Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 8

Wojtaszek beats the leader, Topalov, Karjakin and So close up on Mamedyarov

After my lamentations about the "drawing of lots" after the round 7, the players return to the well-throden paths in Vugar Gashimov memorial 2017 round 8.

In the elite chess tournaments the name of the Radoslaw Wojtaszek is not that often in the centre of events. Sure, he is often invited and participating, but for most people he is better known as Anand's second than as elite competitor.

However, in round 8 he showed why Anand hired him as he displayed one of the best pieces of opening preparation I have seen recently.

In a sharp variation of the Grünfeld he introduced the idea of GM Gajewsky (who also worked for Anand). It would appear that the 16 Qh4! idea basically refutes the whole 14... Nb4 line (see the analysis of the game below for more details).

Wojtaszek's win has complicated the tournament situation. Before the round Mamedyarov was in comfortable position, but now three players are only half a point apart.

Sergey Karjakin is one of those players. After having a quiet, but solid tournament, in round 8 he managed to beat Eljanov in Carlsen-like-style, in an equal endgame where he had two bishops versus a rook and two pawns.

However, Eljanov, probably distressed after his previous games against Mamedyarov and against Topalov, went on to give up a pawn on the kingside for nothing. After that moment, it is doubtful if he could have saved himself:

Vladimir Kramnik can also be content after round 8 as after suffering two consecutive loses in the middle of the tournament he managed to bounce back to 50 % with a convincing win against Adams (where he didn't give up on playing 1 e4 and Italian game).

With one round to go, it will be intersting to see the strategy of the players and whether anyone will risk playing for a win. Mamedyarov has White against Topalov, while So and Karjakin have the black pieces.

We can only wait and see.

Wojtaszek - Mamedyarov, game analysis

[pgn eo=t pfr=/pgn4web ss=40 h=600][Event "Vugar Gashimov Mem 2017"] [Site "Shamkir AZE"] [Date "2017.04.29"] [Round "8"] [White "Wojtaszek, R."] [Black "Mamedyarov, S."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A15"] [WhiteElo "2745"] [BlackElo "2772"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2017.04.20"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Qb3 Nb6 6. d4 Bg7 {[pgndiagram] I am not sure whether to classify the opening as an Anti Grünfeld or Grünfled,
since this position can arise from both 1 c4 and 1 d4. But I guess it doesn't
really matter anyway} 7. e4 $5 {And this move is already not the move played
most often} (7. Bf4 Be6 8. Qa3 {Is what consistutes a main line. White keeps
the option of solidifying the centre with e3} Nc6 9. e3 O-O 10. Rc1 {With some
advantage}) 7... Bg4 {Logical. Black plays against the d4 point} 8. Bb5+ {
[pgndiagram] Entering a theoretical discussion. The point of this check is to
induce the pawn on c6, instead of a knight} (8. d5 {Is double edged, as it
gives Black the possibility of undermining the centre with either c6 or e6} O-O
9. Be2 c6) (8. Ng5 O-O 9. Be2 Bxe2 10. Nxe2 Nc6 {This is the point of the
bishop check. On c6 Black's knight is much more active}) (8. a4 {Is inferior
line} Bxf3 9. gxf3 Nc6 (9... Bxd4 10. a5 {Loses}) 10. d5 Nd4 11. Qd1 e5 {And
Black has a good position}) 8... c6 9. Ng5 O-O 10. Be2 Bxe2 11. Nxe2 {
Everything here was played before. This is a risky line for White because he
delays his development and violates basic opening principles. However, modern
chess is much more concrete than that} Na6 (11... h6 {Actually there is no
point of playing this move when the queen is not on h3} 12. Nf3 N8d7 13. Be3)
12. Qh3 {[pgndiagram] Fighting for an opening advantage} (12. Be3 Qd6 {With
the idea of Qb4} 13. O-O Qb4 {And Black has fully equalized}) 12... h6 $1 {Now
this move cuts the queen off} 13. Nf3 h5 (13... Qd7 $5 {Was worth considering}
14. Qh4 h5 {The threat is Qg4} 15. O-O {And with White giving up on attack,
Black should be fine} (15. Rg1 Qg4 {Is plain bad for White})) 14. Rg1 {Now
this is very dangerous} Nb4 $2 {[pgndiagram] Amazingly, but it would appear
that this natural move is the decisive mistake} (14... Nd7 {Was played twice
by GM Emil Sutovsky and it would appear that this is the correct defence.
Black heads for f6} 15. e5 (15. g4 {Is inferior} hxg4 16. Rxg4 Nf6 17. Rh4 Qc8)
15... Nb4 16. g4 Nc2+ 17. Kf1 Nxe5 18. Nxe5 Bxe5 19. gxh5 Qc8 20. Rg4 Qf5 21.
dxe5 Rad8 22. hxg6 {[pgndiagram] And Black probably can draw this with correct
defence. It is another matter of finding it over the board. Note how White's
whole queenside is not developed. So much for the opening principles for you.}
fxg6 (22... Rd1+ {Sutovsky played this move and lost, Cheparinov - Sutovsky,
Poikovsky 2013}) 23. Nf4 Rd1+ 24. Ke2 Re1+ {Leads to a draw} 25. Kd2 Rd8+ 26.
Kc3 Nxa1 27. Rxg6+ Qxg6 28. Nxg6 Rxc1+ 29. Kb4 Rd4+ 30. Ka3 Nc2+ 31. Kb3 Na1+ {
I couldn't force myself to shorten this beautiful computer line}) 15. g4 Qd7
16. Qh4 $1 {[pgndiagram] This is the idea of GM Gajewski. Very strong} Nc2+ {
Once you said A you have to say B..} (16... Bf6 {Is a line that should be
analyzed, but it seems that Black is lost all the same} 17. Bg5 Nc2+ (17...
Bxg5 18. Qxg5 {Is dangerous}) 18. Kf1 Bxg5 (18... hxg4 19. Rxg4 Nxa1 20. Bxf6
exf6 21. Ng3) 19. Qxg5 {And it is all over}) (16... hxg4 {Was played earlier
and Black got crushed} 17. Rxg4 Rfd8 18. Kf1 {Lupulesku - Nedilko, Legnica 2013
}) 17. Kf1 Nxd4 (17... Nxa1 {Is losing and I think you can very much rely to
your intuition here.} 18. gxh5 {And Black must get crushed}) (17... Bf6 {
Doesn't help; White has multiple tactical possibilities in every direction} 18.
Bg5 Nxa1 19. gxh5 Bg7 20. h6 Bf6 21. h7+ Kh8 22. Bxf6+ {[pgndiagram]} exf6 23.
Qxf6+ Kxh7 24. Ng5+ Kg8 25. Ne6 {[pgndiagram] And wins} Qxe6 26. Rxg6+ fxg6 27.
Qxe6+) 18. Nexd4 Bxd4 19. gxh5 Bf6 20. Bg5 Bxb2 21. Re1 {[pgndiagram] Now
White simply has an overwhelming position. Check the difference in activity of
the pieces} Qd3+ 22. Kg2 f6 23. Bh6 g5 24. Nxg5 {[pgndiagram] "In such a
position, sacrifices are as natural as baby's smile"} Rf7 (24... fxg5 25. Qxg5+
Kh8 26. Bxf8 {Is game over}) (24... Kh8 {Was slightly more resilient} 25. Bxf8
Rxf8 {And now there is only one move to win} 26. Qh3 (26. Nf3 $4 {[pgndiagram] It is never too late to lose a game of chess} Rg8+ 27. Kh3 Qxf3+ 28. Rg3)) 25.
Nxf7 Kxf7 {Now White has the material advantage that adds up to his attacking
position} 26. Re3 Qc2 27. Rg3 Bd4 28. Rg7+ Ke6 29. Qg4+ Kd6 30. Be3 Bxe3 31.
Qg3+ {A brilliant game by Wojtaszek, even if much of it was cooked at home.}

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