World Cup R4.1: no draw death in Khanty-Mansiysk

9/7/2011 – Round four in the World Cup was another uncompromising day – six games out of eight were decisive! White won four times, Black scored two wins, and of the two draws one was well fought out. Dominguez, Navara, Gashimov, Potkin, Radjabov and Svidler go into the second game on Wednesday with a win under their belts, the first two with the advantage of the white pieces. Illustrated report.

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The tournament is taking place in the Ugorian Chess Academy in the very heart of Khanty-Mansiysk, which has hosted three previous World Cups: 2005, 2007, and 2009. The 128 participants hail from 46 different countries, and are playing for a total prize fund of US $1.6 million. In addition the first three finisher get tickets to the Candidates tournament in the next World Championship cycle.

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Round four game one – no draw death in Khanty-Mansiysk

Ukrainian GM Yaroslav Zherebukh, who has already eliminated Pavel Eljanov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, was not successful in his opening against David Navara (who was awarded his Fair Play prize today – see below). Not willing to defend passively, Zherebukh sacrificed a rook and went off for a desperate attack. Black carefully parried all the threats and launched the decisive counter-attack.

Ukrainian GM Yaroslav Zherebukh, who is just eighteen years old

David Navara of the Czech Republic at the start of round four

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2011"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"] [Date "2011.09.06"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Zherebukh, Yaroslav"] [Black "Navara, David"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B46"] [WhiteElo "2590"] [BlackElo "2722"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2011.08.28"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 d6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Be3 Be7 9. f4 O-O 10. Qe1 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 b5 12. a3 Bb7 13. Qg3 g6 14. Bf3 a5 15. Nxb5 Nxe4 16. Qe1 f5 17. Nc3 d5 18. Qe3 Bf6 19. Be2 Ba6 20. Bd3 Bxd4 21. Qxd4 Bxd3 22. cxd3 Nd2 {Nice sequential fork: if the f-rook moves ...Nb3 forks the other one and the queen.} 23. Rae1 Nxf1 24. Rxe6 Nd2 25. Nxd5 {White has given a rook for two pawns, but does not have enough attack to finish off his opponent.} Nb3 26. Qe5 Ra7 27. Kf1 Raf7 28. h4 a4 29. h5 gxh5 30. g3 Qb8 31. Rd6 Qb7 32. Rh6 Rd8 33. Nf6+ {All this is pure desperation - White is going to get mated.} Rxf6 34. Rxf6 Nd2+ 35. Kf2 Qf3+ {and mate in three more moves.} 0-1

Judit Polgar, the only female left in the tournament

Lenier Dominguez Perez, one of two Cubans in the last sixteen

The game between Judit Polgar (Hungary) and Lenier Dominguez (Cuba) followed the same scenario. In a Sicilian Defense Black quickly seized the initiative and started to advance his central pawns. White had decent drawing chances due to opposite-colored bishops, but Judit didn't want to suffer for a draw and made a careless pawn push. Black immediately took control of the open file and created the winning attack.

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2011"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"] [Date "2011.09.06"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Polgar, Judit"] [Black "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2699"] [BlackElo "2719"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "2011.08.28"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3 Be7 8. Bc4 O-O 9. O-O Qc7 10. Bb3 Be6 11. Qe2 Rc8 12. Rfd1 b5 13. Bg5 Nbd7 14. Rac1 b4 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. Bxf6 Nxf6 17. exd5 Qd7 18. Bc4 Qa7 19. c3 bxc3 20. Rxc3 Bd8 21. Ng5 a5 22. Rf3 Qe7 23. b3 a4 24. Rh3 g6 25. Qc2 axb3 26. axb3 Bb6 27. Rf1 Ng4 28. Ne4 f5 29. Rg3 Nf6 30. Nxf6+ Qxf6 31. Rd3 Rc7 32. Qc3 Rca7 33. Rd2 Bd4 34. Qd3 Ra1 35. g3 Rxf1+ 36. Kxf1 Bc5 37. Kg2 e4 38. Qe2 Re8 39. f3 exf3+ 40. Qxf3 Re3 41. Qf1 Qe5 42. Qf4 Qe7 43. Ra2 Re1 {Maybe Judit, who has been playing such a remarkable tournament so far, could defend this position, but not with} 44. b4 $2 Be3 45. Qf3 Rg1+ 46. Kh3 Qg5 0-1

Tomorrow Judit Polgar and Yaroslav Zherebukh will face a very difficult task — winning on demand as Black.

