Ivanchuk beats Caruana in 3rd round Biel

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Ivanchuk beats CaruanaIn the third round of Biel, Vassily Ivanchuk outplayed Fabiano Caruana in an ending with rooks and opposite-coloured bishops. The Ukrainian is now half a point behind Alexander Morozevich, who drew with Black against Vachier-Lagrave. Boris Gelfand and Evgeny Alekseev also shared the point.
Ivanchuk beats Caruana in round 3 | Photo courtesy of the tournament website.

The Biel Chess Festival takes place July 18 to 31 in Biel, Switzerland. The Grandmaster Tournament is a six-player round-robin with Gelfand (2755), Morozevich (2751), Alekseev (2714), Vachier-Lagrave (2703), Ivanchuk (2703) and Caruana (2670).

Round 3

With the black pieces things went less smoothly for Alexander Morozevich, who was put under a bit of pressure by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The young Frenchman answered the Russian's Najdorf with the solid but annoying 6.Be3 + 7.Nf3 system and perhaps caught by surprise, Morozevich avoided theory with the rare move 7...Nc6 (where 7...Be7, 7...Qc7, 7...Be6, 7...h6 and even 7...b5 and 7...Nbd7 are more common). In the following ending it turned out that Black's doubled e-pawn wasn't a big problem.

The Ragozin defence seems to be in excellent shape, as Evgeny Alekseev proved in his Black game against Boris Gelfand. The Russian gained easy equality and even had the slightly better game in the final position. Viacheslav Ragozin (1908-1962), who played many secret training matches with Botvinnik, had an experimental style and liked to sacrifice pawns for the initiative. These days White players know how to avoid real danger, but getting an advantage against his defence is still not an easy task.

As so often, Vassily Ivanchuk picked up an old line and proved that there's more to it. Against Caruana he decided to try the Four Knights but the young Italian was well prepared and went for the critical line in which Black plays in Ragozin style. (When John Nunn had the Four Knights on his repertoire for a while, at the end of his career, he scored a 1/2 ot of 3 in this line, admittely against world-class opposition: Kamsky, Piket and Polgar).

Instead of the more popular 8.f4 (which was also Nunn's choice back in '94) Ivanchuk went for 8.Nf3 and then Caruana probably didn't chose the critical continuation. Ivanchuk kept his extra pawn until reaching an RB-RB ending (opposite-coloured bishops) and just kept on pressing. Perhaps Black could hold the ending but it was certainly not easy and just after reaching first time control Caruana found himself in a lost position.

Games round 3

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Biel Chess Festival 2009 | GM Tournament | Round 3 Standings Biel 2009

Biel Chess Festival 2009 | Schedule & results Schedule and results Biel 2009


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