7 October 2016

They Wish to Keep up with Anish

The initial four rounds of the Tal Memorial in the review of international master Vladimir Barsky.

"I will take you to the museum..."

One Sunday morning my sister and I 
Leave house backyard promptly 
– I will take you to the museum nearby! 
– My sister tells me curtly. 
We cross the square 
And face at last  
Bronze building nice and spacious 
Resembling a palace ancient
Sergey Mikhalkov

Following a two-year's break the Tal Memorial is alive and back in Moscow. The much-travel grandmasters have chanced to play both in museums and factories, whereas now there is a curious symbiosis of the two with the tournament taking place in a former factory converted into a museum! A few years ago delicious baking smells disappeared from the Leningrad Prospect: a famous confectionery factory "Bolshevik" was turned into an ordinary business center (although one of its secluded spots accommodates a cafe bearing this historic name - a genuine paradise for the sweet tooth!). One of the circular-shaped structures, which up to recently has served as a flour receiving station, now hosts the exposition of the Museum of Russian Impressionism. 

We will not enter into the art history debates about what the Russian impressionism is and how it differs from the French one - let us abandon this subject for connoisseurs to figure out. We should only note that the museum founder Boris Mints has collected and put on display a wonderful collection of paintings by many famous artists, including Boris Kustodiev, Igor Grabar, Konstantin Korovin, Valentin Serov, Konstantin Yuon and Alexander Gerasimov. It is a pity that the tournament participants and guests will not enjoy the works of famous painters since the permanent exhibition is on tour to Bulgaria, while being on display in the museum halls now are the works of contemporary artist Valery Koshlyakov. He is said to be famous and popular. However, we will hold back from any statements in this respect either. Do you remember what Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy tried to teach us:

Some pebbles slippery 
Feel shaky to step on 
Brisky events of recent history 
Are best committed to oblivion

Levon Aronian in the process of exploring Valery Koshlyakov's creative works


As tradition has it, the Tal Memorial was kicked off with the press conference. Episodes of Mikhail Tal's life were brought back to memory, whose 80th birth anniversary will be celebrated by us very soon, on November 8. Among the Memorial participants Vishy Anand is the only one to have played a tournament game with the eighth world champion. Gelfand also played with Tal on the way to the 1990 Manila Interzonal, but it happened to be a game of cards. 

– Just as in one of Vysotsky's songs: (For the honour of the chess crown: preparation) I played with Tal ten rounds of snooker, blackjack and canasta! – said Boris and broke out into laughter.

Boris Mints narrated about getting to know Tal at the time of his employment in Ivanovo. The former world champion was giving a simul in this territorial center and won all games, making a draw only with a very beautiful girl. 

"Is her name Larisa Sobolevskaya?" Boris Spassky asked innocently, who also arrived at the tournament opening to honor the memory of his old friend. 

The floor was given to the 10th world champion. Spassky shared how during the 1962 Olympiad in Varna it happened that Mikhail Tal and he were imposed with a task of having to analyze the adjourned game Botvinnik - Fischer. White's position was precarious, but heads of the Soviet delegation ("commissars", as Spassky used to tag them) had strong feelings about our champion going down to the American. Tal and Spassky approached this high mission without due diligence and... blitzed out the position! It was followed by delivering the hopeless for Botvinnik verdict. The "commissars" escorted two light-minded young men out and the work was taken over by the analysis guru. The remainder of the story is described in various books: Efim Petrovich Geller discovered a draw after a night's work, while Mikhail Botvinnik arrived at resumption of play without bringing along his thermos. Besides, Bobby Fischer stepped into a pitfall, upon which a draw was reached in a quite simple way. Botvinnik even recalled tears welling up in Bobby's eyes... 

Having shared this instructive story, Boris was searching his memory for yet another one while repeating here and there that truly exciting episodes of Tal's life should by no means be spilled out in public. However, at this moment the nowadays "commissars" started politely but insistently taking the microphone from the champion, who was clearly thirsty for public appearances. 

Although the opening ceremony was also visited by the twelfth world champion, he would not even enter the hall where the press conference was underway, while in general the State Duma deputy tried to keep low profile for some reason. As for FIDE President Ilyumzhinov, he suddenly turned up in front of the public not wearing his business suit and a tie, but rather a jacket and a pullover. The museum was honored by presence of other respectable gentlemen as well. Not a few beautiful girls flocked to the event, which is known to be the best evidence of its high status. 

It was time to begin the lots-drawing blitz tournament, but Kramnik was being on the delay. In the morning that day Vladimir was still in Geneva giving a simul, and then his plane was an hour late. With Sergey Karjakin showing up in the museum at this moment, it gave rise to inevitable joking remarks about his coming as replacement. Sergey smiled back, but was not in a hurry to take an offered seat at the table. He was wearing his trademark jacket with two stripes embroidered on the chest - a clear indication of his arriving to meet the sponsors, both current and potential. Soon a breathless Kramnik ran in straight from the airport, washed his face and rushed into the action!

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov made a clean sweep of the field, securing first place with one round to go yet. As Karjakin told the day before, Shah and he had been travelling about Moscow riding in a BMW car - that famous super fast vehicle that Sergey had got as a prize for winning the Moscow Candidates Tournament. That is, as we already know, he has been given the car for temporary use only, but he still has it and enjoys riding it from time to time. Well, he helps his friends accelerate so much that they become unstoppable in chess either!

A curious scene was unfolding when the blitz winners got down to choosing their start numbers for the classical part of the Memorial. Mamedyarov predictably took number 5 - apart from affording five games with the white pieces, this is the only number securing a stable alternation of colors: white - black - white - black, etc. Aronian gave it a thought and opted for number 3. Then he smiled slyly and turned to your correspondent, saying:

– This is not about superstitions! I just like the way number three looks on the tag!

Curiously enough, no one wanted to take number 1, and I wonder if it had to do with some kind of considerations about this number imposing additional obligations in player's minds. Nepomniachtchi chose number two, and only Svidler, following brief hesitation, reached out for number one. There was still one number available from the bottom half of the table, which gave one more game with the white color - number 4; it went to belong to Anish Giri. 

Then Kramnik's turn came. Ian joked, "Take number ten! Although you play as Black with all those (meaning the ones taking place at the top half of the tournament table), you play the rest of the crowd with the white pieces". Jokes aside, Kramnik chose to take this advice. He is obviously so confident in his opening preparation that he is ready to stand up for the black color against anyone. On the other hand, his white color would give him more chances to zero in on relatively weaker players. 

Round one. In memory of Dvoretsky

Round one began with a minute of silence: chief arbiter Anatoly Avraamovich Bykhovsky announced that Mark Izrailovich Dvoretsky had passed away. Ian turned pale and staggered back from his table. After the game he admitted that it had taken him long to come to himself and that his initial urge was to make a short draw as White, but Tomashevsky’s opening performance was overly unsuccessful to enable Ian do that. This bad news obviously affected Evgeny as well since he had also been taking tuition from Dvoretsky. His death is a great loss for the entire chess world. Peter Svidler used to be a pupil of the famous Dvoretsky-Yusupov school, Vishy Anand had training sessions with the great coach, while Dvoretsky's books are known and studied by everyone...

A minute of silence


Nepomniachtchi – Tomashevsky 
Scotch Game

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6

Tomashevsky is the first to take his opponent by surprise since he usually opts for the 4... Bc5 plan. 

5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. c4 Ba6 9. b3

Nepomniachtchi pays back in his own coin since his favorite line is 9. Nd2. From time to time he would even commit his knight to d2 one move earlier. 

9... g6 10. f4 

This move was first employed at the tournament in Tilburg 25 years ago, in 1991, by Kasparov against Karpov. A lot of different stuff has flowed under the bridges since then... As for Tomashevsky, he seems to have forgotten how to react properly, confusing plans and losing the game. It all happened, in fact, within the frame of 2-3 moves only. 


