Andreikin Shows Endgame Magic Beyond Move 100
Dortmund's fourth round saw four fighting draws, with two games going beyond move 100. After a 7.5 hour battle Dmitry Andreikin managed to save an endgame with rook and two pawns vs two rooks against Matthias Bluebaum.
The start of the fourth round in Dortmund. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.
In the last two rounds the drawing percentage in Dortmund climbed to 81.2 percent, but the players cannot be accused of a lack of fighting spirit. After four interesting draws, Bluebaum and Wojtaszek are still tied for first place.
2017 Sparkassen Chess Meeting | Round 4 Results
|Matthias Bluebaum||2642||2||½ - ½||1½||Dmitry Andreikin||2712|
|Radoslaw Wojtaszek||2736||2||½ - ½||1½||Vladimir Fedoseev||2726|
|Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu||2683||1½||½ - ½||1||Vladimir Kramnik||2812|
|Maxime Vachier-Lagrave||2791||1½||½ - ½||1||Wang Yue||2699|
Matthias Bluebaum vs Dmitry Andreikin was without a doubt the game of the day. It was also the longest battle, lasting no less than seven and a half hours. The players agreed to a draw on move 121, two moves before a stalemate would appear on the board.
Andreikin was more than comfortable out of the opening, but in timetrouble he allowed his opponent to take over the initiative. By move 51 the game seemed to be getting close to an end, with Bluebaum reaching this position as White:
Few would have guessed that the game was only to begin here. It was not even halfway in number of moves.
Black lost his f-pawn but won White's remaining pawns, so it became RR vs R and passed g- and h-pawns. Then a transition followed, as White managed to win Harry, but Garry could walk a bit further.
Although the position has simplified, the win for White here is still incredibly difficult. Dejan Bojkov's annotations include a line from the tablebase starting with 87.Rg5, and ultimately leading to a win on move 110.
"At the start I thought it was a simple win," said Bluebaum. All the fans thought so too...
An incredible, 7.5 hour fight between Bluebaum and Andreikin. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.
Speaking of long games, Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Vladimir Fedoseev also crossed the 100-move mark, but 40 percent of their game consisted of Wojtaszek trying, in vain, to win a RN vs R endgame, from move 62 onwards.
There are some examples of this endgame finishing decisively (the most famous being Polgar-Kasparov, Dos Hermanas 1996), but usually the defending side reaches the draw relatively easily.
But, a professional player needs to try anyway, and there might have been a tiny bit of frustration as well for Wojtaszek. He had played an excellent game and was very close to victory earlier.
"I am a bit annoyed," the Polish GM said, "because I have spoilt a good win. Perhaps I only had this opportunity for one move, but that is enough." That moment was right after Fedoseev had missed the brilliant 43...Re5!! which draws beautifully.
Wojtaszek-Fedoseev, another game that went beyond move 100. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu vs Vladimir Kramnik was the shortest game of the round, but very interesting as well. The players got involved in a sharp line of the 4.Qc2 Nimzo-Indian that is known to lead to a draw by perpetual, but on move 12 Kramnik deviated as Black.
Whether it was the tournament situation, his fight for a qualification spot for the Candidates' tournament by rating (or both), Kramnik apparently felt the need to play for a win.
Nisipeanu's 17.Rfb1 was a novelty, although he probably wasn't aware of that as he started thinking much earlier. Eventually White won an exchange, but his king was weak. "I had overestimated my position, and underestimated his counterplay," said Nisipeanu.
A relatively quick but interesting draw. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is also still waiting for a win. Wang Yue successfully employed the Petroff, as he managed to surprise his opponent with the rare move 6...Bf5!?.
MVL played logical moves, but might have missed the beautiful 13...Nc3!! with which Wang forced an endgame that was completely fine for Black. Although he spent a bit of time on his opening moves, the Chinese GM admitted afterward that it had all been preparation.
Excellent prep and a beautiful knight move by Wang Yue. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.
2017 Sparkassen Chess Meeting | Round 4 Standings
The 45th Sparkassen Chess Meeting takes place 15-23 July, 2017 in the Orchesterzentrum NRW in Dortmund, Germany. 17 and 20 July are rest days. The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to end the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1.
The pairings for the fifth round, on Friday, are Wang Yue - Bluebaum, Kramnik - Vachier-Lagrave, Fedoseev - Nisipeanu, and Andreikin - Wojtaszek. You can follow the games each day starting from 15:15 CEST (9:15 a.m. New York, 6:15 Pacific) in Live Chess.