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    Entries in Dmitry Andreikin (7)

    Monday
    Sep022013

    2013 World Cup: Finals, Day 4: Game Drawn, Kramnik Wins The Event

    There was some possibility of a decisive result in the fourth and last (classical) game of the final round of the World Cup, but it was only Vladimir Kramnik who might have won. Instead, he took a draw from a position of strength, and so he won his match with Dmitry Andreikin with a 2.5-1.5 score and with it, the World Cup as a whole.

    Both he and Andreikin have qualified from this event into the next Candidates' tournament, where they will be joined by the following players:

    Levon Aronian & Sergey Karjakin (ratings qualifiers; Karjakin because Kramnik's World Cup success vacated a rating spot).

    The loser of the Viswanathan Anand - Magnus Carlsen match coming this fall.

    Veselin Topalov and either Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alexander Grischuk or Fabiano Caruana as Grand Prix qualifiers. If either Grischuk or Caruana takes solo first in the final Grand Prix event in Paris, he will take that second spot; if not, then Mamedyarov goes through.

    A wildcard to be selected later.

    Wednesday
    Aug282013

    2013 World Cup: Round 6, Day 3: Kramnik & Andreikin Reach Finals; Andreikin & Karjakin Qualify for Candidates

    Today's tiebreak session at the World Cup was a short one, as two 25-minute games were enough to determine the match winners. In the first session Evgeny Tomashevsky and Dmitry Andreikin had a fairly quick draw, but theirs was the marathon of the round. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played like he had lost his mind in his white game against Kramnik, and had to resign after just 22 moves. After 16 moves of that game the position was level and sharp, and here Vachier-Lagrave's decision to bring the rook into play with 17.Re4 quickly backfired. After 20...Bf5 White was already in some trouble and the c-pawn looked likely to fall after a subsequent ...Bd3. That would have been a dream scenario for the Frenchman compared to what actually happened. After 21.Rh4?? Bc2 White's best would have been to surrender an exchange for less than nothing with 22.Qe2 Bd3 23.Qd1. Instead, he uncorked the even more disastrous 22.Qxc2??, hoping for 22...Qxc2 23.Be4. That also loses to 23...Qxd2+ 24.Bxh7+ Kh8 25.Bc2+ Qh6, which will leave Black a rook up, but Kramnik's 22...Nxf3+ was even simpler, winning the house.

    In the rematch Kramnik was a little slack, and his whole plan to swap everything with 13.d5, 14.Ne1 and 15.Nxd5 gave Vachier-Lagrave a little pull, but when Black played the premature 23...b5 the game started to tip back in Kramnik's favor. By the end Kramnik was close to winning, but took the opportunity to draw by repetition. That won him the match and a trip to the finals, but it didn't win him a ticket to next year's Candidates' tournament. That's because he had already qualified. What it did do was switch his ticket. Rather than qualifying by rating he qualifies as a World Cup finalist, and that means that the player who was the #3 finisher (and thus non-qualifier) on rating has now qualified: Sergey Karjakin.

    Today was an interesting day for Kramnik, and it's not clear that he really benefited. There's the prestige of making it to the finals of the World Cup, and even more if he wins it. There's the added payday, too. On the other hand, his score against Karjakin isn't fantastic, to put it mildly. Since 2010, taking all time controls into account, the score is 7-1 for Karjakin, not counting five draws. Even just taking classical games into account it isn't good news for Kramnik: 2-0 for Karjakin, plus four draws.

    Meanwhile, the other semi-final was also bad news for Kramnik. Kramnik did lose a blitz game to Tomashevsky last year, but their classical record shows that Kramnik has won both of their games: one in 2004 and one in 2012. As for Andreikin, Kramnik has lost both games they've played, both in the last couple of months.

    So who advanced? Andreikin, of course. Tomashevsky was doing pretty well with Black into the middlegame, but it all went downhill after 28...Re1? He apparently missed 30.Qd2 after the trade of rooks, and after that Andreikin whipped up an initiative that quickly decided the game. Tomashevsky should have traded queens with 28...Qxd3 and after 29.Rxd3 played 29...Re6 so as to defend the f-pawn if necessary. The position would have remained equal and the match unclear.

    Tomorrow is the one and only absolute day off in the entire event, and then the best-of-four game final begins on Friday.

    Sunday
    Aug252013

    2013 World Cup: Round 5, Day 3: Andreikin, Vachier-Lagrave Advance on Tiebreaks

    The tiebreaks at the World Cup are getting shorter. There were Armageddon games in the first two rounds, while rounds 3 and 4 made it through the 5" minute games. (And with an 80-90 minute "ten minute" game in round 4 it took longer than a normal series making it to the Armageddon game.) Today, the tiebreaks finished as quickly as possible; to wit, after the initial pair of 25-minute games.

    Dmitry Andreikin was the first one through, and a very convincing winner over Peter Svidler. In the first game Andreikin played one of his typical low-theory lines, in this case a Tromp-turned-Torre Attack, and it was a twofold success. Andreikin did obtain a small advantage, and Svidler was forced to solve problems over the board rather than relying on prep or anything like it. Svidler did manage to equalize at one point and perhaps got a bit too bold. 20...f5 seems to me a very risky move to make in a rapid game, as it offers White various opportunities to open the game up when Black will be short of time. A safer way was 20...Ne7, aiming to trade all the rooks on the c-file and go for the quick handshake. That inaccuracy was compounded by 23...Nxa2 - 23...Rxc1 and only then taking on a2 seems more accurate, as Svidler's version allowed 24.Rxc8 Rxc8 and now, as advertised, 25.e4. After 28.Re6 Black was still objectively okay but as a practical matter it was starting to look dangerous. 28...Kg8 was an error, and after 29.Qg3! Black has some annoying threats to deal with like 30.Nh5 and 30.Rxh6. Svidler's reply, 29...Nd5 was natural and logical...and an absolute blunder. After the sneaky shot 30.Qb3! there was nothing for Black to do but resign, as the knight is lost - at least it is unless Black wants to lose the queen, e.g. 30...Nxf4 31.Re7+.

    The rematch didn't go any better for Svidler, except insofar as he received a charity draw offer in the end. For a few moments Svidler looked as if he might get to enjoy a relatively safe extra pawn in another Advance Caro-Kann with 3...c5, but the critical moment came on move 18. Had Svidler played 18.a3 he would have enjoyed some advantage. He chose 18.Nf3 instead, and while this is a move White wants to play it's too soon. After 18...axb4 19.cxb4 Ra3! followed soon by ...Qa6, ...Rd3 and ...Qa3 Black managed to infiltrate and regain the material (with positional interest) without allowing White any real attacking chances on the kingside. Had Andreikin needed to win he probably would have played differently on move 34; instead, it was enough to force a draw with 34...Rg4 35.Rf2 Qe1+ 36.Rf1 Qe2 37.Rf2 Qe1+. The draw was agreed and the match was over, earning Andreikin the chance to play his friend and teammate Evgeny Tomashevsky for a shot at the finals and an automatic berth into the next Candidates' event.

    In the other quarter-final Vachier-Lagrave was a nominal underdog against Fabiano Caruana, but the former's play in both the classical and rapid disciplines in the event rendered the rating difference immaterial. In the first game Caruana had White and was the one pressing, at least in theory, but Vachier-Lagrave defended so accurately that Caruana never came close to a genuine edge. In game 2, however, the Frenchman called the tune from early on. Caruana played the Dutch, which isn't normally part of his opening repertoire, and while both players occasionally seemed a little unsure of themselves Vachier-Lagrave's play came across as more purposeful and coherent. There was never any question about who stood better, only whether White's advantage would grow into something major. Practically speaking, the decisive error may have come at move 33 when Black played 33...Bf6. The upshot was that after 34.b3 Black's knight could no longer safely retreat to d6, and after 34...Na5 the misplaced knight and Black's weak dark squares were a serious problem. The last chance, objectively speaking, came on move 48. Caruana, who was very short of time and way behind on the clock, needed to take the knight. Vachier-Lagrave would soon regain the piece and maintain an advantage, but it was a small chance for Caruana. He declined the sac with 48...Qg7, and the rest was a rout. In the final position the d-pawn can't be captured without allowing the h-pawn to queen, and if 66...Kf8 67.Kd4 Kg7 68.Kc5 Kh6 69.Kxb5 Kxh5 70.Kb6 followed by 71.Kc7 leads to the knight's elimination and the d-pawn's promotion. That means that Vachier-Lagrave will face Vladimir Kramnik in the other semi-final.

