ChessBase Magazine #155 – Never write off Gelfand

8/19/2013 – His form had reached its peak with his world championship duel with Anand last year, but missed his opportunity. Perhaps it’s time for the veteran to retire? Not yet. Boris Gelfand staged a triumphant return with a first prize in the Tal Memorial. CBM 155 rightly celebrates the outstanding event, with the tournament winner himself annotating. Review by Prof. Nagesh Havanur.

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ChessBase Magazine #155

Review by Prof. Nagesh Havanur

They had written off Gelfand. His form had reached its peak with his world championship duel with Anand last year. However, he missed his opportunity, having come so close to success. Then followed the Candidates’ Tournament this year and he finished a miserable fifth.

Chess has become a fierce competitive sport demanding tremendous energy and stamina. At this level it is only for the young. Perhaps it’s time for the veteran to retire, murmured the pundits and even diehard fans of Boris began to worry about their hero. But no one had reckoned with Boris. He staged a triumphant return to form with second prize in the Alekhine Memorial Tournament, Paris and has now followed it up with first prize ahead of Carlsen and Mamedyarov in the Tal Memorial Tournament.

It speaks for the strength of the field that both Anand and Kramnik occupied the last places in the tournament table. This issue of CBM 155 rightly celebrates the outstanding event, with the tournament winner himself annotating the encounter with Nakamura who was leading till that point. Magnus fans, however, had less to complain about, with him beating both Anand and Kramnik in this event. Arguably, his performance was better in although he came “only” second behind Karjakin. He did have the satisfaction of beating the tournament winner, though.

That decisive encounter is beautifully annotated by Mihail Marin in this issue.

