Nanjing R06: Anand beats Wang, Carlsen leads

10/26/2010 – Coming out of the rest day, revitalized World Champion Vishy Anand scored a second win in this tournament, this time over Wang Yue, to move half a point higher on the cross table. Magnus Carlsen and Veselin Topalov both struggled and were quite lucky to get draws, though both their games were tense thrilling affairs. Round six report with analysis by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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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 six report

Round 6: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wang Yue 
0-1
 Vishy Anand
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov


The gong is sounded to announce the beginning of the round.

After a day's rest, or rather *two* days' rest if one includes the quiet 5th round draw, Anand seemed not only to have recovered his footing, but was clearly feeling ambitious as was evident right from the get-go.

Wang Yue (2732) - Anand,V (2800) [E00]
3rd Pearl Spring Nanjing CHN (6), 26.10.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

A rest day proved to be sufficient for the world champion, however it didn't appear so for China's number one after a bad 5th round. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Once more the Catalan! In the last years it has become popular at all levels in chess. Everyone from first category players to the very elite seems to have it in their repertoire! 3...d5 4.Nf3 Bb4+!?








The Closed Catalan. One should not forget that this was Anand's main weapon against Topalov, so it should be no surprise that he knows every possible sortie in this variation. 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Qc2 b6 9.Bf4 Ba6 10.Ne5 A rare continuation. 10...Nfd7 11.Nd2 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 c5!? Vishy seems ambitious today! He appears reluctant to go for an equal position with Nd7. The bishop on e5 is misplaced, and Anand is trying to take advantage of it by putting his knight on c6 to have the d4 and e5 squares simultaneously under attack. In the meantime, he has also weakened the h1-a8 diagonal. A risky decision by the world champion!


A day's rest was just what the doctor ordered as Anand started
the second half on a positive note.

13.Qa4?! It seems that Wang has overestimated his chances in this position. This just helps black to develop his pieces more comfortably. 13.dxc5 was preferable and would open some space for the bishop on e5. 13...Nc6 14.Bc3 bxc5 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Qa4 and white is better. 13...Qd7 14.Qxd7? But this is too much. The local hero is going astray. Letting the knight in with an attacking tempo over the bishop on e5? As mentioned earlier, this doesn't seem to be Wang's tournament.


After a superb couple of months preceding Nanjing, Wang Yue
has been struggling with his form.

14...Nxd7 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Rfe1 Nxe5 17.dxe5 Rad8 18.e3








18...f6! Simple and logical. Black's bishop pair and his center offer him better chances. 19.f4? The Chinese GM might have felt frustrated by his own play. White's position is hopeless now and Anand slowly but safely converts his advantage. 19...fxe5 20.fxe5 Bd3 21.Rad1 Bc2 22.Rc1 Bg6 23.h4 Rfe8 24.Nf3 Be4 25.Rcd1 Bf8 26.Re2 g6 27.b3 Bg7 28.Ng5 Bxg2 29.Kxg2 Rxe5 30.Nf3 Re7 31.Red2 Red7 32.Rd3 h6 33.a4 Kf7 34.Ng1 Ke6 35.Ne2 g5 36.hxg5 hxg5 37.Kf3 Kf5 38.g4+ Ke6 39.Ng3 Rh8 40.Kg2 Rhd8 41.R3d2 Be5 42.Rf2 Bxg3 43.Kxg3 Rf7 44.Rxf7 Kxf7 45.Kf2 Ke6 46.Rh1 c4 47.Rh6+ Ke5 48.bxc4 dxc4 49.Ke2 c3 50.Rc6 Rd2+ 51.Ke1 Ra2 A painful defeat for Wang Yue and a fine comeback for Anand. 0-1. [Click to replay]


The game between the two top-scoring players was nearly Bacrot's fourth consecutive win.

The game between the two frontrunners Carlsen and Bacrot was the most eagerly awaited game of the round, since Carlsen had been on a mad rampage with an awe-inspiring 4.0/5, while Bacrot had been rebounded from his first-round loss to the number one with an equally flabbergasting 3.5/4, including three straight wins, putting him in second place. In fact, he came close to making it four straight wins, attesting to his inspired form, but sudden gritty resistance by the Norwegian compounded with some inaccuracies seemed to take the wind out of the Frenchman's sails, as he finally acceded to a draw in a final position where he could have continued to pressure without any risk.

Bacrot,E (2716) - Carlsen,M (2826) [E15]
3rd Pearl Spring Nanjing CHN (6), 26.10.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

This was the most exciting game of the day. The battle between the leader and his closest rival was on its way to being Bacrot's 4th consecutive win, but Carlsen, in spite of early mistakes, remained tough. This may have discouraged Bacrot, whose inaccuracies made his task more difficult and in the end he prematurely accepted the draw. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Nbd2








An odd choice by Bacrot, but he has proved he knows what he is doing in this event. His games against Anand and Wang Yue are testimony of this. 5...d5 6.Bg2 Bd6








A risky decision by Carlsen. The upcoming e4 would cause the bishop on d6 some discomfort due to the fork threat of e5. 7.b3 0-0 8.0-0 c5 9.e4 dxe4 The retreat of the bishop to e7 has been played quite a few times which may be considered one reason why Bd6 is inaccurate. Carlsen wants to prove that he stands on solid ground! 10.Ng5 Nc6 11.dxc5! Accurate play by Bacrot. He does not fall into such traps. 11.Ndxe4 is a mistake due to 11...Nxd4 and black is ready to offer his rook for white's light-squared bishop. 11...Bxc5 12.Ndxe4 Qxd1 13.Rxd1 White has achieved a lot of advantages within just 13 moves. From now on, the world number one has to defend a worse position with no hopes to win. 13...Rad8 14.Rxd8 Rxd8 15.Nxc5 Rd1+ 16.Bf1 bxc5 17.Bb2 Rxa1 18.Bxa1








The bishop pair seems to be the main theme in today's game. We should add that although the better pawn structure also offers Bacrot good winning chances, one should not forget that the c5-a7 set up is the best way to stop white's threats and is black's main hope to hold. 18...Nd7 19.f4 Bb7 20.Kf2 Nd8 21.Bd3 f5 22.Nf3 Nf7 23.a3 g6 24.Be2 Kf8 25.b4 Ke7 26.Ke3 Bxf3! 27.Bxf3








A paradoxical but correct decision. Though the position is still much better for white, his light squared bishop has few targets to attack now. As a result this should provoke white to push his pawns on both sides which would favor the bishops but in the meantime it would also reduce the material on the board. 27...Kd6 28.Bg7 Kc7 29.Kd2 Nd6 30.Kd3 Nc8 31.Kc3 Ncb6 32.Bd1 Nc8 33.Bf3 Nd6 34.Kd3 Nc8 35.h4 Nd6 36.Bc3 Nf7 37.h5 Kd6 White is much better here, however I personally cannot see a direct plan for white to penetrate in black's fortress. I would like to leave the rest to ChessBase's endgame expert GM Karsten Muller. 38.Ke3 Kc7 39.Bg7 Nd6 40.hxg6 hxg6 41.Kd3 Nf7 42.Bc3 Kd6 43.Ke3 g5 44.Bh5 gxf4+ 45.gxf4 Nd8 46.Be2 Kc7 47.Kd3 Kd6 48.Ke3 Kc7








Though white's advantage has shrunk, he could still push with no risk of losing. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Magnus's impish grin at the press conference made it clear
he knew he had gotten off lucky.

The game between Gashimov and Topalov, both of whom are no-holds barred players, and both of whom had gone through the first half without a single win, was very much true to their styles, and despite errors, and an ultimate draw, was a spectacular and thrilling game to follow.

Gashimov,V (2719) - Topalov,V (2803) [B14]
3rd Pearl Spring Nanjing CHN (6), 26.10.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

This game was played under critical conditions for both sides. Not having scored a single win in the first part of the tournament both parties were very eager to draw blood. In the heat of the battle it was Gashimov who let the win slip away, for the second time in a row, and the game ended in a draw. 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6!?








The riskiest move which is in accordance to Topalov's style. There are safer ways for black to face the Panov. Also one should not forget that this move was introduced by legendary Dutch world champion Max Euwe, in 1932, against Alekhine.


Topalov came into the game with his war face on.

6.Qb3 e6?! I was initially going to put a "N" (=novelty) for this move, but then found out that this dubious move has actually been played a few times before. The statistics are crushingly in white's favor. 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Bg5 f6 10.Bd2 Bg7 11.Bd3 0-0 One can see that white has the advantage at this early stage of the game. In order to realize it one just has to compare the upcoming position with the "normal" Panov. 12.0-0 Nce7 13.Rfe1 b6 14.Re2 Kh8 15.Rae1 a6 16.h4!








Having finished his development, Gashimov starts activity against black's weakened kingside. 16...Ra7 17.Bb1 Rc7 18.Nxd5 18.h5 was more accurate, because it would force 18...gxh5. However Topalov fails to take advantage of it. 18...Nxd5 19.h5 gxh5. 19...g5 20.Rxe6 Bxe6 21.Rxe6 Nf4 22.Bxf4 gxf4 23.Bf5 White dominates on the light squares, though I don't see any clear plan for white. As usual the silicon mind remains cool and declares the position 'unclear'! 20.Qd3 f5 21.Ng5 Nf6 22.Qg3?! 22.Nxe6 The most direct and principled continuation. 22...Bxe6 23.Rxe6 Ne4 24.Bc3 h4








(If instead 24...Qh4 25.Qe3 Nxc3 26.bxc3








Just one look at the position and it it becomes clear that white has a decisive advantage due to black's horrible pawn structure.)

Therefore 25.R1xe4! fxe4 26.Qxe4 Bf6 27.Bb4 Rg8 28.Bd6 Rcg7








29.Kf1! h3 30.g3 a5 31.a4!








A fantastic position worthy of another diagram. Black is in Zugzwang and will lose material. For instance, 31...Rf7? would face 32.Rxf6! and if 32...Qxf6 (Or 32...Rxf6 33.Qxh7#) 33.Be5 22...Ng4 23.Bf4 Rc4 24.Nf3? But this is too much and now the game is unclear. In fact, somehow it is black who pressures in order to seize the initiative. 24...Bb7? Returning the favor by offering the pawn on e6? 25.Bg5? Bf6 26.Bxf6+ Rxf6 27.Ng5 Bd5 28.f3 Now the position is balanced dynamically. 28...Qg8 29.Nxe6 Bxe6 30.fxg4 Qxg4 31.Qe5 Kg7 32.Rd2 Bf7 33.Rf1 f4 34.d5 Rc8 35.Rdf2 Re8 36.Qxf6+ Kxf6 37.Rxf4+ Qxf4 38.Rxf4+ Kg7 39.d6 Rd8 40.Rd4 Kf6 41.Rf4+ Kg7 42.Rd4 Kf6 43.Rf4+ Kg7 In a complicated battle, both sides lost the thread at crucial moments but we should nevertheless thank both players for their spectacular game! 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Chinese reporters are introduced to the electronic board technology.

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 
0-1
 Etienne Bacrot
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov
Round 6: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wang Yue 
0-1
 Vishy Anand
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
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

Commentary by
GM Elshan Moradiabadi

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