Mon, 2014-03-31 20:37 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "FIDE Candidates 2014"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2014.03.13"]
[Round "1.3"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C88"]
[WhiteElo "2770"]
[BlackElo "2830"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2014.03.13"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{You probably already know that Viswanathan Anand won the FIDE Candidates with
a round to spare, thereby qualifying to rematch Magnus Carlsen for the World
Championship later this year. Let's go into the actual games and see how he
did it. Anand took the lead from the very beginning, as in the first round he
was the only player to defeat Levon Aronian. I have some private analyses of
this game that I'm saving up for another project, so I will just present the
game without comments.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6.
Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3 Bb7 9. d3 d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nbd2 Qd7 12. Nxe5 Nxe5
13. Rxe5 Nf6 14. Re1 Rae8 15. Nf3 Bd6 16. Be3 Re7 17. d4 Rfe8 18. c3 h6 19. Ne5
Bxe5 20. dxe5 Rxe5 21. Qxd7 Nxd7 22. Red1 Nf6 23. c4 c6 24. Rac1 R5e7 25. a4
bxc4 26. Bxc4 Nd5 27. Bc5 Re4 28. f3 R4e5 29. Kf2 Bc8 30. Bf1 R5e6 31. Rd3 Nf4
32. Rb3 Rd8 33. Be3 Nd5 34. Bd2 Nf6 35. Ba5 Rde8 36. Rb6 Re5 37. Bc3 Nd5 38.
Bxe5 Nxb6 39. Bd4 Nxa4 40. Rxc6 Rd8 41. Rc4 Bd7 42. b3 Bb5 43. Rb4 Nb2 44. Bxb5
axb5 45. Ke3 Re8+ 46. Kd2 Rd8 47. Kc3 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "FIDE Candidates 2014"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2014.03.14"]
[Round "2.4"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D20"]
[WhiteElo "2787"]
[BlackElo "2766"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[EventDate "2014.03.13"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{One notable feature of the tournament is that Anand was consistent for the
entire event and didn't lose any games, while his rivals all collapsed at some
point in the event. For instance, the eventual runner-up, Sergey Karjakin, was
at the tail end of the field after the first half - though it should be said
that Kramnik's win against him was quite sparkling.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 {The
QGA is one of those openings that everyone assumes is bad because it's not
trendy, but it is incredibly solid.} 3. e4 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. Bxc4 Nb6 6. Bd3 Nc6
7. Be3 Nb4 8. Be4 f5 9. a3 {This is a very interesting idea, preserving
White's solid centre.} fxe4 (9... N4d5 10. Bxd5 Nxd5 11. Ne2 Nxe3 12. fxe3 g6
13. O-O Bh6 {is a very unclear position, which I find difficult to assess.
Certainly Kramnik's preparation would have gone way past this point.}) 10. axb4
e6 11. Nc3 (11. Qh5+ g6 12. Qg4 Bxb4+ 13. Nc3 {transposes to the game.}) 11...
Bxb4 12. Qh5+ g6 13. Qg4 {It is very hard for Black to challenge White's
centre and he struggles to get his pieces into the game.} Bxc3+ {This move is
much easier to criticse than improve upon.} (13... Nc4 14. Nge2 Nxe3 15. fxe3
O-O 16. h4 c5 17. h5 cxd4 18. hxg6 dxc3 19. bxc3 Bxc3+ 20. Nxc3 Qd3 21. Nd1 {
gives White a very strong, probably winning attack - Black has no development.}
) 14. bxc3 Qd5 15. Ne2 Bd7 {I think Black was counting on his light-squared
bind to hold out, but White's initiative on the dark squares and safer king is
too much.} 16. O-O Qc4 17. Ng3 Bc6 18. Ra5 {A very accurate move to chase
Black's queen out of c4 with Rc5, though} (18. Bh6 {preventing ...0-0 would
also favour White (but not by as much).}) 18... O-O-O 19. Rc5 (19. Rxa7 Na4 20.
Ra8+ Kd7 21. Rxd8+ Rxd8 {regains White's material but gives up the initiative
and leaves Black's king far safer than in the game.}) 19... Qb3 (19... Qa2 {
might technically be a better square for the queen, but} 20. c4 Rhe8 21. d5 h5
22. Qxg6 exd5 23. Bg5 {still looks very strong.}) 20. c4 (20. Rxc6 bxc6 21.
Nxe4 h5 22. Qe2 Qc4 23. Qc2 {was a very promising alternative, as Black's king
is extremely weak and White has positional domination.}) 20... Kb8 (20... Rhe8
21. d5 Nxc4 22. Rxc4 Bb5 23. Rcc1 Bxf1 {seems fine for Black, until you spot}
24. Nxe4 Bb5 25. Nd6+ Rxd6 26. exd6 Qxd5 27. Rxc7+ Kb8 28. Rc5 Qd3 29. h4 {and
despite being a pawn down, White is better because of his safer king and more
active pieces.}) 21. Qxe6 Rde8 22. Qh3 {This is a slip that could have let
Black right into the game.} (22. Qg4 Nxc4 23. Qe2 Nxe3 24. fxe3 {and White's
initiative and powerful centre outweigh Black's extra pawn, which is not felt
in such a sharp position. Also the black bishop is very passive.}) (22. Qf7
Rhf8 23. Qxh7 Nxc4 {seems too messy to be good for White, who has completely
lost control.}) 22... Nxc4 23. Rxc6 bxc6 {Probably the decisive mistake.} (
23... Nxe3 24. Nxe4 Qd5 25. Rc5 Qxe4 26. Qxe3 Qxe3 27. fxe3 Rhf8 {is a
balanced endgame - White's central pawns look imposing but can be blockaded,
while the Black outside passed pawns are quite dangerous as White's king is a
long way from them.}) 24. Nxe4 Nb6 25. Nc5 Qd5 (25... Qb5 {is a better defence,
but still after} 26. Rc1 {Black's position is at the very least impossible to
defend in practice.}) 26. Rc1 (26. Ra1 {was apparently even faster, with the
simple intention of moving the bishop and playing Qa3.}) 26... Ka8 27. Na6 Kb7
28. Nb4 Qf7 29. Qg4 (29. Bh6 {preventing ...Rhf8 and preparing Qa3/Qc3 was the
simplest.}) 29... Nd5 30. Nxc6 Re6 31. Na5+ Ka8 (31... Kb8 32. Qe4 Rb6 {was in
turn a more tenacious defence.}) 32. Qe4 Rb6 33. g4 {A curious way of making
luft for the king, but Black can't exploit it.} h5 34. Rc5 Rd8 35. Nc6 Rxc6 36.
Rxc6 hxg4 37. Rf6 Qh7 38. Bg5 Qg8 39. Rxg6 1-0[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "FIDE Candidates 2014"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2014.03.15"]
[Round "3.4"]
[White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D11"]
[WhiteElo "2757"]
[BlackElo "2770"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2014.03.13"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{It's hard to pick what Anand's best game in the tournament was, as all three
of his wins were special in different ways. For instance, his win against
Mamedyarov reestablished him in the lead. In these sorts of tournaments, a
good start is especially valuable, as often you can ease through the finish
with draws then.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qc2 dxc4 5. Qxc4 Bg4 6. Nbd2
(6. Nc3 Nbd7 7. e4 Bxf3 8. gxf3 e5 9. Be3 exd4 10. Bxd4 Bd6 11. O-O-O Qe7 {is
considered dynamically equal, so Mamedyarov tries the quieter approach.}) 6...
Nbd7 7. g3 e6 8. Bg2 Be7 9. Ne5 (9. O-O O-O 10. Ne5 Bh5 11. Nxd7 Nxd7 {is the
game.}) 9... Bh5 10. Nxd7 Nxd7 11. O-O O-O {It's hard to believe that White
has anything in this position.} 12. Nb3 a5 13. a4 Bb4 14. e4 e5 {After this
nice move, hitting back in the centre, Black can already press for something.}
15. Be3 exd4 16. Bxd4 Kh8 {A very precise move, freeing the f-pawn to move and
encouraging White to overextend as he did in the game.} 17. e5 (17. f4 f6 18.
Qc2 Qe7 {would instead be about equal.}) (17. Rfc1 f6 18. Nc5 {is another try
to simplify, but Black doesn't have to play ball and} Nb6 19. Qd3 Qe7 20. Ne6
Qxe6 21. Bxb6 Rae8 {would keep some tension in the position.}) 17... Re8 18. f4
f6 19. exf6 Nxf6 {The opening of the position greatly favours Black - White's
king is suddenly quite weak and Black's bishops stop the White rooks from
occupying the open d- and e-files. This is easy to see now, but anticipating
it on move 16 was very neat.} 20. Bf3 Bxf3 21. Rxf3 Re4 (21... c5 {is
apparently good too, with the idea of} 22. Bxc5 (22. Nxc5 Rc8) 22... Rc8 23.
Qb5 Bxc5+ 24. Nxc5 Qd4+ {. But I prefer Anand's move as it doesn't trap the
bishop in on b4.}) 22. Re3 (22. Qd3 {was a better defence, but Black keeps
pressure with} Re6 23. Nc5 Re8 {.}) 22... Rxe3 23. Bxe3 Qe8 24. Bb6 (24. Bd4
Rd8 25. Rc1 {would limit Black's advantage to more survivable proportions.})
24... Qh5 {Already Black is close to winning.} 25. Bd4 (25. Qd3 Re8 26. Bf2 Re2
27. Rb1 c5 {should also win for Black - White is totally tied up in defence.})
25... Re8 26. Rf1 Ng4 27. Qc2 c5 {This tactic breaks down the last defences.}
28. Nxc5 ({or} 28. Bxc5 Bxc5+ 29. Nxc5 Ne3) 28... Rc8 29. Rd1 Bxc5 30. Bxc5 h6
31. Kh1 {Not waiting for ...Nf2.} 0-1[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "FIDE Candidates 2014"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2014.03.19"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2785"]
[BlackElo "2787"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2014.03.13"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{Those of you who read last week's post will have seen how Svidler beat
Topalov in Round 5 to stay in the hunt for first place on 3/5. In the very
next round, Topalov bounced back with a win over Kramnik.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6
3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 Nh5 {This is more accurate
than} (7... c6 8. h3 {which preserves the good bishop and keeps real chances
of an edge.}) 8. Be5 c6 9. Bd3 {Objectively this move leaves White's pieces
misplaced, but Kramnik was thrown off by this 'one game line'.} g6 10. h4 f5 {
Not the best move - White gets a good Stonewall after his reply.} (10... Nxe5
11. dxe5 f5 12. b4 b6 {favours Black - giving up the c5-pawn is not good
enough, but neither is} 13. Na4 bxc5 14. Nxc5 Qb6 {winning a pawn.}) 11. Bh2 b6
12. b4 f4 {Black realises that his position is a bit loose and tries to solve
his problems by tactical means, but this doesn't work so well in the game.} (
12... Bb7 {is more solid, but also rather admits that White is just better on
all sides of the board.}) 13. O-O a5 {I think Kramnik just missed something
after 14.b5 or misjudged the position.} (13... Bxh4 {is a pawn grab, but} 14.
b5 Bb7 15. Qa4 Nb8 16. Ne2 cxb5 17. Bxb5 fxe3 18. fxe3 a6 19. Bd3 b5 20. Qc2 {
still gives White an initiative stronger than the pawn sacrificed. Nonetheless,
this was probably the way to go.}) 14. b5 bxc5 15. bxc6 Nb8 16. Bb5 Ba6 17. a4
{Now Black's position is completely dominated (Black can't even use the
b8-knight unless he sacks it on c6) and he didn't stand a chance.} Qc8 18. dxc5
Nxc6 19. Nxd5 exd5 20. Qxd5+ Kh8 21. Qxc6 Qxc6 22. Bxc6 Rac8 (22... Bxf1 23.
Bxa8 Ba6 24. Bc6 Bxc5 25. Nd4 {is also winning for White.} fxe3 26. Be5+) 23.
Bb5 Bxb5 24. axb5 Bxc5 25. Rxa5 fxe3 26. fxe3 Bxe3+ 27. Kh1 Rc2 28. Rb1 Rfc8
29. Raa1 Bb6 30. Be5+ Kg8 31. Ra6 Be3 32. b6 Rc1+ 33. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 34. Kh2 Rb1
35. g4 Bf4+ 36. Kg2 Bxe5 37. Nxe5 Nf4+ 38. Kf3 Ne6 39. b7 Rb3+ 40. Kf2 Rb2+ 41.
Ke3 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "FIDE Candidates 2014"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2014.03.29"]
[Round "13.1"]
[White "Andreikin, Dmitry"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A45"]
[WhiteElo "2709"]
[BlackElo "2830"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2014.03.13"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{While not a lot of chess fans, and perhaps not even the other players,
expected Anand to lead the Candidates from start to finish and win it, it
would be unfair to call the result a surprise - Anand has shown play of this
calibre many times before in his career. For me a bigger surprise packet was
the bottom seed Dmitry Andreikin - while he was never in contention for first
place, his 50% result showed he belongs in this elite group of players.
Strangely enough, Aronian (after sharing the lead with Anand at the halfway
mark) collapsed in the second half, but that doesn't take away from the
smoothness of White's play.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 g6 {I don't think 2...g6 is as
bad as most people believe, but Aronian didn't play the system I've come up
with for Black, which I will obviously keep a secret ;).} 3. Bxf6 exf6 4. c4
Bb4+ {This seems like a Houdini brainchild, but I just don't believe it.} (4...
