Nanjing R02: All games drawn – but exciting battles

10/21/2010 – When a lay audience sees all the games of a round ending without decision the first reaction is disappointment. But when a strong grandmaster looks at the games they can be filled with excitement – as was the case with our guest commentator today. GM Anish Giri, the rising star of Dutch chess, did express analysis and gives us his take on the round. Now with pictures.

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Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess Tournament

The 2010 Nanjing International tournament takes place from October 19th to October 30th in Nanjing, China. It is a ten-round double round-robin event, in which each player faces every other player twice, once with the white pieces, and once with black.

Time control: 40 moves in two hours then 20 moves in one hour followed by the rest of the game in 15 minutes with a 30 second increment as of move 61.

Game start: Rounds 1-9 at 2:30 PM local time (11:30 PM Pacific daylight / 2:30 AM New York / 8:30 AM Paris), and round 10 at 10 AM local time (7 PM Pacific daylight / 10 PM New York / 4 AM Paris)

Rest day: October 25th (after round 5).

Round two report

Round 2: Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wang Yue 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Games – Report

Commentary by
GM Anish Giri

There is a replay link at the end of each game, which takes you to a JavaScript board. There you can click on the notation to follow the analysis which was provided by GM Anish Giri on the graphic chessboard.

You can also download the game in PGN and study it in peace, e.g. with Fritz 12 or ChessBase.

There is a tremendous amount to learn from our young GM's notes – ignore them at your own peril.

Bacrot,Etienne (2716) - Topalov,Veselin (2803) [E13]
Pearl Spring Chess Tournament Nanjing/China (2), 21.10.2010 [Giri, Anish]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 b6. The text move leads to a strategically very complicated position with mutual chances. 4...c5 is played a bit more often on the top level, but after a few games, starting with Kramnik-Anand from Bonn, it's considered to be not so easy for Black. 5.Bg5 h6. 5...Bb7 is played more often. 6.Nd2 was what Bacrot chose recently against A.Sokolov. (6.e3). 6.Bh4 g5 7.Bg3 Ne4 8.Qc2 Bb7. Now we are transposed into some line from 5...Bb7. 9.e3 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 d6 11.Bd3 f5 12.d5 Na6








The critical position of this line. White has an extremely poor pawn structure, but it's balanced by his two bishops and in a way better development. The question is only if it's balanced or more than balanced. 13.Nd4. 13.Bxe4 fxe4 14.Qxe4 Qf6 is known to win a pawn, but to draw the game. 13...Nac5 14.0-0








14...Qe7! Novelty! I was very much afraid that I would not be able to find the deep point of the move, but in fact it turned out to be simple. After the main move 14...Qf6 White usually goes 15.f3 and now Black has to take on g3, since taking on d3 is bad – which is not the case with queen on e7! 15...Nxg3 (15...Nxd3? 16.fxe4 Nc5 17.e5! and Black will be crushed.) 16.hxg3. 15.f3 Nxd3 16.Qxd3. 16.fxe4 Nc5 still looks a bit dangerous for Black, but I will trust my engine and that of Topalov, which say that it's fine. 16...Nc5 17.Qc2 0-0 18.dxe6








18...Qh7! Beautiful defensive move. Now it's clear that the e6 pawn is in danger, and that means that White is in strategical danger as well. 19.e4!? f4! Black doesn't need to enter any complications yet. 19...fxe4 20.f4! is very double edged and probably around equal. 20.Bf2 Rae8 21.a4. White's problem is that he doesn't really have a clear plan. 21...g4!?








