Dortmund 2010: Ponomariov keeps lead going into final round

7/25/2010 – The game between tournament leader Ponomariov and second-place Mamedyarov was clearly critical for the final standings, and the Azerbaijan was ready to try it all as he unleashed an absolutely astonishing 5.g4 in a QGD. Kramnik on the other hand played a speculative attack against Naiditsch that went south, while Le Quang and Leko played a long nervy draw. Report and analysis.

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From Thursday July 15 to Sunday, July 25, 2010 the 38th edition annual Sparkassen Chess-Meeting is taking place in Dortmund, Germany. It is a six-player round robin, in which each player has to play two games against each other, one with white and one with black pieces. Draw offers are not allowed – a game can only be declared a draw, by the arbiter, if there is no possible win for one side, or if a position is repeated three time. The winner of this tournament will be determined after ten rounds. Games start at 15:00h = 3 p.m. local time (CEST, = 17:00 Moscow, 14:00 p.m. London, 9:00 a.m. New York). All games will be broadcast by the official web site's "Live Games" page and on the Playchess.com server, with live audio commentary, in German, by Dennis Breder (July 15-18), Niclas Huschenbeth (19-21), Merijn van Delft (22, 24, 25) and Julian Zimmermann (July 23).

Round 9: Saturday, July 24, 15:00h
Liem Le Quang 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Shak. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Arkadij Naiditsch 
1-0
 Vladimir Kramnik

It is crunch time at Dortmund, and it showed, especially in the game between tournament leader, Ponomariov, and Mamedyarov, trailing by a point.

Mamedyarov,S (2761) - Ponomariov,R (2734) [D37]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (9), 24.07.2010

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.g4!?

It isn't often that we give a diagram for the 5th move of a game, but this is certainly deserving of one. In a database with more than 37 thousand games with the position just before g4, over 31 thousand had 5.Bg5 played, and fourteen (not fourteen thousand, just plain fourteen) contained this move. Unsurprisingly, all but one were by players of a *much* lower standard. The idea of an early g4 thrust is common in many openings, and has even been introduced in QGD positions in the past, such as Kasparov-Spassky (Barcelona, 1989), but never quite this early. Is this the dawn of a new line, or will it just enter the annals of opening theory just to illustrate GMs have tried them all? Only time will tell. In any case, Mamedyarov clearly felt that in order to try and wrest the first prize from Ponomariov, the moment was now, and he was ready to wrestle the bull by the horns. 5...0-0 It is tempting to prevent the advance of the g-pawn with 5...h6 but this is exactly the sort of reaction White is hoping for. It would weaken Black's kingside, where he is bound to castle, and provides an attractive target after 6.Rg1. 6.g5 Ne4 7.Qc2 Nxg5 8.Bxg5 Bxg5 9.h4 Bh6 10.e3 c6 11.Ng5 f5 12.Rg1 Qe7 13.0-0-0 Nd7 14.f3 White is preparing a break with e4 in order to open lines and renew his threats, while Black takes measures to prevent it and complete his development. 14...Nf6 15.Kb1 Kh8 16.Bd3.

16...e5! The exclamation mark is not for positional reasons. Black certainly had other alternatives such as 16...dxc4 17.Bxc4 b5 18.Bd3 a5 19.e4 g6 20.Rge1 with an unclear position.


Analysis

But why enter an unclear line that is clearly double-edged, when he has no need? The Ukrainian is leading by a point and has no need to take unnecessary risks. The burden of proof is on Mamedyarov to show he can somehow win this, so that being the case, Ponomariov's move, leading to simplifications, and a much easier position to play, is by far the best practical decision. 17.cxd5 Nxd5 18.Nxd5 cxd5 19.dxe5 Qxe5 20.Qc5 Be6 21.f4 Qf6 22.Nxe6 Qxe6 23.Bc2 b6 24.Qxd5 Qxe3 25.Bxf5 Qc5 After this, the queens come off, and Black is now in safe waters. 26.Qxc5 bxc5 27.Rd5 Bxf4 28.Rg4 Be3 29.h5 Bd4 30.Kc2 a5 31.a4 Rf6 32.Rg2 Raf8 33.Bd3 g6 34.hxg6 Rf2+ 35.Rxf2 Rxf2+ 36.Kd1 hxg6 37.Bxg6 Kg7 38.Bc2 Kf6 39.b3 Rf1+ 40.Ke2 Rf2+ 41.Kd1 Rf1+ 42.Ke2 Rf2+ 43.Kd1 1/2-1/2 [Click to replay]

Arkadij Naiditsch has been a protagonist in more than one of the tournament's most surprising games, and his struggle against Kramnik certainly one of them.


Arkadij Naiditsch against Vladimir Kramnik, and never knowing what to expect from
his opponents.

Kramnik began including the Pirc in his Black repertoire this year, having already essayed it against Dominguez Perez, and Smeets, so it was only mildly surprising to see him play it against Naiditsch. The game unfolded in a very un-Kramnik way however.

