Petrosian Memorial, Rd. 1: How to Neutralize Catalan Bishop?

Время публикации: 05.11.2014 06:20 | Последнее обновление: 05.11.2014 06:30

Grischuk has defeated Inarkiev and seized the lead

The TASHIR supertournament in memory of the 9th World Champion Tigran Petrosian has seen its start in Moscow. The only decisive game of round 1 was the one between Alexander Grischuk vs Ernesto Inarkiev: Alexander has outplayed his opponent as White in a very convincing manner. As the member of the Russian national team pointed out, he "had got a solid advantage right in the opening". The further play was more like a demonstration of White's realization technique.

Reti Opening
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 dxc4?! It might be a bit premature to make conclusions on move 4, but 4...Be7 (keeping the long diagonal closed) looks more reliable. If 5.0-0 0-0 6.d4 (6.b3 c5) then 5...dxc4 is already good, as the game transposes to well-known positions of the Catalan Opening. Another option is 4...d4!? (Karjakin - Anand, Dubai 2014).
5.0–0 Be7 6.Na3 c5 7.Nxc4 Nc6 8.b3! 0–0 9.Bb2 Bd7?! (the line chosen by Black wouldn't promise him simple equality anyway, but maybe 9...Qc7 had to be preferred) 10.d4! Rc8 (or 10...cxd4 11.Nxd4 Rc8 12.Nb5! - Grischuk; 10...Qc7 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.Nfe5!? - Inarkiev)

11.dxc5! In case 11.Rc1 Black can neutralize the dangerous Catalan bishop by 11...cxd4 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13.Qxd4 Bc6! (Tal - A. Sokolov, Reykjavik 1998).
11...Bxc5 12.Nd6 Rc7 13.Rc1 b6 14.Ng5 Qe7 (if 14...e5 then 15.b4! is interesting - Grischuk) 15.Nge4 Nxe4 16.Nxe4 Rd8 (16...Bb4?! 17.Be5!) 17.Nxc5 bxc5

As a result of the opening, Black's position is "very sad", according to Grischuk. The isolated c5-pawn is very difficult to hold in absence of the dark-squared bishop. Alexander's comment on the further play was brief: "Of course, I played like an old man trying to exchange as many pieces as possible, but it seems to me that Black's position was extremely difficult all the time".

Even though the game looks really one-sided, we would warn the readers from making premature conclusions and signing Inarkiev up for the outsiders, because Ernesto is known for his ability to mobilize himself after a poor start or at any other moment when necessary.

Vladimir Kramnik decided "to stick to a reliable style in the first round", according to the ex-World Champion himself. Having the black pieces vs Ding Liren, he opted for a well-known line of the QGD where queens go off the board quickly, and Black gets a pair of bishops in compensation for his forever spoiled pawn structure. According to Kramnik, he hadn't been able to find anything dangerous for White in this line, so he decided to try it over the board.


13.0-0-0 was characterized by Vladimir as slightly straightforward: "Now I have enough time to bring my knight to d6, which is the key transfer here". According to him, after 17...f5 White had "nothing but symbolic advantage"; neither of the sides could change the statics of the position without taking strategic risks. After some maneuvering, the draw agreement was reasonable.

At least two interesting moments from Aronian - Gelfand deserve our attention.


The Israeli GM, who is playing his 3rd tournament in a row, hasn't made up his mind for a typical bishop sacrifice: 13...Bxh2+!? 14.Kxh2 Ng4+. However, its consequences could not be predicted easily: 15.Kg3! Qg5 (perhaps 15...bxc6!? is better, with the idea of 16.Qd4 Qg5 17.Qxg7+ Qxg7 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.Bxc6 Nxe3!) 16.f4 (the next moves are almost forced up to Black's move 20) 16...Qg6 17.Bd3 f5 18.Ne5 Nxe5+ 19.Kf2 Ng4+ 20.Ke1. Now if 20...Nxe3 then 21.Qd2 Qxg2 22.Rg1 Qxg1+ 23.Nxg1 Nc4+ 24.Be5!? Nxd2 25.Kxd2.

And White is clearly better despite his material deficit.

Gelfand chose the modest 13...bxc6 and got a decent position which later transformed, by Aronian's efforts, to a rook endgame favourable for White. The opponents agreed that it had been drawish initially, but Gelfand started to play inaccurately when it came closer to the first time control.

The Black rook is quite awkward; according to Aronian, 41.h3! would have given him good winning chances instead of his 41.h4?! After 41.h3, if Black plays as in the game (41...f6+ 42.Kd5 Kf7 43.e5 Ke7) then White has 44.g4 hxg4 45.hxg4 Ra4 46.g5!.

Alexander Morozevich went for a side line of the Sicilian against Peter Leko - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6. The Hungarian's 3.c3 led after 3...d5 to a version of the Alapin system slightly improved for White. Morozevich hasn't been able to reach complete equality up to the end of the game; however, Leko decided to share a point because of his lack of time. As Leko explained later, he was too short of time to find a reasonable plan.

