Frankfurt. Fujitsu-Siemens Giants
Time control was 25 min. for the whole game.
Kramnik - Leko [A30]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. g3
V. Kramnik shows his way to avoid the Gruenfeld Defence. To do it after 3.Nc3 d5 4.cd Nxd5 would be much more complicated for White.
3... d5 4. d4
White’s plan does not imply to surrender the centre: 4.cxd5 Nxd5.
The point of White’s conception is very likely in the line 4... cxd4 5. Bg2 Qa5+ (after 5... Nc6 6. Nxd4 Black would have a prospect to encounter the Gruenfeld Defence with reversed colours and, respectively, a spare tempo by White) 6. Nbd2 Nc6 7. O-O e5, and now after 8. Nb3 Qd8 9. cxd5 Nxd5 White got an advantage in the game Topalov - Shirov (Monte Carlo (active),1999) with 10. Nxe5!
5. Qa4+ Bd7 6. Qxc4 Bc6 7. Bg2
After 7. dxc5 Bd5 8. Qa4+ Bc6 9. Qc4 Bd5 10. Qc2 e6 11. Bg2 Be4 12. Qc4 Bd5 13. Qh4 Bxc5 14. Nc3 Bc6 there was a complex position with mutual chances in the game Kramnik - Kasparov (Linares, 2000).
In case of 7... å6 the game would turn to a variation of the Catalan Opening.
8. O-O Qd5 9. Na3 a6
A helpful prophylactic move. The attempt to complicate with 9... Qxc4 10. Nxc4 Bb5 (if 10... Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Nc6, then after 12. Rd1 Rd8 13. Bf4 White takes back the sacrificed pawn soon and keeps a development advantage.) 11. Na5 Bxe2 (after 11... Nc6 12. Nxc6 Bxc6 13. Nxd4 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 White’s position is more pleasant) 12. Re1 d3 13. Nd4 would have the result that Black’s pieces would hang, the two extra pawns being just a temporary comfort. White would keep better chances after 9... e5 10. Qxd5 Bxd5 (10... Nxd5 11. Nxe5 Bxa3 12. Nxc6 Nxc6 13. Bxd5) 11.Nb5 Na6 12.Nxe5, too. In the last line the absence of the black pawn on a6 would tell.
White does not hurry to restore the material balance. He wants to keep the square e5 controlled by his king’s knight as long as possible. In case of an immediate take-back of the pawn with 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. Nxd4 Bxg2 12. Kxg2 White would have to reckon with 12... e5.
White could spoil the pawn structure on the queenside with 10... e5 11.Qxd5 Bxd5 12. Nxe5 Bxg2 13. Kxg2 Bxa3 14.bxa3, but then his central pawn on d4 would be disastrously weak and would not not live long.
11. Rxd4 Qxc4 12. Nxc4 Bc5 13. Rd1 Nbd7 14. Bf4 O-O 15. Rac1 Rac8
As a result of the originally played opening there arose a position that was closer to the Catalan System than to the English Opening that had been played on the first moves of the game.
White begins to intrude into his opponent’s camp. The exchange of the dark-squared bishop secures a rather stable position for the white knight on d6. In case of an immediate 16. Nd6 the white knight would be vulnerable enough after 16... Rcd8.
16... Bxd6 17. Nxd6 Rb8 18. Nd4
The bishop on c6 serves as a reliable cement for Black’s defence. White must exchange it in order to develop his initiative.
18... Bxg2 19. Kxg2
The move 19... Rfd8 is bad because after 20. Nf3 Black would have problems showing any activity. For instance, in case of 20... Nd5 21. e4 N7f6 White has 22.Nxf7! (after 22. exd5 Rxd6 23. dxe6 Rxe6 24. Rc7 Ne8 the position becomes equal) 22.... Kxf7 (Black feels bad after 22... Ne3+ 23. fxe3 Kxf7 24. Rc7+) 23. Ng5! (White keeps a minor but stable advantage after 23.exd5 Nxd5 24. Re1) 23... Kg6 (Black loses the pawn after 23... Ke7 24. exd5 Rxd5 25. Rxd5 exd5 26. Rc7+ Nd7 27.Nxh7 as well) 24. Nxe6 Nxe4, and then the combination 25.Rxd5! Rxd5 26. Nf4+ gives him an extra pawn.
Another promising opportunity for White was an attempt to blow on c5 with the knight. After 20. Nb3!? b6 21. h3 (preparing the advance f2-f4) 21... Rfd8 (if 21... Nd5, then there is a strong 22. e4 Rfd8 23. exd5 Rxd6 24. f4 Ng6 25. dxe6, and White wins a pawn) 22. f4 Ng6 23.e4 Rd7 24. Kf3 Rbd8 25. e5 Nd5 (if 25... Ne8, then 26. Rc6) 26. Nd4 Black would have to conduct a hard defence.
Black hurries to cover the square c7, though it could wait still. After 20... Ng6 21. Rc7 (there is no 21. e4? because of 21... Rfd8, as the binding on the d-file makes Black to part wit the material) 21... Nd5 22. Rxb7 Rxb7 23. Nxb7 Rb8 24. Nc5 Rxb2 25. a4 a5 Black maintains the balance.
21. e4 b6 22. Rcc1 Nb4 23. a3 Rbd8
There is no 23... Nbd3 because of 24. f4 Nxc1 25. fxe5 Na2 26. Nc6! Ra8 27. Ra1 with material losses by Black.
24. Nb7 Rd7 25. axb4 Rxb7
White wants to drive out from the centre the black knight with f2-f4 and prevent it from coming to g4, but he loses an important tempo at the same time. After 26. b5 a5 (if 26... axb5 27. Nxb5, then White gains an advantage in case of 27... Ra8 with 28. Nc7 Rab8 29. f4, and if 27... g5, then there is 28. f4, and 28... Ng4 is to be followed with 29. Rd6! ) 27. Nc6 Nd7 28. Ne7+ Kh8 29. Nc8 it’s not easy for Black to defend. So, in case of 29... Nc5 the continuation with 30. Nxb6 Rxb6 (for 30... Nxe4 there is a strong 31. Nd7 Re8 32. b6 ) 31. Rxc5 Rfb8 32. b4! axb4 33. Rd4 b3 34. Rb4 gives an extra pawn to White.
An air and an attempt to secure a more solid position for the knight on e5.
27. b5 is already late because of 27... axb5 28. Nxb5 Ra8, and Black is OK.
27... gxf4 28. gxf4 Ng6 29. Ne2 Rbb8 30. Rd6 Rfd8 31. Rcd1 Rxd6 32. Rxd6 Rc8 1/2-1/2
Draw. The chances of the opponents are equal.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qc7 5. Be2
The Indian grandmaster is of another opinion on this line of the Sicilian Defence. In the game Anand - Lautier (Tilburg, 1998) White managed to get an advantage after 5. Nb5 Qb8 6. c4 Nf6 7. N5c3 e6 8. Be2 Be7 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O Rd8 11. a3! b6 12. b4 Bb7 13. Ra2!.
5... Nf6 6. Nc3 e6 7. O-O a6 8. Be3 Bb4
Black switches the game to one of the main lines of the Paulsen Variation. The move 8... d6 would lead the game to the Scheveningen Variation, with the peculiarity that the early positioning of the black queen on c7 and of the knight on c6 would let White to do then without a2-a4 and spend this tempo to transfer his queen to the square g3.
9. Na4 Be7 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Nb6 Rb8 12. Nxc8 Qxc8 13. Bd4
The line with 13. e5 Nd5 14. Bc1 Bc5 15. c4 Ne7 would be quite convenient for Black.
13... c5 14. Be5 Rb6 15. Qd3
In case of an immediate 15. b3 White should reckon with the line 15... Nxe4!? 16. Bxg7 Rg8 that has become popular lately.
A timely move. After 15... O-O 16. b3 d6 17. Bb2 White can struggle for an advantage.
16. Bc3 O-O 17. b3 d5 18. exd5 Nxd5
The unhappy position of the white bishop on c3 begins to tell.
