Dortmund 9: All games drawn, final result still open

7/12/2009 – Vladimir Kramnik played a fine black game against his compatriot Dmitry Jakovenko, and was a hair's breadth away from winning the game and the event. But he untypically missed the chance and with the other two games drawn there are four contenders for first place (Kramnik is half a point up on the other three). Note: the game on Sunday start at 13:00h CEST! Round nine 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 nine

In this penultimate round, Kramnik nearly put the tournament out of reach, pushing Jakavenko to the brink of disaster, and slowing allowing him to return from the precipice. Unfortunately, Bacrot-Leko wrapped up in the blink of an eye, and Naiditsch-Carlsen did not offer much more excitement.

Round 9: Saturday, July 11th, 15:00h
Dmitry Jakovenko 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen

Bacrot-Leko
In the Symmetrical English, this game followed a transposition of a number of games, most of which were decisive efforts. The most noteworthy amongst these was Lautier-Ribli (1998), which saw the Frenchman demonstrate good form in a winning outing. Having lost to Leko in their previous encounter, Bacrot was much less ambitious than his compatriot, and allowed a draw to Leko on only the 17th move – in a position still rich with potential.

Naiditsch-Carlsen
Holding the white pieces, against an opponent who had lost – as black – in the previous round, the ball was clearly in Naiditsch’s court. This was offset, however, by the fact that Carlsen had taken the full point from him in the first half of the tournament. Utilizing the Sveshnikov Variation of the Sicilain Defence, the players followed the text of Magyar-Ponnath (1999) – a quick white win – with a slight transposition. By the 21st move, Naiditsch played 21.Rxa5, as opposed to 21.Ne3. Carlsen had what winning chances the position offered, but a draw was agreed on the 32nd move.

Jakovenko-Kramnik
Love him or hate him, Kramnik is capable of spectacular chess results, despite his seeming propensity for draws. In this round, however, he faced a player who has emerged as one of the biggest fighters in this tournament, something Jakavenko was happy to demonstrate by playing into an exchange sacrifice. In one of Kramnik’s favourite openings – the Petroff Defence – the players replicated Luukkonen-Sisatto (2003) for 21 moves. In the reference game, White managed to score an upset against his National Master opponent, but Jakavenko was never provided the opportunity for a similar result today. With the tides slowly turning in his favour, he mistakenly played 33.Re3, a blunder which 33…Rd7 would have exploited. But Kramnik missed this chance when he played 33…b4. The position sat roughly equal, then White played 38.Qc5, breathing more life into Black’s resolve. Fortunately for White, Kramnik never quite got a handle on the position, and, when the players shook hands on the 56th move, sealed Jakavenko’s second bittersweet draw for this half of the tournament.

Michael von Keitz

Bacrot,E (2721) - Leko,P (2756) [A30]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (9), 11.07.2009
1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.g3 Qb6 6.Nc2 e6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Nc3 d6 10.e4 a6 11.Kh1 Rb8 12.Bd2 Bd7 13.g4 h6 14.f4 Nh7 15.Rc1 Rfc8 16.b3 Qd8 17.Ne2 b5 draw.

Naiditsch,A (2697) - Carlsen,M (2772) [B33]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (9), 11.07.2009
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 0-0 13.a4 bxa4 14.Rxa4 a5 15.Bc4 Bd7 16.0-0 Ne7 17.Ra2 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Rc8 19.Qd3 Qb6 20.Rfa1 Kh8 21.Rxa5 f5 22.Qa6 Qxb2 23.R5a2 Qxc3 24.Qxd6 Bb5 25.Be6 Rfd8 26.Qa3 Qxa3 27.Nxa3 Rc1+ 28.Rxc1 Bxc1 29.h4 Bd3 30.exf5 Ra8 31.Nb1 Rxa2 32.Bxa2 draw.

Jakovenko,D (2760) - Kramnik,V (2759) [C42]
Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (9), 11.07.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0-0 0-0 8.c4 c6 9.Qc2 Na6 10.a3 Bg4 11.Ne5 Bxe5 12.dxe5 Nac5 13.f3 Nxd3 14.Qxd3 Nc5 15.Qd4 Nb3 16.Qxg4 Nxa1 17.Bh6 g6 18.Nc3 Qb6+ 19.Kh1 Qxb2 20.Qf4 f6 21.Na4 Qc2 22.Rxa1 Qxa4 23.e6 Qa5 24.Qd6 Rfc8 25.Qe7 Qc7 26.Qxf6 Re8 27.Re1 Qe7 28.Qe5 dxc4 29.Bg5 Qf8 30.Bf6 b5 31.f4 a5 32.f5 Ra7 33.Re3?

Now Kramnik has an excellent opportunity to finish off his opponent and win Dortmund 2009 outright: 33...Rd7 (threatening ...Rd1+) 34.h3 Rd5 with a clean tactical victory. But Kramnik let his compatriot off the hook with 33...b4 34.fxg6 hxg6 35.Qg5 Rg7 36.h3 c3 37.Bxg7 Qxg7 38.Qc5 Qf8 39.e7 Qf1+ 40.Kh2 Qf4+ 41.Kh1 Qf1+ 42.Kh2 Qb5 43.axb4 Qxc5 44.bxc5 c2 45.Rc3 Rxe7 46.Rxc2 a4 47.Kg3 Kf7 48.Kf4 Kf6 49.Ra2 g5+ 50.Kf3 Ra7 51.Ke4 a3 52.Kd4 Kf5 53.Rf2+ Kg6 54.Ra2 Kf5 55.Rf2+ Kg6 56.Ra2 Kf5 draw.

Current standings:


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 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Dmitry Jakovenko 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Round 7: Thursday, July 9th, 15:00h
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Dmitry Jakovenko
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Round 8: Friday, July 10th, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik  
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Dmitry Jakovenko 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Round 9: Saturday, July 11th, 15:00h
Dmitry Jakovenko 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 10: Sunday, July 12th, 15:00h
Vladimir Kramnik 
-
 Arkadij Naiditsch
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Etienne Bacrot
Peter Leko 
-
 Dmitry Jakovenko
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Topics: Dortmund 2009
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