Only in matches of peer competitors it is possible to understand who is well prepared to a tournament. And here they started. It turned out that not all the squads can take a punch and change the course of events in the matches. Chinese that seemed to be so tight conducted the match with Russia surprisingly weakly. Apparently they could not cope with the psychological stress. In fact, the result of the central match of the round was decided in the following game.
Wang,Yue (2703) - Grischuk,Alexander (2763)
China - Russia
White has a clear game with b2-b4, and Black, as it may seem, does not have a counter play. Sasha risks.
A perspective pawn sacrifice.
Principal, but dangerous. 20.h5 deserved the attention.
20...hxg5 21.Bxg5 Qd7
With the idea to find queen's way to h3 by f5-f4.
A few could estimate the consequences of the variation 21...Qe8 with the idea of 22.Be3 Qg6 23.Bxd4 f4!. The point is, White could pay with pawns and win the initiative with 24.Kg2 cxd4 25.Bf3! Qxd3 26.Be4 Qxc4 27.Qd1! and so on.
The elegant end could be reached by 22.f4! Re8 (22...e4!?) 23.Kg2 exf4 24.Rxe8+ Qxe8 25.Bxf4 Qe1 26.Bf3 Rh2+! 27.Kxh2 Nxf3+ 28.Kh3 (28.Kg2? Qe2+) 28...Ng1+ 29.Kg2 Qe2+ 30.Kxg1 Bd4+ 31.Kh1 Qf3+ 32.Kh2 Qe2+ with the perpetual check.
Perhaps, White had to look for the active counter play with 23.b4!, for example, after 23...axb4 24.axb4 Qg6 25.bxc5 Qh7 26.Bf3 bxc5 27.Rb7 Nc2 28.Qe2 Nxe1 29.Qxe1 the complex game around equality could happen.
A blunder that does not comply with the level of the championship. Although, the position of White was already difficult.
For example, no comfort was promised after 24.Rg1 Qh7 25.Kf1 Bxg5 26.Qxg5 Kf7! 27.Qe3 Qh2!. Same as 24.Bh6+ Ke7 25.Rh1 Qg6 26.Ba4 Rh7.
25...Rh2+! Simple and effective. 26.Kf1 [26.Kxh2 Nf3+] 26...Rh1+ 27.Kg2 Rh2+ 28.Kf1 Qh7!
White king is defenseless. 0–1
Li Chao was recklessly attacking Jakovenko and naturally lost. The score could become crushing, but Wang Hao managed to save a tough endgame against Kramnik.
Kramnik,Vladimir (2797) - Wang,Hao (2726)
China - Russia
Vladimir slowly and unhurriedly tightened the loop, but just like on the previous day could not conduct the last killing motion.
Not the right order! He should have started from 66.g5! , for example, 66...hxg5 (not better is 66...Re8 67.gxh6+ Kh7 68.Qg5 Rg8 69.Qf6; or 66...Rg1 67.Qe5+ Kh7 68.g6+! fxg6 69.Qc7+ Kg8 70.f6) 67.Qxg5+ Kf8 (67...Kh7 68.Qh4+) 68.f6 Rg1 (too bad is 68...Ke8 69.Qg8+ Bf8 70.Qh8 Re6+ 71.Kc7+-) 69.Qe5 Kg8 70.Qe8+ Kh7, and White plucked the fruit - 71.Qxf7+ Kh6.
The further win is not easy (there is a long variation in my analyses), but it was a real chance.
66...Kh7 67.Qf5+ Kh8!
Only this way. Lost is 67...Kg8 68.g5!.
68.Qc8+ Kh7 69.Qf5+ Kh8 70.g5 Re6+ 71.Kd7
Interesting that in case of 71.Kd5 hxg5 72.Qh3+ Kg8 73.Qh6 Bf8 74.Qxg5+ Kh7 75.Qh5+ Kg8 76.Qh4 except from the waiting moves of the rook, the game is also saved by 76...Bg7 77.fxg7 Kxg7 with the unbreakable fortress. Computer shows a big estimation in a favor of White, but cannot find the concrete win.
71...hxg5 72.Qxg5 Bf8 73.Qh4+ Kg8 74.Kc7 Bd6+!
Here the esthetic path 74...Bg7 75.fxg7 Kxg7 leaded to hell: 76.Qd4+ Kg6 77.Qxb6!
75.Kd7 [75.Kxb6? Bg3+] 75...Bf8
Now White cannot progress. There is a fortress on the board.
76.Kc8 Re8+ 77.Kc7 Re6 78.Qd4 Kh7 79.Qd3+ Kh6
80.Qd8 Bc5 81.Qh8+ Kg6 82.Qg7+ Kf5 83.Qxf7 Rxf6 84.Qd5+ Kg6 85.Qe5 Rf7+ 86.Kc8 Rf8+ 87.Kb7 Rf7+ 88.Kc8 Rf8+ 89.Kb7 Rf7+ 1/2
German team showed their will power during the match. It started from a sudden defeat of their leader...
Radjabov,Teimour (2788) - Naiditsch,Arkadij (2712)
Azerbaijan - Germany
Teimur questioned the external wellness of Black by a bold opening of the game.
18.d4! exd4 19.exd4!
The "e" line confrontation is not dangerous for the white queen.
Inappropriate display of principles.
19...Bxh3 does not work due to 20.Qd3!. Black had to limit himself to modest 19...Nf6, agreeing with the fact that Black stands worse.
Declining the variations with exchange loss, Arkady commands himself to even bigger misses.
Better was 21...Rxe5 22.dxe5 Bxc2 23.Qxf4 Qe6.
22.Bxf5 Ned3 23.Rxe8+ [23.Qd2 is even easier] 23...Qxe8 24.Qd2 Qb5 25.b3
Black knights are stuck in the center, one of them should die...
25...c5 26.Bxd3 Qxd3 [26...Nxd3 27.c4!] 27.Qxf4 Qxc3 28.Rc1 Qxd4+ 29.Qxd4 cxd4 30.Kf2, and Black soon gave up.
But the fourth board of the German team compensated for the misfortune of his colleague and created an instructive endgame.
Fridman,Daniel (2653) - Guseinov,Gadir (2613)
Azerbaijan - Germany
Not feeling the danger. It was better to wait and see what White would come up with: 47...Ba5 48.Qh1 Qg4 49.Qb1 Bb4 and so on.
48.Qxh5 gxh5 49.Kf3
White's idea is in the king's run to the black rearward, and the weakness of h5 pawn contributes to it.
49...Kf6 50.Bd3 Be1 [50...Kg5 51.Ke4 did not change anything] 51.Be2 Kg5 52.Ke4 Ba5?!
Makes White's game easier.
Much harder was 52...Kg6! 53.f4 (does not win 53.Bxh5+ Kxh5 54.Kf5 due to 54...e4! 55.Kxe4 Kg4=) 53...exf4 54.gxf4! (but not 54.Kxf4 Bd2+ 55.Ke4 Ba5 56.Bxh5+ Kg5!=) 54...h4 – in this case it came to the position in the game, but with the additional pawn on h4. At first I thought that Black should hold, but the analyze showed that I was mistaken- 55.Bf1 Bc3 56.Kf3 Kh5 57.Be2 Bb4 58.Kg2+ Kg6 59.Bd3+ Kf6 60.Kh3 Be1 61.Be4 Ke7 62.Kg4 Kf6 63.Bd3 Ke7 64.Bf1! – an important maneuver - 64...Kf6 65.Bh3 Ke7 66.Kh5 Kf6 67.Be6! Kg7 68.Kg5, and Black has to give up the pawn, because he cannot let the king go further - 68...Kf8 69.Kg6 Ke7 70.Bh3 Bd2 71.f5 Bc3 72.f6+ Kf8 73.f7 Bd2 74.Kf6 Be1 75.Ke6 and so on.
53.f4+ [but not 53.Bxh5? Kxh5 54.Kf5 e4!] 53...exf4 54.gxf4+ Kf6
54...Kg6 is of course followed by 55.Bxh5+ with the idea 55...Kxh5 56.Kf5 Bc3 57.Ke6 Kg4 58.f5 Kg5 59.f6!+-
If there was no "h" file, the position would be absolutely drawish. But in reality the king breaks exactly at that edge of the board.
56.Be2 Ba5 57.Bd3 Bb4 58.Kf3 Bc3 59.Kg4 Ba5 60.Kh5! Bb4
Does not change the outcome 60...Bd2 61.Bc2 and Black has no moves.
61.Kh6 Bc3 62.Kh7 Bd2
Or 62...Kf7 63.Bf5 Ba5 64.Be6+ Kf6 65.Kg8! with the same outcome.
63.Kg8 Ke7 64.f5 Bc3 65.Bc2 Bd2 66.Kg7 Bc3+ 67.Kg6
Decisive zugzwang. 1–0
The similar scenario happened in the match India – USA. The current leader of the homeland of chess could not cope with the pressure...
Nakamura,Hikaru (2778) - Sasikiran,Krishnan (2707)
USA - India
The position is incredibly difficult. It is not surprising that the players made numerous mistakes.
Apparently Krishnan missed that after 20...a6 21.Rxe5 (worse is 21.Na7+ Kb8 22.Rxe5 Qd7!) there is a resource 21...Be4+! 22.Rxe4 Qxe4+ 23.Bd3 Qb7 24.Bxd6 axb5 25.Bxc5 bxc4 26.Qxb7+ Kxb7 27.Bxc4 Rd8 and Black equalizes with Bg7-d4.
21.f4! gxf3 22.gxf3
The black king is punched from both sides. It is amazing that it almost managed to stay alive!
