World Rapid lookback: Yermo's notes

by Alex Yermolinsky
1/1/2018 – Readers may have noticed the final report on the World Rapid had not been by Alex Yermolinsky, who begged forgiveness as he was very ill. A day later he sent this series of notes he had already prepared, saying it would be a pity for them to go to waste and we could not agree more. Enjoy the chosen moments with his highly instructive annotations. Happy New Year! | Photo: Anastasia Karlovich

My Career Vol. 2 My Career Vol. 2

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Return to Rapid

A quick look back at some highlights from the final day at the World Rapid Championship. For a full review, check out all reports from the 2017 World Rapid and Blitz Championship.

One of the critical games of the tournament was played in Round 12. Vladimir Fedoseev, who led the tournament throughout, was facing his toughest challenge yet. Vladimir Fedoseev played a crucial game against Magnus Carlsen he should never have lost. Such is sport.

Vladimir Fedoseev 0-1 Magnus Carlsen

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.28"] [Round "12"] [White "Fedoseev, Vladimir"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C91"] [WhiteElo "2718"] [BlackElo "2837"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/p7/1p3kpb/1P1N4/6KP/1P6/8 b - - 0 64"] [PlyCount "41"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] {For a long while it seemed the leader was holding his own.} 64... Ke5 65. Nf3+ $2 ({As it was pointed out by nearly eveyone who annotated this game} 65. Nc6+ Kd5 66. Nb8 Kc4 67. Nxa6 {was a routine draw.}) 65... Kd5 66. Nxg5 {I think Vladimir felt once this pawn is gone he'd be out of danger. Not at all!} ({ More accurate was} 66. b3 {to slow down the black king's approach to the b-pawns. That way the white knight would have had the time to get around to capture that a6-pawn.} Ke4 67. Nxg5+ Kd4 68. Ne6+ Kc3 69. Nc5 Kxb4 70. Nxa6+ Kxb3 71. Kf4) 66... Kc4 67. Ne4 Kxb4 68. Kf4 a5 69. Nd2 a4 70. Ke4 $6 {Another inaccuracy. Fedoseev must have missed the unexpected mate shown in the next note.} Kc5 71. Ke3 (71. Kd3 Bg6+ 72. Kc3 $4 ({White can still recover by playing} 72. Ke2 Bc2 73. Nf1 {In such endggames the knight has to show its agility to bother the opponent's forces with checks and forks.}) 72... b4# { There it is!}) 71... b4 72. Ne4+ Kd5 73. Nd2 Bg6 {[#] This is a pretty dangerous situation for White. Clearly, his h-pawn is not a factor, and the king is unable to get in front of the black passed pawn because his own knight is in the way.} 74. Ke2 $2 {This loses routinely.} ({The last chance to survive was} 74. Nb3 $1 {One must never forget basic endgame patterns!} a3 ( 74... axb3 75. Kd2 {is a fortress draw, which memorably occured in the Serper-Nakamura game from Hikaru's first victorious U.S. Championship, San Diego 2004.}) 75. bxa3 bxa3 76. Kd2 Kc4 77. Nc1 {Now the pawn is stopped on a2. Black can still makesome progress by using Zugzwang} Kb4 78. h4 Kc4 79. Na2 Kb3 80. Nc1+ Kb2 81. Kd1 Bh5+ 82. Kd2 {and now} Be2 $1 {[#] No choice for White but to give up the h-pawn.} 83. h5 Bxh5 {and now, as the black bishop has been deflected, White has the saving checks} 84. Nd3+ Kb3 85. Nc1+ Kc4 86. Na2 { Again, Black can try to set up the same Zugzwang.} Bg6 87. Nc3 $1 {The only move.} (87. Nc1 Bb1 88. Kd1 Kc3 89. Ne2+ Kb2 90. Nc1 Bc2+ 91. Kd2 Bg6 92. Kd1 Bh5+ 93. Kd2 Be2 $1 {is the end.}) 87... Kb3 88. Ne2 $1 {The knight what it can do.} Kb2 (88... Bf7 89. Nc3 Bc4 90. Kc1 $1 {sliding into the safe corner.}) 89. Nc3 {There's no winning Zugzwang here. Balck needs to take away two squares the knight can give checks from, that's a4 and d1, and also keep the white king off d3. It can only be accomplished from one square, so it's} Bc2 $1 {but White camply replies with} 90. Na2 {and holds his defenses. I learned all this from studying the ending from Shabalov-Sargissian, Chicago Open, 2002.}) 74... a3 75. bxa3 bxa3 76. Kd1 a2 77. Nb3 Kc4 78. Na1 Kc3 79. Kc1 Bf5 80. h4 Bg6 81. h5 Bxh5 ({Magnus could have done it without bothering with the pawn} 81... Bf5 82. h6 Bh7 {as now} 83. Nc2 Bxc2 {unstalemates White:} 84. h7 a1=Q#) 82. Nc2 Be8 83. Na1 Ba4 84. Nc2 Kb3 $1 {One last detail. The king moves away from c3 not to stalemate White.} (84... Kb3 85. Na1+ Ka3 86. Nc2+ Bxc2) 0-1

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Vladimir Fedoseev and Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Anastasia Karlovich


Here is an older example of the theme Fedoseev missed in the game against Carlsen:

 

Here White played 82.Nxe4! Kxe4 83.Kf1! and a draw was agreed.


