Medias R8: Carlsen draws (at last), leads by one point

6/22/2010 – For a while there, towards the end of his game against Boris Gelfand, it looked as though the Norwegian super-GM was going to pull off a fifth victory. Actually Magnus Carlsen had escaped from some pressure exerted by his Israeli opponent. Radjabov-Ponomariov ended in a draw, while Wang Yue messed up his white game against Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu and lost. GM commentary.

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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 eight summary

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

The much expected battle between the leader Magnus Carlsen and the second placed Boris Gelfand ended peacefully. The game started with the relatively quiet Queen’s Gambit Declined, then after a small inaccuracy from Black it led to a sharp middlegame where Gelfand developed an initiative, forcing his opponent to play very accurately to keep the balance. Black’s position looked suspicious, but Carlsen was up to the task and even managed to get a slight advantage in the end. After massive simplifications the players agreed to a draw on move 33.

Radjabov got nothing out of the opening in his game versus Ponomariov and quickly decided that his task is to make a draw, which he eventually did.

Wang Yue-Nisipeanu saw the Fianchetto Variation of the King’s Indian. White had some advantage, but Nisipeanu succeeded in exchanging queens and got an equal endgame. Then the Chinese Grandmaster misplayed the position completely and lost in the end.

Thus after eight rounds the standings are: Carlsen is leading with six points, Gelfand five points, Radjabov four, Nisipeanu 3.5, Ponomariov three, Wang Yue 2,5 points. Tomorrow is the second and final rest day. Due to multiple requests (including the participants) another football match between players and journalists will take place during the rest day.

Results of round eight (Tuesday, June 22, 2010)
Gelfand, Boris
Carlsen, Magnus
Radjabov, Teimour
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Wang Yue
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter

Gelfand,Boris - Carlsen,Magnus [D37]
Kings' Tournament Medias Bazna/Romania (8), 22.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

Magnus Carlsen facing Boris Gelfand in the Bazna tournament venue

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7. Magnus shows a mature approach: considering the tournament situation, the Norwegian chooses a solid Queen's Gambit Accepted. 4.Bf4 Nf6 5.e3 0-0 6.Nf3 Nbd7. One of the main moves. Nevertheless the main theoretical direction is 6...c5. 7.c5 c6 8.Bd3 b6 9.b4 a5 10.b5 Bb7. After 10...cxb5 11.c6 White gets a strong passed pawn. In this concrete situation Black can use the fact that the white king is on e1 and continue 11...Bb4 12.Rc1 Ne4 but still the strong c-pawn should secure White better chances after 13.Bxe4 dxe4 14.Nd2. 11.cxb6 Qxb6 12.0-0 Rfc8 13.bxc6 Bxc6 14.Rb1 Qd8 15.Qe2 Ne4 16.Rfc1

It seems that the game will reach a draw without any complications. 16...Ndf6. This move invites Gelfand to start a forced play. 16...Bb4 was objectively better, with equality. 17.Ba6 Ba3. 17...Bb7 18.Bxb7 Nxc3 19.Qc2 favours White; A possible alternative to the game was 17...Nxc3 18.Rxc3 Bb7 19.Rxc8 Bxc8 20.Bd3 Bd7 and Black is only slightly worse. 18.Rc2 Rxa6 19.Qxa6 Ba4 20.Nxa4 Rxc2

After a more or less forced sequence of moves we reach the critical position where in spite of multiple attractive possibilities, there is no clear way for White to achieve advantage. 21.h3. The alternatives were: 21.Qd3 Rc1+ 22.Rxc1 Bxc1 with a small plus for White; Or 21.Ne1 Rc8 22.Nb6 Rc3 23.Qxa5 Bf8 and Black has compensation due to the lack of coordination between white pieces. 21...Bf8 22.Nc5 h6

22...Rxf2 loses due to 23.Nxe6 fxe6 24.Qxe6+ Kh8 25.Rb8. 23.Qa7. 23.a4 Qe7 24.Qxa5 Nxc5 25.dxc5 Qxc5 26.Qxc5 Bxc5 is also not problematic for Black. 23...Bxc5! Both players came to the conclusion that after 23...Nxc5 24.Rb8 Qd7 25.Qa8 Qe7 (Not 25...Nce4? 26.Rxf8+ Kh7 27.Ne5) 26.dxc5 Qxc5 27.Ne5 White's initiative is worth more than a pawn. 24.dxc5 Rxc5 25.Rb8 Rc8 26.Bc7. Here White had a nice way to make a draw, which was objectively the best continuation: 26.Ne5 Rxb8 27.Qxf7+ Kh8 (or 27...Kh7 28.Qg6+) 28.Ng6+ Kh7 29.Bxb8 Qxb8 30.Nf8+ Kh8 31.Ng6+ Kh7=. 26...Qe8 27.Rxc8 Qxc8 28.Bxa5. 28.Qxa5 Ne8 is also slightly better for Black. 28...Qc1+ 29.Be1

29...Nd2! Gelfand considered only 29...Ng5 which is equal after 30.Qb8+ Kh7 31.Nxg5+ hxg5 32.Qb4. 30.Nxd2 Qxe1+ 31.Nf1 Ne4 32.Qb8+ Kh7 33.Qb2. In fact Carlsen could have continued the game with 33.Qb2 Qd1 and White still must play accurately before reaching the draw. But Carlsen didn't think that Black has any advantage and therefore after a relatively long thought he accepted the draw offer. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Wang,Yue - Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter [E67]
Kings' Tournament Medias Bazna/Romania (8), 22.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.b3 Re8

9.d5. Closing the center in this situation looks unusual. And indeed this is a very rare continuation. 9...Nc5. Already a new position, never met in practice before. After 9...a5 10.e4 Nc5 11.Ne1 White can slowly prepare b4 or f4. 10.b4 Nce4 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Bb2 a5 13.a3 Bd7 14.Nd2 Nxd2 15.Qxd2 axb4 16.axb4 Qe7 17.e3 f5 18.Rfc1

18...e4! Black must do something, otherwise White plays c4-c5 with advantage. Nisipeanu's idea is to open the long diagonal in order to exchange queens later on. 19.Bf1 Bxb2 20.Qxb2 Qg7 21.Qb1 Rxa1 22.Qxa1 Qxa1 23.Rxa1 Kf8 24.Ra7 Rb8

The endgame is equal, but Wang Yue makes a mistake. 25.f3?! The start of problems for White. After 25.b5 Ke7 26.Be2 Kf6 27.h4 Ke5 28.Kg2 both sides have no real ways to improve the position. 25...exf3 26.Kf2 c6! A very important resource, using the fact that it is inconvenient for White here to take on c6. 27.Kxf3. 27.dxc6 Bxc6 leaves the pawn on f3 alive. 27...cxd5 28.cxd5 Ke7

Black has an easier game, since his plan is obvious – to come with the king to e5. 29.h4 h6 30.b5 Kf6 31.b6 Ke5 32.Bc4 g5 33.hxg5 hxg5 34.Ke2 Be8 35.Kf3 Bh5+ 36.Kf2 Bd1 37.Ke1 Bf3 38.Kd2 Bg2 [38...Bxd5?? 39.Ra5] 39.Bb3 Bf3 40.Bc4 Bg2 41.Bb3

41...Ke4 42.Ke2. 42.Bc2+ Kf3 43.Bxf5 Kxg3 looks dangerous for White due to the passed g-pawn. Nevertheless after 44.Be6 g4 45.Ra4 Bf3 46.Rf4 it is not so simple for Black to make progress. 42...Bf3+ 43.Kf2. If 43.Kd2 then 43...Bg4 protecting the pawn on f5 and preparing Kf3. 43...g4 44.Ra4+ Kd3 45.Rd4+ Kc3 46.Bd1 Bxd1 47.Rxd1

The endgame is a draw, but Nisipeanu finds a way to make White's task as difficult as possible. 47...Kc4! The king goes to c5. 48.Rd4+. More precise is 48.Ke2 Kc5 49.Rf1 Rf8 (49...Kxb6 50.Rxf5 Kc5 is an extra tempo for White comparing to the game.) 50.Kd2 Kxd5 (50...Kxb6 51.e4 Kc5 52.Ke3 b5 53.exf5 Kxd5 54.Kf4) 51.Rf4 Ke5 52.e4. 48...Kc5 49.Rf4 Kxb6 50.Rxf5 Kc5 51.Ke2 b5 52.Kd2 Ra8

