29 April 2017

A Mad Rook

Round four of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial in the review of Eteri Kublashvili.

History ethnography museum of the city, where curious guests were taken to by our main guide Odzhat Asadullayev, is the best place to get in the know of the Shamkir region development from deep antiquity up to present day. The museum is accommodated in the former Soviet cinema building (which in Moscow would usually bear such names as "Victory", "Glory", etc.), which has undergone complete renovation and restoration. There are two months each year that archaeological excavations around the city have been underway up to this very day, with experts from Germany never ceasing to unearth more and more antiquities. 

A handmade panel picture is hung at the entrance to welcome museum visitors. The museum displays many oldest artifacts, utensils, dwelling interior and clothing items of both Azeris and Germans that used to inhabit this region. The city and district history can also be viewed on interactive display screens, which makes it all very interesting and extremely informative. 

Apart from the game Vladimir Kramnik and Pentala Harikrishna, this round was not as turbulent in events as usual. 

This said, the 14th world champion has created yet another masterpiece. Playing with the white pieces, he sacrificed a rook for three pawns and a strong initiative, and Harikrishna found it difficult to defend his position under time pressure. 
Kramnik – Harikrishna 

25. Rxe5 

Vladimir Kramnik: “Black is obviously better, but this is not at all an easy ride for him from the practical point of view.”  

25…dxe5 26. Bxe5+ Nf6 27. Qxb5 Ne4 28. Bd4   

As grandmasters showed during the postmortem, the following line deserved attention: 28... Rb8 29. Qe2 Qb7 30. b4 Ra8 31. Ne5 Rxa3 with good prospects for Black.  

28…Rfd8 29. h3 Rb8 30. Qe2  


Stronger is 30... Qb7, which could be followed by something like 31. b4 Rxd4 32. Nxd4 Nxc3 (32... Kh8). 

31. Bb1 Qb7 32. b4 Re8 33. c4 Qc6  

Planting the queen on a6 was probably a stronger continuation. 

Vladimir Kramnik: “Black was in time trouble, whereas such positions are known to need some thinking time indeed. If I were an outside observer, I would take White.” 

Pentala Harikrishna admitted that he should not have given White free hand in rolling his pawns forward. 

34. Qb2  

Black could have yet sidestepped the pin with 34…Kf8, while the following error gave White play on both sides of the board.  

34…Rbd8? 35. c5 Qe6 36. b5 Kf8 37. c6 g4 38. hxg4 fxg4 39. Bxe4 gxf3 40. Bxf6 Rd6 41. Bg7+ Kf7 42. Be5 Black resigns. 

A grandmaster draw happened in the game Mamedyarov - Radjabov. 

A tranquil game in the improved Tarrasch Defense took place between Sergey Karjakin and Radoslaw Wojtaszek. A draw was the most logical outcome of their encounter. 

The game of Veselin Topalov and Wesley So in the Berlin was an equally risk-free adventure. During the game discussion a word boring crept in a couple of times, so that the press conference even started with viewing the Kramnik-Harikrishna game progress first. In the endgame with a bishop for White and a knight for Black, Topalov managed to engineer a fortress and, despite the jumping ability of the opponent's minor piece, the game ended in a draw. 

Quite interesting was the Michael Adams - Pavel Eljanov duel in the Italian game. White was enjoying a certain pressure in the middlegame, but Black resorted to tactical tricks to successfully maintain equality and achieve a draw. 

Following completion of round four Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is still in the lead with 3 points. Half a point behind are Vladimir Kramnik, Michael Adams, Pavel Eljanov and Veselin Topalov. 

Round five pairings are as follows:  

W. So - V. Kramnik, S. Karjakin - V. Topalov, P. Eljanov - R. Wojtaszek, T. Radjabov - M. Adams, P. Harikrishna - S. Mamedyarov.