M.Notkin. September best: Kramnik – Morozevich
Grandmasters Igor Zaitsev, Olga Alexandrova, Konstantin Landa, Artyom Timofeev, Никита Vitiugov, Sergey Zagrebelny and international masters Sergey Solovjov, Andrei Deviatkin and Vladimir Barskij took part in determining the best game of September.
Let me first of all read out Igor Zaitsev's considerations as they are, without correcting and taking out of context.
'I decided to award 1st place to Vladimir Kramnik's victory over Alexander Morozevich, though the decision was preceded by certain hesitation. Perhaps many observers have noticed already that after 21.Bf4?! (simple 21.Rac1! led to a win) 21...Qd5 White's advantage would evaporate. Still the world ex-champion has another brilliant victory on his credit side, over young and talented Levon Aronian. This duel of significant theoretic importance did not appear in the September candidate list for some reason. So, in aggregate, I think my judgment is just and righteous.
Only the game Levon Aronian – Viswanathan Anand played by the new world champion literally in one breath, could compete. Thus I assign honourable 2nd place to it.
According to my estimations, it is worthwhile to give 3rd place to an unceasing volcano of passions, the fight Alexander Grischuk – Peter Svidler.
Number four, I think, is another Mexican painting by the Indian weltmeister Viswanathan Anand – Alexander Grischuk.
Fifth place: Alexander Morozevich – Vladimir Kramnik, in which Alexander, a famous 'peace-disturber', managed to gain revenge for the defeat in round 2.
Probably we have a right to put the duel between Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk in the sixth line in the laureate list, at least for an elegant final attack.
Boris Gelfand carried out his plans consistently and implacably but without superficial effects. Maybe for this only reason, his victory over Alexander Morozevich occupies just 7th place.
Ivan Popov and Ian Nepomniachtchi are awarded by 8th place for mutual resourcefulness and wit.
The game of Artyom Timofeev, having defeated Roman Ovetchkin by a massed attack in the Scandinavian defence, is on 9th place,
10th place at last: Boris Savchenko who, struggling energetically against Alexey Kostin, ended victoriously an opening attack on the opponent's king.
I repeat once more: every awarding is mostly subjective, of course. But owing to a big number of qualified chessplayers taking part in it, I think it is approaches required objective judgment'.
I would willingly sign to it: everything (well, almost everything) is just so. Not only awarding is subjective, but selecting of games too, as I have mentioned many times earlier. Say, if asked why Kramnik – Aronian had not been included I would probably answer that after Vladimir's novelty Levon almost was not seen on the board. But to be logical, then the latter's lost to Anand should not be presented for experts' evaluation too. It is subjectivism, and you cannot help it! This game takes your fancy and that one does not take it for whatever reason. Artyom Timofeev's remark: 'I would include a battle Kramnik – Gelfand among best games, at least for 25...а5' should also be taken into account. In a word, forgive me if I underestimated something. By the way, I think including of these duels would not affect main results of the vote.
I must explain words in brackets: 'almost everything'. The point is that first of all Igor Arkadievich Zaitsev himself 'approached objective judgment' having best expressed the joint opinion of his young colleagues. He guessed the top five exactly and the 7th place, plus two games 'with minor distortion'!
Let us proceed to our procedure. Though I tried to charge our respected jury with extra work, games of the main competition of the year outshined other achievements of the month easily.
Artyom Timofeev says on behalf of all experts (by the way, he caught common attitudes very well also): 'My general criterion for selecting best games is high-quality execution of plans by both opponents, so games of the world championship are out of competition. But a very fine plan can compete with a well-done work'.
So, I begin proclaiming the results; check it by Zaitsev's list.
1st place: Kramnik – Morozevich. 'An opening novelty, a piece sacrifice and a brilliant-style victory in complications over Morozevich' (Timofeev). Four 1st places (Zaitsev, Timofeev, Landa, Solovjov), one shared 1st (Alexandrova), one 2nd, two 3rds, 99 points. The leadership is unquestionable. Vivat, Vladimir!
2nd place: Aronian – Anand. 'The game is distinguished by a novelty in the actual opening and iron logic when carrying a plan in rather tense position' (Timofeev). 1st line by Vitiugov ('A world champion cannot occupy a place below 1st, even in such an informal hit parade') and Barskij, three 2nd places, 78 points.
3rd place: Grischuk – Svidler. 'A large-scale battle with excellent playing by both opponents. If it were not for a miss in the finale, I think it would claim for more' (Timofeev). Shared 1st by Alexandrova, one 2nd, one 3rd, 58 points.
4th place: Anand – Grischuk. 'The world champion comprehension is unlimited' (Timofeev). 1st line by Zagrebelny and one 3rd place, 56 points.
5th place: Morozevich – Kramnik. 'The world ex-champion loses so rarely that each victory over him is an indisputable creative achievement' (Vitiugov). Two 2nd places, one 3rd, 43 points.
6th place. Igor Zaitsev misses slightly only here. Joint intellect put the fight of youth champions I.Popov – Nepomniachtchi (Krasnoyarsk, Higher League) on this position. 'A blazing, creative game. Sacrifices, again sacrifices and a pawn endgame in the end. Beautiful!' (Timofeev). One 2nd place, one 3rd, 42 points.
These six battles make up the main body of the September almanac, a rare questionnaire not having mentioned them. Further, common enthusiasm falls down.
7th line restores our oracle's reputation: Gelfand – Morozevich. 'A route of the white rook impesses, as well as a small combination starting with 28.Ng7!' (Timofeev). 1st place by Deviatkin and three more hits into the top 10, 28 points.
8th place: Brodsky – Kovalev (E.Geller Memorial), awarded by two 3rd degree honours (21 points). 'A very nice game. White's play without a rook is impressing: domination and pair of bishops compensated for lacking of the material with interest' (Vitiugov). 'A courageous plan and excellent playing in the endgame lacking a rook' (Timofeev).
9th place: B.Savchenko – A.Kostin (Higher League). 'A victory of spirit over matter and an elegant finale' (Timofeev). The game was mentioned almost by everybody but it could not reach top lines.
And 10th place at last: Isle of Man battle Roiz – Drozdovskij (one 3rd place, 20 points) where Black, having one queen against two white ones, undertook a desperate bombing with checks. Hiding of it, the white king was running across the whole board and finally found a safe shelter on the eighth rank.
Such pies were baked in the worldwide creative kitchen in September. Something of described above in words you will see in a future review as variations and estimations. See you soon.