Khanty-Mansiysk: Carlsen, Kamsky and Shirov through

12/7/2007 – Alexei Shirov, always the firebrand, won his second game, with black, against Dmitry Jakovenko to move 2-0 to the semifinals. Gata Kamsky outplayed Ruslan Ponomariov to advance with 1.5:0.5 points. And the youngest player, Magnus Carlsen, easily drew against Cheparinov to make it through. Full report with games, pictures and commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenko.

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A total of 126 participants turned up on November 23 for the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, located about 1400 miles (2250 km) east of Moscow. The competition is taking place from November 24 to December 18.

Round five Game two (Friday, December 7th)

Four matches finished after the today's round. Shirov, Kamsky and Carlsen go to the semifinals. Karjakin and Alekseev will play tiebreak tomorrow.

Round five results

No.   Name Nat Rtng
R1 R2 B1 B2 SD Tot.
 1  Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2714
 Cheparinov, Ivan BUL 2670
 2  Karjakin, Sergey UKR 2694
 Alekseev, Evgeny RUS 2716
 3  Ponomariov, Ruslan   UKR 2705
 Kamsky, Gata USA 2714
 4  Shirov, Alexei ESP 2739
 Jakovenko, Dmitry RUS 2710

Quarterfinals game two

Commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenko

The start of a fateful game...

Kamsky,G (2714) - Ponomariov,R (2705) [B97]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (5.2), 07.12.2007

After Kamsky's return to active chess his main weakness was a poor opening preparation. Nevertheless the American managed to keep his level around the 2700 mark. It finally seems that Gata started to widen his opening repertoire and today he went for a principled variation in the Open Sicilian, where White sacrifices a pawn. It was Ponomariov who, after some thinking (possibly surprised by Gata's readiness to play sharp and forced variations) declined the offer and chose not the strongest move. In a complicated strategical middlegame Kamsky used all the trumps of his position and outplayed his strong opponent, deservingly winning the game and entering the semifinals.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6

8.Qd2. Probably a big surprise for Ponomariov. Kamsky has played this variation nine times before and ALWAYS continued 8.Nb3. 8...Nc6. Accepting the pawn sac with 8...Qxb2 is the best for Black. Of course, in that case he must be very well prepared. 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nb3 Bd7 11.0-0-0 0-0-0 12.Be2 h5 13.Rhf1 Be7 14.Rf3 Rdg8 15.Bf1 Kb8 16.Kb1 h4

At the first sight this strategically complex position is about equal and offers a lot of space for creativity for both sides, who have multiple maneuvers at their disposal. But in reality the weakness of pawn h4 and better possibilities to switch his pieces from one side to another make White's chances preferable. 17.Qe1 Rg4 18.a3 Strictly speaking, only this move is a novelty, although the position was never played on the high level. 18...Qc7 19.Ne2 Rh5 20.h3 Rg8

If Black would have time to play f6-f5 his position would be quite acceptable, but... 21.f5! Now any pawn moves would completely ruin Black's structure, so Ponomariov decides to wait, which under the circumstances looks like the only reasonable option. Anyway, his situation is highly unpleasant, since White can calmly improve the position. 21...Rhh8. Taking the pawn is not a solution. After 21...exf5 22.exf5 Bxf5 23.Nf4 White will win back the pawn on h4, remaining with a large advantage. 22.Nf4 Bf8 23.Qf2 Rg5 24.fxe6 fxe6 25.Rc3! Kamsky starts activity on the queenside, using the better mobility of white pieces. Without making visible mistakes Ponomariov found himself in troubles. 25...Rh6 26.Nd4 Re5 27.Nd3! Rxe4 28.Nb4

It turns out that Black simply cannot hold the position. All white pieces coordinate perfectly. 28...Rxd4. A sad necessity. Other moves lose at once: 28...Re5 29.Ndxc6+ Bxc6 30.Rxc6+-; 28...Ka8 29.Bxa6 bxa6 30.Ndxc6+-. 29.Rxd4 Qa5 30.Rxh4 f5 31.Rxh6 [31.Rxc6 bxc6 32.Qd2 Rxh4 33.Nxc6+ was a quicker win] 31...Bxh6 32.Rb3 Nxb4 33.Rxb4 Bc6 34.g4 fxg4 35.Rxg4 Qe5 36.Rg8+ Kc7 37.Bd3 Be3 38.Qg3 Qc5 39.b4 Qd4 40.Qg7+ Qxg7 41.Rxg7+ Kd8 42.h4 e5 43.h5 e4 44.Be2 Bf4 45.Rg.6 A masterpiece from Kamsky, who cleverly chose the opening variation in order to get the right type of position. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Praying to non-electronic deities is permitted: US GM Gata Kamsky

Dmitry Jakovenko facing the irresistible force of Alexei Shirov

Jakovenko,D (2710) - Shirov,A (2739) [A29]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (5.2), 07.12.2007

Already yesterday it was clear that the victory versus Aronian took Jakovenko too much strength. Today in the second game versus Shirov the Russian performed again well below his usual level. The knock-out system can be very tough... 1.c4

