World Cup 5.1: Kramnik pounces

8/23/2013 – The matches started somewhat quietly as Tomashevsky and Kamsky drew quickly. Svidler obtained a small advantage with Black against Andreikin but soon decided to call it a day. MVL put strong pressure on Caruana but to no avail. Kramnik, however, was able to capitalize on his opponent's mistakes and takes the lead in his mini-match. Grandmaster analysis and report.

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The FIDE World Cup is a knockout, starting with 128 players, with two games (90 min for 40 moves + 30 min for the rest, with 30 seconds increment) between pairs of players. The tiebreaks consist of two rapid games (25 min + 10 sec), then two accelerated games (10 min + 10 sec), and finally an Armageddon. The winner and the runner-up of the World Cup 2013 will qualify for the Candidates Tournament of the next World Championship cycle. The venue is the city of Tromsø, which lies in the northern-most region of Norway, almost 400 km inside the Arctic Circle. You can find all details and links to many ChessBase articles on Tromsø here. The World Cup starts on Sunday, August 11th and lasts until September 3rd (tiebreaks, closing ceremony). Each round lasts three days, while the final will consist of four classical games. Thursday August 29 is a free day. A detailed schedule can be found here.

Round five game one

Vladimir Kramnik pressured Anton Korobov from the very beginning. Korobov's Slav is known to be passive but solid, but Kramnik found the gap in Korobov's armor and pounced on the opportunity. By move 25 the Russian enjoyed a favorable pawn structure and the pair of bishops, with very little compensation from Black. However technique was still required as it was very unclear how to proceed with the positional advantages. Kramnik slipped a little by allowing Black to comfortably stop his passed pawn on the c-file. The Ukrainian player made a serious mistake by playing 32...g6? instead of taking the golden opportunity of eliminating the pesky passed c-pawn with 32...Ne7! After that it was all downhill for the Black side as the combination of the passed c-pawn and the threats on Black's king became too much to stop.

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2013"]
[Site "Tromsø"]
[Date "2013.08.23"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Korobov, Anton"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D16"]
[WhiteElo "2784"]
[BlackElo "2720"]
[PlyCount "101"]
[EventDate "2013.??.??"]
[EventCountry "NOR"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 e6 6. e3 c5 7. Bxc4 Nc6 8. O-O
cxd4 9. exd4 Be7 10. Qe2 O-O 11. Rd1 Nd5 {A move that has been tried more and
more recently. The more common move is 11...Nb4.} 12. Bd2 Ncb4 13. a5 {A
novelty that shouldn't change the character of the position, but one that
certainly puts some pressure on Black's queenside. Normally in these positions
Black is very solid but he lacks space and an active plan. It's White's task
however on how to proceed from here.} Bd7 14. Nxd5 Nxd5 15. Ne5 Be8 16. Qf3 f6
{Not something that Black wants to do, after all f6 is a considerable
weakening of the e6 square, but Black could simply not live with White's
knight on e5 for too much longer.} 17. Nd3 Bf7 18. Qg4 Kh8 19. Nc5 $1 {White
exploits the weakness on e6 to transform his advantages. He will now be able
to enjoy the superior pawn structure and the pair of bishops.} Bxc5 20. dxc5
Qc7 21. a6 $1 {Powerful play, this forces a weakness in Black's camp and makes
the c-pawn a passed pawn.} bxa6 $6 (21... b6 {seemed like the lesser of two
evils.} 22. cxb6 Qxb6 23. b4 $5 {But possibly Korobov didn't want to live with
the permanently weak a7 pawn.}) 22. b4 Rfd8 23. Rxa6 h5 24. Qf3 Rab8 25. Be1 $1
Nxb4 26. Rxd8+ Qxd8 27. Rxa7 {White's passed pawn is very powerful. It will be
difficult for Black to stop it.} Kg8 28. c6 Nd5 29. Rb7 $2 {A bad move that
gives Black just enough time to mount strong pressure on c6.} (29. Rd7 Qe8 30.
Bd3 $1 {Controlling b1 seemed like a good human way of continuing.}) (29. Qa3
$1 Rb1 30. Kf1 {is the computer continuation, who thinks White is simply
winning. However allowing Rb1 is hardly human.}) 29... Rc8 30. Bb5 Qd6 31. Qe4
Qc5 {Suddenly White's c-pawn is not only not going anywhere, it is also in
danger of simply falling.} 32. h3 g6 $2 (32... Ne7 $1 {Black had to take this
time and eliminate the c-pawn while hte could. There is no longer any way of
defending c6 but with a few seconds left on his clock Korobov must have
believed that Kramnik had some sort of tactical refutation to this obvious
move.}) 33. Bd2 {And now Black's position will be almost impossible to hold.}
Rxc6 $6 {This desperation attempt simply does not work. Black's king is too
weak to set up any kind of fortress.} 34. Bxc6 Qxc6 35. Qb1 g5 36. h4 $1 {
Opening diagonals and routes to the Black king is what is going to give White
the full point.} gxh4 (36... Nf4 37. Bxf4 gxf4 38. Qb3 {is probably more
troublesome for White, but at the end Black's king is too weak and White
should win without problems.}) 37. Bh6 Nc7 38. Ra7 $6 (38. Qb4 $1 {Was
immediately finishing the game, but Korobov was not the only one in time
trouble by this point.}) 38... Nb5 39. Qb4 {Back on track, but now Black's
knight saves him from immediate resignation.} Nd6 40. Qb8+ Ne8 41. Re7 e5 42.
Kh2 h3 43. gxh3 Kh7 44. Be3 Kg8 45. Qb1 Qd6 46. Qg1+ Kf8 47. Ra7 {The last few
moves have not been the most exact from White, but they are sufficient to give
him a winning advantage.} Nc7 48. Qc1 Ne6 49. Qc8+ Kg7 50. Qe8 Nc7 51. Qb8 {
Finally Black is forced to lose more material and he therefore resigns.
Kramnik let his opponent off the hook slightly, but when his opponent didn't
capitalize on this mistake he was given no second chance.} 1-0

 

Svidler seems just as confused with Korobov's decision as Korobov himself...

Dmitri Andreikin tried an offbeat d4 system against Peter Svidler (above, left), but the result was less than optimal. If anything Svidler was the one that obtained an advantage from the opening, as slight as that might have been. In the final position it is maybe possible for Black to play on, as he had quite a bit of activity despite the strange situation with the pawn structure. Black instead decided to agree to a draw and try his luck the next day with the extra tempo.

Evgeny Tomashevsky (above, right) against Gata Kamsky saw both players take some "rest" from the wild encounters they had in the previous round. Tomashevsky won in a thriller against Morozevich in the blitz tiebreak while Kamsky didn't play past the classical games, but had two of the most exciting games of the entire tournament. This time the players agreed to a draw in an a6 Slav after Tomashevsky obtained absolutely nothing from the opening.

Maxime Vachier-Lagraeve (above, right) was able to obtain some pressure against Caruana's Gruenfeld. Of course both of these young players are known theoreticians, and it seemed that the Frenchman was better prepared. White was able to obtain an extra pawn and was quite ahead on the clock, but the Italian player was resourceful and kept his cool. Many moves later the activity of Black's pieces allowed him to keep the half point and now MVL will have to defend with Black against Caruana's preparation.

Does size really matter? GM Bachar Kouatly, editor of Europe Echecs, the French–language chess magazine; Ignatius Leong, FIDE Secretary-General and President of the ASEAN Chess Confederation; and chief organiser of World Cup Morten Sand (former FIDE legal advisor) of Norway.

All results of the fifth round games

Player Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Tomashevsky, Ev. 2706
½
                0.5
Kamsky, Gata 2741
½
                0.5
Player Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2719
½
                0.5
Caruana, Fabiano 2796
½
                0.5
Player Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Kramnik, Vladimir 2784
1
                1.0
Korobov, Anton 2720
0
                0.0
Player Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Andreikin, Dmitry 2716
½
                0.5
Svidler, Peter 2746
½
                0.5

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Topics Tromso, World Cup
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