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Round 9 Review
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
An excellent victory of the Russian grandmaster! The players debated in the Najdorf Sicilian, and Jakovenko’s approach to the opening problems proved sounder. Note his choice of 15.exd5! instead of the more natural 15.Rxd5 – Dmitry correctly assessed that White gets great attacking prospects after the former move.
I found two improvements for Rustam. First of all, he should have blocked White’s dangerous pawn by 19…Nf6! 20.Qf3 Nh5. Secondly, instead of 23…Rfe8 he should have neutralized the dangerous d3-bishop by 23…Nc5!
After these chances were missed, Jakovenko’s attack developed smoothly, and Dmitry won a nice game.
In this game we saw another unsuccessful attempt to refute the Marshall Attack. Everything went on as usual – both sides played well-known moves, the game was simplified, the queens were exchanged, and Black’s bishop pair compensated White’s extra pawn in the endgame.

It became the first Grand Prix game between players from Azerbaijan that ended decisively. Gashimov deserved this victory. In the Rauzer Sicilian, he demonstrated a classical way of applying the pressure to Black’s pawn weaknesses. However, on the 23rd move he missed the strongest continuation 23.g4!, playing 23.g3, which gave Black a real chance – 23…Bc6! The point is that 24.Nd3 is well met by 24…Qxf5!, and on 24.g4 Black has 24…exf5 25.gxf5 Qxf5!
However, Mamedyarov replied by 23…Qc5, and Gashimov grabbed his chance: 24.g4! The structure was fixed, and White started to work on the opponent’s pawn weaknesses. The game was over after the neat knight maneuver 30.Nd3! and 31.Nf4!, which trapped the Black’s queen.

The grandmasters produced a very exciting King’s Indian duel that was full of interesting strategic concepts. In my opinion, Eljanov went too far in trying to play as solid as possible. On several occasions he could benefit from faster play.
Radjabov showed a good novelty – 12…c6. I think White should have met it by 14.h5!, which led to interesting complications. However, Pavel continued building barricades. He decided to meet the spectacular 14…b5! by the calm 15.b3, showing that he is ready to suffer and rejecting the more tempting continuation 15.Nb4.
White’s excessively modest approach could lead him to an even faster defeat, if Teimour sacrificed a piece on the 20th move. After 20…fxe4 21.fxe4 Nfxd5! 22.exd5 Nxd5 23.Kh2 Qc6! Black could get a powerful attack.
On the 22nd move White missed another chance to seize the initiative by 22.h5! Soon after that Radjabov placed his own pawn on h5 – 24…h5!, and took the upper hand. 30…Bxd5 was a strong blow that helped Black to develop an irresistible attack.

A dry and dull draw. Clearly, Evgeny consciously decided to take a break to recover after tough losses. This became clear after the super-solid 4.e3, and especially after 8.dxc5. Well, the tournament goes on, and there will be other chances to move up in the standings.

Wang Yue-Cheparinov
The Bulgarian grandmaster played this game in all-or-nothing style, and his defeat is logical. Chess laws do not permit Black playing so recklessly – sometimes you have to be cautious and reject tempting attacking continuations, too.
It seems Black’s opening idea linked with sacrificing the h6-pawn is unsound. White made timely regrouping and a constructed solid defensive line. Perhaps instead of the hasty 19…Nfg4 Cheparinov should have prepared his attack by 19…Rg8!, but this is just a minor improvement that does not shake the overall assessment.
Wang Yue defended and counterattacked excellently. His moves 23.f4!, 30.Nd3!, 34.Ng3! were confirmed during the computer analysis.

In this game the players followed a known theory recommendation in the Sicilian. Grischuk improved his game against Karjakin (Sochi 2007) by 21…Nxf3+!, which led to an approximately equal ending. White’s extra exchange did not play any role, because opening the files for the rook was impossible. Black completely blocked the position by 22…h5 and 25…h4!, and the game soon ended in a draw due to the move repetition.







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