Dortmund Rd8 – Kramnik has miracle save; Pono beats Nakamura

7/29/2011 – It was the most dramatic round of the tournament. All three boards seemed headed for a decisive result, including Le – over Kramnik! The Russian took serious risks, Le played well and achieved a winning advantage. It took mistakes by the Vietnamese GM and surgical precision by Kramnik to save it. Ponomariov, with only two draws in eight games, defeated Nakamura. Round eight report.

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From Thursday July 21 to Sunday July 31, 2010 the 39th 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 of the others, one with as White and one as Black. 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 times. The winner of the 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. As in the previous year the moves of the Sparkassen Chess-Meeting will be transmitted on the Internet with a delay of 15 minutes – which means that the moves stay in the playing hall for that period, before they are broadcast to the rest of the world. This is an important anti-cheating measure that has been proposed to FIDE since October 2005 and has the support of most of the top players. We commend the Dortmund organisers for taking the initiative.

Round eight

Round 8: Friday, July 29, 15:00h
Quang Liem Le  
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Georg Meier 
½-½
 Anish Giri
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Hikaru Nakamura


The stage with the actors

Anish Giri's game against Georg Meier was a strange one. Giri began by committing one of the most basic opening offenses: neglecting his development, and Meier had chances of gaining a potentially decisive edge. It never took place as Meier retributed the favor by ignor8ing principles of his own: when behind material but ahead in development, one does not go about exchanging pieces, especially the ones that we are ahead in development with. Yet that is what he did, and suddenly the roles were reversed and the material disadvantage began to weigh in. The endgame was troublesome, but never quite decisive, and the players eventually drew.


Anish Giri having a good tournament overall

[Event "39th GM"] [Site "Dortmund GER"] [Date "2011.07.29"] [Round "8"] [White "Meier, Geo"] [Black "Giri, A."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2656"] [BlackElo "2701"] [PlyCount "138"] [EventDate "2011.07.21"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 a6 6. O-O Nc6 7. e3 Rb8 8. Qe2 b5 9. b3 cxb3 10. axb3 Nb4 $6 $146 {It is hard to agree with this move since it moves one of Black's only two developed pieces a second time for no obvious reason.} (10... Be7 11. Rd1 O-O 12. Bb2 Nb4 13. Nbd2 Bb7 14. e4 c5 15. e5 Nfd5 16. dxc5 Bxc5 17. Ne4 Be7 18. h4 Qe8 19. Nfg5 h6 20. Qg4 f5 21. exf6 Nxf6 22. Bxf6 Bxf6 23. Nxf6+ Rxf6 24. Bxb7 Rxb7 25. Ne4 Rg6 26. Qe2 Rc7 27. h5 Rc2 28. Qf3 {1-0 (28) Rustemov,A (2553)-Sax,G (2609)/Germany 2000/CBM 074 ext}) 11. Ne5 Nd7 {Reason says that White should be able to punish Black for neglecting his development this way.} 12. Nc6 (12. Rd1 $1 {was stronger and would have put Black in a difficult position. For example} Bd6 {would face} 13. Ba3 $1 {and it is hard to find a defense for Black.} Rb6 14. Bxb4 Bxb4 15. Nc6 {wins the exchange.}) 12... Nxc6 13. Bxc6 {Isn't there some rule about not exchanging pieces when down material?} Rb6 14. Qf3 Bb4 15. Bd2 Bxd2 16. Nxd2 O-O {Now the roles are inversed and White is a bit worse.} 17. Bxd7 $2 {More voluntary exchanges?} Qxd7 18. Ne4 Qd5 19. Qf4 f6 20. Nc5 e5 (20... Rc6 $1 {was stronger, preparing to pressure the Nc5 after e5 as well as be ready to take the c-file if the knight evacuates.} 21. f3 {and now} e5 $1 22. Qe4 Qxe4 23. Nxe4 (23. fxe4 Rd8 24. Rfd1 Rcd6 25. d5 c6 $1) 23... exd4 24. exd4 Rd8 25. Rad1) 21. Qh4 exd4 22. exd4 g5 23. Qe4 Qxe4 24. Nxe4 Re8 25. f3 h6 26. Rfe1 Kf7 27. Kf2 f5 28. Nc5 Rd8 29. Ke3 Rbd6 30. Red1 f4+ $6 {Exchanging the f-pawn for the weak d4 pawn is not to Black's advantage, and furthermore allows White to take an advanced position with his king.} 31. gxf4 gxf4+ 32. Kxf4 Rxd4+ 33. Rxd4 Rxd4+ 34. Ke5 {The position is now equal.} Rd6 35. b4 Ke7 36. Rg1 Kf7 37. Rc1 Ke7 38. Rg1 Kf7 39. Rc1 Rc6 40. f4 Rf6 41. Ra1 Ke7 42. Rg1 Kf7 43. Ra1 Rd6 44. Rc1 Rd8 45. f5 c6 46. Ne6 Rd5+ 47. Ke4 Bxe6 48. fxe6+ Kxe6 49. Rxc6+ Rd6 50. Rc7 Kf6 51. h4 Kg6 52. Rc5 Rd1 53. Rc6+ Kh5 54. Rxa6 Rb1 55. Rb6 Rxb4+ 56. Kf3 Rb3+ 57. Ke2 Rb2+ 58. Ke3 Rb1 59. Ke2 b4 60. Kf2 b3 61. Kg3 Rb2 62. Kh3 Rb1 63. Kg3 b2 64. Rb5+ Kg6 65. h5+ Kf6 66. Kg2 Ke6 67. Kh2 Kf6 68. Kg2 Ke6 69. Kh2 Kf6 1/2-1/2


