Wild Round in Mexico
By GM Ian Rogers   
September 19, 2007
anandlead.jpg
Photo Cathy Rogers
By defeating Peter Svidler, Viswanathan Anand took the clear lead after the fifth day of the World Championship tournament in Mexico City.

Playing into Svidler's favorite Marshall Gambit, Anand hung onto the pawn but the game was not decided until a sudden collapse by Svidler close to the time control. Both Svidler and Anand agreed that time management had played a key part in the result of their game.
 
"One thing that is quite obvious is that you can't think for that long on moves you actually know because you will need those 20 minutes later in the game," said Svidler. "This is what ultimately cost me... I ran into some serious preparation and I think I handled it reasonably well. The 20 minutes I spent getting to the position after Qc1, which I knew to be the critical position, would really [have] come in handy. The position after 32.Bc1 I understood to be a critical one but by that point I couldn't really spend more that 5 to 7 minutes on a move. I just missed one detail and the game collapses. I completely missed Qa3 Instead of 32...Nf6?! I have 32...Qc7 with the idea of Bb7 or I can simply play 32...f5."


 
Anand said, "He (Svidler) spotted me a bit of time at the end [when] the position was unbelievably complicated.
When I went 31.Ra8, I missed 31...Bb8. I had originally calculated Qa3 Ba7 ... and in fact I lose the exchange,
26...Nd5-f6-e4 is a pretty good plan because I can't exchange rooks easily and his attack, when it comes, will be very dangerous. I reacted with 27.a4 and 29.Ra6, probably the only correct reaction, but it's difficult to say anything definitive."
 
Boris Gelfand was not getting ahead of himself after winning his first game of the tournament, having earlier missed chances against Anand and Leko. "It's nice to have a good start but it doesn't matter. Most of the tournament lies ahead. Every player [must continue to play] for two weeks more."
 

 

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 b5 6.Nf3
6.Bg2 d6 7.b4!? is the traditional way to go if White wishes to sacrifice a pawn, a gambit which gained acceptance after Kasparov used it to beat Korchnoi in their 1983 World Championship Candidates match.
6...d6 7.e4!?
"This novelty I prepared a couple of months ago but yesterday my seconds almost didn't sleep analyzing this position," said Gelfand. "Of course there is a long way between analyzing an idea and polishing it, putting it into practice."
"A rather strong idea,' said Aronian. "In a practical game this is very difficult to defend against."
7...a6 8.a4 b4
"I felt I should go for 8...Nxe4!?  because ...b4 looks ugly, but I didn't risk it because I thought   it [would all be] all pre-analyzed by Boris," said Aronian.
After 8...Nxe4 9.axb5 Nf6 10.Nc3 Black has some difficulties because after 10...Be7 11.bxa6 , any recapture on a6 is met by 12.Bb5+ .
9.Bd3 g6 10.Nbd2 Bg7 11.Nc4 0-0 12.Bf4 Ne8 13.a5!
Positionally White would have everything he could want from the opening if only his pawn was on h3 and not g3. Aronian now takes advantage of this to disrupt White's smooth development.
 13...Bh3! 14.Ng5 Bd7! 15.0-0 Bb5
A major achievement for Black - to eliminate the monster on c4 is a first step to equality.
16.Qd2 h6!?
The start of a very risky plan which Aronian thought would win a pawn. 16...Ra7 or 16...Bxc4 17.Bxc4 Nd7 intending ...Ne5 and ...Nc7-b5 were the main alternatives.
17.Nf3 g5 18.Be3 Bxc4 19.Bxc4 Qf6 20.Qd1! Nd7
Unfortunately for Black, 20...Qxb2 is met by 21.e5! when 21...g4 (If 21...Bxe5 22.Ra2 Qc3 23.Rc2 Qa3 24.Nxe5 dxe5 25.Bxc5 wins for White.) is met by 22.Nd4! with a very dangerous attack.
21.Rb1 Qe7 22.Nd2 Nef6 23.Re1 Rfe8 24.f3 Qd8 25.Ra1 g4!?
"Tempting, but this has to be matched with concrete play," said Gelfand.
26.fxg4 Ne5 27.Be2 Qd7?
"25...g4 is alright but [here] I should play 27...Qc8! - then I can play this 30...c4 thing," said Aronian.
28.g5 Nfg4 29.Bf4 hxg5 30.Bxg5 f5
With the Black queen on c8, 30...c4 would be possible but now Aronian has to look to a more radical plan for counterplay. "I thought that here I could play 30...c4 but I missed 31.Bxg4! Nxg4 32.Nxc4 when the knight is covering the g1-a7 diagonal,"  said Aronian.
31.Rf1! Rf8?!
31...fxe4 32.Nxe4 c4 was a better try for counterplay, although, with White having the key e3 and f1 squares covered, a move such as 33.Kg2 leaves White with a clear advantage.
32.exf5 Rxf5 33.Bf4! Nf6
An exchange sacrifice which only hastens the end. However 33...Rff8 34.Nc4 leaves White a pawn up with a much better position.
34.g4 Rxf4 35.Rxf4 Nf7 36.Nc4 Re8 37.Qd3 Qe7 38.Bf3 Ne5 39.Nxe5 Qxe5 40.Rf5 Qxb2 41.Rf1 b3
"Already the position is lost," said Aronian. "[I can] only set a few little traps." However 41...Ne4!? was probably a better try - after 42.Bxe4 Qd4+ 43.Qxd4 Bxd4+ 44.Kg2 Rxe4 objectively White should of course win but in practice the Black queenside pawns could cause problems.
42.Kh1 Nd7 43.Bd1 c4 44.Qxc4 Nc5 45.Qf4! Ne4 46.Rf7 Bf6
On 46...Be5 47.Rf8+ wins.
47.Rb7 Qd2 48.Qxd2 1-0
48...Nxd2 49.Rxf6 Re1+ 50.Kg2 Rxd1 51.Rxd6 is hopeless for Black.

Alexander Grischuk joined Gelfand and Kramnik in second place by defeating a typically ambitious Alexander Morozevich. Morozevich went pawn grabbing and after 22...Qxa3 (22...exf3 was obligatory), his position became critical.

"[In the opening] 14...Rael is the main move," said Grischuk, "but it seems that Alexander didn't expect this move and he started to think for a long time. [I expected] 19...Nd5 instead of 19...h5. After 19...h5 I think I played [well}. I am sure Alexander missed that after 23...Rxe5 I have 24.exf5 and after this move I am just winning.
 


Morozevich was downbeat after his second loss of the tournament. "I don't know yet what went wrong. I spent one hour [in the opening] basically for nothing. After 22.Be5 I didn't see any move. I didn't miss 24.exf5 but I didn't see anyway to play for Black. I decided that maybe I had chances with this exchange down position with my passed pawns."
 
The joint manager of Peter Leko and Vladimir Kramnik, Carsten Hensel, said before the game that he was hoping for a draw but that "I have been in this situation [watching the two players try to destroy each others chances] often before."

Leko avoided Kramnik's Petroff Defence but could not avoid a boring position and the draw was agreed after only 24 moves.


 
Leko admitted that his opening experiment had not worked out well. "I decided to play 2.Bc4 because if I allowed a [Petroff] then people would say why didn't you try something else! But Vladimir seemed to have prepared also here quite well. He played a very classical and very strong approach...and the game was dynamically balanced."
 
Kramnik concurred. "I was quite lucky with the opening as I prepared this in Dortmund with Alekseev two months ago....I checked it very carefully and I found this attack with ...Qe6, ...Ne7 and then push ...c6 and ...d5. It's maybe even the refutation of the whole of the White set-up."

Crosstable after five rounds
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Crosstable from chessbase.com