11.11.2006
**TAL MEMORIAL. GAMES OF ROUND 4 COMMENTED**

In round 4 fighting spirit somehow left only one game unattended, thus let`s start with "the ugly duckling"

**Svidler,P (2750) - Carlsen,M (2698) [C95]Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (4), 10.11.2006**

**1.e4 e5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.Ґb5 a6 4.Ґa4 ¤f6 5.0-0 Ґe7 6.¦e1 b5 7.Ґb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 ¤b8 10.d4 ¤bd7 11.¤bd2 Ґb7 12.Ґc2 ¦e8 13.a4 Ґf8 14.Ґd3 c6 15.b3 Јc7 16.Ґb2**

It is somewhat strange to me but Breyer variation gains some popularity among the top players in spite of its definite passiveness. However, it is perfectly solid. If you forgive me a small lyrical digression... this variation reminds me my youth period. More common here is 16...g6 I practiced the position after 17.Јc2 Ґg7 at least three times in my life. After 18.c4 the game Aseev-Yemelin, Elista 1994 though came unnoticed yet has some theoretical meaning: 18...bxc4 19.Ґxc4 This position is evaluated as clear white`s advantage with reference to Piket in Chess Informant 49 (or 50?) after 18...exd4 20.Ґxd4 ¦e7! 21.b4 ¦ae8 22.Ґd3 c5 23.¦ac1 Јd8= the game is equal. But the pre-history was a loss to Almasi after ** **18...bxa4?! and now I happened to be the first to have encountered with 19.c5! (Almasi-Yemelin, Bratislava 1993) Why me? The fate chose the most offending way: after managing to equalize this miserable position black blundered. The consequence was being only a vice-champion on tie-break. And the first on tie-break was of course the one who actually read that damned Informant! The Piket`s recommendation, folks! That`s unbelievable!

Magnus Carlsen tries to cut he Gordian`s knot immediately with the novelty: **16...d5 **I am used to the fact that this breakthrough in Breyer is a constant threat that actually never equalizes. Yet the complexity of the position requires much of calculation from white. **17.dxe5 **The most natural and logical. An alternative is17.exd5 ¤xd5 *(17...exd4 18.dxc6) *and now 18.Јc2! ( tempting 18.dxe5 ¤f4 19.Ґe4 ¤xe5 *(not 19...¤c5 20.Јc2) *20.¤xe5 ¦xe5 21.c4 ¦g5! *(21...¦ee8 22.Јc2 with advantage was white`s idea ) *suddenly leads to unclear complications; simple 18.¤xe5 simply simplifies (the tautology, yes) the position 18...¤xe5 19.dxe5 ¦xe5 20.Ґe4 ¤f6 21.c4 ¦e6) After 18...exd4 *(18...¤5f6 19.dxe5 ¤xe5 20.¤xe5 ¦xe5 21.c4+/=) *19.Ґxh7+ ўh8 20.¤xd4 black will win white bishop with g7-g6 with unclear but perhaps favourable for white consequences. **17...¤xe5 18.¤xe5 Јxe5 19.¤f3 Јf4**

**20.exd5?! **Surely, Peter must have calculated a lot of variations to find grounds for this deviation from fight. Yet at the first sight continuations 20.e5 ¤e4 21.Јc2 or 20.Ґc1 Јc7 21.e5 ¤e4 22.Јc2 *(not 22.Ґxe4 dxe4 23.¦xe4 c5 24.¦e1 b4) *seems to be not only more combative but also quite promising for white.

**20...¤xd5 21.c4 ¤b4 22.Ґe5 Јh6 23.Ґe4 ¦ad8 24.Јb1 bxc4 25.bxc4 Ґa8 26.Ґc3 c5 27.Ґxa8 ¦xa8 28.¤e5 Јe6 29.Јb3 1/2-1/2**

The following game of two players who could not find their play in the first rounds was to decide who would be given a chance to recover and who would keep enduring the dark stripe.

