Comments by Sergey Zagrebelny. Round 9

The report of the most brilliant games of the ninth round is proposed to the attention of the readers by GM Sergey Zagrebelny.

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar (2756 Azerbaijan) - Ivanchuk, Vassily (2754 Ukraine)

 

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 d6 5.Nc3 exd5 6.cxd5 g6 7.Nd2 Bg7 8.e4 0–0 9.Be2 Na6 10.0–0 Re811.f3 Nc7 12.a4

Ivanchuk played a very double-edged line of the Benoni. Obviously, after winning six games out of the first six, he wanted to win another one! 12...Nd7 13.Kh1 b6 14.Ra3 Qe7 15.a5 Bb7?! Lengthy thought produced a serious inaccuracy. Stronger is 15...a6, securing control of the b5-square. 16.Nb5 Nf6 17.Nxc7 Qxc7 18.Bb5 Reb8? This rook is better placed in the center, so Black should play 18...Nd7 or 18...Re7. 19.Nc4 bxa5 20.Bf4 Bf8.

Black is in serious trouble. 21.e5!? The most decisive, although even the unhurried 21.Rxa5 or 21.Qa4 gives White an excellent position. 21...Nxd5 22.exd6 Qd8 23.Bg3 Nb4 24.d7 Bd5 25.Bxb8 Rxb8 26.Ne3 Be6 27.Ba4 Bg7.

 

Black not only loses an exchange, but also suffers a terrible attack. 28.f4! Bxb2 29.f5! Bxd7 On 29...Bxa3? White wins by 30.fxe6 fxe6 31.Qb3. 29...gxf5 30.Nxf5 Bxf5 31.Rxf5 Bxa3 32.Re5! is no better. 30.fxg6 hxg6.30...Bxa3? loses to 31.gxf7+ Kf8 32.Qd6+ Qe7 33.Qh6#, however, 30...Be6 31.gxf7+ Bxf7 32.Qg4+ Bg6 is more tenacious. 31.Qb3 Bxa3? The lesser of evils is 31...Nd5 32.Qxd5 Be6 33.Qxd8+ Rxd8 34.Rb3 Bxb3 35.Bxb3 Rd7. 32.Qxf7+ Kh8.

33.Bxd7. White could win immediately by33.Qxg6!, and if 33…Bxa4, then 34.Rf7. However, White's position is so good that Mamedyarov does not need to play perfectly to win it. 33...Qg8 34.Qf6+ Qg7 35.Qh4+ Qh7 36.Qf4 Ra8 37.Qf3 Rb8 38.Qf4  Ra8 39.Be6 Bb2 40.Nc4 Bd4 41.Nd6

41...a4 42.Nf7+ Kg7 43.Ng5 Qh5 44.g4 Qh4 45.Qc7+ Kh8 46.Nf7+ Kh7 47.Ne5+ Kh6 48.g5+!  

Black resigns.

Leitao, Rafael (2624 Brazil) – Caruana, Fabiano (2700 Italy)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.e3 0–0 9.0–0 Re8 10.Re1 a5 11.Qe2 Be6 12.Rd1 Bc4 13.Qc2.

This line became popular at the Olympiad. 13...Nb4. A novelty. A couple of days ago Esen-Aronian saw 13...a4 14.Qb1 Nb4 15.e4 c5 16.d5 a3 17.h4 Ba6 18.h5 axb2 19.Bxb2 Nc4 20.Bf1 Nxb2 21.Qxb2 Bxf1 22.Kxf1 Qb6 23.Qd2 Qf6 24.Kg2 Qxc3, and Black is a piece up. 14.Qb1 e5 15.a3 exd4 16.axb4 dxc3! A brilliant decision! Black gets excellent compensation for a queen. 17.Rxd8 Raxd8 18.Qc2 axb4.

 

White has problems with his back rank. 19.Nd2. Forced. On 19.bxc3? Black wins simply by 19…b3 20.Qb2 Rd1+. 19...cxd2 20.Bxd2 Ra8! Black tries to get to the first rank. 21.Rxa8.  If 21.Rd1, then 21...Ra2 22.Bc1 b3 23.Qd2 Be6 24.Bxb7 Nc4 is strong. 21...Rxa8 22.Bxb7. 22.h3 Ra1+ 23.Kh2 b3 24.Qe4 Bxb2 25.Bc1 is hardly any better. 22...Ra1+ 23.Bc1. A bit more stubborn is 23.Kg2, but in this case Black obtains a decisive advantage by 23…Bf1+ 24.Kf3 Nc4 25.Bxb4 Ne5+ 26.Kf4 Nd3+ 27.Kf3 Rc1 28.Qa4 Ne5+ 29.Kf4 Rc4+ 30.e4 Nd3+ 31.Kf3 Nxb4. 23...b3 24.Qd1 Bxb2 White resigns.

Cuartas Medina, Jaime (2526 Colombia) – Kulaots, Kaido (2592 Estonia)

1.e4  c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nc6 4.0–0 Bd7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 a6 7.Ba4 c4 8.h3 8...Ne5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.Bc2

10...g5!? A new move. Similar ideas often occur in modern openings, but it hasn't been tried in this particular one. 11.d4 cxd3 12.Bxd3 g4 13.hxg4 Nxg4 14.Bc4 h5. 14...Rg8 is possibly stronger. 15.Bg5 h4? Black plays too straightforward and misses a strong reply. Much stronger is 15...Qb6! 16.Re2 Bh6, and he can claim an advantage. 16.Qb3! A fork! Suddenly White gets excellent attacking chances. 16…Rh7 17.Qxb7 Rb8 18.Qa7 Rxb2 19.Nd2 f6? A mistake, although Black is much worse in any case.

 

20.Rab1!+- Rxb1 21.Rxb1 h3 22.gxh3 Nxf2 23.Rb8 Nxh3+ 24.Kf1 Bc8 25.Qa8 Kd7 26.Rxc8 Qb6 27.Be3 Black resigns.