Arkadij Naiditsch, a Latvian native who now lives in Germany, scored an upset victory at the elite tournament in Dortmund, Germany, this month. The 19-year-old grandmaster was the youngest and also the lowest-rated player in an impressive field that included several participants from the upcoming FIDE world championship in Argentina as well as the classical world champion Vladimir Kramnik. Naiditsch's winning score was 51/2 points in nine games. Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov, France's Etienne Bacrot, Russia's Peter Svidler and the Dutchman Loek Van Wely finished with five points. Russia's Kramnik and England's Michael Adams posted a 50 percent score with 41/2 points. Hungary's Peter Leko had four points. Emil Sutovsky of Israel ended with 31/2 points. The Dane Peter Heine Nielsen closed the field with three points.
Topalov had the best result among the other superstars and was able to defeat the tournament winner. It was Naiditsch's only loss in the event as he fell victim to Topalov's better opening preparation in the double-edged Vienna variation of the Queen's gambit.
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.d4 dxc4 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bg5 c5!? (The sharp Vienna variation brought to light by grandmaster Ernst Gruenfeld, who analyzed it with Viennese masters in the late 1920s.) 7.e5!? (The most forcing line. But even 7.Bxc4 can turn out to be wild after 7...cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qa5 10.Bxf6. Hans Mueller's correspondence game, played in 1934, finished quickly after 10...Qxc3+ 11.Qd2?! Qxa1+? [11...Qxd2+ is correct.] 12.Ke2 Qxh1 13.Nxe6! Nd7 14.Nxg7+ Kf8 15.Qd5 and white won. Black does not have to help white this way. Today, the variation hinges on 10...Qxc3+ 11.Kf1! gxf6!? 12.Rc1 Qa5 13.Bb5+ Ke7 14.e5! fxe5 15.Qh5! Nd7! 16.Qg5+ Kf8 17.Rxc8+ Rxc8 18.Bxd7 Qd8 and in many games white took a draw by perpetual check 19.Nxe6+ fxe6 20.Qh6+ Kf7 21.Qxe6+ Kf8 22.Qh6+ etc.) 7...cxd4 8.Nxd4 (White can win a piece with 8.Qa4+ Nc6 9.0-0-0 Bd7 10.Ne4 Be7 11.exf6 gxf6 12.Bh4, but black has a strong pawn center, and the position is messy. It is a favored line of the top Russian women, and it appeared this month in the game Chiburdanidze-Kosteniuk played in North Urals Cup. In one of the first games, Fine-Gruenfeld, Amsterdam 1936, black tried 12...Nb4? and the American grandmaster refuted it with a queen sacrifice 13.Qxb4! Bxb4 14.Nxf6+ Kf8 15.Rxd4 Qa5?! 16.Nxd7+ Ke8 17.Nf6+ Kf8 18.Bxc4 with excellent chances to win. The modern defense is 12...Rc8! 13.Kb1 Na5 14.Qc2 e5! and black has a playable game.) 8...Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qa5 10.exf6 Qxg5 11.fxg7 Qxg7 (The queen is not an ideal piece to patch holes around the king.)
12.Qd2!? (A better way to prepare 13.Bxc4. Previously played 12.Qf3 runs into 12...Nd7! 13.Bxc4 0-0 and because of the threat to eliminate white's bishop with 14...Ne5, white must lose a tempo.) 12...0-0 13.Bxc4 a6 (The greedy 13...Qxg2? is punished quickly: 14.0-0-0 Kh8 15.Rhg1 Qxh2 16.Qg5 and mate is unavoidable. But Andrei Kharlov's 13...Rd8!?, threatening 14...e5, is a good alternative. The Bulgarian grandmaster had first-hand knowledge about this line, as it was featured in the game Van Wely-Topalov, played in Monte Carlo this year. After 13...Rd8 14.Qe3 Bd7 15.0-0 Nc6 16.Nf3 Ne7 17.Ne5 Bc6 black soon equalized.) 14.0-0 Rd8? (Mixing two ideas the wrong way catches black's queenside pieces in a deep sleep. Undermining the knight on d4 with 14...b5 15.Bb3 b4!, as played in a 2002 Hungarian game Ribli-Acs, is more to the point. White can't take the pawn 16.cxb4? because of 16...Rd8 17.Rad1 Bb7 18.f3 e5 and black wins.)
15.Qf4! (Threatening to disturb black's piece coordination with 16.Qc7.) 15...b5 (After 15...e5 16.Qh4 Rf8 17.Nf3 Nc6 18.Rfe1 white's position is more comfortable.) 16.Qc7 Qf8 17.Bd3 Rd7 (Unfortunately, black has no time to exchange the queens with 17...Qd6? because of a bishop sacrifice: 18.Bxh7+! Kxh7 19.Qxf7+ Kh6 [On19...Kh8 20.Rad1! wins.] 20.Nf3! and now both 20...Qf8 and 20...Rf8 are crushed by 21.Ne5!) 18.Qf4 Bb7 19.Rae1! (After an irritating queen sortie to the queenside, white comes back to real business: exploiting the weak dark squares around the black king.) 19...Qg7 20.Be4! (Exchanging black's active bishop and preventing 20...Qxg2 mate.) 20...Kh8 (After 20...e5 21.Bxb7 exf4 22.Re8+ wins.) 21.Re3 Bxe4 22.Qxe4 Rd5?! (Black is just a move away, say 23...Nd7, to solve his problems with the underdeveloped queenside and have a decent position. But it is not going to happen. Had he played 22...Raa7 white would have 23.Qf4 Rac7 24.Rg3 e5 25.Qf5 exd4 26.Re1! Rc8 27.Rxg7 winning.)
23.Nxe6! (A breakthrough sacrifice, opening lines for white's heavy guns.) 23...fxe6 24.Qxe6 Rd7 25.Rg3 Qf8 26.Re1! (White's three heavy pieces easily overpower the black king.) 26...Raa7 27.Qf6+!! (A neat mating finish! After 27...Qxf6 28.Re8+ Qf8 29.Rxf8 mates.) Black resigned.
Solution to today's study by V. Halberstadt (White: Kc8,P;g2,h4; Black: Kc2,P:g4,h7): 1.Kd7! (Not 1.h5? Kd2 2.h6 Ke2 3.Kd7 Kf2 4.Ke7 Kxg2 5.Kf7 Kf3 6.Kg7 g3 7.Kxh7 g2 8.Kh8 g1Q 9.h7 Kg4! and black wins.) 1...Kd2 (On 1...Kd3 2.Ke6 Ke4 3.Kf6 Kf4 4.h5! draws.) 2.Ke6! Ke2 3.Kf5 g3 4.Kg4 Kf2 5.Kh3! h5 stalemate.