World Cup 6.2: MVL pulls a miracle

8/27/2013 – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave saw himself against the ropes from the very beginning of his game. Kramnik eventually gained a decisive material advantage in the endgame. However, after a blunder by Kramnik, MVL took his opponent's last pawn and forced a draw. Tomashevsky was unable to secure an advantage and will also go to tie-breaks against Andreikin. Report and analysis.

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The FIDE World Cup is a knockout, starting with 128 players, with two games (90 min for 40 moves + 30 min for the rest, with 30 seconds increment) between pairs of players. The tiebreaks consist of two rapid games (25 min + 10 sec), then two accelerated games (10 min + 10 sec), and finally an Armageddon. The winner and the runner-up of the World Cup 2013 will qualify for the Candidates Tournament of the next World Championship cycle. The venue is the city of Tromsø, which lies in the northern-most region of Norway, almost 400 km inside the Arctic Circle. You can find all details and links to many ChessBase articles on Tromsø here. The World Cup starts on Sunday, August 11th and lasts until September 3rd (tiebreaks, closing ceremony). Each round lasts three days, while the final will consist of four classical games. Thursday August 29 is a free day. A detailed schedule can be found here.

Round six game two

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (above) was tortured by Vladimir Kramnik from the very beginning as White's intitiatve transformed into a more pleasant endgame which in turn ended in an endgame in which White had three pawns on the kingside against Black's two, with only rooks and knights. Kramnik pressed forward and eventually got a winning position, but a huge blunder gave the advantage away and he was unable to convert the Rook and Knight against Rook endgame.

