Dortmund 5: Carlsen, Leko win, Carlsen leads

7/6/2009 – The first half of the Sparkassen Super-GM ended with Peter Leko demolishing Etienne Bacrot after the French GM blundered on move 36. Magnus Carlsen kept the pressure up against Arkadij Naiditsch's Berlin Defence, until the German player committed an innocuous looking error and crumbled. Carlsen is once again in the sold lead with a 2885 performance. Full illustrated report.

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From 2nd to 12th July 2009 six of the world's strongest grandmasters are taking part in the annual Sparkassen Chess-Meeting – the 37th edition. Each player has to play two games against each other, one with white and one with black pieces. The winner of this tournament will be determined after ten rounds. Games start at 15:15 = 3:15 p.m. local time (CEST, = 17:15 Moscow, 14:15 p.m. London, 9:15 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 (by FM Valeri Lilov, with a 10 Ducat charge per evening). As in the previous year the moves of the Sparkassen Chess-Meeting will be transmitted on the Internet with a delay of 15 minutes – which means that the moves stay in the playing hall for that period, before they are broadcast to the rest of the world). This is an important anti-cheating measure that has been proposed to FIDE since October 2005 and has the support of most of the top players. We commend the Dortmund organisers for taking the initiative.

Round five

Round 5: Monday, July 6th, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Dmitry Jakovenko
Peter Leko 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Arkadij Naiditsch

Ladies and gentlemen, Caissa has heard your pleas for excitement, and has delivered to you two consecutive rounds of decisive chess. Thinking that you might not be satisfied with only one such game, she doubled the output from yesterday, with two White victories in round five.

Kramnik - Jakovenko
Having secured a victory with the black pieces yesterday, some might have expected Kramnik to take advantage of his white today. Unfortunately, that turned out to be fantasy. In the Ragozin Defence of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, Kramnik and Jakovenko transposed to Ibrahimov-Gaprindashvili (EU-ch, 2005), which had ultimately led to a black victory. In today’s game, however, Kramnik chose 13.f4, where 13.Qb1 had previously been attempted. Soon after black completed the development of his queenside pieces, the players decided to call it a day, shaking hands on the 19th move.


Carlsen-Naiditsch
The tournament’s co-leader and top seed crossed swords with the tournament’s bottom-seeded cellar-dweller. To say that Naiditsch is incapable of spectacular results is pure fallacy; however, with two losses in four games, and holding black against the world’s number three grandmaster, things did not bode well. The players opted for the Berlin Defence of the Ruy Lopez, which Bacrot and Jakavenko had employed in a drawing effort two rounds earlier. To the detriment of Naiditsch, however, Carlsen would not be satisfied with a mere draw. The game followed Kotronias-Aronian (Bundesliga, 2007) – a hard-fought 51-move draw – with a slight transposition, before Carlsen found 14.Ne2 to be more to his liking than Kotronias’ 14.Nd4. The critical juncture came on Black’s 41st move, when 41...Kd6 gave Carlsen an advantage he would not relinquish. He brought the point home in tremendous fashion, with Naiditsch resigning in the face of two rolling pawns on White’s kingside, against which the black knight provided no compensation.

Carlsen,M (2772) - Naiditsch,A (2697) [C67]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (5), 06.07.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 h6 10.h3 Ne7 11.Bf4 Ng6 12.Bg3 Ke8 13.Rad1 Bb4 14.Ne2 h5 15.Ned4 h4 16.Bh2 Nf8 17.Bf4 Bd7 18.Bg5 Be7 19.Rfe1 c5 20.e6 fxe6 21.Bxe7 Kxe7 22.Nf5+ Kf6 23.Ne3 Be8 24.Ng4+ Ke7 25.Nge5 Bg6 26.Rd5 b6 27.Rd2 Bf5 28.Ng5 Kf6 29.f4 Ng6 30.Nd7+ Ke7 31.Nxe6 Bxe6 32.f5 Nf4 33.fxe6 Rhd8 34.Rf2 g5 35.Kh2 a5 36.a4 Rg8 37.Ne5 Rae8 38.Nf3 Nxe6 39.Re5 Kd6 40.Rd2+ Kc6 41.Rde2

For a while Naiditsch fans in the press center had been speculating whether the German GM acutally had chances of winning. Now the position is objectively a draw, with Carlsen doing his usual thing: pottering around, setting up threats and giving the opponent ample opportunity to err. It works, one move after the time control: 41...Kd6? The move that is required was 41...Kd7, as it prevents the coming shot by providing a defender to the rook on e8. 42.Nxg5! Ng7. The knight cannot be taken: 42...Rxg5 43.Rxg5 Nxg5 44.Rxe8. As mentioned the king should have been on d7 to defend the black rook on e8.

43.Rxe8 Rxe8 44.Rxe8 Nxe8. White is a pawn up and Magnus has traded down to a knight ending he knows he can win. And win it he does, with impeccable technique: 45.Nf3 c4 46.Nxh4 c3 47.b3 Kc5 48.Nf5 Kb4 49.g4 Ka3 50.Kg3 Kb2 51.Ne3 Kc1 52.Kf3 Kd2 53.h4 Ng7 54.h5 Ne6 55.h6 c6 56.Ke4 b5 57.Ke5 Ng5 58.Kf5 Nf7 59.h7 Kxe3 60.g5 1-0.


