Zurich R3: Two draws with exciting chess

by Alejandro Ramirez
2/26/2013 – An exciting round for sure, despite the lack of decisive results. Boris Gelfand played a Najdorf against his 2012 World Championship opponent Vishy Anand, sacrificed a pawn and was able to hold him to a draw in 42 moves. Vladimir Kramnik used a Benoni against Fabiano Caruana and had the advantage in a well-fought draw. Guess who dropped in to assist with the commentary.

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In one of the strongest tournaments of the year the World Champion Viswanathan Anand (India) is facing the former title-holder Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), last year’s World Championship challenger Boris Gelfand (Israel) and the rising star Fabiano Caruana (Italy). At the Savoy Hotel, Paradeplatz, Zurich, the four masters are playing a double round-robin tournament from 23 February to 1 March 2013.

Round three report

By GM Alejandro Ramirez

3rd round: 25 February 2013 at 15:00
Viswanathan Anand 2780
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2740
Fabiano Caruana 2757
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 2810

Anand, Vishy – Gelfand, Boris ½ - ½
This unusual line of the Najdorf gave Black excellent compensation for a sacrificed central pawn. However, after Gelfand missed the very strong 14... Bxh3! Anand seemed to be firmly in control, with strong possibilities of consolidating his material gains. Some doubtful decisions allowed the Israeli to cripple White's queenside pawn structure and safe the game.

[Event "Zurich Chess Challenge"] [Site "Zurich"] [Date "2013.02.25"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Gelfand, Boris"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B81"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2740"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "SUI"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e6 7. g4 d5 8. exd5 Nxd5 9. Nde2 h5 $5 {A relatively untried idea. Maybe we will see it pop up more often.} 10. g5 Bd6 11. Nxd5 exd5 12. Bg2 O-O {Clearly black has no intention of defending the pawn on d5, instead gifting it to open up lines for his own pieces.} 13. O-O Nc6 14. Qxd5 {A curiously bad time to play this move. Maybe they missed some tactic?} Be6 (14... Bxh3 $1 15. Bf4 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Bxf4 17. Nxf4 Qb6 {can only favor Black} (17... Qc8 $5 {is also strong and safer.})) 15. Qf3 Re8 16. Be3 Bc4 17. Rfe1 Nb4 18. Rac1 Be5 19. Nc3 Bxc3 20. bxc3 Bd5 21. Qxh5 Bxg2 22. Kxg2 (22. cxb4 Be4 23. Qg4 {leaves White with a lot of holes on the light squares, but he would be up two clean pawns.}) 22... Qd5+ 23. Kg1 Nc6 {After Gelfand gets one of his pawns back, it will be difficult to prove and advantage with the many weaknesses that White has.} 24. Red1 Qxa2 25. g6 fxg6 26. Qxg6 Qf7 27. Qxf7+ Kxf7 28. Rb1 b5 29. c4 b4 30. c3 bxc3 31. Rbc1 Red8 32. Rxd8 Rxd8 33. Rxc3 a5 34. Kf1 Ke6 35. Ke2 Rh8 36. Bb6 Rh4 37. Re3+ Kf5 38. Ra3 Rxc4 39. Bxa5 Nxa5 40. Rxa5+ Kf6 41. Ra6+ Kf5 42. Kf3 1/2-1/2

Caruana, Fabiano – Kramnik, Vladimir ½ - ½
Kramnik was in no mood to defend a passive Catalan position, so he used the sharp Benoni! However, he may have regretted this decision well before the 20th move, as Caruana had a strong positional advantage and everything seemed to be going his way. For some odd reason the Italian GM allowed a series of unusual tactics that landed him in a bizarre position, far from the clear advantage he was holding in the opening. After some accurate moves the position sadly fizzled into a draw.

[Event "Zurich Chess Challenge"] [Site "Zurich"] [Date "2013.02.25"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A62"] [WhiteElo "2757"] [BlackElo "2810"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "106"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "SUI"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 c5 {Although it is exciting that Kramnik is employing the Benoni, do notice that the decision came after White committed to the move g3, preventing him from choosing some of the more popular plans.} 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bg2 Bg7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Bf4 a6 11. a4 h6 { Chasing the bishop away from f4 is always a popular idea, but is more commonly done with the move Nh5.} 12. Re1 Bf5 13. Qc1 g5 14. Bd2 Nbd7 (14... Ne4 15. Nxe4 Bxe4 16. h4 Bxf3 17. Bxf3 gxh4 18. Bxh6 {would have led to a completely unclear game.}) 15. h4 g4 16. Nh2 Kh7 $6 {Kramnik criticized this move in the post-mortem, and with good reason. The direct h5 was far more accurate.} 17. Nf1 Ne5 18. Bf4 Bg6 19. Ne3 h5 20. a5 Qc7 21. Ra4 Kg8 {The king had to retreat, and the two tempi lost has allowed Caruana to now have a certain bind on the position.} 22. Qd2 {Fabiano was unhappy with this move after the game, but the computers think it is ok. He thought it gave Black too many tactical possibilities.} Nfd7 23. Ra2 b5 24. axb6 Qxb6 (24... Nxb6 25. b3 Qb7 26. Be4 Nbd7 $16 {was considered by the super-GMs, but this looks much better for White.}) 25. Be4 $5 {The start of some interesting complications.} (25. Rea1 Reb8 26. Be4 $1 $16 {would probably have been much more accurate.}) 25... Bxe4 26. Nxe4 Ng6 $1 {Forced, but sufficient.} 27. Nxd6 Nxf4 28. Nec4 Nh3+ 29. Kf1 Qb8 30. Nxe8 Qxe8 31. Qc2 Ne5 {in this bizzare position Black has the material superiority, but his knight being stuck on h3 makes his position dangerous.} 32. Nd6 Qd7 33. Nf5 Bf8 34. Ne3 c4 35. Qf5 Qxf5 36. Nxf5 Bb4 37. Rd1 a5 38. Raa1 f6 39. Rac1 Bc5 40. Nd4 Kf7 41. Kg2 {At this stage Garry Kasparov joined the commentators.} Rb8 ({Kasparov discussed this alternative with Pelletier and Hug:} 41... Nd3 42. exd3 Bxd4 43. dxc4 Bxb2 44. Rc2 Be5 45. c5) ({and then went on to analyse} 41... a4 42. f4 Nd3 43. exd3 Bxd4 44. dxc4 Bxb2 {getting an a-pawn that was very dangerous for White.}) 42. Rc2 Rb4 43. d6 ({Hug, Pelletier and Kasparov continue to analyse:} 43. f4 Nd3 (43... Nd7 44. Nc6 Rb3) 44. exd3 Bxd4 45. dxc4) (43. Nc6 Nxf2 44. Rf1 (44. Rdc1 Ne4 45. Nxe5+ (45. Nxb4 axb4) 45... fxe5 46. Rxc4 Bd6) (44. Ra1 Ne4 45. Rxa5 Rb3) 44... Nxc6 45. dxc6 Ke7 46. Rfc1 Kd6 47. Rxc4 Rxc4 48. Rxc4 Kxc6 49. Rf4 Nd1 50. Rxf6+ Kb5) {After the above analysis Kasparov praises the manoeuvre 41...Rb8 and 42...Rb4 by Kramnik and predicts a draw as the outcome - with some slight chances for Black to win.} 43... Rb6 44. Nf5 Bxf2 45. d7 Nxd7 46. Rxd7+ Ke6 47. Rh7 Kxf5 48. Rxh5+ Kg6 49. Rxa5 Rb4 50. Ra6 {Fabiano has defended well and it is no longer possible to avoid further simplication. Notice how the knight on h3 was simply never able to join the battle.} Bd4 51. Rc6 Bxb2 52. R6xc4 Rxc4 53. Rxc4 Kh5 1/2-1/2

Watch this interlude with Garry Kasparov analysing a critical position during the above game.


Garry Kasparov happened to be in Zurich and dropped in to watch the round...


The organisers asked him to join in the commentary and he gladly agreed

Current standings

Live streams of the game

Apart from the interlude with Garry Kasparov GM Yannick Pelletier and IM Werner Hug commented on the games as they progress, and also interviewed the players after the games. You can watch their broadcasts in the videos below.

Impressions on round two by Vijay Kumar

Schedule and results

1st round: 23 February 2013 at 15:00
Fabiano Caruana 2757
½-½
Viswanathan Anand 2780
Vladimir Kramnik 2810
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2740
2nd round: 24 February 2013 at 15:00
Vladimir Kramnik 2810
½-½
Viswanathan Anand 2780
Boris Gelfand 2740
½-½
Fabiano Caruana 2757
3rd round: 25 February 2013 at 15:00
Viswanathan Anand 2780
½-½
Boris Gelfand 2740
Fabiano Caruana 2757
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik 2810
4th round: 27 February 2013 at 15:00
Viswanathan Anand 2780   Fabiano Caruana 2757
Boris Gelfand 2740   Vladimir Kramnik 2810
5th round: 28 February 2013 at 15:00
Boris Gelfand 2740   Viswanathan Anand 2780
Vladimir Kramnik 2810   Fabiano Caruana 2757
6th round: 1 March 2013 at 13:00
Viswanathan Anand 2780   Vladimir Kramnik 2810
Fabiano Caruana 2757   Boris Gelfand 2740

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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