**Round 8**

**Shirov - Van Wely [B81]**

**1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3
e6 7. g4 **

In the duel with Boris Gelfand in the sixth round Alexei
Shirov refused to play his favourite variation in a game which
was of fundamental importance for him, but the result was rather
distressful. This time the grandmaster from Spain shows his
willingness to begin a theoretical dispute in one of the keenest
variations of the Sicilian Defence.

**7... e5 8. Nf5 g6 9. g5 gxf5 10. exf5 d5 11. Qf3 d4 12.
O-O-O Nbd7 13. Bd2 Qc7 14. gxf6 **

Until the last move the opponents repeated Shirov’s game
from the first round (Shirov - Svidler, Polanica Zdroj, 2000)
when after 14. Bd3 Nc5 15. gxf6 dxc3 16. Bxc3 Qc6 17. Qe3 e4 18.
Bc4 Bxf5 19. Rd4 Ne6 20. Bd5 Qb6 Black managed to repel White’s
main threats and kept his extra piece.

**14... dxc3 15. Bxc3 Qc6 **

Continuing the manoeuvre which Black began with his thirteenth
move. Another opportunity which was connected with the move 15...
Nxf6 was less consistent and allowed White to create very strong
pressure upon the pawn e5 which was the only obstacle on the way
to the black king for White’s pieces.

**16. Qg3!?**

Now the long-expected reinforcement comes. White avoids an
exchange of his valuable rook and turns his attention to the
black pawn e5 first of all.

**16... Bh6+**

Black does not hurry to decide the future of White’s rook
h1, delaying this until the next move. In case of an immediate
16... Qxh1 White caught the black queen with 17. Bg2, but after
17... Bh6+ 18. Bd2 Bxd2+ 19. Kxd2 Qxd1+ 20. Kxd1 he lost too many
pieces, whereas Black’s sluggish army still had an opportunity
to restore their lost co-operation. Most probably Black would not
waste time for catching the black queen and would just play 17.
Bxe5!?, meaning to organise an onslaught upon the black king,
deprived of its pawn shelter. It’s not at all easy to defend
Black’s position in this case. So, in case of 17... Qe4 (after
17... Qc6 Black also had to reckon with 18. Bc7 to be followed
with 18... Qxf6 19. Re1 Be7 20. Bd6 or 18. Bg2!? Qc5 19. Bc7) 18.
Bc7! (depriving the black knight of any opportunity to move)
18... Bb4 (with this move Black covers e1, taking into account a
possible threat of f2-f3 and Rd1-e1) 19. Bc4! Rf8 (there was no
19... Qxc4? because of 20. Qe5+) 20. Bd5 Qe2 21. Qf4! despite
Black’s huge material advantage there was no evident defence
from two unpleasant threats Qf4xb4 and Bd5-f3.

**17. Kb1 Bf4 **

So, Black did not venture on capturing the white rook. After
17... Qxh1 18. Bxe5 Qe4 19. Bc7! ha had a crafty 19... Bd2!?
(otherwise 20. f3 and 21. Re1 were threatening), but even in this
case White created serious threats to the black king with 20.
Bd3! (after 20. Bg2 Qd4 21. Ba5 Black escaped with 21... Qe5, and
if 20. a3, then there was 20... Nxf6) 20... Qc6 21. a3!. So, in
case of the most natural continuation 21... Nc5 White won with
22. Rxd2 Nxc5 23. Re2+ Be6 24. cxd3 Qh1+ 25. Kc2 Qc6+ 26. Kd1
Qa4+ 27. Kd2.

**18. Qd3 O-O? **

Black made a decisive mistake in this difficult position. Of
course there was no 18... Qxh1? because of 19. Qd6 with an
inevitable mate, but 18... Rg8 or 18... Qxf6 were quite
admissible, and the result was not at all clear. With the help of
the castling Black wanted to hide his king in a safe place, but
it will turn out that on the kingside it will be no better than
in the centre of the board.

