Veselin Topalov – Sergei Movsesian LIVE!

Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary

The round 10 game between Veselin Topalov and Sergei Movsesian begins at 8:00 am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.

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Svidler-Bu Xiangzhi commented / Nanjing part of the Grand Slam? / Forum discussion


8:45 CET

32. Rxb5 – After the numerous exchanges, game finished in a draw. Topalov wins the tournament with 7.0/10, while Movsesian remains on 4.0 points.

Thank you everyone for following Nanjing Pearl Spring live on Chessdom! See you next time.

8:20 CET

21. Qc7 – Most likely preparing to pin the Knight with Bb5 and later Nf3-e5. But Black also gets good counterplay on the 2nd rank.

8:15 CET

18. Na7 – This will clean the queenside. 18. Qb3 deserved attention, but the position is still completely equal.

8:10 CET

12. a3!? – Not that common move. White is preparing queenside expansion. Most popular is 12. Na4, as played by Kramnik, Morozevich and Anderson.

8:05 CET

5. cxd5!? – Veselin Topalov already secured the first place after yesterday’s win against Peter Svidler. He chose to play the safe Slav Exchange variation against Movsesian’s attempt to open with Chebanenko. It is not that much that Topalov is “playing for a draw”, as he is actually already hiding his real (best) repertoire against Chebanenko for the upcoming match with Gata Kamsky.

7:55 CET

Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament.

Peter Svidler – Veselin Topalov LIVE!

Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary

The round 9 game between Peter Svidler and Veselin Topalov begins at 8:00 am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.

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Svidler-Bu Xiangzhi commented / Nanjing part of the Grand Slam? / Forum discussion


11:20 CET

36…Bh4 – White pawns are awfully weak and the position is without perspective, so Peter Svidler decided to give up. As Bu Xiangzhi and Levon Aronian drew their game, Veselin Topalov secured win in Nanjing with one round to go. Congratulations!

Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live coverage, see you again tomorrow at 8:00 CET. Have a nice day!

11:00 CET

31…Bd8 – Black still has to find the way to protect b6-pawn and 8th rank before storming forward with the Rook. White, however, has additional problem with the weak base on d4.

32…g6 – Better not to allow f4-f5 with Ne2-f4 next…

10:55 CET

27…0-0 – Never too late to castle :) Black Rooks are finally connected and we can be certain that Black is better. White’s initiative is vanishing.

10:45 CET

26. Rb7 – 26…Nb8 with idea Nc6 and 0-0 should be working fine for Topalov. The other White Rook is still tied for the first rank as Black has Nxd2 and then Nc1 would be hanging. For example 26…Nb8 27. Ra8 0-0! 28. Raxb8 Nxd2 29. Rxc8 Nxf3+ with Rxc8 next, which is a very poor ending for White.

10:40 CET

24. Bd2 – The Knight is not really in danger as there is exit via a3-c4. The only remaining (but not that simple) problem for Black is how to connect the Rooks.

10:25 CET

21. Nc1 – Covering d3, with idea 22. Nd2

21…Nb4 – Opening the c-file for Queen’s retreat after 22. Nd2. If Ra2 leaves the 2nd rank, Qc2 will follow.

10:20 CET

20…Qc4 – Black should be careful not to have his Queen trapped, but there are lots of light squares for the Queen to wonder on. 20…Nb4!? with idea 21…Qd3 deserved attention.

9:55 CET

17…Qxc3 – The most consistent is to accept the gift. However, 17…Qxf1+ 18. Kxf1 f6! was also giving edge to Black, without big risk involved.

9:50 CET

17. c3!? – The best way to get rid of the weak pawn is to simply throw it? There are no concrete lines to backup the pawn sacrifice, except that White might win some tempi to open up the queenside. 17…Qxc3 18. a5!? Qc4! and looks like Black will be able to maintain the blockade.

9:45 CET

16. Qf1!? – Interesting was 16. a5!? b5 17. a6!? with possible counterplay against b-pawn in the future.

16…Nc6 – In case of 17. Qxc4 dxc4 (c-file covered atm so there is no Rxc4) 18. Nbd2 Na5, White gets e4 square for the Knight, but Black has succeeded in blocking the queenside and has easier play.

9:25 CET

13…Ne7 – Also possible was 13…Bb4+, but Topalov wants to keep the Bishop for a while longer.

15. Rb1!? – Svidler is allowing doubled pawns on d-file, because this would help him get rid of the weakness from c2 and also d3 pawn prevents some future anchoring with Nc4. Pawn majority wouldn’t count for much as White Rooks would be very active on the queenside.

9:05 CET

11. Ra2 – The c2-pawn will be a serious burden on Svidler’s position. Later maybe a4 as well.

11…Qc7 – Topalov is adding more pressure, now 12. Bd3 is forced. Bb4+ will also come in.

8:55 CET

9…cxb3 – 9…c3!? was also interesting, but then White simply continues Nf1-g3 and turns his focus to the kingside for the time of being.

10. Nxb3 – 10. cxb3 Bb4 looks wonderful for Black, one of the drawbacks of 8. a4 is weakened b4 square.

8:45 CET

7…c4!? – Caro-Kann guru Anatoly Karpov played 7…a6!? in a blitz game against Sergei Movsesian earlier this year

8. a4!? – It looks like a time waste, but Svidler has a clear idea on his mind. He wants to break Black’s queenside blockade with b3 and prevents possible b7-b5.

