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    Entries in Peter Svidler (60)

    Monday
    Sep212015

    World Cup 2015: Round 4, Day 2 - Four Match Winners, Four Tiebreaks Tomorrow

    After yesterday's games four players were one draw away from advancing to the quarter-final round of the 2015 World Cup: Peter Svidler, Hikaru Nakamura, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Ding Liren, who defeated Veselin Topalov, Michael Adams, Fabiano Caruana and Wei Yi, respectively. After today's games, four players have indeed qualified for the quarters, but only three of the four come from the aforementioned quartet.

    Svidler was getting outplayed by Topalov in an Anti-Marshall, but shortly before the time control Topalov let the advantage slip. Worse still for the Bulgarian's fans, his first two moves in the second time control were serious errors, and only the fact that there was still one line at the end where Topalov could at least cause a tiny bit of trouble - a rook down - if Svidler declined the draw offer prompted the Russian to settle for a 1.5-.5 match win.

    Nakamura's troubles, by contrast, were pretty mild. Maybe there was a move or two where Adams had a tiny something in a Berlin ending, but its solidity held up and Nakamura coasted into the 5th round.

    Mamedyarov had a more serious disadvantage on the black side of an Open Ruy against Caruana, but the American's 24th and 25th moves turned out to too accommodating. With 25...Bd5 and especially 26...a5!! Mamedyarov obtained enough counterplay to save the game. Caruana may have thought he would enjoy a big advantage after 26.Bxb5 axb4 27.e6 fxe6 28.Bxc6 Bxc6 29.Ne5, but the ice-cold 29...Bd6! 30.Reg3 Rd7! held everything together. After that the only player with an edge was Mamedyarov, but the draw sufficed and the players repeated moves until splitting the point at the time control.

    That leaves Ding Liren, and the obvious implication that he was defeated in the second game of his match with Wei Yi. Wei Yi outplayed his opponent in another Anti-Marshall (by transposition) and won a pawn, but converting it proved to be exceedingly difficult. Once they reached a rook ending, both players - Wei Yi especially - were quite short of time, and as it was a complex ending both players made errors that could have cost first one and then the other half a point. Ultimately, the practical task facing Ding Liren was too difficult, and his 72nd move lost by force. I suspect that his position was practically hopeless in any case, at least without a lot of time on the clock. Tomorrow, both he and his opponent will have even less time if and when they reach a similar ending; they're headed to tiebreaks.

    Someone who is not headed to tiebreaks: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. (Also his opponent, for that matter.) MVL found himself in a lousy position out of the opening, but Wesley So came up with a very clever combination that was, sadly, too clever by half. The tactical sequence that began with 22.Bxd5? (and was perhaps envisioned on the previous move, which was also inaccurate) came a-cropper when Vachier-Lagrave played 26...Bc6. After that So fought long and hard for a draw, but couldn't quite pull it off. (The subtle 41.Ra7 was his last, best chance to save half a point, with the idea that if Black takes on f2 a series of checks will eventually force Black to cough up his g-pawn. Instead, 41.Rf6 allowed Black to lock up his remaining kingside pawns in a way that guaranteed that the h-pawn would survive and that Black could swap off the rooks.)

    The other three matches saw draws and will see tiebreaks. Radoslaw Wojtaszek had an advantage against Anish Giri, but didn't manage to turn his space advantage into something more tangible. Pavel Eljanov played 60 moves against Dmitry Jakovenko, enjoying a slight advantage the whole time, but never came even a little close to getting anything serious. Finally, Sergey Karjakin and Dmitry Andreikin played on a little longer than they did yesterday, but it was always clear that they were headed for a short day and tomorrow's tiebreaks.

    Interestingly, none of the round 5 matches are settled, as all of the round 4 winners must wait for tomorrow's tiebreakers to determine their opponents.

