Shipov’s impressions of Round 5 included holding back some analysis for his friend Boris, dismissing the “iron lumps” of computers and describing Shirov and Nakamura as players capable of “turning even a dry endgame into a fierce and ultra-complex thriller”.
The express report was posted at the Chess-News website. You can play through the games in the viewer at the end of the report.
Kramnik – Wang Hao
The Chinese young man (he’s very charming, by the way – his smile wouldn’t be out of place in a movie) is successfully forcing people to respect him. Today the outcome of the opening was, it seemed, fatal – a slightly worse queenless position against the most sophisticated technician on the planet. But then he drew it with remarkable confidence!
None of the nuances found in analysis fundamentally changed anything. Unless… Kramnik should have refrained from taking the d7 bishop. After 24. axb3 Rfd8 25. Rb1! he’d have had real chances of success, as Black’s discovered check is a trifle. If the bishop takes the g2 pawn then White successfully queens the b3 pawn.
However, you can understand Vladimir. The subtle manoeuvre 24…Rfd8! 25. Rd5 Rdc8! could have been missed by anyone, and after all that’s the only way of equalising, but Wang Hao found it. Well done! It seems China now has a new leader. Wang Yue has been overthrown.
Aronian – Karjakin
The tournament leader missed an excellent opportunity to break away from his competitors. Karjakin got into a real mess in the opening – he repeated a line which he’d used against Mamedyarov and ran into Aronian’s home preparation (12. Bc1!?). I took a real dislike to the reply 12…b6. He should have chosen 12…d6 13. Ba3 Qa5 14. 0-0 Be6, a much better means of giving up the backward d-pawn.
In the game, however, White gained an extra pawn almost for nothing. To Karjakin’s credit he didn’t fall apart, gritted his teeth and got down to defending – tenaciously and patiently. Analysing I found a few moments when White could have played a little better. The last of them was in the rook ending. Instead of 41. e6 it was more accurate to play 41. f5!, not allowing Black to construct a solid defence. After 41…Rxd7 42. Rxd7 Ra8 43. Kf3 you get a situation that’s dangerous for Black, where at any moment White can create a passed pawn or break through with his king to g5.
Levon, however, granted his opponent an amnesty. I think that after the game Sergey was extremely dissatisfied with his play in the opening and very satisfied with the result.
Grischuk – Mamedyarov
An extremely interesting duel in a topical line of the Grunfeld Defence. Sasha (Grischuk) played a sharp novelty 10. h4! and built up serious pressure. It seems that at some point Shakhriyar committed an inaccuracy (instead of the moves he made in the game it was worth looking at 13…Bxd4!? and a little later 15…e5!), as with 16. Qh2! (instead of the insipid 16. Qf2) White would have gained a strong attack. It’s possible that Grischuk was worried by the reply 16…h5 17. gxh5 Na4, but if you continue the line with the crude but strong 18. Rd3! then it becomes obvious that Black has serious problems.
In the game an exchange of queens followed, leading to an approximately equal, but complex, endgame. In it Sasha walked across hot coals in his bare feet. White’s sharp attack was only dangerous for himself, as opening the game was what Black’s powerful bishops had been waiting for. With 38…Nxe4! Mamedyarov could have got serious winning chances (the tactical idea is Nxe4 39. Rxd3 (39. fxg6+ Kh8!) 39…Nf2 40. Rd2 Nxg4!) but in heavy time trouble he missed his scoring chance.
In general it was a fascinating fighting draw of the highest order, providing the fans with a great deal of entertainment.
Eljanov – Gelfand
A theoretically important game. The Ukrainian grandmaster found an excellent means of avoiding the hackneyed paths in the Meran (14. Ne2!? instead of 14. Ng5 and 14. Nd4 which have been analysed to death), which was clearly an unpleasant surprise for the Israeli.
I think I’ll keep quiet on the conclusions of my opening analysis. The Meran is a very subtle thing. Firstly, I might have got something wrong, and secondly, if I really managed to understand something important, then it’ll be better to tell my friends and acquaintances about it. For example, Boris…
In the game he stubbornly defended a very difficult position and, in my opinion, had real chances of saving the unsaveable.
I think the last mistake was 41…fxg3? It was clearly stronger to play 41…Rb3 42. Kg2 Rb2+ 43. Kh3 Rb3! with the following defensive idea: 44.Kg4 h5+! 45.Kxh5 fxg3 46.hxg3 Rxf3 47.Kg4 (47.g4 Rf4) 47…Re3 48.Kf5 Rxg3 49.Kxe5 Kg7 – and you get a theoretical draw. After the exchange of pawns on g3, however, White had no trouble in organising the decisive advance.
Well done, Pavel! He’s pulled out of a serious nosedive. There’s still a chance of saving both his renown and his rating.
Shirov – Nakamura
Such creative players are capable of turning even a dry endgame into a fierce and ultra-complex thriller – which is what happened today.
Alexei seemed to handle the Berlin endgame innocuously. For me there weren’t and couldn’t be any serious problems for Black. For example, if instead of 16…g5?! he’d chosen 16…Bg7!
The most important moment in the game was White’s 20th move. Shirov shouldn’t have taken the exchange, but a piece, with 20. f5! After 20…Nxf5 21. gxf5 Bxf5 22. h4 he’d have got certain winning chances, moreover, without the slightest risk.
In the game, however, Black got completely obvious and serious counterplay on the queenside in return for the exchange. Don’t believe the computer’s evaluations – it’s just a lump of iron and doesn’t understand the slightest thing about such complex endings. To be on the safe side Shirov returned the exchange and made a draw in the opposite-coloured bishop ending. And he was right to do so.
Game viewer by Chess Tempo