World Championship 2007 Round 12: Kramnik deposes Leko cutting into Anand’s lead

Kramnik takes advantage of a momentary lapse from Leko to cut into Anand’s lead. Aronian’s novelty brings out the best in Gelfand who grabs the full point. Morozevich snares Grischuk’s king into a mating net. Anand secures a quiet draw against Svidler.

Kramnik – Leko

Kramnik finds a new move (13. Qf4) in a typical Open Catalan. Leko manages to equalise, but Kramnik retains some niggling pressure. Leko grabs an exchange but Kramnik’s piece activity gives him adequate compensation. Leko stumbles and misses a key Kramnik move, and a dynamic equality quickly becomes a serious advantage for Kramnik as his queen infiltrates the Black position. With the advance of his pawn centre Kramnik converts the advantage into a winning position.

Aronian – Gelfand

Aronian springs an aggressive novelty in the Moscow Variation of the Semi-Slav, but Gelfand quickly adapts to the new situation and exposes the weaknesses in Aronian’s position. Gelfand brings his pieces into promising positions against the White king, and Aronian is bust. Aronian extricates himself by giving up a piece, but Gelfand converts the material advantage into the full point.

Svidler – Anand

The players continue their theoretical discussion in the Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez, but the players swapping roles and following Svidler’s game against Ivanchuk from Linares 2007. Anand deviates first with 13… Bf8. Both players play solidly and inevitably a draw is agreed.

Morozevich – Grischuk

Morozevich offers up a Four Knights English Opening, and Grischuk equalises quickly, his strongly posted knight compensates for Morozevich’s two bishops. Grischuk builds pressure against White’s backward d-pawn. This causes Morozevich to part with his bishop pair in reclaiming the temporary pawn deficit, and his rooks start to assert their dominance. Grischuk misplays his knight, and in trying to activate his pieces he falls into serious trouble. Morozevich liquidates the central pawns leaving him with two connected passed pawns on the queenside. Grischuk’s pieces look dangerous, but Morozevich finds the nail that hinders Black’s piece activity. In a flurry of tactics Morozevich snares the Black king into a mating net.

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World Championship 2007 Round 11: Anand outguns Morozevich, extends his lead.

Anand extends his lead by beating Morozevich in a tremendous battle and an exquisite finish. Kramnik has an easy draw against Grischuk. Leko’s edge against Aronian isn’t enough for a decisive result. Svidler holds Gelfand with very little trouble.

Anand – Morozevich

Morozevich plays into a well-trodden path of the Sicilian Najdorf. Anand takes control of the d5-square after removing Morozevich’s light-squared bishop. Morozevich counters with a break down the f-file. Anand finds a clever manoeuvre to regroup his remaining knight, with a slight advantage. Anand manages to hold Black’s kingside threats, and creates his own initiative on the queenside. Anand avoids the proffered repetition of position and breaks through on the queenside, whilst conceding the battle for the h-file. Anand’s knight on d5 dominates the position, and he uses that to infiltrate with his queen and remove Black’s central pawns. In the race of passed pawns its Morozevich’s pawn that queens, but Anand finishes off with an exquisite domination of the queen by his own rook and knight.

Leko – Aronian

Aronian emerges from a Queen’s Indian with a Sicilian-like Hedgehog, and a balanced position. Leko gets an advantage thanks to his passed and advanced d-pawn, but Aronian manages to blockade it with a bishop. Aronian sacrifices a pawn to activate his rook, which neutralises Leko’s immediate threats. Aronian rounds up and removes the isolani at the cost of allowing a White rook on the backrank. Aronian takes over the initiative, but the game heads into a rook and bishop ending. Draw agreed.

Grischuk – Kramnik

Out of a slightly unusual 3.d4 Petroff, Grischuk follows a misanalysed idea and finds his plan of keeping the Black king in the centre miscarries after an obvious exchange. Grischuk offers a draw.

