Corus 2008, Round 8 – Anand demolishes Topalov

Anand drives Topalov from the board. Leko neutralises van Wely’s pawn centre. Polgar holds the rook endgame against Kramnik. Gelfand secures a draw against Carlsen. Mamedyarov and Aronian share the points. Radjabov capitalises on Ivanchuk’s inaccuracy, but Ivanchuk’s stubbornly holds the fort. Eljanov and Adams draw.

Anand – Topalov

Anand gets another typically positional advantage out of a Najdorf Sicilian. Topalov gets into an awkward pin and weakens his kingside by exchanging off his dark-squared bishop. He artificially castles his king, extracting his badly positioned rook, but Anand’s better central development secures him an advantage, and breaks up any Black’s play down the c-file. Topalov stumbles in defending his king ceding the initiative and the advantage to Anand. Anand drives through to Topalov’s king forcing a resignation.

van Wely – Leko

Van Wely erects a big pawn centre in a Classical Nimzo-Indian, and Leko immediately takes steps to neutralise it. The liquidation also exchanges off the queens. Leko’s active knights quickly force van Wely to part with his bishop pair and that leaves a balanced endgame.

Kramnik – Polgar

A battle for the e4 and e5 squares breaks out in the Queen’s Indian Defence which allows Kramnik to snaffle an extra pawn. Polgar gets some compensation of tempo to activate her pieces. Polgar attacks the static White pawn centre allowing Kramnik a free hand down the c-file. Kramnik’s pawn centre disappears, but he manages to re-forge some of it by an exchange of queens. But Polgar holds the rook endgame.

Carlsen – Gelfand

The queens are exchanged in a Semi-Slav, and Carlsen gains the upper-hand thanks to an extra pawn and an uncontested open a-file. Gelfand grabs the initiative and opens operations on both sides of the board with his bishop against Carlsen’s knight. Carlsen activates his rook and the battle whittles down to the kingside and Gelfand successfully defends the endgame with his pawn minus.

Mamedyarov – Aronian

Aronian gets a solid position from a Meran Semi-Slav and equalises comfortably with a typical queenside pawn-storm. Neither side gets their initiative going and as the pieces come off the game dissolves into a draw.

Radjabov – Ivanchuk

In a Classical Caro-Kann, Ivanchuk’s offbeat plan leaves his king stuck in the centre unable deprived of castling. Radjabov’s knight is a little stuck but he manages to extract it before Ivanchuk can take advantage of it. Radjabov manages to co-ordinate his pieces, pushing Ivanchuk onto the defensive. Ivanchuk manages to exchange the queens, and Radjabov’s two knights force a repetition of position

Eljanov – Adams

Eljanov’s stormy Catalan demolishes Adams’ queenside, but its not sufficient for an advantage as Adams slowly improves his position to equalise and has no difficulties holding the position.

Posted in Adams, Anand, Aronian, Carlsen, Chess, Corus, Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Leko, Mamedyarov, Polgar, Radjabov, Topalov, van Wely | Leave a comment

Corus 2008, Round 7 – Anand’s first win in a day of tense action

Anand engineers the win of an exchange to see off Polgar. Adams fends off a Mamedyarov attack. Eljanov comes close to a win, but lets van Wely off the hook. Aronian grounds down Radjabov’s pawn sacrifice. Carlsen holds Topalov in an anti-Marshall. Kramnik’s Petroff is solid against Ivanchuk, neither player making any headway. Gelfand holds Leko.

Polgar – Anand

Polgar gets a solid position out of a Sicilian Najdorf, much similar to Anand’s typical handling of the structure as White, with a knight installed on d5. Anand gets counterplay down the queenside and manages to keep the only bishop on the board. Polgar builds pressure on the exposed backward d-pawn, and forces Anand to part with his bishop, weakening the light squares around Anand’s central pawns. Polgar gets her knight to d6, backed by all her major pieces, and exchanging her queen for both Black rooks. Anand takes over the initiative and his advantage increases – his pieces coordinate together better than Polgar’s, and Anand engineers the win of an exchange to conclude the game.

Adams – Mamedyarov

Mamedyarov chooses a Steinitz Deferred against Adams’ traditional Ruy Lopez, and emerges with slightly awkward but playable position. Adams goes astray and throws away what was quickly becoming a strong position. Mamedyarov opens up on the kingside and uses the momentum to take over the centre; he takes over the initiative and Adams has to weather a strong attack against his king. Mamedyarov maintains the pressure after Adams temporary activity. But he miscues, and Adams takes the opportunity to relieve the pressure and hold the draw.

