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Zurich Chess Challenge 2013 (1)

Two draws on day one of Zuerich Chess Challenge

Both games continued after the first time control. Photo ©

Both games continued after the first time control. Photo © |

The Zuerich Chess Challange saw two tense draws in the first round on Saturday 23rd Feb. of the tournament. Vladimir Kramnik chose an amorphous opening 1.Nf3 c5 2.b3 against Boris Gelfand. This was also his choice in his last game against Gawain Jones in London. There were many choices of set up for both sides and Gelfand in particular spent a lot of time. Kramnik went for a small technical advantage but Gelfand was up to the task and following a few accurate moves after first time control got a drawn position. Fabiano Caruana got an advantage against Viswanathan Anand's Sicilian but the position went out of control for both players. Caruana summed it up: "It was just a mess, I think at some point I must have been winning, at least I was very optimistic but I just had 10 seconds at some point and I couldn't see anything in the limited time." After first time control Caruana missed an immediate draw with 42.Qf3! and finished in an ending a pawn down but Anand couldn't break down his subsequent strong resistance and the game was drawn in 65 moves. Round 2 2pm 24th Feb 2013: Kramnik-Anand, Gelfand-Caruana.

Caruana,Fabiano (2757) - Anand,Viswanathan (2780) [B90]
Zuerich Chess Challenge Zuerich SUI (1.1), 23.02.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Bc4 0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Bb3 Be6 11.Bg5 Nd7 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Qe2

[13.Nd5 is the main theoretical move.]

13...Nf6 14.Rad1 Bg4 15.Qe3 Rac8 16.Rd2 Na5 17.Rfd1 Rfd8 18.h3 Nxb3 19.axb3 Be6 20.b4 h6!? 21.b5

Viswanathan Anand


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 21.b5

"I actually thought b5 was fairly harmless which is why I decided to be fairly sophisticated." - Anand.


"I thought I started to lose control a bit maybe this whole plan with axb5 and d5 is not correct." - Anand.

[21...Rd7 "I think black could just play Rd7, it's quite a reasonable position." - Anand.; 21...Qc7 22.bxa6 bxa6 23.Na4; 21...a5]

22.Nxb5 d5 23.exd5 Rxd5 24.Rxd5 Bxd5 25.Nxe5 Rxc2 26.Nc3

Viswanathan Anand


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 26.Nc3

At first I thought Rxc2 was equal and then I saw Nc3 was not so simple and decided to go for it. - Caruana.




Qd4, very nice. Anand.


"After b5 he actually managed to dominate my rook quite beautifully. There was a serious sequence of moves where I thought there was just only moves for me." Anand.


[28.Re1 is just equal. 28...Nd7 (28...Nd5) ]

28...Be8 29.Re1 Qf5

Viswanathan Anand


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 29...Qf5


[30.f3 Qe6


30...Rxb2 31.Ng4 (

31.Nd3!) 31...Qc5+ is equal. 32.Re3 Kh8 very complicated - Anand. I couldn't bring myself to play f3. - Caruana. 33.Nd1;


30...h5 31.Nd5!; ]

30...Bc6 31.g4

"I actually thought this g4 was kind of devestating." - Caruana. But it seems he was slightly overestimating things.

31...Qc8 32.Rb1 Qe6 33.Nxc6 bxc6 34.Qd8+ Ne8 35.Qd3 Qb3 36.Qd8 Qe6 37.Qd3 Qb3 38.Re1 Nf6

Viswanathan Anand


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 38...Nf6


[39.g5 "And then he wanted to play g5." - Anand. 39...hxg5 40.Ra1 Ne8 I guess Ne8 is forced - Caruana. (40...g6 41.Ra8+ Kg7 42.Qd8! wins.) 41.Re1 (41.Ra8 Rc1+ 42.Kg2 Re1! 43.Qd7 Qe6 supports the knight and black is better.) 41...Nf6 42.Ra1 is a funny kind of draw.]