    Tuesday
    Jul072015

    Svidler on the Archangelsk (Updated)

    For those of you who aren't Chess24 premium members, there's a bit of fresh bait dangling before you in the form of a new opening series by Peter Svidler. This one is the Archangelsk Variation starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5. His two previous opening series, on the Gruenfeld and on the Closed Ruy with 6.d3 (the same moves as above through 5.0-0, then 5...Be7), were both very well-received, especially the one on the Gruenfeld.

    The preview (which is really too short) is here, and to see more there's a choice: buy the series for $14.99, or become a Premium Member for $10.99 a month or $99 a year. (Maybe try it for a month, see how many videos you can watch - there are way more series than just those offered by Svidler - and then go longer if you like them.)

    Update: As Macauley Peterson notes in the comments, there is a substantial clip available to watch for free, here, and it's worth the time to check it out even if you're not particularly interested in either side of the Archangelsk.

    Thursday
    May212015

    Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, Round 6: The Leaders All Win

    Coming into round 6 Fabiano Caruana led the Grand Prix tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk by half a point over Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler, and at the end of the round it's the same story as all three won. (Leinier Dominguez was also tied for second, and should have finished the day in the tie as well.)

    Caruana won a very difficult opposite-colored bishop ending against Alexander Grischuk that saw both players make some mistakes. The evaluation shifted back and forth from betting-to-winning for Caruana back down to a draw, and two moves before the end Grischuk still could have saved the game with perfect play.

    Karjakin's win was both easier, cleaner and shorter, as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave continued his downward trajectory with his third loss in a row. White (MVL) was in reasonable shape when he came up with the idea of 21.Rc1 followed by 22.b4, but this didn't restrict anything Karjakin had in mind on the queenside. Black was soon better everywhere and then material ahead, and the game ended before the players reached the first time control.

    As for Svidler, he was the sole winner with White on the day, defeating Anish Giri's Ragozin in a long game. After a long siege of Black's isolated d-pawn, it dropped off, and many moves later White's passed d-pawn was the hero that won the day. Svidler did allow much of his advantage to slip at various moments, and on move 65 Black probably would have held with 65...Ra7. (One final chance may have come on move 69: ...Ra4 followed by ...Rd4.) Errare humanum est, and Svidler won in 83 moves.

    In the draw department, Boris Gelfand was fortunate - at least on two different stretches - to survive his game with Leinier Dominguez. Evgeny Tomashevsky had the better position for most of his short game with Hikaru Nakamura, but it never reached decisive levels. Finally, Baadur Jobava and Dmitry Jakovenko played an interesting game that saw both players have the advantage at different times, with Jakovenko probably holding the more serious and prolonged chances.

    Round 7 comes tomorrow (Thursday), with these pairings:

    • Caruana (4.5) - Gelfand (3)
    • Jakovenko (3) - Grischuk (2.5)
    • Karjakin (4) - Jobava (2.5)
    • Nakamura (3) - Vachier-Lagrave (1.5)
    • Giri (2) - Tomashevsky (2.5)
    • Dominguez (3.5) - Svidler (4)

    Saturday
    May162015

    Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, Round 3: Caruana, Svidler Win; They Lead With Dominguez

    There haven't been many wins so far in the Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, so when they do it's not surprising that the leaderboard is immediately affected. Evgeny Tomashevsky led after the first two rounds (and should have led with a 2-0 score), but today he came a-cropper against Fabiano Caruana. The American (aaah, it feels good writing that) had him under pressure from the opening, and when Tomashevsky played 25...Qc8? the tactical problems with Black's position left him lost or at least on death's door. The last critical moment came on move 30, when Tomashevsky needed to play 30...Qg4 intending ...Qb4 with a trade of queens. After 30...Bb4 31.e6 the passed pawn proved more than Black could cope with, and Tomashevsky resigned just after the time control.