Black has many options available to him in this position: 10... f6, 10... Qb4+, 10... g5!? Evgeny must have gravitated towards the 10...d6 11. Qf2 Nf6 12. Ba3 Qe6 plan, forgetting that this line requires no need to rush with fianchetoeing his bishop. 

11. Qf2 Nf6 12. Ba3 

12… d6 

This is a crucial mistake, by all appearances. Several games tested 12... Ng4 13. Qe2 Qe6 – although Black is worse, but this is not the end of the world yet. The engine comes up with 12... Ne4!?, and if  13. Qf3, then 13... Nc5, whereas 13. Qe3 is answered by 13…Nd6 14. Qe2 f6 15. exd6 Qxe2+ 16. Kxe2 f5, winning back material. White's position should be superior, but at least Black is not swept off the board immediately. 

13. Nc3 0-0 

A good advice is beyond price for Black now. 13... Ng4 runs into a fork 14. Qf3, and after 14…Qd7 (nothing is achieved by 14... Nxe5 15. fxe5 Qxe5+ 16. Kd2 0-0 17. Kc2 – Black lacks enough compensation for the missing piece) 15. h3 Nh6 16. 0-0-0 White has a substantial positional edge. On the other hand, after 13... Qe6 14. Be2 Nd7 15. 0-0-0 Black's position spells trouble. 

14. 0-0-0 Ne8 15. g3 Bb7 16. Bg2

White is about to finish his development with the most natural moves, while Black is out of any useful moves whatsoever. 

16…f6 17. exd6 

17… Nxd6

There is also no joy in 17... cxd6 18. Rhe1 Qc7 19. f5 since all black pieces are stifled by own and opponent's pawns. 

18. c5 Nf5 19. Rhe1 Qf7 20. Bf1 

White demonstrated a meticulous realization of his positional advantage: the bishop is on the way to take aim at opponent's queen and king. 

20…Rfd8 21. Rxd8+ Rxd8 22. Bc4 Rd5 23. Qe2 Black resigns. 

Ian Nepomniachtchi 

The longest game of the round happened to be a real thriller. During the game the opponents turned the tables more than once, but it all ended by repetition of moves. 

Svidler – Kramnik

Following a quiet 17... Ng6 18. Be3 d5 Black has a comfortable equality and, perhaps, even a slight initiative. However, Vladimir Borisovich was up to heroic deeds.

17…g5 18. Be3

A piece sacrifice is not going to work just yet: 18. Bxg5 hxg5 19. Qxg5+ Kh7, and White lacks full compensation for the missing material.

18... d5

That's stretching it too far! Black should have exercised caution with 18... Ng6.

19. Bxg5! hxg5

Black could have still got away with it in one piece: 19... Ne4 20. Nxe4 dxe4 21. Bxe7 exf3+ 22. Kf1 (White has nothing after 22. exf3 Nxf3 23. Qf4 Nxd4+ 24. Kh3 Qxe7 25. Rxd4) 22... fxe2+ 23. Kxe2 Nf3 24. Qc3 Nxd4+ 25. Rxd4 Rxd4 26. Qxd4 Qxe7 27. Rd1, and White enjoys no more than a symbolic edge. 

20. Qxg5+ Ng6 21. Nxe6 Rd6 22. Nf4 Ne4 

Kramnik admitted after the game that in his advanced calculations he had been counting on this knight lunge resource ("I believed that something was bound to turn up for me"), but on closer inspection it turned out that it amounted to nothing. 

23. Qg4 Nxc3 24. Rxc3 d4 25. Rcd3 Rad8 

The computer suggests 25...Qc8 26. Qxc8+ Rxc8 27. Nxg6 fxg6 28. Rxd4 as the most stubborn, but it is difficult for a man player to go for this endgame from the psychological point of view: White has four pawns for the bishop without the slightest risk of losing and quite real chances of winning.

