Morelia R5: Topalov beats Ivanchuk

2/24/2006 – The first win in this event for FIDE champion Veselin Topalov came with the black pieces against veteran Vassily Ivanchuk. Peter Svidler ended his winning streak with a loss to Levon Aronian. This leave Peter Leko on top of the tables with 4/5 points. We bring you a full updated report with pictures, videos and analysis.

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Round five report

Round 5: Thursday, February 23rd

Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
Peter Leko
Levon Aronian 
1-0
Peter Svidler
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
Francisco Vallejo
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
Veselin Topalov
GamesReport

Standings


Ivanchuk preparing for his round five game


What is this? Some dirt on the pawn?


Out, damned spot! Out I say!


At last we can settle down to a nice, clean game


Veselin Topalov with a less meticulous routine


Topalov vs Ivanchuk: deep thought before move one

Ivanchuk,V (2729) - Topalov,V (2801) [D15]
XXIII SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (5), 23.02.2006
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6. The Slav is a rare guest in Topalov's games with Black. However, he seems to have included it recently into his basic repertoire; in Wijk aan Zee 2006 he used it successful against Van Wely. 5.cxd5. The exchange variation is by no means peaceful. White aims to limit Black's counterplay to the minimum, but keep for himself chances for an advantage. Ivanchuk obtained a nice technical victory in this symmetrical structure against Leko, (Istanbul, ol 2000), although the opening was different (the fianchetto Grünfeld). 5...cxd5.

6.Qb3!? 6.Bf4 would have led to a "genuine" position of the exchange variation. After Ivanchuk's move, we find ourselves on the independent territory of the a6-Slav. 6...Nc6 7.Bg5 e6 8.e3 h6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Bd3 Bd6 11.0–0 0–0 12.Rac1 White enjoys a better development, but this is not too relevant if he does not find a way to open the position. In the long run, the pair of bishops is likely to offer Black an advantage. 12...b5 13.Bb1 Bd7 14.Qc2 g6 15.Qd2 Rac8 16.Rfd1 Rc7 17.Qe1 b4 18.Ne2 a5 19.Qd2 Rfc8 20.Ne1 a4 21.Nd3 Na5 22.Rxc7 Rxc7 23.Rc1 Nc4 24.Qe1 Qd8 25.g3 Bb5.

Black's advantage is obvious now. 26.h4?! This move unnecessarily weakens the king side. 26...g5! Black could have won a pawn with 26...Nxb2 27.Nxb2 Bxe2 28.Rxc7 Qxc7 29.Qxe2 Qc1+ 30.Qd1 Qxb2 but it is far from clear whether this would have ensured him a win after 31.Qc2 Qa3 32.h5 With his last move, Topalov not only forces the opening of the h-file, but also retstricts the activity of the white knights even more. 27.hxg5 hxg5 28.Kg2 Qc8 29.Ng1 f6 30.Qd1 Be8 31.Nf3 Bh5 32.Rc2 Bg6 33.Re2 g4 34.Nh4 Be4+ 35.Kh2 f5 36.Ne1.

36...Nxe3! Now that his domination reached an apogeum, Topalov finally recurs to tactical methods. 37.Rxe3 Rc1 38.Qd2 Rxb1 39.Rxe4 dxe4 40.Qg5+ Kf7 0–1. [Click to replay]



French GM Etienne Bacrot at the start of round five


His opponent with a plaid sweater and the black pieces: Peter Leko

Bacrot,E (2717) - Leko,P (2740) [E15]
XXIII SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (5), 23.02.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.Bc3 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0–0 12.0–0 Rc8. The fianchetto QI has recently been adopted by Topalov, who enriched it with several remarkable ideas. Leko's choice of variation seems to have been dictated by the wish of avoiding the territories where Topalov's bombs have exploded already. After the generally approved continuation 12...Nf6 13.e4 b5 14.exd5 exd5 15.Re1 Rb8 16.c5 Bc8 17.Nf3 Ne4 he stunned the spectators and his opponent with 18.Rxe4!? dxe4 19.Ne5 and went on to win a nice game, Topalov-Aronian, Wijk aan Zee 2006. 13.e4 b5. 13...c5 was tried in Topalov-Anand, San Luis 2005. Topalov eventually missed a win after a complicated fight. 14.Re1 dxe4 15.Bxe4 bxc4 16.bxc4 c5 17.d5 exd5 18.Bxd5.

