Karpov and Bacrot into Cap d'Agde finals

11/2/2013 – The semifinals of Cap d'Agde were as exciting as hoped for, and provided hours of entertainment. Ivanchuk may regret fighting so hard to avoid Karpov in the semifinals as he was beaten 2-0 by Etienne Bacrot, ending in an exciting KID. Muzychuk held Karpov to a draw in game one, but was beaten in a fascinating endgame in game two, ending her Cinderalla run. Illustrated report with games.

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Cap D'Agde rapid tournament, "Second Anatoly Karpov Trophy"

Location: Cap d'Agde, France
Dates: October 25 - November 2, 2013
Tournament mode: A double round-robin qualifying four players into a knockout phase.
Time control: 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment per move.
Times: See timetable (round are local time: GMT + 1)

Playchess transmission: Click HERE to watch the Cap d'Agde games on Playchess.

Karpov and Bacrot into Cap d'Agde finals

The semi-finals of the Cap d’Agde were as exciting as the rest of the tournament and after the breathtaking tiebreakers yesterday, the matchups were Etienne Bacrot versus Vassily Ivanchuk and Anatoly Karpov against Mariya Muzychuk.

Ivanchuk had fought tooth and nail yesterday to not only qualify in the top four, but made a point of pounding Muzychuk into submission to earn the right of avoiding the hitherto imperial Karpov to take on Bacrot instead. It is probably not a stretch to say he may have regretted this decision as he went down in flames 2-0. In the first game, Bacrot as white played a gambit line of the Slav Defense and after the Ukrainian slipped allowing a nasty penetration on the dark squares, it was all downhill. Bacrot switched his monster bishop on d6 for an even more monstrous rook on d6, and it was over before the 30th move.

A rapt audience enjoys the games from the leisure area

In their second game, Ivanchuk chose to face Bacrot’s King’s Indian with the Saemisch and this time things looked quite positive as he seemed to be making quicker progress against the Frenchman’s king than Bacrot against his own. Time, nerves, and a highly volatile position got the better of him, and there was a certain irony as he went from much better to much worse precisely after pushing a visually attractive pawn to d6. A few moves later it was all over in the most exciting battle of the semifinals.

"I don't want to talk about the game."

[Event "2nd Karpov Trophy KO"] [Site "Cap d'Agde FRA"] [Date "2013.11.01"] [Round "1.2"] [White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Black "Bacrot, Etienne"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E81"] [WhiteElo "2733"] [BlackElo "2730"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2013.11.01"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. f3 O-O 6. Nge2 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Ng3 exd5 9. cxd5 a6 10. a4 h5 11. Be2 h4 12. Nf1 Nbd7 13. Bg5 h3 {The idea is to not only inhibit White from castling kingside, but by shattering the structure, White's attack will be much harder to get going.} 14. gxh3 Rb8 15. Ng3 Qb6 16. Qd2 Nh7 17. Be3 Qd8 18. Rg1 Qh4 19. O-O-O Kh8 20. f4 b5 21. axb5 axb5 22. Bxb5 Qxh3 23. e5 dxe5 24. f5 {This double push is thematic, and the point is to push f5 while excluding the e5 square, not to mention a1-h8 diagonal, from Black's pieces. Whether or not this was White's best plan is another argument altogether.} Ndf6 25. fxg6 {No doubt almost any player would take back without a second's thought, but it is a serious mistake as Black misses a very fine tactical shot pointed out by the engines.} fxg6 $2 (25... Ng4 $1 {was the move, removing Black's all important dark squared bishop. If} 26. gxh7 $2 Nxe3 {puts White on the defensive. The knight is untouchable since} 27. Qxe3 {is met by} Bh6 {and it is curtains.}) 26. Bxc5 Rd8 27. d6 $2 {It is hard to believe this is the beginning of the end, but such is chess, defying apparent logic at times.} ({Instead} 27. Qc2 {was the way to go.} Bg4 28. Be2 {since by trading off the pieces, Black's pressure would seriously diminish and the extra pawn would make itself felt.}) 27... Bg4 28. Rdf1 $2 {A mistake, but the players were already very short of time, and no demands for perfection can be made.} Rdc8 29. Qf2 Bd7 30. Be2 Qe6 31. Bd1 Qc4 32. Ba3 Bh6+ 0-1

If Anatoly Karpov had been expecting or hoping for an easy ride into the finals, facing his surprise opponent, Mariya Muzychuk, he was debunked of this in game one. The Karpov chose the Petroff as Black, but the position went sour on him as he missed his opponent’s chances and she obtained an endgame with a healthy extra pawn. When she let his rook out of its box with 47.Nf3? his sudden rook activity was enough to hold the draw, and they shook hands ten moves later.

It was far from an easy ride, and though Mariya failed to make it to the finals, she gave a star performance

In their second game it was another story altogether. Once more he failed to achieve anything against his less experienced opponent and reach an endgame with only minimal chances to hope for anything. The clocks were down to only a few minutes each, which did nothing to promote optimism, but a repeated blunder by Black, initially missed by Karpov, changed the course of the game. The live commentators were convinced White could not enter the pawn endgame with any chance for a win, but with six minutes left on his clock, Karpov ‘s ineffable instinct sent off alarms and he was suddenly calculating furiously. One minute, two minutes, three minutes, four minutes passed and suddenly he played 44.Nd4! a winning move if he saw the key at the end of the line. The color commentators could not see it, and had no engines to help them, but they correctly concluded that if Karpov had played it, they must be wrong, and there were no two ways about it. In a fantastic flurry, Karpov showed he had seen it, but with so little time left, stumbled at the finish line and now it was going to be a mad queen and pawn endgame. He managed to outsmart Muzychuk, as he pushed forward, and after 50 moves, oscillating between won and drawn, the world champion’s persistence finally paid off as she blundered on move 103 and it was over.

