GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko comments on the games of the 10th round

Sergey Karjakin – Dmitry Andreikin

Sicilian Defense B46

 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Qd3. A rare move first employed by Karjakin’s second Rustam Kasimdzhanov.

No doubt Dmirty Andreikin considered it in his preparation.


7…Qc7. Another option is 7…d5 8.Bf4 Nf6 9.Be2 Bb7 10.0–0–0 Qb6 11.Qg3 Rc8 12.Rhe1 d4 13.Na4 Qb4 14.Qb3, and White got an advantage in Nepomniachtchi-Svidler, Moscow 2010

8.Qg3 Qxg3 9.hxg3 d5 10.g4. White seizes space and tries to exert pressure on the semi-open h-file.

10…Rb8 11.g5 f6 12.gxf6. In the case of 12.g6 h6 the g6-pawn is not a threat but rather a weakness. After 13.Bd3 Bd6 14.b3 Ne7 Black’s position is more pleasant.

12…Nxf6 13.e5. A novelty. Earlier Karjakin-Mamedyarov, Baku 2009 saw 13.Bd3 Bd6 14.0–0 0–0 15.Re1 Bc5 16.exd5 cxd5 17.Na4 Bd6 18.b3 e5 19.f3 Bd7 20.Bd2 Rbc8 21.Nb6 Bc5+ 22.Be3 Bxe3+ 23.Rxe3 Rc6 24.Nxd7 Nxd7 25.c4 d4 26.Re2 a5 27.Be4 Rc7 28.Bd5+ Kh8 29.a3 h6 30.b4 axb4 31.axb4 Nb6 32.Rxe5, draw.

13…Nd7 14.f4.


14…Nc5! An important move – Black prevents Bd3, which could force him to weaken his kingside by h7-h6. After the possible 14…a5 15.Bd3 h6 16.Bg6+ Kd8 17.b3 his position would be slightly worse.

15.Rh3 a5 16.b3. An attempt to refute Bа6 tactically fails: after 16.Be3? Rxb2 17.Bxc5 Bxc5 18.Na4 Rxc2 19.Kd1 Black comes up with 19…Rf2!–+.

16…Ba6 17.Bxa6 Nxa6 18.Na4 Rb4 19.Bd2 Re4+ 20.Kf1 Bb4 21.c3 Ba3 22.Re1 Rxe1+ 23.Kxe1.


23…0–0. Black’s very late castling is probably the most interesting moment of this game. He could equalize easier by 23…Nc5 24.Nxc5 Bxc5, and White runs out of reasonable ideas of playing for a win.

24.Ke2. After 24.Be3 Be7 25.g3 (with the idea of Bb6) 25…c5 26.Ke2 Rc8 27.g4 White maintains some pressure.

24…h6 25.Rg3 Kf7 26.Rh3. A silent draw offer.

26…Kg6 27.Rg3+ Kf7 28.Rh3 Kg6. Black did not find objective reasons to reject the repetition, and after 29.Rg3+ Kf7 the game ended in a draw.


Viswanathan Anand – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Sicilian Defense B90

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 e6 7.g4 h6. One of many viable options for Black. Shakhriyar decides to deviate from the previous round Anand-Topalov game, which continued 7…Nfd7.

8.Bg2 Be7 9.Be3 Nc6 10.f4. 10.Qe2 is more popular, and then 10…Nxd4 11.Bxd4 e5 12.Be3 Be6 13.0–0–0 Rc8 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 Nd7 gives Black typical dark-squared counterplay, Ragger-Vallejo 2009.

10…Nd7 11.Qd2.


11…Nxd4. A new move. Earlier Black played 11…Bh4+ 12.Bf2 Bxf2+ 13.Qxf2 Qb6 14.0–0–0 g5?!, and now 15.e5 gives White a big advantage (Wallace-Mirumian, Linares 1998 continued 15.fxg5?! hxg5 16.Rhf1 and eventually won anyway) 15…dxe5 16.fxe5 Ncxe5 (16…Ndxe5?? 17.Nxc6) 17.Ne4 0–0 18.h4!, and White’s attack is decisive.

12.Bxd4 e5 13.fxe5 Bh4+ 14.Bf2 Nxe5 15.0–0–0 Bxf2 16.Qxf2 Be6. Black secured the е5-square for the knight, and his future in this game seems bright.

17.Qd4 Qg5+ 18.Kb1 0–0–0 19.Bf1. The computer suggests a plain and simple 19.Nd5 Bxd5 20.Qxd5, however a human player would rather find some work for the g2-bishop.

19…Nc6 20.Qf2 Qc5 21.Qg3 Qe5.


According to Shakhriyar, this was either a psychological test or a question whether White is playing for a win.

22.Qf2. Anand answers this question without much doubt – White does not have many good squares for the queen, and the tournament situation is calling for caution.

22…Qc5 23.Qg3 Kb8. Black decides to show ambition, however, as Shakhriyar said at the press-conference, “It is hard to win when your opponent does not want to lose”.

24.Be2 Ne5 25.Nd5! An important move – the position after25.Rd2 Rc8! 26.Rhd1 Rc6 is approximately equal, but White would run into some problems: Black’s pressure on the c-file makes it difficult to occupy the d5-square.

25…Rc8 26.c3 f6 27.Rd4 Rhe8 28.Rhd1.


The board is still quite full, but one can already sense the draw is coming. A balanced position, mutual weaknesses on d6 and e4, and in addition neither side can push pawns anywhere.

28…Rcd8 29.Bd3 Nc6 30.Rc4 Qa7. The players made the required 30 moves and agreed to a draw. Black cannot use an awkward placement of the c4-rook: 30…Qa5 31.Bc2 Qb5 32.b3!, and White seizes the initiative as he threatens to trap the queen by а4 and b4.


Levon Aronian – Veselin Topalov

Slav Defense D15

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 Bf5 6.Bd3. Recently this move became popular, but it is hard to believe that Black can experience any difficulties with reasonable play provided. 6.Qb3 leads to a more challenging game.

6…Bxd3 7.Qxd3 e6 8.0–0 Bb4. Black prevents е3-е4. More frequent is 8…Be7 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 0–0, for example, 11.Rd1 Nbd7 12.b3 Qc7 13.Bb2 Rad8 14.Nxf6+ Bxf6 15.Qe2 c5 16.dxc5, draw, Tomashevsky-Kamsky, Tromso 2013.

9.Bd2 0–0 10.Rfd1 a5 11.a3.


11…Be7. The computer prefers 11…Bxc3, preventing е3-е4 for a long time, however, human players respect their bishops too much, and perhaps in this particular case the machine’s decision is inferior: after 12.Bxc3 Nbd7 13.a4!? White can expect to obtain a small plus.

12.e4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Qxe4 Nd7. This position occurred many times with Black’s turn to move. Indeed, Topalov lost a tempo on Bf8-b4-e7, however, this is not very important in such structures – Black’s position is still very safe.

15.Bf4 Re8 16.Qc2 Qb6. Veselin got used to solving problems with concrete actions. The text-move prepares с6-с5. The more flexible 16…Nf8 (the knight goes to g6) also offers sufficient counterplay: 17.Rd3 Ng6 18.Bg3 a4 19.Rad1 Qa5, and the game is about even.


17.Rd3. The computer likes gaining space by 17.с5, however, it is not quite clear what else White gains in exchange for weakening the d5-square: 17…Qa6 18.Rd3 Red8 19.Rad1 a4, and if White decides to transfer the knight to d6 by 20.Nd2, Black goes 20…e5 (not 20…Nxc5?? due to a strong reply 21.Rh3!) 21.Re1!? (21.Rh3 h6 22.Bxe5 Nxe5 23.dxe5 Qb5, and Black is fine) 21…exf4 22.Rxe7 Nf6 23.Nc4 Re8! with counterplay.

17…c5 18.d5. The most principled reply. After 18.Rad1 cxd4 19.Rxd4 Nc5 I don’t see how White can utilize his control of the d-file.

18…Bf6 19.Rad1. 19.Rb3!? Qa7 20.d6 a4 21.Rb5 e5 22.Be3 Re6 23.Rd1 b6 leads to a completely unclear position: the passed pawn on d6 is strong, but the rook on b5 is set aside for a long time.

19…exd5 20.Rxd5 Nf8 21.R1d2. White does not get much after 21.Be5 Bxe5 22.Nxe5 Rad8 followed by transferring the knight to d4.

21…Ne6 22.Rd6 Qc7 23.Bg3?! Aronian overlooks the opponent’s reply. He should have simplified the game by 23.Rxe6 Qxf4 24.Rxe8+ Rxe8 25.Rd5 b6 26.a4 g6 27.b3 with complete equality.


23…Nd4! 24.Qd1. Levon missed 24.R6xd4 Qe7!, and White loses material.

24…Qe7. 24…Nxf3+ 25.gxf3 is acceptable for White, as his opponent lacks necessary resources to make any use of the white king’s weakened position.

25.h3 Rad8 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Nxd4 cxd4 28.a4. Black has a small advantage, but his passed pawn is safely blocked, and the queenside pawns are fixated on the bishop’s squares, which in theory offers White enough counterplay.

28…h5 29.b3 h4 30.Bf4 g5 31.Re2 Qc5 32.Bd2 Qf5. After 32…d3!? 33.Re4 Kg7 34.Qh5 b6 (34…Rh8 35.Qf3 Rd8 36.Qh5=) 35.Kf1 it is still unclear how Black can make progress.

33.Re1 b6 34.Qf3. In the resulting endgame the white king comes to the center, and White is out of danger. Moreover, it is Black who must play carefully from now on. 34.Qh5!? Kg7 35.f4 Qg6 36.Qxg6+ Kxg6 37.Kf2=.

34…Qxf3 35.gxf3 Kg7 36.Kf1 Kg6 37.Re4 Kf5 38.Ke2 d3+ 39.Kd1 Bd4 40.Rg4 f6 41.f4 gxf4 42.Rxf4+ Ke5.


43.f3. White could try playing for a win by 43.Rxh4 Bxf2 44.Bc3+ Kf5 45.Rh5+, however, 45…Ke6 46.Rd5 Rxd5 47.cxd5+ Kxd5 48.Bxf6 b5 gives Black a draw.

43…Bf2 44.Rg4 Kf5 45.Rf4+ Ke5. Game drawn.


Vladimir Kramnik – Peter Svidler

Dutch Defense A80

1.d4 f5. Peter confirms he was serious about the Dutch, as he picks this rather unpopular opening for a second time.

2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 b6. A rare reply to a rare system selected by White. 3…g6 or 3…e6 are much more popular.



A novelty on the move 4!

4…Bb7 5.Bc4 c6 6.Nc3 cxd5 7.Nxd5 e6 8.Nxf6+ Qxf6 9.0–0 Bc5. A very creative opening led to a balanced position, but now Kramnik slowly starts to outplay his opponent.



10…Nc6. 10…Qxb2 looks dangerous: 11.Nd4 Qa3 (Black’s compensation after 11…0–0 12.a4! Bxd4 13.Ra2 Qxa2 14.Bxa2 Bf6 is unlikely to suffice) 12.Nb5 Qa4 13.Qh5+ g6 14.Qh4! Na6, but I cannot see anything direct for White. He can continue 15.a3 Qxc2 (15…0–0?? 16.Bxe6++-) 16.Bc3 0–0 17.Rfd1 Bc6 18.Bd3 Qb3 19.Bc4 with a draw by repetition.

11.Bc3 Qe7 12.a3 a5 13.Qe2 0–0 14.Rad1 d5 15.Bb5 Na7 16.a4 (16.Ba6!?) 16…Bd6. 16…Nxb5 is safer, after 17.axb5 Bd6 18.Be5 Qc7 19.Bxd6 Qxd6 Black is just fine.

17.Ba6 Nc6 18.Bxb7 Qxb7 19.b3 Qa6 20.Qd2 Rac8 21.Ng5 Rce8 22.Bb2 h6 23.Nf3 Bb4 24.c3 Be7.


25.c4! In a more opened position Black’s structural problems begin to tell.

25…dxc4 26.Rc1 b5. It is better to maintain symmetry by 26…Rc8 27.Rxc4 Rfd8 28.Qe2 Qb7 with a balanced game.

27.axb5 Qxb5 28.Rxc4 Nb4 29.Ne5 Nd5 30.Qc2 Bd6 31.Nc6 Nb6.


White’s position looks more pleasant to a human eye, primarily because of a more compact pawn structure. By 32.Nd4 Qе5 33.Nf3 Qb5 34.Rс6 White could maintain pressure and play nearly risk-free. However, Vladimir’s next move is just inexplicable:


After 32…Bxh2+ (Kramnik said he just blundered it) 33.Kxh2 Qxf1 Black easily converted his material advantage.

34.Qc3?! More tenacious is 34.Nxa5 Nd5 35.Nc4 Qe1 36.Ba3 Rf6 (36…Rf7? 37.Nd6 Rc7 38.Rc4 Ra8 39.Rxc7 Nxc7 40.Qxc7 Rxa3 41.Qf7+ Kh7 42.Nxf5!=) 37.Ne5 with certain practical compensation.

34…Rf6 35.Ne5 Qxf2 36.Rf4 Qe2 37.Qd4 Nd5 38.Rf3 Rc8 39.Rg3 f4. White resigns.

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