Shanghai Masters: both games drawn, Aronian leads

9/5/2010 – The score after two rounds in the Final Chess Masters 2010 in Shanghai, China, is 4-2-2-1, with Armenian GM Levon Aronian leading at four points and Wang Hao at the bottom with one. That is because of the "Bilbao scoring system" that is being used. Traditionally it would be 1½-1-1-½. We bring you both the fairly interesting round two drawn games with annotations.

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Shanghai Masters 2010

The Shanghai Masters is taking place from September 3rd to 8th, 2010, to coincide with the WorldExpo in Shanghai, China. The participants are in Shanghai are Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian, Alexei Shirov, Wang Hao. The two winners will join Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen for the second (final) half, which will be held a month later in the “Atrio de Alhóndiga Bilbao” in Bilbal, Spain.

Round two

Round 2: Saturday, 4th September 2010

Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Alexei Shirov
Wang Hao 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik

Aronian and Shirov played their pet Semi-Slav, a system they favor with both sides, and Shirov deviated slightly to a lesser-known line. He achieved good piece play, and sacrificed a piece against Aronian’s king to maintain the initiative. The sacrifice, while correct, was not decisive, and kept a very dynamically balanced position, with plenty of opportunities for his opponent to err. This is precisely what happened, and an inaccuracy left the Armenian with an unpleasant situation. The combination of pressure against his king combined with a potentially difficult ending facing a slew of pawns threatened to bring Shirov his much desired win, but eventually minor imprecisions allowed Lev to avoid falling off the tight rope.

Aronian,L (2783) - Shirov,A (2749) [D45]
Shanghai Masters Shanghai CHN (2), 04.09.2010


Alexei Shirov before the start of his round two game against Aronian

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Be2 Bb7 11.a3 Re8. Aronian is an expert of the Semi-Slav with both white and black, which is possibly why Shirov chooses this uncommon continuation instead of the more usual ...a6. 12.Rd1 Qb8 13.e4 e5 14.g3 a6 15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.Bg5 Neg4 17.h3








There can be no doubt Aronian saw Black's next move, which isn't winning per se, but what was the alternative? White has to try and kick the knight off, and 17.Nh4 also gives his own knight plenty of good squares to choose from. 17...Bc5 18.Rf1 Qa7 19.Bf3 h6 20.Bxf6 Nxf6 21.Nf5 with a dynamically balanced position with a slight tug for Black. 17...Bxg3! 18.hxg4. Of course not 18.fxg3?? Qxg3+ 19.Kh1 Nf2#. 18...Nxg4 19.Be3 Nxe3 20.fxe3 Re6








So how do things stand? Is Black winning? Is White? In all honesty, a draw with some perpetual theme seems likely, since Black does have enough for that, but doesn't seem to have any means of bringing in the other pieces with any ease, though one should never discount Shirov's boundless imagination in these situations. 21.Bf1 Qa7 22.Bh3 Rh6 22...Qxe3+ would be a serious mistake, since after 23.Kg2 Rg6 24.Bf5 Qh6 25.Rd7 Bc7+ 26.Bxg6 Qxg6+ 27.Kh1 White regroups and is winning. 23.Kg2 Bc7 24.Bf5 Qxe3 25.Rd7 Qf4 26.Qf2 Bc8 27.Ne2 Rh2+ 28.Nxh2 Qxh2+ 29.Kf3?! An inaccuracy that gives Black chances for more than a draw now. 29.Kf1 was best. 29...Qh5+ 30.Bg4 Qg5 31.Rad1 Bxd7 32.Rxd7 Be5 33.b3 h5 34.Bf5 g6 35.Bh3 Bb2?! 35...Re8 was stronger. White would not have time for 36.Ra7 because of 36...Rd8 and White has to trade rooks, leaving a nasty endgame. 36.Nf4 Qf6 37.Kg2 Bxa3 38.e5 Qg5+ 39.Kh1 Qxe5 40.Nxh5 Rf8?! 40...Be7 was preferrable as it cuts off the rook and prevents Nf6+ as in the game. 41.Nf6+ Kg7 42.Ng4 Qc3 43.Kg2 Bc1 44.Qf3 Qxf3+ 45.Kxf3 a5 46.Rc7 Bb2 47.Rxc6 a4 48.bxa4 bxa4 49.Bf1 Ra8 50.Rc7 a3 51.Bc4 a2 52.Rxf7+ Kh8 53.Bxa2 Rxa2 54.Ke4 1/2-1/2.


Wang Hao played his second straight game with White, this time against Kramnik. The opening was a Nimzo-Indian Rubinstein, in which both players followed Ponomariov-Mamedyarov (Dortmund, 2010), and Kramnik came up with a novel idea . His plan, offering to exchange queens not once, but twice, might seem to be a blatant attempt to extinguish the fight before it even got started, but in typical fashion, he had other ideas in mind. His plan was to take advantage of White’s underdevelopment, and get a head start at queenside operations before his opponent had a chance to organize himself. The resulting position left Black with good play, but also a fractured pawn structure, with four pawn islands to White’s two.


Wang Hao vs Vladimir Kramnik, round two, is a Nimzo Indian...


Wang plays 7.Bg5 – no surprise there for Kramnik

Wang Hao (2724) - Kramnik,V (2780) [E32]
Shanghai Masters Shanghai CHN (2), 04.09.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d5 7.Bg5 dxc4 8.Qxc4 b6 9.Rd1 Ba6 10.Qa4 Qd7N. This novelty by Kramnik, is his suggested improvement over Ponomariov-Mamedyarov, (Dortmund, 2010) where Qd5 was played. 11.Qc2 Qc6!? A fascinating idea. Although it seems an attempt to quickly draw by offering to exchange queens once again, that is not Black's plan at all. Black saw that after the queen swap he would be able to play Rc8 and c5 before his opponent could do anything and achieve good play. 12.Qxc6 Nxc6 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Nf3 Bb7 15.e3 Ne7 16.Rc1 Rfc8 17.Bd3 c5 18.dxc5 bxc5








Black got what he had played for, but how does he stand? 17...c5 duly prevents a piece from entering d4, and he has firm control over d5 as well. On the other hand, he has four pawn islands to White's two, and White can use the c4 square as pivotal point for his minor pieces, with Ne2-c4 plans for example. 19.Ke2. If White was to try and reposition the knight to c4, he had to do so now with 19.Nd2 as Kramnik won't be giving him a second chance. 19...Rab8 20.Rc2 c4 21.Rxc4 Bxf3+ 22.Kxf3 Rxc4 23.Bxc4 Rxb2 24.Rc1 The position is now quite equal. 24...f5 25.g3 Kg7 26.a4 Ng8 27.h3 Nf6 28.Bd3 Ra2 29.Bc2 h5 30.Kg2 a5 31.Bb3 Rb2 32.Bd1 Kg6 33.Bf3 Rb4 34.Bc6 Ne4 35.h4 Nf6 36.Rc2 Ng4 37.Kf1 e5 38.Bd7 Nf6 39.Bb5 Ne4 40.Kg2 Rb3 41.Bc6 Nc3 42.Rd2 Rb6 43.Be8 Ne4 44.Rc2 Rb3 45.Bc6 Rb4 46.Bb5 Rb3 47.Bc6 Rb4 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Wang Hao in the press conference after the game


Wang Hao is introduced to Elisabeta Polihroniade, a well-known chess promoter
from Rumania (in the middle Bilbao organiser Juan Carlos Fernández)


Spanish journalist and organiser Leontxo Garcia explaining the tiebreak rules to Vladimir Kramnik (really!)

Photos by David Llada and the organisation

Bilbao system scores

Player
games
wins
draws 
losses
points
Levon Aronian
2
1
1
0
4
Alexei Shirov
2
0
2
0
2
Vladimir Kramnik
2
0
2
0
2
Wang Hao
2
0
1
1
1

Traditional:

Schedule and results

Round 1: Friday, 3rd September 2010

Wang Hao 
0-1
 Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Alexei Shirov

Round 2: Saturday, 4th September 2010

Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Alexei Shirov
Wang Hao 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik

Round 3: Sunday, 5th September 2010

Vladimir Kramnik 
 Levon Aronian
Alexei Shirov 
 Wang Hao

Round 4: Monday, 6th September 2010

Levon Aronian 
 Wang Hao
Alexei Shirov 
 Vladimir Kramnik

Round 5: Friday, 3rd September 2010

Levon Aronian 
 Vladimir Kramnik
Wang Hao 
 Alexei Shirov

Round 6: Friday, 3rd September 2010

Alexei Shirov 
 Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik 
 Wang Hao

Links

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