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    Gjovik Rapid Aker Challenge Day 3

    January 05, 2009 • General

    In the 5th game of the tournament I got black against GM Lie and chose to play a modern/pirc. The position was fine for me, but choosing to play Bg4 in conjunction with Nd7,Rc8 and c5 was probably inaccurate. Afterwards he found the very strong idea of 16.b4 followed by 17.Na2!. After a long variation of moves, he ended up a pawn, but the position is probably equal still due to the everlasting weakness on c2. A justified result probably would have been a draw here, but Lie went badly astray with 25.Bg5 Re8 26.exf5 gxf5 27.f4?? which allowed the very strong 27…Ng6 after which he is just losing. With Peter losing to Magnus, this made the whole situation complicated. Many people have wondered why I took a draw with Magnus in the last round.

    My general strategy was to avoid much risk and head for blitz if necessary. As it turned out, Peter would go on to beat Kjetil which left the latter with the score of 0/6 and led to a three way tiebreak. In the first game I was simply not ready for blitz and used way too much time before the game even really got started. This led to me getting a horrendous position before Peter blundered when we were both in time pressure by allowing me to pick off his a4 pawn with 30…a5! . I probably had some drawing chances here, but due to the time disadvantage I had, I missed a nice tactical shot with 38. Ra8 followed by 39. Qe7. In the second tiebreak game, Peter chose to play into the Ruy against Magnus and got another bad position with little counterplay as they went into the endgame. He slowly got ground down and lost. This left me in the very unpleasant situation of having to win with White against Magnus in the final blitz game. Magnus again chose to play the Slav against me but with 4…dxc4. I chose to play the 5.e4 variation because the situation dictated that I needed to play for a win and although I normally would have played the 5.a4 lines with 6.e3 and 7.Bxc4, I figured that creating a messy position was a better choice. The ensuing position is very complicated and although I was down two pawns, it was much easier for me to play. I have seen various comments suggesting that I was not in fact winning. However, I was up about 10 seconds when I went wrong with 34.Bxh6. After 34.Rf6! Kc7 (Kb7) then I have a very big advantage after 35.Ra2. When you consider the time in this position too, it should be winning with all the threats looming on d5/f7/h6. Alas, once queens came off, I might still be able to play for a win, but I’m not the one with the obvious moves anymore. As is, I completely panicked and blundered horribly by sacrificing a piece.

    In conclusion, I am not disappointed with my games against Kjetil or Magnus as I felt I played very well overall. However, I am far from pleased with my games against Peter as I played badly in all three of the games. Perhaps I should have played for a win in the final game against Magnus, but I felt that blitz should be favourable for me. Unfortunately, whether it is due to taking classical chess far more seriously or just a lack of blitz on ICC or anywhere else, I seem to be quite a bit slower than I used to be. Overall, I came here with very low expectations due to my lack of preparation, sickness and personal problems. So I am quite pleased that I had two winning positions against the number four player in the world. In the future, I just have to find a way to play well against Peter as I now have a nice score of .5/4.

    Today I will play Kjetil in the match format and hopefully I can pull it together and win. After a long day yesterday, my goal is simply to just forget and try to play good chess on the final day. I will also take this opportunity to announce that I will be playing in the Canadian Open from July 11-19, 2009 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that I am currently spending most of my time in Europe and New York right now, not Vancouver.


    1. I thought u played fairly well. Some bad fortune took place but all in all i think you are earning your respect with organizers world-wide. I sure hope some invitations are in place for you this year. I would be disappointed to not see you get invited to something. But not surprised to the least because I do not think anyone wants to see another world champion from the US. That’s my personal opinion anyway. Good luck in Gibraltar Hikaru i will be watching everyday with great enthusiasm!

      All my Best
      Jimmie Beatty

    2. chessteve

      I aslo think it is about time you went to battle in some cat 18 – 20 events. It seems clear you are worthy of the invite. Hope you get them. I am so tired of the same 10 – 12 players in every freaking tournament.

    3. Great job! You’re hanging with the big, big boys. Keep it up…we love seeing you play!



    4. GKasparov

      “I have seen various comments suggesting that I was not in fact winning. However, I was up about 10 seconds when I went wrong with 34.Bxh6. … So I am quite pleased that I had two winning positions against the number four player in the world.”

      You’re wrong on both accounts. If you really believe so, you’re fooling yourself. In fact, Magnus had equal or superior positions for the most part in these games.

      First of all, black had a significant advantage until move 31. Then you got an advantage (NOT a winning position!) with 33. Bxd5, but wasted it immediately with 34. Bxh6? If you look at the complexity of the position that arises after Rf6+ (instead of Bxh6?), you’ll see that the game is far from won for white (and especially if you take the time into consideration).

      Rybka 3:

      34.Rf6+ Kc7 35.Ra2 Kd8 36.Qf3 Qd7 37.Rb6 Kc7 38.Rxh6 Qb5 39.Rf6 Qc4 40.Rxf7+ Kb8 41.Rxg7 Rxg7 42.h6 Rc7 43.Qf2 c2
      +/= (0.61)

      After Bxh6? black got a significant advantage which gradually evolved into a winning position for black.

      The first game you got a winning position after white made a single blunder. You were basically lucky to win that game. Up until then the game had been more or less equal (see my comment to you original post for day 2).

    5. GKasparov

      FROGBERT (from chessgames.com):

      “also, i can’t help mentioning the following: after these blitz tie-breaks, i hope a number of naka fans will realize that otb blitz against the world’s best blitzers is different from playing blitz games on icc or playchess.

      i’ve heard dozens of times that naka should be invited to the blitz world championship, tal memorial blitz and so on, while i have argued that if naka’s so superior at blitz, then he should simply play the qualifier for one of these top otb blitz events to prove his strength. these qualifiers are actually open, and you proceed “simply” by placing top x there (usually at least 4-5 players qualify this way).

      maybe naka knows it’s not such a done deal himself. so far he hasn’t tried even once to play one of these qualification events. clearly higher rated players than naka have had to go through qualifiers to play the tal memorial blitz final, for instance.”

    6. Hikaru, you are a class act and you do great things for chess. Thank you for the candid report. Keep it up, and best of luck in the future.

      I also think anonymous Rybka addicts should show a little respect when addressing a world-class 2700-elo GM. Just my opinion. 🙂

    7. Gkasparov you sure picked a good name to go by because you are as dumb as Kasparov with those comments. Hikaru shouldnt have to prove anything to get invited he has did as much if not more and also has the rating to go with it now, as anyone in the world that *has not been invited to Corus, or Linares, etc etc*. Maybe you should enter the world of politics much like your idol there….eh? Anyway, its pretty obvious that western players are getting left out of the race for the golden crown. Im surprised Kamsky is actually where he is at, although at the end of the day he is not a “true american”.

    8. Hikaru, don’t try to forget anything,even unhappy times. You’ve got to simply treat life just as you treat chess because you learn most from the bad times not the good. 21 is the age for mistakes, so examine things like a bad game, and then forgive yourself just like a blunder in a game. You know your strength, just rely on that. It’s not fun but people get strong in the broken places.
      I still enjoy your chess games, and I look forward to much more great games from you!

    9. timhortons

      small, hope to see you more at icc! i wish you the best in these new year! and goodluck to all your tournaments ahead.

      nevermind these few boisterous online kibitzer.

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