At The Cost Of Sleepless Night

Время публикации: 10.02.2015 07:25 | Последнее обновление: 10.02.2015 12:17

Arkadij Naiditsch could have become Carlsen's nemesis. But he was just very close

Whilst the start of the GRENKE Chess Classic hadn't been promising at all, its conclusion was the real thriller. Magnus Carlsen and Arkadij Naiditsch came up to the final round as the co-leaders; both drew their last games having missed some winning chances against Etienne Bacrot and Levon Aronian respectively. Thus, the playoff became imminent, and, while Magnus and Arkadij were getting ready for the rapid tiebreak, two other games were still in progress. One of those could have a significant impact on the playoff and the final crosstable alike: Fabiano Caruana, who had been half-a-point behind the leaders, was very persistent in his attempts to convert an extra pawn against the tournament outsider David Baramidze. The German GM of Georgian origin, however, wasn't prone to yield to his stronger opponent's pressure, putting up a tenacious defence. Nevertheless, Caruana got the chance after all.


The white knight has just made an unfortunate jump from f1 to d2. The correct square was h2, where the knight could reach the f3-square and stay away from the black king at the same time. Now the winning way is 71...Kd4! 72.Kxe6 Kd3!, activating the king quickly. The point is that in case of 73.Nf1 Ke2 74.Nh2 (or 73.Nf3 Ke3 74.Nh2) Black has 74...Kf2! trapping the knight.
Had Caruana found this trick (which wasn't easy to do during the 7th hour of play), the organizers would have come up urgently with some impromptu solution for the playoff, as the regulations, strangely enough, had nothing for the case of the multiple-way tie. However, after a few minites of thinking the Italian GM chose 71...Kf6? which led to a draw after 72.Kc6 g5 (72...Kf5 73.Kd6 e5 74.Kd5) 73.Ne4+ Kf5 74.Nxg5 Kg4 75.Kd6 Kxh4 76.Ne4!, etc.

Having missed this opportunity, Caruana, apart from losing his chance for the first place, allowed Michael Adams to catch up with him. Moreover, the 3rd place went to Mickey due to his better tiebreak (the number of winning games).The British GM managed to finish the competition on an optimistic note, beating Viswanathan Anand in his trademark style. Initially, the rook ending had been only slightly better for Adams, but then Black's problems increased gradually. Michael, as usual, wasn't in a hurry, slowly torturing the ex-World Champion.


The diagram position looks already winning for White, but 'looks' doesn't necessarily mean 'is'.
84...Ke5?? Of course this is a horrible blunder, but one shouldn't forget that it was preceded by exhaustive defence which Anand had to be leading for hours in a situation utterly suitable for his opponent's style.
In case of the patient 84...Kg7 85.Ke3 Ra4 it still wouldn't have been clear whether White would be able to make progress, since the structure hasn't seen any change during the latest 20 moves and there seems to be no clear winning plan, if any.
85.h6 (now it's very easy) 85...Ra2+. 85...Rh7 86.Ke3 could only postpone the inevitable - the passive position of the rook leaves Black with no chances to save the game.
86.Ke3 Ra8 87.h7 Rh8 88.Rh6! (cutting the king off is the fastest) 88...Kd6 89.Kf2. 1-0

GRENKE Chess Classic 2015: all the games, the previous reviews, and other information

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Thus, Carlsen and Naiditsch had to play two rapid games 10'+2" in order to determine the tournament winner. The first game brought an easy success to the world champion.

The beginning of the second game was also far from fortunate for Naiditsch, creating an impression that the end was near. 8.Re1? was strongly condemned by Nigel Short who at first called it 'lousy' and then 'unbelievably useless'. However, the further course of the game, as well as its outcome, can make one think whether it was really a weak move rather than provocative. After a few more moves, when the position was already clearly worse for Arkadij, the commentarors (by the time, Nigel Short and Ian Gustafsson had been joined by Peter-Heine Nielsen, Levon Aronian, and Fabiano Caruana) started to make jokes on what was happening on the board. But suddenly Naiditsch began to play like a machine, while Magnus has lost the thread. In a mutual time-trouble that followed, the things turned around completely. White's once dubious position became winning, and the German GM managed to get the revenge, although not without adventures, almost inevitable when using the added seconds only. The 1-1 score meant that 2 blitz games 5'+2" were to follow.

