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.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Linares: Round 13 Recap

One round to go, and the tournament remains undecided!

Let's first present and dispense with the one game not affecting the race for first: Kasimdzhanov-Leko. Kasimdzhanov seemed content to end the tournament (he has the bye for tomorrow's round), understandably, while Leko felt unable to do anything with the final position and took his 11th straight draw. Zzzzzzz.

Kasimdzhanov,Rustam (2678) - Leko,Peter (2749) [B31]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (13), 09.03.2005

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.Re1 e5 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.a3 Bg4 8.d3 Nf6 9.Nbd2 Nd7 10.h3 Be6 11.Nc4 0-0 12.Bd2 Qe7 13.Bc3 f6 14.Qe2 Rfd8 15.Na5 Rab8 16.Reb1 Rdc8 17.b4 b6 18.Nb3 Bf7 19.bxc5 bxc5 20.Qe3 Bf8 21.a4 c4 22.dxc4 Nb6 23.c5 Nd7 24.Bb2 Bxb3 1/2-1/2

Meanwhile, with a chance to clinch clear first and to pursue not merely a win but a rout of the field Kasparov chose instead to waste the White pieces against Anand, coasting in with a 22-move draw featuring a whopping total of 2 new half-moves: Anand makes a novelty, Kasparov replies and offers a draw, and game over. Again, zzzzzzzz.

Kasparov,Garry (2804) - Anand,Veselin (2786) [C42]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (13), 09.03.2005

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.c4 Nb4 9.Be2 0-0 10.a3 Nc6 11.cxd5 Qxd5 12.Nc3 Nxc3 13.bxc3 Bf5 14.Re1 Rfe8 15.Bf4 Rac8 16.Bd3 Qd7 17.Rb1 Bxd3 18.Qxd3 b6 19.d5 Bf6 20.c4 h6 21.h3 Ne7N [21...Re7 22.Rbd1 Rd8 23.Rxe7 Nxe7 24.Ne5 Bxe5 25.Bxe5 Re8 26.Bg3 Nf5 27.Bxc7 Qxc7 28.Qxf5 Qxc4 29.d6 Rd8 30.d7 Qc6 31.g3 a6 32.h4 b5 33.Rd5 a5 34.Rxb5 g6 35.Qd5 Qxd7 36.Qxd7 Rxd7 37.Rxa5 Kg7 38.a4 Rd1+ 39.Kg2 Ra1 40.g4 Kf6 41.Kg3 Rc1 42.Rb5 g5 43.Rf5+ Kg6 44.h5+ Kg7 45.a5 Ra1 46.Kg2 Re1 47.f3 Re6 48.Kf2 Kf8 49.Rb5 Kg7 50.Rf5 Kf8 51.Rc5 Kg7 52.Rb5 Kf8 53.Rb6 Re5 54.a6 Kg7 55.a7 Ra5 56.Rb7 Ra3 57.Ke2 Kf6 58.Kd2 Ke6 59.Kc2 f6 60.Kb2 Ra4 61.Kb3 Ra1 62.Kb4 Kd6 63.Rh7 Ke5 64.Kb5 Ra2 65.Kb6 Kd5 1-0 Leko,P-Anand,V/Linares 2003/CBM 094] 22.Ne5 1/2-1/2

Thankfully, the ever-aggressive Topalov was playing. A win over Vallejo Pons would bring him within a point of Kasparov on the eve of their last-round game - in which Topalov will have White - so motivation was not a problem. Unfortunately for Vallejo, he seemed overly interested in drawing and insufficiently prepared for a fight. This probably explains his passive play, of which Topalov took full advantage:

Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2686) - Topalov,Veselin (2757) [D37]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (13), 09.03.2005

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.d4 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Qc2 [7.e3 is by far the most common move, and it scores better, too.] 7...dxc4 8.e3 c5 9.dxc5 Qa5 10.Bxc4 Qxc5 11.Ne4 Qa5+ 12.Ke2 Be7 13.Qc3 [13.g4 was played in an earlier game (also lost by White), but its aggression isn't in keeping with Vallejo's safety-first approach.] 13...Qxc3 14.Nxc3 a6 15.Rhd1 Nd7 16.Ne4

