Baku 4.1: Eight battles, Four winners

by Alejandro Ramirez
9/20/2015 – Already four players are in serious danger of going home: they must win tomorrow to keep their chances alive! In the Chinese derby, Ding Liren overtook Wei Yi. Nakamura outplayed Adams in fine positional style. After a series of mutual mistakes, Svidler checkmated Topalov. Finally, the news of the day for the Azerbaijanis is that Caruana was blown off the board by Mamedyarov!

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World Cup

10th September – 5th October

Baku, Azerbaijan

Round Four - Game One

Already half of the matches see a player with their life on the line, forced to win tomorrow! Let us start with the draws, however: Andreikin-Karjakin was a crowd pleaser. A full twelve moves of chess, which gives Karjakin the chance to push with white tomorrow.

No way into So's position

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave tried to outplay Wesley So with his traditional anti-Berlin, but the American was up to the task and defended the draw without ever being in problems.

No 7.0/7 for this guy: Eljanov's string of victories came to an end as he held Jakovenko to a draw.

Giri obtained next to nothing against Wojtaszek's Najdorf. That game ended in a draw in a very equal knight and rooks endgame.

Wojtaszek gets to try his luck with white tomorrow vs. Giri

Now on to the victories! The Chinese derby was fighting and interesting:

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2015.09.20"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Wei, Yi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A15"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2015.09.11"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. h4 {The popularity of a quick h4 in the anti-Grunfeld is increasing rapidly. The reason is that with Black's setup it is not so easy to punish such a side attack which also has strong positional foundations.} Bg7 6. h5 Nc6 7. g3 Bg4 8. h6 {Here is one of the many points. The bishop on g7 is lost sooner or later as it will not be safe on f6 (Ne4 could come soon).} Bxc3 9. dxc3 Qd6 (9... Bxf3 10. exf3 {might be your computer's recommendation, but giving up two bishops seems very strange.}) 10. Bg2 O-O-O 11. Ng5 $5 (11. Qa4 {was played against Wei Yi just last month.} Qe6 12. O-O f6 $13 {Wang Yue-Wei Yi, Chinese League 2015.}) 11... Ne5 {there is no other good way of defending f7.} 12. Qa4 Nb6 (12... f6 13. Nf7 Nxf7 14. Qxg4+ {gives White the pair of bishops against two knights, but Black is pretty active. It's an unclear position.}) 13. Qd4 $1 f6 (13... Qxd4 14. cxd4 Rxd4 {leaves White plenty of interesting options here, but personally I like} 15. b3 $1 {when Black's pieces on the long diagonal are very badly placed.}) 14. Bf4 $1 Qxd4 15. cxd4 Nc6 $1 {An exchange sacrifice that changes the character of the position.} (15... Rxd4 16. Bxe5 fxe5 {is not pleasant to defend. Black's up a pawn for now but his structure is just terrible.}) 16. Nf7 Nxd4 17. Rc1 e5 18. Rh4 $1 {Very precise. Otherwise Black gets a nice initiative:} exf4 19. Nxd8 $2 (19. Rxg4 $1 f3 20. Bf1 $1 Rhe8 21. Nxd8 Nxe2 22. Bxe2 Rxe2+ 23. Kf1 Kxd8 24. Rf4 {and Black doesn't quite have enough here.} Rxb2 $6 25. Rxf6 $18) 19... f3 $1 20. exf3 Nxf3+ 21. Bxf3 Re8+ 22. Kd2 Bxf3 { Black's still down the exchange, but White's knight on d8 feels very isolated from the rest of White's pieces.} 23. Nf7 Bc6 $6 {Missing an excellent chance to win with Black.} (23... Re2+ $1 24. Kd3 Re7 25. Nd6+ (25. Nh8 g5 $17) 25... Kd8 {the key difference is that with the king on d3 there is a skewer on e2 no matter where the king goes.}) (23... Re7 $2 24. Nd6+ $14) 24. b4 a6 25. a4 $1 Nxa4 26. Re1 Nb6 27. Rg4 Rg8 (27... Rxe1 $6 28. Kxe1 {White threatens to sacrifice on g6.} g5 29. f4 $16) 28. Re7 $1 Nd5 29. Nd6+ $1 cxd6 30. Rxh7 g5 { White's down a lot of material, but his h-pawn is very dangerous.} 31. Re4 Rg6 $6 (31... Nc7 32. Ree7 Ne8 {and I don't see how to make progress for either isde. For example:} 33. Rhf7 Bd5 $11) 32. Re6 g4 33. Rxd6 Nxb4 34. Rh8+ Kc7 35. Rd4 Nd5 (35... a5 36. h7 Rh6 37. Rxg4 Kb6 {was a better try, but still looks very bad for Black after} 38. Rg7 Be4 39. Re7 Bxh7 40. Rhxh7 $18) 36. h7 Rh6 37. Rxg4 Ne7 38. Rg7 Kd7 39. Rf8 1-0

But don't just take my analysis! Here is an excellent interview with Ding Liren. Warning: the variations at the end might make your head spin.

