Apr 30, 2001

Round 1

Group A

A. Dreev and A. Morozevich, two favourites of this group with the highest chances to qualify for the play off stage, met already in the starting tour. The game was quite tense, still no side managed to get a decisive advantage. The balance was not distorted in the rest two duels in the group too. The Brazilian grandmaster Gilberto Milos pressed with White upon the position of Boris Gulko in the Classical Variation of the Ruy Lopez, still the latter kept the balance with the help of tactical tricks. The Byelorussian grandmaster Alexei Alexandrov, notwithstanding his castling on the queenside, failed to get a keen play in the game against Zurab Azmaiparashvili, because the exchange of the queens which followed soon transferred the game to an approximately equal endgame, and the exchange of heavy pieces on the d-file decided it in nobody’s favour.

Dreev - Morozevich [A40]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6

A. Morozevich has quite an original style of playing chess, which displays itself, in particular, in his predilection for uncommon opening structures. So, in this game he chose an unpopular hybrid of the Queen’s Indian and Dutch Defences which is called sometimes the Owen Defence, a great contribution to its modern development was made by English chess players.

3. a3 f5

The game Kasparov - Morozevich (Frankfurt (active), 2000) developed differently, and after 3... Bb7 4. Nc3 f5 5. d5 Nf6 6. g3 Na6 7. Bg2 Nc5 8. Nh3 Bd6 9. O-O Be5 10. Qc2 O-O Black got an acceptable play.

4. Nc3

In the game Piket - Short (Wijk aan Zee, 2000) White was tougher and managed to get some advantage after 4. d5 Nf6 5. g3 Bb7 6. Bg2 g6 7. Nc3 Bg7 8. Nh3 O-O 9. O-O a5 10. Rb1 Na6 11. b4 axb4 12. axb4 c5 13. bxc5 Nxc5 14. Be3.

4... Nf6 5. Nf3 Ba6

An uncommon move. Usually Black plays an unpretentious Bc8-b7 at once or in several moves.

6. b3 Be7

In one of the few games which were played in this variation Black acted differently, trying to justify first of all the opportunities of the bishop on a6 with 6... g6 7. g3 Bg7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O c6 10. a4 d5 11. Ba3 Re8 12. cxd5 exd5 13. Ne5 c5 (I. Novikov - Shabalov, Philadelphia, 1999).

7. d5 O-O 8. Bb2 Bb7 9. g3 Ne4 10. Bg2 Bf6 11. Nd4 Nxc3 12. Bxc3

12... g6?!

Now Black could have played the traditional 12... c5, but probably he was confused with the circumstance that after 13. dxc6 (the pawn structure and the set of pieces are favourable for Black in the line 13. Nb5 Bxc3+ 14. Nxc3 d6 15. O-O e5) 13... Nxc6 14. O-O Nxd4 15. Bxb7 Rb8 (after 15... Nxe2+ 16. Qxe2 Bxc3 17. Rad1 Rb8 18. Bc6 White returned the sacrificed pawn and still kept some winning chances, despite the presence of the bishops of different colours on the board) 16. Bxd4 Rxb7 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. Qd6 White was a bit better even after the mass simplifications. Besides, this position without a definite counterplay by Black would be right of the kind which A. Dreev plays good.

13. b4 e5 14. Nb3 e4 15. Bxf6 Qxf6 16. O-O d6 17. f3!

This blow on Black’s pawn wedge in the centre was delivered quite opportunely. Otherwise White’s bishop on g2 stayed practically out of the play.

17... exf3 18. exf3 c5

White’s knight was threatening to get to d4 where it would have good prospects, so Black is forced to play the advance from which he refused on the twelfth move. Still, this time this advance loses in its force considerably as now Black’s d-pawn is isolated.

19. dxc6 Nxc6 20. f4 Rae8 21. Qd2 Nd8 22. Bxb7 Nxb7 23. Rfe1

White overlooked a nice opportunity, connected with 23. Qd5+!, whereafter Black had to answer with 23... Qf7, and after 24. Rfe1 Nd8 25. Nd4 he would be soon involved into a hard endgame.

