Aeroflot Open: Le Quang Liem crushes Kamsky and is now on 4.5/5

2/12/2011 – Whether an off-day for the American, or an on-day for the Vietnamese, Le's victory over Kamsky in the fourth round was nothing short of explosive. Quang Liem continues his great form and is now on 4.5/5 with a 2988 performance. He wasn't the only inspired player, as perusing the games reveals, and we highlight a pearl that might otherwise be missed. Report with pictures by Maria Bolshakova.

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The 10th edition of the International Chess Festival "Aeroflot Open 2011" is underway in Moscow, and runs 7 February to 18 February 2011. The event is comprised of three nine-round opens, which encompass all ratings together, and have a total prizefund of 125 thousand Euros. The A event is reserved for players rated 2550 and above, and boasts 20 thousand Euros for first prize, Furthermore the winner of the A tournament will be entitled to participate in the round-robin Super Tournament in Dortmund in the second half of July 2011. The B event is reserved for players rated between 2300 and 2549, and has a first prize of ten thousand Euros. The C event is for players rated under 2300, or unrated players, and has a first prize of 3500 Euros. Finally there will also be a qualifier for the World Blitz Championship.

Rounds four and five

Pictures by Maria Bolshakova

After three rounds, Vietnamese Le Quang Liem had as perfect a start as he could wish, with 3.0/3. However he had yet to face any of the 2700 heavy-hitters and how he came through that test would play a defining role in his overall tournament success. Top-rated Gata Kamsky (2730) was his next trial in the fourth round, and note that the American GM had played a creative game in the previous round.


Liem Le Quang facing his biggest hurdle: top-seed Gata Kamsky

Le Quang,Liem (2664) - Kamsky,Gata (2730) [D11]
Aeroflot Open A Moscow RUS (4), 11.02.2011

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qb3 e6 5.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Bf4 a5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.e3 Nb6 9.Bd3 Bg4 10.Ne5 Bh5 11.0-0 a4 12.Qc2 Bg6








13.e4! Kamsky has been taking great liberties with the opening, neglecting his development and creating weaknesses, though the biggest one is the king stuck in the center and still two moves away from safety. 13...dxe4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.Bxe4 Be7?








This mistake is punished very quickly and efficiently by Liem. 16.Bxc6+! bxc6 17.Qxc6+ Nd7 18.Nxg6 hxg6 19.Rfe1 0-0 20.Bc7 Nb8 21.Bxd8. Another direction to take was 21.Qxa8 Qxc7 22.Qxa4 where White gets rook and three pawns (passed at that) for two pieces. In an endgame in particular the pawns would quickly become overwhelming. 21...Nxc6 22.Bxe7 Nxe7 23.Rxe7 Rfd8 24.Rd1 a3 25.b3 Rac8 26.Kf1 Rd5 27.Rd2 Gata can see this is pointless and resigns to fight another day. 1-0. [Click to replay]



IM Fedoseev (2505) avoiding the glare of GM Jinchao (2655) who is on 4.0/5

Although there were certainly plenty of higher rated games we could show you, one game between less presigious players, though playing in the A event, was a lot of fun to see, with a speculative sacrifice being played that led to all kinds of compensation and complications. We have no conclusions on it, and nor do the engines, so look at it and judge for yourself.

Mareco,Sandro (2627) - Zhigalko,Andrey (2566) [E94]
Aeroflot Open A Moscow RUS (4), 11.02.2011

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 c6 9.Be3 exd4 10.Bxd4 Re8 11.Qc2 Nc5 12.Nd2 h5 13.h3 Ne6 14.Be3 Nd7 15.Nb3 a5 16.Rad1 a4 17.Nd4 Nec5








So far the position is fairly normal looking with both players following fairly standard plans. That is... until now! 18.Bxh5!? It is very hard to judge the correctness of this sacrifice. That White gets some compensation is clear: but whether or not it is enough... is up to the analysts. No doubt one could easily spend a few fun hours investigating it. 18...gxh5 19.Nf5 Re6








This is the second major crossroads. 20.Nxd6. One option is 20.Qe2 with the idea of 20...Qf8 21.Qxh5 and the kingside pawns and pieces may be decisisve.; Another appealing choice is 20.Ne2 with the idea of 20...Bf8 21.f3 followed by Nf4 20...Qf8 21.Nf5 b6 22.Ne2








22...Rxe4. Presumably this was the point of b6 since otherwise White would be able to play Rxd7 Bxd7 Bxc5 and the rook would be hanging, but Black should really have been trying to focus on bringing his pieces into play ASAP instead of finding clever ways to win a pawn since he is in imminent danger of being run over. 23.Neg3 Re6 24.Nxh5 Bh8 25.Bh6 Rxh6 26.Ne7+ Qxe7 27.Rxe7 Rxh5 28.Re8+ Kg7 29.Qc3+ f6 30.Qg3+ Rg5 31.Qc7 Re5 32.Rxc8 Rxc8 33.Rxd7+ 1-0 A fascinating struggle! [Click to replay]


The fifth round pitted Le Quang as Black, and still the only player with 100%, against Russian talent Evgeny Tomashevsky (2695), who was now on 3.5/4. Again a big struggle, and though the Russian seemd to have the better of it, at some point the Vietnamese somehow manage to outsmart his higher-rated opponent and things began to take a turn for the worst for White. The endgame was a very complicated affair and somehow it feels as if Liem should have won it, but was it really winning?