8…h6 – Useful move in many Advance variations. Now that there is no more d4-c5 pawn contact, Be3 is not doing much and White might want to put it on more active square g5. Also, Bf5 will find good shelter on h7.

8:35 CET

7. Nbd2 – Relatively rare, compared to 7. c4 and 7. 0-0. Perhaps Svidler is planning to recapture with the Knight in case of some c2-c4, dxc4, but his move is also dropping some of the central pressure now that Nc3 is no longer a “threat” (after c4).

8:25 CET

6…Nd7 – Better than the “normal” 6…Nc6, which leaves Black in huge trouble after 7. dxc5! With the game move Black is defending c5 and leaves vacant square for Ng8-e7-c6. The drawback is that in some lines White can push quick c4 and later break with d5. 6…cxd4 is also fully playable.

8:20 CET

5. Be2 – Seemingly quiet setup, but in fact this is the most promising continuation for White. England’s GM Nigel Short was one of the first to popularise it. The arising positions are not razor-sharp, as in 4. Nc3 e6 5. g4!?, but White will create strong pressure in the center and queenside, using the fact that Black’s light-squared Bishop is absent.

8:15 CET

3. e5 – Caro-Kann holds a reputation of a boring and drawish opening. The Advance variation is by no means quiet or harmless, just remember Shirov-Topalov from the Olympiad. Even the traditional main line can turn into wild adventure, replay the recent Bacrot-Leko to see for yourself.

8:05 CET

1…c6!? – This is hardly a surprise anymore, as Veselin Topalov already played Caro-Kann at the Dresden Olympiad, and his friend and trainer Ivan Cheparinov is using it regularly in FIDE Grand Prix.

8:00 CET

Both players have had late start in Nanjing. Topalov signed his first win exactly against Svidler in round five. It was a brilliant exchange sacrifice after which Black position collapsed. Svidler woke up a bit later and scored two consecutive wins against Movsesian and then-leading Bu.

7:55 CET

Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament.

Peter Svidler – Bu Xiangzhi LIVE!

Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary

The round 8 game between Peter Svidler and Bu Xiangzhi begins at 8:00 am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.

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Bu Xiangzhi – Topalov commented / Nanjing part of the Grand Slam? / Forum discussion


12:00 CET

54. Bc6! – The final moves were played in mutual time trouble, but Svidler found all the best and allowed no chance after capturing d-pawn. Svidler scores second consecutive win and is already back to 50% score. Bu dropped to the second place tie with Levon Aronian, while Veselin Topalov assumed top position with a full point ahead of the competition. Once again, Topalov surpassed 2800 elo in Live Rating List!

11:50 CET

42. h4! – It looks like the immediate 42. b5 Kc5 43. b6 Kb5 44. Bxd5 Bc8! leads only to a draw thanks to the wrong Bishop’s corner on h8. Black King is quick to reach the h8 square.

11:40 CET

41…Bxf5 – Still, precise calculation is required. White has to be careful about the possibility of Black’s Bishop sacrifice for “a” and “b” pawns and wrong corner on h8 for the remaining h-pawn.

11:30 CET

38…Kd6 – Bu admits the mistake but it is already too late. Svidler’s next 39. Rb7! gives him decisive advantage.

11:25 CET

36…Bd7! – Black is holding equal thanks to the good counterplay against b4 and f4.

37…Ke7? – But this is a mistake. It was necessary to gain tempo against the Rook with 37…Kd6 and at the same time stay away from the 7th rank constellation. perhaps Bu wanted to avoid Ra7-a6+ and then g6 is hanging. But now 38. Bxa6 Rxb4 is met with 39. Bc8!

11:15 CET

33. g4 – Taking f5 away from Black King

35. a5 – Losing some of the flexibility for future passer creation, but Svidler wants to block the target on a6, which is on the Bishop’s colour.

11:00 CET

27…Nf8!? – Interesting decision, Bu is preparing to challenge d4 with Ne6 instead of going for counterplay with Nf6-e4.

28…Ne6 – Maybe slightly rushed as White will now obtain favourable endgame.

32. Rc7! – Better than 32. Bxa6 Bxa6 33. Rc6+ Kf5 34. Rxa6 Rb8, where Black regains the pawn and has equal Rook ending.

10:45 CET

26. Ne2 – The follow-up after the exchange on c6 is to place the Knight on dominating d4 square. But on the other hand, Black will get access to equally important e4. Also, the exchange of one pair of Rooks eases Black’s position.

10:40 CET

23. a4!? – With idea a5 and Na4, taking control over b6 and c5.

24. f4! – Excellent move which further seizes the dark squares.

25. Nxc6 – But here 25. Ne4! was much stronger, exactly for the reasons mentioned after 22…Kg7. The Knight is taboo as 25…dxe4 26. Nf5+ wins the Queen.

10:20 CET

22…Kg7 – Was this really necessary? The King on g7 might provide White with various tactical motifs in the future. Even the prompt 23. Qg5 is unpleasant. Black should try to improve his pieces, for example transfer the Nb6 to some better place.

