Wijk R2: Fighting chess – six decided games, one draw

1/14/2007 – Refreshed after their snooze in round one, all the top GMs in Wijk went for blood in round two: Topalov, Kramnik, Aronian and Svidler won their white games, Anand won with black. Poor Magnus Carlsen missed a one-move win and lost against Navara. Yasser Seirawan covered the action on Playchess. Full report with comments and videos.

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Round 2

After the disappointing first round with six draws and a win, Sunday was an altogether more bloodthirsty day with six decisive results and just one draw in the A Group. (Interestingly the B Group saw four decisive games and three draws on the first day and six straight draws today.)

World Champion in Wijk: Vladmir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik vs Alexei Shirov: 1-0
A grudge match between two players who have not shared close mutual friendship for some years. The game was an English in which Shirov suddenly sunk into deep thought at move seven, allowing a full hour to pass before he decided on a reply. Kramnik exerted steady pressure which led to an endgame where he is probably winning, due to the weakness of b4. Shirov shortened the agony by blundering a piece:

Kramnik,V (2766) - Shirov,A (2715) [A16]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (2), 14.01.2007
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Qa4+ Bd7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 Bg7 7.e4 c6 8.d4 b5 9.Qb3 a5 10.e5 a4 11.Qd1 Nd5 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.Be2 Nc6 14.0-0 0-0 15.Be3 Na5 16.b3 axb3 17.axb3 Qb6 18.Ne1 b4 19.Nd3 Bb5 20.Nc5 Nb7 21.Rxa8 Rxa8 22.Bxb5 Qxb5 23.Qd3 Qc6 24.Na4 Nd8 25.Rc1 Qb7 26.Qc2 f6 27.f4 Bh6 28.g3 fxe5 29.dxe5 Ne6 30.Qc6 Qxc6 31.Rxc6 Kf7 32.Kf2 Rb8 33.Ke2 Bf8 34.Kd3

34...Rb7?? and Shirov resigned without waiting for 35.Rxe6 Kxe6 36.Nc5+. 1-0.

Alexei Shirov lost to his arch-rival Kramnik

Veselin Topalov vs Loek van Wely: 1-0
This was another match that lacked amicable overtones. Van Wely had worked with Topalov in the past, but during the world championship in Elista he had signed the letter of grandmasters supporting Kramnik. Topalov demanded an apology from van Wely but got none. Their game was One of the main lines of the Najdorf English Attack, 6…e6,with castling on opposite sides. The position looked unclear until 25…Kg8? (25…axb3) which allowed 26.Bxc5! Nxc5 27.Qh6!, after which the attack was too strong.

Topalov,V (2783) - Van Wely,L (2683) [B90]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (2), 14.01.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 b5 10.f3 Be6 11.Nd5 Bxd5 12.exd5 Qc7 13.g4 Rc8 14.Kb1 b4 15.g5 Nfd7 16.h4 a5 17.Bh3 a4 18.Nc1 Na6 19.h5 Rcb8 20.g6 Bf6 21.gxf7+ Kxf7 22.Be6+ Kf8 23.b3 Ndc5 24.Rhg1 Qe7 25.Bf5 Kg8?

26.Bxc5! Nxc5 27.Qh6! Kf8 28.Qxh7 Qf7 29.Nd3 axb3 30.cxb3 Nxd3 31.Rxd3 e4 32.Be6 exd3 (going for a counterplay mate in a very difficult position) 33.Bxf7 Rxa2 34.Qg8+ Ke7 35.Kxa2. Naturally, since 35.Qxb8 Ra1 is mate. After 35.Kxa2 Rxg8 36.Bxg8 White is a full rook up. 1-0.

There are videos of the post game analysis by Topalov at the bottom of the page.

Alexander Motylev vs Viswanathan Anand: 0-1
This game followed a currently popular line of Najdorf Poisoned Pawn. Anand employed the novelty 14…Qd5! recommended by Kasparov in the latest New in Chess magazine 2006/8! “White would need a lot of creativity to prove his point after that,” wrote Kasparov, and Anand proved the point for his retired colleague. White sacrificed three pawns and never had enough compensation. Anand fended off Motylev's attack easily, and when his opponent overlooked a drawing chance, took home the full point.

