Publisher: Chessbase, 2010, Magazine
Let Hamburg grandmaster Karsten Müller set the mood for this issue of ChessBase Magazine. In his video introduction he homes in on two of the highlights of the DVD at once by showing you the decisive moments in the games Ponomariov-Kramnik (Dortmund) and Nakamura-Gelfand (Amsterdam). And Adams’ win in the British Championship with 3.Bb5 in the Sicilian also makes you wish for more. Or perhaps you may be interested in what ideas underlie Ponomariov’s unconventional reply to the Catalan?
In his video retrospective on the latest top tournaments GM Dorian Rogozenco first pays tribute to the performance of Vietnamese player Le Quang Liem at the Chess Meeting in Dortmund and explains the important moments in the latter’s victory over Ponomariov. From the "Young stars" tournament in Biel he presents the game Caruana-Van Wely and recommends the detailed analysis by the Italian on the DVD (see below). Rogozenco finishes with his analysis of the game Shirov-Wang Hao, with which the Spaniard started his series of victories in the Shanghai Masters.
"My tournament in Shanghai"
The high quality of the participants in the Shanghai Masters (Kramnik, Aronian, Shirov and the at present strongest Chinese player, Wang Hao) was made clear by the high proportion of extremely diverse games which it produced. This was helped by the unusually short thinking time. For example, the first 40 moves had to be completed in only 90 minutes. This led to a correspondingly high number of errors, which in no way spoiled the high entertainment value of the games. It was far and away Alexei Shirov who coped with it best. Immediately on his return from Shanghai, he recorded four videos for us giving a detailed personal account of the tournament.
Aronian - Shirov
Position after 22...Rh6
In his first video, before starting with his analysis of his game as Black against Aronian, Shirov has some critical comments to make about the quality of his own games. Nevertheless, the victory in Shanghai should in any case be reckoned one of the greatest successes of his whole career. He went into this game in the second round with the clear aim in mind of “just don’t lose”. In video analysis which lasts more than half an hour Shirov explains in great detail the opening phase and why he went in for the knight sacrifice 18...Ng4, which is known from a related variation to be dubious. It was his good fortune, in Shirov’s words, that Aronian was not at ease in the passive position; this resulted in the Armenian’s over-hasty and active play allowing his opponent to escape with a draw. Click on the link under the diagram to start Shirov’s video analysis.
Shirov - Wang Hao
After two draws as Black, Shirov found himself striving for his first full point as White in round three against Wang Hao. But, thanks to his surprising choice of opening, the Chinese player had his opponent out of the books after only six moves, which caused him to use up a lot of time. After Wang Hao had sacrificed a pawn for the initiative and after Shirov had missed on move 20 a liquidation to a clearly superior endgame, something happened which the future tournament winner had never yet experienced: when about to make the move he had calculated (fxg4) his hand brushed against the opposing bishop on d5. Suddenly the position was completely turned around – he was an exchange down and in addition his king lay unprotected in the centre of the board. But Wang Hao first missed a relatively simple winning move (27...Bxf5) and then – in the erroneous belief that he would get the better endgame – he declined a draw by repetition of moves. Shirov seized his chance and finished off by mating his bemused opponent in a theoretically drawn position!
Shirov - Kramnik
Position after 16.Ng5
Before his fourth round game against Kramnik, Shirov, was expecting that the ex world champion would play for a win with the black pieces in order to make up ground in the running for the qualification for Bilbao. So Shirov decided to confront his opponent with the Nimzo-Indian with 4.f3. But it was Shirov himself who, after 4...c5 5.d5 b5 6.e4 0-0, fell into deep thought because Kramnik had chosen a quite different – and according to Shirov a more ambitious – system than the one he had used against Anand in the WCh match of 2008. Shirov decided to gain even more space in the centre with 7.e5 and 8.f4. In the complicated position in the diagram he played 16.Ng5, a move, to which he awards a "!!" in his video analysis. As Shirov explains, after this move White – despite the evaluations of chess engines – is already clearly better. Shirov did miss a direct winning continuation on move 20, but at the end in time trouble Kramnik allowed a knight fork in what was a dubious position, and he lost.
Wang Hao - Shirov
After his two wins with White against Wang Hao and Kramnik, of course the door to victory in the tournament was wide open for Shirov. But he had not yet automatically secured the second place. And in fact things could again have become tight if the Chinese super-GM had exploited his chance for revenge. Thus, at the start of his analysis Shirov is full of praise for Wang Hao’s play. Because in the Slav Queen’s Gambit his opponent got good play with 6.Nh4 and worked up a strong attack in the middlegame. After 18 moves, Shirov’s conclusion is that his position was strategically totally lost. But, as in their first encounter, the Chinese player overlooked the best continuation, scorned several times in the ending to take a draw by perpetual check and was once more completely crushed at the end. Click on the video link under the picture and follow Shirov’s analysis which lasts for more than half an hour.
The “old boys” have only been able to win once in the last 5 years in this match between the generations in Amsterdam. That was last year, and in this year’s version of the tournament too, team "Experience" had ambitions of victory at the start. But despite positive scores by the top two players, Boris Gelfand and Peter Svidler, the settled generation had to accept defeat once more. The "Rising Stars" won 26:24 above all thanks to the performances of Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri. And the two young stars, who each completed their tournament with 6 out of 10, were involved in a play-off to earn a ticket to the next Amber Tournament. The duel of two blitz games went in favour of the US-American by 2:0.
Nielsen,P - Giri,A
Position before 23...axb5
For Anish Giri, despite his good performance, the Amsterdam Tournament nevertheless ended in bitter disappointment. Because in the very last rounds he gave away the qualification for Nice which he must have thought was in his pocket. Firstly he missed a totally winning position against van Wely. And he followed that up with another blunder against Peter Heine Nielsen, which cost him his only defeat in this tournament. In his analysis Giri ruefully looks back at several chances he missed, which would have enabled him to rescue both the game and also the tournament as far as he was concerned. In the Catalan Opening the Danish GM chose the same variation which Gelfand had already employed against Giri without any measurable success at the start of the tournament (8.a4 Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bg5), and Giri did not deviate prophylactically from the first game until move 14. In the position on the board the young player from the Netherlands let himself be tricked into re-capturing too soon. A bad lapse of concentration which let Nielsen liquidate on the spot to a won endgame with the tactical trick 25.Qxd7.
Van Wely,L - Giri,A
Position after 10...e4
Giri won one of his best games against his compatriot Loek van Wely, who went in the English Opening for a setup with the rare (and not really typical of his style) b3-Bb2. But then the experienced player sharpened up the game with the advance 9.g4. Giri responded in similar style and for his part provoked a tempting looking knight sacrifice by White (see the position on the board after 10...e4, which is followed by 11.Nxd5). In what followed the young star first beat off White’s attempts to attack and then went on to open up the play himself in order to capitalise on his extra piece. He was successful in this because after 34 moves van Wely laid down his arms in view of the inevitable material advantage for Black with no compensation for White.
Nakamura,H - Gelfand,B
Position after 33.h4
Since his victory in the FIDE World-Cup in December 2009, Boris Gelfand is apparently winning everything. And the “rising stars” in Amsterdam could not achieve anything against his ultra-solid style either. On the DVD he annotates his win over the at present strongest US-American player Hikaru Nakamura. Playing with the white pieces, the latter apparently had little desire to try out Gelfand’s Slav repertoire and in the opening he rapidly switched to the Panov Attack in the Caro-Kann Defence. However, he betrayed a lack of familiarity with this system and gave away, as pointed out by Gelfand, a tempo with 8.Bd3. Thus Gelfand found himself having to demonstrate an advantage and took the long-term initiative by means of the exchange sacrifice 12...Nxd4. The final and decisive mistake was made by Nakamura in the endgame, when in the position on the board he tried to force the draw with 33.h4. In fact, Gelfand simply took on h4 and stubbornly held on to the pawn.
Caruana,F - Van Wely,L
Position after 15.e5
The encounter Caruana-Van Wely saw a sharp game in the Sicilian Scheveningen System. The Dutch player chose an unusual setup with 12...Na5 and then 13...Bc6, and after Caruana’s innovation 14.Bd3 d5 15.e5 (diagram) van Wely poured oil on to the fire with 15...d4. As Caruana explains in his analysis, this decision was based on inaccurate calculation. One point: after 16.Bxd4 Qxd4 17.exf6 then 16...Bxf6 fails to 17.Qh5 with a threat of mate and an attack on the exposed knight on a5. On the other hand, the Italian self-critically admits that he too also did not respond to the challenges of the position accurately on several occasions. You really should not miss the to some extent bizarre tactical complications in Caruana’s analysis and the unusual perpetual check motif at the end of the game!
Young Grandmasters Biel
In last year’s version of the traditional Biel Tournament, it was "Oldie" Alexander Morozevich who was responsible for the turbulent moments. This year, only young players were admitted and in fact the course of the tournament developed, at least in some phases, into a sedate one. None of the four players at the top of the table actually lost a game. Of course that could hardly affect the tension, because the decision had to be taken in a blitz play-off between the Vietnamese Nguyen, Caruana and last year’s winner Vachier Lagrave. Despite being in several losing positions, the Italian kept his cool and first defeated the French player 2:1 and in the final against the surprisingly strong Nguyen he had luck on his side.
Vachier Lagrave,M - Caruana,F
Position before 33...Bxc5
On the DVD Fabiano Caruana comments on his first round game against Maxime Vachier Lagrave. The French player decided on the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation and Caruana took advantage of this to test out for his first time the variation with 5...Qd6. In his analysis the tournament winner explains how he reached equality without any problems after the less than optimal move 8.Rd1, and how instead of that move White should have forced matters with good chances. In view of his opponent’s heavy use of time, Caruana several times neglected safe drawing liquidations and went ahead with the complications following the double-edged advance of his h-pawn. This plan came within a hair’s breadth of being successful, but in the position on the board on the left Caruana decided on 33...Bxc5, instead of immediately closing the bag on his opponent with 33...Qh7. With a further inaccuracy on his next move, he opened up for his opponent a final defensive resource, which Vachier Lagrave was able to exploit in spite of extreme time trouble.
A perfect start:
Chess Meeting Dortmund
Seldom has the Dortmund Tournament seen so much struggle, tension and high-class games as it did this year. Thanks go to Sofia, because on account of the rule named after that city early agreed draws between the players were for the first time forbidden. And the greatest upheaval and surprise was brought to the Dortmund super-tournament by two newcomers. The Vietnamese player Le Quang Liem with his solid and imaginative play ended up occupying the second place on +1. Well ahead was Ruslan Ponomariov, who with his victories with White over Leko and Kramnik set out the markers right at the start.
Ponomariov,R - Kramnik,V
Position after 18...Rc8
There can be no question but that a key game in the tournament was Ponomariov’s win against the top favourite, Vladimir Kramnik. The Ukrainian decided to confront his opponent with the latter’s own favourite weapon, the Catalan Opening. A tried and trusted method which did not fail on this occasion. Decided on the as yet rarely played and dubious move 10...Qc8 and already had to sink into deep thought after the natural 11.Nc3. Ponomariov has examined this game in detail on the DVD and, e.g., expresses his doubts about Black’s treatment of the opening. With the help of a bishop sacrifice on d5 the Ukrainian set about the black position and in the position on the board on the left he took advantage of the erroneous 18...Rc8. After 19.e6 the floodgates are opened and Black can no longer fend off the loss of material. After this defeat Kramnik was no longer really in the tournament. After a victory and a defeat against Naiditsch he nevertheless fought back to 50% with a final round win over Mamedyarov.
