Wednesday 5 December 2012

London Chess Classic - Round three

I can only say that I am very lucky that tomorrow is a free day, as otherwise these reports are really strange in this retrospective form.
So, you can expect to get a report from round number four tomorrow and than it will be the reports from the rounds immediately after the rounds.
In round number three played Kramnik against Carlsen and it was the game which I considered the most interesting in the whole tournament.
Kramnik played well, but Carlsen´s level of resistance was on a very high level and he drew after the long fight.
In other games, Adams won against Polgar with two additional draws.

The results of the third round:

Vladimir Kramnik - Magnus Carlsen     draw
Levon Aronian - Wishy Anand              draw
Gewain Jones - Hikaru Nakamura        draw
Michael Adams - Judit Polgar               1-0

As I already described in my previous report, I think that the real battlefield in chess on the top shifted from the opening preparation and wild middlegames to the precise play in the endgames.
Of course if someone is not on his/her usual level, than a game can be decided even in the middlegame.
This is exactly what happened in the game between Adams and Polgar.
So far, this is not the best played tournament by Judt Polgar.
The real problem lays when both players are on their very top level. The natural thing is that than it should be more draws. However with Sofia rule there are no quick draws and deep into the endgame everyone can make a mistake due to tiredness.
If we consider that the very best players in the moment, Vladimir Kramnik and Magnus Carlsen clearly prefers endgame to other parts of the game, than this trend is not strange.

This is the position from the game Kramnik-Carlsen.
Kramnik played The English Opening, and Carlsen answered with Botvinnik Setup.
In this moment Kramnik could play:

10. Ne3!?

The Idea is to occupy d5-square with a piece (most probably the knight on c2).
Instead he preferred to has a better control of b4 square (where he wants to break with his pawn b2-b4) and played:

10. d3

After both players played according to their plans (Kramnik played for b2-b4 break, and Carlsen played for d6-d5 break) they reached the next position:

The theoretical question discussed in the commentary room is if the pawn on b7 is a free pawn or a weak isolated pawn.
I think that Kramnik´s next move answered on that question.

18. Rb5!

With this move Kramnik got a small, but long lasting advantage. There is no way for Black to play b7-b5 and due to firm control on the light squares Kramnik secured some advantage.
What happened later is that Carlsen exchanged the light square bishops. he could do that by playing Bc6 which will change his pawn structure, but it is not clear who will profit from that. He tried to play active and as he admit in the commentary room he missed interesting finesse by kramnik which can be seen on the next diagram.

This is the position where Carlsen went for:


Kramnik took the pawn on b7.

24. Rxb7, Rxb7
25. Qxb7

...and Carlsen thought that he has a pin with:


He missed:

26. Qc8+, Qf8
27. Qd7!

Now is not easy for him to take advantage of the pin on the b-file as 27...Qb8 fails to 28. Rc1!.


This is a beautiful defending idea.
Now 28.Rc1, Rxb2 29. Rc8, Rxe2 only draws.
Kramnik went for:

28. e4

The idea of this move is to prevent a check on a8. This is the only move which White can play if he want to play on for a win.
Later on they reached the endgame on the following diagram.

Kramnik thought that he got Carlsen in a zugzwang.
If he plays with the bishop than rook can play on c1.
Black´s king can not move and only piece available is the rook on b3.
If rooks left the b-file than White will play Rb1 and if rooks lefts the third rank (where it attacks the pawn on g3) than White can play d3-d4 and the game will be still very interesting.
Magnus played:


This move saves Black. White can never play d3-d4.
After some not so serious moves at the end the game ended in a draw.

You can see all the games in the chess viewer:

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