Linares R12: Morozevich and Svidler win with black

3/8/2007 – Peter Svidler defeated the luckless Peter Leko for his first win in this tournament. Since he hadn't lost any games either it moved him to third place. Alexander Morozevich beat Vassily Ivanchuk to join him at places 6-7. Magnus Carlsen held Veselin Topalov and his second place. Anand still leads with half a point. Full report with analysis and video.

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Round twelve

Round 12: Wednesday, March 7th

Peter Leko 
0-1
 Peter Svidler
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
 Alex. Morozevich
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Levon Aronian

Round 13: Friday, March 9th

Vishy Anand 
-
 Peter Leko
Levon Aronian 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Alex. Morozevich 
-
 Veselin Topalov
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Peter Svidler
GamesReport

Standings after twelve rounds

Linares, Spain


Linares on a nice, warm, spring morning (shucks to you, northern Europe)


Oranges in full bloom (shucks to you, northern regions of America)


Spectators following the games in the lobby of the hotel


The setup in the playing hall with four boards in a row

Commentary by GM Mihail Marin

The following express commentary was provided by Romanian GM 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 Morelia/Linares tournament in greater detail and provide the full results of his analysis in the next issue of ChessBase Magazine.

Topalov,V (2783) - Carlsen,M (2690) [A30]
XXIV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (12), 07.03.2007 [Mihail Marin]
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.0-0 e6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Re1 d5 8.d4. The other possible move order is 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.e4 . Topalov probably wanted to avoid 9...Nb4 (9...Nxc3 10.bxc3 0-0 11.d4 leads to one of the main lines of the system based on Re1, which is considered to favour White.) 10.d4 cxd4 11.Nxd4 N8c6 with simplifications. 8...dxc4. Carlsen has no intention to transpose to the aforementioned line with 8...0-0 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.e4. 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Qa4+ Nbd7 11.Qxc4 0-0 12.Rd1 Rc8

The positio is characteristic for the Catalan Defence. Black has a normal development and White's main hopes are connected with the relative weakness of the c6-square. 13.Qh4 A typical manoeuvre. White puts up some pressure on the enemy kingside. 13...Be7 14.Qh3. But this way of transferring the queen to the long diagonal is quite original. 14...Qe8 15.Nd4 Bxg2 16.Qxg2 Ne5. A curious alignment of all knights on the long dark diagonal. From practical point of view, it is more important that the chances for the occupation of the c6-square are about equal. 17.Qb7 Bc5 18.Bg5 Nfg4 19.h3

19...Nc6! 20.hxg4. In case of 20.Nxc6 Black should refrain from delivering check with 20...Bxf2+, which just loses material to the calm 21.Kg2 and play 20...Nxf2! , when too many of White's pieces are hanging (the c6-knight, the g5-bishop, the d1-rook). 20...Bxd4 21.Nb5 Rb8 22.Qc7 Rc8. Black has no time to capture the b-pawn with 22...Bxb2 because of 23.Nd6 , trapping the queen. 23.Qb7. The main adherent to the Sofia rule cannot do anything against a peaceful end of the game before the 30th move. 23.Qd6 would be bad because, once the d6-square is occupied, Black could play 23...Bxb2 already. The other queen retreat, 23.Qf4 leaves the bishop trapped after 23...f6. 23...Rb8 24.Qc7 Rc8 25.Qb7 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Still in second place: Magnus Carlsen

Anand,V (2779) - Aronian,L (2744) [C88]
XXIV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (12), 07.03.2007 [Mihail Marin]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.Nf1 Bc8

A peaceful variation, showing that Anand is not completely unhappy with his tournament situation. 14.Bg5 Ne8 15.Bd2 Be6 16.Bxe6 fxe6 17.b4 a5 18.c3 axb4 19.axb4 Rxa1 20.Qxa1 Nc7 21.Ne3 Qd7 22.Qb2 Ra8 23.Ra1 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Vishy Anand, leading in this event


Levon Aronian, who won it last year


Analysing after the game is over

Leko,P (2749) - Svidler,P (2728) [B90]
XXIV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (12), 07.03.2007 [Mihail Marin]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.f3 Be6 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0

10...a5!? A very aggressive move, questioning the stability of White's queenside. It might seem that Black neglects his development, by moving a marginal pawn while the queen's knight is still on its initial square. However, the rook gets a chance to get activated without making a single move. 11.Qe1 One of the many possible moves. Leko does not intend to weaken his queenside with 11.a4. 11...Qc8. 11...a4 is premature because of 12.Nc5. 12.a3. A novelty. White usually blocks the a5-pawn with 12.a4 . Leko has a different plan: he allows allows the enemy pawn to cross the middle of the board, hoping that it would become weak. 12...a4 13.Nd2 Nbd7 14.Kb1 Rd8 15.Bb5 d5

Taking advantage of the slightly unnatural placement of White's pieces, Black carries out this thematical break, which will yield him an advantage of space in the centre. 16.exd5 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 Bxd5 18.Qe2 Qc7 19.Ne4 Be6 20.Nc3 Nb6 21.Rxd8+ Rxd8 22.Nxa4. Up to this point, Leko's judgement has been justified: he has won the a4-pawn, indeed. However, Black's activity offers him entirely adequate compensation. 22...Nc4 23.Bxc4 Bxc4 24.Qf2 Qc6 25.Nb6 Be6 26.Qe2 f5