Le Quang,L - Ponomariov,R
Position before 19.Nxg6
After his successful start, an upbeat Ponomariov also threw heart and soul into his fourth round game against Le Quang Liem and challenged his opponent with a Grünfeld Defence. Le Quang Liem showed himself to be well prepared and chose in one of the main variations the rarely played move 11.Rb1 – a move which Ponomariov himself had tried out a few months previously in a rapid chess game against Carlsen. The Ukrainian replied, following his home analysis, with the pawn sacrifice 11...b6 and managed to set up what at first sight looked like a solid position with good play for his pieces. But after a moment’s inattention and the over-optimistic 18...h5 Ponomariov was caught on the hop by the penetration of the knight on g6 (see diagram). The future winner of the tournament has also annotated this game on the DVD and, for example, explains his emotions during this up-and-down game.
Le Quang Liem’s second place, which confirmed the justice of his ticket for Dortmund earned in February by his sole first place in the Aeroflot-Open, was hardly any less surprising. On his first appearance in a super-tournament the just 19 year old Vietnamese created a very solid impression. Despite the joy at his success he also criticises his own play in the analysis of his games against Naiditsch and against Kramnik. Things might even have been better for him.
Le Quang,L - Naiditsch,A
Position after 17...e5
In round two Le Quang Liem’s preparation was right on the button. And in addition, Naiditsch did not find the correct defensive idea in the sharp Ragozin Defence to the Queen’s Gambit – although the position after 15.Qf3 should not actually really have been fresh territory for the German player. The game could have been decided two moves earlier. But, as Le Quang Liem admits in his analysis, he mixed up the move order from his preparation and in the position on the board played without checking the wrong 18.Rc4. After 18.Qf6 exd4 19.cxd4 Nd7 the move Qh6 would have been deadly. Because then the threat was Rc1, and Kb8 would have failed to 20.Qxa6. But like that the advantage enjoyed by the Vietnamese player disappeared move by move and Naiditsch was able to consolidate his position. After 35 moves the draw was sealed by perpetual check.
Le Quang,L - Kramnik,V
Position after 23...a5
In his game as White against Kramnik the participants first followed a blindfold game between Dominguez and Carlsen from March 2010. Here too, Le Quang Liem had prepared something. However, the innovation 17.Rac1 did not turn out to be quite so decisive, but that may of course have had something to do with his opponent. The critical moment in the game was reached in the position on the board on the left. There Le Quang Liem set about trapping the black queen with 24.Rd3. Successfully so, because only a few moves later Kramnik had to give it up for a rook and a knight. And yet that was a bad decision, according to the conclusion from Le Quang Liem’s analysis. Because, on account of the exchange of all the queenside pawns, White’s material advantage turns out to be meaningless in view of the construction of a black fortress on the kingside. In his analysis the Vietnamese shows how he could, instead of that, have maintained the pressure on the black position constantly.
column Move by Move
Position after 13...Ne5
Which of the moves 14.Nxe5, 14.Bxe5, 14.Nd2 or 14.a5 will be the correct one?
From the opening trap to the endgame study
Training in ChessBase Magazine starts with the very first moves and includes all the phases of a game of chess. The 12 up-to-date openings articles with their numerous ideas and suggestions for your repertoire can be found above among the links. The subtle opening trap kicks in on move 9; click here, to reach the column by Rainer Knaak (including its Fritztrainer video). You will also find in video format the openings articles by Igor Stohl (Catalan following the game Ponomariov-Kramnik), Valeri Lilov (Alekhine Defence) and Leonid Kritz (French Steinitz Variation). You will find these videos and other recordings in Chess Media format in the column Fritztrainer. Peter Wells’ subject in his Strategy column is called: "Pawn races in the Open Sicilian - Part 2". In Daniel King’s long-running Move by Move it is a game in the Benoni which is up for discussion (see diagram). And in the Tactics and Endgames columns Oliver Reeh and Karsten Müller have once again selected for you the best from current tournament praxis.
