Three magnificent games in Khanty

12/16/2005 – Playing for first place Ruslan Ponomariov and Levon Aronian fought uncompromisingly, and ended their game in a razor-sharp draw. Carlsen-Kamsky was a beautiful attacking effort by the 15-year-old Norwegian, and crowned by victory. And Malakhov outplayed Vallejo in a game you will want to study. Illustrated report.

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The FIDE World Chess Cup is being stage from November 26th to December 18th, 2005, in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. This the 128-player event replaces what was known as the "FIDE Knockout World Championship" and serves as a qualifier for the Candidates stage of the world championship. The prize fund is US $1.5 million, with President Ilyumzhinov providing $300,000 for organisational costs.

FIDE WORLD CUP, 2005 ROUND 7 – Game one

The first game of the final, Ponomariov-Aronian, was a fierce brawl, delightful to watch, with chess fans all over the world on the edge of their seats. It was a slight letdown when a draw was suddenly agreed on move 31, but subsequent study showed that it was perfectly justified.


Ruslan Ponomariov vs Levon Aronian for first place

Ponomariov,R (2704) - Aronian,L (2724) [C88]
WCC Khanty Mansyisk RUS (7.1), 15.12.2005
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.Nf1 Bc8 14.c3 Be6 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.b4 Qd7 17.Qb3 Rfb8 18.Bd2 a5 19.Ng5 axb4 20.axb4 cxb4 21.Nxe6 d5 22.Ng5 bxc3 23.Bxc3 b4 24.Bb2 Na5 25.Qd1 dxe4 26.Bxe5 Rb5 27.d4 b3 28.Qe2 Rc8 29.Ne3 Nd5 30.Nxd5 Bxg5 31.Rxa5 ½-½.

The tension has reached a climax and the players agree to a draw? Well, a quick check reveals that it should continue as follows: 31...Rxa5 32.Nb6 Rc2 33.Nxd7 Rxe2 34.Rxe2 Bc1 35.d5 Rxd5 36.Rxe4 Rxd7 37.Rb4, and now it is certainly a draw. The only thing left was to marvel at how these two can work in out all in their heads, at the board, when such a lot is at stake. Nerves of steel.

Bacrot-Grischuk for place three was a 14-move draw, an unfought Marshall. Gelfand-Bareev for place five lasted 16 moves and was equally unfought. Have these players decided to settle things in the tiebreaks?

Rublevsky-Gurevich for place seven was going normally when Mikhail Gurevich, who has worked with Kasparov and Anand, committed a classical blunder.

Rublevsky,S (2652) - Gurevich,M (2652) [C07]
WCC Places 7-8 Khanty Mansyisk RUS (7.1), 15.12.2005
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 cxd4 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Bc4 Qd8 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Nb3 a6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 Bd6 11.Qg4 Nf6 12.Qh4 Qc7 13.Bb3 Bd7 14.Bg5 0-0-0 15.Rad1 Be5 16.f4 Bxd4+ 17.Rxd4 Bc6 18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Qxf6 Rxd4 20.Qxd4 Rg8 21.Rf2 Qa5 22.Qe5

Here Black played 22...Qb6?? overlooking the pin after 23.Bxe6+ (23...fxe6 24.Qxe6+ and Qxg8). 1-0.


Kamsky and Carlsen prepare to play, van Wely and Aronian chat

Carlsen-Kamsky for place nine was another boost for the self-esteem of a Nordic nation. Their heroic halfling Magnus Carlsen played yet another great game, a wonderfully spirited attacking effort against former prodigy Gata Kamsky. Magnus had the American on the ropes, almost let him slip away, and then brought home the full point like the super-grandmaster he already is. The roar of delight from Norway could be heard as far as Denmark and the Scottish coast. Play through the game, it is a delight to follow.


Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian chess wonder

The same can be said about Malakhov-Vallejo, a critical game that could decide over a place in the FIDE World Championship. It was a delight to watch, with incredible tactical fireworks and a convincing win for the Russian player.


Vladimir Malakhov, who played a beauty against Vallejo

Van Wely-Dreev was won by the Dutch GM, but there are definitely serious errors in the notation we received (from move 44). We will try to get the correct moves and supply them if we succeed. Sakaev-Lautier was a 19-move uneventful draw.

All pictures unless otherwise noted by courtesy of FIDE

Results

Round 7, Game one – Thursday, December 15, 2005

For places 1-2
1  Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR)
½-½
 Aronian, Levon (ARM)
0.5-0.5 
For places 3-4
2 Bacrot, Etienne (FRA)  
½-½ 
 Grischuk, Alexander (RUS)
0.5-0.5
For places 5-6
3  Gelfand, Boris (ISR)
½-½
Bareev, Evgeny (RUS)
0.5-0.5
For places 7-8
4 Rublevsky, Sergei (RUS)
1-0 
 Gurevich, Mikhail (BEL)
1-0
For places 9-10
5  Carlsen, Magnus (NOR)
1-0
 Kamsky, Gata (USA)
1-0
For places 11-12
6  Malakhov, Vladimir (RUS)
0-1
 Vallejo Pons, Francisco (ESP)
1-0
For places 13-14
7  Van Wely, Loek (NED)
1-0 
 Dreev, Alexey (RUS)
1-0
For places 15-16
8  Sakaev, Konstantin (RUS)
 ½-½
 Lautier, Joel (FRA)
0.5-0.5

Schedule
26 november Opening Ceremony   19:00
26 november Players' Meeting   21:00
27 november Round 1 Game 1 15:00
28 november Round 1 Game 2 15:00
29 november Tie-breaks   15:00
30 november Round 2 Game 1 15:00
1 december Round 2 Game 2 15:00
2 december Tie-breaks   15:00
3 december Round 3 Game 1 15:00
4 december Round 3 Game 2 15:00
5 december Tie-breaks   15:00
6 december Round 4 Game 1 15:00
7 december Round 4 Game 2 15:00
8 december Tie-breaks   15:00
9 december Round 5 Game 1 15:00
10 december Round 5 Game 2 15:00
11 december Tie-breaks   15:00
12 december Round 6 Game 1 15:00
13 december Round 6 Game 2 15:00
14 december Tie-breaks   15:00
15 december Round 7 Game 1 15:00
16 december Round 7 Game 2 15:00
17 december Tie-breaks   15:00
17 december Closing Ceremony   20:00


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