Dortmund Round 9: Big guns quiet, showdown on Sunday

8/9/2003 – Just when you would expect things in Dortmund to be heating up they have gone stone cold. Bologan's pursuers, Anand and Kramnik, again played short draws. The only person happy about this is Viktor Bologan, who can wrap up the tournament with a draw tomorrow in the final round. He was held to a draw by Radjabov today and will have his hands full with black against Kramnik on Sunday. Report and games

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Stars again decline to shine

Round 9: Sat. Aug. 9, 15:00h
V. Bologan
1/2
T. Radjabov
P. Leko
1/2
V. Kramnik
V. Anand
1/2
A. Naiditsch

You would think these were the middle rounds of a swiss-system open tournament and not the final, critical rounds of one of the year's strongest events. Anand played a 19-move draw against Naiditsch and Leko-Kramnik went 21 moves before swords were beaten into second-place trophies. If those numbers look familiar it's because yesterday's games between the leaders also lasted exactly that long.

Viktor Bologan made a solid effort take advantage of the stars' poltroonery and wrap up the tournament a day early by beating Teimour Radjabov. He came close with white in a closed "anti-Sveshnikov" Sicilian. Bologan won the exchange but gave it back in the endgame to remove Black's blockading knight and simplify to a draw.

Bologan now needs a draw against Kramnik in the final round to guarantee himself clear first prize and create one of the all-time great tournament upsets in chess history. I'm not sure how the tiebreaks work out if Kramnik wins (and it could be a three-way tie if Anand also wins), but if Caissa is just Bologan would be given the title.


Standings after round nine 

For the second day in a row Leko's game ended soon after it looked like he had a plus. Obviously he's not happy at the board right now and would rather not risk making things worse. A pity he has that option.

Another strong vote for mandatory move minimums was cast by Anand-Naiditsch. At least Leko-Kramnik had simplified by the end and it was hard to imagine either player slipping up had they played on. But when you have a 200-point rating advantage and are down to your last real chance to catch the leader, you should play on to the last pawn. Instead Anand offered a draw in a position that was, admittedly, equal.

While Anand and Naiditsch played Bologan's favorite line against the Ruy Lopez, Bologan and Radjabov followed a recent Kramnik game all the way to move 16 in a Bc4 closed Sicilian. Radjabov played actively but got into trouble on the g-file.

White won the exchange with a pretty sham knight sacrifice and had several good winning attempts but allowed Black set up a blockade. Bologan gave back the exchange but had to agree to a draw a few moves later.

Bologan,V (2650) - Radjabov,T (2648) [B30]
Dortmund GER (9), 09.08.2003

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 d6 6.0-0 Nf6 7.Ng5 0-0 8.f4 Bg4 9.Qe1 exf4 10.Bxf4 Nd4 11.Qd2 Qd7 12.Be3

[12.h3 Bh5 13.g4 Bg6 14.Nd5 b5 15.Bb3 Bd8 16.Rae1 Nxb3 17.axb3 Nxd5 18.exd5 Bf6 19.Nf3 Rfe8 20.Qh2 Bxb2 21.Bxd6 a5 22.Be5 Bxe5 23.Rxe5 Rxe5 24.Qxe5 Re8 25.Qc3 Qd6 26.Kf2 b4 27.Re1 f6 28.Rxe8+ Bxe8 29.Qc4 Bf7 30.d4 Bxd5 31.dxc5 Qd7 32.Qf4 Bxf3 33.Qxf3 Qd2+ 34.Qe2 Qf4+ 35.Kg2 Kf7 36.c6 Qd4 37.c7 Qd5+ 38.Qf3 Qc5 39.Qb7 Qxc2+ 40.Kf3 Qc3+ 41.Ke2 ½-½ Ponomariov,R-Radjabov,T/Linares 2003/CBM 94 (41). ; 12.a4 h6 13.Nf3 Nxf3+ 14.gxf3 Be6 15.Kh1 Kh7 16.Bb5 Qd8 17.d4 cxd4 18.Ne2 Nh5 19.Bg3 Nxg3+ 20.hxg3 Bg5 ½-½ Kramnik,V-Grischuk,A/Wijk aan Zee NED 2003/The Week in Chess 428 (20).]

12...h6 [12...a6 13.Bxd4 cxd4 14.Ne2 h6 15.Nf3 d5 16.exd5 Bxf3 17.Rxf3 Nxd5 18.Nxd4 ½-½ Nisipeanu,L-Van Wely,L/Istanbul TUR 2003] 13.Nf3 Nxf3+ 14.gxf3 Be6 15.Kh1 Kh7 16.Bxe6 (D1)

16...fxe6 Radjabov's try for an improvement on the Kramnik game. Opening the f-file for counterplay is attractive but it weakens the black kingside so much that it's hard to recommend. It also shuts the black queen out of the picture because ..e5 is positionally suspect and vulnerable to f4.

