Medias R5: Carlsen strikes again, leads the field

6/20/2010 – It's not easy being the hot favourite in a Category 20 tournament – anything but clear victory would be considered a sensation. Well, top seed Magnus Carlsen has set to work. After three draws he has won two games in a row and leads the field ahead of Radjabov and Gelfand. On the free day there was a soccer match. Pictures and GM commentary of round five.

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ROMGAZ and the Chess Club Society "Elisabeta Polihroniade” of Bucharest are staging a double round robin tournament with six top GMs: the world's highest ranked player, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who at the age of 19 has an Elo rating of 2813. Ukrainian GM Ruslan Ponomariov is a former FIDE knockout world champion; Boris Gelfand of Israel, winner of the FIDE World Cup in 2009; the top Chinese player Wang Yue; Teimour Radjabov, the second highest ranked player of Azerbaijan, and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, the best Romanian player. The competition is taking place from June 14th to 25th 2010 in Medias, Romania.

Round five summary

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

The most entertaining game of round five was Carlsen’s win with the black pieces against Dieter Nisipeanu. The Norwegian played the Sicilian Dragon and surprised his opponent with a rare line. Nisipeanu got somewhat overoptimistic about his position and when the Romanian Grandmaster realized that he evaluated it wrongly, it was already too late. Carlsen developed the initiative and finished the game on move 31 in his favour.

Ponomariov played the Ragozin Variation against Gelfand, but the ex-FIDE World Champion mixed up something and ended up quickly in a worse endgame. Then the Ukrainian immediately blundered a pawn and after less than just 20 moves the game was practically over.

Wang Yue-Radjabov saw the Fianchetto Variation of the Gruenfeld Indian. The Chinese player managed to get a plus, but he rushed things a bit and allowed Radjabov to use the tactics in order to simplify the position. The resulting endgame was equal and the players repeated moves, agreeing to a draw on move 41.

Thus after the first half of the tournament Carlsen is leading with 3.5 points out of 5, followed by Radjabov and Gelfand, both with 3 points.

Results of round five (Saturday, June 19, 2010)
Gelfand, Boris
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter
Carlsen, Magnus
Wang Yue
Radjabov, Teimour

Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter - Carlsen,Magnus [B76]
Kings' Tournament/Turneul Regilor Medias Bazna/Romania (5), 19.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

With OJ and ideas: Magnus Carlsen in his round five game against Nisipeanu

Facing the Dragon – the chess opening, not the fire-breathing Norwegian

Everybody (including Wang Yue right) is interested in this key game

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 d5

This is one of the most critical positions of the Sicilian Dragon. White hopes that after possible simplifications a better control in the center will secure him an edge. 10.Kb1 Rb8. Black prepares himself for an eventual exchange on c6, which would open the b-file and will leave the rook ideally placed on b8. The main line goes 10...Nxd4 11.e5! which happened for instance in the game Nisipeanu-Radjabov, Kings Tournament 2009. 11.Ndb5. It is very likely that after the present game the White players will look for advantage in other lines, perhaps after moves like 11.Be2; or 11.h4 h5 12.Be2. 11...a6 12.Na7. The knight on a7 looks somewhat misplaced, but all this is theory and up to the present game it was considered that White's prospects are slightly preferable. 12...e6 13.g4. The alternative is 13.exd5 but it seems that both 13...exd5 and 13...Nxd5 offer Black a reasonable game.

13...Re8! Just like on move ten, Black makes another "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg". This continuation came unexpected for Nisipeanu, who started to use lots of time. Black's idea is to place ideally his pieces for the opening of the position. And indeed it is far from easy for White to find a good plan. The usual continuation is 13...Qc7. 14.g5 Nh5. Strictly speaking, only this move is new, but already 13...Re8 is almost unexplored. In a blitz game between two GMs Black played once the very weak 14...Nd7 and after 15.exd5 exd5 16.Nxd5 Nde5 17.Bb6 Qd7 18.f4 Nf3 19.Qf2 Nfd4 20.Bc4 Black could already resign in Balogh,C (2616)-Fier,A (2581)/Beijing (blitz) 2008.

