Fearing the adjournment? by Yuri Garrett
If one were to recap the first half of the tournament, attraction would indeed be drawn to the "fear of the adjournment" element. Somehow, all games were influenced by two factors: i) the abundant time on the clock; and ii) the threat of a more or less objective evaluation after the end of the session.
Yesterday's game between Muzychuk and Jobava is a perfect case in point. The game was an interesting Rossolimo Attack in the Sicilian where Black seized the initiative with a promising exchange sacrifice on move 24. White reacted boldly and complicated matters on the kingside with a series of beautiful attacking moves (28.Ng4 or the quiet 31.Ra2). Jobava finally collapsed under pressure and took the g4-knight after which Anna was merciless in exploiting her initiative. The beautiful 36.Bg6 basically sealed the draw, but Anna quite justly played on until the adjournment to see if she had by chance missed a forced win.
After the adjournment, both players sought the help of the computer and when they realized that there was a beautiful stalemate combination (by no means forced, as White could have simply repeated the position) they flirted for some time with the idea of resuming play only to show this striking finish. Eventually, they agreed for a draw immediately after dinner.
The struggle between Ivanchuk and Sutovsky was mainly a theoretical one, as one could widely expect. The Israeli Grandmaster introduced a new move in the fianchetto line of the King's Indian (10...Nc6) which is in fact a pawn sacrifice. Ivanchuk made full use of the extra time on the clock and decided to refuse the offer after a 40-mins thought. The game was drawn a few moves later after both players exchanged their Indian bishops and all other minor pieces and remained with a symmetrical structure that can only be considered a dead draw at this level.
In the last game of the day, Liem Le Quang got back into the tournament by overcoming Krishan Sasikiran. The game was yet another theoretical struggle in the Semi-Slav. On move 17 the Indian Grandmaster went for an interesting pawn sacrifice on c5, but then failed to sustain the pressure and on move 22 misplaced his Queen on a7 to temporarily regain the pawn. Liem was not bothered to keep the material advantage and started to play in the center, seizing the initiative. In the complicated middlegame that ensued, play was possibly not perfect but it was Sasikiran who made the decisive blunder, 30.Nh5, to which the Vietnamese Grandmaster found the exact reply, 30...Rd3. After this moment, Le Quang never let his grip on the game and eventually forced White to resign after his last blunder on move 41, in what was already a technical win for Black.
So, the first "adjournment day" turned out to be a free day for the players, and one they will certainly enjoy. However, one can hardly maintain that the time control and adjournment procedure did not affect the play and combativeness in this tournament. All games were concluded in 5 hours of play and the drawing percentage is down to a mere 33%.
During round 3, Grandmaster Gata Kamsky gave a master class by illustrating Game 13 of his 1996 World Championship match against Anatoly Karpov. More master classes are to be held in the following days (see calendar here
After three rounds, Ivanchuk leads with 2,5/3, followed by Kamsky and Muzychuk (1,5/2). Le Quang, Sasikiran (3 games) and Sutovsky (2 games) are on 1 and Jobava is on 0,5/3.