White offered a draw here, and it looks like a reasonable request. Nd6+ is coming, eliminating Black's bishop pair, and then what could possibly go wrong? 16...b5 17.Bb3 Bb7 18.Nd6+ Bxd6 19.Rxd6 Ke7 20.Rad1 [20.Rdd1 may be better, to follow with Rac1, neutralizing any activity Black might try to scrounge up with the rooks. Black still has a micro-edge, as his minor pieces are both slightly preferable to their White counterparts, but that's manageable. If Black's rooks become superior too, the edge may become threatening.] 20...Rhd8 21.R6d4 Rac8 And there we go - another mini-advantage for Black. Now the next thing White has to worry about is ...a5-a4 followed by ...Rc2. It's not fatal yet (not even close!), but the camel's lumbar regions has its limits. 22.Ne1 Covering c2, but going backward isn't a good sign. 22...a5 23.f3 The point of this move is not just to support e4, but to block the Bb7's attack on g2, thereby allowing the Ne1 to reemerge on d3 to challenge a Black knight on c5 or e5. 23...Rc7 Covering the Nd7, so the Rd8 can double on the c-file and the knight can move without allowing a trade of rooks. Note that Black's moves keep generating new avenues to milk the position, while White is in a purely reactive mode. 24.e4 Rdc8 25.a3 g5 A nice move which grabs kingside space, secures e5 for the knight and fixes White's kingside pawns on light squares, just where White's bishop does not want them to be. 26.Ke3 Ne5 27.R4d2 Ba6 28.Rd6 Ra7 29.R6d2 b4!

According to Topalov (see today's TWIC report), it's now "game over". This declaration may be premature, but between White's passivity, tactical problems involving the c4 square and lack of time, Black's victory is at least a practical certainty. Black is threatening 30...a4 followed by ...b3 (if necessary), winning the exchange and burying White's bishop, so White must stop one or the other of those pawn moves. 30.axb4 [30.a4 Rac7 31.Kf2 (31.g3 Bc4 32.Bc2 Ba2 33.Bd3 Bb3 34.Ra1 Rc1 35.Rxc1 Rxc1 36.Ng2 Nxd3 37.Kxd3 Bxa4-+ is hopeless.) 31...Bc4 32.Bxc4 Nxc4 33.Re2 Nb6-/+ is unpleasant for White, but maybe resistance is still possible.] 30...Rb8 31.Ra1 [31.Nc2 a4! 32.Bxa4! Nc4+ 33.Kf2 Nxd2 34.Rxd2 looks like a better defensive chance.] 31...Rxb4 32.Ra3 a4 33.Ba2 Bc4 34.Bb1 [34.Kf2 Rab7 35.Rc2 seems to avoid tactical disasters, though Black's huge positional advantage remains.] 34...Bf1 [34...Rab7 35.Nd3 Bxd3 36.Bxd3 Nxd3 37.Raxd3 Rxb2 38.Rd7+ Kf6 39.Rxb7 Rxb7 40.Ra2 Rb3+ 41.Kd2 g4 42.fxg4 Rb4 43.h3 Ke5-+ is an alternative route to the full point. Vallejo was, as usual, in time terrible time trouble, so Topalov chose instead to provoke a pre-time control collapse instead, and it worked!] 35.Ba2 Rab7 36.Nc2 [36.Kf2 , getting away from some of the fork possibilities, keeps White in the game after 36...Bc4 37.Rc2] 36...Rxb2 37.Rxa4 Rc7 38.Kf2 Bb5 White is losing a piece for nothing, so it's time to quit. 0-1

Standings after Round 13:

Kasparov 8/11
Topalov 7/11
Anand 6.5/11
Leko 5.5/11
Adams 4.5/11
Kasimdzhanov 4/12
Vallejo Pons 3.5/11

Pairings for Round 14:

Topalov-Kasparov (For first place!)
Leko-Vallejo Pons
Kasimdzhanov - bye


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