10:10 CET

19. Nd4 – Blocking the d-pawn is one of White’s main strategical aims.

19…g6 – Of course, nobody likes to see enemy Knight on the scary f5 square. Kasparov was quoted as saying that attacking potential of Nf5 is usually worth a whole pawn. But perhaps more urgent was to contest e-file with 19…Nxd3 and 20…Rfe8.

20. Bf1 – Quickly played, but Svidler misses a fine 20. Qe2! which attacks a6 and pins Ne5 for the moment.

9:45 CET

17…e5 – Bu Xiangzhi opted for radical clearance in the center. While his pieces will have more operational space, a small problem remains in the view of isolated pawn d5 which is closing Bb7. Nb6 is also in some offside.

9:30 CET

14. Re2!? – Original plan for doubling on the c-file while White Queen is still on the starting position. Black can counter this with timely c5-c4 as contact between Ba3 and Be7 will provide the necessary tempo for convenient queenside deployment.

9:15 CET

13. Re1 – Nice waiting move, which might prove to be useful later if White wants to push e4.

13…Be7 – Black is ready to finally castle and is close to equalising.

9:10 CET

10…Nfd7 – Black wants to fortify c5 until he completes the development. Straightforward 10…cxd4 11. Bxf8 dxc3 12. Bc5 (to prevent d5-d4 and Nd5) gives some edge to White.

8:45 CET

9…Nxb6 – Navara continued 9…cxd4, and 9…Qxb6 is also possible.

10. Ba3!? – Svidler is improving upon his own play. In the recent Russian Championship (which he won), he moved 10. 0-0 with Bb2 next.

8:40 CET

9. b3!? – Gata Kamsky was the first to use this move, in his game against David Navara in Baku Grand Prix. The “main” continuation is 9. 0-0, as played by Kramnik and Gelfand.

8:35 CET

8. Bd3 – Starting immediate fight for c5 square rarely brings fruit, 8. Na4 Nxb6 9. Bd2 Nxa4 10. Qxa4 Bd7 11. Ne5 c5 12. Nxd7 Qxd7, with equal play for Black.

8:30 CET

7…Nbd7 – Black is not in rush to recapture the pawn, which won’t run away. It is much more important to attack White center and develop accordingly.

8:25 CET

5…a6!? – But Chebanenko Slav is still possible! One difference to the mainstream line is that light-squared won’t reach g4, but on the other hand, Black queenside will be somewhat safer.

8:15 CET

3. Nc3!? – A curious move order, designed with idea to avoid some of the lines in the Slav defence. For example, the extremely popular 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc4 dxc4 or 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 will be eliminated. On the other hand, Black gets new options of playing immediate 3…dxc4, which brought success to GM Ivan Sokolov, or the older 3…e5!?

8:10 CET

1. d4 – Svidler was a die-hard 1.e4 player, but with expansion of the Ruy Lopez Marshall attack and Petroff, he realised that his repertoire should be more flexible.

7:55 CET

Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament.

Bu Xiangzhi – Veselin Topalov LIVE!

Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary

The round 7 game between Bu Xiangzhi and Veselin Topalov begins at 8:00 am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.

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Bu Xiangzhi – Movsesian commented / Nanjing part of the Grand Slam? / Forum discussion


11:50 CET

69…Qe4 – Finally a draw by repetition. Bu Xiangzhi tried to play for a win, but Black fortress was extremely strong and White also had to take care about his own King. Topalov blundered an exchange in the early middlegame, but then fought hard to stay in the game. Bu missed better moves, for example instead of 28. Rd4, and 42. Qh6+ was probably decisive.

Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live coverage, see you again tomorrow at 8:00 CET. Have a nice day!

11:25 CET

45. Rd1 – Black was already threatening Bd6 with battery against h2.

49. Qg1 – The only hope is to prepare Rf1 and kick Black Queen from f4. Still, Black is already extremely solid and this can’t finish with other result than a draw.

11:15 CET

39…Kg6?! – Inaccuracy, Black King will be kicked into open field where White heavy pieces will coordinate strong attack.

41. Qh7! – Cuts King’s retreat and wins tempo against h-pawn to play Qh6+

42. Ra1?! – But Bu misses move order, 42. Qh6+! should have come first.

42…Qf4! – The only defence, now Black King can hang inside the shelter for a bit longer. 43. Ra6+ is countered by Bd6.

11:05 CET

38. f5!? – The only practical chance is to offer a pawn to break Black’s structure.

10:55 CET

35…Kh7 – Stepping away from possible surprises on the 8th rank and reinforcing g6 pawn in case of future f4-f5.

36. e4 – Bu is insisting on exchange of “a” and “e” pawns. But how to win without the pawn majority on the kingside?

10:45 CET

32…bxa4 – Surprising decision!

10:30 CET

32. a4 – White will have to drop one of the pawns. Now Topalov has a choice, 32…Bxe3 33. axb5 Qxb5 34. Qe2 Bxf4 which would be difficult for White to convert, or perhaps 32…b4!?

10:20 CET

30. Rxe4 – 30. Rd8+ was interesting, 30…Kg7 31. Qb2+ f6 and White will still have to work to break Black’s stand in the center.

