In the penultimate round the top three matches finished with the narrowest possible decisive results. Economist Sgseu Saratov kept up their good form edging out Alkaloid Skopje 3.5-2.5 with fourth board Bu,X for Economist beating Guseinov,G in a King's Indian/Benoni. The other boards all being drawn.
In the second match Ural Svedrdlovskaya lost to Mika Yerevan (again by 2.5-3.5pts). On the first board Grischuk,A (Ural) sacrificed his queen against Aronian,L which was probably sufficient for a draw but no more, but then blundered and lost. Apparently at the end of that game the time situation was 0,31 seconds remaining for White and 1h20m for Aronian! I suspect that the Yerevan chess laboratory had anticipated Grischuk's reaction to Aronian's novelty deep into the game.
Alexander Grischuk (2733) - Levon Aronian (2773)
25th ECC Ohrid MKD (6), 09.10.2009
1.d4 d5 2.♘f3 ♘f6 3.c4 c6 4.♘c3 e6 5.♗g5 h6 6.♗h4!?
White insists on sacrificing a pawn.
6...dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.♗g3 b5
This line has become very popular in the last few years. Black can hold onto his booty but will be vulnerable to attacks on all fronts as there is no stable shelter for Black's king.
9.♘e5 ♗b7 10.h4 g4 11.♗e2 ♘bd7 12.♘xd7 ♕xd7 13.♗e5 ♕e7 14.0-0 ♖g8 15.b3 ♘d7
In Grischuk,A-Gelfand,B Odessa 2007, the move order 15...b4 16.♘a4 c3 17.♕d3 ♘d7 18.♗g3 transposed back to the game.
16.♗g3 b4 17.♘a4 c3 18.♕d3
A novelty that enables Black, before committing himself, to consolidate his g-pawn. Instead in the afore-mentioned game Gelfand continued with 18...e5 19.♖ad1 ♗g7 20.d5 ♕d6 21.♗xg4 cxd5 22.exd5 0-0-0 but went down in the complications.
19.a3 a5 20.axb4 axb4
Better than 20...♗a6 21.♕c2 ♗xe2 22.♕xe2 ♕xb4 (or 22...axb4 23.♘xc3!) 23.♕d3 and Black's forward c-pawn is lost.
Black can't continue with 21...♘xc5 22.dxc5 ♕xc5?, as White wins the bishop with 23.♖xa8+ ♗xa8 24.♕a6. However in this 22...♖d8! is possible when 23.♗d6! is murky.
This fails to gain an advantage. Those interested in this variation should probably investigate 22.♖xa1 ♘xc5 23.dxc5 ♕xc5 24.♖d1 ♕e7 25.♗e5 when White has some play for his pawns. But is it enough?
But not 22...♖xf1+?! 23.♗xf1 ♘e5?, because of 24.♕a6 when Black's king is in trouble.
Sacrificing the queen is best here. Otherwise White doesn't have enough for the exchange after 23.♗xe5 ♖xf1+ 24.♔xf1 ♕xb7.
23...♘xd3 24.♖a8+ ♔d7 25.♗xd3 ♕f6
An oversight. Instead White could organize a draw with 26.e5 ♕h6 27.♖a7 ♕d2 28.♘a5+ ♔e8 29.♖a8+ ♔d7 30.♖a7+ etc.
Snuffing out the attack with a neat counter-sacrifice.
Following 27.♖xg8 ♗xe5 28.dxe5 ♕xe5 White's disparate pieces are hopelessly placed to compete against Black's queen and passed c-pawn e.g. 29.♖f8 ♔e7 30.♖c8 ♕d4 and for starters the c-pawn will cost White a piece.
27...♖xa8 28.♔f1 ♖a1+ 29.♔e2 ♖a2+
After 29...♖a2+ 30.♔e1 c2 31.♗g5 (31.♔d2 ♗f4+) 31...♖a1+ 32.♔e2 c1♕ 33.♗xc1 ♖xc1 White is a clear exchange down with no real hope. So White threw in the towel.
On the third table SpbChFed Saint-Peterburg beat Osg Baden Baden 3.5-2.5pts with Bacrot,E losing on second board to Vitiugov,N.
At this point, three players have individual scores of 5.5/6pts including Zarka,A rated 1979!
The Leader board has Economist Sgseu Saratov at the top followed by four other teams.
In the Women's event, Spartak Vidnoe didn't give much away to T-Com Podgorica whilst trouncing them 3.5-0.5pts. Samaia Tbilisi met Radnicki Rudovci, but this was a closer affair with the Rumanian team finally winning 2.5-1.5 against their significantly higher-rated rivals. The third match Mika Yerevan-C. Monte Carlo was rather more peaceful, with draws on all boards. The best scorer at this point is Lahno,K who now has 5.5/6pts with a performance rating of 2772!!
Classement: 1 Spartak Vidnoe 10 points
2 Samaia Tbilisi 8 points
3 C.Echecs de Monte carlo 7 points (best second tie-break) plus 4 other teams with 7 match points. More informations on the official site: