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Games Commentary

Round 8 Report by Geoffrey BORG
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
180510_ponomarev-report.jpgPavel ELJANOV – Ruslan PONOMARIOV     0 - 1

So, Pavel Eljanov jumped back into sole lead yesterday and today we had an all Ukrainian derby. Unfortunately for Pavel it seems he has been jinxed in the second part of the tournament as oncve again the black pieces came out on top.

In a Catalan / Bogo Indian, Eljanov followed a game that Ponomariov had played two years ago against Gelfand. That game went 13.Rfd1 Bb7 14.Ne5 Rc8 and a draw were agreed on move 36. Eljanov essayed 13.e5 which does not seem to give black any major problems. Ponomariov then played some very nice prophylactic ideas Kf8-e8 and Rb8 to break open the queen side and slowly started to take the initiative.

Black first tied down the weakness of white’s b-pawn and then started to probe for a second weakness and after breaking open the centre, white erred just before the time control. The resulting rook and pawn endgame was better for black but after white’s attempt to mate the black king with 43.g4? Ruslan nimbly tied up the game. Final times (0:02 – 1:09)

Shakhryiar MAMEDYAROV – Evgeny ALEKSEEV    1 – 0

It never rains but it pours! Second game in this round with the Catalan / Bogo but Alexeev preferred to go for the more classical retreat with Be7 compared to Pono’s Bd6. Despite a reasonable number of games with this line Alekseev’s 15…Qa6 appears to be a new try.

Mamedyarov however played in his normal express style and gave his opponent little chance to breathe. Alekseev went wrong with 18…Ng4 which Shaki nicely exploited thanks to the bad queen position on a6. The result was the loss of two pieces for a rook and negligible compensation. Alekseev’s attempt to blow opens the position with f5 only helped white and after 28.Bh3! it was game over in 33 moves. Final time (0:56 – 0:24)

Boris GELFAND – Teimour RADJABOV    ½ - ½

Boris was the first one to take up Radjabov’s King’s Indian challenge and with two theoretical giants, the first new idea came on the 16th move. The exchange on d5 is normally played after 16.Nc5 Bf7 and here it made little impact. White exchanged off too much material till move 24 to give black any real worries and the position was equal a few moves later. Both sides played on but there were very little chances for anything serious at this level of play. Final times (1:10 – 1:10)


Vugar GASHIMOV – WANG YUE    ½ - ½

White selected an English opening and the players trotted out a main theoretical line. 18…Be7 seems to be new and white got a tiny advantage after this. Eventually the position boiled down to a rook endgame where white had an extra pawn but in a theoretically drawn 3vs2 position. In fighting spirit both players continued until it was down to bare kings. Final Times (1:29 – 1:01)

Dmitry JAKOVENKO – Peter LEKO    ½ - ½

This seemed to be the round for main theoretical lines and the players selected to go in for the Nimzo-Indian Rubinstein. Peter’s choice of 14…Ne4 was new over a Hungarian game played last year. That game also ended draw but at least both players in Astrakhan gave it the full works.

After the slightly inaccurate 19…Rac8 (19…Qd6!?) white got an advantage with an outside passed pawn and a minor piece ending. It appeared that Jakovenko had winning chances after 29…f4 30.Bc1!? but it appears that Peter had calculated the king and pawn endgame exactly and it will be difficult to pinpoint where Jakovenko could have possibly won.   Final Times (1:49 – 1:04)

Peter SVIDLER – Vassily IVANCHUK    ½ - ½

For a change we had a Petroff! Of course with Ivanchuk’s vast portfolio of opening theory, I am sure nobody can really guess what he will play. I found a few blitz games with Peter’s 13.h4!? but it would be interesting to see why white did not continue with h6 when he had the chance. The resulting middlegame play could have given black a slight edge after 19…Qf7 but instead Chucky went for the key square e5. Both players showed excellent technique and at one time it was like a fencing game. Once both king positions were compromised it was only a matter of time before a player was forced to take a perpetual. Final times (0:36 – 0:23)


Vladimir managed to redeem himself somewhat but remained in bottom position with a hard worked win against Inarkiev. From a Slav, the line transposed to a Grunfeld e3 system and the players followed a game played last year. Then Gagunashvili played 11…Nxe4 against Mamedyarov but was busted quite quickly. Ernesto went for the quieter 11…Re8 but after Akopian’s provocative 14.b3, white surprised him with 14…Nxd5 15.Nxf7! 

Ernesto played the middle game extremely well and gave up his queen to get a dynamically equal position. Black seemed to have got his pieces co-ordinated around move 30 but Vladimir kept on pressing. Nevertheless, black defended well and kudos to Akopian for not accepting the repetition and continuing to probe until Inarkiev drifted. White won a pawn on the king side and this turned out eventually to be decisive. Final times (0:02 – 0:01).
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