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    « World Cup, Round 4, Day 2: Aronian, Ding Liren, and Ivanchuk Advance | Main | World Cup, Round 3, Day 3 (Tiebreaks): Most Favorites Advance, but not Caruana, Nepomniachtchi, or Li Chao »
    Tuesday
    Sep122017

    World Cup, Round 4, Day 1: Ivanchuk and Fedoseev Start with Wins

    The last couple of rounds have seen lots of draws in the classical games, with players preferring to try their luck in the rapid and blitz tiebreaks. In today's action, at least, this was not the case: everyone playing White tried to make something of it, though only one player succeeded.

    That player was Vassily Ivanchuk, who defeated Anish Giri, though the connection of his win to his possession of the white pieces was tenuous. He did obtain an advantage against Giri's Petroff, but his weird 15th and 17th moves flipped the evaluation, and he was in serious trouble. But then Giri started doing strange things, and frankly both players made lots of errors, possibly due to time trouble. The last serious error was 34...Qf4+, allowing Ivanchuk to trade queens and reach an easily won rook endgame. After Ivanchuk's 41st move, the players had time to take stock, and Giri gave up.

    The day's other winner was Vladimir Fedoseev, who defeated Maxim Rodshtein (who may have been a little rusty and emotionally out of sorts after receiving a de facto walkover thanks to "Shortsgate". As with Ivanchuk-Giri, there was no logical line between the opening and the first player to achieve an advantage and the game's result. After Fedoseev's dubious pawn sac on move 22 Rodshtein was better, but White's repeated decision not to initiate the exchange of rooks eventually let his advantage slip away. Even after that the game remained in a precarious balance until Rodshtein's 35.Nc4? missed a nice tactic that had been looming for a while. Fedoseev spotted it, and that clinched it. Again as in Ivanchuk-Giri, once the winner had made his 41st move and time trouble was no longer a factor, it was time to resign.

    The other six games were drawn, but all were interesting. Peter Svidler played the Bishop's Opening against Bu Xiangzhi (to avoid the Petroff), but couldn't achieve an advantage and the game was eventually drawn; if anything, Black was a little better through a fair chunk of the middlegame.

    Wesley So vs. Baadur Jobava was a Petroff, and Jobava was well-prepared. So's 11.h4 was a rare move, and it was well-met by Jobava's new move, 11...Bc5. It's not clear if there's any advantage to be had for White; if so, it's not with 12.Bd3. Jobava had no problems, and while both players fought well and tried to make something happen, the game never got out of balance.

    Richard Rapport and Evgeniy Najer played the longest game of the round. When there were chances, Najer had them, and after Rapport's 44.Nf1 Najer's winning chances were very good. Perhaps 45...Bd3 would have led to a win, and 46...Kf6 would also have given him good chances for the full point. By White's 49th move, however, the draw was an inevitability, provided Rapport stayed alert - and he did.

    In all the draws thus far, Black has done very well, and that was also the case in Daniil Dubov - Levon Aronian. Dubov's 20.d5 was too optimistic, and had Aronian played 22....Bd5, or later 30...Qd7, or especially 34...Rxb2, it's quite likely that he would have won. Luckily for Dubov, Aronian played 34...Qf6??, and two moves later the game was drawn.

    Wang Hao and Ding Liren played a "correct" draw. Ding was well-prepared on the black side of a Meran, and made a comfortable draw.

    Finally, the draw between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Grischuk was anything but comfortable. Vachier-Lagrave went all-out for the attack, sacrificing a rook. The idea was sound, but his 28th move was objectively an error, though not one that was easy to refute. Grischuk very understandably looked for a way to achieve safety, and he found it. He returned the material, with a little interest thrown in, to achieve an easily drawn rook and two pawns vs. rook and three pawns ending, with all the pawns on the same side of the board.

    Here are the games, with my comments.

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    Reader Comments (5)

    With all due respect, of course, when are people gonna stop using the suffix "Gate" when referring to scandals or major controversies ?
    I'm alluding to your utilizing the word "Shortsgate".

    [DM: Fair enough. And if you're sufficiently scandalized by it, maybe we can call this "Gategate". (Sorry.)]