There is no surprise that the blitz encounters were also far from ideal chess. Yet, the parity has been kept - both of them were drawn.

The last playing day in Baden-Baden was the real maraphon running for more than 9 hours. By the finish, Nigel Short has emptied more than one glass of wine.

The fate of the first place had thus to be decided in the Armageddon duel, in which Black had 6 minites against White's 5, with the increment of 2 seconds which is somewhat unusual for this mode. The point was the same as in any Armageddon: the draw would be equal to a win for Black, but Arkadij Naiditsch, who got the black pieces, has apparently run out of his strength by the time. After the inaccurate 22...Qb4 followed by the crazy 23...Bc5?? the game was decided in favour of the World Champion.

So, Magnus Carlsen has scored his yet another tournament victory. As for Naiditsch, he was really close to turning from just an uncomfortable opponent (he had beaten Carlsen in their two latest classical encounters) into the real nemesis for the World Champion. Who knows when he will get his next chance for that...

The Baden-Baden tournament was being covered live from start to finish by the Norwegian TV2 channel, and the first thing Magnus would do after the end of every game was to give a commentary for the fans of his native country. That's what he said yesterday after the fight was over, according to Norwegian journalist Tarjei J. Svensen:
'Now I am just going to relax, probably I won't be able to sleep...' 

All the games of this extraordinary playoff match can be replayed below in the viewer.

