Wijk R6: Kramnik beats Anand, Karjakin wins

1/19/2007 – This was of course the news of the day. Although Vishy Anand defended with great resourcefulness he had to give up the struggle against world champion Vladimir Kramnik after 53 moves. 17-year-old Sergey Karjakin beat the completely out-of-form Alexei Shirov. Radjabov still leads, followed by Kramnik and Topalov. Report with analysis.

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Today's express report contains a full summary of the games, but no pictures yet. These will be supplied in great profusion in separate reports (on round five and six). Watch out for them in the coming hours.

Hands, knees and boomps-a-daisy

Round 6 summary by Steve Giddins

An anatomically interesting day, especially for those who followed Yasser Seirawan’s entertaining audio commentaries on Playchess.com. Kramnik-Anand saw the world champion use his head rather than his hand, and go in feet first. Meanwhile, poor Alexey Shirov was kicked on another part of his anatomy, for the fifth day running, and is now on his knees.

Teimour Radjabov vs Ruslan Ponomariev: ½-½
The tournament leader gave up only his second half point of the event. Ponomariev surprised him with an unusual Queen’s Indian set-up, taking rather vulnerable-looking hanging pawns on d5 and c5. It is a line tested very little at GM level, although it was a favourite of the late Soviet master, Konstantinopolsky – appropriately enough, a Ukrainian, like Ponomariev. The latter’s 11…0-0 was a new move, 11…Nxd5 12.Bxd5 Rc8 having been tried unsuccessfully in Kir Georgiev-Pokojowczyk, Varna 1982. White reacted in natural style, leading to a strange position where his knight on c6 has no obvious escape route, but Black has no obvious way to win it. In this unclear position, the players agreed a draw.

Loek van Wely vs Sergey Tiviakov: ½-½
The last time these two met was in the Dutch Championship last summer, when Tiviakov won as Black, a game which played a crucial role in ending van Wely’s five-year reign as Dutch Champion. Today’s game repeated the first 11 moves of the earlier encounter, but rather than wait to see van Wely’s improvement, Tiviakov got his retaliation in first, and deviated with 11…Nd4 (11…a5 was played in the earlier game). Black equalised comfortably, and a few moves later, the draw was agreed in a balanced position on move 22.

Veselin Topalov vs David Navara: ½-½
The world no. 1 likes his bishops, and today’s 4.g3 Nimzo (by transposition) soon brought him the whole bishop pair. However, Navara made excellent use of his knights, his 18…f5 securing a splendid outpost on e4. Topalov showed all of his usual determination, liquidating to a 4v3 rook ending with all pawns on one side, but despite all his efforts, he could make no progress. The draw was agreed on move 56.

Peter Svidler vs Levon Aronian: ½-½
The players defied Euclid by finding yet another permutation on the various anti-Marshall set-ups with h3 and d3. As far as my befuddled mind can tell, working its way through the numerous transpositions, 13…Rc8 was a novelty. Aronian broke out in thematic fashion with 15…d5 and 16…b3, but his recapture 18…Qxd5 came as a great surprise to the watching audience, who thought Black was just losing. However, although temporarily two pawns down in the ending, Black has considerable activity and White’s pawns are weak. Perhaps the best clue to the viability of Black’s position is that even the usually materialistic chess engines thought White no more than half a pawn better. Svidler sacrificed the exchange to retain both extra pawns, but the possibilities of a light-square blockade persuaded him to agree the draw soon after.

Karjakin,Sergey (2678) - Shirov,A (2715) [B33]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 19.01.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 Bg5 12.Nc2 Ne7 13.h4 Bh6 14.a4 bxa4 15.Ncb4 0-0. Diverging from Kariakin’s previous experience of the position, which had seen 15...Bd7 16.Rxa4 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 Bxa4 18.Qxa4+ Kf8 19.b4 a5 20.b5 Rb8 21.g3 g6 22.Bh3 Kg7 23.0–0, with compensation Kariakin – Radjabov Warsaw 2005 (1-0, 41). 16.Qxa4 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 a5 18.Bb5 Kh8 19.b4 f5 20.Bc6 Ra7 21.exf5 Bxf5 22.bxa5 Bd3 23.Bb5 Bxb5 24.Qxb5 Raf7 25.0-0 Qxh4 26.Qe2.