    Incidentally, I remember on the cover of "Chess Life" back in January, 1988 (approx) there was a very nice picture of Kasparov and
    Karpov playing in K-K IV. On the top of the cover, however, there was the headline "FIDEgate revisited----did CL play an unsound attack ?" See what I mean ?


    Oh, yes....Nixon resigned on my birthday !!

    September 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHoward S Sample

    If all players showed up in shorts it wouldn't happen but would be just great.

    [DM: Along those lines, it seems that Ivanchuk attended the tiebreaks as a spectator in semi-shorts, while Aronian's tee shirt wasn't exactly the height of "dignity" either. Either keep the rules ambiguous and enforce them humanely, or else make them specific enough that compliance is easy. FIDE has combined the worst of both worlds.]

    September 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

    Other GMs also wore shorts as spectators: Kasimdzhanov (helping Caruana) and Harikrishna (already eliminated, still around, helping someone?) - while Gelfand, also still around until yesterday, kept formal attire also as a spectator. Arguably it's less relevant for spectators: it can't be interpreted as lack of respect for the opponent, and photographers aren't "obliged" to take pictures - they did anyway, and for some reasons these pictures didn't appear at the tournament site, only elsewhere.

    For Aronian, some of his more formal outfits could also be considered provocative or distracting to the opponent (same for Giri). Then rules on dress code would have to be very detailed/specific: not only type of clothing (jacket and shirt - not polo or T-shirt, long pants excluding jeans) but also which colors are acceptable - only extremes that aren't extreme: white, any shade of grey, black, blue either dark or light? To make it unambiguous: specify which part of the RGB color scale is OK, two scans before entering the playing hall - one to detect any electronic equipment, plus a color scan of clothing? Hmm, this would be both undesirable and impractical (of course I am just fooling around).

    [DM: Maybe so, but Aronian sometimes wears pretty loud clothing!]

    September 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

    On to chess: Ivanchuk seemed to be surprised by the Petroff (formerly but not recently part of Giri's repertoire) as he had paused for two minutes before choosing 3.d4. Then both indeed ended up low on time, after together spending more than an hour on move 9: 38 minutes for 9.Be3 protecting the d-pawn, 34 minutes for 9.-0-0-0 not protecting the d-pawn.
    BTW (9.Be3) 9.-Bf5 may have led to a quick draw after 10.f3 g6 11.Qh6 Bf8 12.Qf4 Bd6 13.Qh6 Bf8 - it happened once at GM level, and engines see nothing better for white.
    Ivanchuk preferred 10.Nc3 over 10.Qxd5 after another six minutes - again quite a lot for such an early stage of the game. Not taking the d-pawn might have been due to "Giri, who just spent a lot of time, must have something on his mind even if I can't see it"!? 9.Qxd5 would have been rather pointless - black will regain the pawn on d4. There's also a line 8.c4 c6 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.Qh5 0-0 11.Qxd5 Bc6 12.Qh5 g6 13.Qh3 - popular in the 1990s at a rather high level (black games by Kramnik, Karpov, Gelfand and mostly Jussupow) - where black seems to have full compensation for the pawn. Somewhat analogous to certain lines after 1.d4 where black later gives his d-pawn, and white can't do much with his safely blockaded extra isolated d-pawn.

    [DM: Yes, I knew about the analogous line played by Gelfand et al - I saw Gelfand win with it in person against Lautier in Las Vegas in 1999! But Giri's version doesn't look as good. By the way, I wouldn't say that six minutes is a lot of time to spend in a classical game after a novelty - especially when one has the chance to pick up a clear pawn. But it was a practical decision by Ivanchuk: what one doesn't want to do is spend a ton of time considering the capture, and then rejecting it.]

    September 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

    "when are people gonna stop using the suffix "Gate" when referring to scandals or major controversies ?" - And just what is your problem with it, Howard? It's short, on occasion mildly amusing, and unambiguous. Seems like an effective suffix to me. Or would you rather Toiletgate be called The uh Kramnik-Topalov Toilet Controversy/Affair or something. Something more dignified? Well, these gates usually aren't dignified affairs. Also "-gate" often injects a note of humour, which I consider generally a good thing. QED.

    [DM: It looks like I was prophetic about Gategate...]

    September 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAdamP

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