[Event "GRENKE Chess Classic tiebreak"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2015.02.09"] [Round "1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E14"] [WhiteElo "2865"] [BlackElo "2706"] [Annotator "Robot 4"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "GER"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Nbd2 b6 5. a3 Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 O-O 7. e3 Bb7 8. b4 a5 9. Bb2 axb4 10. axb4 Ne4 11. Qc2 Rxa1+ 12. Bxa1 Qe7 13. c5 f5 14. Be2 Nc6 15. Bc3 bxc5 16. dxc5 Ra8 17. O-O Nxc3 18. Qxc3 Qf6 19. Qd2 Rd8 20. b5 Ne5 21. Nxe5 Qxe5 22. c6 Bc8 23. Rd1 d5 24. Qd4 Qxd4 25. exd4 Kf8 26. f4 Ke7 27. Ra1 g6 28. Kf2 Kd6 29. Ra3 Rf8 30. h4 Ke7 31. h5 Rg8 32. hxg6 hxg6 33. Rh3 g5 34. fxg5 Kd6 35. Rh6 Ke7 36. Bf3 e5 37. Rh7+ Kd6 38. dxe5+ Kc5 39. Rxc7 Kxb5 40. Bxd5 1-0 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic tiebreak"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2015.02.09"] [Round "2"] [White "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C49"] [WhiteElo "2706"] [BlackElo "2865"] [Annotator "Robot 4"] [PlyCount "135"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "GER"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 d6 7. Bg5 Ne7 8. Re1 c6 9. Ba4 Ng6 10. Bb3 h6 11. Bd2 Bg4 12. h3 Bh5 13. g3 d5 14. Kg2 d4 15. Ne2 Bxf3+ 16. Kxf3 Bxd2 17. Qxd2 Nd7 18. a3 Kh8 19. Kg2 Nc5 20. Ba2 f5 21. exf5 Rxf5 22. Rf1 Qf6 23. f4 Rf8 24. Rae1 h5 25. Rf3 h4 26. g4 Nxf4+ 27. Kh2 Rg5 28. Nxf4 exf4 29. b4 Nd7 30. Re6 Qd8 31. Qe1 Rb5 32. a4 Rb6 33. Re7 Nf6 34. Qxh4+ Nh7 35. Be6 Rf6 36. Bf5 Rh6 37. Qe1 Qd6 38. Re8+ Nf8 39. Qe7 Qxe7 40. Rxe7 Rxb4 41. Re8 Rf6 42. Rxf4 g6 43. g5 Rf7 44. Rh4+ Kg7 45. Be4 Rb2 46. Kg3 Rxc2 47. Rf4 Rc5 48. h4 Ra5 49. Rxf7+ Kxf7 50. Rb8 b5 51. Rb7+ Ke6 52. axb5 cxb5 53. Kf4 Ra2 54. Rxb5 Rf2+ 55. Kg3 Re2 56. Ra5 Nd7 57. Ra6+ Ke7 58. Bxg6 Ne5 59. Be4 Nxd3 60. Bxd3 Re3+ 61. Kf4 Rxd3 62. h5 Rh3 63. h6 d3 64. Rxa7+ Ke6 65. Ra6+ Kf7 66. g6+ Ke7 67. g7 d2 68. g8=Q 1-0 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic tiebreak"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2015.02.09"] [Round "3"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E14"] [WhiteElo "2865"] [BlackElo "2706"] [Annotator "Robot 4"] [PlyCount "72"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "GER"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Nbd2 b6 5. e3 Bb7 6. Bd3 c5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 O-O 9. a3 Be7 10. b4 a5 11. b5 d5 12. Bb2 Nbd7 13. a4 Rc8 14. Rc1 dxc4 15. Nxc4 Nd5 16. g3 Nb4 17. Be2 Na2 18. Ra1 Bxf3 19. Bxf3 Rxc4 20. Rxa2 Nf6 21. Bc6 Nd5 22. Qe2 Rb4 23. Rd1 Rb3 24. Kg2 Qd6 25. Qc2 Qb4 26. Rda1 Rc8 27. Ba3 Qc3 28. Qxc3 Rxc3 29. Bxd5 Rxa3 30. Rxa3 Bxa3 31. Bxe6 fxe6 32. Rxa3 Rc4 33. Kf3 Rxd4 34. Rc3 Rxa4 35. Rc6 Kf7 36. Rxb6 Rb4 {Ke4} 1/2-1/2 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic tiebreak"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2015.02.09"] [Round "4"] [White "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2706"] [BlackElo "2865"] [Annotator "Robot 4"] [PlyCount "136"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "GER"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. c4 Ke8 10. Nc3 Be6 11. b3 Be7 12. Ne4 Rd8 13. Bb2 h5 14. Rad1 b5 15. Nfg5 Bxg5 16. Nxg5 a6 17. Bc3 c5 18. Rxd8+ Kxd8 19. Rd1+ Ke7 20. Ne4 bxc4 21. Nxc5 cxb3 22. axb3 Rb8 23. b4 Rb6 24. Kf1 Bc4+ 25. Ke1 Bb5 26. f3 h4 27. Kf2 Rc6 28. Bb2 Ke8 29. Rc1 Ne7 30. Nb3 Nd5 31. Rxc6 Bxc6 32. Ba3 Nf4 33. g3 Nd3+ 34. Ke3 hxg3 35. hxg3 Nxe5 36. Kf4 Nxf3 37. Bb2 f6 38. Nd4 Ne1 39. Ke3 Bd5 40. Ke2 Ng2 41. Kf2 Kd7 42. Bc3 g6 43. Nf3 g5 44. Bxf6 Bxf3 45. Kxf3 Ne1+ 46. Ke2 Nc2 47. Bxg5 Nxb4 48. Bf4 Nd5 49. Bd2 Ke6 50. Kd3 Nf6 51. Bc1 Kd5 52. Bg5 Ng4 53. Kc3 c5 54. Kb3 Kc6 55. Ka4 Ne5 56. Ka5 Kb7 57. Bh6 Nc6+ 58. Ka4 c4 59. g4 Kc8 60. Bg7 Kd7 61. Bf6 Ke6 62. g5 Kf5 63. Ka3 Ne5 64. Kb4 a5+ 65. Kc3 a4 66. Bxe5 Kxe5 67. Kxc4 Kf5 68. Kb4 Kxg5 1/2-1/2 [Event "GRENKE Chess Classic tiebreak"] [Site "Baden-Baden"] [Date "2015.02.09"] [Round "5"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B91"] [WhiteElo "2865"] [BlackElo "2706"] [Annotator "Robot 4"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "GER"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. g3 e5 7. Nde2 Be7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Nbd7 10. a4 b6 11. Nd5 Nxd5 12. Qxd5 Rb8 13. Nc3 Nf6 14. Qd3 Be6 15. Qxa6 Qc7 16. Qe2 Bc4 17. Qf3 Bxf1 18. Bxf1 d5 19. exd5 e4 20. Qf5 Rbd8 21. Bf4 Qc5 22. Rd1 Qb4 23. Be5 Bc5 24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Nxe4 Qxb2 26. Bd3 Rfe8 27. Nxf6+ Kf8 28. Nxh7+ Ke7 29. Re1+ Kd6 30. Qf4+ Kxd5 31. Nf6+ Kc6 32. Nxe8 1-0


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