Khanty-Mansiysk: Round three game one annotations

11/30/2007 – Having people like Mamedjarov, Aronian, Cheparinov or Nisipeanu in a tournament means that excitement is guaranteed. But the visible tendency in round three was White's willingness to win without taking unnecessary risk. Unlike in the previous days, there were no more wins for Black. We bring you highlights with 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. The winner of the World Cup receives the right to challenge the former world champion Veselin Topalov in a match.

Round three Game one (Friday, November 30)

Comments by GM Dorian Rogozenko

The main conclusion of the today's round in Khanty-Mansiysk is that the players have started to act more carefully. Of course having people like Mamedjarov, Aronian, Cheparinov or Nisipeanu means that excitement is guaranteed, but the visible tendency today was White's willingness to win without taking unnecessary risk.

Typically for a knock-out format, as the tournament advances we progress to more and more balanced matches. Unlike in the previous days, this time there were no more wins for Black: White won five out of 16 games, the rest ended in a draw. In some of them Black achieved the draw very confidently (Rublevsky-Svidler, Karjakin-Bacrot, Macieja-Sasikiran, Fressinet-Alekseev), in some games Black had to work all the way out before sharing the point (Ivanchuk-Nisipeanu, Malakhov-Akopian).

Ponomariov finally managed not to lose the first game of the match. In the first two rounds of the World Cup the former FIDE world champion made a curious habit of losing the first game, and then winning the second one and the match. Maybe Ruslan simply likes the tiebreaks? Anyway, he decided to try a different strategy today and made a draw against Tomashevsky, although he had to work 62 moves for it. My feeling is that tomorrow's game between these opponents will hardly be any shorter.

Tomashevsky,E (2646) - Ponomariov,R (2705) [A16]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (3.1), 30.11.2007

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Qa4+ Bd7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 Bg7 7.e4 Bc6 8.d3 0-0 9.Be2 Nbd7 10.0-0 a5 11.e5 Ne8 12.d4 Nb6 13.Qc5 Qd7 14.Rd1 Nd5 15.Bg5 b6 16.Qc4 h6 17.Be3 f5 18.Rac1 e6 19.h4 Rf7 20.Qb3 Bf8 21.Nxd5 Bxd5 22.Bc4 a4 23.Qc2 Ra5 24.Bxd5 Rxd5 25.Qc6 f4 26.Bd2 Ng7 27.Qxd7 Rdxd7 28.Rc6 Be7 29.Rdc1 g5 30.hxg5 hxg5 31.Rxc7 Bd8

32.Rxd7. Keeping both rooks would have made Black's task considerably more difficult. After 32.Rc8 Black does not have square f7 for his king, and a move like 32...Rf8 is bad in view of 33.Bb4. 32...Rxd7 33.Rc8 Kf7 34.g4 fxg3 35.Bxg5 Bxg5 36.Nxg5+. All this is only visually strong for White. In reality the exchange of pieces and pawns reduces from White's advantage. 36...Kg6 37.Nf3 Nf5 38.fxg3 Nxd4 39.Nh4+ Kg7 40.Kf2 Rf7+ 41.Ke3 Nf5+ 42.Kd3 Nxg3 43.Rc4 Kh6 44.Rg4 Nh5 45.Ke3 a3 46.bxa3 Ra7 47.a4 Ra5 48.Nf3 Ng7 49.Rb4 Nf5+ 50.Kd3 Ne7 51.Nd4 Kg6 52.Rxb6 Rxa4 53.Rxe6+ Kf7 54.Rf6+ Ke8 55.Rf2 Nd5 56.Rb2 Rxa2 57.Rxa2 Nb4+ 58.Kc4 Nxa2 59.Ne2 Ke7 60.Nf4 Kd7 61.Nd3 Ke6 62.Kd4 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Four out of the five wins were achieved after long technical battles. Jakovenko's win versus Almasi lasted 102 moves:

Jakovenko,D (2710) - Almasi,Z (2691) [C67]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (3.1), 30.11.2007

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 Bd7 10.h3 Be7 11.Rd1 Kc8 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.Rd2 c5 15.Ne4 b6 16.Ng3 Bc6 17.Nh2 Ng6 18.Re1 Nf4 19.f3 Kb7 20.Kf2 Rad8 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.Nhf1 g6 23.Ne2 Ne6 24.Ne3 Bb5 25.Nc3 Rd2+ 26.Kg3 Bc6 27.Rd1 Rd4 28.Kf2 Kc8 29.Ne2 Rxd1 30.Nxd1 Nd4 31.c3 Kd7 32.Ne3 Nxe2 33.Kxe2 Ke6 34.f4 g5 35.g3 Be4 36.Ng4 gxf4 37.gxf4 h5 38.Nf6 Bg6 39.Kf3 c6 40.Ne8 f5 41.Nd6 h4 42.a4 Bh5+ 43.Ke3 Bd1 44.a5 bxa5 45.c4 Bb3 46.Kd3 Bd1 47.Ke3 Bb3 48.Kd3 Bd1 49.Nb7 Bf3 50.Nxc5+ Ke7 51.Nb3 Bg2 52.Nd4 Bxh3 53.Nxc6+ Kd7 54.Nd4 Bf1+ 55.Ke3 h3 56.Nf3 Bxc4 57.Kf2 Bd5 58.Kg3 h2 59.Nxh2 Kc6 60.Nf1 Kc5 61.Kf2 Kd4 62.Ng3 Be6 63.Nh5 Kd3 64.Ng7 Bc8 65.e6 Kc2 66.e7 Bd7 67.Nxf5 Kxb2 68.Nd6 a4 69.f5 a3 70.f6 a2 71.f7 a1Q 72.f8Q Qa2 73.Qf6+ Kc1+ 74.Kg3 Qb3+ 75.Kf4 Qb4+ 76.Ne4 Qb8+ 77.Kg5 Qb5+ 78.Kh4 Qb4 79.Qf4+ Kb2 80.Qe5+ Kb1 81.Kg5 a5 82.Nc3+ Kc2 83.Nd5 Qb5 84.Kh6 a4 85.Qe4+ Kb2 86.Qd4+ Kc2 87.Ne3+ Kb3 88.Qd1+ Kc3 89.Nd5+ Kc4 90.Ne3+ Kc3 91.Qc2+ Kd4 92.Qd2+ Ke4 93.Nc4

Defending for about 50 moves is certainly not easy and the Hungarian GM steps wrong: 93...Qd5. Correct is 93...Qb8 and White cannot win, since 94.Qxd7 (or 94.Nd6+ Ke5 95.Qe3+ Kf6 96.Ne4+ Kf5!) 94...Qh8+ leads to perpetual check: 95.Kg5 (95.Kg6 Qg8+ 96.Kf6 Qh8+ 97.Ke6 Qh6+) 95...Qg7+ 96.Kh4 Qf6+ 97.Kg4 (97.Kg3 Qf3+) 97...Qf4+ 98.Kh5 Qf7+ 99.Kg5 Qg7+=. 94.Qe3+. Now White finally wins by force. 94...Kf5 95.Qg5+ Ke4 96.Qe3+ Kf5 97.Qg5+ Ke4 98.Qg6+ Kd4 99.Nb6 Qh1+ 100.Kg7 Bc6 101.Qd6+ Ke3 102.Nd5+ 1-0. [Click to replay]

Kamsky's victory against Kiril Georgiev is highly impressive. The ten years of absence from practice must have convinced the American that it is just not worth wasting time with learning the opening theory – too much is missed anyway. Remaining faithful to his style, Kamsky played a quite harmless opening variation with white and then strategically outplayed his opponent, who, by the way, is considered one of the most technical players himself.

Kamsky,G (2714) - Georgiev,Ki (2649) [C85]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (3.1), 30.11.2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7

6.Bxc6 Kamsky has his own way of dealing with the Marschall. Why shoould be this worse then all those Anti-Marschalls anyway? 6...dxc6 7.d3 Qd6 8.b3 Be6 9.Bb2 Nd7 10.Nbd2 c5 11.a4 a5 12.Re1 0-0 13.Nf1 f6 14.Ne3 g6 15.Nd2 Nb8 16.Qf3 Nc6 17.Qg3 Nd4 18.h4 Kh8 19.Ndc4 Qd7 20.Rac1 b6 21.f3 Rae8 22.Qh2 Bd8 23.Rcd1

23...Bxc4? A positional mistake. Black should have kept the light-squared bishop. Besides, now White won't have to worry about the so-called "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg", when it is more difficult to find good squares for both knights than for just one of them. 24.dxc4 Qf7 25.h5 gxh5

26.c3!? A highly unusual approach. It turns out that White wants to keep bishops on the board, not his knight for opponent's bishop. 26...Ne6 [26...Nxb3 leaves the knight too far away from the kingside. After 27.Nf5 White will develop a strong attack. If 27...Qxc4 then 28.Rd7 and Black won't survive.] 27.Nf5 Ng7 28.Qh3 Nxf5 29.Qxf5 Re6 30.Kf2 Rd6 Apparently Black is doing everything correctly: he exchanged knights and now does the same with rooks, at the same time undoubling his pawns and closing the d-file. But his position was so bad that all these measures just create new problems. 31.Rxd6! cxd6 32.Rh1 Qg6 33.Rxh5 Qxf5 34.exf5!

Now things are finally clear. White wins with the march of the king on the light squares. 34...Rg8 35.Bc1 Rg7 36.Bh6 Rd7 37.Ke2 Be7 38.Rh4 Rd8 [38...d5 39.cxd5 Rxd5 40.Rg4 and White wins the pawns with checks.] 39.Kd3 d5 40.cxd5 Rxd5+ 41.Kc4 Rd7 42.Rg4 Bd8 43.Kb5 Rf7 44.Kc6 Ra7 45.Bf8 h5 46.Rg6 Kh7 47.c4 Rf7 48.Rh6+ Kg8 49.Bd6 Be7 50.Bc7 Rg7 51.Rg6 Rxg6 52.fxg6 Kg7 53.Kd7 Bf8 54.Bxb6 Kxg6 A painful defeat for Georgiev and a very good achievement for Kamsky. 1-0. [Click to replay]

In the clash between Mamedjarov and Cheparinov the probability of draws is between 0 and 1%. In the best case. No wonder that they produced the first decisive game today: The Azerbaijani world number 7 was constantly under pressure and just one moment of inaccuracy meant a quick collapse of Black's position. It must be mentioned that the Bulgarian led the game very energetically.

Cheparinov,I (2670) - Mamedyarov,S (2752) [D38]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (3.1), 30.11.2007

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (left, with black) faces Ivan Cheparinov

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.d4 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.e3 c5 8.Qc2 Qa5 9.Bd3 c4 10.Bf5 0-0 11.0-0 Re8 12.Nd2 g6 13.Bxd7 Nxd7 14.h4 Nb6 15.f3 Bf8 16.e4 Bg7 17.Be3

17...Be6 A novelty. Previously Black took on e4, which leaves White with a very pleasant position. Mamedjarov tries to keep the center blockaded, but White finds enough play on the wings. 18.a4 One move on the left side 18...Bd7 19.h5 One move on the right side 19...Rac8 20.Rfe1 And finally a move in the center. 20...Bc6 21.hxg6 hxg6 22.e5 Na8 23.Nf1 Nc7 24.f4 Bd7 25.Ng3 Qb6 26.a5 Qe6

27.f5! The danger comes on the g-file, not on the h-file, as it seemed. 27...gxf5 28.Nh5 Qg6 29.Nxg7 Kxg7 30.Bf4

30...Ne6? After 30...Rh8 31.Re3 Rh4! 32.Rg3 Rg4 Cheparinov had yet to show the correctness of his aggressive strategy. 31.Qf2 Rh8 32.Re3. Suddenly Black is in troubles. 32...Rh5. The resulting positions after this move are hopeless. Perhaps some more chances would have offered 32...Nxf4 33.Rg3 Nd3 34.Rxg6+ fxg6 but White should be winning here anyway. 33.Rg3 Rch8 34.Rxg6+ fxg6 35.Qf3 Rh1+ 36.Kf2 Rxa1 37.Qxd5 Bc8 38.Ne2 g5 39.Bc1 f4 40.Qxc4 b6 41.d5. The central pawns quickly decide the outcome. 41...Nc5 42.e6 Ra4 43.Qc3+ Kg8 44.Kg1 Re4 1-0. [Click to replay]

I would also like to make few comments on the match of the number one seeded: Vassily Ivanchuk. The games between Ivanchuk and Nisipeanu are usually highly attractive. Apart from the fact that both players are capable of exciting and beautiful chess, these two grandmasters have an interesting personal score history. Their first encounter in the knock-out World Championship in Las Vegas produced a surprising winner – the little-known young Nisipeanu, who at that moment didn't reach the Elo rating of 2600 yet, knocked out his famous opponent, whose rating crossed the mark 2700 already then. That match was very equal until the moment when at the score 1.5-1.5 Ivanchuk with White blundered a piece and resigned immediately, losing the game and the match:

Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter (2584) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2702) [C45]
FIDE-Wch k.o. g/25+10 Las Vegas (4.4), 11.08.1999

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qd2 dxc6 7.Nc3 Qe7 8.Be2 Nf6 9.0-0 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 Qxe4 11.Re1 0-0 12.Bd3 Qd5 13.b4

13...Bxf2+?? 14.Qxf2 [Black counted only on 14.Kxf2 Qd4+] 1-0

Six years later Ivanchuk finally had the opportunity to meet Nisipeanu in the 10th round of the European Championship in Warsaw. Again there was a lot at stake and Ivanchuk with white played in a very determined and creative manner. Nevertheless Nisipeanu was able to hold a draw and after three more rounds the Romanian became the sole winner of the extremely strong European Championship.