31. Kh1 – Black can push 31…h4 and try to create some counterplay on the weakened squares around White King.

10:15 CET

28. Rd4 – Perhaps not the best, as Black’s counterplay could become annoying after Bc5, but White is still better.

10:00 CET

23. Qa2 – For White it is only important to keep the Queen on the second rank and have f2-f4 at hand.

27. Bd5 – Of course, the exchanges now favour White. 27. h3 with idea Kh2 and then fight for the 7th rank was also interesting.

9:35 CET

21…Bb7?! – Dropping the control of d7-square might have serious consequences after 22. Nb6! and Black heavy pieces fall under forks. 22…Qg5 23. f4

9:30 CET

20…cxb3 – Immediate 20…Bf5 was also possible, 21. e4 Rfe8! 22. bxc4 Bxe4 with complication position.

9:15 CET

18. b3!? – Bu has to try and find some air for the Bishop. This was the last possible moment, before Black accomplishes Bb7 and Rc8.

18…Ne5 – Also possible was 18…Bb7!?, but then the later Nd5 from White would force lots of exchanges. Now 19. Nxe5 Qxe5 wins a tempo by attacking Nc3, while 19. Nd4 Qe7 makes a contact with a3 pawn.

9:05 CET

17. dxe6!? – White had various options at his disposal: 17. d6!? Qd8 holds the d-pawn firmly blocked and Black can develop good play over the long diagonals and c-file; 17. Nd4 looked scary at first sight, but 17…Nc5! is a good way to counter it.

9:00 CET

16…c4 – Trying to shut the White Bishop. An earlier game in the Spanish championship saw 16…Nb6 17. e4 Bb7 and Black eventually won, but 17. d6! was much more challenging.

8:55 CET

15…c5 – Black is liberating, but the Bishop still remains on c8 and position has a great dynamic potential.

16. d5!? – The only way to fight for the advantage, 16. dxc5 Qxc5 has no prospects.

8:50 CET

13. Rfe1 – Preparing to meet possible e6-e5.

13…a6!? – Invented by GM Suat Atalik. Black is preparing faster b5 and c5 advance, compared to the slightly conservative 13…b6, which prepares Bb7 first, and was a choice of Anand and Karjakin.

8:40 CET

11…Qe7 – Always useful retreat, Black gets away from the future Nc3-e4 and prepares to push either e6-e5 or c6-c5 to open diagonals for Bishops.

8:40 CET

11. Qc2 – Also commonly used by Kramnik and Kasparov. 11. Rc1 is slightly more popular, but 11. b4 is very interesting.

8:35 CET

7. e3 – Considered to be the main line, Mamedyarov used the sharper 7. Qb3!? to beat Topalov.

8…dxc4 – In various Queen’s Gambit setups Black usually wait for White to spend a tempo on Bishop’s development and only then take on c4.

8:30 CET

6. Bxf6 – White cedes Bishops’ pair for a certain space advantage. Topalov reached this position with Black on two occasions, both times in Mtel Masters. He suffered a painful defeat against Mamedyarov in 2007, but later drew Ivanchuk in 2008.

8:30 CET

5…h6 – For many years, Botvinnik variation 5…dxc4 was considered to be main line. Recently, Black have switched to “safer” 5…h6. There are still many sharp lines after 6. Bh4!? dxc4 7. e4 g5 (and there is no time for Nxg5 temporary sacrifice), but the theoretical status is better than immediate 5…dxc4.

8:25 CET

4…c6 – Topalov also used to play classical Queen’s Gambit with 4…Be7

5. Bg5 – The second big crossroad, 5. e3 is Meran variation and exactly this move Topalov used in his yesterday’s game versus Aronian.

8:15 CET

1. Nf3 – Vladimir Kramnik achieved fantastic results with this move order in the early 90s.

3. Nc3 – While he succeeded in avoiding certain Indian defences, for example Gruenfeld or Benoni, Bu stil has to count with various Queen’s Gambit variations.

7:50 CET

Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament. With yesterday’s wins, Bu Xiangzhi and Veselin Topalov have singled out on the top with four points each. Their first Pearl Spring game was a fighting draw. Bu Xiangzhi appears to be very motivated on his homeground, and with Topalov who is always aggressive, we are looking forward to an interesting game.

Bu Xiangzhi – Sergei Movsesian LIVE!

Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary

The round 6 game between Bu Xiangzhi and Movsesian Sergei begins at 8:00 am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.

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Topalov – Svidler commented / Nanjing part of the Grand Slam? / Forum discussion


12:00 CET

62. h4! – “The pin wins!”, as a delighted amateur exclaimed on the online playing site. There is no way to stop 63. h5 and Movsesian threw the towel after some stiff resistance. He lost both Pearl Spring games to Bu Xiangzhi.

Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live coverage, see you again tomorrow at 8:00 CET. Have a nice day!

11:45 CET

53. Qf4 – The simplest solution to get rid of the pin. In case of 53…Bxb2, White still keeps four passed pawns for the exchange.

11:35 CET

48. Qxh4+ – Bu finally collects the h-pawn. There is no time addition after 40 moves, only 30-sec increment. Both players are in small time trouble, with 7-8 minutes on the clock.

11:35 CET

44…Qb8!? – With idea to pin the Knight, but simple 45. Qxa4 prevents both Rd7 and Rc6 and buys a tempo for Bu.

11:30 CET

43. Nd6 – Good idea to harass Black’s Rook and Bishop, but White will still have to work hard to convert the advantage.

44. Qe4 – Going after the unfinished business – Black h-pawn.

11:20 CET

35…Rf8 – Perhaps the only move as 35…Qd7 36. Nxf6+ involves the deadly Be5.

37. Qf5! – Preparing to grab h5-pawn.

39. Qe6 – Maybe simple 39. Qxh5+ was the best.

11:05 CET

33. Rxf6! – Beautiful exchange sacrifice that opens the gates for White Knight to join the attack. The annoying threat of Black’s Nf6-e4 is also eliminated. 33…gxf6 34. Ne4! and now 34…Bg7 is met with 35. Qe7.

10:55 CET

31…h5 – A very difficult position for Black after 31. Rc7. It is hard to give a good advice, other than sit and wait to see what happens.

10:30 CET

29. Qb7! – This ensures advantage to White but he still has to be careful not to allow a sudden burst of Black’s energy against Kh2.

29…Bf8 – Now 30. Rc7? is premature and break against 30…Qxf2! and 31…Rd2. Best is to cover f2 first with 30. Bg3.

10:25 CET

28…Qf1 – Looking aggressive but perhaps it was better to take precaution against White’s intrusion to the 7th and 8th rank.

10:20 CET

26…Ba8 – The only move, 26… Bd5 27. Nxd5 Nxd5 28. Nc6 Re8 29. Nxe7+ Nxe7 30. Qb7! is much weaker.

10:15 CET

25. h3! – Bu declines moves repetition and continues to fight for the victory! h2-h3 with idea Nc6 is the best practical chance as Black Queen still remains sidelined.

10:05 CET

22. Rxd8 – 22. Rc1! might have been harder to meet, 22…Ba8 23. Ra4, only now, 23…Qc5 24. Rxc5 and Black will have to seek compensation on the kingside. 22. Rc1 Bd5!? 23. Nxd5 Nxd5 24. Nc6 Qb5 saves material, but White has better ending after 25. Qxb5 axb5 26. Nxe7+ and 27. Rc5.

9:50 CET

20…Qa5 – 20…Qb6 would be strongly met with 21. Nd7!, but in this position Nd7 does not work since Black can play the cool Rfc8.

21. Qb3 – A rather annoying assault on Bb7, since Rook cannot come to b8 (Bf4). Black has the neat 21…Rfd8 though, then 22. Qxb7 Rxd1+ 23. Nxd1 Qe1 is checkmate. 22. Rc1 renews the threat to Bb7.

9:40 CET

18. Bf4 – Gaining tempo for Ne5 next. Black Queen might appear clumsy over the next few moves as White pieces keep attacking her.

20. Rxc4 – 21. Nd7 could be interesting, depending on the Queen’s retreat. This wins some entry points to the 7th rank.

9:25 CET

17. Ra4! – This is the point! Bu collects c4 pawn with his Rook and immediately shifts to attack Black King. Also possible was 17. Bxf6 and then Ra4.

9:10 CET

15…Bxc5!? – Now 16. Rfd1 Qe7 (16…Qc7 17. Bxf6 gxf6 and White has various possibilities for a Rook lift to 4th rank and transfer to the kingside) 17. Ne4!? might cause a slight structural damage on Black’s side. Perhaps 15…Bb7 first, to prevent Ne4, was safer.

8:55 CET

13. Bxc4 – White will regain this pawn, but in the meantime Black will complete the development.
14…c5! – Timely liberating move, a common motif in many Chebanenko lines.

15. dxc5 – The best practical chance is to open d-file and disturb Black pieces’ harmony.

8:45 CET

11. axb6 – necessary as 11. cxb5 axb5! is really awkward for White.

8:45 CET

10…b5 – Comes as a novelty, only 10…c5 has been tried earlier.

8:40 CET

7…Bb4 – A rare move, played with intention to entice White Queen to a4 and then b7-b5 comes with a greater effect. Garry Kasparov played 7…h6!? against Vladimir Kramnik in a 2001 rapid game, but next year he switched to 7…dxc4 in another rapid event.

8:35 CET

7. a5 – This expansion might have been prevented with 6…a5, which is Etienne Bacrot’s regular choice. However, it is not overly dangerous for Black who will push b6 anyway.

8:30 CET

6. Bg5 – Catalan style 6. g3 dxc4 deserves attention. Black usually free themselves with timely c6-c5.

8:25 CET

5. a4 – White have tried many different setups against Chebanenko, but Black position is very resisting. 5. c5 and 5.e3 are the most popular, but 5. g3 and 5. Bg5 are also playable.

8:20 CET

4…a6!? – The ultra-popular Chebanenko Slav is the main defence of many top players, Movsesian included. Only sometimes he switches to King’s Indian defence.

7:55 CET

Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament.

Bu Xiangzhi – Vassily Ivanchuk LIVE!

Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary

The round 4 game between Bu Xiangzhi and Vassily Ivanchuk begins at 8:00 am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.