**19. Rg1+ Kh8 20. Bb4 Rg8 **

This way only. After 20... Re8 21. Be7 Nxf6 22. Bg2 Qb6 White
won with 23. Qb3! Qxb3 24. Bxf6+.

**21. Rxg8+ Kxg8 22. Be7 h6 **

Black looks for a defence against 23. Qh3. If 22... Nxf6, then
23. Qd8+ Ne8 24. Bg2 Qb5 25. Rg1.

**23. Be2 Nxf6 **

Other continuations would not have saved Black as well. So,
after 23... Bg5 White won with 24. Rg1 Kh8 25. Qh3, and after
23... Bxh2 with 24. Rg1+ Kh8 25. Qh3 Bf4 26. Qh5 Qd5 (if 26...
Nxf6, then 27. Qxf7 Bg5 28. Bf3 e4 29. Rxg5) 27. Bf3 (an
immediate 27. Qg4 gave nothing because of 27... Bg5) 27... Qc4
28. Qg4, whereafter the bishop could not close the g-file as this
move would lose the queen to Black.

**24. Qd8+ Kh7 **

There is no 24... Qe8 because of 25. Bxf6, and in case of
24... Ne8 25. Bf3 Qb5 the line 26. b3! Kh7 27. a4 Qxb3+ 28. cxb3
Bxf5+ 29. Ka2 Rxd8 30. Rxd8 let White get a winning endgame.

**25. Qf8! **

Accuracy until the very end. In case of the suggesting 25.
Bxf6 Black escaped all the problems with 25... Bxf5 26. Qxa8
Bxc2+ 27. Ka1 Bxd1 28. Bd3+ (after 28. Qh8+? Kg6 29. Bd3+ Kh5 he
even won the game) 28... e4 29. Bxe4+ Qxe4 30. Qh8+ Kg6 31. Qg7+
Kh5 32. Qxf7+ Kg4 33. Qd7+ Kf3 34. Qxd1+ Kxf2.

**25... Be6 **

After 25... Qe8 26. Qxe8 Nxe8 Black kept an extra piece for
some time, but with the help of 27. Rd8 White put most difficult
problems before him. At the most Black could have agreed to an
endgame without a pawn after 27... b5 (both 27... Ng7 because of
28. f6 e4 29. fxg7 Kxg7 30. Bg4 and 27... Nc7 because of 28. Bd3!
were no better) 28. Rxe8 Bb7 29. Rxa8 Bxa8 30. h4. Another
opportunity, connected with a sacrifice of the exchange after
25... Qxc2+ 26. Kxc2 Bxf5+ 27. Bd3 Bxd3+ 28. Rxd3 Rxf8 29. Bxf8
also left little chances for Black, because after 29... Bxh2
there was 30. Bxh6!.

**26. Qxa8 Bxf5 27. Ka1 Nd5 28. Qf8 Qe6 29. Bc5 Bxc2 30. Rg1 **

White got a material advantage and managed to keep the
initiative.

**30... Bg6 31. h4 Bh2 32. Rd1 Nf4?**

This mistake allows White to end the game in one move, though
Black’s position was so bad already that he would not have
escaped after any other move. So, in case of 32... h5 White won
with 33. Bc4 Qg4 34. Bb3, and after 32... b5 the simplest way was
33. Be3!? Nxe3 34. fxe3 f6 (in case of 34... f5, White won
Black’s queen with 35. Bc4 bxc4 36. Rd8 Bf7 37. Rd6) 35. Bf3
with the decisive threat Bf3-d5.

**33. Rd8 1-0 Black resigned.**

**Almasi - Ivanchuk [B44]**

**1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nb5 d6 6. Bf4 **

White does not want to play a hedgehog position which would
appear after 6. c4, he decides to weaken Black’s pawn chain at
the cost of a tempo.

