Wijk R5: Radjabov, Anand and van Wely win

1/18/2007 – The unstoppable Teimour Radjabov is, well, unstoppable. The Azerbaijani won his fourth game in this event (against Navara), for a current score of 4.5/5 and a performance of 3074. Anand beat an unlucky Svidler to catch up with Topalov, while Loek van Wely defeated the completely luckless Alexei Shirov. Report with games and commentary.

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Your intrepid ChessBase team has crossed Germany during the fiercest storm to batter Europe for decades, to reach wind-swept Wijk aan Zee (a colleague here was unable to return to Hamburg because all rail and plane services had been cancelled). All this in partial explanation for the delay in today's fifth round report from Wijk. Here for starters is the round five summary by Steve Giddins, who is not in Wijk – we will provide pictures in a separate report by ChessBase editors who are.

Radjabov storms on

Round 5 summary by Steve Giddins

In 1980, the European Team Championships were held in the small town of Skara, in Sweden. On his return home, English GM Michael Stean was asked to describe the place. “Like the moon, but colder”, was his memorable reply. Anyone who has ever visited Wijk aan Zee could be forgiven for describing this charming little Dutch coastal town as “Like Chicago, only windier”. Today, as much of Western Europe was battered by storms and 100+km winds, Wijk was even windier than normal. So much so, that the traditional daily game commentaries, held in the Pavilion tent opposite the venue, had to be cancelled, due to safety fears. Those readers who are familiar with my reporting style will probably be expecting a torrent of puns about “storming attacks” and players being “blown away”, but I’ll try to restrain myself.

Ruslan Ponomariev vs Vladimir Kramnik
The first game to finish, and not one calculated to stir the blood. Pono’s unusual 6.Bd2 soon transposed into positions well known via the 6.Qc2 move-order. 12…Bg4 is technically a novelty, and just confirms the long-held impression that Black has no problems in the position. Hands were shaken seven moves later.

Viswanathan Anand vs Peter Svidler
To the embarrassment of the four-time Russian champion, this game finished almost as quickly as Ponomariov-Kramnik, and not because of a quick draw:

Anand,V (2779) - Svidler,P (2728) [C88]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (5), 18.01.2007
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 Re8 10.a4 h6 11.c3 b4 [Novelty. 11…Bf8 Safranska-Adams, Lloyds Bank 1991] 12.Nbd2 d5 13.a5 dxe4 14.dxe4 Bc5 15.Qe2 Qe7 16.Nh4 Nd7 17.Nf5 Qf6 18.Qg4

18...Ne7? 19.Nxh6+ Qxh6 20.Qxd7 Red8? 21.Qxc7. Perhaps when he allowed 19.Nxh6 Svidler thought that he could not play 21...Rbc8 22.Qxe5 Rxd2, but of course this is not possible since the black bishop on b7 is hanging. Black has simply lost two pawns, and a third will follow. 1-0.

Levon Aronian vs Magnus Carlsen
This followed the latest word in the trendy 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qc2 pawn sacrifice line in the Queen’s Indian. Aronian’s 11.Bg5 was his attempt to improve on the 11.Qf5, played successfully in Gelfand-Leko, ACP Rapid Cup, earlier this month. Carlsen offloaded his extra pawn, and although at first the position looks good for White, this initial impression is soon replaced by the realisation that he doesn’t have much to do against Black’s plan to chop wood on the d-file. Aronian offered a draw with his 20th move, which was duly accepted.

Sergey Karjakin vs Alexander Motylev
Another brief and slightly disappointing draw. Karjakin played the 4.Nf3 and 5.Be2 line of the Advance Caro-Kann, named after Nigel Short, with whom Kariakin trained a year or two ago. Motylev equalized easily and Kariakin offered the draw at move 21. The main interest in the game was the light-hearted banter on Playchess.com between Short and audio commentator Yasser Seirawan, as to whether White’s line should be known as the Short Attack (as its inventor demands), or the Short Defence, as preferred by Caro-Kann specialist Seirawan!

Shirov,A (2715) - Van Wely,L (2683) [B90]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (5), 18.01.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Be7 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.g5 b4 13.Ne2 Ne8 14.f4 a5 15.f5 a4 16.Nbd4 exd4 17.Nxd4 b3 18.Kb1 bxc2+ 19.Nxc2 Bb3 20.axb3 axb3 21.Na3 Ne5 22.h4 Ra4.

