Morelia R2: Ivanchuk beats Topalov

2/19/2007 – The shock of the day came at the end of the first time control. Veselin Topalov, a pawn down against Ivanchuk, played a colossal blunder that lost instantaneously. Carlsen pressed against Levon Aronian with black, Leko was unable to overcome Morozevich. Anand drew Svidler after overcoming technical difficulties. Full report with analysis and video.

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Round two

Round 2: Sunday, February 18th

Peter Leko 
½-½
 Alex. Morozevich
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov

Round 3: Monday, February 19th

Veselin Topalov 
   Peter Leko
Peter Svidler 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
   Vishy Anand
Alex. Morozevich 
   Levon Aronian
GamesReport

Standings after two rounds


Commentary by GM Mihail Marin

The following express commentary was provided by Romanian GM Mihail Marin, who is the author of a number of very popular ChessBase training CDs and articles for ChessBase Magazine. GM Marin will study the games of the Morelia/Linares tournament in greater detail and provide the full results of his analysis in the next issue of ChessBase Magazine.


Peter Svidler vs Vishy Anand in round two

Anand,V (2779) - Svidler,P (2728) [C88]
XXIV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (2), 18.02.2007 [Mihail Marin]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3. Svidler is not given the possibility of continuing the theoretical discussion in the Marshall from the previous round, where he had been sitting on the other side of the board against Aronian. 8...Bb7 9.d3 Re8 10.a4 h6 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.c3 Na5 13.Bc2 c5 14.d4. White decides to play this move with loss of time, probably relying on the fact that Black has not played ...d6 yet, which could cause him problems maintaining his stability in the centre. The next phase of the game will not justify his approach. 14...cxd4 15.cxd4 exd4 16.e5 Nd5 17.Nxd4 Nb4 18.axb5 Nxc2 19.Qxc2 axb5 20.Nxb5 Qb6 21.Nc3 Qc6 22.Nf3 Nc4.

Black's excellent development and his mighty light-squared bishop offer him entirely satisfactory compensation for the pawn. 23.Rxa8 Bxa8 24.Bf4 Bb4 25.Qb3 Ba5 26.Rc1 Qe6 27.Ne1 Bc6 28.Ne2 Nxe5 29.Qxe6 Rxe6 After winning the pawn back, Black has the better chanecs already, due to his strong pair of bishops. 30.Nd4 Bxe1 31.Rxe1 Nd3 32.Nxe6 Nxe1 33.Nd4 Nd3 34.Bd6 Nxb2.

Things have calmed down now. Black's extra-pawn does not have too much significance because of the presence of opposite-coloured bishops. 35.f3 Nc4 36.Bb4 h5 37.Kf2 f6 38.Nf5 Ne5 39.Bc3 Kf7 40.Nd6+ Ke7 41.Nf5+ Kf8 42.Ke3 g6 43.Nd6 Ke7 44.Bb4 g5 45.Nc4+ Ke6 46.Nxe5 fxe5 47.Bd2 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Levon Aronian vs Magnus Carlsen

Aronian,L (2744) - Carlsen,M (2690) [E04]
XXIV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (2), 18.02.2007 [Mihail Marin]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3. Such important events as the World Championship match from Elista usually determine changes in the fashion. Aronian has included the Catalan in his repertoire recently; in Wijk aan Zee he obtained two important wins with it. 3...d5 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.Bg2 a6 6.0-0 Nc6 7.e3 Bd7 8.Qe2 b5 9.Rd1 Be7 10.Nc3 0-0.

A courageous novelty. Black decides to ignore the pin along the Catalan diagonal. 11.Ne5 Qe8 Black has managed to prevent the immediate threats, but his coordination is rather poor, at least temporarily. 12.b3. White decides to undermine Black's advantage of space on the queenside. A more natural continuation was 12.e4 , aiming to continue the development, for instance 12...Rd8 13.Be3 Bc8 14.f4] 12...Nd5 [Black considered the opening of the a-file with 12...cxb3 13.axb3 to be too dangerous. Instead, he prefers to return his small material advantage in order to activate his play. 13.Bxd5. Giving up the Catalan bishop in order to install a second active knight in the centre. 13...exd5 14.Nxd5 Nxe5 15.dxe5 Ra7 16.bxc4 White is a pawn up already, but the weakness of the light squares offer Black good compensation. 16...c6 17.Nf4 Qc8 18.Bb2 g5.

