Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Study like play at the World Cup 2013!

If you are of the opinion that Study like play never occurs in a tournament game, then I invite you to solve the position that was reached between Kramnik as white playing against Maxime Vachier Lagrave in round 5 of World Cup 2013. 
After a long gruelling battle and incessant pressing by White, the following position was reached. What would you play?

Kramnik - Maxime Vachier Lagrave.

White to Play.
Before you see the answer I would motivate you by saying : calculate till the end, because even the great Kramnik couldn't find the win.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The last Eight!!

If I had any notion that I was an expert at predicting results of world cup chess 2013 and my logical deduction would enable me to come to the right conclusion, I was greatly mistaken! As out of 8 games only 3 of my predictions turned out to be right!! But what an exciting round and what a round filled with upsets!!

This battle was an absolute Marathon. After 2 draws in normal time control and rapid play, the match went into Raplitz (a term i have coined for 10 mins+10 sec increment game which has features of both rapid and blitz) where Morozevich struck the first blood. It all seemed too bleak for Tomashevsky who had the black pieces and had to compulsorily beat morozevich. After the opening and a lot of exchanges the position below was reached. The game seemed to extremely drawish.

Tomashevsky was black. 
It requires nerves of steel and huge self confidence to win such a position is such a pressure filled game!
After going from here to there, for so many moves, Toma was able to trick the Moroz! And finally after a 169 move marathon Tomashevsky was able to breathe easy! He had survived it.
Sheer willpower was required to convert that drawish position into a win in a whooping 169 moves!!

So after 6 rounds it was all level at 3-3. The match went into blitz format. It really seemed like a boxing match going all the distance where more than the skill, it was question of stamina and who wants it more!

The first game was won by Tomashevsky. Morozevich must have been completely dejected. After having the lead at one point, he was now faced with a situation where he had to compulsorily win as black to stay in the match. But Morozevich was not upto the task as Tomashevsky was all over him right from the opening. Finally in a completely winning position Tomashevsky agreed to a draw.
The above position with Tomashevsky as white was agreed to a draw. As even a beginner can see that its mate in 1 after Kf5 e4#. The draw offer was a respectful gesture by Tomashevsky who gave his due to the great Morozevich for such a nerve wracking battle! The players battled like real enemies on the board but the final gesture showed that the players after all respected each other more than the result!

Anton Korobov vs Nakamura(1.5-0.5)
Everything was In Nakamuras favour. He was the srronger player and Korobov hasnt really played much recently. But the Ukranian powerhouse Anton Korobov drew with ease In the first game with black and completely decimated Naka with white to go into last 8.
Here above you can see how black stretched it too much by playing a poor stonewall and Korobov as white did not let it go unpunished. The USA no.1 was sent home packing before he could show his rapid or blitz skills!!

Kamsky vs Mamedyarov.(1.5-0.5)
Kamsky found a new respect in the heart of every chess player. The sheer grit with which he destroyed Mamedyarov was just heroic.
 First he made short work of the azerbaijani with the white pieces when he simply stripped the black king naked. In the above position after Rh5 no new clothes were forthcoming for black king & Mamedyarov called it a day!

Mamedyarov then went to the 2nd game with all the energy he had. He even wrote after the game on fb that I gave everything I had.he almost succeeded. 
as u can see above Mamedyarov as white was a rook up but Kamsky even in his forties showed masterful agility with the move Qh4!! . and all the rook power could not help white from losing his Rook. It was an unbelievable defensive effort by Kamsky!!

Caruana-Granda Zuniga (2-0)
I was sure that caruana would not prove me wrong. He beat Granda Zuniga ruthlessly. The below position shows how Caruana didnt just beat his opponent over the board but was mentally all over him!
 Granda was black & had just played f7-f5. Caruana surprised him with ef6! As now qe2 be2 re2 would lose to rd8 kd8 f7! Of course after ef6 white is clearly better but to resign the game just showed that mentally Granda had given up!

