Exhibition match Burg-Langeveld
Friday, November 22, 2013: GM Anish Giri annotates!
Twan chose the main-line with Qc2, Rd1 and Bf4, a line I myself played on many occasions (mostly with white), last one being just two months ago in Wijk aan Zee against Wesley So. Black could develop his bishop either to a6 or to b7, Bb7 being more fashionable lately on the top level (that was also what So played against me). The move order Ron Langeveld employed is very known as well, a very important game being Anand-Topalov, Nanjing 2010. The sacrifice on f2 looks very surprising, but in fact it happened in the aforementioned game between the two ex-world champions! Ron Langeveld improved on the move order of Topalov, who started 13...Rc8 first. With 13...Ng4! Black avoids some extra options that Anand had and after Twan responded in the most logical way, the game transposed to the mentioned battle of the World Champions. As exciting as the position seems, at the moment, I expect massive simplifications soon. The position most likely no longer holds many secrets to both players, who are armed with a good computer. To sum up, the opening of the game has been very important and it is now up to white to show a way to fight for the advantage against the Nbd7 Ba6 variation. The game though, is likely to end in a correct draw.
Langeveld-Burg 23. f4
It seems that White didn't manage to pose Black any serious problems. The variation with Qd7!? introduced by Peter Leko in his game against me in Wijk aan Zee 2013 holds up at level of the correspondent chess as well! Black's doubled pawns are not a burden really and Twan Burg even managed to make a nice use of the semi-open g-file. Ron Langeveld just stopped black's activity on the kingside with f2-f4!, but now the long diagonal is exposed. It would however be too optimistic of Twan to hope for something real as the pressure along the long diagonal can be neutralized with Be2-f3 or Bf1-g2. Also his knight on g6 is out of play now and it will take time for the knight to return (Nf8-d7 perhaps?!). To sum up here- Black solved his opening problems, but no more than that. An equal position, if you ask me.
So far nothing new, the players have merely started the game. White played the Catalan (note, 3.g3!? avoiding Queen's Indian) and Black replied with very popular Bb4+ Be7 variation. These days the line is very topical in over the board games as well. Both sides are yet to choose the direction of the play.
No wonder Twan Burg takes his time now. He has to decide whether he is going for Bf4!? which allows dxc4 (Anand-Topalov 2010 WCh match) or he will protect his c4 pawn with Qc2 or Qb3. The line is obviously very solid and has a very good reputation for Black, so I am curious how Twan will try to put pressure.
This is a very topical (in over the board chess) position of Qc2 Nimzo. In fact move 10...Qd7!? is a relatively new idea played by Peter Leko against myself in last Wijk aan Zee tournament. Later the move was also repeated by Kramnik in Tal Memorial. I have doubts that even such great correspondent player as Ron Langeveld will be able to refute the opening preparation of Leko and Kramnik, the most trusted opening experts in over the board chess, but I would gladly see myself being wrong here. Here too, the question is to White- what can he come up with to avoid the massive exchanges?