Good move, in Topalov style. He doesn't want to play it slow, he just goes for it! I am curious what would have been played by Bacrot after the automatic 21...a5!? for example 22.Qa2 Qg6 with advantage for Black. 22.fxg4. A mistake, but white is already under big pressure. 22.a5!? would be a nice way to show how fearless you are, but I can imagine that there in China, playing Topalov, you have some other ideas than that. And well, even objectively it's dangerous- 22...gxf3 23.gxf3 Nxe4! and even though white doesn't have to take the knight, still he is in danger.; 22.Nf5 is also not helping much- 22...Nxe6 23.fxg4 Ng5! with attack. 22...Bxe4 23.Qd2 Qg6 24.h3 h5 25.Bh4








25...Nxe6? I suppose Topalov was intending to play the winning line, but then he saw some ghosts there and he decided to play it safe. 25...hxg4! is of course natural and must have been Topalov's initial thought. I can imagine that with the pawn on e7 you may see some ghosts there, but the computer tells me that objectively the position is just winning for Black. 26.e7 Rf7 27.Rxf4 Rxf4 28.Qxf4 gxh3 29.g4 (29.Qg5 is best 29...Qxg5 30.Bxg5 Bxg2 and the endgame should be won for Black.) 29...Nd3 30.Qg3 Ne5! 31.Qxh3 c5 with a crushing attack. 26.Nxe6 Qxe6 27.Rxf4. 27.gxh5!? would be more ambitious, but I can imagine that Etienne was already happy with a draw. 27...Rxf4 28.Qxf4 hxg4 29.Re1!? Qg6 29...gxh3!? 30.Re3 looks a bit dangerous for Black, but again, with computer play he is easily holding. 30...Kg7! 30.hxg4 Bc6 31.Rxe8+ Bxe8 32.Bd8!








Now it's clear that Black is unable to keep his pawns, and so the draw is inevitable. 32...Qb1+ 33.Qf1 Qxf1+ 34.Kxf1 Bxa4 35.Bxc7 Bb3 36.Bxd6 Bxc4+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Anand,Viswanathan (2800) - Carlsen,Magnus (2826) [C95]
Pearl Spring Chess Tournament Nanjing/China (2), 21.10.2010 [Giri, Anish]

1.e4. After the World Championship, Anand seems to be listening to Fischer, who a long time ago anounced that the best move was 1.e4! 1...e5. No Dragons, no Najdorfs, Carlsen is still faithful to the Breyer Defense, that remained uncracked since his last tournament in Bilbao. 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8. As promised: Breyer. Since my early childhood I always liked this knight maneuvre. Nowadays this variation is pretty popular and with Carlsen fighting for the black side, I am afraid the popularity of the line will only increase. 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8. The rare 12...c5 was tried by Carlsen once in a rapid game against Jan Smeets. He managed to win the game, but I doubt that the opening had something to do with the result. 13.a4. Earlier the main move was 13.Nf1 having in mind the typical Spanish maneuvre. However, nowadays not everybody is convinced that this is the way to play. 13...Bf8 14.Ng3 g6. 13...Bf8 14.Bd3 c6 15.b4 Statistically the main move is 15.b3 and it was successfully played by Anand a few times last year. However objectively it's hard for White to prove his advantage. 15...Nb6. Forcing White to take on b5 (or play a5, which is considered to be an achievement for Black), underlining the disadvantage of White's last move. 16.axb5








So far Magnus has already had the position three times, two of them against Vishy. 16...axb5. The main move, but sort of a surprise! 16...cxb5 17.d5 Rc8 was discussed in Shirov-Carlsen and Anand-Carlsen in Bilbao. In fact it seemed that both times Carlsen had no opening problems. I think this time he decided to fight his curiousity and go for the solid axb5. 17.Rxa8 Qxa8!? finally a real surprise 17...Bxa8 was played in yet another Anand-Carlsen in Arctic rapid 2010. 18.Nb3








18...Nc4N. A new move, with the idea to take back on e5 with a piece and thus keeping the options of d5 and c5. 19.dxe5. Good move – it's hard to see what else White could do. 19...Nxe5 20.Nxe5 Rxe5 Black did take on e5 with piece, and he did keep option of d5 and c5, but still I have the feeling he may be slightly under pressure. 21.f3 Re8 22.Be3 Bc8. Both sides are simply trying to improve their pieces. 23.Bf2 Be6 24.Nd4 Bd7 25.Qd2 Qb8 26.Bf1 h6 27.Ra1 Qb7








28.Ra5. Here it seemed as if White was about to get something real with Qa2 in the air, but Black is just in time with the counterstrike. White could have tried 28.Nb3!? Now Black has to prevent Ra7 28...Ra8 and the key move (28...Qb8!? with the idea 29.Ra7 c5) 29.Ra5!? White intends Qa2, and then to take on a5 with the pawn, which leads to a strategically very complicated position, but I believe Black should be able to hold the a-pawn, e.g. 29...Rxa5 30.bxa5!? Qa6 31.Bb6 Be8! or any other bishop move, intending Nd7, should be fine for Black. So all in all I believe Black should always have enough counterplay in this line. 28...d5! [28...Ra8 29.Qa2 Rxa5 30.bxa5 Qa6 31.c4] 29.exd5 Nxd5 30.Nb3 Be6 31.Nc5 Bxc5 32.Bxc5








Here, too, it seemed to me that White has the advantage, but in fact Black is very solid and with strong play Carlsen easily managed to equalize. 32...Rd8 33.Ra1 Qb8 34.Rd1 Qg3!








It's always nice to annoy the king of World Champion, at least a little bit. 35.Bf2 Qe5 36.c4 bxc4 37.Bxc4 Rd7 38.Bxd5. Black equalized, so it's time to fix the result. 38...Rxd5 39.Qe1 Qxe1+ 40.Rxe1 Rd2 41.Bc5 Kh7 42.Rf1! A strong "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" plan. 42...Bc4 43.Rf2 Rxf2 44.Kxf2 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Magnus in the press conference after the game


Vishy Anand presents his take of this encounter


Wang,Yue (2732) - Gashimov,Vugar (2719) [E43]
Pearl Spring Chess Tournament Nanjing/China (2), 21.10.2010 [Giri Anish]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6!? It seems that Gashimov is trying something more solid then the Benoni in this tournament. 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.e3. A surprise for Gashimov. 5.Bg5 was played in Bacrot-Topalov today. It's also the move Wang Yue usually plays here. 5...Ne4!? An interesting move that leads to a very unballanced game. 5...Bb7 6.Bd3 0-0 (6...Ne4!?) 7.0-0 is main. 6.Qc2 Bb7 7.Bd3 f5 8.0-0 Bxc3 9.bxc3 0-0 10.Nd2. The main move in this position. White fights for the e4 square. 10.Ne1 with idea f3 is also possible.; 10.c5!? was recently played in Georgiev,V-Eljanov. White won that very sharp and complicated battle. 10...Qh4 11.f3








11...Ng5?! I can't say I really love Black's position after 11...Nxd2 12.Bxd2 Nc6 So I think the whole line is a little risky for Black. Nevertheless, this was the way to play it. 12.f4! Nf7. 12...Nh3+? obviously doesn't work 13.gxh3 Qxh3 14.e4 Rf6 15.Nf3 Rg6+ 16.Ng5 and there is no mate; 12...Qg4 13.d5 Nf7 is also close to a disaster after e4 or Ba3 first. 13.e4. It's clear that black has completely lost the opening battle. White has the whole centre, and the black knight on f7 and queen on h4 aren't enjoying themselves. 13...Nh6 14.Nf3 Qh5 15.Ba3 Re8 16.Rae1 fxe4 17.Rxe4!








Very strong move! Black can only dream about exchanging light squared bishops. 17...Ng4 18.d5! Na6 19.h3 Nf6 20.Re5 Qh6 21.Ng5 exd5 22.cxd5 Nc5 23.Bxc5 bxc5








So far Wang Yue played exremely powerful chess, but here he makes a little slip. 24.Qb3?! 24.Rfe1! would be just simply killing. 24...Rxe5 25.fxe5 Bxd5 26.Bc4 c6 27.exf6 Qxg5 28.Bxd5+ cxd5 28...Qxd5 29.f7+ Kf8 30.Qb1! Qh5 31.Qd3! is also not a piece of cake.