18...Bf6. Improving over a previous game by Bacrot. 18...Nb6 19.Ba5! Bf6 20.Rb1 Rb8 21.Qf3 Qd7 22.Bxb6 axb6 23.Ne4 Bd4 24.Qf4 with an active position for White, Bacrot-Adams, Dortmund 2005. 19.Ne4 Bxc3 20.Nxc3 Nb6 21.Re4 Re8 22.Qf3 Nxd5 23.Nxd5 Re6 24.Rd1 Qe8 25.Rg4 Kh8 26.Qc3 f6 27.Rf4 Bb7 28.Rf3 h6. White can hardly make any progress against Black's well organized defence. ½–½. [Click to replay]


Etienne Bacrot during the game


Peter Leko giving Bacrot the stare



Peter Svidler before a fateful fifth round game


Levon Aronian, Armenian GM

Aronian,L (2752) - Svidler,P (2765) [D80]
XXIII SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (5), 23.02.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5. Peter Svidler is one of the main "responsibles" for the revitalisation of the Grünfeld, an opening where Black has constantly been submitted to strong pressure in the variation based on 8.Rb1. His recent win over one of the greatest specialist of the mentioned line, Boris Gelfand, proved that in spite of the huge amount of analysis that have been published, Black is not without counterchances in practical play. 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 c5 6.cxd5 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qxd5 8.e3 Instead of embarking into a theoretical dispute, Aronian aims for a quiet position, where White retains a microscopic but stable advantage. 8...cxd4 9.Qxd4 Qxd4 10.cxd4 e6 11.Rb1 Be7.

It wold have made little sense to develop the bishop to g7. White's central chain of pawns would have been not easy to break, while the h4-bishop would have remained unchallenged on the h4-d8 and h2-b8 diagonals. 12.Bxe7. Two other moves have been tried here, 12.Bg3 ; and 12.Bb5+ . Both have the same aim: to preserve a slight advance in development. Aronian's move has more of a strategic purpose: after the exchange of the dark-squared bishops, the king side weaknesses should tell in the long run. 12...Kxe7 13.Bd3. This move is more rarely seen than 13.g3 . Once again, Aronian refrains from causing Black problems with the development of the queen side and focuses his attention on the king side. 13...Nc6 14.Nf3 b6 15.Ke2 Bb7 16.Rhc1 Rhc8.

Both sides have completed their development in natural way. White's advantage of space is more or less compensated by Black's queen side majority. Apparently, the position is completely equal in view of further simplifications along the c-file, but the next move makes it clear that White maintains a stable edge. 17.g4! Quite simple, but very strong at the same time. Black cannot prevent his king side pawns from being blocked on light squares. In principle, this makes bishop endings quite dangerous for him. The same move was played by Kramnik against Lautier (Belgrade 1995) in a more or less similar position. Although its concrete purpose was different, to activate the rook along the third rank, the general idea was the same: after a sequence of moves with which Black managed to neutralise the opponent's initiative on the queen side, White switched to the other, insufficiently defended, wing. 17...h6 18.h4 Na5 19.g5 hxg5 20.hxg5 Rxc1 21.Rxc1 Rc8 22.Rxc8 Bxc8 23.Ne5 Bb7 24.a3 Nc6.

25.Ng4. For the moment, White avoids the exchange of knights. His piece coordination is better, allowing him increase his advantage of space in the next phase of the game. 25...Nb8 26.Kd2 Bc6 27.Kc3 Nd7 28.f4 a5 29.e4 b5. Black has managed to build up some sort of fortress. In order to make further progress, White needs to regroup. 30.Bc2.

