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Alekhine Memorial 2013 (1)

Wins for Ding, Adams and Kramnik in Alekhine Memorial Round 1

Michael Adams beat World Champion Viswanathan Anand for the second time in a few months. Photo ©

Michael Adams beat World Champion Viswanathan Anand for the second time in a few months. Photo © |

The first round of the Alekhine Memorial in Paris took place in front of a capacity crowd in a special venue in the gardens of the Louvre in Paris. The second half will transfer to St Petersburg. The first round saw a number of surprises with Levon Aronian making a careless mistake in the opening and getting punished by Liren Ding, Michael Adams positionally outplaying the World Champion Viswanthan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik outclassing Nikita Vitiugov. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was easily held by Laurent Fressinet and Peter Svidler similarly getting nothing as white against Boris Gelfand. Some notes based on the press conferences below.

Alekhine Memorial Sun 22nd Apr 2013 R2 1pm BST: Fressinet-Gelfand, Adams-Svidler, Vitiugov-Anand, Aronian-Kramnik, Vachier-Ding

Henrik Carlsen was in Paris to talk about the prospect of Chennai being the venue for his son Magnus' battle against Anand. It is clear they want a full bidding process not only because they think more money and better more glamorous venues out there but because they believe that Carlsen may suffer health problems such as stomach upsets in India which would place him at a disadvantage.

Anand 0-1 Adams

Viswanathan Anand surprised Michael Adams with his choice of opening variation but the situation remained tense and somewhere between 18 and 20 an Anand advantage because an Adams one. Anand went into an ending that was either lost or very difficult and Adams made no mistake.

Anand,Viswanathan - Adams,Michael [C88]
Alekhine Mem Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS (1), 21.04.2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4 b4 9.d4

Adams wasn't expecting this variation from Anand.

9...d6 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Qxd8 Rxd8 12.Nbd2 Bc5 13.Bc4

Michael Adams


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 13.Bc4

"Then he played 13.Bc4 which I have to admit I hadn't thought about too much." - Adams. "Now already I wasn't very happy actually because suddenly I saw the possibility of his knight coming to b3, maybe changing the bishops with Be3, the c5 could get quite weak. I thought for quite a while here, I wasn't that happy, in the end I came up with something like looks quite loose but maybe is not so bad."

[13.h3 Bb7 14.a5 h6 15.Ba4 Nd7 16.Nb3 Bd6 17.Be3 Ncb8 18.Nfd2 Bc6 19.Nc4 Bxa4 20.Rxa4 Nc6 21.Rd1 Be7 22.Raa1 Kf8 23.f3 Ke8 24.Kf2 Nf8 25.Rd5 f6 26.g3 Ne6 27.f4 Bd6 28.Rad1 exf4 29.Nxd6+ Rxd6 30.gxf4 Rad8 31.Nc5 Nxc5 32.Bxc5 Re6 33.Kf3 Rb8 34.Rg1 g5 35.h4 b3 36.c3 Rb5 37.hxg5 hxg5 38.Rh1 g4+ 39.Kxg4 Rxe4 40.Kf5 Re7 41.Bxe7 1-0 Harikrishna,P (2685)-Kamsky,G (2746)/Istanbul TUR 2012/The Week in Chess 930]


Attacking f2 and defending e5.


[14.Rf1 Adams]


"This was the idea to try and prevent this Nb3 coming with tempo." - Adams.


Trying to force c6 which sometimes isn't favourable for black.

[15.Ba2 was the alternative. 15...Re8 and black should be able to hold.]




Adams was again surprised by this move. "Very sharp."

16...Nxb3 17.cxb3 h6

Michael Adams


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 17...h6

[17...c6 18.Bg5 cxd5 (18...Rd6 Houdini may be best. 19.Bc4 Kf8) 19.Bxd8 Bb7 20.Bc7 Rc8 21.Nxe5 Nxf2 22.Nd7 Nxe4+ 23.Nxc5 Nxc5 24.Rae1 Ne6]


[18.Rc2 Anand and Adams discussed this after the game. 18...Bd6 Was the reason Anand didn't like it. (18...c6 was Adams intention. 19.Rxc5 cxd5 20.exd5 "Initially I thought this was very drawish. But actually I think it's not so clear. So I think he should have taken Rc2 actually." - Adams. 20...Bb7 21.h3 Nf6 22.Nxe5 Ne4 23.Rc7 Rxd5 24.Bf4 Nc5 25.Re1) 19.Be3!? Adams suggestion. 19...Nxe3 20.fxe3 "I thought this position was a bit better for white I thought my bishop on d6 is quite passive and he has a good bishop and maybe some plans, he has everything covered." - Adams.]

18...Nf6 19.Nxe5 Nxd5 20.exd5

[20.Nc6 Nc3 21.bxc3 (21.Re1 Nxe4) 21...Rd1+ 22.Kh2 Rb6 with rough equality.]


Black is a little bit better. He still has to prevent Rd1 so Bf4 - Adams.

21.Bf4 Be6 22.Rc1 Bd6 23.Bg3 Re8

"Already looking for a bit more [than a draw]" - Adams.

24.Re3 c5 25.Nd3

Michael Adams


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 25.Nd3

"Maybe this Nd3 was not correct because it's very forcing and it didn't turn out so well for him." - Adams.

[25.Nf3 Adams. 25...Bf8; 25.Nc4 Bf8]

25...Bxg3 26.fxg3 Red8 27.Nf4 Rd1+ 28.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 29.Kh2 Rd2 30.Nxe6 fxe6 31.Rxe6 Rxb2 32.Rxa6 Rxb3 33.Rc6 Rc3 34.a5 Kf7 35.a6 Ke7 36.a7 Ra3 37.Rxc5 Rxa7 38.Rb5 Ra4

Michael Adams


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 38...Ra4

"I don't know if there were other possibilities for white here whether maybe he didn't have to take the pawn on g7, maybe it's possible to bring his king into the game immediately." Adams.


[39.g4 maybe white's last chance as it seems black is definitely winning the way Anand plays it. 39...Kd6 40.Kg3]

39...Kd6 40.Rxg7 Kc5 41.Rc7+ Kd4 42.Rd7+ Kc3 43.Rc7+ Kd3 44.Rb7 Kc3 45.Rc7+ Kb2 46.Rc6 b3 47.Rxh6

No choice but to grab the pawn but it turns out black's king is just too close to getting back to the kingside for there to be any saving possibilities.

47...Kc3 48.Rb6 b2 49.Rxb2 Kxb2 50.g4 Kc3 51.Kg3 Re4 52.Kh4 Kd4 53.Kg5 Ke5 54.Kg6 Re2 55.g5 Rxg2 56.h4 Kf4 0-1

Kramnik 1-0 Vitiugov

A game that showed all the advantages of Kramnik's class and experience over an opponent who he doesn't appear to have played before but who is a talented up and coming player. Vitiugov spent quite a bit of time on the clock making 15.Nf4!? and 18.Nd5!? work, Kramnik side-stepped the sharpest variations and ended up with more time on the clock and some positional potential. By move 26 Kramnik was getting good chances and after 34.Qd6 his position was very strong and he brought home the full point.

Kramnik,Vladimir - Vitiugov,Nikita [A07]
Alekhine Mem Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS (1), 21.04.2013

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 Bg4 4.0-0 Nd7 5.d3 Ngf6 6.Qe1 e5 7.e4 dxe4 8.dxe4 Bd6 9.Nbd2 0-0

[9...b5 1/2-1/2 Bosboom,M (2440)-Brandenburg,D (2433)/Dieren NED 2007/The Week in Chess 665 (51)]

10.h3 Bh5 11.Nc4 Bc7 12.a4 Re8 13.Nh4 Nc5 14.Nf5 Ne6 15.Be3 Nf4!?

