Medias R10: Magnus Carlsen wins with two-point lead

by ChessBase
6/25/2010 – In all three games of the final round Black was victorious: Radjabov beat Gelfand, Ponomariov beat Nisipeanu and Carlsen beat Wang Yue. This left the youngest player with the highest rating two full points clear of the field, with an incredible 2918 performance. That translates to a FIDE rating of 2826, the second highest in chess history. Final report with commentary by Dorian Rogozenco.

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ROMGAZ and the Chess Club Society "Elisabeta Polihroniade” of Bucharest are staging a double round robin tournament with six top GMs: the world's highest ranked player, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who at the age of 19 has an Elo rating of 2813. Ukrainian GM Ruslan Ponomariov is a former FIDE knockout world champion; Boris Gelfand of Israel, winner of the FIDE World Cup in 2009; the top Chinese player Wang Yue; Teimour Radjabov, the second highest ranked player of Azerbaijan, and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, the best Romanian player. The competition is taking place from June 14th to 25th 2010 in Medias, Romania.

Round ten summary

By GM Dorian Rogozenco

Who could have guessed such results today? All three games of the last round in King’s Tournament finished with victories for Black! And how! White players didn’t have a chance!

Nispeanu lost in 23 moves against Ponomariov in a game that looks as an opening catastrophe. However, this won’t be very precise. Black got a pleasant position in the Four Knights Variation indeed, but the reason of White’s loss was a tactical mistake on move 17, after which White’s position collapsed surprisingly quickly.

Gelfand-Radjabov saw the King’s Indian, where it appeared first that White achieved an edge thanks to the centralised pieces. But starting with move 18 ... well, Gelfand said it himself: ”Everything went wrong. I played horrible today”. That was a very painful defeat for Boris, who otherwise played a very good tournament. By losing this last game versus Radjabov the Israeli also missed his chance to qualify in the Grand Slam Final tournament (most likely Radjabov will play there).

Finally, Wang Yue-Carlsen that lasted longer than other games didn’t differ much: here too White’s play was depressing. Carlsen equalized easily in the Gruenfeld Defence and then slowly, but firmly increased his slight advantage in endgame to take a full point and finish the tournament in great style: 5 wins and 5 draws. Actually this also reflects the draw ratio of the tournament: exactly half of the games were decisive, which is a good achievement at such level.

Results of round ten (Friday, June 25, 2010)
Gelfand, Boris
Radjabov, Teimour
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Wang Yue
Carlsen, Magnus

Wang,Yue - Carlsen,Magnus [D85]
Kings' Tournament Medias Bazna/Romania (10), 25.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Bd2 Bg7 6.e4 Nb6 7.Be3 0-0 8.Bb5


The chess of 21st century. The classic masters of the past would have hardly thought to place the bishop to b5 like this. Indeed, the move 8.Bb5 appeared in practice only in 2001 and since then it became amazingly popular. White's idea is to prevent Black from placing the knight to c6. A move like 8...a6 weakens a bit the knight from b6. However, fashion comes and goes: in my opinion this sortie of the bishop looks somewhat artificial. Wang Yue certainly has a different opinion though, as he played 8.Bb5 before. 8...Be6. Here is a possible variation where White is using the drawbacks of the advance 8...a6: 8...a6 9.Be2 Nc6 10.d5 Ne5 11.Bd4 c5 12.Bxc5 Nec4 13.Qb3 and with the pawn on a7 Black would have taken on b2 followed by Na4. Here is doesn't work: 13...Nxb2 14.Bxb6 Bxc3+ 15.Kf1! Qd6 16.Rb1 and Black is in troubles. 9.Nge2


9...c6. A logical novelty. Before placing the knight to c4 Black tries to win a tempo. After the immediate 9...Nc4 White can either take on c4, which is a slightly more favorable version for White than the game (since the black pawn is on c7 instead of c6), or another possibility is 10.Bc1 c6 11.Ba4 as in the game Bosch,J (2444)-Nijboer,F (2556)/Leeuwarden 2002.; In case of 9...Bc4 White can continue 10.0-0 Bxb5 11.Nxb5 with some edge. 10.Bd3 Nc4 11.Bxc4 Bxc4 12.0-0 Nd7 13.Qd2 Qa5 14.Rfd1 Rad8


Black has two bishops and can create pressure on d4. The position is close to equal, but it is rather White who should play accurately. The Chinese Grandmaster failed to do so. 15.Bh6. An obvious desire to exchange "the monster" from g7, especially because Black enjoys the bishop pair. [15.b3 Ba6 16.Bh6 was a possible alternative: with the white pawn on b3 the entire plan with Nb6 (which happened in the game) loses its attractiveness.] 15...Bxe2 16.Nxe2?! The start of all White's problems. Why not the simple 16.Bxg7 exchanging the dark-squared bishops? White has little to fear after that. Here are few sample variations: 16...Bxd1 (16...Kxg7 17.Qxe2=) 17.Bxf8 Nxf8 18.Rxd1 Ne6 19.d5 Nc7 (19...cxd5 20.Nxd5 Qxd2 21.Rxd2 Kg7 22.Rc2 Nf4 23.Ne3=) 20.h4 cxd5 21.exd5 h5 22.Qg5=. 16...Qxd2 17.Bxd2 Nb6 18.Bc3 Rd7


