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Round 8 Review
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Grischuk-Wang Yue
The leader won today’s game with surprising ease. Wang Yue handled a fashionable line of the Slav Defense very creatively, got a slightly inferior position, in which he failed to find a sensible plan and lost without resistance. Seemingly natural moves 18…Qe7 and 19…Rad8 eventually led Black to a disaster. I think the Chinese grandmaster should have played 18…Bf8! and then seek counterplay on the queenside, while routine centralization gave White a solid advantage. Grischuk converted his advantage just perfectly.
This was a very complicated game with both grandmasters playing at the very high level. The outcome of the game was determined by strategic flaws of the variation selected by Black. It could be just a matter of taste, but I don’t like trading the strong centralized knight by 16…Nxd2+. The immediate 16…0-0 must be tested.
Another important moment occurred on the 19th move. Of course, 19…cxd5 is very solid, but after this move it is very difficult for Black to find any counterplay. Perhaps Vladimir was still optimistic about his position at that point, but then it turned out that White has a clear plan of arranging the kingside attack, while Black, despite his centralization, cannot create his own play.
Probably Akopian’s с6-с5 break came a bit late. Perhaps he could carry it out on the 22nd move, when 22…c5!? 23.Rg5 f4! led to interesting and mutually dangerous complications. The outcome of the game became quite clear when White got all the key squares under control: 26.e4!, 28.Nc3!, and 31.Ne4!
Rustam KASIMZHANOV: - Today I managed at last to find some combat, my opponent playing black moreover chose a rather aggressive pattern. After g4 the Black could of course had many ways to continue the fight. The pattern chosen by my opponent is considered one of the most complicated and dynamic, because the Black have the hand over the central e4 but at he same time problems with the king. I applied a novelty – Qb3. I parsed the variant before the game but study the details. The crucial point was when the Black began to break the diagonals for their bishops.
Vladimir AKOPIAN: - My position became unfavourable after c5. The breaking of the diagonals followed, there turned up many threats from the White and the Black had many difficulties with the defence.

An opening disaster for Alekseev! The Russian went for the line, in which Black suffered a few bitter defeats, and failed to show an improvement. 22…Bf8 looks very passive to me. The daring 22…d5! was the most principled.
And yet, Black could still resist. For instance, instead of 24…Nxe5 he had an option of 24…dxe5! followed by 25.c4 c5!
The last chance to hold the attack was 26…Ned7!, although after 27.e5! Black ends up in an inferior ending.
The concluding queen sacrifice 33.Qxf7+! became a nice addition to the tournament gallery.

This game confirmed the sad truth that the opening theory nowadays extends to the endgame, and in some of the endgames Black has to work patiently to earn a draw. White made a sensible novelty in the Sveshnikov Sicilian – 15.a4, and it seems the events that followed were foreseen during the home preparation by both players. Eljanov ended up in an unpleasant endgame and defended it perfectly.
Etienne BACROT: - I didn’t expect Chelyabinsk variant of the Cicillian defence. At the end there was a draw after b5, though there were some other variants. I am satisfied with the result.
Pavel ELJANOV: - Chelyabinsk variant was played in the game. In Dresden this variant was played in Grischuk-Ilyeskas game that ended in a draw as well. When we passed into the end-game, it turned out to be senseless to fight for victory with different-coloured bishops. Both sides had some chance to win though. The opponent could use light-coloured squares, move the king – in this case it would be difficult for the Black to play. In the ending I made a good exchange of the pawn and began to play more actively. I don’t think the White could win in that position.

White made a new move in the Nimzo-Indian defense (11.bxc3) and got the initiative for the sacrificed pawn, but Black returned the material at the right time (16…d5!) and completely dried up the game.
Teimour RADJABOV: - Vugar and I played this variant twice already and I consider the position of the Black as not very good in both games. In this match I was going to start a great struggle and I wouldn’t call the applied variant non-playable because the White play very dynamically due to the opponent’s twin pawns. I played to seize the initiative but the Black managed to balance the position.
Vugar GASHIMOV: - We have played this opening in one of the tournaments last year. Then my position was worse, still I managed to draw the game. This time I enhanced the Black by Qa5. I seem to have leveled the game by so doing, and the draw is quite natural.

The Azerbaijani grandmaster cannot get away from the drawing swamp. He plays combative chess, takes risks, creates real scoring chances, but his games inevitably end in a draw. There is something fatal about it.
In this game Mamedyarov held the initiative from start to finish, but Inarkiev defended accurately and counterattacked at the right time.
Many interesting options were left aside. Take a look at 33.e4!?, planning to meet 33…gxf3 by 34.e5!, and to meet 33…dxe4 by 34.fxg4! e3 35.h3, where Black’s insecure king and pawn weakness can eventually tell.
In the game Shakhriyar made the mentioned break a bit later, but Ernesto found a good defense (41…Bh3!) and forced White to make a draw.
Shakhriyar MAMEDYAROV: - I think that Ernesto was inaccurate in the opening and gave me the chance to get a slender advantage. From my point of view I had afterwards a considerable overweight in position. But unfortunately I couldn’t realize it.
Ernesto INARKIEV: - I don’t think my opponent had a solid advantage in that game. Of course the Black had some advantage especially when the Knight moved to d4 square against the Bishop. Both sides had to play precisely because there was the possibility of a successful attack in case of a forced Queens exchange. After the control we had an equal game, the White even had to move precisely.

A very unlucky game for the Hungarian grandmaster. He obtained a winning position effortlessly, using only his home analysis, but then failed to convert the overwhelming advantage.
In the Ruy Lopez, White made an interesting novelty 11.a4. Jakovenko reacted to it quite well, however, he made a mistake on the 19th move. Black could solve his problems by 19…Qf6!, planning to meet 20.Nxb5 by 20…Nf4!, while on 20.Bxd5 Bxd5 21.Nxb5 there is 21…Bxg2!, regaining a pawn. After the text-move 19…Bc6? White played 20.Re5!, and it turned out that he wins a pawn and keeps the initiative.
Leko was confidently moving towards the victory, but made a mistake on the 35th move, capturing the f7-pawn, while after 35.b5! Black had no chances to survive. Probably Peter underestimated the fine 37…Qc6!, which created real threats to the White’s king. Then the Hungarian made another mistake – 38.Rf4?, while he could still win by 38.Qf4! Qg6+ 39.Kf3 Qxd3+ 40.Qe3, and Black runs out of checks. After the text-move Jakovenko found the perpetual.
Peter LEKO: - In this game I had an obvious advantage, two spare pawns, but was not able to win. It’s difficult for me to discuss it.
Dmitry JAKOVENKO: - Of course I was very lucky today I could save nearly lost game. In the opening after I found the right variant with Rf5 and Bd6 moves, I thought I was doing well. I even rejoiced a little and gave a yawn and exposed myself. Of course the Bc6 move is awful and I didn’t manage to hold the position therefore. Having calculated the far-going variant I didn’t take into account a single strong move of the White. After that having lost some of the material I struggled hard without two pawns and then grasped the emerged chance to save the game.







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