Maybe impressed by Shirov's preparation Jakovenko starts the second game with a move, which he made just occasionally in his career. Or maybe Dmitry hoped that Alexey would answer 1...c6, trying to transpose into his usual Slav Defense. One way or another, his opening choice backfired. 1...e5! Shirov has much more experience in this kind of English Opening. No wonder he will easily solve all the problems soon. In case of 1...c6 Jakovenko could transpose into the sharp Panov Attack of the Caro-Kann Defense: 2.e4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.d4. 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nc3 Nb6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.b3. Rather expectantly White avoids any theoretical discussions. The main lines start with 8.d3. 8...0-0 9.Bb2 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.d3 Re8 12.Rc1 Bf8 13.Ne4 Nd7 14.g4 Bg6 15.Ng3 a5

16.d4 e4 17.Ne5. Weaker is 17.Nd2 Nf6 18.e3 Nb4 with advantage for Black. 17...Ndxe5 18.dxe5 Qh4 19.e3. In case of 19.Nf5 Bxf5 20.gxf5 Nxe5 21.Rxc7 Qf4 White will start soon to have problems with the king (for instance Rad8 and Bd6 can follow). 19...Rad8

Black completed development and already has the initiative. 20.Qc2 Nb4 21.Qe2. Perhaps best practical chances would have offered the exchange sac: 21.Qxc7 Nd3 (21...Nd5 22.Qxb7 Nxe3 23.fxe3 Qxg3) 22.Bd4 Nxc1 23.Rxc1 but instead of 21...Nd3 Black can play 21...Nd5 followed by 23...Nxe3 and 23...Qxg3, with no problems whatsoever. 21...c6 22.Nxe4 Nd3 23.Rc4 Nxe5 24.Bxe5 Rxe5

The battle is lost: Black has two bishops, better pieces and better pawn formation. Besides, the position is too simple to step wrong. 25.Rd1? On top of all Jakovenko blunders. 25...Rxd1+ 26.Qxd1 b5! 27.Rd4 c5 28.Rd5 Rxe4 29.Bxe4 Bxe4 30.Rd8 Qe7 31.Rb8 b4 32.Qe2 Qd6 0-1. [Click to replay]

With 2-0 through to the semifinals: Latvian-Spanish GM Alexei Shirov

Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria vs Magnus Carlsen of Norway

Cheparinov,I (2670) - Carlsen,M (2714) [E20]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (5.2), 07.12.2007

The second match game between Carlsen and Cheparinov left a strange feeling. The Bulgarian grandmaster chose a deeply analyzed opening variation, very well known to his opponent – a rather surprising strategy, especially since this variation leads to simple positions with visible drawish tendencies. The game quickly entered a four-rooks endgame with an extra pawn for White, but without real winning chances for Cheparinov. His further efforts were in vain: such endgames can hardly be won, no matter of one's efforts and willingness to win. Thus Carlsen's draw with the black pieces was unexpectedly easy, and he won the match 1.5-0.5.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 c5 5.g3 cxd4 6.Nxd4 0-0 7.Bg2 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Qb3. 9.Bd2 Bxc3 10.bxc3 e5 11.Nb3 Nc6 12.0-0 Nb6 13.Be3 Qc7 14.Qc2 Be6 15.Rfd1 Nc4 16.Bc5 Rfd8 17.Qe4 Rac8 18.f4 f5 19.Qf3 b6 20.Bf2 e4-/+ Onischuk,A (2650)-Carlsen,M (2710)/Biel (blitz) 2007. 9...Qa5 10.Bd2 Nc6 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.0-0 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Ba6 14.Rfd1 Qc5 15.e4 Bc4 16.Qa4. The position is well-known to Carlsen also from the white side: 16.Qc2 Nb6 17.Bf4 e5 18.Be3 Qa3 19.Bh3 Rab8 20.Qc1 Qxc1 21.Rdxc1 Bd3 22.f3 Rb7= Carlsen,M (2698)-Leko,P (2741)/Moscow 2006. 16...Nb6 17.Qb4 Qh5 18.Bf4 c5.

19.Qa5. The Norvegian has pleasant memories with this position. Less then a month ago he won a nice game against Jakovenko: 19.Qb2 Rad8 20.Re1 Rd7 21.h3 h6 22.a4 Ba6 23.Qa2 Rfd8 24.a5 Nc4 25.Bf1 e5 26.g4 Qg6 27.Bxc4 exf4 28.Bd5 f3 29.c4 h5 30.Kh2 Qf6 31.Rg1 hxg4 32.Rab1 Bxc4! 33.Qxc4 Qf4+ 34.Rg3 Rxd5-+ Jakovenko,D (2710)-Carlsen,M (2714)/Moscow 2007. 19...e5. Without waiting for some improvements from his opponent, Magnus is the first one to produce a new move. [19...Rfc8 20.h3 f6 21.Be3 e5 22.Bxc5 Be6 23.Bxb6 axb6 24.Qxb6 was slightly better for White in Van Wely,L (2683)-Karjakin,S (2678)/Wijk aan Zee 2007. 20.Be3 Be2 21.Re1 Nc4 22.Qa6. 22.Qxc5 Rfc8 23.Qe7 Nxe3 24.fxe3-/+ is of course not an option for White. 22...Nxe3 23.Rxe2 Nxg2 24.Kxg2 Rad8 25.Rae1 Rd7 26.Qb5 Rfd8 27.Qxc5 f6 28.Qc4+ Qf7 29.Qxf7+ Kxf7

