Bazna R8: All games drawn, Ivanchuk leads

by ChessBase
6/23/2009 – The top encounter Gelfand-Ivanchuk did not develop into the merciless battle many expected – it ended in a draw by repetition in twenty moves. Shirov vs Radjabov ended in 38 moves peacefully. In Kamsky-Nisipeanu the American GM missed very good winning chances – he went for a beautiful knight sacrifice but missed the study-like win. Commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenco.

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 eight commentary

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

Round 8: Monday, June 22, 2009

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

The start of round eight in Bazna

The highly expected game Gelfand-Ivanchuk turned out to be a small disappointment. In order to catch up with Ivanchuk and fight for the first place in the tournament Gelfand needed to win the game. Easier said than done. The English Opening led to a position where active play from White’s side was connected with taking risks. Gelfand showed a practical approach and objectivity: having achieved no advantage and with less time on the clock the Israeli GM forced a draw by repetition on move 20.

Top encounter ended quickly: Boris Gelfand vs Vassily Ivanchuk in round eight

After yesterday’s difficult and unlucky game, Shirov decided to choose today against Radjabov a safe variation. Against Radjabov’s Sveshnikov Sicilian Shirov played a long theoretical line, producing a mini improvement on move 26. White’s plus was much too small to claim any real advantage. Radjabov was playing very accurately and the draw was agreed on move 38.

Start of the game Alexei Shirov (left) vs Teimour Radjabov

In Kamsky-Nisipeanu the American GM missed very good winning chances. In the opening Black didn’t have any problems, then in an equal middlegame Nisipeanu went with his knight to a wrong direction, which gave Kamsky the chance to take over the initiative. After the time control White remained with a pawn up in endgame. Most of the players would have slowly converted this advantage into a full point, but Kamsky went for a beautiful knight sacrifice. In the arising position White could win only with a very difficult study-like solution, which Kamsky found only after the game with the help of his computer. In the game Nisipeanu succeeded to hold a draw.

The longest game: Gata Kamsky vs Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

Current standings

Gelfand,Boris - Ivanchuk,Vassily [A04]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (8), 22.06.2009

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nb5 d6 6.g3 a6 7.N5c3 Nf6 8.Bg2 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Bf4 Qc7. This natural move is new. 11.Na3 Rd8 12.Rc1 Typically for such positions White threatens Nc3-d5. 12...Ne5 13.Qb3 Nfd7. The development of the bishop via d7 to c6 is bad because of the mentioned idea Nc3-d5: 13...Bd7 14.Rfd1 Bc6 15.Nd5 exd5 16.cxd5 and the change of pawn structure favours White. 14.Rfd1 Rb8

Black's plan is to complete development with b6 and Bb7, after which he will have a good version of the so-called Hedgehog structure. All he has to do is to watch out for some tactical tricks. 15.Be3 Re8! The main advantage of this move is that it frees square d8 for the queen. 15...b6 would be a big tactical mistake in view of 16.Ncb5 axb5 17.Nxb5 and the black queen is trapped! After the forced 17...Nc5 18.Nxc7 Nxb3 19.axb3 White remains with a pawn up in endgame. 16.Ba7 Ra8 17.Bd4 Rb8. White won a tempo by transferring the bishop to d4, but this changes nothing: Black is ready again to play 18...b6, with equality. Gelfand took a good practical decision to force a draw. After all White is not better and Ivanchuk had time advantage. Moreover, such Hedgehog-type of positions are very tricky and any inaccuracy from White's side can be severely punished. So Gelfand decided to repeat the position. 18.Ba7 Ra8 19.Bd4 Rb8 20.Ba7 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Shirov,Alexei - Radjabov,Teimour [B33]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (8), 22.06.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 Bg5 12.Nc2 Ne7 13.h4 Bh6 14.a4 bxa4 15.Ncb4 0-0 16.Qxa4 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 a5 18.Bb5

18...Be6. Shirov himself had a bad experience in this line with Black: 18...Kh8 19.b4 f5 20.Bc6 Ra7 21.exf5 Bxf5 22.bxa5 Bd3 23.Bb5 Bxb5 24.Qxb5 Raf7 25.0-0 Qxh4 26.Qe2 and White's a-pawn brought him victory in Karjakin,S (2678)-Shirov,A (2715)/Wijk aan Zee 2007. However, in the past two years the theory of this line developed a lot and 18...Be6 is considered most precise nowadays. 19.Bc6 Rb8 20.b4 axb4 21.cxb4 Kh8. The main alternative is 21...Bxd5 22.Bxd5 Qb6. 22.b5 Bxd5 23.Bxd5 Qb6 24.0-0. In case of 24.Bc6 Black has the nice transfer of the bishop to a better diagonal: 24...Be3! 25.0-0 (25.fxe3 Qxe3+ 26.Kd1 Qd3+ 27.Ke1 Qe3+ is a draw) 25...Bd4 26.Ra2 f5 27.exf5 Rxf5 28.g3 Rbf8 and thanks to the pressure on f2 Black has nothing to fear, Grischuk,A (2719)-Illescas Cordoba,M (2604)/Dresden 2008. 24...Qxb5 25.Qxb5 Rxb5 26.Ra6. You'll be surprised, but only this move is new. In Bacrot,E (2705)-Eljanov,P (2720)/Elista 2008 White took another pawn, but it led to the same result: 26.Bxf7 g5 27.hxg5 Bxg5 28.Be6 Rb4 29.Bf5 d5 30.Ra5 dxe4 31.Rxe5 Bf4 32.Rxe4 Rxe4 33.Bxe4 Rc8 34.Bf3 Rc1 35.Bd1 Kg7 and White cannot unpin the bishop without exchanging the rooks, which leads to a complete drawish position. 26...f6. In Shirov's opinion 26...f5 27.Rxd6 fxe4 28.Bxe4 offers White some possibilities to play on thanks to the better pawn structure. 27.Rxd6 Rc5 28.h5. [28.Rd7 Rc1 29.Rxc1 Bxc1 looks slightly unpleasant for Black, but he simply waits and the position is a draw.] 28...Rc7 29.g3 g6 30.Kg2 Kg7. With the king on g7 (instead of being cut on h8) Black doesn't have even the slightest problem to achieve a draw. 31.Kh3 Bc1 32.f4 exf4 33.gxf4 g5 34.fxg5 Bxg5 35.e5 Re7. There is no point for Black to go for the variation 35...fxe5 36.h6+ Bxh6 37.Rg1+ Kh8 38.Rxh6. 36.e6 f5 37.Bc6 Kh6 38.Bf3 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Kamsky,Gata - Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter [D02]
Kings' Tournament Bazna ROM (8), 22.06.2009

