Nanjing R04: Giri analyses two games

10/24/2010 – Yesterday it was all about Anand's loss to Bacrot, in a position that he could have drawn. Now that the dust has settled (somewhat – the letters are still pouring in), we turn our attention to the two other games that we sadly neglected. Both were drawn but both interesting and one quite nerve-racking. Once again we bring you the entertaining and instructive commentary of GM Anish Giri.

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Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess Tournament

The 2010 Nanjing International tournament takes place from October 19th to October 30th in Nanjing, China. It is a ten-round double round-robin event, in which each player faces every other player twice, once with the white pieces, and once with black.

Time control: 40 moves in two hours then 20 moves in one hour followed by the rest of the game in 15 minutes with a 30 second increment as of move 61.

Game start: Rounds 1-9 at 2:30 PM local time (11:30 PM Pacific daylight / 2:30 AM New York / 8:30 AM Paris), and round 10 at 10 AM local time (7 PM Pacific daylight / 10 PM New York / 4 AM Paris)

Rest day: October 25th (after round 5).

Round four report

Round 4: Saturday, October 23, 2010
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Wang Yue
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Etienne Bacrot 
1-0
 Vishy Anand

Commentary by
GM Anish Giri

There is a replay link at the end of each game, which takes you to a JavaScript board. There you can click on the notation to follow the analysis which was provided by GM Anish Giri on the graphic chessboard.

You can also download the game in PGN and study it in peace, e.g. with Fritz 12 or ChessBase.

There is a tremendous amount to learn from our young GM's notes – ignore them at your own peril.

Topalov,Veselin (2803) - Wang,Yue (2732) [D17]
Pearl Spring Chess Tournament Nanjing/China (4), 23.10.2010 [Giri,Anish]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5. Rock solid. Wang Yue plays the rock solid Slav. 6.Ne5. Not a surprise, Topalov chose this main move from the World Championship match. 6...Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 a5. Wang Yue probably thought that the ending Anand had gone for was too solid for him and chose one of the other main systems. The third main system was played on the next table, in Bacrot-Anand. 9.e3. The other critical move, 9.f3 was chosen by Topalov against the same opponent in Sofia last year. He then won a brilliant game, but this time apparently both players had found an improvement for Black. 9...Nbd7!?








This move is becoming popular due to the efforts of the top Chinese players (all experts on the line) that switched from g6 after Wang Yue has lost twice to Grischuk. 10.Bd3. Topalov tries to get some advantage with simple play, but Wang Yue showed him that it's not so easy. 10.Qb3!? is critical, trying to punish Black for his knight moves back and forth. But if Topalov didn't choose it, there must be a reason for this. The following line seems critical and was played in the latest game, Hammer-Felgaer, from the Olympiad in Khanty. 10...Nxe5 11.dxe5 Nd7 12.e4 (12.Qxb7!?) 12...Be6 13.Qxb7 Rb8 14.Qa7 Nxe5 15.f4 Nd7 16.f5 Bb3 17.Bf4 Ra8 18.Qb7 e5! 19.fxe6 Bxe6 with unclear play. 10...Bxd3 11.Nxd3 Qb6!








New move. Bu Xiangzhi played 11...Qc7 this year in Aeroflot, got under pressure, but also drew. The point of the move is that it prevents e4. So it's not clear for White what he should do now. Topalov finds an interesting solution... [11...Qc7 12.Qb3!? e6 13.e4+/= 1/2-1/2 Rodshtein,M (2622)-Bu Xiangzhi (2673)/Aeroflot 2010] 12.Ra3!? creative, but it seems that it doesn't give White any objective edge. After the standard 12.0-0 e6 it's not clear how White should proceed in order to fight for any little advantage. 12...e6 13.Rb3 Bb4! It seems a little tricky to put the bishop under the pin, but White doesn't have time to exploit it. 14.0-0 c5. An essential move, that had to be played here or after short castle. 15.dxc5 Nxc5 16.Nxc5 Qxc5 17.Na2








Now Topalov gets the bishop, but no advantage. Black is well developed and Wang Yue is in time to change everything. 17...0-0 18.Rd3 Rac8. Black could have played the position differently (for example b5!?), but Wang Yue wanted to just change everything, to keep it safe. 19.Nxb4 Qxb4 20.b3 Qc5 21.Bb2 Qc2! Just in time, otherwise White might have got some pressure. 22.Bxf6 Qxd1 23.Rfxd1 gxf6 24.Rd7 b5!








The Chinese super-GM is defending very energetically and precisely, though for a player of his class such moves are played automatically. 25.Ra7 Rc3! 26.Rxa5 Rb8! Very exact, not giving Topalov any hope to press. 27.Ra7 Rxb3 28.a5 Ra3 29.g4 b4 30.a6 b3 31.Rb7 Ra8 32.Rdd7 b2 33.Rxb2 R3xa6 34.Rbb7 Rf8 35.Kg2 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Gashimov,Vugar (2719) - Carlsen,Magnus (2826) [C95]
Pearl Spring Chess Tournament Nanjing/China (4), 23.10.2010 [Giri,Anish]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8. Breyer – no surprises. Magnus sticks to his main weapon. 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Bg5!? Interesting try, that was already employed by Gashimov earlier a few times. So not a surprise for Magnus. To be honest I always found this move to look a bit artificial, but ok, it's hard to find any advantage in the main lines. So why not. 14...h6 15.Bh4 Be7. Black wants to neutralise the psychological pressure (bishop h4-queen d8) and to one day exchange the bishop on h4 for the passive one on e7 (f8). 16.Ng3!?








A new try by Gashimov. At the Olympiad in Khanty, Kasimdzhanov tried 16.a4 and Vachier Lagrave 16.Bg3. 16...g6. A solid and logical move. Black is covering f6 and preparing Kg7 followed by Nh7. 16...g5 is obviously too risky without preparation – and probably also with it. White has compensation after all three possibilities and it wasn't a surprise that Magnus decided to play it safe. 17.Nf5!? (17.Nxg5!?; 17.Bxg5!?). 17.Qd2 Kg7 18.Rad1. Simply centralizing – why not? 18...Nh7. as promissed black exchanges the bishop. 19.Bxe7 Qxe7








20.dxe5. It is logical to take now, since Black can't recapture with the pawn due to the hanging knight on d7. The favourite Kasparov method: 20.h4!? deserves some attention, though I don't think the pawn alone can trouble black king so much. For example 20...Nhf6 (20...h5 is weakening the g5 square for later.) 21.h5 and White is sort of having some pressure on g6, but I think without the dark squared bishop it is really hard to create any attack. 20...Nxe5 21.Nd4 Qg5!? Carlsen chooses the most logical way to defend against Nf5+. But it allows a tactical blow, which should have not lead to any advantage, had Magnus reacted correctly. 21...Nc4!? Was a recipe for those who don't want to calculate any lines. 22.Qe2 Qg5 and Black is fine. 22.Ngf5+! gxf5 23.f4








23...Nc4? It's a bit surprising to me that Magnus didn't play the best continuation, since this one leads to a distasteful position for Black in many ways. True it wasn't easy to calculate all the lines after Nf3+!, but I can tell you that a player like Magnus could have easily done it. 23...Nf3+! 24.Nxf3 Qh5 Now White has several ways to continue, and even though it looks promising, objectively Black is not even any worse. 25.Qd4+ (25.Nd4!? Bxe4 (25...fxe4 26.Re3) 26.c4!? Nf6 27.cxb5 Kh7) 25...Nf6! 26.e5 Bxf3 27.exf6+ Kh8 28.Rxe8+ Rxe8. 24.fxg5 Nxd2 25.Nxf5+. 25.gxh6+!? Kg8 26.Rxd2 fxe4 27.Rf2 was also quite promising, but the way Gashimov played is the most human, and it is also pretty good. 25...Kf8 26.Rxd2 hxg5 27.e5!? 27.Rf2!? was also possible, keeping e5 for later. 27...Nf6! Magnus is doing his best in this difficult position, but Gashimov keeps on playing forcefully. 28.Rf1! Rxe5 29.Nxd6! Rd8 30.Rxf6 cxd6








Now we get a static endgame that is extremely unpleasant for Black. The problem is that basically whatever White does he always keeps up the pressure and has the better position. 31.Bb3 Rd7 32.Kf2 d5 33.Rf3 Kg7 34.Rfd3 Rd6 35.Bd1 Bc8 36.Bf3 Be6. Both players are manoeuvring... 37.Rd4 Kf6








38.a4! Now it's time for White to touch the b-pawn. 38...bxa4! better a then b. 39.Rxa4 Rb6 40.Be2 Bc8 41.Ra2 Bb7 42.Ra4 Re4 43.Ra3 Re5 44.b4 Rc6 45.Rd4 Kg7 46.Bf3 Rf6 47.Rd3 Rf4 48.Ra5 Rc4








Magnus seems to be active, but Gashimov again finds a good reply: 49.Rc5! Not reacting to any provocations. Taking the pawn would probably lead to a drawn rook endgame. 49.Bxd5? Bxd5 50.Raxd5 Rxd5 51.Rxd5 Rxc3 52.Rxg5+ Kf8 53.Ra5 Rc4! 54.Ra4 a5! Liquidating to a drawn rook ending (White can press here of course). 49...Rxc5 50.bxc5 Re6. 50...Re7 immediately seems more precise to me. 51.Rd2! Transfering the rook and again wisely not taking the pawn. 51.Bxd5? Bxd5 52.Rxd5 Kf6 and Black seems to be doing fine. 51...Re7








52.Rb2. 52.Bxd5 Now was maybe the best chance. 52...Bxd5 53.Rxd5 Kf6 54.c6 Rc7 55.Rc5 with good winning chances, which also means good drawing ons. Black's problem here is that he can't just come over with king and take on c6, since after that White will go g3 and h4, creating a second passed pawn. However all of these things depend on tempos... Ah, those rook endgames! 52...Bc8 53.Bxd5. White has finally won a pawn, but now under favourable conditions. Gashimov's patience was rewarded! 53...Re5 54.c4 Be6!








Magnus is doing all he can and I am still not sure about the final evaluation of this position! 55.c6!? 55.Rd2 Kf6 56.c6 Ke7 is also not easy for White. 55...Bxd5 56.cxd5 Rxd5 57.Rc2 Rd8 58.c7. 58.Ra2 Rd3! 59.Rxa6 Rc3 and it seems that black is holding. 58...Rc8 59.Ke3 Kf6 60.g3 a5 61.Kd4 Ke6!








Now Black is just in time in all the lines. These guys with 2800 are very often lucky. So in the end it's hard to come to a conclusion about the endgame. Both players played quite well. Black always seemed to be on the edge, but it was never easy and clear. 62.h4 gxh4 63.gxh4 a4 64.h5 a3 65.h6 a2 66.Rxa2 Rxc7 67.Ra6+ Kf5 68.h7 Rc8 69.Rh6 Rh8 70.Rh1 Kg6 71.Ke5








Setting a trap, though at top GM level it is not really setting a trap, but more like making a joke. 71...Re8+. 71...Rxh7?? 72.Rg1+ and this unique position is won! 72.Kf4 Kg7 73.Kf5 Rh8 74.Rg1+ Kf8 75.Rh1 Kg7 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Pictures by Yu Feng

Cross table

Schedule and results

Round 1: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Wang Yue
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Round 2: Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wang Yue 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 3: Friday, October 22, 2009
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Wang Yue
Veselin Topalov 
0-1
 Vishy Anand
Vugar Gashimov 
0-1
 Etienne Bacrot
Round 4: Saturday, October 23, 2010
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Wang Yue
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Etienne Bacrot 
1-0
 Vishy Anand
Round 5: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wang Yue 
   Etienne Bacrot
Vishy Anand 
   Vugar Gashimov
Magnus Carlsen 
   Veselin Topalov
Games – Report
Round 6: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wang Yue 
   Vishy Anand
Etienne Bacrot 
   Magnus Carlsen
Vugar Gashimov 
   Veselin Topalov
Games – Report
Round 7: Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Vugar Gashimov 
   Wang Yue
Veselin Topalov 
   Etienne Bacrot
Magnus Carlsen 
   Vishy Anand
Games – Report
Round 8: Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wang Yue
   Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
   Veselin Topalov
Etienne Bacrot  
   Vugar Gashimov
Games – Report
Round 9: Friday, October 29, 2010
Etienne Bacrot 
   Wang Yue
Vugar Gashimov 
   Vishy Anand
Veselin Topalov 
   Magnus Carlsen
Games – Report
Round 10: Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wang Yue 
   Veselin Topalov
Magnus Carlsen 
   Vugar Gashimov
Vishy Anand 
   Etienne Bacrot
Games – Report

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