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Movsesian – Aronian commented / Nanjing part of the Grand Slam? / Forum discussion


11:05 CET

30…h5 – Both players handled the complicated position with high precision and draw is a logical result. Bu remains undefeated and Ivanchuk is yet to score his first win in Nanjing.

Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live coverage, see you again tomorrow at 8:00 CET. Have a nice day!

11:00 CET

25. Qxe7 – After another set of massive exchanges, the players have reached an equal ending. Furthermore, it is likely that Queens and Bishops will go off as well, and there will be nothing much to be done with Rooks and pawns on the same side.

10:45 CET

21…Rac8 – Ivanchuk is still hanging on the pawn! Massive exchanges with 22. Nxc6? Qxc6 23. Qxc6 Rxc6 24. Rxc6 Bxc6 25. Bxc6 Rd2! give much better ending to Black. So, Bu has to search for an alternative, maybe 22. Nb5 and Nxa7?

10:35 CET

20…Bd5 – Black had other options, but the game move seems to be the best. 20…Bxb3 21. axb3 Rac8 22. Qxc6 is equal ending, while 20…Bxe2 is dangerous after 21. Nd4 and the Bishop has no good squares.

10:30 CET

19…Bxc4 – 20. Na5 will be risky because Black can choose between Bxa2 and Bxe2.

10:20 CET

18. Nb3 – Now c5 pawn will be traded for c4. With some neat Bishop maneuvering, Ivanchuk can make it difficult for Bu to grab c6 as well. Should he play Be6 or include 18…Bf5 19 e4 first?

10:00 CET

17…Rd8 – After quite some thought, Ivanchuk takes the straightforward path. First he “wins” a tempo on Nd2, and only then he will decide where to put the Bishop. Of course, having to move the Knight is not disturbing White’s plans that much, as he probably wanted to play Ne4 or Nb3 anyway, but at least the c4 pawn will be unprotected for the moment.

9:45 CET

17. Qa5!? – Bu refuses c6 and wants to attack c5 (with addition of Ne4 if necessary). After Rd8 and Be6, White’s c4 will also be in danger. Black can become very active.

9:40 CET

16…Nb6 – Now Ivanchuk gets a chance to coordinate better. The Bc8 is open to move to e6 (attack c4), f5 (attack Rb1) or g4 (attack e2). As predicted bellow, Ivanchuk is offering the extra pawn back.

9:25 CET

15. Qa4 – Bu Xiangzhi goes immediately after the c6 pawn, but perhaps placing the Queen on e3 might have been more sensible, since from there it can hunt Black’s weak pawns, but also take advantage of the weak dark-squares around Black King (in some variations).

9:15 CET

13. Bh6 – Time to sum-up after the relatively forced variation. The important tempo against Rf8 allows White to complete the development and connect heavy pieces. White Bishop is better than its counterpart, and Black might have some problems with coordination. It is quite possible that he will drop that extra pawn on c6 at some point.

8:45 CET

9. d5!? – Might be seen as serious concession, since the diagonal is opening for Black Bishop. Inarkiev chose to hold on d4 pawn with Bb2 and 0-0.

9…Nd7!? – Of course, Ivanchuk moves this Knight rather than the other one. Now on 10. dxc6 he plays …dxc6 11. Nc3 (only) Bxc3 12. Rb1 and in spite of Black’s extra (doubled and isolated) pawn, the position is still unclear. The other way was 9…Ne4!?, then 10. dxc6 Bxa1 11. Bf4 and White has some compensation for the exchange.

8:40 CET

8…Nc6 – The main point is that Black will develop strong pressure against White’s center and c4 pawn will probably remain isolated. On the other hand, fianchettoed Bg2 will be exercising control over the Black’s queenside and b7 pawn in particular.

8:35 CET

6…dxc4!? – Usually, Black would play automatic 0-0 going for transpositions. The game move is indeed very rare, played only in three games before GM Emil Sutovsky, trainer of Gata Kamsky, used it against Ernesto Inarkiev at the European Club Cup.

8:25 CET

6. b3!? – This is rare, compared to the main moves like 6. cxd5 and 6. 0-0. Usually it is played on the next move.

8:20 CET

5…c6 – 5…0-0, leaving c-pawn options open but inviting possible 6. cxd5!?, and immediate 5…dxc4 are equally popular.

8:15 CET

4…d5!? – Ivanchuk wants to play one of his pet defences, Gruenfeld Indian. If you have read GM Jonathan Rowson’s excellent book on Gruenfeld (published back in 1999 but still valid!), you might consider fianchetto setup to be harmless. Nevertheless, strong positional players, like GM Predrag Nikolic, are still very dangerous in this variation.

8:10 CET

4. Bg2 – Bu is adopting a flexible setup that is allowing him to delay the decision whether he will play English or Indian openings. Of course, if Ivanchuk pushes 4…c5, then another transposition to King’s Indian is highly unlikable and we would have English opening.

8:05 CET

Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament.

Veselin Topalov – Peter Svidler LIVE!

Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary

The round 5 game between Veselin Topalov and Peter Svidler begins at 8:00 am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.