26. Nd5 Bf8 27. Rxd4 Bg7

28. R4d2 

It goes without saying that Svidler was aware of the 28. Nf6+!? shot, but turned it down on the grounds that the text move is a more promising continuation for White. Indeed, after 28…Bxf6 29. Rxd6 Rxd6 30. Rxd6 Qe7 31. Rd2 Qe3 32. Rc2 Bd4 Black has decent chances to bail out. 

28... b5 29. Qe4 Qb8 30. c5 Re8 31. Qg4 

The engine offers the following solution – 31. Qxe8+ Qxe8 32. cxd6 Qd7 33. Nc7 Nf8 34. Rd5, but from the human player point of view it is not so obvious why this particular line should be so good for White. Peter's play is about squeezing his opponent's position. 

31... Rde6 32. e4 Qc8 33. Rc2 Ne5 34. Qf5 Qb7 35. f4 Nc6 36. e5 Nb4 37. Rcd2 f6 

38. Qe4

When grandmasters were analyzing the game in hot pursuit, Svidler reproached himself that in the line 38. Kh3! fxe5 39. Nxb4 Qf3! (after 39...Rh6+ 40. Kg4 Black has nothing, while now he threatens to deliver checkmate) he discovered the winning move 40.Rd6! retroactively only after passing the time control. Black's attack comes to a standstill. 

If Black refuses to sacrifice a piece with 38...Nxd5 39. Rxd5 Qf7, then after a simple 40. Rd7 Qf8 41. exf6 Black is in bad shape. 

38... Nxd5 39. Rxd5 fxe5 40. f5 Ra6 

On the one hand time control is over, on the other hand Kramnik has won back a pawn. Yes, Black is still fighting for a draw, but it feels as thought the worst for him is over. 

41. R1d2 Kh8 42. h4 Rh6 43. Kf3 

Overlooking his opponent's counterplay. 43. b4 Bf6 44. R5d4 was a way to consolidate the position.

43... Rh5!

Black overtakes the initiative, which is other than self-evident yet.

44. Qg4?

White misses his opponent's idea and steps into the trap. Correct was 44. Rxe5 Rxf5+ 45. Kg4 Qxe4+ 46. Rxe4 Rfe5 47. Rxe5 Bxe5 with equal chances.

44...Rxf5+! 45. Qxf5 Rf8 46. Qxf8+ Bxf8 47. b4 Qf7+ 

Although this check suggests itself, it allows White to miraculously coordinate his defensive resources. 47... a5 48. a3 Kg7 would have put more problems for White.

48. Kg2 e4

49. Re5 Qf3+ 50. Kh2 Qc3 51. Rdd5 e3 52. Re8 Kg7 53. Kh3! Qe1 54. Rde5 Qxb4 55. Rg5+ Kf7 56. Rxe3 

After eliminating the menacing passer, White is again out of woods. Later Kramnik refused from repetition of moves and almost overdid it. However, he checked himself just in time. 

56…Bxc5 57. Rf3+ Ke6 58. Rg6+ Ke7 59. Rg7+ Ke6 60. Rg6+ Kd7 61. Rg7+ Be7 62. Re3 a5 63. h5 

White could not transpose into a pawn ending since the black pawn was the first to make it to the queening square. Now, however, the threat of taking on e7 has been resumed. 


Black was losing after 63... a4? 64. Rexe7+ Qxe7 65. h6!

