GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko comments on the games of the 13th round

Sergey Karjakin – Viswanathan Anand

English Opening А13

 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3. A combative approach – after the normal 4.Bg5 or 4.Nc3 White could run into the ultra-solid Lasker Variation.

 4…Be7 5.b3 0–0 6.Bb2 c5. Vishy plays strictly for equality. 6…b6 leads to a more complex game. For example, 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.Nc3 (or a more recent case: 8.0–0 c5 9.Qe2 cxd4 10.exd4 Nc6 11.Nbd2 Re8 12.Rac1 Rc8 13.Rfd1 with mutual chances, Fedoseev-Bacrot, Yerevan 2014) 8…c5 9.cxd5 exd5 10.0–0 Nbd7 11.Rc1 a6 12.Ne5 with approximately even chances, Gelfand-Anand, Moscow 2009.

 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.dxc5.


8…Nd7. A logical novelty – Black wants to take on с5 with a knight. Recently in Fedoseev-Wojtaszek, Yerevan 2014 Black did not have anything to worry about: 8…Bxc5 9.Bc4 Nc6 10.0–0 Nb6 11.Bb5 Qxd1 12.Rxd1 Bd7 13.Nc3 Be7 14.Ne4 Rfd8 15.Rac1 Be8 with complete equality. Wojtaszek won in the subsequent struggle.

 9.c6!? An attempt to break the symmetry. White cannot have any advantage after 9.Bc4 Nxc5 10.0–0 b6=.

 9…bxc6 10.Nbd2 a5!? Vishy is trying to get rid of a potential weakness and shake White’s queenside. There was an interesting attempt to simplify the game by 10…Bf6 11.Bxf6 Qxf6, however, Black still needs to provide certain accuracy to equalize.

 11.e4 N5f6 12.Qc2 a4 13.Qxc6.


13…Qa5?! According to Anand, he did not consider taking on c6 seriously, because he felt he has something. Probably what his intuition tried to tell him was 13…Ra5! Now 14.bxa4?? loses to 14…Rc5 15.Qa8 Qc7, so the queen must retreat – 14.Qc2, and after 14…Bb7 the black pieces come to the optimal outposts: 15.Be2 axb3 16.axb3 Rxa1+ 17.Bxa1 Qa8 18.0–0 Nxe4. White might even have some problems.

 14.Qxa4 Qxa4 15.bxa4 Nc5 16.Bb5 Nxa4 17.Bd4 Bd7?! After the exchange of the bishops Black ends up in a dangerous position. The immediate 17…Bb7 is also less successful due to 18.Rc1 threateningRс7. However, Black seems to solve his problems by 17…Rd8 18.0–0 (18.Ke2?! Bb4, and the white king is not very safe in the center) 18…Bb7! 19.e5 Ne4! 20.Nxe4 Bxe4 21.Rfd1 Ba3, and Black’s activity fully compensates the minimal material deficit.

 18.Bxd7 Nxd7 19.Ke2 Nac5. The computer suggests 19…f6 20.Rhc1 e5 21.Be3 Rfc8, assessing the resulting position as equal, however, such assessment is highly doubtful in a practical game.

20.Rhc1 Ra4 21.Rc2 Rfa8.


22.Rac1! Rxa2!? Black sacrifices two pieces for a rook, which significantly simplifies the practical task – converting White’s advantage becomes very difficult.

 23.Rxc5 Bxc5!? According to the machine, better is 23…Nxc5 24.Bxc5 Rc8 25.Ba3 Rxc1 26.Bxc1, switching a bishop for a knight compared to the game.

 24.Bxc5 Rc8 25.Ba3 Rxc1 26.Bxc1 Nc5. Anand’s idea 26…Nf6 is also interesting: Black forces 27.e5 and gets an excellent outpost for a knight by 27…Nd5.

27.Ke3 f6 28.Nd4 e5 29.Ne2 h5 30.h3 Kf7. It is hard for White to improve his pieces. In addition Karjakin is getting short on time.

 31.Nc3 Rc2 32.Ne2 Ra2 33.h4 g6 34.g3 Ke6 35.f3.

435…Kf7. An active push 35…g5 deserved attention, which could be especially strong due to the opponent’s time pressure. After 36.hxg5 fxg5 White has problems untying in the center, while after 37.f4 exf4+ 38.gxf4 gxf4+ 39.Nxf4+ Kf7! 40.Nd3 Rc2 a draw seems inevitable – Black only needs to trade his pieces for White’s bishop and a pawn.

 36.Nc3 Rc2 37.Ne2 Ra2 38.Nb1 Nb3 39.Nbc3 Ra1. And again Anand does not force the issues. Black could draw at once by 39…Nxc1 40.Nxc1 Rg2 41.N3e2 g5 42.hxg5 fxg5 43.Nd3 Kf6, shown by Karjakin at the press-conference.

