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Round 10: A rainy day
Friday, 02 May 2008
Round 10 Video Report

It was raining cats, dogs and half points today in Baku. All day long, Azerbaijan's capital was under a long, enduring shower and at the moment of writing this report, it still hasn't stopped! You'd expect it to be weather for some great chess, but six out of seven games were drawn. Radjabov clearly had an off-day and lost terribly to Cheparinov.
Although Carlsen "wanted to try hard for a win" today, he couldn't prevent a short draw against Navara, who had surprised him by playing the Zaitsev Ruy Lopez. The Czech even came up with an interesting novelty 21…Bb7, followed by the nice manoeuvre 22…Be7! and 23…Bg5!, which prevented the White knight from getting to d5. This way he "absolutely equalized the game", according to Sergey Shipov. Carlsen thought he still had some advantage there: "But then overestimated my position, when I went for 35.a4. After that I missed that after 38...Qf4 39.g3? Black can simply take on e4." Navara admitted that he only spotted the move 35.a4 after he played 34...Ra6, but "fortunately it was only a draw".

mamedyarov-grischuk.jpg Mamedyarov-Grischuk, a Semi-Slav with some similarities to the Tarrasch Defence, started very promising. The wild complications in the opening seemed to favour White, who at some point was an hour up on the clock! "I played 11.Qb1 for the first time," Mamedyarov said, sharing a bit of his preparation to the rest of the world, "but I only looked at 16...Qc2 after which I have the very strong move 17.Bf4." Grischuk said he had analysed this line quite a bit, but from the White side: "I had found different ways for Black to equalize but during the game I still wasn't completely sure. I didn't like it when I was thinking all the time and Shak just came out of the rest room and banged out his moves." Mamedyarov agreed with Shipov that 18.Bf4 Nc6 (18…0-0 19.Rd1!) 19.Qc1! was stronger than what he played (18.Bd2). In the game, with a series of exact moves Grischuk simplified the position and without any problems achieved the desired draw.

radjabov-cheparinov.jpg For Radjabov it was certainly a rainy day. For some reason he was just completely out of form, and Cheparinov profited from that, beating the Azeri GM with Black. The Bulgarian had surprised his opponent by playing the Caro-Kann. "At some point I was slightly better and then I was suddenly winning. It was not his day, he just played badly." Radjabov: "I agree totally. After he surprised me in the opening I just wanted to play solidly. Maybe 11.Nb3 was already wrong." This move happened to be a theoretical novelty; in that position Leonid Stein, Radjabov's great predecessor in the King's Indian, had played the better move 11.a4 against Vlastimil Hort, Sousse 1967! "I didn’t like my position after his ...c5 and ...b5. Perhaps I should have played Kh1 and f4 there. But my play was ridiculous in general." According to Shipov 14.a4 would have been better than 14.Nfd2 and White's last chance to survive was 20.Nd2 Nab4 21.Bxb4 Nxb4 22.Qb1 Rfb8 23.Ndxc4 Nxa2 24.Rxa2!.

kamsky-wangyue.jpg Kamsky-Wang Yue started as a Rossolimo Sicilian but was more like a Ruy Lopez, with all the typical Spanish manoeuvres, including the struggle for the d5 square. By forcing many exchanges Wang Yue was able to minimize the advantage of his rival. The course of events in Kamsky's words: "I didn't expected the Sicilian and decided to play something solid. It then turned into some kind of a Spanish game with some extra tempo's for Black. I underestimated Black's idea of 17...Bh4, ...Nc6-e7-g6, ...Qd8, ...Bg5 and ...Nf4, so I had to take on e7 and then of course it was completely even." Wang Yue thought White could have played Nh2-f1-e3-d5, "but then I take with the bishop and it's also equal." Shipov: "The smooth and calm course of the game, without any tactical battles, deprived me from the opportunity to criticize the players. Not only did they play well, but they also achieved an expected result."

gashimov-karjakin.jpg Black was close to winning in Gashimov-Karjakin, but Karjakin couldn't pinpoint exactly where he could have played better. "I'm not sure if I had real winning chances," he said at the press conference. Sergey Shipov thought it was the move 35…h4! instead of 35…a5. Karjakin had been surprised by his opponent's choice of opening: "I knew he plays this line because we've had it in some blitz games against each other, but I didn't expect him to play it in a real game." Shipov didn't like it at all: "White's opening play was just strange and illogical! White shouldn’t gain an advantage in such a curious way - and it didn’t happen." Gashimov said he "blundered terribly" in the opening: "I wanted to take on h6 but then I saw he can just play Qg5 with check." This line runs 16.Bxh6 gxh6 17.Nxh6+ Kh8 18.Qh3 Qg5+. "But I think I played the ending very well."

svidler-bacrot.jpg Svidler-Bacrot was, according to Svidler, "the worst game of the tournament so far". It's clear that both players couldn't show their best form today because of tiredness - Svidler hasn't been feeling a 100% fit for a few days already, while Bacrot played so many long games so far, that it's hard to avoid mistakes. Svidler: "I knew that 11.Qxb7 leads to an immediate draw [after 11...Be6 12.c4 Rb8 – PD] but I didn't want to go for that. But after 11.h3 Bh5 12.Rfe1 Qd7 I'm already slightly worse and later he's of course completely winning." Bacrot agreed and he especially didn't like his 28...Nxc3. "If I first give a check with 28...Qe5 it's clearly winning." In the end it was the activity of the White pieces that brought Svidler a narrow escape.

inarkiev-adams.jpg The last game that ended was drawn as well: Inarkiev-Adams. A "fairly typical position was reached, similar to my game against Kramnik [Dortmund 2006 – PD]. At some point he came quite close but I managed to save myself." In a way, this "typical position" is similar to a mirrored Berlin Wall: White has a doubled c-pawn and the bishop pair. According to Inarkiev the game was quite balanced all the time: "I had some initiative but still it's about equal everywhere." Shipov praised Adams' endgame play: "Black showed some amazingly exact defence (41…f5!, 46...d5!) to reach the draw."
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