It's hard to draw any conclusions from just a few games, but it seems to me that Fedoseev has an annoying habit of throwing away tournaments because of his unsure handling of the endgame. It happened at the Russian Superfinal in his game with Svidler and now this. My message to Vladimir and his esteemed coach, Alexander "El Khalif" Khalifman, is to set aside a few (hundred) hours to devote to endgame studies.

One more example of a bad endgame miss from the later rounds of the Rapid.

Pentala Harikrishna 1-0 Levon Aronian

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.28"] [Round "12"] [White "Harikrishna, P."] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A10"] [WhiteElo "2744"] [BlackElo "2805"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/p6p/6p1/3p3k/8/5N2/P6P/3K4 w - - 0 46"] [PlyCount "27"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] {[#]} 46. h3 $2 {This only helps Black to trade for the h-pawn and get the king back into the game.} (46. Ke2 Kg4 47. a4 Kf4 (47... g5 48. a5 h5 49. a6 h4 50. Kf2 Kf4 51. Nd4 {having secured the K-side, White now sends his knight on a winning mission.} g4 52. Nc6 g3+ 53. hxg3+ hxg3+ 54. Kg2 d4 55. Nxa7 d3 56. Nb5 d2 57. Nc3 $18) 48. a5 a6 (48... Ke4 49. Ng5+ Kd4 50. Nxh7 Kc3 51. Nf8 { and White rounds up the g-pawn while keeping an eye on d-passer.}) ({while} 48... h6 49. Nd4 Ke5 50. Nb5 a6 51. Nc7 Kd6 52. Nxa6 Kc6 53. Nb4+ Kb7 54. Nxd5 {is a routine win.}) 49. Ne1 Ke4 50. Nd3 Kd4 51. Nb4 $18) 46... g5 47. a4 g4 48. hxg4+ Kxg4 49. Ne5+ Kf4 50. Nc6 h5 {The passed pawn is a major distraction now.} 51. Ke2 h4 52. Nxa7 h3 $4 {Oh, no.} ({It was the White knight that Aronian needed to corral.} 52... d4 53. Nb5 d3+ 54. Kf2 Ke5 55. Nc3 Kd4 { is an easy draw.}) ({Also, the immediate} 52... Ke5 53. Nb5 Ke6 54. Kf3 Kd7 55. Nd4 Kc7 56. Kg4 Kb6 57. Nb3 d4 $11 {would have saved Black a critical tempo.}) 53. Kf2 Ke5 (53... d4 54. Nb5 Ke5 55. a5 Kd5 56. Nxd4 $18) 54. Nb5 Ke6 55. Kg3 Kd7 56. Nd4 $1 Kc7 57. Kxh3 Kb6 58. Nb3 d4 59. Kg3 1-0

Chess Endgames 7 - Endgame Principles Weaknesses & Fortresses

The 7th volume of this endgame series deals with many different aspects of endgame play: the art of pawn play, weaknesses, converting an advantage, stalemate, fortresses, the art of defence and typical mistakes. Learn how to convert an extra piece or an exchange or how to exploit space advantage and better mobility. The themes the art or defence, fortress and stalemate are also intertwined. If your position has a solid fundament then you may surprisingly reach a fortress which might even be based on a stalemate.

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As I noted in my previous reports Levon had struggled with long games in Riyadh. Perhaps, it's a sign of fatigue after the very eventful year. No worries, there are still two months before the Candidates for Aronian to recharge his batteries.

Having scored 10½ points, equal with Anand and Fedoseev, Nepomniachtchi barely missed out of the playoff. Ian's game flows better now, and his wins, particularly with White, almost seemed inevitable. Nepo builds such a huge edge on the clock that his opponents are bound to go wrong at some point.