**6... e5 7. Be3 Nf6 8. Bg5 a6 **

The strongest move. After 8... Be7 9. N1c3 a6 10. Bxf6 gxf6
11. Na3 f5 12. exf5 White gained a lasting initiative in the game
Leko - Ivanchuk (Linares, 1999).

**9. N5c3 Be7 10. Nd2 **

10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. Nd2 O-O 12. Nc4 promised little to White
because of 12... b5 13. Qxd6 bxc4 14. Qxc6 Be6 15. Be2 Rb8 16.
O-O Qd2 as it was proved on the highest level in the game
Kasparov - Anand (Frankfurt (active), 1998).

**10... Bg4! **

An excellent move which was introduced into the practice not
long ago. The usual continuations in this position are 10... Be6
and 10... O-O. The Hungarian grandmaster encountered both of them
already and managed to get a slight but lasting advantage both
times: 10... Be6 11. Nc4 Nd4 12. Bd3 Rc8 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Ne3
Bg5 15. Ncd5 Bxe3 16. Nxe3 O-O 17. O-O Qb6 (better was 17... g6)
18. c3 Nc6 19. Qe2 (Almasi - P. Cramling, Pamplona, 1996) and
10... O-O 11. Nc4 Be6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. Nd5 b5 14. Nce3 Bg5 15.
Be2 Bxe3 16. Nxe3 (Almasi - Emms, Batumi, 1999).

**11. Be2 **

The continuation with 11. f3 Be6 was not very convenient for
White as he probably would be forced to part with his
dark-squared bishop similarly to the above mentioned games.

**11... Bxe2 12. Nxe2 **

The technical nuance of Black’s idea is that after 12. Qxe2?
he had 12... Nxe4! 13. Bxe7 Nxc3 with a considerable advantage.

**12... d5 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. O-O **

In the game Fontaine - Nataf (France, 2000) where the
continuation Bc8-g4 occurred for the first time, the events
developed as follows: 14. Nc3 dxe4 15. Ndxe4 Be7 16. O-O O-O 17.
Nd5 f5 18. Nec3 Bc5 19. Kh1 Bd4 with a good position by Black.
The only difference was that the opponents spent one move less to
achieve the initial position of the line: on the fourth move
Black advanced his e-pawn immediately to the fifth horizontal,
and, respectively, White managed without Bc1-f4.

**14... O-O 15. c4 **

At this moment White still could have returned to the line
from the game Fontaine - Nataf with 15. Nc3.

**15... dxe4 **

Of course to close the play with 15... d4 makes no sense for
White because after the manoeuvre Ne2-c1-d3 White will be
slightly better.

**16. Nxe4 Be7 17. c5 **

An important decision, and quite consistent. White puts the
pawn on a vulnerable square, but instead he restricts the
opportunities of Black’s dark-squared bishop.

**17... Qc7 18. Qb3 Rad8 19. Rfd1 g6 20. Qc4 Na5 21. Qb4 Kg7 **

**22. N2c3? **

White makes a blunder which will cost him a pawn. 22. Nd6!?
should have been played, and after 22... Nc6 23. Qa3 (there was
no 23. Qxb7?? because of 23.... Bxd6) 23... b6 (in case of 23...
f5 Black had to reckon with 24. Nc3, making the square d5 still
more vulnerable) 24. Qxa6 (the move 24. cxb6? lost a piece to
White after 24... Qd7) 24... bxc5 25. Nc4 Nd4 Black’s chances
were no higher than White’s.

**22... Nc6! **

A necessary move. After 22... f5 23. Nd6 Nc6 White had an
intermediate 24. Nd5!.

**23. Qc4 f5 24. Nd6 **

In case of 24. Ng3 Na5 25. Nd5 Qxc5 26. Qxc5 Bxc5 27. b4 Black
had 27... Bd4!.

**24... Bxd6 25. cxd6 Rxd6 26. Rxd6 Qxd6 27. Rd1 Nd4 28. f4
b5 29. Qd3 Rd8 30. Kh1 **

After 30. fxe5 Qxe5 31. Kh1 b4 White also would not gain much.