The endgame is quite unpleasant for White. Black's plan is to double rooks on the d-file and then use the pin of the d4-pawn by playing e7-e5. Apart from that Black can also disturb opponent's pawn center with f7-f5. 19.b3 f5 20.f3 Rfd8. The threat is 21...e5. 21.Re1 fxe4 22.fxe4 e5! Still! A very energetic play by Carlsen. 23.dxe5 Rd3


Black plans Nd7xe5. 24.g3?! It only weakens further White's position. White can try a move like 24.Bb2 in order to meet 24...Nd7 with 25.Nf4. If 24...Rd2 (24...g5!?) 25.Bc3 Rc2 26.Rac1 Rxa2 27.Ra1 Rxa1 28.Rxa1 Ra8 29.Bd4 Nd7 30.Rxa7 Rxa7 31.Bxa7 White should be able to escape, since Black cannot lock the bishop yet with 31...b6 or 31...c5 in view of 32.e6. 24...Nd7 25.e6 Bxc3 26.Nxc3 Ne5 27.Red1 Kf8. Now the position is already difficult for White. At least from the practical point of view Black's chances to win are probably higher than White's chances to draw. 28.Rac1 Ke7 29.Rxd3 Rxd3 30.Rc2 Nf3+ 31.Kf1 Nd4 32.Rc1 Kxe6 33.Rd1 Rxc3 34.Rxd4 Rc2


35.a4. 35.Ra4 a6 36.h4 Ke5 is a zugzwang for White: the rook must protect both a2 and e4, the king must control g2 and e2. The outcome is clear, Black wins. 35...Rxh2 36.a5 Rh5 37.b4 Rh2 38.a6 b5 39.e5 Ra2 40.Rd6+ Kxe5 41.Rxc6 Kf5 42.Rc7 Rxa6 43.Rxh7 Kg4 44.Kf2 Ra2+ 45.Ke3 g5 46.Rg7 Rb2 47.Rxa7 Kxg3 0-1. [Click to replay]

Gelfand,Boris - Radjabov,Teimour [E94]
Kings' Tournament Medias Bazna/Romania (10), 25.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 Na6 7.0-0 e5 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.Re1 exd4 11.Nd5 f6 12.Bf4


12...d3. The d-pawn will be lost anyway, so Black is trying at least to gain some time by attacking later a piece on d3. 12...c6 catches the knight, but White takes two important central pawns and has a powerful initiative. The first player who implemented this idea with the White pieces was Gelfand's second, Alexander Huzman: 13.Bxd6 cxd5 14.exd5 Qd8 15.c5 f5 16.Qb3 Rf7 17.h3 Nh6 18.Bc4 Bf6 19.Ne5 Rg7 20.Bxa6 bxa6 21.Nc6 Qd7 and White is better, Huzman,A (2577)-McShane,L (2625)/Saint Vincent 2005. Later White's play was even improved: 16.Bxa6 bxa6 17.Bxf8 Bxf8 18.d6, with almost winning position for White.; 12...c5 13.Bxd6 Rf7 runs into the simple 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Bxg4 winning.; 12...Qxe4 is also bad due to 13.Bd3 (or 13.Bf1 Qf5 14.Ne7+). 13.Qxd3! A new move, made after half an hour of thinking. 13.Bxd3 Ne5 14.Be2 was met in just one game before. 13...Ne5. After 13...Nc5 14.Qc2 the pawn c7 is under attack and Black has no time to take on e4: 14...Qxe4? 15.Qxe4 Nxe4 16.Nxc7 Rb8 17.c5! with the threat Bc4+. 14.Qd2. Now comparing to 13.Bxd3 White has the queen placed on d2, so basically White won an important tempo. On the other hand soon White will place the queen to c2, that's why the immediate 14.Qc2 is probably better. 14...Qf7 15.Rad1. This natural move allows Black to centralize his knight from a6 with tempo. [15.b4!?] 15...Nc5 16.Qc2 c6 17.Nc3. 17.Ne3 Ne6 18.Bg3 f5 19.exf5 gxf5 20.Bxe5 dxe5 21.c5 Kh8 looks good for Black.