Better was 22...f5, although, there was no easy life for Black anyway - 23.f4 Bxh1 24.fxe5 Qf7, and here not 25.exd6 Rxe1+ 26.Bxe1 c6!, but 25.Bd3! 25...Bxe5 26.Nxa7+ Kd7 27.Bxe5 Ba8 28.Bxh8 Rxe1+ 29.Ka2 with the advantage for White.
It looks like a cat is hunting a mouse. More accurate is 23.Bxe5 Rxe5 24.Bh3+ with the idea of 24...Kd8 25.Nxd6!.
23...Kd8 24.Bxe5 Rxe5 25.Qb8+ Kd7 26.Bh3+ Re6 27.Qb5+ Ke7 28.Bxe6 fxe6
Black got some compensation for the exchange.
Stronger was cold-blooded 29.Re3.
It is very difficult to prove something to the computer after 29...Bxf3! but a human is not likely able for such a game.
It was better to start from 30.Rg2.
30...Bxc6 31.Rxg7+ Qxg7 32.Qxc6 Qd4
Good chances for the salvation promised 32...Qg6+! 33.Ka2 Qe8 34.Qxc7+ Qd7.
33.a6 Qd3+ 34.Ka1 Qd2! 35.Qe4 Kd7
In the time trouble bright and accurate decisions alternated miscalculations.
Naturally, it was better to first take the pawn e6 off the board - 36.Qxe6+ Kc6 37.Qe4+ Kd7 38.a7, and here 38...Ra8? does not work because of 39.Kb1 Rxa7 40.Qe8#.
37.Qxa8 Qxe1+ 38.Ka2 Qa5+ leaded to the perpatual.
In case of 37.Qxe6+ Kc6 38.Qe4+ there was 38...Kb6!.
The last act of almost Shakespeare's drama. The draw could happen after 37...e5! 38.f4 (38.Rg1 Rxa7 39.Rg7+ Kc8 40.Rg8+ Kd7=) 38...exf4 39.Rg1 Qd4! 40.Qxa8 Qxg1+ 41.Ka2 Qd1!.
38.Qxe6+ Kc6 39.Qe8+, and Black resigned as the mate is approaching.
On the other hand, the second number of India starred.
Harikrishna,P (2685) - Kamsky,Gata (2746)
USA - India
Pentala methodically pressed during the whole game, and Gata could not resist any longer.
Some intrigue was kept by 38...Ne7! 39.Rh8+ Kf7 40.Bxe7 Rxd5 41.exd5 Rxe7 42.Rb8 Re1 43.Rxb3 Ke7 and so on.
39.Kxg4 Rxe4 40.Kf5!
White sews mate clothes for the black king.
And sewed indeed! Black resigned due to 41...Nxe7+ 42.Ke6 Rxd5 43.Rh8+.
Hungarian players climb up slowly but surely. As it turned out, they are strong not only with the brightness of Judith Polgar, but also with the stability of Peter Leko...
Berkes,Ferenc (2685) - Pacher,Milan (2442)
Hungary - Slovakia
The weakness of white squares is fatal for Black.
Mate would follow after 19...hxg5 20.Qh5.
But now the outcome is clear too.
20...Rxf1+ 21.Qxf1 dxc4 22.Rd1 Qe8 23.Bxe7 Qxe7 24.Qf5 Qf6 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Kg2 Qxb2 27.Rd7! 1–0
The leader of Ukrainian team finally started to score. It is quite an alarming symptom for all the rivals.
Ivanchuk,Vassily (2769) - Wojtaszek,Radoslaw (2717)
Ukraine - Poland
The extra pieces are created for the moments when one can sacrifice them. 33.Rxb2! Qxb2 34.Ne5 Rd2 35.Nf6+! gxf6
Amazingly beautiful is the variation 35...Kh8 36.Ng6+! fxg6 37.Qxh6+!! gxh6 38.Rh7#
36.Qg3+ Kh7 [or 36...Kh8 37.Nxf7+ Rxf7 38.Rc8+] 37.Rxf7+
Black king is going to be mated. 1–0
In the women's section favorites met the middle teams, and there were no surprises.
Lanchava,Tea (2336) - Muzychuk,Mariya (2456)
Netherlands - Ukraine
The competent positional play of Black is crowned with the smashing breakthrough.
27...c4! 28.dxc4 bxc4 29.Bh6
29.bxc4 Bxc4 30.Qf2 Nd3 leaded to the exchange loss.
Now White wins an exchange...
... but there is no help from it, because black pawns are unstoppable.
31.Qf2 [Or 31.Rbc1 d3! 32.Rxc3 Qd4+] 31...d3 32.Rf1 c2 33.Rb2 d2 34.Rxc2 d1Q 35.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 36.Bf1 Nf3+ 37.Kh1 Bh3 0–1
Waiting for the further developments!