Apr 30, 2001

Round 2

Group A

Alexei Alexandrov became the leader of this group after he managed to overwhelm one of the main favourites of the tournament Alexander Morozevich. Draws were achieved in the other two games. There was no struggle between Boris Gulko and Zurab Azmaiparashvili, and in the game between Gilberto Milos and Alexei Dreev the latter, playing Black, managed to maintain the balance with tactical means when the game proceed from the opening to the endgame practically without middlegame.

Morozevich - Alexandrov [C37]

1. e4 e5 2. f4

To play this opening is a very serious decision for such a short tournament.

2... exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. d4

Another, more quiet continuation (of course when the King’s Gambit can be quiet at all) 4. h4 which does not require that White sacrifices a piece within the first five moves suffered a considerable blow from a fine novelty which was demonstrated by A. Shirov at the recent tournament in Polanica Zdroj. After the well known moves 4...g4 5. Ne5 d6 6. Nxg4 Nf6 7. Nf2 Rg8 8. d4 Bh6 9. Nc3 Nc6 10. Nd5 Nxd5 11. exd5 Black developed a most strong attack of the white king with 11... Qe7+! 12. Be2 Nb4 13. c4 Bf5 14. Qa4+ Kf8 15. Qxb4 Re8 16. Qd2 Rxg2 and won quickly in the game Fedorov - Shirov (Polanica Zdroj, 2000).

4... g4 5. Bxf4 gxf3 6. Qxf3

All that White becomes for the piece is a pawn, still it is not at all easy for Black to defend from his threats as it may seem.

6... d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. O-O-O

White avoids 8. Bc4 which occurred in the game Fedorov - Adams (Pula, 1997) and after 8... Qh4+ 9. Bg3 Qf6 10. Qxf6 Nxf6 11. O-O gave him a good compensation for the piece, notwithstanding the exchange of the queens. Probably White was influenced by the circumstance that in the line 8... Nxd4!? 9. Bxf7+ Kxf7 10. Qh5+ Kg7 a draw would be all that he would be able to achieve according to the modern theory.

8... h5!

Black prepares a square to develop his light-squared bishop (g4), and at the same time he wants to engage his rook in the play through the square h6 after an exchange of the dark-squared bishops.

9. e5

A prophylactic 9. h3?! would be an evident concession because of 9... Bh6, so White goes ahead bravely.

9... Bg4 10. Qe4 Bh6

Black’s excessive appetite might bring him to a disaster very quickly. After 10... Bxd1? 11. exd6+ Nge7 12. Nd5 or 10... d5? 11. Nxd5 Bxd1 12. Nf6+ Nxf6 13. exf6+ Be7 14. Bb5 White’s attack was irresistible. This is why Black prepares a safe shelter on the square f8 for his king.

11. Bxh6

If 11. exd6+, then 11... Kf8.

11... Rxh6 12. Rd2 dxe5 13. h3

If 13. dxe5, then 13... Qg5 was unpleasant.

13... Bd7 14. d5 Nce7 15. Qxe5 Kf8 16. Bd3 Nc8 17. Rf1 Nd6 18. Rdf2 Qe7 19. Qd4 Qg5+ 20. Kb1 Be8

Though White still keeps an initiative it is obviously insufficient for the sacrificed piece.

21. Ne2

21... b6?

So long Black managed to extinguish White’s initiative quite successfully, but now he makes a mistake and has to begin at the very beginning again. 21... Ne7! was stronger, increasing pressure upon the white pawn d5. After 22. Nf4 (if 22. c4, then 22... b6 was already in its place) 22... Bd7 23. c4 (in case of 23. Qc5 there was 23... c6) 23... b6 Black kept both a solid position and an extra piece.

22. Nf4 Bd7 23. Qc3!

It turns out that Black won’t escape a material loss.

23... Rc8

A forced decision, as 23... Ne8?? was absolutely inadmissible for Black because of 24. Ng6+.