30...f5? If my analysis on Black's 37th move is correct, this can be regarded as the losing move. Of course, Black's position was quite unpleasant and I do not exclude the possibility that ulterior analysis will prove that passive strategy would have offered little chance for survival, too. However, if Black wanted to reduce the number of pawns he should have preferred 30...f6 but maybe Svidler thought that 31.gxf6+ is the strongest answer in either case. 31.exf5 exf5 32.Ne5! This is a good moment to force the exchange of knights: White creates a strong passed pawn on e5, keeping Black busy with the defence of the weak g6-pawn in the ensuing bishop ending. 32...Nxe5 33.dxe5 b4+ White threatened to transfer his king to c5, when Black would have been forced to play ...b4 anyway. By sacrificing the pawn with check, Svidler restricts White's possibilities (such as a4). 34.axb4 axb4+ 35.Kxb4 Bd7 36.Bb3 Bc6 37.Kc5.

In spite of mass simplifications, White has maintained his considerable advantage of space. However, Black's king is well placed, being ready to expell the enemy bishop in case it would try to attack the g6-pawn via g8 and preventing the white king's infiltration through d6. Therefore, the final result still looks uncertain at a first superficial glance. 37...Be8?! This careless move makes it easier for White. However, even after the more stubborn retreat along the long diagonal with, say, 37...Bf3 White would have disposed over an effective plan of making further progress. 38.Bg8 Be2 (In order to avoid immediate defeat, Black has to move with his bishop along the d1–h5 diagonal, with the exception of the h5-square. After 38...Bh5 39.Bh7 Black would be in zugzwang. The king cannot trap the bishop because this would lead to the coronation of the e-pawn with the support of the white king, while resisting in the centre is also impossible, for instance 39...Kd7 40.Kb6 Ke6 41.Kc6 Ke7 42.Kc7 and the white king breaks through.; 38...Kf8 is even worse because of 39.Bd5 which wins a tempo and ensures the king's infiltration through d6.; Abandoning the aforementioned diagonal with 38...Bg2 would leave the king helpless against White's two threats after 39.Bh7 Kf7 40.Kd6 followed by e6.) 39.Kc6 Kf8 40.Bh7 Kf7 (This is the relatively best way to defend against the different threats. 40...Kg7 loses immediately to 41.e6 reaching by force a winning pawn ending.) 41.e6+! Not an easy over-the-board decision. On general grounds, the exchange of one pair of pawns is supposed to bring Black one step closer to the draw. 41...Kxe6 42.Bxg6


Analysis diagram

In spite of the even more reduced number of pawns left on board, White has a couple of trumps if compared to the structure from the previous diagram. The f5-pawn is easier to attack than the was g6-pawn. His passed g5-pawn is also more difficult to control than the central pawn. Besides, the bishop has slightly more possibilities of switching from one task to another, as we shall see. The next partial plan for White is to bring his king to e5. After that, everything will be simpler. 42...Bg4 43.Kc5 Bh3 (Black has to maintain his pawn well defended. 43...Bf3 would make White's win shorter after 44.Bh7) 44.Kd4 (In principle White has to frive the enemy king away from e6 with Bh7-g8+, but it is necessary to bring the king as close as possible from the e5-square. The immediate 44.Bh7? would lead to a draw after 44...Kf7) 44...Bg4 45.Bh7! Bh5 (The bishop has to take the g6-square under control. After a neutral move such as 45...Bf3 White wins with 46.Bg8+ Kd6 47.g6!) 46.Kc5! (Now that the f5-pawn is not defended by the bishop, the king returns to c5 in order to proceed with the main plan. 46.Bg8+ would lead nowhere because of 46...Kd6) 46...Bg4 47.Bg8+ Ke7 48.Kd4 Kf8 The only way to defend the pawn in time. 49.Be6 Kg7 50.Ke5 Kg6 This position (with reversed wings) was analysed by Averbakh in 1954 and can be found in his 5-volume Encyclopaedia on endings published in the late '70s and early '80s. White wins by means of zugzwang. 51.Bd7 Bh3 52.Be8+ Kg7 53.Bh5 The diagonal h3-g4 is too short for the bishop and Black has to worsen his position in decisive way, for instance 53...Bg4 (or 53...Kf8 54.Kf6 winning the pawn soon.) 54.Bxg4 fxg4 55.Ke4 Kg6 56.Ke3 Kf5 57.Kf2 Kg6 58.Kg2! followed by Kg3. 38.e6. Curiously, the black bishop has no square available along the relatively long a4-e8 diagonal. Black is in zugzwang. 1–0. [Click to replay]



