Bazna R3: All games drawn, three players lead

6/17/2009 – At last a quick draw: against Gata Kamsky Romanian GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, who had lost his first two games, went for a well-known 16-move draw. Ivanchuk tried to improve in Gelfand's Petroff, but settled for a draw after 37 moves. The most exciting encounter was the Gruenfeld between Radjabov and Shirov, in which Black walked along the brink. GM commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenco.

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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 three commentary – rule against rule

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

Round 3: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

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

The first game of the round finished in just 20 minutes after the start. Nisipeanu-Kamsky was a draw by repetition in a well-known variation of the Italian Game. Considering Nisipeanu’s unfortunate results in the first two games his decision to make a short draw today is perfectly understandable. He declared after the game: “I needed to stop it and want to start the tournament anew tomorrow. With the black pieces Kamsky had no objections either to make a short draw...
But what about the rules of the tournament, which forbid players to make short draws? Well, there are always rules against rules! The threefold repetition is still valid in chess and thus by repeating the position the players can make a draw at any stage of the game.

Gata Kamsky (left) faces Romanian GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

The Petroff Defense turned out to be rock solid again in Ivanchuk-Gelfand. The Ukrainian chose a relatively harmless variation, having an improvement in mind, but it didn’t change the evaluation of the position. The whole game was equal and on move 37 the players agreed to a draw. This result was more or less predictable already after move 18.

Vassily Ivanchuk vs Boris Gelfand

In Radjabov-Shirov the defense triumphed. The Gruenfeld Defense led right away into an opening with large advantage for White. “I must have mixed something up in the opening” (Shirov). Then White’s position was improving with every move and Shirov run almost out of time. “White should have been completely winning, of course” (Radjabov). “I practically gave up already and thought it’s over, but somehow there were always some defensive resources in the position” (Shirov). Radjabov chose a variation where the black knight couldn’t move at all, but surprisingly this turned out to be insufficient for a win. A dramatic game for Radjabov and a truly magnificent escape for Shirov.

Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan vs Alexei Shirov of Spain

Current standings

Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter - Kamsky,Gata [C54]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (3), 16.06.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Qb3

10...Na5 11.Qa4+ Nc6 12.Qb3 Na5 13.Qa4+ Nc6 14.Qb3 Na5 15.Qa4+ Nc6 16.Qb3. I counted in my database 75 (!) games which ended this way. White's position must really attract some players, who many times in their carreer made such draws on the white side. Draw. [Click to replay]

Ivanchuk,Vassily - Gelfand,Boris [C42]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (3), 16.06.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Bd3. This variation is known to lead to quiet positions and the present game changed nothing in that respect. 5...Nf6 6.0-0 Be7 7.c3 0-0 8.Bc2 Bg4 9.d4 Nbd7 10.Nbd2 Re8

11.Nc4. This is Ivanchuk's mini-improvement in this harmless opening variation. White doesn't spend time for h2-h3 and transfers the knight to f5 with tempo. [11.h3 is the move met previously.] 11...Bh5 12.Ne3 Bf8 13.Nf5 c6 14.a4 d5. The knight on f5 is White's only achievement. However, the pawn structure is simmetrical and Black has no weaknesses at all, so the position is equal anyway. 15.Bf4 Ne4 16.Ng3. Black knight on e4 is strong as well, so Ivanchuk exchanges it. 16...Bg6 17.Re1 Bd6 18.Bxd6 Nxd6 19.Rxe8+ Qxe8 20.h4 f6 21.Bxg6 hxg6 22.a5 Nf8 23.Qc2 Qd7 24.Nf1 Re8 25.Ne3 a6 26.g3 Qh3 27.Re1 Re4 28.Qd3 Nf5 29.Ng2 Rxe1+ 30.Nfxe1 Qg4 31.Nc2 Nd6 32.Nce3 Qf3 33.Qc2 Kf7 34.Nf4 Ne4 35.Nf1 Nd6 36.Qb3 Ne6 37.Nd2

[After 37.Nd2 Qg4 38.Nxe6 Kxe6 39.Kf1 f5 it is Black who has a small initiative.] Draw. [Click to replay]

Radjabov,Teimour - Shirov,Alexei [D80]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (3), 16.06.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 c5 6.cxd5 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qxd5 8.e3 Bg7 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.Be2 cxd4 11.cxd4 e5 12.dxe5 Qa5+ 13.Qd2 Qxd2+ 14.Kxd2 Nxe5 15.Rab1 0-0 16.Nd4

16...Nd7. A new move. Alexey said that he considered it to be the only way for Black to fight, otherwise Black is just much worse. [The most frequently played move 16...Nc6 leads after 17.Nxc6 bxc6 to a "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" (Shirov). Indeed, White's advantage is out of question, even if it's not so trivial for him to convert it into a full point.] 17.Rhc1 Bxd4. Shirov rejected 17...Nb6 due to 18.Rb4 planning a4-a5 with very strong pressure. 18.exd4 Nb6 19.Bf3 Be6 20.a4. 20.Bxb7 Rab8 21.Bc6 was a good alternative. 20...Nc4+ 21.Kd1 Na5 22.Rb5 Nb3 23.d5 Nxc1 24.dxe6 Rac8

A critical position. White has several very attractive options. 25.Bxb7. [The alternative 25.e7 Rfe8 26.Rxb7 Kg7 (26...a5 27.Rd7 Nb3 28.Rd8 Kg7 29.Rxe8 Rxe8 30.Bc6 wins) 27.a5 with the idea 27...a6 28.Rb6 looks close to winning as well.] 25...Rc4 26.Be7 fxe6 27.Bxf8 Kxf8 28.Bf3 Rc7 29.Kd2 Na2 30.Rb3. This cuts the knight and looks very logical, but in reality White cannot catch the knight. [Shirov feared 30.Rb2 and indeed, after 30...Nc3 31.Rc2 Black faces a very unpleasant choice. For instance: 31...Nd5 (31...Nb1+ Perhaps the best, although after 32.Kd3 Rd7+ 33.Ke3 Black is on verge of losing, since in opposite to the game the knight is worse place on b1 than on a2.) 32.Bxd5 Rd7 (32...Rxc2+ 33.Kxc2 exd5 34.Kd3 Ke7 35.Kd4 Kd6 36.f4 a5 37.g4 is just winning for White) 33.Ke3 exd5 34.Kd4 with a very difficult rook endgame] 30...Ke7 31.a5 [31.Be4 a5 32.Bb1 Nb4=] 31...Kd6 Black had less than two minutes left for the remaining 9 moves (without increment), but now Black can hold the position and Shirov successfully did it. 32.a6 Kc5 33.Rb7 Kd6 34.Rb3 Kc5 35.Rb7 Kd6 36.Bg4 e5 37.Be6

[37.Be6 Nb4 38.Rxb4 Kxe6=] draw. [Click to replay]


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Topics: Bazna 2009
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