Alekhine R02: three wins again, Adams leads

4/22/2013 – The first round was extraordinary, the second even more so: two of yesterday's winners, Vladimir Kramnik and Ding Liren, took a tumble in round two, while Britain's Michael Adams won his second game in a row (against Peter Svidler) to go into the sole lead. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is in second place after beating Ding in spectacular fashion. Full report with results, games, pictures and GM analysis.

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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.

Round two report

Like a brushfire, the fighting spirit of the tournament keeps spreading. Aronian rebounded with a fantastic finish against Kramnik. Adams continues showing expertise in the Spanish by steamrolling Svidler. Vachier didn't want to be left behind and took care of Ding Liren. Anand and Gelfand comfortably held with black against Vitiugov and Fressinet respectively.

Round 02 – April 22 2013, 14:00h
Laurent Fressinet 2706
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2739
Michael Adams 2727
1-0
Peter Svidler 2747
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
½-½
Viswanathan Anand 2783
Levon Aronian 2809
1-0
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722
1-0
Ding Liren 2707

Adams, Michael-Svidler, Peter 1-0
Adams (above) proves that he can use the Spanish with both colors and with great expertise, no matter who he plays. Today he obtained a slight edge that kept being problematic for Svidler. After further pressure, the Russian couldn't hold on to all his pawns and relinquished one of them. White kept pressuring with his strong knights, and eventually the combination of a bad position and the material disadvantage was sufficient for Svidler to resign.

Fressinet, Laurent-Gelfand, Boris ½-½
Gelfand didn't have to work hard to show that the Gruenfeld is a reliable and solid defense against 1. d4. Fressinet played a strange move that yielded nothing and had to give up the half point without too much fight.

Vitiugov, Nikita-Anand, Vishy ½-½
Vitiugov had a slight edge throughout the game after being very active in a quick Ne4 Nimzo-Indian. However the World Champion was up to the task of defending the uncomfortable rook endgame; it's possible that the Russian had a better chance of seeking a full point had he kept queen's on the board for a little longer.

Vachier Lagraeve, Maxim-Ding Liren 1-0
A fabulous game! Maxim must have read our article yesterday in which he was going to be "thrown in to the fire". The truth is he was the one that brought the fire with him! In a bizarre advance Caro-Kann White's king quickly found himself on d2, as well as being down two pawns. However this was fully compensated by Black's bishop on f8. Calling it a bad bishop would be an unnecessary euphemism, and at times its possible Ding Liren would've liked to simply grab it and put it off the board. This allowed White a strong initiative as Black was playing without his f8 bishop and the trapped h8 rook, and the coordination of White's pieces proved to be too much. Our friend GM Giorgi Margvelashvili again annotates this game below.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.04.22"] [Round "?"] [White "Vachier Lagrave, Maxim"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "1-0"] [Annotator "Margvelashvili, Giorgi"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] {A game between two young stars is always interesting to watch. The fact that Ding had just beaten Aronian in the first round added interest to this game.} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 {As a Caro-Kann defense player myself, I think 3.e5 is the most dangerous line for black.} Bf5 4. h4 (4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 {is more popular nowadays.}) 4... h6 {One of the possible moves. I personally prefer 4.. .Qb6, with the idea of meeting 5.g4 with 5...Bd7} 5. g4 Be4 {An important zwischenzug. Ding first forces White to play f3, which takes the f3 square away from the g1 knight, and then retreats the bishop to h7.} 6. f3 Bh7 7. e6 $1 {a typical idea in this variation. Vachier sacrifices a pawn to keep Ding's pieces on the kingside undeveloped.} Nf6 (7... fxe6 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Qd6 10. f4 {is too dangerous for black.}) (7... Qd6 {is the most common move.}) 8. Bf4 $5 {Vachier sacrifices another pawn for fast development.} Qb6 9. Nc3 Qxb2 10. Kd2 $1 {It is very rare to see this type of position on move 10.} Qb6 11. Nge2 a6 {Frees the a7 square for the queen.} 12. Rb1 Qa7 13. Na4 $1 {Aiming for the b6 square.} b5 {This move is the only way to prevent Nb6.} 14. Nc5 Bg8 15. Be5 $1 fxe6 16. Nf4 {Now we can see the idea of Vachier Lagrave's previous play. Ding's pieces are paralyzed and all the white pieces are extremely active. Even though engines think that Black is doing fine, I think Ding's position is already very difficult at this point.} Nbd7 17. Nxd7 Nxd7 18. Ng6 Nxe5 19. dxe5 Rh7 20. h5 $1 {This move makes sure that the bishop on f8 and rook on h7 will never see the light again.} c5 21. f4 Bf7 22. Qf3 O-O-O 23. Be2 {Vachier is just developing pieces. Without the f8 bishop and h7 rook in play, Ding has no defense against the upcoming attack on his king.} c4 24. a4 $1 {Opening up the b-file.} Kc7 25. axb5 axb5 26. Rxb5 Qd4+ 27. Ke1 Ra8 28. Rb1 $6 {Probably Vachier's only inaccuracy in the game. A lot stronger was 28.Kf1!} Ra2 29. c3 Qd2+ 30. Kf2 Rc2 31. Qe3 $3 {A very impressive move. Maxim Vachier Lagrave sacrifices the c3 pawn, but exchanges Ding's most active piece.} Qxe3+ 32. Kxe3 Rxc3+ 33. Kd4 Rc2 34. Rhe1 Kc6 35. Rb8 Bxg6 36. hxg6 Rh8 37. Reb1 Rd2+ 38. Ke3 Ra2 39. R8b6+ {and Ding resigned, since the a2 rook has no chance in the fight against all of White's pieces. A fantastic game by Maxim Vachier Lagrave, and I hope he will be able to maintain this level throughout the whole tournament.} 1-0

Aronian, Levon-Kramnik, Vladimir 1-0
Yesterday guest commentator GM Margvelashvili pointed out how he expected Aronian (above in a screen grab from the live video) to rebound from his first round loss due to his strong will and his history of doing so. However, what a rebound it was! In this duel of titans Aronian played a model game in this unusual variation of the Queen's Gambit. His passed d-pawn caused enormous headaches for Black. However the truly remarkable feature of the game was the very end: in a pawn race White queens first, but Black counters by queening with check, which is counter-countered by moving the king out of check, and putting Black in a mating net! Simply breathtaking.

[Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.04.22"] [Round "2"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D41"] [WhiteElo "2809"] [BlackElo "2801"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Qxd2 O-O 11. Rc1 b6 12. Bd3 Bb7 13. O-O Nd7 14. Qe3 Rc8 15. e5 Bxf3 16. Qxf3 Qh4 17. Qe3 Rfd8 18. f4 Nf8 19. Rxc8 Rxc8 20. f5 exf5 21. Bxf5 Rd8 22. Rd1 Ng6 23. Bxg6 hxg6 24. d5 Qc4 25. d6 Qe6 26. Qg3 b5 27. h3 a6 28. Qe3 Rd7 29. Qc5 Kh7 30. Qd5 Qe8 31. Rc1 Qd8 32. Rc6 Qg5 33. Qd4 Rd8 34. Rc5 Qg3 35. Qf2 Qxf2+ 36. Kxf2 f6 37. Rc6 fxe5 38. Ke3 Kg8 39. Ke4 Kf7 40. Kd5 a5 41. Rc5 b4 42. Rxa5 Kf6 43. Ra7 Rb8 44. Kc6 b3 45. axb3 Rxb3 46. Ra8 Rc3+ 47. Kd7 e4 48. Rf8+ Kg5 49. Ke7 e3 50. d7 e2 51. d8=Q e1=Q+ 52. Kd6+ Qe7+ 1-0

Standings

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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
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2739
Michael Adams 2727
1-0
Peter Svidler 2747
Nikita Vitiugov 2712
½-½
Viswanathan Anand 2783
Levon Aronian 2809
1-0
Vladimir Kramnik 2801
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2722
1-0
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

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