The Bilbaos 2014 – Round 4 and 5
|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 (https://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!