[Event "Petrosian Memorial 2014"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2014.11.04"] [Round "1.4"] [White "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Black "Inarkiev, Ernesto"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteTitle "GM"] [BlackTitle "GM"] [WhiteElo "2795"] [BlackElo "2688"] [ECO "A13"] [Opening "English"] [Variation "Neo-Catalan accepted"] [WhiteFideId "4126025"] [BlackFideId "4162722"] [EventDate "2014.11.04"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 dxc4 5. O-O Be7 6. Na3 c5 7. Nxc4 Nc6 8. b3 O-O 9. Bb2 Bd7 10. d4 Rc8 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. Nd6 Rc7 13. Rc1 b6 14. Ng5 Qe7 15. Nge4 Nxe4 16. Nxe4 Rd8 17. Nxc5 bxc5 18. Qe1 Rcc8 19. Qc3 Nd4 20. Rfe1 f6 21. e3 Nb5 22. Qa5 Be8 23. Red1 Qc7 24. Qxc7 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1 Nxc7 26. Rc1 Rd8 27. Bc3 Nd5 28. Ba5 Nb6 29. Bf1 Bg6 30. f3 Rc8 31. Ba6 Rc6 32. Bb5 Rc8 33. b4 c4 34. Bxb6 axb6 35. Rxc4 Rd8 36. Rd4 Rc8 37. a4 Rc3 38. Rd6 Rxe3 39. Kf2 Rb3 40. Rxb6 Rb2+ 41. Ke3 Rb3+ 42. Kd4 e5+ 43. Kc5 Rxf3 44. Bc4+ Kf8 45. Kd6 Be8 46. Rb8 1-0 [Event "Petrosian Memorial 2014"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2014.11.04"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteTitle "GM"] [BlackTitle "GM"] [WhiteElo "2730"] [BlackElo "2760"] [ECO "D35"] [Opening "QGD"] [Variation "exchange, positional line, 5...c6"] [WhiteFideId "8603677"] [BlackFideId "4101588"] [EventDate "2014.11.04"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. Qf3 Bg6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Qxf6 gxf6 10. Nf3 Nd7 11. Nh4 Be7 12. g3 Nb6 13. O-O-O Nc8 14. Bd3 Nd6 15. Kc2 Kd7 16. f3 Bxd3+ 17. Kxd3 f5 18. Ng2 h5 19. h4 Rag8 20. Rh3 Ne8 21. Ke2 Bd6 22. Kf2 Nf6 23. Ne2 a5 24. b3 Re8 25. Rhh1 Re7 26. Nef4 Rg8 27. Rd2 Ree8 28. Rc2 Kc7 29. a4 Kd7 30. Rh3 Rg7 31. Nd3 Kc7 32. Ngf4 Reg8 33. Rc1 Kb8 34. Rg1 Kc7 35. Rh2 Rb8 36. Rc1 Rbg8 37. Rg2 Kb8 38. Rcg1 Kc7 39. Rb1 Re8 40. Rgg1 Reg8 41. Rbc1 1/2-1/2 [Event "Petrosian Memorial 2014"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2014.11.04"] [Round "1.2"] [White "Leko, Peter"] [Black "Morozevich, Alexander"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteTitle "GM"] [BlackTitle "GM"] [WhiteElo "2731"] [BlackElo "2724"] [ECO "B28"] [Opening "Sicilian"] [Variation "O'Kelly variation"] [WhiteFideId "703303"] [BlackFideId "4116992"] [EventDate "2014.11.04"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 a6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O cxd4 8. cxd4 Nc6 9. Nc3 Qd6 10. Be3 Be7 11. Nd2 Nd5 12. Nde4 Qd8 13. Nxd5 exd5 14. Nc5 O-O 15. Rc1 f5 16. Nd3 Bd6 17. f4 Qb6 18. Kh1 Be6 19. Qd2 Rfe8 20. Ne5 Rac8 21. a3 a5 22. Bd1 Nxe5 23. dxe5 Bc5 24. Rxc5 Rxc5 25. Bxc5 Qxc5 26. Bf3 Rc8 27. Rd1 Kf8 28. h3 b6 29. Kh2 h6 30. Kg3 Qb5 31. Kh2 Qc5 32. h4 Rc7 33. h5 Rc8 34. Kg3 Qb5 35. Kh2 Qc4 36. Qe3 Qb5 37. Qd2 Qc4 38. Qe3 Qb5 39. Qd2 1/2-1/2 [Event "Petrosian Memorial 2014"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2014.11.04"] [Round "1.3"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Gelfand, Boris"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteTitle "GM"] [BlackTitle "GM"] [WhiteElo "2797"] [BlackElo "2759"] [ECO "A35"] [Opening "English"] [Variation "symmetrical, four knights system"] [WhiteFideId "13300474"] [BlackFideId "2805677"] [EventDate "2014.11.04"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. d4 d5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bb5 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bd7 9. O-O Bd6 10. b3 O-O 11. Bb2 Re8 12. Nce2 Be5 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. Bxe5 Rxe5 15. Ba4 c5 16. Bxd7 Qxd7 17. Rc1 Rc8 18. Qd2 Ree8 19. Rfd1 Qb7 20. Nc3 c4 21. bxc4 dxc4 22. Rb1 Qe7 23. Qd6 Qxd6 24. Rxd6 Ne4 25. Nxe4 Rxe4 26. Rc6 Ree8 27. Rxc8 Rxc8 28. Kf1 g6 29. Ke2 Rc5 30. Rb2 Ra5 31. Kf3 Ra4 32. Rc2 c3 33. Ke2 h5 34. Kd3 Ra3 35. Kc4 a5 36. g3 Kg7 37. f4 Kf6 38. Kd5 Ra4 39. e4 Ke7 40. Ke5 Ra3 41. h4 f6+ 42. Kd5 Kf7 43. e5 Ke7 44. e6 Ra4 45. Rxc3 Rxa2 46. Rc7+ Ke8 47. Rf7 Rd2+ 48. Kc5 f5 1/2-1/2

Photo by Boris Dolmatovsky (


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