22 November 2008

Feasting at Dresden

Saturday morning, 8:35am Pacific Standard Time

It is late afternoon in Dresden, Germany where the Chess Olympiad is taking place. On the Playchess server there are more than three dozen games still in progress, and many others that have finished. While players in my time zone in the 1970s had to wait several days for the arrival of the New York Times and its chess column to see the results of such events, today we watch the games live thanks to the internet and DGT boards.

I'm trying to watch two games.

Kramnik-Ivanchuk started as a Nimzo-Indian, classical variation

Kramnik Vladimir (2772) - Ivanchuk Vassily (2786) [E32]
Chess Olympiad 2008 Dresden (9.3), 22.11.2008

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0–0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d6 7.f3 c5 8.dxc5 dxc5 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bf4 Nc6 11.Rd1 Qa5 12.Bd2 Qa4 13.e3 e5 14.Ra1 Re8 15.Ne2 Bf5 16.b3 Qa6 17.Ng3 Bg6 18.Be2 Qb6 19.0–0 a5 20.Rfd1 Nh7 21.Be1 Ng5 22.Rd5 Ne6 23.Rad1 a4 24.b4 cxb4 25.axb4 Nf4 26.Rd6 Nxe2+ 27.Nxe2 Red8 28.b5 Rxd6 29.Rxd6 Qc7

Carlsen-Beliavsky began as a Closed Spanish

Carlsen Magnus (2786) - Beliavsky Alexander G (2619) [C84]
Chess Olympiad 2008 Dresden (9.12), 22.11.2008

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.d3 d6 7.c3 0–0 8.Re1 Bg4 9.h3 Bh5 10.Nbd2 Nd7 11.Nf1 Nc5 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.g4 Bg6 14.Ng3 Ne6 15.Kg2 c5 16.Rh1 f6 17.h4 d5 18.c4 dxe4 19.dxe4 Qxd1 20.Rxd1 Rfd8 21.Be3 Nd4 22.Rd2 Bf7 23.Rc1 Rab8 24.Ne1 a5 25.Nd3 Be6 26.f3 a4 27.Nf5 Bf8 28.Bf2 Nc6 29.Rcc2 Bf7 30.Ne3 Nd4 31.Rc1 Ne6 32.Rcd1

Thinking with my Engine

I thought Carlsen was doing well, but Hiarcs 12 had a half-pawn advantage for Black.

Black to move

Black's doubled pawns immediately appear as a weakness, but so does White's cramped position.

32...Rd4 33.Kh2 Rbd8 34.Nd5 Rxc4 35.b3 axb3 36.axb3 Rd4 37.Bxd4 Nxd4 38.Kg2 Nxb3 39.Rb2 c6

Meanwhile, Kramnik is nursing a small advantage.

After 29...Qc7

30.c5 Na5 31.Qb4 Nb3 32.c6

... back to Carlsen-Beliavsky

40.Ne3 c4 41.Nf2 Nd4 42.Rb7 c3 43.Rd3

Beliavsky's doubled c-pawns are rolling, but probably won't get much further. Hiarcs 12 has the game as even now.

43...c2 44.Nxc2 c5

...back to Kramnik-Ivanchuk

32...bxc6 33.b6 Qb7 34.Nc3 Na1 35.Qc5 a3 36.Qxc6 Qxc6 37.Rxc6 Rb8 38.Nd5 Nb3 39.Bc3 a2

40.Bxe5 f6 41.Bc3

... back to Carlsen-Beliavsky

45.Rd2 Ra8 46.Ne3 c4 47.Nfd1 Ne6

Move by move, Carlsen's position gets better. That Wunderkind will be the World Champion in a few years.

48.Rdb2 h5 49.Rb8 Ra3

Hiarcs 12 has 0.50, slight advantage for White

50.Rc8 hxg4 51.fxg4 Kh7 52.Rb7 Bg6 53.Rxc4 Nc5 54.Rbb4 Ra2+ 55.Kg3 Rd2

and the game is looking even, albeit complicated

56.h5 Bf7 57.Rc2 Rd4 58.Rxd4 exd4 59.Nf5

...back to Kramnik-Ivanchuk

Both players managed to promote pawns, and Ivanchuk forced a draw by repetition.

41...Bf7 42.e4 Bxd5 43.exd5 Na5 44.Rc5 Nb3 45.Rc6 Na5 46.Rc5 Nb3 47.Rb5 Rc8 48.b7 Rxc3 49.b8Q+ Kh7 50.Rxb3 a1Q+ 51.Rb1 Rc1+ 52.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 53.Kf2 Qd2+ 54.Kf1 Qd1+ ½–½

... back to Carlsen-Beliavsky

59...d3 60.Rb2 Nxe4+ 61.Kf4 Nc5 62.Nf2 g6 63.hxg6 Kxg6 64.Ke3 Be6 65.Nh4+ Kg5 66.Nf3+ Kg6

67.Rb6 Kf7 68.Rc6 Bd7 69.Rc7 Ke8 70.Nd4 Bh6+ 71.Kf3 Ne6 72.Nxe6 Bxe6 73.Nxd3 f5 74.gxf5 Bxf5 75.Ne5 Bf8 76.Ra7 Bd6 77.Nc4 Bh2 78.Ne3 Bd7 79.Ke4 Bg1

80.Ra8+ Kf7 81.Ra7 ½–½

Who was it that said draws were bad?

11:21am PST


  1. Hiya James,

    Such a long game for Carlsen yesterday.

    I just finished putting up today's Carlsen game. Rowson hang in there far too long.

    The notes are in the comments. Take a look here if you missed it. Was rather tense towards the end.

    Yesterday's opening of his Closed Ruy move sequence compared to others is in the images at the bottom of the page. Let me know what you think.

  2. Hi joco,

    I was watching Carlsen's game for a bit, but then got caught up unraveling a mystery invoving another game I'd glanced at. See today's post for that story.

    When I started watching Carlsen's game it looked even, but another complicated mess. Carlsen made better moves than Rowson, and White fell apart.