. In short, to answer the question asked in the note to Black's 40th move: no; White cannot prevent ...g6.] 42...g6 43.Kg2 Bg7 44.Nd3 h5 45.Nf4 Bf6 46.Ne6 Qe7 47.h4 Qe8 48.Kh2 Qe7 49.Kh3 Kg8 50.f4 Qf7 51.f5 Be7 52.Nf4 gxf5 53.Qd1 Kh7 54.Nxh5 Bf8 55.Nf4 Bh6 56.Nd5 Qe6 57.Qd3 Kg7 58.Kg2 Qe5 59.Kf3 Qe6 60.Kg2 Qe5 61.Qc4 Bd2 62.Qd3 There really isn't anything for White to do here. Note that Black's pawn on f5 functions very well on a light square, complementing the role of Black's bishop, confined as it is to the dark squares. Fine defense by Kasimdzhanov, but shouldn't Adams have had something? 1/2-1/2

Last but not least, we turn to the decisive game du jour.

Kasparov,Garry (2804) - Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2686) [D12]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (10), 05.03.2005

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Nxg6 hxg6 8.Bd2 Nbd7 9.Rc1 a6 10.Bd3 dxc4 11.Bxc4 b5 12.Be2 c5 13.Bf3 Rb8 14.Ne2 Bd6 15.g3 0-0 16.0-0 e5 [16...c4 17.a4 Nb6 18.axb5 axb5 19.e4 (19.Ba5 Qe7) 19...e5 20.Be3 might give White a very small edge, but Black's queenside counterplay leaves him with a good game.; 16...Qe7 was Kasparov's recommendation, when Vallejo was concerned about 17.Qe1 (though Kasparov intended to play 17.dxc5 ) ] 17.dxc5 Nxc5 18.Bb4 Qb6 [18...Nce4 (Kasparov/Abeln) 19.Bxd6 Nxd6 may improve on the text, as after 20.Nc3 Black has better moves than ...Qb6; in particular, 20...Nc4 Still, White seems to be better after 21.Qe2 Qd2 22.b3 Qxe2 23.Bxe2] 19.Nc3+/- Nb7 20.Bxd6 Nxd6 21.Nd5 Nxd5 22.Bxd5

White is clearly better here, as his bishop is the dominant minor piece and Black has potential weaknesses on the kingside. 22...Rbc8 23.Qg4 Nf5 24.Qe4 Qf6 25.Rfd1 Nd6 26.Qb4 Rfd8 27.a4 An effective move on two levels. First, he maintains the tension with the rooks - there's no sense in his trading first and ceding the c-file. Second, he needs to start creating targets, and a4 does just that, leaving Black with a single, less well-hidden queenside pawn for White to besiege. 27...bxa4 28.Qxa4 Rxc1 29.Rxc1 Nb5 30.Rd1 [30.Rc6 was the move expected by the spectators, and I along with them. However, Kasparov rejected it on account of the following remarkable variation: 30...Qf5! (30...Rd6 31.Qxa6; 30...Qe7 31.e4 Nc7 32.Qc4 Nxd5 33.exd5 a5 34.Rc8 Kf8 35.Qc6 seems to be winning.) 31.Rxa6 Rxd5!! - this leads to a draw by perpetual after 32.e4 Qf3 33.exd5 Nd4 34.Qe8+ (34.Qa3 won't help, as Black still draws with 34...Qe2 35.Ra8+ Kh7 36.d6 Nf3+ 37.Kg2 Ne1+ 38.Kg1 (38.Kh3?? Qh5#) 38...Nf3+ etc.) 34...Kh7 35.Ra3 Qd1+ 36.Kg2 Nc2 37.Qxe5 Ne1+ 38.Kh3 f5 39.Qf4 Qe2 40.Qh4+ Kg8 41.Ra8+ Kf7 42.Ra7+ Kg8=] 30...Nc7 31.Bc4 Rd6 32.Rxd6 Qxd6 33.Qb3 Ne6 34.h4

White has a big advantage here, but even so, Vallejo should just sit and do nothing in a constructive manner. Instead, he does what most of us do in time trouble: lash out. In some cases, that's helpful, but here, it greatly hastens the end. 34...e4 35.Bd5 Mmm...more weaknesses... 35...g5 36.h5 g4 Black's hope is to have the f3 square for either the knight or the queen, in hopes of making some perpetual check fantasy come true. The actual result is to raise the number of Black pawns from one (the a6 pawn) to two (the e4 pawn) and now three (the g4 pawn). The punishment isn't overly swift, but it is sure: 37.Bxe4 Ng5 38.Qd5 No entry for the Black queen, and the threats of Qxd6, Qxg5 and Qa8+ force Black to make a trade. 38...Nxe4 39.Qxe4 Qd1+ 40.Kg2 Kf8 41.Qa8+ Ke7 42.Qb7+ Ke8 43.Qxa6 Qd5+ [43...Qf3+ does not lead to perpetual, for at least two reasons: 44.Kg1 Qd1+ and now either Qf1 or Kh2 stop the (safe) checks.] 44.Kg1 Qxh5 45.Qc6+ Kd8 46.e4 Ke7 47.Qc7+ Ke6 48.Qc8+ Ke7 49.Qb7+ Ke8 50.b4 Qg5 51.Qc6+ Ke7 52.b5 Qd2 53.Qc5+ Qd6 54.Qg5+ The g4 pawn falls, and with it go the hopes of a perpetual check miracle. 1-0

Standings after Round 10:

Kasparov 6.5/9
Anand, Topalov 4.5/8
Leko 4.5/9
Adams 4/9
Kasimdzhanov 3.5/9
Vallejo Pons 2.5/8

Pairings for Round 11:

Vallejo Pons-Adams
Kasparov - bye


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