GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko comments on the games of the 5th round

Detailed analysis of the FIDE Candidates tournament fifth round games by GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko.

Dmitry Andreikin – Viswanathan Anand
Ruy Lopez C65

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxc6. A few days ago Andreikin tested 5.c3 against Karjakin.

5…dxc6 6.Be3 Bxe3 7.fxe3 Qe7 8.0–0. 8.Nbd2 0–0 9.Qe2 Nd7 10.0–0 a5 11.d4 c5 12.c3 b6 13.Qf2 Ba6 14.Rfe1 Rae8 15.Qg3 Kh8 16.Rad1 g6 17.h3, draw, Topalov – Anand, Monte Carlo 2003.

8…0–0. This natural move is a novelty. Earlier Black played 8…Bg4 and 8…Ng4.



9…Ne8!? 10.Qc3 f6 11.b4 Nd6. Vishy finds a very good place for a knight, where it controls the situation on both flanks.

12.a4 Bd7 13.Nbd2 b6 14.a5 Kh8 15.Ra2. White’s position may look better, but it is hard to suggest a reasonable plan.

15…Rab8 16.axb6 axb6 17.Qa1.


17…Nb7. According to Andreikin, he missed this move in connection with the с6-с5 idea.

18.Qc3 c5 19.bxc5 Nxc5 20.Ra7. White cannot break in the center by 20.d4?! exd4 21.exd4 Nxe4 22.Nxe4 Qxe4 23.Qxc7 Qe3+ 24.Kh1 Bg4, and he also managed to create problems for himself.

20…Rfc8 21.Rfa1 b5 22.d4. Beginning to play with fire! Opening the center favors Black, because his bishop may become stronger than the white knight. The natural 22.Qb4, to which Black must reply 22…Qd6, also does not promise White much – 23.Nb3 Nxb3 24.Qxd6 cxd6 25.cxb3 Be6 26.b4 Rc3 with enough counterplay.

22…exd4 23.exd4?! The computer condemns this automatic recapture, however Black does not experience any problems after the recommended 23.Qb4 Qd6 24.Qxd4 due to 24…Bc6! 25.e5!? (25.Qxd6 leads to complete equality – 25…cxd6 26.Nd4 Bxe4 27.Nxe4 Nxe4 28.Re7 Re8!) 25…Qe7, and renewing the pin is just a waste of time – 26.Qb4?! fxe5 27.Nb3? Bxf3 28.gxf3 Qg5+!

23…Nxe4 24.Nxe4 Qxe4 25.Rxc7.


25…Bf5. As Vishy explained after the game, this move is based on a slight miscalculation. The immediate 25…h6 seems stronger, and on 26.Raa7 Black continues 26…Bg4! with unpleasant pressure.

26.Raa7 h6. Initially Anand planned 26…Qxc2, but after 27.Qxc2 Bxc2 28.Rab7! White wins the b5-pawn.

27.Qd2 Rxc7 28.Rxc7 Bg4 29.Rc3 b4 30.Re3 Qd5 31.h3 Bf5 32.Rb3 Qc4. This position clearly favors Black, however, a weakness on b4 makes active operations less desirable.

33.Rb2. Anand thought White would have kind of a fortress after 33.Ne1. However, the character of the game after 33…Kg8 34.Kf2 Kf7 35.Kg1 g5 is way to depressing for a young man.

33…Be4 34.Kf2 Bxf3 35.Kxf3 Rb5. Both players regarded it as the best practical chance. Another attempt to create threats – 35…Qf1+ 36.Kg3 Re8! looks a lot more dangerous. White must discover 37.c4!, and after 37…Re4 38.Kh2 b3 39.Qc3 Qf4+ 40.Qg3 Qxg3+ 41.Kxg3 Rxd4 42.Rxb3 Rxc4 Black’s extra pawn cannot be converted into anything.


36.Qd3! Dmitry Andreikin was in a time trouble, but nevertheless made such an important decision. After the game the players analyzed 36.Kg3 Qc7+ 37.Kf2 Qh2 38.Qd3 Qf4+! 39.Kg1 Qc1+ 40.Kh2 Qxb2 41.Qxb5 Qxd4, and Black retains good practical winning chances.

36…Qxd3+ 37.cxd3 Kg8 38.d5 Kf7 39.Ke4 Ke7 40.Kd4 Kd6 41.Kc4 Rc5+ 42.Kd4 Rxd5+.


The sequence above is almost forced, however, Black’s draw offer raises eyebrows. After 42…Rxd5+ 43.Kc4 Rc5+ 44.Kd4 he can try 44…Rg5 (the pawn ending after 44…Rb5 45.Kc4 Rb8 46.Rxb4 Rxb4+ 47.Kxb4 Kd5 48.Kc3 f5 is drawn in many ways, here is the most straightforward one: 49.d4 f4 50.Kd3 g5 51.Ke2! Kxd4 52.Kf3! Ke5 53.Kg4! Ke4 54.h4=) 45.Kc4 Rg3 46.Rd2 f5 47.Kxb4 Kd5. Black clearly wasted a chance to play for a win without the slightest risk, and I am not sure Vishy will not regret it in the end of the tournament.


Sergey Karjakin – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Sicilian Defense B52

Facing an early surprise, Karjakin avoided the discussion in the main Sicilian, so we can only guess about Mamedyarov’s intentions.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bg7 9.0–0 0–0 10.b3. A rare move that recently became popular.

10…Nc6 11.Bb2 a6 12.Nd5. Adams-Areschenko, 2013 (quoted by Karjakin at the press-conference) went 12.Nxc6 Qxc6 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Qc5 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Re1 e5 17.dxe6 fxe6 18.Qd2 (18.Rxe6 Qxf2+ 19.Kh1 Rae8 20.Rxd6, and Black’s activity gives him sufficient counterplay) 18…Rf6 19.Rad1 Raf8 with a good counterplay for Black.

12…Nxd5 13.exd5 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bxd4 15.Qxd4.


It was a bit surprising that Sergey considered his position more pleasant. It is usually very hard to shake the balance in such endings.

15…b5 16.Rfe1 Rfc8 17.h4 bxc4 18.bxc4 h5. The weakness on е7 is sufficiently compensated by the weakness on с4, so Black just needs to be careful.

19.Re4 Rc7 20.Rae1 Rac8 21.Qb6.


21…a5!? Shakhriyar is true to his style! With this pawn sacrifice Black activates his pieces and makes an easy draw. It looks like he can also hold after 21…Rxc4 22.Rxe7 Qf5 23.Qxd6 Rc2, for example, 24.f3 Rxa2 25.Re8+ Rxe8 26.Rxe8+ Kh7 27.Qf8 Qf6! with equality.

22.Qxa5 Rxc4 23.Rxe7 Qf5 24.Qd2 Qf4! 25.Qxf4 Rxf4 26.g3. Accepting the inevitability of a draw. After the careless 26.Rd7 Rc2 27.f3 Rxa2 28.Rxd6 Rd4 followed by …Rdd2 White may run into difficulties.

26…Rf5 27.a4 Rxd5 28.Re8+ Rxe8 29.Rxe8+ Kg7 30.Ra8 Rd3 31.a5. Draw. The final position is drawn even without black d6-pawn.

Peter Svidler – Veselin Topalov
Ruy Lopez C78

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Bc5 6.c3 b5 7.Bc2 d5. The Ukrainian-American Alexander Onischuk is one of the main experts of this variation. Topalov never played it as Black and faced it a few times as White.

8.d4 dxe4 9.dxe5 Qxd1!? 9…exf3 10.exf6 Qxf6 11.Nd2 0–0 12.Ne4 Qg6 13.Ng3 Qf6 14.Qd3 g6 15.Ne4 Qf5 16.Nxc5 fxg2 17.Re1 Qxc5 18.Qf3 Kg7 19.Be3 Qc4 20.Bb3 Ne5 21.Qg3 Qh4 22.Qxe5+, Svidler-Stefanova, Gibraltar 2009.

10.Rxd1 exf3 11.exf6 gxf6 12.Be4 Bd7.


13.a4?! Based on a miscalculation, as Svidler explained at the press-conference. The only preceding game continued 13.Bxf3 0–0–0 14.Bf4 Ne5 15.Be4 Bg4 16.Rxd8+ Rxd8 17.Nd2 Nd3 18.Bxd3 Rxd3 19.Ne4 Be7 20.h3 Be6 21.a4 b4 22.cxb4 Rd4 23.f3 f5 24.Be5 Rxb4 25.Nf6 Bxf6 26.Bxf6 Bd7 27.a5 Ra4, draw, Filev-Vlashki, Kula 2009.

13…0–0–0 14.axb5 Ne5 15.Bf4. Seemingly the lesser of evils. Initially Svidler planned 15.Rxa6, but Black has an amazing reply – 15…Bc6!! 16.Bf5+ Kb8, and White is in big trouble.

