Morelia R2: When everything goes wrong for a world champion

by ChessBase
2/17/2008 – How often does Anand lose with the white pieces? In 2007 there wasn't a single game. On the other hand when the Indian champion does lose, he can do it in such a painful way. In his round two game against Levon everything went wrong. Here we see the full contingent of bad factors concentrated in a single game. GM Dorian Rogozenko analyses this and other games. Learn and enjoy.

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Morelia-Linares 2008

The following express commentary was provided by Grandmaster Dorian Rogozenko, who is the author of a number of very popular ChessBase training CDs and articles for ChessBase Magazine. GM Rogozenko will study the games of the World Championship tournament in much greater detail and provide the full results of his analysis in the next issue of ChessBase Magazine.

Round two commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenko

Round 2: Saturday, February 16th

Vishy Anand 
 Levon Aronian
Teimour Radjabov 
 Veselin Topalov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
 Peter Leko
Alexei Shirov 
 Magnus Carlsen

After bad luck comes good fortune. Aronian was the hero of the second day in Morelia: he beat the World Champion with the bad pieces. And did it in style. Who could guess such a result after Anand's convincing win and Aronian's loss in the first round?

Ivanchuk also can be happy – he outplayed Leko in a complicated middlegame. Most of the other participants in Morelia should forget about their performance in the second round. Shirov-Carlsen was an uneventful draw, while Radjabov-Topalov was quite a strange one, where White blundered a pawn, but Topalov failed to keep the material advantage and soon the game continued "as if nothing happened".

Anand,V (2799) - Aronian,L (2739) [C89]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (2), 16.02.2008

How often does Anand lose with the white pieces? Surely not too often, for instance in 2007 he didn't lose a single game (talking about classical chess). On the other hand when the Indian does lose, he can do it in such a painful way, that it is not even clear what went wrong. Was it a bad opening choice, poor play in general, a blunder in one move, or just a sleepless night before? Considering Anand's lack of resistance in problematic positions of these games, the answer is: everything went wrong. On top of all, the opponent's play is impeccable. But..."every cloud has a silver lining" – maybe this is why the World Champion loses less often than other players: the full portion of all bad factors is concentrated in a single game, while for most other players it is dispersed in different games?

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 Bravely entering the Marshall territory. 8...d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.Re1. Same country, same players, but a different line. Last year in the World Championship tournament in Mexico City Anand played 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re2 Bg4 14.f3 Bf5 15.g3 and the game soon ended in a draw, Anand,V (2792)-Aronian,L (2750)/Mexico City 2007. 12...Bd6

The Marshall Attack: Black sacrifices a central pawn in order to build an initiative on the kingside. Aronian is probably the biggest specialist in this opening on the black side. Anand is also a great expert, having played the position multiple times with both colours. 13.g3. Preventing Qh4. Anand also played 13.d3 before. 13...Re8. An important alternative is 13...Bf5 A few examples from players' practice: 14.d4 Qd7 15.Be3 Rae8 16.Nd2 Bg4 17.Qc2 Bf5 18.Qc1 Re7 (18...h5 19.Nf3 Bg4 20.Nh4 Re6 21.Bd1 f5 Leko,P (2722)-Anand,V (2766)/Cap d'Agde (rapid) 2003 (25); 18...Bd3 19.Nf3 Qf5 Iordachescu,V (2606)-Aronian,L (2649)/Mainz (rapid) 2003 (24); 18...Re6 19.Nf3 Bg4 Shabalov,A (2608)-Aronian,L (2675)/Mallorca 2004) 19.Nf3 Bg4 20.Nh4 and White scored an important win in Anand,V (2792)-Svidler,P (2735)/Mexico City 2007. 14.d4

Very untypical for the Marshall attack: this position did not occur often in practice. Usually Black continued 14...Bg4, but Aronian plays differently. And he did it quickly too. As the Armenian said once: in the Marshall attack it is more important to feel the position than to know concrete variations. Well, I have the impression that Levon knows concrete variations very well too... 14...Rxe1+. The wild variation 14...Bg4 15.Rxe8+ Qxe8 16.Qxg4 Qe1+ 17.Kg2 Qxc1 18.Qe2 Nf4+ 19.gxf4 Qxf4 must be thoroughly analyzed with the help of computers. Which most likely was done by the players at home. 15.Qxe1 Ra7 16.Be3 Re7 17.Nd2 Qe8 18.Nf1