Ivanchuk-Kramnik (0.5-1.5)
Kramnik took full revenge against ivanchuk for his last round loss against him in candidates tournament. 
In the above position Ivanchuk as white playeda huge blunder with Qe4-b4. The position was just equal but as soon as white queen left the diagonal black queen jumped with Qc6 and after kf2 the rook was activated with Rb5! And the black army surrounded the white king from all sides.
From dead drawn position Ivanchuk lost in just 4 moves! A sweet revenge for Kramnik . And one can only say how right the saying is "what goes around comes around" as now ivanchuk tried to win as black just like kramnik had to do a few months ago in candidates. No chance given & draw was achieved!!
Svidler-Le Quang (2.5-1.5)
After 2 normal time control draws and first rapid game draw, both the players looked well matched. In the last rapid game the below position was reached.

35 moves were over and the game looks like a draw. The could have just agreed to a draw but svidler played not for 10 not for 50 but a full 100 moves. And finally.....
After 135 moves he mated the black king with the notorius bishop & knight combo!!
Another case for us to learn that hardwork & perseverance is always rewarded!!
The two pre tournament favourites Boris Gelfand and Sergey Karjakin were eliminated by the two youngsters Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Dmity Andreikin respectively. Maxime Vachier played the rapids so accurately  that even the computers would get a complex !! And Andreikin what di I say about him. He just looks rock solid!!

 Round 5 starts today: 
The pairings are as follows

3.Caruana-Maxime Vachiere Lagraeve

As you can see I have no confidence now to make any predictions after my round 4 fiasco but I am sure about one thing is certain We will have some awesome games & Kramnik will thrash Korobov!! There I go!! I just cant not predict!! :) 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sweet Sixteen!!

Round 4 of the World Cup 2013 begins today 20th August 2013! The top 2 winners of this event get a direct seat into the next candidate cycle! Quite a huge motivation! And we are left with a field that is so interesting and varied that it is well worth seeing what the matches have in store for us!

 Tomashevsky vs Morozevich.
 On one hand we have the brilliance and magic of Alexander Morozevich who is definitely the most creative player living on this planet and on the other hand we have the pragmatism and extremely calm Evgenvy Tomashevsky. I consider the match will go into the tiebreaks but I have a feeling that after beating the top seed Levon Aronian in the last round Tomashevsky seems like a hard guy to beat!
Prediction : Tomashevsky!

 Kamsky vs Mamedyarov
When Logic meets Chaos, we can be sure of entertainment. Kamsky who has had many a battles in the past with the absolute champion Anatoly Karpov will surely be upto the challenge but I think Mamedyarov is extremely well suited for this type of a tournament. His fluid style and putting pieces on weird squares makes him a really dangerous opponent. I will rate Mamedyarov's Madness a little bit over Kamsky's knowledge and expreience.
Prediction: Mamedyarov.

 Le Quang Liem vs Svidler
When i first saw Le Quang Liem in Kolkata Open for the first time I had a lasting impression of him. He was like any other 2600 GM and he thrashed the top seed of that event Mamedyarov. After the game he was so composed that it felt he was acting to a well rehearsed script! It is this calm approach of his that will meet the many time Russian Champion Peter Svidler! Having played at the elite level for years and years together Svidler needs no introduction! But his recent reduction of weight and increase in fitness levels shows just how serious he is about chess! However i find Le Quang's willpower to be higher than that of Svidler and after eliminating Grischuk in the previous round, I have a feeling that another Russian will be sent home packing.
Prediction: Le Quang Liem.

 Karjakin vs Andreikin.
Though this seems an interesting match up with two 22 year old lads pitted against each other, I have a feeling we have a clear favourite over here. Karjakin is definitely knocking on the doors of trying to become a World Champion and qualifying to the candidates means everything to him. I am not so sure about Andreikin who has just started his ascent into the elite. But if you want any measure of his talent than I simply have to put it this way, that in the last 2 times he met Kramnik, he beat him!!
Prediction: Karjakin.

 Caruana vs Granda Zuniga.
Would youth vs experience be an appropriate title for this match? I dont think so. For i think, though Fabiano is young, I dont think Granda Zuniga is experienced. In fact his name has never been heard in the elite circles. However He has surely made his case over here by first ousting the Hungarian star Peter Leko and then the Dutch lad Anish Giri! Thus he cannot be taken lightly! But Caruana is a class apart! He is almost 2800 and the pace at which he is rising I think Carlsen's rating of 2872 is in danger of being broken! This one I am sure is in Caruana's bag!
Prediction: Caruana.

Gelfand vs Maxime Vachier.
This is an extremely interesting match up. The French Vachier Lagrave is an extremely talented player. He is great at Rapid play and blitz. Over all he seems quite nicely suited for this format. Also age is on his side. However the player he is facing is facing a resurgence in his career at the age of 45! Boris Gelfand is by far playing the best chess of his life. I am sure the hours he put in preparing for his match against Vishy Anand are now coming handy. The ease with which he has dispatched each of his opponents in this tournament without going into rapid play even once, makes me feel that Gelfand is definitely the superior player here.
Prediction: Gelfand

 Kramnik vs Ivanchuk
When two Legends meet each other over the board there is bound to be fireworks!! If you were to ask 100 players who is stronger amongst the two, I am sure 90 would say Kramnik. However if you were to ask who will win when they both play each other the answer is unclear! It is mainly because with Ivanchuk, you dont know what to expect! He is known as the living encyclopaedia of chess openings!!The Ukranian genius is definitely very strong but I have a feeling that after a few bad tournaments previously, the former Russian World Champion Vladimir Kramnik is looking to straighten out his record and I think no one can stop him here Not even the great Ivanchuk!
Prediction: Kramnik.

Nakamura vs Korobov.
Both of them look dangerous characters! In fact they could well be some kind of Rugby players or Mafia dons! But they decided to play chess and they brought their chaotic nature to the game of chess as well!! The talents of the USA genius Nakamura are definitely well known to all of us. But Korobov is extremely talented too! Once when i was looking through his games, I saw his sheer attacking flare! The lack of respect for material equilibrium can surely be seen from his games! With both players so aggressive and blood thirsty, I can definitely see a high intensity struggle but one that I feelNakamura will be better at handling!
Prediction: Nakamura.

Log onto to to watch live games at 18.30 IST.

Kramnik-Areschenko World Cup 2013.

Alexander Areschenko is a dangerous player! There is no doubt about it! He must have won atleast 3-4 major international events in India + his rating of 2711 shows how strong he is! He held the Russian Legend Vladimir Kramnik to a draw in both the games with Normal time control and it seemed that the two players were quite evenly matched! Come 19th August and Vladimir Kramnik showed who is the boss by dispatching Areschenko in both the Rapid games with Absolute ease! Here I analyse the first Rapid game between them.
Vladimir Kramnik (2784)- Alexander Areschenko (2711)
Rapid game 1, Round 3, World Cup 2013.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 

The Grunfeld Defense. There was a famous saying that Petrosian's family run thanks to King's Indian Defense. It was due to the ease with which he dispatched that opening. I think Kramnik can also say that his family runs thanks to Grunfeld defense! Because has won some amazing games with white in it.

4.cd5 Nd5 5.e4 Nc3 6.bc3 Bg7 7.Be3!

We can safely call this line, the Kramnik line. He has played 14 games including this one. He was won 7 games and drew 7. No loss!!
The idea of this line is to first develop the queenside. White first plays Rc1 and then Qd2 and only then thinks about his kingside pieces.
7...c5 This is the most natural reaction. If instead of c5, black 0-0 then I think white can gain a good position. I can refer you to a previous blog post where i have analysed that. here is the link:

8.Rc1 (8.Qd2 is the main. Most of the times it just tranposes. But the difference can be that we are still flexible with our a1 rook. So after 8...Qa5 9. Rc1 would tranpose to the game but white can go 9.Rb1 threatening Rb5 and only when black has played 9...a6 to play 10...Rc1 when white has given black the free move of a6 but he thinks that the b6 square will be weak and which could be later utilised by white.)

8...Qa5 9.Qd2