Bazna R7: Ivanchuk beats Shirov, leads by a full point

by ChessBase
6/22/2009 – Vassily Ivanchuk chalked up the third win in succession at the Romgaz Turneul Regilor in Romania, beating Alexei Shirov in a beautifully entertaining game. The Ukrainian, who came last in the Sofia Super-GM in May, with a performance of 2610, is now playing at 2946! Teimour Radjabov scored his first victory in this event against Gata Kamsky, who is having a really bad tournament. Round seven report.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


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 seven commentary

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

Round 7: Sunday, June 20, 2009

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

The start of round seven in Bazna

Teimour Radjabov vs Gata Kamsky – Radjabov won in 49 moves

Gata Kamsky is fighting with his poor form in Bazna. In his game against Teimour Radjabov the American GM slowly equalized with the Black pieces, but he was thinking for much too long. Then in time trouble the Kamsky went completely astray, allowing Radjabov to achieve his first victory in the tournament.

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu vs Boris Gelfand – draw in 74

Gelfand against Nisipeanu remained faithful to the Petroff Defense. The Romanian grandmaster prepared a novelty and achieved a better endgame by force. However, the opposite coloured bishops was a clear sign of a draw and in spite of Nisipeanu’s efforts Gelfand succeeded to defend and achieve a draw on move 74.

Vassily Ivanchuk vs Alexei Shirov – Ivanchuk won in 87 moves

Ivanchuk-Shirov was a battle of titans. The Ukrainian made a strong novelty in the Gruenfeld Defense (how can he produce them so often?) and achieved some pressure. Unwilling to defend passively Shirov found an interesting piece sacrifice. Ivanchuk reacted well, got advantage in endgame, but Shirov was defending very creatively and in severe time-trouble Ivanchuk chose the safest way, allowing his opponent to improve the position. Shirov did everything correctly and when it looked like the game would end in a draw, Shirov suddenly gave his opponent a chance to make progress. But the most astonishing is that Shirov could claim a draw by threefold repetition (on move 49)!

However, the position was a draw until move 67, when tired after a tough defense Shirov made the decisive mistake. He could achieve a draw by force, but this time the Lady Fortuna was not on his side. However, everyone was very impressed by these two exceptional chess players, who offered a real chess show.

Current standings

Radjabov,Teimour - Kamsky,Gata [B18]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (7), 21.06.2009

Teimour Radjabov at the start of round seven in Bazna

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nh3 Nf6 7.Nf4

In his practice Radjabov has already played this sideline against the Caro-Kann. White's main idea is to exchange at some point on g6 and remain with the bishop pair. 7...Nbd7. Kamsky decided to avoid 7...e5 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9.dxe5 Qa5+ (The endgame 9...Qxd1+ 10.Kxd1 Ng4 11.Ne4 is slightly better for White) 10.Bd2 Qxe5+ 11.Qe2 Qxe2+ 12.Bxe2 Nbd7 In this type of position White can try for a long time to play for a win without any risk. The bishop pair secures him a slight plus. Nevertheless Radjabov made two draws here: 13.0-0 0-0-0 14.Rad1 Nb6 15.Rfe1 (15.Bc1 Bd6 16.Rfe1 Kc7 17.h3 Rhe8 18.Bd3 1/2-1/2 Radjabov,T (2735)-Anand,V (2799)/Morelia/Linares 2008) 15...Bd6 16.Nf1 Kc7 17.g3 Ne4 18.Bc1 Bc5 19.Bf4+ Bd6 20.Bc1 Bc5 21.Ne3 Nd5 22.Bd3 Nxe3 23.Bxe3 Bxe3 24.Bxe4 Rxd1 1/2-1/2 Radjabov,T (2761)-Leko,P (2751)/Nice 2009.

