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.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Linares: Round 14 Recap

A bad day for Garry Kasparov, and an awful day for chess. Kasparov has won the 22nd edition of the Linares tournament, but only by virtue of a very strange tiebreak scheme. Entering the final round undefeated and with a one-point lead over his closest pursuer and last-round opponent, Veselin Topalov, he completely collapsed and lost. Normally, the first tiebreaker in a round-robin tournament is head-to-head scores, but in this event it was wins with Black, giving Kasparov the official first-place crown. A great day for Topalov, though:

Topalov,Veselin (2757) - Kasparov,Garry (2804) [B30]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (14), 10.03.2005

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 d6 5.d3 Be7 6.0-0 Nf6 7.Nh4

Novelty? [7.Ng5 is by far the most common move here.] 7...Nd4 [7...Nxe4 is clearly the most testing move, but it's also the riskiest, walking into a morass no doubt well-worked out by Topalov before the game. Offhand though, I don't see anything too terribly wrong with it. 8.Nxe4 (Maybe 8.dxe4 is best, as 8...Bxh4 9.Nb5 Be7 10.f4 0-0 11.f5 leaves White with good compensation for the pawn.) 8...d5 (8...Bxh4 9.Qh5 g6 (9...0-0? 10.Bg5+-) 10.Qh6 leaves White with a very dangerous initiative for the pawn.(10.Nxd6+? Kd7!-/+ (10...Qxd6 11.Qxh4+/-) ) ) 9.Bxd5 Qxd5 10.Qf3 Qe6=/+] 8.g3 Bg4 9.f3 Be6 10.Bg5 Ng8 preserving the knight to maintain control over d5. 11.Bxe7 Nxe7 12.f4 exf4 13.Bxe6 fxe6 14.Rxf4 White has prevented kingside castling, but Black's position is sound enough to overcome this hassle. 14...Kd7 15.Nf3 Rf8 16.Rxf8 Qxf8 17.Nxd4 cxd4 18.Ne2 Qf6 19.c3

But now Kasparov needs to be careful - White's last move threatens to win a pawn, but more than that, it opens up lines of attack against the Black king. White's queen is ready to go to a4 or b3, the b- or c-file will be open for the White rook, and finally, Topalov's knight will have c3 or d4 at its disposal. Kasparov correctly decides to give up the pawn to complete his development and ensure his king's safety. 19...Rf8! [19...dxc3 20.Qa4+ Nc6 21.Rf1 Qg5 (21...Qe7 22.Qb3 (22.bxc3 Rf8 23.d4 Rxf1+ 24.Kxf1 Kc7 25.d5 exd5 26.exd5 Qf7+ 27.Nf4 Ne5 28.Kg2 (28.Qxa7? g5) 28...Kb8 with a very safe position.) 22...b6 23.Qxc3 Rf8 24.Rc1 Rc8 25.d4 and White has the upper hand, though I don't know if it's enough to become something concrete.) 22.Rf7+ Ke8 23.Rxb7 Qe3+ 24.Kf1 Qf3+ 25.Ke1 Qh1+ 26.Kf2 Qxh2+ 27.Ke3 Rc8 28.Rb8!! Qh6+ 29.Nf4 Rxb8 30.Qxc6+ Kd8 31.Qxd6+ Kc8 32.Qc6+ Kd8 33.bxc3+/-] 20.Nxd4 Nc6 21.Qf1 and now, something horrible: [21.Nxc6 Qf2+ 22.Kh1 Kxc6 23.Qa4+ Kc7 24.Qc4+ (24.Qd4 Qxd4 25.cxd4 Rf2 26.Rb1 Rd2=/+) 24...Kb8 25.Qxe6 Qf3+ 26.Kg1 Qf2+=]

