Sochi R11+12: more fighting chess, Aronian leads

8/14/2008 – Four games decided in round eleven, with the others well fought; then three unmemorable draws, two hard-fought ones and one beautifully instructive strategic win by Peter Svidler in round twelve. The Second FIDE Grand Prix in Sochi nears its end. Aronian is in the lead, but can still be caught or overtaken. Games on Playchess.com. Note: the final round starts an hour earlier.

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FIDE Grand Prix in Sochi 2008

The Second FIDE Grand Prix Tournament is taking place in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, from July 30 to August 15, 2008, with 14 players from ten different countries. The field is dominated by Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk, who is 37 point ahead of the next highest ranked player in the field.

Report after round eleven

Round 11: Tuesday, August 12rd

Wang Yue
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Navara David
½-½
Grischuk Alexander
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Radjabov Teimour
Aronian Levon
1-0
Gelfand Boris
Karjakin Sergey
1-0
Cheparinov Ivan
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
0-1
Svidler Peter
Jakovenko Dmitry
1-0
Gashimov Vugar

All games in this round were hard-fought and exciting to watch. The first to end, very abruptly, was Aronian-Gelfand, in which the Israeli GM blundered terribly.

Aronian,L (2737) - Gelfand,B (2720) [E15]
2nd FIDE GP Sochi RUS (11), 12.08.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.Bc3 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0-0 12.0-0 Rc8 13.e4 c5 14.exd5 exd5 15.dxc5 dxc4 16.cxb6 Nxb6 17.Re1 cxb3 18.Qxb3 Nd7 19.Nf3 Bc4 20.Qb2 Bf6 21.Bxf6 Nxf6 22.Ne5 Bd5 23.Rad1 Qa5 24.Bxd5 Nxd5 25.Nd7

Here it comes: 25...Rfd8?? 26.Qe5, pinning the black knight against the queen. The knight is twice attacked, but cannot be defended with a rook due to the backrank weakness: 26...Rxd7 27.Qe8+ and mate on the next move. The knight is lost, the result is 1-0.


Karjakin,Sergey (2727) - Cheparinov,I (2687) [B12]
2nd FIDE GP Sochi RUS (11), 12.08.2008
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.0-0 h6 7.Nbd2 Ne7 8.Nb3 Nc8 9.Be3 Be7 10.Nfd2 0-0 11.f4 Ncb6 12.a4 a5 13.c3 f6 14.exf6 Nxf6 15.Nc5 Bxc5 16.dxc5 Nbd7 17.b4 Ne4 18.Nxe4 Bxe4 19.Qe1 Qe7 20.Qg3 Bf5 21.Bd4 Nf6 22.Qe3 Ne4 23.Rfb1 g5 24.Rf1 Kh7 25.bxa5 Bg6 26.Be5 gxf4 27.Bxf4 Qxc5 28.Qxc5 Nxc5 29.Be5 Rf5 30.Rxf5 Bxf5 31.Rf1 Nxa4 32.g4 Rg8 33.Rf4 Nc5 34.Rb4 h5 35.h3 hxg4 36.hxg4 Bd3 37.Bxd3+ Nxd3 38.Rxb7+ Kh6 39.Bg7+ Kg5 40.Bd4 e5 41.Bb6 Ra8 42.Ra7 Rb8 43.Rg7+ Kf4 44.g5 Kf5 45.Rc7 c5 46.Rc6 d4 47.cxd4 cxd4 48.a6 Nb4? Fritz gives 48...Ra8 49.a7 Nb2 50.g6 d3 51.Be3 Nd1 as a drawing line and plus half a pawn after the text move. 49.Rf6+ Kxg5 50.a7 Ra8 51.Rd6

Ivan Cheparinov has been mostly attacking in this highly complicated games. Now he is on the defensive – objectively, but maybe not in his mind. His next move, 51...d3, is unjustifiable optimistic and quite fatal. 52.Kf2 Rc8 53.Rd8 Rc2+ 54.Kg3 and Black will have to exchange his rook for the queened a-pawn, without being able to capitalise on his advanced d-pawn (note that White has a forking check on e3 to stop it). 1-0.


