Hello everyone and welcome to the multi-live commentary on Chessdom.com! Today besides round 9 of Tata Steel 2013, we have the Gibraltar Chess Festival starting with 100+ titled players. GM Christian Bauer, IM Aman Hambleton, and the editors team will bring you minute by minute updates and commentary from both events.
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Yifan Hou and Magnus Carlsen are the last to finish their game in group A, the Norwegian wins with which he has a full point advantage ahead of competition.
1 Carlsen, Magnus 7
2 Anand, Viswanathan 6
3 Aronian, Levon 5.5
4 Nakamura, Hikaru 5.5
5 Harikrishna, Pentala 5
6 Karjakin, Sergey 5
7 Leko, Peter 4.5
8 Caruana, Fabiano 4.5
9 Van Wely, Loek 4.5
10 Wang, Hao 4
11 Giri, Anish 3.5
12 L’Ami, Erwin 3
13 Sokolov, Ivan 2.5
14 Hou, Yifan 2.5
IM Aman Hambleton: Carlsen’s endgame technique is flawless. The White King is precariously placed and soon the check threat on c4 or b5 (to trade Queens) will be used to prevent White from continuing to harass the Black King. Then the pawn can advance safely. The game was technically won awhile ago, but the conversion is impressive. Hou has put up great resistance, but ever since the time control was not able to dig herself out of the slight disadvantage she had.
Dramatic development in Gibraltar. After the draw of Gata Kamsky, now Shirov is on the brink of losing with white against Toomas Valgmae (Estonia, ELO 2218), and Ivanchuk is continuing in an equal position against Hristos Zygouris (Greece, ELO 2218).
IM Aman Hambleton (Wang Hao – Caruana 43… Kb4): Now if Black is not careful he can fall victim to the idea of Qxb5! Nxb5 Kxb5 and the passed pawns are strong. If Caruana places his rook on any of the open files though, this cannot be an issue as R to the first rank and a check will solve the problem. The power of the passed pawns is clearly visible though, so perhaps this idea will at least prevent Caruana from composing any winning attempts with his R + K.
IM Aman Hambleton (Wang Hao – Caruana 43… h6): It is very hard for a computer to understand such a position, where White’s Queen is trapped on a6 and must move only with his King and pawns. To a human player, it feels like Black can create some winning chances on the Kingside via a pawn break, and then possibly invade with the King. Caruana is probably calculating this now, because if he overpresses, White will play b7 Rb8 Qc6! and start taking the d5 pawn and giving checks. It’s hard to keep the White Queen trapped while making progress on the Kingside.
GM Gata Kamsky is the first top seeded player miss the full point. Andreas Aerni (Spain, ELO 2206) holds him to a draw, replay the game here with commentary by GM Bauer.
GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is the first player from the top seeded to score a full point. Gm Nigel Short follows suit and wins as well.
IM Aman Hambleton (Yifan Hou – Carlsen 45. Qd5): It’s important to note that all K + P endgames are winning for Black, as long as the King’s each reach the respective flanks in time to confront the pawns. With 3 pawns on the queenside, Carlsen can always wait with his K and force White to keep moving backwards. This means that f4 is not an option, because of Qh1+ Kf2 Qh2+ trading Queens and winning the game. Magnus seems to be using this idea to centralize his Queen, take the g5 square from White’s advancing pawn, and add support to his own a-pawn in preparation for it reaching a2.
Sokolov – Van Wely 0:1 – Sokolov made at least 4-5 very serious blunders in time pressure, and so it’s justified that the game ended before move 40. Van Wely returned the favour a few times, but managed to locate some accurate moves and finally concluded with Qh6 creating too many threats to deal with. Sokolov’s opening was not a big success, but he played accurately in the middlegame and even achieved a winning position. Unfortunately, it could not be maintained in the time pressure and his compatriot escaped with the victory.
IM Aman Hambleton (Yifan Hou – Carlsen 44. Qxd4): Now we reach an endgame where Black is clearly better, but from a human perspective it does give practical drawing chances. Black’s pawn is more advanced on a5, and well on it’s way to a1, so White has no chance of winning a pawn race. Somehow Hou needs to find a way to advance her pawn while keeping Black occupied with checks – not an easy task. It looks difficult for White, especially with 3 pawns to shelter the Black King, but it shouldn’t be a quick win by any means.