21...Qxf1+?? Wow - bad wow. I once read a chess author declare that one shouldn't trade into a king and pawn ending down material unless that player was willing to bet his grandmother's life that it would lead to the desired result. That's a slightly sociopathic of way of putting it, but the general principle is right, as king and pawn endings are generally the easiest to win. Kasparov had plenty of time, too, so this must have been the result of panic, bad nerves, exhaustion or something else non-chess-related, as it was well within Kasparov's prodigious powers to determine that a blockade was impossible. [21...Qd8 22.Qc1 Qb6 would have allowed Kasparov to hold the game, win the tournament cleanly and end his career on a bright note. The only White move that could offer a bit of a scare is 23.Qg5 , and now Black has several reasonable options to choose from. 23...e5 (23...Nxd4 24.Qxg7+ Ke8 25.Qxd4 Qxb2 26.Rf1 Rxf1+ 27.Kxf1 Qc1+ 28.Kg2 Qd2+ 29.Kh3 Qh6+ 30.Kg4 Qg6+ 31.Kf3 Qh5+ 32.Ke3 Qh6+ 33.Kf3 Qh5+ and White must either submit to a perpetual or return the extra pawn with check (without receiving compensation, a thank-you, or a receipt for a tax deduction). 34.g4 Qh3+=; 23...Qxb2 24.Qxg7+ Ke8 25.Rf1 Rxf1+ 26.Kxf1 Nxd4 27.Qxd4= transposes to the 23...Nxd4 line.) 24.Qxg7+ Ke8 25.Rf1 Rxf1+ 26.Kxf1 exd4 27.Qg8+ Kd7 28.Qxh7+ Ne7 29.Qh3+ Kd8 30.Qh8+ Kd7 31.Qxd4 (31.Qh3+=) 31...Qxb2 32.Qxa7 Nc6 33.Qf2 Qc1+ 34.Kg2 Qxc3 and because White's kingside pawns aren't far advanced and his central pawns are weak, Black has nothing to fear in this position.] 22.Rxf1 Rxf1+ No choice now, as Black can only avoid the trade by allowing 23.Rf7+ and shedding more pawns. 23.Kxf1 Nxd4 The culmination of the bad idea, but the knight ending was lost, too. 24.cxd4 So, what in the world is Kasparov thinking? Blockade, that's what. His hope is for a position where the White king is stuck on its side of the board - imagine the White a-pawn on a4 and the g-pawn on g4; then Black plays a5, g5 and d5 and calls it a night. White could go for b4 and h4, but that's met by b6 and h6, and the lockout continues. That must have been his idea, but he clearly and badly miscalculated, as White is able to avoid such a barricade without too much difficulty, as we'll see. 24...d5 [24...g5 25.h4 gxh4 (25...g4 26.Ke2 Ke7 27.Ke3 Kf6 28.Kf4 h5 29.e5+ dxe5+ 30.dxe5+ Kg6 31.Ke4+-; 25...h6 26.hxg5 hxg5 27.Kf2 Ke7 28.Kf3 Kf6 29.Kg4 Kg6 30.a4 a5 31.d5 exd5 32.exd5 Kf6 33.Kh5 Kf5 34.g4+ Kf4 35.d4 b6 36.b3+-) 26.gxh4 Ke7 27.Kf2 Kf6 28.Kf3 Kg6 29.Kg4 h5+ 30.Kf4 Kh6 (30...Kf6 31.e5++-) 31.d5 exd5 32.Kf5!+-; 24...h5 25.Kf2 Ke7 26.Kf3 Kf6 27.h4 a5 28.a4 b6 29.b3 g6 30.Kf4 g5+ (30...d5 31.g4+-) 31.hxg5+ Kg6 32.d5 e5+ 33.Ke3 Kxg5 34.d4+-] 25.Kf2 Ke7 26.Kf3 Kf6 27.h4 g6 28.b4 b5 29.Kf4 h6 30.Kg4 [30.Kg4 If Black could just refuse to move, the position would be drawn, but at some point in the very near future the king will have to retreat. Once that happens, White's king will break through to the fifth rank, and Black's pawns will start to fall. 30...a6 31.a3 and now: 31...Kf7 (31...dxe4 32.dxe4 e5 33.dxe5+ (33.d5??

would make all Black's dreams come true: 33...h5+! and Black has the sort of unbreakable blockade alluded to in the note after White's 24th move. Sadly, my software doesn't recognize this fact: Shredder 9, Junior 9 Deep Fritz 8 and Hiarcs 9 all give White a 2-3 pawn advantage here at 20-30 ply. Humans are still good for something! The algorithm for drawing here is quite simple: keep the Black king close enough to the d-pawn to prevent its (safely) queening and only capture White pawns when it's a recapture: 34.Kf3 Ke7 35.g4 Kd6 36.gxh5 gxh5 37.Ke3 Kd7 38.Kd3 Kd6 39.Kc3 Kd7 40.Kb3 Kd6 41.a4 Kd7 42.axb5 axb5 and only now - but instantly - do the programs recognize that it's a dead, dead, dead draw.) 33...Kxe5 34.Kf3+-) 32.exd5 exd5 33.h5 Kf6 (33...gxh5+ 34.Kf5+-) 34.hxg6 Kxg6 35.Kh4 h5 36.g4 hxg4 37.Kxg4 Kf6 38.Kf4 Ke6 39.Kg5+-] 1-0

The other two games were of less competitive interest, but worthy of attention nonetheless. Michael Adams has suffered many defeats at the hands of Viswanathan Anand, but today at least he got a measure of revenge:

Anand,Viswanathan (2786) - Adams,Michael (2741) [E15]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (14), 10.03.2005

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.Bc3 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0-0 12.0-0 Rc8 13.e4 b5 14.Re1 dxe4 15.Bxe4 bxc4 16.Nxc4 Nb6 17.Nxb6 axb6 18.Qc2 h6 19.a4 Qc7 20.Red1 Rfd8 21.Rac1 Qa7 22.Bb2 b5 23.Ra1 bxa4 24.bxa4 [24.Rxa4 Qb6 25.Rda1 Bb5 26.Ra7 Rc7 27.Rxc7 Qxc7 28.Rc1 ought to draw without any difficulties.] 24...Bf6

White's position was under a little pressure, but his counter-pressure against c6 kept the game fairly balanced. Thus by allowing Black to increase the pressure against d4 while simultaneously removing the c6-pawn from danger, White has given Black's winning chances a big boost. 25...c5 26.d5 Bxb2 27.Qxb2 Bb7 28.Qe5 Qa8 29.a5 Bxd5 30.Bxd5 exd5 And Black is winning. 31.a6 d4 32.Rd3 Rd7 33.h4 Qa7 34.Rb3 c4 35.Rb4 c3 36.Qf5 g6 37.Qd3 c2 38.Rc1 Rc3 39.Qd2 Qxa6 40.Rxc2 Qc6 41.Rbb2 Kh7 42.Qd1 h5 43.Kh2 Rc7 44.Rxc3 dxc3 45.Rc2 Qe4 46.Rc1 Kg7 47.Rc2 Rc8 48.Rc1 Rc5 49.Kg1 Kh7 50.Qd6 Rf5 51.Qd7 Rf3 52.Qa7 Qd5 Black's next three moves are likely to be ...Qd2, ...c2 and ...Rxf2, and as White has no way to stop it without allowing something worse in return, Anand became the second of the unbeatens to fall. 0-1

Finally, the Peter Leko-Francisco Vallejo Pons game was a contest between two players eager to stop unfavorable trends. Vallejo Pons, understandably, wanted to avoid dead last, while Leko, a player often tagged as someone a bit too fond of the half-point, wanted to avoid a clean sweep of the tournament - 12 draws. Leko tried hard, but failed:

Leko,Peter (2749) - Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2686) [B32]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (14), 10.03.2005

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 a6 6.Nd6+ Bxd6 7.Qxd6 Qf6 8.Qd2 Nge7 9.Nc3 d6 10.b3 0-0 11.Bb2 Be6 12.Nd5 Qh4 13.Nxe7+ Nxe7 14.Bd3 d5 15.Qe3 d4 16.Qg3 Qxg3 17.hxg3 Nc6 18.c3 Rfd8 19.Ke2 a5 20.cxd4 Nxd4+ 21.Ke3 a4 22.f4 f6 23.bxa4 Rxa4 24.Rhc1 Rxa2 25.Rxa2 Bxa2 26.fxe5 fxe5 27.Rc5 Nc6 28.Bxe5 Nxe5 29.Rxe5 Kf8 30.Rh5 h6 31.Rb5 Rd7 32.g4 Be6 33.g5 hxg5 34.Rxg5 Rc7 35.Kd4 Kf7 36.Rb5 Rd7+ 37.Ke3 Rc7 38.Rb6 Ke7 39.Kd4 Bc8 40.Bc4 Rc6 41.Rb2 Rg6 42.Bd5 b6 43.g3 Rxg3 44.Rxb6 Rg1 45.Rb8 Bd7 46.Rb7 Kd8 47.Ra7 Rg2 48.Ke5 Rg5+ 49.Kd6 Rg6+ 50.Kc5 Rg5 51.Rb7 Rh5 52.Rb6 Rg5 53.Ra6 Ke7 54.Kd4 Rg1 55.Ra7 Kd8 56.Bc4 Rg4 57.Kd5 Rg6 58.Kc5 Rc6+ 59.Kd4 Rg6 60.e5 Be6 61.Bb5 Rg1 62.Kc5 Rd1 63.Rxg7 Rd5+ 64.Kc6 Rxe5 65.Rh7 Rf5 66.Kd6 Rd5+ 67.Kxe6 Rxb5 1/2-1/2

Final Standings:

Kasparov, Topalov 8/12 (Kasparov first on tiebreak)
Anand 6.5/12
Leko 6/12
Adams 5.5/12
Vallejo Pons, Kasimdzhanov 4/12

More news about the Kasparov retirement can be found here.


  • At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    what about 27 ... h6 instead of g6?
    with the idea 28. Kg4 g6= or 28. Kf4 g5!= The only option left is 28. h5 and I don't know if it's a win or not.

  • At 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    28.h5 also looks like draw,
    28...Kg5 29.g4 g6 30.hg Kxg6 31.Kg2 Kg7=

    so it seems like Kasparov could draw the game just two moves before he resigned!

  • At 8:12 PM, Blogger Dennis Monokroussos said…

    I believe anonymous is right. However, Topalov's previous move was also a blunder: 27.Kg4! wins. For example: 27...a5 28.a4 g6 29.h3! b6 30.b3 h6 31.h4 Kf7 32.h5 Kf6 33.Kh4 Kf7 34.hxg6+ Kxg6 35.g4 Kf6 36.exd5 exd5 37.Kh5 Kg7 38.g5 and the Black d-pawn will fall.

  • At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, pawn endgame is lost. But Kasparov played 27... g6 immediately after Topalov's move, just to resign two moves later. Had he thought for 1 minute, he would find h6. Probably the burden of the knowledge that this is his last game of chess was too much for him psychologically.


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