Gelfand – Svidler

Svidler is goaded into a Russian Grunfeld via an English opening move order, but its not enough to throw Svidler off as he holds the balance. A draw agreed.

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World Championship 2007 Round 10: Anand holds off Kramnik.

Anand secures his hold of first place with a tough draw against Kramnik. Aronian struggles but overcomes Grischuk in a well calculated finish. Svidler’s enterprising play is almost enough to dispatch Morozevich, but in the tense struggle, Svidler misses the winning continuation. Leko allows a perpetual check.

Kramnik – Anand

The Anti-Moscow Gambit appears again, Anand seemingly comfortable on the Black side after a brilliant win against Aronian in round 2. Kramnik unveils a new move (17. b3), and gets a knight into d6. This convinces Anand to sacrifice the exchange. In the intricate semi-endgame, Kramnik tries to prise open Black’s king. Anand defuses that initiative, so Kramnik switches to exploiting the weak pawns on the kingside, while Anand activates his pieces against the White kingside position. The position returns to balance, and with Anand holding a slight advantage, Kramnik offers a draw.

Aronian – Grischuk

Aronian plays an unorthodox Queen’s Gambit Declined and heads into a Catalan. Grischuk comes out fighting, but the game quickly settles down into a typical Queen’s Gambit structure. Grischuk sacrifices a pawn to fire up his kingside attack, but Aronian’s knights keep the position under control, allowing him to pursue his central ambitions. That gives Grischuk the opportunity to push forward against Aronian’s kingside. Grischuk misses an opportunity to push forward with his hanging pawns, handing the initiative back to Aronian. Grischuk parts with the exchange to hang onto his pawn centre, but Aronian quickly returns it to break it up. In the endgame with seven isolated pawns Aronian cleans up with an elegant mating attack.

Gelfand – Leko

In the well-trodden paths of the Catalan, the players reach a balanced and solid position. Leko’s queenside pawn expansion goes to naught, and he provokes a piece sacrifice on the kingside that enables Gelfand to force a perpetual check.

Svidler – Morozevich

Against Morozevich’s Caro-Kann, Svidler opts for the modern 5. Ng5 treatment. Morozevich produces the first new move by adopting a sideline continuation (15… c5) that hasn’t been seriously tested before. Svidler tries to use his slight advantage to open up kingside operations against the uncastled Black king. This allows Morozevich some counterplay and a space advantage on the queenside which equalises the position. Morozevich manages to untangle his kingside and complete his development. Svidler neutralises Morozevich’s queenside space and prepares to engage the now (artificially) castled Black king, but he misses the most direct continuation by playing an intermezzo which forces Morozevich into a slightly better position. Svidler’s initiative fizzles, and Morozevich emerges with a clear advantage. Svidler sacrifices a pawn to activate his pieces and open lines for an attack, but misses a winning continuation, and has to give back his extra pawn. There’s no more to play for and a draw is agreed.

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World Championship 2007 Round 9: Kramnik and Gelfand lose ground to Anand.

Grischuk outplays Gelfand in a double rook endgame. Kramnik’s Modern Benoni crashes and burns against Morozevich. Svidler’s counterplay neutralises Leko in the Sicilian Najdorf. Anand’s Marshall Attack novelty defuses any threats from Aronian.

Leko – Svidler

Svidler plays the first Sicilian Defence of the tournament opting for a Najdorf. Leko goes for the popular English Attack, following an idea (12. Rg1) from Anand in the Melody Amber tournament, which allows the immediate advance of the g-pawn without needing to advance the h-pawn. Svidler centralises and breaks in the centre with 16… d5 and gains the initiative. Leko fights back with 19. Bh3 and Svidler opts for the exchange of light squared bishops. Leko forces a liquidation of pieces into an endgame, where a draw is agreed.