39...g5! 40.Rb1

[40.Ra6 Qxb2 41.Rxc6 Rxf2 42.Nd1; 40.Rd1 Kg7 (40...Qxb2 41.Na4 Qa2 42.Nc3 Qb2) ]

40...Rxb2 41.Rxb2 Qxb2 42.Qd8+?

After time control mistakes are common here Caruana missed an immediate draw.


42...Kg7 43.Qd4 Qa3 44.Qe5 Qb4 45.Kg2 c5


46.Kf3 Qc4 47.Ke3 Qf1

Viswanathan Anand


Fabiano Caruana

Position after 47...Qf1


[48.Ne4 Qe1+ 49.Kd3 Qxe4+ 50.Qxe4 Nxe4 51.Kxe4 Kg6 (51...h5) 52.Kd5 h5 (52...Kf6 wins.) 53.Kxc5 f5 54.f3]

48...c4 49.Ne4 Qe1+ 50.Kd4 Qa1+ 51.Nc3 Qf1 52.Qf5 Nd7!? 53.Qe4 Qxh3 54.Nd5 Qg3 55.Ne3 Qf2 56.Kc3 Nf6 57.Nf5+ Kh7 58.Qb7 Qe1+ 59.Kxc4

The worst is over as white's remaining pieces work well together.

59...Qe6+ 60.Kd3 Nd5 61.Nd4 Nf4+ 62.Kd2 Qa2+ 63.Ke3 Qa3+ 64.Kf2 Qa2+ 65.Ke3 1/2-1/2

Kramnik,Vladimir (2810) - Gelfand,Boris (2740) [A04]
Zuerich Chess Challenge Zuerich SUI (1.2), 23.02.2013

1.Nf3 c5 2.b3 d6

[2...d5 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bb2 e6 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.0-0 0-0 8.c4 b6 9.Nc3 Bb7 10.cxd5 exd5 11.d4 etc 1-0 Kramnik,V (2795)-Jones,G (2644)/London 2012. This was Kramnik's previous game to this one]]

3.e3 e5 4.Bb5+ Nd7 5.0-0 a6

[5...f5 6.d4 cxd4 7.exd4 e4 8.Ng5 Ngf6 9.Ne6 Qb6 10.d5 Kf7 11.a4 Ne5 12.Be3 Qa5 13.b4 Qxb4 14.Bd2 Qb2 15.Bc3 Qxa1 16.Bxa1 Bxe6 17.dxe6+ Kxe6 18.Bxe5 Kxe5 19.Nd2 Be7 20.Qa1+ Kf4 21.Qc3 1-0 Speelman,J (2597)-Ward,C (2473)/London ENG 1999]


Boris Gelfand


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 6.Be2


[6...d5 "I thought d5 instead of Nf6, I thought this was quite OK." Kramnik. 7.d4 cxd4 8.exd4 e4 9.Ne5 Bd6 10.f4 was a line given by Kramnik. 10...Ne7 11.c4 f6 12.Ng4 With a strange kind of position which is probably equal according to Kramnik,]


Maybe I'm a bit more comfortable - Kramnik. Gelfand "thought this shouldn't be very dangerous but in fact it was."

[7.Bb2 e4 (7...Be7 and Kramnik doesn't like his bishop on b2.) 8.Ne1 d5 9.d3 "this I quite like" Kramnik. 9...Be7 10.Nd2 0-0]

7...d5 8.d4 exd4 9.exd4 Be7 10.Nc3 cxd4 11.Qxd4 dxc4

Boris Gelfand


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 11...dxc4


Kramnik hesitated over this or Qc4.

[12.Qxc4 0-0 13.Rd1 b5 14.Qf4 Bb7 15.Nd4 Rc8 16.Bb2 with a symmetrical position where white has a "certain initiative" which might disappear after three or four precise moves according the Kramnik. So he chooses a line where he gets something but maybe it isn't so very much.]