This mobile pawn tandem will cause White no lesser trouble than in the game Leko-Topalov, played just a couple of days earlier. This time, the strong pair of bishops adds force to Black's initiative, while White's queenside progress is limited to a minimal material gain. 27.Re1 Bf6 28.g3 h6 29.Bf2 e4 30.fxe4 fxe4. This pawn is taboo because of the weakness of the first rank. Now that both black bishops are targetting the poorly defended enemy king, White is in real trouble. It should be also mentioned that the beautifully placed knight is in fact completely out of play. 31.a4 Qd6

32.c4? Shortening White's suffering. The only way to prevent the deadly threat ...Qb4 was 32.c3 . However, after 32...Qd3+ 33.Qxd3 exd3 the d-pawn would have been very hard to stop. 34.Be3 . The only way to maintain White in the game. 34...Bg5 35.Bxg5 hxg5 36.Rd1 (Another form of giving up the exchange would be 36.Rxe6 d2 37.Re8+ Rxe8 38.Kc2 with chances for survival.) 36...Bb3 White is best adviced to defend his rook with the king, because 37.Rd2? would lead to mate after 37...Re8. 32...Qb4. The threat ...Rd2 is impossible to meet in adequate way. White is just lost. 33.Nd5 Bxd5 34.cxd5 Rxd5 35.Qc2 Rd2 36.Qc8+ Kf7 0-1. [Click to replay]

Ivanchuk,V (2750) - Morozevich,A (2741) [C45]
XXIV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (12), 07.03.2007 [Mihail Marin]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nb3. This is the old main line. In recent years, the main theoretical discussion has been held in the lines starting with 5.Be3 Qf6 6.c3; or 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qd2 dxc6. 5...Bb6 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 d6 9.Qe2

9...0-0. The game between the players who showed the most entertaining play in this tournament so far promisses to become interesting from an early stage already. Black opts for an opposite castles position, instead of the habitual 9...Be6 followed by long castle. 10.0-0-0 Re8 11.f3 Be6 12.Kb1 a5. A lucky move for Black in this 12th round. It eventually yielded Svidler a win in his game against Leko. 13.Bf2. Allowing the enemy pawn to advanced unhindered is probably not a good idea. Something like 13.Na4 Ba7 14.Qe1 , preventing Black's plan but avoiding pawn weaknesses such as a2-a4, might have been safer. 13...a4

14.Nc5. Unlike Svidler, Morozevich allows this knight jump. Given the fact that we have a different pawn structure, such comparisons have a purely formal character. 14...a3 15.Nxe6 Rxe6 16.Bxb6 cxb6 17.Qd2. Ivanchuk probably thought that once it will reach b2, the black a-pawn will be... the best defender of the white king. The main alternative was 17.b3 but then White would have been under permanent danger of getting mated on b2. A possible continuation would be 17...d5 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.Rxd5 Qf6 , when White's lack of development and the weakness of the dark squares from his camp would become noticeable. 17...axb2 18.Bc4 Re5. A nice way to activate the rook. With his king in a safer situation than White's, Black has excellent play. 19.Bb3. White's lack of stability on the queenside can be felt inthe line 19.Qxd6?! Qxd6 20.Rxd6 Rc5 when Black wins material. 19...Rc5 20.Na4 Rca5 21.Nc3. A curious decision. White throws away two whole tempi. Ivanchuk probably intended to play 21.Nxb2 but then changed his mind. 21...Ne8 22.Nd5 Ne5 23.Qd4 Nd7 24.Rd2 Nc5 25.Rhd1 Nxb3 26.axb3 Nc7 27.Nxc7 Qxc7 28.Qxb2 b5. Can you guess where this double pawn is going to? 29.Rxd6 b4

Suddenly, the threat ...Qc3 followed by mate on a1 gets contour. 30.Rd7. White has to hurry preventing Black's plans. He had no time to bring his kingside pawns into safety with moves such as 30.g3 because of 30...Kh7!! when the threats ...Qc3 or ...Ra3 followed by ...Qa5 would have been impossible to meet in adequate way. The immediate 30...Qc3 would be bad because of the exchange of one pair of rooks with 31.Rd8+. 30...Qxh2 31.Rxb7 Qxg2 32.Rxb4 Qxf3 33.Rbd4 Kh7. Everything is ready for the advance of the h-pawn now. With his queen very passively laced, White can hardly react. 34.b4. This will not end up in a pawn race, but weaken the position of the king only. 34...Ra4 35.e5 Qe2 36.R4d3 h5 37.b5? Ra1+! 38.Qxa1 Rxa1+ 39.Kxa1 Qxe5+

After the loss of the b5-pawn, White will not be able to oppose anything to the advancing black pawns. 0-1. [Click to replay]


Alexander Morozovich, who scored a second win (with three losses) in this event

Photos and video by Nadja Woisin

Schedule

Round 8: Friday, March 2nd

Peter Leko 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Alex. Morozevich 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen

Round 9: Saturday, March 3rd

Alex. Morozevich 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk

Round 10: Sunday, March 4th

Peter Leko 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Vishy Anand 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Alex. Morozevich
Free day: Monday, March 5th

Round 11: Tuesday, March 6th

Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Alex. Morozevich 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Peter Svidler 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov

Round 12: Wednesday, March 7th

Peter Leko 
0-1
 Peter Svidler
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
 Alex. Morozevich
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Free day: Thursday, March 8th

Round 13: Friday, March 9th

Vishy Anand 
-
 Peter Leko
Levon Aronian 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Alex. Morozevich 
-
 Veselin Topalov
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Peter Svidler
GamesReport

Round 14: Saturday, March 10th

Peter Leko  
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Peter Svidler 
-
 Alex. Morozevich
Veselin Topalov 
-
 Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Vishy Anand
Games Report
Closing Ceremony

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