Bazna R2: Gelfand beats Nisipeanu

6/16/2009 – Exciting games: Alexei Shirov played the Rossolimo and sacrificed a knight against Vassily Ivanchuk, but the latter sacrificed back and the action-packed game was drawn. Even more stunning was Boris Gelfand vs Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, in which the Romanian GM also produced a surprising knight sacrifice but went wrong in time trouble to suffer a second defeat. GM Dorian Rogozenco annotates.

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ROMGAZ and the Chess Club Society "Elisabeta Polihroniade” of Bucharest are staging a double round robin tournament with six of the world's top GMs: the young Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaidjan, Elo 2756, ranking 5th in the world), the experienced Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, Elo 2746, 12th in the world), Alexei Shirov (Spain, Elo 2745, 13th), Boris Gelfand (Israel, Elo 2733, 15th), Gata Kamsky (USA, Elo 2720, 24th), as well as the best ever rated Romanian chess player Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (Elo 2675, 55th in the world), 2005 European Champion. The competition is taking place from June 14th to 25th 2009 in Bazna, Romania.

Round two commentary

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

Round 2: Monday, June 15, 2009

Alexei Shirov 
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Boris Gelfand 
 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
  Gata Kamsky 
 Teimour Radjabov

Shirov played again the longest game of the round. Alexey chose the Rossolimo Variation against Ivanchuk’s Sicilian, but Vassily came well prepared and introduced a novelty in a sharp position. Shirov produced a spectacular knight sacrifice, but soon miscalculated something and found himself on the defensive. Ivanchuk exchanged queens and achieved a very pleasant endgame where White’s bishop was pinned on the first rank. Shirov defended well and even succeeded to get some winning chances in the rook endgame, which, however turned out to be a draw.

Before the start of the game between Vassily Ivanchuk (left) and Alexei Shirov

And a very exciting, sacrificial game in round two is under way

Kamsky-Radjabov was a Sicilian Dragon, where Kamsky chose a quiet variation and Black equalized comfortably. On move 21 Radjabov carelessly made an active move with the queen and was forced to exchange his active bishop for White’s knight. Kamsky achieved a pleasant position with the opposite-coloured bishops and chances for attack, but later on the American GM allowed Radjabov to keep both wings closed. After the exchange of queen the draw became obvious.

Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan (left) faces US grandmaster Gata Kamsky

The most exciting game of the round was Gelfand-Nisipeanu. In a typical King’s Indian attacking position for Black the Romanian Grandmaster produced a surprising knight sacrifice and got a strong attack against White’s king. Gelfand defended very accurately and the game reached its culminating moment on move 26, where both opponents were left with just ten minutes on the clock in an extremely sharp and complicated position. Unfortunately for Nisipeanu, he stepped wrong. Gelfand exploited every mistake by his opponent with a computer-like precision and forced Nisipeanu to resign on move 36.

Boris Gelfand vs Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

Shirov,Alexei - Ivanchuk,Vassily [B30]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (2), 15.06.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.Nc3 Qc7 5.0-0 a6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.e5 Nd5 8.Ne4 Bg4. In this variation Black is ready to sac the pawn c5 in order to build a pressure on White's center. 9.c4. A rare move, played only once before. [The main continuation is 9.Nxc5 Then after 9...e6 10.Nd3 Rd8 Black has a good compensation for the pawn.] 9...Nb4. This is a new move. In the only available game Black retreated the knight to b6. 10.d4 0-0-0 11.Nxc5 e6

