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ChessBase Magazine 132

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He is not only the man of the hour: Levon Aronian has been hurrying from one success to the next for months now. At the FIDE Grand Prix in Jermuk he only attained the second place, but for the Armenian this was tantamount to the overall victory in the Grand Prix series. And at the recently finished Grand Slam Final in Bilbao, Aronian demonstrated impressive dominance, deciding the tournament in his favour with a round to spare. In the meantime, Aronian has advanced to number three of the world ranking list. By contrast, the third top event of this issue was open to the very end: at the Chess Festival in Biel, the young French player Maxime Vachier-Lagrave achieved his first very great tournament success.

 

 
 

Introduction videos

GM Karsten Müller gets you in the mood for this issue with selected star games, showing among others the decisive moments of  Morozevich versus Vachier-Lagrave from Biel. Out of the altogether 12 opening articles of the DVD, he gives a preview of GM Kuzmin's "Weapon against the Petroff" and GM Marin's repertoire suggestion (Alekhine Defence with 4...g6). Also, the popular opening trap of Rainer Knaak - this time from the classical Sicilian - is set up for you.

A comprehensive review of the tournament proceedings of the past two months is provided by GM Dorian Rogozenco in his introductory video. From the tournament in San Sebastian, he presents the final phase of Movsesian-Ponomariov - representative for a great number of games in this issue, which towards the end took a dramatic turn. From the FIDE Grand-Prix in Jermuk, Rogozenco explains Ivanchuk's impressive winning procedure versus Alekseev. In conclusion, he presents Aronian's novely versus Grischuk which significantly contributed to the Armenian's victory in Bilbao.
06.09.-12.09.2009


Victory for stand-in
Levon Aronian

Grand Slam Final in Bilbao

Not only in chess are tournaments sometimes won by players or teams who hadn't even qualified to participate. This is what happened at the Grand Slam Final in Bilbao. Last year's winner Topalov had the chance to defend his title, but after his last-minute cancellation Levon Aronian filled in. Yet this did not impair the quality of the tournament in any way. Despite the small field of four players, the spectators were treated to fascinating chess in almost every round. After his initial defeat versus Grischuk, Aronian got going and won no fewer than four games in a row, which made him the winner with one round to go.


Shirov,A - Aronian,L
Position after 29.Qf3

Against the indisposed Alexei Shirov, Aronian scored a victory with the black pieces in the Marshall Attack in only 29 moves. Shirov had not found a way to take the sharpness out of the position or to exchange threat potential, and by the advance of the black h-pawn was put under mounting pressure. In the board position alongside, Shirov made the final mistake with 29.Qf3. After Aronian's 29...Qg6 it was already over, since the white queen has to return to d1, and the subsequent 30...hxg3 spells the collapse of White's king position. In the path-breaking fourth round versus Alexander Grischuk, who had got off to a fulminating start, Levon Aronian introduced a new piece sacrifice in the 4…a6 Slav as early as on move 10, which obviously knocked his opponent off his stride. Grischuk invested a lot of time, returned the piece a few moves later and with little time left could not hold the resulting passive position. On the DVD you find all 12 games from Bilbao, most of them with annotations.
09.08-23.08.2009


Vassily Ivanchuk back on track
 

FIDE Grand Prix in Jermuk

Following his victory in the Rumanian town of Bazna, Ivanchuk now also won this top tournament in Jermuk, Armenia. No question, his shape and Elo curve are heading steeply upward again. Levon Aronian will be able to cope with the fact that at his Grand Prix home match he was not granted to end up at the very top (again). His two defeats versus Kasimdzhanov and Eljanov in the middle of the tournament finally proved too much. In return, the second place in Jermuk secured Aronian the victory in the Grand Prix overall ranking. For all games as well as a tournament report, click here or on the link above.


Gelfand,B - Leko,P
Position after 19.Qc2

The oldest participant in the field, Boris Gelfand, also played a strong tournament played. The Israeli, who in the first half of the tournament missed several winning chances, at the end still even managed to share the second place, thanks to a double strike in the last rounds. For this CBM, Gelfand has annotated his last round game versus Leko, which saw the highly topical variation of the Queen's Indian and the pawn sacrifice on d5. At first, both players followed Aronian-Leko (Moscow 2006), where Leko had managed to channel the game into a draw relatively quickly. With 15.Qc4, Gelfand finally deviated and allowed his opponent to get rid of his backward pawn with the advance d7-d5. Yet it was exactly this resulting position (see diagram) which Gelfand had aimed at in his preparation: White is a pawn down, but the black pieces are badly placed. In his analysis he proves that Black is facing much bigger problems here than it might seem at first sight. Click here and follow this exciting game with Gelfand's commentaries.


Eljanov,P - Cheparinov,I
Position before 26.Rxg5

Pavel Eljanov ended up in a middle place in Jermuk, scoring 50%, yet he too achieved two beautiful wins versus Cheparinov and Aronian. On the DVD, the Ukranian outlines his King's Indian game versus Cheparinov. For the second time, Eljanov tested the setup with 11.g4 at top level, the main idea of which is to stymie Black's attack on the kingside. By means of the strong pawn sacrifice 16.g5 Eljanov gained additional time to place his pieces in an optimal way. In the diagram position, the decision was brought about by the rook strike on g5. The diagonal a1-h8 is opened, and all of a sudden the black pieces look completely uncoordinated. In his analysis, Eljanov highlights both the critical moments of the opening phase and the black defensive resources towards the end of the game.
19.07-30.07.2009


Victory at the Swiss Classic:
Vachier-Lagrave

Chess Festival Biel

Beyond the great top tournaments, the still only 18-year-old Maxime Vachier-Lagrave has step by step played himself up into the area of the super grandmasters. Currently his Elo rating is 2719. The chess festival in Biel this summer was the first high-class traditional tournament to which he was invited. And what a debut! Undefeated and with successes over Morozevich and Caruana, he eked out unshared tournament victory. Against Morozevich, he - with luck - won an encounter which not only brought about the preliminary decision concerning the outcome of the event, but also has the makings to become the game of the year.


Morozevich,A - Vachier Lagrave,M
Position after 52.Kd5

On this DVD, Vachier-Lagrave looks back on this special game. Already the opening phase, in which Morozevich crucially sharpened up the position with the knight sacrifice 13.Ne4, is thoroughly scrutinized by the young Frenchman. At various points he indicates incredible improvements for both sides, and in his analyes comes to the conclusion that White had more than one way to force the win. Yet the decision was made in the time-trouble phase, when Vachier-Lagrave managed to steer the game into an ending which - at least materially - was a big-time win. But how on earth is Black in the board position (left) going to unravel his pieces? Click on the link below the diagram and enjoy the game with the commentaries of the winner of Biel!


Caruana,F - Ivanchuk,V
Position after 24...g5

The same round saw yet another most exciting duel. With the black pieces, Ivanchuk managed to win also his second game versus Caruana to temporarily join the top. GM Mihail Marin has annotated the encounter, providing it with a series of personal suggestions. With the surprising king step 11...Kd8 Ivanchuk marked the start of a very creative game. Indeed, in the further course he managed to prove that here his king was less exposed than its counterpart after castling kingside. In the diagram position he tested his young opponent with the original 24...g5. What is to be done to keep the position in the balance? Caruana did not find the right concept and already a few moves later was clearly lost. Click here to replay the game with Marin's annotations. 

 


Move by Move:
How should Black proceed further?

From opening trap to endgame study

Training in ChessBase Magazine starts with the very first moves and includes all stages of a chess game. The topical opening articles with a lot of ideas and suggestions for your repertoire you find up here with the links. In video format, Leonid Kritz pleads from Black's view for the Slav with 4...a6 against 5.Ne5 and in two further lessons outlines the current state in the Scandinavian main variation. These and further videos on opening theory you find in the column Fritztrainer. Fritztrainer. In his Strategy columne strategy column, Peter Wells comments on important aspects of the tension in the centre. In Daniel King's eternal hit Move by Move a positional brillancy is on the training agenda (see diagram), and in the columns Tactics and Endgame Oliver Reeh and Karsten Müller have again compiled the best from current tournament practice for you. 

 

 

Opening Sureveys

Marin: Alekhine Defence B04

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Bg7 7.Ng5 e6

 

 

The fianchetto variation with 7...e6 is named after Lev Alburt. Mihail Marin has given it a thorough examination and can't detect any big problems for Black.

Postny: Sicilian B90

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.f4 (b5 10.0-0-0)

 With 9.f4 (instead of 9.f3) White enters a so far little played sub-variation which is based mainly on the fact that 9...exf4 can hardly equalize. According to Postny, the whole thing looks quite promising for the first player.

Kritz: French C18

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Ba5!? 6.b4 cxd4 7.Nb5 Bc7 8.f4

  The quiet variation with 7.Nb5 (the alternative is 6.Qg4 or 7.Qg4) promises White a safe advantage in most lines. Only after 8... Bd7! things are less clear.

Kuzmin: Petroff C43

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.dxe5 d5 5.Nbd2

  This is the favourite line of Ian Nepomniachtchi. Playing 4.dxe5, White avoids the long theoretical variations and still has propects of a slight opening advantage - you can't ask for more against the Petroff.

Marin: Ruy Lopez C66

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.0-0 Nf6 6. Nc3 Be7 7.Re1 exd4 8.Nxd4 0-0 9.Bxc6 bxc6

  The diagram position arises almost consequently after 3...d6, so good knowledge of the variations and plans are quite relevant for the first player. For Black, the fine thing about 3...d6 is that early on he is the one to determine what is played.

Grivas: Slav Defence D11

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nbd2 Bf5 5.Nh4 Be4

  Following an article of Grivas on 4.Nbd2 in CBM 123, now it turned out that 5...Be4 represents quite a good defence and requires additional analysis.

Hazai/Lukacs: Slav Defence D15

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.c5 Bf5 6.Bf4 Nbd7 7.e3

  There hardly is a more straightforward way to fight the 4...a6-Slav than 5.c5. The article of our Hungarian authors shows that with the most frequent move 7...e6 Black is struggling to achieve equality, a trend can be noticed towards 7...g6.

Karolyi: Queen's Gambit Accepted D20

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 c5 4.d5 e6 5.Bxc4 Nf6 6.Nc3 exd5

  

The discussed line with 3...c5 4.d5 e6 is at any rate straighter and simpler to play than than the main variations 3...e5 or 3...Nf6. In his article, Tibor Karoly tries to prove that it also qualifies to grant Black a satisfactory game.

Langrock: Queen's Indian Defence E12

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 g6

  In the first part of his investigations on the Romanishin Variation, the author goes to introduce the sidelines (i.e. not 6.Qc2 or 6.Bg5). Some of them do present a challenge, yet Black should be able to master it.

Stohl: Nimzo Indian E32

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.e4 d5 6.e5 Ne4

  The variation with 5.e4 has been frequently played of late, seeing a development: first 7.a3 was tried, now 7.Bd3 is played right away. After 7...c5 the move 8.Ne2 was customary, now the latest trend is 8.Nf3.

Krasenkow: King's Indian Defence E90

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3

   The author is one of the greatest specialists of the King's Indian with 6.h3. Part 1 of the survey deals with variations without 6...e5, focusing in particular on 6...c5 7.d5 e6.

Grivas: King's Indian Defence E92

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Nf3 e5 7.Be3 exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 c6 10.Bf2 a6 11.0-0 b5

   The diagram position, which can be easily reached after 7.Be3, has appeared suprisingly seldom in practice so far, yet these games looked quite good for the second player.
 
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