Biel R2: Tough endgames for tough youngsters

RobertRis
IM RobertRis
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BielIn the second round of the Young Grandmasters Tournament in Biel, four of the five games ended in a draw. Hero of the day was Evgeny Tomashevsky, who managed to grind down Parimarjan Negi.

Report and analyses by IM Robert Ris

Like yesterday, the games in Biel all started quietly. In Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son-Howell, White opted for a Trompovsky opening, which is a brave choice against an Englishman. Various coffeehouse chessplayers have incorporated this uncompromising opening into their repertoire, though the Vietnamese clearly had other intentions by continuing in the more solid Colle style. From a strategical point of view, however, his opening plays deserves some criticism.



9.Bxf6?! It's hard to understand why White gives up his bishop voluntarily.

Howell equalized fairly easily after this, despite his huge time investment. This may explain why he overlooked 19...Qd7!, missing an opportunity to punish White for his primitive approach. Quickly after a mass of exchanges took place when neither side could hardly play for anything on.

An even shorter affair was the game between Caruana-Rodshtein, though it had important theoretical relevance. In a 7.Nf3/8.Be3 Grünfeld, the Israeli opted for the topical 8...Bg4, but soon the game returned to very well-known territory.



In this position, Rodshtein's 13...Nd7! is an important innovation in a line which was considered quite dubious for Black.

Caruana accepted the invitation by taking the pawn, but Black obtained sufficient compensation due to the weakened black squares. White didn't hesitate to return the pawn in order to mobilize his centre. Black might have prolonged the battle with 18...Nf6!?, but instead opted for liquidation which finally resulted in an unavoidable perpetual.

The third game saw an unusual Grünfeld/Slav hybrid in the duel between Wesley So and Maxime Vachier Lagrave. The Frenchman deviated from the common paths as early as move 8, but had to accept a slight edge for his opponent. The Philipino GM tried everything possible to extend his advantage, but Vachier didn't crack. On move 64 White stopped his efforts and offered a draw.

The most spectacular encounter of the day by far was the game Giri-Andreikin. The outcome of the opening must have satisfied Black, as Giri couldn't get anything with White. While White hesitated to execute an central thrust, Black quickly seized the initiative on the queenside. A complex middlegame arose, where Black certainly missed some chances.



Here Black took on f3, whereas 34...Qa5! would have remained better for Black.

Giri showed his tactical abilities and survived the complications. After the time-control Black had to defend a famous ending of rook against bishop with both sides having an h-pawn. Andreikin actually had an extra d-pawn, but as soon his king was driven to the edge, he correctly understood he had to give it up.



(Position after 67...Ke6)

This ending is reminiscent of Kasparov-Yusupov, Linares 1993 (in a mirrored position) and, more recently, Naiditsch-So, Corus 2010. (The famous Timman-Velimirovic, Rio de Janeiro 1979 ending was with pawns on a2 and a3.) Kasparov in fact could have won that Linares game, and it's instructive to see what Black has to avoid in this ending.

Kasparov-Yusupov Linares 1993



Here, Kasparov missed his chance with 102.Re7+? allowing the black king to escape. Instead, 102.Rd8!! was the correct way to proceed. White carefully needs to put Black into zugzwang: 102...Kc7 103.Rd4! (targeting a4) Kb7 104.Rd7+ Kc8 105.Kc6 Bc2 106.Rd4 Bb3 107.Kb6 and Black has no move.

Andreikin didn't let it come that far. On move 109, Giri abandoned the struggle and settled for the inevitable draw.

The only decisive game was Tomashevsky-Negi, with the Indian again as the victim. In a QGD with 5.Bf4, White obtained an edge typical for this variation. When Negi was finally close to equalize, he lost a pawn and had to suffer an unpleasant ending with a minus pawn. However, the Indian fought like a lion and accurately defended - until he missed a clear-cut way to draw.



Now, 64...Kf6 would have probably just been a draw, but unfortunately for Negi, he went for 64...Qe4+? after which he had to suffer for many more moves to come. The Russian Club-2700 member didn't give him another chance and on move 94, Negi had to resign.

Standings after Round 2:

1. Tomashevsky, So, Rodshtein 1,5 4. Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana, Giri, Andreikin, Truong Son 1 9. Howell 0,5 10. Negi 0

Games start daily at 14.00 CET, except July 25, which is a rest day.

Biel Young Grandmasters Games round 2, analysed by Robert Ris

Game viewer by ChessTempo


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