Alekhine Memorial starts with a bang

4/21/2013 – An amazing round opened the Alekhine Memorial! We see some players that were in one of the most exciting tournaments of recent years, the London Candidates, and it seems like their flame has far from extinguished – they continue to play powerful and risky chess! We bring you a report on the opening ceremony and round one, with GM analysis of two of the best games.

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The Alekhine Memorial is taking place from April 20th to May 1st 2013. The first part of the event takes place in Paris, France, (April 21-26, rounds one to five), the second in Saint Petersburg, Russia, (April, 26-May 1, rounds six to nine). The super tournament is dedicated to a great Russian chess player Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine, a citizen of Russia and France, and is held at the initiative and with the support of Russian businessmen Gennady Timchenko and Andrey Filatov. Ten grandmasters from seven countries are playing in the Memorial starts with with five rounds in the Louvre Museum in Paris and ends with four rounds in Saint Michael’s Castle in Saint-Petersburg.

The participants

Seed
Player
Country
Rating
w-rank
1
Aronian, Levon
ARM
2809
2
2
Kramnik, Vladimir
RUS
2801
3
3
Anand, Viswanathan
IND
2783
6
4
Svidler, Peter
RUS
2747
14
5
Gelfand, Boris
ISR
2739
18
6
Adams, Michael
ENG
2727
22
7
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
FRA
2722
26
8
Vitiugov, Nikita
RUS
2712
28
9
Ding, Liren
CHN
2707
34
10
Fressinet, Laurent
FRA
2706
35

The opening ceremony ceremony took place in a chess pavilion, which was specially built for the tournament on the territory of the Tuileries Garden (the Louvre Museum).

Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand (3rd and 2nd from right) at the press conference, which included Anatoly Karpov (left), main sponsor Andrei Filatov (2nd from left) and Ilya Levitov (middle), the Russian chess Federation CEO.

All the players lined up on the stage: Vachier-Lagrave, Liren, Svidler,
Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Fressinet, Adams, Vitiugov, Gelfand

The conference was followed by a concert performed by two outstanding Russian musicians – Nikolai Lugansky (piano) and Vadim Repin (violin) who offered the audience pieces composed by the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Watch the opening ceremony on this video stream from the official web site


Round one report

Round 01 – April 21 2013, 14:00h
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2706
½-½
Laurent Fressinet 2709
Ding Liren 2707
1-0
Levon Aronian 2809
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
1-0
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
Viswanathan Anand 2783
0-1
Michael Adams 2727
Peter Svidler 2747
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2739

Svidler, Peter - Gelfand, Boris ½-½

There are portraits of the players in the live video coverage

The easiest way to summarize this game is tactics, tactics, tactics. If you're looking to challenge your brain on tactical continuation then simply put this on a chessboard and have a go at it. With most pieces on the board White's king was on f4, Black had the disadvantage of a rook for two minor pieces and after some forced trades the game surprisingly ended peacefully.

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxim - Fressinet, Laurent ½-½
The two strongest Frenchmen (above Vachier-Lagrave) played a very solid draw and will be thrown into the fire tomorrow.

Ding Liren - Aronian, Levon 1-0

The three-time Chinese champion (above) is currently missing his appointment in Xinghua, where he could have tried to defend his title for a fourth consecutive time. However, he is here meddling with the best, and he begins by proving his invitation was no accident. A nice positional game led to some fireworks as Ding sacrificed first an exchange and then a full rook to bust open Black's king position. White needed just some quiet moves to bring his last attacker to the fray with decisive effect. Watching the game, Kasparov predicted that that would be exactly Black's fate... and he predicted it before move 28! Guest annotator GM Giorgi Margvelashvili has a full report on this game below.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.04.21"] [Round "?"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D45"] [Annotator "Margvelashvili, Giorgi"] [PlyCount "87"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. e3 e6 6. c5 Nbd7 7. b4 {The main line. In the World Championship match, Gelfand surprised Anand with the rare 7. Qc2 Gelfand was able to get a slight advantage from the opening and eventually convert it into full point.} b6 8. Bb2 a5 9. a3 Be7 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O Ba6 { Black wants to exchange passive c8 bishop.} 12. Ne1 $5 {I really like this move by Ding. White prepares to retake on d3 with a knight and possibly play f3 with the following e4 in the future.} Bc4 $6 {a very interesting but risky move. Instead of trading bishops on d3, Aronian wants to exchange bishops on c4, creating passed pawn and more dynamic position.} 13. Bxc4 dxc4 14. Qe2 Rb8 15. Ra2 $1 {Defending b2 bishop in case black chooses to exchange pawns on c5.} b5 16. e4 Rb7 17. Nc2 Nb8 18. Raa1 {As a result of 12...Bc4, Aronian finds himself in a difficult position with little counterplay. Ding uses his dominance in center to further increase pressure on black's position.} Qc8 19. Rad1 Rd8 20. Bc1 $1 {Another strong move by Ding. The bishop has nothing to do on b2, so Ding transfers it to f4, where it controls important squares in center.} Na6 21. Bf4 Rbd7 22. h3 Ne8 23. Qe3 Bf6 24. e5 Be7 25. Ne4 $1 {The knight goes to d6, where it paralyzes all black pieces.} Nac7 26. Nd6 Qa8 27. Qg3 Nd5 28. Ne3 $1 Nc3 {allows white to demonstrate the tactical idea of 28. Ne3. Better would be to play 28...Nac7 and continue defending unpleasant position.} 29. Rde1 Bxd6 30. exd6 Ne4 31. Qh4 Nd2 {looks like black has won an exchange, but...} 32. Nd5 $1 Nxf1 33. Nb6 Qa7 34. Rxf1 Nf6 $2 {this move looks very natural, but it falls to a beautiful combination.} (34... Rb8 {would be stronger, forcing White to take the rook on d7, but still after} 35. Nxd7 Qxd7 36. bxa5 Ra8 37. Bd2 {White has excellent winning chances.}) 35. Be5 $1 Nd5 36. Nxd5 $1 exd5 37. Bxg7 $3 {Amazing!} Kxg7 38. Qg5+ Kf8 39. Qf6 Kg8 40. Re1 $1 { And suddenly black has no defense against the following Re3 or Re5 deadly rooklift.} axb4 41. Re5 h6 42. Rh5 Qxa3 43. Qxh6 $1 (43. Rxh6 $4 {would be a huge mistake, since after} Qc1+ 44. Kh2 Qxh6 $1 45. Qxh6 b3 {White would be forced to give perpetual check and settle for a draw! This is yet another example that one should never lose his focus, even in the most winning positions.}) 43... f6 44. Qxf6 {And black resigned. A very impressive performance by the Chinese grandmaster and painful lose for Aronian. But knowing Aronian's resilience, I am sure he will be able to rebound in the upcoming rounds.} 1-0

Kramnik, Vladimir - Vitiugov, Nikita 1-0

The positional superiority of Kramnik (above) was without question. His two knights were clearly superior to Vitiugov's bishops and this allowed him an initiative on the queenside. Under intense pressure, Vitiugov allowed a surprising but decisive break which let White's a-pawn become unstoppable as it was being supported by the queen, while Black's g6 bishop was dormant. Giorgi also has full annotations for us!

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.04.21"] [Round "?"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Vitiugov, Nikita"] [Result "1-0"] [Annotator "Margvelashvili,Giorgi"] [PlyCount "99"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] {It is always exciting to watch world top ten players playing against "lesser" super grandmasters. This also was Kramnik's first game after his disappointing loss to Ivanchuk in the last round of the Candidates tournament.} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 {As Kramnik often does lately, he chooses sideline variations and tries to outplay his opponent in the middlegame.} c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 {the most popular set up against the g3 system.} 4. O-O Nd7 5. d3 Ngf6 6. Qe1 {preparing e4.} e5 7. e4 dxe4 8. dxe4 Bd6 {not the most popular line. 8...Bc5 is the main line.} 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. h3 Bh5 11. Nc4 Bc7 {The bishop stands passively on c7, but it defends e5 pawn and might enter the game after b5 and Bb6.} 12. a4 {Preventing the above mentioned b5.} Re8 13. Nh4 {Black only has one weakness in the position, that is the d6 square. Kramnik transfers his knight from f3 to f5, trying to take advantage of that weak point.} Nc5 14. Nf5 Ne6 15. Be3 Nf4 $5 { Vitiugov sacrifices a piece for the initiative.} 16. f3 $1 {Kramnik correctly declines the sacrifice.} (16. gxf4 $6 exf4 {with the following f3 would give black too much counterplay.}) 16... Nxg2 17. Kxg2 Bg6 18. Rd1 Nd5 $5 19. Nh4 $1 {Vitiugov wants to find his chances in a tactical battle, but Kramnik is relentless and forces Vitiugov to defend a slightly worse position with no counterplay.} Nxe3+ 20. Qxe3 Qe7 21. Qb3 Rab8 22. Rf2 $1 {Doubling rooks on the d file.} Red8 23. Rxd8+ Bxd8 24. Rd2 Bc7 25. Rd3 Qe6 26. Qb4 b6 27. b3 { Kramnik slowly improves his position.} a6 28. Qd2 b5 29. Rd7 $1 bxc4 30. Rxc7 cxb3 31. Rb7 $1 {A nice trick, Kramnik wins back a pawn.} Qc8 32. Rxb3 Rxb3 33. cxb3 {Due to the passive bishop on g6 and better pawn structure, Kramnik has a slight, but comfortable advantage. Generally, this position looks defendable for Vitiugov, but it is very hard to withstand Kramnik's pressure, especially in this type of positions.} f6 {trying to bring bishop back to game from f7 or e8.} 34. Qd6 Kf7 (34... Bf7 {does not work here, since after} 35. Nf5 Qe6 36. Qd8+ Qe8 37. Qc7 {White's knight becomes too active.}) 35. g4 $1 Ke8 36. Kg3 $1 {Kramnik frees his g2 square for the knight. Kramnik demonstrates out of this world technique.} Qb7 37. b4 Qc8 {Vitiugov can only wait and watch.} 38. a5 Kf7 39. Ng2 h5 40. Ne3 hxg4 41. hxg4 Qe6 42. Qd3 Qc8 43. Qc4+ Kf8 44. Qc5+ Kg8 45. b5 $3 {The final blow. Vitiugov did not make any big mistakes in this game, which makes this win for Kramnik even more impressive. Vitiugov tried his best to defend the position, but there is nothing he could do, as Kramnik played one of his best games.} axb5 46. Qb6 Qf8 47. a6 {The a-pawn decides the game in Kramnik's favor.} Qb4 48. a7 Qe1+ 49. Kg2 Qd2+ 50. Kg1 {Vitiugov resigned here, since after 50...Qe1+ 51.Nf1 he has no more checks, and Kramnik just promotes his pawn.} 1-0

Vladimir Kramnik in the press conference after the game

Anand, Vishy - Adams, Michael 0-1

Kasparov: "I like the bishops!" He was referring to the position after Black's 21st move, and as expected from the first man in history to break 2800, he was absolutely right. Black's bishops dominated the scene and forced Anand to trade them off, but that left him in an inferior rook endgame. It's possible that White still had a way out of it, but Anand couldn't find it and Adams converted a full point after his lone rook was more than a match for White's three passed pawns since two of them were doubled.

Summary by GM Alejandro Ramirez

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You can watch live video of the games, with GM commentary in English, in the above player. Video streams of past rounds can be reviewed on this page. Information and videos provided by Mark Gluhovsky, press attaché of the Alekhine Memorial

Alekhine Memorial 2013 – Schedule, pairings and results

Round 01 – April 21 2013, 14:00h
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2706
½-½
Laurent Fressinet 2709
Ding Liren 2707
1-0
Levon Aronian 2809
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
1-0
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
Viswanathan Anand 2783
0-1
Michael Adams 2727
Peter Svidler 2747
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2739
Round 02 – April 22 2013, 14:00h
Laurent Fressinet 2706
-
Boris Gelfand 2739
Michael Adams 2727
-
Peter Svidler 2747
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
-
Viswanathan Anand 2783
Levon Aronian 2809
-
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722
-
Ding Liren 2707
Round 03 – April 23 2013, 14:00h
Ding Liren 2707
-
Laurent Fressinet 2706
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
-
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722
Viswanathan Anand 2783
-
Levon Aronian 2809
Peter Svidler 2747
-
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
Boris Gelfand 2739
-
Michael Adams 2727
Round 04 – April 24 2013, 14:00h
Laurent Fressinet 2706
-
Michael Adams 2727
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
-
Boris Gelfand 2739
Levon Aronian 2809
-
Peter Svidler 2747
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722
-
Viswanathan Anand 2783
Ding Liren 2707
-
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
Round 05 – April 25 2013, 14:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
-
Laurent Fressinet 2706
Viswanathan Anand 2783
-
Ding Liren 2707
Peter Svidler 2747
-
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722
Boris Gelfand 2739
-
Levon Aronian 2809
Michael Adams 2727
-
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
Round 06 – April 28 2013, 14:00h
Laurent Fressinet 2706
-
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
Levon Aronian 2809
-
Michael Adams 2727
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722
-
Boris Gelfand 2739
Ding Liren 2707
-
Peter Svidler 2747
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
-
Viswanathan Anand 2783
Round 07 – April 29 2013, 14:00h
Viswanathan Anand 2783
-
Laurent Fressinet 2706
Peter Svidler 2747
-
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
Boris Gelfand 2739
-
Ding Liren 2707
Michael Adams 2727
-
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
-
Levon Aronian 2809
Round 08 – April 30 2013, 14:00h
Laurent Fressinet 2706
-
Levon Aronian 2809
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722
-
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
Ding Liren 2707
-
Michael Adams 2727
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
-
Boris Gelfand 2739
Viswanathan Anand 2783
-
Peter Svidler 2747
Round 09 – May 01 2013, 14:00h
Peter Svidler 2747
-
Laurent Fressinet 2706
Boris Gelfand 2739
-
Viswanathan Anand 2783
Michael Adams 2727
-
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
-
Ding Liren 2707
Levon Aronian 2809
-
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722

Links

All games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


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