GM Mihail Marin annotates the games of round ten

9/26/2007 – A fighting round, featuring several sacrifices – one piece, three exchanges and numerous pawns – but only one decisive game. Anand-Kramnik was enormously complicated and ended in a very tense draw. In Aronian-Grischuk play took an original course from a very early stage. Gelfand with white could not achieve anything against Leko's excellent preparation. Analysis and videos.

World Championship 2007 Mexico

The World Championship 2007 will take place from September 12 to 30 in the Sheraton Centro Histórico Hotel in Mexico City. Eight players are qualified – the tournament will be a double round robin. The prize fund is US $1.3 million.

Commentary by GM Mihail Marin

GM Mihail Marin in his analysis kitchen at home in Romaina

The following express commentary was provided by Romanian Mihail Marin, who is the author of a number of very popular ChessBase training CDs and articles for ChessBase Magazine. GM Marin will study the games of the World Championship tournament in much greater detail and provide the full results of his analysis in the next issue of ChessBase Magazine.

Round ten commentary by GM Mihail Marin

A fighting round, featuring several sacrifices (one piece, three exchanges and numerous pawns were offered to Caissa's altar), missed opportunities, but only... one decisive game.

Morozevich equalized comfortably with black in a controversial variation of the Caro Kann. Searching for attacking possibilities, Svidler made a serious mistake and his position immediately became suspicious. This was only the start of a series of innacurate or just bad moves, which makes the final draw a logical and deserved result.

Anand-Kramnik was an enormously complicated game. After the first wave of tactical blows (which, apparently, had been analzyed at home by both players), Anand was left with two (at times just one) pawns for the exchange. After the first time control he had a choice between exposing his king to perpetual check or sending it forward, into active mission. He picked up the third possibility, by... accepting Kramnik's draw offer.

In Aronian-Grischuk, play took an original course from a very early stage. The position became strategically unbalanced and the opponents alternatively sacrificed small amounts of material in order to carry out their plans. Grischuk made just one significant mistake, by exchanging queens instead of one pair of rooks, but this was sufficient to determine the final outcome of the game.

Playing with White, Gelfand could not achieve anything against Leko's excellent preparation and soon sacrificed a bishop to force a draw by perpetual.

Svidler,P (2735) - Morozevich,A (2758) [B17]
WCh Mexico City MEX (10), 24.09.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 e6 7.N1f3 Bd6 8.Qe2 h6 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 Qc7 11.0-0 b6 12.Qg4 Kf8

A fashionable variation, which among others, was twice played by Bareev in his unfortunate final Candidates' match against Leko. Black has been deprived of the right to castle, but White had to pay a relatively high price in order to achieve that: his queen has been developed prematurely and faces problems finding a safe square. We can state that one member of each Royal family has temporarily sacrificed his (her) peacefull life. 13.Bd2 Bb7 14.Rfe1 Rd8 15.Rad1 c5 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.h4 Nf6 18.Qh3 c4 19.Bf1 Bd5 20.h5 Kg8 21.Be3 Kh7 22.Bd4 Rhe8. Black has managed to "castle artificially", maintaining a strong centralized position. White's achievements are more modest; his queen did not improve her situation too much. 23.b3. Questioning Black's stability in the centre. 23...cxb3. Morozevich makes a structural concession for the sake of activating his pieces even more. 24.axb3 Ne4 25.Bb5 Re7 26.Qg4 f5 27.Qg6+ Kg8 28.c4 Ba8

29.Be3? A serious mistake in a complicated position. 29...Rf8! Parrying Bxh6 and threatening to trap the queen. 30.Bd4. White admits his mistake, but in chess this is not always enough for being forgiven. 30...a6?! This move seems to be a consequence of some miscalculation. Morozevich probably considered it useful to drive the bishop away from b5 before trying to trap the queen. Black would have disposed over two relatively simple ways of developing his initiative. 30...Bc5 would overload the enemy bishop, which cannot defend the f2- and f6-squares properly.; The brutal 30...e5 is also possible, forcing White to sacrifice a pawn with 31.c5 in order to save his queen. 31.c5!? Bxc5 32.Bc4

32...Qb6? Another tactical oversight, which could have had fatal consequences. 32...Bd5 was the best way to defend e6. After 33.Bxd5 exd5 34.Qxa6 White wins the pawn back, with a balanced position.] 33.Bxc5? [Kindly returning the favour. 33.Bxe6+! Qxe6 (Forced. Otherwise Black would get mated.) 34.Bxc5! would have won material. Black's relatively best solution would be 34...Nxc5 35.Rxe6 Rxe6 with highly questionable compensation. 33...Qxc5 34.Bxe6+ Kh8. Now, White stands only slightly better, because of his better structure. 35.Rd4 Bc6 36.Bxf5 Nf6 37.Rc4 Rxe1+ 38.Nxe1 Qe7 39.Nd3 Be8 40.Qg3 Nxh5 41.Qg4 Bf7 42.Rc5 Qd6 43.Qb4 Bg8 44.Ra5 Qxb4 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Kramnik,V (2769) - Anand,V (2792) [D43]
WCh Mexico City MEX (10), 24.09.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4. Rather predictable. After losing in such a variation as "the e3-Benoni", one is inclined to play aggressive lines. 6...dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.Ne5 Bg7 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.Bd6 a6 14.Bh5 Bf8 15.Bxf8 Rxf8 16.e5 Qb6

All these moves were played quite fast. In fact, the whole line had been seen in a rapid game Radjabov - Anand, 2006. 17.b3. The aforementioned game went 17.Ne4 . The text move is a novelty, but, Anand continued to play fast, leaving little doubt about the fact that he had analyzed it, too. 17...0-0-0 18.bxc4 Nxe5 19.c5 Qa5 20.Ne4 Qb4 21.Nd6+ Rxd6 22.cxd6 Nd7 23.a4 Qxd6

Black has obtained two pawns for the sacrificed exchange and will enjoy excellent stability on light squares after the transfer of the knight to d5. Protected by the pawns, the black king feels much safer than it might seem at first sight. In his youth, Kasparov was provided with a painful lesson about this type of positions by the great master of defence, Tigran Petrosian (Tilburg 1981). White has to play actively in order to avoid a simply worse position. 24.Bf3 Nb6 25.axb5 cxb5 26.Bxb7+ Kxb7 27.Qh5. Not being fully coordinated yet, Black cannot defend all his kingside pawns. 27...Nd5 28.Qxh6 Nf4! A constructive move, which also contains a small trap. 29.Kh1. A great player can sometimes overlook a simple mate in one, if he is absorbed by abstract planning; we saw such a case in Kramnik's match against the computer. However, it is not to be expected that he would fall for simple tactics such as 29.Qxg5?? Ne2+ 30.Kh1 Qxh2+! followed by mate. Unlike the "casual mate" to which Kramnik fell victim, this is a variation that makes part from the "humanly" logical universe of thinking. 29...Qd5 30.f3 Rd8 31.Qg7 Rd7 32.Qf8. Black's pieces dominate in the centre. White will try to find a clue to the enemy king's fortress. 32...Ne2. Possibly, not the best regroupment. 32...Qxd4 followed by ...Nd5 was an important alternative. 33.Rfe1 Nxd4 34.Red1 e5

35.Rac1. Sometimes, queen retreats such as 35.Qh6 , attacking a6 and g5, are not easy to spot in the heat of the fight. 35...Qd6 36.Qg8 f6 37.Rc8 a5 38.h3 a4 39.Qe8 Kb6 40.Rb8+ Ka5

41.Ra8+. The position remains very interesting, but both players were probably tired after the previous intense fight. After 41.Ra8+ , Black could return to b6, when White can force a perpetual already, or play 41...Kb4 with a double edged position. We can see an interesting symbiosis: the pawns would protect the king and the king sustains the advance of the pawns. I would again quote a game played by the 9th World Champion (Fischer - Petrosian, second round of the 1959 Candidates' Tournament) in which Black successfully carried out a similar plano. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Aronian,L (2750) - Grischuk,A (2726) [D30]
WCh Mexico City MEX (10), 24.09.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Bg5 h6 5.Bxf6 Qxf6

6.Nbd2!? A rare move, avoiding the topical Moscow variation, which would arise by transposition after 6.Nc3 c6 . After the game move, play will take a very original course. 6...Nd7 7.g3 g5 8.h3 Bg7 9.Rc1 c5 10.e3 0-0 11.Bg2 b6 12.cxd5 exd5 13.0-0 Bb7 14.Re1 Rfd8

Black has achieved an active version of the hanging pawns, but the evaluation of such positions is far from one-sided. White's structure is flexible and solid, which entitles him to hope for a favourable course of the game in the long run. Besides, Black's kingside contains chronic weaknesses on light squares. White's main concern for the time being should be the activation of his queen's knight, which does not put any kind of pressure on Black's position and stands in the way of his own pieces at the same time. 15.g4!? A creative solution to the aforementioned task. Aronian intends to transfer his knight to f5 or, eventually, h5. The standard manoeuvre would be 15.Nb1 followed by Nc3, increasing the pressure against the d5-pawn. 15...h5!? Ambitious and... risky. Black intends to deny the knight's access to g3 with ...h4. After the more restrained 15...Qe6 16.Nf1 f5 White would consolidate his g4-pawn with 17.N3h2 , followed by Ng3-f5 anyway. However, the final evaluation of the resulting position would be uncertain, because the other knight would remain passive for a while. 16.gxh5! The only way to question the viability of Black's plan. This self-disruption of the structure might look as a strategic concession, but Aronian correctly anticipated that his knights will get additional possibilities on the kingside. Besides, the apparently doomed h-pawn could play an important part in certain cases. 16...Qh6 17.Nh2 Rac8 18.Ndf1 f5 19.Ng3 Qe6 20.Nf3 Qf6

Black has managed to stabilize the kingside position, but White will open a new front on the opposite wing. 21.dxc5 bxc5 22.b4!? Fighting for the d4-square. 22...f4!? As you can see, none of the players is concerned about the material balance. Pawns are sacrificed nonchalantly for the sake of achieving certain strategic advantages. 23.exf4 gxf4 24.Nf1 c4 25.N1h2

Black's achievements in the centre are impressive, but the white knights exert iritating pressure on the kingside. One important element is the h5-pawn, which deprives the queen of the g6-square and is ready to advance to h6 at the most appropriate moment. 25...Qf5? Black gives up the control of the d4-square too easily. In order to release White's pressure over the central pawns, he should have aimed to exchange rooks, for which 25...Re8 strongly comes into consideration. 26.Nd4 Qd3 27.Ne6 Qxd1 28.Rexd1 Ne5!? Interesting, but not enough. 29.Nxd8 Rxd8 30.Ng4 Nd3

31.Rxd3! Simplest. By returning the exchange, Aronian calms down the position, depriving Black of his main trump: the two connected passed pawns. Although there remain certain technical difficulties, White will convert his advantage quite confidently. 31...cxd3 32.Rd1 Bc8 33.Rxd3 d4 34.Be4 Ba6 35.Ra3 Be2 36.h6 Bh8 37.Rxa7 d3 38.h7+ Kf8 39.Bg6 d2 40.Rf7+ Ke8 41.Nf6+ Bxf6 42.Rg7+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

Gelfand,B (2733) - Leko,P (2751) [E06]
WCh Mexico City MEX (10), 24.09.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Be4 11.Qc1 Qc8

Quite logical. Once Kramnik has shown the best way to meet the Catalan, a new trend of fashion has been opened. Until Kramnik will have this position with White, of course. 12.Bg5 Nbd7 13.Nbd2 Bb7 14.Nb3. Deviating from the slightly premature 14.Bxf6 , as played in Aronian - Kramnik, few days earlier. 14...a5 15.Rd1 Bd5 16.Ne5 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 a4 18.Nc5 Bxc5 19.Bxf6 Bb6 20.Bg5. Against the seemingly lethal 20.Nxd7 Qxd7 21.Qg5 , Black can defend with 21...Qd5+ 22.Qxd5 exd5 , when the relative weakness of the c7-pawn is compensated by the fact that White's bishop cannot find an active diagonal easily.; 20.Bxg7 would lead to a draw by perpetual slightly sooner than in the game. 20...Nxe5 21.dxe5 h6 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Qxh6 Rd8 24.Qg5+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

All results of the round

Round 10: Monday, Sept. 24th 2007, 14:00h
Peter Svidler 
 Alexander Morozevich
Vladimir Kramnik 
 Viswanathan Anand
Levon Aronian 
 Alexander Grischuk
Boris Gelfand 
 Peter Leko

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