Biel R4: Younger and wiser

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BielIn the fourth round of the Young Grandmasters Tournament in Biel, the players showed their mature attitude by collectively avoiding too much risk.

Report and analyses by IM Robert Ris

With the help of a Tartakower Defence in a Queens Gambit Declined, Parimarjan Negi secured his first half point of the tournament. Against the Idian, tournament leader Wesley So avoided the critical line in this variarion by going for 11.Bxe7, whereas 11.Bg3 is the main line. The imbalanced feautures of knight vs bishop were soon gone when So opted for 18.Na4. The emerging ending didn't offer either side any prospects and hence on move 28 the players shook hands.

Hardly more inspiring was Evgeny Tomashevsky's effort to slay Fabiano Caruana's favorite Meran Defence. The rock-solid Russian tried to avoid the sharp theoretical lines with the modest 10.Bd2, but Caruana seemed well aware of all finesses in the position.

Here Caruana played the accurate 16...a5! to prevent White from playing b2-b4, burying the bishop on b7. Tomashevsky replied with the theoretically new move 17.Rac1, but it couldn't change the evaluation of this harmless line. Not surprisinlgy, the players decided to call it a day just four moves later.

In the encounter between Dmitry Andreikin and David Howell, the Englishman totally misplayed his beloved Grünfeld.

In a well-known line, Howell made the surprise move 11...Nb4?! which isn't likely to attract many followers. (11...Ne7 and 11...Na5 are the main moves, with the last one being played among others by Kasparov against Karpov in Amsterdam, 1988.) Andreikin anticipated strongly to this dubious concept: with natural developing moves, he forced Black's pieces to retreat until they lacked all coordination.

Howell desperately sacrificed a pawn, which was duly returned few moves later, as White's rooks entered powerfully on the 7th rank. In a very sad position for Black, it was Andreikin's turn to convert his advantage into his first full point.

25.Ng5! Bxg2 (25...fxg5 26.Bxe4 +-) 26.Nxh7! A strong intermediate move, threatening Nxf6+ and Rh7 mate. Black resigned four moves later.

In Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son vs. Maxim Rodsthein, the older watchers must have been relieved to see that the lessons of the legendary masters are not forgotten by the computer generation! The first 14 moves were copied from a classic: the twelfth match game Botvinnik-Smyslov, Moscow 1958, which was won by Mikhail Moiseevich.

In this position, Smyslov played 14..Qc7 with the idea Rfc8, but Rodshtein deviated with 14...Rc8, a move that was seen in another old game Ornstein-Ogaard from 1978. In fact, it is considered dubious by GM Marin. (Probably Smyslov was right after all, and Qc7 is the best move here.)

A few moves later, the Vietnamese didn't play Ornstein's brave attempt 17.Qxc8!? which needs to be carefully checked again. In the game, although White's a-pawn might have been quite annoying for Black, Truong Son's advantage was of marginal value. With precise play, Rodshtein managed to keep the balance and find a move repetition.

Last but certainly not least, there was the theoretical battle between Anish Giri and Maxime Vachier Lagrave. Perhaps fearing his opponent's thorough preparation, the World Junior Champion opted for a King's Indian instead of his usual Grünfeld. Giri was not impressed and obtained a pleasant edge, despite Vachier's improvement in the opening.

15...Nd4 This is better than 15...Bf6 which turned out to be somewhat better for White in Fressinet-Stellwagen, Novi Sad 2009.

However, Black's dynamic possibilities didn't really work out and so White's positional trumps started to count when he finally succeeded in bringing his kingside pieces into play again. However, suddenly Giri offered a draw in a position where his advantage was really starting to grow.

In the final position, White can play on without any risk and in fact Black's position seems very annoying to defend. Let's conclude it's just my silly opinion...

This round showed that the next generation may be young, but is also wise and knows all about the importance of sometimes taking a draw instead of going for broke. While this may be good for their development, let's hope for just a little more action in the rounds to come.

Standings after Round 4:

1. So 3 2. Tomashevski, Caruana, Andreikin 2,5 5. Vachier-Lagrave, Giri, Rodshtein, Truong Son 2 9. Howell 1 10. Negi 0,5

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

Biel Young Grandmasters Games round 4, analysed by Robert Ris

Game viewer by ChessTempo


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