Medias R6: Carlsen's hat-trick against Ponomariov

6/21/2010 – Two games in round six of this Category 20 Super-GM ended in draws, but the ever astonishing Magnus Carlsen struck out again, for the third time in succession and with the black pieces, this time goading Ruslan Ponomariov into complication which the young Norwegian understood better. His performance so far is 2919, his "live rating" 2821. Commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenco.

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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 six summary

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

In the sixth round Carlsen extended his lead by winning with the black pieces against Ponomariov. Magnus played the sharp King’s Indian Defence and faced some problems in the middlegame. In order to get activity Black decided to sac a pawn, which objectively speaking was a doubtful decision. Ponomariov had many ways to secure clear advantage, but he allowed Carlsen to complicate matters by a further exchange sac. After that in order to keep the advantage White had to play very precisely. However, Ponomariov miscalculated something and missed a double attack, suddenly finding himself in a worse position. The Ukrainian wasn’t able to put up much resistance and Carlsen’s initiative soon became decisive.

The two other games ended in draws, which was the logical outcome of a balanced battle. Gelfand had no problems to equalize with the Vienna Variation against Wang Yue, while Radjabov-Nisipeanu was an entertaining battle in the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, in which Radjabov’s aggressive intentions were accurately neutralized by the Romanian Grandmaster.

Results of round six (Sunday, June 20, 2010)
Radjabov, Teimour
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Carlsen, Magnus
Wang Yue
Gelfand, Boris

Ponomariov,Ruslan - Carlsen,Magnus [E81]
Kings' Tournament Bazna/Romania (6), 20.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3. Ruslan had no reasons to avoid the Samisch Variation. 5...0-0 6.Nge2 Nbd7. In the third round against Ponomariov Radjabov played 6...e5 but failed to equalize. 7.Be3 c5 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3 h5 10.Be2 h4 11.Nf1 e6 12.Nd2 exd5 13.cxd5 Bd7 14.0-0

14...b5. Otherwise it is not easy for Black to get counterplay. However, after this pawn sac Black does not get sufficient compensation. 15.Nxb5 Bxb5 16.Bxb5 Rb8 17.a4 Nh5. After 17...a6 18.Bxa6 Rxb2 19.Rb1 White exchanges Black's most active piece and remains with a a healthy extra pawn. 18.f4! Nd7 19.Qg4 a6

The first critical moment of the game. 20.Bxa6. The simplest practical solution was 20.Bxd7 Nf6 21.Qxh4 Qxd7 22.f5 Rxb2 23.Bg5 with large advantage for White. Also good is 20.Bc6. 20...Rxb2 21.Rab1

21...Rxd2! Magnus felt that this exchange sac is Black's only chance to complicate matters. 22.Bxd2 Bd4+

The second critical position. 23.Rf2? This is actually just a blunder. After 23.Kh1 Black has many tricks, but White is able to defend and keep the advantage. Few variations are: 23...Ndf6 24.Qf3 It is also possible to take the pawn. (24.Qxh4 Nxe4 25.Be1! and White is better. If 25...Kg7 then 26.g4) 24...Ng3+ (doesn't work: 24...Nxe4 25.Qxe4 Ng3+ 26.hxg3 hxg3 27.f5+-) 25.hxg3 hxg3 26.Be1 Nxe4 27.Bxg3 Nxg3+ 28.Qxg3 Kg7 29.Rf2! and although Black still keeps the initiative, it is hardly sufficient to compensate for the missing material. 23...Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Ndf6 25.Qf3 Qe8!

As Ponomariov admitted after the game, he missed this double attack. Black wins back the pawn and remains with a better position. 26.e5 Qxa4 27.exf6 Qxa6 28.Bc3 Qc8. Black had a tactical solution to win White's weak pawns: 28...Qc4 29.f5 Nxf6! 30.Kg1 (30.Bxf6 runs into 30...Qc2+) 30...Ne4 and White is in troubles.