64. Rg8+ Kd7 65. Rg7 Kd8 66. Rg8+ Draw. 

Looking at Peter Svidler strolling back and forth along the playhall during the game, Evgeny Ilyin's lines, dedicated to Yuri Lvovich Averbakh, sprang to my mind:

With so little room to lend 
to a grandmaster's thirst for stroll 
For him to make it to the end 
Almost in no time at all
Just as a boy of little age's 
Growing out of his pants  
He strolled into adult life from out of this backstage

I have carried out my own computations: this hall measures exactly 35 steps from wall to wall. From time to time, to extend the walking distance's length a little, a grandmaster may go out into the adjacent room - a cafe, accommodating spectators, players' seconds, and ordinary museum visitors. By the way, ordinary museum visitors easily get into the playhall when ascending from the second floor without the slightest suspicion that they are about to see the chess gods. Just imagine them ascending the stairs and discussing maestro Koshlyakov's pictures when they suddenly find themselves in front of an austere guard, who puts his finger to his lips to say "Shhh!" Why "Shhh?" They are playing chess here! Well, something to add up to the list of entertainments: viewing pictures is now supplemented by watching players. 

A sardonic smile of Peter Svidler

After the game I asked Kramnik how he felt being observed by so many eyes. Vladimir smiled:

– You know, with a melee we were going through, the outside world ceased to exist for me.

Round two. Know-how on Sacrificing Material

On day two Anish Giri and Vishy Anand distinguished themselves. A young Dutch grandmaster sacrificed an important central pawn to seize the initiative. As opposed to this, the seasoned former world champion provoked his opponent into coming up with a tempting piece sacrifice, upon which he parried the offensive in a cool manner. Thus, the universal recipe for "to sacrifice or not to sacrifice" have not been received by us yet. 

Boris Gelfand, Anish Giri and chief arbiter Anatoly Bykhovsky

Gelfand – Giri

White's kingside offensive has come to a standstill. Meanwhile, his king's shelter has become somewhat exposed, while the h6-bishop is likely to get trapped any moment now. Giri decides to get down to action. 

21…c5!? 22. dxc5 bxc5 23. Nxd5 

The engine claims that the pawn was not to be taken but rather circled around. 23. Nc3! Ra6 24. a4, и если 24…d4, то 25. Ne4. However, Gelfand was pressed for time to gain insight into such nuances.

23... Bb7 24. Nec3

Our "iron friend" plunges headlong into the following complications: 24. Nf6+ Bxf6 25. Bxb7 Rb8 26. Qxd8 Rexd8 27. Ba6 Rxb2 28. Bc4 g5, delivering a verdict about the position being roughly equal. But how is a human player supposed to go for it? The pieces are discoordinated, the h6-bishop is trapped, and all this without so much as being at least a pawn up for it. 

24... Nxd5 25. Nxd5 Bd4 

26. Nc3

White needed to take care of his once active h6-bishop and to assure his unimpeded way home by urgently trading the e6-knight via 26. Nf4!

26... Bxg2 27. Kxg2 g5!

Getting the bishop out of trouble requires a high price to be paid now that he is firmly stuck in the bog. 

28. h4 gxh4 29. Ne4 Qd5 30. f3 Rad8 

30... Kh8! would have been a tougher approach to launch an immediate offensive along the g-file.

31. Rad1

31. Be3 f5 32. Qxd4!? would have left more chances to escape, perhaps.

31... Kh8 32. Bg5 f5 33. Bxd8 Rxd8 

34. gxf5?

This is a fatal error as it was necessary to part ways with the piece via 34. Qh6! fxe4 35. Rxe4, retaining definite hopes for making a draw. Now the white king is defenseless. 

34... Qxf5 35. Kh1 Rg8 36. Rf1 Be5 White resigns. 

Vishy Anand and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Anand – Mamedyarov

With Black threatening to mount his knight on f3, the problem is not remedied by 25.Kg2 in view of 25…Nf3 26.Qxf3? Bxh3+. White can certainly choose a cowardice 25.Nf5, but then after 25...Nc4 the action proceeds under the dictation of Black. However, there is no scaring Anand by any ghosts.

25. f4! Nxf4 26. gxf4 Qxf4 27. Nf1!

This move keeps White's position together. Meanwhile, after 27. Rf1 Qg3+ 28. Ng2 Bxh3 29. Qe2 Bg4 Black is able to escalate his threats further. 

27... Qh4

27... Nf3+ 28. Kh1 Qf6 29. Re3 Nd4 was suggested as an alternative. Indeed, the situation remains very complex, although even here after 30. a3! Qh4 31. axb4 Bxh3 32. Nh2 Black is nowhere near a draw yet.

28. Re3 Bxh3 29. Qe2 Qg4+

This is a controversial decision, which somehow runs counter to the aggressive style of Mamedyarov. He would be rather expected to go for 29…Bd7 (to sidestep the pin from h2) so as to keep the queens on the board. From now on the game proceeds for two results only. 

30. Qxg4 Bxg4 31. a3 Nf3+ 32. Kf2 Nd4 33. Rb2 


Although 33... Nxc2 34. Rxc2 b3 35. Rb2 Rxa4 36. Rbxb3 h5 is, perhaps, a more precise continuation, it has little influence on the overall evaluation of the current position. 

34. Rxa3 Nxc2 35. Rxc2 Rxe4 36. a5 Bc8 37. Re3 Rf4+ 38. Rf3 Re4 39. Rb2 Ba6 40. Bc3 h5 

With the time control over, we can take an interim stock of the situation. The connected black pawns cannot be set in motion, while the a5-passer has a binding effect on as many as two of Black's pieces. Anand is about to launch a kingside offensive. 

41. Ng3 Rh4 42. Rb6 Rh2+ 43. Kg1 Rc2 44. Nf5 Bc4 45. Re3 Kh7 46. Rxd6 Rb8 47. Rb6 Rxb6 48. axb6 Bxd5 49. Nxg7 Rg2+ 50. Kf1 Rg6 51. Nxh5 Bc4+ 52. Kf2 Rxb6 

Even though Black managed to eliminate all enemy's pawns, this is the end of his achievements. 

53. Nf6+ Kh6

There is no escaping: 53…Kg6 is met by 54.Nd7 followed by delivering check from е5 next move. 

54. Rg3 Black resigns: his king is in the mating net. 

Round Three. The Cavalry on the March

Round three is about to start

Nepomniachtchi – Kramnik

As we have already mentioned, the tournament features a certain "mixed zone" (café), where participants mix with the rest of the public. The entire anti-cheating control procedure is that prior to the game grandmasters pass by the table of the chief arbiter to put into a wicker basket their phones and headphones. As for Vishy Anand, he also hands over his hefty wristwatch. After that, the situation is best described by a key phrase from the well-known anecdote: "A gentleman's word is taken on trust!" Thank God, the Museum of Russian Impressionism has gathered true gentlemen - there is absolutely no doubt about that.

Grandmasters in the queue for coffee

Thus, some 20-30 minutes following the start of the round Vladimir Kramnik crossed paths with Levon Aronian in the "mixed zone" and asked him:

– Do you remember when regulations allow a draw to be offered? 
– After move 40. 

At the moment of this verbal exchange only about 20 moves were made on the board. The following day the former world champion explained that he was feeling bored "to go through the motions" and decided to play for a win. As for Ian, he offered a different view of his opponent's actions:

– Kramnik was probably of his usual opinion about having a winning position. 


An unknown author from the ChessPro website (supposedly, his surname is Notkin) pointed out to the toughest way to equality: 21... f5 22. Bd3 Rf7. However, the text is also a decent approach, especially if Kramnik made up his mind to go on playing. 

22. Rxa7 Rc8 23. Kg2 Bf6 24. Bd3 g5 

Well, Vladimir seems to have fallen for this move in this tournament. 

25. f5 g4 

Now the play becomes very sharp. After 25...exf5 26. Bxf5 Rc5 27. Bg4 Kf8 28. Bh5 Nd6 and so on, the game would have sailed into a peaceful harbor without any adventures along the way.

26. Ne1 e5 27. Nc2h5 28. Nb4 Kg7 29. Nd5 Bh4 

Even though the computer still displays a zero evaluation,  White's position feels a lot more attractive to a human player already: his central play is well justified from the logical point of view, whereas his opponent's pieces are up against the ropes. 

