Carlsen takes off at Aerosvit
The Aerosvit 2008 Grandmaster tournament, named after Ukraine’s major airline, is taking place in the Crimean resort of Foros, June 7-20. With an average FIDE rating of 2712, and seven of the 12 competing GMs over 2700, it will be one of the strongest closed events of the year.
The first round got off to a flying start between two of the favourites, 17year-old phenom Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, more than 20 years his senior. Both players are known for their ability to play nearly all major openings and defences, so there was no predicting the nature of their showdown:
CARLSEN–IVANCHUK: KING’S INDIAN, CLASSICAL
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4!?
This line has gone in and out of fashion since the early 1980s, though it has become a real thorn to Black defenders of the KID in recent praxis. 9...Nh5 10.Re1
The latest wrinkle, planning to answer 10...Nf4 with 11.Bf1. Earlier theory focused on 10.Ng5 and 10.g3. 10...f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.f3 Kh8 13.b5
This appears to be a new idea. Far more typical is a c4-c5 break, trying to open lines for White’s soon-to-be bishop pair (this line nearly always features a minor piece exchange of bishop for knight on e6 after N/g5-e6). The text instead seems to be directed towards inhibiting a ...c7-c6 pawn break by Black. 13...Ne8 14.Be3 Bf6 15.Ne6 Bxe6 16.dxe6 Ng7 17.Bh6 Nxe6!?
Undoubtedly planned some time ago. Black’s position is quite compact, so the small material deficit is not likely too serious — a small edge for White, perhaps. 18.Bxf8 Qxf8 19.c5!?
An interesting decision by Carlsen, jettisoning a second pawn for the Exchange to ensure some activity on the light squares. Black should be quite OK after this, but there is a lot of middlegame to go yet, and the position is quite complex. 19...Nxc5 20.Bc4 Bg5 21.Qe2 Qh6 22.Rad1
Carefully preventing an infiltration of Black’s bishop at d2 or e3. 22...Rf8 23.a4 b6 24.g3 Qh3 25.Qg2 Qh6 26.Qe2 Qh3 27.Kh1
Spurning perpetual. Surprisingly, Black starts to drift at precisely this point and starts to overplay his hand. 27...Nd7 28.Ra1! Qh6 29.Ra2
Still defending the d2 square, but from a potentially more active post. The rook can always be useful defensively along the second rank, or offensively after an a4-a5 break. 29...Nf6 30.Kg2 Nh5?!
Since 27...Nd7, it is clear that Ivanchuk has wanted to bring this piece into a more aggressive role on the K-side. But it is not clear how Black is going to increase the pressure sufficiently to actually achieve anything there. Meanwhile, the Q-side, notably the c7-pawn, is now quite vulnerable, and White can claim some advantage because of this. Leaving the knight on c5 would have left White with very few hopes of achieving much on the Q-side, and a dynamic equality with chances for both. With his knight’s journey, Black is clearly trying for more, but soon realizes the drawbacks of his strategy. 31.Nd5 Nxd5 32.Bxd5 Bf4 33.Qf2 fxe4 34.Bxe4 Qg5 35.Rc2 d5!? 36.Bxd5 Bxg3 37.hxg3 Nf4+ 38.Kf1 Nxd5
A small combination has netted Black material equality, but a worsening of his position. Black’s pawn structure is loose and the knight has no clear outpost. Meanwhile White’s rooks are finally in a position to wreak havoc on the newly opened lines. 39.Rce2 Qf6 40.Rxe5 Qxf3 41.Qxf3 Rxf3+ 42.Ke2 Rf5 43.Rxf5 gxf5 44.Kd3 c5 45.Re5 Nb4+ 46.Kd2 Black Resigns. Deen Hergott is an international chess master living in the area. For questions/ comments, write to him at Chess Moves, c/o The Citizen, 1101 Baxter Rd., Box 5020, Ottawa K2C 3M4. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .