The Bilbaos 2014 – Round 2

In the Masters Anand continues his winning ways – he won against Vallejo with black employing the Ragozin, something of a rare choice in his repertoire. Vallejo didn’t expect this and it seemed as if he messed up the opening (usually when black has played …h6 the line with 8 dc5 is considered good for him).

8 dc5?!

Anand’s game should have been drawn though, but obviously Vallejo had an off day. So Anand’s 2/2 is similar to his 2.5/3 in the Candidates (and may well be identical if tomorrow he draws Aronian) – a good omen for the Indian, not only for the tournament, but also for the big match ahead.

Aronian beat Ponomariov in yet another KID by the latter. Obviously he prepared the opening for the event, but it’s not bringing him any dividents so far. The opening aside, I think Ponomariov’s main problem is the lack of practice on this level – for a long time he’s been out of the elite tournaments. He played Dortmund this year (scoring -1) and this is only his second elite tournament of that level this year. I wrote about this in a post about Dortmund ( What was surprising in the game was that Aronian actually allowed Ponomariov to escape – on move 38 black could have saved the game! But Ponomariov missed it and things went back to normal. Uncharacteristic for both Aronian (allowing an escape in a winning position) and Ponomariov (missing his chance).

At the ECC the favourites already started playing each other. The surprise was Shirov’s loss to Jensson (2349) and SOCAR’s destruction of SHSM with the score of 5-1 (Mamedyarov beating Nepomniachtchi with black in the Petroff!) But the game of the match for me was Topalov-Morozevich – after the scandal in San Luis their relations are non-existent (except for the mutual not-so-concealed insults via their comments to their games in New in Chess), but this seems to hurt Morozevich – he lost the last 3 classical games (two of them with white) and he lost today too, which makes it 4-0 for Topalov in the last 2 years. The game itself was interesting, Morozevich invited a Benoni, but Topalov chose a line with a safe, if small, edge for white after taking on d5 with the e-pawn. Morozevich tried to do something active but this backfired and Topalov increased his advantage with further exchanges. His king march in the queen endgame 29 Kg2, 30 Kf3, 31 Ke4, 32 Ke5, 33 Ke6 was an amusing sight!

29 Kg2 and then Kf3-e4-e5-e6!

Tomorrow’s pairings bring us the big game Svidler-Caruana, should be a good fight!

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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