12.Nxb7. Fire on board! The move is good, but as stated by Alexey after the game he miscalculated something. White's idea is to destroy opponent's pawn formation and then to catch opponent's knight on b4. 12...Qxb7 13.a3 Bxf3 14.gxf3. [14.Qxf3? Nc2 and Black saves the knight] 14...Rxd4. A counter-sac by Ivanchuk! The Ukrainian is not willing to hand the initiative over to his opponent. 15.Qxd4 Nc2 16.Qd3. This move is based on a miscalculation. Correct was 16.Qc3 Nxa1 17.b4 c5 18.Bd2 and here Ivanchuk was going to play 18...Be7 (another option is to take everything on b4 and then play Nc2) 19.Rxa1 Rd8 with compensation for the pawn. 16...Nxa1 17.b4. Here Shirov noticed that the planned 17.Bg5 runs into 17...f6 18.exf6 gxf6 19.Bxf6 Bg7! 20.Bxg7 Qxg7+ with check! 17...Be7 18.Bb2 Rd8 19.Qc3 Qd7! 20.Rxa1 Qd2 21.Qxd2 Rxd2 22.Bc1. After 22.Bc3 Rc2 23.Bd4 Rxc4 Black enjoys the advantage with equal material. 22...Rd1+ 23.Kg2

In spite of being a pawn down Black has the advantage. 23...c5 [23...Bh4!?] 24.b5 axb5 25.cxb5 c4. 25...Bg5 brings nothing due to 26.Bb2 Rd2 27.Bc1 and Black must repeat the position. 26.a4 c3 27.a5 Bg5 28.f4! Great defense by Shirov. He needs the bishop on f4 in order to attack it later with the rook. 28...Bxf4 29.a6 Rxc1 30.Ra4! Now Black is forced to return the extra piece. 30...Kb8. 30...Bg5 loses obviously after 31.a7. 31.Rxf4 Rb1 32.Rxf7 c2 33.b6 Rxb6 34.a7+ Ka8 35.Rc7 Rb2 Diagram 4 36.Kg3 g6 37.h4 h6 38.f3 Ra2 39.Kg4 Rb2 40.f4 Ra2 41.h5 g5 42.fxg5 Ra4+ 43.Kf3 Ra3+ 44.Ke4 Ra4+ 45.Kd3 hxg5 46.Rxc2 Rh4 47.Rc8+ Kxa7 48.Rh8 Kb6 49.h6 Kc6 50.h7 Kb7 51.Ke3 Ka7 52.Kf3 Rf4+ 53.Kg3 Rh4 54.Re8 Rxh7 55.Kg4 Kb7 56.Rxe6 Kc7 57.Ra6 Rh1 58.Rd6 Re1 59.Kf5 g4 60.Rd3 g3 61.Rxg3 Kd7 62.Rg7+ Ke8 63.Ke6 Kf8 64.Rf7+ Ke8 65.Rf2 draw. [Click to replay]

Kamsky,Gata - Radjabov,Teimour [B73]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (2), 15.06.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6. Kamsky declared after the game that Sicilian Dragon came as a surprise for him. 6.Be2 Therefore Gata decided to chose a solid variation, without long castle. Another reason for such a solid opening choice from Kamsky's side was the loss in the first round - Gata wanted to avoid any risk. 6...Bg7 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Be3 0-0 9.Qd2 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 Nxd4 12.c4 e5 13.Rad1. A new move that perfectly suits Kamsky's initial intentions to avoid any complications. The usual move is the more aggressive 13.f4.. 13...Be6 14.Bxd4 exd4 15.Nf4 Bf5 16.Bf3 Rc8 17.b3 Qd7 18.a4 Rfe8 19.h3 b6 20.Bd5 Qe7 21.Nd3