**30... b4! **

Black transfers the play to a knight endgame which is easy to
win. Of course there was no 30... exf4?? because after 31. Ne2
Black lost a piece.

**31. Ne2 Nb5 32. Qxd6 Rxd6 33. Rxd6 Nxd6 34. fxe5 Nc4 35. b3
Nxe5 36. Nf4 a5 37. h4 Kf6 38. Kg1 Ng4 39. Nd3 Ke6 40. Nc5+ Kd6
41. Nb7+ Kc7 0-1 White resigned. **The pawn endgame to appear
after 42. Nxa5 (in case of 42. Nc5 Ne5 43. Kf2 Kc6 44. Ne6 Kd5
45. Nd8 Nc6 46. Nb7 Kd4 Black also won easily, bringing his king
to White’s pawns on the queenside) 42... Ne5 43. Kf2 Kb6 44.
Nc4+ Nxc4 45. bxc4 Kc5 was absolutely hopeless for White.

**Markowski - Gelfand [A20]**

**1. g3 e5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. d4 exd4 5. Qxd4 d5 6. Nf3
Be6 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. O-O Nc6 9. Qa4 Bc5 10. Ne5 **

Until the last move the opponents repeated the game Markowski
- Krasenkow from the sixth round where White encountered
difficulties after 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. Nb3 Bb6 12. Nbd4 Qd7 13. Nxe6
fxe6.

**10... O-O?! **

This move is the reason of Black’s future problems.
Previously 10... Qb6 11. Nd3 O-O was seen in this position. A
mere 10...Rc8 looks also not bad, and White’s underdeveloped
queenside would tell on his position in the future.

**11. Nxc6 Qd7 **

In case of 11... bxc6 12. Qxc6 Rc8 13. Qa6 (13. Qa4? was bad
because of 13... Bxf2+!) Black had no particular compensation for
the pawn.

**12. Bg5 Qxc6 **

After Black agreed to weaken the pawn structure around his
king he is willing to exchange the queens.

**13. Qxc6 bxc6 14. Bxf6 gxf6 **

This endgame is obviously favourable for White, but the pair
of bishops allows Boris Gelfand to hope for a successful defence.

1**5. Nc3 Rab8 16. Rac1 Be7 17. b3 Rfc8 18. Rfd1 Ba3 19. Rc2
Bf5 20. e4 Bg4 **

After 20... Bg6 21. Kf1 Black’s light-squared bishop could
have been eliminated from the play, and in case of 20... dxe4 21.
Bxe4 the bishop became dangerously active.

**21. Rdd2 Bb4 **

Black agrees to part with the pawn in order to get a position
with bishops of different colours.

**22. h3 Be6 23. exd5 cxd5 24. Nxd5 Bxd5 25. Rxc8+ Rxc8 26.
Rxd5 Rc2 27. a4 Bc5 28. Rf5 Rc3 29. g4 Kg7 **

**30. Bf1!?**

White returns the extra pawn, hoping to eliminate the black
rook from the play. There was also an alternative: 30. Be4 Bb4
31. Rh5 h6 (also 31... Rxb3 32. Rxh7+ Kg8 33. Rh5 was possible)
32. Bd5 Rc2 33. Bc4.

**30... Bb4 31. Bc4 Rxh3 32. Kg2 Rh4 33. Be2 Bd6 34. Rd5 Be5
35. a5 Rh2+ 36. Kg1 Rh3 37. f3 Bf4 38. Rf5 Bd6 39. Bf1 Rh4 40.
Kf2 h5! **

A counter-sacrifice allows Black to return his rook to an
active play. After 40... Rh2+ 41. Bg2 his position looked
dangerous.