One of the best games from last year’s Corus event, Kariakin-Anand, saw Black play 22…Ra5 and win in spectacular style, but theory has moved on since and the text is the latest word. Given the heavy theoretical background, Shirov’s clock handling was again incomprehensible. Just as in round two against Kramnik, when he spent an hour in a well-known position on move seven, here he had used an hour and 10 minutes by the time he played his next move. 23.Qg2 Qa8 24.f6 Bd8 25.Bd4 Nc7 26.fxg7 Kxg7

27.h5? Not only this is the first deviation from known theory, but it seems unlikely to win the prize for the best novelty in the next issue of Informant. In the recently-concluded Indian Championship, the game Rohit-Karavade saw White successfully essay what appears to be the virtually forced move 27.Bc4. Indeed, Fritz 10 considers White to have a clear advantage after this, and it would have been interesting to see what van Wely had in mind for Black. Instead, Shirov launches a piece sacrifice, which appears to be simply unsound. 27...Ne6 28.g6 Rxd4 29.Rxd4 Nxd4 30.h6+ Kf6 31.g7 Rg8. It is all typical “Fire on Board” stuff, but this time, it is White’s boats that are providing the firewood. 32.Qf2+ Ndf3 33.Bg2 Qxe4+ 34.Ka1 Ke6 35.Rf1 Bg5 36.Bxf3 Qxf3 37.Qxf3 Nxf3 38.Rxf3 Bxh6 39.Rxb3 Rxg7 40.Rh3 Bf4 0–1.

Sergey Tiviakov vs Veselin Topalov
A quiet Spanish, with Tiviakov avoiding the Berlin Wall with 4 d3. Exchanges led to a level rook + minor piece ending, and although Topalov displayed his customary persistence in playing on for 51 moves, the balance was never really disturbed.

Navara,D (2719) - Radjabov,T (2729) [E61]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (5), 18.01.2007
The tournament leader continued his run, but can count himself rather fortunate. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.Bg5. Perhaps understanding that threefold repetition usually means a draw, Navara eschews the Bayonet Variation seen in Radjabov’s two previous Black games in his tournament. The text is a quiet system, much favoured in former times by Smyslov. 5...c5 6.d5 b5?! A common enough idea in such KID positions, but in this position it smacks slightly of hubris. 7.Nxb5 Ne4 8.Bc1 a6 9.Na3 Qa5+ 10.Nd2 e6 11.g3 exd5 12.Bg2!? On Playchess.com, Yasser Seirawan was hot for 12 cxd5, when 12…Bb7 13 Bg2 Bxd5 14 0-0 seems to leave Black with all sorts of problems. However, Navara’s choice is also good for White. 12…Nxd2 13.Bxd2 Qd8 14.cxd5 a5. On 14…Bxb2 15.Nc4 is a very strong exchange sacrifice. 15.Bc3 d6 16.0–0. White is basically just a pawn up for nothing. 16…Ba6 17.Qd2 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Nd7 19.Rab1 f5 20.Nb5 Ne5.

21.e4? From here on, Navara starts a completely misjudged tactical operation, which ultimately costs him the game. It is hard to understand why he avoided the solid 21.a4, maintaining his safe extra pawn. 21…Nc4 22.Qc1 a4 23.exf5?! And here 23 Re1 looks better. 23…Qd7 24.fxg6 Bxb5 25.Qg5 Ne5 26.gxh7+ Kh8 27.Rfe1 Bd3

28.Rb6? This loses quickly. Things are still fairly unclear after 28.Rbd1, but even this is hardly what White can have wanted at move 21. 28…Rae8 29.Re3 Nc4 30.Rxd3 Re1+ 31.Bf1 Qh3 32.Qg8+ Rxg8 33.hxg8Q+ Kxg8 34.Rb8+ Kg7 0-1. The tournament leader continued his run, but can count himself rather fortunate. Trying though I am, it is hard to resist the temptation to say that White “blew it”…

Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 18th
S. Karjakin - A. Motylev
½-½
A. Shirov - L. van Wely
0-1
S. Tiviakov - V. Topalov
½-½
D. Navara - T. Radjabov
0-1
R. Ponomariov - V. Kramnik
½-½
V. Anand - P. Svidler
1-0
L. Aronian - M. Carlsen
½-½
Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 19th
A. Motylev - M. Carlsen  
P. Svidler - L. Aronian  
V. Kramnik - V. Anand  
T. Radjabov - R. Ponomariov  
V. Topalov - D. Navara  
L. van Wely - S. Tiviakov  
S. Karjakin - A. Shirov  

Standings after five rounds

Other sections

Group B Group C
Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 18th
F. Nijboer - D. Jakovenko
0-1
G. Sargissian - V. Georgiev
½-½
B. Xiangzhi - T. Kosintseva
½-½
S. Atalik - P. Eljanov
0-1
J. Werle - M. Vachier-Lagrav
0-1
V. Bologan - J. Smeets
1-0
D. Stellwagen - E. L’Ami
½-½
Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 18th
N. Kosintseva - T. Willemze
0-1
M. Krasenkow - P. Negi
½-½
J. van der Wiel - S. Brynell
½-½
E. Berg - W. Spoelman
1-0
M. Bosboom - H. Yifan
½-½
H. Jonkman - I. Nepomniachtchi
0-1
E. van Haastert - Z. Peng
½-½

Live audio commentary by Yasser Seirawan

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 and cost ten ducats (= €1 or $1.30) per round – a very reasonable rate for hours of excitement and pleasure.

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