24. Ba6 Qg7 25. Qxg7+ Kxg7 26. Bxc8 Bxc8

The material balance is nearly maintained, but owing to the rather closed character of the position Black’s pair of light pieces slightly outweighs White’s rook and pawn.

27. Rf3 Nf6 28. b3 Nfe4 29. Kb2 h4

The move 29... Nd2 would not give anything because of 30. Rg3+.

30. Re1 a5 31. c4 Rh8 32. Nd3

Probably White should not have removed the knight as now Black can engage his rook in the active play with his next move.

32... Rh5!

Black grabs the offered opportunity at once and sends his rook to struggle on the fifth horizontal.

33. Rf4

If 33. Nf4, then 33... Rg5.

33... Bf5 34. Ne5 Nc5 35. Ka3?

White should have agreed to the position to appear after 35. Kc3 Rg5 36. Re2 Rg3+, and now his position can be lost forcedly.

35... f6?!

35... Be4! was winning. After 36. Rg4+ (in case of 36. Nxf7 Nxf7 37. Rfxe4 Nxe4 38. Rxe4 Kf8 an extra piece was enough for Black to win, and 36. Nc6 led to the variants to be considered below both after Bxd5 and after 36... b5) 36... Kf8 37. Nc6 whereafter Black had either 37... b5!? or 37... Bxd5!? with the idea that in case of 38. cxd5 he continued 38... Nb5+ 39. Kb2 Nd3+.

36. Nc6 Be4 37. Re3

If 37. Re2, then 37... b5! was strong, and in case of 38. Rg4+ Kh7 39. Nxa5 White suffered considerable material losses after 39... f5 40. Rf4 b4+.

37... Rg5

Now 37... b5?! was already not so attractive because of 38. Nxa5 b4+ 39. Kxb4 Nd3+ 40. Rxd3 Bxd3 41. a4, and three white pawns outweighed Black’s bishop. At the same time, Black did not venture on the keen continuation 37... Bxg2!? 38. Re7+ Kg6 39. Rxc7 Bxh3 as the mutual destruction of the flanks would make all three results possible in this case. With the move in the game Black attempts to avoid unnecessary complications and still to keep main pluses of his position.

38. Rxh4 Rxg2 39. Rg4+ Rxg4 40. hxg4 Kg6

The position became more or less settled after the first time control, and, owing to the weakness of the white pawn g4, it is better by Black.

41. Nd4 Kg5 42. Rg3 Bg6 43. Rg1 Be8 44. Ne6+!

White has to get any counterplay or he will lose the pawn an g4 as soon as the black bishop gets to d7.

44... Nxe6 45. dxe6 Bc6 46. Kb2 Bf3 47. c5

47. e7 would not change anything because of 47... Kg6.

47... bxc5 48. e7 Kg6 49. Rc1 c4 50. e8Q+

The continuation 50. bxc4 Kf7 51. c5 Ne4 is impossible for White.

50... Nxe8 51. Rxc4 Kg5 52. a4 c6 53. Kc3 Bd5 54. Rc5 Kxg4 55. Rxa5 f5 56. Ra8 Nd6

57. Rd8?!

White exacerbated the play maximally, but the question whether all this would be enough for a draw stayed unanswered until the very last move. In case of 57. a5!? it would be much more complicated for Black to demonstrate how he won this game. After 57... Nb5+ 58. Kd2 (there was no 58. Kb4? because of 58... c5+, while 58. Kc2 lost after 58... f4 59. a6 f3 60. a7 Nxa7 when the f-pawn cost a rook to Black) 58... Bxb3 (a race after 58... f4 59. a6 f3 60. a7 f2 61. Rg8+ Bxg8 62. a8Q f1Q 63. Qxg8+ led to a draw despite Black’s extra piece) 59. a6 Kf3 60. Rb8 (a hasty 60. a7? lost because of 60... Bd5 ) 60... Bd5 61. Rb7 f4 61. a7 Nxa7 62. Rxa7 there was a position where White’s rook finished easily with Black’s two parted passed pawns with the assistance of the bishop.

