Friday, January 29, 2010

Shirov - Kramnik , Corus 2010

One of the strongest tournaments is currently in progress. Kramnik, Carlsen, World Champion Anand, Shirov, Ivancuk, Nakamura , Karjakin are amongst those playing at the 2010 Corus Tournament.

Round 11 and is currently in progress and I am following the game Shirov-Kramnik. Shirov had a fantastic start with 5/5 but two loses have allowed Kramnik to take a half point lead over Shirov and Carlsen. World Champion Anand is a full point behind.

Shirov will want to win this to take back the lead and possibly win the event.

Shirov - Kramnik
Corus Chess 2010 Wijk aan Zee (11), 29.01.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6

Kramnik plays a very solid Petroff and likely he is satisfied with a draw

3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.c4 Nb4 9.Be2 0-0 10.Nc3 Bf5 11.a3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Nc6 13.Re1 Re8 14.cxd5 Qxd5 15.Bf4 Rac8 16.h3 Be4 17.Nd2 Bxg2 18.Bg4 Bh1 19.f3 Bh4 20.Re4 f5 21.Kxh1 fxg4 22.hxg4 Qf7 23.Qb3

I had the good fortune of watching Shirov during the Dresden 2008 Olympiad. I was not playing that round and took the opportunity to see those super grandmasters I normally just read about on chess web-sites.

It was Shirov's move but he was not looking at the board. He had a distant look on his face and I think he was analysing the position in his head. At one point, I thought he was about to burst out laughing. You know, the kind where you are with formal company and someone says or do something funny and you almost start laughing but you suppressed it for fear of offending the others. Really strange. I watched him intently and he almost let another one out. I thought to myself, this guy really enjoys his chess. At that moment, I became an instant fan of him.


This is playable because 24. Qxb7 will be met by 24...Nd5 attacking f4 and c3.

24. Qxf7+ Kxf7

25. c4 should be the next move as white needs to control the d5 square

25. c4

And now Ng6 followed by Bf6 to bring the bishop back to a more useful diagonal. Black has no weaknesses, although his pieces are in less active squares than white. I do not think white can do much although there is still a lot of play in the position and anything can still happen.

25...Ng6 26. Bh2 Bf6

Kramnik has spent much more time than Shirov. The clock shows
White 1:23
Black 0:46

26. Rb1 b6 27.d5

Shirov played this move very quickly as black was threatening to win the pawn with capture on e4. He still leads almost 40 minutes on the clock.

Over in Group B, another interesting battle is taking place. 2nd placed Wesley So has white against the leader A. Giri who is leading with a slim half point margin. Not only is Giri down to half an hour on the clock, but he has a horrible position with his knight and bishop under attack. I'm hoping Wesley will win and take the lead!.


The exchange of bishops will solve most of black's problems. Shirov is having a long think now probably whether he can avoid exchanging bishops with 28.f4

28. f4 Bd6

28. Rbe1 Rxe4 29. Nxe4 and black cannot capture on f4 with bishop because of the pin on the f-file while Nxf4 loses the piece to Nxd6

28.a4 h6

Shirov really thinking now. Clock times
White 0:40
Black 0:36

Meanwhile in the Group B match, So-Giri, Giri is down a piece for two pawns and an imaginary attack.

29. Rbe1 Nf8 30. f5 Nd7 31. Bxd6 cxd6 32. Re6 Ne5

White 0:18
Black 0:20

33. c5 !?

Not an easy move to find with the time left. 33...Rxc5 loses to 34. Ne4 so 33...bxc5 is forced. I think Shirov is bluffing, after 33..bxc5 34. Ne4 Rxe6 35. dxe6 Ke7 I dont see what white has.

Meanwhile Giri has sacrificied another piece in a desparate attempt to whip up an attack. But I'm sure Wesley will have no problems defending. Wesley will get two bishops , a knight and rook for his queen.

Kramnik's down to five minutes now, working out the complications Shirov tries to make up...


Maybe a blunder. 34. cxd6 looks very tempting. 34...Nxe1 35.d7 winning ... or not?

White: 0:08
Black 0:03

35...Nd3 36. Ne4!

On the other board, Wesley blundered into a mate! Man....

Someone now knows why I never teach my children to play chess. It's because of days like these .....

34. cxd6 Nxe1 35.d7 Rcd8 36. dxe8=Q+ Rxe8 37.Nc4 Rxe6 38. fxe6+ Ke7

White should be winning with his passed e-pawn. And he has reached the second time control which means time is no longer the factor here.

39. Ne5 Kd6

Now 40. Kh2 should be winning

40.Nc4+ Ke7 41. Ne5 Kd6 42.Kh2 Nc2 43. Nc4+ Ke7 44. Kg3 Nb4 45. Ne3

Kramnik is planning to sac his knight on d5 take the e6 pawn with king and try to draw by exchanging all of white's pawns.

45...Nxd5 46. Nxe5 Kxe6

Shirov thought for almost 25 minutes but could not find the win.

47. Nc3 a6 48. Kf4 b5 1/2 1/2

White cannot avoid the exchange of his last pawn. 49. axb5 axb5 50 Nxb5 Kf6 51. Nc7 g5+ 52. Ke4 Kg6 and ...h5


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