Levitov Chess Week: Nepo and Svidler widen the gap

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
9/26/2023 – Peter Svidler and Ian Nepomniachtchi have a 2-point lead over their closest chasers with four rounds to go at the Levitov Chess Week in Amsterdam. The co-leaders faced each other twice already — Svidler won with white in round 3, while their double-edged encounter finished drawn on Monday. Levon Aronian and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov are sharing third place with 7½/14 points each. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Sharp struggles

It has been three days of exciting chess at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Amsterdam. The roster of fighting players combined with a relaxed environment and a 10-minute time control made for an entertaining show. With four rounds to go, the two players who are sharing the lead were the ones who managed to survive double-edged positions and more often than not outplay their opponents in tough situations.

Co-leading are Peter Svidler and Ian Nepomniachtchi, creative representatives of two different generations — who, coincidentally, are known for their Grünfeld-Defence expertise.

Svidler and Nepo finished the first half of the double round-robin sharing the lead, and both scored 3½/5 on Monday to also enter the final day of action sharing first place. However, while they had a ½-point lead over Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian after nine rounds of play, they are now a whole 2 points ahead of Aronian and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

The co-leaders faced each other twice already. Svidler won with white in round 3, while their hard-fought encounter in round 12 finished with a draw by triple repetition.

Levitov Chess Week 2023

Wesley So and Levon Aronian won the ‘hand and brain’ event that took place on the rest day | Photo: ChessBase India X account

Finishing touches

Three sacrifices win for Black here: 38...Rxc6, 38...Rxg2 and Svidler’s 38...Bxh3.

After 39.Qxc7+ Rg7, White has nothing better than 40.Qxg7 Kxg7 41.Kg1, but then comes 41...Bxg2 — and resigns.

42.Kxg2 fails to 42...Qg3+ 43.Kf1 f3 44.Nxf3 Qxf3+ 45.Ke1 Qxd3, and the queen is stronger than the rook and bishop.

Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler | Photo: Lennart Ootes

As sharp as ever, Anand here found 24...Rc4, when White cannot play 25.Rxc4 due to 25...Rd1+ 26.Bf1 Bh3, with mate coming soon.

Daniil Dubov dealt with the mate threat by 25.Ra1, and Black wins a piece by force: 25...Bxb7 26.Be3 Bc8

Anand went on to convert his extra minor piece into a 42-move win.

Vishy Anand

Vishy Anand | Photo: Lennart Ootes

34.Bc4 ends the game — Wesley So politely played 34...Qxc4 allowing Svidler to show 35.f7# on the board. Checkmate.

Standings after round 14

All games


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.