Team Petrosian gets a draw in round four

6/13/2004 – In the first three rounds the Armenians were overmatched by the World all-stars. Today was like two separate tournaments with the heavyweights on each team battling it out in a Linares-caliber line-up. The decisive games came from below, however, as van Wely and Lputian crashed to their third losses. The World kept its four-point lead.

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A full point for Armenia

Round 4 (June 13, 2004)
Petrosian Team
3 - 3
World Team
Kasparov
½-½
Adams
Leko
½-½
Svidler
Gelfand
½-½
Anand
Akopian
1-0
van Wely
Vaganian
½-½
Vallejo
Lputian
0-1
Bacrot
Overall score: World Team: 14 – 10 Petrosian Team
View games onlineOfficial Site • Reports: R1R2R3

Vladimir Akopian finally put the Armenians on the board by beating Loek van Wely in today's fourth of six rounds. That was van Wely's third loss, but he was kept out of the cellar, or at least joined there, by his opposing board six Smbat Lputian, who lost to Etienne Bacrot.

Both games continued the black plague theme of the tournament. So far there have been ten decisive games and six were wins for the second player, including the last five in a row. Akopian painted a positional masterpiece today to bounce back from two consecutive losses. If you go through the moves quickly it looks like van Wely's pieces aren't moving while Akopian's take over the board.

Lputian couldn't quite dig himself out of a positional hole against Bacrot, although he could have made much more of a fight of things in the endgame if not for time trouble. Lputian is well known for taking on strategically dubious positions and making them work tactically. He is the veteran of hundreds of winner-take-all open tournaments and this style has served him well over the years. It just isn't very effective against the world's best players, who take what you give them but don't overpress. We won't even get into his black repertoire of 1..e6 2...d5 against just about everything.

Meanwhile, van Wely is the veteran of dozens of supertournaments thanks to being born in the Netherlands instead of Armenia. He is a permanent invitee to the spectacular Corus Wijk aan Zee events and he doesn't even finish in last place anymore! (He made fine scores of +1 and even in the last two events.) After hitting 2700 and coming close to the top ten three years ago, van Wely almost dropped out of the top 100 at the end of last year. This year he has been back on track, at least until this week.

Vaganian just held on to draw another French Defense against Vallejo. Anand and Gelfand dueled in an interesting Petroff, swapping pieces creatively until agreeing to the draw with just a pair of rooks on the board. Leko-Svidler was a short, sharp Sicilian that finished on move 20 with still a lot of interest in the position. A pity. Kasparov again pushed long and hard for a win, this time against Adams, and again had to settle for a half point against dour defense by the Englishman.

Vallejo – Vaganian after 40...Qd3

Things are looking good for White with his passed h-pawn, especially now that they have reached the second time control. Black's only hope is to swindle a perpetual check draw.

The Spaniard tried to secure his king with 41.Kf2?, but the wily veteran refuted this and forced the draw with 41...Nd4!, threatening mate starting with ..Qe2+. White captured the knight and it was all checks after that until the draw at move 48.

We have the luxury of using Fritzy to see every possible check and trick, and it looks like 41.Qd2 gave White good winning chances. 41...Qe4 42.Qd6+ and only then Kf2.
 

van Wely – Akopian after 57.Rb6

Akopian cashed in on his positional domination with 57...f4! The White minor pieces are dominated and overloaded.

58.Rb7+ Ke8 59.Bc1 Rc2 60.Kf3 Ng5+ 61.Kf2 Nxh3+ and the passed h-pawn is too much to handle. Van Wely resigned on move 65.
 

 


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