19.e4!? An interesting decision. White could not find a stable square for his knight too easily and decides to sacrifice it in the hope of obtaining a direct attack against the king. The plan is logical from asbtract point of view, but probably unsound practically. 19...gxf4 20.gxf4 f5 21.Qe3 Rb7 22.Qg3+ Kf7 23.Qh3 Ke8 24.Qh5+ Rf7 25.Kh1 fxe4 26.Rg1 Bf5 27.Rad1.

27...Rd7. Probably missing White's answer. After 27...Bg6 , the attack would have been difficult to carry out. 28.e6! Bxe6 29.Rg8+ Bf8 30.Rxf8+! A draw by perpetual is inevitable now. 30...Kxf8 31.Qh6+ Ke7 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Veselin Topalov vs Vassily Ivanchuk in round two

Ivanchuk,V (2750) - Topalov,V (2783) [B90]
XXIV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (2), 18.02.2007 [Mihail Marin]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5. Although Topalov has obtained outstanding results with 6...e6 over the past years, the text move is also part of his main repertoire. 7.Nf3!? Nowadays, the main theoretical discussion is held in the sharp lines starting with 7.Nb3 . The knight retreat to f3, which became popular in the '80s, mainly as a consequence of the efforts of the leading English Grandmasters, usually leads to a positional battle. It might seem that the knight is less favourably placed on f3, by blocking the f-pawn and failing to put pressure on the enemy queenside, but the situation is not that onesided. 7...Be7. One of the most obvious ideas of 7.Nf3 is that it inhibits 7...Be6 , which can be met by 8.Ng5 . 7...h6 and 7...Qc7 are the main alternatives to the text move. 8.Bc4. Now, we can notice a further difference, if compared to the lines based on 7.Nb3. If attacked with ...Qc7 or ...b5, the bishop can safely retreat to b3, in the spirit of the Sozin Attack, but with the significant difference that the a2-g8 diagonal has been weakened after the early advance of the black e-pawn. 8...0-0 9.0-0 Be6.

10.Bxe6!? This apparently simplistic move has never been played at grandmaster level. Apparently, White is just helping his opponent to strengthen his centre, but Ivanchuk relied on some hidden dynamic factors. There have been some recent development after 10.Bb3 . The following game, one of Leko's first experiences ever as a Najdorf player with Black, must have inspired Ivanchuk when choosing the structure in the centre: 10...Nc6 (It should be mentioned that the only game where Topalov faced 7.Nf3 continued with 10...b5 , but Black failed to equalize, Kramnik-Topalov, Cap d'Agde 2003.) 11.Bg5 Nd7 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Nd5 Qd8 14.c3 Na5 15.Re1 Rc8 16.h3 Nb6 (Later, Leko took greater care about the activity of hisknight and gradually equalized after 16...b5 17.Nh2 Nc4 in Svidler-Leko, Morelia/Linares 2006.) 17.Nxb6 Qxb6 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.Re2 Rc6 20.Qd3 Qc7 21.Rd1 Nc4 22.b3 Nb6 23.c4 Nc8 24.Red2 h6 25.Qe2 Kh7 26.h4 White was clearly better and went on winning in Anand-Leko, Wijk aan Zee 2006.

We can see that the situation is very similar to that arising after White's 22nd move in our main game. The d6-pawn is submitted to strong pressure, the black knight cannot find a good square, while the white h-pawn keeps Black's eventual kingside counterplay under control.] 10...fxe6 11.Na4 White's idea becomes clear now. The weakness of the b6- and e6-squares cause Black serious problems with finishing his development. The generally desirable 11...Nbd7 is impossible because of 12.Ng5. 11...Ng4 This solves the problem only partially. In fact, it just helps White complete his development. 12.Qd3 Nxe3 13.Qxe3. Apart from Nb6, White has a new threat already: Qb3, with attack against b7 and e6. 13...b5 14.Nb6 Ra7 15.Nd5 Rb7 16.Qd2. Maintaining the knight in the centre for as long as possible, in order to prevent the harmonious development of Black's pieces. 16...Nc6 17.Rad1 Rd7 18.Qc3 Nb8 19.Nxe7+. Now that the enemy knight has retreated to a passive square, this exchange is entirely justified. 19...Qxe7 20.Rd3 h6 21.Rfd1 Rfd8 22.h4.