8.Bc4 Nb6. In case of 8...e6 Black must reckon with 9.h4; In the game Popovic,P (2483)-Nisipeanu,L (2611)/France 2000 Black was doing great after 8...Qc7 9.0-0 Nb6 10.Bb3 e6 11.Qf3 0-0-0 12.c3 Bd6 13.h3 Nbd5 14.Nxg6 hxg6 15.Rd1 Nf4 16.Ne4 Nxe4 17.Qxe4 g5. 9.Bb3 Qd7. A new move. Black wants to attack quickly the pawn d4, but on the other hand the answer c2-c3 is a part of White's plan anyway. 10.0-0 Rd8 11.c3 Nbd5 12.Nd3 Bxd3 13.Qxd3 g6 14.Bg5 Bg7 15.Rfe1 h6. It is not clear whether Black really needs this move. 16.Bd2 0-0 17.Rad1 b5. Designed to strengthen the position of the knight d5. 18.h3 Qc7 19.a4 a6 20.Qc2 e6 21.Qc1

21...h5. If 21...Kh7 then Black must always be ready against the advance of opponent's h-pawn. White can also start with 22.Ne4 Nxe4 23.Rxe4 creating the threat 24.Bxh6 Bxh6 25.Rh4. 22.Nf1. Radjabov spotted a new weakness in Black's position - square g5. His plan now is to transfer the knight to f3. 22...c5. After this the position is very close to equal, but as Radjabov said after the game: "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg". 23.axb5 axb5 24.dxc5 Qxc5 25.Nh2 Nb6 26.Be3 Qc7 27.Nf3 Nc4 28.Bd4 Rd5. It was not really necessary to place the rook here. However, Kamsky's main problem was the time: the US GM already had less than 10 minutes before reaching move 40. [28...Nd5 29.Bxg7 Kxg7 is just equal] 29.Ba2. White's plan now is b3 and c4. 29...Ra8 30.Qb1

30...Re8? A bad mistake. It was not too late to finally retreat the rook from d5 and unpin the knight c4. [30...Rdd8 is still equal, since now 31.b3 Nd6 32.c4 bxc4 33.bxc4 Nd7 is fine for Black] 31.b3 Na3. After 31...Nd6 32.c4 bxc4 33.bxc4 Rf5 White wins anyway: 34.Bb6 Qb8 35.Nd4 Rf4 36.Nc6. 32.Qb2 Ra8 33.c4 bxc4 34.bxc4 Rf5 35.Nh4

Now it's over. The rook cannot leave the f-file because knight f6 needs protection. 35...Rf4 [35...Rfa5 36.Bb6] 36.Be5 Nxc4 37.Qc1 Qc5 [37...Qb6 38.Qxf4 Nxe5 39.Bxe6! Qxe6 40.Rxe5 is also hopeless] 38.Qxf4 Nxe5 39.Bxe6! [Not 39.Rxe5? Qc2 and the e6-pawn stays alive] 39...Ra5 [39...fxe6 40.Qxe5] 40.Bb3 Rb5 41.Nf3 Nxf3+ 42.Qxf3 Qc7 43.Qd3 Rb8 44.Rc1 Qb7 45.Rb1 Qa7 46.Qd6 Kh7 47.Ra1 Qb7 48.Bxf7 Rf8 49.Re7 1-0. [Click to replay]

Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter - Gelfand,Boris [C42]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (7), 21.06.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Re1 [The main theory starts with 8.c4 but the move made by Nisipeanu is quite popular as well.] 8...Bg4 9.c3 f5

