Qatar 2015 Rd3: Brilliancies and great escapes

by Albert Silver
12/22/2015 – If there was one thing that stood out in the third round, it was the unrelenting fighting spirit exhibited in the third round. This manifested itself with games that punctuated by strokes of genius, brilliant attacks, to miraculous saves that would leave mere mortals in a state of despair. Another highly entertaining round. Express report with games.

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Qatar Masters 2015

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It is only fair to start the day’s summary with the two players left at a perfect 100%: Anish Giri and Li Chao. Both played in very much their own styles with great efficiency. Playing Polish GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Anish Giri got what can only be described as the sort of position he lives for: a tangible advantage in an endgame that he could grind to his heart’s delight. That is precisely what he did, forcing capitulation after 60 moves. Although it was one of the longest games of the day, it was not the longest, but more on that later.

Wojtaszek (left) enjoyed found himself in quicksand (Anish Giri was the quicksand), sinking little
by little, with no chance to save himself. Nothing a visit to the ol' battle cruiser won't drown away.

Li Chao was the first to reach 3.0/3, with an absolutely merciless massacre of the strong Indian GM Sethuruman that ended in just 26 moves. The Indian played a poor Queen’s Gambit Accepted that left him saddled with weaknesses very early on, and things went downhill from there.

World Champion Magnus Carlsen faced the talented IM Daniil Yuffa (2504 FIDE), who had beat Bologan the day before, but the Norwegian was in form and built a winning position that won after 27 moves. The other leaders from round two had fairly uneventful games, which is not a criticism of the struggles but merely the lack of drama.

It was Magnus Carlsen's best game so far, leaving no doubt at any point on what the result would be

This was far from the case of Vladimir Kramnik, who came to the event as world no. 2 and knocking on the 2800 door once more. Playing black, he faced Italian GM Daniel Vocatura, and the quiet Giuoco Piano (AKA the Italian Game) yielded a good fight that led nowhere in the end, or at least until move 35, when many pieces had come off, and the great Russian dropped a vital pawn that suddenly left him gasping for air. As it progressed it seemed as if the Italian would be scoring a near historic win over Kramnik, but what goes around comes around.

Vladimir Kramnik buckled down, showing all his resourcefulness

In Kramnik’s magnificent games collection DVD by ChessBase, he describes his first forays into the absolute elite players, and the foremost difference he noticed between them and players only 50-100 Elo less: their resilience. He explains that in spite of building winning or near winning positions, he simply could not believe how they managed to constantly keep the game alive, forcing him to fight for every centimeter of progress, while other ‘merely’ strong grandmasters would have collapsed long before. This can now describe his own play as the Italian discovered, and after struggling to convert his advantage, a small slip was all it took for the dream to end and a draw was the result.

My Path to the Top

On this DVD Vladimir Kramnik retraces his career from talented schoolboy to World Champion in 2006. With humour and charm he describes his first successes, what it meant to be part of the Russian Gold Medal team at the Olympiad, and how he undertook the Herculean task of beating his former mentor and teacher Garry Kasparov.

The DVD contains more than six hours of video with narrative and game analysis.


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On a much smaller scale, credit needs to be given to 12-year-old Alireza Firouzja, hero of round one with a win over Tregubov, but a loss in round two. In round three, playing white, he faced German GM Rasmus Svane, who was determined to not be the latest scalp of the prepubescent. He took great risks, but the young Iranian played well and achieved a winning position by move 28. The problem was that he had less than one minute left on the clock, and computer scores of +1 or +2 are meaningless in such cases. By the time they made time control, He was much worse, and the German grandmaster seemed well on his way to a full point. However, White’s resilience was not to be underestimated, and in what seemed a riskless position for Black, a small mistake led to a superb sequence that allowed White to save the game. Impressive.

Alireza Firouzja - Rasmus Svane

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2015"] [Site "Doha"] [Date "2015.12.22"] [Round "3"] [White "Firouzja, Alireza"] [Black "Svane, Rasmus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B17"] [WhiteElo "2372"] [BlackElo "2529"] [PlyCount "140"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "QAT"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. e4 {(102s)} c6 {(0s)} 2. d4 {(11s)} d5 {(0s)} 3. Nd2 {(9s)} dxe4 {(0s)} 4. Nxe4 {(7s)} Nd7 {(0s)} 5. Ng5 {(86s)} h6 {(7s)} 6. Ne6 {(155s)} Qb6 {(5s)} 7. Nxf8 {(85s)} Nxf8 {(2s)} 8. c3 {(432s)} Bf5 {(164 s)} 9. Nf3 {(64s)} Ng6 { (478s)} 10. Bc4 {(210s)} Nf6 {(88s)} 11. h4 {(1047s)} Bg4 {(1062s)} 12. Qd3 { (1610s)} e6 {(132s)} 13. Nh2 {(573s)} Bf5 {(156s)} 14. Qe2 {(41s)} Nxh4 {(741s) } 15. g3 {(180s)} Be4 {(816s)} 16. f3 {(153s)} Nf5 {(1s)} 17. fxe4 {(130s)} Nxg3 {(2s)} 18. Qg2 {(78s)} Nxh1 {(15s)} 19. Qxg7 {(477s)} Ke7 {(180s)} 20. Qg2 {(66s)} c5 {(84s)} 21. e5 {(191s)} Nd5 {(120s)} 22. Bxd5 {( 83s)} exd5 {(5s)} 23. Qxh1 {(11s)} cxd4 {(48s)} 24. Nf3 {(74s)} Qg6 {(515s)} 25. Qh4+ {(42s)} Kf8 {( 3s)} 26. Qxd4 {(53s)} Re8 {(100s)} 27. Be3 {(25s)} Qg2 {[#] (270s)} 28. Nd2 {(192s)} ({Had White not been down to less than *one minute*, he would not doubt have seen} 28. e6 $1 {a move that begs to be analyzed} Rh7 {and then worked out the consequences of} 29. Ne5 {after which all the lines work for White.}) 28... Qg3+ {(64s)} 29. Kd1 {(1s)} Rxe5 {(75s)} 30. Qc5+ {(46s)} Re7 { (354s)} 31. Qc8+ {(41s)} Re8 {(43s)} 32. Bc5+ {(31s)} Kg7 {(2s)} 33. Qf5 {(32s) } Qg6 {(384s)} 34. Bd4+ {(23s)} f6 {(25s)} 35. Qxg6+ {(47s)} Kxg6 {(5s)} 36. Bxa7 {(23s)} h5 {(66s)} 37. Kc2 {(11s)} h4 {(6s)} 38. Rg1+ {(61s)} Kf7 {(31s)} 39. Bd4 {(28s)} h3 {(15s)} 40. Rh1 {(0s)} Re2 {[#] (0s) Time control has been made, and whatever White had earlier is but a long-lost dream. Black's powerful pair of rooks and passed f- and h-pawns are deadly.} 41. Kd3 {(331s)} Rg2 {(437s)} 42. a4 {(117s)} h2 {(94s)} 43. b4 {(67s)} Rh3+ {(475s)} 44. Kc2 { (38s)} Rhg3 {(201s)} 45. Bb6 {(305s)} Re2 {(518s)} 46. Bc7 {(39s)} Rgg2 {(17s)} 47. Bf4 {(4s)} Ke6 {(246s)} 48. Kd3 {(259s)} Kf5 {(11s)} 49. Be3 {(87s)} Kg4 { (15s)} 50. Nf1 {(614s)} f5 {(10s)} 51. a5 {(97s)} f4 {(16s)} 52. Bc5 {(119s)} Kh3 $2 {(179s) A mistake that throws the win away, but to be fair, seeing the entire line that ensues was far from obvious.} ({Black needed to play} 52... Kf5 $1 {to prevent White's pawns from playing a decisive roll.}) 53. b5 {(143s) } Re1 {[#] (39s) This forces the line that follows, after which White will save the half point.} 54. Rxh2+ {(36s)} Rxh2 {(5s)} 55. Nxh2 {(3s)} Kxh2 { (120s)} 56. Bd6 {(17s)} Kg3 {(108s)} 57. a6 {(28s)} bxa6 {(255s)} 58. b6 $1 { (1s)} Rb1 {(71s)} 59. Bb4 {(12s) Protecting the advance.} Rd1+ {(41s)} 60. Kc2 {(92s)} Rh1 {(22s)} 61. b7 {(14s)} Rh8 {(4s)} 62. Bd6 $1 {(3s) and it is remarkable that the pin is the saving factor. Had the Black king been on g2, then advancing the f-pawn would win. Was Kg3 a mistake? No, since the pawn was pinned anyhow, and needed to be protected.} a5 {(78s)} 63. b8=Q {(89s)} Rxb8 { (1s)} 64. Bxb8 {(1s)} a4 {(32s)} 65. Bd6 {(41s)} Kg4 {(50s)} 66. Kd2 {(20s)} Kf3 {(35s)} 67. Kd3 {(18s)} Kg3 {( 26s)} 68. Ke2 {(35s)} Kg4 {(37s)} 69. Kd2 { (71s)} Kg3 {(16s)} 70. Ke2 {(30s)} Kg4 {(9s)} 1/2-1/2

The longest game by far was the absurd (for wont of a better word) ending between IM Sopiko Guramishvili and IM Roven Vogel, in which the German found himself down two pieces at move 66 in an endgame with no chances whatsoever, and decided to play to the bitter end. Sopiko obliged him, and picked off the last pawns one by one, driving his king all over the board with checks until she mated his lone king 50 moves later on move 116 with her rook, bishop, and knight. Go figure.

When Mamedyarov takes off, there are few as creative and brilliant

The best game of the round was without a doubt the win by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov over Aleksander Lenderman, which was nothing short of spectacular. In fact the American grandmaster was so impressed (we presume) that he actually let the Azeri grandmaster play out the final mate on the board.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Aleksander Lenderman

[Event "Qatar Masters Open 2015"] [Site "Doha"] [Date "2015.12.22"] [Round "3"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Lenderman, Aleksandr"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E21"] [WhiteElo "2748"] [BlackElo "2626"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "QAT"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. d4 {(0s)} Nf6 {(0s)} 2. c4 {(0s)} e6 {(0s)} 3. Nf3 {(0s)} Bb4+ {(13s)} 4. Nc3 {(21s)} c5 {(25s)} 5. g3 {(59s)} Nc6 {(12s)} 6. Bg2 {(30s)} Ne4 {(26s)} 7. Bd2 {(80s)} Nxd2 {(10s)} 8. Qxd2 {(1s)} cxd4 {( 11s)} 9. Nxd4 {(4s)} Qb6 {(8s)} 10. e3 {(123s)} Ne5 {(34s)} 11. b3 {(21s)} Qa5 {(8s)} 12. Rc1 {(52s)} O-O {(118s)} 13. O-O {(23s)} a6 {(420s)} 14. Rfd1 {(123s)} Ba3 {(439s)} 15. Rc2 {(137s)} Rb8 {(217 s)} 16. Qe2 {(65s)} Rd8 {(142s)} 17. h3 {(379s)} Be7 {(190s)} 18. f4 {(83s)} Nc6 {(47s)} 19. Kh2 {( 21s)} Nb4 {(805s)} 20. Rcc1 {(168s)} Nc6 {(8s)} 21. Qd3 {(579s)} Ba3 {(249s)} 22. Bxc6 {(757s)} Bxc1 {(75s)} 23. Be4 {(3s)} Bb2 {(736s)} 24. Nxe6 {(248s)} fxe6 {(299s)} 25. Bxh7+ {(7s)} Kh8 {(71 s)} 26. Ne4 {(7s)} Rf8 {(336s)} 27. Bg6 {(147s)} Kg8 {(791s)} 28. Qe2 {(506s)} Bf6 {(78s)} 29. c5 {( 168s)} Bc3 {(374s)} 30. Qh5 {(96s)} Rf5 {(13s)} 31. Bxf5 {(21s)} exf5 {(7s)} 32. Qe8+ {(2s)} Kh7 {(8 s)} 33. Ng5+ {(2s)} Kh6 {(7s)} 34. Rd6+ {(4s)} Bf6 {(4s)} 35. Qh8+ {(4s)} Kg6 {(5s)} 36. Qh7# {(1s)} 1-0

Full report by IM Sagar Shah to follow...

