Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Loek Van Wely

Round 1
Essent Chess Tournament 2007


Hello everyone and welcome to the Chessdom live coverage of Essent Crown Group 2007. Mamedyarov won the tournament last year and will have to defend his title. In round 1 he will have as opponent the six times Dutch champion Loek Van Wely.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Bg5 h6 5.Bxf6 Qxf6 6.Nc3 c6 The two players enter in a very popular line of the Queen Gambit Declined, Botvinnik variation

7.e3 Nd7 8.Bd3 g6 9.O-O Bg7 10.Rc1 O-O 11.e4 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Van Wely exchanges pawns to avoid white's space advantage. Still in theory. Yet, the Dutch is thinking more than 20 minutes at this move

12... Rd8 13.e5 Qe7 14.Re1 b6 15.Qe2 a6 16.Bd3 Bb7 17.Be4 black is regrouping cautiously trying to solve the space difficulties. There is still time for Van Wely to rearrange defences or he may try a5 to make the bishop more mobile

17... Rab8 18.Na4 c5 19.Bxb7 Rxb7 after the exchanges Mamedyarov's pair of knights will not not have full control of the center, while black's bishop will soon be free. With that Van Wely will solve his opening problems

20.Qxa6 Nb8 21.Qe2 cxd4 22.Red1 Qb4 a mistake in an important moment by Van Wely. 23 Rc4 will give a pawn advantage to white. The position will also bring white's knights into the center, just what the Dutchplayer was trying to avoid.

23.b3 Mamedyarov decided that the risk for the a2 and b2 pawns was high and protected with b3. That reduces his possible advantage and the game is again equal.

23... Qa5 24.Qd2 Qa7 25.Nc3 b5 26.Ne4 26... Nd7 is needed at this moment to eliminate the central pawn and keep the game equal

26... Rc7 now it will be very difficult to keep the b pawn after 27. Nd6 and Mamedyarov will have advantage. 27. Nf6+ is another good possibility for Mamedyarov

27.Nd6 Rxc1 28.Rxc1 Nd7 Qxd4 and Mamedyarov is a pawn up.

29.Nxb5 Qb6 30.Nbxd4 Nxe5 31.Qe2 Ng4 32.Nc6 Ra8 33.h3 Nf6 34.Nce5 Mamedyarov is trying to proke Van Wely to exchange his bishop. Both players are in serious time trouble

34... Nd5 35.Rc6 Qb7 36.Rd6 Nf6 37.Qc2 Qb4 38.Qc7 Rf8 39.Rd8 Rxd8 40.Qxd8 Kh7 41.Nxf7 These several moves were played in extreme time trouble and Van Wely missed 36. Nf4 which was at least equalizing the game. Van Wely had difficult time from the beginning of the game. He was constantly playing on the edge of being a pawn down. In an extreme time trouble he could not find the right solution. Mamedyarov proves that he is the favorite for winning the Essent 2007 tournament, but there are still 5 games to go. Thank you everyone for following today's broadcast, join us again tomorrow at 14:00 CET 1-0