Nikita Vitiugov


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 15...Nf4!?

Kramnik didn't take this very seriously before it appeared on the board.

[15...g6 16.Nh6+ Kg7 17.f4!?]


Kramnik doesn't like the complications of taking the knight. "A solid move."

[16.gxf4 Is very unclear. 16...exf4]

16...Nxg2 17.Kxg2

Nikita Vitiugov


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 17.Kxg2

Black has spent a lot of tempi to win the white bishop. Kramnik wasn't sure he even had a plus here.

17...Bg6 18.Rd1 Nd5!?

An interesting move that Kramnik thought a bit risky before it appeared on the board.

[18...Qb8 19.g4 Bxf5 20.exf5 b5 21.axb5 cxb5 22.Na5 I have a pleasant position here - Kramnik.]


"Basically it's pretty equal" said Kasparov but he did have an edge on the clock.

[19.exd5 Bxf5 (19...cxd5 20.g4) 20.dxc6 (20.d6 was also a line Kramnik spent some time on.) 20...Qb8 with sufficient compensation. 21.cxb7 Qxb7 "I'm a pawn up but I don't like my position." - Kramnik.]

19...Nxe3+ 20.Qxe3 Qe7 21.Qb3 Rab8

[21...Qe6!? Kramnik.]

22.Rf2 Red8 23.Rxd8+ Bxd8 24.Rd2 Bc7 25.Rd3

A small amount of pressure here.


[25...b6 may be better with the idea of Rd8.]


Nikita Vitiugov


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 26.Qb4

"All of a sudden it starts to be a bit uncomfortable [for black]" - Kramnik


[26...Rd8 27.Rxd8+ Bxd8 28.Qd6! Qxd6 29.Nxd6 b6 30.Nc8 a6 31.Na7 (31.Nxg6 hxg6 32.Na7 c5 33.Nc6 Bc7 34.Ne7+ Kf8 35.Nd5 Bd8) ]

27.b3 a6 28.Qd2

[28.Nf5 Bxf5 (28...Re8) 29.exf5 Qxf5 30.Qe7]]

28...b5 29.Rd7 bxc4 30.Rxc7 cxb3 31.Rb7 Qc8 32.Rxb3 Rxb3 33.cxb3 f6?!

[33...Qc7 34.b4 and a similar plan as to the game.]


Nikita Vitiugov


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 34.Qd6

Now things are very difficult for Vitiugov.


[34...Bf7 Black can't reroute his bishop which is just useless for the rest of the game. 35.Nf5 Qe6 36.Qb8+]

35.g4 Ke8 36.Kg3 Qb7

[36...Qd7 37.Qb8+ (37.Qc5) 37...Kf7]

37.b4 Qc8 38.a5

Kramnik looks winning to me here.

38...Kf7 39.Ng2 h5 40.Ne3 hxg4 41.hxg4 Qe6 42.Qd3 Qc8 43.Qc4+ Kf8 44.Qc5+ Kg8 45.b5!

Nikita Vitiugov


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 45.b5!

The final breakthrough, it's not how many but how fast in Queen endings with running pawns.

45...axb5 46.Qb6

Completely winning.


46...Qf8 47.a6 Qb4?

[47...Qa3 Everything is losing but this variation is much tougher to calculate. 48.a7 Kh7 49.Nc2 Qa4 (49...Qa2 50.Qb8 (50.Qg1!) 50...Qb1 51.Qb6) ]

48.a7 Qe1+ 49.Kg2 Qd2+ 50.Kg1

and now Nf1 will cut out all the checks.


Ding Liren 1-0 Levon Aronina

Levon Aronian will be cursing himself as a careless move 12...Bc4? led to all sorts of problems. Aronian almost seemed to have extracted himself but Ding found the best, his 35.Be5 was aimed at getting a draw (Aronian it seemed to him was confident which shows you his power as an intimidator) but after first time control he discovered his position was winning and quickly finished things off.

