3.7.15

Trouble in the Najdorf

The traditional tournament in Dortmund gathered together some of the leading world players and the best German players. In the second round two of the rating favorites had an interesting clash.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.06.28"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2805"]
[BlackElo "2778"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "138"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:43"]
[BlackClock "0:30:15"]

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 {This line has
similarities with the Fianchettoe line, but White wants to be trickier than
there and win a tempo by advancing his pawn directly to g4.} e5 7. Nde2 b5 8.
g4 {Diagram [#] This is the what the line is all about. Another idea is} (8.
Ng3 Bb7 9. Bg5 Nbd7 10. a4 b4 11. Nd5 Bxd5 12. exd5 Be7 13. a5 {as in
Harikrishna,P (2729)-Shankland,S (2661) Tsaghkadzor. Normally, if the d5
square is occupied by a white pawn Black feels OK. In this particular position
though White can play for the advantage as the b4 pawn got separated from the
remaining pawns.}) 8... b4 9. Nd5 Nxd5 10. exd5 h5 $5 $146 {[%csl Rh1][%cal
Gh5g4] Diagram [#] Good preparation for So. Although this move is a novelty it
should not have come as surprise for Caruana. The h7-h5 advance is a very
common theme in the Najdorf. Check the recent match Short-Kasparov where the
former world champion used it successfully.} ({Two other games saw} 10... Be7 {
for example} 11. Bg2 (11. Ng3 {might be more subtle.}) 11... O-O 12. Ng3 a5 13.
O-O Na6 14. f4 {with double edged play, Yankelevich,L (2340)-Kvetny,M (2295)
Magdeburg 2014}) 11. gxh5 {Practically forced as} (11. Ng3 $2 hxg4 12. hxg4
Rxh1 13. Nxh1 Qh4 {looks grim for White.}) ({And} 11. g5 Be7 12. h4 Bg4 {is
anything but inspiring for the first player.}) 11... Rxh5 12. a3 {Diagram [#]
Caruana destroys the queenside in return and sharpens further the game.} bxa3
13. Rxa3 Nd7 14. Bg2 Nf6 15. O-O {Probably White should have delayed the
castling for one more move to see what is his opponent doing first. After all}
(15. f4 {is a mandatory move for him. Then in case of} Rb8 {like in the game,
he can chose} ({And} 15... Be7 $2 {will be simply wrong due to} 16. Ng3 Rh8 17.
fxe5 dxe5 18. d6 $1 {with material gain.}) 16. Ng3 Rh7 17. Qe2 {and castle
later.}) 15... Rb8 {Moves away the rook from the long diagonal.} 16. f4 Be7 17.
c4 Qb6+ {Black underlines the fact that the white king is not particularly
safe.} 18. Rf2 {[%cal Gf2a2,Rb6g1] Diagram [#] White not only covers the king
but prepares the future regroupment Ne2-g3, Bc1-e3 and possibly c4-c5. In this
line the rook defends the b2 pawn.} ({Or else White has to reckon with the
possible Nf6-g4 jump.} 18. Kh1 Ng4 $5 (18... Kf8 {to castle by hand makes
perfect sense too.})) 18... Rh4 {Moves the rook away from the tempo and
pressurizes on f4 and c4.} (18... Kf8 {was possible as well though} 19. Ng3 Rh4
20. Be3 Qb4 {with unclear play.}) 19. Rc3 {Caruana wants to support his c4
pawn, but the rook is vulnerable here.} (19. Qc2 {was a safer option.}) 19...
Bd7 $2 {Misses a tactical blow.} (19... Bxh3 $5 {was already possible and good
as in the lines} 20. Bxh3 (20. Rxh3 Ng4 21. Qf1 (21. Rhf3 e4) 21... Rxh3 22.
Bxh3 Nxf2 23. Qxf2 Qxf2+ 24. Kxf2 exf4) 20... Ne4 21. Qf1 Nxf2 22. Qxf2 Qxf2+
23. Kxf2 exf4 24. Nxf4 Bf6 25. Re3+ Kd8 {Black wins a second pawn in addition
to the RP he already has for the two light pieces.}) 20. b3 $2 {Caruana
returns the favour.} (20. c5 $1 {[%cal Rd5d6] Diagram [#] was very strong
instead} dxc5 {Or else the pawn will advance further to c6.} 21. fxe5 {The
white central duo is huge. For example} Ne4 22. Bxe4 Rxe4 23. d6 Bh4 24. Ng3
Rb4 (24... Rd4 25. Qh5) 25. Qh5 Be6 26. Rd3 {with serious threats against the
black king.}) 20... Bxh3 $1 {Now this is even stronger than in a move ago as
the b3 pawn drops at once.} 21. Bxh3 {The only move.} (21. Rxh3 Rxh3 22. Bxh3
Ne4 23. Qf1 Bh4 {loses material.}) 21... Ne4 22. Qe1 (22. Rcf3 Nxf2 23. Rxf2
Rxh3) 22... Nxc3 23. Qxc3 Qxb3 24. Qxb3 Rxb3 $17 {Diagram [#] As a result of
the small combination So won material. Rook and two pawns are usually much
better than two light pieces in the endgame. The reasons- more room for the
rooks to operate and the higher value of the pawns.} 25. Bc8 e4 ({White was
hoping for the same pawn duo after} 25... a5 26. c5 $1 dxc5 27. fxe5) ({
Another reasonable way to play it was} 25... exf4 $5 26. Bxf4 Ra3 {with
advantage for Black.} (26... a5 27. Nd4 $1)) 26. Bxa6 ({White could have gone
for the more dangerous pawn on e4, but the position after} 26. Bf5 Bd8 (26...
e3 27. Rf3) 27. Kg2 Bb6 28. Rf1 g6 29. Bxe4 Rbh3 {looked too dangerous for him.
Perhaps he can survive it after} 30. f5 Rh2+ 31. Kf3 Rxe2 32. Kxe2 Rxe4+ 33.
Kd3 {Perhaps no.}) 26... Bd8 $1 {The last black piece gets activated to the
maximum.} 27. c5 $1 {The best defense. White cannot allow the black bishop an
access to the a7-g1 diagonal.} ({For example} 27. Kg2 Bb6 28. Rf1 Rg4+ 29. Kh2
f5 {with decisive attack along the "h" and "g" files.}) 27... dxc5 28. Rg2 g6 (
{If} 28... c4 {to open the diagonal again then} 29. Rg3 $1 {is strong.}) 29.
Rg3 {Diagram [#] As a rule, the trades favour the side with the rook, but
White needed to saveguard his king.} Rxg3+ 30. Nxg3 Rg4 31. Kh2 f5 32. Ne2 (32.
Bb5+ $5 {deserved attention, to advance the pawn a bit further} Kf7 (32... Ke7
33. Kh3 {intends to trap the rook with Bb5-e2.}) 33. d6 {with good chances for
survival.}) 32... Rh4+ 33. Kg2 Bc7 34. Bc8 $6 {Time-trouble inaccuracy. White
had to activate the other bishop instead} (34. Bb2 $1 {[%cal Gb2e5,Gd5d6]
Diagram [#] and then put it on e5 after} Ke7 35. Be5 Bd6 {when Black options
are more limitted in comparison to the game. In particular, the black rook
lacks the h8 square and cannot easily swing to the queenside.}) 34... Kd8 35.
Be6 Ke7 36. Be3 (36. Bb2 Bxf4) 36... Bd6 {Now Black has more freedom in
comparison to the position with white bishop on e5.} 37. Bf2 Rh8 38. Be1 c4 39.
Bc3 Ra8 40. Be5 {We know the saying: "better late then never". But stragely
enough, this is not optimal here. White should have opted for passive defense
with} (40. Kf2 Ra3 (40... Ra2 41. Ke1) 41. Ke1 {and Ke1-d2.}) 40... Ra2 41. Kf1
(41. Kf2 {loses to} Bxe5 42. fxe5 c3 43. Ke3 Rd2 {followed by Rd2-d1 and
c3-c2-c1.}) 41... Rd2 $1 {[%cal Gd2d3,Re4e3,Rc4c3] Diagram [#] The rook
manages to get to the optimal d3 square.} 42. Bc3 ({The white king cannot
approach} 42. Ke1 Bb4 $1) ({Black's idea is revealed in the line} 42. Bg8 Rd3
$1 43. Be6 Bxe5 44. fxe5 c3 {and pawns are unstoppable.}) 42... Rd3 43. Ba5 (
43. Be5 Bxe5 44. fxe5 c3 {transposes to the line above.}) 43... Ba3 (43... Ra3
$5 {with the idea} 44. Bc3 Rb3 {and Bd6-b4 to break the blockade made sense.})
44. Bg8 Bd6 45. Be6 Bc5 46. Ke1 {Finally, the white king made it to the center
but at a very high price.} Rb3 47. Kd2 Rb2+ 48. Kd1 Bb4 $1 {Diagram [#]} 49.
Bxb4+ Rxb4 {The trade of the bishop made White's defense much harder. Now the
white K+N have to stope the black R and pawns. Should be mission impossible.}
50. Kc2 Rb3 51. Nc3 e3 52. Bg8 Rb6 53. Ne2 Ra6 54. d6+ (54. Nc3 g5 {would be
similar to the game.} ({But Black has an additional choice} 54... Kd6 $5))
54... Rxd6 55. Bxc4 Kf6 {[%cal Gg6g5] Diagram [#] Next g6-g5 is coming.} 56.
Bd3 {Now the game is essentially over.} (56. Nc3 $1 {was White's last chance
to get the king in the defense as fast as possible} Rd2+ (56... g5 57. Nd5+ Kg7
58. Nxe3 $11) 57. Kc1 Rd4 58. Nd5+ Kg7 59. Nxe3 Rxf4 60. Kd2 {is this position
defendable is another story.}) 56... g5 57. fxg5+ Kxg5 58. Ng3 Rc6+ 59. Kd1 f4
60. Nf1 Rb6 61. Nh2 (61. Ke2 Rb2+ 62. Ke1 Kg4 {leads to a position similar to
the game.}) 61... Kh4 62. Ke1 Kg3 63. Nf1+ Kf3 64. Nh2+ Kg2 65. Nf1 Re6 {With
the threat f4-f3.} 66. Bc4 Re5 67. Ba6 Ra5 68. Bb7+ Kg1 69. Nxe3 Re5 {Diagram
[#] Fabiano Caruana still experience great difficulties against the Najdorf.}
0-1



Report.

29.6.15

On a High Note

The battle for the first place at the Norway Chess finished early with a quick draw between the leader and his closest pursuer. Veselin Topalov played solidly in the opening and left no chance to his opponent Vishy Anand. However, Hikaru Nakamura found a way to try his luck with the black pieces and managed to outplay Levon Aronian to take joint second place.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Norway Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.06.25"]
[Round "9.4"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2780"]
[BlackElo "2802"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:00:34"]
[BlackClock "1:07:22"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 Bc5 4. Bg2 d6 5. e3 a6 {Diagram [#] Sooner or later
Black will have to saveguard his bishop.} ({Also possible is} 5... Nf6 6. Nge2
Bf5 7. d4 Bb6 8. h3 O-O 9. O-O h6 10. Kh2 Re8 {Erdos,V (2621)-Wojtaszek,R
(2742) Germany 2015}) 6. Nge2 Ba7 7. a3 h5 {[%cal Gh5h4,Rh8h1] This is why
Nakamura kept his knight on g8, he wants to create play along the h file. This
plan is possible because the center is closed.} 8. d4 ({The problem with the
move} 8. h4 {is that Black can use the g4 square for his bishop} Bg4 9. b3 Nge7
10. Bb2 Rb8 11. Qc2 Qd7 12. d3 O-O {and Black is solid, Mwali,C (2250)-Anton
Guijarro,D (2624) Tromso 2014}) (8. h3) 8... h4 9. b4 $146 {[%csl Ya7][%cal
Gc4c5] Diagram [#] A novelty by Aronian. He plans to lock the bishop on a7.} ({
In the only predecessor White played rather inconsistently} 9. d5 Nce7 10. e4
$6 {Opens the bishop on a7 for no good reason.} Nf6 11. h3 $6 hxg3 12. fxg3 c6
13. b4 cxd5 14. Nxd5 Nfxd5 15. exd5 Qb6 $17 {and White's position is on the
verge of colapse, Felser,M (1913) -Jorczik,J (2333) Schwaebisch Gmuend 2010})
9... Nge7 10. c5 Bf5 {The first critical moment of the game as both the
players mentioned later.} ({Nakamura also considered alternative closure of
the white bishop after} 10... h3 11. Bf3 d5 12. O-O (12. dxe5 Nxe5 {followed
by c7-c6 and Ba7-b8 is good for Black.}) 12... e4 13. Bh1 ({The USA GM was
also afraif of the position sacrifice} 13. Nxe4 $5 {Diagram [#]} dxe4 14. Bxe4
{as the Ba7 needs plenty of moves to get into the game.}) 13... f5 {but he was
afraid that he cannot hold the line after} 14. f3 {Indeed} Be6 15. Nf4 Qd7 16.
Nxe6 Qxe6 17. Bd2 {followed by Qd1-b3, a3-a4 and b4-b5 looks easy for White.})
11. Bb2 ({Aronian was considering the sharp play after} 11. d5 $5 Nb8 12. f4
dxc5 13. d6 {to which Black react with an exchange sacrifice} cxd6 (13... Nec6
{is also possible though.}) 14. Bxb7 Nbc6 {(Nakamura)} ({Or} 14... Nd7 {In
both cases Black will have plenty of play on the light squares for the
exchange.})) 11... Qd7 {Diagram [#]} 12. Qb3 ({Once again} 12. d5 {does not
yield White anything} Nd8 13. e4 Bh3 14. Bxh3 Qxh3 15. Qa4+ Qd7 $11 {but this
was perhaps the best that he had.}) 12... h3 $1 {It is time to worry the white
king before it escapes from the center. If this happens, the locked bishop on
a7 might become the key factor of the position.} ({Better than the preliminary
trade} 12... exd4 13. exd4 h3 {when after} 14. Be4 Bxe4 15. Nxe4 Qf5 {White
has the important move} 16. f3 {(Nakamura)}) 13. Bf3 ({The line} 13. Be4 Bxe4
14. Nxe4 Qf5 {looks good for Black (Nakamura)}) ({White cannot evacuate the
king from the center} 13. Bxc6 Qxc6 14. O-O-O {because if the strong} Qf3 {
(Aronian)}) 13... exd4 {Diagram [#] Dynamic play.} (13... d5 14. O-O e4 15. Bh1
$11) 14. Nxd4 {Black clears too many lines in case of} (14. exd4 dxc5 15. dxc5
$6 Ne5 $17) 14... Bg4 15. Bxg4 Qxg4 16. Nxc6 ({The immediate} 16. Qd1 Qxd1+ 17.
Rxd1 {sacrifices a pawn but after} dxc5 18. Nxc6 bxc6 19. bxc5 f6 20. Ne4 {
White has compensation for it. Both Aronian and Nakamura considered this
position good for Black on the account of the excellent d5 square for the
black knight.}) 16... Nxc6 17. Qd1 $1 {[%csl Re1] Diagram [#] Aronian
correctly seeks trade of queens.} (17. cxd6 O-O-O {looks very dangerous for
White with the king in the middle.}) 17... Qg6 $1 {And Nakamura rejects it.}
18. cxd6 {Now Black's attack is very dangerous. The lesser evil was to chase
the black queen with} (18. Qb1 $5 Qxb1+ (18... Qh5 19. Qe4+ $1) 19. Rxb1 dxc5
20. b5 {when White should have enough compensation for the pawn. The excluded
bishop feels worse with less pieces on the board.}) 18... O-O-O 19. Rc1 $2 {"A
terrible move." (Aronian)} ({Close to equal was} 19. Qb1 Qh5 (19... f5 {can be
answered by} 20. b5 $1 axb5 21. dxc7) 20. Qd1 {although I would definitely
prefer Black after} Qe5 {The white king is still not safe.}) 19... Rxd6 20. Qc2
Qh5 $1 {[%csl Yd1,Yd3,Ye2,Yf3,Yg2] Diagram [#] Now White's weakened light
squares are a pain in the neck.} ({"Somehow I felt} 20... Rd3 {was kind of
forced." (Aronian) Indeed, White will be OK after} 21. Ne2 Qe4 22. Rf1 Rhd8 23.
Nf4 {as the sacrifice} Bxe3 24. fxe3 Rxe3+ 25. Ne2 {is not decisive.}) 21. Qe2
Ne5 {Also missed by Aronian. Now the weakness of the white squares decides the
game.} 22. Qxh5 {White loses the exchange as} (22. O-O Nf3+ 23. Kh1 Rd2 {loses
the house.}) 22... Nd3+ {Diagram [#]} 23. Ke2 {In case of} (23. Kf1 Rxh5 24.
Rc2 {Black has the nice} Bxe3 $1 25. fxe3 Rf5+ 26. Kg1 (26. Ke2 Rf2+ 27. Kd1
Nxb4+) 26... Rdf6 {Diagram [#] with unstoppable mate.}) 23... Nxc1+ 24. Rxc1
Rxh5 {The extra exchange wins easily.} 25. g4 Re5 26. Rg1 Re8 27. Rg3 Bd4 $1
28. Na4 (28. Rxh3 b5 {dominates the knight.} (28... Bf6 {with the ideas Rd6-c6
and Re8-d8 would also do.})) 28... Bxb2 29. Nxb2 Red8 {Diagram [#] The rooks
enter the second rank and it is all over.} 30. Nc4 Rc6 31. Ne5 Rc2+ 32. Ke1 f6
33. Nf3 Rh8 34. g5 Ra2 35. Nd4 Rxa3 36. Ne6 Ra1+ 37. Ke2 Rh1 38. gxf6 gxf6 39.
Nf4 b6 40. Nxh3 Rb1 0-1



