2001 FIDE World Championships
Round Four

Game One

Only three of today's games were decisive. Dreev-Anand ended in a 12-move draw as each may be looking for hints in the others repertoire. Adams and Svidler also drew. The 18-year old Ukrainian Ruslan Ponomariov extended his winning streak to an incredible five games with a win over Alexander Morozevich. Ponomariov played an interesting pawn sacrifice to shred black's position. After massive trades, the game turned into a winning R+P ending for the young Ukrainian. Look for Morozevich to brandish his bazookas and go all out against the rising star. Ivanchuk crushed the Chinese GM in a classical King's Indian battle. White executed a queenside campaign and penetrated deep into black's weakened position. In a desperate attempt to find counterplay, Ye conjured up  some threats, but they were easily repelled. In the only other decisive game, Bareev defeated Ehlvest when in the final position, black's position was reduced to total passivity with total devastation only a few moves away. Gelfand held Azmaiparashvili to a draw after having been outplayed for most of the game; Nikolic did the same against Lautier. Topalov-Shirov featured a very interesting endgame featuring ragged pawn structures with menacing passed pawns. Topalov was unable to run his "steamrolling" pawns into the endzone and played the ambitious 40.Bb8?! to force the issue. A fascinating  R+P ending ensued and Topalov eked out a draw. The bishop sally turned out to be dubious.

Selected Games

Bareev-Ehlvest (game 1), 1-0
Ponomariov-Morozevich (game 1), 1-0
Ivanchuk-Ye (game 1), 1-0
Topalov-Shirov (game 1), ½-½

Game Two

Defending champion Viswanathan Anand advanced with a convincing win over Alexey Dreev. In a classical Caro Kann, the two followed known paths and the game would feature a bit of "cat-and-mouse." In a heated moment, Anand threw 27.Bxg7+ on the board and a stunned Dreev was forced to go into a hopeless ending two pawns down. While Adams-Svidler repeated yesterday's draw result, Morozevich and Ponomariov were battling it out in a Ruy Lopez that went ballistic. Ponomariov played the ambitious 15.Nxe4!? and the game suddenly turned into a tactical melée. In the ensuing scramble, Ponomariov ended up getting his knight trapped on the rim dashing hopes of a sweep.

Ye-Ivanchuk, black played an interesting line in the French featuring the early ...b6!? In this line, one can play … Qd7 and … Ba6 or play … Qd7 and … Bb7  with the idea of castling queenside and attack kingside. However, this line is not going strike fear into players at this level, but it's good enough to equalize… which is what Ivanchuk did, thus advancing. Nikolic and Lautier decided to duke it out in the rapids with a quick draw. Bareev was challenged once again with the 5.g4!? line against his Caro-Kann. This time it would be the Estonian GM taking aim.  This game would take on a decidedly violent tone as Ehlvest looked for ways to rattle the Ukrainian by sacking a piece to get at the centralized king. Then he sacked another… then another. Bareev calmly sidestepped all threats and Ehlvest had nothing to show for his imitation of Mikhail Tal.

Azmaiparashvili-Gelfand drew while the Shirov-Topalov encounter showed a little bit of fireworks with a Shirov queen sack.  Despite this speculative sacrifice of his queen for two pieces, Shirov could only produce an opposite-colored bishop ending. So as it were, Anand, Bareev, and Ponomariov would now watch as the other players fight it out in the tiebreaks!

Selected Games

Anand-Dreev (game 2), 1-0
Morozevich-Ponomariov (game 2), 1-0
Ehlvest-Bareev (game 2), 0-1
Shirov-Topalov (game 2), ½-½


Adams busted out of the gate with the dreaded English Attack against the Najdorf and tried to run over Svidler. In a complicated middlegame, Adams pressed a bit with heavy artillery tripled on the g-file. After a bit more maneuvering and massive exchanges, the game ended in a perpetual check. After another draw, they went to the 2nd tiebreak where the first game was drawn. In the second, Svidler won an exciting tactical battle and with it, an "upset" victory. Lautier sent Nikolic packing with a grinding  R+P win in the 1st game and a snappy 19-move smash in the 2nd.

Pononmariov advanced after he broke down Morozevich in convincing fashion in game 2. Azmaiparashvili and Gelfand went blow-for-blow in some truly classic battles! The two traded wins in the 1st tiebreak… truly wonderful lessons on minor piece endings.  In the 2nd tiebreak, another endgame lab was given, but this one on queen endings. In the first game, Gelfand uncorked a scintillating queen sacrifice for a rook, knight and a dangerous passed pawn. Gelfand eventually sacked a rook to promote the pawn and won a technical queen ending.

In the second game, Azmaiparashvili was fed a piece sack and Gelfand's central pawns threatened to choke white's position. A very interesting and difficult queen ending ensued, ending in an exciting draw. This allowed Gelfand to advance to the round of 8.
Shirov-Topalov drew both games in the 1st tiebreak. The theoretical battle of the Petroff and Dragon Sicilian defenses continued as Shirov and  Topalov traded wins in the 2nd tiebreak. Shirov had the final say on the Petroff after winning a decisive game and joining the field of the final eight players in the FIDE KO World Championships!

Selected Games

Adams-Svidler (2nd tiebreak), 0-1
Nikolic-Lautier (1st tiebreak), 0-1
Ponomariov-Morozevich (1st tiebreak), 1-0
Gelfand-Azmaiparashvili, (2nd tiebreak), 1-0
Azmaiparashvili-Gelfand, (2nd tiebreak), ½-½
Topalov-Shirov (3rd tiebreak), 0-1

Results (all rounds)

PGN Games 
Day 1   Day 2  Tiebreaks