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T. Petrosian 80

Round 4 report
Things started to heat up in Jermuk round four.  Both the outdoor temperature moved back up in to expected summer levels, and after the multitude of draws in round 3, chess fans were treated to a rise in the temperature on the boards of several games as well.  The first to draw blood today was Peter Leko who celebrated the arrival of his wife Sophie in Jermuk by beating Karjakin.  The co-leader of the tournament chose a rare continuation with the move 11. a4 and instead of the more common reply 11…c5, Karjakin played 11…Ne4.  Then after rook trades on a8, Leko won a pawn with the tactical shot 20. cxd after which black’s position was hopeless.

Aroian-Kamsky.jpgThe game Aronian-Kamsky started off quite unusually.  It is uncommon at this level for a player to play a novelty on move 5, but this is exactly what happened with Aronian’s 5. Nc3.  The Armenian frontrunner (both as co-leader of the Jermuk tournament as well the man in the driver’s seat in the Grand Prix overall) decided to jettison a pawn for the initiative as well as dark square domination, and Kamsky was on his heels for the rest of the game.  After the strong knight hop to g5 on move 13, things looked difficult for black.  Aronian didn’t let his opponent have much wiggle room, and after just making time control with seconds to spare, Kamsky resigned as it became clear he was losing a piece.

Jakovenko vs. Gelfand was a fighting draw, as each player brought some creative ideas to the table, but was unable to dent his opponent’s armor.  Following 15. g4, it seems that white has some attacking ideas against the black king, however, with undeveloped kingside pieces, it is not clear if this brute force mating attempt is particularly promising.  Once a pair of minor pieces were traded and black was able to central place his king on e5 blunting the white’s ideas, it became apparent that the position was equal and a draw was agreed.


Inarkiev once again had a point slip through his fingers after a time trouble sequence saw the Russian give away his advantage.  In a game with dizzying tactical possibilities on both sides, it was white who seemed to out-calculate black to pick up the h6 pawn on move 25 and then hold off black’s counterattack.  Just when a simplification to a hopeful endgame seemed likely, white missed 36. Qe3, and instead played his queen to f2 which loses the g2 pawn.  A few moves later, the two players agreed to share the point.

Akopian tried to make progress against Kasimdzhanov’s Petroff, but while black was on the defensive the entire game, he was able to hold the draw.  After the queen retreat to d8 on move 19, black was forced into a passive position, but with correct moves he was holding on without allowing white to mount a serious offensive.  On move 32. b5!? Akopian decided to sac a pawn for positional pressure, but Kasimdzhanov created a defensive shell with the rook oscillating between c7 and e7, waiting to see what shite could do.  Despite some long thinks and different ideas, white couldn’t break through.  At the opportune time, black gave back the c5 pawn, traded heavy pieces, and a draw was soon agreed.

The move of the day was played by Ivanchuk.  In a seemingly ordinary position, Ivanchuk played a wonderful sacrifice that caught nearly all spectators, and evidently his opponent Alekseev, off guard.  After some pawn pushes to soften up the kingside, Alekseev played Na6, as one black knight joined his stable-mate on the a-file, far away from the ensuing action on the kingside.  Ivanchuk then played 21. Nd5!!, and after black took the knight  21…exd5 22. Bxd5+ Kg7, white played the eerily quiet move Kh1.  In fact, as was becoming clear, the black king had nowhere to run, and after 31. Qh5+, black resigned.


Bacrot and Eljanov played the longest game of the day, a 55 move draw that started out as a Ruy Lopez in which white achieved a pleasant advantage out of the opening.  Black was saddled with a backward d6 pawn, but white had to keep an eye on the weakness in his own camp, the backward pawn on c3.  White secured a passed b-pawn on move 30 and it looked like chances for victory may be significant, but through some simplifications in the double rook endgame, all was traded until two bare kings were left and the opponents called it a draw.
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