Morelia 07: Fighting chess pleased the organisers

2/24/2008 – The Morelia part of the tournament has finished, the players need a good rest. Fighting hard in every game is not an easy job. In the last games due to tiredness many players performed below their usual level. On the other hand chess professionals must get used to play every game until the end and I hope we'll see this tendency in the Linares part as well. GM Dorian Rogozenko analyses.

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Morelia-Linares 2008

The following express commentary was provided by Grandmaster Dorian Rogozenko, who is the author of a number of very popular ChessBase training CDs and articles for ChessBase Magazine. GM Rogozenko will study the games of the World Championship tournament in much greater detail and provide the full results of his analysis in the next issue of ChessBase Magazine.

Round seven commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenko

Round 7: Saturday, February 23rd

Vishy Anand 
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Alexei Shirov 
 Teimour Radjabov
Magnus Carlsen 
 Levon Aronian
Peter Leko 
 Veselin Topalov

Leko,P (2753) - Topalov,V (2780) [B90]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (7), 23.02.2008

Leko had a tough finish in Morelia: yesterday's draw took him a lot of energy and today he lost a position that normally he should not lose. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6. The Najdorf Sicilian suits Topalov much better than the Berlin Defense, which he played in the second round against Radjabov. 6.Be3 e6 7.f3 b5 8.Qd2 b4. A variation deeply prepared by Veselin for the 2005 World Championship tournament. Since then it became highly popular and both players contributed a lot to its theory development. It must be mentioned that Topalov achieved several memorable victories with this variation in the past two years, including wins against Anand, Kramnik and ... Leko. 9.Na4 Nbd7.

10.c4. Anand's move, never used by Leko before. 10.Qxb4 allows 10...d5 and Black wins back a central pawn.; When faced for the first time with the this variation, Peter continued 10.0-0-0 and got a very promising position after 10...d5 11.exd5 Nxd5 12.Bc4 N7f6 13.Bg5 Qc7 14.Bxd5 Nxd5 15.Rhe1 but misplayed it and lost, Leko,P (2763)-Topalov,V (2788)/San Luis 2005. However, Black has at his disposal the sharp 10...Qa5 11.b3 Bb7 12.a3 Qc7, which leads to favourable for him complications.; Later Leko switched to 10.Bc4. 10...bxc3 11.Nxc3 Bb7 12.Be2 Be7. In 2006 Topalov won against Anand after 12...d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 15.0-0 Qb8 16.Nf5 Qe5 17.Ng3 Bb4! but later Morozevich discovered that Black faces problems after 15.Rc1! 13.0-0 0-0 14.Rac1 Qb8 15.Rfd1 Rd8. An important move. After the immediate 15...d5 White achieves advantage with 16.exd5 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 Bxd5 18.Nc6.

Apparently both players wanted to achieve this position. White seems to have more space and therefore some pressure, but Black inevitably advances d5 next and should have no problems whatsoever. 16.Kh1 This new move changes little: Black has a comfortable play. 16.Bf2 was met once before, after which Black can continue 16...d5 17.Bg3 Bd6. 16...d5 17.exd5 Nxd5 18.Nxd5 Bxd5 19.Bc4. Now 19.Nc6 is no longer attractive for White due to 19...Bxc6 20.Rxc6 Ne5 and after the forced 21.Rb6 Qc8 22.Qc1 Rxd1+ 23.Qxd1 Nc4 24.Bxc4 Qxc4 it is Black who has some initiative. 19...Nf6 20.Qe2 Qb7 21.b3 h6

The position is completely equal. In the next part both sides try to improve their pieces. 22.Bf2 Rd7 23.Rc2 Bxc4 24.Rxc4 Rad8 25.Rf1. Peter must have rejected 25.Rdc1 in view of 25...Ba3] 25...Rd6 26.Qc2 Bf8 27.Nc6 Re8 White made some progress: the strong knight on c6 gives him hopes for advantage. Nevertheless Black keeps sufficient activity in the center and it is easy to overestimate White's achievements. 28.b4 [More cautious is 28.Re1 when Black can continue 28...Rd5 preparing again the advance of the e-pawn. 28...e5 29.Na5. Leko's intention is to exchange bishops, but placing the knight on the edge is an indication that things can easily go wrong for White. 29...Qb5 30.Bc5 Rd5 31.Bxf8 Rxf8 32.Re1. 32.Nc6 Re8 33.a4 Qb6 34.Re1=. 32...Rfd8 33.Nb3. Again possible was 33.Nc6.

