Morelia Round three GM analysis

by ChessBase
2/19/2008 – Topalov and Anand are marching through in Morelia. The Bulgarian is leading with 2.5 points out of three (3000+ Elo performance!), the world champion has half a point less. Together they scored four wins so far. No one else has a plus score after the first three rounds. GM Dorian Rogozenko analyses all four games from this exciting round. 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 three commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenko

Round 3: Sunday, February 17th

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

Topalov and Anand are marching through in Morelia. The Bulgarian is leading with 2.5 points out of three (3000+ Elo performance!), the world champion has half a point less. Together they scored four wins so far. No one else has a plus score after the first three rounds.

Topalov,V (2780) – Ivanchuk,V (2751) [B90]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (3), 17.02.2008

Another impressive victory for the ex-world champion. Just like in the first round win against Aronian, Topalov used his opponent's few inaccuracies in the opening to take over the initiative, after which at no point of the game there were any doubts left about the final result. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6

Ivanchuk chooses the always combative Najdorf Variation, which used to be Kasparov's preferred weapon against 1.e4. It is curious that in the last game before his retirement from active chess (March 2005), Kasparov facing Topalov didn't go for his favourite variation, deciding to play 2...Nc6 instead. 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Nbd7. Earlier this year Topalov himself preferred to prevent the advance of White's g-pawn: 8...h5 9.Nd5 (9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.a4 Be7 11.Be2 Qc7 12.0-0 0-0 Leko,P (2753)-Topalov,V (2780)/Wijk aan Zee 2008) 9...Bxd5 10.exd5 Nbd7 11.Qd2 g6 12.0-0-0 Nb6 13.Qa5 Bh6 14.Bxh6 Rxh6 15.Kb1 Anand,V (2799)-Topalov,V (2780)/Wijk aan Zee 2008. 9.g4 b5 10.g5 b4 11.Nd5 Nxd5 12.exd5 Bf5 13.Bd3 Bxd3 14.Qxd3 Be7 15.h4 a5. Taking into consideration that White is going to hide his king on the queenside, Black starts active actions there before castling short. But the move has a drawback too: it turns out that White is happy to play on the queenside.

The main continuation is 15...0-0 used among others by Kasparov and Anand. White continues 16.0-0-0 with a sharp game. 16.a3. This somewhat surprising decision is typical for the ex-world champion though: he doesn't seem to care about finding a secure place for his king in the future. A quick initiative in order to put an immediate and concrete pressure on the opponent is more important for Topalov. The justification of 16.a3 is that White can quickly build pressure after opening the files on the queenside. 16...a4. Considering that White doesn't have a safe king, Black should rather seek for counterplay by playing at some moment f7-f6. From this point of view preferable looks 16...0-0 17.axb4 axb4 18.Rxa8 Qxa8 after which most likely White must castle as well: 19.0-0 (19.Qb5?! Nc5 points out the weaknesses in white structure: the pawn d5 is hanging.) 19...f6 20.Qf5 Qe8 with a complete mess and chances for both sides. 17.Nd2 Rb8 18.axb4 Rxb4 19.Qa3

White can be happy: the queenside is open and Black must solve concrete problems. 19...Qb8. Ivanchuk protects the rook and attacks pawn b2 at the same time. But as mentioned before, opening the files on the queenside favours White. 19...Qa5 keeps an eye on a much more important pawn d5. A possible follow up is 20.c3 (20.c4? Rxc4 and the knight is pinned) 20...Rb8 21.c4 (after 21.Qxa4 Qxd5 White's king will soon become more vulnerable than his black colleague) 21...Ra8 (the computer prefers 21...Rb4 but for a human it is scary to pin the pieces like that. After 22.Qc3 threatening Nb3 22...Nc5 23.b3 0-0 24.Ke2 followed by Rhb1 White is slightly better) 22.b4 Qc7 23.h5 is again a position where any result is possible. 20.c3! Rxb2 21.Qxa4 Rb7 22.Ke2

Possibly Vassily underestimated White's possibilities here. Topalov's play is very simple: the rook from h1 comes to b1, the queen goes to c6 and the knight to c4. Due to White's pressure and very active queen Black will have to exchange pieces, but the endgame will be difficult anyway. 22...Rc7. In a bad position all moves are bad. 22...0-0 23.Rhb1 Rc8 24.Rxb7 Qxb7 25.Qa7 with a clear advantage in endgame. 23.Rhb1 Qc8

The Ukrainian succeeded avoiding the exchange of rooks. The rook on c7 is very important for defense: it controls the seventh rank and the important c-file. White must find a way to exchange the rook c7. How to do it? Watch the next two elegant moves: 24.Bb6! Rb7. The alternative was to open another file: 24...Rxc3 25.Ne4 Rc4 (or 25...Rc2+ 26.Kd3!+- Rh2 27.Rc1 Qb8 28.Bc7 followed by the winning check on a8.) 26.Rc1! Rxc1 27.Rxc1 Qb8 28.Rc7 and White wins a piece. 25.Ba7

The rook cannot retreat to c7 again due to 26.Rb8. Which means that White achieves his plan. Which means that Black can't avoid a bad endgame. Which means that he is in deep trouble. 25...e4 Having understood the situation, Ivanchuk tries to get at least some squares for his pieces. But... see above the comment after Black's 22nd move. 25...0-0 26.Rxb7 Qxb7 27.Qc6 Qc8 28.Rb1 followed by Rb7 is also hopeless. 26.fxe4 Rxb1 27.Rxb1 0-0 28.Qc6 Ne5 29.Qxc8 Rxc8 30.Rb8! Rxb8 31.Bxb8. Mission completed. A pawn up, poor king and bishop for Black, plus the fact that the knight e5 can be always challenged by White means that the rest is an easy technical matter for Topalov. 31...Kf8 32.Nf3 Ng6 33.c4 Ke8 34.e5 Kd7 35.Kd3 h6 36.exd6 Bxd6 37.Bxd6 Kxd6 38.gxh6 gxh6 39.Kd4 f6 40.c5+ Kd7 41.Ke4 h5 42.d6 Ke6 43.Nd4+ Kd7 44.Nf5 Ne5 45.Kd5 Nc6 46.Nd4. In the past two years everybody got used to the fact that Topalov starts tournaments badly and finishes them in force. Unfortunately, this highly intriguing, but at the same time risky "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" can't last forever, as the Corus tournament showed recently. It is great to see that in Morelia Topalov found a good form right from the start. After the World Championship in 2005 Topalov never started a tournament so strongly again. However, the temptation to make a parallel with the San Luis tournament will have to wait. In Argentina scoring 2,5 points out of three was just a prelude for the future world champion, who in the next rounds produced four consecutive wins. So let's wait a little bit to see if in Morelia Topalov will continue in the same impressive fashion. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Carlsen,M (2733) – Anand,V (2799) [D43]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (3), 17.02.2008

Carlsen fell victim of his rather superficial opening preparation. Against the razor-sharp Anti-Moscow Variation he chose a rare line, but soon found himself in trouble with white. 1.d4. A month ago in Wijk aan Zee Carlsen started his game versus Anand with the kings's pawn. In spite of getting a very promising position, the Norwegian lost that important game. This time he switches to a different opening. 1...d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5

9.Ne5. The main theory starts with 9.Be2 followed by oceans of variations which you don't want to know. 9...h5. White released pressure on g5, so Black immediately advances the h-pawn. This is known to be the best reaction to 9.Ne5. Did Carlsen really hope that Anand will repeat moves from his rapid game? 9...Bg7 10.h4 Nfd7 11.hxg5 hxg5 12.Rxh8+ Bxh8 13.Qh5 Bxe5 14.Bxe5 Nxe5 15.Qh8+ Kd7 16.Qxe5 Bb7 17.0-0-0 Kc8 18.Qg7 Qe7 19.e5 Nd7 20.Ne4 Kc7 21.Nd6 Rf8 22.Be2 Kasimdzhanov,R (2683)-Anand,V (2792)/Mainz 2007. Black is still under pressure, but Anand managed to survive. White has numerous ways to improve, so expectedly the world champion goes for the strongest 9...h5 istead of 9...Bg7. 10.f3. After 10.h3 Black has a pleasant choice between 10...b4 and then taking pawn e4, or the normal continuation 10...Bb7.; Also 10.h4 g4 11.Be2 might be the best, when 11...Bb7 leads to the main lines, which start usually with the move 9.Be2. Playing main lines was clearly not Carlsen's intention. 10...h4 11.Bf2 Bb7

12.Be2. A new move. Difficult to say what went wrong in Carlsen's preparation: the resulting positions are good for Black. 12.Be3 Nfd7 13.Nxd7 Nxd7 14.Qd2 Be7 is known as advantage for Black. 12...Nbd7 13.Nxd7 Nxd7 14.0-0 e5!

Anand feels very well with the Anti-Moscow Variation. This opening brought him many important points lately and there are little doubts that he continuously analyzes it. The diagram position certainly offers chances for White as well – in such situations White is usually justified to claim compensation for the pawn – but practical experience and feeling of the position are the decisive factors. Carlsen simply stepped on the opponent's territory unprepared. 15.a4 a6 16.d5 Rh6 17.dxc6 Bxc6

Black has everything protected and he is a pawn up. Does Black have bad pieces? The king? Well, it is interesting to see how White is going to attack the black king. In fact Black has a large advantage already. There are openings when if something goes wrong for White, then he can still hold equality easily (say Queen's Gambit). But there are openings when if things go wrong, you can go home. Playing the Anti-Moscow with either colour is a risky business. 18.axb5 axb5 19.Rxa8 Qxa8 20.Qc1 Rg6 21.Rd1 Bc5 22.Bxc5 Nxc5 23.Qe3 Nb3 24.Qb6 Nd4

25.Rxd4 Carlsen fights bravely, but this cannot change the result. Anand firmly converts his material advantage. 25...exd4 26.Nxb5 Bxb5 27.Qxb5+ Qc6 28.Qe5+ Re6 29.Qxd4 Qb6 30.Qxb6 Rxb6 31.Bxc4 Rxb2 32.g3 f6 33.Be6 Ke7 34.Bg4 Re2 35.gxh4 gxh4 36.h3 Kd6 37.Kf1 Rb2 38.f4 Kc5 39.e5 Rb4 40.exf6 Rxf4+ 41.Ke2 Kd4 42.Bf3 Rxf6

43.Bb7 Rb6 44.Bc8 Ke4 45.Bg4 Rb2+ 46.Ke1 Ke3 47.Kf1 Kf4 48.Ke1 Kg3 49.Kf1 Rf2+ 50.Ke1 Rf4 51.Bc8 Rf8 52.Bg4 Kg2 53.Ke2 Re8+ 54.Kd3 Kf2 55.Bf5 Re3+ 56.Kd4 Kf3 57.Bg4+ Kf4 58.Kd5 Re5+ 59.Kd4 Rg5 In spite of the long game, this was a relatively easy victory for Anand. 59...Rg5 60.Bc8 Rg8 61.Be6 (61.Bg4 Rxg4 62.hxg4 h3) 61...Rd8+ 62.Kc4 (or 62.Kc3 Rd6 63.Bg4 Rg6 64.Bd7 Rg7 65.Be6 Ke5 66.Bc4 Rg3+) 62...Rd6 63.Bg4 Rg6 64.Bd7 Rg7 65.Be6 Ke5 and the bishop is caught: 66.Bg4 Rxg4+ 67.hxg4 h3. 0-1. [Click to replay]

Magnus Carlsen suffered his first defeat in Morelia 2008

Anand attacked by journalists in the press center after his victory over Carlsen

Aronian,L (2739) - Radjabov,T (2735) [E61]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (3), 17.02.2008

In this game Radjabov equalized by demonstrating quality opening preparation. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 c5 5.Nf3 cxd4 6.Nxd4 0-0 7.Bg2 Qc7

Radjabov's specialty lately. Black starts concrete play using the fact that White hasn't castled yet. 8.b3. 8.Nd5 used to be considered to offer White advantage. But Radjabov found the antidote: 8...Qxc4 9.Nxe7+ Kh8 10.Nxc8 Rxc8 11.0-0 Nc6 12.e3 Nxd4 13.exd4 d5= with equality, Sargissian,G (2602)-Radjabov,T (2667)/Moscow 2005. 8...d5 9.0-0 9.Nxd5 loses after 9...Nxd5 10.Bxd5 e6 11.Bg2 Rd8. 9...dxc4 10.Ncb5 Qd8 11.bxc4 a6 12.Nc3 Ng4 13.e3 Nc6 14.Rb1. A new move.

14.Nce2 Nge5 15.Qc2 Qc7 Grischuk,A (2711)-Radjabov,T (2735)/Odessa (rapid) 2008. 14...Nxe3! After 14...Nxd4 15.exd4 Bxd4 16.Nd5 White has good compensation for the pawn. 15.Bxe3. Bad for White is 15.fxe3 Nxd4 16.exd4 Bxd4+ 17.Kh1 Bxc3. 15...Bxd4 16.Bxd4. 16.Bxc6 Bxc3 17.Bxb7 Rb8 18.Bxc8 Qxd1 19.Rfxd1 Rxb1 20.Rxb1 Rxc8 21.c5 e5 followed by Bd4 is also a draw. 16...Qxd4 17.Qxd4 Nxd4 18.Nd5. Black won't be able to keep the extra pawn. Radjabov returns it at once and the position simplifies completely. 18...Kg7. 18...Nc6 19.Rfe1 with compensation. 19.Nxe7 Be6 20.Nd5 Rac8 21.Ne3 b5 22.cxb5 axb5 23.Rb2 Rfd8 24.Rd1 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Leko,P (2753) - Shirov,A (2755) [B90]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (3), 17.02.2008

A good positional game, which some may find a little "dry". 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6. The second Najdorf of the round. Leko achieves a slight advantage, but fails to break through. 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Bc4 0-0 9.0-0 Be6 10.Bb3 Nc6 11.Qe2 Na5 12.Rfd1 Nxb3 13.cxb3 Qb8 14.Bg5 b5 15.Rd3 h6 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Rad1 Be7 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.Rxd5 Qc7

With the knight on e3 White would be clearly better. Peter tries to improve the position. 20.Ne1. Intending to go to c2. 20...Rac8 21.g3. Now Leko's plan is Ng2-e3. 21...f5. Right in time. Although White still keeps a plus, Shirov manages to hold the balance.. 22.exf5 Rxf5 23.Qe4 Rcf8 24.R1d2 h5 25.Rc2 Qa7 26.Nd3 h4 27.Kg2 hxg3 28.hxg3

28...Qd7! 29.Rc1 Rh5 30.Rh1 Rxh1 31.Kxh1 Qf5 32.Qxf5 Rxf5 33.Kg2 Kf7 34.Nb4 Ke6 35.Rd1 a5 36.Nc6 [36.Nd5 Bd8=] 36...Rf8 37.Nxa5 [37.Nxa5 Ra8 38.b4 Bd8=] 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

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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