Dortmund R9: three draws, one heroic fight

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
With one more round to go, Kramnik still leads the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund. The Russian is half a point ahead of Carlsen, Leko and Jakovenko after all games ended in a draw in round 9. Don't miss the game between Jakovenko and Kramnik - a great fight!

The Sparkassen Chess Meeting takes place July 2-12 in Dortmund, Germany. Carlsen, Jakovenko, Kramnik, Leko, Bacrot and Naiditsch play a double round-robin. The rate of play is 40 moves in 100 minutes + 50 minutes for 20 moves + 15 minutes to end the game with 30 seconds increment per move from the start.

Round 9

At just half a point behind the leader (together with Carlsen and Leko), Jakovenko tried his best against Kramnik and fearlessly played for a win. Kramnik went for his 6...Bd6 Petroff for the third time and deviating from Bacrot's 19.Rf2 from two days ago, the youngest and highest rated of the two Russian top grandmasters then tried a bold exchange sacrifice that had its effect: a strong bishop and a passed pawn held Kramnik as with his back against the wall.

But Kramnik is Kramnik and he found the strong plan of advancing his queenside pawns and letting his queen's rook join the defence, giving back the exchange. (Before that both players overlooked the instantly winning 33...Rd7.) In timetrouble Jakovenko survived a counterattack and then Kramnik missed one more possibility to create problems for his opponent. Instead the players reached a drawn rook ending. All in all just an awesome draw!

The other two players who still had a chance to win the tournament, Leko and Carlsen, both played with the black pieces. Against Naiditsch, Carlsen went for the Sveshnikov and sacrificed his a-pawn for strong counterplay along the f-file. Naiditsch reacted well and after some tactics and some exchanges, the resulting ending was a dead draw.

The game between Bacrot and Leko ended abruptly; in a typical Hedgehog position where Black had just thrown in his ...b5 break, the players already agreed to a draw on move 17.

Tomorrow at 13.00 CET is the last round and it's safe to say that Kramnik is very, very close to his 9th title, as he plays Naiditsch with White. Carlsen must beat Bacrot with White and hope for a miracle, while in Leko-Jakovenko both players still have a chance as well and therefore... a draw is a good bet there.

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