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Bu Xiangzhi – Ivanchuk commented / Nanjing part of the Grand Slam? / Forum discussion


10:40 CET

Peter Svidler resigned and Veselin Topalov scores the first win in Nanjing! Black is losing not only e6, but most likely b6 pawn as well, since 29…Rb7 30. Nxe6! threatens discovered check, then 30…Rb8 31. f4 the pawns are rolling forward and we can’t see how would Black break the pin.

Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live coverage, see you again on Wednesday at 8:00 CET. Have a nice day!

10:35 CET

29. Bb3! – A fine change of plans. The Knight was targeting e6 for so long, but in the end it will be the Bishop to collect this pawn. The point is that the Knight will head to newly freed square d5, which would prove that Bf6 was simple waste of time.

10:30 CET

26. Rd1 – Threatening 27. dxe6 Rxd1+ 28. Bxd1 fxe6 29. Nxe6

26…Bf6?! – It is unclear what was the idea behind this move, Topalov simply takes on e6. The only way to save e6 was radical 26…g5, but then White’s f2-f4 would come with great force.

10:20 CET

23…Rc8 – Svidler decides to give a7 instead of e6 pawn. 23…Qxc5 24. Bxc5 Rd7 25. dxe6 (25. Bxa7 Ra8 takes a4 back) dxe5 26. Nxe6 b6 and Rc8 next with solid counterplay.

10:10 CET

22. Qc3 – A fine move that also highlights the weakness on e6. The Rook can’t go back, or White takes on e6, and then there remains 22…Bg7. Only now White takes on c5, because after the exchange, Rdd8 is not discovering Bc5-Bf8 contact anymore and so e6 is hanging as well.

10:05 CET

20…Bxb5 – It wasn’t really necessary to rush with this, the Rook won’t escape (a4 hanging otherwise). Maybe 20…Rbc8!? first?

9:55 CET

20. a4!? – Topalov is insisting, he clearly said good-bye to the exchange. Now there is no turning back because Ra6 and Be8 are hitting on a4.

9:50 CET

19…Bf8 – Without too much thought. Svidler realised that accepting the exchange would be too dangerous. Now Rook goes to b2, and if Black plays Bg7 back, at least White won a tempo for Rooks’ doubling by 21. Rfb1. White won’t get much on the b-file, but it at least discourages Qa5 and Black pieces will have to take care of b7.

9:40 CET

19. Rb5! – A thunder from the clear sky! Topalov wants the c5 pawn and pays no attention to the material. 19…Bxb5 is critical, of course, then 20. cxb5, attacks the Rook and opens the gate to c5 and e6, 20…Rd6 gives two pawns for consolidation of forces, but maybe the annoying 20…Ra3!? is worth trying.

In the end, Svidler is not forced to take on b5, he can play 19…Bf8 to defend the c5 and then Rb5 has to move backwards.

9:35 CET

17…Rd6!!? – “It looks crazy, but the pain has disappeared”, said an old commercial for spine sustainer. The Rook will neatly support the weakened e6 and press on a2 at the same time.

9:25 CET

17. Be2! – Exclamation mark attached only because White is attempting to solve the problem of his worst piece. The light-squared Bishop is very clumsy, but now after the Queen moves away from the d-file, White could even threaten dxe6.

9:20 CET

15…e6 – The standard method of challenging White’s massive but immobile center. It might be argued though that now with the Bishop on e8, 15…a6 and 16…b5 was more to the point? Topalov’s next 16. Nf4 immediately reminds that e6 might be a liability in the later stage of the game.

9:15 CET

13…Be8!? – This was the point behind Rfd8, Bishop does not have to necessarily retreat to c8. White center is hanging and Topalov pushes d5 next. Perhaps the slight drawback of Be8 is that Bishop will not protect e6 in some variations. Topalov’s 13. h3 looks kinda slow, but maybe he was simply temporising?

9:05 CET

13. h3 – This is a new move, previously GM Vitiugov played standard 13. Bf4, while Hungarian GM Berkes used curious 13. Qc1!? to beat Emil Sutovsky. Perhaps the straightforward 13. f4 would best suit Topalov’s style?

9:00 CET

12…Rfd8!? – As an unwritten rule, this Rook is allowed to leave its post when White Bishop steps away from the diagonal with f7 pawn. Of course, Black wants to increase the pressure on White’s center, but 12…Rad8 has been almost automatic in this position, as it allows Bishop’s or Queen’s retreat to c8 while the Rooks remain connected. Svidler himself moved the “a” Rook in a last year game versus Shirov.

8:50 CET

12. Bd3 – Bishop on c4 was sort of hanging on the c-file against Qc7 and White has to take the necessary precaution. The game move allows the central tension to last a little longer. More common is 12. Bf4 Qc8 13. d5 Na5 14. Bd3 e5!?

8:45 CET

11…Qc7 – Svidler also played 11…a6!? quite often. Pawn b7 is indirectly protected because Na5 forks Bc4 and Rb7. In this case, facing with the prospect of queenside expansion, White usually break the central pawn mass with 12. dxc5. This is possible since b6 has been weakened.

