Bucharest Kings Rd1: Kings tournament starts with win by Ivanchuk

11/8/2012 – After five years as an elite fixture in the calendar, and part of the Grand Prix tournament circuit, the "Kings Tournament" came very close to not taking place at all after it was initially canceled months ago. The organizers refused to accept defeat and brought renowned fighters Caruana, Topalov, Ivanchuk, and Nisipeanu for six rounds of bloodshed. Report, videos, and GM analysis.

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The Chess Club Society "Elisabeta Polihroniade” of Bucharest is staging a double round robin tournament with four top GMs: Italian Fabiano Caruana, Italy's greatest player since the Renaissance, Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk, Veselin Topalov, former world champion and world number one, and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, the best Romanian player. The competition is taking place from November 7th to 13th 2012 in Bucharest, Romania.

Round one report

Round 1: Wednesday, November 7, 15:30h
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

After five years as the latest fixture in the calendar for the elite, and part of the Grand Prix tournament circuit, the lovely Turneul Regilor or "Kings Tournament" came very close to not taking place at all. Days before its official start was scheduled, some months ago, the event was canceled due to political upheavals in Romania, and a big question mark was appended to its taking place, in spite of assurances by the organizers that it would.


The playing hall with some spectators and the players. Bear in mind it is a Wednesday
afternoon, so only expect a larger live audience toward the weekend.

Part of the problem was more than simply arranging the venue, and money, but rather the players. Both Anand and Carlsen who had been on the player list could no longer come at the later dates due to prior commitments, and the same was true of other top players. Skipping a year was not considered an option and exceptionally, the tournament will only have four players playing a double round-robin, but will still count for the Grand Prix, a sweetener for the players wishing to assure themselves a spot in next year's final.

Four players are playing, but the names are not synonymous of sedate chess, and though only two games take place at a time, they promise excitement and cutthroat chess.

The first game was between Veselin Topalov, who seems to finally be recovering from his difficult phase after his 2010 match against Vishy Anand, and Fabiano Caruana whose rise to the top in the last twelve months has been nothing short of extraordinary. The game was an extremely sharp opening in which the Bulgarian accepted to leave his king uncastled in exchange for a pawn that his Italian opponent desperately tried to find compensation for. Despite a significant edge, Topalov was unable to deliver a knockout blow and Caruana found resources to draw.


Although he failed to actually score, Topalov was still the moral victor as his preparation
gave him a nice opening edge, and he was the one calling the shots throughout the game.

Game annotations by GM Dorian Rogozenco:

[Event "6th Kings Tournament"] [Site "Bucharest"] [Date "2012.11.07"] [Round "1"] [White "Topalov, Veselin"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D90"] [WhiteElo "2751"] [BlackElo "2772"] [Annotator "Dorian Rogozenco"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "ROU"] {In the first round of the Kings Tournament both players with the white pieces achieved a considerable advantage. In Ivanchuk-Nisipeanu th Romanian GM failed to equalize in Nimzo Indian and the bishop's pair secured White a stable plus, which Ivanchuk converted into a full point without visible problems. More complicated was the game Topalov-Caruana. The Bulgarian chose and Anti-Gruenfeld variation and introduced a novelty on move 12. Soon Caruana felt Black should sacrifice a pawn for the initiative, but failed to solve his problems. Topalov played very strong and achieved a powerful position. However, as seen in the annotations, at some moment the Bulgarian started to make inaccuracies and Caruana fully used his chances, escaping with a draw in a rook endgame.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Qb3 Nb6 6. d4 Bg7 7. e4 Bg4 8. Bb5+ c6 9. Ng5 O-O 10. Be2 Bxe2 11. Nxe2 e5 {[#]} 12. dxe5 {A novelty, which, however, has been mentioned to the annotations of the game given below.} ({Previously was played} 12. Qh3 h6 13. Nf3 exd4 14. Bxh6 Re8 15. O-O-O c5 16. Ng5 Qd7 17. Qh4 f6 18. Bxg7 Qxg7 19. Nh3 Nc6 {with advantage for Black in Navara,D (2706)-Svidler,P (2741) Prague 2012}) 12... h6 13. Nh3 {As Caruana admitted after the game, this knight retreat came as surprise for him.} N8d7 14. f4 $1 {Topalov sticks to his extra pawn. There was little doubt he carefully analyzed the position at home and came to the conclusion that White's chances are preferable.} Nc5 15. Qc2 Nd3+ 16. Kf1 {[#]} f5 17. exf6 Rxf6 18. Be3 Rf7 ({A principled variation is} 18... Nxb2 19. e5 N6c4 ({Not} 19... N2c4 20. Bxb6) 20. Bd4 Qxd4 21. Nxd4 Ne3+ 22. Ke2 Nxc2 23. Nxc2 Rf7 {and Black seems to be fully in the game.}) 19. Rd1 Rd7 20. Nf2 Nxb2 21. Rxd7 Qxd7 { [#] Topalov returned the extra pawn, but his prospects are better thanks to the strong center and the exposed position of the knight on b2.} 22. Bc1 {Here and on the next few moves the ex-World Champion decides to postpone the advance e4-e5. Perhaps, for too long.} N6c4 23. h4 {Both players highly praised this move.} ({As he said after the game, Topalov didn't like} 23. e5 { in view of} g5 {and White cannot take on b2 due to the check on e3. However, after} 24. Kg1 {Black has problems with his knights and should sacrifice a piece.}) 23... b5 ({Neither} 23... Rd8 {solves Black's problems:} 24. e5 Qf5 25. Qxf5 gxf5 26. Ng3 Rf8 27. Bxb2 Nxb2 28. Ke2) 24. Rh3 ({Now strong looked} 24. e5 Qf7 (24... Rd8 25. Qxg6) (24... Qf5 25. Qxf5 gxf5 26. Nd4 {and White wins a pawn}) 25. Rh3 Rd8 26. Rg3 Qf5 27. Qxf5 gxf5 28. Bxb2 Nxb2 29. Rg6 c5 30. Ng3 {with a large advantage for White.}) 24... Rd8 25. Rg3 {[#]} Nd1 26. e5 Qf5 27. Qxf5 gxf5 28. Rg6 ({Stronger is} 28. Nd3) 28... Nce3+ 29. Kg1 c5 30. Ng3 Kf7 31. Ra6 Bf8 $1 32. Rxa7+ ({Again missing the strongest continuation} 32. Bxe3 Nxe3 33. Ra3) 32... Be7 33. Nxd1 Rxd1+ 34. Kf2 Ng4+ 35. Ke2 Rxc1 36. Nxf5 Ke6 37. Nxe7 h5 $1 {[#] In spite of two extra pawns White cannot convert his advantage due to perfect coordination of opponent's pieces and Black's counterplay thanks to the c-pawn.} 38. Nc8 c4 (38... Kd5 39. Rd7+ Ke4 {is bad for Black due to the simple} 40. e6) ({but} 38... Rc2+ {came into consideration }) 39. Nd6 ({Perhaps} 39. Ra6+ Kd5 40. Rd6+ Kc5 41. Ne7 {would have offered more chances} (41. e6 Rg1 42. e7 Rxg2+ 43. Kf3 Rf2+ 44. Kg3 Re2 {doesn't seem clear})) 39... Rc2+ 40. Kf3 Rc3+ {[#] The time-trouble is over and Caruana plays very precisely to achieve the draw.} 41. Ke4 Re3+ 42. Kd4 Rd3+ 43. Kc5 c3 44. Rc7 c2 45. Kxb5 Ne3 46. f5+ (46. a4 $2 Rd1) 46... Kxe5 47. Nc4+ Nxc4 48. Rxc4 Rd5+ 49. Kc6 Rd6+ 50. Kc7 Rd2 51. a4 Rd4 52. Rc5+ Kf6 53. a5 Rd5 54. Rc6+ Kxf5 55. a6 Ra5 56. Kb6 Ra2 57. a7 Rb2+ 58. Kc7 Ra2 59. Kb7 Rb2+ 60. Kc7 1/2-1/2


The video post-mortem conducted by GM Rogozenco from the game Topalov-Caruana

Vassily Ivanchuk had an easier time about it, and explained in the post-mortem that the opening went very well for him, gaining him a bishop pair for no compensation, against poorly placed knights by his opponent. The top Romanian found no way to articulate his famous creativity and wnet from worse to lost, giving Ivanchuk first blood.


Things went bad for Nisipeanu quite early and he was unable to recover. A good start
for Ivanchuk.