19. Bd2 Nb4 20. Qc4 Rd6
Refusnig the advantage of two bishops is the same as accepting a draw, but White has noting better. Apart from the capture of the bishop d2 there was the threat of the unpleasant 21... Rd4 22. Qc3 Bf6, while after 21. Be3 Nd5 22. Qxc5 Nxe3 23. Qxe3 Qxc2 the position would be very similar to what occurred in the game.
21... cxb4 22. Qxb4 Qxc2 23. Bxa6 Rxa6 24. Qxe7 Rxa2 25. Rxa2 Qxa2 26. b4 h6 27. h3 Qb3 28. Rc1 Rb8 29. Rc7 Qb1+ 30. Kh2 Qf5 31. Qd6 Ra8
Joint actions of the black queen and rook against the king can be rather dangerous, so White should simplify the position further.
32. Qc5 Qxc5 33. bxc5 Ra2 1/2-1/2
Shirov - Morozevich [C14]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7
Usually A. Morozevich prefers the variant with the move 4... dxe4 in the French Defence.
5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bxe7 Qxe7 7. f4 a6 8. Nf3 c5 9. Qd2 Nc6 10. O-O-O
A. Shirov is scared of nobody and nothing. 10. dxc5 would be more careful.
Black uses the given chance to gain a qualitative pawn advantage in that area of the board where the white king is sheltered.
11. f5 Nb6!
Black hurries to end with the development. After 11... b5 he would have to reckon with 12. Qg5.
Now the black pawn d5 is well defended, and the white pawn f5 is, on the contrary, underdefended, so that the move 12. Qg5 is impossible.
12... fxe6 13. h4 Bd7 14. h5 O-O-O 15. h6
On the one hand, White becomes several new black squares on the kingside (f6 first of all), but Black gets its own advantages, too. His light-squared bishop now can influence the subsequent play actively from the square g6.
15... gxh6 16. Rxh6 Rdg8 17. Qf4 Be8 18. Qf6 Bg6 19. g4?
White should not have delayed the exchange of the queens. An approximate balance on the board would have been kept after 19. Qxe7 Nxe7 20. g4.
19... Qe8 20. Bg2?
Another unhappy move, and now White is really bad. After 20. Ng5 Nd8 there would be nothing wrong with White, all the more that there would be no 20... Nd7? because of 21. Qxe6! Qf8 22. Rh2 Qf4+ 23. Rhd2 Qxg5, and White would be able to develop a strong attack with 24. Nxd5!.
20... Rf8 21. Qh4 Nb4 22. Rd2
Black knights fall on the white king. It turns out that White has no defence from the threats of the black pieces.
In case of 23. Kb1 the solution is 23... Nxc3+ 24. bxc3 Qa4! 25. cxb4 Qxb4+ 26. Kc1 (if 26. Ka1, then 26... c3) 26... c3 27. Rf2 Qb2+ 28. Kd1 Qb1+ 29. Ke2 Qxc2+ 30. Ke1 Qb1+ 31. Ke2 c2 and the c-pawn costs White very dear. 23. Nxa4 Qxa4 24. a3 is not better because of 24... c3! 25. bxc3 Qxa3+ 26. Kd1 Na2 with Black’s win.
23... Nxc3 24. bxc3 Qa4 25. cxb4 Qxa3+ 26. Kd1 Rxf3!
If 27. Bxf3, then the game is to be won with 27... Qxf3+ 28. Ke1 (after 28. Re2 there is 28... Bxc2+ 29. Kd2 c3+ 30. Kxc2 Qxe2+ 31. Kxc3 Kb8, and Black wins, introducing the rook from c8 into the attack, while in case of 28. Kc1 Qa3+ 29. Kd1 Black wins with 29... Rf8 30. Qe1 Rf4 31. Rh1 Re4) 28... Qe3+ 29. Kd1 Rf8 30. Qh1 (after 30. Qh3 the mere 30... Qg1+ 31. Ke2 Rf2+ is enough) 30... c3 31. Rdh2 Rf4 with an irresistible Re4.
27... Re3 28. Qxe6+ Kb8 29. Qd6+ Ka8 30. Re2 Qa1+ 31. Kd2 Qc3+ 0-1
"He who fears an isolated queen's pawn should give up chess". Siegbert Tarrasch
"The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move"! David Bronstein.