Computer also recommends 15.Rxd7!?, but after the correct 15…Nxd7! 16.Bf4 Rhe8 17.Nd2 axb5 18.Bxf3 White has no compensation for an exchange.

15…Bxb5 16.Na3.


16…Rxd1+?! Sergey Shipov and Sergey Rublevsky condemned this move during the online relay. Indeed, the trade looks illogical, as it allows White to activate his rook on the d-file.

17.Rxd1 Be2?! Simply 17…Bxa3 18.bxa3 fxg2, and Black surely will not lose.

18.Rd5 Rg8? This intermediate move gives Black more trouble. 18…Bxa3 19.bxa3 fxg2 was still on the agenda, although here Black would have to play very carefully after 20.Bxe5 fxe5 21.Rxe5.

19.g3 Bxa3 20.bxa3? Missing a chance to take on h7 in between – 20.Bxh7 c6!? (the only sensible reply, 20…Re8 21.Bf5+ Kb8 22.bxa3 is clearly bad) 21.Rd2 Rd8 22.Bf5+ Kc7 23.Bxe5+! fxe5 24.Rxd8 Kxd8 25.bxa3, and it seems White should win.

20…Ng6 21.Be3 Re8 22.Bf5+. 22.Bc2 Re5 23.Rxe5 fxe5 24.h4!? deserves attention, and Black will suffer in the endgame.

22…Kb7 23.Rd4 Re5 24.g4 a5 25.h3 h5 26.Be4+ Ka6 27.gxh5 Rxh5.


28.Rd8. In the case of 28.Rd7 Re5 29.Bc6 (29.Bc2 followed by the h-pawn march might be stronger) 29…Ne7! (after 29…Rxe3 30.fxe3 Ne5 31.Ba4 the bishop ending should be won for White) 30.Rxc7 Nxc6 31.Rxc6+ Kb5 32.Rxf6 Ka4 Black has serious counterplay compared to the game due to the a-pawn.

28…Ne5. Probably the most tenacious. Peter thought Black must play 28…Rxh3, but it is refuted by 29.Rb8 Rh8 30.Rb2, and the black king cannot survive – 30…a4 31.Bb7+ Ka5 32.c4 with an inevitable mating threat from d2 or b5.

Also interesting is 28…c5 29.a4 Rh4, but after 30.Rd6+ Ka7 31.Bf5 Rxa4 32.Bxc5+ Kb8 33.Rxf6 Black’s position remains very difficult.

29.a4! White begins to hunt the enemy king. Black’s next moves are forced.

29…c6 30.Rb8 Nc4 31.Bd4 c5 32.Bxf6 Nb6 33.Bd8 Nd5 34.Ra8+. 34.Rc8 Re5 35.Rxc5 Rxe4 36.Rxa5+ Kb7 37.Rxd5 Rxa4 transposes to the game.

34…Kb7 35.Rxa5 Re5 36.Rxc5 Rxe4 37.Rxd5 Rxa4 38.Rf5 Kc8 39.Bg5 Rc4 40.Bd2.


This endgame is won for White, because the opposite-colored bishop ending is won as well.

40…Rc7?! This game cannot be saved by defending passively. The computer suggests an interesting idea: 40…Rh4 41.Kh2 Bf1 42.Rxf3 Rh5!, and if Black plays f7-f5, it is hard for White to make progress, while on 43.Rxf7 Rxh3+ 44.Kg1 there is 44…Be2! 45.f4 Bc4, and White faces serious technical obstacles.

41.h4 Kd8 42.Bg5+ Ke8 43.Rd5!? The board is almost empty, but Svidler manages to create mating threats even here.

43…f5 44.h5 Rc4 45.Rd4 Rxc3 46.h6 Rc8 47.h7 Kf7.


48.Bd8! Black resigns. An amusing fact: White managed to win this endgame without a single move of his king!

Vladimir Kramnik – Levon Aronian
Queen’s Indian Defense E14

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.e3. Vladimir rejects his favorite Catalan (4.g3) and opts for a very modest approach. On 4.Nc3 Black could play the Ragozin or 4…с6.

4…b6. Aronian goes for the Queen’s Indian.

5.Nc3 Bb7 6.cxd5. Keeping the central tension by 6.Bd3 is also possible.

6…exd5 7.Bb5+ c6 8.Bd3. Black’s c-pawn usually goes to с5 anyway, but luring it to c6 actually makes sense because of е3-е4 possibilities in some lines.

