Nalchik R3: four wins, Aronian drops a point

4/17/2009 – High drama at the Fourth FIDE Grand Prix: Sergey Karjakin took the 2-0 leader Levon Aronian to the cleaners in a 34-move slugfest; Alexander Grischuk continued his excellent form with a win over Rustam Kasimdzhanov (in time trouble); Alekseev outplayed Eljanov and Leko did the same to Akopian. We bring you pictures plus commentary by birthday boy Sergey Shipov.

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Fourth FIDE Grand Prix
in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria

Press release

The fourth FIDE Grand Prix Series Tournament is being held in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia, during 14th -29th April 2009 at the Intour Hotel "Sindica". The games start at 3 p.m. local time = 15:00h CEST. After five rounds there is a free day (on Monday, April 20) and another after round nine (on Saturday, April 25).

Results of today's round

Round 3: Friday, April 17, 2009

Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Akopian Vladimir
0-1
Leko Peter
Karjakin Sergey
1-0
Aronian Levon
Grischuk Alexander
1-0
Kasimdzhanov Rustam
Alekseev Evgeny
1-0
Eljanov Pavel
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Gelfand Boris
Bacrot Etienne
½-½
Svidler Peter

Round three review

The following game notes were provided by FIDE and are translated (by Misha Savinov) from the comments of GM Sergey Shipov. On Friday he celebrated his 43rd birthday – best wishes to you, Sergey, and keep up the good work! We are grateful for permission to reproduce Shipov's commentary here. All photos by courtesy of FIDE.

Karjakin-Aronian
Everyone plays as good as the opponent allows to. In this game Levon failed to impress because Sergey was really impressive. White made a new move in a modern line of the Ruy Lopez –15.b3! Perhaps Black had to change his plan, keeping the king on f8. In this case he would have a chance to create some counterplay with his bishops: 15…Bc5 16.Bb2 Bg4!, which would compensate for the weakness of the e5-pawn. However, Aronian played in a more standard way, placing the king on e7, which led to big complications, and eventually lost a pawn. Karjakin converted his advantage in a refined fashion. One cannot pass by the excellent 24.Nb6!, which transposed the game into a rook ending. Soon Black missed his last chance to resist: instead of 27…Rb5 he had to counterattack on the second rank with 27…Rd2!, and then Rb8-e8-e2. In the game White managed to promote his pawn and defended against the perpetual.


Before the start of hostilities a friendly exchange: Sergey Karjakin, Levon Aronian

Karjakin,Sergey - Aronian,Levon [C88]
4th FIDE GP Nakchik RUS (3), 17.04.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4 b4 9.d4 d6 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Qxd8 Rxd8 12.Nbd2 Bd6 13.a5 h6 14.Bc4 Kf8 15.b3 Ke7 16.Bd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 Na7 18.Nxe5 Kf8 19.Ndc4 Bxe5 20.Rxe5 Nc6 21.Bg5 hxg5 22.dxc6 f6 23.Rc5 Be6

24.Nb6! Rab8 25.Nd7+ Bxd7 26.cxd7 Rxd7 27.Rc6 Rb5 28.Rxa6 Rd2 29.Ra8+ Kf7 30.g4 Rc5 31.a6 Rcxc2 32.Rc8 c6 33.a7 Rxf2 34.Rh8 1-0.


The mood has changed in the press conference after the game

Grischuk-Kasimdzhanov
I found many unexpected resources in the analysis of this complicated game. Kasimdzhanov employed a very risky but interesting plan in a well-known variation of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted. I thought that after 14.Nxb6 Black had to take with the c7-pawn, keeping the king’s shelter intact. After 14…cxb6 White cannot retreat the knight from e2 because of the d4-pawn weakness, while 15.Ba4 is well met by 15…g5! with strong counterplay for Black. However, Rustam selected 14…axb6, allowing the opponent to establish deadly-looking pressure against the c6-knight. The ideas behind this move were clarified by the extremely tricky maneuver 17…Qc8! – Black sacrificed a pawn for the initiative.
The subsequent moves did not look forced. For instance, instead of 19…fxe5 Black could play 19…Nc6! Later Kasimdzhanov did not find the most accurate 25…Qa6!, which would allow continuing to play on equal terms. After 25…Qb7? Grischuk destroyed Black’s defense by the powerful 26.a4! In the time trouble that followed, the assessment varied from “White wins” to “Black can hold”. On the 39th move White could win by 39.Qe4! with the idea 39…Qg5+ 40.Kh1! Qxd2 41.Qa8#. However, Alexander played 39.Ra2, and Black overstepped the time limit, although he could put up some resistance by 39…Rd8! Now 40.Qe4? Qg5+! loses for White. Of course, even after 39…Rd8 White still has an edge, but the outcome of the game could well be different.

Grischuk,Alexander - Kasimdzhanov,Rustam [D20]
4th FIDE GP Nakchik RUS (3), 17.04.2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bxc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Nc6 7.Be3 Bf5 8.Ne2 e6 9.Nbc3 Qd7 10.a3 0-0-0 11.0-0 h5 12.Rc1 Kb8 13.Na4 Be7 14.Nxb6 axb6 15.Ba4 h4 16.f3 f6 17.Bb5 Qc8 18.Qb3 Na7 19.Bc4 fxe5 20.dxe5 Bc5 21.Bxc5 bxc5 22.Qe3 b6 23.b4 b5 24.Ba2 c4 25.Nd4

25...Qb7? 26.a4! h3 27.axb5 hxg2 28.Rfd1 Nxb5 29.Nxf5 exf5 30.Bxc4 f4 31.Qxf4 Rdf8 32.Bf7 Qb6+ 33.Rc5 Nc3 34.Rd2 Na4 35.e6 Nxc5 36.bxc5 Qxc5+ 37.Kxg2 Kc8 38.Qg4 Qe7

39.Ra2? 1-0 (time).


What to do, I simply missed it! Kasim and Gris in the press conference after the game

Akopian-Leko
The Hungarian grandmaster outskilled the Armenian in opening preparation. In the Meran Variation of the Slav Defense he surprised the opponent with a refined novelty 17…Qd5! Black created strong pressure. In my opinion White had to consider sacrificing an exchange in order to seize the initiative. For instance, it is interesting to look at 21.Bd2! Nb3 22.Rb4 Bxg2! (a fine resource) 23.Bxg2 Nxa1 24.Bc3. Of course, such moves are easier to suggest that actually play on the board. Akopian decided to give up a pawn, and after a few accurate opponent’s moves (23…Ba6!, 26…Qc2!) had to accept a difficult endgame without a pawn, which he failed to hold. Leko’s technique in the final phase of the game was perfect – a textbook example of converting the advantage!

Akopian,Vladimir - Leko,Peter [D47]
4th FIDE GP Nakchik RUS (3), 17.04.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.a3 Bd6 10.0-0 0-0 11.Qc2 Qe7 12.Ng5 h6 13.Nge4 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 c5 15.Nxd6 Qxd6 16.Bxb5 cxd4 17.Rd1 Qd5 18.Bf1 Rac8 19.Qe2 Nc5 20.Rxd4 Qf5

21.Rf4 [21.Bd2 Nb3 22.Rb4 Bxg2! 23.Bxg2 Nxa1 24.Bc3] 21...Qe5 22.Bd2 Qxb2 23.Rd1 Ba6 24.Qe1 Bxf1 25.Qxf1 Rfd8 26.Rb4 Qc2 27.Rc4 Qa2 28.Rdc1 Rxd2 29.Rxc5 Rxc5 30.Rxc5 Qxa3 31.Rc8+ Kh7 32.Qb1+ f5 33.g3 Rb2 34.Qd1 Qb4 35.h4 a5 36.Qf3 a4 37.Kg2 a3 38.Qa8 Qe4+ 39.Qxe4 fxe4 40.Ra8 a2 41.h5 g5 42.hxg6+ Kxg6 43.g4 e5 44.Kg3 Re2 45.Ra5 Kf6 46.Ra6+ Kf7 47.Ra5 Ke6 48.Kh4 Rxf2 49.Kh5 Rg2 50.Kxh6 Rxg4 51.Rxa2 Rg3 52.Kh5 Kf5 53.Kh4 Rxe3 54.Ra8 Rf3 55.Rf8+ Ke6 56.Re8+ Kd5 57.Rd8+ Kc4 58.Kg4 Rf1 59.Rc8+ Kd3 60.Rd8+ Ke2 61.Ra8 Rg1+ 0-1.


Peter Leko and Vladimir Akopian in the press conference

Alekseev-Eljanov
A tragic story! At the early phase of the game it looked like the Russian is doomed to fall, however, it was the Ukrainian who perished in the end. In a fashionable line of the Queen’s Gambit Eljanov employed an excellent novelty 12…Qe8! (earlier Black only played 12…b5, allowing the attacking 13.a4!). Alekseev reacted poorly. He couldn’t play 13.Be2 due to 13…Ne4!, but he had to make a preparatory move for the development – 13.Qc2! The move he selected – 13.f3?! – left the White’s king in the center and allowed Black advancing his queenside pawns. Black’s advantage became absolutely clear by the 20th move. I think the most accurate solution was 20…Bd7! In this case Black could prepare c4-c3 under the perfect circumstances, as White’s most natural defense 21.Nb1 Rfc8! 22.Nc3 (otherwise c4-c3) 22…Nxc3 23.Qxc3 Bxg4! loses a pawn. Pavel wasted a tempo, allowing White to make a useful move – 20...Re8 21.h3, and then started playing on the queenside, which did not make the desired impact. Evgeny defended well, and his bluff 26.h4! shook the opponent’s confidence. Pavel started making mistakes. His 26…Bb5? was a grave error, changing the evaluation dramatically from “almost equal” to “a huge advantage to White”. The advantage was duly converted into a victory.

Alekseev,Evgeny - Eljanov,Pavel [D37]
4th FIDE GP Nakchik RUS (3), 17.04.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.Qb3 c5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.Qxc3 c4 10.Nd2 0-0 11.e3 h6 12.Bh4 Qe8 13.f3 b5 14.Kf2 a5 15.g4 Qe7 16.Bg3 b4 17.Qc2 b3 18.Qc3 Nb6 19.Re1 Na4 20.Qc1

20...Re8 [20...Bd7! 21.Nb1 Rfc8! 22.Nc3 Nxc3 23.Qxc3 Bxg4!] 21.h3 c3 22.bxc3 b2 23.Qc2 Bd7 24.Nb1 Bc6 25.Bd3 Qb7 26.h4 Bb5 27.Qb3 Bc6 28.Qxb7 Bxb7 29.Bb5 Nb6 30.g5 hxg5 31.hxg5 Nh7 32.Re2 Re6 33.Rxb2 Nxg5 34.Bf4 Nh7 35.Nd2 Ba6 36.Rc1 Nf6 37.Bxa6 Rxa6 38.Rb5 Rc6 39.e4 Ra8 40.c4 Nxc4 41.Nxc4 dxc4 42.d5 Rcc8 43.Ke3 Nd7 44.Kd4 f6 45.Rxc4 Rxc4+ 46.Kxc4 Rc8+ 47.Kd4 g5 48.Bd6 Kf7 49.Rxa5 Rc1 50.Ra7 Ke8 51.a4 Rf1 52.a5 Rxf3 53.Ra8+ Kf7 54.a6 Rf1 55.Rd8 Rd1+ 56.Kc3 Nb6 57.Rb8 1-0.

Bacrot-Svidler
The first impression of a non-conflict game is wrong. There was real tension in it. In the Chigorin Variation of the Ruy Lopez the players covered the entire board with solid pawn chains. White had a small loophole on the kingside, but in order to use it he had to dare sacrificing material. The best opportunity occurred, in my opinion, on the 30th move. I think White could play 30.Nf5!? gxf5 31.gxf5, and then slowly increase pressure by g2-g4, doubling the rooks and maybe even rushing the kingside pawns h3-h4 and g4-g5. Surprisingly, he could afford playing in such style without a piece and almost at no risk! Black only could wait behind bars... After the move played in the game – 30.Bh6 – Svidler closed all the doors by 30…g5!, and a draw became inevitable.


Peter Svidler, Russia, Etienne Bacrot, France

Ivanchuk-Gelfand
This game was very interesting, and it seems both players conducted it almost perfectly. In the Slav Defense White got the bishop pair, and Black obtained active piece play against the enemy king. I think Ivanchuk incorrectly allowed the Black’s queen to h3. Instead of the rushy 18.e4 I suggest the prophylactic 18.Kg2! – the king can protect himself! After that White has all the chances to prevail in the center. After Black organized the scary setup “Qh3 + Ng4”, White’s advantage evaporated. Gelfand masterfully increased tension (21…Be3!, 25…f5!), and then forced the move repetition by daring cavalry ride 28…Nc1!


The "veterans": Vassily Ivanchuk and Boris Gelfand, both forty years old

Mamedyarov-Kamsky
In the Gruenfeld Defense Black made an interesting novelty, but we did not get a chance to see the depth of Gata’s preparation. The critical line is probably 14.dxc6 followed by trading the queens, however, Shakhriyar reacted in a very tricky fashion. He traded queens in a different way, but failed to get any real advantage. Soon White’s advanced pawns became targets of Black’s counterattack. It was followed by exchange of logical and easy-to-calculate (at the grandmaster level at least) tactical blows that resulted in an equal rook ending, which ended peacefully.


"Shakh" Mamedyarov, one of the super-GMs from Azerbaijan


Back again at the top of the world: US-American Tatar Gata Kamsky


Guest of honour, chief commentator in Nalchik: former World Champion Boris Spassky. But what's with the cane? Is the 72-year-old infirm, does he have problems walking?


No, it's a pointing device, one that (unlike a laser pointer) requires no batteries!

Click to replay and download the games on our Javascript board

Standings

The annotator

Sergey Shipov (born 17 April 1966) is a Russian grandmaster, whose peak FIDE rating of 2662 put him at no. 23 in the world on the January 1999 rating list. He is a well-known and highly regarded trainer, and is well-known in his native Moscow as an outstanding blitz player. Indeed, for a number of years, he was a regular practice partner of Garry Kasparov, who described him as one of the best blitz players in the city. He is the author of two books, one on the Kasparov-Kramnik match of 2000 (co-authored with the legendary Russian chess commentator Yakov Damsky), and one on the Hedghog System. An English edition of the latter is due to be published later this year. In recent years, he has established a strong reputation amongst Russian-speaking audiences as an online live commentator over the internet, for the Russian site Crestbook.com.


FIDE Grand Prix Nalchik 2009 – Schedule and results

Round 1: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Leko Peter
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Mamedyarov Shak.
0-1
Aronian Levon
Akopian Vladimir
½-½
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Eljanov Pavel
Grischuk Alexander
1-0
Gelfand Boris
Alekseev Evgeny
½-½
Svidler Peter
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Bacrot Etienne

Round 2: Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kamsky Gata
½-½
Bacrot Etienne
Svidler Peter
1-0
Ivanchuk Vassily
Gelfand Boris
½-½
Alekseev Evgeny
Eljanov Pavel
½-½
Grischuk Alexander
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Aronian Levon
1-0-
Akopian Vladimir
Leko Peter
½-½
Mamedyarov Shak.

Round 3: Friday, April 17, 2009

Mamedyarov Shak.
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Akopian Vladimir
0-1
Leko Peter
Karjakin Sergey
1-0
Aronian Levon
Grischuk Alexander
1-0
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Alekseev Evgeny
1-0
Eljanov Pavel
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Gelfand Boris
Bacrot Etienne
½-½
Svidler Peter

Round 4: Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Svidler Peter
Gelfand Boris
-
Bacrot Etienne
Eljanov Pavel
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Alekseev Evgeny
Aronian Levon
-
Grischuk Alexander
Leko Peter
-
Karjakin Sergey
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Akopian Vladimir
GamesReport

Round 5: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Akopian Vladimir
-
Kamsky Gata
Karjakin Sergey
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Grischuk Alexander
-
Leko Peter
Alekseev Evgeny
-
Aronian Levon
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Bacrot Etienne
-
Eljanov Pavel
Svidler Peter
-
Gelfand Boris
GamesReport

Round 6: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Gelfand Boris
Eljanov Pavel
-
Svidler Peter
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Bacrot Etienne
Aronian Levon
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
Leko Peter
-
Alekseev Evgeny
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Grischuk Alexander
Akopian Vladimir
-
Karjakin Sergey
GamesReport

Round 7: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Karjakin Sergey
-
Kamsky Gata
Grischuk Alexander
-
Akopian Vladimir
Alekseev Evgeny
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Leko Peter
Bacrot Etienne
-
Aronian Levon
Svidler Peter
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Gelfand Boris
-
Eljanov Pavel
GamesReport

Round 8: Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Eljanov Pavel
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Gelfand Boris
Aronian Levon
-
Svidler Peter
Leko Peter
-
Bacrot Etienne
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
Akopian Vladimir
-
Alekseev Evgeny
Karjakin Sergey
-
Grischuk Alexander
GamesReport

Round 9: Friday, April 24, 2009

Grischuk Alexander
-
Kamsky Gata
Alekseev Evgeny
-
Karjakin Sergey
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Akopian Vladimir
Bacrot Etienne
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Svidler Peter
-
Leko Peter
Gelfand Boris
-
Aronian Levon
Eljanov Pavel
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
GamesReport

Round 10: Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Aronian Levon
-
Eljanov Pavel
Leko Peter
-
Gelfand Boris
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Svidler Peter
Akopian Vladimir
-
Bacrot Etienne
Karjakin Sergey
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
Grischuk Alexander
-
Alekseev Evgeny
GamesReport

Round 11: Monday, April 27, 2009

Alekseev Evgeny
-
Kamsky Gata
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Grischuk Alexander
Bacrot Etienne
-
Karjakin Sergey
Svidler Peter
-
Akopian Vladimir
Gelfand Boris
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Eljanov Pavel
-
Leko Peter
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Aronian Levon
GamesReport

Round 12: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Aronian Levon
Leko Peter
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Eljanov Pavel
Akopian Vladimir
-
Gelfand Boris
Karjakin Sergey
-
Svidler Peter
Grischuk Alexander
-
Bacrot Etienne
Alekseev Evgeny
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
GamesReport

Round 13: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Kamsky Gata
Bacrot Etienne
-
Alekseev Evgeny
Svidler Peter
-
Grischuk Alexander
Gelfand Boris
-
Karjakin Sergey
Eljanov Pavel
-
Akopian Vladimir
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Aronian Levon
-
Leko Peter
GamesReport
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Departure

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