    Who will win these matches? At this point it's crazy to pick against any of these guys. Kramnik is surely the strongest player of the four, but he's also the oldest and possibly the most tired. He has less motivation, as he has already qualified for the Candidates', and if it comes down to tiebreaks one might wonder if he's (that much) better than Vachier-Lagrave in rapid and blitz. In the other semi Andreikin has been an absolute assassin in the rapid tiebreaks, going 3.5/4 against Sergey Karjakin and Svidler combined - and it could have been 4-0. On the other hand, his play in the classical games hasn't been as out of this world, while Tomashevsky has been playing like a super-hero, rising to the occasion every time. I am going to go with Kramnik and Tomashevsky, with a codicil: if they don't win in the classical stage I think they will lose in the tiebreaks.

    Monday
    Nov052012

    Andreikin Draws The Last Three Games, Defeats Nepomniachtchi 3.5-2.5

    When I last reported on the friendly match between Dmitry Andreikin and Ian Nepomniachtchi, the score was 2-1 in the former's favor going into a rest day. Since then, they have played the remaining three games, with the last one finishing just a little while ago. All three games were drawn, so by virtue of winning the first and drawing the rest Andreikin finished with victory in the match.

    More interesting posts later today, when I have a bit more time!

    Thursday
    Nov012012

    Ongoing: The Andreikin-Nepomniachtchi Match

    We're two games in, with four to go, and so far Dmitry Andreikin leads Ian Nepmoniachtchi 1.5-.5 in this battle of young 2700s. Somewhat like the Kramnik-Aronian match earlier in the year, the audience gets a guarantee of sorts: if the game is drawn in under three hours, the players will face off in a pair of 15' + 10" games after a short break. (Those games won't count towards the official match scores.) So far that threat hasn't had to be carried out, but depending on how the slow games go it might be nice if it were.

    Wednesday
    Aug222012

    Bonus Show: Andreikin's Brilliant Win from the Russian Championship

    You might recall that 2010 World Junior Champion Dmitry Andreikin was part of a 6-way tie for first in the recently completed Russian Championship, and then went on to win the blitz playoff. His nicest win in that tournament came on the white side of a Caro-Kann, when he overwhelmed Sanan Sjugirov with a sacrifice-laden kingside attack.

    It's an attractive game, and one that's practically relevant if you play either side of the Caro-Kann variation starting 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2/c3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Bc4. I've made a bonus video of that game (meaning it's in addition to, not instead of, my usual weekly ChessVideos shows), which you can access here - free, as always.

     

    Monday
    Jul092012

    World Blitz Championship, Day 1: Grischuk Leads

    As you'd expect from a blitz event, even and especially the World Blitz Championship, there was lots of excitement, with a fair share of both high-level play and blunders. We'll note some of the best and worst of the play below, but first, a few words about the competition.

    Sergey Karjakin won the rapid event that finished yesterday, and led most of today too, but losses in the last two rounds to Magnus Carlsen (he played that game as if intimidated, something he'll have to overcome if he wants to best his contemporary in the long run) and his former countryman Vassily Ivanchuk.

    Magnus Carlsen is the favorite by rating, but it took him a very long time to get going. After four games he was -2, and was still -1 as late as round 11! In round 1 he was clobbered by Dmitry Andreikin, while in round 8 he lost to Nikolay Chadaev (who??) and the ridiculous gambit 1. e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nf3. (It must be bad, but in a way I approve. The Norwegian Defense strikes me as an "I can beat you with anything; you're not even worthy of a real opening" approach, so if you have the nerve to one-up your opponent and the ability to succeed once you do, then so much the better.) Finally he got on a little winning streak at the end of the day, winding up at +2.

    The leader is Alexander Grischuk, who lost a couple of games (to Andreikin and to Peter Svidler) but won against many of his closest rivals, including Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk (who is also tied for second with Karjakin and - as you might have wondered by this point - Andreikin), Morozevich and Radjabov.

    Other notable performances thus far: Chadaev is +1, having defeated not only Carlsen but (just counting the big names) Le Quang Liem, Veselin Topalov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Notable, though not in an especially good way, is Boris Gelfand's -1 score. It's not that bad a performance, but it's not what one would expect of a "vice-champion", as FIDE often labels world championship runners-up. (Is the title-holder the "virtue champion"?)

