Nalchik R5: Kasimdzhanov and Akopian win

4/19/2009 – A day of surprise results: Vladimir Akopian, who has been languishing with 1.0/4 alone at the bottom of the table, beat second-placed Gata Kamsky in a titanic R+B vs R ending over 98 moves (Kamsky missed a number of drawing chances, the simplest on move 93). Vassily Ivanchuk self-destructed with the white pieces in 25 moves against Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Report with commentary.

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Fourth FIDE Grand Prix
in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria

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 5: Sunday, April 19, 2009

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

Round five review by GM Sergey Shipov

The following game notes were provided by FIDE and are translated (by Misha Savinov) from the comments of Sergey Shipov. We are grateful for permission to reproduce his commentary here. All photos by courtesy of FIDE.

Vladimir Akopian-Gata Kamsky
Human energy has, after all, its limits. Another marathon game of the American grandmaster ended with his dramatic loss and revival of the outsider. Black did not solve the opening problems. An attempt to return his passive bishops into action only led to trading both of them (note the highly accurate 18.Rde1!), and White obtained a long-lasting advantage due to the superior bishop. In the endgame White got an adjacent passed pawn, and it looked like he is winning easily. However, one has to know Kamsky! He can create problems for anyone and in any position. Maybe Akopian could play more powerfully (for example, I didn’t find any chances for Black after 52.f4, on the next move White could win by 55.a6!, etc), but generally the Armenian handled the game with confidence.

The roller coaster started on the move 62, when both players were already very tired. White missed a quick win – 62.Rc7!, intending to bring the bishop to c5. Maybe Akopian missed that after 62…Nxa3 63.Kxa3 Kd6 he wins the critical tempo by 64.Rg7! – or perhaps he didn’t want to play Q vs R ending after 64…Rxg7! However, after his 62.Rb7? the position became drawn! Gata could survive by 65…Nd8!

In the endgame with an extra bishop and a pawn on a7 Vladimir correctly sacrificed the pawn (74.a8Q+!), but later, as the players approached the third time trouble, began to play very indecisively. An unbelievable blunder 93.Be7? was the anti-climax of the game for the Armenian, but it turned out that Gata ‘Made of Steel’ Kamsky had also run out of steam. Instead of capturing on e7 with the rook, which led to stalemate, he continued the struggle is the most unsuccessful way, allowing the opponent to win without showing advanced textbook endgame knowledge. Despite the number of errors made in this encounter, I sincerely admire both players, who showed a lot of spirit and produced a highly entertaining game.


Vladimir Akopian at the start of game five in Nalchik

Akopian,Vl (2696) - Kamsky,G (2720) [C07]
4th FIDE GP Nalchik RUS (5), 19.04.2009
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 Be7 11.b3 0-0 12.Bb2 Qf4 13.Qe2 Rd8 14.Rad1 Bd7 15.Bd3 Bc5 16.Nf3 Bc6 17.Ne5 Be4 18.Rde1 Bf5 19.g3 Bxd3 20.Nxd3 Qf5 21.Nxc5 Qxc5 22.c4 Ne8 23.Rd1 Qc6 24.Rd3 Rxd3 25.Qxd3 f6 26.Rd1 Rc8 27.Qd7 Qxd7 28.Rxd7 Rc7 29.Rd8 Kf7 30.Ba3 e5 31.g4 g6 32.Kg2 h5 33.h3 a6 34.Bb4 b5 35.cxb5 axb5 36.Rb8 Rc2 37.Rb7+ Kg8 38.Rb8 Kf7 39.Rb7+ Kg8 40.gxh5 gxh5 41.a4 bxa4 42.bxa4 Ra2 43.a5 Ra4 44.Kf3 f5 45.Ke2 Nf6 46.Kd1 Nd5 47.Bd2 Ra2 48.Rb5 Nf4 49.Rxe5 Ra1+ 50.Kc2 Ra2+ 51.Kc3 Nxh3 52.Rxf5 Nxf2 53.Bc1 Re2 54.Rxh5 Kf7 55.Kb3 Nd3 56.Ba3 Ne5 57.Rh7+ Ke6 58.Re7+ Kd5 59.a6 Rg2 60.Ka4 Nc4 61.a7 Rg8

62.Rb7? [62.Rc7! Nxa3 63.Kxa3 Kd6 64.Rg7!] 62...Ra8 63.Rb5+ Kc6 64.Bc5 Kc7 65.Rb4 Rg8 66.Rxc4 Kb7 67.Ka5 Rc8 68.Rb4+ Ka8 69.Rb5 Re8 70.Bd4 Rc8 71.Rd5 Kb7 72.Bb6 Rg8 73.Kb5 Re8

74.a8Q+! Kxa8 75.Kc6? The endgame tablebases tell us that the position is now a draw. 75.Rd7 or 75.Bc5 were required. 75...Re6+ 76.Kc7 Re7+ 77.Kd6 Rh7 78.Kc6 Rh6+ 79.Kc7 Rh7+ 80.Kc8

80...Rh8+? Now White can win. 80...Rh5! is the move to draw. 81.Bd8 Rh7 82.Ra5+ Ra7 83.Rb5 Rb7 84.Rh5 Rf7 85.Ra5+ Ra7 86.Rb5 Rb7 87.Re5 Rh7 88.Re1 Rb7 89.Ra1+ Ra7 90.Rb1 Rb7 91.Re1 Rh7 92.Re2 Rb7 93.Be7?

93...Rb8+? 93...Rxe7! is a draw. 94.Kc7 Rb7+ 95.Kc6 Ra7 96.Bd8 Rh7 97.Bc7 Rh6+ 98.Bd6 1-0.


Armenian GM Akopian moves up to second last place after this win

Vassily Ivanchuk-Rustam Kasimdzhanov
One of the favorites of the tournament was crushed in 25 moves! The opening stage was not very eventful; the resulting position was playable for both sides. It seems Vassily lost concentration and did not smell the danger for his king, otherwise he would care returning the queen that stuck on the other side of the board. White cracked on the 22nd move. His 22.Bf1? is a big blunder. Both 22.f3 and 22.Rf1 would give him a solid and approximately even position. However, the first option weakened the pawn structure, while the second one was hard to pick for psychological reasons, as Ivanchuk had already played Rf1-d1. Kasimdzhanov’s final combination was both spectacular and efficient. In the variation 23.exd4 Nxd4 24.Qd1 Black can offer another sacrifice: 24…Ndf3+! 25.gxf3 Nxf3+ 26.Kh1 Qf4! with deadly threats. In the final position of the game Rustam prepared to meet 26.Qd3 by 26…Rxc2 27.Qxc2 Qxf1+!, winning a piece.


Vassily Ivanchuk and Rustam Kasimdzhanov at the start of game five

Ivanchuk,V (2746) - Kasimdzhanov,R (2695) [D31]
4th FIDE GP Nalchik RUS (5), 19.04.2009
1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 Nf6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Qb3 Nc6 8.a3 Na5 9.Qa2 0-0 10.Nf3 c5 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.Be5 Be6 13.Bd4 Bxd4 14.Nxd4 Nc6 15.Nxe6 fxe6 16.Be2 Qe7 17.0-0 Rac8 18.Rac1 Kh8 19.Rfd1 Nd7 20.Rd2 Nde5 21.Qb3 Qf7 22.Bf1

22...d4! 23.Na2 [23.exd4 Nxd4 24.Qd1 Ndf3+! 25.gxf3 Nxf3+ 26.Kh1 Qf4!–+] 23...Ng4 24.Rdc2 dxe3 25.fxe3 Na5

0-1 because of 26.Qd3 Rxc2 27.Qxc2 Qxf1+! 28.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Nxe3+–+.


Delighted: Kasim in the press conference


Unfazed, friendly, and in last place: Vassily Ivanchuk

Sergey Karjakin-Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
The youngest participant of the tournament was unlucky to miss half a point. In the Paulsen Sicilian Sergey demonstrated an excellent novelty 8.Qg3, which gave him very strong initiative for a pawn and more than an extra hour on the clock. One has to win in such situations! However, Shakhriyar did not lose his composure and made several excellent defensive moves. The critical position occurred on the 16th move. It seems White must have a big advantage, but concrete variations do not prove it. He could transpose to a better endgame by 16.Ne4 Qg6 17.Nxd6+ Bxd6 18.Bxd6 Qxg3 19.hxg3 – the bishop pair and active White’s rooks must play its role. However, will it suffice to win? No one can be sure. After Karjakin played the most natural 16.h4, Mamedyarov found great defense. He gave up the e5-pawn and provoked useful exchanges. White’s advantage in the resulting endgame was purely symbolic.

Etienne Bacrot-Pavel Eljanov
Attack and defense were equally strong in this game. Bacrot made a good novelty in the Zajtsev Variation of the Ruy Lopez – 18.Bxa5, then nicely sacrificed a pawn by 24.Bb3!, seizing the initiative. His bishop on d5 was much stronger than its Black counterpart. However, the analysis confirmed that White was never really close to a win in this game! There were many tempting sacrifices, but none of them was decisive. In each line Black could escape to a draw. Neither 30.Rf3 Rf8 31.Rxf7, nor 31.Rxh7 or 32.Rxh7 worked for White. And Eljanov defended accurately until the end. The last precise move was 33…Ra4!, after which White no longer had any attacking potential.

Evgeny Alekseev-Levon Aronian
Aronian tested an interesting innovation in one of the Marshall lines – 16…Qf5 (earlier Black only tried 16…Qh5 and 16…Rae8). The idea is to avoid trading the queens and leave the path for the h-pawn. Alekseev continued playing in a standard way, and soon his position became dubious. Black created strong pressure against g3. However, there was no concrete way to convert it into something real. As often happens in this variation, the compensation was sufficient to equalize the game, but not more. White correctly abandoned his extra pawn on the 36th move and went to a drawn ending with opposite-colored bishops.

Peter Svidler-Boris Gelfand
Gelfand proved more knowledgeable in the Moscow Variation of the Slav Defense. By 16…Nf6! Boris improved Black’s play in Ivanchuk-Karjakin, Nice 2009, and then delivered a huge blow 18…Bh3! This move wasn’t as strong objectively and it was stunning psychologically, but it worked: Svidler didn’t manage to equalize the game. Here is one of the possible ways: 19.Qb3! Rad8 20.Qxb7 Rd7 21.Qb3 Bxg2 22.Bxf7+ Rxf7 23.Kxg2, and after exchanging on d4 the game is equal. In the variation selected by Peter, White can also defend better: 21.Qg4! Qxg4+ 22.hxg4 Bxd4 23.exd4 Rxd4, and now, instead of 24.h3?! Rd2! White plays 25.f3!, and the rook defends the second rank from f2. Having missed these opportunities, Svidler was forced to suffer. If Gelfand abstained from 32…h5 and played 32…Rf6! with the idea Rf6-a6, it is quite possible that suffering would eventually end in resignation. The point is that in this case Black’s extra pawn would appear on the queenside instead of the kingside, with means a much better promotion prospects. Boris overlooked it, and the rest was nice and clean. Svidler did not miss his chance to make a draw.

Alexander Grischuk-Peter Leko
This game became another milestone in the theory of the Anti-Moscow Gambit of the Slav Defense. Peter employed an interesting new move 16…c5!? (instead of 16…Kf8), allowing White to regain a pawn, but completing development. The exchange of the queens that followed gave White only a slight advantage in the endgame. Logical play of both sides inevitably led to a draw.

Standings


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

Round 5: Sunday, April 19, 2009

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

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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