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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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.
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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.
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?
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.
19…Bxc4 – 20. Na5 will be risky because Black can choose between Bxa2 and Bxe2.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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…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.
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.
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.
5…c6 – 5…0-0, leaving c-pawn options open but inviting possible 6. cxd5!?, and immediate 5…dxc4 are equally popular.
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.
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.
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