18...h5. Aronian demonstrates simple and crystal-clear play. Black placed his pieces on good squares and now starts the advance of the h-pawn in order to create more weaknesses on the White's kingside. 19.a4 Be6. This is not only a way to prevent Ra8 in the future, but also a concrete threat: to win a piece after 20...Nxe3. Therefore White must retreat the bishop. 20.Bd1 h4 21.axb5 axb5 22.Bf3 Bh3 23.Bxd5 cxd5

Something went wrong for White: he produced the maneuver Bb3-d1-f3 only to exchange on d5. In absence of White's light-squared bishop Black always has multiple tactical ideas. 24.Qd1 f5!? The second pawn is coming. A tough unpleasant situation for Anand, which requires a very accurate defense. The materialistic approach 24...hxg3 25.hxg3 Bxf1 26.Kxf1 Bxg3 favours White due to 27.Qf3. 25.Bg5. Perhaps better is 25.Qb3 but going with the queen away from the king must be a difficult decision when you are under attack. 25...Re4 26.Bxh4 Qg6. Threatens to take on h4. After 26...Rxh4? 27.gxh4 Qg6+ White has 28.Ng3. 27.Bd8. 27.Kh1 Rxh4 28.gxh4 Qg2#. 27...f4

White is two pawns up now, but his pieces are all over the board, while the king is weak and Black's pieces coordinate perfectly. 28.Qd3. I don't think that the computer's suggestion 28.Bb6 solves White's problems. At least from the practical point of view it is much easier to play with Black anyway. For instance: 28...Re8 (in order to secure control over the back rank and eventually prepare Qe4 in some variations. (28...Kh7 29.Bc5 Bc7) 29.Bc5 Bc7 30.Qb1 (or 30.Ra7 Qe4 31.f3 Qe2 32.Qxe2 Rxe2 33.Rxc7 Rg2+ 34.Kh1 Rf2) 30...Qh5 31.Qd1 Re2 and White is in trouble. 28...Qh5 29.Nd2 Re2

Black threatens to take on d2 and then Qf3. 30.Nf3. This allows a nice finish, but there was no defense anyway. 30.Bh4 Rxd2 31.Ra8+ Bf8 32.Qxd2 (or 32.Rxf8+ Kxf8 33.Qxd2 Kg8) 32...Qf3 33.Rxf8+ Kh7! and the mate is inevitable. (not 33...Kxf8 34.Qxf4+ with the exchange of queens.) 30...Re3!

31.fxe3 Qxf3 32.Qc2 fxg3 33.hxg3 Qxg3+ 34.Kh1 Bf5. A great recovery for Aronian from yesterday's defeat. 0-1. [Click to replay]

Ivanchuk,V (2751) - Leko,P (2753) [C88]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (2), 16.02.2008

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.d4 Nxd4

9.Bxf7+ A great combination? No, it's all theory. 9...Rxf7 10.Nxe5 Rf8. 10...Nc6 11.Nxf7 Kxf7 12.e5 is bad for Black. 11.Qxd4 c5 12.Qd1 Qc7 13.Ng4 Nxg4 14.Qxg4 d5 15.Qh5 dxe4. Expectedly, Leko demonstrates a deep knowledge: all the moves are considered best for Black. 16.Qd5+ Kh8

17.Qxa8. After 17.Qxe4 Ra7! Black has great compensation for the pawn. 17...Bb7

18.Qa7. A new move. [In the following game White gave the queen slightly differently: 18.Qxf8+ Bxf8 19.Nd2 Bd6 20.Nf1 Be5 21.c3 h6 22.Be3 Bd5 23.h3 Bc4 24.Nd2 Bd3 25.a3 Bh2+ 26.Kh1 Bd6 27.b4 cxb4 28.cxb4 Qc3 29.f3 exf3 and the draw was agreed, Vorobiov,E (2580)-Novik,M (2466)/Sochi 2007. 18...Ra8 19.Bf4! A small, but important detail. With the help of this zwischenzug Ivanchuk's chases away the black queen from the diagonal b8-h2. 19.Qxa8+ Bxa8 20.Be3 Qe5 21.c3 Bd6 22.g3 would have been a tempo up for Black comparing to the game. 19...Qc6. Of course not 19...Qxf4?? 20.Qxb7 which leaves White with an extra rook. 20.Qxa8+ Bxa8

21.Be3! Another strong move: it is necessary to keep the pawn e4 blockaded. This way Black cannot make full use of his light-squared bishop. 21...Qf6 22.c3 Bd6 23.Nd2 Qe5. Preventing a2-a4 with 23...Bc6 looks better. 24.g3 h6

25.a4! After the opening of the a-file White's chances are preferable. 25...Bc6. 25...b4 26.Nc4 Qe6 27.Nxd6 Qxd6 28.Red1 Qe7 29.cxb4 cxb4 30.Rac1 is just winning for White. 26.axb5 axb5 27.Nb3 Bf8. Black is suffering because of the inactivity of his bishops. 28.Red1 Bd5 29.h4 Kg8. After 29...Bxb3 30.Rd8 Kg8 31.Raa8 Qf5 White doesn't have a forced win, but Black is tied up and his position looks very risky. (31...Qf6?? 32.Bxc5; 31...Qe7?? 32.Re8 Qd6 33.Rad8 Qf6 34.Bxc5) 32.Rac8 (32.Rab8 Bc4; 32.Bf4 Qf6) 32...Be6. 30.Nc1!