Bg7 5. Nc3 O-O {is better.}) 5. Nd2 (5. Nc3 {had been seen before.}) 5... c5 {
I'm guessing Aronian was after some good version of a Snake Benoni after 6.d5,
but the game continuation makes his creation look out of place.} 6. a3 Bxd2+ 7.
Qxd2 cxd4 (7... d6 {is more solid, but also just worse for Black after} 8. e3
O-O 9. Nf3 Nc6 10. Be2 {.}) 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. Nxd4 Nxd4 (9... d5 10. c5 {would
keep nice control over the position.}) 10. Qxd4 Qa5+ 11. b4 Qe5 12. O-O-O (12.
Rd1 O-O 13. g3 d6 14. Bg2 {is a more accurate way to maintain the advantage.})
12... a5 13. b5 d6 14. Qxe5+ dxe5 {Now Black should be fine, but he mucked it
up later.} 15. g3 Be6 16. Bg2 Bxc4 17. Bxb7 Rb8 18. Bc6+ Kf8 19. a4 Bb3 20. Kb2
{This is a really bright exchange sacrifice, but it shouldn't have led to more
than equality.} Bxa4 {A very strange blunder - the bishop will just be trapped
now and White will win.} (20... Bxd1 21. Rxd1 Ke7 22. Rd7+ Ke6 {with equality
was correct. Perhaps Black feared} 23. Ra7 {, but then} Rhd8 24. Kc3 Rd1 {will
provide sufficient counterplay.}) 21. Rd5 Ke7 22. Ka3 Bc2 23. Rd7+ Kf8 24. e4 (
24. Rc1 Bf5 25. Rb7 Rxb7 26. Bxb7 {was another way.}) 24... a4 25. Rc1 Bb3 26.
Bd5 Bxd5 27. Rxd5 Kg7 {Black managed to avoid the loss of his bishop, but the
rook endgame is just lost and Andreikin converted comfortably.} 28. Rc7 Rb6 29.
Rc6 Rb7 30. Kxa4 Ra8+ 31. Ra6 Rc8 32. b6 Rc2 33. Kb5 Rxf2 34. Kc6 Re7 35. Raa5
Re6+ 36. Rd6 Re7 37. Rdd5 Re6+ 38. Kc7 Re7+ 39. Kc8 Re8+ 40. Kd7 Kf8 41. b7
Re7+ 42. Kc6 Re6+ 43. Kc7 Re7+ 44. Kb6 {That's all for now; I will see you
next week with more chess material!} 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "TCh-AUT 1st Bundesliga 2013-14"]
[Site "Sankt Veit an der Glan AUT"]
[Date "2014.03.20"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Kuljasevic, D."]
[Black "Shengelia, D."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "2591"]
[BlackElo "2543"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2013.12.06"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "AUT"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.24"]
[WhiteTeam "SV ASVO St. Veit/Glan"]
[BlackTeam "SK Advisory Invest Baden"]

{PS I almost forgot - here's the solution to last week's puzzle!} 1. d4 Nf6 2.
c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bd2 b6 7. e4 Bb7 8. Bd3 d5 9. cxd5
exd5 10. e5 Bxc3 11. Bxc3 Ne4 12. Nd2 f5 13. exf6 Nxf6 14. O-O Qd6 15. Nf3 Nbd7
16. Ne5 c5 17. Bf5 g6 18. Bh3 Rfe8 19. Nxd7 Nxd7 20. Rfe1 c4 21. Qd2 Nf6 22. f3
Bc8 23. g4 a5 24. Re5 Be6 25. Rae1 Nd7 26. R5e2 Bf7 27. Qg5 Rxe2 28. Rxe2 Re8
29. Rxe8+ Bxe8 30. Bg2 Qe6 31. Kf2 Bf7 32. Qd8+ Kg7 33. Bd2 h6 34. Bxh6+ $1 Kh7
(34... Kxh6 35. Qh8+ Kg5 36. h4+ Kf4 37. Qh6+ g5 38. Qxg5#) 35. Bf4 {White has
won a pawn for nothing, and the rest is a matter of good technique.} Qf6 36.
Qxf6 Nxf6 37. Bc7 Nd7 38. Ke3 Kg7 39. h4 Be6 40. Bf1 a4 41. Kd2 b5 42. Kc3 Nf8
43. Bd6 Bd7 44. Bxf8+ Kxf8 45. Kb4 Ke7 46. Kc5 a3 47. bxa3 Ke6 48. Be2 Be8 49.
Bd1 g5 50. hxg5 Bg6 51. f4 Bb1 52. f5+ Ke7 53. Kxb5 c3 54. a4 Bd3+ 55. Kc6 Be2
56. Bc2 Bxg4 57. Kxd5 1-0 [/pgn]