23... Nd8 24. Qd5+ Kg7

25. Nd4?!

White evidently does not use all the merits of his position. At this moment 25. Rad1 looked good, and if 25... Qc3 or 25... Re7 like in the game, then 26. Qd4 was strong.

25... Re7 26. Rxe7+ Qxe7 27. Nf3 Qe3+

White’s sluggish play allowed black pieces to become much more active.

28. Kf1 Nf7 29. Qd4+

White returns to the plan which implies an exchange of the queens and which he did not venture to launch several moves ago, but now its redaction will be much less favourable for him.

29... Qxd4 30. Nxd4 Rc8 31. Rc1 Kf6 32. Ke2 d5

Another energetic move. Black does not want to suffer White’s long pressure after a quiet 32... a6.

33. c5 Nd6 34. c6 Re8+ 35. Kd3 Ke7

In case of an erroneous 35... Nc4? Black had no chance of escaping after 36. Nb5 a6 37. Nc3 Rc8 38. Nxd5+ Ke6 39. Rxc4 Kxd5 40. c7.

36. Re1+?!

White refuses to stake all on his far advanced passed pawn c6 with 36. Nf3 Rc8 37. Ne5, and most probably he is wrong.

36... Ne4 37. Nb5

Now White still could have returned to the plan with 37. Nf3.

37... Rc8 38. Nxa7 Rc7 39. Nb5 Rxc6 40. Re2 Rc1

Otherwise Black threatened to force with 41. Rc2 a knight endgame, favourable for him.

41. Rc2 Rd1+ 42. Ke2 Rh1 43. Ke3

Most probably an exacerbation would have brought the opponents to a draw after 43. Rc7+ Kf8 44. Rxh7 Nxg3+ 45. Ke3 Nh5.

43... Re1+ 44. Kd4 Rd1+ 45. Ke3

A forced retreat, because 45. Ke5? led White to a disaster after 45... Nf6 46. Rc7+ (no better was 46. Nd4 because of 46... Ng4+ 47. Kxd5 Ne3+) 46... Nd7+.

45... Nd6 46. a4 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Group B

As well as in the Group A there were no victories. In the game between Xu Jun who played White and Ruslan Ponomariov there was no real struggle at all. After the first non-theoretical move 23. Re2 Black forced a repetition of moves and a draw. The games of Vassily Ivanchuk with Nigel Short and of Mikhail Gurevich with Ye Jiangchuan were, on the contrary, very bellicose. A topical variation of the Nimzowitsch Defence was played in the first of them, and, though the English grandmaster was as original as always, he still failed to equalise the position. Unfortunately, the quality of the games’ presentation on the official site of the tournament gives no distinct picture of all upheavals of the struggle. As for the game Gurevich - Ye Jiangchuan, we can judge about its tension even by its text of 100 moves which is given below.

Gurevich - Ye Jiangchuan [A16]

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nb6 6. d3 Bg7 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Nf3 O-O 9. Qc1 e5 10. Bh6 Re8

After 10... Bg4 11. Bxg7 Kxg7 12. O-O Nd4 White got an advantage with 13. Nxd4 exd4 14. Qf4! h5 15. Nb5! in the game M. Gurevich – V. Mikhalevski (Antwerp, 1999).

11. Bxg7

Also a more aggressive 11. h4 f6 12. Bd2 Ne7 13. h5 g5 14. h6 was seen.

11... Kxg7 12. O-O Nd4 13. Re1 a5 14. Nxd4

White did not need to hurry with this bounding exchange, he might well have preferred 14. Ne4 which would be really useful in every respect.

14... exd4

With the given pawn structure, the weakness of White’s pawn on e2 can tell in the future if White fails to find an active play.

15. Ne4 f6 16. Qc2 c6 17. Rab1 Nd5 18. a3 Re7 19. Qc5 Nc7 20. b4?!

This active move only weakens the pawn a3 which becomes accessible for the black knight from b5. Probably 20. e3 dxe3 21. fxe3 was better.

20... a4

21. e3 dxe3 22. Rxe3?

After this move White’s single pawn on d3 is very weak, and the efficiency of the rook on the e-file is minimal. He should have agreed to 22. fxe3, even though after 22... Nb5 23. Ra1 Bf5 his position was a bit worse.

22... Re5 23. Qc1 Nb5 24. Qb2 Qd4 25. Qxd4 Nxd4 26. Nd6 Nc2!

After this move material losses are inevitable for Black.

27. Rxe5 fxe5 28. Nc4

In case of 28. Rc1 after 28... Nxa3 29. Nxc8 Rxc8 30. Ra1 Nc2 31. Rxa4 Rc7 there was a most unpleasant threat of b7-b5.

28... Be6 29. Rb2 Bxc4 30. Rxc2 Bxd3 31. Rd2 Bf5 32. Kf1 Rc8 33. Ke1 b5 34. Rd6 c5 35. bxc5 Rxc5 36. Rb6

36... Rc3?!

Black kept good winning chances also in the rook endgame to appear after 36... Rc1+!? 37. Kd2 Rc2+ 38. Ke1 Bd3 39. Bf1 Bxf1 40. Kxf1 Rb2 , because both after 41. Re6 b4 42. axb4 a3 43. Ra6 a2 44. Kg2 e4 and after 41. Rb7+ Kf6 42. Rxh7 b4! 43. axb4 a3 44. Ra7 a2 45. Kg2 e4 he could win owing to the second passed pawn on the e-file which would emerge in both cases.

37. Rxb5 Rxa3 38. Rb7+?!

White did not venture to play the line with 38. Rxe5!? Ra1+ 39. Kd2 a3 40. Bd5 (40. Re7+ Kf6 41. Ra7 lost his game because of 41... Be6!) 40... Kf6 41. Re8 g5 where his drawing chances were higher than Black’s winning chances despite Black’s far advanced a-pawn.

38... Kh6 39. Bd5 Rd3 40. Bg8 Rd7 41. Rb5 Bg4 42. f3 Bxf3 43. Rxe5 Kg7 44. Bc4 Rd4?

If Black put his rook behind the passed pawn with 44... Ra7!, then he would have had good winning chances, because an eventual exchange of the bishops (for instance, if White blocks up an advance of the a-pawn with his bishop on a2) would give him a winning rook endgame.

45. Rc5 Bg4 46. Kf2 Re4 47. Bd3 Re7 48. Ra5!

White grabs the opportunity to place his rook behind the passed pawn.

48... Bd1 49. Bb5 Re4 50. Ra7+ Kf6 51. Bd3 Re7 52. Ra5 Re5

It’s important that Black had no 52... g5 because of 53. Rf5+.

53. Ra7 Bb3 54. h4!

Now White’s pawns are positioned ideally.

54... h6 55. Ra6+ Re6 56. Ra5 Bd1 57. Bb5 Re4 58. Bd3 Re5 59. Ra6+ Re6 60. Ra5 h5 61. Bb5 Kg7

62. Bxa4!

With a sacrifice of the exchange White reduced the game to a theoretically drawn endgame, and the fact that White managed to play h2-h4 in advance is very significant for the estimation of the position.

62... Re2+ 63. Kg1 Ra2 64. Bxd1 Rxa5 65. Bf3 Ra2 66. Kf1 Rb2 67. Kg1 Kh6 68. Kf1 Kg7 69. Kg1 Kf6 70. Kf1 Ke5 71. Kg1 Kd4 72. Bc6 Rd2 73. Bb7 Ke3 74. Bc6 Rd6 75. Bb7 Rb6 76. Ba8 Rb1+ 77. Kg2 Rb2+ 78. Kg1 Rb6 79. Kg2 Rb2+ 80. Kg1 Rb8 81. Bc6 Rc8 82. Bb7 Rc7 83. Ba8 g5

A siege of White’s castle gave nothing, so Black launches an onslaught.

84. hxg5 Rg7 85. Kg2 Rxg5 86. Kh3 Rg4 87. Bc6 Kf2 88. Be8 Rxg3+ 89. Kh4 Kf3 90. Kxh5 Kf4 91. Kh6

White’s king is heading to the corner where it will be absolutely safe.

91... Kf5 92. Kh7 Kf6 93. Bc6 Rg5 94. Be4 Kf7 95. Kh8 Re5 96. Bd3 Re3 97. Bc2 Rc3 98. Be4 Rh3+ 99. Bh7 Rxh7+ 100. Kxh7 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Group C

Group C is the most resulting for so long. White won in two games. The victory of Evgeni Bareev over Aimed Rhizoid who is undoubtedly inferior to Bareev in the class, was an expected result. White chose the Exchange Variation of the Queen’s Gambit with a characteristic pawn structure which is called sometimes the Carlsbad Structure and conducted a standard attack of the pawn minority on the queenside, owing to several Black’s inaccurate responses White won the pawn b7 and was going to take the pawn d5 as well. Under this threat the opponent of the Russian grandmaster admitted his defeat. The obstinacy of the Byelorussian grandmaster Alexei Fedorov in defending the hard Dragon Variation was amazing: even two losses in this variation at the tournament in Polanica Zdroj did not make him refuse from it. This time Piotr Svidler managed to demonstrate his opponent how complex Black’s problems in this variation are and won a convincing victory. The only draw in this group was made in the game between Zhang Zhong who played White and Sergei Movsesian. In the Classical Scheveningen Variation White got a slight advantage at first and then won a pawn on the queenside, but the bishops of different colours allowed Black to possibly organise a counterplay on the kingside. The Chinese chess player refused to test his luck and preferred a draw to the further keen struggle.

Svidler-Fedorov [B76]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O d5

Alexei Fedorov suffered already much in this line of the Dragon Variation at the recent tournament in Polanica Zdroj, but nevertheless he continues to defend the main line of Black’s play.

10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bd4

Piotr Svidler was first to step aside, having avoided the continuation 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Qxd5 Qc7 14. Qc5 Qb7 15. Qa3 Bf5 16. Bd3 Rab8 17. b3 in which the Byelorussian grandmaster was beaten in Polanica Zdroj twice: by Vassily Ivanchuk after 17... Rbc8 18. Bxf5 gxf5 19. Rd3 Qc6 20. c4 Qf6 21. Rhd1 Rc6 22. Bd4 e5 23. Bc3, and then in the fourth round by Sergei Movsesian after 17... Rfc8 18. Bxf5 gxf5 19. Rd3 Qc7 20. c4 a5 21. Rhd1 Ra8 22. Rd7 Qe5 23. Bd4 Qf4+ 24. Kb1.

12... Bxd4 13. Qxd4 Qc7 14. Qc5 Nxc3 15. Qxc3 Be6 16. Bd3 c5

The game Morozevich - Kir. Georgiev (Sarajevo, 2000) developed differently: 16... Rad8 17. Rde1 c5 18. Kb1 Rd4 19. h4 Qd6 20. h5 g5 21. h6 Rd8 22. b3 f6 23. g3, still it’s final result (1-0) offered no reason for Black’s optimism.

17. h4 c4 18. Be4 Rad8 19. h5 g5 20. h6 f6 21. a3 Bf7 22. Rhe1 Qg3

23. Qa5!

This strong move shows how hard Black’s position already is.

