Bazna R4: All games drawn, but interesting battles

6/18/2009 – Nisipeanu produced a move nine novelty in the Ruy Lopez, gained the initiative but saw it neutralised by his opponent Shirov. Ivanchuk played a strong novelty against Radjabov and got a very promising endgame, which in the end he was unable to turn into a full point. Gelfand-Kamsky was an important theoretical game, which was drawn in 37 moves. GM commentary by 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 four commentary – rule against rule

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

Round 4: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vassily Ivanchuk
½-½
 Teimour Radjabov
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Gata Kamsky
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu   
½-½
 Alexei Shirov 

Nisipeanu and Shirov played a popular variation of the Ruy Lopez. Already on move nine the Romanian Grandmaster surprised everyone with a novelty. After the game Shirov said the following: “I felt that 9.Bd5 is a typical novelty a la Nisipeanu – he doesn’t necessary aim for an opening advantage, but forces me to consume my time and play very accurately. I also realized that with precise play Black should hold equality and it is very likely that after massive exchanges the game will end in a draw. And this is what happened in the game”. Indeed, once again Shirov showed high class by neutralizing opponent’s initiative. The players agreed to a draw in an equal pawn endgame.


Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu vs Alexei Shirov

Ivanchuk produced a strong novelty against Radjabov and soon achieved a very promising endgame. Black couldn’t develop his bishop and therefore Radjabov’s position looked extremely dangerous. The Ukrainian had many attractive options, but apparently he missed his best winning chances on move 22. Later on things were more complicated for White, especially due to the fact that Ivanchuk was in a big time trouble. In the end Radjabov succeeded to create enough counterplay for a draw.


Teimour Radjabov vs Vassily Ivanchuk

Gelfand-Kamsky was another important theoretical game. Gelfand prepared a rare plan in a very fashionable line of the Gruenfeld Defense and achieved an advantage. Kamsky said after the game that he mixed up something in the opening. However, in the critical moment Gelfand exchanged queens instead of continuing the attack, after which Kamsky held the endgame without difficulties. The draw was agreed on move 37.


Boris Gelfand vs Gata Kamsky

Current standings


Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter - Shirov,Alexei [C78]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (4), 17.06.2009


Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 8.axb5 axb5








There have been almost 140 games played with this position in practice and strictly speaking the theory of the variation hasn't even started yet. Shirov is a specialist here, having played this position nine times before. The main move is 9.Nxe5 followed by 10.d4. However, the Romanian Grandmaster is known for his original approach to find new ideas rather than study long theory. 9.Bd5. A new move. 9...0-0 10.Bxc6 dxc6 11.d3. Taking the pawn favours Black: 11.Nxe5 Nxe4 since with the bishop pair Black is aiming to open the position. For instance now 12.Nxc6 loses due to 12...Bxf2+ 13.Rxf2 Nxf2 14.Qf3 (or 14.Qe2 Nh3+! 15.gxh3 Qg5+ 16.Qg2 Qxg2+ 17.Kxg2 Bb7; 14.Kxf2 Qh4+ 15.Kg1 Re8 16.g3 Qe4 17.Nxb8 Bh3) 14...Qe8 15.Kxf2 Bb7. 11...Bg4 12.h3 Bh5 13.Be3. After 13.g4 Black has a strong knight sacrifice: 13...Nxg4 14.hxg4 Bxg4 15.Be3 (15.Kg2 f5 is worse) 15...Bd6 16.Nbd2 f5 with a strong attack for Black. 13...Bxe3! 14.fxe3 Bxf3! Simple and strong. 15.g4 was a positional threat and Shirov exchanges right away the potentially dangerous knight. 15.Qxf3 Qd6 16.Nd2. White's plan is to build up pressure on the kingside and therefore Black should look for counterplay either in the center, or on the opposite wing. 16...Ra8 17.Qe2 Nd7 18.Nf3 c5 19.b3 g6 20.Ng5. White creates the threat to take on a8 and then on f7. 20...Nf6. Shirov carefully refrains from making any further pawn moves in front of his king (20...f6 was the alternative). Black also wouldn't be happy to take on a1 yet, which would hand White over the control of the a-file. 21.Qf2 Rxa1 22.Rxa1 h6 23.Rf1 [23.Nf3 would have kept more pressure in the position.] 23...Kg7 24.Qxf6+ Qxf6 25.Rxf6 Kxf6 26.Nh7+ Ke7 27.Nxf8 Kxf8 28.Kf2 Ke7 29.Ke2 h5 30.Kf3 Kf6 31.g3

