Dortmund 2010: Ponomariov outpaces the opposition

7/24/2010 – In the eighth round, Ukrainian Ruslan Ponomariov came within two rounds of completing what has been a virtuoso performance. While his opponents were unable to gain any momentum out of the starting blocks, he cemented his lead by beating top German Arkadij Naiditsch in a strong game which he concluded with flawless technique. Report and pictures.

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From Thursday July 15 to Sunday, July 25, 2010 the 38th edition annual Sparkassen Chess-Meeting is taking place in Dortmund, Germany. It is a six-player round robin, in which each player has to play two games against each other, one with white and one with black pieces. Draw offers are not allowed – a game can only be declared a draw, by the arbiter, if there is no possible win for one side, or if a position is repeated three time. The winner of this tournament will be determined after ten rounds. Games start at 15:00h = 3 p.m. local time (CEST, = 17:00 Moscow, 14:00 p.m. London, 9:00 a.m. New York). All games will be broadcast by the official web site's "Live Games" page and on the Playchess.com server, with live audio commentary, in German, by Dennis Breder (July 15-18), Niclas Huschenbeth (19-21), Merijn van Delft (22, 24, 25) and Julian Zimmermann (July 23).

Round 8: Friday, July 23, 15:00h
Peter Leko  
½-½  Vladimir Kramnik
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Le Quang Liem 
½-½
 Shak. Mamedyarov

If anything, round eight made it clear that the tournament was no longer up for others to win. Ponomariov took a clear lead, and further distanced his nearest adversaries just as they close to the finishing line.

Le Quang played a calm Open Catalan against Mamedyarov. With both tied for second, a half point behind the leader, there was no doubt they would play hard, but after the queens came off on move sixteen, in a fairly calm endgame, it seemed only suicidal attempts would rock the boat enough for anyone to sink, but both kept their nerve.


Le Quang diligent about a clean scoresheet.

Likewise, Leko also played an Open Catalan against Kramnik, and no fireworks were forthcoming. Tournament leader Ponomariov and Naiditsch both played a Nimzo-Indian, Rubinstein variation, but the game took a strange direction as the German grandmaster seemed unable to develop his pieces as he might have liked.


Ponomariov ready for battle

After a few inaccuracies, the queens came off in a horrible position, and perhaps shaken by the way things had turned out, an immediate mistake ended things very quickly for the German.

Ponomariov,R (2734) - Naiditsch,A (2684) [E59]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (8), 23.07.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.a3 Bxc3 9.bxc3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Qc7 11.Bb2 e5 12.h3 e4 13.Nd2 b6 14.Bb5 Na5 15.c4 cxd4 16.Bxd4 Qe7 17.c5 a6 18.Ba4 bxc5 19.Bc3 Nb7 20.Bc6 Ra7 21.Qb1 Qc7 22.Bxe4 Nxe4 23.Nxe4 Qc6 24.Ng5 Qh6 25.f4.

25...Nd6?! The simplest way to kill White's initiative here, was to just exchange queens with 25...Qg6 Possibly the German player entertained ambitions for more, but considering how poorly placed his pieces are (the fianchettoed knight is hardly textbook) it was time to undertake safety measures. 26.Qxg6 hxg6 27.e4 f6 28.Nf3 Nd6 and Black is ok. 26.Qb6 Rb7?! Better was 26...Rd7 27.Qxc5 Qg6 28.Rad1 Re8+/= The difference is that with the move played, Black gains a few tempi harrassing White's queen, but doesn't gain much for it. With 26...Rd7 would finish developing his pieces and regroup to fight for the center. 27.Qxc5 Rb5 28.Qc7 Rb7 29.Qc6 Nb5 30.Qxh6 gxh6 Black is in a world of pain: down a pawn, shattered structure, and still uncoordinated. 31.Ne4 f5?

This tactical mistake will quickly put an end to Black's misery. The Ukrainian makes no mistakes and is ruthless in his efficiency. 32.Nf6+ Kg7 33.Be5 Rxf6 34.Rfc1! Bd7 35.Rab1 Ra7 36.a4 Nd6 37.Bd4 Ra8 37...Rb7? 38.Rxb7 Nxb7 39.Rc7+/- 38.Rd1 Ne4 39.Rb7 Rd8 40.Be5 Kg6 41.Rdxd7 Rxd7 42.Rxd7 Rc6 43.g4 Rc1+ 44.Kg2 Rc2+ 45.Kf1 Not 45.Kf3?? Rf2# 45...Nd2+ 46.Ke1 It is over. After 46.Ke1 Nf3+ 47.Kd1 Nxe5 White was threatening Rg7 mate. 48.Rd6+ Kf7 49.Kxc2+- 1-0 [Click to replay]

With a full point lead and only two rounds left, the tournament is can only be lost by Ponomariov, and not won by others.

Current standings

Photos: Georgios Souleidis


Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, July 15, 15:00h
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Le Quang Liem
Arkadij Naiditsch 
0-1
 Shak. Mamedyarov 
Round 2: Friday, July 16, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Shak. Mamedyarov
Le Quang Liem 
½-½
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Vladimir Kramnik
Round 3: Saturday, July 17, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Shak. Mamedyarov 
1-0
 Le Quang Liem 
Round 4: Sunday, July 18, 15:00h
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Shak. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Le Quang Liem 
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Round 5: Monday, July 19, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
0-1
 Le Quang Liem 
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Shak. Mamedyarov
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Round 6: Wednesday, July 21, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
½-½  Ruslan Ponomariov
Le Quang Liem 
½-½  Vladimir Kramnik
Shak. Mamedyarov 
0-1
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Round 7: Thursday, July 22, 15:00h
Shak. Mamedyarov 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Le Quang Liem 
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Round 8: Friday, July 23, 15:00h
Peter Leko  
½-½  Vladimir Kramnik
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Le Quang Liem 
½-½
 Shak. Mamedyarov
Round 9: Saturday, July 24, 15:00h
Le Quang Liem 
   Peter Leko
Shak. Mamedyarov 
   Ruslan Ponomariov
Arkadij Naiditsch 
   Vladimir Kramnik
GamesReport
Round 10: Sunday, July 25, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
   Arkadij Naiditsch
Vladimir Kramnik 
   Shak. Mamedyarov
Ruslan Ponomariov 
   Le Quang Liem 
GamesReport

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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Topics Dortmund 2010
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