Round 5 review
Sunday, 19 April 2009

Akopian – Kamsky

Human energy has, after all, its limits. Another marathon game of the American grandmaster ended with his dramatic loss and revival of the outsider.

Black did not solve the opening problems. An attempt to return his passive bishops into action only led to trading both of them (note the highly accurate 18.Rde1!), and White obtained a long-lasting advantage due to the superior bishop.

In the endgame White got an adjacent passed pawn, and it looked like he is winning easily. However, one has to know Kamsky! He can create problems for anyone and in any position. Maybe Akopian could play more powerfully (for example, I didn’t find any chances for Black after 52.f4, on the next move White could win by 55.a6!, etc), but generally the Armenian handled the game with confidence.

The roller coaster started on the move 62, when both players were already very tired. White missed a quick win – 62.Rc7!, intending to bring the bishop to c5. Maybe Akopian missed that after 62…Nxa3 63.Kxa3 Kd6 he wins the critical tempo by 64.Rg7! – or perhaps he didn’t want to play Q vs R ending after 64…Rxg7! However, after his 62.Rb7? the position became drawn! Gata could survive by 65…Nd8!

In the endgame with an extra bishop and a pawn on a7 Vladimir correctly sacrificed the pawn (74.a8Q+!), but later, as the players approached the third time trouble, began to play very indecisively. An unbelievable blunder 93.Be7? was the anti-climax of the game for the Armenian, but it turned out that Gata ‘Made of Steel’ Kamsky also ran out of steam.

Instead of capturing on e7 with the rook, which led to stalemate, he continued the struggle is the most unsuccessful way, allowing the opponent to win without showing advanced textbook endgame knowledge.

Despite the number of errors made in this encounter, I sincerely admire both players, who showed a lot of spirit and produced a highly entertaining game.

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