Giri and Kramnik in the Lead

Two games proved decisive yesterday in London. Vladimir Kramnik won quickly to Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri managed to grind down Michael Adams's stubborn defense at the end.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "6th London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2014.12.11"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2768"]
[BlackElo "2745"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bb4+ 5. Nd2 (5. Bd2 {is the more
conventional choice but Anish prepared something interesting for the game.})
5... O-O 6. Ngf3 dxc4 7. Qc2 {[%csl Yh7][%cal Gc2h7] Diagram [#] A tricky
opening line.} ({Caruana had tested the castling twice. His game with Gelfand
saw} 7. O-O b5 8. a4 c6 9. b3 c3 10. Nb1 Bb7 11. Qc2 bxa4 12. Rxa4 c5 13. Nxc3
a5 {with approximately equal chances, Caruana,F (2697)-Gelfand,B (2739)
Amsterdam 2010}) 7... c5 {Anish thought that Mickey was not too familiar with
the line. According to my Megabase, this is the third main move.} ({The main
move is} 7... Nc6 {One recent game saw} 8. Qxc4 Qd5 9. O-O Bxd2 10. Qxd5 exd5
11. Bxd2 Re8 12. e3 Bf5 13. Rfc1 Be4 {and Black held the ballance in Belov,V
(2625)-Tomashevsky,E (2708) Irkutsk 2010}) ({The idea of White's early queen
sortie is revealed in the line} 7... b5 8. a4 $1 c6 (8... bxa4 9. O-O {is very
nice for White who enjoys clear play against the black weak pawns.}) 9. axb5
cxb5 $2 ({Black can avaoid the immediate disater but his position will not be
enviable after} 9... Qd5 10. b6 Ba6 11. bxa7 Bxd2+ 12. Bxd2 Rxa7 13. O-O $16 {
Roiz,M (2579)-Gaprindashvili,V (2415) Warsaw 2005}) 10. Ng5 $1 $18 {White win
at least the exchange as} Nd5 11. Qxh7# {does not look great for the second
player...Giri revealed that a lot of Grandmasters had felt for this idea only
to realize in the process the Nf3-g5! resource.}) 8. dxc5 c3 {It is useful to
break the opponent's pawn chain whenever possible.} 9. bxc3 Bxc5 10. O-O Qc7 ({
More natural seems to be the development of the knight} 10... Nc6 {This was
played three times by Sergey Tiviakov. Giri mentioned the idea} 11. Ng5 ({
Rather than} 11. Ne4 Be7 12. Rd1 Qa5 13. Nd4 Nxd4 14. cxd4 Bd7 15. Nxf6+ Bxf6
16. Bxb7 Rab8 17. Be4 Ba4 18. Qd2 Qd8 19. Ba3 Re8 20. Bc2 Bxc2 21. Qxc2 Bxd4 {
1/2 (21) Riazantsev,A (2621)-Tiviakov,S (2663) Sochi 2007}) 11... h6 12. Nde4
Nxe4 13. Nxe4 Be7 14. Rd1 Qc7 {although the impression is that Black should be
able to gradually equalize. If he did not already.}) 11. Ne4 $146 {[%cal Gg2a8,
Gf4b8] A logical novelty. White clears the road for his pieces.} ({The only
previous game saw the interesting pawn sacrifice} 11. Nc4 $5 {which Tiviakov
decided not to accept} Nbd7 (11... Bxf2+ 12. Rxf2 Qxc4 13. Ba3 Re8 14. Ng5 {
would lead to sharp, lively play instead.}) 12. Qb3 e5 13. a4 Rb8 14. Bg5 Re8
15. a5 Bf8 16. Na3 a6 17. Nc4 b5 18. axb6 Nxb6 19. Nxb6 Rxb6 $11 {Kaidanov,G
(2540)-Tiviakov,S (2520) Torcy 1991}) 11... Nxe4 12. Qxe4 Nd7 13. Bf4 $14 {
White's lead in the development gives him the advantage.} Bd6 14. Bxd6 Qxd6 15.
Rfd1 Qc7 (15... Qc5 {can be answered} 16. Rab1 {when the pawn on c3 is
untouchable} (16. Qb4 {is not bad either.}) 16... Qxc3 17. Rbc1 Qa5 18. Rxc8
Raxc8 19. Rxd7 $16) 16. Qb4 {[%csl Yb7,Rc8][%cal Gg2b7,Gb1b8] Black's main
problem is his bishop on c8. If it can come out and jump on c6, everything
will be fine. But since the white bishop dominates on the long diagonal and
the half-open b file is in White's hands this is not easy to achieve. That is
what Catalan is all about!} Nf6 (16... Nc5 17. Nd4 Bd7 18. Nb3 Nxb3 19. axb3
Bc6 20. Qc5 {is aline given by Giri where he believed he wins a pawn. If go a
bit deeper} Qb6 21. Qxb6 axb6 22. Rxa8 Rxa8 23. Bxc6 bxc6 24. Rd6 Rc8 25. f4 {
we see that the rook endgame is very unpleasant for Black. The active rook
makes the big difference. Still, from a hinsight this was probably Black's
best chance.}) 17. Nd4 {Opens the g2 monster and threatens Nd4-b5-d6.} a6 18.
Nb3 a5 $6 {An important moment. Adams lures teh queen on c5 in order to win a
tempo for the b7-b6 move and free the bishop. That appears a bit slow though.}
({Giri was afraid of the typical pawn sacrifice} 18... Nd5 $5 19. Bxd5 exd5 20.
Rxd5 Be6 21. Rc5 Qe7 (21... Qd7 $5) 22. Nd4 Bh3 {For the pawn Black has some
play on the light squares and a good bishop. Still, White should be better.})
19. Qc5 Qb8 ({Black loses a pawn in the endgame} 19... Qxc5 20. Nxc5 Rb8 21.
Rab1 b6 22. Rd6 b5 23. a4 b4 24. cxb4 axb4 25. Rd4 $18) 20. Rab1 {Mounts the
pressure along the b file. Mickey will have to sacrifice a pawn to free his
position sooner or later. However Anish missed some counterplay by his
opponent.} (20. Rd6 $5 {not to allow b7-b6 was also good, for example} Nd7 21.
Qa3 Ne5 22. Nd2 Qc7 23. Rb1 {and White dominates.}) 20... b6 21. Qd6 Nd5 $1 {
Or else Black is completely paralized} (21... Qxd6 22. Rxd6 Ra6 (22... Rb8 23.
Nxa5) 23. Nd4 e5 24. Nb5 $16) 22. Qxb8 Rxb8 23. Bxd5 exd5 24. Nxa5 {Captures
the more important pawn.} (24. Rxd5 Be6 25. Rd2 Rfc8 26. Rc1 b5 27. Nxa5 b4 28.
c4 Ra8 29. Nb3 Rxc4 30. Rxc4 Bxc4 {gives excellent drawing chances to Black.})
24... Bf5 $1 {Initially missed by White when he played Ra1-b1.} 25. Nc6 Bxb1
26. Nxb8 Bxa2 27. Nd7 Re8 28. Nxb6 Rxe2 {[%csl Ga2,Ge2] Diagram [#] Mickey can
be happy with his defense so far. He managed to trade a lot of pawns and
activate his pieces. Anish tries his best chance} 29. c4 $1 ({The rook endgame
after} 29. Nxd5 Bxd5 30. Rxd5 g6 {should be a draw with precise defense. The
most dangerous passer on the queenside in these situations is the b one.})
29... Kf8 30. Rxd5 $1 {Giri admitted at the press conference that the position
should be objectively a draw "Of course" and started producing devilish tricks.
} ({Black holds after} 30. cxd5 Ke7 (30... Rb2 31. d6 Ke8 32. d7+ Kd8 33. Rd6
Rc2 {followed by Ba2-e6 and Rc2-c7 is equal as well.}) 31. d6+ Kd8 32. Rc1 Be6
33. d7 (33. Ra1 Ba2 $1) 33... Bxd7 34. Rd1 Re7 $11) 30... Bb1 {The move in the
game intended to meet the natural} (30... Re6 {with the nice regrouping} 31.
Rb5 $1 Rc6 32. Nd5 {threatens back-rank mate.} Rc8 33. Rb4 g6 ({One more trcik
is seen after} 33... Bxc4 $2 34. Nb6) (33... Rxc4 34. Rb8+ Rc8 35. Rxc8#) 34.
Ne3 {the pawn is well defended and more importantly- the black bishop is out
of the game for very long time, if not for ever.}) 31. Rd8+ $1 {An important
in-between check. Anish did not want to allow the bishop a chance to seize the
long diagonal} (31. Kf1 Rb2 32. c5 Be4 {when Black will have plenty of
counterplay.}) 31... Ke7 32. Rd1 Bc2 $6 ({Now} 32... Be4 33. Kf1 Rb2 34. Nc8+ {
looks awkward for Black. In the arising time trouble Adams did not dare to go
for this line and this was probably a mistake. After} (34. Re1 Rxb6 35. Rxe4+
Kd6 {is very close to a draw}) 34... Kf6 35. Rc1 Ra2 36. c5 Bc6 {[%cal Gf6e6,
Ge6d5] Black should be able to hold.}) 33. Nc8+ {One more nasty in-between
check.} Kf6 ({White's idea is revealed in the line} 33... Ke8 34. Rd4 Re1+ 35.
Kg2 Be4+ $2 36. Rxe4+ Rxe4 37. Nd6+ $18) 34. Rd6+ Kg5 ({The central sqaure is
not advisible due to the tricky knight again} 34... Ke5 $2 35. Kf1 Re4 36. f4+
Kf5 37. Rd2 {with the dual threat of a knight fork and the bishop.}) 35. Kf1
Re8 36. Rd5+ (36. Nb6 $5) 36... Kf6 37. Nd6 Ra8 38. Ke2 {Giri made a lot of
progress. He centralized his pieces and the king and deprived the black pieces
from their best squares. It is somewhat unusual to see the bishop dominated by
the knight in such an empty board.} Ra1 {Diagram [#] A blunder in the time
trouble.} ({Both the king moves were preferable} 38... Ke6 39. Nb5 Ke7) ({Or}
38... Ke7 39. Ke3 {In either case though it is not certain if Black could
survive.}) 39. Ne8+ $1 {White wins a second pawn and the game.} Kg6 (39... Ke7
40. Nxg7) 40. Rd6+ f6 41. Rd7 Kh6 42. Nxg7 Ra2 43. Ke3 Ra5 ({Anish also
mentioned the last chance for Black} 43... Ra3+ 44. Kf4 Rc3 {but here too
White wins after} 45. Rc7 Bd3 46. Ne6 Rxc4+ (46... Bxc4 47. Nf8) 47. Rxc4 Bxc4
48. Kf5 $18) 44. Re7 Rc5 45. Kd4 Re5 46. Rxe5 fxe5+ 47. Kc3 {A fine win by
Giri who used the little details to turn the small advantage into a win!} 1-0

Kramnik and Giri share the lead after two rounds. Full report.

No comments: