2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship

by ChessBase
7/13/2009 – For the second time in recent memory, Alberta plays host to the Canadian Open. As in the 2005 edition, the top seeds sit amongst some of the best players in the world. Alexei Shirov has returned to defend the title he split with GMs Mark Bluvshtein and Vassily Ivanchuk, and has scored two fine victories in the first two rounds. Illustrated report with annotations by GM Alexander Shabalov.

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2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship, Edmonton

The Canadian Open is underway in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This open Swiss tournament with a Classical time control has attracted a few very strong GMs such as Alexei Shirov, Ni Hua and Michael Adams. Top Canadian players like GM Mark Bluvshtein are playing, as well as many other professional and amateur players. 203 players are competing, all in one section.

The playing venue is a ballroom within a large shopping mall in downtown Edmonton, with restaurants, a movie theatre and shopping all just minutes away. And with just one game every day, unlike most Opens in North America, there is plenty of time for entertainment and tourism. Here is the schedule:

Round 1 Saturday July 11th 4:00   PM
Round 2 Sunday July 12th 6:00   PM
Round 3 - 7 Monday to Friday July 13th - July 17th 6:00   PM
Round 8 Saturday July 18th 4:00   PM
Round 9 Sunday July 19th 12:00 PM
Awards Presentation  Sunday  July 19th 6:00   PM

The first round saw the GMs taking on some local players in the 1800-1900 range. After the game GM Shirov had to rush off to make a phone call, but came back soon after to take his local opponent (and a lucky tournament Organizer) to a steak dinner. That’s better than the skittles room any day.

Most of the GMs are also participating in side events, such as simuls, lectures and a blitz tournament.

Top seed Alexei Shirov, 2748, Spain

Second seed GM Ni Hua, 2701, China

Third seed GM Michael Adams, 2699, England

Dina Kagramanov, rated 2093, from Ontario, one of Canada's top female players

Dina and her sister Dalia Kagramanov, who is also a chess player rated 1941

Top female seed GM Zhao Xue, 2544, China

Second female seed IM Irina Krush, 2481, USA

Alberta's top junior (and champion) FM Eric Hansen, 2423

Canadian youth Tanraj Sohal, rated 2072

Year of birth? Elo rating? Neither. GMs Alexei Shirov and
Victor Mikhalevski are visiting Fort Edmonton Park

Games annotated by GM Alexander Shabalov

Shirov,Alexei (2748) - Miller,Brian (1889)
2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship Edmonton (1), 11.07.2009 [Alexander Shabalov]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Qc2 c5. The recent games of Alexey suggest that Catalan had to be expected. 7...a6 8.a4 (8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Ra7 11.Nc3 Nbd7 12.b4 Bxb4 13.Nxb5 axb5 14.Bxb4 Be4 15.Qb2 Re8 16.Rfc1 Qa8 17.Bc5 Ra4 18.Ne1 1/2 Shirov,A (2741) -Jakovenko,D (2709)/Poikovsky 2008) 8...Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bf4 a5 11.Nc3 Na6 12.Ne5 Bxg2 13.Kxg2 Nd5 14.Rad1 Nxf4+ 15.gxf4 Bd6 16.e3 Nb4 17.Nf3 c6 18.Rg1 Nd5 19.Ne4 f5 20.Nxd6 Qxd6 21.Ne5 Rfd8 22.h4 Nf6 23.Kh3 Rac8 24.Qb3 Qe7 25.Rg5 Ne4 26.Rg2 Rc7 27.Rdg1 Qe8 28.Qb6 Rdc8 29.Qxa5 c5 30.dxc5 Nxc5 31.Qxc5 1-0 Shirov,A (2726)-Landa,K (2613)/Muelheim GER 2009. 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Qxc4 Qb6. Black's position is not that great to start with,plus this queen's voyage gives white some more tempis to develop his pieces. Obviously one would expect a game like this to finish pretty soon.Amazingly Alexey shows a remarkable restraint and gets satisfied with an extra pawn endgame.Well, everyone has his own recipy to deal with the jetlag. 10.Nc3 Qb4 11.Qd3 Nc6 12.a3 Qg4 13.b4 Rd8 14.Qc2 Bb6 15.Bf4 Nd5 16.Nxd5 exd5 17.b5 Nd4 18.Nxd4 Bxd4 19.Rad1 Bf5 20.Qb3 Bb6 21.Bf3 Qg6 22.Rxd5 Be6 23.Rxd8+ Rxd8 24.Qb4 Qf6

