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.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Linares: Round 9 Recap

Round 7 aside, every other round has featured fighting chess and exactly one win, and today's games continued that trend.

The biggest news saw Garry Kasparov increase his lead over the field with a crushing defeat of Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Kasparov, who is now at +3 (his nearest competitors have +1), unleashed an important novelty in the Meran Variation against Kasimdzhanov, winning easily. It looks like Kasparov is back in business, while Kasimdzhanov's first cycle success story of 7 draws might turn into something very different this cycle (0-2 thus far). It's a tough crowd.

Kasimdzhanov,R (2678) - Kasparov,G (2804) [D47]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (9), 04.03.2005

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.0-0 a6 10.e4 c5 11.d5 Qc7 12.dxe6 fxe6 13.Bc2 c4 14.Nd4 Nc5 15.Be3 e5 16.Nf3 Be7 17.Ng5 0-0N

A logical novelty, of course - but what about the exchange? 18.Bxc5 Bxc5 19.Ne6 Qb6 20.Nxf8 Rxf8 Normally, an exchange sac is acceptable only if the material-down side at least gets a pawn as part of the bargain. Kasparov doesn't have that - yet - but he has oodles of pressure: f2 is weak, e4 is weak, White's bishop is altogether passive and Black's queenside pawns may become mobile at some point. Time will tell whether Black's novelty is sufficient for equality, but it looks pretty good. 21.Nd5 [White decides now to sac a pawn in return for some breathing room, but the greedier 21.Qe2 certainly merits consideration, as it develops, connects the rooks, protects e4 and f2 and hits the c4-pawn in case Black tries ...b4 at some point. Still, after 21...Qe6 (covering d5, c4 and g4, thus supporting ...Ng4) 22.Nd1 Bd4 Black's compensation is evident.] 21...Bxd5 22.exd5 Bxf2+! 23.Kh1 [23.Rxf2?? Ng4 wins, because 24.Qxg4? Qxf2+ 25.Kh1 Qf1+ leads to mate next move.] 23...e4 24.Qe2 e3 Now Black must be better, as the material investment is minimal while Black's activity continues. Still, it doesn't seem that White should be losing yet, so somewhere in the next few moves White must find an improvement. 25.Rfd1 [25.Rad1 with the idea of meeting 25...Qd6 with 26.Rxf2 won't help, however: 26...exf2 27.Qxf2 Ne4 (27...Ng4 28.Qh4 Nf2+ 29.Kg1 Nxd1 30.Qxh7+ Kf7 31.Bxd1 Qc5+ 32.Kh1 Qxd5-+) ] 25...Qd6 26.a4 [26.Bf5 might be worth considering, trying to keep the Black knight off of g4 while opening the option of retreating the bishop to h3 or f3 (via g4).] 26...g6 with the idea of ...Nf6-h5-f4. 27.axb5 axb5 28.g3 [28.Rd4 Nh5 29.Qg4 neutralizes the ...Nf4 idea, but now there are new problems: 29...e2 30.Re4 e1Q+ 31.Raxe1 Bxe1 32.Rxe1 Qxd5-+] 28...Nh5 Black is threatening a crushing sac on g3, so White plays 29.Qg4

and stops it... 29...Bxg3! ...or not. 30.hxg3 Nxg3+ 31.Kg2 Rf2+ 32.Kh3 Nf5 [32...Rh2+?? is ALMOST mating - which means, in this situation, that it loses: 33.Kxh2 Nf1+ 34.Kg2[] Qh2+ 35.Kf3 Qf2+ 36.Ke4+- and his majesty is safe, and about to discover just how handy two extra rooks are likely to be.] 33.Rh1 h5 [33...Rxc2 is equally wonderful.] 34.Qxg6+ Qxg6 35.Rhg1 Qxg1 36.Rxg1+ Kf7 0-1

The Peter Leko-Michael Adams game repeated the sharp Petroff Defense line seen in the Leko-Anand game from round 3, and this too wound up as a fairly quick draw - but a fighting one.