Black is clearly losing on the queenside, and no mate on the other flank is visible. The computer’s initial preference 26…Rf5 comes to nothing after 27.g3 Qh3 28.Qe4 Rh5 29.Qg2. Shirov, perhaps out of desperation as much as anything else, punts a piece sacrifice, but comes up short. 26…Bf4!? 27.g3 Bxg3 28.fxg3 Qxg3+ 29.Qg2 Rxf1+ 30.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 31.Kxf1 Qd3+ 32.Kg1 e4 33.Qf2 Qd1+ 34.Qf1 Qg4+ 35.Kf2 h5 36.Ke1 Qg5 37.Qc4 h4 38.a6 Qg3+ 39.Kd2 h3 40.a7 Qf2+ 41.Kc1 1-0. After 41…Qxa7, White plays in successive moves Qc8+, Qxh3+, Qc8+, Qf5+ and Qxe4, winning easily.

Motylev,A (2647) - Carlsen,M (2690) [C48]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 19.01.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.Ba4 Bc5 6.Nxe5 0-0. 6…d5 led to a spectacular win for Black in Rublevsky-Mamedyarov, Foros Aerosvit 2006, and is currently considered fine for Black. The fact that Motylev invites, and Carlsen avoids it, suggests that both players know something. 7.Nd3 Bb6 8.e5 c6 9.0-0. 9.exf6 Re8+ 10.Kf1 Qxf6 offers Black excellent long-term compensation, and nobody has been brave enough to try the White side at master level. 9…Ne8 10.Ne2 Qh4. A novelty. 10…d6 and 10…d5 have both been played before. 11.Nxd4 Qxd4 12.Bb3 d5 13.Qe2 f6 14.e6 Nc7 15.c3 Qh4 16.g3 Qh6 17.Nc5!? Bxc5 18.d4 Qh3 19.dxc5 Nxe6 20.Be3 Re8 21.Qd2 Nf8!? 21…b6 is Fritz 10’s interesting suggestion. 22.Rae1 Ng6 23.f3 h5 24.Bd4 Bf5 25.c4! Breaking open the diagonal of the sleeping bishop on b3. Objectively, White is better here, but Motylev was very short of time, with barely two minutes to reach the time control at move 40. 25…Ne7 26.Re3 Be6 27.Qe2 Kf7.

 

28.g4? A case of seeing too much. The obvious 28 Re1 was simple and crushing, but Motylev has seen a tactical way to exploit the Black’s queen’s position. Unfortunately, it does not work, but if you haven’t seen the refutation, there is almost a moral obligation to play it, even though one would much rather play the simple move 28 Re1. 28…Ng6 29.f4 Bxg4 30.cxd5 Bxe2 31.dxc6+ Kf8 32.Rxh3 Bxf1 33.Kxf1 bxc6. White’s adventures have dropped the exchange, and he should now lose. 34.f5 Nf4 35.Rh4 Nd3!? 35…Re1+ was probably simpler, but Carlsen had obviously missed White’s 39th. 36.Be6 Rab8 37.Rxh5 Rb4? 37…Nf4 should win. 38.Rh8+ Ke7.

 

39.Bxf6+! A very nice cheapo to find with one’s flag hanging. Now 39…gxf6 40 Rh7+ forces perpetual. 39…Kxf6 40.Rxe8 Rxb2 41.Rf8+ Ke5 42.Rf7 Nxc5 43.Rxg7 Rxh2 44.Rxa7 Nxe6 ½-½. A narrow escape – for both players!

