Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Drawish in Dortmund

| Permalink | 12 comments

Well, we had a few nice opening stunners in the first round of Dortmund, but all four games ceded to entropy by the end of the round. Vladimir Kramnik played the Grunfeld for the first time in his life in a serious game. (For a minute on ICC Chess.FM GM Nick de Firmian and I were wondering if they live games broadcast had accidentally swapped the names with the Ivanchuk-van Wely game.) Gustafsson didn't press the issue and they agreed a draw just a few moves beyond a game Kramnik played against Svidler with white last year. Was Kramnik hoping for a win with black against the lowest-rated player or was he just messing with Anand's head? If he trots out the Najdorf later in the event we'll know it's the latter. Nepomniachtchi played the wild Grischuk move 10..g5 against Naiditsch in the most interesting game of the round. As so often happens, however, they found a clever way to reach a forced repetition of position. Black could have avoided it with the very hairy 25..Qc1!? 26.Bb3 Qxb2 27.Qxb2 Bxb2 28.c5 risking mate to keep the piece. Even the computer doesn't come out of this with a plus for Black.

Mamedyarov-Leko barely got out of theory in a temporary pawn sac line of the Nimzo that Leko held confidently. Ivanchuk looked hard for a small plus in a heavy piece endgame against van Wely, but there wasn't anything to be found. He played a typical "why not?" Chucky move in the opening, putting the "wrong rook" on d1 and playing on the queenside. (While looking at related games in the database I found Zontakh-Savanovic, 1998. Not a great game, but the position after White's 24th move is classic stuff. Game below.)

Four draws. Not exactly a shocker when you swap players like Topalov, Carlsen, and Aronian for Kramnik, Leko, and Mamedyarov (who fluctuates between goofball openings and drawish conservatism). Playing for small advantages is a style thing and therefore a matter of preference, not quality. But there is no questioning the fact that it also produces fewer mistakes and therefore fewer decisive games. Only 10 games of 32 were decisive at Dortmund last year. And that with Alekseev, Carlsen, and Anand in the field and Kramnik scoring three wins. Maybe it's all the beer. Solely based on the large rating mismatches this year you'd expect more decisive games this time. In 2007 Naiditsch was the lowest-rated player by a wide margin at 2654. This year he's at 2624 with Nepomniachtchi ten points above him and Gustafsson 20 points below.

I got 2-to-1 odds from Nick taking Kramnik to win a share of first against the rest of the field. I probably should have pushed for 3-to-1 since Kramnik only has three whites this year. But +2 should do the trick this year for clear first.

Round 2: Kramnik-van Wely, Gustafsson-Naiditsch, Leko-Ivanchuk, Nepomniachtchi-Mamedyarov.

[Event "YUG-chT"]
[Site "Vrnjacka Banja"]
[Date "1998.??.??"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Zontakh, Andrey"]
[Black "Savanovic, Aleksandar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B85"]
[WhiteElo "2545"]
[BlackElo "2435"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "1998.08.??"]
[EventType "team"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "YUG"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4
O-O 9. a4 Nc6 10. Be3 Qc7 11. Kh1 Re8 12. Bf3 Bf8 13. Qd2 Rb8 14. Rad1 Nd7 15.
Qf2 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. e5 b4 19. Ne4 d5 20. Ng5 Ba6 21. Bh5 g6
22. f5 exf5 23. Qh4 Nxe5 24. Rxf5 f6 25. Rxf6 gxh5 26. Rxa6 Qxc2 27. Qxh5 Rb7
28. Rf1 Rbe7 29. Bxe5 Rxe5 30. Qf7+ Kh8 31. Ne6 Qc8 32. Qf6+ Kg8 33. Qxe5 Qxa6
34. Rxf8+ 1-0


Well to be fair Kramnik chose a very sharp opening and his opponent went for a drawish main line, so any complaints towards him are misdirected! I say he wanted a win, and at the same time not to reveal anything to Anand. He probably isn't taking this tourney too seriously anyway. Quite curious as to what other new lines he will play.

go Gusti!

Are the new statistics at the FIDE website valid for Kramnik? 29 games with White, 52% wins, 45% draws. 28 games with Black, 0% wins, 93% draws.



Not exactly stellar games this round. Ivanchuck's play looked very dodgy and soon he was just a piece down with imaginary counterchances. Naiditsch put up little resistance, murdered in ca 20 moves without the ghost of counterplay. Kramnik played well but he got little resistance too! Bb4 and h6 are pretty poor moves in these positions.Hope better is to come.

Why do they have a rest day after two rounds? what are they resting for?

Well, they've been playing chess, and they are going to play more chess later. That's why a day of rest comes in nicely. It is not necessary, but there is no downside to it either, so why not?

chesshire cat, how can black ever get away with _not_ playing ..h6 in "these positions", if White just plays his plan? ..Bb4 was apparently not very good, as it turns out, but it took some ingenuity to show why.

Can't say too much about Lékó-Ivanchuk, but I'm happy for Péter, who dominated from beginning to end, and might now be the favourite to win the whole thing. Naiditsch obviously went down in flames quickly, but that was Gustafsson being finely rewarded for a very nice novelty (?). Of course I don't see why a Petroff where Black produces a fine novelty to get an easy draw in 23 is any less interesting.

dunno, seems like it'll just disrupt the flow. the winners would like to press on, while the losers would be keen to return to the fray.

Ok, maybe. I don't know for sure what the players think, but I doubt they have much against it. Personally, I don't mind at all.

That is such a relief.

The rest day was scheduled to give Mig extra time to post his Day Two report.

I imagine the rest day was to enable everyone to recover from celebrating Germany's success in Euro 2008 properly.

Didn't pan out.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 28, 2008 5:33 PM.

    Dortmund 2008 Begins was the previous entry in this blog.

    1st, 2nd, and 3rd Blood in Dortmund is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.