29.f7+?! Wrong move order and the winning advantage is lost... 29.Qb7! first would be stronger: 29...Rf8 (29...Rd8 30.Qc7! is the point! The rook on d8 is attacked.) 30.f7+ Kh8 31.Qxd7 Now the best Black can get is the following queen endgame: 31...g6 32.Qd6 Kg7 33.Qxc5 Rxf7 34.Rxf7+ Kxf7 35.Qxa7+ and this queen ending is probably just won for White. 29...Kf8 30.Qb7 Rd8 31.Qxa7








31...Qe7?! I think it's hard to critisize Gashimov, who managed to draw such a game, but this move is losing. I am not sure if there is a save for Black, but he would have kept better chances with move like d4!? 31...Qe3+!?; 31...d6!?; 31...d4 32.cxd4 Qe3+. 32.a4? An obvious mistake. Now White has lost all the advantage he had. 32.Qb6! I was expecting this move during live transmission and was very proud the computer confirmed my opinion. It prevents Qd6 and seems to be just winning. It's hard to see what Black can do against a4-a5-a6-a7... 32...Qd6 33.Kh1. 33.a5!? Qc6 34.Rb1 Kxf7 35.Rb8 would be easier to make a draw for White. 33...Qc6! 34.Rb1 Kxf7 35.Rb6?! 35.Rb7! is also an easier defence. 35...Ra8 36.Rxc6 Rxa7 37.Rxc5 Ke6!








Now White still has to fight for a draw, but it seems that he is in time. 38.a5 Kd6 39.Rb5 Kc6 40.Rb8! Active rook! 40...g6. Gashimov is trying to win some tempi, but Wang doesn't blink. 41.Kg1 Rxa5 42.Rh8 Kb5 43.Rxh7 Kc4 44.Rxd7 Kxc3 45.h4 d4 46.Kf2. White should have another counterplay with his own passed pawn. 46...Ra2+ 47.Kf3 d3 48.g4 Rh2 49.Kf4! Rxh4 50.Kg5 Rh3 51.Kxg6 d2








52.Rxd2 Kxd2 53.g5 and Black is unable to stop the pawn. 53...Ke3 54.Kf6 Rf3+ 55.Ke6 Kf4 56.g6 Kg5 57.g7 Rf6+ 58.Ke7 Rg6 59.Kf7 Rxg7+ 60.Kxg7 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Magnus relaxing with some table tennis after the round


After this magnificent return the spectators showered the table with gold coins

Pictures by Yu Feng

Schedule and results

Round 1: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Wang Yue
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Round 2: Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wang Yue 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Games – Report
Round 3: Friday, October 22, 2009
Magnus Carlsen 
   Wang Yue
Veselin Topalov 
   Vishy Anand
Vugar Gashimov 
   Etienne Bacrot
Games – Report
Round 4: Saturday, October 23, 2010
Veselin Topalov 
   Wang Yue
Vugar Gashimov 
   Magnus Carlsen
Etienne Bacrot 
   Vishy Anand
Games – Report
Round 5: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wang Yue 
   Etienne Bacrot
Vishy Anand 
   Vugar Gashimov
Magnus Carlsen 
   Veselin Topalov
Games – Report
Round 6: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wang Yue 
   Vishy Anand
Etienne Bacrot 
   Magnus Carlsen
Vugar Gashimov 
   Veselin Topalov
Games – Report
Round 7: Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Vugar Gashimov 
   Wang Yue
Veselin Topalov 
   Etienne Bacrot
Magnus Carlsen 
   Vishy Anand
Games – Report
Round 8: Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wang Yue
   Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
   Veselin Topalov
Etienne Bacrot  
   Vugar Gashimov
Games – Report
Round 9: Friday, October 29, 2010
Etienne Bacrot 
   Wang Yue
Vugar Gashimov 
   Vishy Anand
Veselin Topalov 
   Magnus Carlsen
Games – Report
Round 10: Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wang Yue 
   Veselin Topalov
Magnus Carlsen 
   Vugar Gashimov
Vishy Anand 
   Etienne Bacrot
Games – Report

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