[Event "Norway Chess"] [Site "Stavanger"] [Date "2013.05.13"] [Round "5"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C95"] [WhiteElo "2767"] [BlackElo "2868"] [Annotator "Marin,M"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "2013.05.08"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "NOR"] [EventCategory "21"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2013.07.16"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 {For a player like Carlsen, who rarely banks on the opening, the Breyer variation must be an optimal choice. Black retains a flexible position and things cannot go really wrong for him. In the worst case, he would find himself in a slightly inferior position after 15-20 moves or so, but Carlsen is quite good at converting such worse positions into... wins! The important thing is to leave the opening behind with the minimum of damage and then get to the complicated middlegame business, clearly Carlsen's piece of cake.} 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. a4 Bf8 14. Bd3 c6 {A typical position for this line. Black surely is flexible and has no weaknesses at all. He still has useful moves at his disposal, mainly ...g6 and ...Bg7, but then will have to come up with some counterplay in the centre. White has better control in the centre, but in order to prove at least a slight advantage, he has to prepare against Black's ...d6-d5, ...c6-c5 and ...exd4 in optimal way. Easier said than done, especially in over the board conditions.} 15. Qc2 {A relatively rare move.} ({Carlsen has had some experience against the more popular continuations:} 15. b4 Nb6 16. axb5 cxb5 $5 (16... axb5 {1/2 Anand,V (2800) -Carlsen,M (2826)/Nanjing 2010/CBM 139/[Giri] (44)}) 17. d5 Rc8 18. Ra3 (18. Bb2 Nh5 {1/2 Shirov,A (2749)-Carlsen,M (2826)/Bilbao 2010/CBM 139/[Edouard,R] (175)}) 18... Nh5 19. Nf1 g6 20. N1h2 Bg7 {Anand,V (2800)-Carlsen,M (2826)/ Bilbao 2010/CBM 139/[Edouard,R] (1/2, 50)}) ({A previous Breyer duel between the same two players went:} 15. b3 Qc7 ({Carlsen also tried the standard} 15... g6 16. Bb2 exd4 17. cxd4 d5 {Nisipeanu,L (2659)-Carlsen,M (2815)/Medias 2011/ CBM 143/[Rogozenco] (1/2, 32)}) 16. Qc2 Rac8 17. Bb2 Nh5 {Karjakin,S (2760) -Carlsen,M (2802)/Moscow (blitz) 2010/EXT 2011 (0-1, 31)}) 15... Rc8 16. axb5 axb5 17. b4 ({Slightly more ambitious, but also more committal, than} 17. b3 g6 18. Bb2 Qc7 19. c4 bxc4 20. Nxc4 exd4 21. Bxd4 {1/2 Vallejo Pons,F (2697) -Grischuk,A (2760)/Khanty Mansiysk 2010/CBM 139} d5 $11) 17... Qc7 $5 $146 ({ Carlsen might have disliked the standard} 17... g6 {for concrete reasons.} 18. dxe5 $5 ({After the neutral} 18. Bb2 {Black managed to get enough play in an older top level game:} Nh5 19. g3 exd4 $5 20. cxd4 d5 21. Bc3 Nb6 22. e5 Rc7 23. Nb3 Bc8 24. Kg2 Ng7 25. Nh2 h5 $13 {17 (1/2, 56) Short,N (2635)-Portisch,L (2605)/Wijk aan Zee 1990/CBM}) 18... dxe5 19. Nb3 Qc7 (19... c5 $6 {loses a pawn without compensation:} 20. bxc5 Nxc5 21. Nxc5 Rxc5 22. Ba3 $16) 20. Bg5 $1 h6 21. Be3 $14 {White retains some pressure, since after} c5 22. bxc5 {the pawn is not that easy to retrieve because Ph6 is hanging.}) 18. Bb2 (18. dxe5 dxe5 19. Nb3 {is completely inoffensive:} c5 20. bxc5 Nxc5 21. Nxc5 Qxc5 $11) 18... Ra8 $6 {But this counter-developing move does not seem right.} (18... g6 {would leave White with the problem of how to strengthen his position.} 19. Bf1 {Possibly the most constructive move. Once the b1-h7 diagonal has been safely defended by Black's last move, the bishop is more useful on f1, defending g2 among others.} (19. c4 exd4 20. Bxd4 bxc4 21. Qxc4 d5 $11) (19. Nb3 c5 $1 20. bxc5 dxc5 21. dxe5 Nxe5 $132 22. Nxe5 $6 c4 $15) (19. Rad1 d5 $5 20. exd5 exd4 21. Rxe8 Rxe8 22. dxc6 Qxc6 $11) 19... exd4 ({Some of the metits of the bishop retreat can be seen after} 19... d5 $6 20. exd5 exd4 $6 21. Rxe8 Rxe8 22. dxc6 Qxc6 23. Nxd4 $18 {and the g2-pawn is defended.}) 20. cxd4 d5 21. e5 Nh5 22. Bc3 Ng7 23. Nb3 Nb6 {This is similar to the Short-Portisch game above, but the move ...Qd8-c7 is at least a waste of time. For instance, Black does not have the nice regrouping ...Rc7, ...Bc8 anymore. So, maybe White has better chances to retain some advantage.}) 19. Rad1 Nb6 $6 {Paradoxically, this does not reduce the impact of c3-c4 at all. In fact, weakening the defence of the e5-pawn will have serious effects.} ({Given White's centralisation,} 19... g6 { looks dangerous, too:} 20. c4 bxc4 21. Bxc4 (21. Qxc4 Ba6 $11) 21... exd4 22. Bxd4 $14 d5 23. Bxd5 Nxd5 24. exd5 Rxe1+ 25. Nxe1 Bxb4 26. Ne4 $36 {Black is under pressure on bth wings. With the pawn on g7, things would be different, but it is late to think about that now.}) ({Black should probably have admitted that something had gone slightly wrong and played some very safe move like} 19... h6 $5 {According to White's answer, Black could next play ...g6 or ...d5. Or if} 20. c4 bxc4 21. Bxc4 exd4 22. Bxd4 {, the safest might be} Qc8 $5 {unpinning the c6-pawn and preparing both ...d6-d5 and ... Ba6.} (22... Ba6 23. Bxa6 Rxa6 24. b5 $16) (22... d5 23. e5 dxc4 24. exf6 {If he does not wish to see his kingside structure ruined, Black has to spend a tempo on} g6 $14)) 20. c4 $1 bxc4 21. Nxc4 Nxc4 22. Bxc4 $16 {White has wonderful development, with the bishops deserving a special mention. This time, the Breyer has yielded Carlsen slightly less than a worse but playable position.} h6 {Even now, this seems to be the only move allowing him to put up some resistance.} (22... g6 $2 23. dxe5 dxe5 24. Ng5 Re7 25. f4 $18) (22... Ba6 $6 23. dxe5 (23. Bb3 $5 $16) 23... dxe5 24. Ra1 Bxc4 25. Rxa8 Rxa8 26. Bxe5 Qb6 27. Qxc4 Bxb4 28. Rb1 c5 29. Ng5 Qb7 (29... Ra7 30. Bc3) 30. Qxc5) (22... exd4 23. Bxd4 d5 (23... Nxe4 $2 24. Bd5 Nf6 25. Ng5 $18 {Golubev}) 24. Bxd5 Nxd5 25. exd5 Rxe1+ 26. Rxe1 $16 Bxb4 $2 27. Ng5 g6 28. Ne4 $18) 23. dxe5 (23. Bb3 {also looks playable, but may lead to some undesired complications. White is entitled to hope to win the game by technical means.} exd4 24. Nxd4 c5 25. Nf5 Nxe4 (25... Bxe4 $2 26. Rxe4 Nxe4 27. Bd5 $18) 26. f3 Qb6 $1 (26... Nf6 27. Nxh6+ $1 $18) 27. Re3 c4 28. Qxc4 Ng5 29. Bd4 Qc6 {and Black's position is worse, but probably holdable.}) 23... dxe5 24. Bc3 Ba6 {Aiming to get counterplay in a position that does not allow that.} (24... Nd7 $2 25. Rxd7 Qxd7 26. Nxe5 Rxe5 27. Bxe5 Bxb4 28. Rd1 Qe7 29. Qb3 $18) (24... g6 $6 25. Qb2 Nd7 (25... Bd6 26. Rxd6 Qxd6 27. Bxe5 Rxe5 28. Nxe5 $18) 26. Rxd7 Qxd7 27. Nxe5 Rxe5 28. Bxe5 $18) ({Maybe Black should have thought of consolidating the e5-pawn with} 24... Re7 $5 25. Qb2 Rae8 {, although his position would be rather cramped.}) 25. Bb3 c5 26. Qb2 c4 27. Ba4 Re6 28. Nxe5 Bb7 {Black has lost a pawn, but his light-squared bishop has become active and for an instant White is slightly hanging.} 29. Bc2 $2 { This has a double drawback: it cuts the queen off from the kingside and allows Black's optimal regrouping with the next move.} (29. Bb5 $1 $16 Ba6 (29... Nxe4 30. Rd7 $18 {Golubev}) (29... Bxe4 30. Bxc4 Rxe5 31. Bxe5 Qxc4 32. Rd4 Qc2 33. Qxc2 Bxc2 34. b5 $18 {Golubev}) 30. Bd7 Rb6 (30... Re7 31. Bc6 $16) 31. b5 Bxb5 32. Bxb5 Rab8 33. Ba5 $18) 29... Rae8 $1 30. f4 Bd6 $44 {Suddenly, Black has entirely adequate compensation. He is threatening ...Nh5 followed by either ... f6 or ... g5, undermining White's stability in the centre.} 31. Kh2 $6 {This is hard to explain, the king does not stand well on the same diagonal as the black queen and bishop.} (31. g3 Nh5 32. Re3 g5 33. Ba4 R8e7 34. Qe2 (34. Qf2 gxf4 35. gxf4 f6) (34. Qg2 f5) 34... gxf4 35. Qg4+ (35. Nxf7 fxe3 36. Qxh5 Rxf7 37. Qg4+ Kh7 38. Qxe6 $13) 35... Kf8 36. gxf4 Nf6 37. Qf5 Bxe4 38. Rxe4 Nxe4 39. Qxe4 Bxe5 40. Bxe5 Qa7+ 41. Qd4 Qxa4 42. Bd6 $11) (31. Re3 Nh5 {is likely to transpose.}) 31... Nh5 32. g3 f6 33. Ng6 Nxf4 $1 {White is in trouble already. This seemed virtually impossible 10 moves earlier. What kind of magic does Magnus use?} 34. Rxd6 (34. gxf4 Bxf4+ 35. Kg2 (35. Nxf4 Qxf4+ 36. Kg2 f5 $19) (35. Kh1 Rxe4 36. Bxe4 Rxe4 37. Kg1 Bd2 $1 $18) 35... f5) 34... Nxg6 35. Rxe6 Rxe6 $15 36. Bd4 $6 (36. Qc1 $5 $15) 36... f5 $17 {Winning a pawn.} 37. e5 Nxe5 38. Bxe5 Qc6 39. Rg1 (39. Bxf5 Rxe5) (39. Be4 fxe4 40. Re3 $17) 39... Qd5 40. Bxf5 Rxe5 41. Bg4 h5 42. Bd1 c3 43. Qf2 (43. Qxc3 Qa2+ 44. Qc2 Qxc2+ 45. Bxc2 Re2+) 43... Rf5 44. Qe3 Qf7 45. g4 Re5 {An elegant solution.} ({The simple } 45... Qc7+ {was good enough, of course.} 46. Rg3 (46. Qg3 Rf2+) 46... Qc6 ( 46... h4 $2 47. gxf5) 47. Rg1 c2 48. Qb3+ Kh8 49. Qxc2 Qd6+ 50. Rg3 h4) 46. Qd4 Qc7 $1 0-1