Vladimir Potkin (right) at the start of his game against Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk (Russia) abandoned his favorite Gruenfeld Defence in favor of the King's Indian against his friend and compatriot Vladimir Potkin. However, Potkin's reputation as a great opening expert received another confirmation today when White obtained a big advantage. Grischuk defended stubbornly, but made a few inaccuracies, and Potkin won in the endgame with a spectacular pawn break.

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2011"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"] [Date "2011.09.06"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Potkin, Vladimir"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E73"] [WhiteElo "2682"] [BlackElo "2746"] [PlyCount "87"] [EventDate "2011.08.28"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5 Na6 7. f4 Qe8 8. Nf3 e5 9. fxe5 dxe5 10. d5 Nc5 11. Nd2 Nh5 12. Bxh5 gxh5 13. Qxh5 Nd3+ 14. Ke2 Nf4+ 15. Bxf4 exf4 16. Rhf1 Be5 17. g3 fxg3 18. Nf3 Bg7 19. e5 Bxe5 20. Nxe5 f6 21. Qxe8 Rxe8 22. hxg3 Rxe5+ 23. Kd2 Kf7 24. Rf4 Rf5 25. Raf1 Rxf4 26. Rxf4 Bd7 27. Ne4 f5 28. Nc5 Bc8 29. b4 b6 30. Nd3 Kf6 31. Rh4 Kg7 32. Kc3 Bd7 33. Ne5 Be8 34. Kd4 h5 35. Nd3 Bf7 36. Nf4 Re8 37. Nxh5+ Bxh5 38. Rxh5 Re4+ 39. Kd3 b5 40. c5 Re5 {The above mentioned pawn break:} 41. d6 cxd6 42. c6 Re4 43. Rxf5 Rxb4 44. Rf2 1-0

Azeri GM Teimour Radjabov (above) handled the opening against Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia, Ugra) very creatively. Black's light-squared bishop was shut off, and trying to bring it back, Jakovenko got himself a weak isolated pawn which was soon captured by his opponent. Radjabov was flawless in the rook ending that followed and concluded the game in his favor.

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2011"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"] [Date "2011.09.06"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Radjabov, Teimour"] [Black "Jakovenko, Dmitry"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A07"] [WhiteElo "2744"] [BlackElo "2736"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2011.08.28"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. b3 Bg7 5. Bb2 O-O 6. c4 dxc4 7. bxc4 c5 8. O-O Nc6 9. d3 Bf5 10. Nc3 Qd7 11. Re1 Rac8 12. Rb1 b6 13. Nb5 Bh3 14. Bh1 Ne8 15. Bxg7 Nxg7 16. Ng5 Bg4 17. Qd2 h6 18. Ne4 Kh7 19. Nec3 f5 20. f3 Bh5 21. f4 e6 22. Bg2 Rfd8 23. Kh1 Qe7 24. Qe3 Ne8 25. h3 Nd6 26. Nxd6 Rxd6 27. Kh2 Rd7 28. Rg1 g5 29. g4 gxf4 30. Qxf4 Bg6 31. gxf5 exf5 32. Nd5 Qd6 33. Rbf1 Kh8 34. h4 Bh7 35. Bh3 Re8 36. e4 Nb4 37. Qxd6 Rxd6 38. Bxf5 Nxd5 39. cxd5 Bxf5 40. Rxf5 c4 41. Rf4 c3 42. Rf7 Rc8 43. Rgg7 Rdd8 44. Rh7+ Kg8 45. Rfg7+ Kf8 46. Rxa7 Kg8 47. Rag7+ Kf8 48. Rd7 1-0

Peter Svidler (Russia) vs Gata Kamsky (USA) and Vugar Gashimov (Azerbaijan) vs Peter-Heine Nielsen (Denmark) games were rather similar — in both games White got the opening initiative, Black defended tenaciously, but White finally prevailed in the endgame.