    The day's other winner was Peter Svidler, who won a nice rook ending against Dmitry Jakovenko. Jakovenko was a co-leader after round 1, but with two consecutive defeats he's now tied for last. The game turned in Svidler's favor on moves 21 and 22 when Jakovenko didn't bring his knight back to c3 (which in turn implies that he shouldn't have removed it from that square on move 20). It's not clear to me what Jakovenko overlooked, and the end result was that he went from being a little better to down a pawn for nothing.

    The other four games were drawn. Baadur Jobava and Boris Gelfand had a very complicated game that may have favored Gelfand most of the way, but it was never easy. Alexander Grischuk had some advantage all the way against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, but doesn't seem to have missed any real winning opportunities. Leinier Dominguez had Black against Sergey Karjakin, but despite that was better pretty much throughout. Indeed, it's not clear why he took a draw at the end, as a well-timed ...g5 would give him persistent pressure against White's e-pawn. (The bishop goes to g7 and a knight to g6 in case White takes en passant.) Finally Hikaru Nakamura vs. Anish Giri was a dud, but a very instructive dud. In a very well-known position of the old main line Giuoco Piano, Nakamura tried the rare 7.Nbd2 (rather than the dull and equal 7.Bd2 or the interesting but more or less bad 7.Nc3), sacrificing first the e-pawn and then the d-pawn with 11.d6. Had Black tried to hold on to the material White would have enjoyed fine compensation, but Giri followed Emanuel Lasker's ancient advice about replying to gambits: take the pawns, and then return them. Giri did so, and the game could have been agreed drawn after 17 moves (at the latest) were it not for the Sofia rules. They duly played a further 13 moves and called it a day.

    Caruana, Svidler and Dominguez lead with 2/3; Giri, Jakovenko and Jobava are in last with 1/3, and everyone else has 1.5 points going into tomorrow's round 4. The pairings are:

    • Gelfand - Giri
    • Dominguez - Nakamura
    • Svidler - Karjakin
    • Tomashevsky - Jakovenko
    • Vachier-Lagrave - Caruana
    • Jobava - Grischuk

    Thursday
    Mar122015

    Peter Svidler's Banter Blitz Session

    This is good for a bit of entertainment. Svidler's clearly tired and not firing on all cylinders, even apart from the difficulty of trying to play and talk at the same time. Still, it's interesting watching him take on all comers while trying to offer the occasional insight.

    Thursday
    Feb262015

    Peter Svidler's Chess24 Series on the Gruenfeld, Now In E-book Format

    Peter Svidler's video series on the Gruenfeld for Chess24 has been widely and correctly praised, and if you play this opening you will want to watch it even if you don't become a premium member of that site. There has been one long-running source of frustration to many of the viewers, however. Svidler sometimes alludes to the "files" where more information was available, but there was no such file. It was coming soon, we were told, but the months went by and no files were in sight.

    In some ways this was very understandable. The Chess24 people have clearly been very busy: they're running a burgeoning playing zone, have commentators for most of the big events, write text articles for the web and every so often add another video series or two to their library. Still, it has been around a year and Svidler's Gruenfeld files had not appeared...until now. The long wait is finally at an end, and you can access (or buy) the e-book series here.

    Saturday
    Feb212015

    Tbilisi Grand Prix, Round 6: Radjabov, Svidler Win; Tomashevsky Still Leads by a Point

    The relative standings at the top are almost identical to what they were coming into the 6th round of the Tbilisi Grand Prix. Evgeny Tomashevsky still leads by a point (now with 4.5 points) ahead of five other players. Coming into the round one member of the quintet was Alexander Grischuk, but he has been replaced by Teimour Radjabov, who defeated him speedily in a Najdorf Poisoned Pawn. The other four players are the same: Leinier Dominguez, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Anish Giri and Dmitry Jakovenko.