Eljanov – van Wely

Eljanov gets aggressive on the kingside of a Slav, but settles down to playing on the queenside. He emerges with a slight edge into an endgame. He grows that advantage to serious proportions. Van Wely sacrifices his d-pawn to unlock his light-squared bishop, and Eljanov returns the favour to keep the position in his favour, just not as close to winning as earlier. Van Wely holds the rook endgame.

Aronian – Radjabov

Radjabov heads into a Modern Benoni against Aronian’s kingside fianchetto. Aronian holds back the e-pawn. Radjabov sacrifices a pawn for counterplay, but its not enough compensation as Aronian bolts down the position and creates some counterplay against the Black king. Radjabov regains his sacrificed pawn but is on the receiving end of two passed pawns. Aronian has little trouble in extracting the full point.

Topalov – Carlsen

Topalov adopts a quiet Anti-Marshall line against Carlsen’s Ruy Lopez, and that gives Carlsen scope in the centre. The battle erupts around Carlsen’s advanced centre. The game resolves into a balanced endgame. Topalov holds a slight edge, but Carlsen fights stubbornly to reverse the situation. Topalov holds the draw.

Ivanchuk – Kramnik

Ivanchuk retains a small advantage from a Classical Petroff, but Kramnik equalises fairly easily. Ivanchuk breaks Kramnik’s blockade of the centre pawns, but Kramnik’s equalising pawn break removes the queens. The flurry of activity sees an exchange of pieces and the tension disappears into a balanced endgame. Ivanchuk accepts a draw.

Gelfand – Leko

Leko obtains an edge against Gelfand’s esoteric Catalan, but quickly re-establishes equality after Leko miscues his light-squared bishop. The battle takes place on the queenside for the c-file. The resulting ending leaves no side with the upper hand.

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Corus 2008, Round 6 – Topalov and Kramnik win in lengthy games. Carlsen beats Polgar

Topalov prevails in a long tough struggle against Leko. Kramnik demolishes Aronian’s Anti-Moscow. Carlsen reacts well to Polgar’s early queen trip to earn the full point. Eljanov reacts well to Mamedyarov’s Giuoco, and gains a draw in a lengthy manoeuvring game. Radjabov’s Exchange Ruy Lopez is enough for a draw against Adams. Ivanchuk equalises easily against Anand.

Leko – Topalov

Another duel in the positional variants of the Najdorf Sicilian, the position is balanced out of the opening, both sides manoeuvring finding better squares for their pieces. Topalov takes the initiative creating pawn wedges on the centre and kingside. Leko breaks out on the queenside, installing a strong knight deep into Black’s position. Leko gradually takes over the initiative but Topalov’s pressure pulls the game back into balance. As the position opens Topalov’s pieces find better squares, and Leko finds himself on the back foot fighting for his life the wrong side of a losing endgame. Topalov’s two central passed pawns are incredibly dangerous, and Topalov makes no mistake converting it into a win.

Kramnik – Aronian

Kramnik follows Aronian’s Anti-Moscow Semi-Slav game against Gustafsson from the World Cup last year, but improves with 15. Bg4 sacrificing another pawn to retain the initiative. Aronian gives up a knight for a third pawn, re-establishing material equality. Aronian has a massive pawn phalanx on the queenside, and they threaten to overrun White’s position. Kramnik’s minority attack on the queenside seems to spook Aronian who misses an immediate chance to cash in on his pawns. Kramnik sacrifices a knight to open lines for his major pieces. Kramnik’s pressure forces Aronian’s once-proud queenside pawns to crumble. Kramnik’s endgame is just winning, and Aronian battles another thirty moves before finally throwing in the towel.

Carlsen – Polgar

Polgar’s unusual queen manoeuvre in the Classical Nimzo-Indian sees her regain a pawn and exchange off the queens. After that its all one-way traffic as Carlsen builds up an advantage, converts that to a win of a pawn, and Polgar’s position is hopeless.

Mamedyarov – Eljanov

Mamedyarov plays an ancient variation of the Giuoco Piano and arrives at a solid equal position. Both sides manoeuvre around for a plan. Mamedyarov toils hard, inflicts weaknesses in Eljanov’s pawn structure, but Eljanov holds the position. Eljanov starts to get the upper hand. Neither side can make much progress, so they agree to a draw.