8…Be7. Another direction is 8…Bd6 9.0–0 0–0, where White has not only the plan executed in the game, but also the aforementioned 10.e4 dxe4 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Bxe4 Nd7 13.Bg5 Qc7 14.Qc2 h6 15.Bh4 with some hope for an advantage.

9.0–0 0–0 10.b3 Nbd7 11.Bb2 Re8 12.Ne5.


12…Bd6. The immediate 12…Bb4 deserves attention. This move occurred in the only preceding game, and after 13.f4 Black can try 13…Bxc3!? (the game in question continued 13…a6 14.Bf5 Nf8 15.Rc1 b5 16.Ne2 Qb6 17.Ng3 Bd6 18.Qc2 a5 19.Rf3 a4 20.Bd3 axb3 21.axb3 Ng6 22.Nf5 Bf8 23.Rff1 Rac8 24.Qe2 b4 25.h4 Red8 26.h5 Ne7 27.Ng3 h6 28.Rc2 Ra8 29.Rfc1 Rd6 30.Qd2 Bc8 31.Ra1 Rb8 32.Rcc1 Ne8 33.Qc2 Rf6 34.Nh1 Qb7 35.Nf2 Kh8 36.Nfg4 Bxg4 37.Nxg4 Rd6 38.Ne5 Rf6 39.Ra4 Ng8 40.Rca1 1–0, Lukacs-Votava, Budapest 1995) 14.Bxc3 Ne4 15.Rc1!? (15.Bb2 Ndf6, establishing control over е4) 15…Qe7 (15…Nxc3? loses to 16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Qh5+ Kg8 18.Qxf7+ Kh8 19.Rf3 or 18…Kh7 19.Rf3 Qh4 20.Nxd7) 16.Be1 Rac8, and White is still better.

13.f4. Strengthening on е5 and preparing the kingside attack.

13…c5 14.Qf3 cxd4 15.exd4 Bb4. Black is ready to part with the bishop in order to put his knight on е4 – a typical idea with this pawn structure.

16.Ne2. Playing by the plan. The knight goes to g3 to support the attack. Black’s control over the c-file is irrelevant, because the invasion squares are controlled by white bishops.

16…Ne4 17.a3 Bf8.


18.Rad1!? The idea behind this move is not just defending against …Nd2 (to which White always has at least Qh3). This is more of a useful waiting move – White’s setup is flexible, and the rook is likely to be very useful on d1.

The position is not ready yet for the straightforward 18.Qh3 Ndf6 19.g4?!, as after 19…Bc8 20.Qg2 Nd6 21.g5 Nfe4 Black rearranges his forces, and his future is bright.

18…a6. Preparing b6-b5 to vacate the b6-square for a queen. Black cannot push the white knight away: 18…f6? 19.Qxe4! However, there was an interesting alternative to the text – 18…Ndf6 19.g4 Nd6 20.g5 Nfe4 21.Ng3 Rc8, and Black seems in order.

19.a4. As for 19.b4, Kramnik didn’t want to weaken the c4-square after 19…Ndf6 and …Nd6.

19…Rc8 20.Qh5 g6. The ideas behind а3-а4 are revealed in 20…Qe7 21.Ba3! Ndf6 22.Bxe7 Nxh5 23.Bxf8 Rxf8 24.Nd7 Rfe8 25.Nxb6 Rc7 26.a5!, and White is a pawn up for nothing.



21…Ndf6. A rather provocative decision. At the press-conference Vladimir said 21…f5 22.g4 fxg4 23.Qxg4 Ndf6 24.Qg2 Rc7 25.f5 Rg7 is best for Black, however, both players missed that after 26.fxg6 Black can play 26…Rxe5! (after 26…hxg6 27.Bc1 White has a clear advantage) 27.dxe5 Rxg6 28.exf6 Bc5+! 29.Bd4 Rxg2+ 30.Kxg2 Kf7!


One of many crazy positions I saw analyzing this game. For a human eye White is almost winning, but the computer keeps kicking: 31.Bxe4 (after 31.Bxc5 Nxc5 32.Nd4 Qg8+ 33.Kh1 Nxd3 34.Rxd3 Qg4 White cannot improve his position because he must block the d-pawn) 31…dxe4 32.Bxc5 e3+! 33.Kg3 Qc7+ 34.Bd6 Qc2! 35.Rc1 Qg6+ 36.Kh4! Qh6+ 37.Kg4, and, as always with lengthy computer lines, the game ends in a draw by perpetual.

22.f5 g5?! Levon decides against opening the f-file. The text-move has its drawbacks as well. The safest alternative is 22…Rc7! 23.fxg6 fxg6 24.Bc1 Bg7.

