Live reporting: round 11

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Last update: 19.06 CET

The oh so o exciting last phase of the Corus Chess Tournament has begun. Three rounds to go, and three great ones, wow. In group A the question is if Radjabov, after his good start, can also do a finishing sprint to make Topalov's life a bit harder. Today Radja plays Kramnik, so maybe the world champion has to be the one to go for it. However, he needs to make up one and a half point, just like Anand (today with White against Shirov), Svidler (today with White against Topalov!) and Aronian (today with White against Karjakin).

First some footage. We'll be back with game updates as soon as possible!



In group B the situation it is even more exciting. Bologan, Vachier-Lagrave en Eljanov are leading the group with 6,5 points. They are followed by two players with 6 points and three players with 5,5. Among them the Dutch players Dani?ɬ´l Stellwagen and Erwin l'Ami. There won't be any final decision today, but at the top some players can make a great difference. As at this moment Vachier-Lagrave is playing against Eljanov, fellow leader Bologan, playing with White against Sargissian, can be the one who's sitting pretty.

In group C Ian Nepomniachtchi is only one point ahead of Krasenkow. The latter plays with Black against Harmen Jonkman, while the leader seems to have an easier draw, playing with White against Swedish Brynell, also ranked number last.

Update 15.25 CET: Just like in round three against Karjakin, Topalov is playing the h5-variation of the English Attack-Najdorf. Svidler deviates with 12.Bd3 which is a theoretical novelty, but it's probably still preparation for both after 12...b5 13.Bg5 Nb6 14.f4 Rb8 15.Rhe1 Nc4. Carlsen-Van Wely is a much more quiet Najdorf because of 7.Nf3. Aronian-Karjakin follow the very topical Catalan that was played this tournament in Ponomariov-Anand (1) en Kramnik-Anand (6), which was explained extensively by Kramnik on this site. Karjakin doesn't believe in Anand's 15...Rc8 and comes with 15...Bd6. Aronian does believe in the (indeed fancy) concept Qd1-f1. The world champion has another concept of his own on the board; 14.Bd3 is never played (14.Nde4 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Bxf5 16.Bd3 is, e.g. Onischuk-Radjabov, Turin OL 2006). Anand succeeded in getting something against Shirov's Petroff Defence; he's won a pawn. How much it's worth, remains to be seen. Navara has a small plus agains Motylev's Slav.

Update 16.38 CET: Svidler has won a pawn but again, its value remains to be seen. Black has good compensation and seemed to have missed a great chance: 26...cxb3 27.axb3 (27.Nxb3 a5) Qa5 is almost winning, according to Rybka. While we write this, the program says 30...Bxc2+ now wins for Black. We have discovered a nice trick in Carlsen-Van Wely:

In this position the neat 23...Rxf2! was possible (24.Kxf2 Be3+ followed by Qf7) and after 24.Nxd4 Rf6 we prefer Black. In the game, 23...Qxc2 led to an equal position. Karjakin's preparation turned out to be quite OK, but Aronian is still trying. In Kramnik-Radjabov, now drawn, 20...a6 is a move to be analysed afterwards. And honestly speaking, we don't really understand 24.Nc7. Anand's extra pawn wasn't much, and his game against Shirov is already drawn. Navara seems to have blundered again with White, with his 17.Be3. Tiviakov-Ponomariov is also a draw already after Pono didn't really test Tivi's Accelerated Dragon.

Update 17.35 CET: as already mentioned in the comments, Topalov could have had excellent winning chances after either 31...Qb4 or 31...Qc5. The rook ending is better for White and now Topalov has to prove that he can be a tough defender in the ending as well. Loek van Wely will probably win his ending against Carlsen and Aronian is also winning now.

Meanwhile, forest went to the playing hall with the camera:



Update 19.06 CET: SVIDLER BEATS TOPALOV. We're quite busy right here processing not one but two press conferences! First Aronian demonstrated his win against Karjakin, and at the end he thought Svidler had very good winning chances in the rook ending. Soon Svidler did win, after which he also explained his game of today. So not only Svidler but the chess fans too are lucky bastards today! As always, a.s.a.p. online.
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