Radjabov – Adams

Radjabov and Adams follow an old line of the Exchange Ruy Lopez, Adams emerges with a slight advantage thanks to a misstep from Radjabov, but is satisfied to split the points with Radjabov.

Anand – Ivanchuk

Ivanchuk tries an unusual knight development in a Classical Caro-Kann. Anand’s reaction allows Ivanchuk to reposition his light-squared bishop on d5 which nullifies any White advantage. Ivanchuk is happy to settle for a draw.

van Wely – Gelfand

The position from a Queen’s Indian is solidly equal. Nothing exciting to play for, so the players agree to split the points.

Posted in Adams, Anand, Aronian, Carlsen, Chess, Corus, Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Leko, Mamedyarov, Polgar, Radjabov, Topalov, van Wely | Leave a comment

Corus 2008, Round 5 – Radjabov’s Kings Indian topples Eljanov. Mamedyarov beats van Wely

Radjabov turns the tables on Eljanov’s centre pawn storm. Mamedyarov outplays van Wely. Adams has a comfortable draw against Kramnik. Gelfand blunders horribly against Topalov. Ivanchuk and Carlsen have a quick draw. Leko’s Marshall Gambit secures a draw against Polgar.

Eljanov – Radjabov

Radjabov heads into a King’s Indian / Benoni set-up against Eljanov’s sideline. Eljanov has a slight advantage, but Radjabov whittles that away. Radjabov gets his queenside pawns moving and Eljanov counters with a centre break that backfires. Radjabov’s queenside pawns dislocate the White knight which supports White’s central advance, so its Radjabov who takes over the attack in the centre. He follows up with a pseudo-exchange sacrifice that brings his powerful dark-squared bishop into play. White’s centre collapses, and in the face of a lethal mating attack, Eljanov resigns.

Mamedyarov – van Wely

Mamedyarov fianchettos his dark-squared bishop early in a Sicilian Defence. Van Wely is on the offensive right from the start, but his lack of kingside development means his initiative is temporary. Mamedyarov gets going by sacrificing a pawn, and advancing his f-pawn to exploit the lack of coordination of the Black pieces. He penetrates the seventh rank and van Wely resigns in the face of ruinous material loss.

Adams – Kramnik

Its another outing for the Nc3 Petroff, and its a dead equal position. Nothing to play for – draw agreed.

Aronian – Anand

Both players follow known theory of the Moscow variation of the Semi-Slav. Its an equal position, so it’s a short draw.

Topalov – Gelfand

Gelfand gets a solid position out of a classical Petroff. Gelfand’s attempt to exchange the major pieces and rectify his damaged pawn structure gives Topalov a free hand on the kingside. Short of time, Gelfand blunders his queen, and throws in the towel.

Ivanchuk – Carlsen

Ivanchuk surprises Carlsen with an Exchange Ruy Lopez. Carlsen reacts solidly and the pieces start disappearing quickly leaving a barren rook ending.

Polgar – Leko

Polgar allows the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez. Leko gets typical Marshall counterplay for the pawn. Polgar returns the pawn and exchanges remove Black’s initiative. Polgar grabs an extra pawn but Leko’s solidity is sufficient to convince Polgar to accept a draw.

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Corus 2008, Round 4 – van Wely wipes out Topalov’s Modern Benoni. Polgar tears into Gelfand, Kramnik grinds Eljanov

Topalov’s Modern Benoni is demolished by van Wely. Polgar’s aggression is too much for Gelfand, and she chalks up her first win. Kramnik grinds out a win against Eljanov. Leko forces a perpetual against Ivanchuk from a better position. Radjabov poses no problems to Mamedyarov in a Russian Grunfeld draw. Adams’ advantage is not enough to take down Anand.

van Wely – Topalov

Topalov’s 1… e6 leads the game into an offshoot of the Modern Benoni. Topalov develops his kingside knight to e7, where the point becomes clear a few moves later as the queenside knight finds a decent square on f6 for itself. Nevertheless, it’s van Wely who emerges from the opening with an advantage as his thematic e5-break is very much on the cards. Topalov cannot hold back the breakthrough, it costs him the exchange. Topalov tries to increase the pressure with tactical means. Both sides have attacking chances, but the long term advantage is with van Wely. As the game heads into an endgame van Wely’s grip on the game strengthens, and he finishes off with a nice attack on the king that eliminates any safe spots for Black’s minor pieces.

Gelfand – Polgar

Polgar opts for a violent approach against Gelfand’s Catalan, sacrificing a pawn and lodging another in the throat of Gelfand’s position. She plays an improvement over a Gurevich game in 2003 and has compensation for the pawn as Gelfand’s dark-squared bishop finds it difficult to find a secure spot. Gelfand tempts Black’s far-flung passed d-pawn forward to the second rank, and Polgar takes the risk, and Gelfand loses control of the situation and gets caught pawn grabbing. The tactical sequence sees Polgar’s pieces become highly active. Gelfand has to give up the exchange, but it’s not enough to stop Polgar’s initiative. Gelfand slips and falls into a mating net.

Kramnik – Eljanov

Kramnik exits from mainstream theory of the English opening, and he emerges with an advantage in development despite his queen’s wanderings. The queens are exchanged, and Eljanov goes astray, conferring an advantage to Kramnik. Kramnik spurns a chance for immediate material gain and continues to build pressure on Black’s position through a temporary pawn sacrifice. Eljanov’s pawn structure is shattered, and Kramnik advances inexorably to cashing in on these weaknesses, grinding away until Eljanov’s position collapses. Kramnik collects the full point.

Leko – Ivanchuk

Leko emerges from a Modern Caro-Kann with an advantage against Ivanchuk, and has a piece-play against the Black king. Ivanchuk slips-up and gives Leko time to route his dark-squared bishop actively on the kingside. Leko’s initiative looks dangerous, so Ivanchuk disposes of his queen for the White rooks and frees his own rooks. Still with a strong advantage, Leko opts to force a draw by perpetual check.

Carlsen – Aronian

Carlsen avoids Aronian’s Marshall and the game heads into a Steinitz-like Ruy Lopez with slow build up. Carlsen expends a great deal of time to exchange the light-squared bishops and a pair of knight, and that gives Aronian the initiative. Aronian sacrifices the exchange to break up the pawn structure around White’s king. Carlsen swaps off the strongly placed Black knight and breaks in the centre and mobilises his two rooks aiming at Black’s king, and sacrifices two pawn to activate his queen, and forces a draw by threatening a perpetual check.

Radjabov – Mamedyarov

Radjabov heads into the Russian variation against Mamedyarov’s Grunfeld reaching an equal position. Radjabov allows Mamedyarov control of the d-file in exchange for a pawn and removing the queens. By exchanging off his dark-squared bishops Mamedyarov initiates a series of exchanges that regains his pawn and results in a balanced rook endgame.

Anand – Adams

In a modern Queen’s Indian, Anand improves on Kasimdzhanov-Gelfand from their Candidates match last year, and the position is equal. Adams slowly improves his position and gains a definite advantage, even though Anand’s position is optically better. Adams surrenders his two bishops and the position is equal again. Anand sacrifices a pawn to open the key dark-squared diagonal, and the opposite coloured-bishops with queens endgame is typically energetic. Anand holds the position.

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Corus 2008, Round 3 – All draws. Spectacular Anti-Moscow Semi Slav between Radjabov and van Wely

Best game of the round was Radjabov against Loek van Wely. A strong Radjabov improvement on Kramnik-Anand in the Anti-Moscow Gambit, but van Wely manages to turn the tables from a desperate looking position, and is on the verge of winning. But an exchange sacrifice by Radjabov gives him defensive chances in the endgame, which he holds.

Aronian’s pawn sacrifice ties up Leko, but Leko manages to unravel his position. Mamedyarov’s aggression gives him the initiative against Kramnik, but its not enough for a decisive result. Anand draws quickly with Eljanov. Ivanchuk and Gelfand clash pawns in the opening, but a forced liquidation produces a clean draw. Carlsen has a brief initiative against Adams, but the queen exchange resolves the game into a draw.

