Tashkent R9: Wang beats Caruana, Karjakin leads alone

12/2/2012 – Chinese GM Wang Hao beat one of the joint leaders in the Grand Prix tournament, Fabiano Caruana, in a Slav Exchange Variation. All the other games were drawn, which left Sergey Karjakin with 5.5/9 points alone in the lead. There are six players behind him with 5.0/9 each, and Sergey faces one of them, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, in tomorrow's tenth round. Full report with GM commentary.

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The second stage of the 2012-2013 FIDE Grand Prix Series is taking place from November 21 to December 5th in the Gallery of Fine Art in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The games start at 14:00h local time (= 10:00h CET, 13:00h Moscow, 04:00 a.m. New York). The tournament has a prize fund of 240,000 Euros.

Round nine report

Round 9 on Sunday 2.12.2012 at 14:00
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
½-½
Kamsky Gata 2762
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
½-½
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
Karjakin Sergey 2775
½-½
Gelfand Boris 2751
Wang Hao 2737
1-0
Caruana Fabiano 2786
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
½-½
Morozevich Alexander 2748
Leko Peter 2732
½-½
Svidler Peter 2747

Wang Hao-Caruana 1-0: The Exchange Variation seems to have become White's main weapon against the Slav Defense, as this is already the third game played with 3.cxd5. In the eighth round Wang Hao played this variation against Morozevich with black, and now he was ready to try it with the white pieces.


Wang Hao at the start of his game against tournament leader Fabiano Caruana

Commentary by GM Alejandro Ramirez

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix-Tashkent 2012"] [Site "Tashkent"] [Date "2012.12.02"] [Round "9"] [White "Wang, Hao"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D10"] [WhiteElo "2737"] [BlackElo "2786"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "UZB"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Bf4 {This specific version of the Exchange Slav has been used recently to net White some important points. Sokolov certainly has employed it with success lately.} Nc6 6. e3 a6 7. Bd3 Bg4 8. Nge2 e6 9. O-O Be7 10. Rc1 Bh5 11. Qb3 Na5 12. Qa4+ Nc6 13. Bg3 Bg6 14. Nf4 Bxd3 15. Nxd3 Nd7 16. Qd1 O-O 17. Na4 {With the opening phase over it is clear that White has a very slight advantage. After all he is the only one in a position to pressure the queenside, but there is no reason to be alarmed yet as Black.} Rc8 18. Ndc5 Nxc5 19. dxc5 $1 (19. Nxc5 Bxc5 20. Rxc5 Qd7 $11 { promises nothing for White, as a mass simplification on the c-file is nearly unavoidable.}) 19... Na7 20. b4 Rc6 21. h3 a5 $2 {Trying to break the bind, but this is too rash.} 22. b5 $1 {Swift punishment! The c-pawn is now passed and White has a nearly decisive advantage.} Nxb5 23. Qb3 Nc7 $8 24. Qxb7 Qa8 25. Rb1 {It's obvious now that Black's position is on the brink of collapse, since his pieces can't be properly defended. Caruana hangs on as long as he can.} Rc8 26. Qxa8 $1 Nxa8 27. Rb7 Bf8 28. Rfb1 f6 29. Ra7 e5 30. f4 d4 (30... Bxc5 31. Nxc5 Rxc5 32. Rbb7 R5c7 33. fxe5 $18 (33. Rxa8 $4 Rc1+ $19)) 31. fxe5 dxe3 32. exf6 gxf6 $6 (32... Rxf6 {preventing the king from coming into the game and therefore allowing the e-pawn to have some degree of danger, was the last hope.}) 33. Kf1 $1 $18 Re8 34. Ke2 (34. Rb8 {instantly won the knight, but the move in the game works too.}) 34... Rcc8 35. Rbb7 f5 36. Rxa5 Rcd8 37. Be1 Bh6 38. Nb2 Rb8 39. Raa7 Rxb7 40. Rxb7 {Time control. Black's knight is as bad as it has been the entire game and the position is completely hopeless.} Rc8 41. Nd3 Nc7 42. Rb6 Bg5 43. Rc6 {If, for some reason, you would like to do a lecture on what happens when just one of your pieces is terrible, this is the game to show. Knights in the corners aren't happy, and this knight cost Caruana the game and the lead in Tashkent.} 1-0


Top seed and tournament leader Caruana suffered a second defeat in this event

Leko-Svidler 1/2-1/2: The Paulsen-Taimanov Variation in the Sicilian Defense used to be one of the main lines in Peter Svidler’s repertoire few years ago. As Peter Leko pointed out during the press conference, “I don’t know why I always choose e4 against Peter Svidler, who plays many moves against it. I should definitely think about 1.d4 next time!”