57... Ne4+!

Black gets the knight to assist his passed pawn and wins a tempo.

58. Kd4

If 58. Kb2, then after 58... f4 59. a5 f3 60. a6 (in case of 60. Rf8 the solution was 60... Nc5 61. b4 Nd7!) 60... f2 61. Rf8 c5 62. a7 Kg3 63. Rf5 Bc6 its was time to surrender for White.

58... Ng5

59... Ne6+ was threatening.

59. Re8 f4 60. a5 Ne6+ 61. Kd3 Nc5+ 62. Kc3 f3 0-1 White resigned.

Group B

As well as in group A the single leader was defined in the second round, namely the Chinese grandmaster Xu Jun that managed to beat Mikhail Gurevich who escaped a nearly sure defeat the day before. In the other two games there was no vicious struggle. Ruslan Ponomariov with White failed to present any considerable problems to Nigel Short in the Tarrasch Variation of the French Defence and had to agree to a draw. Vassily Ivanchuk who played Black against Ye Jiangchuan equalised easily in the Ruy Lopez, and that was all. A symmetrical pawn structure with only one open e-file predetermined mass exchanges and a draw.

Xu Jun - Gurevich [D43]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4

White is determined to fight and win. His choice is the Moscow Gambit.

6... dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Be2 Bb7 10. h4 g4 11. Ne5 Rg8

The continuation 11... h5 is also still topical, and M. Gurevich used it in his tournament practice.

12. O-O Nbd7

After 12... h5 13. Qc2 Be7 14. Rad1 there was a sufficient compensation for the missing pawn.

13. Nxg4

The material balance is restored.

13... b4

A new move. There was a short game Glek - Dreev (Essen, 2000) where the opponents agreed to a draw after 13... Nh5 14. e5 Nxg3 15. fxg3 Qb6 16. a4.

14. Na4 Nxe4 15. Bxc4 Qa5?!

Probably Black should not have withdrawn the queen from the field of the battle. 15... Bg7 looked better to be followed with 16... Nxg3 17. fxg3 Nb6.

16. b3 Nxg3 17. fxg3 Rg6

It’s not an easy task for Black to set up a good co-ordination of his pieces. The weakness of the square f7 is too perceptible. 17... Rxg3?? was totally bad because of 18. Qf2 or 18. Nf5.

18. Qe2 Bg7

Another opportunity 18... Qh5 could have been met with 19. Rf4, and if 19... Bd6 20. Re4 Bxg3, then White had 21. Bxe6! fxe6 22. Nf6+ Nxf6 23. Rxe6+ Kd8 24. Qxh5 Nxh5 25. Rxg6 with good prospects.

19. Rad1 h5 20. Ne3 Qc7

In an indirect way Black admits that on the fifteenth move he chose not the very best place for his queen.

21. Nc5!

White’s pieces enter the game, and Black’s position gets worse at once as he failed to obtain a co-ordination of his heavy pieces.

21... Nxc5

There was no 21... Bxd4 because of 22. Nxe6! Bxe3+ 23. Qxe3 fxe6 24. Bxe6, and White smashed Black’s position using three open files in the centre.

22. dxc5 Rd8

Both 22... Qxg3?? (because of 23. Nf5) and 22... Rxg3?? (because of 23. Bxe6) was absolutely impossible for Black.

23. Nf5 Bf8 24. Qe3 Rd5

Black tries to demonstrate some kind of a struggle. The same result would be achieved also after 24... Bc8 25. Rxd8+ Qxd8 (if 25... Kxd8, then 26. Rd1+, getting the knight to d6) 26. Qe5! or in case of 24... Rd7 25. Rxd7 Qxd7 26. Qe5!.

25. Bxd5 cxd5 26. Nd6+ Bxd6 27. cxd6 Qxd6 28. Kh2 Kf8 29. Rf4 e5 30. Rf5 f6 31. Qxa7 Qe7 1-0 Black resigned.

Group C

A small sensation occurred in the second round in this group. One of the leaders, Piotr Svidler, was defeated. He lost with White to the Chinese chess player Zhang Zhong in his favourite Ruy Lopez. Thus Zhang Zhong changed Piotr Svidler on the leader’s place and has now 1,5 points together with Evgeni Bareev who made a quick draw in his game with Sergei Movsesian. The losers of the first round, Alexei Fedorov and Aimen Rizouk, struggled much longer than the others. It’s interesting that Alexei Fedorov who had white pieces did not venture to play his special, the King’s Gambit, after 1. e4 e5, and confined himself with a much less pretentious 2. Bc4.

Svidler - Zhang Zhong [C65]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Qe2

Piotr Svidler refuses to play the Brazilian Variation which would be possible after 4. O-O Nxe4.

4... Bc5 5. c3 Qe7 6. O-O O-O 7. Rd1 d6 8. h3 Bd7 9. d3

White plans an exchange of the dark-squared bishop, this is why he does not go for a more active 9. d4 Bb6.

9... a6 10. Ba4 Ba7 11. Be3

Previously only 11. Bc2 was seen in this position.

11... Bxe3 12. Qxe3 Rfe8

So long Black is not ready for 12... Nd4 because after 13. cxd4 Bxa4 14. Rc1 Rac8 the white knight can get to a good position with 15. Nc3.

13. Bb3

White’s rejection of a natural 13. Nbd2 can be explained probably with the fact that after 13... Nd4 14. cxd4 Bxa4 15. Rdc1 Rac8 the position of the white queen’s knight got worse.

13... Na5 14. Bc2 c5!

Played in a good, strict positional manner. We have no dark-squared bishop, do let’s position our pawns on dark squares. At the same time 14... d5, increasing pressure in the centre, was to White’s favour after 15. Nbd2.

15. Nbd2 b5

16. d4

This programmed advance won’t bring any special benefit to White. Black is prepared for it well, because his pieces are ready to occupy the squares in the centre which will be freed after the pawns will be exchanged.

16... cxd4 17. cxd4 exd4 18. Nxd4 Nc6 19. Re1 Rac8 20. N2f3 Ne5 21. Rad1 Rc5

Black positions his pieces conveniently.

22. Nh4 Nc4 23. Qc1 g6 24. b3 Ne5 25. Qd2 Nh5 26. Nhf3 Qf6 27. Re3 Nf4 28. Bb1 Rec8 29. Kh2 h6

30. Ng1?

For the last several moves Black got much more than White, but all his micro merits could have been cancelled with a mere 30. Nxe5 dxe5 (30... Qxe5? was bad because of 31. Nf3 as well as 30... Rxe5? because of 31. Rf3) 31. Nf3 (31. Ne2 was also possible, because 31... Nxh3 32. gxh3 Qxf2+ 33. Kh1 gave no real attack to Black), maintaining the balance.

30... Qh4!

Now the whole army of Black’s pieces is ready to attack the white king.

31. Rg3

The rook goes into the very hell to save the king and perishes, as a result. Still, White had already no better continuation. After 31. Ngf3 Black won with 31... Ng4+ 32. Kg1 Nxh3+ 33. gxh3 Qxh3, and in case of 31. g3 the solution was 31... Ng4+ 32. Kh1 Qh5.

31... Nh5 32. Ndf3

There was no 32. Qxh6 because of 32... Ng4+.

32... Qf6

Obviously White will lose by an exchange now.

33. Nxe5 Qxe5 34. Nf3 Qe7 35. e5 Nxg3 36. fxg3 Bc6 37. exd6 Qf6 38. Rf1 Rd8 39. Qxh6 Rxd6 40. Re1 Rh5 0-1 White resigned.