Radjabov – van Wely

Van Wely is prepared to defend the Black pieces of the Anti-Moscow Gambit variation of the Semi Slav despite Radjabov’s mauling of Anand from Round 1. (Van Wely was Anand’s second in the Mexico World Championship tournament, and this variation was hotly contested and proved critical to Anand’s success in the tournament.) They follow Kramnik-Anand from Mexico until Radjabov uncorks a novelty with 16. d5 unleashing strong pressure against the stranded Black king. Radjabov gains a strong initiative and a pawn up. Van Wely reacts aggressively and the game is whittled into an endgame with van Wely having compensation for the pawn, thanks mainly to the restricted scope of White’s bishop and his far-flung passed pawn. Radjabov goes a little astray in the endgame losing his extra pawn, and van Wely is in the driving seat. Radjabov battles hard against van Wely’s strongly centralised army. Radjabov jettisons the exchange to relieve the pressure, and manages to create a solid defensible position with his bishop and pawn. Black’s sole a-pawn makes van Wely’s job of converting the position to the full point difficult – van Wely tries, but finds Radjabov alert, and the position is a book draw.

Aronian – Leko

Leko’s Queen’s Indian averts Aronian’s preferred Catalan. Aronian sacrifices a pawn for better development. Leko struggles to develop his queenside, and his centre squares are weakened. Aronian regains his pawn with his rook entering deep into Leko’s position. But Leko manages to unravel his position leaving an equal endgame.

Mamedyarov – Kramnik

Mamedyarov opts for a sideline in the Petroff. Kramnik emerges with an advantage against Mamedyarov’s insipid play. Mamedyarov’s aggression opens up the position and takes over the initiative. Mamedyarov opts to take the draw by chopping off all the rooks.

Eljanov – Anand

In a classical Nimzo Indian Anand neutralises Eljanov’s early advantage, and a quick draw ensues.

Ivanchuk – Gelfand

An English opening heads for new territory after move 5, with tangled up-pawns. Although Gelfand’s pawns threaten to engulf the centre, Ivanchuk initiates mass exchanges and emerges with a slight advantage, but Gelfand activates his pieces to retain the balance and a draw.

Polgar – Topalov

Judit introduces a novelty in a sideline Najdorf Sicilian and gains a strong advantage, but her over-aggression lets that advantage slip. Topalov fights back to enter a balanced endgame, and after the time control they agree a draw

Adams – Carlsen

Carlsen opts for the Open Ruy Lopez and Adams emerges from the opening with a small advantage. The opposite-coloured bishops offers both sides chances. Carlsen takes control of the only open file and creates some pressure against White’s king. Adams defuses the threats and is on the verge of taking over the initiative. Carlsen swaps off the queens and the resulting position warrants a draw.

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Corus 2008, Round 2 – Aronian and Carlsen win, Ivanchuk surprises Topalov with a Modern Benoni

Aronian outplays Gelfand in a good game. Carlsen squeezes Eljanov. Ivanchuk holds Topalov in a Modern Benoni. Adams holds Leko in a long queen and pawns endgame. Radjabov holds Kramnik in a long endgame. Polgar has an uphill struggle to hold van Wely to a draw. Anand blows a strong position against Mamedyarov.

Gelfand – Aronian

Aronian essays the 4…a6 Slav, locking up the queenside pawn structure. Play switches to the centre where Aronian breaks with a typical …e5 which frees his position, and eliminates White’s c5-pawn and seizes the initiative because of White’s weak e3-pawn. As the lines open, Gelfand fails to get his king into safety. Gelfand forces an exchange of queens, but Aronian’s activity forces the win of a piece, and Gelfand’s resignation.

Carlsen – Eljanov

Carlsen comes out of the Grunfeld opening with a slight edge, Eljanov temporarily sacrificing a pawn to free his position. But Eljanov recoups a poisoned pawn, and Carlsen gains a lead in development with his more active pieces. Eljanov miscues allowing Carlsen to get his rooks into Black’s position. Carlsen increases the pressure and Black’s kingside crumples. The triumphant march of Carlsen’s king is the final victory parade before Eljanov’s resignation as his queenside disappears.

Topalov – Ivanchuk

Ivanchuk surprises Topalov with a Modern Benoni, and Topalov opts for the positional Nimzovitsch plan of routing his kingside knight to c4. Topalov swaps off an active knight for Black’s potentially weak light-squared bishop. With a temporary pawn-sacrifice Topalov creates a passed d-pawn, but Ivanchuk is deft at blockading the pawn. Topalov forces a draw by repetition.

Leko – Adams

Adams opts for a Zaitsev Ruy Lopez instead of the Marshall Attack and emerges from the opening with the two bishops. Leko has some play on the light squares and down the semi-open d-file. Adams gives up the d-pawn to get his rook into the c-file which demolishes White’s queenside. Adams miscues allowing Leko to grab a pawn by a neat exchange manoeuvre. Leko tries to force his way to a win, but Adams holds the queen and pawns endgame. Leko accedes to a draw before the 100 move barrier.

Kramnik – Radjabov

Kramnik fearlessly enters the main line of the classical King’s Indian, and emerges with a slight advantage. But a central break followed by the exchange of queens allows Radjabov to activate his bishops and rooks. Kramnik loses his way a little, and his advantage is whittled away by Radjabov. Kramnik wins a pawn, but Radjabov has enough resources to hold the long endgame.

van Wely – Polgar

Van Wely gets an advantage in a rather messy Nimzo Indian, both players opting to castle queenside. As the game whittles toward an endgame van Wely grows his advantage close to winning. But Polgar battles back hard to force a draw by perpetual

Anand – Mamedyarov

Mamedyarov sidesteps Anand’s Lopez by adopting the ancient Steinitz Defence. Thanks to Anand’s quiet play, Mamedyarov equalises fairly comfortably. But in the middle game Anand gains a large advantage. Anand strays in the endgame sacrificing a pawn for very little gain. He sees his massive advantage disappear, and so agrees to a draw.

Posted in Adams, Anand, Aronian, Carlsen, Chess, Corus, Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Leko, Mamedyarov, Polgar, Radjabov, Topalov, van Wely | Leave a comment

Corus 2008, Round 1 – Carlsen, Radjabov and Aronian chalk up wins

Radjabov deposes World Champion Anand. Carlsen outwits Mamedyarov. Topalov loses his way and is ground down by Aronian. Gelfand’s position contains sufficient resources to defuse Adams’ initiative. Polgar plays a solid game to neutralise Ivanchuk’s initiative. Van Wely holds Kramnik. Leko is very solid against Eljanov.

Radjabov – Anand

Radjabov plunges fearlessly into Anand’s speciality – the Anti-Moscow Gambit of the Semi Slav, following Kramnik – Anand from last year’s World Championship. Radjabov adopts Inarkiev’s novelty against Aronian from the World Cup last month, but Anand delves into new territory with 14… Bf8. Anand’s extra pawn becomes a protected passed pawn, but Radjabov is just getting started: he’s prepared a powerful pawn thrust through the centre, that thanks to a number of tactical threats creates a strong protected passed d-pawn. Anand’s queen finds itself in an uncomfortable position, so he forces the queen exchange. Anand’s play to encircle the White e-pawn is stymied and Radjabov takes a strong hold of the position and forcing his way into Anand’s position via the a-file. This nets Radjabov the exchange and the game heads into a tricky two rooks versus rook and bishop with pawns endgame. Anand fights hard to counter his material deficit and Radjabov keeps plying up the pressure and finds the right plan to convert his extra material

Mamedyarov – Carlsen

Mamedyarov opts for a closed Sicilian. Carlsen reacts with an accelerated Dragon setup and hits the White centre from the queenside flank and plays against the dark-squares. White runs into a little trouble defending the weak b2-square, and so Black gains the initiative on the queenside. Mamedyarov has a slight advantage, but must deal with Carlsen’s counterplay. Carlsen’s knights find great squares in the centre. As the pieces come off Carlsen’s position grows stronger and stronger thanks to his better placed pieces. Carlsen finishes off by trapping the white bishop, and White cannot prevent material loss.

Aronian – Topalov

Topalov surprised Aronian with a Grunfeld Defence, after Aronian fianchettos instead of heading right into a full blooded King’s Indian battle. Aronian’s position is a little awkward, and Topalov takes advantage by boldly sacrificing a pawn for the initiative. Aronian throws caution to the wind and offers an exchange to demolish Black’s queenside pawn structure. But Topalov finds a neat twist and takes a more advantageous exchange. Topalov throws the dice and sacrifices his queenside pawns for activity, but Aronian, with a sniff of an opportunity grounds Topalov’s activity to a halt. Aronian’s extra pawns outweigh the lost exchange, and in a long endgame fight converts the rook and pawns endgame.

Adams – Gelfand

Adams gets a tiny advantage out of a Russian variation of the Petroff. But he gets a little overambitious on the kingside and misses a key Gelfand resource. With nothing much to play for the players agree a draw.

Ivanchuk – Polgar

Ivanchuk grabs the advantage out of a Queen’s Indian but Polgar’s stubborn defence forces Ivanchuk to retreat and regroup. With the play quickly running out both players agree to a draw.

Kramnik – van Wely

Kramnik side-steps a main-line Semi-Slav against his regular second and heads into an Exchange Slav type position. Van Wely weakens his kingside and Kramnik’s solid play nets him the advantage in the opening. Van Wely solidly defends against Kramnik’s kingside initiative and subdues Kramnik’s advantage. Draw agreed.

Eljanov – Leko

Leko’s Queen’s Indian is solid. The position transposes into a Queen’s Gambit like structure. The two bishops give Leko the upper hand, which is enough to convince Eljanov to take a draw.

Related links

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World Championship 2007 Round 14: Anand is undisputed world champion, Kramnik finishes second

Anand has a peaceful draw against Leko. Kramnik defeats Aronian to secure second place. Svidler improves significantly on his loss against Topalov from San Luis, and Grischuk suffers another defeat. Gelfand curbs Morozevich for a well earned draw.

Anand – Leko

Anand faces Leko’s Marshall Attack and swops off Black’s dangerous dark-squared bishop. At the end of the variation black regains his pawn and there’s not much to play for, so a draw is agreed.

Kramnik – Aronian

Kramnik improves on Radjabov – Karjakin from Corus Wijk Aan Zee earlier this year in the modern variation of the Queen’s Indian. Kramnik invests an exchange as his more active pieces start to dominate. As the exchanges happen Kramnik, with two bishops for a rook, takes control of the a-file, and Black’s weak pawns are exposed. Backed by the two bishop, Kramnik’s d-pawn advances, wreacking Black’s flimsy defences. Aronian resigns.

Svidler – Grischuk

Grischuk follows Topalov’s game against Svidler from San Luis, which allows Svidler to play a strong improvement (20. Rc1!). This exchange sacrifice allows the White queen to enter Black’s kingside and put the Black king under pressure. In the ensuing slugfest Svidler has the upperhand, and he is well on his way to winning with his three minor pieces against Grischuk’s rook.

Morozevich – Gelfand

Gelfand deviates first from an old Polgar-Shirov game in the modern Petroff. Through the tactical complexities Gelfand gains an exchange for a pawn and shattered kingside pawn structure. Morozevich gains the advantage through two outside passed pawns, so Gelfand forces the draw by perpetual check with his pair of rooks.

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World Championship 2007 Round 13: Anand holds lead after mammoth struggle against Grischuk

A draw between Gelfand and Kramnik virtually assures Anand of first place. Anand comes from behind to secure a draw in a lengthy tense struggle against Grischuk. Leko beats Morozevich in a neat positional game. A wild opening sees a balanced finish in Aronian’s game against Svidler.

Gelfand – Kramnik

Gelfand revisits the Topalov-Kramnik World Championship match, game 4 with a Semi-Slav, but Kramnik deviates first with 12…. Nf6, but White still has excellent compensation for the pawn. Kramnik slowly improves his position, while Gelfand tries to drum up play on the open b-file. As the game reduces into a double rook endgame a draw is agreed.

Grischuk – Anand

Grischuk is the next player up to test Anand’s adherence to the Anti-Moscow Gambit Semi-Slav. Grischuk plays a new move 15. d5 and the queens quickly disappear. Grischuk seizes the initiative to create a strong pin down the d-file, keeping Anand’s king right in the firing line. Grischuk keeps the upper hand in the rook and knight endgame thanks to his more active pieces. Anand is forced into a difficult defence in the ensuing endgame as Grischuk pokes and prods for a further advantage. In a tense finish all the pieces disappear, leaving Anand with a well deserved half-point.

Leko – Morozevich

Morozevich opts for a Sicilian Richter Rauzer while Leko attempts a transposition to the English Attack. They follow a Wijk Aan Zee 2007 game between Kosintseva and Atalik until Leko deviates with 12. Nxc6. Leko damages Morozevich’s pawn structure and sets to work exploiting it. He wins the Black h-pawn and thereafter his own passed h-pawn is unstoppable.

Aronian – Svidler

Its a wild Four Knights English and Aronian has to artificially castle his king. But he comes out of the opening well and makes decent use of the semi-open f-file, while Svidler does likewise on the semi-open e-file. The culmination of Svidler’s buildup is the …d5 break which suits Aronian’s purposes. The game dissolves into a queen and pawns ending with Aronian holding the initiative. But there’s very little to play for in the position, so a draw is agreed.

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