Dr. Tarrasch used to say: If one piece stands badly, the whole position is bad. This applies here perfectly. With his knight on a favourable square (such as f7 or f6, Black would have a dream position, because of his strong control over the centre. However, it is virtually impossible to activate the knight, which leaves him struggling. 22...Kh7 23.R1d2 Qf8 24.Qb3 Qe8 25.a4 Qg6!? [Topalov decides to give up a pawn in order to finally bring his knight into play. In case of 25...bxa4 26.Qxa4 White would have had several plans at his disposal, for instance the infiltration through the b-file or the creation of a passed b-pawn.] 26.axb5 axb5 27.Re3 Na6 28.Qxb5 Nc5 29.Qc4 Ra7 30.Re1 Qe8 31.b4 Na4 32.Qb3 Nb6 33.Red1 Rad7 34.Qd3 Rc8 35.c3 Ra7 36.Qe3 Ra6 37.Qe2 Nc4 38.Ra2 Rac6 39.Ra7 R6c7 40.Rda1

Topalov's plan has succeeded only partially. His knight has reached a stable square, but White is under no direct pressure and can hope to gradually convert his extra-pawn into a win. 40...Qf7?? A relatively convincing proof that the recent accusations against Topalov do not have a solid basis. 41.Qxc4. If 41...Rxa7, then 42.Rxa7, retaining an extra-knight. 1-0. [Click to replay]


Alexander Morozevich vs Peter Leko

Leko,P (2749) - Morozevich,A (2741) [C12]
XXIV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (2), 18.02.2007 [Mihail Marin]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4. The old Mac Cutcheon variation. Nowadays, the more solid 4...Be7 ; and 4...dxe4 are by far more popular, but, as usual, Morozevich aims for a complicated fight. 5.e5 h6 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Ne4 8.Qg4 g6 9.Bd3 Nxd2 10.Kxd2 c5 11.h4 Qa5 12.Nf3 Nd7 13.Rhb1 cxd4 14.Qxd4.

From structural point of view, the opening has been quite a success for Black. However, his considerable delay in development and the difficulties in finding a safe place for the king make the position difficult to judge. 14...a6 15.Rb4 Qc7 16.c4 a5. In order to avoid the immediate activation of the rook along the c-file (...dxc4 Rxc4), Black creates a small weakness in his camp (b5). 17.Rb3 dxc4 18.Qxc4 Nc5! A highly instructive moment. It might seem as if Black should be interested in trading queens, in order to solve his aforementioned problems. However, after 18...Qxc4? 19.Bxc4 he could not reach the desired stability on dark squares with 19...Nc5 because of 20.Rb5 . As we shall see, the black queen is needed precisely to defend the b6- and c5-squares. 19.Rc3. 19.Rb5? is inefficient now because of 19...b6 , threatening ...Ba6. 19...b6 20.Qf4 Bb7.

Black has almost completed his development, without making any major concession. He "only" needs to bring his king into safety now. 21.Nd4 Qd8 22.f3 g5!? Morozevich' plans start getting contour. He plans to leave the king in the centre in order to increase his influence on dark squares on the wings. 23.Qe3 Leko prevents the opening of the h-file for the black rook, but after Black's next move the g-file will prove just as good. 23...gxh4 24.Nb5 Kf8 25.Nd6 Bd5 26.Rb1 Qg5 27.Bf1 Qxe3+ 28.Rxe3 Rb8 29.Bc4 Rg8.

Black's plan has been crowned with success. White does not have any chances for advantage. 30.Re2 Bxc4 31.Nxc4 h3 32.gxh3 Rg3 33.Ke3 Na4 34.Kf4 Rg5 35.Rb3 Ke7 36.h4 Rf5+ 37.Kg3 Rg8+ 38.Kf2 Rf4 39.Nxb6 Rxh4 40.Nxa4 Rxa4 41.Rb7+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Videos


Schedule and results

Round 1: Saturday, February 17th

Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Peter Svidler 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Alex. Morozevich

Round 2: Sunday, February 18th

Peter Leko 
½-½
 Alex. Morozevich
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov

Round 3: Monday, February 19th

Veselin Topalov 
   Peter Leko
Peter Svidler 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
   Vishy Anand
Alex. Morozevich 
   Levon Aronian
GamesReport
Free day: Tuesday, February 20th

Round 4: Wednesday, February 21st

Peter Leko 
   Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand 
   Alex. Morozevich
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Magnus Carlsen
Veselin Topalov 
   Peter Svidler
GamesReport

Round 5: Thursday, February 22nd

Peter Svidler 
   Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen 
   Veselin Topalov
Alex. Morozevich 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
   Vishy Anand
GamesReport
Free day: Friday, February 23rd

Round 6: Saturday, February 24th

Magnus Carlsen 
   Peter Leko
Alex. Morozevich 
   Peter Svidler
Levon Aronian
   Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
GamesReport

Round 7: Sunday, February 25th

Peter Leko  
   Vishy Anand
Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Levon Aronian
Veselin Topalov 
   Alex. Morozevich
Peter Svidler 
   Magnus Carlsen
GamesReport
Transfer to Linares, Spain

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