30. h3 Rc5 31. hxg4 hxg4 32. Nc7 Kh6 33. Ne8 Nb2 34.Be4 Nd1 35. Nd6 Kg5 

36. Rxf7 

Both grandmasters have been up for the game so far. It would have ended in a nice draw after 36. e3 Ra5 37. Rxf7 Rxa2 38. Rg7+ Kh6 39. Rg6+ Kh5 40. Nf7 Rxf2+ 41. Kg1 g3 42. Rh6+ Kg4 43. Nxe5+ Kh3!? 44. Ng6 Kg4 45. Rxh4+ Kg5. Although White is up a piece, the threat of Nxe3 and Rf1 is so strong that he has to agree to a draw after 46. Rf4 Nxe3 47. Rxf2 gxf2+ 48. Kxf2 Nxf5. However, Black is not bound to sacrifice the bishop since 43... Kg5 (in lieu of 43…Kh3) 44. Rg6+ Kh5 45. Bf3+ Rxf3 46. Nxf3 Nxe3 47. Rxb6 Nxf5 etc. is quite sufficient for equality.

36... Bxf2?

The first mistake in such a sharp position leads to an immediate downfall. Black has sufficient compensation after 36... Nxf2! 37. Rh7 Kf4 38. f6 Nxe4 39. Nxe4 Kxe4 40. Rxh4 Rc6 41. Rxg4+ Kd5 42. Rg6 b5 43. Kf2 Rc4. 

37. Rg7+ Kf4 

38. e3+!!

This spectacular deflective move (placing your pawn en prise for three possible recaptures!) is not that difficult to overlook. Meanwhile, any other continuation would have landed White in a bad position, e.g: 38. f6 Bh4 39. f7 Ne3+ 40. Kh2 Bg3+ 41. Kg1 Rc1#. 

38... Kxe3

in the case of 38... Nxe3+ 39. Kxf2 Black is down a piece, while after 38... Bxe3 39. f6 the white passer makes it to the queening square.

39. Rxg4 Kd2 40. Bf3 

What we see now is study motifs in action: Black has just created a threat of forking from e3, and White parries it by creating a counter threat of exactly similar nature, only from the adjacent square. 

40…Ne3+ 41. Kxf2 Nxg4+ 42. Bxg4 Rd5 43. Ne4+ Kd3 44. f6 Ra5 45. Be2+ Kd4 46. f7 Ra8 47. Ng5 Black resigns. 

The Anti-cheating Basket 

Evgeny Tomashevsky was pressurized by Anish Giri right out of the opening and never managed to make his life any easier.

Giri – Tomashevsky


Although White horses are on the rampage in the enemy's rear, still after 56 ... Kc7 57. Nfxg6 Nxg6 58. Nxg6 Kd6 59. Kd3 Bf2 Black would have been able to hook up to the f4-pawn, retaining definite drawing chances.

57. fxg5 Bxg5 58. Nfg6 Nxg6 59. Nxg6 Kd7 60. Kd5 Be3 

61. Nh4 

White could have obtained this position two moves earlier: 61. Ne5+ Ke7 (also bad is 61... Kc7 62. Ke6 f4 63. Ng6) 62. Nc4 f4 63. g3. However, he has nowhere to hurry. 

61... f4 62. Ng6 Bc1 63. Ne5+ Ke7 64. Nc4 Be3 65. g3 Bc1 66. gxf4 Bxf4 67. Nxb6 Bg3 68.Nc4 Kd7 69. b6 h4 70. Kc5 

Black is in bad shape: he is unable to counter White's king infiltration into а6 or с6. 

70…Kc8 71. Kc6 Kb8 72. Kb5 Kc8 73. Kc6 Kb8 

74. Nd2

White only needs to mount his knight onto a shooting position. 

74…Bf4 75. Ne4 Bg3 76. Nc5 Bh2 77. Kb5 Bg1 78. Nb3 Bh2 79. Ka6 Bg3 80. Nd4 Kc8 81.b7+ Kd7 82. Ka7 Black resigns. 

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also shined in round three by defeating Boris Gelfand, who has been obviously struggling in this tournament so far.

Round Four. Queens in Grief

Svidler – Giri 
English Opening

1. Nf3 c5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 g6 4. c4 Bg7 5. Nc3 d6 6. 0-0 e5 7. a3 Nge7 8. d3 0-0 9. Rb1 a5 10. Bg5 f6 11. Bd2 Be6 12. Ne1 d5 13. cxd5 Nxd5 

14. Qb3 Nc7 15. Qb6 Nd4 16. Nf3? 

In no case should White have closed the scope of his light-squared bishop. Dynamic equilibrium was maintained by 16. f4!?, even though a feeling is such that Black's play is easier. For example: 16…exf4 17. Bxf4 (17. Bxb7 Qb8 18. Bxf4 Ra7 looks unconvincing, although the engine promises a full-fledged game after 19. Qxc5 Nxe2+ 20. Nxe2 Qxb7 21. Nd4) 17... Nd5 18. Nxd5 Bxd5 19. Bxd5+ Qxd5 20. e4 Qa2!? – indeed, how different the fates of the white and black knights are! 

Now there follows a petite combination. 

16... Ra6! 17. Qxb7

White loses the queen after 17. Qxc5 b6. 

17... Nxe2+ 18. Kh1

There is no knight taking either:

18... Nxc3 19. bxc3 Bd5 20. Qb2 

The queen is back home, but at a high price: White's d3-pawn is irreparably weak. 

20…Qa8 21. Ne1 Rd6 

22. d4?!

Svidler gets rid of the weakness immediately, but he would have perhaps fared better by putting up with a little bit of suffering - 22. Be3.

22... Rfd8 23. Kg1 cxd4 24. cxd4 Bxg2 25. Nxg2 Rxd4, and Anish gradually converted his advantage. 

Kramnik – Anand

42. g3!

The preceding flow of the game saw Kramnik outplaying his opponent with subtle maneuvers, taking possession of the open file and invading the enemy's queenside camp with his pieces. The text move poses a sinuous question whether Black is ready to put up with the binding advance h3-h4. It turns out that Anand is not ready to put up, but Black's attempts at getting counterplay hastened his demise. 

42…Bg5 43. Bc7 Bxd2 

The alternative is to agree to suffering after 43... Be7 44. h4. 

44. Bxd6 Bxc3 45. Re7 Qg8 

More stubborn is 45... Qf8 since it is vital to leave g8 free for the king. But how one is supposed to get down to it? You just cannot bring yourself to align the queen against the bishop's X-ray! Meanwhile, after 45…Qf8 46. Qe6 Ra8 47. Qd7 Bd4 Black is still in the game, although his position is not a cup of tea. White can follow up with 48. h4 and g4-g5, for that matter. 

46. Qe6! 

Now all members of the white team take joint part in the operations. 

46… Qf8 

46... Ra8 runs into 47. Bxe5+ Bxe5 48. Qxe5+ Kh7 (or 48... Kf8 49. Qd6 Kg7 50. e5) 49. Qf6 Rf8 (Black's setup is reminiscent of the ugolki game, but there is no other way to defend the f7-pawn) 50. Qxc6, etc. 

47. Kg2 Rd8 48. Bc5 Bd4 49. Qxc6 Kg8 50. Qxb5 Rb8 

Allowing a coup de grace. 

51. Rxf7! Black resigns.

Another failure was in store for Boris Gelfand, who was outplayed by the Chinese grandmaster Li Chao following a lengthy struggle. 

After four rounds the sole leader is Anish Giri, who has scored as many as 3.5 points. 

"And the road is lined with the dead holding scythes. And silence all around..."