Kramnik was not too pleased with having to play 125 moves of chess to draw

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2013"] [Site "Tromsø"] [Date "2013.08.27"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "*"] [ECO "D17"] [WhiteElo "2784"] [BlackElo "2719"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "249"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "NOR"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 {MVL has been employing the Slav very successfully. He has shown an interesting new idea against the e3 setups, but Kramnik is faithful to the main variation.} 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Nb6 {A line that is known to give Black a solid but passive position. Morozevich's idea is more active but far riskier.} (7... Qc7 8. g3 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bf4 {was seen once in Tromso in the game Postny-Li Chao in which the Chinese player took the full point.}) 8. Ne5 a5 9. e3 {a sedate approach that is becoming more and more popular. The main alternatives are g3 and f3.} Nbd7 10. Nc4 (10. Qb3 Nxe5 11. dxe5 Nd7 12. Qxb7 Nxe5 13. Nb5 $5 Rb8 $1 14. Qc7 f6 $1 {Gave Black a playable position in Xie Deshun - Bu Xiangzhi earlier this year.}) 10... Qb8 {A novelty, but it will be interesting to see exactly how good it is. Black's idea is to push e5 quickly.} 11. Bd3 Bxd3 12. Qxd3 e5 13. O-O Bb4 14. Qf5 $5 {Forcing the pawn to exchange on d4. Despite the isolated pawn White retains a certain initiative as his pieces have many good squares to go to.} exd4 15. exd4 O-O 16. Rd1 Qe8 17. Bf4 Qe6 {Black creates a weakness on e6, true, but it was more important to subdue White's active play. Now Black's position will be uncomfortable but still quite defendable.} 18. Qxe6 fxe6 19. Bd6 Rfd8 20. f3 Bxc3 $6 {This is a strange choice. Black exposes the b7 pawn too much.} (20... Bxd6 21. Nxd6 Ra7 22. Kf2 Nb6 {should still be slightly favorable for White, but not that much.}) 21. bxc3 Nd5 22. Rdc1 b5 $5 {An interesting idea. Black immediately sacrifices his pawn for compensation rather than waiting for White to set up his position and win the pawn anyways under better circumstances.} 23. axb5 cxb5 24. Nxa5 Rdc8 25. Bb4 Rc7 $6 (25... N7b6 $1 26. Rab1 $6 Na4 $1 {And Black suddenly has too much pressure on c3.}) 26. Rab1 Rac8 27. h4 e5 28. Rd1 exd4 29. Rxd4 N7f6 30. Kh2 h6 31. Rb2 Nxc3 32. Bxc3 Rxc3 33. Rxb5 Rc2 34. Nb3 Kh7 35. Rdb4 R8c3 36. Kh3 Ra2 37. Nd4 {With all the pawns in one side of the board and with the reduced amount of material it should be possible for Black to hold the position, but it is very unpleasant.} Rc1 38. Ne6 Re1 39. Nf4 Ra7 40. h5 Rae7 41. g4 R1e5 $6 {Usually in these types of endgames it is better to keep as much material as possible to create counterplay. Now MVL has to rely entirely on his ability to set up a fortress.} 42. Ng6 Rxb5 43. Rxb5 Re8 44. Rb7 Rd8 45. Kg3 Kg8 46. Kh4 Kh7 47. Ra7 Kg8 48. f4 Kh7 49. Rb7 Ne4 50. Rb4 Re8 51. g5 Nd6 52. Rb6 Nf7 53. Rb5 Re1 54. Nf8+ Kg8 55. Rb8 hxg5+ 56. fxg5 Rh1+ 57. Kg3 Rg1+ (57... Rxh5 58. g6 $1 {wins on the spot.}) 58. Kf4 (58. Kh2 Rxg5 59. Ne6+ Kh7 60. Nxg5+ Nxg5 61. Rb6 $1 {gives White winning chances but should be holdable.}) 58... Rf1+ $4 {The decisive mistake.} (58... Nd6 {this move immediately would've made the win very unclear still, as Black has some surprising defensive resources and his king is not getting mated just yet.}) 59. Ke3 g6 {sadly there was nothing better} (59... Nd6 60. Ng6+ Kf7 61. Rf8+ {is the big difference as now Black's rook falls on f1.}) 60. hxg6 Kg7 61. gxf7 Kxf7 {Surprisingly, White has to find an only way to win here.} 62. Ke4 $4 {Returning the favor!} (62. Nd7 $1 {wins as White can reroute his pieces to optimal squares. Kramnik probably missed the following sequence:} Rf5 63. Rf8+ Kg6 64. Rg8+ Kf7 65. Ke4 $1 {The only winning move.} Ra5 66. Rf8+ Kg6 67. Ne5+ $1 Kxg5 68. Rf5+ $1 {and the knight will check the king in the next move, setting up a discovery and winning the rook!}) 62... Re1+ 63. Kf3 Rf1+ 64. Kg3 Rg1+ 65. Kf4 Rf1+ 66. Ke3 Re1+ 67. Kf3 Rf1+ 68. Kg2 Rf5 69. Nh7 Kg6 70. Rb7 Rf4 71. Kg3 Ra4 72. Re7 Rg4+ {clever as the rook cannot be taken due to stalemate tricks.} 73. Kf3 Ra4 74. Rb7 Rh4 75. Nf6 Kxg5 76. Ne4+ Kf5 77. Re7 {The rook against knight endgame is considerably simpler than the rook against bishop one. That being said there have been some important games in which the stronger side has managed to trick their opponents.} Rh8 78. Ke3 Rd8 79. Rf7+ Ke6 80. Rh7 Rd1 81. Nc5+ Kf5 82. Rf7+ Ke5 83. Nd3+ Ke6 84. Ra7 Rh1 85. Ke4 Rh4+ 86. Nf4+ Kd6 87. Ra6+ Kc5 88. Rg6 Kc4 89. Rc6+ Kb5 90. Rc1 Rh8 91. Ke5 Rh4 92. Rc8 Rh1 93. Ne6 Rh5+ 94. Kd6 Rh6 95. Rc1 Kb4 96. Kd5 Rh5+ 97. Ke4 Rh4+ 98. Nf4 Kb5 99. Ke5 Rh8 100. Rc2 Rh4 101. Rf2 Kc4 102. Ke4 Rh8 103. Rc2+ Kb5 104. Ng6 Rh1 105. Ne5 Re1+ 106. Kd4 Rd1+ 107. Nd3 Kb6 108. Rc3 Rb1 109. Kd5 Rb5+ 110. Nc5 Rb1 111. Nd7+ Kb5 112. Rd3 Rb4 113. Ne5 Rb1 114. Nc4 Kb4 115. Nd2 Rb2 116. Kc6 Rc2+ 117. Kb6 Rb2 118. Kc6 Rc2+ 119. Kb7 Rc3 120. Rd8 Rc5 121. Ne4 Rc4 122. Re8 Rc2 123. Kb6 Re2 124. Kc6 Re1 125. Nd6 { Finally with the 50 move rule easily in sight the players agreed to a draw. A titanic struggle!} *

In the other game of the day Dmitri Andreikin (left) stayed faithful to his Orthodox set-up in the Queen's Gambit Declined to neutralize Evgeny Tomashevsky's attempts to take the match with the white pieces. Despite obtaining a small structural advantage as he was playing against an isolated queen's pawn, White could not really claim any significant edge. The players agreed to a draw in a position that was starting to become lifeless. Tomorrow the players will battle it out in the tiebreaks. Tomashevsky won an Armageddon against Ramirez and a Blitz thriller against Morozevich in rounds one and four, but has not played any tiebreaks besides that. Andreikin on the other hand has been on a tiebreak in every round except the second, in which he knocked out the Vietnamese player Nguyen Ngoc Truong.

Andreikin will go to yet another tiebreak, where he seems to be quite comfortable

All results of the sixth round games

Player Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Andreikin, Dmitri 2716
½
½
              1.0
Tomashevsky, Evg 2706
½
½               1.0
Player Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Vachier-Lagrave, M 2719
½
½
              1.0
Kramnik, Vladimir 2784
½
½
              1.0

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All photos by Nastja Karlovich


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Topics Tromso, World Cup
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