23.Ng3. The white knight immediately goes to h5.

23…b5?! Played after extended thought and is not approved by the machine.

24.axb5 Qb6. This was the point of the pawn sacrifice: e5 is attacked, and black pieces are getting active…


25.Kh1!? White decides to avoid small skirmishes and implements his strategic plan of a full-scale kingside attack. The computer suggest 25.bxa6!? Bxa6 26.Nxe4 dxe4 27.Bxa6 Qxa6 28.Qg3 h6 29.h4, and it looks very promising for White.

25…axb5 26.Bxe4 dxe4 27.d5. Kramnik considered his position nearly winning – it all looks very scary for the black king. However, Levon found an amazing counterplay idea!

27…e3! 28.Ng4 Nxg4 29.Qxg4 h6! Not 29…f6 30.Nh5! Bg7 31.Nxg7 e2 32.Nh5 exf1Q+ 33.Rxf1, and White wins.

30.Ne4. 30.Nh5 changes nothing.


30…Rc2! 31.Nf6+ Qxf6 32.Bxf6 e2. A fantastic position! White has numerous options, but cannot achieve any significant gains.

33.Bxg5!? A strong practical decision – safety comes first, and after the time control White can keep playing for a win without much risk. After 33.Qf3 exf1Q+ 34.Qxf1 Black holds only by 34…Rce2! If 34.Rxf1? then 34…Rd2 and …Bd5, and Black wins.

33…Bxd5? Black oversteps boundaries of reasonable risk, trying to complicate the game as much as he can. The greedy 33…exf1Q+ 34.Rxf1 hxg5 35.Qxg5+ Kh7 36.f6 Ree2! 37.Rg1 Rcd2 would force White to give the perpetual.

34.Bxh6+. White probably wins after 34.Be7+ Bg7 (34…Kh7? 35.f6! exf1Q+ 36.Rxf1+-; 34…Kh8 35.Qd4+ Kh7 36.Qxd5) 35.Rg1 exd1Q 36.Qxd1 Rxg2 37.Qxd5 Rxg1+ 38.Kxg1 Rxe7 39.Qxb5, etc.



35.Bxf8?! Being under time pressure, Kramnik didn’t dare to try the head-spinning 35.Rg1 Bxh6 36.Rde1, and it seems White should win: 36…Bxb3 37.f6! Re5 38.Qd4 Re3 39.g4!, etc.

35…exf1Q+ 36.Rxf1 Rxg2 37.Qxg2. Keeping the queen by 37.Qh5+ Kg8 38.Rf3 Rf2 39.Qg4+ Kxf8 40.Qb4+ Kg8 41.Qg4+ only leads to the perpetual.

37…Bxg2+ 38.Kxg2 Rxf8 39.Kf3. At the press-conference Kramnik regretted this endgame emerged before the move 40, therefore he had no time to dig deeper.

39…Kg7 40.Ke4 Rh8 41.Kd4 Rc8.


42.Rf4. After 42.f6+ Kg6 43.h4 Black is saved by 43…b4! 44.Rf3 Rc2 45.Kd5 Rc3, and White cannot make progress.

42…Kf6 43.h4 Re8?! Keeping the rook on the c-file is simpler.

44.Kc5 Re5+ 45.Kd6 Re3! Not 45…Rxf5 46.Rxf5+ Kxf5 47.Ke7! Kg6 48.h5+ Kg7 49.h6+ Kg8 50.h7+ Kg7 51.h8Q+ Kxh8 52.Kxf7, and White wins (given by Kramnik).

46.Rb4!? One of the last attempts to create problems. Black holds after 46.b4 Rc3! 47.Kd5 Rc1 48.h5 Kg5 49.Rf2 Rc4 50.Ke5 Rxb4 51.Rg2+ Kxh5 52.Rg7 Rb1, etc.

46…Kxf5 47.Rxb5+ Kg4 48.h5 f5 49.h6 Rh3 50.Ke5 Rxh6 51.Rb4+.


51…Kf3! The simplest. Kramnik also showed 51…Kg5 52.Rb8!? f4 53.Rg8+ Rg6! 54.Rxg6+ Kxg6 55.Kxf4 Kf6=.

52.Kxf5. The next sequence was played with smiling faces…

52…Ke3 53.Ke5 Kd3 54.Rb8 Kc3 55.b4 Kc4 56.Rb7 Rh5+ 57.Kd6 Rh6+ 58.Kd7 Rh7+ 59.Kc6 Rxb7 60.Kxb7 Kxb4. Draw.

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