Round 2. Game 2
Leko, Anand, Morozevich, Gelfand will play in round three. Ivanchuk, Khalifman, Shirov, Svidler will amuse themselves with rapid games, as well as many other players. So, Bareev, Kasimdzhanov and Movsesian lost their advantage in game two and will have to start the struggle from the very beginning in rapid matches. Akopian who had been a finalist in Las Vegas, was knocked out. He had a fine position but ventured on a tactical blow and missed. We can only guess what mirage confused the experienced grandmaster. Also Rublevsky failed to retrieve his loss. Now the question is whether rating giants will qualify tomorrow for the next round, you know rapid and blitz are unpredictable. The number of Russia Champions decreased: the hero of round one, Volkov finished his World Championship after Leko won easily in their second game.
2 women’s ex-World Champions won’t take part in the next round. The legendary Georgian players failed, defeated by their younger adversaries. Women respect titles even less than men do. Zhukova, a favourite of the Women’s’ Championship, won already 4 serious games. No draws!
This time we annotate the games Aleksandrov - Akopian and Leitao - Benjamin. Leitao’s performance at this event is outstanding, as well as in Las Vegas last year.
Aleksandrov, Aleksej (BLR) - Akopian, Vladimir(ARM)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 b6 5. Nge2 Ba6 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Nxc3 d5 8. b3 O-O 9. Be2 Nc6 10. a4 Qd7 11. O-O Rfd8 12. Nb5 Na5 13. Bb2 dxc4 14. bxc4 c6 15. Na3 c5 16. dxc5 Qe7 17. Qc2 Qxc5 18. Rfd1 Bb7 19. Bf1 Qh5 20. f3 Qg5 21. Kf2 h5 22. Nb5 h4 23. Rxd8+ Rxd8 24. Rd1 Ra8 25. c5 h3 26. g3 bxc5 27. Bc3 Nc4
A strange sacrifice. We cannot comprehend what it’s reason was. Alexandrov took the gift knight and won without problems.
28. Bxc4 Bxf3
You don't say so! The grandmaster gives up one more piece. For what?
29. Kxf3 Qg4+ 30. Kf2 Qxc4 31. Kg1 Nd5 32. e4 Nb6 33. Nd6 Qxa4 34. Qe2 Qb3 35. Rc1 Rd8 36. e5 Nd5 37. Be1 Rb8 38. Bf2 Qa3 39. Rf1
With his next move Alexandrov will deliver a painful blow. Probably it was a wild time trouble which did not let Akopian see the threat. Well, the last move before the first time control.
39... g6 40. Nxf7
This is the end. An extra pawn in the middlegame is a mighty force. You see Black cannot take the knight. After 41. Bxc5+ he loses the queen.
40... Rf8 41. Qe4 Ne7 42. Ng5 Qb4 43. Rb1 Qd2 44. Nxh3
Alexandrov gave up his attempts to find a mate and took the troublesome pawn, Black’s last reserve.
Leitao, Rafael (BRA) - Benjamin, Joel (USA)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Nbd2 d6 5. a3 Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 Nbd7 7. e3 e5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. b4 Qe7 10. Qc3 b6 11. Bb2 Ne4 12. Qc2 Bb7 13. c5 bxc5 14. Bb5 O-O 15. O-O Ng5 16. Nxg5 Qxg5 17. f4 Qe7 18. bxc5 Qxc5
White’s positional advantage is huge. Now he can exchange the queens.
19. Qxc5 Nxc5 20. Rac1 c6
Leitao wins the pawn and continues to put pressure upon Black’s position.
21. Bxc6 Bxc6 22. Rxc5 Rfc8 23. Rfc1 Bb7 24. Rc7 Rxc7 25. Rxc7 Be4 26. Bxe5 a6
The seventh rank is occupied by the white rook so there is no place for the black rook there. As White has an extra pawn we can expect to see a pawn attack.
27. Kf2 Rd8 28. Bd4 h6 29. g4 Rb8 30. Re7 Bc6 31. Ra7 Ra8 32. Rc7 Be4 33. h4 Re8 34. h5
White’s pawns advance step by step. It’s already clear that White will seize the square g7 together with the pawn.
34... Bd5 35. g5 hxg5 36. fxg5 Be6 37. g6
Everything is clear. Further events will develop according to well known patterns. Black cannot leave the eighth horizontal, neither he can bother the white king. But the grandmasters made many more moves before White’s final victory was fixed.
Ra8 38. Kg3 Ba2 39. Kf4 Be6 40. Kg5 Rd8 41. Ra7 Bc4 42. h6 gxh6+ 43. Kxh6 Rc8 44. gxf7+ Bxf7 45. Rxa6 Bd5 46. Ra5 Rc6+ 47. Kg5 Bc4 48. Ra7 Bd3 49. Rb7 Kf8 50. Kf4 Re6 51. Rc7 Ke8 52. a4 Ra6 53. Rc3 Be2 54. Ra3 Kd7 55. a5 Re6 56. Rb3 Ba6 57. Bb6 Rf6+ 58. Ke5 Re6+ 59. Kf5 Bc4 60. Ra3 Ba6 61. Ra1 Bd3+ 62. Kf4 Re4+ 63. Kf3 Re6 64. Bd4 Ba6 65. Rb1 Kc7 66. Kf4 Kd7 67. Rb2 Rc6 68. Rb8 Rc8 69. Rb6 Rc6 70. Rb2 Re6 71. e4 Bd3 72. e5 Ba6 73. Ke4 Rc6 74. Rh2 Bc4 75. Bb6 Ke6 76. Kd4 Bb5 77. Bc5 Ba6 78. Rh7 Bb5 79. Re7+ Kf5 80. Kd5 Ra6 81. Bb6 Ra8 82. Rf7+ Kg6 83. Rf2 Rc8 84. e6 Rc1 85. e7 Be8 86. a6 Bf7+ 87. Kd6 Rd1+ 88. Kc7 Rc1+ 89. Kb8 Rb1 90. Kb7 Re1 91. Bc5 Rb1+ 92. Kc6 Be8+ 93. Kc7 Rc1 94. a7 Rxc5+ 95. Kd8 Ra5 96. Kxe8 Rxa7 97. Kf8 1-0
"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.