Naiditsch,A (2684) - Kramnik,V (2790) [B07]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (9), 24.07.2010

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 b5 6.f3 Nbd7 7.Nge2 Nb6 8.Nf4 Bg7 9.a4 b4 10.Ncd5 Nbxd5 11.Nxd5 Nxd5 12.exd5 0-0 13.Qxb4 e6 14.Bc4 Qh4+ 15.Kd1

15...Bxd4? A surprising decision that will lead to serious problems. Simpler and better was 15...Re8. 16.Bxa6 e5 17.Bxc8 Tit for tat as this allows Black to create his own chances. 17.Bb5 Keeping the bishop and helping cover the b-file from Black's rooks. 17...Qf6 18.Bxd4 exd4 19.Bc6 Bh3 20.Qd2 (20.gxh3?? Qxf3+ 21.Kd2 Qe3+ 22.Kd1=) 20...Rab8 21.Kc1 and White is almost winning thanks to his extra pawn, consolidated king position, and passed a-pawn (note the Bc6 covering the promotion square). 17...Rfxc8 18.c3 Rab8 19.Qc4 c5 The engines unanimously condemn this and recommend 19...Rxb2 20.cxd4 Rcb8 21.Rc1 e4 22.Rc2 Rb1+ 23.Rc1 R1b2= 20.Bc1 e4

The biggest problem with this speculative attack is not so much that Black lacks pieces or firepower, but that White's decisions are all relatively straightforward, as Black is unable to muster more than one-move or two-move threats. A lot is made about the art of attack in bringing in the pieces, keeping the initiative, etc. But in a speculative attack where the consequences also depend on your opponent making a mistake, it is no less essential to give your opponent difficult decisions to solve at the board. This last quality is completely lacking here. 21.cxd4 exf3 22.gxf3 Re8 23.Ra3 Not the best, but nor does it change the basic evaluation of the position. Black can do nothing to prevent White's king from fleeing to safety via Kd1-c2-b1. 23...Rb4 24.Qf1 Qxd4+ 25.Kc2 c4 26.Qd1 Qf2+ 27.Bd2 Re2 28.Ra2 Black was threatening 28.-- Rxd2+ 29.Qxd2 Rxb2+ 30.Kxb2 Qxd2+ -+ 28...Qxf3 29.Re1 Qb3+? Both players were down to a couple of minutes each at this point. 30.Kb1 Rxe1 31.Qxe1 c3 32.Bxc3 Re4 33.Qf1 33.Qxe4 Qd1# 33...Qxd5 34.Ra3 1-0 [Click to replay]

Whether a case of nerves or simply an offday for the players, the game between Le Quang and Leko was a tense affair with errors from both sides. For those wondering, after speaking with the nice lad, the name issue was cleared up, and it is first name Liem, family name Le Quang.


Young Le Quang had a nervy game against Leko, though Peter has certainly been
having a tournament to forget.

While pressing to create winning chances, he overstepped himself and actually ended up in what may have been a lost position. The Hungarian, in off-form from the onset, returned the favor and an endgame in which he was a pawn up, but almost no chance to convert, came about. Leko insisted for no less than 119 moves, until they finally agreed upon a draw.

Current standings

Photos: Georgios Souleidis


Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, July 15, 15:00h
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Liem Le Quang
Arkadij Naiditsch 
0-1
 Shak. Mamedyarov 
Round 2: Friday, July 16, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Shak. Mamedyarov
Liem Le Quang 
½-½
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Vladimir Kramnik
Round 3: Saturday, July 17, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Shak. Mamedyarov 
1-0
 Liem Le Quang 
Round 4: Sunday, July 18, 15:00h
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Shak. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Liem Le Quang 
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Round 5: Monday, July 19, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
0-1
 Liem Le Quang 
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Shak. Mamedyarov
Vladimir Kramnik 
1-0
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Round 6: Wednesday, July 21, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
½-½  Ruslan Ponomariov
Liem Le Quang 
½-½  Vladimir Kramnik
Shak. Mamedyarov 
0-1
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Round 7: Thursday, July 22, 15:00h
Shak. Mamedyarov 
1-0
 Peter Leko
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Liem Le Quang 
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Round 8: Friday, July 23, 15:00h
Peter Leko  
½-½  Vladimir Kramnik
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Liem Le Quang 
½-½
 Shak. Mamedyarov
Round 9: Saturday, July 24, 15:00h
Liem Le Quang 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Shak. Mamedyarov 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Arkadij Naiditsch 
1-0
 Vladimir Kramnik
Round 10: Sunday, July 25, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
   Arkadij Naiditsch
Vladimir Kramnik 
   Shak. Mamedyarov
Ruslan Ponomariov 
   Liem Le Quang 
GamesReport

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Topics Dortmund 2010
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