The Bilbaos 2014 – Round 4 and 5

Anand won a beautiful game against Vallejo’s QGA. Vallejo chose a somewhat inferior line, popular in the 90s (the important game Karpov-Milov, Biel 1997 damaged its reputation for the black player because it showed that black doesn’t really have an attack) and sporadically used by Tkachiev in the late 00s (he played it twice against Gelfand in blitz in 2008 and once against Ponomariov in 2009). Vallejo chose a plan of play in the centre, but white’s position was better prepared and in spite of the symmetrical structure black was in trouble because of the offside knight on g6 – just compare the position of the knights:

The control of the d-file is bonus!

Anand was precise in the realisation of the advantage. A typical top-level game that shows what happens when one of the players cannot get out of the opening with an acceptable position. And the encouraging signs for Anand continue!

In Ponomariov-Aronian white obtained good compensation for the pawn, but even though black ended up with a pathetic bishop on c8 it turned out that everything was defended and white couldn’t break through. Usually these games are lost for the passive player, but here he survived – in the final position his bishop is still pathetic, but there’s nothing white can do to take advantage of it:

Black surviving his worst nightmare

At the ECC, SOCAR won again, yet they’re still not guaranteed first place! Topalov (beating Nakamura again after the Sinquefield Cup, making it three in a row!) and Korobov (beating Kiril Georgiev) more than compensated for Caruana’s win against Mamedyarov (who sacrificed a pawn in the opening, in the footsteps of Radjabov who used the same line against Mchedlishvili in the Olympiad, but his compensation fizzled out). Caruana seems to be flying high after his Sinquefield triumph and it’s a good sign – perhaps we’re witnessing the beginning of another big rivalry of players whose names start with the same letter?

When writing about round 3 (http://www.alexcolovic.com/2014/09/the-bilbaos-2014-round-3.html) I mentioned that Alekhine’s employment of the Spanish with Nc3 got me interested in the line and that he tried to jump to d5 as soon as possible. The modern treatment is somewhat slower, but the old ideas are still valid, just take a look at this:

8 Nd5! Mamedov,N-Bartel

My good friend Nidjat Mamedov played no worse than Alekhine in this game – only two moves later he was practically winning!

Black is forced to take on d4 with his bishop, but that didn’t help

The final position is also worth taking a look at, it could have occurred in one of Alekhine’s games very easily:

White’s last move is 23 Kh1

The final move and position reminded me of Alekhine-Asztalos, Kecskemet 1927:

Followed by Rg1-g7

Tomorrow we have another clash on the top board – SOCAR meets Malakhite (Leko, Shirov, Malakhov – it’s fitting that a Malakhov should play for Malakhite I think, Motylev, Lysyj and Bologan). Another great fight ahead!

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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2 Comments
  • Sep 19,2014 at 9:37 pm

    Hvala!

  • Anonymous
    Sep 19,2014 at 9:18 am

    Zdravo i bravo Aleks. Odlične komparacije. Erudicija čini svoje. Keep going!

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