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Round 4: Adams, Wang Yue and Mamedyarov win
Thursday, 24 April 2008
Round 4 video report

In the fourth round we saw some difficult games and some big mistakes. Cheparinov, who lost his fourth game today against Wang Yue, is clearly out of form. Mamedyarov played very strongly and beat Carlsen, Adams scored a lucky win against Navara and Grischuk retained his slim lead after a quick draw against Kamsky.

kamsky-grischuk.jpgThe tournament leader played with Black today and reached a draw without any problems. We're talking about Kamsky-Grischuk, the first game to finish in the 4th round. In a Slav Defence, Kamsky didn't expect the move 8…g6 and decided to play solidly. "After he found all those exchanges, Black's position was fine." Especially 12…e5 and 17... Nf8 were strong, after Kamsky felt he had to go for perpetual: "Otherwise he'll play Ne6 and f5 and Black is just better."

Another rather short, balanced game was Bacrot-Karjakin, which suited the Frenchman: "Luckily it was not like in the previous rounds – now I get some rest." In the highly fashionable Chebanenko Variation of the Slav (see for example Aronian-Van Wely and Gelfand-Aronian, Wijk aan Zee 2008), Bacrot came up with the novelty 14.Re1. "I felt I had to prevent g4 so I went for 14…h5", Karjakin said, "and afterwards I was sure he had an advantage; maybe I should have played 16…Rd8 instead of 16…a5." Bacrot successfully reorganized his pieces and could then open up the centre with 18.e4, but Sergey was in time to finish his development and prepare counterplay. Several exchanges brought the game into an equal endgame. Karjakin had an interesting remark about the pairings: "It's hard to play against a player [every round - PD] who has just played against Cheparinov."

svidler-radjabov.jpgSvidler-Radjabov drew their game, and then together showed it with the demo board to not only the present journalists, but also to the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Mr Artur Rasizade, who paid a visit to the tournament today. According to Sergey Shipov, the Jänisch (Schliemann) Variation of the Ruy Lopez should perhaps be renamed because by now it's almost inevitable to place Radjabov’s name next to the name of the great Russian chess player of the 19th century, Jänisch. Radjabov has brought in new ideas, but most importantly, a great amount of optimism in this forgotten line. Today he came up with the important novelty 7...Nd4!, an improvement on Topalov-Radjabov, Linares 2008. White prevented Black from castling kingside, but in this line Black's king relatively safe on the queenside anyway. The white bishop, an intruder on e6, seemed to be an unpleasant obstacle, but after Teimour’s excellent knight maneuver Nh7-g5 the general picture suddenly changed. All Svidler could do was going for a rook ending and after 30...d4! Radjabov made it crystal clear that this ending was dead equal.

adams-navara.jpgAdams-Navara was won by the Englishman, despite the fact that he was worse after the opening stage. "I didn't play the opening very well, my 15.Bg5 was a bit vague and at some point my position was just bad. I was quite lucky today." Navara, who had come up with an excellent novelty (9…Qc7!), agreed that he was fine. "But then I couldn't see a way to improve my position." He disapproved of several of his pawn moves. "I underestimated the danger." According to Sergey Shipov, instead of 24. dxc3 he should have chosen 24…exf4 25.Nxd4 Bxd4! 26.cxd4 g5 and instead of 30…Rxa4? the move 30…Rad8! was better. Navara: "33…Ke8 was the final mistake, I just missed 34.Re8." And so it was "a pitiful defeat of a talented innovator" (Shipov).

In Mamedyarov-Carlsen, the young Norwegian couldn't show his usual energetic style. According to Sergey Shipov, he wasn’t ready for the skillful move 7.Re1 in the Queen's Indian. "Black didn't play very active," Mamedyarov commented afterwards. "After 10.e4 I liked my position very much."
mamedyarov-carlsen.jpgThe Azeri GM had seen games before in this position and thought his Nd3 was new. The idea is to transfer the knight to f4 and h5 sometimes. "I think I played a good game today." Carlsen agreed that he was slightly worse after the opening. "28...Qb6 was a big mistake; the idea was to play 29…Rc2 but the rook gets trapped. If I play 28…Be7 for instance, it's only slightly worse for me. The I also missed 31.Bxa5." Mamedyarov acted very precisely and methodically in the final phase, avoiding unnecessary exchanges and creating several threats. Carlsen concluded with some nice words for his opponent: "He just found the best moves and won in very good style."

Wang Yue-Cheparinov ended in another loss for the luckless young Bulgarian. As Shipov described it: "Like a boxing fighter he just goes forward, almost ignores his opponent and gets beaten more and more."
wangyue-cheparinov.jpgAs if the Chinese felt sorry for his opponent, he started the press conference by remembering the journalists that "Cheparinov is a very strong player, he beat me in December [at the World Cup] in Khanty-Mansiysk." He felt White was clearly better after 20…Rc8. "Maybe Black should try taking on c3 and e4 in that position." According to Shipov, the exchange of the pawns d6 and h3 turned out to be better for White and 24... f6? brought even more trouble, after which Wang Yue confidently finished the game. Cheparinov himself, well, he has no clue either what's going on, just like the rest of the chess world. "It is my fault that I lose all those games, but I don't know why. I talk a lot with Silvio [who is not in Baku by the way - PD] but it doesn't help."

Inarkiev-Gashimov was the longest and most difficult game of the round. Inarkiev played strongly in the opening and got a big advantage.
inarkiev-gashimov.jpgAccording to Sergey Shipov, 23.Na4 would have been very strong. After that it was less clear and then the young Russian blundered ("as usual," he added at the press conference) a full exchange with 33.Qd2?. "It was not even a combination, just one move, Be8." Still, it was not very clear afterwards. Gashimov admitted that he also wasn't sure who was better after he won the exchange. Until the very end, he skillfully maintained the tension and reflected the threats of his rival. A last winning try was 46.Bxe6 Qxf2 47.Rg1, but after 47…Ne2 48.Rd1 f3! 49.Qxf3 Qxf3 50.gxf3 Rxe6 the ending is probably drawn as well. In any case this game is food for analytical thought...
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