39…Rc2? 40.Kd3! Rxc1 41.Nxc1 Nxc1+ 42.Kc2, and the knight is trapped.

 40.Bb2 Rf1 41.Nd5 Na5 42.Nb6 Rb1 43.Bc3 Rxb6. Anand mentioned that objectively keeping the knights is probably stronger, but it was easier for him to play that way.

 44.Bxa5 Rb3+ 45.Bc3 g5! Finally Black comes across this idea, even if under worse circumstances.

 46.hxg5 fxg5 47.Kf2 Rb5.


 48.g4!? Even the computer recommends this move (clearly it just cannot calculate everything to the end), and generally speaking this pawn push looks like White’s most realistic chance to play for a win. Vishy Anand: “When Sergey confidently played g4, I was sure I blundered something”.

 48…h4! The only reply, but it is enough.

49.Ng1 Rc5 50.Bd2 Rc2 51.Ke2 Ra2 52.Nh3 Kg6!


The players reached this position quickly, and finally Sergey fell into thought.

 53.Kd3. It turns out that after 53.Nxg5 Rxd2+ 54.Kxd2 Kxg5 an extra pawn in a pawn endgame does not give White a win. Black just stands still: 55.Ke3 Kh6. Or 55…Kf6, but not 55…Kg6?? 56.f4! h3 57.f5+!, and White wins. Karjakin said he saw how to win after 55…h3 56.Kf2 Kh4 57.Kg1 Kg5 58.Kh1!, but missed the king moves.

 53…Rb2. It turns out that White has no other ideas. The rest of the game is rather meaningless: Anand easily dodges one-move threats, while Karjakin skilfully emulates Vishy’s future match opponent.

 54.Ke3. Not 54.Bxg5? Rh2, and Black is even better.

 54…Rb3+ 55.Ke2 Rb2 56.Kd1 Rb3 57.Ke2 Rb2 58.Kd3 Ra2 59.Nf2 Ra3+ 60.Bc3 Ra2 61.Ke3 Ra3 62.Kd2 Ra2+ 63.Ke1 Kf6 64.Kf1 Ra3 65.Nd1 Ke6 66.Kg2 Rb3 67.Ba5 Ra3 68.Bb6 Ra2+ 69.Nf2 Kf6 70.Kh3 Ra3 71.Kg2 Ra2 72.Bd8+ Kg6 73.Be7 Rb2 74.Bc5 Rc2 75.Bd6 Kf6 76.Kf1 Rc1+ 77.Kg2 Rc2 78.Bb4 Rb2 79.Ba5 Ra2 80.Bd8+ Kg6 81.Be7 Rb2 82.Bc5 Kf6 83.Kg1 Rb1+ 84.Kh2 Rb3 85.Kg2 Rb2 86.Ba3 Ra2 87.Bb4 Rb2 88.Be1. In the end White misses tactics, which does not affect the outcome of the game.

88…h3+! 89.Kf1 (89.Kxh3 Re2 90.Nd3 Re3 91.Nxe5 Rxe1) 89…h2 90.Nh1 Rb1! 91.Ke2, and Karjakin offered a draw, which Vishy accepted, securing his victory in the tournament.

Dmitry Andreikin – Levon Aronian

Trompowsky Opening A45

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 g6 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.c4 Bb4+?!


A strange opening choice by Levon. One can understand that the Armenian wanted to avoid well-known lines, however, the objective value of this move is highly dubious, and the position gets too simple too soon, which is also hardly good for Aronian…

 5.Nd2 c5 6.a3 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 cxd4. 7…d6 8.e3 0–0 looks safer, but Black’s chances to initiate a double-edged game in this line look miniscule.

 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 Qa5+ 11.b4 Qe5 12.0–0–0 a5 13.b5 d6 14.Qxe5+ dxe5 15.g3.

The computer considers this position equal, however, White’s chances in the long run are much higher, and the course of the game shows it.

 15…Be6. Aronian goes into complications, hoping to trick the opponent and obtain winning chances. After a more reserved 15…Ke7 16.Bg2 Rb8 17.Rd3 Be6 18.Rc3 White’s chances are still higher.

 16.Bg2 Bxc4?! Another option is 16…Rc8 17.Bxb7 Rxc4+ 18.Kb2 Ke7 19.Bd5 (19.Rc1 Rb8 20.Bc6 Bd5! 21.Rxc4 Bxc4 22.Rb1! Bxe2 23.Kc3 with compensation for a pawn looks unclear, and I think Levon would be very happy to play this position, considering the tournament situation) 19…Bxd5 20.Rxd5 Rhc8 with equality.