The first critical moment. 15.Bf2. This apparently logical continuation removing the bishop from the e-file has a serious drawback – it leaves the problem of the knight on a7. Since his main concern should be the stuck knight, White had to consider 15.Nxc8 d4 (weaker is 15...Rxc8 16.exd5 exd5 17.Nxd5) 16.Bf2 Rxc8 17.Ne2 and although Black solved all opening problems, White has a normal position. 15...Bd7! 16.exd5 exd5

The second critical moment and practically the decisive moment of the game. Unfortunately for Nisipeanu, he was still thinking that White is better and didn't realize the danger of the position. 17.Qxd5? Necessary was 17.Nxd5 Be6 18.c4 and at least White is not falling apart: (not 18.Nxc6 bxc6 19.Nb6 Bd5!) 18...Bf5+ 19.Ka1 (Again the alternative 19.Bd3 is bad, because of the simple 19...Bxd3+ 20.Qxd3 Qxg5) 19...Ra8 20.Nxc6 bxc6 21.Nc3 even if after for instance 21...Qa5 Black has a more pleasant play. 17...Ne5 18.Qb3. Losing the g5-pawn is fatal for White. More stubborn was 18.h4 Be6 19.Qc5 Nd7 20.Qb4. 18...Qxg5

The material became equal, but White remained with the knight on a7. Besides, his kingside pawn structure is horrible. So basically the game is over. 19.Ne4 Qf4 20.Be2 Be6 21.Qa3 Nc4 22.Bxc4 Bxc4 23.Nd6 Bf8 24.Rd4 Qe5. 24...Qg5 with the idea 25.Rxc4 Qg2! was also strong. 25.Rxc4 Bxd6. Even quicker was 25...Qe2 26.Qc3 (or 26.Qd3 Qxf2 27.Nxe8 Rxe8 28.Rd4 Nf4 29.Qd2 Ne2) 26...Bxd6 27.Bd4 Bxh2. 26.Qd3 Bf8! On top of all, Nisipeanu was in severe time trouble. 27.a4 Rbd8 28.Qb3 Qd5 29.Rc3 Qd2 30.Be3. The last chance for a longer resistance was 30.Rc7. 30...Qe2 31.Bb6 Rd1+

White resigned in view of 31...Rd1+ 32.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 33.Ka2 Re1 34.Qc4 Qa1+ 35.Kb3 Rb1. 0-1. [Click to replay]

Magnus and Liviu-Dieter after the game

Gelfand,Boris - Ponomariov,Ruslan [D38]
Kings' Tournament/Turneul Regilor Medias Bazna/Romania (5), 19.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e3 c5 8.cxd5 exd5

9.Be2. This quiet move caught Ponomariov by surprise. More often White plays 9.Rc1 or 9.Bb5+. 9...cxd4. Already this might be inaccurate. 9...Nc6 leaves Black with better chances to equalize. 10.Qxd4 Qxd4. After the game Ponomariov suggested 10...Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Nc6 12.Qxf6 gxf6 as a possible improvement for Black. White is slightly better, but it is hard for him to use Black's pawn weaknesses. 11.Nxd4 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 Ke7 13.Bf3 Rd8 14.Rb1!

White has an advantage, as it is more difficult for Black to complete development as it may seem at the beginning. Notice that White already threatens to win a pawn with 15.Rb5. Probably Black should play here 14...Na6, which was actually met in one game before, although after 15.Ke2 Black still must struggle for a draw. 14...b6? An unfortunate novelty. 15.c4! Bb7 16.Rd1 Kf8 17.cxd5 Nd7. Loses a piece after 17...Bxd5 18.Nf5 (most other moves of the knight also win a piece). 18.e4 Rac8 19.Be2 Nc5 20.f3

White is a pawn up – and what a pawn: the passer on d5! The rest is a matter of pure technique, especially for such a high-class player like Gelfand. 20...Na4 21.Kf2 Nc3 22.Rd2 Nxe2 23.Kxe2 Rc4 24.Ke3 g6 25.Rb1 Rdc8 26.Nb5 Ra4 27.Rbb2 Ke7 28.Rdc2 Ra5 29.Nd4 Kd6 30.Kf4 Rxc2 31.Rxc2 f5 32.h4 fxe4 33.fxe4 a6 34.h5 Ra4 35.Rd2 gxh5 36.Nf5+ Kd7 37.Ke5 b5 38.Nd6 1-0. [Click to replay]

You still got a thing or two to learn, kiddo – Ponomariov and Gelfand after their game

Wang,Yue - Radjabov,Teimour [D79]
Kings' Tournament/Turneul Regilor Medias Bazna/Romania (5), 19.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 c6 5.Bg2 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.d4 0-0 8.Ne5 e6 9.0-0 Nfd7 10.Nf3 Nf6 11.Bf4 Nc6 12.Rc1