    Radjabov reintroduced the e5 line into top-level chess about a decade ago, when he crushed Viswanathan Anand with it in a blitz game. Since then there has been an explosion of theory on the variation, but it isn't clear that today's game will open a new chapter. Radjabov's 16.Be2 was a rare move, and in the two previous games to see this Black was doing okay. 16...Nxg3 was played in a comparatively low-level OTB game (the computer claims this is equal) and 16...Qa1+ occurred in a high-level correspondence game, albeit back in 2009. The computer likes the latter move, and Black won both games. If this line has a future, it will be with 16...Qa1+ but not Grischuk's 16...Nc5. White was clearly better after that move, and further errors by Grischuk on moves 18 and 20 sealed his speedy demise. Black resigned on move 24, faced with massive material losses or mate.

    The day's other winner was Peter Svidler, who defeated Dmitry Andreikin with White in a 4.d3 Berlin. Svidler saddled his opponent with a weak queenside structure, and even though Andreikin was probably okay the position wasn't very comfortable to play. Eventually he dropped a pawn on the queenside, and got caught in a catch-22. His king needed to rush to the queenside to deal with the a-pawn, but when it turned into a rook ending it was one that would have been drawn if his king were on the kingside. Cut off on the d-file, it was lost and he soon resigned.

    Round 7 is tomorrow, and Svidler will have Black against Tomashevsky then.

    Saturday
    Oct112014

    A New Svidler Video Series (Updated)

    Chess24 has an improving playing zone and worthwhile news reports, but their biggest attraction is their growing library of video series. The most noteworthy series was by Peter Svidler on the Gruenfeld, but there have been many other interesting ones as well. Still, when a player of Svidler's caliber engages in such a project it's likely to be something special, and that was certainly true of the one on the Gruenfeld.

    Now Svidler has released another opening series, this one offering a White repertoire in the Ruy Lopez with the very trendy 6.d3 (after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7). Nowadays this is considered a more promising way for White to avoid the Marshall Gambit (6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5) than the standard 8th move dodges like 8.a4 and 8.h3, and it has almost become the new main line of the Ruy. Svidler acknowledges that it doesn't seem to promise White an advantage - what does? - but aims to offer White fresh ideas that will at least put the onus on Black (especially if he hasn't already prepared for those them) to solve new problems.

    Svidler has long been a specialist in the Ruy, having played both sides of the opening with great regularity for the past 20 years or so; indeed, he states that he probably knows this opening better than anything else in his repertoire apart from the Gruenfeld. So the series should be a very attractive one to anyone who plays either side of the opening, and also for those who simply want to understand the game better; the Ruy is an extremely rich opening.

    As usual, there are two ways to access the series. One is to buy a premium membership on the site for $135.99 for a year (pricy, but if you like watching chess videos it's a good deal), and the other is to buy the series a la carte for $14.99 - not a bad deal at all. (It would be an even better deal if Chess24 would finally create the downloadable PGN files they've promised since the site's inception, but even without that it's a very good price in comparison to comparable video series across the landscape.)

    UPDATE: As noted in the comments section, there's a third way to access the series, which works for all the other series as well: purchase a one-month membership for $13.99.

    Saturday
    Sep132014

    Peter Svidler Q & A

    Chess24 solicited reader questions for Peter Svidler, which he answered yesterday in-studio. It was supposed to be aired live, but they had some technical troubles and only managed to upload the video later. Here it is.

     

    Sunday
    Jul132014

    More Coming Events: Biel (Monday), Gelfand-Svidler (Next Week)

    In case Dortmund and the ACP Golden Classic aren't enough to keep your interest, two more major events are coming your way. Biel starts Monday - today for some of you, tomorrow for others - and looks quite attractive. The main event is a six-player double round-robin, starring Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Pentala Harikrishna, Alexander Motylev (the graybeard of the event, the 35-year-old Russian is the only player in the event not in his 20s), and women's world champion Hou Yifan.

    The second event is an eight-game rapid match between Boris Gelfand and Peter Svidler, taking place in Jerusalem from July 20-24 (HT: Chess Today). The games will be followed by live video interviews, which is especially welcome with post-mortem world champion Svidler at the helm.

    With the Olympiad starting August 1, this is a great stretch for those who not only like to play but enjoy watching the game as well.