Bazna R6: Ivanchuk, Shirov win, Ivanchuk leads

6/21/2009 – Vassily Ivanchuk chalked up a second win in this event when his opponent Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu once again fell victim to over-creativity. Alexei Shirov tricked his opponent with a nice bishop manoeuvre on moves 9 and 10. Boris Gelfand and Teimour Radjabov drew in a complicated strategical battle. Ivanchuk leads with 4.5/6. 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 six commentary

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

Round 6: Saturday, June 20, 2009

   Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Teimour Radjabov
Alexei Shirov 
1-0
 Gata Kamsky

In Ivanchuk-Nisipeanu the Romanian grandmaster fell victim of over-creativity again. In a theoretical position Black sacrificed a pawn for the initiative and indeed succeeded to prevent opponent’s king from castling. Ivanchuk had to play very precisely and at the critical moment the Ukrainian took the best practical decision. Ivanchuk gave back the pawn and entered a better endgame. Unhappy by such turn of events Nisipeanu blundered and the game was over after just 24 moves.

Gelfand-Radjabov was a complicated strategical battle. Radjabov went for his beloved King’s Indian and it looked like White achieved some edge. However, on move 17 Radjabov discovered a nice resource in the position, after which the game remained balanced until the very end. The players agreed to a draw in an endgame where White had two pawns for the exchange, but neither side could make progress.

Shirov-Kamsky saw the Advanced Variation of the Caro-Kann, where Shirov tricked his opponent with a nice manoeuvre of the bishop on moves 9 and 10. Kamsky was spending a lot of time, but his position was very unpleasant in spite of the apparent simplicity. When Shirov started to advance his kingside pawns supported by the bishop pair it became clear that Black cannot hold the position. “It was a good game from my part, I am content with it”, said Shirov afterwards.

Current standings


Ivanchuk,Vassily - Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter [B80]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (6), 20.06.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Be7 7.f4. The Scheveningen Variation. In round 5 against Kamsky Ivanchuk played this system with the Black pieces. 7...0-0 8.Qf3 e5 9.Nf5 Bxf5 10.exf5 Nbd7 11.Bc4 [The main alternative is 11.0-0-0 ] 11...Rc8. A new move. 11...exf4 has been played several times in practice with good results for Black. Undoubtedly both players must have analyzed it and come to their own opinion about the existing theory. 12.Bb3








12...d5. Nisipeanu sacrifices a pawn. The position is extremely sharp. With the king in the center White must react very precisely. 13.Nxd5 [13.Bxd5 is answered by the fantastic 13...Ba3 14.bxa3 Rxc3 and White loses] 13...Nxd5 [13...e4 is not in the spirit of the previous sacrifice, since Black must try to open up the position.] 14.Qxd5 [14.Bxd5 Rxc2 is okay for Black] 14...exf4 15.Bxf4 Bb4+ 16.c3 Qe7+ [If Black starts with 16...Rc5 then 17.Qd3 Qe7+ and now 18.Kf2! since square c5 is no longer available for a check.] 17.Kf1! [After 17.Kf2 Bc5+ 18.Kf3 Nf6 19.Qe5 Qd7 20.Rad1 Qb5 Black has a powerful initiative.] 17...Rc5 [17...Nf6 allows White to exchange queens with 18.Qe5]

18.Re1! After a long thought Ivanchuk made this strong move and it slowly became clear that White has the advantage. Nisipeanu consumed a lot of time, but could find nothing for Black. In this position Nisipeanu calculated only the natural 18.Qd3 By the way, this is also the strongest move according to computer. However, now Black sacrifices the bishop 18...Qf6! and White's position looks extremely dangerous: 19.cxb4

18...Qh4 [After 18...Rxd5 19.Rxe7 Rxf5 20.cxb4 Rxf4+ the most precise for White is 21.Ke1! Nf6 22.Rxb7 with a pawn up in endgame] 19.Qe4 Ba5 20.Bd6 Qxe4 21.Rxe4 Rxf5+ 22.Ke2








Thanks to the bishop pair White has the advantage, but there is still a long game ahead. Black's next move is a blunder. 22...Nc5? [22...Nf6 23.Re7 Bd8 24.Rxb7 Re8+ 25.Kd3 Ne4 was the only way to put up resistance.] 23.Re3 Rc8 24.g4 [After 24.g4 Rg5 25.h4 Rxg4 26.Bxc5 Black remains without a piece due to the weakness of his backrank. Therefore Nisipeanu resigned.] 1-0. [Click to replay]


Gelfand,Boris - Radjabov,Teimour [E97]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (6), 20.06.2009


Boris Gelfand before the start of the game


Teimour Radjabov in action

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Nd2 a5 10.a3 Bd7 11.b3 c6








12.Ra2. A nice way for the rook to come to the c-file. 12...Qb8. In this particular variation of the King's Indian Black wants to expand on the queenside (which is slightly unusual for this sharp opening). His plan is to prepare the advance of the b-pawn to b5. 13.Rc2 Rc8 14.Ndb1. Anticipating that Black will open the c-file, White strengthens his knight on c3. [14.Bd3 is the main alternative.] 14...cxd5 15.cxd5 b5 16.b4 a4. Actually this move is a novelty, although the idea has been known: Black wants to close the queenside, then regroup his pieces and start kingside activity with f7-f5. 17.Qd3

17...Nh5! Radjabov has a subtle feelings for such positions. He doesn't waste time and starts immediately some actions on the kingside. 18.Bxh5 gxh5 Of course the doubles pawns on the h-file represent a weakness for Black, but in the middlegame the dynamic factors of the position are more important. The pawn on h5 is sort of a bait - if White's pieces will go for it, Black will get counterplay either in the center, or on the queenside. 19.Bg5 Ng6 20.Nd2 Rf8 21.Rfc1 Qe8 22.Qe2 f6 [After 22...Nf4 23.Bxf4 exf4 24.Qxh5 f5 25.Qe2 it is not clear whether Black has sufficient compensation for the pawn.] 23.Be3 h4 24.h3 Rc8 25.Qh5 f5 26.Nf3 Nf4 [26...f4 doesn't catch the bishop: 27.Bb6.] 27.Qxe8 Rfxe8 28.Nxh4 Nd3 29.Nxf5 Nxc1.

During the game Radjabov calculated the following variation: 29...Bxf5 30.exf5 Nxc1 31.Rxc1 e4 32.Nxb5 Rxc1+ 33.Bxc1 Rc8 (better here is 33...Re5 and Black has little to fear.) 34.Bf4 Rb8 35.Nxd6 Rxb4 36.axb4 a3

For a while he thought Black is winning, but he spotted in time White's study-like solution to stop the opponent's a-pawn: 37.f6! Bxf6 (37...a2 38.Be5) 38.Nxe4 Bb2 (38...a2 39.Nxf6+ Kf7 40.Be5) 39.Nc5 a2 40.Nb3 and it White who wins.

30.Rxc1 Bf8 31.Kf1 Rc4 32.Ng3 Rec8 33.Nge2 h5 34.Ke1 Be7 35.Kd2 Kf7 36.Rh1 Bf6 37.g3

It is difficult for either side to make progress, so the players agreed to a draw. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Shirov,Alexei - Kamsky,Gata [B12]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (6), 20.06.2009


Alexei Shirov at the start of game six in Bazna


US grandmaster Gata Kamsky

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2. "I used ti play this system a lot in nineties, but then I switched to other set-ups. I think last time I played 4.Nf3 and 5.Be2 about 10 years ago, therefore I wasn't sure about my knowledge here" (Shirov). Indeed, Alexey played it last time in 1998. 5...Nd7 6.0-0 Rc8. A very rare move and most likely not the best. The usual continuation is 6...Ne7. 7.b3 h6 8.c4 Bb4. A novelty. Previously Black tried other moves, but without success either. 9.Ba3 Qa5








10.Bb2! A nice trick. It turns out that the queen is misplaced on a5 and thanks to the maneuver 9.Ba3 and 10.Bb2 White in fact won a tempo instead of losing one! 10...Qd8 11.Na3 Ne7 12.Nc2 Bxc2 13.Qxc2 0-0 14.Bd3. White has the space advantage and the bishop pair. "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" (Shirov) 14...f6 15.a3 Ba5 16.Qe2 fxe5 17.dxe5 Bb6 18.Nd4 Bxd4 19.Bxd4 Nf5 20.Bc3 a5 21.Rac1 Nc5 22.Bc2








Black's position is worse than it looks, since it is difficult for him to do something against White's plan to advance the kingside pawn's majority. Notice that black knights don't have good safe squares. 22...a4. Shirov said after the game that the best chance for Black could have been to sac a pawn with 22...Ne4 23.Bxe4 dxe4 24.Qxe4 but White is still better. He will place the rook on d1 and at some moment White can prepare Rd1-d6, with or without playing g2-g4 first. 23.b4 Nb3 24.Rcd1 Qh4 Kamsky's second sortie in this game with the queen is dubious again. On the other hand as mentioned above his position is very unpleasant anyway. Nevertheless preferable was something like 24...d4 (with the idea 25...c5) 25.c5 Qe7 (25...Ne7 26.Bxb3 axb3 27.Rxd4 Nd5 28.Qc4) 26.Bb2 Rcd8. 25.f4 Qe7

26.g4! Nh4 27.Be1 Rc7 28.Qd3. Now it is over. On top of all Kamsky was in severe time trouble. 28...g5 [28...g6 29.Bxh4 Qxh4 30.Qxg6+ Kh8 31.Qxe6 changes nothing] 29.Bxh4 gxh4 30.Qg6+ Qg7 31.Qxe6+ Kh8 32.g5 Re7 33.Qg4 hxg5 34.fxg5 1-0. [Click to replay]

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Topics: Bazna 2009
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