World championship match 2013 round 7

The seventh and last mini match had to bring the decision. World champion Alexander Georgiev needed two more draws to retain his world title, but Alexander Schwarzman made him work very hard for this. Both games were tense positional battles, in which Schwarzman managed to take the initiative during the late middle game. But both times Georgiev stayed cool, and trusted on his calculations to secure the draw. And thus the match ended in a victory for Alexander Georgiev, due to his better score in the rapid games. There were different opinions about the format of the match, but it surely was exciting until the very end.

Alexander Georgiev
Alexander Georgiev at the start of the deciding game
Georgiev - Schwarzman 1-1
Alexander Georgiev - Alexander Schwarzman 1-1

In the first game an opening was played that has appeared many times before in games between grandmasters. The most common moves in this position are 14.34-29 23x34 15.39x30 and   14.33-28 . A nice example of the latter one is the game Valneris-Barkel 2004, that continued like this: 17-21 15.28x19 14x23 16.39-33 10-14 17.35-30 5-10 18.30-25 20-24? 19.27-22! 18x27 20.33-29 24x33 21.38x7 27x49 22.7-1 and white won.

Georgiev played the rare variation   14.27-21!? 16x27 15.32x21 This exchange is often seen in games of weaker players. Their goal is primarily to safeguard the piece on 27 by bringing it towards the corner square 16. We can safely assume that the world champion had a more aggressive strategy in mind. However, in this game it did not become entirely clear what he was after.

2-7 16.21-16 17-22 17.34-29 23x34 18.40x29 14-19 19.37-31 26x37 20.42x31 10-14 21.48-42

diagram 1
diagram 3

19-23! It's not completely obvious how black should proceed in this position. His right wing does not seem strong enough to get into action there. Schwarzman decides to wait patiently, and bring the piece on 5 into play. 22.44-40 23x34 23.40x29 14-19 24.42-37 5-10 25.37-32 12-17 26.45-40 10-14 27.47-42 8-12 28.31-26

diagram 2
diagram 4

3-8 Another waiting move, to force white to make a decision. 29.42-37 20-24! Now that white has given up the formation 42/38/33 it is time to take control of the board center. 30.29x20 15x24 31.40-34 18-23 32.34-30 13-18 33.37-31 9-13 34.32-28 23x32 35.38x27 7-11 36.16x7 12x1 37.50-44 8-12 38.43-38 1-7 39.44-40 7-11 40.40-34 4-9 41.30-25 22-28 42.33x22 17x28

diagram 3
diagram 5

Schwarzman clearly has the initiative now, mainly due to the many passive white corner pieces. 43.38-32! 28x37 44.31x42 If black tries to take advantage of the inactive piece on 36 by 11-16 then white can reply with 45.42-38! 18-23 (not   19-23? 46.34-29! 23x21 47.26x10)   46.38-33! 12-17 47.34-30! 13-18 48.39-34 9-13 49.36-31! 17-22 50.26-21 24-29 51.33x24 23-28 52.21-17 22x11 53.34-29 with an equal position.   12-17 45.27-21! 19-23 46.21x12 18x7 47.36-31! Georgiev finds a rather safe defense. 11-17 48.31-27 14-19 49.42-38 13-18 50.38-32 Another idea was   50.39-33 9-13 51.34-30 17-22 or? 52.33-29!! 24x42 53.25-20 22x31 54.26x48.   17-22 51.39-33 22x31 52.26x37 7-12 53.37-31 12-17 54.32-28 23x32 55.34-29 32-38 56.29x20 38x29 57.20-15 9-14 58.25-20 14x25 59.15-10 29-33 60.10-4 18-23 Here Georgiev spent a couple of minutes to make absolutely sure of the draw. 61.4-15! 23-29 62.31-27 19-24 63.15-10

Schwarzman - Georgiev 1-1
Alexander Schwarzman - Alexander Georgiev 1-1

The rapid game was going to decide about the world title. Georgiev made preparations for a classical game, but that would not be attractive for white due to his tempo advantage. So Schwarzman decided to start an attack with 23.30-24! 20x29 24.33x24 19x30 25.35x24 14-20 26.39-33 20x29 27.33x24 18-23! 28.38-33 13-18 29.24-20 White is forced to make an exchange, but the presence of a white piece on 20 guarantees that the game remains interesting. 15x24 30.34-29 23x34 31.40x20 8-13 32.42-38 13-19 33.43-39 17-21 34.39-34 6-11 35.45-40 21-26 36.40-35 19-23

diagram 4
diagram 1

37.35-30 It is interesting to see that Schwarzman categorically refuses to play   37.20-15, which is a standard continuation in positions like this. Perhaps he estimated that the position after a variant like 11-17 38.35-30 9-13 39.30-24 23-29 40.34x23 18x20 41.15x24 is too easy for black to defend.   11-17 38.30-25 17-22 39.48-42 22x31 40.36x27 9-14 41.20x9 3x14 42.34-30 7-11 43.30-24 23-29! 44.32-28 29x20 45.33-29? Perhaps Schwarzman wanted to surprise his opponent here, but Georgiev is unaffected. The logical move   45.28-23! 18x29 46.33x15 was a good alternative here, since black has still plenty of opportunities to lose the game after that. A logical variant is 11-17 47.37-32 17-21 48.38-33 12-18 49.33-28 14-19 (here   18-22? 50.27x18 21-27 51.32x21 16x27 loses after 52.18-13 27-31 53.13-8 31-37 54.42x31 26x37 55.8-2 etc.)   50.25-20!

analysis
diagram 2

Now black can make a narrow draw using the piece sacrifice 26-31 51.27x36 21-27 52.32x21 16x27 53.28-22 18-23 54.22x31 23-29 55.31-27 29-34 56.27-22 34-40 57.22-18 40-44 58.18-12 44-50 59.12-8 50-44 60.8-3 44-40 61.42-38 19-24 62.20x29 40x23, but it is not very obvious that this endgame is a draw. If white manages to make a second king the position is winning, so black has to defend very actively. Another way to make a draw is   18-22 51.27x18 21-27 52.32x21 16x27 53.18-12 27-31 54.12-8 31-37 55.42x31 26x37 56.8-2 4-9 57.2x24 37-41 58.28-22 41-46 59.24-30 46-41 60.22-18 41-47!! 61.18-12 47-36 62.15-10 36-47 63.20-15 9-14 64.10x19 47-24, but this is very difficult to find.

The game continued with   11-17 46.37-32 26-31! Georgiev forces a draw using a little combination. 47.27x36 18-22! 48.38-33 14-19 49.25x23 12-18 50.23x21 16x47 51.28x17 4-9 and Schwarzman had to abandon his attempts to win the game. After this a blitz game was still played to determine a winner of the day, but it had no influence on the overall result.

© Wieger Wesselink http://10x10.org