Draw. [Click to replay]


Alexei Shirov


Ivanchuk,Vassily - Radjabov,Teimour [B45]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (4), 17.06.2009


Vassily Ivanchuk

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3. With such a move order Ivanchuk avoids the Sveshnikov Sicilian, where his opponent is one of the best specialists in the world. 3...e6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nxc6 This is the most principled move. 6...bxc6 7.e5 Nd5 8.Ne4 Qc7 Designed to provoke the advance f2-f4 and thus weaken the diagonal a7-g1. 9.f4 Qb6 10.c4 Ne3 This move was played by Radjabov only once in 2005. As Teimour confessed after the game, he was expecting that it will come as a surprise for Ivanchuk. Well, the Ukrainian turned out to be extremely well prepared... The main alternative is 10...Bb4+ (which Radjabov successfully played in 2007). 11.Qd3 Nf5 This move Radjabov never played before. [11...Bb4+ 12.Bd2 0-0 13.Rc1 Nxf1 1/2-1/2 Guseinov,G (2573)-Radjabov,T (2673)/Warsaw 2005]








12.Bd2! A strong novelty, which might replace the existing main continuation 12.g4. This and next few moves Ivanchuk played quickly. 12...Qxb2 13.Rb1 Qd4. 13...Qxa2 14.Be2 would have been very risky for Radjabov, especially when knowing that the opponent has analyzed it at home. 14.Qxd4 Nxd4 15.c5. White is a pawn down, but his compensation is obvious. Black has big problems to complete his development. 15...a5 16.Kf2 Be7. 16...Ba6 runs into a direct mate: 17.Bxa6 Rxa6 18.Rb8+ Ke7 19.Nd6 and mate on e8! 17.Nd6+ Bxd6 18.exd6 0-0 19.Rb6. White prevents 19...Ba6. 19...Nc2 20.Bc4 Nb4. Ivanchuk thought very long here. "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg", said Ivanchuk after the game. 21.Bxb4. Otherwise the knight comes to d5. 21...axb4








The general impression here was that Black should be completely lost, but things are certainly not trivial for White. 22.Ke3. The king goes to d4 in order to protect pawn c5. [The main alternative is 22.Rb1 Ra5 23.R1xb4 Rxc5 24.Ra4! - a variation which Ivanchuk saw. However, for some reasons he was not so sure if White wins here. The analysis show that he does - at some moment Black will lose his bishop (both rooks come to the 8th rank) and the a-pawn will decide.] 22...h6 23.Kd4 g5. Radjabov is rightly seeking some counterplay. 24.f5!? In order to open the e-file Ivanchuk sacrifices the second pawn. White's problem is the multitude of options. At this moment Ivanchuk had less than 8 minutes left on the clock. 24...exf5 [24...Kg7 25.Rf1] 25.Re1 Kg7 26.g3. Notice that White doesn't take pawn b4 in order to prevent Black from playing Ba6. Ivanchuk's last move is made against the advance f5-f4. 26...Kf6 27.Re7. Now Radjabov finds the right moment for counterplay. 27...h5! 28.Bb3 h4 29.gxh4

29...Rh8! 30.Rxf7+ Kg6 31.hxg5 Rxh2. Again in this tournament the defense is on top. White loses the g-pawn and Black is out of danger now. 32.Rf8 Rh4+ 33.Ke3 Kxg5 34.Rg8+ Kf6 35.Rf8+ Kg5 36.Rg8+ Kf6 37.Rf8+ draw. [Click to replay]


Teimour Radjabov


Gelfand,Boris - Kamsky,Gata [D86]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (4), 17.06.2009


Boris Gelfand

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.0-0 Na5 11.Bd3 b6 12.Qd2 e5








13.Bg5. A rare move. White is trying to provoke the advance of the f-pawn. It must be said that Kamsky has a big experience in this opening line. Below are fragments from his games: 13.d5 f5 14.Bg5 Qe8 15.f3 c4 16.Bc2 f4 17.Kh1 h6 18.Bh4 g5 19.Be1 Bd7 with a great position for Black, which the American converted into a full point, Van Wely,L (2676)-Kamsky,G (2726)/Dagomys 2008; In case of 13.dxc5 Black is ready to sac a pawn: 13...Be6 14.Rfd1 Qc7 15.cxb6 axb6 with compensation; 13.Bh6 exd4 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.cxd4 cxd4 16.f4 f6 17.e5 Bd7 18.exf6+ Qxf6 19.Ng3 Kh8 and the position was equal in Topalov,V (2796)-Kamsky,G (2725)/Sofia 2009; 13.dxe5 Be6 14.Rad1 Nc4 15.Bxc4 Bxc4 16.f4 Qe7 17.Qc2 Rad8 and again Black has compensation for the pawn, Navara,D (2646)-Kamsky,G (2723)/Sochi 2008. 13...Qd7 A new move. Kamsky doesn't want to close the long diagonal yet. Previously Black played 13...f6 after which White can claim some advantage by retreating the bishop 14.Be3. 14.Bh6 Bxh6 15.Qxh6 f6. In case of 15...cxd4 16.cxd4 exd4 17.f4 f6 18.f5 White has the initiative. 16.f4 Qg7 17.Qh4 Black's king is more vulnerable and therefore it is important for White to avoid the exchange of queens. 17...exf4 18.Qxf4 Be6 19.Qf2 Rad8. Around here Kamsky's play doesn't look so convincing. "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" (Gelfand). A better alternative was 19...Bc4. 20.Nf4 Bf7 [Now 20...Bc4 is no longer possible in view of 21.Bxc4+ Nxc4 22.Ne6 with a fork.] 21.Rad1 cxd4 22.cxd4 Rd6








23.Rc1! A powerful game by Gelfand. The rook just moved to d1, but now the c-file is more important. 23...Rd7. Prevents 24.Rc7 24.d5 Nb7 25.Rc6 Nc5. After 25...Nd6 26.Qd4 creating the threat 27.Ne6 Black is in big troubles. 26.Bc2 Re7 27.Qd4 Rd8. "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" (Gelfand)








The critical position. White is much better, but he has to find the right way to break through. 28.Qxf6? Throws away the advantage. Correct was 28.Rxf6! Nxe4 29.Bxe4 Rxe4 30.Qxe4 Qxf6 31.Nh5! (31.Ne6 Qe7) 31...Qd6 32.Nf6+ Kg7 33.Qh4 (even stronger than 33.Kh1 Bxd5 34.Ne8+ Rxe8 35.Qxe8 Bxa2 36.Qa4) White has a large advantage. Few variations: 33...Bg8 (33...h6 34.Ne4 Qxd5 35.Qf6+ Kf8 36.Kh1 with multiple threats) 34.Ne4 Qxd5 35.Qe7+ Kh6 36.Nf2 and again Black will soon have to give up material in order to defend against mate. 28...Qxf6 29.Rxf6 Nxe4 30.Re6 Bxe6. The only defense for Black, but it is sufficient to hold the balance. 31.Nxe6 Rxe6 32.dxe6 Nc5 33.Rf7 Nxe6 34.Rxa7 Nc5. Now Black equalized completely thanks to his strong knight on c5. 35.Ra3 Kg7 36.Kf1 Rd2 37.Rc3 draw. [Click to replay]


Gata Kamsky

Links

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Topics: Bazna 2009
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