Photos from the official site by Katerina Savina

Pairings/Results of Round 3 on 2015/12/22 at 15:00

Bo. Ti. Name Rtg
Ti. Name Rtg
1 GM Giri Anish 2784 1-0 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2723
2 GM Howell David W L 2688 ½-½ GM So Wesley 2775
3 GM Sethuraman S.P. 2639 0-1 GM Li Chao B 2750
4 GM Yu Yangyi 2736 ½-½ GM Swiercz Dariusz 2646
5 GM Carlsen Magnus 2834 1-0 IM Yuffa Daniil 2504
6 GM Vocaturo Daniele 2597 ½-½ GM Kramnik Vladimir 2796
7 GM Karjakin Sergey 2766 ½-½ GM Sasikiran Krishnan 2638
8 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2748 1-0 GM Lenderman Aleksandr 2626
9 GM Piorun Kacper 2637 ½-½ GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2744
10 GM Harikrishna P. 2743 ½-½ GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2622
11 GM Bluebaum Matthias 2590 ½-½ GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2737
12 GM Korobov Anton 2713 ½-½ GM Zhang Zhong 2619
13 GM Xu Jun 2526 ½-½ GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2710
14 GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2710 ½-½ GM Hamdouchi Hicham 2597
15 GM Harika Dronavalli 2513 0-1 GM Ni Hua 2693
16 GM Matlakov Maxim 2684 1-0 GM Rambaldi Francesco 2560
17 IM Gagare Shardul 2470 ½-½ GM Hou Yifan 2683
18 GM Adhiban B. 2669 0-1 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2542
19 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 2663 1-0 GM Al-Sayed Mohammed 2520
20   Fang Yuxiang 2438 0-1 GM Dubov Daniil 2655
21 GM Akopian Vladimir 2648 1-0 GM Sundararajan Kidambi 2513
22 WGM Abdumalik Zhansaya 2390 0-1 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2648
23 GM Sjugirov Sanan 2646 1-0 IM Tissir Mohamed 2346
24 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2644 ½-½   Xu Yinglun 2470
25 WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra 2493 ½-½ GM Wei Yi 2730
26 GM Vitiugov Nikita 2724 ½-½ GM Zhukova Natalia 2488
27 GM Moiseenko Alexander 2689 ½-½ FM Moroni Luca Jr 2466
28 IM Ly Moulthun 2462 0-1 GM Fedoseev Vladimir 2664
29 GM Bologan Viktor 2654 1-0 IM Kashlinskaya Alina 2448
30 IM Ali Marandi Cemil Can 2454 0-1 GM Khismatullin Denis 2654
31 GM Khairullin Ildar 2647 ½-½ IM Puranik Abhimanyu 2442
32 IM Wang Yiye 2438 1-0 GM Shankland Samuel L 2646
33 IM Padmini Rout 2437 0-1 GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 2642
34 FM Abdusattorov Nodirbek 2429 0-1 GM Grandelius Nils 2632
35 GM Naroditsky Daniel 2628 1-0 IM Seyb Alexander 2425
36 IM Vignesh N R 2422 1-0 GM Bartel Mateusz 2620
37 GM Ipatov Alexander 2619 1-0   Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh 2414
38 GM Lu Shanglei 2618 ½-½ IM Abhishek Kelkar 2393
39 FM Li Di 2389 0-1 GM Bok Benjamin 2594
40 IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2380 ½-½ GM Tregubov Pavel V. 2589
41 GM Esen Baris 2562 1-0 IM Karavade Eesha 2379
42 IM Lin Chen 2532 ½-½   Roy Prantik 2370
43   Firouzja Alireza 2372 ½-½ IM Svane Rasmus 2529
44 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2521 1-0   Dai Changren 2328
45 GM Schroeder Jan-Christian 2511 ½-½   Raja Harshit 2325
46 GM Bromberger Stefan 2521 1-0 WGM Pourkashiyan Atousa 2322
47 FM Haria Ravi 2416 ½-½ IM Batsiashvili Nino 2498
48 IM Saiyn Zhanat 2394 ½-½ IM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan 2494
49 WGM Saduakassova Dinara 2407 1-0 IM Ezat Mohamed 2490
50 IM Slavin Alexey 2388 0-1 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 2486
51 IM Tabatabaei M.Amin 2482 1-0 GM Carlsson Pontus 2433
52 IM Pham Le Thao Nguyen 2319 1-0 GM Neelotpal Das 2475
53 GM Krush Irina 2468 0-1 IM Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 2385
54 IM Ma Zhonghan 2463 1-0 IM Li Ruofan 2372
55 WIM Pratyusha Bodda 2260 1-0 IM Lorparizangeneh Shahin 2454
56 IM Firat Burak 2446 1-0 WGM Bartel Marta 2271
57 IM Sagar Shah 2441 1-0 FM Goriatchkin Jouri 2318
58 IM Guramishvili Sopiko 2368 1-0 IM Vogel Roven 2439
59 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2559 ½-½ IM Nezad Husein Aziz 2425
60 FM Gholami Aryan 2422 ½-½ GM Khotenashvili Bela 2496
61 GM Shoker Samy 2489 1-0   Siva Mahadevan 2400
62 IM Sanal Vahap 2487 ½-½ IM Konguvel Ponnuswamy 2377
63 GM Venkatesh M.R. 2451 ½-½ WIM Bivol Alina 2344
64 FM Basso Pier Luigi 2438 1-0 WFM Vaishali R 2313
65 IM Aryan Chopra 2436 1-0 WIM Derakhshani Dorsa 2307
66 IM Piasetski Leon 2287 0-1 FM Rohan Ahuja 2426

Schedule for Playchess Commentary

Day Round Time English German
Wed 23 December  Round 4 3 PM Daniel King Thomas Luther
Thu 24 December  Round 5 3 PM Simon Williams Thomas Luther
Fri 25 December  Rest day      
Sat 26 December  Round 6 3 PM Mihail Marin Thomas Luther
Sun 27 December  Round 7 3 PM Simon Williams Sebastian Siebrecht
Mon 28 December  Round 8 3 PM Daniel King Sebastian Siebrecht
Tue 29 December  Round 9 12 PM Yasser Seirawan Sebastian Siebrecht


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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