53.Rf4? Most likely this is the losing move. After 53.Rg5 Ra4 54.Kd3 White still should be able to draw without major problems. 53...Ra4! Probably the Chinese GM missed this resource. Since the pawn endgame is clearly lost for White, he must make a concession. 54.e4. 54.Rf8 Kxd5 also looks very unpleasant for White, but at least here the king is not cut on the backrank. 54...Ra2+! 55.Kc1. After 55.Kd3 Ra3+ the g3-pawn falls. 55...Kc4! 56.Rxg4. 56.e5+ loses after 56...Kc3 57.Kb1 Re2 58.exd6 Re1+ 59.Ka2 b4 60.Rxb4 Kxb4 61.d7 Re2+ 62.Kb1 Kb3 63.Kc1 Kc3 64.Kb1 Rb2+ 65.Ka1 Rb8. 56...Kc3 57.Kd1 Rd2+! 58.Ke1 b4. Black is winning. 59.Rg6 b3 60.Rxd6 b2 61.Rb6. After 61.Rc6+ Black wins with 61...Kd4! (but not 61...Kd3 62.Rb6 Rc2 63.d6 Rc1+ 64.Kf2 b1Q 65.Rxb1 Rxb1 66.d7 and here it is White who wins!) 62.Rb6 Rc2. 61...Rd4 62.Rxb2 Kxb2 63.Ke2 Kc3 64.Ke3 Rd1 65.g4

65...Rf1! The last precise move. It is important to keep the white king away from the g-pawn. 66.d6 Kc4. After 66...Kc4 67.d7 the easiest is 67...Rf8 68.d8Q Rxd8 69.Kf4 Kc5 70.Ke5 Rg8 71.Kf5 Kd6. 0-1. [Click to replay]

Radjabov,Teimour - Ponomariov,Ruslan [C55]
Kings' Tournament Medias Bazna/Romania (8), 22.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Bb3 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.h3 a5 9.a3. One of the most famous games of the recent years went 9.a4 Nd4 10.Nxd4 exd4 11.Re1 Ra6! 12.Qh5 Nb4 13.Na3 Rg6 14.Bf4 b6 15.Qf3 Be6 16.Bxe6 fxe6 17.Qe4 Bd6 18.Bxd6 cxd6 19.Qxd4 Qg5 20.g3 Qf5 21.g4 h5 with a decisive attack for Black. Karjakin,S (2723)-Gelfand,B (2758)/Khanty Mansiysk 2009. 9...Nd4 10.Nxd4. Probably better is the previously played 10.Ba2. 10...exd4 11.Re1

White threatens to take on d5 and e7, but... 11...Ra6! This is the manoeuvre from the above mentioned game of Boris Gelfand. According to Radjabov he realized soon that Black has a comfortable play and got disappointed with the opening outcome. 12.Qf3. 12.Bxd5 Qxd5 13.Rxe7 Rg6 leads to a forces draw: 14.f3 Bxh3 15.Re2 Qxf3 16.Qf1 Bxg2 17.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 18.Qxg2 Qd1+ 19.Qf1 Qg4+ 20.Qg2 Qd1+; After 12.Qh5 Black play similarly to the game: 12...Re6. 12...Re6 13.Rxe6 Bxe6 14.Nd2 c6 15.Ne4 a4 16.Bc4 b5 17.Ba2

Black has a slight plus thanks to his space advantage. 17...Nc7 18.Bxe6 Nxe6 19.Ng3! This manoeuvfre of the knight to f5 helps White to keep the balance. 19...Qd5. Otherwise White can develop an initiative on the kingside. 20.Qxd5 cxd5 21.Bd2 Rc8 22.Rc1

The only real weakness in the position is the pawn on c2. But Black can attack it only once with the rook, therefore White has no troubles to maintain equality. 22...g6 23.Ne2 f5 24.g3 Kf7 25.h4 Bf8 26.Kg2 h6 27.f4 Bg7 28.Ng1 Bf6 29.Nf3 Ke7 30.Kf2 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Current standings

Dorian Rogozenco in ChessBase Magazine 136

In his retrospective on the chess highlights of the last two months GM Dorian Rogozenco starts with two highly entertaining games from the European Championship in Rijeka, in both of which White sacrificed his rook on a1 and was able to go on and win the game. Both players of the white pieces (Nisipeanu and Motylev) have annotated these games on the DVD. He also introduces in this first video a strategically impressive victory of both the second and third placed players in the ECh, Baadur Jobava and Artyom Timofeev.
When looking back over the WCh match in the second video Rogozenco casts some light on the critical moments from Sofia. Starting with the two White victories in the first two rounds, then Topalov’s levelling of the match in the third game with the Slav he goes right through to the dramatic final of the last game. Rogozenco takes a critical look at Topalov’s plan in this 12th game, which allowed Anand to decide the match in his favour with the help of the only victory with Black. This meant that there was no need to go into a tiebreak.


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