17...Nxc4? loses due to 18.Bxc4 Qxc4 19.Bxd6 Re8 (or 19...Rd8 20.Bxc5 Rxd1 21.Rxd1 Qxc5 22.Qb3+ Kh8 23.Rd8+ Bf8 24.Qf7) 20.Rd4. 17...f5 Now White must play accurately to keep the balance. 18.Bxe5 A very dubious decision. Instead White had to choose between two other options: 18.Ng5 Qf6 19.b4 Nf7 (19...Na6 20.Qb3 h6?? runs into 21.Rxd6 Qxd6 22.c5+) 20.bxc5 Qxc3 21.Qxc3 Bxc3 22.cxd6 Bxe1 23.Rxe1 with compensation for the exchange.; 18.Nxe5 dxe5 19.Be3 Ne6 20.exf5 gxf5 21.f3 Nd4 22.Qa4 with a complicated position. 18...dxe5 19.b4 Ne6 20.c5 Nd4 21.Nxd4. This just doesn't work. It was necessary to run away with the queen, for instance 21.Qa4 White is worse, but better than the game. 21...exd4 22.Nb1 Be6 23.exf5 Bxf5 24.Bd3 a5


Now the rook from a8 enters the game and White is not able to hold the position any longer. 25.b5. 25.a3 loses to 25...axb4 26.axb4 Ra2. 25...cxb5 26.Na3 Bxd3 27.Rxd3 Rac8 28.Rf1. Or 28.Nxb5 Rxc5 29.Qxc5 Qxf2+ and mate. 28...Qd5 29.Qd2 b4 30.Nb5 Rxc5 0-1. [Click to replay]

Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter - Ponomariov,Ruslan [C49]
Kings' Tournament Medias Bazna/Romania (10), 25.06.2010 [Rogozenco]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0-0 0-0


The solid Four Knights Variation is considerably less popular than Ruy Lopez, but nevertheless many strong Grandmasters played it at least few times in their practice. Some top players, like for instance Ivanchuk or Shirov have the the Four Knights Variation as a stable part of their opening repertoire. On the other hand Nisipeanu has never played it before and must have counted on its surprising effect. As we'll see, this turned out to be an unfortunate choice. 6.d3 d6 7.Bg5 Ne7. Much more popular is 7...Bxc3 8.bxc3 Qe7. 8.Nh4 c6 9.Bc4 d5. Ponomariov showed a good preparation and made his moves quickly in the opening. First of all this happened because he played himself this variation with the white pieces and knew it well. Secondly, Carlsen and Radjabov played recently few times the Four Knights Variation and Ponomariov must have repeated the theory before the tournament. 10.Bxf6. After 10.Bb3 Black plays 10...Qd6 protecting the knight f6 with the queen.; Long time ago Ponomariov himself played here 10.exd5 Nfxd5 11.Ne4 f6 12.Bc1 but Black is obviously doing fine here too. 10...gxf6 11.Bb3 a5! An improvement over a game played almost 100 years ago! 11...Qd6 12.Qf3 Kh8 13.exd5 Bxc3 14.bxc3 cxd5 15.c4 d4 16.c5 Qc6 was unclear in the game Tarrasch,S-Yates,F/Karlsbad 1923. 12.a3 [Deserving attention is 12.a4 ] 12...Bxc3 13.bxc3 a4 14.Ba2 Ng6


15.Qh5. An overambitious move. It was time for White to think about equality and continue something like 15.Nxg6 hxg6 16.Qf3. 15...Kh8 16.Kh1 Rg8. White has serious problems with his queenside pawn structure and no attacking prospects on the kingside. His position is worse, but now Nisipeanu makes a tactical mistake. 17.d4? Necessary was 17.g3 and White is very much in the game.


Black is only slightly better. 17...f5! Missed by Nisipeanu. The main reason for White's troubles is the bishop on a2, which often remains completely out of the game (for instance Black can play b7-b5 sometimes). 18.Nxf5. 18.Nxg6+ fxg6 19.Qe2 fxe4 20.c4 exd4 21.cxd5 Re8 is also awful for White. 18...Nf4 19.Qh6. In case of 19.Qf3 Bxf5 20.exf5 Rxg2 21.Rg1 Black has a beautiful mate: 21...Rxh2+ 22.Kxh2 Qh4+. 19...Rg6 20.Qh4 Bxf5 21.Qxd8+ Rxd8 22.exf5 Rxg2 23.dxe5 Rdg8


White is completely lost. For instance: 23...Rdg8 24.Rg1 (or 24.c4 Nh3 and mate on g1.) 24...Rxg1+ 25.Rxg1 Rxg1+ 26.Kxg1 Ne2+ 27.Kf1 Nxc3 losing the bishop. 0-1. [Click to replay]

Final standings


A highly unusual pie chart and unusual statistics: of the 30 games in this event:

  • 50% (15 games) ended in draws
  • White won 7 games = 23%
  • Black won 8 games = 27%


Dorian Rogozenco in ChessBase Magazine 136

In his retrospective on the chess highlights of the last two months GM Dorian Rogozenco starts with two highly entertaining games from the European Championship in Rijeka, in both of which White sacrificed his rook on a1 and was able to go on and win the game. Both players of the white pieces (Nisipeanu and Motylev) have annotated these games on the DVD. He also introduces in this first video a strategically impressive victory of both the second and third placed players in the ECh, Baadur Jobava and Artyom Timofeev.
When looking back over the WCh match in the second video Rogozenco casts some light on the critical moments from Sofia. Starting with the two White victories in the first two rounds, then Topalov’s levelling of the match in the third game with the Slav he goes right through to the dramatic final of the last game. Rogozenco takes a critical look at Topalov’s plan in this 12th game, which allowed Anand to decide the match in his favour with the help of the only victory with Black. This meant that there was no need to go into a tiebreak.


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