10.c4. But this is a rare continuation. White uses the fact that with his last move Black weakened the diagonal a2-g8. Gelfand has vast experience against 10.Qb3 For instance: 10...0-0 11.Nbd2 Na5 12.Qc2 (12.Qa4 Nc6 13.Bb5 Bh4 14.g3 Bf6 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.Qxc6 Rb8 17.c4 f4 with strong compensation for the pawn, Cheparinov,I (2687)-Gelfand,B (2720)/Sochi 2008 (41)) 12...Bd6 13.b4 Bxf3 14.Nxf3 Nc4 15.Bxc4 dxc4 16.Be3 Re8 17.Rad1 Qf6 and Black achieved a draw later on in Anand,V (2774)-Gelfand,B (2714)/Moscow 2004. 10...dxc4 11.Bxc4 Qd6 12.Nc3 0-0-0 13.Nxe4 fxe4 14.Rxe4 Qg6 15.Bd3. The prepared novelty. In the game Kholmov-Mikhalchishin, Minsk 1985 White made a weaker move 15.Rf4 and lost. 15...Nxd4. There are little doubts that Nisipeanu analyzed very well the most obvious reply 15...Bf5. 16.Rxd4 Rxd4 17.Nxd4 Bxd1 18.Bxg6 hxg6 19.Bf4 Bg4 20.Nb5 c6 21.h3 [In case of 21.Nxa7+ Kd7 the knight remains stuck on a7.] 21...Be6 22.Nd6+. Again 22.Nxa7+ Kd7 23.Rd1+ Ke8 can bring problems only to White (23...Bd5? 24.Nb5) ] 22...Bxd6 [Gelfand considered for a while 22...Kd7 23.Nxb7 Rh5 24.Rd1+ Rd5 25.Rxd5+ Bxd5 26.b3 but decided that the game continuation is safer. 23.Bxd6 Kd7 24.Be5 Rg8 25.b4 Ke7 26.a4 Kf7 27.Bd4 a6 28.a5 Rd8 29.Bb6 Re8 White is basically a pawn up (Black's pawn majority on the queenside does not count). Besides, Black has a weak pawn on g7. Gelfand admitted that the position is quite unpleasant for Black, but that it should be a draw. 30.f3 Bd5 31.Kf2 Bc4 32.Rd1 Bd5 33.Be3 Re5 34.Rd4 Rf5 35.Ke2 Re5 36.Kf2 Rf5 37.Rd2 Re5 38.Bd4 Re8 39.Bc3 Re7 40.Rd4 Rd7 41.Rf4+ Kg8 42.Rg4 Kh7 43.Rg5 Bf7 44.Re5 Kg8 45.Kg3 Rd3 46.Be1 Rd6 47.Bf2 Re6 48.Rg5 Rd6 49.Rg4 Rd7 50.Re4

Gelfand said after the game that he was happy to find this set-up for Black. In spite of its passivity, black pieces control all squares where the opponent rook could eventually penetrate into Black's position. White cannot break through. 50...Kh7 51.Bc5 Kg8 52.h4 Kh7 53.Kf4 Kg8 54.Re5 Kh7 55.Ke3 Kg8 56.f4 Rd8 57.g3 Re8 58.Kd4 Rxe5 59.fxe5 Bd5 60.Bd6 Kf7 61.Kc5 Ke6 62.Kb6 c5. The last important step of Black's defense. Now the draw become obvious. 63.bxc5 Bf3 64.Kc7 Be4 65.Kd8 Bc6 66.Bb8 Ba4 67.g4 Bc6 68.Bd6 Bf3 69.Kc7 Bc6 70.Kc8 Bf3 71.g5 Bc6 72.Kd8 Ba4 73.Bf8 Kxe5 74.Ke7 Bd1 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Ivanchuk,Vassily - Shirov,Alexei [D80]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (7), 21.06.2009

It is well-known that Ivanchuk can play virtually everything in the opening. Earlier in this tournament Shirov had problems in the Gruenfeld Defense against Radjabov and today Ivanchuk decided to repeat the variation.

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 0-0. Expectedly Shirov deviates from his 3rd round game versus Radjabov. [11...e5 12.dxe5 Qa5+ 13.Qd2 Qxd2+ 14.Kxd2 Nxe5 15.Rab1 0-0 16.Nd4 Nd7 17.Rhc1 Bxd4 18.exd4 Nb6 19.Bf3 led to a large advantage for White in Radjabov,T (2756)-Shirov,A (2745)/Bazna 2009 (round 3).] 12.0-0 b6 13.Rc1 Bb7 14.Qa4 e6 15.Rc3! The Ukrainian comes with a good novelty. Previously White placed the rook on c2, but Ivanchuk keeps square c2 available for the queen. 15...Rfc8 16.Rfc1 a6 17.Ne1 b5 18.Qc2

White's pressure on the c-file is very unpleasant and Shirov comes with an interesting idea. 18...Nxd4. Changing completely the type of position. After other moves White's play is easier: [18...Na7 19.Bf3 Qd7 20.Bxb7 (20.Rc7 Rxc7 21.Qxc7 Qxc7 22.Rxc7 Bxf3 23.gxf3 is possible as well) 20...Qxb7 21.Rc7 Rxc7 22.Qxc7 Qxc7 23.Rxc7 with advantage; Or 18...Nd8 19.Bf3 Rxc3 20.Qxc3 Qxa2 (20...Qd7 21.Qc7 is advantage for White with equal material) 21.Rc2 Qb1 22.Bxb7 Nxb7 23.Kf1 and the queen comes to c7.]