Motylev,A (2647) - Anand,V (2779) [B97]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (2), 14.01.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5 h6 11.Bh4 dxe5 12.fxe5 Nfd7 13.Ne4 Qxa2 14.Rd1 Qd5 15.Qe3 Qxe5 16.Be2 Bc5 17.Bg3 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Qa5+ 19.Rd2 0-0 20.Bd6 Rd8 21.Qg3 Qf5 22.Be5 Qg6 23.Qh4 Nc6 24.0-0 f5 25.Bh5 Qh7 26.Bb2 fxe4 27.Rf7 Rf8

Now after 28.Rxg7+ Qxg7 29.Bxg7 Kxg7 White can force a draw. But: 28.Qf2? Rxf7 29.Qxf7+ Kh8 30.Rf2 e5 31.Qd5 Nf6 0-1.

Vishy Anand with a black win in round two

Magnus Carlsen vs David Navara: 0-1
After good opening play in an Exchange Grünfeld White, after a bit of insecurity, gained a clear advantage. Then came a dramatic turn of events – Navara blundered and Carlsen did not see it. In the aftermath the 16-year-old Norwegian actually lost the game. What a tragedy.

Carlsen,M (2690) - Navara,D (2719) [D87]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (2), 14.01.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.0-0 Bd7 11.Rb1 Qc7 12.Bf4 Qc8 13.d5 Na5 14.Bd3 e5 15.Bg3 f5 16.f4 fxe4 17.Bxe4 Nc4 18.Qd3 Nd6 19.fxe5 Nxe4 20.Qxe4 Bf5 21.Qc4 Bxb1 22.d6+ Kh8 23.Rxb1 Qf5 24.Re1 Bxe5 25.Nd4 Bxd4+ 26.cxd4 Rae8 27.Rxe8 Rxe8 28.h3 Kg7 29.Qb5 Rd8 30.dxc5 Rd7 31.a4 g5??

Black's last move allows 32.c6! attacking both the rook and the queen. 32.c6 Qxb5 33.axb5 bxc6 34.bxc6 and Black cannot prevent a pawn from queening. Unfortunately Carlsen did not see this line and instead played 32.a5 a6 33.Qc4 h5 34.Be1 Rf7 35.c6? The youngest GM in the field is pushing too hard, perhaps out of frustration over the missed win a few moves earlier. bxc6 36.Bc3+ Kh7 37.Qxc6 Qf2+ 38.Kh1 Qf1+ 39.Kh2 Qf4+ 40.Kh1 Qf1+ 41.Kh2 Qf4+ 42.Kh1 g4 43.hxg4 hxg4 44.Qc8 g3 45.Qh8+ Kg6 46.Qg8+ Kh5 47.Qh8+ Qh6 48.Qxh6+ Kxh6 49.Kg1 Kg5 50.Bd4 Rf5 0-1 since the bishop vs rook ending is hopeless for White.

Peter Svidler vs Servey Tiviakov: 1-0

Tiviakov tried a Scandinavian surprise on his Russian opponent, but Svidler took it in his stride and built up an impressive position after Black had weakened with 22…exd4?! and 23…Bd6?! In the ending White broke through on the queenside and established a passed b-pawn, which was enough to win the game.

Levon Aronian vs Ruslan Ponomariev: 1-0
A typical Aronian game – and early queen exchange left White with nagging queenside pressure, and Black was never able to equalize. A fine positional victory for the Armenian.

Levon Aronian with a fine positional effort

Teimour Radjabov vs Sergey Kariakin: ½-½
White gained advantage in the middlegame and won material, but faced the task of breaking down Black’s possible fortress in an endgame with Q+3 v R, B+2, all on same side. Radjabov mistakenly transposed into a drawn Q v R ending.