Ian Nepomniachtchi 1-0 Wang Hao

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.28"] [Round "15"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "Wang, Hao"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C55"] [WhiteElo "2729"] [BlackElo "2709"] [Annotator "RC"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/2p1r1k1/1p1p1p2/pPnBr1pP/P1R1P1P1/2P2PK1/8/3R4 b - - 0 45"] [PlyCount "16"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] [TimeControl "900+10"] {[#]} 45... Kh6 {9} ({Safer was} 45... Re8 {with the idea of meeting} 46. Rxc5 bxc5 47. Rb1 {with a solid defense} Rb8) 46. Rxc5 {4 This sacrifice represented White's only chance to make progress. Wang hao should have been prepared to deal with it.} bxc5 $2 {20 Unbelievable.} (46... dxc5 {would hold with no particular difficulty.} 47. Bc6 (47. Bc4 Kg7 48. Rd8 Re8 $11) 47... R5e6 48. Rd8 Rd6 49. Rg8 Kh7 50. Rg6 Rg7) 47. b6 {3} cxb6 {50} 48. Rb1 { 1 Now it's all over, as the white rook goes on a rampage.} Rxd5 {114} 49. exd5 {1} Re3 {0} 50. Rxb6 {8} Rxc3 {1} 51. Rxd6 {0} Kg7 {1} 52. Rd7+ {11} Kg8 {3} 53. Rc7 {1} 1-0

Ian Nepomniachtchi's efficient play and clock pressure tied him with the leaders in the end. he only missed out on the playoff by virtue of a slightly worse tiebreak. | Photo: Anastasia Karlovich


Nobody likes to finish the tournament with a loss. What a way to spoil a good tournament for Wang Hao. His fate was shared by Peter Svidler, whose only loss came in the last round, and Vladislav Artemiev, whose event was a more topsy-turvy affair.

Vladislav Artemiev 1-0 Anton Korobov

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.28"] [Round "12"] [White "Artemiev, Vladislav"] [Black "Korobov, Anton"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B91"] [WhiteElo "2691"] [BlackElo "2652"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "45"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 a6 4. g3 b5 $6 {This line, a bastard child of the Kan and the Najdorf is nearly unplayable for Black.} 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bb7 7. Bg2 e6 8. O-O Nf6 ({Maybe} 8... Nd7 9. Re1 Qc7 {is a try, but then White attacks on the Q-side:} 10. a4 b4 11. Na2 a5 12. c3 $16 {Having that e4-pawn secured certainly helps.}) 9. Re1 Nbd7 (9... Qc7 {can be met by} 10. a4 (10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bxf6 gxf6 {Van Foreest-Sevian, 2016}) 10... b4 11. Nd5 exd5 12. exd5+ Kd8 13. Bg5 Nbd7 14. Nc6+ {is a standard attacking pattern in the Sicilian.}) 10. e5 $1 {[#] Artemiev moves in for the kill.} (10. a4 b4 11. Nd5 {was also pretty strong.}) 10... Bxg2 (10... dxe5 11. Bxb7 ({no need to bother with} 11. Nxe6) 11... exd4 12. Bxa8 Qxa8 13. Qxd4 Bc5 14. Qf4 {does not give Black nearly enough for the exchange.}) 11. exf6 Bb7 (11... Bh3 {brings no relief.} 12. Qh5 $1 Qxf6 13. Be3 Bf5 14. Nd5 {etc.}) 12. fxg7 Bxg7 {This all has been played before, the first time in 1941!} 13. Nxe6 $1 {Vladislav's solution is the most efficient.} ({Previously White attacked with} 13. Nf5 $16) 13... fxe6 14. Rxe6+ Kf8 15. Rxd6 {That's all there is. White regainsa piece while keeping the extra pawns.} Qc8 16. Rxd7 Qc6 17. Qd5 Qxd5 18. Nxd5 Bc6 19. Rd6 Rc8 20. Nb6 Rc7 21. Bf4 Bxb2 22. Re1 Kf7 23. Rde6 1-0

One can question Korobov's handling of the opening, but a long tournament makes players prone to all sorts of blunders and hallucinations. Witness this.

Li Chao 0-1 Wang Yue

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.28"] [Round "13"] [White "Li, Chao b"] [Black "Wang, Yue"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A01"] [WhiteElo "2732"] [BlackElo "2690"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "28"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 d6 3. e3 c5 4. d4 cxd4 5. exd4 Nc6 6. Nf3 e4 7. Nfd2 f5 8. d5 Ne5 {[#] White didn't play the greatest of openings, but the whole game still lay ahead until he thought he spotted a tactic.} 9. Nxe4 $4 fxe4 10. Bxe5 dxe5 11. Qh5+ g6 $1 {The most resolute.} ({White's prospects aren't very rosy even after} 11... Kd7) 12. Qxe5+ Kf7 13. Qxh8 Bg7 14. Qxh7 Qg5 {Just like that. Nf6 is coming up next, and White resigned.} 0-1

Ultimately, it all comes down to who handles the pressure better than others. Grischuk managed to recover after a tough loss to Anand  to inflict a painful defeat on Magnus Carlsen, and those two games were well covered in the chess media. Somewhat unnoticed was how Alexander got there.

