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Four Draws In Dortmund; Wojtaszek Almost There

Four Draws In Dortmund; Wojtaszek Almost There

He had more reason not to be fully satisfied with his play, but Radoslaw Wojtaszek nonetheless leads the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund with one round to go. The Polish grandmaster was doing well, but let Matthias Bluebaum escape in the endgame.

Wojtaszek in his game with Bluebaum. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Saturday saw four draws, making the drawing percentage as high as 83.3 percent. Wojtaszek is still in the lead and has the luxury of playing White tomorrow. His chances are good but not as high as Chris Froome's.

The first tiebreak rule (number of games with Black) is not bad for the Polish GM as he played Black four times. The second is a number of wins; the third is Sonneborn-Berger. 

With six players trailing Wojtaszek by half a point anything can happen, except for one thing: Kramnik winning his 11th title.

2017 Sparkassen Chess Meeting | Round 6 Results

Fed Name Rtg Pts Result Pts Fed Name Rtg
Matthias Bluebaum 2642 ½ - ½ 3 Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2736
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 2683 ½ - ½ Dmitry Andreikin 2712
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2791 ½ - ½ Vladimir Fedoseev 2726
Wang Yue 2699 ½ - ½ 2 Vladimir Kramnik 2812

There are still three players who have drawn all their games, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is one of them. The Frenchman-with-two-names came rather close to a win today, but Vladimir Fedoseev was as slippery as an eel.

MVL's Two Knights Caro-Kann didn't look so dangerous at first, especially when he lost his bishop pair. Still, he brought a good novelty and at some point, he won a pawn, but from that point, Fedoseev defended wonderfully. 39.Kg3(xg4) was probably winning, but one can hardly blame Vachier-Lagrave for missing 39...Be5+! after which the white king couldn't join the action.

39...Be5+! saved the day for Fedoseev.

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Close, but no cigar for MVL. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Radek Wojtaszek will have similar feelings as he had yesterday. On the one hand he kept his lead in the standings, but on the other hand, his play could be improved upon.

This time the tournament leader was on his way to winning an excellent game with the black pieces. A great king walk into the enemy territory should have been the reward for his excellent opening preparation.

But then, instead of grabbing pawn he decided to win a piece for two pawns. Matthias Bluebaum's rook became too active, and the material was too reduced for Black to have any winning chances.

"I was so glad when my opponent advanced the a-pawn, that was my salvation," Bluebaum said. "This is how the tournament goes. There are a lot of winning chances, but everything ends in a draw," said Wojtaszek.

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Wojtaszek played strongly today, but it just wasn't enough. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Vladimir Kramnik is still on minus one after yet another draw. He didn't play his Semi-Tarrasch today but 4...Be7, in an attempt to keep some winning chances. However, 9...cxd4 simplified the position quite a bit, and in fact, Wang Yue maintained a small advantage also after the trade of queens.

The game became quite interesting when Kramnik decided to give up his a-pawn, and go for a dangerous play on the kingside. Eventually, this led to a repetition of moves at the first time control.

"I've tried everything to play for a win with Black," said Kramnik. "However, I am not disappointed about the outcome, because I didn't spoil anything."

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A nice clash between two masters of dynamic endgames. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu vs Dmitry Andreikin was not a bad game either. It started from the very first few moves, where Andreikin seemed to be going for the Pirc, but two moves after playing ...d6 he went ...d5. It made a lot of sense though, as he was trying to play the 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 line but with his bishop already on g4.

"Yesterday I missed a big chance, so that's why I tried everything today," Andreikin explained his opening choice.

The players went from the opening right into the endgame, which had a few twists as well. Shortly before move 40, the position reached dynamic equality.

"We both tried to win and I was a bit better in the endgame, but it was not enough," said Nisipeanu.

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Yet again Andreikin showed some interesting opening play. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

2017 Sparkassen Chess Meeting | Round 6 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2736 2788 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.5/6
2 Bluebaum,Matthias 2642 2724 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 3.0/6 9.25
3 Vachier Lagrave,Maxime 2791 2717 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/6 9.00
4 Andreikin,Dmitry 2712 2716 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/6 9.00
5 Fedoseev,Vladimir 2726 2729 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/6 8.75
6 Wang Yue 2699 2729 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/6 8.75
7 Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter 2683 2730 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/6 8.75
8 Kramnik,Vladimir 2812 2667 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 2.5/6


The 45th Sparkassen Chess Meeting takes place July 15-23 in the Orchesterzentrum NRW in Dortmund, Germany. 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 final round, two hours earlier on Sunday at 13:00 CEST (7:15 a.m. New York, 4:15 a.m. Pacific), are Kramnik - Bluebaum, Fedoseev - Wang Yue, Andreikin - Vachier-Lagrave, and Wojtaszek - Nisipeanu. You can follow the games in Live Chess.


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