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Round 11 Review
Friday, 26 December 2008
 grischuk_cheparinov.jpg This was a very exciting game, in which both grandmasters had reasons to play for a win at different stages of the game. In my opinion, Grischuk won the principled theoretical duel at the Anti-Moscow Gambit of the Slav Defense. His reaction to Cheparinov’s novelty (13…h5!) was excellent, as Alexander correctly rejected the tempting idea to bring the king to the queenside. The refined 16.g3! created a threat of Bh3 and 0-0. Black’s response 16…Bb4 turned out a virtuoso psychological trap. Alexander even did not consider casting long in most variations, which prevented him from making the best move 17.Bh3! with great advantage. The point is that after 17…c5 White’s best move is 18.0-0-0!
Unsuccessful moves 17.a3 and 17.Bg2 gave Black the initiative, and Cheparinov did not hesitate starting the counterattack. From 18…e5! until the move 45 the Bulgarian applied the pressure, and for a few times could obtain a decisive advantage. For example, he missed 42…Kg5! 
An unforced error 45…Kf6? (made due to obvious tiredness) turned the tables again. Grischuk got the advantage, but it was insufficient for a win. The conclusion of the game was logical – a draw was agreed.


In this game the Russian again managed to survive, which is somewhat surprising, judging by the course of the game.
There was a competent theoretical dispute in the Caro-Kann. Gashimov sacrificed a knight by 17.Nxh6+! and developed a strong attack. Jakovenko’s quick play suggests that he studied it at home as well. The most exciting lines begin with 21…Bxf2!? 22.g6!, but Dmitry decided to avoid it. By 21…Qa6 he transposed to a difficult ending, and barely held it.
Generally, bearing in mind the complexity of the position, both players handled it excellently. However, the close look reveals a few flaws.
24…f6 was a bit too optimistic, although its refutation 33.Ne5! (instead of Vugar’s 33.g6) 33…Nd7 34.Rf5+ Kh6 35.Ng4+!! Kxg6 36.Rd5! is impossible to find for a human being.
Dmitry’s 35…Ne7 is clearly inferior. The correct 35…Bd6! 36.Rc6 Bb8 allows Black to equalize easily, while after the text-move he had to suffer a lot.
To be honest, I still can’t believe that White is unable to win the ending arising after 38…Bxf2. His trio of the passed pawns looks very strong. It’s only my senses; I cannot prove it analytically, but... I firmly believe it.

Rustam finished joking around with the Sicilian, played his beloved Ruy Lopez, and it worked out splendidly!
Unhurried struggle was shaken by the queenside conflict, during which Ernesto made a mistake. Instead of 22.Qe3 he had a much stronger move – 22.Qe2!, starting to fight for the c4-square. After the poor text-move Black developed strong pressure on both wings.
As the players approached the time trouble, Inarkiev initiated sharp counterplay by 39.Ng4, but Kasimdzhanov skillfully avoided all the traps and maintained an advantage.
White’s titanic resistance resulted in equality around the 60th move, but then the Russian made another mistake: 63.Qe3?, allowing the simple 63…Nxg3! Black won a pawn and converted it in a textbook manner.

The Ukrainian grandmaster missed a win. He conducted the first part of the game with great skill, pointing out the weakness of Black’s central pawns by 28.Ne1! White’s advantage in the endgame was decisive, but Eljanov’s technique was far from perfect. For instance, White could create the decisive threats to the enemy king by 39.h4! Later in the game he didn’t have such obvious chances. Leko defended calmly, and deserved this gift of fortune.


The Azerbaijani grandmaster possessed the initiative during the whole game. The evaluation changed from “almost equal” to “Black has a clear edge”, but the critical moment occurred on the 35th move. After the precise 35…Qf6! White would be in great trouble, as parrying Black’s attack is almost impossible. However, Shakhriyar made a mistake, after which he only could force a draw by perpetual.

Wang Yue-Radjabov

Commenting the games of the Chinese grandmaster is very easy. He almost always plays exceptionally consistently and correctly, and never makes obvious mistakes. The strongest player of Azerbaijan played in a similar style. It resulted in a high-quality but unimpressive game. Black successfully defended a slightly inferior but very solid position after the opening.


  In the Rossolimo Sicilian White did not manage to restrict the opponent’s bishop pair, and was forced to defend. The game logically transposed to an endgame with an extra pawn for Black, but the opposite-colored bishops were the most important factor. The drawing tendencies of the position were too strong. Bacrot tried his best, but there wasn’t a whole lot he could do.








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