Al Modiahki,M (2556) - Svidler,P (2738) [B12]
2nd FIDE GP Sochi RUS (11), 12.08.2008
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Nbd2 e6 7.h3 Bh5 8.Nb3 Bxc5 9.Nxc5 Qa5+ 10.c3 Qxc5 11.Be3 Qa5 12.Qb3 Nge7 13.Nd4 Rb8 14.f4 0-0 15.Bd3 Bg6 16.Bxg6 hxg6 17.0-0 b5 18.Nxc6 Nxc6 19.Bc5 Rfc8 20.Bd6 Rb7 21.Kh2 Qb6 22.a4 Na5 23.Qxb5 Qd8 24.Qe2 Nc4 25.Ba3 Rb3 26.Qd1 Qb6 27.a5 Qb5 28.Bb4 Rxb2

Mohamad Al-Modiahki has been outplayed in this Caro Kann Advance Variation by his world-class opponent, who is definitely on the path to victory. The Qatari GM speeds things up: 29.Qd4? Giving the black knight free rain to first attack the rook with 29...Nd2 and then after 30.Rf2 to fork the queen and a rook with 30...Nb3. Against a man of Svidler's stature the game is over, but Al-Modiahki gamely fights on until all doubts are removed. 31.Rxb2 Nxd4 32.cxd4 Rc4 33.Rab1 Qa4 34.Bc5 Qxa5 35.Rb8+ Kh7 36.R8b7 Qd2 37.Rxf7 Rc2 38.Rg1 a5 39.Kh1 a4 40.Re7 Qe3 41.Rxe6 a3 42.Ra6 a2 0-1.


Jakovenko,D (2709) - Gashimov,V (2717) [A61]
2nd FIDE GP Sochi RUS (11), 12.08.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 d6 5.Nc3 exd5 6.cxd5 g6 7.h3 Bg7 8.e4 0-0 9.Bd3 a6 10.a4 Re8 11.0-0 Nbd7 12.Re1 b6 13.Bf4 Qc7 14.Qd2 Bb7 15.Bc4 Nh5 16.Bh2 h6 17.Rad1 Kh7 18.Qc2 Re7 19.Be2 Kg8 20.Nd2 Nhf6 21.Nc4 Ne8 22.f4 Bd4+ 23.Kh1 Rd8 24.Bf3 Qb8 25.Ne2 Bg7 26.Nc3 b5 27.axb5 axb5 28.Nxb5 Bxd5 29.exd5 Rxe1+ 30.Rxe1 Qxb5 31.f5 Qb4 32.Rf1 g5 33.Nxd6 Nxd6 34.Bxd6 Be5 35.Bxe5 Nxe5 36.Qe2 Nxf3 37.Rxf3 c4 38.f6

Azeri Vugar Gashimov has been walking on cliff's edge in his favourite Modern Benoni System, but appears to be hanging on. 38...Qb5 gives him good drawing chances. However Gashimov grabs the pawn and gets a lost ending with it. 38...Rxd5? 39.Re3 Rd8 40.Re8+ Rxe8 41.Qxe8+ Qf8 42.Qxf8+ Kxf8 43.Kg1 Ke8 44.Kf2 Kd7 45.Ke3 Ke6 46.Kd4 Kxf6 47.Kxc4 Ke6 48.b4 f5 49.b5 g4 50.hxg4 fxg4 51.Kd4 Kd6 52.Ke4 1-0.

Standing after eleven rounds: Aronian leads with 7.0 points, followed by three players with half a point less: Wang Yue, Karjakin and Radjabov. Behind them three GMs with 6.0 points, Jakovenko, Kamsky and Gashimov, then three with 5.5, Ivanchuk, Grischuk and Cheparinov.

Report after round twelve

Round 12: Wednesday, August 13th

Kamsky Gata
½-½
Gashimov Vugar
Svidler Peter
1-0
Jakovenko Dmitry
Cheparinov Ivan
½-½
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
Gelfand Boris
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Radjabov Teimour
½-½
Aronian Levon
Grischuk Alexander
½-½
Ivanchuk Vassily
Wang Yue
½-½
Navara David

Vugar Gashimov had aggressive intentions in his game against Gata Kamsky, but it ended amicably after 47 moves. Ivan Cheparinov, permanent second to Veselin Topalov, had a pawn and permanent winning chances against Mohamad Al-Modiahki, but their struggle ended in a bare rooks draw after 74 moves. Gelfand-Karjakin was a 26-move draw that will not go down in the annals of chess. Neither will Radjabov-Aronian, which ended peacefully after the same number of moves. And the same can be said about Grischuk-Ivanchuk, which ended after 25 moves with 28 pieces still left on the board. Wang Yue vs David Navara saw the Czech GM pressing for a win with his extra pawn, but his Chinese opponent defended well and the game ended after 69 moves in a draw.

The only decided game in round twelve was a tough battle between Russian GMs Peter Svidler and Dmitry Jakovenko, with Saint Petersburg Svidler a pawn up and pressing for most of the game and executing a fine strategic manoeuvre to take home the full point.

Svidler,P (2738) - Jakovenko,D (2709) [D37]
2nd FIDE GP Sochi RUS (12), 13.08.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Qc2 c5 8.dxc5 Nxc5 9.Be2 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Bd7 11.0-0 Qb6 12.Rfd1 Rfd8 13.Be2 Be8 14.Nd2 Nd5 15.Nc4 Nb4

An unusual collection of knights on the queenside. 16.Nxb6 Nxc2 17.Nxa8 Nxa1 18.Rxd8 Bxd8 19.Bd6 Na4 20.Nd1 Bf6 21.b3 Nc3 22.Nxc3 Bxc3 23.Bf3 Bc6 24.Bxc6 bxc6 25.Bc5 a6. The position is almost completely symmetrical, but White has some decisive advantages. 26.Nc7 a5 27.Na6 Nc2 28.Nb8 Nb4 29.Bxb4 axb4 30.Nxc6

Peter Svidler has come out of the exchanges a pawn up, but how do you convert that into a win? 30...Kf8 31.Kf1 e5 32.e4 Ke8 33.Ke2 Kd7 34.Na5 Bd4 35.f3 Bb6 36.Nc4 Bc7 37.Ne3 Kc6 38.Nf5 g6 39.Nh6 f6 40.Kd3 Kc5 41.Nf7 Bb6 42.h4 Kb5

The black forces have gathered on the queenside, while White has moved his knight to the kingside, where he can now begin his offensive. 43.h5 Bc5 44.hxg6 hxg6 45.Nh8 g5 46.Nf7 Bb6 47.Nd6+ Kc5 48.Nf5 Kb5 49.g3 Bc5 50.Kd2 Bf8

Everything is safe on the queenside, the knight is ideally posted, so it is now time for the white king to attack on the kingside. 51.Ke2 Bc5 52.Kf1 Kc6 53.Kg2 Kd7 54.Kh3 Ke6 55.Kg4 Kf7 56.Kh5 Bf8 57.g4 Be7 58.Kh6 Bc5 59.Kh7 Bf8 60.Kh8 Bc5 61.Nh6+ Kg6 62.Nf5 Kf7 63.Kh7 Bf8

Now comes a knight manoeuvre: 64.Ne3 Bc5 65.Nc4 Bf8 66.Na5 Bd6 67.Nc6 Bc5 68.Nd8+ Ke7 69.Nb7 Bb6 70.Kg7 Ke6 71.Kf8

Black is now in a quandary. He can try to hang on to the f-pawn or to get the knight for it. If the king stays on e6 the knight will eventually dislodge it from f8 and pick up the f-pawn: 71...Be3 72.Ke8 Bb6 73.Nd8+ Kd6 74.Nf7+ Ke6 75.Nh8 Bc7 76.Ng6 Bb6 77.Nf8+ Kd6 78.Kf7 Bd8 79.Ne6 and Black cannot hang on to the pawn, for instance: 79...Be7 80.Nc5 Bd8 81.Nb7+ Kc7 82.Nxd8 Kxd8 83.Kxf6+–. Jakovenko decides to go after the knight: 71...Kd7 72.Kf7 Kc7 73.Kxf6 Kxb7 74.Kxg5

Now it is just a matter of technique to win with the g-pawn – though there still are some pitfalls. 74...Kc6 75.Kf6 Kd6 76.g5 Bd8+ 77.Kf5! Must be played, as any other move throws away the win (or in fact loses). 77...Bb6 78.Kg6 Bd8 79.Kh6 Ke7 80.Kg7! and now the game could end 80...Ke6 81.g6 Bf6+ 82.Kh7 Kd6 83.g7 Bxg7 84.Kxg7 Kc5 85.Kf6 Kd4 86.Ke6 (zugzwang) Ke3 87.Kxe5 and it is over. 1-0.

Standings after twelve rounds

In the final round 13 (on Thursday an hour earlier at 14:00h local time) we will see Aronian playing white against Grischuk for the overall victory. A key game is the one between the two young GMs Karjakin and Radjabov (Karjakin has white), since both can hope to join the leader or in fact win the tournament if Aronian should lose. Wang Yue has black against Vassily Ivanchuk and a theoretical chance to win the event.