25.Bd6! Professionalism at its best! White could have collected another pawn 25.Bxb7 and weather the storm starting after 25...g5 but he prefers a quiet endgame with the pawn up instead. 25...Qd4 26.Qxd4 Bxd4 27.Bb4 b6 28.Rc1 Be5 29.Kg2 g6 30.e3 Kg7 31.a4 Bb3 32.a5 bxa5 33.Bxa5 Rb8 34.Be2 Ba4 35.Rc5 Bd6 36.Rd5 Be7 37.e4 Kf8 38.f4 Ke8 39.Kf3 Kf8 40.g4 Ke8 41.f5 f6 42.h4 Ba3 43.g5 gxf5 44.exf5 fxg5 45.hxg5 Bc1 46.Kg4 Bb3 47.Rc5 1-0. [Click to replay]

Usselman,Paul (1886) - Ni,Hua (2701)
2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship Edmonton (1), 11.07.2009 [Alexander Shabalov]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.Bg5 Ne4 6.cxd5 Nxg5 7.Nxg5 e6 8.h4!? This move never had a good reputation. 8...exd5 9.e3 h6!? Very practical: Black just doesn't want to deal with potential Nxh7 threat . It was unnecessary though 9...0-0 10.Bd3 c5 11.Nxh7 (11.Qf3 cxd4 12.Nxd5 Nc6 13.e4 happened in Santos,C (2325)-Pinho,P/Lisbon 1992 and now black is almost winning 13...h6 14.Nh3 f5-/+) 11...cxd4 12.exd4 Kxh7 13.h5 Kg8 14.hxg6 Qg5 (14...fxg6 15.Bxg6 Bf5-/+) 15.Qe2 Nc6 16.Nxd5 Bg4 17.f3 Rae8 18.gxf7+ Kxf7 19.Be4 Nxd4 20.Qc4 b5 21.Qc7+ Kg8 22.Nc3 Nxf3+ 23.gxf3 Bxf3 24.Rh8+ Kxh8 0-1 Sjodahl,P (2240)-Ernst,T (2460)/Sundsvall 1989. 10.Nf3 0-0 11.h5 g5 12.Qb3 c6 13.Bd3 Qd6 14.0-0-0 a5

15.Bb1? You don't get to checkmate 2700 player like that. Instead White should have concentrate on e3-e4 break, with some chances to equalize. However the danger of opening the position against two bishops should not be underestimated. 15.Kb1 Na6 16.a3 (16.e4) 16...b5=/+. 15...Na6 16.a3 b5 17.Qc2 f5

18.g4? This multiple pawns sac collapses White's position right away. 18...b4 19.axb4 Nxb4 20.Qb3 fxg4 21.Ne5 Bxe5 22.dxe5 Qxe5 23.Rd4 Be6 0-1. [Click to replay]

Adams,Michael (2699) - Ventura,Jason (1879)
2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship Edmonton (1), 11.07.2009 [Alexander Shabalov]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 Nc6?! Michael's 6. Bc4 must have come as a surprise for Black. 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5

8...Ng4? This is a bit too much. 8...Nd7 9.e6 fxe6 10.Bxe6 Is not a dream Sicilian position for black either, but it won't lose before move 20. 9.e6 f5 10.Qf3 Ne5 11.Qxf5 g6 12.Qf4 Bg7 13.Bb3

13...d5? Another blunder.d6-d5 had to be prepared with either 13...Qc7 or 13...Rb8. 14.Nxd5 Qd6 15.Nb6 Rf8 16.Qe4 Bxe6 17.Nxa8 Bf5 18.Qa4 Ng4 19.Bf4 e5 20.Bg3 Ke7 21.h3 1-0. [Click to replay]

Kalaydina,Nicka (1879) - Ganguly,Surya (2637)
2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship Edmonton (1), 11.07.2009 [Alexander Shabalov]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.b6 a5?! Very risky move. 6.Nc3 Ba6 7.g3?! Too timid. Black can quickly find himself in critical position after 7.f4! d6 8.Nf3 Qxb6 9.e4 Bxf1 10.Rxf1 for example 10...Qb4 11.a3 Qc4 12.Nd2 Qd4 13.Qe2 c4 14.Nxc4 Qa7 15.e5 1-0 Mikhalevski,V (2608) -Jones,G (2540)/ Queenstown NZL 2009. 7...d6 8.Bg2 Nbd7 9.Nf3 g6 10.0-0 Bg7 11.Re1 Nxb6 12.e4 Nfd7 13.Bf4 Nc4 14.Qc2 Rb8 15.Rab1 Nde5 16.Nxe5 Nxe5