Group D

The Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, the main favourite of the whole World Cup, stayed the leader of this group after he won a very beautiful victory in the game with the FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman. The other two games were drawn. Vladislav Tkachiov and Boris Gelfand tested each other in one of the keenest variations of the English Opening. Their duel was short, still there were tactical complications in it. Though the Europe Champion 2000 Pavel Tregubov played Black, he needed a victory in the game with the outsider Mohammed Tissir. He was close to this victory during the whole game but made a mistake not long before the time control, and with a hasty 38... b3 instead of 38... Bc2! he lost his winning chances finally. As a result, his opponent got a draw.

Anand - Khalifman [B80]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. f3 b5 8. g4 h6 9. Qd2 Nbd7 10. O-O-O Bb7 11. h4

The opponents play one of the most topical modern variations, the English Attack. In the tournament practice of Viswanathan Anand this structure occurred many times, whereas for Alexander Khalifman it was the first time that he played this variation in a serious game with Black. As for White’s last move, it brought many disappointments to White for the last half-year, so that the move 11. Bd3 becomes now more popular.

11... b4 12. Na4 Qa5 13. b3 Nc5 14. a3 Rc8

Owing to this strong move which was introduced into the tournament practice by Boris Gelfand, Black scored success in this variation recently.

15. Qxb4 Qc7 16. Kb1

After 16. Nxc5 dxc5 17. Qa4+ Nd7 18. Ne2 c4 19. b4 (no better was 19. bxc4 Bc6 20. Qb3 Nc5 21. Bxc5 Bxc5 22. Rd3 O-O with a good play by Black (Tiviakov - Van Wely, Rotterdam, 2000) but a keen 19. Bf4 Qc6 20. Qxc6 Bxa3+ 21. Kb1 Rxc6 22. Nd4 Rc8 23. Bxc4 e5 24. Nf5 which occurred in the game T. Ernst - Agrest (Oerebro, 2000) is probably still waiting for a real test) 19... Bc6 20. Qxa6 Ra8 21. Qxc4 Rxa3 22. Bf4 Qb7 Black got a promising position in the game Anand - Gelfand (Monaco (active), 2000).

16... Ncd7

A new move. Only 16... Nfd7 17. Nb2 d5 18. Qd2 dxe4 19. f4 occurred previously (V. Potkin – V. Belov, Moscow, 2000).

17. Qd2 d5 18. Bh3 dxe4 19. g5 hxg5 20. hxg5 Nd5 21. fxe4 Nxe3 22. Qxe3 Ne5

After 22... Rxh3 23. Rxh3 e5 24. Nc3 exd4 25. Qxd4 Black’s rook and two pawns looked better than Black’s two bishops.

23. Rhf1!?

White is ready to part with the pawn a3. Probably after 23. Ka2 he did not want to encounter 23... Qe7 24. b4 Qc7 which would make him open up the position of his king.

23... Bxa3

24. g6!

The beginning of a grand plan.

24... Nxg6 25. Bxe6 fxe6 26. Nxe6 Qe7 27. Qb6

Let’s regard this position closer. White is threatening with 28. Nxg7+ Qxg7 29. Qxe6+ Qe7 30. Qxg6+ with a mate. Black has to undertake something immediate against this threat.

27... Nf8!?