However, in their last encounters Ivanchuk succeeded in taking over the initiative. He won in Foros, Ukraine two years in a row, in tournaments in 2006 and 2007. Perhaps playing in the home land helped Ivanchuk, or maybe he finally found the right keys against a rather uncomfortable opponent? Well, things are never that simple...

In their first game of their match in Khanty-Mansiysk Nisipeanu fearlessly chose for the Bluemenfeld Gambit – a risky opening, which brought him good results against strong GMs (his brilliant win over Kiril Georgiev was one of the best games of the year 2006). Ivanchuk went for the relatively quiet system which, according to theory, represents one of the most promising lines for White: 5.Bg5. He succeeded in winning a pawn in the subsequent strategical battle. The Ukrainian pressed hard, but Nisipeanu defended precisely.

Ivanchuk,V (2787) - Nisipeanu,LD (2668) [E10]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (3.1), 30.11.2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 e6 4.c4 b5 5.Bg5 exd5 6.cxd5 d6 7.e4 a6 8.Nbd2 Be7 9.Bf4 0-0 10.a4 bxa4 11.Bd3 Bd7 12.0-0 Bb5 13.Qe2 Nbd7 14.Bxb5 axb5 15.Qxb5 Rb8 16.Qd3 Rb4 17.Nc4 Nb6 18.Nfd2 Qc7 19.Rfc1 Rd8 20.Ra2 h6 21.g3 Nfd7 22.h4 Nxc4 23.Nxc4 Nb6 24.Bd2 Rb3 25.Bc3 Bf6 26.Nxb6 Qxb6 27.Rxa4 Bxc3 28.bxc3 Re8 29.Rca1 Qd8 30.Qc2 Rb7

White is a healthy pawn up, but converting it to a full point is difficult due to the slightly weakened structure on the kingside. The chances to win are less than 50-50. Nisipeanu defended very well and saved half a point. 31.Ra7 Rxa7 32.Rxa7 Qf6 33.Qd3 g5! Black is wisely using his temporary activity. 34.h5. Exchanging pawns on g5 favours Black for two reasons: first of all Black is generally willing to exchange pawns and secondly, Black has more chances to use the h-file if needed. 34...Kg7 35.Rd7 g4! Isolating the pawn on e4, which cannot be protected now with the f-pawn. 36.Qe3 Qe5 37.Qe2 Qxe4 38.Qxe4 Rxe4 39.Rxd6 The rook endgame is a draw. 39...Rc4 40.Kf1 Rxc3 41.Rc6 c4 42.d6 Rd3 43.Rxc4 Rxd6 44.Rxg4+ Kh7 45.Kg2 Rd5 46.Rf4 Kg7 47.g4 Ra5 48.Kg3 Rb5 49.Rf5 Rb3+ 50.f3 Ra3 51.Re5 Rb3 52.Kf4 Ra3 53.Ke4 Ra4+ 54.Kf5 Ra3 55.f4 Rh3 56.Ra5 Rh2 57.Ra1 Rh4 58.Rg1 Rh2 59.Ke4 Rh3 60.Rg2 Kh7 61.Re2 Kg7 62.Re1 Kf6 63.Re3 Rh1 64.Kf3 Kg7 65.Kg2 Ra1 66.Re5 Ra2+ 67.Kg3 Ra3+ 68.Kf2 Rh3 69.Kg2 Rh4 70.Kg3 Rh1 71.Re2 Rg1+ 72.Rg2 Rh1 73.Rh2 Ra1 74.g5 hxg5 75.h6+ Kg6 76.fxg5 Ra8 77.Kg4 Ra4+ 78.Kf3 Ra8 79.Rg2 f6 80.gxf6+ Kxf6 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Tomorrow we'll see several interesting fights at least in five games. It is very likely that in the remaining games White will succeed in scoring other victories and thus and finishing the match tomorrow, but it is clear that the third round will produce quite a lot of tiebreaks.

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

About the author

Dorian Rogozenko was born on 18.08.1973 in Kishinev, Moldova. He has been a grandmaster since 1995 and played several Olympiads for Moldova, and then for Romania.

Rogozenko has produced several CDs for ChessBase, and two chess books. He is the editor-in-chief of the Romanian chess magazine Gambit (since 2002).


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