Shanghai Masters: Kramnik, Shirov win with black

9/7/2010 – The fifth round was one of decision and indecision. Shirov managed yet another miracle win against Wang Hao, sealing both their fates, and a ticket to the grand final in October, while Kramnik pulled off a flawless technical win against Aronian, tying him for second/third, leaving the last spot to be decided in the last round. Though the draw favours Kramnik, their fates are in their hands.

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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 five

The fifth round was one of decision and indecision. While Shirov essentially decided first place in the qualifier, and one of the tickets to the final in October, Kramnik’s very fine technical win over Aronian put them on equal footing and it is a toss-up to be determined in the last round. Kramnik will be a favorite as he will have white against Wang Hao, whereas Aronian will face Shirov with black.

Round 5: Friday, 3rd September 2010

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

Aronian and Kramnik played a line of the Catalan that followed Rodshtein-Landa for over twenty moves. It is perfectly possible that they did so unknowingly, independently agreeing with their play, but Kramnik showed he better understood the subtleties of the ending and slowly created decisive inroads. Aronian finally chose to simplify into a bishop and two pawns versus rook and pawn ending, that he hoped would give him chances of survival. However, Kramnik displayed absolutely breathtaking technique, that even six-piece tablebases could not fault.

Aronian,L (2783) - Kramnik,V (2780) [E04]
Shanghai Masters Shanghai CHN (5), 07.09.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.Qa4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Nd5 8.Bxb4 Ndxb4 9.Nc3 Bd7. Aronian had played this offbeat variation last year against Adams who chose ...a6 instead. Bd7 is by far the more common choice, but the question remains what Kramnik has prepared for his opponent. He is behind in points and is currently playing catch-up to make the top two and qualify for the grand final next month. 10.0-0 a5. 11.Qd1. Time to remove the queen from the line of fire. 11...0-0 12.e3 a4 13.Qe2 Na5 14.Ne5 Nd5 15.Nxd5 exd5 16.Bxd5 Bh3 17.Qf3. Both players are following Rodshtein-Landa (Politiken Cup, 2010) to the T. It is possible the players are aware of it, but it is also perfectly possible that being GMs, their moves happen to coincide with the others, after all, good is good. 17...Bxf1 18.Bxf7+ Kh8 19.Rxf1 Nc6 20.Nxc6 bxc6 21.Qh5 Rb8








22.Bxc4. Novelty! At last! The young Israeli Rodshtein had continued with 22.Bg6 h6 23.Qe2 Qf6 24.Bb1 but after 24...c5! was worse, though he managed to draw. Aronian's choice is the simplest and best. 22...Rxb2 23.Bd3 g6 24.Bxg6 Qe7 25.Bb1 Qf7 26.Qc5. Since this leads to serious problems for White after Rxf2, a better chance might have been 26.Qe5+ Qg7 27.Qc5 Qf6 28.Bc2 and now if 28...Rxa2 29.Qc4! and if the a-pawn falls, White will have solved his most serious problems. 29...Qf7 30.Qc5. 26...Rxf2 27.Qe5+ Rf6 28.Rf4 Qg7 29.Bf5 Rd6 30.Bc2 Rxf4 31.Qxf4 a3 32.g4 Qe7 33.g5 c5! Opening the path for his rook. 34.dxc5 Rd2 35.Bb3








35...Kg7? 35...Qg7! was missed by Kramnik. 36.Bc4 (Why not 36.Qf6? Because after 36...Qxf6 37.gxf6 Re2 38.e4 Rxe4 39.f7 Kg7 40.Kf2 Re5 41.c6 Rc5 Black is won.) 36...Qa1+ 37.Bf1 Qxa2 38.Qf6+ Kg8 39.g6 Black may have seen this and feared being stuck in a perpetual, but he would escpae unscathed. Time may also have been a factor. 39...Qb3 40.gxh7+ Kxh7 41.Qh4+ Kg7 42.Qg4+ Kf8 43.Qc8+ Ke7 44.Qxc7+ Rd7 45.Qe5+ Qe6 46.Qg7+ Qf7 47.Qe5+ Kf8 and the checks run out. 36.h4 Rd3 37.Kg2. Why not protect the only pawn giving his king cover with 37.Kf2 It is very difficult for Black to make progress as his king is also extremely exposed. For example 37...Qxc5?? 38.Qf6#. 37...Rxe3 38.Qd4+ Re5 39.Bd5 c6. Though this move seems logical and strong, it is going to allow White to exchange almost all his pawns and offer very serious saving chances. 40.Kg3 h6 41.gxh6+ Kxh6 42.Qf4+ Kh7 43.Bxc6 Rxc5 44.Qe4+! Qxe4 45.Bxe4+








With the h4-pawn removed, the tablebases claim this is a win for Black, however *with* the h-pawn, things stand differently. 45...Kg7 46.Kf4 Kf6 47.Ke3 Ke5 48.Kd3 Rb5 49.Kc4 Rb2 50.Bh7








50...Rh2! Black cannot take with 50...Rxa2? as 51.Kb3 Ra1 is a simple draw. 51.h5. The position is a theoretical win for Black, but requires precise play. 51...Rxh5 52.Bc2 Rh2 53.Kb3 Kd4 54.Bg6 Rh3+ 55.Kb4 Rh6 56.Bf7 Ra6 57.Bg8 Ra7 58.Be6 Kd3 59.Bb3








59...Kd2! Kramnik's technique so far has been utterly flawless, and even the six-piece tablebases have no improvements to suggest. 60.Ba4 Rb7+ 61.Kc4. 61.Kxa3? Kc3 and Ra7 ends it. 61...Kc1 62.Kc3 Kb1 63.Bb3 Rc7+ 64.Kd3 Kb2 65.Kd2 Rd7+ 66.Ke3 Kc3 67.Bg8 Re7+ 68.Kf2 Kd2 69.Kf3 Kd3 70.Kf2 Re2+ 71.Kf3 Re8








White gave up as there is no respite in view. Black will simply push the White king to the h-file, leave him cut off, then bring the king to the a-pawn, capture it, and win. 0-1. [Click to replay]


Wang Hao must be seething inside after not one, but two (!) botched opportunities against Shirov. Not only were these games he should have won, but losing them should never have been a possibility. His loss in the fifth round was nothing short of mysterious, and one must presume that nerves played a decisive factor in the end. Contrary to the first game where he had emerged from the opening a pawn down, here he came out with all the trumps: a better center, better development, and the Spaniard’s king had been denied his castling chance. He built on this and had not one, but two opportunities to finish Black off with decisive attacking blows. Instead, he played a very strange exchange sacrifice, exchanging off all his rooks in the process, in which he had some innocuous threats, but mostly inescapable perpetuals at his disposal. This seemed to lull him into thinking he could never lose, while Shirov went about doing pacman imitations on his queenside. The Chinese player lost focus and suddenly found himself in trouble, with nary a repetition in sight.

Wang Hao (2724) - Shirov,A (2749) [D12]
Shanghai Masters Shanghai CHN (5), 07.09.2010

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5N 10.Be2 a6 11.f4 b4 12.Nxg6 hxg6 13.Na4 c5 14.b3 Nd5 15.e4 N5b6 16.Nxb6 Qxb6 17.d5 e5 18.Bg4 Bd6 19.Bxd7+ Kxd7 20.Qg4+ Ke8. In their first game, Wang Hao had emerged from the opening with a dubious position, after which Shirov erred and got into nearly fatal trouble. This time the opening has clearly been in his favor while he enjoys better development, center and has prevented Black from castling. 21.Kh1 Qd8 22.g3. 22.Bb2 was stronger. If 22...Rh4 23.Qe2 Qe7 (23...exf4 24.e5!) 24.g3 Rh8 25.fxe5 Bxe5 26.Bxe5 Qxe5 27.Rac1. 22...Qd7 23.f5 Kf8 24.Be3 Rc8 25.Qe2 gxf5 26.Rxf5 Qb5 27.Qg4 Rc7








28.Raf1? A missed chance. 28.Qg6! pressuring f7 and d6 was hard to meet. 28...f6 (28...Qb6? 29.Raf1 would lead to mate.) 29.Raf1 Rf7









Analysis diagram

30.Rxf6!! gxf6 31.Rxf6 Rhh7 (31...Rxf6 32.Qxf6+ Ke8 (32...Kg8 33.Qg6+ Kf8 34.Qxd6+) 33.Qxh8+ Kd7 34.Qh7+ Kc8 35.Qg8+ Kb7 36.Qf7+ Kb6 37.Bg5! a5 38.h4!)

28...Kg8








29.Rxf7? A strange decision. Perhaps Hao felt this was a riskless attempt to win, with a perpetual to hide behind if things didn't go his way, yet he still had a stronger continuation at his disposal. 29.Rf6! Re7 The bishop cannot be taken as the queen is attacking Rf1. 30.R1f5 Qd7 31.Bh6! Rh7 32.Qg5! Removing the queen from the line of fire of its d7 counterpart. 32...Qc7 33.Bxg7! Rxg7 34.Qh6 Qb8 (34...Rg6 35.Rxg6+ fxg6 36.Rf8#) 35.Rh5 Kf8 36.Rg5. 29...Rxf7 30.Rxf7 Kxf7 31.Qe6+ Kf8 32.Qxd6+ Kg8 33.Qe6+ Kh7 34.Qf5+ Kg8 35.Bg5 Qd3 36.h4 Qb1+ 37.Kg2 Qxa2+. Black is covering his back, by making sure that White's best option is a draw, since any time lost might be costly with his queenside pawns being gobbled up. 38.Kh3 Qa1 39.Qc8+ Kh7 40.Qf5+ Kg8 41.Qf3 Qc3 42.Qg4 Qa1 43.Qe2. White could still draw now with 43.Qc8+ Kh7 44.Qf5+ but clearly believes he is in no danger. 43...Qh1+ 44.Kg4 Kh7! After this, White has to be very careful to not lose. 45.Be7. 45.d6! was his only saving move. 45...c4 46.Kf5! g6+ 47.Kf6 cxb3 48.Ke7 Rg8 49.d7 Rg7+ 50.Kd6 Qa1 51.d8Q b2=. 45...a5 46.Bxc5 Rc8 47.d6 Qc1 48.Bb6 Qh6 49.Qd1








49...a4!! 50.Qd5. 50.d7 fails to 50...Qe6+ 51.Kf3 (51.Kg5 Qg6#) 51...Rf8+ 52.Kg2 Qxb6] 50...Rc3 [50...axb3 was more to the point. 51.d7 Rf8 52.d8Q Rxd8 53.Bxd8 b2! The pawn cannot be stopped. 54.Qb3 Qc1 55.Qe6 b1Q 56.Qf5+ Kg8 57.Qe6+ Kh8 58.Qe8+ Kh7 59.Qh5+ Qh6. 51.Qxe5 axb3 52.d7 Qg6+ 53.Kh3 b2 54.h5 Qf7 55.Qe8 Qf1+ 56.Kh4 Qh1+ 57.Kg5 Rxg3+ 58.Kf5 Qf3+ 59.Ke5 b1Q 60.Kd4 0-1. [Click to replay]

Photos by the Chinese Chess Federation

Bilbao system scores

Player
games
wins
draws 
losses
points
Alexei Shirov
5
3
2
0
11
Vladimir Kramnik
5
1
3
1
6
Levon Aronian
5
1
3
1
6
Wang Hao
5
0
2
3
2

Traditional:


Impressions of the city

By Josu Fernandez and Hu Xi


Shanghi, the city with the river and the skyscraper skyline...


Like these like these two, impossibly tall...


... or this one (note the size of the cars on the street)


On the ground a bustling shopping street


Lots of candy and gummi bears!


Look whom we spotted in the crowd.


Back to the breath-taking skyline – you cannot get enough of it

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

Round 4: Monday, 6th September 2010

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

Round 5: Friday, 3rd September 2010

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

Round 6: Friday, 3rd September 2010

Alexei Shirov 
 Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik 
 Wang Hao

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