[16...Qxe6 17.Rae1 Qh3 18.Qg2 Qxg2+ 19.Kxg2 a6 20.f4 Rac8 21.Bf2 Rfd8 22.Bh4 b5 23.b3 Ng8 24.Bg3 Rd7 25.a4 b4 26.Nd5 Rc6 27.Ne3 Bf6 28.e5 dxe5 29.fxe5 Bd8 30.Nc4 Bc7 1-0 Kramnik,V-Degraeve,J/Senat 2003/CBM 94 ext (30). ]

17.Qg2 Rf7 18.Rg1 Threatening Qg6+ Kg8 Bxh6. 18...Raf8 19.Ne2 d5? Losing the exchange. When I first saw this I thought maybe he had decided to sacrifice the exchange but onsite postgame reports say it was an oversight. Nf4-g6 is threatened and Radjabov, usually tactically alert, missed that it can still be played after he defends against it. 20.Nf4 g5 (D2)

21.Ng6! An insolent steed. 21...Nh5

[21...Kxg6? Black is swiftly executed if he takes the knight. 22.Bxg5 hxg5 (22...Ng4 23.Bxh6! Kxh6 24.Qxg4 with mate in 3.; 22...Rg8 23.Bxf6+ Kxf6 24.Qxg8; 22...Rh8 23.Bxh6+) 23.Qxg5+ Kh7 24.Qh4+ Nh5 25.Qxh5#;

21...Rg8 Saving one rook loses the other. 22.Ne5 Qe8 23.Nxf7 Qxf7

22.Nxf8+ Rxf8 23.Qh3

[23.f4 After the game Bologan said that this move was "completely winning." Perhaps a little of the usual postgame optimism but it has the advantage of definitively preventing the blockade of the f4 pawn!

23...d4 24.fxg5!? (Junior 8) Bologan either missed or underestimated this powerful piece sacrifice. (24.Bd2 Nxf4 25.Bxf4 Rxf4 26.Raf1 Bd6 27.Rxf4 Bxf4 28.h4) 24...dxe3 25.Qh3 Kg6 26.gxh6+ Kxh6 27.Qxe3+ Kh7 28.Qh3 Qe8 29.Qxe6 (29.Raf1 Rxf1 30.Rxf1) ]

23...Kg6 (D3)

24.Raf1?!

[24.Rae1! Another post-game suggestion from Bologan. 24...d4 25.Bd2 Black doesn't have the defensive move ..Bd6 as in the game because now it meets e5.

Without the ability to force the exchange of bishops it's much harder for Black to set up an effective blockade.

25...Nf4 (25...Bd6 26.e5 A little odd-looking but White needs to keep things open for the rooks at all costs. 26...Be7 27.Re4 And Black can't stop f4 forever.) 26.Bxf4 Rxf4 27.Rg4]

24...d4 25.Bd2 Bd6! 26.Rg4 Bf4 27.Bxf4 Nxf4 (D4)

Now a win for White seems very unlikely. He can't configure his heavy pieces on the g-file or get his king out of traffic. He also has to be wary of the ..c4 break.

28.Qg3 e5 29.h4 Qe6 30.b3 b5 31.a3 [31.hxg5? h5 32.Rh4 Qa6]

31...Rh8 32.Qh2 Rf8 33.Qg3 Rh8 34.Rxf4

A frustrated Bologan takes one last chance but Radjabov finds the draw with 36...Rc8. 34...exf4 35.Qh2 c4 36.Rg1 Rc8! 37.bxc4 ½-½  

Mig  

Results and schedule

Round 1: Thurs. July 31, 15:00h
V. Kramnik
1-0
T. Radjabov
A. Naiditsch
0-1
V. Bologan
V. Anand
1/2
P. Leko
Round 6: Wed. Aug. 6, 15:00h
T. Radjabov
1/2
V. Kramnik
V. Bologan
1-0
A. Naiditsch
P. Leko
0-1
V. Anand
Round 2: Friday. Aug. 1, 15:00h
V. Anand
0-1
T. Radjabov
P. Leko
1/2
A. Naiditsch
V. Bologan
1/2
V. Kramnik
Round 7: Thurs. Aug. 7, 15:00h
P. Leko
1/2
T. Radjabov
V. Anand
1-0
V. Bologan
A. Naiditsch
1/2
V. Kramnik
Round 3: Sat. Aug. 2, 15:00h
T. Radjabov
1/2
P. Leko
V. Bologan
1-0
V. Anand
V. Kramnik
1/2
A. Naiditsch
Round 8: Fri. Aug. 8, 15:00h
T. Radjabov
1-0
A. Naiditsch
V. Kramnik
1/2
V. Anand
V. Bologan
1/2
P. Leko
Round 4: Sun. Aug. 3, 15:00h
A. Naiditsch
1-0
T. Radjabov
V. Anand
1/2
V. Kramnik
P. Leko
0-1
V. Bologan
Round 9: Sat. Aug. 9, 15:00h
V. Bologan
1/2
T. Radjabov
P. Leko
1/2
V. Kramnik
V. Anand
1/2
A. Naiditsch
Games – Report
Round 5: Mon. Aug. 4, 15:00h
T. Radjabov
1/2
V. Bologan
V. Kramnik
1/2
P. Leko
A. Naiditsch
0-1
V. Anand
Round 10: Sun. Aug. 10, 12:30h
T. Radjabov
V. Anand
A. Naiditsch
P. Leko
V. Kramnik
V. Bologan
Games – Report

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