St Petersburg GM Peter Svidler

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2011"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"] [Date "2011.09.06"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Kamsky, Gata"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C90"] [WhiteElo "2739"] [BlackElo "2741"] [PlyCount "105"] [EventDate "2011.08.28"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a3 d6 9. c3 Re8 10. d4 h6 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. Ba2 Bb7 13. b4 a5 14. d5 Ne7 15. Nb3 axb4 16. cxb4 Rb8 17. Bb2 c6 18. Na5 Ba8 19. dxc6 Nxc6 20. Nxc6 Bxc6 21. Qd3 Qd7 22. Rac1 Rbd8 23. Bb1 Ba8 24. Qe2 g6 25. Bd3 Rb8 26. Rc2 Nh5 27. g3 Bg7 28. Rec1 Qg4 29. Nd4 Qxe2 30. Nxe2 Nf6 31. Nc3 Bc6 32. f3 Bd7 33. Nd1 d5 34. exd5 e4 35. fxe4 Nxe4 36. Bxg7 Kxg7 37. Rc7 Bf5 38. Bxe4 Rxe4 39. Nc3 Rd4 40. Rd1 Rxd1+ 41. Nxd1 Ra8 42. Ne3 Be4 43. Re7 Bb1 44. Re5 Ra6 45. Kf2 h5 46. Kf3 { This position was probably now defensible for Black, but Kamsky unfortunately loses the thread:} Ba2 $2 47. Ke4 Rxa3 48. Kd4 Rb3 $4 49. d6 f6 50. Re7+ Kf8 51. Nd5 Bb1 52. Kc5 Rd3 53. Ra7 1-0

Azeri GM Vugar Gashimov at the start of round four

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2011"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"] [Date "2011.09.06"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Gashimov, Vugar"] [Black "Nielsen, Peter Heine"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2760"] [BlackElo "2681"] [PlyCount "145"] [EventDate "2011.08.28"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Rd1+ Ke8 10. Nc3 Be7 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bxe7 Nxe7 13. Nd4 Bd7 14. Rd3 Rd8 15. Rad1 Nd5 16. Ne4 Nf4 17. R3d2 Ke7 18. f3 Bc8 19. Kf2 Rhe8 20. g3 Nh3+ 21. Ke3 Ng5 22. f4 Nxe4 23. Kxe4 g6 24. f5 Rxd4+ 25. Kxd4 Bxf5 26. Kc3 a5 27. a3 Be6 28. Rd4 c5 29. Rf4 h5 30. b4 axb4+ 31. axb4 Ra8 32. bxc5 Ra3+ 33. Kb2 Ra2+ 34. Kb1 Ra5 35. Rb4 Rxc5 36. Rxb7 Bf5 37. Rd2 Be4 38. Ra7 Ke6 39. Re2 Kxe5 40. Ra4 f5 41. Ra6 g5 42. Rg6 g4 43. Rh6 Kd4 44. Rxh5 Bf3 45. Rd2+ Ke3 46. Rd3+ Kf2 47. Kb2 Be4 48. Rc3 Rb5+ 49. Kc1 c6 50. Rh8 Kg2 51. Rc4 Re5 52. Rd4 Bf3 53. Rd2+ Kg1 54. Kb2 Re3 55. Rh7 Be4 56. Rd1+ Kg2 57. Rd2+ Kg1 58. Re7 Kh1 59. Rf2 Kg1 60. Rxf5 Bxc2 61. Rf1+ Kxf1 62. Rxe3 Bd1 63. Kc1 Bf3 64. Re5 Kg1 65. Rh5 Bg2 66. Kd2 Bh3 67. Ke3 Kxh2 68. Kf2 c5 69. Rxc5 Bg2 70. Rc4 Bh3 71. Ra4 Kh1 72. Ra1+ Kh2 73. Rg1 1-0

Only two games ended in draws: Ukrainian grandmasters Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov defended with the Black pieces against Bu Xiangzhi (China) and Lazaro Bruzon (Cuba) respectively. "Today's round clearly showed that there is no real «draw death» threat in modern chess," say the satisfied organisers.