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.c3. Sometimes with the white pieces Kamsky starts the game without any ambitions for the opening advantage. We witness such a case. 5...Qb6 6.Qb3. Both sides would are happy to exchange queens, but only if it would open the a-file for their own rook. 6...c4 7.Qc2. After 7.Qxb6 axb6 Black has a pleasant endgame thanks to the plan to advance the b-pawn to b4. 7...Bf5. A standard developing move – White cannot take the bishop in view of 8...Qxb2 and the rook a1 is gone. 8.Qc1 h6. Another standard move – Black defends against a possible Nf3-h4 by making square h7 available for the bishop. 9.Be2 e6 10.h3 Qd8 11.b3. A logical novelty. White needs more space on the queenside and is ready to exchange some pawns. 11...b5 12.bxc4 bxc4

13.Bd1 Qa5! 13...Bd6 is strongly met with 14.Ba4! Rc8 15.Bxd6 Qxd6 16.Ne5 and Black loses material. 14.Bc2 Ne4 15.0-0 g5 16.Bh2 Bd6 17.Re1 Bxh2+ 18.Nxh2 Nd6 19.f3 Bxc2 20.Qxc2 f5 21.Nd2 Kd7 22.e4 Rab8 23.Nhf1. The position is about equal. 23...Qa3 [23...Rb6 was preferable] 24.Rab1 Rhf8 25.Ng3 25...Nb5. The start of the wrong plan to bring the knight to a3. 25...fxe4 26.fxe4 Nxd4 27.cxd4 Qxg3 is far from clear after both 28.Nf1 or 28.Qa4+; Again stronger is 25...Rb6 with a double-edged position. 26.Ne2 Qa5 27.Qc1 Na3 28.Rxb8 Rxb8 The knight on a3 is completely misplaced and now White opens the other wing. 29.exd5 exd5 30.f4! Now Black is in troubles. 30...Qa4 31.fxg5 hxg5 32.Nf3 f4. The alternative 32...g4 33.hxg4 fxg4 34.Ne5+ Nxe5 35.dxe5 Rb1 36.Qd2 Rxe1+ 37.Qxe1 had its drawbacks as well: the black king is too exposed. 33.Rf1. Not a bad move, but instead of it Kamsky had a powerful knight sacrifice: 33.Nxf4 gxf4 (The point is that after 33...Rb1 White has 34.Ne6! Rxc1 35.Nc5+ Kc7 36.Nxa4) 34.Qxf4 with dangerous attack for White. 33...Re8 34.Qd2 Qc2 35.Qxc2 Nxc2 36.Kf2 Ne3. Better is 36...g4 and only after 37.hxg4 to play 37...Ne3. 37.Rb1 g4 38.Nh4 Re4 39.Ng6. Black loses a pawn in all variations. 39...g3+ 40.Kf3 Nxg2 41.Ngxf4 Nxf4 42.Nxf4 Ne7 43.Kxg3 Kc6 44.Kf3 Nf5 White is a pawn up and has two possibilities to convert his advantage. After the simple 45.Ng6 it is clear that Black has to struggle a lot. However, Kamsky finds an elegant combination. 45.Nxd5! Kxd5 46.Rb5+ Ke6. Black must keep square d6 free for the future fork 46...Kc6 47.Rc5+. 47.d5+ [47.Kxe4? Nd6+] 47...Kf6 [47...Kd6? 48.Kxe4; 47...Ke5 48.d6+ Ke6 49.Rxf5! Kxf5 50.d7 and White queens.] 48.Kxe4 Nd6+ 49.Kd4 Nxb5+ 50.Kxc4 Nd6+

51.Kd4? [After having analyzed the position in his hotel room, Kamsky found the solution: 51.Kc5 Ne4+ 52.Kb4!! A study like move designed to provoke the advance of the opponent's a-pawn.

51...Nb5+ 52.Kd3. White could still return to the winning path: 52.Kc4 Nd6+ 53.Kc5. 52...Ke5 53.c4 Nd6 54.h4. [54.c5 Ne4=] 54...Nf5 55.h5 Kd6

In spite of having three passed pawns for the knight, White cannot make much progress, since 56.Ke4 runs into a check on g3. 56.Kc3 Kc5 57.Kb3 Nh6 58.Ka4 Kxc4 59.d6 Kc5. Draw agreed in view of 59...Kc5 60.d7 Nf7 61.Ka5 Kc6 62.Ka6 Kxd7 63.Kxa7 Kc7. Draw. [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