Dortmund 04: Kramnik wins with black, leads with Carlsen 05.07.2009– After a desperately uneventful round three the players suddenly all galvanised into fighting mode and delivered a supremely exciting round four. Vladimir Kramnik won his game with the black pieces against Arkadij Naiditsch, while Magnus Carlsen came very close to a black victory against Etienne Bacrot. Carlsen and Kramnik now lead with 2.5/4 points. Express report.
From 2nd to 12th July 2009 six of the world's strongest grandmasters are taking part in the annual Sparkassen Chess-Meeting – the 37th edition. Each player has to play two games against each other, one with white and one with black pieces. The winner of this tournament will be determined after ten rounds. Games start at 15:15 = 3:15 p.m. local time (CEST, = 17:15 Moscow, 14:15 p.m. London, 9:15 a.m. New York).
All games will be broadcast by the official web site's "Live Games" page and on the Playchess.com server with live audio commentary (by FM Valeri Lilov, with a 10 Ducat charge per evening). As in the previous year the moves of the Sparkassen Chess-Meeting will be transmitted on the Internet with a delay of 15 minutes – which means that the moves stay in the playing hall for that period, before they are broadcast to the rest of the world). This is an important anti-cheating measure that has been proposed to FIDE since October 2005 and has the support of most of the top players. We commend the Dortmund organisers for taking the initiative.
There must have been something in the water, or, perhaps, the players had somehow recovered from heat exhaustion. Whatever the cause, today’s round witnessed a shift from yesterday, with hotly contested battles.
Naiditsch – Kramnik The round four encounter saw Kramnik saddled with his second black in a row. Entering into a Petroff Defence, the game followed Cheparinov-Krush (2003). After a slight transposition, it deviated entirely on White’s 13th move, where Arkadi chose 13.Be3, while the reference game saw an immediate b4-push. Krush took 39 moves to bring home the point, but Kramnik vanquished his opponent in 27 moves. It was his first black win at tournament time controls since he played Topalov in September 2006. While the former World Champion was all smiles, Naiditsch chose to forego a post mortem analysis.
Bacrot – Carlsen Engaging in the Botvinnik System of the Semi-Slav, Carlsen seemed destined for victory. Up until 23...Rxg7 the game represented a transposition of four games – most notably including Ponomariov-Shirov, Wijk aan Zee 2003, in which Shirov won. 24.Bd4 had only been seen once before, from an unlikely source, found in the form of Barber-LeBlanc (Canadian U18 Championship, 2004). LeBlanc chose 24...f5, ultimately winning, while Fritz suggests the move 24.Rh7, preventing 25.Bh3. In the end, Carlsen decided upon 24...Rc7. After a hard-fought struggle, Bacrot managed to build a fortress on his kingside, ensuring himself the half-point.
Jakavenko-Leko In this game, the players chose to explore the main line Rubinstein of the Nimzo-Indian. Until 15...exd5, the game was a transposition of Dorfman-Khalifman (2001), where the point was split after 30 moves. Instead of 16.Rfc1, however, Jakavenko went for 16.Ne5. After some exploratory manoeuvres, a draw was agreed on move 22. As always, Jakavenko bore a smile, while Leko seemed equally satisfied with the outcome.