Mar 19, 2001

Round 3

Group A

The situation changed profoundly after the third day of the tournament. The previous leader Alexei Alexandrov played White, and still he suffered a crushing defeat from the Brazilian grandmaster J. Milos. The rating-favourite of the group Alexander Morozevich was unlucky again, he decided successfully all his opening problems in the game against Zurab Azmaiparashvili and tried to win at all costs but made a blunder and lost the game. Thus J. Milos and Z. Azmaiparashvili became the leaders, because the game Dreev – Gulko was drawn on the twenty first move after Black managed to maintain a reinforced area on the queenside which he opposed to White’s advantage of two bishops.

Aleksandrov - Milos [E42]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 b6 5. Nge2 c5 6. a3 Ba5 7. Rb1 Na6 8. f3

Alexei Alexandrov applies this aggressive move regularly. Beside this move, the continuations 8. Ng3, 8. Bd2 and 8. Qa4 occurred much more frequently.

8... O-O 9. d5 exd5 10. cxd5 b5 11. Kf2

A. Alexandrov attempts to reinforce his play. Previously he played 11. e4 in this position. So, after 11... b4 (11... Re8 also deserved attention as Black got an excellent play after 12. Ng3 b4 13. axb4 cxb4 14. Nb5 b3+ 15. Kf2 Bb6+ 16. Be3 Bxe3+ 17. Kxe3 Nb4 in the game Oms Pallise - Del Rio Angelis (Santa Clara, 1999)) 12. axb4 cxb4 13. Nb5 Qb6 14. Nbd4 b3+ 15. Kf2 Nc5 16. Ng3 Bb7 17. Be3 Bxd5 complications began in the game Aleksandrov - Sambuev (St.Petersburg, 1998).

11... b4 12. Nb5 d6 13. axb4 Nxb4 14. Nec3 Bb6 15. Bc4?!

After this move Black will play the rest of the game at a single breathing. Probably White should have preferred 15. Na3 with the idea to put the knight on c4.

15... Nd7!

A dreadful threat of 16... Qh4+ arises.

16. Ne4

16. Nxd6 looks risky because of 16... Ne5 17. Nxc8 Rxc8 18. Be2 (after 18. b3 Nxc4 19. bxc4 Qh4+ b was OK) 18... c4 with a very dangerous initiative for a pawn by Black.

16... Ne5 17. b3

17... f5!

After this move White’s position which is quite solid at first sight begins to fall apart.

18. Nexd6

White goes for complications. If White refused from the sacrificed pawn with 18. Ng3, then after 18... a6 19. Nc3 Qh4 he also suffered a very strong attack from Black’s pieces.

18... a6 19. Nxc8 axb5 20. Nxb6 Qxb6 21. Be2 Rfd8!

It’s hard to find a sensible response for White. A material loss is inevitable now.

22. f4

There was no way to keep the pawn d5. After 22. e4 fxe4 23. fxe4 c4+ there was a quick end. If 22. Qf1 Rxd5 23. Bxb5, then after 23... Ra2+ 24. Kg1 (no 24. Rb2 because of 24... Nbd3+) 24... Qd6 Black also won the game.

22... Rxd5 23. fxe5 Rxd1 24. Rxd1 Qe6 25. Bxb5 Ra2+ 26. Bb2 Qxb3

The army of white pieces decreased considerably for the last moves.

27. Rd8+ Kf7 28. Rd7+ Ke6

28... Kg6 would have brought Black to his goal sooner.

29. Rd6+ Ke7 30. Rd7+ Kf8 31. Rd8+ Kf7 32. Rd7+ Kg6 33. Rd6+ Kg5 34. h4+ Kxh4 35. Be2

White’s agony is over. He will suffer torments until the time control and then resign.

35... Kg5 36. Rd2 Nd5 37. Rbd1 Qxe3+ 38. Kf1 Qf4+ 39. Kg1 Qe3+ 40. Kh1 Ra4 41. Bc1 0-1 White resigned.