Kramnik,V (2766) - Anand,V (2779) [E05]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 19.01.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0–0 6.0–0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Ra7 11.Rc1 Be4 12.Qb3 Nc6 13.e3 Qa8 14.Qd1 Nb8 15.Ba5 Rc8 16.a3. The first novelty, Kramnik’s attempted improvement over 16.Bb6 Rb7 17.Bc5, which led to a quick draw in Ponomariev-Anand, from round 1. 16…Bd6 17.Nbd2 Bd5 18.Qf1 Nbd7 19.b4 e5 20.dxe5 Bxe5 21.Nxe5 Nxe5 22.f3 Nc4?! 22…Bc4 looks better, since after 23.Nxc4 Nxc4, the knight on c4 causes White more problems than the bishop. White probably has to go for the exchange sacrifice 24.Rxc4, which offers good compensation, but this is better than the game continuation, which offers White a free squeeze. 23.Nxc4 Bxc4 24.Qf2 Re8 25.e4. White has a dream position. His bishop on a5 prevents Black contesting the d-file, and this file, combined with the advancing e and f-pawns, give White a huge, and characteristic Catalan plus. 25…c6 26.Rd1 Rd7 27.Rxd7 Nxd7 28.Rd1 Qb7.

Round about here, as Seirawan explained, White has to decide how to exploit the d-file. Should it be queen in front of the rook (“head-first”, in Seattle chess parlance), or rook in front of the queen (“feet-first”). Kramnik opts to put in the boot. 29.Rd6 f6 30.f4?! But at this point, as Yasser confessed, “My hand just would not let me play any other move than 30 Qd4”! Kramnik decides to rely on his head, but from here onwards, he starts to lose the thread. 30…Re6 31.Rd2 Re7 32.Qd4. Deciding on head-first, after all. 32…Nf8 33.Qd8 Rd7 34.Rxd7 Qxd7 35.Qxd7 Nxd7

36.e5?! Disobeying another pearl of Seattle chess wisdom, the KISS principle – “Keep It Simple, Stupid”! The obvious continuation is 36 Bh3, annexing the a6-pawn, but after considerable thought, Kramnik rejected it. Perhaps he was worried that some sort of blockade might be possible after 36…Nf8 37.Bc8 Bd3 38.e5 fxe5 39.fxe5 Kf7, although this seems unlikely. 36…fxe5 37.Bxc6 Nf6 38.Bb7. Unfortunately, the obvious 38. fxe5 fails to do the trick 38…Bd5!, when the ending is dead draw after the forced exchange of light-squared bishops. Could this be what Kramnik missed at move 36? 38…exf4 39.gxf4 Nd5 40.Kf2 Nxf4 41.Ke3 g5 42.Bxa6 Kf7 43.a4. Most spectators thought this just a draw, but fortunately for the world champion, he still has a “nibble” (no, that’s not a Seattle term – more Middle England!), and Black still has problems to solve. We will probably have to wait for the players’ reaction, to know for sure if Black could have drawn this position, but I for one do not see how. 43…Ke7 44.Bxb5 Bxb5 45.axb5 Kd7 46.Ke4 Ne2 47.Bb6 g4 48.Bf2 Nc3+ 49.Kf5 Nxb5 50.Kxg4 Ke6 51.Kg5 Kf7 52.Kf5 Ke7 53.Bc5+ 1-0

Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 19th
A. Motylev - M. Carlsen
½-½
P. Svidler - L. Aronian
½-½
V. Kramnik - V. Anand
1-0
T. Radjabov - R. Ponomariov
½-½
V. Topalov - D. Navara
½-½
L. van Wely - S. Tiviakov
½-½
S. Karjakin - A. Shirov
1-0
Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 20st
A. Shirov - A. Motylev  
S. Tiviakov - S. Karjakin  
D. Navara - L. van Wely  
R. Ponomariov - V. Topalov  
V. Anand - T. Radjabov  
L. Aronian - V. Kramnik  
M. Carlsen - P. Svidler  

Standings after six rounds

Other sections

Group B Group C
Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 19th
D. Jakovenko - E. L’Ami
0-1
J. Smeets - D. Stellwagen
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrav - V. Bologan
1-0
P. Eljanov - J. Werle
1-0
T. Kosintseva - S. Atalik
1-0
V. Georgiev - B. Xiangzhi
½-½
F. Nijboer - G. Sargissian
½-½
Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 19th
T. Willemze - Z. Peng
0-1
I. Nepomniachtchi - E. van Haastert
1-0
H. Yifan - H. Jonkman
1-0
W. Spoelman - M. Bosboom
1-0
S. Brynell - E. Berg
½-½
P. Negi - J. van der Wiel
1-0
N. Kosintseva - M. Krasenkow
0-1

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