Shanghai Masters: Shirov beats Kramnik to take the lead

9/6/2010 – After seven dry years, Shirov beat Kramnik in a serious game, and in style. Their Nimzo-Indian with four deeply advanced pawns was certainly odd. Kramnik took so much time preparing his perfect moment, that it had passed before he or even any chess engine realized. He kept it a fight, but succumbed in the end. Aronian pressed against Hao for 50 moves, but drew. Impressions from Shanghai.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

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.

Spectators in Shanghai

Before we start a word about the lack of spectators. Our colleague David Llada, who is in Shanghai, wrote to us to explain: "The Bilbao organizers have chosen to host the games in very iconic places, like the Spanish pavilion at the World Expo in the present case. The disadvantage is that for security reasons the inside areas of the pavilions are very restrictive, and that doesn't help to bring spectators to the playing hall. We hear there will be a different venue for the last three rounds. But in any case they preferred the symbolism of playing in very famous places, with the hope that it would attract the press and the authorities, rather than in more crowded but second class venues. I think it has paid off for them, so far. The event has made it to CCTV5, the Chinese Sports channel, which is like making it to CNN!"

Round four

Round 4: Monday, 6th September 2010

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

It had to be deeply satisfying for Shirov, who had not won a serious game against Kramnik since 2003, losing only two it is true, to finally defeat him, and in style no less. The two played what has to be one of the oddest Nimzo-Indians one could dig up, looking more like the four-pawn variation in the Alekhine than anything. Poor Nimzowitsch would have been screaming that this was not the plan! Fight for the e4 square? White had pawns on c4-d5-e5-f4 here, though there was still plenty of hypermodern spirit to be had by undermining that advanced phalanx from all sides.

Shirov managed to stick his pawn on e6, but it seemed doomed to fall with no support and any number of black pieces to pick it off when they wished. Ironically, Kramnik took so much time preparing that perfect moment that it eventually became a linchpin he could not unlatch. On move 17 the Russian played d5, a move all engines screamed blunder at, but deeper analysis showed this was undoubtedly a horizon effect as the alternatives didn’t offer any respite. In the end, his ‘blunder’ may simply have been the lesser of evils. Shirov will probably give his final verdict in the next issue of Chessbase Magazine. The sheer complexities caused both players to consume their clocks greedily, and a missed move by the Spaniard allowed Kramnik to surprise him with a tactic that offered genuine hopes of survival. He faltered just after though, and Shirov had the last word when a last-minute blunder ended the game for Kramnik, albeit in a very ugly situation as it were.


Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik at the start of the game. In the background Bilbao organiser Juan Carlos Fernández with Tian Hongwei, Vice General Secretary of the Chinese Chess Association

Shirov,A (2749) - Kramnik,V (2780) [E20]
Shanghai Masters Shanghai CHN (4), 06.09.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 c5 5.d5 b5 6.e4 0-0 7.e5 Ne8 8.f4








Hard to believe old Nimzowitsch had this in mind when he hatched his opening idea, the Nimzo-Indian. Black's idea is still quite hypermodern though, and is remniscent of the four-pawn variation of the Alekhine, where white is encouraged to push, push, push, and see his pawn center get ambushed from all sides. Note that at the highest level, Mamedyarov, one of the elite's most adventurous openings players, essayed this against Fressinet, though the French player took on c4 instead of castling. 8...exd5. This move leaves played opening theory, but once again is part of analysis found in the Rybka4 opening book. Shirov is clearly familiar with it, as his sacrificial play against Aronian, officially a TN, was also in it. The book recommends 8...bxc4 instead of the played exd5, though both are in it. 9.cxd5 d6 10.Nf3 c4. This is no longer part of the analysis. 10...Nc7 had been the indicated continuation. 11.a4. Two can play at the undermining game. 11...Bg4 12.axb5 Nd7 13.e6 fxe6 14.dxe6 Nb6. Black feels no hurry to take on e6, as it cannot be protected at the moment, and instead secures a good square for the knight where it supports c4 and d5. 15.Be2 Nc7. Another well placed piece where it exerts a multifunctional role of attacking e6 and b5 while also supporting an eventual d5. 16.Ng5. Not the best, though it looks attractive. White cannot really protect e6, and really needs to look after his development before his weaknesses become his downfall. 16.0-0 was better, after which play might continue 16...Bxc3 (16...d5 17.Nd4 Bxe6 18.Be3 is good for White.) 17.bxc3 Nxb5 18.Bd2 Bxe6 19.Ng5 and the position is balanced.








16...Bxe2? Chess engines are oblivious to this error, even approving it, declaring Black's next move as the real blunder. Analysis indicates this is in fact a horizon effect, therefore the error came earlier. This was Black's chance to rid himself of the e6 pawn and achieve a dynamic equality with 16...Bxe6! 17.0-0 (Or 17.Nxe6 Nxe6 18.0-0 d5 19.f5 Nc7 20.Be3) 17...d5 18.Be3.

17.Qxe2 d5!? This move is flagged by the engines as a big mistake, mostly because of a horizon effect, and may actually have been the lesser of two evils. The initially suggested improvement 17...Qe7 still runs into serious problems after 18.0-0








Analysis diagram

Now if Black tries to boot the knight with 18...h6? White has the very strong sacrificial continuation: 19.f5! hxg5 20.Ne4 d5 (20...Nxe6? 21.Nxg5) 21.Bxg5 Qe8 22.Ng3 Be7 (not 22...c3? 23.bxc3 Bxc3 and White gets a strong attack after 24.Rac1 Bd4+ 25.Kh1 Rc8 26.Qg4) 23.Qg4! and White has a strong attack. For example 23...Qd8 24.Bxe7 Qxe7 25.Nh5 and White is not only threatening f6, but will also bring the other rook into play with Ra3-f3 with deadly effect.

The alternative 18...Bc5+ 19.Kh1 h6 also runs into 20.f5! hxg5 21.Ne4 Qe8 22.Nxc5 (22.Bxg5?! would let Black neutralize the attack by returning the piece with 22...Nxe6! 23.fxe6 Qxe6 24.Rfe1 and Black should survive.) 22...dxc5 23.Bxg5 Ncd5 24.f6! Nxf6 25.e7! Rf7 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.Rae1 and Black is lost. The threat of Qg4 and Rf3 are fatal.

18.0-0 Qf6 19.f5 Rae8 20.Rxa7?








A serious mistake that gives Black chances to survive. 20.Be3! would prevent the tactical trick played in the game. 20...Nxe6! 21.Nxe6 Rxe6! 22.Qf2. The point is that White loses if he takes with 22.fxe6 because of 22...Bc5+! 23.Kh1 Qxf1+ 24.Qxf1 Rxf1#. 22...Qe5? A mistake now, placing the wrong piece on e5, but time trouble was already looming its nasty head. Black had to play 22...Re5 23.Be3 (23.g4? would be a serious mistake now due to 23...d4 24.Na4 (24.Qxd4 Bc5) 24...Nxa4 25.Rxa4 Rxb5 and Black is better.) 23...Rxe3 24.Qxe3 d4 25.Qe6+ Qxe6 26.fxe6 dxc3 27.Rxf8+ Kxf8 28.bxc3 Bxc3 29.Kf2 and Black should make it. 23.g4 Rg6 24.Qg2 Rgf6 25.Bf4 Qd4+ 26.Qf2 Qxf2+ 27.Kxf2 d4 28.Ne4 R6f7 29.Rxf7 Rxf7 30.Ra1 h6 31.Be5 d3 32.Bd4 Rb7 [32...Nd7 33.b6!] 33.h4 Bf8 34.Rc1 Nd5 35.Rxc4 Rxb5 36.Rc8 Kf7 37.g5








37...Ne7?? A final blunder that ends it on the spot, but time trouble had its hand. 37...d2 would have offered better chances, but with seconds on the clock, it was far from obvious. 38.Nxd2 and now Kramnik could have played 38...Ne7. 38.Nd6+ 1-0. [Click to replay]


Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik in the press conference after their game


Aronian and Wang Hao followed the Open Catalan played by Giri in NH Chess, though the Chinese player avoided the line that had brought Nielsen his last round victory against the young Dutchman. Aronian was unable to break Hao’s position despite refusing a repetition at move 32 and eventually acquisced on move 50.


Levon Aronian vs Wang Hao, with Juan Carlos Fernández, Tian Hongwei and the arbiter


The game under way, after Wang's move 4...Be7

Aronian,L (2783) - Wang Hao (2724) [E06]
Shanghai Masters Shanghai CHN (4), 06.09.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4 Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Nc3 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 c6 14.Qb3.








So far the players are following Nielsen-Giri, in which Giri lost in the last round of NH Chess, after 14...Ra7, when the Danish player improved with 15.Ne4! Bxd4 16.Rfd1 Qb6 17.Qd3 eventually winning the game. 14...Qc7 15.Rfd1 Rd8. 15...a5 is the known move. 16.Ne4 Nd7 17.a5 Be7 18.e3 Rab8 19.Nd2 Nf6 20.Nc4 Ne8 21.Nb6 Nd6 22.Rac1 Nb5 23.Be2 Qd6 24.Qa2 Bf6 25.Bc4 Qb4 26.Bb3 Nd6 27.Kg2 Kh8 28.Bc2 Nc8 29.Nc4 Nd6 30.Nb6 Nc8 31.Nc4 Nd6








32.Bd3. Aronian declines the repetition and draw, still hoping to crack his Chinese opponent. 32...Nxc4 33.Rxc4 Qe7 34.Be4 Rd7 35.Rc3 g6 36.Qc4 Kg7 37.Rcd3 Rbd8 38.f4 h5 39.h4 Qd6 40.Kf2 Be7 41.Qc3 Qb4 42.Qxb4 Bxb4 43.Ra1 f5 44.Bf3 Kf7 45.Ra4 Bd6 46.Rc4 Bc7 47.Rc5 Bd6 48.Rc4 Bc7 49.Rc5 Bd6 50.Rc4 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Photos by the Chinese Chess Federation

Bilbao system scores

Player
games
wins
draws 
losses
points
Alexei Shirov
4
2
2
0
8
Levon Aronian
4
1
3
0
6
Vladimir Kramnik
4
0
3
1
3
Wang Hao
4
0
2
2
2

Traditional:


Impressions of the city

By Josu Fernandez


The skyline of Shanghai, the most populous city in China and one of the most populous in the world


A view from the ferry on the Yangtze river, which flows through Shanghai


Spectacular skyscrapers, typical of modern-day China


Dizzy hights and daring architectural forms


More traditional: Lu Bo Lang, Shanghai's most famous restaurant

The specialties of Lu Bo Lang are dim sum, Shark’s fin (boo!), crab meat and well fried fish, as well as jellyfish with mixed sauce. The preserved vegetables with green beans was a favorite of Chelsea Clinton, who ate three portions at when she dined in the restaurant. Other dishes: baked cuttle fish, marinated chicken in brine, sautéed fried river shrimp, and bean curd with crab meat.


The Yuyuan Gardens, one of the most lavish and finest in the region


Today's winner Alexei Shirov doing an interview in front of the Shanghai skyline

The skyline at night (scroll to the right for a full view)

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 
 Vladimir Kramnik
Wang Hao 
 Alexei Shirov

Round 6: Friday, 3rd September 2010

Alexei Shirov 
 Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik 
 Wang Hao

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!


Sponsors and organisers


Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register