Game annotations by GM Dorian Rogozenco:

[Event "6th Kings Tournament"] [Site "Bucharest"] [Date "2012.11.07"] [Round "1"] [White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Black "Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E32"] [WhiteElo "2771"] [BlackElo "2661"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "ROU"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 {[#]} b5 7. cxb5 c6 8. Bg5 {Declining the pawn sac in favour of the quick development.} cxb5 9. e3 Bb7 10. Nf3 a6 11. Bd3 h6 12. Bh4 d6 13. O-O Nbd7 14. Qb4 Qb6 15. Bg3 Be4 16. Be2 Rfc8 17. Rfc1 {[#] "White is clearly better thanks to his bishop pair", mentioned Ivanchuk after the game.} Ne8 {A novelty, which of course doesn't change the evaluation.} (17... d5 18. Rc3 Bxf3 19. gxf3 Rc6 20. Rac1 Rac8 21. Bd3 Rxc3 22. Rxc3 Rxc3 23. Qxc3 Qb7 24. b3 Nb6 25. Qc7 Qxc7 26. Bxc7 Nfd7 27. Kf1 Kf8 28. Ke2 Ke7 29. Kd2 Na8 30. Bg3 f6 31. Kc3 e5 32. Bf5 Nc7 33. Kb4 Ne6 34. Bxe6 Kxe6 35. Ka5 Kd6 36. Kxa6 Kc6 37. Ka5 exd4 38. exd4 Nf8 39. Kb4 Ne6 40. Kc3 h5 41. Kd3 Kb6 42. Bd6 Kc6 43. Bc5 Nf4+ 44. Ke3 Ne6 45. Bb4 Kc7 46. Bd2 Kb6 47. Kd3 Ka6 48. Ke3 Kb6 49. Bc3 Ka6 50. f4 f5 51. Bb4 Kb6 52. Bd6 g6 53. Kd3 Kc6 54. Be5 Kb6 55. Kc3 Nd8 {1/2-1/2 Arlandi,E (2434)-Tukmakov,V (2595) Geneve 2001}) 18. Nd2 Bc2 19. h3 {[#]} ({Also} 19. f3 {was interesting,} ) ({but not} 19. a4 bxa4 20. Qxb6 Nxb6 21. Nc4 Nxc4 22. Rxc2 Nb6 {and Black protects the extra pawn.}) 19... Rab8 {Possibly, the decisive mistake in an unpleasant position.} (19... Ndf6 20. Nc4 {is also bad}) (19... Bg6 {should have been preferred}) 20. a4 $1 {Now Black is in serious trouble.} bxa4 21. Qxb6 Nxb6 22. Bxa6 Rc7 23. Bb5 {[#] White wins a pawn and enters into a technical stage of the game.} f6 24. Bxe8 Rxe8 25. Bxd6 Rc6 26. Bc5 Bg6 27. Nc4 Nxc4 28. Rxc4 Ra8 ({As mentioned by Ivanchuk, it is important that} 28... Rb8 { doesn't save Black due to} 29. Rcxa4 Rxb2 30. Ra8+ Kh7 31. R1a7 {winning.}) 29. Rcxa4 Rxa4 30. Rxa4 {[#] Two extra pawns secure a relatively easy win. With the rooks on the board the opposite coloured bishops don't really help Black.} Bd3 31. Ra3 Be2 32. Ra8+ Kf7 33. Ra7+ Kg8 34. Rb7 Ra6 35. Bb4 Ra1+ 36. Kh2 Rc1 37. h4 h5 38. Bc3 Bc4 39. Rc7 Bd3 40. Rc5 Rc2 41. Kg3 Be2 42. e4 Kf7 43. d5 exd5 44. Rxd5 Bg4 45. f3 Be6 46. Rxh5 Bc4 47. e5 Kg6 48. Rh8 Bf1 49. exf6 1-0


Ivanchuk and Nisipeanu comment on where Black went wrong  

All photos by Ionut Anisca


Schedule and results

Round 1: Wednesday, November 7, 15:30h
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
Round 2: Thursday, November 8, 15:30h
Fabiano Caruana 
   Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
Veselin Topalov 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Round 3: Friday, November 9, 15:30h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Fabiano Caruana
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 
   Veselin Topalov
Round 4: Sunday, November 10, 15:30h
Fabiano Caruana 
   Veselin Topalov
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Round 5: Monday, November 11, 15:30h
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 
   Fabiano Caruana
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Veselin Topalov
Round 6: Tuesday, November 12, 15:30h
Fabiano Caruana 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Veselin Topalov 
   Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

Links

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