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Round 5: Wang Yue and Grischuk share lead
Friday, 25 April 2008
Video report round 5

Friday, April 25 was a quiet day at the Hyatt Congress Centre in Baku. For some reason the press office was still totally deserted when the games started (don't worry, ten minutes later it was packed as usual), and this was probably an omen for the round to come: no less than six games ended in a draw. Wang Yue was the only player to win after his opponent Sergey Karjakin blundered in a rook ending. The Chinese now shares the lead with Alexander Grischuk. Cheparinov scored his first half point.
gashimov-mamedyarov.jpgThe first game that ended in the fifth round was the derby between "the guys from Baku", Gashimov-Mamedyarov. As could be expected, they were quite nice to each other and drew without much of a fight. After the game, Gashimov said he had intended 15.Qe5 but then saw it would fail to 15…Bd6. He argued that since the moves …h6 and Bh4 had been played, 16.Qxd6 doesn't work. Your humble round report author had to correct him, because even with the black pawn on h7 and the bishop on g5, White's idea Qxd6, Qxd6, Bxh7+ doesn't work because of ...Nxh7, Rxd6, Bxf3 winning a piece.

In Navara-Bacrot, the Chebanenko Variation of the Slav Defence was played. Navara wasn't satisfied about his preparation but hey, what can you do when Black comes up with a strong novelty as 12...Be7!. Both players thought Black was better after the opening. But then Navara just played very accurately and a dead drawn position was reached in which the players had to make many more moves, to "obey the local law". "I just decided to play on and create some little threats. The Sofia rule isn't bad, but sometimes it's a bit ridiculous," Navara said. "But we always find a way to draw anyway." Etienne Bacrot could only agree with those words.

carlsen-kamsky.jpg Carlsen-Kamsky started with a theoretical discussion in a topical line of the Caro-Kann Defence. Carlsen's 19.g4 was a novelty, and a very interesting one. It allowed him to play in his usual style again: skilfully and energetically. Black wisely decided to return the pawn with 21…Bf6! and after 23.Bb4 he has 23…Re8 as an alternative, but Kamsky thought it to be too passive. According to the American GM, "White was pressing all the time but Black was solid enough to hold it." Don't miss the English version of Shipov's live analysis of this game, by the way.

White got a very nice position out of the opening in Grischuk-Adams. "10...e5 was clearly premature," Grischuk said, "because this 11.bxc5 bxc5 12.d4 is just very good for White. But then it was not so easy, because Black's pieces are always jumping; he's very active. OK, it's illusory activity, but it's also difficult to defend against illusory activity." Adams said he "probably mixed up two systems" in the opening and found 11.bxc5 bxc5 12.d4 very strong. "I thought my position would collapse soon but 19…Ba4 was a good move." According to Grischuk, his king's bishop looked to be destined for the d5 square but having arrived there, there was nothing better than to exchange it, which led to an equal position. Sergey Shipov couldn’t find a better way to play for White in this game: "For this we probably need somebody like Kramnik."

radjabov-inarkiev.jpgAn interesting ending was reached in Radjabov-Inarkiev, which started quite originally. "If I had seen these moves in an amateur game, I would have told them that they don't know opening principles," Sergey Shipov remarked. But a more profound analysis showed that the two GMs actually played quite reasonable and accurately. A sharp series of moves resulted in an extra pawn for Black, but White had good compensation. With Bf5 on move 29 or 30 he could have made life a bit more difficult for Black, according to Shipov.

In his own words, Wang Yue was "lucky to win this game" against Karjakin. And indeed, normally in the Ruy Lopez Berlin Wall a draw is both a likely result and the best Black can hope for.
So what happened? After some fine defensive moves, Wang Yue had managed to equalize and then suddenly Karjakin lost his concentration and played a few dubious moves (25.Rd2?!, 28.Bb2?!), according to Sergey Shipov, and after the excellent reply 28…Bg5! White faced some serious problems. karjakin-wangyue.jpgKarjakin managed to keep things together but then made a big mistake in the rook ending. Instead of the automatic 36.Rxe6? it was necessary to activate the king with the move 36.Kf2! when 36...Ra3 37.Ke3! Rxb3+ 38.Ke4 Rc3 39.Rg6+! Kh5 40.Rxe6 Rxc4+ 41.Kf5 should be enough to draw.

In Cheparinov-Svidler, the last game that finished today, the Bulgarian went for the draw from move one, to get rid of that annoying zero in the standings, and he succeeded. At some point he even seemed close to a win. At the press conference Svidler compared the game to his encounter with Ivanchuk of last year and was of the opinion that "the simpler the position gets, the more attractive it starts to look for Black." In the ending Black was slightly better at some point but to Svidler's surprise, 30…h5 seems to lead to equality only.
cheparinov-svidler.jpg"It looks ugly to take there, but Ivan's play in the game showed that it's probably the best move." After the Russian allowed 41.cxb5 cb5 42.Rc2 he suddenly had to go into defence move himself, but it wasn't too difficult to hold it.

Tomorrow is the first of two rest days; Sunday round 6 will be played. 
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