Grischuk – Gelfand

The position is roughly equal out of a Romanishin Queen’s Indian. Black’s pressure on c3 and activity sufficient for equality. Grischuk’s queen gets kicked a number of times, but he manages to create some pressure and forces the exchange of queens and minor pieces to leave a double rook endgame. Grischuk stands better thanks to his more active rooks, and has a marked advantage. His two rooks take up strong positions that tie down Black’s rooks. This allows Grischuk to open up the kingside with his king and pawns. Grischuk’s control of both open files and the queenside combined with his hold of the light squares pushes Gelfand’s pieces back, Grischuk threatens to infiltrate the kingside with his king. Grischuk swaps off a pair of rooks creating a central passed pawn, this diverts Gelfand’s rook long enough for Grischuk to create an outside passed pawn on the queenside, and with that Gelfand’s position collapses and he resigns.

Anand – Aronian

Anand allows the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez, and adopts the rare 13. Re2 followed by the novelty 15. g3 which snaffles most of Black’s natural attacking moves. Aronian is convinced enough to take the proffered draw.

Morozevich – Kramnik

Kramnik surprises everyone by transposing a symmetrical English Opening into a Modern Benoni. Morozevich takes the initiative on the kingside with an aggressive pawn expansion, Kramnik’s counterplay on the queenside is limited. Kramnik embarks on an unusual rook manoeuvre, the position plays into Morozevich’s unique abilities and Kramnik’s rook is snared. Kramnik’s main problem is that his knight and rook are paralysed, which leaves Morozevich with more pieces in play. Morozevich forces through a passed pawn and manages to create a second which leaves him in a winning position. With the opposite coloured bishops and Morozevich creating play in all quarters of the board he is dominating the position and forces Kramnik to capitulate.

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World Championship 2007 Round 8: Leko beats Grischuk in a positional game

Leko outmanoeuvres Grischuk in an Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez. Morozevich sparks fireworks against Aronian and succeeds in defending the resulting rook endgame. Svidler gets nothing against Kramnik’s solid Petroff.

Svidler – Kramnik

Svidler repeats his 6. Nc3 Petroff that he tried earlier against Gelfand, but Kramnik deviates with 15… Qc4 (improving over Gelfand’s 15… Nf8) which forces White to lose some time guarding his a-pawn. Kramnik erects a pawn barrier on the kingside light-squares followed by a manoeuvre to exchange queens. Svidler prefers to keep the queens on. Kramnik has a solid position, Svidler can make no progress and the game is drawn by repetition of position.

Aronian – Morozevich

Morozevich repeats his Queen’s Indian / Dutch set-up and improves on his play against Gelfand with the variation 9… Na6 introducing a two-pawn sacrifice. Morozevich has great compensation in the activity of his minor pieces, the potential activity of his rook and queen and the precarious position of Aronian’s king – right in the firing line of Morozevich’s pieces. Aronian finds a clever way of throwing a spanner in the works. The game dissolves into a double rook endgame, and Morozevich gets his rooks in the right place – behind the passed pawns – and after a long manoeuvring effort, its a draw.

Gelfand – Anand

Gelfand repeats his Catalan, Anand deviating with 10… Bd6, which allows him to break in the centre with 13… e5. Anand manages to follow up with a 16… c5 break, and a draw is agreed shortly thereafter.

Leko – Grischuk

Its another anti-Marshall, Grischuk exchanging light-squared bishops which results in doubled e-pawns. Leko opens the centre with an e4 break, which allows Grischuk to mobilise his queenside pawns. The position remains balanced, neither side gains the upperhand. Leko creates a pawn bind in the centre and reforms his pieces behind the bind preparing a pawn-break. The break comes with 30. f5, forcing Grischuk to block the centre. This leaves Leko free to concentrate on building up a pawn storm on the kingside, and Leko has the clear advantage. His threats on the kingside continue to mount, and Grischuk’s position collapses when his d-pawn falls. And Leko wins his first game of the tournament.

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World Championship 2007 Round 7: Anand beats Grischuk to lead the tournament at the halfway stage

Morozevich and Leko draw in a long struggle where neither side could build a strong enough advantage to draw clear. Anand bests Grischuk in a pawn-chain fevered Anti-Marshall. Gelfand puts the question to Kramnik, and for the first time Kramnik looked to be in a spot of trouble before getting stuck in to gain a draw.

Morozevich – Leko

Its Leko’s turn to deal with Morozevich’s Scotch game, he opts for a quieter line that keeps the position balanced with Leko taking a slight edge. Morozevich stifles out this edge and gains a tiny edge of his own. In the drawn out middle game Leko grafts to improve his position and he has a stronger advantage going into the endgame. In the queen and minor piece ending Leko forces a draw by repetition.

Anand – Grischuk

Anand dives into the Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez again, this time against Grischuk. Grischuk gets a temporary initiative on the queenside pushing back Anand’s light squared bishop. Anand gradually pushes Black’s pieces backward as he gains space on the kingside and in the centre. The queens get exchanged, leaving Anand with a massive kingside pawn structure, and Grischuk has to stop to defend the weak points in his position. Anand breaks through on the kingside and uses it to get his passed d-pawn rolling. Grischuk tries to throw up a defence, but White’s seventh rank rook keeps Black’s king holed up on the kingside. Anand wins by combining his passed d-pawn with mating threats against the Black king.

Svidler – Aronian

Svidler surprises Aronian with an exchange Ruy Lopez and gets an advantage. Aronian finds an unusual freeing manoeuvre, and Svidler plays a careless move which dissipates his advantage, and a draw is agreed on move 20.

Kramnik – Gelfand

More play in the Anti-Moscow Semi Slav where Kramnik concentrates on pure development rather than initiating an early tactical battle as with Anand’s game against Aronian in round 2. Gelfand whips up a kingside attack bolstered by his knight and rook, and indirectly by his fianchettoed light squared bishop. Kramnik tries to defuse it by keeping tight control of the light squares around his king. Gelfand emerges with an advantage. Kramnik holds tight as Gelfand’s advantage slides away and the game heads into a rook and minor piece endgame where both sides agree to a draw.

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World Championship 2007 Round 6: Gelfand joins Anand in the lead after a win against Morozevich.

Grischuk’s generosity creates a tense game but its only sufficient to force a draw. Gelfand beats Morozevich to join Anand in the lead. Other games are short draws.

Grischuk – Svidler

Its another anti-Moscow Semi-Slav, following Aronian-Anand from round 2 until Grischuk sacrifices the d4-pawn. Svidler’s two pawn plus is an ambitious target to play against, but Grischuk is undeterred by sacrificing a third pawn and then a piece. This brings in a White rook deep into Svidler’s position, and with Svidler’s king uncastled, the hunt is on. Grischuk gets Svidler’s queen for his rook, and the position is delicate. Grischuk sacrifices an exchange and another piece to force a perpetual check

Leko – Anand

Anand’s anti-Marshall opens up play on the queenside and gains an edge. But Leko’s counterplay is sufficient to balance things. Its a short draw, agreed after 21 moves.

Aronian – Kramnik

Kramnik finds himself on the other side of an Open Catalan and comes out of the opening a lot better than his previous opponents. Its an equal position. Kramnik takes over the centre with his bishops and pawns, Aronian has sufficient counterplay to balance the position, and its a draw after 22 moves.

Gelfand – Morozevich

Morozevich starts with a Queen’s Indian that rapidly transposes into a Dutch Defence. Its a battle between the classic centre against the hypermodern pressure from the pieces, Morozevich wielding his pieces in an elegant manner. Morozevich sacrifices an exchange to damage Gelfand’s pawn centre and dissipate his threatened attack against the king. Gelfand improves his position by activating his queenside rook and Morozevich’s position is under pressure. A tactical combination clears the kingside of Black pieces, and once the queenside pawns are neutralised Morozevich tenders his resignation.