23... Qf4+

The line 23... Rxd1+ 24. Rxd1 Qxg2 25. Qf5 Bg6 26. Qe6+ Bf7 27. Qxe7 was absolutely hopeless for Black, and after 23... Qb8 24. Rxd8 Rxd8 25. Qf5 Qf4+ 26. Qxf4 gxf4 White forced with 27. Rd1! a bishop endgame which was very hard for Black. In case of a relatively better 23... Rd6 24. Rxd6 Qxd6 Black also encountered great difficulties after 25. Rd1! (25. Qxa7 was weaker because of 25... f5! 26. Bb7 c3).

24. Kb1 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1 g4 26. Qxa7 c3

The continuation 26... f5 27. Bd5 Bxd5 28. Rxd5 Qxh6 29. Qxe7 did not suit Black as well.

27. Qxe7 Qxh6 28. b3 f5

After this move the game will end very quickly.

29. Bxf5 gxf3

The combination 29... Bxb3 30. cxb3 Rxf5 is irrelevant because of 31. Rd8+.

30. gxf3 Qb6 31. Bxh7+ 1-0 Black resigned.

Group D

Nearly all players of this group are strong enough to try to qualify for the play off stage. Only Mohammed Tissir from Morocco is evidently weaker than the other challengers. In the first round he lost to the rating-favourite of the group Viswanathan Anand without a real struggle. Draws were concluded in the other two games. In the game between Alexander Khalifman and Vladislav Tkachiev the latter, playing Black, managed to keep the balance in a variation of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted relatively easily with the help of an old recommendation of the Israeli grandmaster A. Huzman with 9... Ba5. In the game between the winner of Polanica Zdroj 2000 Boris Gelfand and the Europe Champion 2000 Pavel Tregubov there was a most keen struggle. Trying to avoid the Noteboom System or related structures which Tregubov plays willingly, the Israeli grandmaster preferred to play e2-e4 with his first move and went into the labyrinth of the Sveshnikov Variation which was offered to him by his opponent. After interesting complications the game was reduced to an absolutely equal rook endgame.

Anand-Tissir [B63]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. O-O-O O-O 9. Nb3 Qb6 10. f3 Rd8 11. Nb5 Rd7 12. Qe1

12... Qd8?!

Black chose a keen variation of the Rauzer Variation but played without due accuracy. The main line of Black’s play is 12... a6 13. Be3 Qd8 14. N5d4 here.

13. g4

After 13. h4 a5 14. a4 e5 15. g3 Ne8 16. Be3 d5 17. Bh3 d4 18. Bd2 Black also encountered serious difficulties in the game Nunn - Pelletier (Germany, 1999) and was forced to lose by an exchange.

13... b6

This move looks bizarre for the Sicilian Defence with castlings on different flanks. 13... a6 14. N5d4 was better.

14. h4 Bb7 15. N5d4 Nxd4 16. Nxd4 Rc8 17. Kb1 a6 18. Bc1 Rdc7 19. g5 Nd7 20. Rh2!

Black wanted to create a threat to the pawn on 2, but White defends easily.

20... d5

Since the black bishop left c8 the square e6 will be helpless after White conducts a break-through g5-g6. Understanding this, Black attempts to annihilate the white knight on d4, but at a too dear cost of the dark-squared bishop. To be honest, hardly there are any good recommendations for Black in this position already.

21. e5 Bc5 22. h5 Bxd4 23. Rxd4 Nf8 24. Bd3 Rd7

25. g6!

1-0 Black resigned. Why? Probably because he did not want to see his position fall apart like a house of cards after 25... fxg6 26. hxg6 h6 27. Bxh6! gxh6 28. Rxh6. There was no satisfactory defence from a mate. So, in case of 25... Qg5 (if 28... Qe7, then 29. g7! solved, and in the game 28... Kg7 White won with 29. Qh1 Qg5 30. Rh8 Rdc7 31. f4) White won with a plain 29. Rdh4 d4 30. R4h5 Qd8 31. Rh8+ Kg7 32. Qd2.

"Chess is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it;and thence it is never played for money."

Benjamin Franklin, "Chess made easy", 1802

"It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has toplay the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position."

John Watson, "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy", 1998

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