IM Aman Hambleton (Wang Hao – Caruana 41. g3): White’s Qa6 is really odd looking, and despite the 2 passers any human player would prefer Black because White has nothing to do! Caruana is now threatening to invade with his Rook on the c-file, and coupled with those 2 Knights I wouldn’t be surprised if he can create a mating net. Of course, it has to all be in good time as the moment he moves his Rook off the 8th rank, White will continue with b7 or Qa8.
IM Aman Hambleton (L’Ami – Aronian 49… Kd3): Be8 looks to earn L’ami the draw, after Ke4 (Bxf7 Kf5! still needs some calculation) Bc6+! then Black will either have to move away and White will repeat Be8, or after Kf5 Bb5. The Bishop stops Nf1+ and also threatens Bd3# so Black is forced to make a King move.
GM Bauer (Andreas Aerni – Gata Kamsky 16.a5) I believe that after 16.a5 the game could take quite a forced character. Indeed, black can hardly play anything else than 16…axb5 (otherwise 17.Nxd5 would be problematic) then 17.axb6 O-O and now 18.Bf6 seems to draw immediately because 18…gxf6 19.Qg4+ Kh8 20.Nxd5 is risky for Black while 18…Rxa1?? 19.Qg5 wins
GM Bauer (Nakamura – Giri): it is interesting that the comp “coolly” assesses the position as being favorable for black, while from an human point of view these 2 queenside’s passers and the jumping Knight could be a bit more scary
IM Hambleton (Wang Hao – Caruana 37… Nbc5): Caruana has done a good job to find a position where, although he let the connected pawns advance, the White Queen is trapped (except for b7 giving up a pawn). Probably it’s enough to earn him a draw, but there is the question of whether he even has winning chances now that White has no more menacing Queen moves to make.
GM Bauer (Aerni – Kamsky 15.a4): a good move too, white is playing according to the demand of the position and bravely! Gata will have to do something vs a5-a6 now. Considering the amount of time he spends, it is quite obvious Kamsky doesn’t take his game too lightly despite the huge difference of ratings and rightly so because things could easily go very wrong for black in this sharp game.
IM Aman Hambleton (Yifan Hou – Carlsen 36. c4) Magnus has played his advantage well, and now stands much better although the material is equal for the moment. Black’s Bishop is well placed and Qxa4 for the moment can be replied with Qxg4+. For this reason, Re4 seems like a principled move.
IM Aman Hambleton (Hao Wang – Caruana 28. g4): h6 feels like it must be played, as g5 really restricts Black’s mobility and coordination, and I spoke earlier about how crucial it is that Black coordinate his pieces in this imbalanced material endgame. The reason h6 may be inaccurate is because White is very close to creating a passed pawn and Black’s pieces are not well placed at the moment to deal with this.
IM Aman Hambleton (L’Ami – Aronian after Kb4): A difficult position where it’s hard to recommend moves for White. Black is using his King in a menacing way, while White cannot advance his King favorably, nor his pawns. A draw is possible, but it’s Aronian with all the chances to win at this point. It is a very compact game with 3 pawns apiece but still there are complications and L’ami must be precise. An uncommon endgame!
Multiple comments posted by GM Bauer and IM Hambleton on the Kamsky and Nakamura games here
IM Aman Hambleton (Sokolov – Van Wely 26. e4): A complicated idea, but it looks like a sound one. The pin from the Ba3 is causing Black a lot of grief and I think Van Wely should have done something about this many moves ago. Now the idea is to open the position entirely and swing the Ra2 over to the Kingside followed by d5! opening lines for Bb2 or Qc3+. Black doesn’t appear to have a better alternative than to capture evverything on e4, though.
GM Christian Bauer (Aerni – Kamsky 12… Be7): Now that White has sacrificed a pawn he shall strive for activity, therefore Qh5 seems logical. Then …g6 Qh6 doesn’t look too inspired for Black, so that parting with the dark-squared Bishop looks more or less forced. White can also take the other Bishop at his convenience, but that still doesn’t look quite enough for the pawn
IM Aman Hambleton (Nakamura – Giri 18.Qxb4): Black would do well here to play Rdb8 and Qa7, taking the important a7-g1 diagonal. This stays consistent with Black’s last two moves, at least, and there is some Benko-esque pressure to be created on the open queenside files. However, it was safe for White to capture this pawn, however daring it may look! Maybe we will see some fireworks in this game, since the position is very tricky and each player has 20+ moves to make in less than 20 minutes each!
GM Bauer: 18. Qxb4 and things are getting hotter, Black has got a choice again, between which Rook to place on b8 and …Bxa4. The drawback of the latest being that White will then be able to safely put his Knight at b5 after a Rook-move, on the other hand Qc3 may be a good reply for White considering that Black can’t swap Queens coz he is a pawn down
IM Aman Hambleton (Yifan Hou – Carlsen 26…Qd7):Carlsen has been defending an extra pawn advantage for most of the middlegame, sacrificed by Hou back on move 12, and now offers an exchange of queen’s with Qd7. Hou’s time is getting very low, and is now becoming an important factor for both players. With 14 moves to play in just over 10 minutes, she will need to choose the continuation here that will be the easiest to play in the coming moves. Trading Queen’s seems bleak because the bishops are of the same colour and white’s queenside pawns are weak compared to Black’s majority there. I expect Qxf6, although it does keep things complicated.
See also: Kamsky and Nakamura’s games with updates
Im Aman Hambleton (Karjakin – Harikrishna 28. b3): White plans to play Bb2+ to finally develop and free his Queenside pieces. Karjakin could have been in some trouble around his King, especially from grabbing the h5-pawn earlier, but he calculated well. Now Harikrishna should earn complete equality after Kg6 because White can’t continue defending his pawns before dealing with his queenside. After Bb2 Rxa1 Bxa1 Kxg5 it’s possible to keep playing for either side, but the likely result is a 1/2.
IM Aman Hambleton (Wang Hao – Caruana 22. Bb4): An interesting variation here: with best play Black should take Rxc7 followed by Bxe7 Rxe7 and play with a R + 2N vs. Q + P. Black still has a few issues with his coordination, and White has control of the c-file and also a few weak pawn targets to aim at with his Queen. If Black can coordinate though, the N’s and R will be deadly. I think either side can play this for a win, and Caruana needs to take his time initially to make sure he doesn’t lose coordination upon entering the endgame.
IM Aman Hambleton (L’Ami – Aronian 32… Kd7): Aronian is following the best endgame advice and activating his King! Here Black’s advanced King position combined with active rook and preferable bishop are worth at least one pawn. It may be hard to tell who is playing for a win, but I would not count out either player. Probably it’s evaluated at near equal, but it looks like White needs to be much more careful.
GM Christian Bauer (Aerni – Kamsky 8…Bd7): Kamsky has chosen …Bd7 instead of the more common …dxe5 Nxe5 and then …Bd7, where black is supposed to equalize, but there is a lot of theory there
IM Aman Hambleton (Sokolov – Van Wely 20. Nhg3): White is playing accurately, and although Black probably still holds a small advantage, Sokolov has activated his Bc1 to a3, and can continue with Rc2, Qd2, and maybe Kh2. Qd2 is good prophylaxis against f4, a move which Black should be giving careful thought to play on the next move. This fixes White with an isolani on d4 but perhaps Black is best to keep the tension with a move like Qc7 (avoiding the pin) followed by b6 and Ba6.
16:07 CETThe First Move of the 2013 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival Gibraltar Masters tournament took place this afternoon at the Caleta Hotel. At precisely 3pm (Gibraltar time) James Humpreys head of Tradewise Gibraltar Insurance Ltd, main sponsor of this event, made the first move on the top board with top seeded player at this year’s tournament and previous winner in Gibraltar GM Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) playing against Hristos Zygouris (Greece).
Moments later the 245 chess players from some 60 countries then made their opening moves in the tournament which is being held over the next 10 days. The top woman player this year is Anna Muzychuk (Slovina).
IM Aman Hambleton (Nakamura – Giri 16. Na4): Black should be quite happy with this version of the hedgehog. Usually if Black can break with either b5 or d5 then he is at least equal, and I don’t think this is an exception. After Bb7 (targeting e4) and Nf6 retreat, Black can aim next for the d5 advance in the center to open the game. White needs to prove his Na4 is not misplaced. For this reason, Nd4 (inviting Nxd4 Bxd4 controlling b6) and Rac1 come to mind.
IM Aman Hambleton (Wang Hao – Caruana): Each player has consumed a lot of time on their clock to think about only the last 2 moves! Wang Hao considered his move Qd1 for a long time, probably spending the majority of it calculating this variation with e5. After Caruana replied quickly, Wang Hao did as well with Ne2. Here, the idea is if e4, then Bxa6 (undermining the Nc6). But after Bxa6 Na7, taking the b5 retreat square and again trapping the Bishop, White needs to be precise and play Ng3 Bxg3 fxg3 bxa6 Bb4 to get 2 pieces for the rook. That would be an interesting endgame to follow, with chances for either side.
First result of the day, Peter Leko – Viswanathan Anand 1/2-1/2. If Carlsen wins his game, he will have a full point advantage at Tata Steel.
GM Bauer (Nakamura – Giri): Naka can also decline the greek gift and go back with his dark-squared Bishop to b2, avoiding the obvious …b5-b4, but then …bxc4 Bxc4 Nce5 seems fine for Black, so grapping the pawn and following up with Nfd4 (after …Qb6) is the real test of Black’s daring move
IM Aman Hambleton (Leko – Anand 24. Nxd5): The idea with this move is to play Re1+ after the exchanges and then take the Bf1. Especially with Leko’s low time situation, it seems like that’s the best try for an advantage. Black’s Bf8 appears to require extra time to activate itself, and so this probably justifies the imbalance of N vs. B. I can’t imagine Leko would prefer to keep things complicated in the middlegame here.
All games from Gibraltar are live here, commentary starts in a few minutes.
IM Aman Hambleton (Yifan Hou – Carlsen 18. Rc1): Now either Bb4 or Kb8 looks right for Black. Although the Black King does not escape all the pins, the b8 square is safer than the c8 one. Additionally, Bb4 clears the way for Rc8 or Re8. Hou has some pressure in the position. but its not clear how it can be built upon. Maybe she needs to play g4 soon to free up her Nf3 and Qd1.
GM Christian Bauer (Nakamura – Giri 13…b5): here …b5 was a bit unexpected, but tactically justified. Indeed, after cxb5 axb5 Nxb5 Black disposes of …Qb6 hitting f2 when the threat of …Ba6 is nasty. All that because of the hanging Bishop at a3
IM Aman Hambleton: (Sokolov – Van Wely 16… Ne6): White is certainly playing creatively, with Ng3-h5 and the b3-Ra2 manoeuvre, but unfortunately with Black’s pawn on f5 it’s difficult to ever achieve this e4 advance that White so desperately needs. Black still has lots of useful developing moves to make, whereas White looks content to keep rerouting his pieces e.g. Nce2-f4 or Nce2 to facilitate Nhg3 again. Bd2-e1 is also possible to trade off its menacing counterpart on h4, but this leaves the e3 pawn weaker than it would like to be. Sokolov still has to prove his unorthodox play.
IM Aman Hambleton (Karjakin – Harikrishna 18… Be6): Harikrishna has chosen a very logical idea, to keep the f-file blocked with pieces and to blockade White’s strong Kingside pawns with Kg6. In this way, Black keeps White’s dangerous pieces out of his position and closes the lines to his King. This gives Harikrishna time to regroup and mobilize his pieces, particularily the dangerous bishops, with Bc5+ coming soon.
IM Aman Hambleton (L’Ami – Aronian 23… Rc2): Aronian has sacrificed a pawn for some compensation, and it certainly looks like he has it. After Qd4 Qg4 Qxg4 Nxg4 for example, I still prefer to play Black because of the pressure on f2 combined with Rb2 to pick up at least a pawn. So trading pieces doesn’t ease White’s task, and this is logical since the game is strategically in Black’s favour (N vs. B). It looks like White needs to keep the Queens on and try to liquidate on the queenside.
IM Aman Hambleton (Wang Hao – Caruana 16… e5): Finally there is some life in the Wang Hao – Caruana match, as Wan Hao’s last move, Qd1, allowed Black to break in the center with this move e5. It opens up lines towards White’s King and also prepares to take advantage of White’s piece mass on the d and c-files.
IM Aman Hambleton (L’Ami – Aronian 19… Ng4): Black has a clear strategical plan to trade off the dark squared Bishops and he will succeed here. This benefits Black, especially in an endgame, because of the fixed pawn situation on the d-file. Also, if L’Ami is not careful, ideas like Qf5-h5 become very hard to deal with. I think the position should be about equal, but White seems to have lost the advantage and it certainly seems more playable for Black at this point. White needs to use the c-file, one of his only remaining advantages, to distract Black from the Kingside.
IM Aman Hambleton (Nakamura – Giri 12. Ng4): Black wants to use the e5 square for his pieces, and afer White moves the Queen, then Nge5 Nxe5 dxe5! is a thematic idea, taking control over the dark squares in White’s position and simultaneously offering to change dark squared Bishops. Nakamura should avoid exchanges (as is typical of the hedgehog for White) and retreat to Nd2 or Ne1 and try to prepare an f4 advance to kick the Ne5 out.
IM Aman Hambleton (Yifan Hou – Carlsen 12. e6): White is playing actively! It may be the best way to try to punish Black’s setup. The followup to e6, assuming Carlsen ignores capturing it, could be a4!? when White declares her intention to simply dislodge the Black pieces instead of allowing them to be comfortable. If Carlsen takes the pawn, there follows Ng5! fxg5 Qxh5 followed by Qxg5.
IM Aman Hambleton: (Leko – Anand 21. exd5): If Black doesn’t play the simplifying idea Nxd5 Qxd5 Qxa5 where he remains up a pawn but with a slightly worse structure and about an = position, then Leko has chances for an advantage with Bh3! next taking control of the important diagonal.
IM Aman Hambleton (L’Ami – Aronian Nd5): I think White has correctly chosen to go for some exchanges here. The attack could have been quite dangerous, with Bh3 coming and Qh3 possible in the future. Black recaptured c6 with his Bishop, indicating Aronian is not convinced the attack is anything special, but maybe just a scare tactic.
IM Aman Hambleton (Nakamura – Giri 10…Rd8): Move order is very important in the hedgehog. Black has a desired setup with Nbd7, b6, Bb7 that he wants to achieve, but has to always be prepared to defend the d6 pawn. Giri has not touched his Queenside for this reason, and in the hedgehog systems such a loss of time is justified by the difficulty for White to open the position favorably.
IM Aman Hambleton (Yifan Hou – Carlsen 9… f6): 9. … f6 seems to indicate Carlsen is playing for a win, inviting a very unbalanced structure and using themes from the French Defense to undermine the White pawn chain. Taking this pawn results in only activating Black’s pieces which means Carlsen can keep the tension in the position.
IM Aman Hambleton (Ipatov – Nikolic): In a Nimzo-Indian Defense, Nikolic has adopted a positional setup. This leaves a possibility to achieve a small spacial advantage as well as a lead in development for white. GM Ipatov needs points to recover from the start of the event, but he surely is enjoying Tata, updating daily his IpaChess facebook with photos and info
IM Aman Hambleton (L’Ami – Aronian 10…h4) Aronian is playing an interesting game by immediately rushing the h-pawn down the board. This is playable because it highlights the Nd4 is a bit too far from the Kingside. With the reserved Black setup, he intends hxg3 and Bh3 in the future, and maybe the King does not need to castle for the time being.
Top pairings for the day in Gibraltar are already known:
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2758 – Zygouris Hristos 2218
Aerni Andreas 2206 – GM Kamsky Gata 2740
GM Adams Michael 2725 – Lind Jan-Olof 2217
CM Urbina Perez Juan Antonio 2214 – GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2723
GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2711 – Tscharotschkin Michael 2200
Bird Andrew 2223 – GM Navara David 2710
GM Shirov Alexei 2708 – Valgmae Toomas 2218
Marttala Thomas 2217 – GM Le Quang Liem 2705
GM Short Nigel D 2696 – IM Sanchez Castillo Sarai 2212
Semprun Martinez Fernando 2201 – GM Vitiugov Nikita 2694
GM Yu Yangyi 2688 – Veltkamp Gerben 2200
Sanchez Botella Luis Javier 2196 – GM Sutovsky Emil 2684
GM Fridman Daniel 2667 – Taus Martin 2181
Jaunooby Ali R 2178 – GM Iturrizaga Eduardo 2650
GM Tkachiev Vladislav 2650 – Meyer Kai-Christian 2177
Seyfried Claus 2177 – GM Georgiev Kiril 2643
GM Jones Gawain C B 2632 – FM Smith Andrew Philip 2175
Byron Alan M 2167 – GM Bartel Mateusz 2629
GM Swiercz Dariusz 2627 – Vinas Guerrero Carlos A. 2167
Karlsson Jorgen 2165 – GM Jussupow Artur 2611
GM Salgado Lopez Ivan 2606 – Herbold Manfred 2164
IM Aman Hambleton (Sokolov – Van Wely): Loek has chosen the popular Nimzo-Indian defense against d4, but also the less popular Be7 variation against the Nge2/a3 system. The structure now resembles that of a QG exchange except with an interesting displacement of White’s N (no longer on f3. One of Black’s main ideas is to strike in the center with c5.
IM Aman Hambleton (Leko – Anand after b5): We have reached an interesting middlegame position where Leko can choose a more reserved approach (Kb1) or a more aggressive one with g5 or h4 to continue the Kingside assault. The choice may dictate the direction of the game.
GM Christian Bauer (Nakamura – Giri after 4…d6): there was an important game on that theme, namely Kasimdzhanov-Topalov tiebreak of the FIDE World Ch in Tripoli, where White won but not because of the opening. Now …d6 is a bit surprising. I think Black usually goes …Nc6 and soon …d5 with simplifications in the center and, according to my knowledge, good chances to equalize if White had delayed c2-c4, and chosen d2-d4 instead like 4.Bb2 Nc6 5.d4, then the idea …cxd4 6.Nxd4 Qf6 would have been annoying aiming to play …Bc5 etc.
IM Aman Hambleton (Karjakin – Harikrishna): Karjakin and Harikrishna have played into the popular Berlin, with a technical struggle to ensue. This is probably Black’s most promising choice given the rather poor success of 1. e4 e5 in this tournament for the second player!
IM Aman Hambleton (Yifan Hou – Carlsen): As Magnus Carlsen himself said: “with an extra move c3 it must be something!” It’s interesting to see Hou use this move against Carlsen himself after his nice win against Harikrishna in round 4 with the White pieces.
Games are on, GM Bauer and Im Hambleton are ready for their commentary.
Tata Steel A group is entering the decisive stage of the championship. Magnus Carlsen has 1/2 advantage in the standings ahead of Anand, while Nakamura and Aronian are at 1 point distance. Today the Norwegian will meet the ex World Champion Yifan Hou, Anand is with black against Leko, Aronian also has black against L’Ami, and Nakamura has white against Giri.
Last night the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Gibraltar Tradewise Chess Festival proved a great success with Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Steven Linares welcoming all the players to Gibraltar commenting on how the festival now in its eleventh edition had put Gibraltar firmly on the “chess map”. It’s all happening at the Caleta Hotel with some 60 nations represented at the 2013 tournament. Helping tournament Director Stuart Conquest with the draw of top pairings for the first round last night was Miss Gibraltar Jessica Baldachino (see photos. There are more on our website).
Take note that the Gibraltar Masters starts at 3pm (Gibraltar time) and remember we will be going live from our studio with Simon Williams and Irina Krush (Reigning women’s USA Champion). There are 245 chess players in the Gibraltar Masters this year with around 350 playing in all three tournaments. 60 Countries are being represented this year.
(all photos from Gibraltar by John Saunders)