Levon Aronian was the seventh player who qualified after drawing his sixth and last game against Alexey Shirov. The Opening choice of the Spanish GM with White (he played a Ruy Lopez) lacked energy and Aronian solved all the opening problems without any difficulty. In desperate search for winning chances, Alexei sacrificed a pawn. However, Levon calmly simplified the position and it revealed that only Black can expect to win the game. Therefore, Shirov offered a draw, which cleared Aronian's way to Mexico City.
The duel between the two Russian top Grandmasters Alexander Grishuk and Sergey Rublevsky will be decided in the tie breaks tomorrow. In game 6 Grischuk, with Black pieces, faced a choice after White's 16th move: either proceed to the tie-break by sacrificing a queen or sacrifice an exchange, obtaining strong initiative in a very complicated position. Alexander selected the safe way, forcing a draw by perpetual. I'm firm on my prediction: Grischuk will win.
Whatever will happen in the tie breaks, we can now be sure that in Mexico City we will see Kramnik, Anand, Svidler, Morozevich, Leko, Gelfand and Aronian. Veselin Topalov will have his last chance to enter the World Championship after the meeting in Talin starting June 22. I hope Fide will not change rules again...
Official site of the event: http://globalchess.eu/main.php. You can find a WCM section on my Italian site, www.messaggeroscacchi.it (direct link: www.messaggeroscacchi.it/mondo/candidati07.html).
Excepting for WCM, this is a peaceful period for top GMs. But this peace will not last long. Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Magnus Carlsen, Boris Gelfand, Arkadij Naiditsch and Evgeny Alekseev will compete in the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting (category 20) from 23rd June to 1st July 2007. Kramnik is the title defendant: the world champion won the Dortmund tournament no less than seven times. The rules for the tournament remain unchanged: there will be seven rounds, so that each of the eight grandmasters will play each opponent once. Official site: http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de.
In the meantime a strong tournament (category 15) will start tomorrow in Valjevo (Slovenia). Anatolij Karpov's return is the main point of interest: a decent performance should restore him to the top 40. This will be Karpov's first round robin tournament with classical time control since Essent 2003. Other high rated contenders are Bulgarian GM Kiril Georgiev (ELO 2653), the former Dutch champion Predrag Nikolic from Bosnia (2631), Israeli GM Michael Roiz (ELO 2616) and Serbian GM Ivan Ivanisevic (2614). Official site: www.chessdom.com.
Our game of the day is the short but interesting theoretical duel between Rublevsky and Grischuk in the Scotch game.
Rublevsky,S (2680) - Grischuk,A (2717) [C45], Elista 12.6.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qf3 bxc6 7.Qg3 h5!?
An idea of Evgeny Najer, which brought him success against Ni Hua (Ergun 2006). Despite losing the 4th game, Grischuk again selects the same line...
8.h4 Nh6 9.f3 d5 10.Nc3 Bd4
A strong improvement. In game 4,Grischuk played 10...Bb4, but after 11.Bd2 dxe4 12.0–0–0 e3 13.Bxe3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 0–0? (14...Nf5) 15.Qg5 Nf5 16.Qxf6 gxf6 17.Bf4 Rublevsky won the endgame.
Unlike the game 4, the rook can attack on the b-file.
Of course, not 12...dxe4?? because of 13.Bg5 and White wins.
Rublevsky wants to proceed to an endgame, in which Black's pawn weaknesses should give White better chances. In case of 13.f4 the bishop returns to 'd4' by 13...Bd4 and after 14.exd5 0–0 Black can start developing his pieces and takes the initiative.
Black wants to castle and then attack the king by either ...Qb4 or (if possible) by sacrificing a rook on b2.
14.exd5 0–0 15.Bc4 cxd5 16.Bxd5
Now Grischuk faces a difficult choice: either to finish the game in a draw by perpetual, or sacrifice an exchange and obtain strong initiative in a position that is difficult to assess. Unfortunately for chess lovers he choses the latter possibility...
Alexander doesn't want to take any risk and proceeds to tie breaks. 16...Rxb2!? 17.Kxb2 Qxd5 was a very interesting alternative, e.g.: 18.Rhe1 Nf5 (18...Bf5 19.Kc1 Qc5 20.Rxe5 Qxe5 21.Re1 Qa5 is unclear) 19.Rxe5 (19.g4? Qb7+ 20.Kc1 f6 21.Qg6 Bd6 22.Nb1 Qxf3 23.Bc3 (23.gxf5 Bxf5 24.Qg1? Ba3+ 25.Nxa3 Qxa3+ 26.Kb1 Rb8+ and then mate) 23...hxg4 and Black has excellent winning chances) 19...Qxe5 20.g4 (20.Qxh5 Be6 21.Ka1 Rd8 22.Qg5 f6 23.Qf4 Qa5 with a strong attack) 20...hxg4 21.fxg4 f6 22.Qf4 Nxh4 23.g5 Qxf4 24.Bxf4 Ng2 25.Bxc7 fxg5 and Black would have had some winning chances.
17.Nxd5 Bxb2+ 18.Kb1 Bc3+ 19.Kc1 Bb2+ 20.Kb1 Bc3+ 0.5-0.5