8:35 CET

11. Rb1 – It is usually a good idea to move the Rook from the Bg7 diagonal at the first convenience. Rb1 is by far most popular but Rc1 has also been played. The point behind Black’s move order (first Bd7 and then Qc7), is that while Rc1 is main move against Qc7, now it is not that effective since Black Queen is still on the starting square.

8:25 CET

10…Bd7 – Svidler prefers quiet approach with 11…Bd7 or 11…Qc7 (transpositions possible) over the most popular but sharper 11…Bg4. It is not surprising that Bg4 has been played by Shirov, Van Wely and Sutovsky, all of them being famed as very aggressive players.

8:20 CET

7. Bc4 – Botvinnik/Estrin variation never lost its popularity, but 7. Nf3 c5 8. Rb1 was the main battleground for the top players over the last decade. Now they are slowly switching back to explore new possibilities with Bc4. Perhaps GM Konstantin Sakaev’s monumental analytical work, published in a thick book by Chess Stars, sparkled the revival.

8:15 CET

4. cxd5 – Blacks experienced some problems in 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bg5 earlier, but Topalov is always using the main lines against the Gruenfeld.

8:10 CET

3…d5 – This was not difficult to guess, Peter Svidler is playing his favourite Gruenfeld Indian defence.

7:55 CET

Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament. Both Topalov and Svidler are yet to score the first win in Nanjing, hopefully we will have a decisive result today :)

Sergei Movsesian – Levon Aronian LIVE!

Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary

The round 3 game between Sergei Movsesian and Levon Aronian begins at 7:30am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.

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Topalov – Bu Xiangzhi commented / Nanjing part of the Grand Slam? / Forum discussion


9:50 CET

32. Kf2 – Now that was quick. Movsesian and Aronian have blitzed through the last 10 moves to reach unlike Bishops ending and sign a draw. In this kind of position, when Black has a bolt on e4, it is difficult to come up with anything else than f2-f3, which in turn can simplify the game to the level where one would long to watch Petroff just for some heart race.

Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live coverage, see you again tomorrow at 8:00 CET. Have a nice day!

9:40 CET

21…Rfe8!? – Very nice sidestep, shows us how the Grandmasters think. Most of us would automatically grab the pawn with Nxe7, but Aronian does not want to allow Bf4 and Rfe1 with tempo. The Knight also covers e5 from c6.

9:30 CET

17…Bxg4!? – Interesting decision, now the things might complicate a bit. 17… Nxe4 18. Nxe4 Bxe4 19. Bxe4 Qxe4 would have been completely equal.

18. e5! – The only way to fight for the initiative, 18. hxg4 Nxg4 gives plenty of counterplay to Black.

9:20 CET

16. f3 – Sooner or later, White will have to open the center, otherwise his pieces are lacking space.

16…Qg6 – Again better than exchange on g4 which favour White after hxg4.

8:55 CET

15. Ng4!? – Exchange on g4 cannot be recommended 15…Bxg4 16. hxg4 Qg6 17. Nxe4!, most likely Aronian will play 15…d5.

8:45 CET

14. Bc2 – It looks like Movsesian is completely ignoring Qg6. Perhaps he will agree to trade h3 for e4? But Black does not have to take at once, he can fortify e4 first, with Nf6 and d5.

8:35 CET

12. Nh2!? – A novelty, earlier game saw 12. Nfd2. The difference is that White will want to have the Knights on h2 and d2 before possibly pushing f3.

8:30 CET

9. Be3 – This is rare, White usually push immediate d4.

9…Kh8 – The same move was used by Arshak Petrosian, the coach of Peter Leko and the Armenian national team, back in 1984 against Vladimir Malaniuk. The next few moves will follow that game.

8:25 CET

8…Nh7 – With dual purpose, preparing possible Ng5, which should loosen White’s center a bit after Knights’ exchange, and clearing the way for f-pawn advance.

8:20 CET

7. Bb3 – Always useful retreat in this setup. White wants to keep his Bishop on the board and prepares measures against possible Na5.

8. h3 – Nbd2 or Re1 are popular alternatives, but Black always continues with the same plan as in the game.

8:15 CET

4…h6 – We’ve been taught not to make unnecessary pawn moves early in the opening, but h6 will fit perfectly with Black’s plans. It is not really pointed to prevent Ng5 or Bg5, which can’t do any harm, but to prepare future piece exchange on g5. Aronian already used this move before.

8:05 CET

3. Bc4!? – Back to the good old Italian opening. Movsesian loves to play Italian and Bishop’s opening with White, so Aronian didn’t really hope to enter his favourite Marshall Attack in Ruy Lopez.

4. d3!? – The most popular as of late. Much sharper lines like 4. d4 (Max-Lange attack) and 4. Ng5 have been deeply explored.

7:40 CET

Movsesian and Aronian are both entering this round encouraged with yesterday’s wins over Svidler and Ivanchuk respectively. Surprisingly enough, the two do not really have a game history. Aronian (rated only 2310 back then) won with White at the 1996(!) Armenian Championship and once again in 2002 Bundesliga. Another game in 2004 Bundesliga ended in a draw. Movsesian, who is now playing under Slovakia flag, has been steadily increasing his level over the last couple of years and is now holding 12th position with 2741 points at the Live Top List.

7:35 CET

The games will probably start at 8:00, stay tuned.

7:30 CET

Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament.