Bucharest Kings Rd3: Ivanchuk leads midway

11/9/2012 – In the third round of Kings Tournament both games ended in a draw. Ivanchuk pressured Caruana, but the Italian defended well and equalized. Nisipeanu-Topalov saw a new position after just nine moves where White was a pawn up, while Black tried to take advantage of White's very exposed king. In spite of some sharp play, they eventually drew. Round three report with 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 three report

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

Round 3: Friday, November 9, 15:30h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov

In the third round of Kings Tournament both games ended with a draw. In Ivanchuk-Caruana, the Ukrainian Grandmaster built some pressure in Ruy Lopez, but Caruana defended well and slowly equalized. Possibly on move 29 Ivanchuk could set more problems for his opponent.


Nisipeanu casts a professional look at the game between Ivanchuk and Caruana

Game annotations by GM Dorian Rogozenco:

[Event "6th Kings Tournament"] [Site "Bucharest"] [Date "2012.11.09"] [Round "3"] [White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C93"] [WhiteElo "2771"] [BlackElo "2772"] [Annotator "Dorian Rogozenco"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "ROU"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 {Yesterday Ivanchuk had Ruy Lopez with the black pieces, today he tries it with White.} Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Re8 {The Zaitsev variation. [#]} (9... Nb8 {leads to the Breyer variation.}) 10. d4 (10. Ng5 Rf8 11. Nf3 Re8 12. Ng5 {is a well-known way to finish the game avoiding the 30-moves no-draw-rule, which, by the way, is valid in Kings Tournament.}) 10... Bb7 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. Bc2 h6 13. a3 {[#]} Nb8 {A quiet strategic play is typical for Ruy Lopez. By transferring the knight to d7 Caruana soon gets a mix between the Zaitsev and Breyer variations.} 14. a4 $5 {Didn't he just play a2-a3? Obviously with the knight on b8 Ivanchuk feels that the start of direct activity on the queenside is more justified.} Nbd7 15. Bd3 c6 16. b3 g6 17. Qc2 Nh5 18. Ba3 Nf4 19. Bf1 Rc8 20. Rad1 {[#] White has some pressure and Caruana tries to clarify the situation in the center. However, as admitted after the game, he didn't feel very comfortable with Black's position.} exd4 ({The Italian Grandmaster rejected a move like} 20... Qc7 {(or 20...Qb6) in view of} 21. dxe5 dxe5 22. Bxf8 Rxf8 23. b4 {with better prospects for White.}) 21. cxd4 Ne6 22. Qc3 Qb6 { [#] Black is ready for advance c6-c5 now.} ({The immediate} 22... c5 {doesn't work:} 23. axb5 cxd4 24. Qb2 axb5 25. Bxb5 {and White is clearly better}) 23. Qa1 $5 {Amazingly, this is the best square for the queen. It influences the center without being exposed to Black's pieces.} Bg7 (23... c5 24. d5 { followed by Bb2 looks better for White.}) 24. Bb2 d5 {Being under some pressure Caruana tries to blockade the center.} 25. a5 ({Also deserving of attention was the immediate} 25. b4 {and Black cannot play} a5 {in view of} 26. exd5 cxd5 27. Bxb5) 25... Qc7 26. b4 dxe4 27. Nxe4 Nf4 28. Ne5 Nd5 {[#]} 29. Nd3 ({Ivanchuk's deep strategic play led to some advantage for White, but Black's position is very solid thanks to his strong knight on d5. Possibly here is the only moment where White could try to increase the pressure with} 29. Nc5 Nxc5 (29... Nxe5 30. dxe5 Nxb4 {runs into} 31. Rd7) 30. dxc5 h5 31. Nd3 Bxb2 32. Qxb2 Rcd8 33. g3 {Black still has problems with his weak light-squared bishop, as the immediate try to activate it doesn't work:} Bc8 34. Rxe8+ Rxe8 35. Bg2 Bf5 $2 36. Bxd5 {with big advantage for White.}) (29. Nxd7 Qxd7 30. Nc5 Qc7 31. Qa3 Rcd8 32. g3 Bc8 33. Bg2 Re7 {is equal}) 29... Rcd8 30. g3 Bc8 31. Bg2 Nf8 {Now Caruana rearranges his pieces and equalizes.} 32. Qa3 Ne6 33. Ndc5 Re7 34. Nxe6 1/2-1/2


The post-mortem analysis of Ivanchuk-Caruana

Nisipeanu-Topalov saw an early exchange of queens in Sicilian Alapin. Already after nine moves the players had a position never seen in practice before. White was a pawn up, and Black compensated it with his active pieces Nisipeanu's vulnerable king position. In spite of some sharp play, the game never really crossed the equality zone and finished with a logical draw in an opposite-coloured bishop endgame.


Nisipeanu deep in thought in the novel opening against Topalov, while Ivanchuk paces

Game annotations by GM Dorian Rogozenco:

[Event "6th Kings Tournament"] [Site "Bucharest"] [Date "2012.11.09"] [Round "3"] [White "Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B22"] [WhiteElo "2661"] [BlackElo "2751"] [Annotator "Dorian Rogozenco"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "ROU"] 1. e4 c5 2. c3 {Sicilian Alapin has been used by Nisipeanu before as well, although much more often he goes for open Sicilian. However, the Romanian Grandmaster has rather bad memories in open Sicilian against Topalov: he drew twice and lost twice. As a rule, the move 2.c3 leads to quieter positions, but as we'll see, not between these two ambitious fighters.} d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 Nc6 {[#]} 6. dxc5 (6. Be2) ({and} 6. Be3 {are the main moves, but the theory developed very deep in those lines and in the past decade the capture on c5 became more and more popular. Also from the statistical point of view 6.dxc5 is a promising continuation for White.}) 6... Qxd1+ {Actually we are witnessing a somewhat paradoxical case: the exchange of queens represents an ambitious continuation for Black, since instead of a quiet endgame it leads to very sharp positions.} (6... Qxc5 {keeps material equality, but handles the initiative to White after} 7. Na3) 7. Kxd1 e5 {[#] If Black will take the pawn back, he will have an obvious advantage thanks to his lead in development and better control in the center.} 8. Be3 {A surprise. Usually White plays 8. b4 almost automatically.} Nd5 9. b4 {Nisipeanu is not afraid to give up his bishop for opponent's centralized knight, since every exchange of pieces favours White.} g6 {After this natural, but new continuation we have a rare situation when after just 9 moves there is a completely new position on the board! [#] Topalov's intention with 9...g6 is clear: he wants to develop the bishop to the long diagonal and combine different ideas, for instance the advances of a- and e-pawns. White must stick to the extra pawn and try not to allow his opponent to activate the pieces too much. The price for every decision in such an unbalanced position is very high and no wonder that Nisipeanu thought for half an hour before answering.} (9... Bf5 10. Bc4 O-O-O 11. Kc1 {looks safe for White}) ({but as Topalov admitted after the game,} 9... f6 {might be a good alternative to 9...g6.}) 10. Kc2 Bf5+ ({Of course, in such sharp position Black has plenty of options. One of the most principled continuations seemed to be} 10... a5 11. b5 (11. Bb5 axb4 12. Nxe5 Nxe3+ 13. fxe3 Bf5+ 14. Kb3 Be6+ 15. Kb2 O-O-O {looks very dangerous for White}) 11... e4 12. Nd4 Ne5 13. Nd2 f5) ({After} 10... Bg7 11. Nbd2 (11. Bc4 $5) 11... O-O 12. Bc4 {it is not so easy to prove full compensation.}) 11. Kb3 a5 12. Bc4 $1 {A precise move.} ({Weaker is} 12. Bb5 Bg7 {with great compensation.}) ({or} 12. b5 a4+ 13. Kb2 Nxe3 14. fxe3 Na5 15. Nxe5 Bxc5 {and again Black is better}) 12... Be6 13. Ng5 (13. b5 a4+ 14. Kb2 Na5 15. Bxd5 Bxd5 16. Nbd2 ({or} 16. Nxe5 Bg7) 16... f6 {is good for Black (Topalov)}) 13... axb4 14. cxb4 (14. Nxe6 $2 { runs into} Na5+ 15. Kc2 Nxc4 16. Nxf8 Ndxe3+ 17. fxe3 Nxe3+ 18. Kb3 Nxg2 {with clear advantage for Black, since the knight on f8 is trapped.}) 14... Ncxb4 15. Nc3 {This is somewhat more precise than taking immediately on e6, since in some variations White keeps also the option to take on e6 with the bishop.} ({ The positional} 15. Nxe6 fxe6 16. Re1 {is not so good for White in view of} Nc6 ) 15... Nxc3 {[#]} (15... Nxe3 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. fxe3 Bxc5 18. Ne4 b6 $11) 16. Nxe6 ({Interesting was also} 16. Bxe6 fxe6 17. Kxb4 Nd5+ 18. Kb5 {though it is also about equal after} Be7 19. Ne4 (19. Nxe6 $2 Ra6 {loses the knight}) 19... Nxe3 20. fxe3 Ra3) 16... fxe6 17. Kxb4 {The march with the king to b5 is a brave and objectively good decision by the Romanian Grandmaster.} (17. Kxc3 Nd5+ 18. Kd2 Nxe3 19. fxe3 Bxc5 20. Bxe6 $11) 17... Nd5+ 18. Kb5 Be7 $1 (18... Nxe3 19. fxe3 Rc8 20. Rac1 $1 Rxc5+ 21. Kb6 {threatening a check from b5 suddenly leads to problems for Black.}) 19. Rac1 ({White had at his disposal an interesting idea to sacrifice the exchange with} 19. Rhd1 Nc3+ (19... Nxe3 20. fxe3 Rc8 21. Rac1 Rxc5+ 22. Kb6 Kf7) 20. Kb6 Nxd1 21. Rxd1 {with great compensation, but instead of taking on d1 Back can give a check on a4 and the best for White is to repeat the position.}) 19... Bd8 {[#] Threatening mate in one!} 20. Bb3 ({An interesting idea to play for advantage was} 20. Bd2 $1 { and Black suddenly may feel uncomfortable with his weak pawns on the e-file.} { If} O-O {then} 21. f3) 20... Rf8 21. Rhd1 Ra5+ 22. Kc4 Be7 $1 23. Kd3 Nxe3 24. fxe3 Bxc5 {[#]} 25. Rf1 $1 ({Stronger than} 25. Bxe6 Rf2 {with initiative for Black, since} 26. Rd2 {is bad in view of} e4+ 27. Kc2 Rf6 $1) 25... Rxf1 26. Rxf1 Ke7 {With the next rook maneuver Nisipeanu accurately neutralizes any possible danger.} 27. Rc1 $1 b6 28. Rc4 Ra8 29. Ra4 {Black's extra pawn plays no role and Topalov decided to call it a day right away.} Rxa4 (29... Rd8+ 30. Ke2) 30. Bxa4 g5 31. Ke4 1/2-1/2

Thus, after the first half of the tournament Ivanchuk leads with 2.0/3, followed by Caruana and Topalov with 1.5/3 each and Nisipeanu with 1.0/3. Tomorrow is a free day.


The lowdown on the original opening play between Nisipeanu and Topalov (videos courtesy of
Macauley Peterson)

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 
½-½
 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Round 3: Friday, November 9, 15:30h
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 
½-½
 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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