Bazna Kings Round Two Report

All three games drawn, Nisipeanu and Gelfand in lead

The 2010 Bazna Kings, the strongest tournament in Romanian chess history, continued Tuesday with round two games. Pairings are Teimour Radjabov – Magnus Carlsen, Wang Yue – Ruslan Ponomariov, and Boris Gelfand – Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu.

The Romanian representative Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu is a very versatile player and his opening choices are difficult to be predicted. Against Gelfand he defended with Queen’s Gambit Accepted, and White took up the sharpest variation 3. e4.

What was easier to guess, is that Nisipeanu would trade the Knights for Bishops or vice versa. As early as move 12 he had two Knights against two Bishops, with all heavy pieces present on the board.

Bazna group

Group photo with players and organizers

Castling long and then advancing those queenside pawns might have appeared reckless, but Black was able to limit the Bishops and disturb opponent’s Rooks coordination. Nisipeanu’s position was prettier to the eye, but with further exchanges and time trouble closing in, the players have settled for a draw on move 32. Replay the game with computer analysis.

Ponomariov had another chance to defend against the Catalan opening, this time in the game with Wang Yue. Only compared to the round one match with Magnus Carlsen, the Chinese allowed Black to push b5.

The Queens went off rather early, and there were repeated moves on several occasions, but the play continued until the first time control with Wang trying to press Black’s only weakness – pawn on e6. However, all White’s attempts were futile and the point was split on move 40. Replay the game with computer analysis.

The clash between Radjabov and Carlsen was very interesting to watch as the Azeri tried to recover from round one defeat and Carlsen is the aggressive player who always pushes for a victory.

Carlsen Bazna

White’s opening was cautious but not without hidden venom, as GM Christian Bauer noted in his commentary. But Carlsen avoided the trap with 5…a6, quickly equalised and even went to take the initiative.

The space advantage on the queenside was apparently sealed after 21…b4, but Radjabov immediately replies with the daring 22. d4!? Carlsen walks into White’s idea and the position becomes significantly simplified after massive exchanges.

GM Bauer predicted a draw as final outcome, but Carlsen continued to play relying on the passed d-pawn. He even made some progress and White was forced to carefully consider the moves to avoid the pitfalls. Deeper analysis should reveal whether Black had better continuations, but Radjabov eventually managed to hold a draw.

Round one report

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