    Now to discuss some highlights, for those of you who might wish to look at the games, but not necessarily all 120 of them. First, some opening highlights (or lowlights, depending on your point of view). There was plenty of experimentation, as is to be expected in blitz. (This is both because it's easier to get away with nonsense there, and because it's prudent to hide one's best material for slower time controls.) Morozevich played the Albin Counter-Gambit a couple of times, and you've already read about Chadaev's goofy gambit. (He played some other minor oddities as well over the course of the event.) Carlsen played a King's Gambit in round 2, and after 2...exf4 he trotted out 3.Nc3. He drew, but it took a little work.

    Carlsen's opening idea was pretty shaky there, but Karjakin trotted out a far worse opening with White against Gelfand. He showed too much respect for Gelfand's Najdorf and played a terrible anti-Sicilian line instead, was quickly worse, and lost the sort of clumsy game one would expect from a player of my level, not his. Carlsen played a better version of the same feeble line against Gelfand later on, and while it didn't cause any problems for Black at least White could (and did) draw without much worry. There's nothing wrong with the Dutch, of course - especially when your opponents play it - but it's rare to see this from Carlsen. Morozevich played a sideline and went on to win a really crazy game.

    It's one thing for Carlsen to make questionable opening choices - he is #1, after all. But sometimes others made questionable choices against him. Teimour Radjabov, for instance, may not have deserved censure for taking the white side of a Hedgehog. But the way he played it, with 15.h3, 16.g4 and 17.f4 had the naive look of the 1970s to it. Back then those on the white side thought that with all that extra space they could expand and kill Black, and it was only after enough games where Black exploded the center and massacred White that players started taking the Hedgehog seriously. (Have a look at the fantastic game Polugaevsky-Ftacnik, Lucern Olympiad 1982 for an example.) Well, apparently some lessons must be learned anew, and when Carlsen played 18...e5! 19.Nde2 d5! the fertilizer hit the air circulation system.

    In the technique department, there were plenty of good games. Andreikin's win over Carlsen in round 1 was a surprise entry, and he later won a nice rook ending against Gelfand and a great rook ending against Radjabov. Karjakin won a slew of fine endgames - against Chadaev, for instance, and then in a marathon queen ending vs. Mamedyarov as well.

    Other interesting games: Gelfand vs. Viktor Bologan featured a slew of interesting exchange sacs, Svidler-Bologan was a nice positional massage, Karjakin won a terrific-looking game vs. Morozevich, while Morozevich-Bologan and Bologan-Chadaev are also both worth a look.

    Finally, the blunders. There were lots of them! Here's what is surely just a partial list of games: Radjabov-Chadaev, Kotsur-Bologan (which had a nice finish), Gelfand-Ivanchuk, Bologan-Karjakin, Grischuk-Morozevich (49...Rg8 was the lemon; but maybe it shouldn't be called a blunder), Radjabov-Le Quang Liem, Kotsur-Topalov, Gelfand-Bologan, Andreikin-Svidler, Jumabayev-Bologan, Carlsen-Ivanchuk (and how!), Chadaev-Jumabayev, Topalov-Andreikin, Radjabov-Kotsur (27...Qg7??), Jumabayev-Grischuk, Mamedyarov-Le Quang Liem, Topalov-Ivanchuk (21.Rxd2??) and Grischuk-Mamedyarov (but this is so incredible I suspect a problem with the DGT board/relay system).

    There are also some pseudo-errors caused as usual by the dumb DGT system in conjunction with poorly trained/forgetful/incompetent arbiters. All chess fans should know by now (even if arbiters don't - why can't the Turkish Chess Federation President ban them instead?) that if the last move given is Ke4/e5/d4/d5 by either side and it makes absolutely no sense at all, it's a DGT "move" and can be disregarded.

    Let me conclude with a note about all the blunders. It's remarkable that these players do as well as they do in blitz - it's very difficult to play a blitz game against a strong opponent without making serious errors. As the players are surely a bit tired from the previous days' games and their travel to Kazakhstan, my suggestion would be to enjoy a little pleasure from their blunders - it reminds us that they're only human too - but to enjoy even more the very good chess they play the rest of the time.