Karpov shakes hands with a deeply disappointed Muzychuk

[Event "2nd Karpov Trophy KO"] [Site "Cap d'Agde FRA"] [Date "2013.11.01"] [Round "1.2"] [White "Karpov, Anatoly"] [Black "Muzychuk, Mariya"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A15"] [WhiteElo "2619"] [BlackElo "2491"] [PlyCount "205"] [EventDate "2013.11.01"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. h4 h6 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bg7 8. d4 c5 9. Be3 Qa5 10. Qd2 Nc6 11. Rc1 cxd4 12. cxd4 Qxd2+ 13. Kxd2 f5 14. e5 Be6 15. Bc4 Bxc4 16. Rxc4 e6 17. Rb1 O-O-O 18. Ke2 Rd5 19. g3 Rhd8 20. Ne1 Bf8 21. Nd3 g5 22. hxg5 hxg5 23. Bxg5 Rxd4 24. Rxc6+ bxc6 25. Bxd8 Rxd8 26. Rh1 Ba3 27. Rh7 Rd7 28. Rxd7 Kxd7 29. Kd2 Be7 30. Kc3 Bd8 31. Kc4 Bb6 32. Nc5+ Ke7 33. f3 Bc7 34. Kd4 Bb6 35. a4 a5 36. Kc4 Bc7 37. Nd3 Bb6 38. g4 fxg4 39. fxg4 Kf7 40. Ne1 Bf2 {This is a blunder that should cost the game, but neither player saw it the first time.} 41. Nf3 Kg6 42. Kd3 (42. Nd4 {was already possible here.}) 42... Bb6 43. Ke4 Bf2 $2 (43... Kh6 {would have held the draw.} 44. Nd4 { achieves nothing after} Kg5 45. Nxe6+ Kxg4 46. Nf8 Kg5 47. Nd7 Bc7 48. e6 Bd6 $11) 44. Nd4 $1 {Now he sees it!} Bxd4 45. Kxd4 Kg5 46. Kc5 Kf4 {This is the key position.} 47. Kb6 $1 {It is true that g5 first was stronger, but this wins also.} ({The key point is to realize that} 47. Kxc6 $4 {leads to nothing after} Kxe5 48. Kb6 Kf4 49. Kxa5 e5 {and it is a draw.}) 47... c5 ({The difference is that now} 47... Kxe5 {is too slow.} 48. g5 Kf5 49. Kxa5 e5 50. Kb4 $1 $18) 48. Kxa5 $2 {Down to a few seconds, Karpov has completely understood the driving ideas to win, but cannot produce the most precise order. Now things are unclear.} (48. g5 $1 {would lead to a winning position.}) 48... Kxe5 49. g5 {Had he played this one move earlier, it would be a walk in the park, but now it does not help.} c4 50. Kb4 Kd4 51. g6 c3 52. g7 c2 53. g8=Q c1=Q 54. Qd8+ Ke4 55. a5 {We will spare you any comments on what wins or does not. With seconds left for each player, it is as much a matter of nerves as it is of ability.} Qb2+ 56. Kc5 Qc3+ 57. Kb5 Qb3+ 58. Kc6 Qc4+ 59. Kb7 Qb5+ 60. Qb6 Qd7+ 61. Qc7 Qb5+ 62. Ka7 Kf5 63. a6 e5 64. Qb6 Qd7+ 65. Kb8 Qe8+ 66. Kc7 Qe7+ 67. Kc6 Qe6+ 68. Kc5 Qe7+ 69. Kc4 Qf7+ 70. Kb4 Qf8+ 71. Ka4 Qe8+ 72. Ka5 e4 73. a7 Qc8 74. Qb5+ Kg4 75. Qd5 Qc3+ 76. Kb5 Qb2+ 77. Kc6 Qf6+ 78. Kc7 Qc3+ 79. Qc6 Qa5+ 80. Kb7 Qb4+ 81. Kc8 Qf8+ 82. Kc7 Qf4+ 83. Qd6 Qc1+ 84. Qc6 Qf4+ 85. Kb6 Qf2+ 86. Qc5 Qb2+ 87. Kc6 Qf6+ 88. Kb7 Qf7+ 89. Kc8 Qe8+ 90. Kc7 Qf7+ 91. Kb6 Qb3+ 92. Qb5 Qa3 93. Qd7+ Kf4 94. Qd5 Qb4+ 95. Kc7 Qe7+ 96. Kb6 Qb4+ 97. Kc6 Qa4+ 98. Kb7 Qb4+ 99. Kc7 Qe7+ 100. Qd7 Qc5+ 101. Kb8 Qb6+ 102. Kc8 Qc5+ 103. Qc7+ 1-0

 

Video of the semifinals (courtesy Europe Echecs)

Pictures and videos by Europe Echecs


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