Azerbaijan GM Teimour Radjabov

Radjabov,T (2700) - Vallejo Pons,F (2650) [D43]
XXIII SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (5), 23.02.2006
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5. The Anti-Moscow variation is always a warranty for sharp, uncompromising play. 9.Be2 Bb7 10.0–0 Nbd7 11.Ne5 h5 12.Nxd7 Qxd7 13.Be5 Rh6 14.f4 g4 15.Qc2 c5 16.d5 b4

Apparently, the tension in the centre has reached its peak. However, White's next move puts even more wood in the fire. 17.f5!! Ignoring the threat against the knight and indirectly activating the f1–rook. Retreating with the knight would have been an obvious concession from the point of view of the fight for influence in the centre. 17...exd5. After this more or less forced exchange, White gets the d5-square for his knight. 18.Nxd5 Bxd5 19.exd5 Bd6 20.Bxd6 Qxd6 21.Bxc4 h4 Black has more or less stabilised his position by the firm control over several dark squares. However, his rooks are not easy to coordinate while the c5-pawn is practically doomed. 22.Bb5+ Kf8 23.Bc6 Rd8 24.Rac1 h3. A logical reaction. Once the bishop has isolated itself from the king side, a counterattack on that part of the board offers chances of maintaining the balance even. 25.gxh3 Rxh3 26.Qxc5 g3 27.Qxd6+ Rxd6 28.hxg3 Ng4 29.Kg2!? In order to neutralise Black's initiative, White sacrifices an exchange. 29...Ne3+ 30.Kf3 Obviously not wishing to be mated in one after capturing the rook. 30...Nxf1 31.Rxf1 Rh2 32.b3 Rxa2 33.Ke4

White's centralisation offers him good compensation for the exchange. The position remains sharp, but probably balanced. 33...Ke7 34.Rh1 Rg2 35.Kf4 Rf2+ 36.Kg5 Rd8 37.Re1+ Kd6 38.Kf6 Rg8 39.Re3 Rg2 40.Kxf7 R8xg3 41.Re6+ Kc5 42.f6 Rxb3 43.Ke7 Rd3 44.f7 Rf2 45.f8Q Rxf8 46.Kxf8 Rxd5 Simplest. The position is dead drawn now. 47.Bxd5 Kxd5 48.Ra6 Kc4 49.Rxa7 b3 50.Rb7 Kc3 51.Rxb3+ Kxb3

This type of position was frequently seen during the Sofia 2005 tournament, where the no-draw-offer rule was applied. Apparently, the position is just equal. ½–½. [Click to replay]


Taimour Radjabov signing autographs for Mexican fans


... and posing with the occasional one

Analysis by Mihail Marin, pictures by Nadja Woisin


Schedule and results

Round 1: Saturday, February 18th

Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
 Peter Leko
Peter Svidler 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Teimour Radjabov

Round 2: Sunday, February 19th

Peter Leko 
1-0
Teimour Radjabov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
Levon Aronian
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
Etienne Bacrot
Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
Peter Svidler

Round 3: Monday, February 20th

Peter Svidler 
½-½
Peter Leko
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
Francisco Vallejo
Levon Aronian 
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
Vassily Ivanchuk
Free day: Tuesday, February 21st

Round 4: Wednesday, February 22nd

Peter Leko 
1-0
Vassily Ivanchuk
Veselin Topalov 
0-1
Teimour Radjabov
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
Levon Aronian
Peter Svidler 
1-0
Etienne Bacrot

Round 5: Thursday, February 23rd

Etienne Bacrot 
  Peter Leko
Levon Aronian 
  Peter Svidler
Teimour Radjabov 
  Francisco Vallejo
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Veselin Topalov
GamesReport
Free day: Friday, February 24th

Round 6: Saturday, February 25th

Levon Aronian 
  Peter Leko
Teimour Radjabov 
  Etienne Bacrot
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Peter Svidler
Veselin Topalov 
  Francisco Vallejo
GamesReport

Round 7: Sunday, February 26th

Peter Leko 
  Veselin Topalov
Francisco Vallejo 
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Peter Svidler 
  Teimour Radjabov
Etienne Bacrot 
  Levon Aronian
GamesReport
Transfer to Linares, Spain

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Topics: Linares 2006
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