Sharjah GP Rd3: Nakamura overcomes Rapport

by Albert Silver
2/20/2017 – Although round three saw the vast majority of the games end in draws, the wild battle between Hikaru Nakamura and Richard Rapport left few doubts any such thing would happen to their game. After a QGD Chigorin, Rapport castled queenside, and the gloves were off! MVL continues sole leader. Illustrated report with analysis by Alex Yermolinsky.

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The time control in the GP tournaments is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

The first leg, in Sharjah, will be held February 18 - 27 (with a rest day on the 23rd) at the Sharjah Cultural & Chess Club. The first prize is €20,000; the total prize fund is is €130,000. 

2017 Sharjah GP Participants

All photos by Max Avdeev

Not all fights are what would be described as 'to the bitter end'

Alexander Riazantsev emerged from the opening white against Li Chao with a small but tangible advantage, but preferred to call it a day at move 20 with all the pieces still on the board. Pity.

On the other hand, there was nothing peace-loving about Jon Hammer's game against Ding Liren. The two played an excellent game, each giving up the exchange (Hammer was first), until they had exhausted all the possibilities.

Another example of a full-blooded game that ended in a draw was MVL's game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

 

Annotating the fascinating bout is GM Alex Yermolinsky

MVL - Mamedyarov (annotated by Alex Yermolinsky)

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix I"] [Site "Sharjah"] [Date "2017.02.20"] [Round "3"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, M."] [Black "Mamedyarov, S."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C77"] [WhiteElo "2796"] [BlackElo "2766"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "101"] [EventDate "2017.02.18"] [EventCountry "UAE"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a3 { Here we are, in Karjakin's preparation for the World Championship match. Carlsen was never in trouble, but it served a practical purpose of extending the match to the tie-breaks.} O-O 9. Nc3 Na5 10. Ba2 Be6 11. b4 {Following the main line.} ({White can also change the pawn structure with} 11. Bxe6 fxe6 12. b4 Nc6 13. Bd2 d5 14. Re1) (11. d4 Bxa2 12. Rxa2 Re8 13. Ra1 Nc4 14. Re1 { was seen in Game 2 of the New York match.}) 11... Bxa2 12. Rxa2 Nc6 13. Bg5 Nd7 (13... Ng4 {was played twice against Bacrot, first by Inarkiev , then by Fressinet. Neither one exprienced any particular problem equalizing. I guess, the absense of bishops makes Black's task easier.}) 14. Be3 Nf6 15. Bg5 Nd7 16. Be3 Nf6 17. Qb1 d5 18. exd5 {After teasing the audience with a prospect of short draw by repetition, MVL shows his intention to fight by introducing a new move. Objectively speaking it is not so good.} Nxd5 19. Nxd5 Qxd5 20. c4 $5 {This is the idea behind the center-surrendering trade on d5. MVL puts his hopes on active play on the Q-side.} bxc4 21. dxc4 Qe6 {Mamedyarov correctly decides to keep the Q-side action to minimum, planning his counterplay in the center and, possibly, K-side.} (21... Qxc4 {is not so good, because White easily gets his pawn back with interest:} 22. Rc2 Qe6 23. Qc1 Na7 24. Rxc7 Nb5 25. Rc6) 22. Qe4 ({The right way to hold the balance (yes, Virginia, it is time for White to do so) was to be found in} 22. Rd2 $1 Rad8 23. Qc2 f5 24. Rd5 $1 Rxd5 (24... e4 25. Nd4 Nxd4 26. Bxd4 Rxd5 27. cxd5 Qxd5 28. Qxc7 Qxd4 29. Qxe7 $11) 25. cxd5 Qxd5 26. Rc1 Rd8 {and now both} 27. Qxf5 ({and} 27. h3 { are good enough.})) 22... Rad8 $1 ({White could only dream of} 22... f5 23. Qd5 ) 23. g4 {This is not an attacking move, but rather a last-ditch attempt to stop Black's e- and f- pawns from advancing on White's minor pieces.} (23. Rd2 f5 24. Qc2 Rxd2 25. Nxd2 (25. Bxd2 e4) 25... f4) 23... h5 {Mamedyarov had other interesting choices.} (23... g6 24. g5 a5 25. b5 Nd4 {was one of them, but here after} 26. Bxd4 exd4 27. Qxe6 fxe6 28. Ne5 Bxg5 29. Rd1 {White would easily hold a light-square blockade.}) ({I'm surprised he didn't go for} 23... f5 $5 24. gxf5 Rxf5 25. Kh1 Rdf8 26. Nd2 Bg5 {Such aggressive play would be right up Shakh's alley.}) 24. g5 Qg4+ 25. Qxg4 hxg4 26. Nh4 $1 {The knight looks ugly there, but the fight is on for the f5-square, and White needs all hands on deck.} (26. Nd2 Rd3 27. Kg2 f5 28. gxf6 gxf6 {followed by f6-f5 is a free ride for Black.}) 26... g6 ({In case of} 26... Nd4 27. Kg2 Ne6 {White would have} 28. Re1 {at least temporarily maintaining the balance.}) 27. Kh1 e4 ({I looked at} 27... Nd4 28. Rg1 Nf5 29. Rxg4 Nxe3 30. fxe3 Rd3 {but there White survives:} 31. Re4 Bxg5 32. Nf3 Bxe3 33. Nxe5 f5 34. Nxd3 fxe4 35. Ne5) 28. Rg1 Ne5 29. Bf4 Nxc4 30. Rxg4 {It's understandable Maxime wanted to resolve the situation on the K-side.} ({Probably} 30. Bxc7 {was stronger, but Black would have kept the pressure on after} Rd3 31. Rxg4 Rc8 32. Bg3 Nd2) 30... c5 $1 {Timely strike to break up White's stronghold on the Q-side while his pieces are all tangled up elsewhere.} 31. bxc5 Bxc5 32. Rc2 Rd4 33. Rg3 Re8 34. Kg2 {A sad admission that Nh4 won't be returning to play any time soon.} Bf8 35. Rgc3 {A good practical choice.} ({It's very hard for White to avoid losing the a-pawn anyway:} 35. a4 Ne5) 35... Nxa3 36. Ra2 Rd3 37. Rc6 a5 { For all intents and purposes White is busted. Knowing that full well, Maxime plays his last chance out.} 38. Nxg6 $5 fxg6 39. Rxg6+ {Such twists in the plot are designed to leave the opponent confused and disoriented.} Kh7 $6 { The very first move is somewhat inaccurate. Why invite the future g5-g6 with check when White's rook is not well placed on g6 anyway?} ({The sample line,} 39... Kh8 40. h4 Rf3 41. Bc7 Bb4 42. h5 Nc4 43. Re2 Rf5 44. Rh6+ Kg7 45. Rg6+ Kf7 {proves the point.}) 40. Rc6 Bb4 41. h4 Nb5 42. h5 Nc3 $2 {Shakh swings wildly and totally misses the mark.} ({The knight was badly needed on the K-side to help dealing with White's advancing pawns.} 42... Nd4 43. Rc7+ (43. Ra6 Ne6 44. g6+ Kg8) 43... Kg8 44. h6 Nf5 {would be "job well done".}) 43. Rc2 Nd5 44. g6+ Kg8 45. Bg5 Rf3 46. h6 {Now the situation looks very threatening, and Shakh has no choice but to allow a draw.} Nf4+ 47. Bxf4 Rxf4 48. Rc8 Rxc8 49. Rxc8+ Rf8 50. Rc7 Rf6 51. Rc8+ {A somewhat lucky escape from MVL, who at the end of the day was able to protect his leading position.} 1/2-1/2

If you enjoyed Yermolinsky's analysis, be sure to check out the next issue of ChessBase Magazine where a more in-depth version of his analysis will appear.

While Aronian won't get any Brownie points for his quick draw...

... his shoes certainly stood out!

The reports on peace between Nakamura and Rapport are fake news

Nakamura vs Rapport

[Event "FIDE World Chess Grand Prix 2017"] [Site "Sharjah"] [Date "2017.02.20"] [Round "3"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D07"] [WhiteElo "2785"] [BlackElo "2692"] [Annotator "A. Silver"] [PlyCount "109"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventCountry "UAE"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] [TimeControl "40/6000+30:20/3000+30:900+30"] 1. d4 {0} d5 {17} 2. c4 {0} Nc6 {4} 3. Nf3 {0} Bg4 {8} 4. cxd5 {0} Bxf3 {5} 5. gxf3 {6} Qxd5 {5} 6. e3 {6} e5 {34} 7. Nc3 {14} Bb4 {5} 8. Bd2 {5} Bxc3 {5} 9. bxc3 {6} Qd7 {6} 10. Rb1 {11} O-O-O {37} ({The last example of master play with this position, though none had the courage to play 10...0-0-0} 10... b6 11. Bg2 Nge7 12. f4 exf4 13. e4 O-O 14. Qf3 Rae8 15. Bxf4 Ng6 16. O-O Nxf4 17. Qxf4 Ne7 18. Rfe1 f5 19. e5 Ng6 20. Qg5 f4 21. Be4 Qh3 22. f3 Nh4 23. Qg4 Qxg4+ 24. fxg4 g5 25. Kf2 Kg7 26. a4 h5 27. h3 hxg4 28. hxg4 Ng6 29. Bxg6 Kxg6 30. Kf3 Rh8 31. Rh1 c6 32. Rbe1 a6 33. Ke4 b5 34. a5 Ref8 35. Rc1 Rb8 36. Kf3 Rbd8 37. Rcd1 Rc8 38. Ke4 Rcf8 {1-0 (59) Volodin,A (2433)-Sklyarov,D (2402) Finland 2010}) 11. Bg2 {2391} Nge7 {132} 12. Qb3 {251} b6 {40} 13. Qxf7 {160 More than a pawn, Black will have a lot harder time of assailing White's center without it.} Rhf8 {20} 14. Qc4 {343} Kb8 {392} 15. O-O {914 [#]} g5 {725 This is one of those moves that is very hard to comment on. Black has a number of ways to try to build a kingside initiative. One thing is certain, he will want to be careful about unleashing the white g2 bishop and let it weild its full power, especially with b6 having opened up the light squares around Black's monarch.} 16. Rb5 {129} Rf6 {1437} 17. e4 {634 This is one of those major number-crunching moves that requires a significant amount of brute calculation due to the number of serious candidates and notably for Black.} h6 {418} ({ One obvious alternative is} 17... g4 $5 {aiming to not only remove the g5 pawn from immediate danger but soften up the white kingside.} 18. f4 exd4 (18... exf4 19. e5 Rff8 20. Re1 {and if} f3 21. Bf1 {The bishop has a life on this new diagonal, while the black push is stymied for a while. Add the huge white center and the question is not who is better but how much.}) 19. f5 dxc3 20. Bxc3 Nd4 {and the engines unflinchingly suggest} 21. a4 {with a healthy white advantage.}) ({Also to be considered is} 17... exd4 18. Bxg5 Rg6 19. Bh4 dxc3 20. Qxc3 Nd4 {threatening the rook on b5 as well as Ne2+} 21. Rb2 Nec6) 18. dxe5 {351} Na5 {689} 19. Qe2 {516} Rc6 {61} 20. Be3 {33} Ng6 {123} 21. Rd5 {234 } Qe7 {6} 22. Rfd1 {131} Rf8 {94} 23. Qb5 {137} Qe6 {1019} 24. Rd8+ {209} Rxd8 {7} 25. Rxd8+ {1} Kb7 {2 White misses a chance to bring in the bishop and really stick it at Black.} 26. Qd5 {41} (26. Bf1 $1 {The threat is obviously Qa6 mate, but the point is a little more insidious, and resides in the massive pawn majority waiting to be unleashed. Don't forget it is 5 to 2 on the kingside if they get rolling.} Nc4 {seems to effectively shut down White, but not so....} 27. Bxc4 Rxc4 28. Re8 Qc6 29. Qxc6+ Rxc6 30. e6 Nf4 31. e7 Re6 32. h4 Kc6 33. Rh8 Kd7 34. e8=Q+ Rxe8 35. Rh7+ Re7 36. Rxh6 Nd3 (36... Rg7 37. hxg5 Rxg5+ 38. Kf1 {and the knight is lost.}) 37. hxg5 {and the kingside pawns will decide it.}) 26... Nc4 {30} 27. Qxe6 {108} ({The zwischenzug} 27. Rg8 {was more efficient.} Ngxe5 28. Qxe6 Rxe6 29. f4 gxf4 30. Bxf4 Kc6 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 32. f4 $18) 27... Rxe6 {4} 28. Bh3 {41} Rxe5 {5} 29. Bc8+ {2} Kc6 {5} 30. Bd7+ { 4 The players were both extremely short of time and wil now make the most of the oppportunities to repeat moves. Nakamura has no intention of drawing. his purpose here is simply to make the time control without blundering away his advantage,} Kb7 {22} 31. Bc8+ {6} Kc6 {2} 32. Bd7+ {56} Kb7 {2} 33. Bd4 {29} Ra5 {47} 34. Bc8+ {9} Kc6 {1} 35. Bd7+ {5} Kb7 {2} 36. Bc8+ {62} Kc6 {1} 37. Be6 {61} Kb5 {3} 38. Bd7+ {127} ({Komodo points out the elegant shot} 38. a4+ Rxa4 39. Rd5+ c5 {Forced. All other moves crash and burn in the blink of an eye.} (39... Kc6 $2 40. Bd7+ Kb7 41. Bxa4) (39... Ka6 $2 40. Bc8#) 40. Bd7+ Ka5 41. Bxa4 Kxa4 42. Bg7 a5 43. Bxh6 $18) 38... c6 {8} 39. Be8 {2} Nf4 {20} 40. h4 {0} Nd2 {165} 41. Kh2 {252} gxh4 {537} 42. Be3 {153} Nxf3+ {384} 43. Kh1 {12} Nh3 {747} 44. Bh5 {860} (44. Rd5+ $1 {is suggested by the engines quite enthusiastically, but a deeper look shows it is not so clear.} Kc4 45. Rxa5 bxa5 46. Bxc6 Nhg5 47. Bd5+ Kxc3 48. e5 Nxe5 49. f4 Nd3 50. fxg5 hxg5 $11 { as the a-pawn will fall soon.}) 44... Nxf2+ {288} 45. Bxf2 {14} Rxa2 {4} 46. Bxf3 {205} Rxf2 {7} 47. Rd3 {410} Kc4 {48} 48. Re3 {126} Rd2 {4} 49. e5 { 25 One pawn to rule them all...} Rd7 {7} 50. e6 {23} Re7 {4} 51. Bxc6 {8} a5 {9 } 52. Re4+ {127} Kxc3 {32} 53. Bb5 {15} a4 {42} 54. Bxa4 {10} Kd3 {3} 55. Re1 { 48} 1-0

Pavel Eljanov had a wild game against Michael Adams. He started well with a nice bind and good attacking prospects against White's king on the queenside, but seemed a bit gun-shy refusing to commit to an attack. The position turned and he soon was utterly lost. However, right before the time control, Adams blundered his advantage away and they drew.

Whatever is said, the players have not lacked in goodies

Round 3 on 2017/02/30 at 15:00

Bo No Ti. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Ti Name Rtg No
1 1 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2796 2 ½ - ½ GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2766 4
2 7 GM Adams Michael 2751 ½ - ½ 1 GM Eljanov Pavel 2759 6
3 9 GM Grischuk Alexander 2742 1 ½ - ½ 1 GM Aronian Levon 2785 2
4 3 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2785 1 1 - 0 1 GM Rapport Richard 2692 14
5 5 GM Ding Liren 2760 1 ½ - ½ 1 GM Hammer Jon Ludvig 2628 18
6 13 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2709 1 ½ - ½ 1 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2749 8
7 17 GM Hou Yifan 2651 1 ½ - ½ 1 GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2709 12
8 15 GM Riazantsev Alexander 2671 1 ½ - ½ ½ GM Li Chao B 2720 10
9 11 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2711 ½ ½ - ½ 0 GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2656 16

Round three games (with times per move)

Standings after three rounds

Rk SNo Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts
1 1 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2796 2,5
2 7 GM Adams Michael ENG 2751 2,0
3 4 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2766 2,0
4 3 GM Nakamura Hikaru USA 2785 2,0
5 5 GM Ding Liren CHN 2760 1,5
6 18 GM Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2628 1,5
7 12 GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2709 1,5
8 13 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2709 1,5
9 15 GM Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2671 1,5
10 2 GM Aronian Levon ARM 2785 1,5
  9 GM Grischuk Alexander RUS 2742 1,5
12 17 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2651 1,5
13 6 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2759 1,5
14 8 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2749 1,5
15 14 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2692 1,0
16 11 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2711 1,0
17 10 GM Li Chao B CHN 2720 1,0
18 16 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2656 0,5

 

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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weerogue weerogue 2/21/2017 01:58
Getting used to the new layout and enjoying it in general!
One question: do we not have standings for this tournament, or am I just unable to see them due to a browser issue or something?
hereandnow hereandnow 2/21/2017 11:06
Nice layout, good job - just the fonts are way too small, inconvenient to read. For an old man. At 49 ...
Pieces in Motion Pieces in Motion 2/21/2017 06:33
Nice article and analysis on what has turned out to be a good tournament so far.

And kudos to ChessBase on the new design of the site, it's real nice.
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 2/21/2017 04:08
Good professional looking site. Good job!
saurabh19 saurabh19 2/21/2017 02:58
New Design is Awesome. But font is little small, It will be better if you improve font size.
NMcrazyim5 NMcrazyim5 2/21/2017 02:09
Love the new layout. There is no awkward scrolls, just make the fonts a little bigger.
basler88 basler88 2/21/2017 01:40
I love the new look...great job!!!
Pionki Pionki 2/20/2017 11:34
Yes, the website design is more pleasant, although it still needs a few tweaks. More importantly, however, the annoying Chessbase Download pop-up has been removed for the sake of quality of user experience.
genem genem 2/20/2017 10:07
In the display of moves in Adams-Pavel, after 3.. g6 we see "(06)". After 11. Ng4 we see "(00:06)".
What are the different meanings between these two different displays of 'six'?
fons fons 2/20/2017 09:11
Layout looks worse than the previous and the font is too small.
Nathanian Nathanian 2/20/2017 07:02
Good design! Elegant font. Analysis can be deeper in some positional and tactical games.
guesting guesting 2/20/2017 06:21
The idea of this new layout is wonderfull....great job Chessbase.com !!
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