 17.Bxb7 Rb8 18.Bc6+ Kf8 19.a4! Bb3. 19…Bxe2 deserved attention.

20.Kb2! A sensible exchange sacrifice. Aronian does not dare to accept it.

 20…Bxa4. The machine considers the position after 20…Bxd1 21.Rxd1 Kg7 22.Kc3 equal for quite a long time, but it is hard to believe for a human that Black can deal with the b-pawn successfully. 22…Rhd8 seems critical (otherwise white rook’s invasion to d7 basically decides the game) 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Kc4 Kf8 (24…Rd4+ 25.Kc5 Rxa4 26.b6 Rd4 27.b7 Rd8 28.Bd7!, and White wins) 25.b6 Ke7 26.Kc5 Rb8 27.b7 f5 28.Bd5 Kd7 29.Kb6!, and Black should run out of moves at some point.

 21.Rd5! Ke7. 21…Kg7 22.Ka3 Bc2 23.Rd2 Bf5 24.Ka4 does not help – Black is in trouble.

 22.Ka3 Bc2 23.Rd7+ Kf8. After 23…Ke6 24.Rd2 Bf5 25.e4 Bxe4 26.Bxe4 Rxb5 Black still has some practical drawing chances, but 24.Rc1! is clearly stronger: 24…Be4 (24…Bf5? 25.Rcd1+-) 25.Ra7 Bxc6 26.Rxc6+ Kd5 27.Rd7+ Ke4 28.b6, and the passed pawn decides the game.

 24.e4! The computer gives 24.Bd5!? Rxb5 25.Rc1, netting an exchange, but winning the endgame after 25…Rxd5 26.Rxd5 Bf5 27.Rd8+ Kg7 28.Rxh8 Kxh8 29.Ka4 may be problematic.

 24…a4. 24…f5 25.f3 a4 is more tenacious (White wins nicely after 25…fxe4? 26.Rc1! Bd3 27.Ka4! Kg7 28.fxe4 Rhd8 29.Rxd8 Rxd8 30.b6, and the b-pawn once again tells) 26.Rc1 Bb3, however, after 27.exf5 gxf5 28.Bd5 Bxd5 29.Rxd5 White wins, too.

 25.Rc1 Bb3.


26.Bd5?! Dmitry loosens his grip. After the strongest26.Rc5 Kg7 27.Bd5 Bxd5 28.exd5 Black cannot hold against two passed pawns, for example, 28…Rb6 29.Ra7! Rhb8 30.Kxa4 f5 31.Ka5 e4 32.Ra6, and Black did not create his counterplay in time.

 26…Bxd5 27.Rxd5 Kg7 28.Rc7 Rb6 29.Rc6 Rb7 30.Kxa4?! The computer recommends 30.b6 Ra8 31.Rdd6, but it is not quite clear how to win. After 31…Rbb8 32.g4! Ra6! Black seems to hold.

 30…Ra8+ 31.Ra6 Rc8 32.b6 Rc2 33.Kb5.


33…Rxf2? A decisive mistake in the time trouble! Much better is 33…Rb8!, which was mentioned at the press-conference. The f2-pawn goes nowhere, and the rook retreats in advance from the white king’s attack. Unbelievably, White cannot win: 34.Rd3!? (34.Rc5?! Rxf2 35.Kc6 Rc8+ 36.Kd6 Rd2+ 37.Rd5 Rb2!, and White cannot improve his position) 34…Rxf2 35.Rb3 f5!

a) 36.Ra7 fxe4 37.b7 Rxh2 38.Kb6 Rd2! 39.Ra8 (39.Kc7 Rbd8!=) 39…Rd3 40.Rxd3 Rxb7+ 41.Kxb7 exd3, and Black risks nothing, as he can protect the d3-pawn;

b) 36.exf5 e4 37.fxg6 hxg6 38.Ra7 e3! 39.b7 (39.Rxe3 Rb2+=) 39…Rf3! (right on time, and now Black has sufficient counterplay due to е3-е2 threat) 40.Rb2 Rf2 41.Rb3 Rf3! (but not 41…e2?? 42.Re3+-).

 34.Kc6 Re7 35.Raa5! Now White coordinates his rooks, and the b-pawn inevitably promotes.

 35…Re6+ 36.Rd6 Re7 37.Rdd5 Re6+ 38.Kc7 Re7+ 39.Kc8 Re8+ 40.Kd7!

40…Kf8. Loses at once, but the best try 40…Rb8 41.Kc7 Re8 42.b7 Rc2+ 43.Rac5 Rxh2 44.Rd8! Re7+ 45.Rd7 Re8 46.b8Q Rxb8 47.Kxb8 is equally hopeless.

 41.b7 Re7+ 42.Kc6 Re6+ 43.Kc7. Easier is 43.Rd6!

 43…Re7+ 44.Kb6, and here Aronian resigned.

Peter Svidler – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Sicilian Defense B90

 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Bg7 10.Be2. This move leads to a forced sequence with a pretty good equalizing chances for Black. Recently White plays 10.h3 or 10.Qd2 more often, but it does not help to claim an opening advantage either.



11.h4. 11.Bxg4 is a serious alternative, leading to either 11…Bxg4 12.f3 Bd7 13.Bf2 Nc6 with unclear play, or 11…hxg4 12.Nd5 Nc6 13.Nf5 Bxf5 14.exf5 Bxb2 15.Rb1 Qa5+ 16.Qd2 Bd4 17.Qxa5 Nxa5 18.c3 Bf6! (18…Bc5 19.Nc7+ Kd7 20.Nxa8 Rxa8 with an advantage to White, Shirov-Grischuk, Wijk aan Zee 2011).

 11…Nc6 12.Nb3 gxh4 13.Bxh4 Be6 14.Qd2 Qb6 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.exd5 Nd4. 16…Nce5 17.Bg3 Kf8 18.Bxg4 hxg4 19.Rxh8+ Bxh8 20.Qe2 deserves attention (Morozevich-Grischuk, Moscow 2006), and here 20…a5! gives Black a slightly more promising game: 21.0–0–0 a4 22.Nd4 Nc6! 23.dxc6 Bxd4 24.c3 Bf6 25.a3 bxc6 26.Qxg4 c5.

 17.Nxd4 Qxd4 18.Qxd4 Bxd4.


19.c3. This novelty almost by force leads to an endgame that is slightly unpleasant for Black, but is drawn objectively. The critical move here is 19.0–0–0. 19…Bf6?? 20.Bxg4 hxg4 21.Bxf6+- would be embarrassing. After 19…Be5 20.Rh3!? Kd7 21.Rb3 Rab8 22.a4 Rhg8 23.Kb1 Bf6 24.Rh1 Bxh4 25.Rxh4 Nf6 26.g3 White got a small edge in Kotronias-King, Gausdal 1993.

 It seems 19…Bxf2!? does not lose, too. 20.Bxg4 Be3+ 21.Kb1 hxg4 22.Rde1 (22.Bf2 Bh6!) 22…Bd4 23.Rxe7+ Kf8 24.Re4 (also after 24.Rxb7 Bf6 25.g3 Bxh4 26.gxh4 Re8 Black has good counterplay) 24…Re8 25.Rxg4 Bf6 26.g3 Bxh4 27.gxh4 Rh5, and Black should hold.

 19…Bf6 20.0–0–0. On 20.Bg3 Black can try 20…h4 (20…Kd8!? with the idea of creating kingside pressure by Kс7andRаg8 is quite interesting) 21.Bxg4 (after 21.Bf4 Ne5 Black’s construction in the center is very stable, allowing him to remain optimistic about his future) 21…hxg3 22.Rxh8+ Bxh8 23.f4 Bf6 24.Ke2 b5 25.a3 a5, and Black should survive.

 20…Kd7 21.Bxg4+ hxg4 22.Bxf6 exf6 23.Rxh8 Rxh8 24.Rd4 Rh5 25.Rxg4 Rxd5 26.Rf4.


Despite numerous weaknesses, Black’s position can be held, which Shakhriyar proved convincingly.

 26…Ke6 27.Kc2 Rg5 28.g3 Re5 29.Kd3 Rd5+ 30.Rd4 Rf5 31.Re4+ Kd7 32.Ke3 Re5 33.Kd4. After 33.Rxe5 fxe5 34.c4 f5 35.f3 Ke6 an attempt to create an adjacent passed pawn does not really work: 36.g4 fxg4 37.fxg4 Kf6 38.Ke4 b6 39.b4 a5 40.bxa5 bxa5 41.a4 Kg5 42.c5 dxc5 43.Kxe5 Kxg4, and White wins a pawn, but not the game – 44.Kd5 Kf5 45.Kxc5 Ke6 46.Kb5 Kd7 47.Kxa5 Kc8, and Black gets there with a tempo to spare.

 33…Rh5. Of course not 33…Rxe4+? 34.Kxe4 Ke6 35.g4!, winning.

 34.a4 b6 35.b3 Rh1 36.Kd3 Rd1+ 37.Kc2 Rf1 38.Rf4 Ke6 39.Kd3 f5 40.Ke2 Rc1 41.Kd2 Rf1 42.Ke2. Draw.