Over the years Magnus has turned into a shrewd psychologist over the board, lulling the opponent into complacency over better positions and then outwitting him in ensuing complications. In this respect he is following the footsteps of an illustrious predecessor, Dr. Emanuel Lasker. The game shown here is a fine example.

Reports on other events are as worthy of attention, especially the FIDE Grand Prix and European Individual Championship. For reasons of space I shall not dwell on them here.

In all there are 2133 OTB games of which 124 are annotated. The Tele-Chess section carries a game file of 8000 games and 46 additional games are annotated by Juan Morgado and Roberto Alvarez. In my previous reviews I have not been able to do justice to the efforts of this duo.This time we are going to see an exciting game with fine analysis by Roberto Alvarez.

[Event "BI-2011-P-00015 "] [Site "?"] [Date "2011.04.17"] [Round "?"] [White "Taroma Corpus, Roger"] [Black "Tsirakovsky, Sergey"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C57"] [WhiteElo "1555"] [BlackElo "1960"] [Annotator "Alvarez,Roberto"] [PlyCount "126"] [EventDate "2011.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Nxf7 {This move looks so attractive, that even if incorrect, many telechess players are unable to resist the temptation of playing it.} (6. d4 $5) 6... Kxf7 7. Qf3+ Ke6 8. Nc3 Ncb4 $1 9. Bb3 (9. O-O c6 10. Qe4 $2 (10. d4 $5) 10... Kd6 $17 11. Bb3 Kc7 12. a3 Nxc3 13. dxc3 Nd5 14. Qxe5+ (14. Rd1 $17) 14... Qd6 15. Qe2 Qe6 16. Qd1 Qf5 17. c4 Nf4 18. c3 {Diagrama #} Nxg2 $1 $19 19. Qd4 (19. Kxg2 Qh3+ 20. Kg1 Bd6 21. f4 Bc5+ 22. Kh1 Bg4 23. Qe1 Bf3+ 24. Rxf3 Qxf3#) 19... Bc5 {0-1 (19) Agasse-Lafont,P (1786)-Tsirakovsky,S (1960) Lechenicher SchachServer 2011}) (9. a3 $2 {see Kruger - Florov, email 2005}) (9. Qe4 $1) 9... c6 10. a3 Na6 11. Nxd5 cxd5 12. d4 Kd7 (12... e4 $6 13. Qxe4+) (12... exd4 $5 13. O-O Kd7 14. Qxd5+ Kc7 15. Bf4+ Bd6 16. Qxd4 Bxf4 17. Qxf4+ Qd6 18. Qf7+ Qd7 19. Qf4+ Qd6 20. Qf7+ Qd7 (20... Bd7 $2 21. Rfd1) 21. Qc4+ Qc6 {White can take a draw here by repeating checks with Qf7 or Qf4, and maybe there is nothing better :-)}) 13. Qxd5+ (13. dxe5 $5 Kc7 14. O-O $44) 13... Kc7 14. Qa5+ b6 15. Qxe5+ Bd6 { Risky.} (15... Qd6 16. Bf4 Qxe5+ 17. Bxe5+ Bd6 18. Bxg7 Re8+ 19. Kd2 $44) 16. Qxg7+ Bd7 17. O-O {White has a nice compensation for the piece (4 pawns), and is able to look the future with optimism.} Nb8 18. Bg5 Qf8 19. Bf6 Qxg7 20. Bxg7 Re8 21. Rfe1 Nc6 22. c3 $14 (22. g3) 22... Na5 23. Bf7 Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 { The less pieces on the board favours White, who is able to push his pawns.} b5 25. f3 a6 26. g4 (26. Kf2) (26. Re2 Nc4 27. Kf2 $14) 26... Bc6 27. b4 $6 (27. Kg2) 27... Rd8 28. Bh6 Nc4 29. f4 (29. Bxc4 bxc4 30. Re3 $15) 29... Nxa3 30. f5 Nc4 31. Ra1 Ra8 32. h4 Nb6 33. Bd2 Nc4 34. Bxc4 bxc4 35. Kf2 (35. g5 Be4 36. f6 Kd7 37. h5 Bg3 38. f7 Rf8 39. Rf1 Bd6 40. g6 hxg6 41. Bh6 Rh8 42. f8=Q Bxf8 43. Bxf8 gxh5 $11) 35... Kd7 36. Bh6 Be7 37. g5 Bd8 38. Kg3 $2 {The king should be near to the center, since Black is going to create a pass pawn by pushing ...a5 } (38. h5 $5 a5 39. g6 hxg6 40. fxg6 axb4 41. Rxa8 Bxa8 42. cxb4 Ke6 43. Ke3 Kf5 44. Bf4 $11) 38... a5 39. g6 $2 (39. b5 $142 $5 Bxb5 40. g6 a4 41. h5 hxg6 42. fxg6 Bc6 43. Kg4 Ra5 $17) 39... hxg6 40. fxg6 axb4 41. Rxa8 Bxa8 42. cxb4 Bf6 $19 {We see now how necessary was to have our king in the center, in order to control BlackÂ's passed pawn.} 43. Kg4 (43. Be3 c3 44. Kf2 Be4 45. h5 c2 46. Bc1 (46. Ke2 Bxd4) 46... Bxd4+ $19) 43... Be4 44. h5 Bxd4 45. Bc1 c3 46. Kg5 Ke6 47. Kh6 c2 48. b5 (48. Kh7 Ke7 49. Kg8 Bf3 50. h6 Bd5+ 51. Kh7 Be4 52. Bg5+ Ke6 $19) 48... Bd3 49. b6 Bxb6 50. Kg7 Bd4+ 51. Kf8 Bc4 52. g7 Kf6 53. g8=N+ $1 {# Fantastic position!} (53. g8=Q $2 Bc5+ 54. Ke8 Bxg8 $19) 53... Ke6 (53... Bxg8 $2 54. Kxg8 $11) 54. h6 (54. Ne7 Bc5 {Pinning... and winning the knight.}) 54... Bd3 55. Ne7 (55. Bd2 Bb2 56. Be3 c1=Q 57. Bxc1 Bxc1 $19) 55... Bc5 56. h7 (56. Kg7 Bxe7 57. h7 Bxh7 58. Kxh7 Kf5 $19) 56... Bxh7 57. Kg7 Bxe7 58. Kxh7 Kf5 59. Kh6 Ke4 60. Kh5 Kd3 61. Kg4 Bb4 62. Kf3 Bd2 63. Bb2 Kc4 $1 {Nice finish, the diagonal c1-a3 is too short to keep controlling the promotion square c1.} 0-1

A terrific lesson in the art of defence and counterattack

This brings me to other sections of the DVD. There are as many as fourteen opening surveys ranging from the Italian to the King’s Indian. Here I shall mention a few of them. The first relates to 3.Nf3 a6 line in Queen’s Gambit Accepted. Alexey Kuzmin, the author of the survey opines that the classical line 4.e3 b5 is OK for Black, although playing for a win is ruled out. He does not see much in the other line 4.e4. But I think it deserves a reappraisal. The second relates to a rare bird in Spanish, 3…Nd4 (pun intended). Here the opening video by Robert Ris is worth a watch. Last but not least is Mihail Marin’s opening video on QGD Exchange Variation, very useful for 1.d4 d5 players.

Besides these surveys the DVD also offers trademark sections with middlegame tactics and endgame exercises. Here I have space for just one training position.

[Event " "] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.08.09"] [Round "?"] [White "Zoler, Dan"] [Black "Postny, Evgeny"] [Result "0-1"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "B7/pRk5/P1P2p2/8/3n4/4p3/5r2/6K1 b - - 0 61"] [PlyCount "9"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] 61... Kc8 $1 62. Rh7 Nf3+ 63. Kh1 Rh2+ 64. Rxh2 Nxh2 65. Kg2 $5 (65. Kxh2 e2 $19) 65... Kc7 $1 0-1

All in all, there is much to learn and enjoy in this DVD.

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