Azmaiparashvili - Morozevich [D39]

1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 c5 7. Bxc4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Qa5 9. Bd2 Qc5

In the game against G. Kasparov at the tournament in Sarajevo A. Morozevich tested the move 9... O-O. This time he goes a more traditional way.

10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. Nb3 Qe7 12. Qe2

Usually White removes the bishop with the move 12. Bd3 and thus escapes an exchange, still the move which Z. Azmaiparashvili made in the game was seen previously as well.

12... Bxb5!

However strange this may seem, this natural move occurred for the first time. Usually Black played 12... O-O.

13. Qxb5+ Nc6 14. Nd4 Rc8 15. Nxc6 Rxc6 16. O-O a6 17. Qg5 O-O 18. a3 Bc5

It’s obvious that Black equalised the play, and his position is even slightly better.

19. Be3 h6 20. Qg3 Bxe3 21. Qxe3 Qc7

The place for the queen could have been defined later, whereas 21... Rfc8 would be helpful in any case.

22. h3 Nd7 23. Ne2 Ne5 24. Rfd1 Nc4 25. Qc3 e5 26. a4!

White defends calmly.

26... Rc8 27. Rac1

27... Qe7

Black returns the queen to the square where it stood just for several moves. His aim is to reinforce the position with 28... Qg5!. White should undertake something.

28. b3 Na3

Black’s knight begins his journey through White’s rear. After 28... Nd6 29. Qd3 the tension of the position would decrease.

29. Qd3 Nc2 30. Rd2 Qc7

Black continues to struggle. A draw 30... Nd4 31. Rxc6 Nxe2+ 32. Qxe2 Rxc6 evidently does not suit him.

31. Rcd1 Qb6 32. Qg3 Re8 33. Qd3 Nb4

An attempt to repeat the position is rejected by Black. As a result, White takes the initiative.

34. Qd7 Rf8

Black begins to defend.

35. Ng3 g6 36. Qe7 Re6 37. Qh4 Kh7 38. Nf1 Nc6 39. Rd3 Nd4 40. Ne3 Qc6

41. Nd5

With this move White loses his slight initiative. It should be noted that there was no 41. Ng4? because of 41... g5 as after 42. Qh5 Ne2+ 43. Kf1 Nf4 White lost his queen. 41. Kh1!? deserved attention, preparing Ne3-g4. So, after 41... b5 42. Ng4 g5 43. Qh5 Qxe4 44. Re3 White returned the pawn and kept the initiative, whereas after 41... f5 42. exf5 gxf5 43. Nc4 Black’s position in the centre was unsteady.

41... f5 42. f3 Rf7

The equality of the forces could have been emphasised with 42... fxe4 43. fxe4 Qc2.

43. Kh2 Re8

Now again 43... fxe4 44. fxe4 Qc2 with an equality was appropriate.

44. Rc3 Qd6 45. Rdc1

So long this move gave nothing particular to White. After 45. Rc7 Ref8 (there was no 45... Rxc7?? because of 46. Nf6+) 46. Nf6+ Kg7 47. Rxf7+ Kxf7 (no 47... Rxf7?? because of 48. Ne8+) 48. Nd5 (if 48. Nh7?, then after 48... Rc8 49. Qxh6 Black had 49... Nxf3+!) 48... Kg7 the equality was kept.

45... fxe4 46. fxe4 Nc6

47. b4!

Feeling that Black is a little uncertain, White attempts to struggle for a victory.

47... Nxb4??

With this move Black spoils the whole game at once. After 47... Ref8 48. b5 axb5 49. axb5 Nb4 White’s micro merits were not enough for him to win.

48. Rc7 Ref8

This way only.

49. Nf6+ Kg7 50. Rxf7+ Kxf7 51. Nh7 1-0 Black resigned. If the black rook retreated to a8, b8, g8 or h8, then there was a mere 52. Qxh6, in case of 51... Rd8 the solution was in 52. Rd1!, and in case of 52... Re8 there was a very strong 53. Rc7+! Qxc7 (53... Re7 54. Qf2+ Kg8 55. Qf8+) 54. Qf6+ Kg8 55. Qxg6+ Kh8 ( 55... Qg7 56. Nf6+) 56. Nf6!, so that a mate to the black king was inevitable.

Group B

Two Chinese players lead this group. Xu Jun fixed his success of the second round relatively easily. Playing Black against Vassily Ivanchuk, he got a slightly worse endgame but managed to extinguish the initiative of his opponent and agreed to a draw when the position was at least equal. His compatriot Ye Jiangchuan who also played Black repulsed the threats of Nigel Short and won the game after White’s major mistake in the endgame, thus having joined the leader. The loser of the second day Mikhail Gurevich displayed his fighter’s nature in the third round. One move after another he gained a space advantage in the centre which White surrendered for the advantage of two bishops in the English Opening, and finally he broke the persistent defence of Ruslan Pnomariov.

Short - Ye Jiangchuan [B25]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3

Recently the English grandmaster began to avoid main lines of the Sicilian Defence.

2... Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Nh3 e5

Black is preparing to meet White’s f-pawn in the centre of the board. Another proved continuation was 6... e6.

7. f4 Nge7 8. O-O h6

In case of 8... O-O or 8... Nd4 Black had to reckon with ñ 9. f5!?. In the latter case after 9... gxf5 10. Qh5 (in case of 10. Bg5 Black defended from White’s main threats with 10... f6! 11. Qh5+ Kd7 12. exf5 Nxc2 13. Rac1 Nd4 14. Ne4 Qf8 (Trapl - Pribyl, CSSR, 1972)) 10... h6 11. Rf2 Be6 12. Be3 Qd7 13. Raf1 O-O-O 14. Nd5 White got a sufficient initiative for the sacrifice pawn in the well known game Spassky - Hort (Bugojno, 1978). In case of 8... exf4 Black most likely did not want to encounter 9.Bxf4, so he preferred to wait for a while.

9. Be3

White refused from a gambit line 9. f5 gxf5 10. Qh5.

9... exf4

Now that White’s dark-squared bishop at last made a move Black raises the tension in the centre.

10. Nxf4 O-O 11. Qd2 Kh7 12. Rae1 Rb8

13. Ncd5

White takes a crucial decision, allowing Black to get rid of the passive knight. There was an opportunity to delay this move and play a waiting 13. Kh1 or 13. h3 instead.

13... Nxd5

To take the sacrificed pawn with the move 13... Bxb2 is more than dangerous. After 14. c3 Ba3 15. Nf6+ Kh8 (in case of 15... Kg7 there was an immediate solution of 16. N4h5+ ) 16. N4d5 White’s attack looked irresistible.

14. exd5

Involving certain strategic risk, because White’s pawn structure is damaged now. At the same time Black had an easy play after 14. Nxd5 Be6.

14... Ne7 15. Bf2 Nf5 16. Be4 b5

An attempt to prepare f5 for the knight with the help of 16... h5? encountered a tactical blow 17. Nxh5! gxh5 18. Qf4 Qf6 19. Be3. The position after 16... Bxb2 17. c3 Ba3 also looked very dangerous for Black.

17. g4 Qg5 18. Kh1 Be5

No 18... Qxg4?? because of 19. Rg1.

19. gxf5 Bxf4 20. Be3 Bxe3 21. Qxe3 gxf5 22. Bg2

In the four-rook endgame after 22. Qxg5 hxg5 23. Bxf5+ Bxf5 24. Rxf5 Kg6 25. Rff1 (25. Ref1 f6) 25... Rbe8 Black’s chances were slightly better.

22... Rg8 23. Bh3 Qxe3

If 23... Rb7, then there was 24. Qf3.

