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Round 4 Review
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
A very interesting game. In the Rubinstein Variation of the Nimzo-Indian Defense Alekseev employed a very conceptual novelty 15…Rxd5!, sacrificing an exchange for a pawn and queenside attack prospects. To Kasimdzhanov’s credit, he went for the most principled continuation, and had real chances to win the game.
I would like to note 23.c5! with the idea 23…Qxc5 24.e4 Be6 25.Rac1 with the strong initiative for White. 23…Nd5 is probably more accurate, but here White keeps the pressure by 24.Qf3! Be6 25.Ne4.
The critical moment occurred on the 31st move. Instead of the unsuccessful 31.f4? he should have played 31.c6! with the sharp game. After the mistakes in the game the Black’s knight gathered its harvest, and Black celebrated a victory.
Evgeny Alekseev: - Yesterday I lost, as you know, due to unsuccessful opening and today I wanted to play the new variant I haven’t applied before. While parsing the game I looked for the possibility of quality sacrifice. The position seems rather equal, in my opinion, but the grave time trouble fixed everything up. This position was easier for me to play in, as for the white – they committed a blunder.
Rustam Kasimzhanov: - Everything was as Evgeny says, as a matter of fact. The position was complicated, somewhat equal. It was difficult for the white to play further still. I must be not in my best shape though, as all my moves are ill at ease and require more time than usual.

Wang Yue-Eljanov
Image What a perfect technical work! Eljanov made only one slight mistake, and the Chinese grandmaster outplayed his opponent on fine nuances. Perhaps Eljanov had to be more ambitious after the opening. For instance, 22…c5! looked good. However, the Ukrainian didn’t feel the danger. By the fine 21.Na4! and 24.Bf5! Wang Yue weakened the opponent’s position and deprived him of any counterplay. However, up to the 41st move White’s advantage was minimal.
Giving up a pawn by 41…Bh4?! was clearly a mistake for Black. He should have suffered a little longer by 41…f6, for instance, trying to move his king to e6, after which the f6-pawn goes to f5. The resulting endgame with 4 pawns against 3 on the same flank was very unpleasant for Black. The White’s knight was extremely powerful. Wang Yue played in unhurried manner, and convincingly won the game.
Wang Yue: - I was lucky today once again. Frankly speaking I expected a draw in the endgame. Honestly, I cannot get why Pavel exchanged the rook in the ending. My game was not good all the way, but at the end my opponent gave me such a present and I won.


One can’t find a well in a desert – this is what this game reminds us about. The Petroff doesn’t seem to give White any edge – only against an unprepared opponent one can squeeze something out of this opening. However, Gashimov was prepared really well. Vugar made more than 20 moves without much thinking and convincingly equalized. Image
Vugar Gashimov: - I studied the position that aroused. Vladimir has played this variant with Dominguez, that’s why it was easier for me to find ways. As a matter of fact this position is equal. If you play it without knowing the variant, it is more difficult in this case. During pre-game analysis I found a succession of reasonable moves that make the white be more accurate.
Vladimir Akopian: - Yes, Vugar is right saying that I played the variant with Dominguez two years ago or so. There were included h3 and h6 moves however. Then already I found Qc2 but didn’t take any effort to parse it.

Image A dead end was reached in the opening.
Alexander apparently wanted to fight, but his opening choice was very unsuccessful. A well-known and fashionable variation of the Slav defense led to a position in which White had to take huge risks to continue playing for a win (20.Qh4!?). After a whole hour of thinking Grischuk did not dare going into wild complications. Inarkiev’s drawing streak continues.
Alexander Grischuk: - I can say that there was a frustration in my preparation. As a matter of fact I suspected Ernesto to make g5, but I expected my Rfc1 to puzzle him. I was wrong though, the idea turned out to be a failure and Ernesto was ready for this. Somehow in my preparation I would play the variant leading to the aggravation of position. That is why after several moves I had to repeat some of them not to take risk.
Ernesto Inarkiev: - For me this variant of Spanish game is a very sharp one and requires a comprehensive plan. The first game I applied it was the one with Volokitin and it didn’t work – I lost the game in the opening. Nevertheless I made use of it and don’t regret having applied it now.


An entertaining game with an instructive plot. In the Catalan Opening Ivan made a tricky novelty 13.a3, seized space and started central action by 20.e4!, seriously weakening the light squares in process. One could say he tried to eat more than he could swallow. Instead of 22.Bc3! and 23.Nd2, maintaining the center, Cheparinov jumped to attack. The reckless 24.Nh4?! gave Jakovenko a choice whether to punish the opponent in tough calculating struggle or play simpler, avoiding tactical skirmishes. Having chosen the latter, Dmitry made a practical mistake, which could even lead him to a defeat, while the principled 24…g5! would give Black a huge advantage, and even the resulting complications were not that complicated. Jakovenko’s choice gave confidence to Cheparinov – the Bulgarian seized the initiative again and proceeded to a better ending. However, Dmitry got himself together and made a clear-cut draw: 43…Nc2! and 46…Ne1+!
I think both players lost a lot of nervous cells and have reasons to be unhappy about the result.
Ivan Cheparinov: - The game turned out to be quite tense. At the 18th move I should have played the queen to c2 square.
Dmitry Jakovenko: - My opponent played a3 at the 13th move. The move could have puzzled any player who faced it. Not me, though, for I analyzed the novelty a few months ago. It seems to me that after 21… Qb7 the black should feel better. I think that Ivan’s discovery is an interesting idea. I was afraid to beat at a3, as there could be Qc1 – the further game doesn’t seem that simple.

Image This is the most exciting game of the round. In the well-known line of the Caro-Kann Bacrot made a risky pawn sacrifice (17.g4), initiating great complications where he was the one to perish. However, Leko missed a number of promising opportunities, for example, 21…Bg5 22.Bxg5 exd4!, or 23…Rg5! After 25.Bd2! White prepared the devastating final blow, which tired Peter failed to spot, allowing the opponent to conduct an old-fashioned attack staring with 31.Qh7+!! The diagram after this move deserves place in the Hall of Fame of French chess.
Etienne Bacrot: - We played Caro-Cann defense in today’s match. The game was severe and tight and I’m very lucky that I’ve won by exchange sacrifice on the last move.
Peter Leko: - Yes, it was a difficult game. I’ve chosen Caro-Cann defense though I knew it would lead us to play a sharp game. I spent a lot of time in the ending and it influenced the result a lot.


One of the main lines of the Pirc Defense led to a dull ending, and the game was drawn without any adventures by the move repetition. Image
Teimour Radjabov: - The tournament is long and I think that today a draw is a good result because I had severe games before. Our game with Bacrot lasted about eight hours. So as soon as the option to make a simple move (Be2), dispose figures and watch for the opponent’s reaction appeared I used it. As I am still gaining the lead a fast draw gives me an opportunity to have a rest.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: - I also had difficult games for two days at a run. Me and Teymour meet at a chess-board since we were fifteen and we draw all the times. Frankly speaking today I didn’t want to risk by playing black. I think that Teimour knew the variant I’ve chosen today. I used it in the game with S. Rublevsky in blitz championship in Kazakhstan. I won that match.







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