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T. Petrosian 80

Round 6 report
Alekseev vs Cheparinov saw the players clash over a Scheviningen Sicilian.  The Russian embarked in an active style, and offered a queen trade with 20. Nde2, after which white enjoyed a small plus.  Slowly but surely, white worked to transform his positional advantage into a material advantage with the sequence of trades starting with 29.a5.  Despite Cheparinnov’s best attempts to hold the difficult position, Alekseev carried out the technical phase effectively, demonstrating the rare win at the end with K+N+B vs K.  A good victory for Alekseev, and a setback for the Cheparinov, as the former tournament leader has lost two in a row.

Akopian-Eljanov.jpgIn the game Akopian against Eljanov, the two players assayed a semi-Slav variation, with the less common move e4,  confirming that white had victory on his mind as he sacrificed a pawn for activity.  However, it was black who played the new move, 12...Qc7, where 12...f6 had been tried in previous games.  In the middlegame, white tried to create some activity, but black responded well and neutralized whites aspirations, returned the pawn and entered into an even endgame.  Despite efforts for more by both players, the game ended in a well-contested draw. Leko-Bacrot.jpg

The two experienced pros, Leko and Bacrot launched into a topical line of the Queen’s Indian defense where white sacrifices his d pawn for open lines and activity.  Prudently, black game back the pawn, and was saddled with the isolani d pawn of his own, but in fact the game assessment never deviated much from equality.  After 52 moves the players agreed to a draw in a dead-even position.

Aronian-Gelfand.jpgAronian rebounded from his only loss in recent tournament memory to beat Boris Gelfand on the white side of an inauspicious Semi-Slav opening.  In what must be becoming a trademark style of his, Aronian allowed an early queen trade and then nursed a small positional advantage deep into the game.  It did not appear that the Armenian #1 had much out of the opening, and with 20. Rc5 Aronian may have missed that the e5 pawn is untouchable because of 20...Bf8 21.Rxe5 c5 and 22...Bd6 trapping the rook.  It seems that 28. Ra1 not the best as black may have tried the strong exchange sacrifice taking twice on c4 before giving check on b2 and cleaning up some pawns.  However, the game continued quietly until Gelfand's time-trouble mistake cost black a pawn.  White continued to press, but the rook endgame was hovering close to a draw.  Some subtle mistakes by black allowed Aronian to bring home the full point, bouncing back from his previous round loss to regain a share of the tournament lead.


In the game between Inarkiev and Kasimdzhanov, black came out of the Petroff opening with a small advantage.  Black steered the game gradually into the endgame, continuing to maintain his tangible plus.  Trading down to an advantageous rook endgame, Kasimdzhanov won his second in a row to defeat his Russian counterpart and remain on pace as co-leader.


In an English opening, Jakovenko earned a small advantage from the start against Karjakin, but black summoned sufficient defensive resources to hold the position and lay claim to half the point.

Ivanchuk-Kamsky.jpgIn the strangest game of the day, the enigmatic Ivanchuk was in a sacrificial - and risky - mood against Kamsky, offering the exchange on move 11, and when that was ignored, bartering away his queen for two minor pieces and some pawns with 15. Nxd5?!.  An interesting position arose, and despite likely insufficient compensation, the entertaining Ivanchuk demonstrated his boundless creativity.  Kamsky appeared to be clinching the victory at several opportunities, but at each point, Ivanchuk held on. At move 114, the position was in fact completely resignable, but lo and behold, 50 moves had passed since a pawn was moved or a piece taken.  As such, the arbiters were alerted and a draw was declared. Terrible luck for Kamsky, for whom it must feel like the Chess Gods stole the game.
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