Next to fall was a giant. Caruana lost to the local player Mamedyarov. The American played rather badly today and he was punished mercilessly:

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2015.09.20"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E60"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "2015.09.11"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Bg5 {Leave it up to Mamedyarov to do something weird in a crucial game. Black could just play Bg7, but Caruana picks up the gauntlet.} Ne4 4. Bf4 c5 (4... e5 $5 5. dxe5 Bc5 6. e3 Bb4+ 7. Ke2 {is probably not enough for the pawn, but funny looking.}) 5. Qc2 Qa5+ 6. Nd2 f5 7. f3 Nf6 8. d5 d6 {It's unlikely the players knew, but before d6 they were following an old game by Barsov.} 9. e4 {The expansion on the center makes sense, but it does give Black access to many dark squares.} Na6 10. Ne2 fxe4 11. fxe4 Bg7 12. Nc3 O-O 13. Be2 Nh5 $5 {Black takes advantage of the f4 bishop's position to improve his position with this knight maneuver.} 14. Bg5 Qd8 $6 {Perhaps believing too much in his kingside chances Caruana decides to let Mamedyarov spoil his kingside structure. This is not such a good idea, as White has good access to the kingside.} (14... Nf4 15. O-O Nxe2+ 16. Nxe2 Bg4 17. Nc3 Nb4 { keeps the position very interesting.}) 15. Bxh5 gxh5 16. Nf3 h6 17. Be3 Bg4 18. O-O e6 {Trying to open up the position, but Mamedyarov is in no mood to oblige. } 19. Qd2 Kh7 20. Rad1 $1 {the pressure on d6 is annoying. Black doesn't want to play e5, but what can he do?} e5 21. Rf2 Nc7 22. Rdf1 Rb8 {Whatever Caruana is doing on the queenside, it is very obviously too slow.} 23. h3 Bd7 24. Ne2 h4 25. Kh2 b6 {this move is completely baffling to me. What was the point of Rb8, then?} (25... b5 {at least makes some sense.}) 26. g3 {The kingside is blasted open and Black's king is feeling the pressure.} hxg3+ 27. Nxg3 Rg8 28. Nh5 {Black simply has created nothing.} Ne8 29. Nxg7 Nxg7 30. Bxh6 Nh5 31. Ng5+ {Black's down material and his getting mated. White has ten thousand million ways to win, and Mamedyarov just chose one of them. The rest doesn't need analysis.} Kg6 32. Rg1 Qe7 33. Nf7+ Kh7 34. Bg5 Qe8 35. Qe2 Ng7 36. Rf6 Rf8 37. Rh6+ Kg8 38. Bf6 Rxf7 39. Qh5 1-0

Caruana and his trusty manager, Trent

Daniel King takes a look at the game Mamedyarov vs Caruana

Nakamura took out Adams in fine positional style. Obtaining some pressure in the endgame, the American never let go and kept giving Adams tough problems. Eventually Black was unable to withstand the pressure, cracked and lost the rook endgame.

Adams must win tomorrow to survive

Naka is now solidly #2 in the World with an 11 point lead over Topalov

Lastly the strange end to the Svidler-Topalov game:

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2015.09.20"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B51"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3Q4/q3rp1k/2Pp2p1/1p1P2P1/1r5P/4p1P1/4R1K1/3R4 b - - 0 52"] [PlyCount "26"] [EventDate "2015.09.11"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 52... Rbe4 53. Qxd6 {White is very clearly winning. His passed pawns are too powerful} Qa4 54. Rde1 $2 (54. Rc1 $1 {push the passed pawns! Black has nothing here, he can't even make a threat.}) 54... Qc4 {Now the win is not so easy} 55. h5 gxh5 56. Qh6+ $2 Kg8 57. g6 fxg6 $4 (57... f5 {and I don't see what Svidler's next move here was} 58. d6 Qxc6 $1 59. dxe7 Rh4+ {gets White mated}) 58. Qxg6+ Rg7 59. Qxh5 {Now Black's king is simply too weak and d5 is protected.} Qd4 60. Ra2 Rf4 61. Ra8+ Rf8 62. Rxf8+ Kxf8 63. Qh8+ Kf7 64. Rf1+ Ke7 65. Qf8# {Mate on the board! That's World Cup fighting.} 1-0

All Round 4.1 Games

Round Four Pairings

Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
V. Topalov (BUL) 2816
0
-
               
Peter Svidler (RUS) 2727
1
-
               
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Ding Liren (CHN) 2782
1
-
               
Wei Yi (CHN) 2734
0
-
               
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Anish Giri (NED) 2793
½
-
               
Radoslawj Wojtaszek (POL) 2741
½
-
               
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Wesley So (USA) 2773
½
-
               
M. Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) 2744
½
-
               
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 2814
1
-
               
Michael Adams (ENG) 2742
0
-
               
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Pavel Eljanov (UKR) 2717
½
-
               
Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS) 2748
½
-
               
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Fabiano Caruana (USA) 2808
0
-
               
S. Mamedyarov (AZE) 2736
1
-
               
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Dmitry Andreikin (RUS) 2720
½
-
               
Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 2762
½
-
               

Photos and information from the official website and their Facebook page

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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 a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.
 


Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.

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