17.Bxe5! The exclamation mark is for the psychological effect. Of course black position remains slightly better (two bishops after all),but greatly reduced material and perspective of playing long game in round one makes Black very nervous. However white took to much time finding this amazing concept and in the end it cost her the game. 17...Bxe5 18.Nd1 0-0 19.Ne3 Rb4 20.b3 Bg7 21.Bf1 Bxf1 22.Kxf1 Qd7 23.Kg2 f5?! Superagressive move inspired mostly by the rating difference. [23...a4 =/+] 24.exf5 gxf5

25.f4! An excellent reaction. White knight gets to an dominating c4 square and black position suddenly doesn't look so great anymore. 25...e5 26.Nc4 Kh8 27.fxe5 dxe5 28.Rbd1 e4 29.Qe2? White lets her time expire. Otherwise Black has a very doubtful compensation after 29.Nxa5+/-. 29...Bd4 30.Ne3 Rb6 0-1. [Click to replay]

Mikhalevski,Victor (2631) - Ritchie,Gordon (1870)
2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship Edmonton (1), 11.07.2009 [Alexander Shabalov]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.c5 Bg4. Ivan Sokolov's specialty. 6.Ne5 Bf5. This move allows white to get a standard position with extra tempo f2-f3, which is not necessarily bad if black follows with correct play on move 13. The usual move is 6...Be6 7.Qb3 Ra7 8.Bf4 g6 9.e3 Nh5 10.Bg3 Nxg3 11.hxg3 Nd7 12.Nxd7 Bxd7 13.Na4 Qc7 14.Qb6 Qb8 15.Bd3 Bg7 16.f4 Bg4 17.Qb3 h5 18.Nb6 e6 19.Kd2 f5 20.Qc3 Bf6 21.Kc2 Qc7 1/2 Akopian,V (2713) -Sokolov,I (2673)/Kemer 2007; 6...Bh5 is known giving white strong initiative after 7.Qb3 Ra7 8.e4! e6 9.exd5 exd5 10.Bd3 Nbd7 11.Bf4 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Be7 13.0-0 0-0 14.Rfe1 Bg6 15.Bxg6 hxg6 16.Re2 Ng4 17.Qb6 Qa8 18.Bc7 Bf6 19.Bd6 Rd8 20.Na4 Nh6 21.Qa5 1/2 Topalov,V (2735)-Sokolov,I (2706)/ Wijk aan Zee 2004 (35). 7.Qb3 Ra7 8.f3 g6 9.e4 Be6 10.Bg5. Victor improves on his old game 10.Be3 Bg7 11.Qc2 0-0 12.Be2 Ne8 13.0-0 dxe4 14.fxe4 Bxe5 15.dxe5 Nd7 16.Rad1 Qc7 17.Nd5 cxd5 18.exd5 Qxe5 19.Bf4 Bf5 20.Qd2 Qh8 21.Qe3 Qxb2 22.c6 bxc6 23.Qxa7 Qxe2 24.dxc6 Ndf6 25.c7 Nd6 26.Rfe1 Qc4 27.Bxd6 exd6 28.Rc1 Qf4 29.Rf1 Qe5 30.h3 Bc8 31.Rfd1 Ne4 32.Qd4 Qxd4+ 33.Rxd4 f5 34.Rf1 Rf7 35.Rc1 Kf8 36.Rb4 Ke7 37.Rb8 Kd7 38.Ra8 Nc5 39.Ra7 Kc6 0-1 Mikhalevski,V (2495)-Hodgson,J (2590)/Amsterdam 1995. 10...Bg7. Of course, not 10...dxe4 11.Bc4! and White wins. 11.0-0-0 0-0 12.Qa3 Nbd7 13.Nxd7

13...Qxd7? This unfortunate recapture, which allows white to drive black knight away from the key square b6, seals the fate of a7 rook. After the correct 13...Nxd7 White is only slightly better. 14.e5 Ne8 15.Na4 f6?! to open the e file for exchanges, while having the rook on a7, is wrong on principle. 16.exf6 exf6 17.Bf4 Qd8 18.Qb4 Rf7 19.Bd3 Bf8 20.Rhe1

20...Bf5? Black throws the game away. His position was not pretty after 20...Ng7 as well, but white still had to win it. 21.Bxf5 gxf5 22.Qd2 Re7 23.Nb6 Ng7 24.Rxe7 Bxe7 25.Re1 Bf8 26.Qf2 a5 27.Qg3 Ra6. Missing White's threat, but 27...Be7 28.Nc8 Qxc8 29.Rxe7 Qf8 30.Rd7 followed by 31.Bh6 would not help either. 28.Bc7 1-0. [Click to replay]


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