Leko-Bacrot
Today, for those that thought Leko was heading for his fifth draw in as many games, you are forgiven, and presented with a small gift from the man himself – a first victory. Perhaps, however, the gift of victory is more appropriately assigned to Bacrot, who heartbreakingly blundered. The players entered into a sideline of the Queen’s Indian, with Leko moving into virgin territory by way of 12.Nh4, where 12.e4 had been tried on six previous occasions. The most notable of these instances was Akopian-Palac (EU-Cup, 2008), where White went on to win in 41 moves. Today, however, Leko won in 39 moves, after Black chose to play 36...Bg7. Tactical blows ensued, beginning with 37.Nf6+.

Leko,P (2756) - Bacrot,E (2721) [E15]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (5), 06.07.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qc2 Bb7 6.Bg2 c5 7.d5 exd5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.0-0 Be7 10.Rd1 Nc6 11.Qa4 Nf6 12.Nh4 Qc8 13.Nf5 Nd4 14.Bxb7 Qxb7 15.Nxd4 cxd4 16.Rxd4 Bc5 17.Rd3 b5 18.Qf4 0-0 19.b4 Bb6 20.Bb2 Rfe8 21.e3 Rac8 22.Nd2 Bd8 23.Rd1 Rc2 24.Bxf6 Bxf6 25.a3 Ra2 26.Nf3 Qa6 27.g4 h6 28.h4 Rxa3 29.Rd6 Qa4 30.g5 hxg5 31.hxg5 Ra1 32.Rxa1 Bxa1 33.Rxd7 Rf8 34.Qd6 g6 35.Nh2 Bc3 36.Ng4

Black might be able to hold with 36...Qxb4 or 36...Kg7, but not with 36...Bg7?? White now has 37.Nf6+ Bxf6 (forced) 38.gxf6 (threatening 39.Qxf8+ followed by mate) 38...Rc8 39.Rxf7! 1-0 in view of 39...Kxf7 40.Qe7+ Kg8 41.Qg7#.

Michael von Keitz

Current standings:


Picture Gallery


Hotel Drees, where the players and some of the journalists are staying. No air conditioning in the sweltering heat wave that has gripped most of Germany (and, it would seem, especially Dortmund)


The lobby, empty right now, but soon to be overcrowded as tens of thousands of Jehova's Witnesses descend on the city for a convention. A number of journalists have to switch hotels, the players can keep their quarters.


Now if you were to open a new restaurant in Dortmund – opposite the Drees hotel – is this the name you would choose? Happy Happy Ding Dong? Somebody's got to be kidding.


Before the start of round five Etienne Bacrot consults Arbiter Alexander Bakh


Carlsen – the typical movement of a white player confronted with the Berlin Defence


Naiditsch – the typical expression of a player employing this system


Round five under way in Dortmund


Vladimir Kramnik in a peaceful mood after yesterday's kingside violence


Top seed Magnus Carlsen biding his time in his game against...


Germany's top grandmaster Arkadij Naiditsch


This is not my tournament – top French GM Etienne Bacrot


Kramnik-Jakovenko is over, the other two boards are reaching their climax


Peter Leko, looking for a first victory in this tournament, against Etienne Bacrot


Magnus Carlsen probing for weaknesses or inaccuracies against Arkadij Naiditsch


Our reporter Michael von Keitz (Canada) in the not exactly overcrowded press center in Dortmund

Pictures by Frederic Friedel and Michael von Keitz


Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, July 2nd, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Dmitry Jakovenko
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Etienne Bacrot
Round 2: Friday, July 3rd, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Etienne Bacrot
Dmitry Jakovenko 
1-0
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 3: Saturday, July 4th, 15:00h
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Dmitry Jakovenko
Round 4: Sunday, July 5, 15:00h
Arkadij Naiditsch 
0-1
 Vladimir Kramnik
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Dmitry Jakovenko 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Round 5: Monday, July 6th, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 
½-½
 Dmitry Jakovenko
Peter Leko 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Round 6: Wednesday, July 8th, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 
-
 Peter Leko
Dmitry Jakovenko 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Etienne Bacrot 
-
 Arkadij Naiditsch
GamesReport
Round 7: Thursday, July 9th, 15:00h
Etienne Bacrot 
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
Arkadij Naiditsch 
-
 Dmitry Jakovenko
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Peter Leko
GamesReport
Round 8: Friday, July 10th, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik  
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Peter Leko 
-
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Dmitry Jakovenko 
-
 Etienne Bacrot
GamesReport
Round 9: Saturday, July 11th, 15:00h
Dmitry Jakovenko 
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
Etienne Bacrot 
-
 Peter Leko
Arkadij Naiditsch 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
GamesReport
Round 10: Sunday, July 12th, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 
-
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Etienne Bacrot
Peter Leko 
-
 Dmitry Jakovenko
GamesReport

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Topics: Dortmund 2009
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