12...0-0 13.Rd1 b5 14.Bd5 Nxd5 15.Nxd5 Bf6 16.Nxf6+ Qxf6 17.Ba3 Qxd4 18.Nxd4 Re8 19.Nf5


19...Nf6 20.Nd6 Rd8

Boris Gelfand


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 20...Rd8


Another key moment. White can win a pawn but it doesn't seem enough to win.

[21.Nxb5 Rxd1+ 22.Rxd1 Bg4 23.f3 (23.Nc7 Bxd1 24.Nxa8 Nd5 with a draw.) 23...axb5 24.fxg4 Nxg4 25.Be7 f6 26.Rd8+ Rxd8 27.Bxd8 Kf8 28.a4 bxa4 29.bxa4 Ke8 and white is not in time to get his pawn to a6 which is the winning idea. White will leave the pawn on a4 because it's an easy draw if it advances a further square. Black will play his king to c6 and advance his kingside pawns in the knowledge that he can sacrifice them all and the knight for white's two pawns as the a-pawn has the wrong coloured queening square for his bishop. There may be some theoretical chances here but Kramnik didn't think them all that great.; 21.Ne4 is very drawish. 21...Rxd1+ 22.Rxd1 Be6 for instance. a5-a4 is coming with a very simple draw. This I didn't believe at all - Kramnik.]

21...Be6 22.Ba5

Kramnik took the opportunity to physically stop a5-a4 which is a major drawing idea for black in this position.

22...Rd7 23.f3 h6 24.Kf2 Kh7 25.Rac1 Ne8 26.Ne4 Rxd1 27.Rxd1 Rc8 28.Ke3 Nf6 29.Nc3 Rc6 30.Rd2 g5

Boris Gelfand


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 30...g5


I wanted to block his king with maybe some mating ideas was Kramnik's explanation but he wasn't happy with this move after the game. "In quite many lines my pawn on f3 started to be hanging and this was quite an important issue in the position which was difficult to foresee in advance." Keeping the pawn on g2 and trying to get Rd8 and Kd4 was Kramnik's suggestion at an improvement.

31...Kg6 32.Rd8 Bd7 33.Ra8 Re6+ 34.Kf2 Rc6 35.h3 Be6 36.Rd8 Bd7 37.Kg3 h5 38.Ra8 Be6 39.Kf2 Kg7 40.Rd8 hxg4

Boris Gelfand


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 40...hxg4

Kramnik wanted to get this concession out of Gelfand before first time control but it doesn't prove to be enough.

41.hxg4 Bd7 42.Ra8 Be6 43.Kg3 Nd5!

A very important move that starts a forcing sequences that more or less guarantees the draw. Kramnik thought Gelfand might otherwise be in trouble.


Boris Gelfand


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 44.Ne4


This seems fine although Gelfand thought there may have been better.

[44...f5 was Gelfand's post-game suggestion as being more "precise".]

45.Bd2 Bc8 46.Kf2 b4!

Black's last moves were almost forced according to Kramnik.

47.Rb8 Nc3 48.Rxb4 Nxe4+ 49.Rxe4 Rc2 50.Ke3 Rxa2 51.Bc3 Kf7 52.Rc4 Be6 53.Rc7+ Kg6 54.Rc6 Kf7 55.b4 Rc2 56.Rc7+ Kg6 57.Rc6 Kf7 58.Rc7+ Kg6 59.Rc6 1/2-1/2

Zurich Chess Challenge Zuerich (SUI), 23 ii-1 iii 2013 cat. XXI (2772)
1 2 3 4
1. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2780 * * ½ . . . . . ½ 2757
2. Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2757 ½ . * * . . . . ½ 2780
3. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2740 . . . . * * ½ . ½ 2810
4. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2810 . . . . ½ . * * ½ 2740
Round 1 (February 23, 2013)
Caruana, Fabiano - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 65 B90 Sicilian Najdorf Variation
Kramnik, Vladimir - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 59 A04 Dutch System

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