29.Kg1. The last chance for White was 29.f5! Qxf5 30.Qxf5 gxf5 31.Rb6 Rd8 32.Kf3 Rd7 33.Rb8+ Kh7 34.g4 hxg3 35.hxg3 and the activity of white pieces would have secured good chances to escape with a draw. 29...Qf5 30.Rf1 Re8 31.Ba1 Ra8 32.Qe3 Kh7 33.Bb2 Rb8 34.Bc1 Rb1

After Black activated the rook he is winning. 35.Qe8 Qxd5 36.f5 gxf5 37.Qe3 Qd4 38.Qxd4 cxd4 39.Bg5 Rxf1+ 40.Kxf1 h3! 41.gxh3. 41.g3 Kg6 changes nothing, of course. 41...Kg6 42.Bh4 Nf4 43.Bg3 Kg5 44.Bf2 Ne6 45.Ke2 f4 46.Kf3 d3 47.h4+ Kf5 48.Bb6 Nc5 49.h5 d2 50.Ke2 Ne4 0-1. [Click to replay]

Radjabov,Teimour - Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter [D27]
Kings' Tournament Medias Bazna/Romania (6), 20.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.Bd3 Nbd7 8.Re1 b5 9.a4 bxa4 10.Rxa4. A new move [Previously White fought for advantage with 10.e4. 10...cxd4 11.Rxd4!? 11.exd4 Bb7 is equal. 11...Bb7 12.Nc3 Bc5

13.Rh4. A double-edged plan. The rook is certainly active if Black castles short, but Nisipeanu showed that White might end up with the rook out of the play. 13...Be7 14.Qe2 Nd5 15.Rh3 Nxc3 16.bxc3 Qc7 17.e4 Nc5. Certainly not 17...Qxc3? 18.Bb2 Qc7 19.Bxg7. 18.Bc2 e5 19.Rh5 Bf6 20.Ng5. After 20.Bg5 Bxg5 21.Nxg5 h6 22.Nf3 f6 23.Nh4 0-0 Black's position is at least not worse. 20...h6 21.Nf3 Bc8 22.h3 Be6 23.g4

23...g5! Now the rook on h5 is in real danger. Black has several ways to attack it, for instance Bg7, Nd7-f6, or the plan from the game. White needs to be very creative to keep the balance and Radjabov manages to do so. 24.Rd1 Bd7 25.Rd5! Ne6. The threat is 26...Ng7. 26.Qd1. 26.h4 Qxc3 27.hxg5 hxg5 28.Rxh8+ Bxh8 29.Bxg5=. 26...Bb5. 26...Ng7?? runs into 27.Rxd7 Qxd7 28.Ba4. 27.h4 Qxc3. After 27...Ng7 28.hxg5 Nxh5 29.gxf6 Nxf6 30.Rxe5+ Kf8 31.g5 White has a strong initiative. 28.hxg5 hxg5 29.Rxh8+ Bxh8 30.Bxg5

Being in mutual time-trouble both players agreed to a draw. The position is of course complicated and a lot of play is still possible, but objectively the position is indeed about equal. Perhaps it was slightly easier to play with Black after 30.Bxg5 Nxg5 31.Nxg5 Bf6 32.Nf3 Rd8. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Wang,Yue - Gelfand,Boris [D39]
Kings' Tournament Medias Bazna/Romania (6), 20.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bg5 c5 7.Bxc4 cxd4 8.Nxd4

8...Qa5. Gelfand chooses a variation, which he himself faced with the White pieces before. The main line goes 8...Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qa5. 9.Bd2 Qc5 10.Bb5+ Bd7 11.Nb3 Qe7. As Wang Yue recognized after the game, he didn't know much theory here. Actually it is very difficult for White to get an advantage in this line. 12.Bd3 Nc6 13.a3 Bd6 14.0-0. Gelfand played 14.Be3 a6 15.0-0 0-0 16.f4 e5 17.f5 Nd4 18.Nxd4 exd4 19.Bxd4 Bc5 20.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 21.Kh1 Bc6 22.Qf3 Rfe8 23.Qg3 Rad8 1/2-1/2 Gelfand,B (2695)-Tkachiev,V (2615)/Groningen 1997. 14...0-0

The position is equal. White's main problem is the misplaced knight on b3. 15.f4. 15.Bg5 h6 16.Bh4 Bf4=. 15...e5 16.f5. 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 Nd4 18.Nxd4 exd4=. 16...Nd4 17.Bg5 Bc6 18.Bc4

18...Qd8! This queen retreat solves the problem of the pin - Black prepares Bd6-e7. 19.Nd5 Bxd5 20.Bxd5 Be7 21.Bxf6 Bxf6. The opposite-coloured bishops will soon lead to inevitable draw. 22.Kh1 Rc8 23.Rc1 Qb6 24.Rc3 Rxc3 25.bxc3 Nxb3 26.Bxb3 Qe3 27.Qf3 Qxf3 28.Rxf3 Rc8 29.a4 Rc5 30.g3 Kf8 31.Rd3 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

The audience at the Medias Category 20 Super-GM tournament

Current standings

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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