Vladimir Kramnik knocking on 2800's door

Kramnik expereinced his first genuine offday in the tournament, and was in serious danger of losing to Le in their encounter. He missed some chances to achieve a solid edge, then went into a bad line, likely due to a miscalculation, and came out of it with a much worse endgame. Things might have gone south, but Le then committed his own share of imprecisions, while the Russian seemed to wake up and found the correct moves in time to save the game.


Quang Liem Le and Vladimir Kramnik embark on the most dramatic game of the event

[Event "39th GM"] [Site "Dortmund GER"] [Date "2011.07.29"] [Round "8"] [White "Le, Quang Liem"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E14"] [WhiteElo "2715"] [BlackElo "2781"] [PlyCount "112"] [EventDate "2011.07.21"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. e3 Be7 5. b3 O-O 6. Bb2 c5 7. Bd3 cxd4 8. exd4 Nc6 9. O-O b6 10. Nbd2 Bb7 11. Rc1 Rc8 12. Qe2 Re8 13. Rfd1 Bf8 14. Nf1 g6 15. Ne3 Bg7 16. c5 (16. Bb1 Qe7 17. a3 Na5 18. Ba2 Ba6 19. Qe1 Nc6 20. Rc2 Rc7 21. Qd2 Rec8 22. Qc1 Qd8 23. c5 Bb5 24. Qa1 Ne4 25. Nd2 Be2 26. Rdc1 Bd3 27. b4 Bxc2 28. Rxc2 Nxd2 29. Rxd2 b5 {1/2-1/2 (78) Portisch,L (2650)-Browne,W (2555)/ Mar del Plata 1981/MCD (78)}) 16... Nd7 17. Bb5 a6 18. Bxc6 Bxc6 19. b4 Ba4 20. Re1 Nb8 21. Ne5 bxc5 22. dxc5 f6 23. Nf3 Nc6 $6 ({Instead} 23... Qd7 $1 { developing the queen and preparing e5 would give Black a slight but solid advantage.}) 24. Qd3 Rb8 ({Again} 24... Qd7 {was stronger. If} 25. Qxa6 Nxb4 { is winning.}) 25. Qa3 Bb5 26. Qb3 a5 $2 {A mistake that seems due to a mistake in calculation.} 27. a4 $1 Bc4 28. Nxc4 Rxb4 29. Qa2 dxc4 30. Bc3 Rb3 31. Nd2 Nb4 32. Bxb4 Rxb4 33. Nxc4 Qd5 34. Red1 $1 Qc6 {Forced and Kramnik must now deal with a very bad position.} ({Kramnik had probably planned} 34... Qxc5 $2 { and realized too late that it lost to} 35. Nd6) 35. Nxa5 Qxa4 36. Qxa4 Rxa4 37. Nb7 Bh6 38. Rc2 Bf4 $2 ({Not his day, and Black could now play} 38... e5 $1 { and though} 39. Nd6 {looks scary, it is not fatal, and White has no win.} Rd8 40. f4 {Protecting the back rank and preparing c6.} (40. c6 $4 Rxd6 41. Rxd6 Ra1+) 40... Bf8 41. fxe5 fxe5 42. Kf2 Ra6 43. Ke3 Rc6 {and it is equal.}) 39. g3 Bc7 40. Rd7 Rc8 41. Rcd2 e5 42. Re7 Rd4 43. Ra2 e4 44. Ra7 $6 (44. Ra6 $1 { would have given Kramnik nightmares.} Bd8 45. Nxd8 Rdxd8 46. Raa7 {and Black's situation is grim indeed.}) 44... Bb8 45. Ra8 Rf8 46. Na5 $6 Ra4 $1 {With a huge internal sigh of relief, VLadimir has recovered balance.} 47. Kg2 f5 48. c6 Bd6 49. Rxf8+ Kxf8 50. c7 Bxc7 51. Rxc7 Rxa5 52. Rxh7 Ra2 53. Kg1 Ra1+ 54. Kg2 Ra2 55. Kg1 Ra1+ 56. Kg2 Ra2 1/2-1/2

Whether it is one of those incompatibility issues between players, or due to serious lack of form, Nakamura lost to Ponomariov for the second time, and despite playing on in an objectively lost position, no respite ever appeared on the horizon.


Both Ponomariov and Nakamura have epitomized fighting spiriti in their own way

Whereas Nakamura's combativity has materialized via his unwillingness to quit a game until its essence has been snuffed out, Ponomariov's is no less and out of eight games, he has scored only two draws. If there is a prize for fighting spirit, both players will be top candidates.

[Event "39th GM"] [Site "Dortmund GER"] [Date "2011.07.29"] [Round "8"] [White "Ponomariov, R."] [Black "Nakamura, Hi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E97"] [WhiteElo "2764"] [BlackElo "2770"] [PlyCount "129"] [EventDate "2011.07.21"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Bg5 Qxd1 10. Rfxd1 Bg4 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Nd4 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. cxd5 f5 15. Kf1 Rf7 16. Rac1 fxe4 17. Bxe4 Bf8 18. Rd3 Bd6 19. Be3 Nf5 20. Bd2 a5 21. Rf3 b6 22. g4 Ne7 23. Rfc3 Rd8 24. Bg5 Rd7 25. h4 Rf8 26. Bh6 Rf7 27. Ke2 Kh8 28. Bg5 Rf8 29. f3 Ng8 30. Rh1 Nf6 31. Bxf6+ Rxf6 32. g5 Rf4 33. h5 Kg8 34. hxg6 hxg6 35. Rh6 Rg7 36. Bxg6 Rb4 37. b3 a4 38. Rc1 axb3 39. axb3 Rxb3 40. Rch1 Kf8 41. Rh8+ Rg8 42. Be4 Rb2+ 43. Kf1 Be7 44. g6 Bf6 45. R8h7 Bg7 46. R1h5 Ke7 47. Rxe5+ Kd6 48. Re6+ Kc5 49. Re7 Ra8 50. Rxc7+ Kd6 51. Rc1 Bd4 52. f4 Bc5 53. Rc2 Rb1+ 54. Kg2 Rg1+ 55. Kh2 Rg4 56. Bf5 Rxf4 57. Be6 Rf6 58. g7 Rxe6 59. dxe6 Rg8 60. Re2 Ke7 61. Re4 b5 62. Kh3 b4 63. Rh5 Bd6 64. Rb5 Kf6 65. e7 1-0

Pictures by Georgios Souleidis

Standings after eight rounds


Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, July 21, 15:00h
Georg Meier 
½-½
 Quang Liem Le
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Anish Giri 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura 
Round 2: Friday, July 22, 15:00h
Quang Liem Le 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Anish Giri
Georg Meier 
0-1
 Vladimir Kramnik
Round 3: Saturday, July 23, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Quang Liem Le
Anish Giri 
1-0
 Georg Meier
Hikaru Nakamura 
0-1
 Ruslan Ponomariov 
Round 4: Sunday, July 24, 15:00h
Anish Giri 
½-½
 Quang Liem Le
Hikaru Nakamura 
0-1
 Vladimir Kramnik
Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Georg Meier
Round 5: Monday, July 25, 15:00h
Quang Liem Le 
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov 
Georg Meier 
½-½
 Hikaru Nakamura
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Anish Giri
Round 6: Wednesday, July 27, 15:00h
Quang Liem Le 
½-½
 Georg Meier
Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Hikaru Nakamura 
½-½
 Anish Giri
Round 7: Thursday, July 28, 15:00h
Hikaru Nakamura 
½-½
 Quang Liem Le
Anish Giri 
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov 
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Georg Meier
Round 8: Friday, July 29, 15:00h
Quang Liem Le  
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Georg Meier 
½-½
 Anish Giri
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Hikaru Nakamura
Round 9: Saturday, July 30, 15:00h
Ruslan Ponomariov 
   Quang Liem Le
Hikaru Nakamura 
   Georg Meier
Anish Giri 
   Vladimir Kramnik
Round 10: Sunday, July 31, 13:00h
Quang Liem Le 
   Anish Giri
Vladimir Kramnik 
   Hikaru Nakamura
Georg Meier 
   Ruslan Ponomariov 

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Topics Dortmund 2011
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