Leko,P (2749) - Adams,Mi (2741) [C42]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (9), 04.03.2005

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Re1 Bg4 9.c3 f5 10.Qb3 0-0 11.Nbd2 Na5 12.Qc2 Nc6 [12...Bd6 occurred in the Round 3 battle between Leko and Anand, drawn in 24 moves. (The rest of the game and some comments can be found HERE.)] 13.b4 a6 14.a4 Bd6 15.Rb1 Re8 16.b5 axb5 17.axb5 Na5 18.Ne5 Bxe5 19.dxe5

19...Nxf2!? [19...Qh4 20.Rf1 Bh5 21.f3 Nxd2 22.Bxd2 Nc4 looks like a calm alternative route to equality.] 20.Kxf2 Qh4+ 21.Kf1 Qxh2 22.Ba3 Re6 23.Qa2 (For some very interesting analysis of 23.Bc5, see Albien's report on the TWIC site.) Rd8 24.Bc5 Rh6 This threatens a perpetual with ...Qf4+ Kg1 Qh2+, which White allows. 25.e6 [25.Be2 Qh1+ 26.Bg1 Rh2 27.Bf3 is an attempt to avoid the perpetual, but now the attack gains force from the other side of the board with 27...Nc4! 28.Re2 (28.Nxc4 Bxf3 is a complete disaster.) 28...Nxd2+ (28...Bxf3 29.Nxf3 Rxg2 30.Rxg2 Ne3+ 31.Ke1 Nxg2+ 32.Ke2 Nh4 33.Nxh4 Qxh4 34.Re1 is unclear.) 29.Qxd2 Bxf3 30.gxf3 Qxf3+ 31.Rf2 Rxf2+ 32.Bxf2 f4 with a Black edge.] 25...Qf4+ 26.Kg1 Qh2+ 27.Kf1 Qf4+ 28.Kg1 Qh2+ 29.Kf1 1/2-1/2

Finally, Veselin Topalov made Viswanathan Anand suffer for many moves, but Topalov's inaccuracies eventually allowed the latter to escape with a draw.

Topalov,V (2757) - Anand,V (2786) [C42]
XXII SuperGM Linares ESP (9), 04.03.2005

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Be6 9.0-0-0 a6 10.Ng5 Bxg5 11.Bxg5 Qd7 12.b3 f6 13.Be3 0-0-0 14.h3 Qf7 15.Be2 h5 16.Rhe1 Rhe8 17.f3 Qg6 18.Bf1 Bf5 19.Kb2 Re5 20.Bf4 Rxe1 21.Rxe1 Re8 22.Rd1 Bd7 23.c4 Qf5 24.Bd3 Qc5 25.Bg6 Rh8 26.Be4 Re8 27.c3 g5 28.Be3 Qe5 29.Bf2 f5 30.Bd3 Qg7 31.c5 dxc5 32.Bxc5 Kb8 33.Bc4 Bc8 34.Bd5 Qe5 35.Bxc6 bxc6 36.Bf2 Qe2 37.Ka3 Qxd2 38.Rxd2 Kb7 39.h4 g4 40.f4 Re7 41.c4 Rd7 42.Re2 Rd3 43.Kb4 g3 44.Bc5 Rd7

45.Be7 [45.Kc3 was a suggested improvement from GM Yermolinksy, intending to keep the Black rook out as long as possible, while; 45.Re3 might also improve, as 45...Rd2 (45...Rg7 46.Be7 Rg4? 47.Bg5+-) 46.Rxg3 Rxa2 47.Rg7 threatening Bd6 47...Rd2 48.Rh7 Be6 49.Rxh5 Rxg2 50.Rh7 may be winning for White.] 45...Rd4 46.Bg5 Re4 47.Rd2 Kb6 48.Rd3 c5+ 49.Ka3 Re2 50.Rxg3 Bb7 51.Bf6 Rxg2 52.Rg5 Rxg5 53.fxg5 f4 54.Be5 f3 55.Bg3 Be4 56.Kb2 Kc6 57.Ka3 Bb1 58.Bf2 Kd6 59.Kb2 Be4 60.Kc1 Bg6 61.Kd2 Bb1 62.a3 Bg6 63.Bg3+ Kd7 64.Ke3 Bc2 65.Kxf3 Ke6 66.Ke3 c6 67.b4 cxb4 68.axb4 Kf5 69.Kd4 Bd1

For those unfamiliar with opposite-colored bishop endings, the reason this position is drawn is that the Black king will sit on f5 (or g6, if necessary) and cannot be removed, while on the queenside White cannot win a pawn without giving one up. For example: [69...Bd1 70.Kc5 Be2 71.Kxc6 Bxc4 72.Kb6 Kg6 followed by bishop moves along the b5-f1 diagonal until the 50-move rule kicks in.] 1/2-1/2

Standings after Round 9:

Kasparov 5.5/8
Topalov 4.5/8
Anand 4/7
Leko 4/8
Adams 3.5/8
Kasimdzhanov 3/8
Vallejo Pons 2.5/7

Pairings for Round 10:

Kasparov-Vallejo Pons
Topalov - bye


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