12...Bd7. Another way to fight for equality is 12...Ne4. 13.Bd6 Re8 14.e3 Bf8 15.Bxf8 Rxf8 16.Ne5 Rc8 17.Qe2 Qe7

White is slightly better because of two factors: his knight is active on e5 and the black bishop is passive on d7. A big virtuoso to play such positions was Anatoly Karpov, but objectively speaking it is more difficult for White here to win than for Black to make a draw. 18.f4 h5 19.h3 Kg7 20.Bf3 Rh8 21.Kg2 a6 22.Rh1 Rh7 23.Qd2 Rhh8. Since there is no much Black can do, Radjabov wisely decided to wait for the moment. 24.g4. This suddenly allows Black to simplify the position. Radjabov would have had to solve bigger problems after 24.Qf2 Rh7 25.g4 hxg4 26.hxg4 Rxh1 27.Rxh1 Rh8 28.Rxh8 Kxh8 29.g5 Ne8 30.e4 dxe4 31.Nxe4. 24...hxg4 25.hxg4

25...Nxe5! 26.dxe5 Ne4! With this move Radjabov shows one of his greatest skills – to feel the right moment for concrete actions. Having less space it is vital for Black to exchange his knight. 27.Bxe4. After 27.Nxe4 dxe4 28.Bxe4 Black plays 28...Rxc1 29.Qxc1 (29.Rxc1 Qh4; 29.Rxh8 Rc4 30.Bd3 Rxf4 31.exf4 Bc6+ 32.Kg3 Kxh8=) 29...Rxh1 30.Qxh1 (30.Kxh1 Qh4+) 30...Qb4 31.Qb1 Qd2+ 32.Kf3 Qh2 winning back the pawn, with equality. 27...dxe4 28.Kg3. Certainly not 28.Nxe4? Rxc1 29.Qxc1 Bc6. 28...Bc6 29.Qd6 Qxd6. Wrong is 29...Rce8 30.Qxe7 Rxe7 31.Rxh8 Kxh8 32.Rd1 followed by Rd4. 30.exd6 Rxh1 31.Rxh1 Rd8 32.Rd1

At the first sight the endgame looks better for White thanks to his potential superiority of the knight versus the bishop in such a structure, but in reality Black is out of danger, since the pawn on d6 is rather weak and there are no ways to penetrate into Black's camp. 32...f5. Another way is to simply play 32...Rd7 33.g5 Rd8 34.b4 b5 and wait. There is little White can do to improve his position. 33.b4 b5 34.a3 Kf7 35.Ne2. Wang Yue decides to sac the pawn on d6 in order to transfer the knight to c5. The position still remains equal. 35...Bd5 36.Nd4 Rxd6 37.Nb3 Rd8 38.Nc5 Kf6

39.Rh1. If 39.g5+ Kf7 40.Ra1 then 40...Bc4 41.a4 bxa4 42.Rxa4 Rd2 43.Nxa6 Re2 and White is suddenly facing the risk of losing. 39...Kg7 40.Rd1 Kf6 41.Rh1 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Current standings

Soccer match players vs journalists

A soccer game: players and dignitaries vs journalists

Journalists on the attack in front of the players' goal – and no annoying vuvuzevas!

One of the assets of the Players' team: Faik Gasanov,
Azeri IM, arbiter, coach, organiser, who is 71 years old

Watch Faik run – it's probably yak's milk or something in Azerbaijan

Romanian GM Liviu-Dieter in full action...

... and with a commemorative shirt from the sponsor

The tournament leader gets his as well

Dorian Rogozenco in ChessBase Magazine 135

In his first video survey GM Dorian Rogozenco looks back over the two great top tournaments in Wijk an Zee and Linares. He pays particular attention to two games of Shirov’s, which are good examples of his always sharp but in the long run not always lucky play in Wijk. At the same time Rogozenco characterises the differences between the performance of the two WCh protagonists Anand and Topalov. Unlike his future opponent in Wijk, the Bulgarian not infrequently took risks in Linares and was rewarded with victory in the tournament. Rogozenco cites as an example Topalov’s up-and-down victory over Grischuk. 
In the second video Rogozenco presents the surprising victors of the Moscow and Aeroflot Opens. As yet unknown in the West, it was the Russian GM Chernyshov who, due to a greater number of victories, won in Moscow ahead of Bareev, Inarkiev and Le Quang Liem. The Vietnamese GM did not only manage a shared first place in the Moscow Open, but he also went on to win the Aeroflot-Open. At the end of his video, Rogozenco takes a look at the latest situation chess Bundesliga and at Werder Bremen’s victory over OSG Baden-Baden. 


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