Inarkiev leads FIDE Grand Prix in Astrakhan

5/17/2010 – In round four Ernesto Inarkiev beat the great Vassily Ivanchuk with the black pieces, then in round six beat the equally formidable Boris Gelfand, also with black. Now the Russian GM is in pole position, with 4.0/6 points and a sterling 2856 performance. Half a point behind him there are four players, with many top seeds in the bottom half of the table. Round six report.

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The Sixth Grand Prix is taking place from May 10th to 25th in the new State Drama Theatre of the city of Astrakhan. The stakes are extremely high, not only due to high prestige of winning the event, but also because one can win here a ticket to the candidates matches.

Round four – May 13, 2010

Jakovenko, Dmitry
½½
Alekseev, Evgeny
Leko, Peter
½½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Eljanov, Pavel
½½
Gashimov, Vugar
Gelfand, Boris
½½
Wang Yue
Svidler, Peter
½½
Radjabov, Teimour
Ivanchuk, Vassily
0-1
Inarkiev, Ernesto
Akopian, Vladimir
½½
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar

Russian GM Ernesto Inarkiev won a nice game with black against Vassily Ivanchuk, when the Ukrainian lost the thread in a position where a few accurate moves would have brought him victory. All other games of round four were drawn. With his win Inarkiev joined the leading group of six players with 2.5 points in the first four games. Full report here...


Ernesto Inarkiev and Vassily Ivanchuk discuss their game in the press conference

Round five – May 14, 2010

Inarkiev, Ernesto
½½
Jakovenko, Dmitry
Gashimov, Vugar
½½
Akopian, Vladimir
Alekseev, Evgeny
½½
Gelfand, Boris
Radjabov, Teimour
½½
Leko, Peter
Wang Yue
0-1
Eljanov, Pavel
Ponomariov, Ruslan
0-1
Ivanchuk, Vassily
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
½½
Svidler, Peter

Pavel Eljanov took the lead after defeating Wang Yue with the black pieces in the round five. Eljanov was forced to defend a difficult position for the most part of the game, but the Ukrainian GM managed to complicate the position with an exchange sacrifice, and Wang Yue got nervous. First he missed the winning continuation, and then, after the time control, blundered a rook instead of transposing to a better ending.


Pavel Eljanov before the start of his game against Chinese GM Wang Yue


Another Ukrainian, Vassily Ivanchuk, defeated his compatriot Ruslan Ponomariov

It was Ivanchuk's first win in Astrakhan. Ponomariov, who had white, got a slight advantage after of the opening, but made an unsuccessful pawn sacrifice on the 22nd move and gave away the initiative. White’s problems got worse after he missed Black’s strong bishop maneuver. After the first control Black already had a winning position.

Apart from these two black wins all other games in the round ended in draws. Full report here...

Round six – May 15, 2010

Jakovenko, Dmitry
1-0
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Eljanov, Pavel
0-1
Alekseev, Evgeny
Gelfand, Boris
0-1
Inarkiev, Ernesto
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
½½
Gashimov, Vugar
Svidler, Peter
½½
Leko, Peter
Ivanchuk, Vassily
½½
Radjabov, Teimour
Akopian, Vladimir
0-1
Wang Yue

After a rest day the players were apparently fully invigorated and produced four decisive games – and three in which Black took the point.

Pavel Eljanov lost to Evgeny Alekseev, who was well prepared in a trendy line of the Queen's Indian and soon had a large advantage on the clock. His advantage continued to grow and although Eljanov fought valiantly for quite some time Alekseev played well to clinch the win.

GM Boris Gelfand of Israel has already qualified for next year’s Candidates after his World Cup win, but he still wishes to add a GP trophy to his cabinet back home. Breathing down the leader’s neck, he had white against another player on +1, GM Inarkiev from Russia and Elista. Boris elected to play his favourite line against the Meran, and the two GMs trotted out 19 moves of theory. It appears that Black equalized shortly after and then the game trend started to swing in his favour. White gave up two pieces for the rook and Inarkiev milked this advantage to clinch the full point and become the leader of the tournament!

Two Berlin experts clashed today, but not in a Spanish Opening! GM Jakovenko (above right) was White against former FIDE World Champion and wild card for this tournament, GM Ruslan Ponomariov. In a Grunfeld Indian Jakovenko built up an advantage and Ponomariov, in a difficult position, eventually blundered on move 21. He put up a lot of resistance after this, and this is an important lesson for all of us since one should never give up when there may still be some small chances of survival. Nevertheless, Jakovenko’s technique was flawless and he gave black no real chance to save the game.

A match between two solid and technical players, Vladimir Akopian and Wang Yue, was a main line Petroff, where both players have considerable experience. Only a win today could put Wang Yue back with realistic chances of qualifying for the coveted Candidates place. He pressed for a long time and eventually was rewarded with a position having an outside passed pawn. Additionally, White had a somewhat bad bishop also to resolve. Vladimir put up strong resistance but the Chinese player’s persistence won through and he obtained the full point.

Full report here...

Information, images and games by courtesy of FIDE

Standings after six rounds

Statistics

Of the 42 games played so far:

  • 71% (30 games) have ended in draws
  • White won five games = 12%
  • Black has won seven = 17%.


Leading with 4.0/6 and a 2856 performance: Ernesto Inarkiev


Links

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