19.exd4 Bxd4 20.Bf3. Ivanchuk's move is stronger than 20.Rxc8+ Rxc8 21.Qd1 Rxc1 22.Qxc1 Qxa2 when Black keeps the important dark-squared bishop alive. 20...Rxc3 21.Qxc3 [21.Bxd5 Rxc2 22.Nxc2 was another attractive possibility] 21...Bxc3 22.Bxd5 Bxd5 23.Rxc3 Bxa2 24.Bf6

24...b4 [Worse is 24...Bc4 25.Nf3 a5 26.Ne5] 25.Rc7 b3 26.Nd3 a5 27.Nc5 g5 [27...a4? 28.Nxa4 Rxa4 29.Rc8# mate] 28.Rb7 h6 29.Nxb3 a4 30.Nc5 Bd5 Here Ivanchuk had less than one minute left for 10 moves and he chooses the safest continuation - to exchange rooks. 31.Rd7. But stronger is 31.Rc7 a3 32.Nd7! a2 33.Ba1 and White is better. 31...a3 32.Rd8+ Rxd8 33.Bxd8 Kg7 34.Ba5 Kg6 35.Bc3 f6 36.f3 h5 37.Kf2 e5 38.g3 Kf5 39.Nd7 Bc6 40.Nc5 g4 The time control is over and the position should be a draw. 41.fxg4+ Kxg4 42.h4. The only way to keep some life in the position. Otherwise Black plays h4 himself. 42...a2 43.Bb2 Bd5. First repetition 44.Nd3 Kf5 45.Ba1 Bc4 46.Nc5 Bd5 47.Bb2 Kg4. Second repetition 48.Na4 Bb3 49.Nc5. And here Shirov could claim a draw due to the threefold repetition! 49...Bd5. Third repetition 50.Nd7 Kf5 51.Ke3 Bc6 52.Nb6 Kg4 53.Kf2 Kf5 54.Nc4 Ke4! Weaker is 54...Kg4 55.Ne3+ Kh3 56.Nd1! Bd5 57.Nc3 Bb3 58.Ne4. 55.Ne3 Bd7 56.Nd1 Be6 57.Nc3+ 57...Kd3. After this the position is still a draw, but why give White some chances? An easy draw was 57...Kf5. 58.Ba1 Bc4. This is already a dangerous decision. Again a simple draw is 58...Bf7, or even 58...Bg8 (to control a square in front of White's h-pawn). 59.g4! Ivanchuk immediately uses his chance. 59...hxg4 60.h5 e4 61.h6 e3+ 62.Ke1 Bg8 63.Nxa2 f5 64.Be5 Ke4 65.Bc7 f4 66.Nc3+ Kf5 [66...Kd3 is also possible: 67.Nd5 f3 68.Bg3 Bh7 69.Nf6 Bf5 70.Nxg4 Kd4] 67.Nd5

After more than 6 hours of play Shirov makes the decisive mistake. 67...Bh7?? 67...g3 leads to an immediate draw: 68.Nxf4 (68.Bxf4 Ke4; 68.Kf1 g2+) 68...Kg5 and Black wins the h-pawn. It is curious that Ivanchuk also didn't see this possibility for Black (as he admitted after the game). 68.Ke2. Missed by Shirov. Now White is winning. 68...g3 69.Kf3 e2 70.Kxe2 g2 71.Kf2 f3 72.Bb6 Ke6 73.Nc3 Kf7 74.Be3 Kg6 75.Nd5 Kf7 76.Kxf3 Bb1 77.Nc3 Bc2 78.Kxg2 Kg6 79.Kg3 Kh5 80.Nd5 Kg6 81.Kh4 Bb1 82.Bg5 Bc2 83.Nf6 Bf5 84.h7. After 84.h7 Kg7 85.Bh6+ Kh8 86.Bf8 Bxh7 87.Kg5 Diagram 15 (analysis) White plays inevitably Kh6 and Bg7 mate! Therefore Shirov resigned. A very difficult game for both opponents and a painful loss for Shirov, who made a mistake after a very long defense. 1-0. [Click to replay]


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse the PGN games.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register