Ding Liren - Aronian,Levon [D45]
Alekhine Mem Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS (1), 21.04.2013

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 e6 6.c5 Nbd7 7.b4 b6 8.Bb2 a5 9.a3 Be7 10.Bd3 0-0 11.0-0 Ba6 12.Ne1

[12.Qe2 Bxd3 13.Qxd3 Qc7 14.h3 Rfb8 15.Rfb1 Rb7 16.Qc2 h6 17.Nd2 Rab8 18.Bc1 axb4 19.axb4 e5 20.Nb3 bxc5 21.bxc5 exd4 22.exd4 Nf8 23.Ne2 Ne6 24.Bd2 Nd7 25.Ba5 Qc8 26.Bc3 Bf6 27.Rb2 Ndf8 28.Rab1 Ng6 29.Nbc1 Rxb2 30.Rxb2 Rxb2 31.Qxb2 Ng5 32.Nd3 Qf5 33.Qc2 Ne4 34.Be1 Ng5 35.Bc3 Nh4 36.Ng3 Qc8 37.Qe2 Ne6 38.Qg4 Qa6 39.Nf4 Nxf4 40.Qxf4 Qd3 41.Qe3 Qc2 42.Bd2 Kh7 43.Qc3 Qb1+ 44.Kh2 Bd8 45.Bf4 Ng6 46.Bd6 Bh4 47.Qf3 Bxg3+ 48.fxg3 Qb7 49.Qf5 Kg8 1/2-1/2 Matlakov,M (2600)-Jakovenko,D (2725)/Dagomys RUS 2010/The Week in Chess 805]


Levon Aronian


Ding Liren

Position after 12...Bc4?

"He spent just three or four minutes to play Bc4 I think it's a mistake." - Liren Ding.

13.Bxc4 dxc4 14.Qe2

Already Grischuk was saying this position was really bad for black. The trouble is that he will end up with a horribly passive position almost by force.

14...Rb8 15.Ra2 b5

"Only move" -Ding.

16.e4 Rb7 17.Nc2 Nb8 18.Raa1 Qc8 19.Rad1 Rd8 20.Bc1 Na6 21.Bf4 Rbd7 22.h3 Ne8 23.Qe3 Bf6 24.e5

[24.Rd2 axb4 25.axb4 e5]

24...Be7 25.Ne4 Nac7 26.Nd6 Qa8 27.Qg3


27...Nd5 28.Ne3 Nc3 29.Rde1 Bxd6 30.exd6 Ne4 31.Qh4 Nd2 32.Nd5!

Levon Aronian


Ding Liren

Position after 32.Nd5


[32...cxd5 33.Bxd2; 32...exd5 33.Bxd2]

33.Nb6 Qa7 34.Rxf1


34...Nf6 35.Be5

Levon Aronian


Ding Liren

Position after 35.Be5

"Here when I played Be5 I only wanted a draw because I thought this was the simplest way to draw." Ding.

35...Nd5 36.Nxd5 exd5 37.Bxg7 Kxg7 38.Qg5+ Kf8 39.Qf6 Kg8 40.Qg5+ Kf8 41.Qf6

Repeating to get to time control.

41...Kg8 42.Re1!

Levon Aronian


Ding Liren

Position after 42.Re1

And now it's just a win. "I'm very lucky here" Ding.

42...axb4 43.Re5 h6 44.Rh5 Qxa3 45.Qxh6 f6 46.Qxf6 1-0

Svider draw Gelfand

Peter Svidler seemed to have been caught out in Boris Gelfand's choice of variation and the game, whilst complex also eventually simplified to a draw.

Svidler,Peter - Gelfand,Boris [B30]
Alekhine Mem Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS (1), 21.04.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.0-0 Nge7 5.Re1 a6 6.Bf1 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.d4 Nf6 9.Be3 Be7

Already Svidler started thinking.

10.dxc5 Qxd1 11.Rxd1 Ng4 12.Bf4 Bxc5 13.Bg3 h5!?

Again long thinks from Svidler suggesting he'd been caught out.

14.Rd2 h4 15.Bxh4 Nxh2 16.Kxh2 Nd4

Boris Gelfand


Peter Svidler

Position after 16...Nd4


[17.Kh3 e5+ 18.g4 f6 19.Nxd4 exd4 20.Kg3 1/2-1/2 Sutovsky,E (2676)-Radjabov,T (2757)/Novi Sad SRB 2009/The Week in Chess 781]

17...Bxd4 18.Nbd2 g5 19.g3 Bxb2 20.Rb1 Bf6 21.Ne4 gxh4 22.Nxf6+ Ke7 23.Ne4 hxg3+ 24.Kxg3 b5 25.c4 Bb7 26.Kf4 Rh5 27.Be2 Rc8 28.cxb5

[28.a4 Rf5+ 29.Ke3 Bxe4 30.Kxe4 bxa4 31.Ra1 Ra5 32.Kd3 and white can't be better.]

28...axb5 29.Rxb5 Rxb5 30.Bxb5 Rc2 31.Nd4 Rxa2 32.f3 Bxe4 33.fxe4 Kf6 34.e5+ Kg7 35.Nf3 Ra5 36.Bd3 f6 37.exf6+ Kxf6 38.Ke3 Ra3 39.Ke4 Ra4+ 40.Ke3 Ra3 41.Ke4

The earliest moment the players could agree a draw. There is nothing left to play for.


Vachier draw Fressinet

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was slightly caught out in a theoretical battle by Laurent Fressinet and saw nothing better than to repeat for a draw early on.

Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime - Fressinet,Laurent [D19]
Alekhine Mem Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS (1), 21.04.2013

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe2 Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Nbd7 12.Rd1 Rc8 13.e4 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Qf5 Qa5 16.Bf1 Rfe8 17.Be3 Rcd8

[17...Qc7 18.Rac1 Ng6 19.Nd5 Nxd5 20.exd5 Qa5 21.Qd7 Qxa4 22.Qxb7 Bd6 23.dxc6 Bc7 24.Rd7 Qa5 25.Rc5 1-0 Lautier,J (2596)-Hector,J (2542)/Malmoe SWE 1999]

18.Bg5 Be7 19.Rxd8 Rxd8 20.Nd5 cxd5 21.Qxe5 Qb4 22.exd5 Rxd5 23.Qb8+ Rd8 24.Qe5 Rd5 25.Qb8+ Rd8 26.Qe5

Laurent Fressinet


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Position after 26.Qe5

"Not so happy with my game today, to be fair Laurent was well prepared and played very precisely. Feels like I could have put more problems!" Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on twitter.


Alekhine Memorial Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS (FRA/RUS), 21 iv-1 v 2013 cat. XX (2745)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Ding, Liren g CHN 2707 * . . . . . . . . 1 1
2. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2801 . * . . . . . . 1 . 1
3. Adams, Michael g ENG 2727 . . * . . . . 1 . . 1
4. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2747 . . . * . ½ . . . . ½ 2739
5. Fressinet, Laurent g FRA 2706 . . . . * . ½ . . . ½ 2722
6. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2739 . . . ½ . * . . . . ½ 2747
7. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2722 . . . . ½ . * . . . ½ 2706
8. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2783 . . 0 . . . . * . . 0
9. Vitiugov, Nikita g RUS 2712 . 0 . . . . . . * . 0
10. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2809 0 . . . . . . . . * 0
Round 1 (April 21, 2013)
Ding, Liren - Aronian, Levon 1-0 46 D45 Anti-Meran Variations
Kramnik, Vladimir - Vitiugov, Nikita 1-0 50 A07 Barcza System
Svidler, Peter - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 41 B30 Sicilian Rossolimo
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime - Fressinet, Laurent ½-½ 26 D19 Slav Defence
Anand, Viswanathan - Adams, Michael 0-1 56 C88 Ruy Lopez Closed

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