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World Championship 2007 Round 5: Anand, Gelfand and Grischuk win. Anand leads by 1/2 point

Anand downs Svidler in a Marshall Attack, Svidler’s compensation for the sacrificed pawn not so evident. Grischuk crashes through Morozevich’s kingside pawn structure to register a tense win. Leko’s Giuoco Pianissimo is sufficient for a draw against Kramnik. Gelfand defeats Aronian’s Modern Benoni.

Anand – Svidler

Anand allows the Marshall Attack, and varies with 13. g3 which staves off the immediate threats to White’s kingside. Svidler builds up strong central pressure. Anand’s manoeuvres compel Svidler to weaken his kingside. Anand’s invasion down the a-file starts to tie up Svidler’s pieces. Svidler blunders under the pressure, and Anand’s kingside activity forces a decisive result. Svidler resigns.

Grischuk – Morozevich

Its a Ragozin variation of the Queen’s Gambit, where Morozovich’s position seems optically convincing, but its Grischuk who emerges with a strong advantage. Morozevich is tempted by the two sacrificed queenside pawns which gives Grischuk a very strong kingside initiative. Morozevich returns material by sacrificing the exchange. Its a struggle between Black’s queenside pawns versus White’s central passed pawns, and White’s rook proves to be sufficient to demolish Black’s queenside pawns. Morozevich resigns.

Leko – Kramnik

Leko avoids Kramnik’s Petroff by transposing into a Giuoco Pianissimo, but gains no advantage out of the opening once Kramnik swaps off the light-squared bishops. Kramnik gets a slight advantage thanks to his presence on the d-file, but Leko trades the dark-squared bishops and a draw is agreed.

Gelfand – Aronian

Aronian adopts a Modern Benoni against Gelfand’s proffered Catalan. Aronian gets his queenside pawns moving really quickly, but this leaves weak squares that Gelfand occupies to exert pressure on the d6-pawn. Aronian sacrifices a pawn to gain the e5-square, and Gelfand uses that extra pawn to storm into Aronian’s kingside fortifications. Aronian’s king is rather exposed and instead of putting weight behind his queenside pawns he tries to stem the kingside threats, and Gelfand has a winning advantage. Aronian invests an exchange to alleviate the pressure, but Gelfand’s initiative keeps trundling along. Aronian gets his queenside play moving at last, but its too late. Gelfand’s rook enters the seventh rank and Aronian’s king is exposes. Aronian resigns.

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World Championship 2007 Round 4: Aronian’s Maroczy bind deposes Leko. Kramnik and Anand fail to capitalise on their advantages.

Kramnik fails to convert a big advantage against Grischuk. Anand gets a large advantage against Grischuk and also bails out into a draw by repetition. Svidler runs into Gelfand’s ultra-solid Petroff and gains nothing. Aronian locks down Leko in a Maroczy bind and breaks through to win material.

Kramnik – Grischuk

In Kramnik’s Catalan, Kramnik snatches the c7-pawn out of the opening and has to weather a Grischuk initiative. Grischuk doesn’t take control of the position and it comes back to balance. Kramnik builds up an advantage by taking back control of his queenside squares and the Catalan bishop starts to make its presence felt. Kramnik accumulates a large advantage as he enters the endgame a passed pawn up. Grischuk quickly neutralises the immediate threat and the game swings towards the pawns left on the kingside. In a lengthy endgame all the kingside pawns disappear en masse, and its a draw.

Morozevich – Anand

In a normal looking Semi-Slav Anand uncorks a novelty on the 16th move, but its Morozevich who emerges with an advantage. Anand stifles that advantage by the exchange of queens, and it is he who gradually amasses an advantage, and annexes a pawn. The extra pawn is a massive centralised passed pawn, supported by Anand’s rook, bishop and central pawn wedge. Anand snatches the a-pawn which reduces his central hold which allows Morozevich to reclaim his sacrificed pawn. Morozevich gets his king into play. Anand bails out with a draw by repetition.