**41. gxh5 Be5 42. Ke3 Bd4+ 43. Kd2 Be5 44. Bc4 Kf8 45. Ke3
Bd4+ 46. Ke2 Be5 47. Ke3 Bd4+ 48. Ke2 Be5 49. Bd3 **

It’s important that the bishop endgame after 49. f4 Rxf4 50.
Rxf4 Bxf4 was a draw despite White’s passed pawns on different
flanks, because Black would exchange his bishop for the pawns a
and b and get his king to h8. Neither White’s bishop nor the
h-pawn were able to disturb it there.

**49... Kg7 50. Be4 Kh6 51. Kd3 Rxh5 52. Rxh5+ Kxh5 53. Kc4
Kg5 54. b4 f5 55. Bd5 Kf6 56. b5 Ke7 57. b6 axb6 58. a6 Bb8 59.
Kb5 Ba7 60. Kc6 b5 61. Kb7 Be3 62. f4 **

After 62. a7 Bxa7 63. Kxa7 an extra piece was not enough for
White to win the game because of 63... Kd6 64. Bxf7 Ke5 65. Kb6
Kf4 66. Bd5 b4.

**62... Kf6 1/2-1/2 Draw.**

**Krasenkow - A. Fedorov [E90]**

**1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 e5
7. d5 Na6 8. Bg5 Qe8 **

Black does not want to drive the white bishop away with 8...
h6 as then White would have an opportunity to perform a
traditional break-through f7-f5. Also the weakness of the square
g6 might tell.

**9. g4 Nc5 10. Nd2 a5 11. Qf3 Nfd7 12. O-O-O c6 **

Previously 12... f5 13. gxf5 gxf5 14. exf5 Nf6 and 12... Kh8
occurred in this position, but Black might encounter a sudden
trick in both these lines. So, in the first case there was 15.
Rg1 or even 15. Nb5, and in the second Black had to reckon with
13. h4.

**13. h4 h6 14. Be3 a4 15. h5 g5 16. Be2 Qd8 17. Kb1 Qa5 18.
Rc1 Qb4 19. Kc2 **

Now that the square b4 is occupied with the black queen and
the knight cannot get there this unusual decision becomes
possible.

**19... a3 20. b3 Nf6? **

Though most part of the board is closed, White has an
advantage, as a transfer of the knight to f5 may be very
unpleasant for Black. However, the move in the game allows White
to demonstrate a showy trick which decides the game in his favour
at once.

**21. Bxg5!**

As a matter of fact, Black’s game is already lost.

**21...hxg5 **

If 21... Bxg4, then 22. Qg2.

**22. h6 Bh8 **

In case of 22... Bxg4 the simplest way was 23. Qe3, and if
22... Bxh6, then 23. Qxf6.

**23. h7+ Kg7 24. Qh3 Nxg4 25. Bxg4 Kf6 26. Nf1!**

White finishes accurately. After 26. Qh6+ Ke7 27. Bxc8 Rfxc8
28. Qxg5+ Bf6 there was still some likeness to a struggle.

**26... Ke7 27. Ne3 f5 **

Black cannot stand a thought about the white knight on f5
after an exchange of the light-squared bishops and hurries to
make a hara-kiri himself.

**28. Bxf5 Bxf5 29. Nxf5+ Rxf5 30. Qxf5 Rf8 31. Qxg5+ Kd7 32.
f3 Na6 33. Qe3 1-0 Black resigned.**

**Svidler - Movsesian [B47]**

**1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qc7 5. Nc3 e6 6. g3
a6 7. Bg2 d6 8. O-O Bd7 9. Re1 Be7 10. Nxc6 Bxc6 11. Qg4 h5 12.
Qe2 h4 13. a4 hxg3 14. hxg3 Nf6 15. a5 **

The blitz game Svidler – Kasimdzhanov (Wijk aan Zee, 1999)
developed in a slightly other way: 15. Be3 Kf8 16. a5 Nd7 17. Na4
Bb5 18. Qd2.

**15... Rc8 16. Be3 Kf8 17. Red1 e5 18. Rd2 1/2-1/2 Draw. **The
opponents probably did not want to torture each other and agreed
to a draw.