24. Rxe3 Rg5 25. Re7 Kg6 26. Rxa7 b4 27. Rc7

27. a4!? bxa3 28. bxa3 Rb2 29. Rc7 deserved attention, keeping better prospects.

27... Kf6

28. d4?

Probably this move was connected with some miscalculation. After 28. a4!? White was better.

28... cxd4 29. Rd1?!

After 29. Re1 there were better drawing chances.

29... Ba6 30. Bg2

No 30. Rxd4? because of 30... Rbg8 31. Rd1 Be2.

30... Be2 31. Rd2 Re8 32. h4 Rg4 33. Rc6 f4!

White’s position is lost after this precise move, whereas 33...Rxh4+ 34. Kg1 still left him some drawing chances.

34. Rxd6+ Kg7 35. Rxd4 h5

Now it’s evident that one of Black’s f-pawns will cost the bishop to Black.

36. Rb6 f3 37. Rxg4+ hxg4 38. Rxb4 f5

No need to hurry with the capture of the bishop. Black prefers to reinforce his position first.

39. d6 Rd8 40. Rd4 Kf6 41. c3 Ke5 42. h5 f4 43. d7 fxg2+ 44. Kxg2 Bf3+ 45. Kg1 g3 46. h6 Be4 47. Ra4 0-1 White resigned.

Group C

Evgeny Bareev kept his leading position. Playing White, he chose a very quiet variation of the Gruenfeld Defence which Piotr Svidler offered, as usually, for d2-d4, but got no considerable positional advantage and was content with a draw. Another recent leader, Zhang Zhong, was beaten by Alexei Fedorov notwithstanding the fact that he played White. White hoped for his attack of the black king and let Black take the initiative on the queenside, but the attack failed, and the sacrificed material could not have been returned already. Thus the Byelorussian grandmaster gained a fifty percent result and still has a chance to qualify for the play off. Sergei Movsesian also gained a profit from the failure of the Chinese player and, with the help of several blunders of his opponent, A. Rizouk, he managed to slip out from a rather unpleasant position, won the game and joined the leader of the group, Evgeny Bareev.

Rizouk - Movsesian [B22]

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Bd3 e5 5. Nf3

Grandmaster E. Sveshnikov, the main adherent and advocate of the move 2.c3, prefers here 5. dxe5. This move occurred in the practice of S. Movsesian: after 5... dxe5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Na3 Be7 8. Bg5 Nh5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Bb5 O-O 11. Nd2 Nf4 12. g3 Ng2+ 13. Ke2 Bh3 14. Qc2 Qg5 there was a keen struggle in the game Haba - Movsesian (Koszalin, 1998).

5... Nc6 6. d5 Ne7 7. Bg5

White leaves the path of the theory. After 7. O-O g6 8. Nfd2 Bg7 9. Nc4 O-O 10. f4 b5 11. fxe5 dxe5 12. Ne3 Bd7 13. c4 b4 14. Nd2 White got better chances in the game Zhang Zhong - Movsesian (Elista, 1998).

7... Ng6 8. Bb5+ Bd7 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. a4 a6 11. Bxd7+ Qxd7 12. Nbd2

White would have a fine position if he had time to prevent the advantage f6-f5, but he was deprived of this opportunity.

12... f5 13. Qc2 fxe4 14. Nxe4 Be7

15. Ng3

White sacrifices the pawn in order to block up the advance f7-f5. After 15. O-O f5 16. Ng3 O-O both sides had chances.

15... Nf4 16. O-O Nxd5 17. Rad1 Qe6

There was an alternative: 17... Qc6, but after 18. Nh5 (if 18. Nf5, then 18... Nf4) 18... Nc7 (in case of 18... O-O-O Black had to reckon with 19. Qf5+, returning the pawn) 19. Rfe1 White was compensated for the pawn.

18. Nf5

White refuses to play the position to appear after 18. Qe4 Nf4 19. Qxb7 O-O where Black would have an initiative by a material balance.

18... Rg8

There was no 18... O-O-O?? because of 19. Rxd5.

19. Qe4 Nf6?

Black disposes of his material advantage rather generously. After 19... Nf4 20. g3 0-0-0 21. Nh1 there was a keen struggle with mutual chances.

20. Qxb7 Rd8 21. Nxe7 Qxe7 22. Qxa6 Kf8 23. Rfe1 e4 24. Nd2

White begins to pull back his pieces, though there was still an opportunity to struggle for the square d4 with 24. Qb6 d5 25. b4 cxb4 26. Nd4 or 24. b4 cxb4 25. cxb4.

24... d5 25. Qe2 Rg6 26. c4 dxc4 27. Nxc4 Rd4 28. Ne3?!

Much better was 28. Qc2! first, and only then 29. Ne3.

28... Qe5?

After 28... Rxa4 29. Ra1 Rxa1 30. Rxa1 Qb7 the material balance was maintained, and Black’s drawing chances were quite real notwithstanding White’s positional advantage.

29. a5 Nh5

30. Ra1?

Now White overlooked an opportunity to win at once with 30. Qb5! Rxd1 (30... Nf4 was also losing because of 31. Rxd4 Qxd4 32. Qb8+ Ke7 33. Nf5+ as well as 30... Rb4 because of 31. Rd8+ Kg7 32. Qe8) 31. Rxd1 Nf4 32. a6 Nxg2 (if 32... Qg5, then there was 33. a7 Nxg2 34. a8Q+ Kg7 35. Rd5) 33. Nxg2 Qg5 34. Qb8+ Kg7 35. Qg3, and Black’s attack was stalled.

30... Nf4 31. Qf1 Rd7!

Movsesian finds a way to complicate the play. The natural 31... Rd2 led Black to a defeat because of 32. a6 Nh3+ 33. Kh1 Nxf2+ 34. Qxf2 Rxf2 35. a7.

32. a6 Ra7!?

As if with a presentiment of a radical turn Black refused from a forced draw after 32... Qxb2 33.a7 Rxa7 34. Rxa7 Nh3+ 35. Kh1 Nxf2+ 36. Ng1 Nh3+.

33. Qb5 Kg7 34. b4?

It can be felt that White was totally disoriented. 34. Red1? was also bad because of 34... Qf6, and in case of 35. Rd2, covering f2, Black had 35... Nxg2! 36. Nxg2 Qg5. White should have played 34. Rec1! even though after 34... Nd3 (no 34... Qf6 35. Rc2 Rxa6? because of 36. Rxa6 Qxa6 37. Nf5+) 35. Rc2 f5 Black’s initiative was worth a pawn.

34... Nd3 35. Rf1 Nxb4 36. Rac1 Nd3 37. Ra1 h5 38. Nc4?

White makes another mistake. After 38. Ra4 with the idea f2-f3 White had a draw, whereas 38... Qf6 which is similar to the move in the game could have been parried with 38. Qe8.

38... Qf6 39. Qb8?

After 39. Ne3 Rxa6 (in case of 39... Qf3 White had 40. Ra3) White would have lost gradually. After the move in the game he will lose immediately.

39... Qf3 40. Ne3 Nf4 41. Nf5+ Kh7 42. Nh4 Rxg2+ 43. Kh1 Rg1+ 0-1 White resigned.

Group D

The leader, V. Anand, got a draw right after the opening since his opponent B. Gelfand put no obstacles in his way. The FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman won confidently in the game against M. Tissir. White’s pieces simply demolished Black’s position. The duel between P. Tregubov and V. Tkachiev was very persistent but gave no crucial advantage to any of the sides. The result was a draw.

Khalifman - Tissir [E04]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Bb4+

Black played very inconsistently in this game. If he planned to check with the bishop he should have made this with his fourth move before the capture on c4.

6. Bd2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Qc2 a6

The check on the fifth move could have sense only in connection with the line 8... Bd7 9. Ne5 Nc6, though even in this variation White is better after 10. Qxc4, according to the theory.

9. Qxc4 b5 10. Qc2 Bb7

Now we have a well known theoretical position (usually it appears after 4... Be7 5. Bg2 0-0 6. 0-0 dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Bd2), but with a significant difference: White is to move. It’s evident that White’s extra tempo will tell very soon.

11. Rc1 Bd6 12. Bg5

White’s first task is not to allow Black to accomplish the advance c7-c5.

Nbd7 13. Bxf6!

In case of 13. Nbd2 White had to reckon with 14... c5 14. Bxf6 gxf6 (there was no 14... Qxf6? because of 15. Ne5) 15. Ne4 Bxe4 16. Qxe4 f5 17. Qc6 (if 17. Qb7, then 17... Qc8) 17... Qe7, and White’s advantage was not very big.

13... Nxf6

Now 13... gxf6 gives already nothing to Black because of 14. Ng5! fxg5 15. Bxb7 Ra7 16. Bc6 whereafter he can only dream about c7-c5.

14. Nbd2 Rc8 15. Nb3 Be4

16. Qc3!

However curious this may seem, all this stuff occurred previously until White’s last move. After 16. Qd2 Bd5 17. Ne1 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 e5 19. dxe5 Bxe5 20. Qxd8 Rfxd8 21. Rab1 Nd7 22. Nd3 White got an advantage in the game Garcia Gonzales - Vilela (Havana, 1982). The move which was made by the FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman is still stronger because it complicates the advance e6-e5 for Black.

16... Bd5 17. Nfd2

The exchange of the light-squared bishop will make the play in the centre more convenient for White and at the same time it will emphasise the weakness of Black’s queenside.

17... Bxg2 18. Kxg2 b4

Black weakens his queenside still more in order to perform e6-e5. After 18... c6 19. e4, 18... Nd7 19. Ne4 or 18... Nd5 19. Qc6 Nb4 20. Qf3 he was also not very good.

19. Qc6 e5 20. dxe5 Bxe5 21. Nc4 Qe7 22. e4!

White need not hurry to win the material. After 22. Qxa6 c5 Black might get a counterplay as all white pieces would be collected on the queenside.

22... Rfe8 23. Rf1

Another prophylactic move which should prefer the advance f2-f4. After 23. f4 Bxf4 24. gxf4 Nh5 25. f5 Qh4 unnecessary complications were possible.

23... Qd7 24. Qxd7 Nxd7

After the exchange of the queens Black is deprived of any hope for a counterplay.

25. f4 Bd6 26. Kf3 Bf8 27. Rac1 Nb6 28. Nba5 Rcd8 29. Rcd1 h5 30. Ne3

30... Rxd1

Apart from the present problems Black gives up the d-file. Probably he could have defended more persistently after 30... Na4, though the result in case of 31. Nac4 was still certain.

31. Rxd1 Na4 32. Nac4 Nb6 33. e5 a5

Black attempts to show some activity in order not to be strangled in his own camp.

34. Nxa5 Ra8 35. Nc6 Rxa2 36. Rd8 Ra8

In case of 36... g6 37. f5 Ra8 38. Rxa8 Nxa8 39. fxg6 (39. f6 was also not bad, Black played practically without king in this case) 39... fxg6 40. e6 Bd6 41. Nc4 White would have sent his king into the centre of the board and win.

37. Rxa8 Nxa8 38. Nd5

A showy opportunities. White pieces dominate totally.

38... Nb6

If 38... b3, then Black lost after 39. Ke4.

39. Ndxb4 Bxb4 40. Nxb4 c5 41. Nd3 c4 42. Nc5 Nd5 43. Na4 Kh7 44. Ke4 1-0 Black resigned.

"And his six pawns were scattered like the ships of the Armada that should have conquered England; the Lord blew, and they were all isolated."

-Hans Kmoch, Groningen 1946 tournament book

"Nowadays, when you're not a grandmaster at 14, you can forget about it."

Anand Vishwanathan

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