It’s hard to say whether this continuation was the strongest or Black had a better resource. There seems to be no good defence for the knight. After 27... Bxe4 there was 28. Nxg7+! Qxg7 29. Qxe6+ again, and Black suffered because his rook on c8 was not covered, and in case of 27... Rh6 there was a strong 28. Rd8+! Rxd8 (no 28... Qxd8 because of 29. Nxg7+ Kd7 30. Qxb7+ Kd6 31. e5+, White mating in six at the most) 29. Nc7+ Kd7 30. Qxb7 Kd6 31. Qb6+ Kd7 (after 31... Ke5 the solution was 32. Qa5+ Kd6 33. Rd1+ Kc6 34. Qb6#) 32. Rd1+ Qd6 (White mated after 32... Bd6 33. Nc5+ Kc8 34. Qb7# or 32... Kc8 33. Qxa6+ Kxc7 34. Qa7+ Kc8 35. Nb6#) 33. Rxd6+ Bxd6 34. Ne6! the threat of a check with knight from c5 decided the game in White’s favour. Therefore there was a choice only between 27... Nf8 and 27... Ne5. In the latter case after 28. Rd8+! Rxd8 29. Nc7+ Kd7 30. Qxb7 Qg5 (30... Qh4 deserved attention too) White had not only a perpetual check, but also a promising 31. b4!! Bxb4 (after 31... Ke7 32. Nd5+ Ke8 33. Nc5 White’s attack was also very powerful) 32. Nxa6+ Ke8 33. Nc7+ Kd7 34. Nd5+ Ke6 (and in case of 34... Ke8 35.Qb5+ Rd7 36. Nc7+ Ke7 37. Qxb4+ the attacking wave caught Black) 35. Nxb4 Qe7 36. Qb6+ Qd6 37. Nc5+ Ke7 38. Qb7+ Rd7 (no use in 38... Nd7 because of 39. Nc6+ and 38... Ke8 was also helpless because of 39. Qxg7) 39. Nxd7 Qxd7 40. Nd5+ Ke6 41. Nf4+ Ke7 42. Ng6+ Nxg6 43. Rf7+ Kxf7 44. Qxd7+ with a queen and two pawns against Black’s rook and knight which would most likely guarantee a victory to White.

28. Rd8+!

The crazy storm of Black’s position continues.

28... Rxd8 29. Nc7+ Qxc7 30. Qxc7 Rd7

31. Qb8+?!

It seems as is White checked from a wrong square. After 31. Qe5+! Kd8 (if 31... Be7, then 32. Nc5) 32. Nb6 (in case of 32. Qa5+ Rc7 33. Rd1+ Nd7 34. Nb6 Bxe4 35. Rxd7+ Rxd7 36. Nxd7+ Kxd7 37. Qxa3 Bb7 Black could have hoped for an escape as the struggle was localised on the queenside) 32... Bd6 33. Qg5+ Kc7 34. Qa5! (it’s important not to allow Black to consolidate, after 34. Nxd7 Nxd7 35. Rd1 Rh6 36. Qxg7 Re6 his position could have been defended very well) 34... Rh5 35. Qxh5 Kxb6 36. Qe8 Kc7 37. Rxf8 Bxf8 38. Qxf8, and Black was lost as there was no 38... Bxe4? because of 39. Qf4+, losing the bishop.

31... Ke7 32. Qe5+ Ne6 33. Rg1 Kf7?!

Black overlooked an opportunity to struggle for a draw: after 33... Rh6 34. Rxg7+ Ke8 it seemed that Black’s pieces were hanging in the air, but there was still no obviously decisive continuation for White. In case of a forced 35. Rxd7 Kxd7 36. Nb6+ Ke8 37. Nd5 Black held with 37... Be7 or 37... Bf8.

34. Nb6 Rhd8

35. Ka2!

White does not force the events. The longer the white knight stays on the board, the less pleasant it is for Black. An immediate 35. Nxd7 Rxd7 36. Rg6!? Re7 (no 36... Rd1+ because of 37. Ka2 Kxg6 38. Qxe6+ Kh7 39. Kxa3) 37. Rxe6 Rxe6 38. Qf4+ Ke7 (if 38... Kg6, then 39. Qf5+) 39. Qc7+ Kf6 40. Qxb7 led to a position where the insufficiency of the material on the board left some drawing chances for Black notwithstanding White’s material advantage.

35... Bf8?!

Leading to a quick end, though after 35... Rd6 35. Nc4! Black also had no real chances.

36. Nxd7 Rxd7 37. Qf5+ Ke7 38. Rf1 Bc8 39. Qf7+ Kd6 40. e5+ 1-0 Black resigned.

"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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