Alexander Grischuk 1-0 Eltaj Safarli

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.28"] [Round "13"] [White "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Black "Safarli, Eltaj"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A35"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2639"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1rbr2k1/p4p1p/2p1p1p1/1q6/Q2bN3/2B5/PP3PPP/R3R1K1 w - - 0 21"] [PlyCount "101"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] {[#] When the chips are down Alexander Grischuk knows how to play his hand.} 21. Qxd4 $3 Rxd4 22. Bxd4 f5 ({That h-pawn was worth saving.} 22... h5 23. Nf6+ Kf8 24. Rad1 Ra8 25. Be5 Bb7 $13) 23. Nf6+ Kf7 24. Nxh7 {White is actually better here, and Grischuk was able to win after a long fight.} c5 25. Bc3 Rb7 26. Re3 Re7 27. Ng5+ Ke8 28. Rae1 e5 29. Bxe5 Bb7 30. a3 Kd7 31. f3 Kc8 32. Nh3 Qa4 33. b4 c4 34. Nf2 g5 35. h3 f4 36. Rc3 Bd5 37. Ng4 Kb7 38. Kh2 Qc6 39. Rd1 Qe6 40. Bf6 Rd7 41. Bxg5 Bc6 42. Rxd7+ Bxd7 43. Bxf4 Ba4 44. Re3 Qd7 45. Be5 Bc2 46. Bc3 Ka6 47. Ne5 Qf5 48. Kg1 Kb5 49. Kf2 Qg5 50. g3 Qf5 51. Kg2 Bd3 52. h4 Ka4 53. h5 Kb3 54. Bd4 Kc2 55. h6 Qh7 56. Ng4 Kd2 57. Re6 Bf5 58. Be3+ Kd3 59. Nf2+ Kc2 60. Rc6 Kb3 61. g4 Qd7 62. Ra6 Bb1 63. Rxa7 Qe6 64. Bf4 c3 65. h7 Qf6 66. Kg3 Qh8 67. b5 Bxh7 68. b6 c2 69. b7 Ka2 70. Ra8 Qa1 71. Kg2 1-0

All Open rapid games

 

Final Open rapid standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Anand Viswanathan 10,5 0,0
2 Fedoseev Vladimir 10,5 0,0
3 Nepomniachtchi Ian 10,5 0,0
4 Bu Xiangzhi 10,0 0,0
5 Carlsen Magnus 10,0 0,0
6 Grischuk Alexander 10,0 0,0
7 Savchenko Boris 10,0 0,0
8 Mamedov Rauf 10,0 0,0
9 Guseinov Gadir 10,0 0,0
10 Svidler Peter 9,5 0,0
11 Wang Hao 9,5 0,0
12 Yu Yangyi 9,5 0,0
13 Artemiev Vladislav 9,5 0,0
14 Onischuk Vladimir 9,5 0,0
15 Ding Liren 9,5 0,0
16 Harikrishna P. 9,5 0,0
17 Grigoriants Sergey 9,5 0,0
18 Zhao Jun 9,5 0,0
19 Pantsulaia Levan 9,0 0,0
20 Saric Ivan 9,0 0,0

All Women's rapid games

 

Final Women's rapid standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Ju Wenjun 11,5 0,0
2 Lei Tingjie 11,0 0,0
3 Paehtz Elisabeth 10,5 0,0
4 Khotenashvili Bela 10,0 0,0
5 Pham Le Thao Nguyen 10,0 0,0
6 Dzagnidze Nana 10,0 0,0
7 Fataliyeva Ulviyya 10,0 0,0
8 Atalik Ekaterina 10,0 0,0
9 Danielian Elina 9,5 0,0
10 Assaubayeva Bibisara 9,5 0,0
11 Goryachkina Aleksandra 9,5 0,0
12 Shuvalova Polina 9,5 0,0
13 Huang Qian 9,5 0,0
14 Shen Yang 9,5 0,0
15 Kosteniuk Alexandra 9,0 0,0
16 Mamedjarova Turkan 9,0 0,0
17 Guo Qi 9,0 0,0
18 Tan Zhongyi 9,0 0,0
19 Harika Dronavalli 9,0 0,0
20 Sebag Marie 9,0 0,0

Closing Ceremony

The World Blitz Championship prize giving | Source: ChessCast

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Yermo is enjoying his fifties. Lives in South Dakota, 600 miles way from the nearest grandmaster. Between his chess work online he plays snooker and spends time outdoors - happy as a clam.
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Bhoopnathchess Bhoopnathchess 1/4/2018 12:51
Excellent Tournament For vishy! I Hope happy and Successful 2018! too!
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 1/2/2018 05:40
VISHY.....BACK LIKE A PHOENIX!!!!
Keesje Keesje 1/2/2018 04:10
When you click on the name of Fedoseev Vladimir, you get a chart displaying that he is 80 years old with a rating of 2150. :-)
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