21...Qa3. A risky move. After 21...Qe2 the position would have remained equal. 22.g4! This way Kamsky forces a favourable exchange of pieces. 22...Bxd3. 22...Be4 23.Qb4 doesn't solve Black's problems, who might end up with a bad dark-squared bishop against white strong knight.; 22...Bd7 runs into 23.c5 creating the threat to cacth the queen 24.Ra1. 23.Qxd3 Qb4 24.Qf3 Re7 White is better due to the differences of the bishops - the one on d5 is much more active than Black's bishop. However, in order to increase the advantage White must prepare an attack on the kingside. For that reason he needs to play g4-g5 and then h3-h4, Kg1, Rh1 and then open position with h4-h5. Kamsky delays the advance of the g-pawn too much. 25.h4 Rce8 26.Rd3 Qd6 27.Kg2 h6! Finally Black makes this important move. Now White's advantage is only formal, since he cannot open the kingside: h5 will be met by Black's g6-g5 and g4-g5 is met by h6-h5. 28.Rh1 a5. Black closes the queenside as well and he is very safe now. 29.Rdd1 Be5 30.h5 g5 31.Rhe1 Qf6 32.Re4 Qxf3+ 33.Kxf3 Kg7 34.Rb1 Bd6 draw. [Click to replay]

Gelfand,Boris - Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter [E97]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (2), 15.06.2009

1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.e4 Nf6 5.Nc3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 Nh5 10.Re1 a5 11.bxa5 f5 12.Nd2 Nf6 13.c5 Rxa5 14.Nb3 Ra8 15.f3 f4 16.a4 g5 17.Ba3 h5 18.a5 Ng6 19.cxd6 cxd6 20.Na4 g4 21.Nb6

21...Nxe4! "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" (Gelfand) 22.fxe4. Just few other variations to show how dangerous is Black's attack: 22.Qc2 Qh4 23.fxe4 (or 23.Qxe4 Bf5 24.Qb4 e4) 23...g3 24.h3 Bxh3 25.gxh3 f3 26.Bxf3 Rxf3 27.Rf1 Raf8; 22.Nxa8 Nf2!

[Analysis diagram]

23.Kxf2 (23.Qc2 g3 24.Qxg6 Qh4 25.h3 Bxh3) 23...Qh4+ 24.Kg1 g3 25.h3 Bxh3 in all these variations Black is winning.

22...f3. 22...g3? doesn't work in view of 23.Bxh5 Qh4 24.h3 Bxh3 25.gxh3 Qxh3 26.Ra2. 23.Rf1. After other moves White is in troubles: 23.Nxa8 f2+ 24.Kh1 g3!; Or 23.gxf3 gxf3 24.Bxf3 Nh4 25.Nd2 Bh3 26.Qe2 Rxa5 27.Nbc4 Ra4 28.Rac1 Nxf3+ 29.Nxf3 Bg4 30.Rf1 b5. 23...Nf4 24.Bxf3! Gelfand's move is much safer than 24.gxf3 Qg5 25.fxg4 Nh3+ 26.Kh1 Nf2+ 27.Rxf2 Rxf2. 24...gxf3 25.Rxf3 Bg4 26.Nxa8

26...Qxa8? A pity. Instead of this Black had two attractive options: 26...Nh3+ 27.Rxh3 (27.Kf1 Bxf3 28.gxf3 Qg5 is winning for Black) 27...Bxd1 28.Rxd1 Qc8! 29.Rc1 Qxa8 30.Bxd6 Rf4 with unclear position, where from the practical point of view it might be easier to play White; Therefore stronger is 26...Nxg2! 27.Rxf8+ Bxf8 28.Qf1 Nf4 29.Ra2 Qg5 30.Kh1 Qg6 with excellent compensation for the exchange. 27.Bxd6 Rf7 28.Qf1! Qd8. The last attempt to complicate matters was 28...h4 although objectively White is winning.; After 28...Bxf3 29.gxf3! Black is lost as well (Not 29.Qxf3? Qa6 attacking bishop d6 and threatening a check on e2.) 29.Bc5.

Now White is winning. 29...Bf8 30.Rf2 Qh4 31.Kh1 Ne2 32.Rxf7 Ng3+ 33.Kg1 Bxc5+ 34.Nxc5 Ne2+ 35.Qxe2 Bxe2 36.Rf2 1-0. [Click to replay]


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Topics: Bazna 2009
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