Report.

27.6.15

The Spanner in Topalov's Tournament

Topalov's great performance in Stavanger was put to an end in round eight. Anish Giri of Netherlands played a strong positional endgame and guessed correctly the most unpleasant line of battle against the former number one.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Norway Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.06.24"]
[Round "8.3"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2773"]
[BlackElo "2798"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "111"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:58:33"]
[BlackClock "0:11:02"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 {Diagram [#] Topalov has a lot of
experience in the Catalan. He had played it in two matches for the world
championship.} Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Qc2 Nbd7 9. Rd1 b6 10.
b3 a5 ({It is funny that Giri had played this position very recently, but with
the black pieces! He did not do so well after} 10... Ba6 11. a4 c5 12. a5 Rc8
13. Qa2 Nb8 14. axb6 axb6 15. Nc3 dxc4 16. Bf4 cxb3 17. Qxb3 Bb7 18. dxc5 {in
the game Caruana,F (2802)-Giri,A (2790) Shamkir 2015, in which he miraculously
survived.}) 11. Bc3 Bb7 12. Nbd2 c5 {The central clash frees Black's position.
Two pairs of central pawns will soon leave the board, as well as some minor
pieces.} 13. Ne5 cxd4 14. Bxd4 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Qc8 $146 {Diagram [#] Once again,
the Bulgarian GM comes with a novelty.} ({Previously only} 15... Ng4 16. Bd4 e5
17. h3 exd4 18. hxg4 Rc8 {has been tested, Hungaski,R (2486)-Gajewski,G (2628)
Barcelona 2012}) 16. Rac1 dxc4 17. Bxf6 {Giri is heading for slight advantage
without any risk.} ({Nothing gives} 17. Qxc4 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Qb7+ {as now White
cannot block the check with the queen from e4 and the line} 19. Qc6 Qxc6+ 20.
Rxc6 Rfd8 {is equal (Giri).}) (17. Nxc4 $5 {was interesting as well, for
example} Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Qb7+ 19. f3 Rac8 20. Qb2 $14) 17... Bxf6 18. Qxc4 Bxg2
19. Kxg2 {[%csl Gd2,Yf6] Diagram [#] Very soon a famous Catalan endgame will
arise in which the knight proves superior to the enemy bishop. The other
problem for the second player is that he has no control of the open "c" and"d"
files.} Qb7+ 20. Qe4 {The point behind White's previous play. He wants to get
the knight active on e4.} Rfb8 {The rook on a8 stands well to support the
advance of the queenside pawns.} (20... Rab8 21. Qxb7 Rxb7 22. Ne4 $14) 21. Rc6
Qd7 22. Rcc1 ({The pawn is invincible due to the pin along the "d" file} 22.
Rxb6 $6 Rd8 $1 {[%csl Yd1][%cal Rd8d1] Diagram [#] for example} (22... h6 23.
Rc6 Rc8) 23. Rc6 Rac8 24. Rxc8 Qxc8 25. Qc4 Qb7+ 26. Kg1 Be7 {and White cannot
free the knight easily.}) 22... Qb7 23. Qxb7 Rxb7 {[%csl Ya1,Yb2,Yc3,Gd2,Yd4,
Ye5][%cal Yf6a1,Gd2e4,Ge4d6,Gd2c4,Gc4e5,Ge5c6] Diagram [#] This is the endgame
in question. The black bishop is rather empty and cannnot attack anything,
while the knight can go pretty much everywhere. On the top of this it seems
that he arising positions not to the liking of Veselin Topalov. His two main
weapons- creativity and attacking skills are taken away and he needs to suffer
forever to held the game to a draw.} 24. Ne4 Be7 25. Nd6 Rd7 ({In case of}
25... Bxd6 26. Rxd6 Kf8 {Giri intended to proceed} 27. Rcc6 Rab8 28. e4 $16 {
"and after e4-e4 and h2-h4-h5 like he did in his game against Aronian." (Giri)}
) 26. Nc4 Rxd1 ({In case of} 26... Rb7 {Giri planned} 27. Ne5 {but it seems as
Black can defend with both the rooks on the board after} f6 28. Nc6 Bc5 {
followed by Kg8-f7.}) 27. Rxd1 b5 ({Both player spent time analyzing the
endgames after} 27... Rd8 28. Rxd8+ Bxd8 29. Kf3 Kf8 30. Ke4 Ke7 31. a4 f6 32.
Kd4 Kd7 33. Nb2 Kc6 34. Kc4 {Diagram [#] and came to the conclusion that it is
drawish, but with some difficulties still.}) 28. Ne5 Bf6 29. Nd7 {Giri found
an interesting attacking construction.} ({Worse is} 29. Nd3 Rc8) 29... a4 {
Topalov is trying to trade all the pawns on the queenside. However, this is
where Black missed the interesting resource} (29... Rc8 30. Rd6 Rc7 $1 {[%cal
Gc8c7,Rf6e7] Diagram [#] very difficult move for a human. The idea is to get
rid of the annoying rook with Bf6-e6, possible line} (30... Rc2 31. Ra6) 31.
Nxf6+ (31. Kf3 Be7 $1 {is the point behindBlack's last move.} 32. Rd2 f6) 31...
gxf6 32. Ra6 Rc2 33. Rxa5 Rxe2 $11) 30. Rc1 (30. Rd6 $5) 30... axb3 31. axb3
Be7 32. Rc7 $1 {The position that Giri had in mind. The knight on d7 is placed
superbly, stopping the black king from getting into the center.} Rd8 33. Rb7 ({
Black can defend after} 33. Nc5 Kf8 34. Nd3 g5 35. Rb7 Rd5 {(Giri)}) 33... Bd6
34. g4 {Since the knight is paralyzing Black's position, White can improve the
position of his pawns.} (34. Nb6 Rb8 $1 $11) 34... h5 $6 {[%csl Yh5] Diagram
[#] Being low on time Topalov decided to sacrifice a pawn, but this looks
dubious. He had to stick to the passive defense} (34... h6 {although after} 35.
h4 {"things are not that easy" (Topalov), say} b4 36. h5 Rc8 37. Rb6 Be7 38.
Ne5 $16) 35. gxh5 Kh7 {The king is getting active at last but a pawn is a pawn.
} 36. b4 $1 (36. e4 Kh6 {allows counterplay.}) 36... Bxb4 ({Topalov's last
chance was the rook endgame after} 36... Kh6 37. Nc5 Bxc5 38. bxc5 Rd5 {with
chances for a draw.} (38... Kxh5 39. Rxf7)) 37. Ne5 $1 {[%csl Re6,Yf7,Rg7]
Diagram [#] Now the key pawn on f7 drops, and with it the black kingside
crumbles.} Rd5 ({No time for} 37... f6 $2 38. Nc6) 38. Nxf7 Rxh5 (38... Bd2 39.
e3 Rxh5 40. Nd8) 39. f4 Kg6 40. Ne5+ ({White did good to avoid the tempting}
40. Ng5 e5 41. Rb6+ Kf5 42. Rxb5 ({and there is no mate after} 42. Kf3 exf4 43.
Rxb5+ Kg6 44. Kg4 Bc3) 42... Bd2 $1 $11 {(Giri)}) 40... Kh7 41. Nf7 Kg6 42.
Ne5+ Kh7 43. Nf3 $1 {Diagram [#] Wins the e6 pawn and the game.} Rf5 ({The
point is that} 43... Kg6 44. Nd4 e5 {does not save the pawn due to} 45. Rb6+
Kf7 46. Rxb5 Bd6 47. Nf3 {(Giri)}) 44. Ng5+ Kh6 45. Kf3 ({No need to rush} 45.
Nxe6 Rf6) 45... Bd2 46. e3 b4 47. Nxe6 Rh5 ({Topalov suggested} 47... Bc3 {as
a more stubborn defense, but White is winning anyway} 48. Kg4 Rd5 49. Ng5 $18)
48. Nxg7 Rxh2 49. Nf5+ Kg6 50. Ne7+ Kf6 51. Nd5+ Ke6 52. Ke4 Rh3 53. Rb6+ Kd7
54. Kd3 Bc1 55. Rxb4 Kd6 56. Kd4 {Diagram [#]} 1-0



Report.

25.6.15

Rock Solid Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura usually has togh time playing the world champion but in Stavanger he managed to hold the black color with relative ease.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Norway Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.06.22"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2876"]
[BlackElo "2802"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "190"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:03:05"]
[BlackClock "0:46:49"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 {Diagram [#] Carlsen
deviates from an earlier game of his against the same opponent} (6. Bxf6 Bxf6
7. e3 O-O 8. Rc1 c6 9. Bd3 Nd7 10. O-O dxc4 11. Bxc4 e5 {Carlsen,M (2823)
-Nakamura,H (2753) Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2011}) 6... O-O 7. e3 Ne4 {The Lasker
Defence has the reputation of a very solid opening for Black.} 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9.
Rc1 c6 10. Qc2 Nxc3 11. Qxc3 dxc4 {Diagram [#] It is Nakamura's turn to
deviate from a game that he witnessed less than an year ago.} ({Instead} 11...
Nd7 12. Be2 dxc4 13. Qxc4 e5 14. O-O exd4 15. Nxd4 {was a bit better for White
in Carlsen,M (2877)-Aronian,L (2805) Saint Louis 2014}) 12. Bxc4 b6 13. O-O {
Nakamura was also well prepared to fight the other attempt for an advantage} (
13. Ne5 Bb7 14. Be2 Rc8 15. O-O Nd7 16. Nxd7 Qxd7 17. b4 a5 {Huzman,A (2570)
-Ravia,M (2330) Israel 1996}) 13... Nd7 14. Rfd1 Bb7 {Black finishes the
development and the freeing c6-c5 advance is inevitable.} 15. h3 c5 16. d5 {Or
else the position will get completely symetrical and dry.} exd5 $146 {Diagram
[#] Surprisingly, this logical move is a novelty.} ({Previously only the
dubious} 16... e5 {have been played, but after} 17. e4 Qd6 18. Nh4 (18. Bb5 $1
{is even stronger with large advantage.}) 18... g6 19. Qg3 {White was clearly
better in Tomic,M (2231)-Ristic,M Belgrade 2007}) 17. Bxd5 Bxd5 18. Rxd5 Nf6 {
Black comfortably equalized in the opening. In perspective his position might
be even a bit better thanks to the pawn majority on the queenside. The most
likely scenario though is that all the heavy pieces disappear on the "c" file
and the players shake hands.} 19. Rd3 Rad8 20. Rcd1 Rxd3 21. Qxd3 Rc8 {Diagram
[#] One idea is to advance the queenside pawns. Another- to shift the rook to
d7 via the c7 square.} 22. a4 c4 ({The immediate} 22... Qe4 {is less good due
to} 23. Qxe4 Nxe4 24. Rd7) 23. Qc2 Qe4 24. Nd4 c3 {Black has many ways to keep
the balance. To complete equlity leads} (24... Qxc2 25. Nxc2 c3 26. b3 Kf8 $11)
25. Qb3 Qd5 (25... cxb2 26. Qxb2 Rc5 $11) 26. Qc2 Qe4 27. Qxe4 {Diagram [#]
Carlsen rejects the repetition although he realizes that he has no advantage
at all.} Nxe4 28. b3 Nd2 (28... Nc5 29. Kf1 (29. Rc1 Na6) 29... Na6 30. Nc2 Nc5
$11 {(Seirawan)}) 29. Rc1 a5 30. Rc2 {Now it is a bit more difficult for Black
to hold the balance as his "c" went too deep in the opponent's camp. Carlsen
wants to march with his king all the way to d3 and chop it.} Nb1 31. Rc1 Nd2
32. Rc2 Nb1 33. Nb5 Kf8 34. f3 Rd8 {Instead, the world champion suggested} (
34... Nd2 $1 {Diagram [#] which forces repetion of moves} 35. Nd4 ({The
problem with the move} 35. Rxc3 Rxc3 36. Nxc3 {is that the black king becomes
too active, too fast-} Ke7 37. Nd5+ $6 (37. b4 {is still a draw.}) 37... Kd6
38. Nxb6 Kc5 $17) 35... Nb1 $11) 35. Nd4 ({Both players could not calculate
properly the knight endgame after} 35. Kf2 $5 Rd2+ 36. Rxd2 cxd2 37. Ke2 Ke7 {
The impression is that Black is much worse with the vulnerable d2 pawn} 38. f4
(38. Kd1 Ke6) 38... Ke6 39. e4 f6 40. Nc7+ Kd7 41. Nd5 Kc6 42. Ne7+ Kc5 43. e5
fxe5 44. fxe5 Kd4 45. e6 Ke5 46. Nc8 Kxe6 47. Nxb6 $16 {Perhaps, this was
Carlsen's only realistic winning chance in this game.}) 35... Rc8 36. Rc1 Na3
37. Nc2 {Forced, as} (37. Kf2 c2 38. Ke2 Rc3 39. Kd2 Nb1+ 40. Ke2 Na3 $11 {is
a forced draw (Nakamura)}) 37... Nxc2 38. Rxc2 Rc5 {[%csl Yc3][%cal Gg1f2,
Gf2e2,Ge2d3,Yd3c3] Diagram [#] The maneuver Kg1-f2-e2-d3 with pawn gain is
inevitable, but Black has enough time to swap off the remaining pair of pawns
on the queenside, thus reaching theoretical draw endgame four versus three on
the same flank.} 39. Kf2 b5 $1 40. axb5 Rxb5 41. Rxc3 g6 $1 42. f4 h5 $1 {
[%csl Gf7,Gg6,Gh5] Diagram [#] The best set up of the pawns on the kingside.
Black is ready to trade them at the moment White starts advancing there.} 43.
Rc8+ (43. Kf3 Rb4 {followed by a5-a4.}) 43... Kg7 44. Ra8 Rxb3 45. Rxa5 Rb2+
46. Kf3 Rb3 47. Ra7 Rc3 48. Re7 Rb3 49. Kg3 Rb2 50. Kf3 Rb3 51. g4 hxg4+ 52.
hxg4 Rb1 53. Rd7 Rf1+ 54. Ke4 Rg1 55. g5 Ra1 56. Ke5 Ra3 57. e4 Ra5+ 58. Kd6
Ra6+ 59. Ke5 Ra5+ 60. Rd5 Ra4 61. Rc5 (61. f5 gxf5 62. exf5 $11) 61... Ra1 62.
Rc2 Rf1 63. Rc7 Re1 64. Ra7 Rg1 65. Ra4 Rf1 66. Ra6 Re1 {Diagram [#]} 67. Kd4
Rd1+ 68. Ke3 Re1+ 69. Kf3 Rf1+ 70. Kg3 Re1 71. e5 Re3+ 72. Kf2 Rb3 73. Rd6 Ra3
74. Rd8 Rc3 75. Ke2 Ra3 76. Rd3 Ra1 77. Ke3 Re1+ 78. Kd4 Rf1 79. Ke4 Ra1 80.
Rd7 Ra4+ 81. Rd4 Ra5 82. Rc4 Kf8 83. Rc8+ Kg7 84. Rc7 Kf8 85. Kd4 Ra4+ 86. Rc4
Ra5 87. Rc8+ Kg7 88. e6 {The last slim chance.} fxe6 89. Rc5 Ra7 (89... Rxc5 $4
90. Kxc5 {would really win for White, but none is buying this.}) 90. Ke5 Rf7
91. Rc4 Rf5+ 92. Kxe6 Kg8 93. Rc8+ Kg7 94. Rc7+ Kg8 95. Rc8+ Kg7 1/2-1/2



Report.

24.6.15

Fingerfehler

Norway Chess witnessed another amazing day. Round five saw three decisive games. Magnus Carlsen finally won his first game against Alexander Grischuk. However, it was the former world champion who stole the show as his win lifted him to the remarkable 4.5/5 and clear first place.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Norway Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.06.21"]
[Round "5.4"]
[White "Hammer, Jon Ludvig"]
[Black "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2677"]
[BlackElo "2798"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "148"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:15:27"]
[BlackClock "0:09:05"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 {The last time Topalov played
like that was back in 2008.} 6. Nh4 Bg6 7. Nxg6 (7. Be2 Nbd7 8. g3 Bd6 9. O-O
O-O 10. Nxg6 hxg6 11. Qc2 dxc4 12. Bxc4 c5 $11 {Aronian,L (2757)-Topalov,V
(2791) Nanjing 2008}) 7... hxg6 8. Bd2 Nbd7 9. Qc2 {Diagram [#]} ({Another
possibility is} 9. Qb3 Rb8 10. g3 Be7 11. Bg2 Nb6 12. cxd5 exd5 13. O-O Nc4 {
with complex game, Inarkiev,E (2664)-Artemiev,V (2671) Sochi 2015}) 9... a6 {
Both sides are making useful moves not willing to commit themselves in the
center. Black does not want to trade on c4 for the time being and White does
not want to touch his light-squared bishop yet.} 10. O-O-O Be7 11. Kb1 Qc7 12.
h3 Rd8 $146 {[%csl Rc4,Yf1] Diagram [#] The last useful move appears to be a
novelty.} ({Black finally blinked in the only predecessor} 12... dxc4 13. Bxc4
b5 14. Be2 c5 15. Bf3 Rc8 16. d5 exd5 17. Nxd5 Nxd5 18. Bxd5 {with some
pressure for White in Ehlvest,J (2594)-Lauk,U (2394) Puhajarve 2011}) 13. c5 {
Hammer closes the center. In comparison to Ehlvest-Lauk from above, the line} (
13. Bd3 dxc4 14. Bxc4 c5 {is great for Black.}) 13... e5 {Black carrries out
the standard central strike. But perhaps another way to attack the white pawn
chain was preferrable} (13... b6 $5 {[%cal Yb6c5] Diagram [#] for instance} 14.
cxb6 Qxb6 15. Bd3 (15. Na4 Qb7 16. Rc1 Rc8) 15... Rb8 16. Na4 Qb7 17. Rc1 c5 $1
{with good play for Black.}) 14. f4 $1 {Hammer reacts energetically in the
center.} exd4 {Looking back at what had happened with his position, Topalov
came to the conclusion that this move was the reason for his trouble later. He
thought he should have closed the center instead with} (14... e4 {but after}
15. Be2 Nf8 16. g4 {White definitely has the better chances.}) 15. exd4 Nh5 16.
Ne2 Nhf6 17. Nc3 Nh5 18. Ne2 Nhf6 19. Ng3 $1 {[%cal Gf4f5] Diagram [#] The
Norwegian GM corectly avoids the repetition.} Ng8 {Black wants to pus his pawn
to f5 and return with the knight to e4, but this plan is energetically
prevented.} ({Topalov did not like his position after the typical} 19... Nf8
20. Bd3 Ne6 21. Ne2 {"White has a lot of space and can easily advance his
kingside pawns." (Topalov)}) ({But} 19... b6 {was to be preffered again} 20.
cxb6 (20. Bxa6 $2 bxc5) 20... Qxb6 21. Bd3 O-O 22. f5 Bd6 {with playble
position.}) 20. Bd3 f5 21. Nxf5 $1 {[%csl Ye8,Gf4,Gg2,Gh3][%cal Rd3g6,Rg6e8,
Re1e8,Gg2g4,Gh3h4] Diagram [#] The black king is still in the middle and
Hammer is trying to get to it. However, the preliminary} (21. Rhe1 $1 {would
have been even better since in the line} Ngf6 22. Nxf5 $1 ({Not} 22. Re6 Nf8 {
and Black is in time.}) 22... gxf5 23. Bxf5 {Black's defense is more complex.})
21... gxf5 22. Bxf5 Ndf6 {Somehow surprisingly, the knight on g8 stays well
for the dense.} (22... Ngf6 23. Bg6+ Kf8 24. Rhe1 {transposes to the line
above.}) 23. Bg6+ Kf8 24. g4 {Diagram [#] For the knight White has two pawns,
plenty of open files and a lot of space. But the good thing about the extra
material is that you can always give some part of it back.} Ne4 $1 25. g5 Rh4 {
Tempting but misses an incredible resource.} ({Correct was another move,
suggested by Topalov} 25... Re8 $1 $11 {with the idea Be7-d8.}) ({Also good is
} 25... Qd7 26. h4 Qg4 {(Topalov)}) 26. Bc1 {Hammer missed the fantastic
resource} (26. Be1 $3 Rxf4 27. h4 {[%csl Rf8][%cal Ge1d2,Rf1f8] Diagram [#]
with the paradoxal idea to return with the bishop on d2. Then White wil occupy
the "f" open file with his rooks and everything will become clear.}) 26... Qd7
{Now Black is fine.} 27. Qg2 b6 ({Also good for Black was} 27... Rb8 28. f5 b6
29. cxb6 Rxb6 30. Ka1 {(Topalov)}) 28. cxb6 Bd6 29. Bxe4 dxe4 30. d5 {Diagram
[#]} ({Moving the pawns a bit further made more sense} 30. f5 Ne7 31. g6 {with
aproximate equality.}) 30... Ne7 31. dxc6 Qxc6 32. Rhe1 Qxb6 33. Qxe4 Bc5 34.
Rxd8+ Qxd8 {Diagram [#] The only one who can be better now is Black, but since
the few pawns left of the board the objective evaluation is a draw.} 35. Qc4
Qd4 36. Qxa6 g6 {Black could have also taken the pawn back at once} (36... Rxh3
{but he has to watch out for the tricks} 37. Qa8+ Kf7 38. g6+ Kf6 $1 (38...
Kxg6 $2 39. Qg2+ {wins the rook}) ({While} 38... Nxg6 $2 {is mate} 39. Qe8+ Kf6
40. Qe6#)) (36... Qd7 $11) 37. Re5 Qd6 38. Qa8+ Kg7 39. Qf3 Bd4 40. Re2 Qd7 41.
Qd3 Nc6 $6 {The last move before the time control is inaccuracy.} ({Safer is}
41... Nf5 $11) 42. Rh2 {White could have improved the position of his rook
instead with} (42. Rc2 $1 {when the lesser evil for Black would be to lose
time with} Ne7 {Topalov also revealed how tricky the position is} (42... Rxh3
$2 {loses to} 43. Qb5 Ne5 44. Qxd7+ Nxd7 45. Rc7) ({And} 42... Nb4 43. Rc7 $1 {
[%csl Yb4,Yd4] Diagram [#]} Qxc7 44. Qxd4+ Kf7 45. Qxb4 Rxh3 $16 {might be a
draw, but might not be one...})) 42... Nb4 43. Qc4 ({Black does not risk
anything after} 43. Qe4 Qf5 44. Qxf5 gxf5) 43... Rxh3 44. Rd2 Qf5+ 45. Ka1 Bc5
{[%csl Gb4,Gc5,Gf5,Gh3] Diagram [#] Now Topalov activates his remaining troops
and presses as much as he can.} 46. a3 Nd3 47. Rd1 {With idea to put the
bishop on c3 (Topalov)} Nxc1 48. Rxc1 Bf8 49. Qd4+ Kg8 50. Rc7 Qe6 51. Qc4 $1 {
Hammer defends flawlessly. The only thing he needs is to trade the last black
pawn for all his remaining pawns.} Qxc4 52. Rxc4 Kf7 53. a4 Rb3 54. a5 Rb5 ({
At first Black wanted to trade the rooks} 54... Rb4 55. Rxb4 Bxb4 {but
realized that he is hardly playing for a win after} 56. a6 Bc5 57. Ka2 Ke6 58.
Kb3 {and the only one to take care is Black. For instance} Kf5 $2 {loses the
game} (58... Kd5 $11) 59. Kc4 $1 {Diagram [#]} Be3 60. Kd5 Kxf4 61. b4 Kxg5 62.
b5 Kf4 63. Kc6 g5 64. b6 Bxb6 65. Kxb6 g4 66. a7 g3 67. a8=Q) 55. Ra4 Bg7 56.
Ra2 (56. Kb1 Rxb2+ 57. Kc1 Rb8 58. a6 Bf8 59. Kc2 $11) 56... Bd4 57. Ra4 Bxb2+
58. Ka2 Bc1 59. a6 Rb2+ 60. Ka1 Rb8 61. Rc4 Be3 {Diagram [#]} ({Hammer thought
that} 61... Ba3 {is more dangerous for him, but here too, White should hold
after} 62. Rc7+ Be7 63. a7 Ra8 64. Kb2 {as Black cannot untie his pieces
whithout the trade of his last pawn-} Ke6 65. Kb3 Bd6 66. Rg7 Kf5 67. Rf7+ Kg4
68. f5 $1 Kxg5 69. fxg6 $11) 62. Rc7+ Kg8 63. Rc6 Bd4+ 64. Ka2 Kf7 65. Rd6 Bc3
66. Rc6 Bh8 67. Ka3 Bd4 68. Ka4 Rf8 ({Topalov got excited by the line} 68...
Rb6 69. a7 Rb1 $1 {[%csl Ra4,Ra7][%cal Gb1a1,Ra1a8] Diagram [#] but then
spotted} 70. Rd6 $1 Bxa7 71. f5 $1 gxf5 72. Rf6+ $11) 69. Kb5 Kg7 70. Rc7+ Rf7
71. Rxf7+ Kxf7 {Now it is a draw but...} 72. Kc4 Ba7 73. Kd5 Ke7 (73... Bb8 74.
Kc6 $11) 74. Kc6 $4 {Diagram [#] Topalov described this as "fingerfehler"
speculating that his opponent belived he played 73...Ba7-b8 instead. Then this
move indeed is best. Instead of the unfortunate move in the game Black is
easily sharing the point with either} (74. f5 gxf5 75. Ke5 $11) ({Or even} 74.
Ke5 Bb8+ 75. Kd5 $11) 74... Ke6 0-1



Report.

20.6.15

Topalov on the Lead

After the miraculous save in round one Veselin Topalov revived and took control of his tournament destiny in Stavanger. Three rounds later he is already a sole leader. His last win was against Levon Aronian of Armenia:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Norway Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.06.19"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2798"]
[BlackElo "2780"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "115"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:20:27"]
[BlackClock "0:20:29"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 {Aronian's passion for the Ragozin is
not a top secret.} 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Qa4+ {Diagram [#] Topalov is as
usual very well prepared for the game and chooses a fashionable line. The
Armenian GM was tested in the Carlsbad type of positions that arise after the
capture on d5 in Wijk an Zee. By Magnus Carlsen himself.} Nc6 8. e3 O-O 9. Be2
({Kramnik chose a different approach that suits his style} 9. Rc1 Qg6 10. Qc2
Qxc2 11. Rxc2 Rd8 12. a3 Bf8 13. Nb5 Rd7 14. Bd3 a6 15. Nc3 Ne7 16. Ke2 Rd8 17.
b4 {with somewhat better position for White in Kramnik,V (2783)-Aronian,L
(2777) Zuerich 2015}) 9... dxc4 10. O-O Bd7 11. Bxc4 {Diagram [#] The
statistics of this line is quite favourable for White.} Bxc3 {Somewhat
unexpected. Black parts with the bishop pair and is happy to trade a pair of
light pieces. Still, his position looks rather passive. Black had also tried:}
(11... Qe7 12. Qc2 Rac8 13. a3 Bd6 14. b4 {White looks great for White as} e5
$6 {leads to big advantage after} 15. Nd5 Qd8 16. b5 $16 {Iotov,V (2560)
-Kacheishvili,G (2612) Richardson 2012}) ({A more common idea is to prepare
the freeing e6-e5 advance with} 11... Bd6 {Although White had also proved some
advantage here with} 12. Ne4 Qe7 13. Qc2 e5 14. d5 Nd8 15. Nxd6 cxd6 16. Rac1
$14 {Wagner,D (2481)-Landa,K (2640) Germany 2013}) 12. bxc3 Rfd8 13. Be2 $146 {
[%csl Ga4,Rc6][%cal Yc6d4,Ya4d4,Ra4a5] Diagram [#] A novelty which prevents
the threat Nc6xd4. For the time being Topalov keeps the queen on a4 not
letting the freeing operation that Aronian have used before (Nc6-a5 followed
by c7-c5). (See the game below)} ({Not long ago the Armenian GM had to defend
against the immediate} 13. Qa3 {He did well after} Qe7 14. Qb2 Na5 15. Bd3 c5
16. e4 Be8 17. Rad1 cxd4 18. cxd4 Rac8 $11 {Shankland,S (2661)-Aronian,L (2770)
Tsaghkadzor 2015}) ({Also} 13. Qc2 {had been tested some days ago} Na5 14. Bd3
c5 15. Ne5 Be8 16. f4 {Hansen,C (2621)-Hammer,J (2665) Oslo 2015}) 13... Be8 {
This renews the threat Nc6xd4 and forces the white queen to move.} ({In case of
} 13... Qe7 {White can make an useful move} 14. Rab1) ({Generally speaking
Black would be happy to trade more pieces but after} 13... Ne5 14. Qb4 Nxf3+
15. Bxf3 {the difference between the bishops is too big.}) 14. Qa3 (14. Rab1 $2
{drops a pawn after} Nxd4) (14. Qc2 $5 {deserves attention.}) 14... Qe7 {Black
is happy to trade queens as the strong white center will not be as dangerous
in the endgame.} 15. Qb2 (15. Qxe7 Nxe7 16. Rab1 b6 $11) 15... Na5 $6 ({A
safer choice seems} 15... b6 {followed by Nc6-a5 after that.}) 16. Qb4 $1 {
[%csl Yc7,Ye8][%cal Rc3b4,Gc1c7] Diagram [#] Now Topalov offers the trade
himself! But in the process he changes the pawn structure in his favour. He
opens the "c" file for his rooks and can later attack with his "a" and "b"
pawns.} Qxb4 17. cxb4 Nc6 18. Rab1 $14 {Topalov got slight but comfortable
advantage from the opening. His plan is Rf1-c1, a2-a4 and b4-b5 in the proper
moment.} a5 $1 {Aronian does not want to stay still and opens a file for his
rooks.} 19. bxa5 Nxa5 20. Rfc1 Rdc8 21. Ne1 $1 {[%csl Yb7,Yc7][%cal Ge1d3,
Gd3c5,Ye2f3,Yf3b7] Diagram [#] Nice regroupment. White plans Be2-f3 and
Ne1-d3-c5.} Ra7 ({The black bishop can not get activated with} 21... Bc6 22.
Nd3 Bd5 {due to} 23. Nb4 b6 $2 24. Nxd5 exd5 25. Bg4 {and White wins a pawn.})
22. Nd3 Nc6 23. Bf3 Nd8 $1 {[%csl Ya2,Ga7,Yb7][%cal Ga7a2,Rd8b7] Diagram [#]
Nice regroupment by Aronian now. The knight gets back but opens the "a" file
for the rook.} 24. Nb4 (24. Rb2 $14) 24... Ra5 {Black prepares the freeing
c7-c5 advance. Another way to defend is} (24... c6 25. Rb2 (25. d5 exd5 26.
Nxd5 Rb8 $11) 25... Kf8 {with the idea to bring the king to c7.}) 25. h4 {
Grabs space and opens air for the king.} Kf8 {Black decided to postpone the
freeing c7-c5 advance for a while.} ({The utility of the luft is seen in the
line} 25... c5 26. Nd3 ({Or else Black equalizes at once} 26. Rxc5 Raxc5 27.
dxc5 Rxc5 $11) 26... Rxa2 ({White is also somewhat better after} 26... c4 27.
Rb6 (27. Nc5 b5) 27... Rb5 28. Rxb5 Bxb5 29. Nc5) 27. Nxc5 {and the black pawn
on b7 will soon drop.}) 26. Rc3 c6 27. Bd1 $1 {[%csl Ya2][%cal Gd1b3,Yb3a2,
Gb3g8] Diagram [#] Another nice maneuver by the former world champion. Since
the long diagonal was blocked, the bishop moves to a better position. From b3
it will pressurize the e6 pawn, but more importantly- will take the sting out
of the black rook(s) on the a file. Nevertheless, Aronian is getting closer
to the equality with each move.} Ke7 28. Bb3 c5 {Finally, Aronian frees
himself a bit, but some problems remain. For instance, he can never enter a
pawn (knight) endgame as the distant passer on a2 will win the game. The
knight on d8 remains passive too.} ({Black could have kept defending passively
with} 28... f6) 29. Nd3 b6 30. dxc5 bxc5 {It made sense to trade a pair of
bishops with} (30... Bb5 31. Bc4 Bxc4 32. Rxc4 bxc5 33. a4 f6 {White is still
slightly better but Black should hold.}) 31. f3 $1 {Topalov does not want to
let his opponent go. He expands in the center, earns space, limits the knight
and creates some other trouble.} Rc7 (31... f6 $5) 32. e4 Nb7 33. Rbc1 Ba4 34.
e5 Rc6 {[%csl Ga2,Yb7,Yc5,Ye7][%cal Re5d6] Diagram [#] Black plans to swap the
bishops on b3, bring the rook on the "b" file and trade the freshly produced
"b" pawn for his "c" one at last. This plan is very good, but there is one
important detail.} ({He would be relatively save also with} 34... Bxb3 35. axb3
Ra3 36. Kf2 Rd7 37. Ke3 Rd5 38. f4) 35. Kh2 Rb6 36. h5 Bxb3 37. axb3 {The
culmination of the game. With patient and careful defense Aronian came very
close to equlizing the game. But Topalov kept on posing problems all the time
and under the pressure the Armenian GM cracks...} Kd7 $2 {Blows the game away!}
(37... Rab5 $1 {was best eventhough Black loses a pawn. After} 38. Nxc5 (38. g4
{is an instant draw} Rxb3 39. Nxc5 Nxc5 40. Rxc5 Rb7 $11) (38. b4 {does not
work here due to} cxb4 39. Rc8 $2 (39. Nxb4 $11) 39... Rd5 $1 {and there is no
checkmate as in the game.}) 38... Nxc5 39. Rxc5 {Black has to find the subtle}
Rb7 $1 ({Instead} 39... Rxc5 {loses a pawn after} 40. Rxc5 Rxb3 41. Rc7+ Ke8
42. Rc8+ Ke7 43. Rg8 $1 {and most likely the game-} Rb5 44. f4 f6 45. Rxg7+ Kf8
46. Rh7 fxe5 47. fxe5 Rxe5 48. g4 $18) 40. R1c3 f6 41. exf6+ gxf6 {Black
should survive although careful play is still required.}) 38. b4 $1 {[%csl Rc7,
Rc8,Yd7] Diagram [#] Topalov will rarely miss a tactical shot. It is
remarkable that the computer understands the power of the move only once that
it is played on the board.} cxb4 39. Rc8 {Checkmate is threatened.} Nd8 40.
R1c7+ Ke8 41. Nc5 {The threat Rc7-d7 forces Black to part with the exchange.}
Rxc5 42. Rxc5 b3 43. Rc1 {Diagram [#] The rest is easy for the Bulgarian GM.}
Kd7 44. R8c7+ Ke8 45. Rc8 ({Better than} 45. R7c3 Rb5 46. f4 f6 {which
complicates matters.}) 45... Kd7 46. R8c3 {White combines the threats against
the b3 passer with checkmate motifs.} Ke7 ({Like this one} 46... Rb5 47. Rd1+
Ke7 48. Rc7+ Ke8 49. Rc8 b2 50. Rcxd8+ Ke7 51. R1d7# {Diagram [#]}) 47. Rd3 Nb7
48. Rdc3 Nd8 49. f4 f6 50. Rc7+ Ke8 51. Rxg7 fxe5 52. Rcc7 Kf8 53. Rh7 Kg8 54.
Rcg7+ Kf8 55. Rd7 Kg8 56. Rxh6 Nf7 {A nice finish is} (56... b2 57. Rg6+ Kf8
58. h6 b1=Q 59. h7 {Diagram [#] and despite the extra queen Black cannot stop
checkmate.}) 57. Rg6+ Kh8 58. Rf6 {Black resigned. A possible finish would
have been} (58. Rf6 b2 59. Rfxf7 Kg8 60. h6 b1=Q 61. Rg7+ Kf8 62. Rd8# {
Diagram [#]}) 1-0



Report.

19.6.15

Out of Shape

Round three of the Norway Chess proved two things:
1) Being a host is not definitely not an advantage at chess. Actually, it is most certainly disadvantage in our sport.
2) Carlsen is not at his greatest chess form ever.
The world champion achieved completely won position but spoiled everything by missing a spectacular. On the other hand, one of the spectators in the tournament hall saw it at once. His name- Garry Kasparov.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Norway Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.06.18"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Giri, Anish"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2876"]
[BlackElo "2773"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "152"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:29:13"]
[BlackClock "0:19:31"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 {A small surprise. Giri usually opts for 2...e6 of lately.}
3. Bb5+ {Diagram [#] The Moscow line has been used by the world champion
before, but it is curious to know what did the Dutchman prepare against the
main lines?} Nd7 4. c3 Ngf6 5. Qe2 a6 6. Ba4 b5 7. Bc2 e6 8. d4 Bb7 9. O-O Be7
10. Re1 ({Another option is} 10. a4 O-O 11. e5 $5 dxe5 12. dxe5 Bxf3 13. gxf3
Nd5 14. f4 {Svidler,P (2732)-Grischuk,A (2797) Baku 2014}) 10... O-O 11. Nbd2
cxd4 12. cxd4 Rc8 $146 {Diagram [#] A novelty. Giri decided to occupy the open
file with his "a" rook. Previously Black had done this only with his f rook-} (
12... Qc7 13. Nf1 Rfc8 14. Bd3 b4 15. Ng3 a5 {Indeed, the rook is useful on
the a file, enabling Black a chance to trade the light-squared bishop via the
a6 square, Rasik,V (2437)-Laznicka,V (2667) Czechia 2015}) 13. Nf1 {White
finishes the development and looks for a good moment to advance his central
pawns. This will open the road of his pieces towards the black king.} Re8 14.
Ng3 Bf8 15. Be3 (15. a4 $5 {is interesting in order to weaken the black
queenside pawns and make use of the fact that the rook is not on a8.}) 15...
Rc7 $6 {[%csl Ra8,Re4][%cal Gd8a8,Ye8c8,Rb7e4,Ra1a8] Diagram [#] Giri decided
to regroup in a hedgehog way (Qd8-a8, followed by Re8-c8) but later realized
that this is simply not good.} (15... Nb6 {instead would be about equal.}) 16.
Bd3 {A typical Ruy Lopez idea, which prepares the a2-a4 advance.} (16. Rad1 Qa8
17. Bc1 Rec8 18. Bd3 {was suggested by Black at the press-conference as good
for his opponent. But there is no reason to move the rook away from the "a"
file.}) (16. a4 {at once was again makes sense} b4 17. a5 Qa8 18. Rec1 Rec8 ({
The point is that the e4 pawn is untouchable} 18... Nxe4 $2 19. Bxe4 Rxc1+ 20.
Bxc1 $18) 19. Bd3 Rxc1+ 20. Bxc1 $14) 16... e5 {Now the pawn structure
transforms into a Ruy Lopez one, in a very favourable version for White. The
black bishop is misplaced on b7.} ({Giri disliked} 16... Qa8 17. Bd2 {and
indeed, what is the queen doing on a8 after} Rec8 18. a4 $1) 17. d5 $14 Nc5 18.
Bc2 b4 $6 {[%csl Ya5,Yb4,Yb5,Yc4] Diagram [#] This makes things worse. Giri
wanted to open up the bishop with a6-a5 and Bb7-a6 but gave too many squares
in the process.} 19. a3 ({White also had} 19. Nd2 {with the deep idea} a5 20.
Bxc5 $5 {a move that a GM will easily miss as we do not like spending a bishop
for a knight. However it works concretely as the a5 pawn hangs after} Rxc5 21.
Ba4 Re7 22. Nb3 Rc8 23. Nf5 Rec7 24. Nxa5 $16) 19... b3 {Now this pawn is
doomed. However} (19... bxa3 {is even worse due to} 20. b4 $1 Ncd7 21. Bd3 {
and next White will win both the pawns along the "a" file.}) 20. Bxc5 Rxc5 21.
Bxb3 Qb6 {Instead Giri suggested as an improved version the line} (21... Qc7 {
in order to prevent the bishop from getting on a better position and to
control the c4 pawn. After} 22. Nd2 g6 23. Ngf1 Bh6 24. Ne3 Rc8 {"Black is
simply much worse, which means that I am completely lost in the game."(Giri)})
22. Bc4 Rec8 23. Bd3 {Diagram [#] Carlsen won a pawn and the rest should be "a
matter of technique". At first everything goes smoothly for him.} g6 24. Nf1 $1
{Since the knight is limited by the pawn it finds a better working place.} Bh6
25. Ne3 a5 26. b4 $1 {Naturally White does not want to get blocked after} (26.
Nd2 a4) 26... axb4 27. axb4 R5c7 {Giri thought it was better to sacrifice the
queen with} (27... Rc3 $5 28. Nc4 Qxb4 29. Reb1 ({Also possible is} 29. Rab1
R8xc4 30. Bxc4 Qxc4 31. Rxb7) 29... R3xc4 {Most likely the worl champion would
have declined the sacrifice and taken the exchange with} 30. Bxc4 $1 ({Black
has serious drawing chances after} 30. Rxb4 Rxb4) 30... Qxc4 31. Qxc4 Rxc4 32.
Rxb7 Nxe4 33. g3 Rc1+ 34. Rxc1 Bxc1 {and White should win later.}) 28. b5 Qc5
29. h3 {There is no need to hurry. Black was hoping for a trick} (29. Nc4 $2 {
[%csl Yc4] Diagram [#]} Bxd5 $1 30. exd5 e4 31. Bxe4 Qxc4 32. Qxc4 Rxc4 33. Bd3
Rb4 {with serious drawing chances.}) 29... Nh5 30. Qb2 Qb6 31. Qb4 Bxe3 ({
Black also calculated the desperate} 31... Rc3 32. Nc4 R8xc4 $5 33. Bxc4 Rxf3
34. gxf3 Qd8 {but abandoned it on the account of} 35. f4 $1 ({Instead} 35. Bf1
Bf4 {keeps a lot of tricks in the position.})) 32. Rxe3 Rc3 33. Rae1 {[%cal
Yd3f1,Re1e3] Diagram [#] Overprotecs the rook on e3 and prepares Bd3-f1.} f5 {
The last desperate try.} 34. exf5 Nf4 35. Be4 R3c5 36. fxg6 hxg6 {Carlsen won
another pawn and weakened the enemy king. The end is close and...miracles
start to happen.} 37. Bxg6 {Was this needed? If Carlsen had won, we would have
praised him for the stylish finish. Now we can criticise him for the
inpractical approach.} (37. Nh4 {wins prosaically after} Rxb5 38. Qa4 Rb4 39.
Qd7 Qd8 40. Qg4) 37... Rxb5 38. Qe4 $2 {Misses the brilliancy. Instead} (38.
Bf7+ $3 {would have made the Norwegians happy} Kxf7 ({Or else the checkmate
will be for free after} 38... Kf8 39. Qe4) 39. Qe4 {[%csl Yf7][%cal Ge4h7,
Gf3g5] Diagram [#] The threat is Qe4-h7 followed by Nf3-g5 and checkmate.
There is no escape of it as the lines prove:} Kg7 (39... Rh8 40. Qf5+ Kg7 (
40... Ke7 41. Nxe5 $1 {is mate} ({although} 41. Qxf4 {wins easily as well.}))
41. Ng5 Qc7 42. Ne6+ Nxe6 43. Rg3+ Kh6 44. Qg6#) (39... Nxd5 40. Qh7+ Kf6 41.
Nxe5 $1 dxe5 42. Rxe5 {with the unstoppable threat Re5-f5.}) (39... Bxd5 40.
Qf5+ Ke7 41. Qxc8 {wins tons of material.}) (39... Ng6 40. Qf5+ Kg7 41. Nh4 $1
Nxh4 42. Rg3+ Kh6 43. Qf6+ Kh7 44. Qxh4#) 40. Ng5 Kh6 41. Qh7+ Kxg5 42. Rg3+
Kf6 43. Qg7+ Kf5 44. Rg5#) 38... Rf8 39. Nxe5 $6 {And this misses the
remaining advantage.} ({White is at least up a pawn after} 39. Nh4 Bxd5 40. Qa4
{as} Bxg2 $2 {is bad due to} 41. Bd3 $1 ({Or even} 41. Rg3 $1)) 39... dxe5 40.
Rg3 Rxd5 {[%csl Yg8] Diagram [#] White has plenty of discovered checks, the
black kingside is a wreck and it is a draw...} 41. Qb1 {Carlsen uses his last
chance. Two forced lines lead to instant draw} (41. Rb1 Rd1+ 42. Kh2 Rxb1 43.
Bf5+ Kh8 44. Qxe5+ Qf6 45. Qc7 Rf7 46. Qb8+ Rf8 $11) (41. Kh2 Kh8 42. Rb1 Rb5
43. Qxe5+ Rxe5 44. Rxb6 $11) 41... Qxb1 42. Bxb1+ Kh8 43. Be4 Rd7 ({Worse is}
43... Rd2 44. Bxb7 Ne2+ 45. Rxe2 Rxe2 46. f3 Rg8 47. Rxg8+ Kxg8 {followed by
h3-h4, Kg1-h2-h3 and g3-g4 (Giri)}) ({And} 43... Rd1 44. Rxd1 Bxe4 45. Kh2 Bxg2
46. Rxg2 Nxg2 47. Kxg2 {(Giri) albeit drawish leaves Black suffering.}) 44.
Bxb7 Rxb7 45. Rxe5 {Diagram [#] Objectively, the position is equal but it is
much easier to play it as White. He risks nothing while Black has to be
careful what to trade and how to arrange his forces.} Rh7 46. Re4 Rhf7 47. Kh2
Kh7 48. Rf3 Kg6 49. h4 Nh5 50. Rxf7 Rxf7 51. Re2 Nf4 52. Rd2 Nh5 53. g3 Nf6 54.
Kg2 Rd7 55. Ra2 Rd5 56. Ra4 Re5 57. g4 Re4 58. Rxe4 Nxe4 {[%cal Ra5h5] Diagram
[#] Giri was happy to swap off the rooks as he felt that this should be a draw.
Indeed, the theory of this engame states that it is a draw as long as the
passers do not cross the equator of the board. If they (all of them!) reach
the fifth rank, then it is a win.} 59. Kf3 Nd6 60. Kf4 Nf7 61. Ke4 Kf6 62. f4
Nd6+ 63. Kd5 Nb5 64. h5 Nc3+ ({An easier fortress is} 64... Nc7+ 65. Ke4 Ne6 {
Since none of the white pawns can move} 66. Ke3 (66. f5 Ng5+ $11 {is a nice
blockade.}) (66. g5+ Nxg5+ {is an instant draw.}) 66... Nf8 {and White can
make no progress.}) 65. Kd4 Nb5+ 66. Kc4 Nd6+ 67. Kc5 Ke6 {[%csl Yg4,Yh5][%cal
Gd6f7,Gf7h6] Diagram [#] Giri found a good defensive set up.} (67... Nf7 68.
Kd5 Nd8 $11) 68. Kc6 Nf7 69. Kc7 Nh6 $1 {Now the pawns are blocked and Anish
Giri can keep his positive score against the world champion.} 70. g5 Nf7 71. g6
Nh6 72. Kd8 Kf5 73. Ke7 Kxf4 74. Kf8 Kg5 75. g7 Kxh5 76. g8=Q Nxg8 {Diagram [#]
} 1/2-1/2



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