Tomashevsky,Evgeny (2695) - Le,Quang Liem (2664) [D97]
Aeroflot Open A Moscow RUS (5), 12.02.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 a6 8.Be2 b5 9.Qb3 c5 10.dxc5 Be6 11.Qc2 Nbd7 12.Be3. 12.c6 Nb8 13.Ng5 Nxc6 14.Nxe6 fxe6 15.Be3 Nd4 16.Qd1 Nxe2 17.Qxe2 b4 1/2-1/2 (34) Buhmann,R (2563)-Le Quang,L (2694)/Khanty Mansiysk 2010/CBM 139 (34) 12...Rc8 13.Rd1 b4 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 Nxc5 16.0-0 a5 17.Rfe1 Ncd7 18.Bc4 Ng4 19.Bd4 Qc7 20.Bxg7 Kxg7








21.b3. Tomashevsky could have chosen 21.Rxe7 Qxc4 22.Qxc4 Rxc4 23.Rxd7 However after 23...Nf6 (23...Rc2 would be a blunder due to 24.Nd4 attacking the rook and Ne6+) 24.Re7 Re8 25.Rxe8 Nxe8 26.Nd4 Nd6 though a pawn up, Black's knight blockade and active rook go a long way in neutralizing it. 21...Qc5 22.Qe2 Nb6 23.h3 Nf6 24.Qxe7 Nxc4 25.bxc4 Qxc4








Somehow Le has outsmarted his opponent and is now teetering on being better. 26.Nd4? This is a mistake after which White will be holding on for dear life. 26...Rce8 27.Ne6+ Kg8 28.Qc7 Qxc7 29.Nxc7 Rxe1+ 30.Rxe1 Rd8 31.Rc1 Rd7 32.Rc5 Now it is the Vietnamese who slips and allows his opponent a chance back into the fight. 32...Ne4 Instead the simple 32...a4 would have been very difficult to defend against. The white king is too far so White would be forced to dump the d-pawn to try and cover the queenside. 33.Rc6 Nxd5 34.Nxd5 Rxd5 35.Rc4 Rd1+ 36.Kh2 Rb1 37.a3 and now Black ignores the "threat" and brings the king with 37...Kg7 38.Kg3 (38.axb4? a3 39.Rc2 Rxb4 40.Ra2 Rb3-+) 38...Kf6 33.Rc6 Nc3 34.d6 Nxa2 35.Nd5? 35.Ra6! b3 36.Rxa5 would have equalized since 36...Rxd6? loses to 37.Ra8+ Kg7 38.Ne8+ 35...Kg7 36.Nb6 b3 37.Na4 Kf6 38.Rb6 Nb4 39.f4! This move is unplesant and makes Black's work hard. The problem is that after Kf5, any king move to either e6 or e4 is met by Nc5+ and Nxb3 (not Nxd7 which would allow the b-pawn to promote). 39...g5 40.fxg5+ Kxg5? 40...Ke5 41.Rb5+ Kxd6 42.Rxa5 Rb7 43.Nb2 is also good, but is it enough to win? That is not clear. 41.Nb2 Now however the draw is clear. 41...Nc2 42.Rxb3 Rxd6 43.Rb5+ f5 44.Rxa5 Ne3 45.Ra3 Rd2 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Though this still maintains Le in sole first wtith 4.5/5 and a spectacular 2988 performance, he is followed closely by four other players with 4.0/5: GM Mikhail Kobaila (2666), with a 2862 performance, Evgeny Tomashevsky (2695), Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2681), and Zhou Jianchao (2655).


Russian GM Mikhail Kobalia is currently in second place, first
among four with 4.0/5.


Standings after five rounds

Rk.
Name
Pts
Fed.
Rtg
Perf
1
GM Le, Quang Liem
4.5
VIE
2664
2988
2
GM Kobalia, Mikhail
4.0
RUS
2666
2862
3
GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny
4.0
RUS
2695
2846
4
GM Kasimdzhanov, Rustam
4.0
UZB
2681
2797
5
GM Zhou, Jianchao
4.0
CHN
2655
2808
6
GM Salgado Lopez, Ivan
3.5
ESP
2626
2803
7
GM Khismatullin, Denis
3.5
RUS
2649
2794
8
GM Vitiugov, Nikita
3.5
RUS
2709
2756
9
GM Zvjaginsev, Vadim
3.5
RUS
2660
2695
10
GM Jakovenko, Dmitry
3.5
RUS
2718
2780
11
GM Mamedov, Rauf
3.5
AZE
2660
2750
12
GM Kurnosov, Igor
3.5
RUS
2662
2724
13
GM Hess, Robert L
3.0
USA
2572
2741
14
IM Papin, Vasily
3.0
RUS
2568
2730
15
IM Fedoseev, Vladimir
3.0
RUS
2505
2730
16
FM Bukavshin, Ivan
3.0
RUS
2458
2725
17
GM Kamsky, Gata
3.0
USA
2730
2715
18
GM Kotsur, Pavel
3.0
KAZ
2559
2714
19
GM Sandipan, Chanda
3.0
IND
2641
2693
20
GM Yu, Yangyi
3.0
CHN
2607
2676

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