World Championship 2017 Final

Alexander Shvartsman won the final of the world championship in Tallinn, before Chizhov and Valneris. Ultimately his energy saving strategy in this tournament has seemed to pay off. The tournament was quite intensive with three double rounds both in the preliminaries and in the final. While some players fought very hard in all their games, the experienced Shvartsman decided to accept some quick draws every now and then. In the last two rounds he was able to make a decisive jump and grab the title.

Alexander Shvartsman - Wolff 2-0
Alexander Shvartsman - Wolff 2-0

28.33-28! 13-19? 29.44-40! 45x34 30.39x30 and Wolff resigned. He must have missed the combination 17-22 31.28x17 11x22 32.25-20! 14x34 33.32-28 22x33 34.43-39 34x43 35.49x7 W+

Atse - van IJzendoorn 2-0
Atse - van IJzendoorn 2-0

38.27-22! 17-21(?) 39.22-18!! 23x12 40.34-29 9-14?

This is losing. Black could still make a draw using 20-25! 41.29-23 25x34 42.23x14 9x20 43.33-29 34x23 44.28x26 20-24 etc.

41.30-24 19x30 42.35x15 13-19 43.29-23 21-26 44.31-27 12-18 45.23x12 19-24 46.28-23 24-30 47.33-28 11-17 48.12x21 26x17 49.23-19 14x23 50.28x19

Alexander Baliakin - Evgeni Vatutin 1-1
Alexander Baliakin - Evgeni Vatutin 1-1

18-23 42.39-34? Baliakin should have finished the game using 42.37-32! and black has no defence, for example 4-9? 43.32x21 16x27 44.38-32 27x38 45.39-33 38x20 46.25x3 W+

van IJzendoorn - Wolff 0-2
van IJzendoorn - Wolff 0-2

After 26.41-36? Wolff surprised his opponent with the combination 10-14 27.19x10 13-19 28.24x22 9-14 29.10x19 21-27 30.32x21 26x50 Analytically the game is not lost for white, but in practice it turned out too difficult for van IJzendoorn to defend the position.

Wolff - Atse 1-1
Wolff - Atse 1-1

Here Atse played the inaccurate 7-11? 30.31-26! 22x31 31.36x27! Now the black position looks like a complete mess, because of the combination after 17-22 32.33-28 22x44 33.27-22 18x27 34.32x21 16x27 35.43-39 44x33 36.38x16. However, this position is still a draw after 13-18 37.26-21 27-31 38.42-37 31x42 39.48x37 4-9. The game continued with 20-24? 32.33-28 with a winning advantage for white.

Alexander Baliakin - Wolff 1-1 (2017)
Alexander Baliakin - Wolff 1-1 (2017)

66.49-27? Baliakin missed another clear opportunity to win. The end game after 66.20-15! 10-14 67.24-19 14x23 68.15-10 is winning. 10-15! and the game ended in a draw.

Artem Ivanov - Wolff 0-2 (2017)
Artem Ivanov - Wolff 0-2 (2017)

In a very interesting position Ivanov blundered with 29.38-32? This allowed Wolff to strike once more with a tactical maneuver using 26-31! and white didn't await 30.36x27 7-12 31.18x7 11x2 32.22x11 16x7 33.27x16 24-30 34.35x13 9x47 B+

Guntis Valneris - van IJzendoorn 1-1 (2017)
Guntis Valneris - van IJzendoorn 1-1 (2017)

13-18? 39.35-30! 29-34 40.31-26? Valneris misses the positional win after 40.30-24! 34x43 41.38x49 6-11 42.24-19 23-29 43.19x10 15x4 44.32-28! In many cases a position like this ends in a draw, but here it is completely lost for black.

Wolff - Guntis Valneris 0-2 (2017)
Wolff - Guntis Valneris 0-2 (2017)

It was Valneris who put an end to the title aspirations of the young Wouter Wolff. 19.47-41(?) 26x37 20.28-23(?) 19x28 21.32x23 18x29 22.41x32 This exchange is not particularly safe for white. 20-24! 23.34x23 10-14 24.32-28? This is already losing. White could defend the outpost using 24.50-44! 8-13 25.38-33 13-18 26.33-29! 24x33 27.39x28 18x29 28.43-39! etc. 8-13! and white resigned, because of 25.38-32 14-20! 26.23-19 24-30 27.19x17 7-11 28.35x24 11x35 B+

Alexander Shvartsman - Artem Ivanov 2-0 (2017)
Alexander Shvartsman - Artem Ivanov 2-0 (2017)

30-34? 36.39x30 25x34 37.21-17? Shvartsman missed the winning combination 37.47-41! 36x47 38.45-40 47x17 39.40x9 3x14 40.21x3.

Vadim Virny - Alexey Chizhov 0-2 (2017)
Vadim Virny - Alexey Chizhov 0-2 (2017)

In the last round Chizhov made an attempt to add another world title to his resumé, by beating the strong grandmaster Virny. 8-12! 35.49-44 17-21 36.44-40?

This move is very logical, but it turns out to be dangerous. White could have avoided all problems with 36.28-22! 21-26 37.44-40 etc.

12-17! 37.48-43 15-20! 38.34-29 23x34 39.39x30 25x34 40.40x29 20-25 41.29x20 25x14 42.45-40 3-9 43.43-39?

The position is still a draw, but white has to be precise: 43.35-30! 18-22 44.27x18 13x22 45.40-35 22-27 46.30-24 19x30 47.35x24 27-31 48.28-23! and the exchange 31-36 49.24-19 14-20 50.19-13! 9x29 51.33x15 guarantees a draw.

14-20! And not 18-22? 44.27x18 13x22 due to 45.39-34! 9-13 46.34-29 22-27 47.29-24 19x30 48.35x24 27-31 49.40-35 and white escapes due to the threat 24-20 14x25 35-30 25x34 33-29 34x23 28x8.

44.35-30 20-25! 45.30-24 19x30 46.40-35 18-22 47.27x18 13x22 48.35x24 and black won the end game.

van IJzendoorn - Alexander Shvartsman 0-2 (2017)
van IJzendoorn - Alexander Shvartsman 0-2 (2017)

The white strategy looks highly suspicious. Normally one would expect to see this only in games at a much lower level.

20-24 13.29x20 15x24 14.47-41 14-20 15.39-33 10-15 16.44-39 1-6 17.50-44 9-14 18.33-29 24x33 19.39x28 22x33 20.38x29 3-9 21.44-39 20-24 22.29x20 15x24 23.42-38 17-22 24.39-33 11-17 25.34-29 25x34 26.29x20 14x25 27.40x29 23x34 28.35-30 19-23 29.30x39 25-30 30.48-42

diagram 1
diagram 1

6-11(?)

Here black had to make a difficult choice. Probably 7-11 was the right decision here. A logical continuation is (just like in the game) 31.45-40 9-14 32.40-34 13-19 33.34x25 23-28 34.32x23 19x28. What makes it hard is to correctly calculate the consequences of 35.39-34 28x48 36.38-33 48x30 37.25x34. At first sight it appears that white has a lot of compensation for the piece sacrifice. But in reality the position is completely winning for black after 8-13 38.34-30 13-19! etc.

31.45-40 9-14 32.40-34 13-19 33.34x25 23-28 34.32x23 19x28 35.38-32 8-13 36.32x23 18x47 37.27x20 47x15

Analytically this position appears to be a draw. But in practice the situation is still extremely hard for white.

38.31-27 15-10 39.25-20 17-22 40.27x18 12x23 41.20-15 10-5 42.39-33 11-17 43.43-39? 7-12 44.39-34 17-22 45.33-29 23-28 46.37-31 28-32 47.41-37 32x41 48.36x47 12-17 49.34-30?

The decisive mistake. A more logical defence was 49.29-24, simply because after 16-21 50.24-19 5x40 51.15-10 black can't win a second piece with 21-27.

16-21 50.30-24 21-27 51.24-19 5x40 52.15-10 27x36 53.10-5 40-49 54.5-23 49-16 55.23-5 16-7 56.5-32 7-16 57.32-14 2-7 58.14-23 7-11 59.23-5 16-49 60.5-46 49-40 61.46-32 11-16 62.32-46 40-1 63.46-32 1-6 64.47-42 6-11 65.42-37 11-6 66.32-49 22-28 67.49-38 6-11 68.38-15 11-7 69.15-38 7-12 70.38-49 12-3 71.49-44 17-22 72.37-32 28x37

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