White's extra pawn on c3 is rather weak and his rooks are passive. Besides, with four rooks it is even more difficult for White to make progress than with two. Carlsen confidently handles the last part of the game. 30.Rb1 Rc8 31.Rc2 Rc4 32.Rb4 Rc5 33.Kf1 a5 34.Ra4 g5 35.Ke2 g4 36.Ra3 Rdc7 37.Rc1 h5 38.Kd3 Rd7+ 39.Ke3 Rdc7 40.Rb3 Rc4 41.Kd3 Ra4 42.Rc2 Rd7+ 43.Ke3 Rc7 44.Rb5 Ke6 45.Rb6+ Kf7 46.Ra6 Kg6 47.Ra8 Kf7 48.Ra6 Kg6 49.Rd6 Kf7 50.Kd3 Ke7 51.Rd5 Ke6 52.Rd8 Kf7

53.c4 Ra3+ 54.Kd2 Ra4 55.Kd3 Ra3+ 56.Kd2 Ra4 57.c5 Rxe4 58.Kd3 Ra4 59.Rd6 Ke7 60.Ra6 Rd7+ 61.Kc3 Rdd4 62.Kb2 Rab4+ 63.Kc1 a4 64.Rc3 Rbc4 65.Kc2 Re4 66.Ra7+ Ke6 67.c6 Kd6 68.c7 Kd7 69.Rxc4 Rxc4+ 70.Kd3 Rd4+ 71.Ke3 f5 72.Ra6 Kxc7 73.Rf6 Re4+ 74.Kd3 Rd4+ 75.Ke3 Re4+ 76.Kd3 Rd4+ 77.Kc3 f4 78.Rf5 Re4 79.Kd3 Rd4+ 80.Kc3 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Into the semifinals of the World Cup: Magnus Carlsen, Norwegian lad

Knocked out by Carlsen in the quarter-finals: Bulgarian GM Ivan Cheparinov

Sergey Karjakin arrives for his second game against Evgeny Alekseev

Alekseev,Evgeny (2716) - Karjakin,Sergey (2694) [B96]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (5.2), 07.12.2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Nbd7 8.Qe2 Qc7 9.0-0-0 b5 10.a3 Bb7 11.g4 Be7 12.Bg2

In this position lots of moves have been played before. Karjakin comes with a novelty. 12...Qc4N. Just a month ago Karjakin already played this variation: 12...0-0 Apart from this, 12...h6, 12...Rb8, 12...Rc8, 12...0-0-0 and 12...Nb6 were met in practice 13.Bh4 g6 14.Rhf1 Nb6 15.Rd3 Nc4 16.Rh3 Rac8 17.f5 e5 18.Nb3 d5 19.exd5 e4 20.Bxe4 Nxe4 21.Bxe7 Nxc3 22.Rxc3 Rfe8 23.f6 Bxd5 24.Qf2 Radjabov,T (2742)-Karjakin,S (2694)/Crete 2007. Although Sergey managed to save half a point, his position looked very dangerous. 13.Qd2. After 13.Qxc4 bxc4 Black has nothing to fear. 13...b4 14.axb4 Qxb4 15.e5. Faced with a novelty, Alekseev nevertheless plays in the most principled way. 15...dxe5

16.Nc6 Bxc6 17.Bxc6 0-0-0 18.Qg2. Deserves attention 18.Qe2 and if Black continues like in the game 18...Nc5 19.fxe5 Nd5 20.Bd2 Nf4 21.Bxf4 Qxf4+ 22.Kb1 then the pawn e5 is protected. 18...Nc5 19.fxe5 Nd5 20.Bd2 Nf4 21.Bxf4 Qxf4+ 22.Kb1 Qxe5

Karjakin's novelty paid off. Black won a pawn and it is White who should think about escaping with a draw. However, the opposite-coloured bishops and the vulnerable position of the black king make this task not particularly difficult. 23.Ne4 Kc7 24.Nxc5 Qxc5 25.Ba4 Bf6 26.Rhf1 Kb6

27.g5 Be5. Taking the pawn is risky: 27...Rxd1+ 28.Rxd1 Bxg5 (28...Qxg5?? 29.Rd6+ Ka5 30.Qb7 and White will mate) 29.Rd7 with a strong initiative. 28.c3 f6 29.gxf6 gxf6 30.Bb3 Qc6 31.Qxc6+ Kxc6 32.Rxd8 Rxd8 32...Rxd8 33.Bxe6 is completely equal, so the draw was agreed. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

All pictures by Eugeny Atarov for the official World Cup web site



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