Nanjing R05: Bacrot and Carlsen win

10/24/2010 – Another exciting day: while Anand settled for a safe draw against Vugar Gashimov (to recuperate on the free day), bottom seed Etienne Bacrot continued his rampage with a black-piece win against Wang Yue; and Magnus Carlsen continued his forceful comeback with another fine victory – over second seed Veselin Topalov. Illustrated report with analysis by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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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 five report

Round 5: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wang Yue 
0-1
 Etienne Bacrot
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov

After five very interesting rounds, Nanjing has certainly been more than just a tournament of super GMs where the focus was on opening novelties, brilliancies and blunders. It has been a testament to human frailty and resilience, and the ability to surpass expectations.

The game between Anand and Gashimov was quite fortuitous for both players as they were in need of regrouping after disappointing results in the previous rounds, and conveniently found a willing partner. Objectively speaking, it was more advantageous to Gashimov as he faced the world champion with black and was let off the hook lightly. Still, one can hardly blame Anand, who had lost a game he felt was under control, and was now at 50%. With five rounds to go, and a rest day coming, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to stop the damage.

Anand,V (2800) - Gashimov,V (2719) [D94]
3rd Pearl Spring Nanjing CHN (5), 24.10.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]


Peace is good.

An uneventful game for the two players who had had a poor 4th round in Nanjing. The reigning world champion failed to find a fantastic save, shown later by Dr. Karsten Mueller, and suffered an upset, while Gashimov, who had been squeezing Carlsen for most of the game and had even had him on the ropes, somehow failed to convert his advantage into the full point. Both players were recovering from the shock of the previous day. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 g6 5.Nf3 This line is becoming quite popular in Nanjing! 5...Bg7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 Bg4 8.cxd5. 8.b3 was famed Blackburne's choice back in 1887! However, in spite of its historical value, this is considered typical and even detrimental according to modern theory. 8...cxd5 9.Qb3 b6 10.h3 Bc8!? An odd choice by Gashimov. 10...Bxf3 11.Bxf3 e6 12.Bd2 might give white better prospects due to his bishop pair.] 11.Bd2 Nc6 12.Ne5 Bb7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Rfc1 Qd7 15.a4 Rfc8 Black has now successfully completed his development. The position is about equal and Gashimov's only care is the positional maneuvers which he handled accurately. 16.a5 bxa5 17.Rxa5 e6 18.Rca1 Bf8 19.Qa2 Rcb8 20.Nd1 Ne4 21.Be1 Rb7 22.Ba6 Rb6 23.Bd3 Rb7 24.Ba6 Rb6 25.Bd3 Rb7 Draw. [Click to replay]

Carlsen and Topalov have been going through similarly difficult times, albeit for different reasons. Since Carlsen had actually continued to fall in Bilbao, and Nanjing was to start only a few days later on the other side of the world, it seemed there would be no time for the young number one to recover his equilibrium, and frankly popular polls had Anand as pre-tournament favorite, quite justly it seemed. Nevertheless with the help of his opponents and his extraordinary talent, the event started as if the last couple of months had never taken place, and he has yet to take his foot off the accelerator.


The number one back to his winning ways.

Topalov has been in a very similar slump, though in his case, the obvious culprit is his disappointing match against Anand. His loss to Anand in the third round did nothing to help recover his confidence, and his several mistakes against Carlsen showed he is still hurting. Even his detractors cannot really be pleased with this since there are only a handful of players capable of upholding a 2800 standard, of whom Topalov is one, and when one of them loses this edge, even temporarily, it is not just he who loses, it is chess.

Carlsen,M (2826) - Topalov,V (2803) [C84]
3rd Pearl Spring Nanjing CHN (5), 24.10.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

A fine game in "Magnusian style!" The world number one is not seeking a deep theoretical surprise, rather he chooses to simply outplay his opponent in a position in which Topalov is even less experienced than he is! 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 No more Scotch! After a fine and impressive game against Bacrot one could expect to see another Scotch, however, I believe that Carlsen is more interested in avoiding any special preparation and wants to bring the game as quickly as possible to the phase one might call "fight at the board"! 3...a6 The Berlin is what one might have expected from Topalov. 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3!? The right decision in my opinion. Carlsen tries to pospone d4 in order to choose his setup according to black's. There aren't many theoretical surveys in this position, though statistics show us that black may be safe here.


6.d3... all that opening preparation for this?

6...b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.a4 Rb8 9.axb5 axb5








10.Nbd2. An odd though successful choice first played by Daniel King. 10...0-0 11.Re1 Bd7N 11...Be6 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.c3 Qd7 14.d4 exd4 15.cxd4 Ra8 16.Rxa8 Rxa8 17.Nb3 Nd8 1-0 King,D (2506) -Krasenkow,M (2643)/Germany 1999/GER-chT (71)] 12.c3 Ra8 13.Rxa8 Qxa8 14.d4 h6 15.Nf1 Re8 16.Ng3 Qc8 17.Nh4 Carlsen starts his fight for the initiative. 17...Bf8?! An inaccuracy. The bishop on b3 is well-placed and black's last move offers white the bishop pair with no genuine counter play. 17...Na5 18.Bc2 (18.Ba2 Nc4!? 19.b3 (19.Bxc4 bxc4 20.dxe5 (20.Qe2 exd4 21.cxd4? Nxe4! and black would win) 20...dxe5 21.Nhf5 Bf8 22.Qf3 Qa6) 19...Qa8 20.Qe2 Nb6 (20...Nd5? 21.Nhf5 Nxc3 22.Qg4 Bxf5 23.Nxf5 Bg5 24.Bxg5 hxg5 25.Qxg5 g6 26.Nh6+ Kg7 27.Ng4 would give white a decisive winning attack.) 21.Nhf5 Bf8 22.Bb1 A rich position in which black is not at all worse.) 18...g6!?








18.Ng6! Na5 19.Nxf8 Rxf8 20.Bc2 Re8








21.f4! Of course Magnus does not hesitate and goes straight for the king. Having a strong pair of bishops and a rock solid center, who could resist the temptation? 21...Bg4 22.Qd3 exf4? Not at any cost! It is understandable that in a diffiicult position Topalov would seek activity but in my opinion it only worsens the situation. 22...Qb8 was preferable though the position remains worse. 23.Bxf4 Nc4 24.Bc1! A cool retreat. 24...c5 The final mistake in my opinion, and black is helpless now. 25.Rf1 cxd4 26.cxd4 Qd8 27.h3 Be6 28.b3 Qa5 29.Kh2 Magnus does not need to complicate things. With his last move he has prepared the final blow! 29...Nh7 30.e5 g6 31.d5 Nxe5








32.dxe6! After Nxd3 33.exf7+ Kf8 34.Bxh6+ Ke7 35.fxe8Q+ Kxe8 36.Bxd3 and not only does g6 fall, but the knight on h7 is lost as well. Ex: 36...Qc7 37.Bxg6+ Kd8 38.Rf7+- 1-0 [Click to replay]

Wang Yue faced what has certainly been the most surprising player of the event: French GM Etienne Bacrot. After his first round loss to Carlsen, and draw with Topalov, who could have predicted that the lowest rated player would go on a three-win streak in such a field and be trailing the number one by half a point and a 2923 performance? Wang Yue was unable to change the direction of things, and though he repeated the same opening that had brought Kramnik an impressive victory against Carlsen in Bilbao just a couple of weeks earlier, Bacrot seemed well prepared and not only equalized with black, but even achieved a slight nagging edge, however it was a tragic blunder by the Chinese GM, losing a piece, that decided the result.


Top Chinese GM Wang Yue having a bad day at work.

Wang Yue (2732) - Bacrot,E (2716) [E15]
3rd Pearl Spring Nanjing CHN (5), 24.10.2010 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

Contrary to the previous game, this one *is* a theoretical battle which will significantly advance the line's theory. The French champion managed to keep his cool and racked up his third consecutive win. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qa4 Due to Kramnik's stylish victory this line has been becoming more and more popular.


Etienne Bacrot is on three straight wins and a 2923 performance.

5...Bb7 6.Bg2 c5 7.dxc5 bxc5 8.0-0 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Rd1 Qb6 11.Bf4 Rd8 12.Rd2 d6 13.Rad1 h6 14.Qb5. 14.Qb3 is used to be the main line in this position but recent results among top players have been "sterile" for such rich ground. 14...Ne8 15.e4 g5 16.Be3 Nd7 17.h4 g4 18.Ne1








18...Kg7N A very normal move. 18...Qxb5 19.cxb5 Bf8 20.Nc2 Ne5 21.Na3 Rdc8 22.Bf4 Bg7 23.Bxe5 Bxe5 24.Nc4 Bd4 25.Ne2 e5 26.a4 Kf8 27.Rc2 Rc7 28.Na5 1-0 Navara,D (2722)-Leko,P (2724)/ Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2010 (53) 19.Bf4?! A complicated position would have arisen after 19.Qa4 Bc6 20.Qc2 where the caveats of Kg7 become apparent. White could keep the queens on the board and black's king shelter would be attacked with even heavier artillery! 19...Bc6 20.Qxb6 axb6 21.Nc2 Ne5 22.Ne3.








22...Nf3+! One might consider this move as natural but I personally cannot avoid praising it. The knight on e5 looks great and one might not find it necessary to trade it for the "blind" bishop on g2, however, the bishop on c6 will then have no one to challenge it. 23.Bxf3 gxf3 24.h5 Bf6 25.Ng4 Bxc3 26.bxc3 Bxe4 27.Bxh6+ Kh7 28.Bg5 Rd7 29.Bf4 f6








30.Kh2?? A terrible mistake! White loses a piece! 30.Bxd6 Rad8 31.Bf4 Rxd2 32.Rxd2 Rxd2 33.Bxd2 Bd3 34.a3 Bxc4 35.Kh2 e5 36.Kh3 Be6 37.Kh4 In spite of practical difficulties the position is about even. 30...e5 31.Nxe5 A disastrous try. White is hopeless and Bacrot has not difficulty converting his advantage. 31...fxe5 32.Bxe5 Bf5 33.Bxd6 Rad8 34.Bf4 Rxd2 35.Rxd2 Rxd2 36.Bxd2 Nd6 37.Bf4 Nxc4 38.g4 Bxg4 39.h6 Be6 40.Kg3 Bd5 41.Kg4 Nb2 42.a3 Nd1 43.c4 Nxf2+ A fine victory for the French warrior and a very bad day for the Chinese GM. 0-1. [Click to replay]


Indian chess fans to cheer their champion on.


Technical staff readying the pictures and multimedia material.


The charming WGM Gu Xiaobing on staff as live commentator and interpreter, since
the usual ones did not have her familiarity and understanding of chess terms.

Pictures by Yu Feng

Cross table

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
Round 3: Friday, October 22, 2009
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Wang Yue
Veselin Topalov 
0-1
 Vishy Anand
Vugar Gashimov 
0-1
 Etienne Bacrot
Round 4: Saturday, October 23, 2010
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Wang Yue
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Etienne Bacrot 
1-0
 Vishy Anand
Round 5: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wang Yue 
0-1
 Etienne Bacrot
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov
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

Commentary by
GM Elshan Moradiabadi

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