Svidler – Gelfand

Gelfand must be getting heartily sick of the 6. Nc3 variation of the Petroff as he faces it for the third time in four games. With an exchange of light-squared bishops its a calm middlegame. Svidler gets a space advantage but once the queens drop-off, the game meanders to a quiet draw.

Aronian – Leko

A symmetrical English transposes into a Maroczy-bind like Sicilian. Aronian avoids the exchange of pieces hoping to keep Leko’s constricted Hedgehog. Aronian tempts Leko’s knights forward only to kick them back with a pawn thrust gaining space and time. Pretty soon, Leko only has three ranks to play in. Aronian crashes into Leko’s position with the e5-break, winning a piece for two pawns. He then goes on to create a passed c-pawn. Leko fails to take advantage of the pins on Aronian’s passed pawns, and its Aronian’s knights that dive in and plunder away at Leko’s rooks. Materially down, still facing a strong passed pawn, Leko resigns.

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World Championship 2007 Round 3: Morezevich bounces back with a win, Grischuk spares Aronian

Svidler gets the upperhand against Morozevich but overstretches allowing Morozevich to destroy his queenside and claim his first win. Anand fights hard to defend a draw in a long endgame against Kramnik. Grischuk pulls out of a lethal attack against Aronian, satisfying himself to a draw. Leko finds himself on the backfoot against Gelfand after having a superior position in the middle game, but defends a draw in a long struggle.

Morozevich – Svidler

True to style, Morozevich adopts the Scotch Game. Svidler gets his light-squared bishop strongly into play on c4 supporting the freeing …d5 which rebuffs any Morozevich advantage. Svidler has the advantage out of the opening. Svidler pursues a plan that looks to give him the initiative, this allows Morozevich into the driving seat as he prepares to encircle Svidler’s pieces. Svidler penetrates with his queen deep into White’s position, and its there he realises his initiative is illusory and that his queen is close to trapped. Morozevich misses a strong continuation, but his play is good enough to expose the weaknesses of Svidler’s position. Svidler is in deep trouble. Morozevich uses his two bishops, pawn centre, and takes advantage of Svidler’s besieged queen to create inroads into Black’s position and to scatter his pieces and demolish the Black queenside. Svidler caves in and resigns.

Anand – Kramnik

In a fairly standard classical Petroff sees Anand employ an unusual queen manoeuvre which basically repeats the position and allows Kramnik to exchange off queens. Anand heads into a forcing line which allows Kramnik to win a pawn. But that pawn is not enough to win. Kramnik, however, pushes long into the endgame forcing Anand to defend very carefully. Anand defends by keeping his rook behind Kramnik’s passed pawn, thus making it very difficult for Kramnik to make any headway. Anand neutralises the kingside and setup up a nice finish forcing a stalemate in the pawn ending.

Grischuk – Aronian

Aronian employs the aggressive 9… d5 against Grischuk’s Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez which leads to open play in a balanced position. Grischuk sacrifices a pawn to break up Black’s kingside pawn structure and begin an attack against the Black king. All of Grischuk’s pieces make their way to the weak light squares around Aronian’s king, but instead of pressing his advantage Grischuk decides to force a repetition of position instead and claim a draw.

Leko – Gelfand

Its Leko’s turn to see if the 5. Nc3 variation of the Petroff can best Gelfand. He tries the unusual 10. h3 which allows Gelfand to smash Leko’s kingside pawn structure. Leko gets the open g-file and an h-pawn battering ram, but Gelfand has counterplay in the centre. Leko regroups, doubling his rooks on the g-file and occupying a central spot with his bishop. Gelfand weakens his kingside which gives Leko a target to aim at. Leko uses this advantage to inflict serious damage on Gelfand’s kingside pawn structure. Gelfand fights back, strongly centralising his major pieces which puts Leko on the back foot. The game heads into a queen and pawns endgame with Gelfand trying to squeeze as much out of the position as possible. Leko defends doggedly, and Gelfand throws in the towel to accept a draw on move 100.

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