Anic: Old Indian Defence A55
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Qc2 a6 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.Bg5 Re8 11.Rac1 Qb8
The author gives an insight into an opening which has perhaps unjustly had a not very flattering reputation, but which is well-suited for a counter-attack based on a solid position. Until now 11...Qb8 has rarely been played, but GM Anic’s analysis is encouraging.
Knaak: Nimzowitsch Defence B00
1.e4 Nc6 3.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.d5 Nb8
Till now 3.Nc3 has been considered as the main move to give White an advantage. But according to Rainer Knaak’s investigations Black can expect to achieve safe equality with 3...dxe4 4.d5 Nb8. Therefore, both 3.e5 and 3.exd5 should be preferred to 3.Nc3.
Kritz: Caro-Kann B12
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3
In the opinion of Leonid Kritz, nowadays only 3.e5 gives White any prospects of achieving a slight advantage against the Caro-Kann. In that variation, the line examined here is of particular importance. The author shows that neither 6...Qb6 nor 6...cxd4 equalises fully.
Grivas: Sicilian B33
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 5.Nb3 Nf6 6.Nc3 e6 7.Be3 Qc7
In the fourth part of his examination of the Grivas-Sicilian 4...Qb6 our Greek author turns above all to the Dionysos Variation, which starts from the diagram with 8.f4. After 8...Bb4 9.Bd3 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 d6 11.0-0 e5 Black has a satisfactory game.
Karolyi: Sicilian B92
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Kh1 Nc6
White’s king move is in itself a subtle one, since the standard move 9...b5 is not so good on account of 10.a4. But 9...Nc6 has proved its worth and Black need fear neither 10.f3 nor 10.f4, and certainly not any moves with anything other than the f-pawn.
Ftacnik: Sicilian B96
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Nc6
The article comes to two conclusions: 8.e5 h6 9.Bh4 is no longer attractive for White, because 9...dxe5 goes into an ending which has seen good results for Black. But after 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.e5 h6 10.Bh4 g5 11.fxg5 Nd5 it can also come down to an ending, but this time one which is favourable to White.
Bojkov: Ruy Lopez C92
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Rb8 10.d4 exd4 11.cxd4 d5
There is no doubt that the surprising 9...Rb8 and 11...d5 set White some problems. But if the latter knows what he is doing, then Black’s setup should be somewhat dubious. In any case, that is what has been proved by recent correspondence games.
Stohl: Ruy Lopez C92
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Re8 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.a4
The Zaitsev Variation which Igor Stohl has examined is clearly different from many versions of the Closed Ruy Lopez, because in it the position is often opened rapidly. In the critical long main variation Black seems to be able to do quite well.
Postny: Slav Defence D18
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Nh4 e6 7.Nxf5 exf5 8.e3 Bb4 9.Bxc4 0-0 10.0-0 Nbd7
This article is first of all about the variation 6.Nh4 e6, which hardly leaves White with any choices on the route to the position in the diagram. But it can also be reached via 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Nh4 Nbd7 10.Nxf5 exf5. Postny has a lot of interesting conclusions for you to study.
Kuzmin: Catalan E01
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bd6 6.Bg2
In the Catalan the black bishop usually moves to e7 – no matter whether it first delivers a check on b4 or whether it goes there directly. But why not to d6? Alexey Kuzmin presents the latest state of affairs in this still quite new setup.
Krasenkow: Queen's Indian Defence E12
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Qc2 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Be7 9.e4 0-0 10.Bd3 c5 11.0-0
In the last part of his article on the Petrosian System Michal Krasenkow analyses the position in the diagram which is the one the top players most often reach. Even if an advantage for White cannot be proved on all fronts, the positions which are reached are interesting and well suited to playing for the full point.
Schipkov: King's Indian Defence E81
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3
There is no doubt that 6...c5 has turned into the greatest test of the Sämisch System. Nowadays it is thought that declining the pawn sacrifice gives better chances of achieving an opening advantage and Boris Schipkov shows you how to go about that.