Khanty-Mansiysk: when giants stumble

11/26/2007 – The second day in Khanty Mansiysk saw the favourites better prepared than on the first day. 44 players went through, which meant that 44 had to say goodbye. The major surprises were the elimination of Landa, Sutovsky and Pavel Eljanov (2691), who made a draw in the first game and lost the second one to IM Hossain Enamulu (2514) from Bangladesh. GM Efstratios Grivas analyses.

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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 one Game two

Analysis by GM Efstratios Grivas

The second game of the first knockout stage was held in Khanty Mansiysk on November 25th, 2007. The favourites better prepared than on the first day. Alekseev and Ponomariov had to win their White games in order to reach the tie-breaks, while Landa had to do the same with black pieces. Many other high-rated players had to prove their skill. Some succeeded, some not.

The playing hall of the FIDE World Cup 2007 in Khanty-Mansiysk

The theatre, not exactly packed with chess fans...

44 players went through to the next round already, which meant that 44 had to say goodbye to the event! In the meantime, 40 players will have to continue their matches tomorrow; this including Alekseev and Ponomariov, who managed to win their return-games on demand. In my opinion the major surprises were the elimination of Konstantin Landa (m no 25), Emil Sutovsky (m no 39) and Pavel Eljanov (2691), who made a draw in the first game and lost the second one to IM Hossain Enamulu (2514) from Bangladesh.

Hossain,Enamul (2514) - Eljanov,Pavel (2681) [C65]
FIDE World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk (1.2), 25.11.2007 [Efstratios Grivas]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxc6. Not a very ambitious line, but probably good enough to make 'Goliath' uncomfortable. 5...dxc6

6.Bg5. The other main White's options are: a) 6.Be3 Bxe3 a) 6...Bd6 7.h3 Nd7 8.Nbd2 0-0 9.0-0 c5 10.Nc4+/= Morozevich,A-Kramnik,V/Monte Carlo 2003; b) 6...Qe7 7.Bxc5 Qxc5 8.Nc3 Bg4 (8...0-0 9.Qd2 a5 10.0-0 Qe7 11.Qg5 Re8 12.a4 h6 13.Qe3 b6= Tiviakov,S-Topalov,V/Wijk aan Zee 2007; 8...Be6 9.Qd2 h6 10.0-0 0-0 11.h3 Rad8= Zvjaginsev,V-Ganguly,S/Mallorca 2004) 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 0-0 11.0-0-0 a5 Sutovsky,E-Aronian,L/Caleta 2005; 7.fxe3 Qe7 (7...Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Nd7 10.Nc3 Qh4+ 11.Kd2 Qe7 12.Raf1 f6 13.g4 0-0-0= Sutovsky,E-Ivanchuk,V/Heraklion ETC 2007) 8.Nbd2 (8.0-0 Ng4 9.Qd2 f6 10.Nh4 g6 11.Nc3 Bd7 12.Rf3 f5 Sutovsky,E-Carlsen,M/Heraklion ETC 2007) 8...0-0 9.Qe2 Nd7 10.0-0 a5 11.d4 c5 12.c3 b6 13.Qf2 Ba6 14.Rfe1 Rae8 15.Qg3 Kh8 16.Rad1 g6 17.h3 Topalov,V-Anand,V/Monte Carlo 2003.; b) 6.h3 Bd6 7.Nbd2 c5 8.Nc4 (8.b3 Nd7 9.Nc4 0-0 10.0-0 Re8 11.Bb2 f6 12.Nfd2 Nf8 13.f4 exf4 14.Nxd6 cxd6 15.Rxf4 Be6= Malakhov,V-Naiditsch,A/Sarajevo 2006) 8...Nd7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Bd2 Re8 11.a3 Nb8 12.b4 Nc6 13.c3 b5~~ Morozevich,A-Naiditsch,A/Sochi 2006.; c) 6.Qe2 Bg4 7.Nbd2 Nd7 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Nxf3 Qe7 10.c3 0-0 11.0-0 Rfe8 12.Re1 Rad8= Radjabov,T-Topalov,V/Morelia/Linares 2006.; d) 6.0-0 Qe7 (6...Qd6 7.h3 Be6 8.Nc3 a6 9.Be3 Nd7 10.Bxc5 Nxc5 11.d4 exd4 12.Qxd4 Qxd4 13.Nxd4 0-0-0 14.Rad1 Rd6 15.Rd2 b5 16.Nxe6 1/2-1/2 Smirin,I-Almasi,Z/Sibenik 2006) 7.h3 h6 8.c3 0-0 9.Nbd2 Bd6 10.d4 Nd7 11.Re1 c5 12.Nc4 cxd4 13.cxd4 Bb4 14.Re2 exd4 15.a3 Nb6 16.Nxb6 axb6 17.Rb1 d3 18.Qxd3 Rd8 19.Qc2 Bd6 20.e5 Bc5 21.b4 Bd4 22.Nxd4 Rxd4= Smirin,I-Hracek,Z/Czech Rep. 2004.

6...Qd6. The alternative is 6...h6 7.Bh4 Bd6 8.Nbd2 c5 9.Nc4 Qe7 10.h3 0-0 11.g4 Qe6 12.Ne3 Nh7 Ivanchuk,V-Zhukova,N/Odessa 2006. 7.Nbd2 Be6. 7...Nd7 is playable: 8.Nc4 Qe6 9.0-0 0-0= Ivanchuk,V-Gyimesi,Z/Remagen 2006. 8.Nc4?! A novelty but at same time a dubious move. Previously White had tried 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Nc4 Qd7 10.Ne3 Rg8 11.Qd2 0-0-0 12.0-0-0 b6 13.Kb1 Kb7 14.c3 1/2-1/2 Sutovsky,E-Almasi,Z/Dresden 2007. 8...Bxc4 9.Bxf6. 9.dxc4? Nxe4-/+ . 9...Qxf6 10.dxc4 Qe6. Good enough is 10...Rd8 11.Qe2 0-0=/+ . 11.0-0

1...Qxc4?! 11...0-0 keeps Black's game preferable due to the presence of a strong bishop versus a weak knight. Black, by exchanging his e5-pawn for the doubled white c4-pawn looses all his advantage as now White's pawn-structure is preferable. 12.Nxe5 Qe6 13.Qh5 Bb6 14.Nf3 0-0 15.a4 a5 16.e5!? 16.Ng5 Qg6 17.Qxg6 hxg6 18.Rad1= . 16...h6. 16...f6 17.Rfe1 Rad8 was about equal, but probably Black was seeking something more. 17.b3 Rad8 18.Rae1?! Abandoning the open d-file cannot be a good sign in White's game. Better was 18.Rad1= . 18...Rd5 19.Nh4?! An inaccuracy. White had to go for 19.Re4 Rfd8 20.g3 Bc5 21.Kg2. 19...Re8! 20.Nf3 Red8 21.g3 Bc5 22.Kg2 Be7 23.Re3 Rc5! 24.Re2?! White should avoid passive defence and he should rather try 24.c4 b5 25.axb5 cxb5 26.cxb5 Rxb5 27.Ra1 Rxb3 28.Rxb3 Qxb3 29.Rxa5=/+ . 24...Rc3! Preparing the c5-c4 advance, destroying White's queenside pawn-structure. Black starts to get in the top. 25.h3 c5 26.Rfe1 c4 27.bxc4 b6 28.Re4 c5. Although the text-move cannot be considered bad, 28...Bc5 29.R1e2 Ra3 seems to be excellent for Black. 29.Nh4?! White gets too optimistic with his chances. An equal position arises after the natural 29.Qg4 Qxg4 30.hxg4 Rxc2 31.Rb1 Rb8 32.Ra1=. 29...Rxc2 30.Nf5

30...Bf8? Small and big inaccuracies are spread around by both players as none of them seemed to be able to control his tension. Good was 30...Rdd2! 31.Nxe7+ Qxe7 32.Rf4 Qd7-/+ . 31.Ne3! Ra2 32.Nd5. Now White's well-centralised knight gives him enough compensation for the lost a4-pawn. White's activity in the kingside was seriously underestimated by Black. 32...Rxa4 33.Nf4! Qe8 34.e6, Finally, the white rooks are entering the battle. 34...fxe6 35.Qg4 Rd4?! Clearly better was 35...Qd7 36.Nxe6 Re8 37.Rf4 Rb8 38.Qg6 with the initiative for White. Black's last rank is 'crying' for more protection, so he should not exchange this valuable rook. 36.Nxe6 Rxe4 37.Rxe4 Qa8. 37...Qf7 38.Nd8! Qf6 39.Qd7 Ra2 40.Rf4 Qe7 41.Qd5++-.

38.Kh2! 38.Nxf8? Qxf8 39.Qg6 Ra2! 40.Re8 Rxf2+=. 38...b5. 38...Ra1 39.Nxg7! Bxg7 40.Qg6 a4 41.Re8+ Qxe8 42.Qxe8+ Kh7 43.h4 a3 44.Kh3 a2 45.Qe4+ Kg8 46.Kg4+-. 39.Nxg7! Strategical superiority leads to nice and effective combinations! 39...Bxg7 40.Re7 Qf8 41.Qe6+ Kh7 42.Qe4+ Kh8 43.Re8 Rxc4 44.Rxf8+ Bxf8 45.Qe8 Kg8 46.Qxb5 Rd4 47.Qxa5. White is clearly winning. He will push his kingside pawns, allowing his king to enter the battle and he will create mating threats. In the meantime the black c5-pawn cannot advance too far. 47...c4 48.h4 Bg7 49.Kg2 Kh8 50.Qa8+ Kh7 51.Qc8 Bh8 52.g4 c3 53.g5 hxg5 54.hxg5 Bg7 55.Kg3 Be5+ 56.Kh3 Bg7 57.Qc5 Rd2. 57...Kg6 58.Kg3 c2 59.f4 Rd2 60.Kg4 Rg2+ 61.Kf3 Rh2 62.Qc6+ Kf7 63.f5+-. 58.Kg4 Kh8 59.Qc8+ Kh7 60.g6+! Kh6. 60...Kxg6 61.Qf5+ Kh6 62.Qh5# . 61.Qf5 1-0.

The winner: IM Enamul Hossain, 2514


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