Results of round four

 Polgar, Judit (HUN)
 Dominguez Perez, Leinier (CUB))
 Bu, Xiangzhi (RUS)
 Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR)
 Zherebukh, Yaroslav (UKR)
 Navara, David (CZE)
 Bruzon Batista, Lazaro (CUB)
 Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR)
 Gashimov, Vugar (AZE)
 Nielsen, Peter Heine (DEN)
 Potkin, Vladimir (RUS)
 Grischuk, Alexander (RUS)
 Radjabov, Teimour (AZE)
 Jakovenko, Dmitry (RUS)
 Svidler, Peter (RUS)
 Kamsky, Gata (USA)

Results as a bracket table

View the table in full size on a separate page

Remaining schedule of the World Chess Cup 2011

Date Day Time   Rounds
07.09.2011 Wednesday 15:00 Round 4, game 2
08.09.2011 Thursday 15:00 Tiebreak
09.09.2011 Friday 15:00 Round 5, game 1
10.09.2011 Saturday 15:00 Round 5, game 2
11.09.2011 Sunday 15:00 Tiebreak
12.09.2011 Monday 15:00 Round 6, game 1
13.09.2011 Tuesday 15:00 Round 6, game 2
14.09.2011 Wednesday 15:00 Tiebreak
15.09.2011 Thursday   Free Day
16.09.2011 Friday 15:00 Round 7, game 1
17.09.2011 Saturday 15:00 Round 7, game 2
18.09.2011 Sunday 15:00 Round 7, game 3
19.09.2011 Monday 15:00 Round 7, game 4
20.09.2011 Tuesday 11:00 Tiebreaks, Closing
21.09.2011 Wednesday   Departure

A statement by David Navara

After he had offered a draw in a winning position in his second game of round three against Alexander Moiseenko we wrote to David Navara, asking him to describe exactly what happened. This he did, promptly, in spite of the impending tiebreak games. However David asked us not to publish his email until after the round had been completed. He also asked us to check if there was video of the action at the critical moment in the game. He wrote:

The critical moment arose on the 35th move. My opponent was in a time trouble and I wanted to play the move 35...Be7-d6, which I therefore executed. Unfortunately, while making this move, I incidentally touched my king with my thumb and it started to rock a bit. I do not know which piece I touched first, but I really had no intention to play with my king, and touched it only when executing my intended move. My opponent noticed the movement of the king and asked me to play with it. I replied that I had no idea which piece I had touch first, and that I definitely wanted to play with my bishop. Then the arbiter came over. He supported my opinion, but I am not sure how much he had seen, and therefore do not consider this especially relevant. Anyway, my opponent agreed to continue the game, and I am thankful to him for this.

Incidentally I had executed my move 35...Bd6 and my clock was still running during the controversy, therefore I stopped it with the middle button while discussing with my opponent and with the arbiter. When play resumed I tried to start it again, using the same button, but it refused to run, even though the remaining time stayed displayed. I admit that this might have been caused by my handling of the clock. I told the arbiters the time consumption at the moment and watched the other games while they were setting the clock.

After the game continued I achieved a decisive advantage, but I terribly misplayed the endgame K+Q vs K+R. At the end I was lucky to achieve a completely winning position, but I decided to offer a draw. By doing this, I did not concede that I had been at fault on move 35. I just admitted that I do not know which piece I touched first and what the correct result should be. I wanted the match to be decided on the board, not in the appeals committee or by such a crazy game.

I should also note that none of us acted with an ill will. My opponent had seen my king rocking and it was logical to ask me to play with it. This was just an unfortunate incident which can happen from time to time.

David Navara

The Governor of Ugra, Natalia Komarova, decided to award both players a special prize to acknowledge their fair play. "In Ugra we encourage honor and generosity both at the chess board and in everyday life," she said. "I am personally very proud of both players, and could not simply overlook such a knightly act. This is the first time we are awarding the Fair Play Prize, but I think we will make it a tradition in future. You don't have to become a champion to win this prize, you just have to live in harmony with world and other people. I want to thank Alexander and David for reminding us of the principles of fair play.".

David Navara thanked the Governor and said: "I didn't think of any reward when I offered a draw, I just did the right thing." Alexander Moiseenko added: "I lost not just to a very strong player, but also to a noble man. I think David's decision to offer me a draw is unique for the chess world. No one else would do it under such circumstances. I was quite shocked by his offer. I admire David's decision and wish him the best of luck at the World Cup."


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