The knight goes to f4, using the weaknesses created by the move 24...h6. [30.Nxc5 allows Black to open the long diagonal: 30...Bxc5 31.Bxc5 e3! 32.Bxe3 Qe4 and White must give up the exchange 33.Rxd5 Qxd5 which is a draw; 30.Bxc5?? Bxb3] 30...g5. A risky move, of course, which creates a lot of new weaknesses. On the other hand it is vital to take control over square f4. 31.hxg5 hxg5 32.Ra5 Qc7 33.Ra6 Qf7 34.Rb6 Be7 35.Rxb5 Be6. Finally Black has attacking ideas: the queen goes to f3, the bishop to h3. 36.Rb8+ Kg7 37.Rb7 Kh6. Perhaps slightly more precise is 37...Kg6 which reduces some of White's possibilities. 38.Re1

38...Qf6? This spoils the previous excellent play. After 38...Bh3 Black has sufficient counterplay: 39.f4 (After 39.Kh2? Bg4 the bishop goes to f3 and the queen to h5.; 39.Bxc5?? Qf3) 39...Qh5! (39...exf3? 40.Bf2+-) 40.Re2 Qf3 41.Kh2 Bf1 42.Rf2 Qxe3 43.fxg5+ Bxg5 44.Rxf1 and in this position any result is possible. 39.Rb6! Qf5 40.Nb3! The knight comes to d2 now, protecting the important square f3. 40...Kh5 41.Nd2 Bd7. 41...Kg4 42.Bxg5! Kxg5 43.Rxe4 winning. 42.Ra1 Bd8 43.Rb8. White will soon create decisive threats and Leko resigned. An excellent achievement by Ivanchuk, who skillfully maneuvered his pieces. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Vassily Ivanchuk, one of the most popular international players in Mexico

Radjabov,T (2735) - Topalov,V (2780) [C67]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (2), 16.02.2008

Teimour Radjabov vs Veselin Topalov in round two

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 Ne7 10.h3 Ng6 11.Bg5+ Ke8 12.Rad1 Bd7 13.Nd4 h6 14.Be3 Be7 15.f4 h5 16.Ne4 h4 17.c4 Rh5

18.Rd2? Nxe5! 19.b3. After 19.fxe5 Rxe5 20.Rf4 f5 White loses material in a less convenient situation. 19...f6. It turns out that the knight is still not hanging. Topalov prepares its retreat to f7, but his plan leaves the pawn h4 with too little protection. 20.Re2 Nf7. It was still possible to place the knight back to g6 and White has a tough fight for a draw. 20...Ng6 with clear advantage. 21.Bf2! Kf8 22.Nf3 Re8 23.Nxh4

White successfully regained the pawn and the position is about equal now. 23...Rh6 24.Rd1 Bc8 25.Nf3 b6 26.Nd4 Nd8 27.Ng3 Bb4 28.a3 Rxe2 29.Ndxe2 Be7 30.b4 Kf7 31.Nd4 g6 32.f5 Rh8 33.fxg6+ Kxg6 34.Nge2 Kf7 35.Nf4 Rg8 36.Kf1 Bd6 37.Nd3 Ba6 38.Nf5 Bf8 39.Rc1 Bc8 40.Nd4 Bh6 41.Re1 Bf8 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


kib·itz (kbts)
intr.v. kib·itzed, kib·itz·ing, kib·itz·es Informal

1. To look on and offer unwanted, usually meddlesome advice to others.

To chat; converse.

[Yiddish kibitsen, from German kiebitzen, from Kiebitz, pewit, kibitzer, from Middle High German gbitz, pewit, of imitative origin.]

Peter Leko kibitzes in the game Topalov vs Radjabov

Veselin Topalov kibitzes in Carlsen vs Shirov

... while, the two players suffer mental anguish

Vassily Ivanchuk comes over to kibitz

So Magnus Carlsen goes over to see what he is doing

All pictures by Frederic Friedel in Morelia

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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