The two Peters: Leko and Svidler, in the press conference with Anastasiya Karlovich

White's 10.e5 indicated an intention to go for the most critical lines, but the Russian GM chose the less popular 11...Kf8. He even prepared at home the sharp 11...g6 12.Bh6 Rb8 13.Qh3 Rb4 14.Bg7. As he explained he changed his mind and played 11…g6 because “Peter looked too satisfied with the position”. After 11...Kf8 game continued in a positional vein and, after White's tempting but not too precise 18. Nd3, Black easily equalized. The closed character of the position didn't offer either opponent any real chances to break through. Both continued to play solidly, and after a threefold repetition a draw was agreed.

Kazimdzhanov-Morozevich 1/2-1/2: Rustam Kazimdzhanov was not ready for a dispute in Sicilian Dragon, which can appear after 3.d4, and so went for 3.c3. “I was not ready for the second move today. If we compare this game to the ones against Karjakin and Svidler, where I didn’t guess the first moves, we can see there is some progress ”, said former FIDE world champion.


Rustam Kazimdzhanov and Alexander Morozevich analyse their game

As his opening preparation failed, White was looking for a safe way to equalize right from the beginning. On the other hand 7.cxd4 instead of Qxd4 looks much more challenging against Black's set-up. After the following exchanges the position simplified a lot and at some point looked very similar to the ending from Karjakin-Morozevich. “Today the position with the same structure as in the game against Karjakin happened," said Alexander Morozevich. "It’s useful to train again in such a familiar position. It seems to me the Grand Prix in Tashkent is devoted to the study of this structure, since I get it all the time from different openings. Most probably I have a karma here – to learn this endgame.” The endgame was equal, and the only exciting moment happened after Black's 29...g5. After 30. Re5 both players had to calculate the pawn endgame precisely and had to play a few only moves in a row to achieve a draw. They repeated the moves in a position where the only logical attempt to continue the game – c4-c5 – would lead to a dead-drawish queen endgame.

Ponomariov-Kamsky 1/2-1/2: This game saw Alekhine’s Defence, with Black going for 4…dxe5 5.Nxe5 c6, a line which helped Gata Kamsky to score very important victory against Grischuk at the Olympiad in Istanbul. Ruslan Ponomariov went for the relatively rare 10.Bf4, trying to prevent the normal development of the black pieces (in a majority of games White continues 10.Nc3).

After a few more moves the position on the board was much more familiar to Kamsky (above right), as he explained during the press conference: "I'm used to play this structure from Slav Defence." Despite the fact that White had an optically better position due to his two bishops, and an advantage in space, Black's position was quite solid and the pressure on d4 was really unpleasant. Thus, White's decision to repeat the position looks logical, also taking into account that Ruslan was short on time. Gata showed fighting spirit as he continued to play (with 30...Qd8, instead of repeating the position after Bh4), but later on he failed to find any possible way to improve his position and finally accepted the draw.

Karjakin-Gelfand 1/2-1/2: No one seems to be ready to test Boris Gelfand (above right) in the Sveshnikov Variation. Kariakin chose 3.Nc3, aiming for a long positional pressure. The structure after 11.Be6 fe6 reminds that of an Anti-Marshall, which was already played a couple of times in Tashkent. Boris desperately fought for initiative and sacrificed an exchange with 23...Rxf3, but with precise play (Kh1!) Sergey managed to keep the balance. The game ended in the spectacular way – Black gave a perpetual check when he was two rooks down!

Dominguez-Mamedyarov 1/2-1/2: The game started as a Reti Opening but quite soon was transferred into a symmetrical Gruenfeld. Both players continued in very original manner, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov managed to surprise his opponent with a novelty on the sixth move! Lenier Dominguez found the very strong 9.Qc2, after which Black's decision to sacrifice a piece with 9...Nc6 looks reasonable. Otherwise White would enjoy typical slight advantage without much counterplay for Black.


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Lenier Dominguez in the press conference

White accepted the challenge and the resulting position appeared to be really complicated. Perhaps 11.Qf4 would put a critical test on Black's idea, as in the game Shakhriyar had a chance (after 11.Qe3) to play 11...Bg4 with promising complications. Later on White could get an advantage after 16.Be4, but this move was missed by both opponents. Instead Lenier played 16.Nd2, and after the strong Bb2 Black got counterplay and even started to think of going for a win. The Cuban player managed to find 30.Ng4, which led to a repetition, as 30...Rf3 31.Rd1 looks too dangerous for Black.

Replay all the games of this round on our Javascript board

Standings after nine rounds

Summaries from the official web site, photos by Anastasiya Karlovich

Schedule and results

Round 1 on Thursday 22.11.2012 at 14:00
Morozevich Alexander 2748
1-0
Kamsky Gata 2762
Caruana Fabiano 2786
½-½
Svidler Peter 2747
Gelfand Boris 2751
½-½
Leko Peter 2732
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
½-½
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
½-½
Wang Hao 2737
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
0-1
Karjakin Sergey 2775
Round 2 on Friday, 23.11.2012 at 14:00
Kamsky Gata 2762
½-½
Karjakin Sergey 2775
Wang Hao 2737
½-½
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
½-½
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
Leko Peter 2732
½-½
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
Svidler Peter 2747
½-½
Gelfand Boris 2751
Morozevich Alexander 2748
1-0
Caruana Fabiano 2786
Round 3 on Saturday 24.11.2012 at 14:00
Caruana Fabiano 2786
1-0
Kamsky Gata 2762
Gelfand Boris 2751
½-½
Morozevich Alexander 2748
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
1-0
Svidler Peter 2747
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
½-½
Leko Peter 2732
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
½-½
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
Karjakin Sergey 2775
½-½
Wang Hao 2737
Round 4 on Sunday 25.11.2012 at 14:00
Kamsky Gata 2762
0-1
Wang Hao 2737
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
½-½
Karjakin Sergey 2775
Leko Peter 2732
½-½
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
Svidler Peter 2747
1-0
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
Morozevich Alexander 2748
½-½
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
Caruana Fabiano 2786
1-0
Gelfand Boris 2751
Round 5 on Tuesday 27.11.2012 at 14:00
Gelfand Boris 2751
0-1
Kamsky Gata 2762
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
½-½
Caruana Fabiano 2786
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
1-0
Morozevich Alexander 2748
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
½-½
Svidler Peter 2747
Karjakin Sergey 2775
½-½
Leko Peter 2732
Wang Hao 2737
0-1
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
Round 6 on Wednesday 28.11.2012 at 14:00
Kamsky Gata 2762
½-½
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
Leko Peter 2732
½-½
Wang Hao 2737
Svidler Peter 2747
½-½
Karjakin Sergey 2775
Morozevich Alexander 2748
1-0
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
Caruana Fabiano 2786
½-½
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
Gelfand Boris 2751
½-½
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
Round 7 on Thursday 29.11.2012 at 14:00
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
½-½
Kamsky Gata 2762
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
½-½
Gelfand Boris 2751
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
0-1
Caruana Fabiano 2786
Karjakin Sergey 2775
1-0
Morozevich Alexander 2748
Wang Hao 2737
½-½
Svidler Peter 2747
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
½-½
Leko Peter 2732
Round 8 on Friday 30.11.2012 at 14:00
Kamsky Gata 2762
0-1
Leko Peter 2732
Svidler Peter 2747
½-½
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
Morozevich Alexander 2748
½-½
Wang Hao 2737
Caruana Fabiano 2786
½-½
Karjakin Sergey 2775
Gelfand Boris 2751
½-½
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
½-½
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
Round 9 on Sunday 2.12.2012 at 14:00
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
½-½
Kamsky Gata 2762
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
½-½
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
Karjakin Sergey 2775
½-½
Gelfand Boris 2751
Wang Hao 2737
1-0
Caruana Fabiano 2786
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
½-½
Morozevich Alexander 2748
Leko Peter 2732
½-½
Svidler Peter 2747
Round 10 on Monday 3.12.2012 at 14:00
Kamsky Gata 2762
-
Svidler Peter 2747
Morozevich Alexander 2748
-
Leko Peter 2732
Caruana Fabiano 2786
-
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
Gelfand Boris 2751
-
Wang Hao 2737
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
-
Karjakin Sergey 2775
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
-
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
Round 11 on Tuesday 4.12.2012 at 12:00
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2726
-
Kamsky Gata 2762
Karjakin Sergey 2775
-
Ponomariov Ruslan 2741
Wang Hao 2737
-
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2696
-
Gelfand Boris 2751
Leko Peter 2732
-
Caruana Fabiano 2786
Svidler Peter 2747
-
Morozevich Alexander 2748

Video Reports

Live video coverage with English language commentary is available on the player above. There is also Russian commentary on the video page of the tournament site.

Links

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