**Morozevich,A (2747) - Grischuk,A (2710) [B80]Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (4), 10.11.2006**

**1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 ¤f6 5.¤c3 a6 6.f3 e6 7.Ґe3 b5 8.Јd2 b4 9.¤a4 ¤bd7 10.c4 bxc3 11.¤xc3 Ґb7 12.Ґe2 d5 13.exd5 ¤xd5 14.¤xd5 Ґxd5 **The position took place for the first time in Anand-Topalov, Mtel Masters 2006 that went on with 15.0-0 Јb8 Morozevich uncovers a new idea: **15.¦c1!? Јb8 16.a3 Ґd6 17.¤f5 **

The critical continuation was of course17...Ґe5 Grischuk must have disliked that black is not threatening to castle immediately after this move, but can white use it? The choice is between a pawn sacrifice 18.f4 g6! 19.fxe5 gxf5 20.0-0 with unclear consequences, or more solid 18.b4 ¤b6 19.g3 (less attractiveis 19.¤g3 0-0 20.f4 Ґf6 21.0-0 *(21.¤h5?! Ґh4+) *) 19...0-0 20.¤e7+ ўh8 and now white has a nice resource 21.¦c6! Clearsubmission to white`s will leaves black in a worse position with no counterplay. **17...0-0?!** **18.¤xd6 Јxd6 19.0-0+/= a5 20.a4! **This strong move emphasizes black`s problem. A small pawn on a5 spoils the whole position. **20...¦fd8 21.Ґb5 h6 22.¦c3 ¤f8 23.¦fc1 ¤g6 24.Јf2 ¦db8 25.¦c7 Јb4 26.Јd2 ¦xb5 27.axb5 Јxb5 28.¦c8+ ¦xc8 29.¦xc8+ ўh7 30.¦c5 Јb7 31.¦xa5 ¤e5 32.Јc2+ ўg8 33.¦c5 ¤c6 34.h3 f5 35.Јc3 1-0**

**Shirov,A (2720) - Aronian,L (2741) C89Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (4), 10.11.2006**

**1.e4 e5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.Ґb5 a6 4.Ґa4 ¤f6 5.0-0 Ґe7 6.¦e1 b5 7.Ґb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 ¤xd5 10.¤xe5 ¤xe5 11.¦xe5 c6 12.d4 Ґd6 13.¦e1 Јh4 14.g3 Јh3 15.¦e4 g5 16.Јf1 Јh5 17.¤d2 Ґf5 18.f3 ¤f6 19.a4 ¤xe4 20.¤xe4 Јg6 21.¤xd6 Јxd6 22.Ґxg5 **Something familiar...

**22...Јg6 **We can see something supersubtle to be understood here. Aronian deviates from played by the other Armenian ... oops, sorry, my mistake... but he played in Armenia-Rest of the world match for Armenia, how should I know?!.. by the hungarian GM in the previous round ** **22...¦fe8 Shirov-Leko, Tal memorial (round 3) 2006 but Shirov can transpose to that game by 23.Ґe7 ¦fe8 24.¦e1 So what is the point? Why did Shirov repeat the variation and why Aronian invents an improvement? The answer certainly hides at this point, but where? I may dare suppose it is something to do with axb5 and Јc1, but I cannot believe there`s something in a position that can question the overall drawish evaluation of Leko`s novelty. Anyway, after 22...¦fe8 23.axb5 *(23.Јc1 ¦e2 is obviously undesirable; 23.g4 Јg6 24.Јc1 Ґd3 25.axb5 may be interesting) *23...axb5 24.¦xa8 ¦xa8 25.Јc1 Јg6 white gains a tempo in comparison to the current game. **23.Јc1 **May be the beginning of white`s problems. **23...Ґd3 24.axb5 axb5 25.¦xa8 ¦xa8 26.ўf2 Ґc4 27.Ґxc4 bxc4 28.g4 ¦e8 29.Ґf4 Јd3 30.ўg3 Јe2 **

In the last moves Aronian clearly outplayed his opponent and white is in danger in this position. **31.Јb1?! **After this black exchanges queens and white`s passive bishop bound by the necessity to protect b2-pawn dooms white to just some vague drawish prospects. After 31.Ґe5 f6! 32.Ґxf6 ¦e3 33.Јh1 Јxb2 34.Ґg5 ¦e8 *(34...Јxc3 35.Ґxe3 Јxe3 36.Јa1=) *35.Јc1 Јxc1 36.Ґxc1 ¦a8!=/+ black manages to force white bishop to a passive position in the endgame, yet white seems to be able to hold with the help of his kingside pawns. **31...Јe1+ 32.Јxe1 ¦xe1 33.Ґd6 ¦g1+ 34.ўf2 ¦b1 35.Ґa3 ўg7 36.ўg3 ўg6 37.h3 h5 38.ўh4 ¦g1 **The king is cut, the bishop pinned to b2. Zugzwang motives are obvious. **39.Ґc5 ¦g2 40.Ґa3 f6 41.gxh5+ ўf5 **Interesting decision if we bear in mind that simple41...ўg7 made white sacrifice some of the pawns. **42.f4 ¦g8 43.Ґd6 ўe6 **

**44.h6?! **Maybe Shirov considered his position to be hopeless anyway? After 44.Ґa3 black would probably have to return his king to the 7^{th} rank similar to the note to move 41 immediately *(44...ўf7)* or after some "cat-and-mouse" amusements: 44...¦b845.ўg4 *(45.h6!? ўf7 46.f5 ¦g8 brings white eventually nothing but pawns casualties) *45...¦g8+ 46.ўh4 ўf7 It`s hard to believe that Shirov failed to see the idea that is a commonplace for so many studies, but who knows. **44...ўxd6 45.ўh5 f5 46.h7 ¦h8 47.ўg6 ўe7 48.ўg7 ўe8 **

The position demands a diagram and a meaningful silence. **49.ўg6 ўf8 50.h4 ўe7 51.ўg7 ўe8 52.ўg6 ўf8 53.h5 ўe7 54.ўg7 ўe8 55.ўg6 ўf8 56.h6 ўe8 57.ўf6 ¦xh7 58.ўg6 ¦f7! **This way black manages to make white put another pawn to h7, and then black repeats the trick:58...¦f7 59.h7 ¦f8 60.ўg7 ¦h8 The same could be done less precise by 58...¦h8 59.ўg7 ¦f8 60.ўg6 ўe7 61.ўg7 ¦b8 62.h7 *(62.ўg6 ¦g8+) *62...¦h8! **0-1**

For some reason Gelfand chose a rather passive variation against Leko. Let`s start observing the endgame from the following point:

**Leko,P (2741) - Gelfand,B (2733) [D19]Tal Memorial Moscow ¦US (4), 10.11.2006**

With two bishops white enjoys a stable advantage. After his last move (g4-g5) black could remove the knight from f6 to d7 or h5: ** **29...¤d7 30.¤e2, 29...¤6h5 30.b4 with the idea Ґc5, white`s advantage didn`t become less, but after ¤f6-h7 white had 30.e5! and after 30...Ґxe5 (30...¤e6 31.f4) 31.¦d8+ ¤f8 32.Ґc5 ¤4g6 33.Ґxe7 *(33.Ґh3 ¦c7) *33...¤xe7 34.Ґd3 Ґf4 *(34...g6 35.¦e8) *35.¤e4+- white has all the grounds to hope to convert an extra exchange to a victory. Did Leko see this idea? Or may he consider the position after 30...¤e6 not clear enough? Difficult to say. Leko unleashes his fantasie with tricky and impressive alternative **30.Ґxf4!? Ґxf4 31.¦d8+ ¤f8 32.g6! b5 **logical 32...¦d7 actually brought no much relief: 33.¦a8 ¦d2+ 34.ўe1 ¦d4 35.¤e2 Ґd2+ 36.ўd1 **33.Ґh3 fxg6 34.¦a8 bxa4 **after 34...ўf7 white has a choice between 35.¦xa6 bxa4 36.¤xa4+/- with clear advantage or tempting 35.a5 **35.Ґf1! **

An ultimate embodiment of white`s concept. White wins a piece. **35...ўf7 **After35...Ґe5 white can event fall into a trap 36.Ґc4+ *(36.¤xa4 is quite enough) *36...ўh7 37.¦xf8 a3 (the point) 38.¤b1 and black pawns will be blockaded. **36.Ґc4+ ¤e6 37.¤e2! Ґd6 38.f4 ўf6 39.e5+ Ґxe5 40.fxe5+ ўxe5 41.Ґxe6 ўxe6 42.¦xa6 ¦b7**

**43.¤f4+! **A very instructive moment. By finding a perfect square for his knight Leko significantly reduces the technical difficulties. ** **43.¦xc6+ ўe5 44.¦c2 ¦a7 would be less precise. **43...ўe5 44.ўe3 c5 45.¤d3+ ўd5 46.¦a5 ўd6 47.¦xa4 ўd5 48.¦a5 ўd6 49.¦a4 ўd5 50.ўd2 c4 51.¤b4+ ўe4 52.ўc3 g5 53.¤c6 g4 54.¦xc4+ ўf5 55.¤d4+ ўf4 56.¤c6+ ўf5 57.¤b4 g3 58.¤d5 ўe5 59.¤e3 ¦f7 60.¦g4 ¦c7+ 61.¤c4+ ўf5 62.¦xg3 g5 63.¦f3+ ўe4 64.¦f7 ¦c8 65.¦g7 ўf4 66.ўd3 ¦d8+ 67.ўe2 ¦e8+ 68.ўf2 ¦b8 69.¦f7+ ўe4 70.¦d7 g4 71.b3 ¦b4 72.¤d2+ ўf4 73.¦d3 ўf5 74.ўg3 ўe5 75.¤c4+ ўe4 76.¦e3+ ўd4 77.ўxg4 ¦b8 78.ўf3 ¦h8 79.ўe2 1-0**

The fact of ending up with draw doesn`t prevent the game between non-compromising fighters from being a true canvas.

**Mamedyarov,S (2728) - Ponomariov,R (2703) [E16]Tal Memorial Moscow ¦US (4), 10.11.2006**

**1.d4 ¤f6 2.c4 e6 3.¤f3 b6 4.g3 Ґb4+ 5.¤bd2 Ґb7 6.Ґg2 0-0 7.0-0 Ґe7 8.b3 c5 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.Ґb2 d6 11.Јc2 ¤bd7 12.¦ad1 Јc7 13.e4 Ґc6 14.¦fe1 Јb7 15.h3 a5 16.a4 ¦fb8 17.¤h2 ¤e8 18.Ґa1 **

**18...Ґf6 **This positionally desirable exchange leaves black in a passive though perfectly solid position, an alternative could be 18...e5!? trying to blackmail white with ¤f8-e6-d4 manouevre. After19.f4 exf4 20.gxf4 Ґh4 21.¦f1 Ґf6 black has counterplay. **19.Ґxf6 ¤dxf6 20.f4 ¦a6 21.¤hf3 Јe7 22.ўh2 e5 23.f5 **No use of holding the tension:23.Јc3 ¤d7 **23...¦ab6 24.¦e3 h6 25.g4 ¤c7 26.¦g1 g5 27.Ґf1 ўg7 28.h4 ¦h8 29.hxg5 hxg5+ 30.Ґh3 ¤fe8 31.¤f1 f6 32.Јd2 ¦a6 33.¤g3 ўf8 34.¤h5**

The picture tells us everything about the course of the fight. White gained space reached definite pressure and prepared a trap... yet his useless bishop doesn`t allow him to break black`s defensive wall. **34...¦g8 **Black defends vigilantly. Natural 34...¤g7? would be fatal: 35.¤xg5! ¤xh5 36.gxh5 fxg5 37.f6 Јd8 38.¦f3! ¦xh5 39.¦xg5+- **35.¦d1 ¦a7 36.¤e1 ¤a6 37.¤c2 Јd8 38.Ґg2 ¤b4 39.¤xb4 **White is of course reluctant to pay such a high price for putting the knight to b5 as allowing black knight to d4: 39.¤a3 ¦d7 40.¤b5 Ґb7 **39...axb4**

Black has a fortress.**40.¦d3 ¦d7 41.****ў****g3 ¦h8 42.****Ґ****f3 ¦hh7 43.¦h1 ****ў****g8 44.¦d1 ****ў****f8 45.****ў****f2 ****ў****g8 46.****Ґ****g2 ****ў****f8 47.¦h1 ****ў****g8 48.¦dh3 ¦df7 49.¦1h2 ****Ј****e7 50.****Ґ****f3 ****Ј****d8 51.****Ј****c1 ****Ј****e7 52.****Ј****h1 ****Ґ****b7 53.a5 ****Ґ****a6 54.****Ј****d1 ****Ґ****b7 55.****Ј****a1 ****Ґ****a6 56.****Ј****h1 ****Ґ****b7 57.¤g3 ¦xh3 58.¦xh3 ¦h7 59.¦xh7 ****Ј****xh7 60.****Ј****a1 ****Ґ****a6 61.****Ј****a4 ****ў****f8 62.¤f1 ****Ј****b7 63.¤e3 ****ў****e7 64.****Ј****a1 ****ў****d8 65.****Ј****h1 ****Ј****g7 66.¤d5 ****ў****d7 67.****Ј****h5 ****ў****d8 68.****Ґ****e2 ****ў****d7 69.****Ј****g6 ****Ј****xg6 70.fxg6 ****Ґ****c8 71.****ў****g3 ****ў****c6 72.¤e7+ ****ў****c7 73.¤f5 ****Ґ****e6 74.g7 ****ў****b7 75.****ў****f2 ****ў****a6 76.****ў****g3 ****ў****xa5 77.****ў****f2 ****ў****b6 78.****ў****g3 ****ў****c7 79.****ў****f2 ****ў****d7 80.****ў****e3 **

**1/2-1/2**