33...Rd1! This is an unpleasant surprise for White, who in order to hold the position suddenly must solve concrete problems and react very precisely. With little time Leko got confused and went for the wrong variation. 34.Qxd1. Correct is 34.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 35.Qxd1 Qxc4 36.Qc1! (Not 36.Qe1 Nd5! 37.h3 f6 and Black wins the pawn b4) 36...Qxb4 37.Qc8+ Kh7 (37...Qf8 38.Qxa6) 38.Qf5+ g6 39.Qxe5 Square e1 is under control, so White will easily make a draw. 34...Rxd1 35.Rc8+ Kh7 36.Rxd1 e4

Black builds a direct attack against the king and White's situation is difficult. Each mistake is fatal and loses at once. And this is exactly what happened. 37.fxe4? The only way to put some esistance was 37.Rc3 Qxb4 38.Re3 exf3 39.Rxf3. 37...Ng4! A precise move that wins immediately. Much stronger than 37...Nxe4 38.Rc2. 38.Rc5. After 38.Rc2 the quickest win is 38...Qe5. 38...Qb8! 0-1. [Click to replay]

Anand,V (2799) - Ivanchuk,V (2751) [B47]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (7), 23.02.2008

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 a6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Be3 Be7 9.f4 d6 10.a4 0-0 11.Kh1 Re8 12.Bf3 Rb8 13.Qd2 Bd7 14.Nb3 b6

The game transposed into the so-called Scheveningen variation. More than two decades ago its expert Gary Kasparov succeeded proving the vitality of Black's position against the biggest specialist with the white pieces, Anatoly Karpov. As a result of their duel in this type of positions Karpov switched to 1.d4. Meanwhile the theory of this variation developed a lot and there are plenty of nuances for both sides. 15.g4. Ivanchuk and Anand have already played this position, but with reversed colours! 15.Rae1 Bc8 16.e5 dxe5 17.Bxc6 Qxc6 18.fxe5 Nd5 19.Qf2 Rf8 20.Nxd5 Qxd5 21.Bxb6 Bb7 22.Bc5 Bh4 23.Qe2 Rfc8 24.Rd1 Qe4 25.Qxe4 Bxe4 Ivanchuk,V (2719)-Anand,V (2762)/Shenyang 2000. Although Vishy won that game, he mentioned that (in the bus to the hotel (!) Ivanchuk found advantage for White: 23.Qg1 instead of 23.Qe2...; On the white side the Ukrainian also had experience against Kasparov: 15.Qf2 Nb4 16.Nd4 e5 17.Nf5 Bxf5 18.exf5 e4 19.Nxe4 Qxc2 20.Rfc1 Qxf2 21.Nxf2 d5 22.Bd2 a5 23.g3 Bc5 24.Bxb4 Bxb4 25.Kg2 h5 26.Rc2 b5 1/2-1/2 Ivanchuk,V (2710)-Kasparov,G (2805)/Linares 1993. 15...Bc8 16.g5. 16.Qf2 Na5 17.Rad1 Nc4 18.Bc1 b5 is equal, Topalov,V (2750)-Anand,V (2735)/Las Palmas 1996. 16...Nd7 17.Qf2

17...Bb7. Vassily delays as much as possible the standard retreat of the bishop to f8. The famous last game of the second World Championship match between Karpov and Kasparov went 17...Bf8 18.Bg2 Bb7 19.Rad1 g6 20.Bc1 Rbc8 21.Rd3 Nb4 22.Rh3 Bg7 23.Be3 Re7 24.Kg1 Rce8 25.Rd1 f5 26.gxf6 Nxf6 27.Rg3 Rf7 28.Bxb6 Qb8 29.Be3 Nh5 30.Rg4 Nf6 31.Rh4 g5 32.fxg5 Ng4 33.Qd2 Nxe3 34.Qxe3 Nxc2 35.Qb6 Ba8 36.Rxd6 Rb7 37.Qxa6 Rxb3 38.Rxe6 Rxb2 39.Qc4 Kh8 40.e5 Qa7+ 41.Kh1 Bxg2+ 42.Kxg2 Nd4+ 0-1 Karpov,A (2720)-Kasparov,G (2700)/Moscow 1985. This game brought Kasparov the World Championship title. A curious fact: after this game Karpov had the white pieces against Kasparov numerous times (in more than 50 games!), but he never played 1.e4 against Gary again... 18.Bg2 Na5. A standard maneuver in such positions: the open b-file would be a more important factor for Black than the doubled pawns. 19.Rad1. After 19.Nxa5 bxa5 20.Rad1 Bc6 21.Bc1 f6 Black takes over the initiative. 19...Nxb3 20.cxb3 Bc6 21.b4 b5 22.a5 Rbc8

23.f5. This active plan always has a serious drawback: Black gets control over important square e5. 23...Ne5 24.Qg3. 24.f6 runs into 24...Ng4; but interesting was 24.Bb6 Qb7 and now 25.f6 Nevertheless after 25...Bf8 the mighty knight on e5 must secure Black sufficient resources for defense and counterplay. 24...Bf8 25.Bd4 exf5 26.exf5 Qb7 27.Bxc6 Qxc6+ 28.Qg2. The exchange of queens is a moral victory for Black. 28...Qxg2+ 29.Kxg2 Nc6 30.Nd5 Ne7 31.Bc3

White keeps the space advantage in endgame too, but Black has little to fear: he controls both open files and has the weakness on d6 well protected. Anand decided that playing for a win is not realistic anymore. A possible follow-up is 31.Bc3 Nxd5 32.Rxd5 Rc4 33.Kg3 Ree4 34.h3 Re2 and it's not easy for White to find fruitful ideas to improve. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Carlsen,M (2733) - Aronian,L (2739) [C88]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (7), 23.02.2008

The game from the previous round against Leko had also a bad effect on Aronian. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a3. 8.c3 d5 leads to the Marshall Attack, which Levon can play well even when being tired. 8...Bc5 9.c3 d6 10.d4 Bb6 11.h3 Re8. A new move. Taking into consideration what happened next, this looks like an over-the-board improvisation rather than home preparation. Safer is 11...h6. 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bh4. A brave move from Magnus. White is ready to sacrifice a central pawn.

13...exd4. Black is practically forced to accept the challenge, otherwise it is not clear why he allowed White to pin the knight. 14.cxd4 g5 15.Bg3 g4. Taking on e4 loses: 15...Rxe4 16.Rxe4 Nxe4 17.Bd5 Qe8 18.Qc2 Nxg3 19.Qg6+. 16.hxg4 Bxg4 17.Bh4 Nxd4 18.Nc3

White has an obvious threat: Nc3-d5. Another thing that Black must always consider is the advance e4-e5 followed by Ne4. 18...Bxf3? Levon has found a nice-looking queen sacrifice. Unfortunately for him this idea has a refutation. Correct is 18...c6 after which White still must prove that he has compensation for the pawn. The point is that 19.e5 dxe5 20.Ne4 doesn't work for White in view of 20...Nxe4 21.Bxd8 Raxd8 22.Rxe4 Nxf3+ 23.gxf3 Rxd1+ 24.Bxd1 Bf5 with advantage for Black. 19.gxf3 Kh8. Now 19...c6 20.e5 dxe5 21.Ne4 is already a different story. However, 19...c6 was still the best option, since instead of taking on e5 Black can play 20...Qc8! and bring the queen to h3. In that case complications will most likely end in a draw. 20.Nd5 Rg8+ 21.Kf1. Aronian's idea would have worked well after 21.Kh1? Ng4! 22.Qxd4+ Bxd4 23.Bxd8 Nxf2+ 24.Kh2 Raxd8 and it is Black who wins. 21...Ng4

The bishop on h4 is hanging, while taking the queen 22.Bxd8 leads to a nice mate with the knight on h2. But in this wild position White has a solution. 22.Qxd4+! A counter queen sacrifice! 22...Bxd4 23.Bxd8 Nh2+. Before taking the bishop the knight must run away. Nevertheless he won't have a long life on h2 either. 24.Ke2 Raxd8 25.Rad1! Bxb2 26.Rh1

Black can't save the knight. Several pawns won't be enough for being a piece down. 26...c6. Other moves don't help either: 26...Be5 27.f4 c6 28.fxe5 cxd5 29.Rxh2; or 26...Rg2 27.Ne3 Rdg8 28.Bxf7 R8g7 29.Nxg2 Rxg2 30.Rdg1. 27.Nf4 Be5 28.Nd3 Nxf3 29.Kxf3 Bg7 30.Rh5

In spite of having three pawns for the knight, Black is lost. His position contains a lot of weaknesses and White's pieces are active. The rest is easy for Carlsen, who plays very precisely until the end. 30...d5. 30...c5 31.Bxf7 Rgf8 32.Rf5 is also hopeless. 31.exd5 Rd6 32.Rf5 cxd5 33.Rc1! Rf6 34.Rxf6 Bxf6 35.Rc6 Kg7 36.Nf4 Bg5 37.Nh5+ Kh8 38.Rxa6 d4 39.Ke4 Rg6 40.Ra7 1-0. [Click to replay]

Shirov,A (2755) - Radjabov,T (2735) [E98]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (7), 23.02.2008

Shirov's decision to play a slightly out-of-fashion variation against Radjabov's beloved King's Indian payed off excellently - Teimour mixed something and quickly found himself into troubles. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Nf3 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1. This move used to be the main line for many years, but lately almost everybody started to play 9.b4. 9...Nd7 10.Be3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 13.Nd3

A typical King's Indian position: White advances the c-pawn in order to open the queenside, while Black builds an attack against the king. White is often the first one to achieve his goal, but in King's Indian Black almost always has good counterplay. Almost. 13...h5. Already this natural move is inaccurate. After 13...Nf6 14.c5 Ng6 15.Rc1 Rf7 Black takes control over the seventh rank, controlling the vital square c7. At the same time the rook can be transposed to the g-file later, for instance after Bf8. 14.c5 Nf6 15.Rc1 g4. Difficult to say if 15...Ng6 would have changed much, although it looks more attractive than the game: 16.cxd6 cxd6 17.Nb5 Rf7 18.Qc2 Ne8 19.Nxa7 Bd7 followed by g5-g4. 16.Nb5 Ne8. 16...a6 17.cxd6 axb5 (or 17...cxd6 18.Nc7 Rb8 19.Ba7) 18.dxe7 Qxe7 19.Bc5 is also bad for Black. 17.fxg4 a6 18.Nc3 hxg4 19.Bxg4

White must be winning: he is a pawn up in a position without weaknesses and with a large space advantage. Black keeps only some small practical chances to complicate matters. 19...Nf6 20.Bxc8 Rxc8 21.g3. An interesting decision: Shirov considers that White should play on the kingside himself. 21...Qe8 22.Kh1 Qg6 23.Qe2 f3 24.Qxf3 Nfxd5

25.Nxd5 Nxd5 26.Qe2 Nf6 27.Rce1. It might appear that Radjabov achieved something, but in reality Shirov keeps the situation under control: White is still a pawn up and has a large advantage. 27...Qf7 28.g4! Qg6 29.h3 Rf7 30.Kg2 Nd7 31.Bg1 Qe6 32.b3 Rxf1 33.Rxf1 d5 34.g5 a5 35.h4 Qc6 36.Re1 Rf8 37.exd5 Qxd5+ 38.Qe4 c6 39.Bh2 Qe6 40.Bg3 Rf5

Black has hardly any moves left. 41.a3 Rf7 42.b4 Qa2+ 43.Re2 Qxa3 44.g6. 44.g6 Rf6 45.Qc4+ Kh8 46.Ra2 traps the queen. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Final standings

Wonderful tournament, well played – the dignitaries and spectators cheer the players

In the audience: Veselin Topalov, Ivan Cheparinov, Vishy and Aruna Anand

Fathers and sons: Magnus and Henrik Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov and his father Boris

The two from Baku: Teimour Radjabov and his father-trainer Boris

Alexei Shirov with his second Manolo Perez, Lev Aronian and his second Gabriel
Sargissian (who cropped his hair short in Morelia)

The winner and World Champion Vishy Anand with his wife Aruna

Zooming in: everyone's favourite in Morelia: Aruna Anand, who speaks fluent Spanish

All pictures by Frederic Friedel in Morelia

About the author

Dorian Rogozenko was born on 18.08.1973 in Kishinev, Moldova. He has been a grandmaster since 1995 and played several Olympiads for Moldova, and then for Romania.

Rogozenko has produced several CDs for ChessBase, and two chess books. He is the editor-in-chief of the Romanian chess magazine Gambit (since 2002).


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