Videos by Europe Echecs

FIDE Grand Prix Sochi 2008 – Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, July 31st

Svidler Peter
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Cheparinov Ivan
½-½
Gashimov Vugar
Gelfand Boris
½-½
Jakovenko Dmitry
Radjabov Teimour
1-0
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
Grischuk Alexander
1-0
Karjakin Sergey
Wang Yue
½-½
Aronian Levon
Navara David
½-½
Ivanchuk Vassily

Round 2: Friday, August 1st

Kamsky Gata
1-0
Ivanchuk Vassily
Aronian Levon
1-0
Navara David
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Wang Yue
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
½-½
Grischuk Alexander
Jakovenko Dmitry
½-½
Radjabov Teimour
Gashimov Vugar
½-½
Gelfand Boris
Svidler Peter
0-1
Cheparinov Ivan

Round 3: Saturday, August 2nd

Cheparinov Ivan
1-0
Kamsky Gata
Gelfand Boris
½-½
Svidler Peter
Radjabov Teimour
½-½
Gashimov Vugar
Grischuk Alexander
½-½
Jakovenko Dmitry
Wang Yue
½-½
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
Navara David
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Ivanchuk Vassily
1-0
Aronian Levon

Round 4: Sunday, August 3rd

Kamsky Gata
½-½
Aronian Levon
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Ivanchuk Vassily
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
1-0
Navara David
Jakovenko Dmitry
½-½
Wang Yue
Gashimov Vugar
½-½
Grischuk Alexander
Svidler Peter
1-0
Radjabov Teimour
Cheparinov Ivan
½-½
Gelfand Boris

Round 5: Monday, August 4h

Gelfand Boris
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Radjabov Teimour
1-0
Cheparinov Ivan
Grischuk Alexander
½-½
Svidler Peter
Wang Yue
½-½
Gashimov Vugar
Navara David
½-½
Jakovenko Dmitry
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
Aronian Levon
½-½
Karjakin Sergey

Round 6: Wednesday, August 6th

Kamsky Gata
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
0-1
Aronian Levon
Jakovenko Dmitry
½-½
Ivanchuk Vassily
Gashimov Vugar
1-0
Navara David
Svidler Peter
½-½
Wang Yue
Cheparinov Ivan
1-0
Grischuk Alexander
Gelfand Boris
0-1
Radjabov Teimour

Round 7: Thursday, August 7th

Radjabov Teimour
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Grischuk Alexander
½-½
Gelfand Boris
Wang Yue
½-½
Cheparinov Ivan
Navara David
½-½
Svidler Peter
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Gashimov Vugar
Aronian Levon
½-½
Jakovenko Dmitry
Karjakin Sergey
1-0
Al-Modiahki Mohamad

Round 8: Friday, August 8th

Kamsky Gata
1-0
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
Jakovenko Dmitry
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Gashimov Vugar
½-½
Aronian Levon
Svidler Peter
0-1
Ivanchuk Vassily
Cheparinov Ivan
½-½
Navara David
Gelfand Boris
0-1
Wang Yue
Radjabov Teimour
½-½
Grischuk Alexander

Round 9: Saturday, August 9th

Grischuk Alexander
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Wang Yue
1-0
Radjabov Teimour
Navara David
½-½
Gelfand Boris
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Cheparinov Ivan
Aronian Levon
½-½
Svidler Peter
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Gashimov Vugar
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
½-½
Jakovenko Dmitry

Round 10: Monday, August 11th

Kamsky Gata
½-½
Jakovenko Dmitry
Gashimov Vugar
1-0
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
Svidler Peter
0-1
Karjakin Sergey
Cheparinov Ivan
0-1
Aronian Levon
Gelfand Boris
1-0
Ivanchuk Vassily
Radjabov Teimour
1-0
Navara David
Grischuk Alexander
½-½
Wang Yue

Round 11: Tuesday, August 12rd

Wang Yue
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Navara David
½-½
Grischuk Alexander
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Radjabov Teimour
Aronian Levon
1-0
Gelfand Boris
Karjakin Sergey
1-0
Cheparinov Ivan
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
0-1
Svidler Peter
Jakovenko Dmitry
1-0
Gashimov Vugar

Round 12: Wednesday, August 13th

Kamsky Gata
½-½
Gashimov Vugar
Svidler Peter
1-0
Jakovenko Dmitry
Cheparinov Ivan
½-½
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
Gelfand Boris
½-½
Karjakin Sergey
Radjabov Teimour
½-½
Aronian Levon
Grischuk Alexander
½-½
Ivanchuk Vassily
Wang Yue
½-½
Navara David

Round 13: Thursday, August 14th

Navara David
-
Kamsky Gata
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Wang Yue
Aronian Levon
-
Grischuk Alexander
Karjakin Sergey
-
Radjabov Teimour
Al-Modiahki Mohamad
-
Gelfand Boris
Jakovenko Dmitry
-
Cheparinov Ivan
Gashimov Vugar
-
Svidler Peter
GamesReport (FIDE)
Friday, August 15th
Departure

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