Radjabov,T (2729) - Karjakin,Sergey (2678) [E15]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (2), 14.01.2007
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 b5 14.Re1 dxe4 15.Nxe4 bxc4 16.Qe2 Rb8 17.Nc5 Qc8 18.bxc4 Bf6 19.Ne4 Be7 20.Rac1 Re8 21.Ba1 Qc7 22.Qd2 Bb4 23.Bc3 Ba3 24.Rc2 Bf8 25.d5 exd5 26.cxd5 cxd5 27.Bxg7 Qxc2 28.Qxc2 Bxg7 29.Qc6 dxe4 30.Qxa6 Nf6 31.Qxa7 Ra8 32.Qb7 Rxa2 33.Bxe4 Nxe4 34.Rxe4 Rxe4 35.Qxe4 h6 36.h4 Rd2 37.Qe8+ Bf8 38.Kg2 Rd6 39.Qe5 Re6 40.Qf5 Be7 41.Kh3 Bf8 42.f4 Be7 43.Kg2 Rb6 44.Qh5 Re6 45.Kf3 Rb6 46.Qg4+ Kf8 47.Qh5 Kg7 48.Qd5 Ra6 49.Kg4 Ra3 50.Kh3 Bf6 51.Kg2 Rc3 52.Qf5 Ra3 53.Qg4+ Kh7 54.Qh5 Kg7 55.Qd5 Rc3 56.h5 Re3 57.g4 Re6

58.g5 hxg5 59.fxg5 Bxg5! 60.Qxg5+ Kh7. As Mark Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual points out (and the six-man tablebases confirm), the position is now a theoretical draw – actually it was analysed by Grigoriev 90 years ago! Black shuttles his rook between the two safe squares e6 and h6, and ensures that his king comes to g7, whenever White threatens Qf8. White can make no progress.

All pictures by courtesy of Frits Agterdenbos of ChessVista

Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 14th
A. Motylev - V. Anand
L. Aronian - R. Ponomariov
M. Carlsen - D. Navara
P. Svidler - S. Tiviakov
V. Kramnik - A. Shirov
T. Radjabov - S. Karjakin
V. Topalov - L. van Wely
Tomorrow: Mon. Jan. 15th
L. van Wely - A. Motylev  
S. Karjakin - V. Topalov  
A. Shirov - T. Radjabov  
S. Tiviakov - V. Kramnik  
D. Navara - P. Svidler  
R. Ponomariov - M. Carlsen  
V. Anand - L. Aronian  

Standings after two rounds

Other sections

Group B Group C
Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 14th
D. Jakovenko - V. Bologan ½-½
D. Stellwagen - J. Werle ½-½
E. L’Ami - S. Atalik ½-½
J. Smeets - B. Xiangzhi ½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrav - G. Sargissian ½-½
P. Eljanov - F. Nijboer ½-½
T. Kosintseva - V. Georgiev ½-½
Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 14th
T. Willemze - H. Jonkman
E. van Haastert - M. Bosboom
Z. Peng - E. Berg
I. Nepomniachtchi - J. van der Wiel
H. Yifan - M. Krasenkow
W. Spoelman - N. Kosintseva
S. Brynell - P. Negi

Live audio commentary by Yasser Seirawan

"I am notoriously grumpy and critical," wrote René Torenstra of Delft, Netherlands, "but here is some praise for GM Yasser Seirawan: thank you so much for your commentary on this server. Without going into chess matters (I am a genuine patzer), I would like to say that your manner of analyzing games, with humour, thoughtfulness and a measured pace, stimulates, entertains, and provides many well-spent hours of pleasure to your listeners. Clearly you are talented in many fields, backed up by the hard work needed to hone such skills. Please, don't stop what you're doing!"

He won't, René. And for those of you who were not able to catch it live on the server, you can listen to Yasser's broadcasts at any time on a pay-per-view basis (two ducats or about 30 cents per session). The files are to be found on the Playchess server in the room Chess Media System – Events and Reports. If you do not have them already you can purchase ducats here. They can be used to follow GM Seirawan's live broadcasts. They cost ten ducats (= €1 or $1.30) per round – a very reasonable rate for hours of excitement and pleasure.


Once again the very active Chessvibes site has captured a lot of action in video clips:

Anand analysing with Motylev – 9:43 min

Topalov analyses his win in the press centre – 8:08 min

Part II – 7:08 min

Part III – 7:54 min


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