Dortmund 2010: Three decisive games, Ponomariov leads

7/20/2010 – The fifth round finally lived up to the fighting spirit demonstrated by the players until now, with decisive results in all. Kramnik outsmarted his opponent by locking his rook away for good, while Leko's attempts to force a win ended up backfiring, and blowing up in his face. The two leaders Ponomariov and Mamedyarov met, and the leader's mantle traded hands once more. Games and analysis.

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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 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

Proverbs and sayings about the similarities between life and chess abound, and today merely provided one more example. In a few previous rounds, several decisive positions promising ones and zeros on the scoreboard failed to finish the way they had started, and draws were their end result. In today’s round, except for Kramnik’s game against Naiditsch, the two other boards had seemed destined for a balanced result, yet life had other plans.

Vladimir Kramnik had white against Arkadij Naiditsch, and after spending three rounds with a minus as a result of his first round loss to Ponomariov, finally scored his first full point. He played a topical Open Catalan for 17 moves until he played a somewhat innocuous looking novelty. Arkadij went astray and ended up with an imprisoned rook that cost him the game.

Kramnik,V (2790) - Naiditsch,A (2684) [E04]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (5), 19.07.2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 c5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Qa4 Bd7 8.Qxc4 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Rc8 10.Nc3 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Bc5 12.Qh4 0-0 13.Bxb7 Rb8 14.Bf3 Rb4 15.Qg5 Bd4 16.Qd2 Qc7 17.Nd1N Rfb8 18.a3 Rc4 19.Ne3 Ra4 20.Rb1 e5 21.b4 a5 22.Qc2 Qxc2 23.Nxc2 Bf5?!

Since there is no question the German GM had seen Kramnik's next move, one wonders why he chose this line. Did he overestimate his chances of freeing his rook, or did he simply not find anything better? 24.Nxd4! Bxb1 25.Nc6 Re8 26.Nxa5 Be4 27.Bb2 Bxf3 28.exf3 e4 29.fxe4 Rxe4 30.Rd1 h5. Black would love to start coordinating his escape, but his back rank weakness must be dealt with first. 31.Rd8+ Kh7 32.Kf1 h4 33.f3

In typical Kramnik style, White has covered every possible entry of the rook. 33...Re7. If 33...Re3 then 34.Kf2 would force the rook back. 34.g4 Rc7 35.Ke2 Nd7 36.Kd2 f6 37.f4 Nc5 38.Rd4 Kg6 39.Kc3 Kf7 40.f5 Ne4+ 41.Kb3 Nc5+ 42.Ka2 Na6 43.Rc4!

White has finally succeeded and the game can no longer be saved. 43...Rxc4 44.Nxc4 Nc7. If 44...Nxb4+ 45.Kb3 wins a piece. 45.Na5 Na6 46.Kb3 Nc5+ 47.Kc4 Ne4 48.Kb5 Nc3+ 49.Bxc3 Rxa3 50.Kc4 Ra2 51.b5 1-0. [Click to replay]

Peter Leko played a fairly quiet Caro-Kann Advance variation against the Super-GM newcomer Le Quang Liem, and despite hoping to obtain some riskless winning chances thanks to a bishop pair, Le’s energetic play comfortably kept the balance. The Hungarian clearly underestimated his own danger as he tried to force the win, and a blunder suddenly had him on the ropes.

Leko,P (2734) - Le Quang Liem (2681) [B12]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (5), 19.07.2010
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Ne7 8.c4 Nbc6 9.Qa4 a6 10.Na3 Qa5+ 11.Qxa5 Nxa5 12.0-0 dxc4 13.Nxf5N Nxf5 14.Bb6 Bxa3 15.bxa3 Nc6 16.f4 g5 17.Bxc4 gxf4 18.Rae1 Ne3 19.Rxf4 Nxc4 20.Rxc4 Rg8 21.Bc7 Ne7 22.Bd6 Nd5 23.Rh4 Rg7 24.Rc1 Kd7 25.g3 Rh8 26.a4 a5 27.Rhc4 h5 28.Rc5 b6 29.Rc6 h4 30.Ba3 Rd8

31.Kf2?? Leko had been trying hard to trip his opponent and squeeze a win from a drawn position. In doing so, he missed how close he had brought himself to a possible defeat, and now blunders. The only move at this point was 31.R1c4 hxg3 32.h4! g2 33.Bc1! Rh8 34.Bg5 Rxg5 35.hxg5 Rh1+ 36.Kxg2 Re1 37.Kg3 Rxe5=. 31...hxg3+ 32.hxg3 Rg4 33.Rd6+ Ke8 34.Rh1 Rxd6 35.Bxd6 Rxa4 36.a3 Nc3 37.Rh4??

This could have ended the game quicker, but clearly both players missed the winning continuation pointed out by the chess engines. 37...f5? 37...Rxh4! 38.gxh4 f5! (of course 38...Ne4+ 39.Kf3 Nxd6 40.exd6 Kd7 41.h5 just loses for Black) 39.h5 (39.exf6?? Ne4+ 40.Ke3 Nxd6) 39...Nd5 40.a4 Kf7 41.Kg3 Nc3 42.Bc7 Nxa4 43.Kh4 Nc5 44.Bxb6 Nb3 and White is helpless.

38.Rh8+ Kf7 39.Rf8+ Kg7 40.Re8 Ne4+ 41.Ke1 Ng5. Fortunately for Black, the game is still won despite the missed chance, and he reels in the victory with fine technique from now to the end. 42.Rb8 Rg4 43.Rxb6 Rxg3 44.Ra6 f4 45.Rxa5 Rg1+ 46.Kf2 Nh3+ 47.Kf3 Rg3+ 48.Ke4 f3 49.Bc5 f2 50.Bxf2 Nxf2+ 51.Kd4 Kg6 52.Ra8 Rd3+ 53.Kc4 Rd5 54.Rg8+ Kf7 55.Rg3 Ne4 56.Rh3 Nc5 57.Kb5 Nd7+ 58.Ka6 Nxe5 59.a4 Nc4 0-1. [Click to replay]

After winning his first two games, then losing his fourth round game and tournament lead, one had to wonder how Ruslan Ponomariov (above) would respond. His game against the new leader Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was crucial. Ruslan managed to maintain a slight edge as White well into the middlegame, but seemed unable to take it any further, and after 30 moves, it seemed as if a draw would be the likely outcome. If this was not to the Ukrainian’s liking, it seemed even less so to the Azerbaijan GM, who declined an exchange of rooks which led him to a difficult position. He never got himself out of it, and Ponomariov squeezed and pushed until his inevitable king penetration left things clear. He leads once more with 3.5/5.

Photos: Georgios Souleidis

Current standings

Statistics

After the first five rounds of this tournament a total of fifteen games have been played. Of these:

  • 7 games = 47% ended in draws
  • White won six games = 40%
  • Black won two games = 13%

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 
   Ruslan Ponomariov
Le Quang Liem 
   Vladimir Kramnik
Shak. Mamedyarov 
   Arkadij Naiditsch
GamesReport
Round 7: Thursday, July 22, 15:00h
Shak. Mamedyarov 
   Peter Leko
Arkadij Naiditsch 
   Le Quang Liem 
Vladimir Kramnik 
   Ruslan Ponomariov
GamesReport
Round 8: Friday, July 23, 15:00h
Peter Leko  
   Vladimir Kramnik
Ruslan Ponomariov 
   Arkadij Naiditsch
Le Quang Liem 
   Shak. Mamedyarov
GamesReport
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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